Diane E Pataki

Diane E Pataki
Arizona State University | ASU · School of Sustainability

Doctor of Philosophy

About

208
Publications
64,130
Reads
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15,245
Citations
Citations since 2016
56 Research Items
8243 Citations
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201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,2001,400
201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,2001,400
Introduction
My lab studies human-environment interactions related to urban vegetation, resource use, and landscape design. In our research projects in semi-arid, irrigated cities we collaborate with social scientists, urban planners, landscape architects, engineers, philosophers, and local stakeholders to understand the interacting roles of climate, biodiversity, and human agency in urban ecological processes.
Additional affiliations
July 2019 - September 2021
University of Utah
Position
  • CEO
July 2015 - June 2019
University of Utah
Position
  • Head of Faculty
July 2012 - September 2021
University of Utah
Position
  • Professor
Education
August 1993 - May 1998
Duke University
Field of study
  • Ecology
August 1990 - May 1993
Columbia University
Field of study
  • Environmental Science

Publications

Publications (208)
Article
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Plant functional trait classifications have provided a useful framework for understanding the biodiversity of natural ecosystems. Here we propose that trait-based ecology may be expanded for understanding urban biodiversity in human planted and human dominated land cover by including plant attributes that influence human choices about cultivated sp...
Article
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Urban green space is purported to offset greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, remove air and water pollutants, cool local climate, and improve public health. To use these services, municipalities have focused efforts on designing and implementing ecosystem-services-based "green infrastructure" in urban environments. In some cases the environmental benef...
Article
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Urban water systems are highly engineered. However, hydrology and ecology are still closely linked in semi-arid urban ecosystems in which surface characteristics, vegetation, and water flows are all highly transformed. Although these systems are human-dominated, there are many uncertainties in the water budgets of semi-arid cities, because evapotra...
Article
Despite its importance for urban planning, landscape management, and water management, there are very few in situ estimates of urban-forest transpiration. Because urban forests contain an unusual and diverse mix of species from many regions worldwide, we hypothesized that species composition would be a more important driver of spatial variability i...
Article
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Urban regions emit a large fraction of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) that contribute to modern-day climate change. As such, a growing number of urban policymakers and stakeholders are adopting emission reduction targets and implementing policies to reach those targets. Over the past...
Article
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The management of urban forests is a key element of resilience planning in cities across the globe. Urban forests provide ecosystem services as well as other nature based solutions to 4.2 billion people living in cities. However, to continue to do so effectively, urban forests need to be able to thrive in an increasingly changing climate. Trees in...
Article
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We utilize traffic density and Convolvulus arvensis leaf chemistry to understand spatial patterns linking atmospheric pollution and household income in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, USA. We hypothesize that traffic density will explain variation in atmospheric NOx and O3 concentrations. In addition, we expect foliar %N and nitrogen isotope...
Article
Residential yards are a unique component of the urban environment and harbor high cultivated plant biodiversity; however, why and how people create yards with so many plant species is not well understood. To investigate this pattern, we studied the relationships between residents’ preferences, income, and yard plant biodiversity in the Salt Lake Va...
Article
The 2,085 km² Jordan River Basin, and its seven sub-catchments draining the Central Wasatch Range immediately east of Salt Lake City, UT, are home to an array of hydrologic, atmospheric, climatic, and chemical research infrastructure that collectively forms the Wasatch Environmental Observatory (WEO). WEO is geographically nested within a wildland...
Article
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In cities, humans directly and indirectly affect plant and wildlife communities. These human–species interactions are not included in traditional ecological approaches used to understand why and how organisms are distributed. Here, we incorporate human behaviors into urban community assembly theories and detail all the complex ways humans affect th...
Article
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Record climate extremes are reducing urban liveability, compounding inequality, and threatening infrastructure. Adaptation measures that integrate technological, nature-based, and social solutions can provide multiple co-benefits to address complex socioecological issues in cities while increasing resilience to potential impacts. However, there rem...
Article
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It is increasingly common for plant scientists and urban planning and design professionals to collaborate on interdisciplinary teams that integrate scientific experiments into public and social urban spaces. However, neither the procedural ethics that govern scientific experimentation, nor the professional ethics of urban design and planning practi...
Article
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Many of the world’s major cities have implemented tree planting programs based on assumed environmental and social benefits of urban forests. Recent studies have increasingly tested these assumptions and provide empirical evidence for the contributions of tree planting programs, as well as their feasibility and limits, for solving or mitigating urb...
Article
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Abstract Water smart cities are increasing their use of irrigation and misting to cope with extreme heat and drought. This is being enabled by widespread use of rainwater tanks, stormwater capture and storage systems, and recycled sewage wastewater to irrigate street trees as well as private and public green spaces. These alternative water resource...
Article
Riparian forests are essential for stream ecological processes in arid and semiarid regions, however, they are often highly altered by the rapid expansion of urban areas. To maintain riparian ecosystems services, it is important to better understand the effects of urbanization on riparian forests. We quantified the three‐dimensional (3D) structure...
Article
Land cover characteristics can produce changes in spatial and temporal variability in potential temperature (θ) at scales that are relevant to city inhabitants. Using data from 60 sensors positioned in five urban parks and surrounding residential neighborhoods in the semi-arid Salt Lake Valley, we evaluated the effect of turfgrass cover versus tree...
Article
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Restrictions to reduce human interaction have helped to avoid greater suffering and death from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have also created socioeconomic hardship. This disruption is unprecedented in the modern era of global observing networks, pervasive sensing and large-scale tracking of human mobility and behaviour, creating a unique test bed fo...
Article
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Although the yard is a hybrid social and material landscape, much social science research emphasizes the socio-cultural factors and has mostly neglected the potentially important influence of plants, animals, and the nonliving material world on homeowners’ decision-making. Using interviews across six metropolitan areas in the United States, we inve...
Article
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Nature‐based solutions for water‐resources challenges require advances in the science of ecohydrology. Current understanding is limited by a shortage of observations and theories that can further our capability to synthesize complex processes across scales ranging from sub‐millimeters to tens of kilometers. Recent developments in environmental sens...
Article
Residential yards contribute to human well-being and urban biodiversity. The structure, diversity, and composition of yard floras are largely determined by personal choices and landscaping priorities at local scales, but it is unclear whether these relationships hold across broader geographical areas. We investigated the relationship between homeow...
Article
In urban areas, anthropogenic drivers of ecosystem structure and function are thought to predominate over larger‐scale biophysical drivers. Residential yards are influenced by individual homeowner preferences and actions, and these factors are hypothesized to converge yard structure across broad scales. We examined soil total C and total δ13C, orga...
Article
Plant transpiration is a critical process in ecohydrology and urban water budgets. Urban forests in the semi‐arid cities of the western United States are composed largely of non‐native species sustained by irrigation. Given that the major end use of water in these cities is usually landscape irrigation, the efficiency of irrigation practices is ess...
Article
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People plant, remove, and manage urban vegetation in cities for varying purposes and to varying extents. The direct manipulation of plants affects the benefits people receive from plants. In synthesizing several studies of urban biodiversity in Los Angeles, we find that cultivated plants differ from those in remnant natural areas. This highlights t...
Article
The urban nitrogen (N) and carbon (C) cycles are substantially influenced by human activity. Alterations to these cycles include increased inputs from fossil fuel combustion and fertilizer use. The leaf chemistry of urban trees can be used to distinguish between these different N and C sources. Here, we evaluated relationships between urban vegetat...
Article
Water utilities incentivize turf replacement to promote water conservation, but the effects of such programs have received limited evaluations. In 2014, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) undertook an unprecedented investment to incentive turf replacement throughout Southern California in response to a serious Statewide dr...
Article
A “call to action” has been issued for scholars in landscape and urban planning, natural science, and public health to conduct interdisciplinary research on the human health effects of spending time in or near greenspaces. This is timely in light of contemporary interest in municipal tree planting and urban greening, defined as organized or semi-or...
Article
In natural grasslands, C4 plant dominance increases with growing season temperatures and reflects distinct differences in plant growth rates and water use efficiencies of C3 vs. C4 photosynthetic pathways. However, in lawns, management decisions influence interactions between planted turfgrass and weed species, leading to some uncertainty about the...
Article
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Acute water shortages for large metropolitan regions are likely to become more frequent as climate changes impact historic precipitation levels and urban population grows. California and Los Angeles County have just experienced a severe four year drought followed by a year of high precipitation, and likely drought conditions again in Southern Calif...
Article
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Context: As urban areas increase in extent globally, domestic yards play an increasingly important role as potential contributors to ecosystem services and wellbeing. These benefits largely depend on the plant species richness and composition of yards. Objectives: We aim to determine the factors that drive plant species richness and phylogenetic c...
Article
Sagoff (2017) critiqued the exclusion of cultivated plants and animals from much of the body of work in ecology. However, there is a history of attempting to incorporate cultivated landscapes in ecology that goes back at least two decades, particularly in urban ecology. The subdiscipline of urban ecology has received relatively little attention in...
Article
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While human activities have altered the urban nitrogen (N) and carbon (C) cycles, the relationships between social and biophysical processes in cities are not well understood. Here we evaluated relationships between sociodemographic variables (median household income and housing age) and N and C contents and stable isotope ratios of vegetation in t...
Article
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Urban lawn ecosystems are widespread across the United States, with fertilization rates commonly exceeding plant nitrogen (N) uptake rates. While urban soils have been shown to accumulate C and N over time, the long-term balance of N inputs and losses from lawn soils remains largely uncertain. We sampled residential lawn soils aged 7-100 years in t...
Article
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Los Angeles imports water over long distances to supplement local supplies. Reduced reliability of the available imports is driving many local agencies to promote conservation and enhance local water sources. These include stormwater capture, water reuse and groundwater. But financial considerations are often a significant impediment to project dev...
Article
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Stormwater ponds and retention basins are ubiquitous features throughout urban landscapes. These ponds are potentially important control points for nitrogen (N) removal from surface water bodies via denitrification. However, there are possible trade‐offs to this water quality benefit if high N and contaminant concentrations in stormwater pond sedim...
Article
Changes in evapotranspiration (ET) from terrestrial ecosystems affect their water yield (WY), with considerable ecological and economic consequences. Increases of surface runoff observed over the past century have been attributed to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations resulting in reduced ET by terrestrial ecosystems. Here we evaluate the wat...
Article
Urban areas are responsible for a substantial proportion of anthropogenic carbon emissions around the world. As global populations increasingly reside in cities, the role of urban emissions in determining the future trajectory of carbon emissions is magnified. Consequently, a number of research efforts have been started in the United States and bey...
Article
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Significance Recent efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have focused on cities due to intensive emissions, viable policy levers, and interested stakeholders. Atmospheric observations can be used to independently evaluate emissions, but suitable networks are sparse. We present a unique decadal record of atmospheric CO 2 from five sites with c...
Article
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In arid and semiarid regions, where few if any trees are native, city trees are largely human planted. Societal factors such as resident preferences for tree traits, nursery offerings, and neighborhood characteristics are potentially key drivers of urban tree community composition and diversity, however, they remain critically understudied. We inve...
Article
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Urban ecosystems are widely hypothesized to be more ecologically homogeneous than natural ecosystems. We argue that urban plant communities assemble from a complex mix of horticultural and regional species pools, and evaluate the homogenization hypothesis by comparing cultivated and spontaneously occurring urban vegetation to natural area vegetatio...
Technical Report
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This report articulates a vision and a compelling research agenda for developing the next generation of sustainable urban systems science. It identifies fundamental research questions that need to be answered so that the transformative social and technological changes forecasted in urban areas may be harnessed to benefit society at all scales-local...
Article
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Residential lawns are highly managed ecosystems that occur in urbanized landscapes across the United States. Because they are ubiquitous, lawns are good systems in which to study the potential homogenizing effects of urban land use and management together with the continental-scale effects of climate on ecosystem structure and functioning. We hypot...
Article
Los Angeles, which relies on large infrastructure systems that import water over hundreds of miles, faces a future of reduced imports. Within Los Angeles and its hundreds of water agencies, the capacity to adapt to future changes is influenced by laws, institutions, and hydrogeology. This paper presents a systems analysis of urban water management...
Article
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There has been an increasing interest in urban forests and the levels of biodiversity they contain. Currently there are no spatially explicit maps of tree species richness in urban areas. This research tests and identifies GIS and remote sensing metrics (climate, area, productivity, three-dimensional structure) hypothesized to be associated with sp...
Article
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The seasonal pattern of the carbon isotope content (δ¹³C) of atmospheric CO2 depends on local and nonlocal land-atmosphere exchange and atmospheric transport. Previous studies suggested that the δ¹³C of the net land-atmosphere CO2 flux (δsource) varies seasonally as stomatal conductance of plants responds to vapor pressure deficit of air (VPD). We...
Article
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Similarities in planning, development and culture within urban areas may lead to the convergence of ecological processes on continental scales. Transdisciplinary, multi-scale research is now needed to understand and predict the impact of human-dominated landscapes on ecosystem structure and function.
Article
Evapotranspiration (ET), an essential process in biosphere-atmosphere interactions, is highly uncertain in cities that maintain cultivated and irrigated landscapes. We estimated ET of irrigated landscapes in Los Angeles by combining empirical models of turfgrass ET and tree transpiration derived from in situ measurements with previously developed r...
Article
Transpiration of urban forests in southern California is highly uncertain and challenging to quantify because of variability of tree characteristics and stomatal responses among species and locations. However, as California undergoes the most severe drought on record, it is imperative to develop approaches to estimating transpiration of irrigated u...
Article
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Research on urban ecosystems rapidly expanded in the 1990s and is now a central topic in ecosystem science. In this paper, we argue that there are two critical challenges for ecosystem science that are rooted in urban ecosystems: (1) predicting or explaining the assembly and function of novel communities and ecosystems under altered environmental c...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods In the semi-arid southwestern U.S., urban landscapes often contain large variety of species imported from mesic environments. Exposure of these species to dry air may result in high water use and transpiration patterns that are hard to predict a priori. As the worst drought on record is ongoing in California and further...
Article
AimWe propose and test a climate tolerance and trait choice hypothesis of urban macroecological variation in which strong filtering associated with low winter temperatures restricts urban biodiversity while weak filtering associated with warmer temperatures and irrigation allows dispersal of species from a global source pool, thereby increasing urb...
Preprint
Full-text available
Urban ecosystems are widely hypothesised to be more ecologically homogeneous than natural ecosystems. We argue that urban plant communities assemble from a complex mix of horticultural and regional species pools and thus evaluate the homogenisation hypothesis by comparing cultivated and spontaneously occurring urban vegetation to natural area veget...
Article
Full-text available
Human drivers are often proposed to be stronger than biophysical drivers in influencing ecosystem structure and function in highly urbanized areas. In residential land cover, private yards are influenced by individual homeowner preferences and actions while also experiencing large-scale human and biophysical drivers. We studied plant nitrogen (%N)...
Article
Full-text available
Residential yards across the US look remarkably similar despite marked variation in climate and soil, yet the drivers of this homogenization are unknown. Telephone surveys of fertilizer and irrigation use and satisfaction with the natural environment, and measurements of inherent water and nitrogen availability in six US cities (Boston, Baltimore,...