Impacts of urban areas and their characteristics on avian functional diversity
Hagen, Emily O.
Ibáñez-Álamo, Juan D.
Petchey, Owen L.
Evans, Karl L.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Urban development is rapidly expanding across the globe and is a major driver of environmental change. Despite considerable improvements in our understanding of how species richness responds to urbanization, there is still insufficient knowledge of how other measures of assemblage composition and structure respond to urban development. Functional diversity metrics provide a useful approach for quantifying ecological function. We compare avian functional diversity in 25 urban areas, located across the globe, with paired non-urban assemblages using a database of 27 functional traits that capture variation in resource use (amount and type of resources and how they are acquired) across the 529 species occurring across these assemblages. Using three standard functional diversity metrics (FD, MNTD, and convex hull) we quantify observed functional diversity and, using standardized effect sizes, how this diverges from that expected under random community assembly null models. We use regression trees to investigate whether human population density, amount of vegetation and city size (spatial extent of urban land), bio-region and use of semi-natural or agricultural assemblages as a baseline modulate the effect of urbanization on functional diversity. Our analyses suggest that observed functional diversity of urban avian assemblages is not consistently different from that of non-urban assemblages. After accounting for species richness avian functional diversity is higher in cities than areas of semi-natural habitat. This creates a paradox as species responses to urban development are determined by their ecological traits, which should generate assemblages clustered within a narrow range of trait space. Greater habitat diversity within cities compared to semi-natural areas dominated by a single habitat may enhance functional diversity in cities and explain this paradox. Regression trees further suggest that smaller urban areas, lower human population densities and increased vegetation all enhance the functional diversity of urban areas. A city's attributes can thus influence the functional diversity of its biological assemblages, and their associated ecological functions. This has important implications for the debate regarding how we should grow the world's cities whilst maintaining their ecological function Show more
Journal / seriesFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
SubjectBird community; habitat loss; functional diversity; land sparing and land sharing; Species trait; urbanization; urban and non-urban comparison
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