As urban areas rapidly expand, natural environments are exposed to a range of anthropogenic pressures and undergo major changes, that often lead to the decline or extinction of local populations. The organisms living in urban areas face rapid and extreme changes in environmental conditions such as increased artificial nocturnal light, habitat fragmentation and transformation, as well as severe changes in the climatic parameters like temperature. As such, urbanization drives important changes in the local communities, altering the species pool and affecting the evolution of life history traits, as populations adapt to urban environments. Furthermore, urbanization also creates a window of opportunity for the colonization of these man-made ecosystems, which are nowadays recognized as hot-spots of biological invasions.
Although urban ecology is a fast-growing topic in the field of ecology, the effects of urbanization on the biodiversity of the different communities found in urban areas are still poorly understood. The project “Urban Jungle Ponds” is running in several large European cities and aims to investigate the effect of urbanization in freshwater microecosystems (e.g. buckets and saucers for flower pots), which are abundant in urban areas and constitute suitable habitats for insects.
Salzburg, Austria - Jana Petermann (Universität Salzburg)
Berlin, Germany - Camille Musseau (Freie Universität Berlin)
London, United Kingdom - Pavel Kratina (Queen Mary University of London), Liam Nash (Queen Mary University of London)