Urban Ecology

Urban growth is occurring at an unprecedented scale. In 2008, for the first time, more than 50% of the global human population lived in urban environments. Rapid urban expansion leads to a loss of natural and semi-natural habitats, and to changes of several biotic (i.e. primary productivity) and abiotic processes (i.e. elevated temperature). Also, urbanized areas increasingly suffer from light pollution. All these factors may lead to an altered species composition (e.g. more exotic species in urban areas) or species behaviour, resulting in altered species interactions  and ecosystem services.  Our research deals with factors affecting biodiversity patterns and ecosystem functioning in urban areas, both at local and landscape scale (Eva Knop, Myles Menz).