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  1. Abstract

    Cities can host significant biological diversity. Yet, urbanisation leads to the loss of habitats, species, and functional groups. Understanding how multiple taxa respond to urbanisation globally is essential to promote and conserve biodiversity in cities. Using a dataset encompassing six terrestrial faunal taxa (amphibians, bats, bees, birds, carabid beetles and reptiles) across 379 cities on 6 continents, we show that urbanisation produces taxon-specific changes in trait composition, with traits related to reproductive strategy showing the strongest response. Our findings suggest that urbanisation results in four trait syndromes (mobile generalists, site specialists, central place foragers, and mobile specialists), with resources associated with reproduction and diet likely driving patterns in traits associated with mobility and body size. Functional diversity measures showed varied responses, leading to shifts in trait space likely driven by critical resource distribution and abundance, and taxon-specific trait syndromes. Maximising opportunities to support taxa with different urban trait syndromes should be pivotal in conservation and management programmes within and among cities. This will reduce the likelihood of biotic homogenisation and helps ensure that urban environments have the capacity to respond to future challenges. These actions are critical to reframe the role of cities in global biodiversity loss.

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  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract The Earth's population will become more than 80% urban during this century. This threshold is often regarded as sufficient justification for pursuing urban ecology. However, pursuit has primarily focused on building empirical richness, and urban ecology theory is rarely discussed. The Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) has been grounded in theory since its inception and its two decades of data collection have stimulated progress toward comprehensive urban theory. Emerging urban ecology theory integrates biology, physical sciences, social sciences, and urban design, probes interdisciplinary frontiers while being founded on textbook disciplinary theories, and accommodates surprising empirical results. Theoretical growth in urban ecology has relied on refined frameworks, increased disciplinary scope, and longevity of interdisciplinary interactions. We describe the theories used by BES initially, and trace ongoing theoretical development that increasingly reflects the hybrid biological–physical–social nature of the Baltimore ecosystem. The specific mix of theories used in Baltimore likely will require modification when applied to other urban areas, but the developmental process, and the key results, will continue to benefit other urban social–ecological research projects. 
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