Over half the world's population lives in the 3% of the global land mass that has been urbanized. How have biological systems responded to urban development?
Urban environments can serve as analogs for climate change, as current levels of urban warming parallel projected future levels of climate warming, on the order of several °C. In this regard, urban environments provide ready-made experiments for examining how organisms might respond to future warming. Yet, urban landscapes also represent fundamentally unique environments.
Recent dramatic increases in rates of urbanization globally place a premium on understanding what factors shape biological responses to urbanization. Although we are gaining a better general understanding of who the winners and losers of urbanization are, we lack a clear understanding of the mechanisms that underlie biological responses to urbanization.
Our research in urbanized landscapes seeks to quantify and develop linkages between organismal performance and tolerance, population size, phenology and differences in community composition and structure. We largely focus on insect systems owing to their functional importance in ecosystems and their ubiquity across urbanization gradients.