Traditionally, ecological studies have taken place mainly in the wild, away from the confines of the concrete jungle. Over the past few years, however, the field of “urban ecology” has been on the rise. Urban ecology seeks to explore how local plants and animals fare in urban environments-a topic that is becoming more and more relevant as cities continue to expand.
Recent studies conducted in cities across the globe have shown surprising results. Researchers in Brisbane, Australia have found that while all types of urban growth reduced bird populations, sprawl accelerated the decline compared to areas with higher residential density. Closer to home, a study comparing the growth of red oak trees in New York City to those in the nearby Catskill mountains revealed that city trees had eight times as much biomass as those in the country, grew leaves with greater area, and contained higher concentrations of leaf nitrogen.
We look forward to hearing more about this exciting new field!