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  1. In an increasingly urbanized world scientific research has shifted towards the understanding of cities as unique ecosystems. Urban land use change results in rapid and drastic changes in physical and biological properties, including that of biodiversity and community composition. Soil biodiversity research often lags behind the more charismatic groups such as vertebrates and plants. This paper attempts to fill this gap and provides an overview on urban isopod research. First, a brief overview on urban land use change is given, specifically on the major alterations on surface soils. Historical studies on urban isopods is summarized, followed by the status of current knowledge on diversity, distribution, and function of urban isopod species and communities. A review of more than 100 publications revealed that worldwide 50 cities and towns have some record of terrestrial isopod species, but only a few of those are city-scale explorations of urban fauna. A total of 110 isopod species has been recorded although the majority of them only once. The ten most frequently occurring isopods are widely distributed synanthropic species. Knowledge gaps and future research needs call for a better global dataset, long term monitoring of urban populations, multi-scale analyses of landscape properties as potential drivers ofmore »isopod diversity, and molecular studies to detect evolutionary changes.« less
  2. 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.