Urban Resilience in an Eco-Evolutionary Perspective
09:00-11:00, May 20 2022, CST
Video for the presentation.
Cities face a grand challenge: they must rethink themselves in the context of planetary change. Across the globe, cities are driving rapid evolutionary change. Not only are cities altering ecosystems and reducing biodiversity, cities are changing the rules of nature’s game by challenging the cultural and genetic makeup of many species including animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms. Increasing evidence show that organisms adapt to the urban environment by changing their physiology, morphology, and behaviors. Changes in species traits might have significant effects on socially-relevant ecosystem functions such as nutrient cycling, pollination, water and air purification, and food production.
Although evidence of urban-driven evolutionary change is rapidly increasing, the predominant views of biodiversity and ecosystem function that inform strategies to maintain resilience and achieve sustainability are still fundamentally static. In this talk I show how rapid evolutionary changes driven by urbanization have the potential to affect the sustainability of species and ecosystem functions with important consequences for the delivery of ecosystem services to urban communities. I argue that expanding our understanding of the complex eco-evolutionary dynamics of urbanization and its influence on ecosystem stability and biodiversity is central to inform sustainability strategies. I propose an eco-evolutionary paradigm for building cities that think like planets and expanding the principles of city design and planning to include the spatial and temporal scales of the geological and biological processes on which our planet operates.