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19 news posts in Urban environments

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22 Aug 2023

City-living may make male song sparrows more doting ‘super’ fathers

By Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: Rob Lachlan New behavioral traits are often the first response of animals to changing environmental conditions. As cities increasingly become habitats of wildlife, researchers have studied behavioral changes in birds and examined how urbanization impacts parental care behavior of male song sparrows. The team found that in cities, where male song sparrows are known to be more aggressive than in rural surroundings, male birds visited nests more often than rural conspecifics visited countryside nests.   When animals settle in new environments, or when their natural habitats are rapidly changed by human influence, their behaviors change. One such behavioral change that has been observed in several bird species that settled in cities is increased aggression, born out of the need to defend territories. City-living sparrows have, due to lower species density, fewer encounters with their kin than in the countryside. Yet, urban song sparrows have been shown to be consistently more aggressive in defending their territories. Now, a team of researchers in the US has investigated the effects of urbanization and the associated increase in male aggression on the parental care provided by male birds. “Male songbirds in temperate zones are thought to reduce […]


07 Mar 2023

Wings, not webs: Certain bugs are the winners of urbanization, impacting cities’ insect diversity

By Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: Dr Marion Chatelain. Occurrence and abundance of the ‘cucumber green spider’ decreased along the rural-urban gradient. Urban spread goes hand in hand with wildlife habitat loss and fragmentation. This impacts all animals, down to the smallest. Scientists found that the level of urbanization impacts arthropod abundance, richness, and diversity, factors which likely alter the foraging behavior of bigger animals. Cities are bursting with life, both human and animal. The smallest of them, insects, spiders, and ants are easily overseen, but their presence – or absence – in cities has wide-reaching effects. Scientists in Austria have published a study in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, which found a correlation between the presence of arthropods – invertebrate animals with an exoskeleton; among them are bees, insects, and spiders – and level of urbanization. “We show that richness and diversity of arthropods on trees and bushes decreases along the rural-urban gradient,” said first author Dr Marion Chatelain, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. “More specifically, we show that urbanization disfavors wingless groups, particularly so on trees. Indeed, web spiders and springtails are less likely to be found in the city, where, on the […]


23 May 2019

How light from street lamps and trees influences the activity of urban bats

The team found that the response of bats to artificial light was intensified in areas with high tree cover. Credit: Christian Giese. A German study sheds new light on how exactly ultraviolet (UV) emitting and non-UV emitting street lamps influence the activity of bats in the Berlin metropolitan area, and whether tree cover might mitigate the effects of light pollution — by Forschungsverbund Berlin Artificial light is rightly considered a major social, cultural and economic achievement. Yet, artificial light at night is also said to pose a threat to biodiversity, especially affecting nocturnal species in metropolitan areas. It has become clear that the response by wildlife to artificial light at night might vary across species, seasons and lamp types.A study conducted by a team led by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) sheds new light on how exactly ultraviolet (UV) emitting and non-UV emitting street lamps influence the activity of bats in the Berlin metropolitan area and whether tree cover might mitigate any effect of light pollution. The study is published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. Tree Cover Mediates the Effect of Artificial Light on Urban Bats► Read original article► Download original article (pdf) Natural sunlight […]

<p>izuru takewaki</p>


26 Oct 2016

Sustainable and resilient structural design to combat earthquake disturbances

By Eva Brown, Frontiers Science Writer To help buildings become more resilient to earthquakes, scientists have taken measures to analyze various vibrational modes with the goal of creating safe and sustainable structures for future generations. Professor Izuru Takewaki and his team based at Kyoto University in Japan have centered their studies around the areas of earthquake engineering and the structural design of buildings. They are working towards grasping an understanding of how best to bring resilience in buildings — especially against natural disasters such as earthquakes. Their aim is to create safer and more sustainable constructions. “During Japan’s Tōhoku earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, many people were killed, so I’m working on developing safe designs of buildings,” Takewaki explains. “In my field we are looking at the worst case analysis as you don’t know when, where or how intense a disaster will be.  We are also looking at the resilience of the buildings to withstand earthquakes.” In order to set the ground for progress, the team set out to measure the different vibrational states, which would enable them to develop safer building designs that are more stable and structurally secure. This, in turn, will enable the structures to withstand the […]