Global population continues to grow: the United Nations expects an additional 2.5 billion people by 2050, all of whom will be absorbed into urban areas. When demographers add rural to urban migrants to that number, they project an additional 3.1 billion city dwellers by mid-century. As the concentration of humans in cities surges, a better understanding of urban ecology— how human behaviors and actions influence urban ecosystem structure and function— will become increasingly important.
In 1997, the LTER Network launched two urban sites, the Central Arizona-Phoenix (CAP) program and the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES), in an effort to better understand socio-ecological systems. These two sites have now guided the growth of urban ecology as a field for nearly 20 years. They— and other sites with urban-focused projects— will present at Ecological Society of America’s Annual Meeting on topics ranging from human impacts on biodiversity and provision of ecosystem services to new theory and improved research frameworks for urban ecology.
Over the course of the week, thirteen researchers will share experiments, analysis, and insight. Questions being explored in these sessions include:
How can researchers explore tradeoffs among social, ecological, and technological goals using scenario construction?
How are climate, vegetation, water use, biodiversity, and social equity linked, and what research framework should be used to best explore those linkages?
How does management of urban stormwater ponds impact zooplankton biodiversity within and across local habitats?
What are predictors of higher denitrification potential in accidental urban wetlands (i.e. areas not designed to reduce nitrogen loads in runoff)?
What are the relative roles of land cover and land-use history in determining a site’s ability to provide ecosystem services?
Are urban soils chemically, physically, and biologically distinct from soils under different land uses? What do we know about the adaptations and responses of urban soil decomposer communities to urban-specific stresses?