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As natural habitat continues to be lost and the world steadily becomes more urbanized, biologists are increasingly studying the effect this has on wildlife. Birds are particularly good model systems since their life history, behaviour, and physiology are especially influenced by directly measurable environmental factors such as light and sound pollution. It is therefore relatively easy to compare urban individuals and populations with their rural counterparts. This accessible text focuses on the behavioural and physiological mechanisms which facilitate adaptation and on the evolutionary process that ensues. It discusses topics such as acoustics, reproductive cues, disease, and artificial feeding, and includes a series of case studies illustrating cutting edge research on these areas.
Avian Urban Ecology is suitable for professional avian biologists and ornithologists as well as graduate students of avian ecology, evolution, and conservation. It will also be of relevance and use to a more general audience of urban ecologists and conservation biologists.
Part 1: The Urban Environment
1: The challenges of urban living
2: The impact of artificial light on avian ecology
3: Wild bird feeding (probably) affects avian urban ecology
Part 2: Behaviour and Physiology
4: Attention, habituation, and antipredator behaviour: implications for urban birds
5: Behavioral and ecological predictors of urbanization
6: Acoustic communication in the urban environment: patterns, mechanisms, and potential consequences of avian song adjustments
7: The impact of anthropogenic noise on avian communication and fitness
8: Reproductive adaptations of urban birds: environmental cues and mechanisms
9: The impacts of urbanization on avian disease transmission and emergence
Part 3: Evolutionary Processes
10: Understanding the mechanisms of phenotypic responses following colonization of urban areas: From plastic to genetic adaptation
11: Landscape genetics of urban bird populations
12: Reconciling innovation and adaptation during recurrent colonization of urban environments: molecular, genetic, and developmental bases
Part 4: Case Studies
13: Acoustic, morphological and genetic adaptations to urban habitats in the silvereye (Zosterops lateralis)
14: Human-induced changes in the dynamics of species coexistence: an example with two sister species
15: The application of signal transmission modelling in conservation biology: on the possible impact of a projected motorway on avian communication
16: The importance of wooded urban green areas for breeding birds: a case study from Northern Finland
Diego Gil is a senior scientist at the Spanish Research Council (CSIC), and he is based at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid. His main interests are the study of bird song and the transmission of hormones in avian eggs. He combines an evolutionary ecology perspective with the study of the proximal physiological mechanisms that underpin evolutionary adaptations. He has published more than 50 research articles, and has been editor of Animal Behaviour.
Henrik Brumm heads a research group at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany. He is a former Editor of Behaviour and an Editor of Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology In 2005, he was appointed as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study Berlin. He has been studying bird behaviour and ecology in many parts of the world and published over 50 articles and scientific papers.
"This book will appeal to students in search of a challenge, and practitioners will learn much too, especially from the case studies"
– British Ecological Society Bulletin
"[...] The information presented here is high in factual quality, and accessible to a reader with a broad background. However, some of the chapters go into more detail and are much more technical, especially those concentrating on genetic changes of birds in relation to urbanization. This is a useful addition to the urban ecologist ’s library and also to those with a broader interest base."
– Emma Rosenfeld, Ibis, August 2014
"[...] an informative collection of articles that will be an important reference and source of inspiration for future research but one that is aimed at professional ornithologists and conservationists rather than more general readers."
– Angela Turner, www.britishbirds.co.uk, 16-04-2014
"[...] This book includes not only up-to-date findings on the subject but it also highlights research questions that require further investigation, making it an informative read for anyone interested in the field."
– Daria Dadam, BTO book reviews