Cities are extremely human-modified environments, with few existing original habitats. Local, regional and global studies have indicated scale-dependent patterns of communities in relation to urbanization. In general, species with high abundance in urban environments are generalist species, whereas specialists have declined. However, these results do not indicate directly if urban habitats are either sink or source habitats for wildlife. Reproductive success, mortality, and dispersion are key factors to improve our understanding of how to support more diverse animal communities in urban environments. We need more research on the factors affecting the behavioral responses to urbanization of species with different life-histories. Some studies have demonstrated that urbanization has clear impacts on the behavior of wildlife species, a character that is strongly related to the success of species in a given habitat. Indeed, animals can adapt to urban ecosystems behaviorally, for example, by adjusting their food preferences, foraging behavior, anti-predator behavior, or extending the length of their reproduction season. Merging community and behavioral ecology will enable a more effective conservation of remnant semi-natural habitats in urbanized landscapes. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Field of science
- Ecology, evolutionary biology