Urbanization impoverishes bird communities also by reducing the evolutionary uniqueness of species

Urbanization alters avian communities, generally lowering the number of species and contemporaneously increasing their functional relatedness, leading to biotic homogenization. Urbanization can also negatively affect the phylogenetic diversity of species assemblages, potentially decreasing their evolutionary distinctiveness. 
Federico Morelli’s team found, as recently published in the iScience journal, a significant decline in the evolutionary uniqueness of avian communities within seventeen European cities, in highly dense urban areas, if compared to low and medium-dense areas. Overall, urban bird assemblages from dense areas (e.g., city centres) supported one million years of evolutionary history less than communities from low-dense urban areas.
Researchers conclude that urban planning must work in synergy with conservation biology and ecological studies to better understand the mechanisms that attract more unique species within the cities, potentially increasing avian communities' resilience.

Citation: Morelli, F., Reif, J., Díaz, M., Tryjanowski, P., Ibánez-Álamo, J. D., Suhonen, J., ... & Benedetti, Y. (2024). Dense city centers support less evolutionary unique bird communities than sparser urban areas. Iscience, 27(2). 
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2024.108945

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