OOS 10 - Designed Urban Ecosystems as Habitat for Biodiversity: Beyond the Low-Hanging Fruit

Tuesday, August 8, 2017: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
Portland Blrm 257, Oregon Convention Center
Jeremy Lundholm, Saint Mary's University
J. Scott MacIvor, York University
Emily A. Walker, Saint Mary's University
People design urban ecosystems to promote many social, economic, and environmental benefits, with a recent surge of interest in supporting biodiversity. The role of intentional design in urban ecosystem structure and function spans a continuum from completely spontaneous dynamics in derelict land, to parks and gardens where design and management are important, to green roofs and bioswales that are completely manufactured and employ artificial substrates. Many publications document the performance of ecosystem services by designed systems, but the relationships between the properties of designed ecosystems and their ability to provide habitat for various kinds of biodiversity in cities has been less explored by ecologists. Descriptions of the habitat value of designed ecosystems, species inventories and comparisons with other habitats (natural or designed) represent part of the necessary baseline studies that ground more complex ecological research. Ecologists have also described ecosystem processes such as nutrient export and linked plant community composition to ecosystem functions, and begun to identify the design elements that make a difference for habitat provisioning. The speakers in this organized session will review and synthesize these "low-hanging fruit" studies from various perspectives, including biogeochemistry and landscape ecology. The speakers will then articulate the frontiers of these fields and outline the next research questions that will challenge ecological designers of these urban systems. How does ecological novelty shape the utility of designed habitats as refuges for urban biodiversity and what does this tell us about the nature of urban environments? For example, plant-microbe-soil feedbacks are key to understanding the material cycling in designed ecosystems but several features of these systems such as isolation from nearby habitat, artificial substrates and anthropogenic inputs mean that they may work quite differently compared with natural ecosystems. Ecosystems that start out as highly designed and managed often show spontaneous dynamics as other species colonize or as management regimes shift due to changes in budgetary priorities. Recognizing a continuum from designed to completely spontaneous/unmanaged ecosystems, ecologists need to explore the role of spontaneous assembly of communities in the overall provision of ecosystem services, as well as the effects of relatively subtle management interventions into ecosystems with largely spontaneous dynamics. Speakers will scale up to consider the landscape context of designed urban ecosystems, including the export of services beyond designed systems (e.g. pollination, urban cooling), and discuss spatial prioritization in three-dimensions (e.g. on and in buildings and infrastructure) as a key to optimizing habitat value.
8:00 AM
 Long-term dynamics of nutrient cycling in extensive green roof ecosystems
Ishi Buffam, University of Cincinnati; Mark E Mitchell, University of Cincinnati; Tobias Emilsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
8:20 AM
 Urban pollinators and ecosystem service flow to adjacent agricultural systems
Gail Langellotto, Oregon State University; Andony Melathopoulos, Oregon State University
8:40 AM
 Green infrastructure as ecological traps
J. Scott MacIvor, University of Toronto Scarborough
9:00 AM
 Increasing biodiversity in designed urban green spaces through simple vegetation interventions
Nicholas S. G. Williams, University of Melbourne; Caragh Threlfall, University of Melbourne; Luis Mata, RMIT University; Jessica Mackie, Griffith Univeristy; Amy K. Hahs, University of Melbourne; Nigel E. Stork, Griffith University; Stephen J. Livesley, The University of Melbourne
9:20 AM Cancelled
9:40 AM
9:50 AM
 Drivers of ecoystem services in urban spontaneous vegetation
Jeremy Lundholm, Saint Mary's University; Sarah Robinson, Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre
10:30 AM
 Green roof spatial heterogeneity, plant species diversity, biomass and weedy species colonization
Amy Heim, Saint Mary's University; Emily Walker, Saint Mary’s University; Jeremy Lundholm, Saint Mary's University
10:50 AM
 Will green roofs foster or deter global urban homogenization?
Olyssa Starry, Portland State University; Sydney Gonsalves, Anchor QEA