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Title: Put a Bird on It: Exploring the Relationship between Landscapes and Avifaunal Communities in Duisburg Germany
Authors: Chu, Andrea
Advisors: Wilcove, David S.
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Class Year: 2014
Abstract: Changes in land uses are often cited as having great detrimental effects on biodiversity because of their negative impacts on habitat availability. Existing work in urban ecology focuses on growth and sprawl. However, the field largely overlooks deindustrializing cities, which present opportunities for conservation because of their large amounts of abandoned space. This thesis investigated the role of certain landscape variables in determining bird richness, abundance, and community composition in Duisburg, a city with a strong industrial history. Bird observations from Duisburg and the surrounding region, North Rhine-Westphalia, were used to evaluate how spatial scale affected those metrics. Four land use types and two locational factors were tested using generalized linear mixed models, concluding that the amount of natural land was most important for both richness and abundance locally. Regionally, however, the amount of urban land was the strongest predictor for richness, affecting it negatively and both urban land and natural land had inverse relationships with abundance. Not only did increasing development reduce richness locally and regionally, but it also caused biotic homogenization on both scales. Omnivores and building dwellers dominated the community in urban and industrial areas while the presence of insectivores and ground and shrub nesters decreased. Duisburg and the wider region could benefit from spatially condensing urban areas and re-greening the remaining perforated spaces, increasing richness and allowing more heterogeneity in bird communities.
Extent: 62 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1992-2016

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