Cities are growing, in both number and size, and having a profound impact on organisms and ecological functions. However, most ecologists traditionally have avoided studying ecosystems disturbed by humans, viewing people as an uncontrollable variable that interferes with understanding "pristine" nature. The recent addition of two cities to NSF's Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) network and the growth of the field of urban ecology represent a change in this attitude. Explicitly including humans in the ecosystem equation will improve our understanding of ecological systems. Studying urban systems can also address environmental concerns crucial to the health and well-being of a growing proportion of the world's population.
"Urban Ecological Systems: A New Frontier," a symposium at the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, will gather scientists investigating urban ecosystems around the world to discuss urban ecology theory and application. The symposium will be held on Wednesday, August 5, from 8:00 a.m. to Noon in Ballroom III of the Baltimore Convention Center.
Kirstin Dow of the University of South Carolina will explore the patterns and processes of urbanization and environmental change with particular attention on the spatial organization of cities. Mark McDonnell of the Australian Research Center for Urban Ecology will discuss the opportunities and challenges of conducting ecological research in urban areas and present a theoretical framework for addressing ecological questions in urban environments.
Margaret Carreiro of Fordham University's Louis Calder Center is a pioneer in
the study of New York City's impact on its urban forests. The groundwork she
helped lay is now being formalized in the urban LTER in Baltimore. In her
presentation on testing ecological theory in urban systems, Carreiro will
discuss how urban expansion can change and reorganize resources, conditions, and
species over the landscape with far-reaching imp
Contact: Gabriel Paal
Ecological Society of America