Urbanization and Wildlife

Urbanization is characterized by the substitution of natural vegetation by man-made structures that may alter the abundance and species richness of native insects. Urban environments provide access to artificial breeding sites and anthropogenic foods (high in lipids and carbohydrates), which support a variety of native and invasive birds.

These ecosystems are also known to contain a wide range of macronutrient combinations that are influenced by human activities. In combination with a potential reduction in the availability of natural foods such as insects, urban birds may experience a mismatch between protein demand and its availability.

In a multidisciplinary collaboration, we are investigating the potential effects (e.g. community, population and individual level) of the nutritional quality of foods offered in supplementary feeding events. Current projects in this theme include common myna birds (Sturnus tristis) and Australian white ibis (Threskiornis moluccus).

Selected publications

Coogan SCP, Machovsky-Capuska GE, Martin J, Senior AM, Major RE, Raubenheimer D (2017). Macronutrient selection of free-ranging urban Australian white ibis (Threskiornis moluccus). Behavioural Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arx060. (IF 3.3) [pdf]

Machovsky-Capuska GE, Senior AM, Simpson SJ, Raubenheimer D (2016). The Multi-dimensional Nutritional Niche. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 31:355-365. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2016.02.009. (IF 18.3) [pdf]

Machovsky-Capuska GE, Senior AM, Zantis S, Barna K, Cowieson A, Pandya S, Pavard C, Shiels M, Raubenheimer D (2016). Dietary protein selection in a free-ranging urban population of common myna birds. Behavioral Ecology, 27:219-227. https://doi.og:/10.1093/beheco/arv142. (IF 3.3) [pdf]