Science

Why do Some Species Thrive in Cities?

Urban development can be tough on wildlife. But some plants and animals are adapting to our cities in surprising ways.

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References:

Cheptou, P., Carrue, O., Rouifed, S., and Cantarel, A. (2008) Rapid evolution of seed dispersal in an urban environment in the weed Crepis sancta. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109: 3796–9. http://www.pnas.org/content/105/10/3796

DeCandido, R., Muir, A.A., & Gargiullo, M.B. (2004) A first approximation of the historical and extant vascular flora of New York City: implications for native plant species conservation. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 131:243–251. http://birdingbob.com/NYC.Flora.Final.Paper.pdf

Donihue, C.M., and Lambert, M.R. 2014. Adaptive evolution in urban ecosystems, AMBIO 44(3): 194-203. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13280-014-0547-2

Fattorini, S. (2011) Insect extinction by urbanization: a long term study in Rome. Biological Conservation 144:370–375.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320710003952

Harris, S.E., Munshi-South, J., Obergfell, C., & O’Neill, R. (2013) Signatures of rapid evolution in urban and rural transcriptomes of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) in the New York metropolitan area. PLoS One 8(8):e74938. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0074938

Tait, C.J., Daniels, C.B. & Hill, R.S. (2005). Changes in species assemblages within the Adelaide metropolitan area, Australia, 1836–2002. Ecology 15: 346-359. http://www.planta.cn/forum/files_planta/changes_in_species_assemblages_within_the_adelaide_metropolitan_area_australia_1836c2002_796.pdf.

Wirgin, I., Roy, N.K., Loftus, M., Chambers, R.C., Franks, D.G. & Hahn, M.E., (2011) Mechanistic Basis of Resistance to PCBs in Atlantic Tomcod from the Hudson River, Science 331(6022): 1322-1325. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6022/1322

White Footed Mouse photo by Melinda Fawver / Courtesy Shutterstock

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