Welcome to BIOL 535: Urbanization & Biodiversity

This course reviews the many ways that organisms respond to urbanization and the challenges of living in urban areas, encompassing physiological, behavioural, and life history responses of individuals, evolutionary adaptations of populations, and changes in composition and dynamics of ecological communities. Discussions will focus on broad patterns that help us better understand how cities impact biodiversity, and why some organisms tolerate urban challenges so much better than others.

Class Schedule

Week 1, Jan 10 & 13: Intro to the course, Important questions in urban ecology and evolution, and approaches to answering them. Strong Inference and the Scientific Method in Urban Ecology & Evolution.

          Readings: Monday, none; Thursday, Platt, Science 1964; (Platt guiding questions)


Week 2

         Jan 17: How does urbanization alter the environment?

         Jan 20: Why study urban biodiversity?

          Readings: Monday, Shochat et al. 2006 (Shochat guiding questions); Thursday, Kareiva et al. 2007 (Kareiva guiding questions)

Week 3

         Jan 24: Guest lecture, Rachel Fanelli, MSc (Reading: Fanelli thesis in OneDrive)

          Jan 27: Guest lecture, Emma Sinclair, MSc student (Reading: Sinclair et al. manuscript draft in OneDrive)

Week 4

         Jan 31: Topic 2, Lead=Ani, Co=Priscilla

         Feb 3: Topic 3, Lead=Amrutha, Co=Brittany

Week 5

         Feb 7: Topic 4, Lead=Alena, Co=Hannah

         Feb 10: Topic 7, Lead=Priscilla, Co=Maggie

Week 6

         Feb 14: Guest Lecture: Dr. Carly Ziter, Concordia University; Ziter et al. PNAS 2019 - Required reading; Topic: urban trees/biodiversity/ecosystem services

         Feb 17: Cancelled

(READING WEEK, Feb 21-25)

Week 7

         Feb 28: Topic 9, Lead=Maggie, Co=Michelle      
         Mar 3: Topic 10, Lead=Vinson, Co=Elianna  

Week 8

         Mar 7: Topic 11, Lead=Keira, Co=Amrutha
         Mar 10: Topic 12, Lead=Michelle, Co=Leanne

Week 9

         Mar 14: Topic 13, Lead=Elianna, Co=Alena

         Mar 17: Topic 14, Lead=Sam, Co=Jemima

Week 10

         Mar 21: Topic 15, Lead=Brittany, Co=Ani

         Mar 24: Topic 16, Lead=Hannah, Co=Sam

Week 11

         Mar 28: 9-10am, optional drop in session to ask questions about final paper

         Mar 31: Guest lecture: Dr. Chris Schell, UC Berkeley; Socio-eco-evo dynamics & vertebrate diversity in cities.

Week 12

         Apr 4: Topic 18, Lead=Jemima, Co=Vinson

         Apr 7: Topic 17, Lead=Leanne, Co=Keira + QSSETs & class wrap up

April 8th Final Review Paper due by 10pm, as a pdf emailed to Dr. Bonier