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Home arrow Environment arrow Bats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of Bats in a Changing World

Urban Wildlife

Persistence of wildlife in urban environments may be linked to opportunism and a high degree of ecological and behavioural plasticity (Luniak 2004). In contrast, species that decline in response to urbanisation are often habitat and resource specialists (McKinney and Lockwood 1999; Jokimäki et al. 2011). Typically this results in altered assemblage structures in urban environments, often with a few highly abundant species, which account for a much higher proportion of the whole community in urban environments than in surrounding wild lands (Shochat et al. 2006). In addition, many native species are replaced by non-native, weedy or pest species (McKinney 2002). The resulting mix of introduced and native species in urban areas can lead to novel species interactions and altered ecosystem functioning (Hobbs et al. 2006). Often these non-native and introduced species are the same species across cities throughout the world. Thus, the flora and fauna of cities are becoming increasingly homogeneous (Hobbs et al. 2006; Grimm et al. 2008), however recent evidence suggests that many cities still retain several endemic species (Aronson et al. 2014).

Multi-scaled and multi-taxa investigations are required to provide detailed information about urban biodiversity (Clergeau et al. 2006). To date, urban ecologists have focused on few taxa, examining the response of conspicuous species to an urbanisation gradient (McDonnell and Hahs 2008). Populationand assemblage-level responses to urbanisation have been examined most prolifically for highly diverse and mobile bird taxa (McKinney 2002; McDonnell and Hahs 2008). Unfortunately, our understanding of how other wildlife, including bats, respond to the complex process of urbanisation is still limited (Barclay and Harder 2003). Research conducted to date provides a general indication that many bats may be declining due to urbanisation, however an understanding of the processes driving these patterns remains largely unknown.

 
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