Urbanisation exposes wildlife to new challenging conditions and environmental pressures. Some mammalian species have adapted to these novel environments, but it remains unclear which characteristics allow them to persist. To address this question, we identified 190 mammals regularly recorded in urban settlements worldwide, and used phylogenetic path analysis to test hypotheses regarding which behavioural, ecological and life history traits favour adaptation to urban environments for different mammalian groups. Our results show that all urban mammals produce larger litters; whereas other traits such as body size, behavioural plasticity and diet diversity were important for some but not all taxonomic groups. This variation highlights the idiosyncrasies of the urban adaptation process and likely reflects the diversity of ecological niches and roles mammals can play. Our study contributes towards a better understanding of mammal association to humans, which will ultimately allow the design of wildlife-friendly urban environments and contribute to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.

One strategy does not fit all: determinants of urban adaptation in mammals

Russo, Danilo;Ancillotto, Leonardo
2019

Abstract

Urbanisation exposes wildlife to new challenging conditions and environmental pressures. Some mammalian species have adapted to these novel environments, but it remains unclear which characteristics allow them to persist. To address this question, we identified 190 mammals regularly recorded in urban settlements worldwide, and used phylogenetic path analysis to test hypotheses regarding which behavioural, ecological and life history traits favour adaptation to urban environments for different mammalian groups. Our results show that all urban mammals produce larger litters; whereas other traits such as body size, behavioural plasticity and diet diversity were important for some but not all taxonomic groups. This variation highlights the idiosyncrasies of the urban adaptation process and likely reflects the diversity of ecological niches and roles mammals can play. Our study contributes towards a better understanding of mammal association to humans, which will ultimately allow the design of wildlife-friendly urban environments and contribute to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/738225
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