Project Details


Over half of the world's human population lives in cities, making the human experience of nature increasingly defined within urban areas. In order to understand how cities can support both humans and biodiversity, greater collaboration is needed among scientists, urban planners, and design professionals. This project will create a research coordination network to bring together these disciplines to study the factors affecting biodiversity in cities (UrBioNet). The network will facilitate engagement of scientists globally and develop databases and materials focusing on the plants and animals of cities that are relevant to local residents, urban planners, and managers. This project will expand existing global databases of plants and birds in cities and develop new databases of bats, fish, and insect pollinators of cities and their surrounding regions. The network will focus on the compilation and monitoring of urban biota in areas of high regional biodiversity, such as tropical cities and cities within biodiversity hotspots. Three scientific working groups will use information collected in this network to answer questions regarding the ecological relationships of different species to urbanization, with consideration of cultural and social aspects, and develop recommendations for monitoring urban ecosystems. Key activities in support of the network include: network-wide meetings; workshops; and the development of an online graduate course on urban biodiversity. UrBioNet will further serve the scientific community by supporting the development of global, regional, and local databases to test hypotheses on the patterns of species based on the physical, climatic, and social features of cities. Outcomes from this project will enhance our understanding of the ecology of cities and provide useful information to planners and managers for the monitoring and preservation of biodiversity in urban regions. By targeting activities in regions with less data availability, UrBioNet will enhance knowledge transfer among regions with different degrees of investment in urban ecological research and monitoring. The network will develop monitoring protocols that will standardize data collection methods and be economically feasible to implement. Planners, managers, and practitioners will be active participants in the network. Online courses will be developed for graduate students at 13 universities (including two historically black universities) in the U.S., and UrBioNet will involve undergraduate students through campus-based biodiversity monitoring projects led by network participants at up to 21 universities in the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America.
Effective start/end date6/1/145/31/19


  • National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))


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