Urban Ecology

No plants or animals evolved in cities. Some insects, like many tree pests, thrive in cities. Others, like many bees, become sick or scarce or disappear all together. Despite the challenges, cities actually support a surprising amount of biodiversity and important ecosystem functions. For example, pollination and decomposition carry on in cities, albeit with a novel cast of characters. Trees and plants support urban food webs but are often too few or in too poor condition to provide all the ecosystem services we rely on. We study how urbanization affects trees, plant pests, and beneficial insects to sustain biodiversity and ecosystem services. Read more about our research below.

Urban Ecology Projects

Effects of Urban Heat on Maple Pests

We investigated how urban heat and impervious surface affect scale insect abundance and red maple condition, growth, and ecosystem services. Read more

Urban Warming Effects on Oaks and their Pests

We looked into the effects of urban warming on willow oaks, scale insects, and natural enemies in Raleigh. Read more

Urban Pollinators

We are investigating the effects of urbanization on honey bees and native bees. Read more

Hurricane Effects on Urban Arthropods

Our goal is to understand how Hurricane Sandy changed ground-dwelling and tree-dwelling arthropod communities in New York City and how these changes affect the services or disservices they provide. Read more

Urban Water Webs

Dr. Kevin McCluney is working with Dr. Steve Frank on two projects to better understand how water stress and availability influence species interactions and plant condition in urban systems. Read more