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A multidimensional framework to quantify the effects of urbanization on avian breeding fitness

Chen, Sihao; Liu, Yu; Patrick, Samantha C.; Goodale, Eben; Safran, Rebecca J.; Pagani‐Núñez, Emilio


Sihao Chen

Yu Liu

Samantha C. Patrick

Eben Goodale

Rebecca J. Safran


Urbanization has dramatically altered Earth's landscapes and changed a multitude of environmental factors. This has resulted in intense land-use change, and adverse consequences such as the urban heat island effect (UHI), noise pollution, and artificial light at night (ALAN). However, there is a lack of research on the combined effects of these environmental factors on life-history traits and fitness, and on how these interactions shape food resources and drive patterns of species persistence. Here, we systematically reviewed the literature and created a comprehensive framework of the mechanistic pathways by which urbanization affects fitness and thus favors certain species. We found that urbanization-induced changes in urban vegetation, habitat quality, spring temperature, resource availability, acoustic environment, nighttime light, and species behaviors (e.g., laying, foraging, and communicating) influence breeding choices, optimal time windows that reduce phenological mismatch, and breeding success. Insectivorous and omnivorous species that are especially sensitive to temperature often experience advanced laying behaviors and smaller clutch sizes in urban areas. By contrast, some granivorous and omnivorous species experience little difference in clutch size and number of fledglings because urban areas make it easier to access anthropogenic food resources and to avoid predation. Furthermore, the interactive effect of land-use change and UHI on species could be synergistic in locations where habitat loss and fragmentation are greatest and when extreme-hot weather events take place in urban areas. However, in some instances, UHI may mitigate the impact of land-use changes at local scales and provide suitable breeding conditions by shifting the environment to be more favorable for species' thermal limits and by extending the time window in which food resources are available in urban areas. As a result, we determined five broad directions for further research to highlight that urbanization provides a great opportunity to study environmental filtering processes and population dynamics.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 19, 2023
Online Publication Date Jul 3, 2023
Publication Date 2023-07
Deposit Date Jul 4, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 4, 2023
Electronic ISSN 2045-7758
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 7
Article Number e10259
Keywords artificial light at night, breeding fitness, environmental filter, food resources, land-use change, life-history traits, noise pollution, trophic interaction, urban heat island, urbanization


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