Ian MacGregor-Fors

Ian MacGregor-Fors
University of Helsinki | HY · Department of Environmental Sciences

PhD in Ecology
Professor of Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystems

About

161
Publications
73,208
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Introduction
The main goal of the Urban Biodiversity research group is to untangle the patterns and mechanistic processes behind the responses of wildlife to urbanization. For this, we consider the three main dimensions of urban systems –ecological, physical, and social– at different spatio-temporal scales. By generating first-class evidence-based knowledge through a diverse, inclusive,
Additional affiliations
December 2020 - present
University of Helsinki
Position
  • Professor
October 2011 - November 2020
Institute of Ecology INECOL
Position
  • Researcher

Publications

Publications (161)
Article
Full-text available
Since the 1990s, recognition of urban biodiversity research has increased steadily. Knowledge of how ecological communities respond to urban pressures can assist in addressing global questions related to biodiversity. To assess the state of this research field in meeting this aim, we conducted a systematic review of the urban biodiversity literatur...
Article
Parque Bicentenario in the Área Natural Protegida El Espino-Bosque Los Pericos, considered the “last green lung of San Salvador”, is the most important forested area in central El Salvador. We performed a survey to provide the first inventory of scarab beetles (Scarabaeidae) of the park. Collections were conducted monthly for one year (August 2018–...
Article
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Urban areas are particularly vulnerable to climate change due to the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, which can be mitigated by urban vegetation through shading and evapotranspiration. Nevertheless, there is still a lack of spatially explicit information on the cooling capacity of green infrastructure for most Latin American cities. In this study, w...
Article
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Behavior provides a useful framework for understanding specialization, with animal personality aiding our understanding of the invasiveness of birds. Invasions imply dispersion into unknown areas and could require changes in behavior or spatial clustering based on personality. Reduced neophobia and increased exploring behavior could allow individua...
Article
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β-diversity has been under continuous debate, with a current need to better understand the way in which a new wave of measures work. We assessed the results of 12 incidence-based β-diversity indices. Our results of gradual species composition overlap between paired assemblages considering progressive differences in species richness show that: (i) f...
Preprint
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A major barrier to advancing ornithology is the systemic exclusion of professionals from the Global South. A recent special dossier, Advances in Neotropical Ornithology, and a shortfalls analysis therein, unintentionally followed a long-standing pattern of highlighting individuals, knowledge, and views from the Global North, while largely omitting...
Article
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Urban ecosystems are evolutionarily recent novel environments acting as biodiversity filters. Psittacidae birds are considered successful urban adapters mainly due to their generalist feeding and opportunistic behavior, allowing them to occupy environments from cold temperate to dry xeric areas. Therefore, it is important to understand how these sp...
Article
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Cities do not only represent noisy systems, but also limit acoustic communication given the complex array of artificial structures through which signals can be trapped or obscured. In this study we performed a field experiment to evaluate the loss of energy of a standardized acoustic emission (generated with notes and a call of the Clay-colored Thr...
Article
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The Eurasian Collared-Dove ( Streptopelia decaocto ) is one of the most successful invasive bird species across the world. Worryingly, the invasive dove is a known reservoir of many diseases, some of which can potentially infect mammals (including human beings). Additionally, aggressive behaviors have been recorded toward other bird species resulti...
Article
Information on how urban areas affect bird communities during winter in the boreal region is still scarce. With the aim of assessing such role of the urban habitats on over-wintering boreal birds, I focused on a city-wide approach in the city of Lahti (southern Finland) and two nearby forests (as controls). Point count surveys were conducted in 157...
Article
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To tackle urban heterogeneity and complexity, several indices have been proposed, commonly aiming to provide information for decision-makers. In this study, we propose a novel and customizable procedure for quantifying urban ecosystem integrity. Based on a citywide approach, we developed an easy-to-use index that contrasts physical and biological v...
Article
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The COVID-19 lockdowns set a singular opportunity to perform scientific research in idle cities. The expected changes in urban ecology led us to conform a community composed of several volunteers which, following standardized protocols, conducted structured bird surveys across Colombia. We describe the process and experience of this initiative, con...
Article
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Cambios en la actividad nocturna de las aves durante el confinamiento decretado con motivo de la pandemia de la enfermedad por coronavirus (COVID–19) en una ciudad neotropical El confinamiento decretado con motivo de la pandemia por COVID–19 ofreció la oportunidad de medir la biodiversidad de especies en ambientes urbanos en condiciones diferentes...
Article
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The cultivation of cocoa is a commodity of great importance worldwide. In Mexico, cocoa is grown in Tabasco and Chiapas states in agroforestry systems since pre-Hispanic times, where cocoa is grown under the canopy of shade trees. Crops such as sugarcane and extensive livestock production have gradually reduced the area devoted to cocoa cultivation...
Article
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Renewable ocean energy is an alternative that will help reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. However, there is uncertainty about potential environmental impacts of the technologies involved, because these are new and untested, and methods for the evaluation and monitoring of environmental impacts are scarce. We performed a systematic litera...
Article
Intensification of urbanization has been shown to be associated with taxonomic and functional modifications of biological communities, leading to changes in trophic interactions. These changes may reduce the delivery of ecosystem services provided by urban ecosystems. For instance, predation on herbivorous insects is an important ecological process...
Article
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Agriculture affects biodiversity on a global scale and especially in the Neotropics, leading to land-management challenges in which native wildlife is forced to interact with high-contrast landscape matrices. Further, the direct and indirect effects of hurricanes impacting native habitat in human-modified landscapes increases reliance on agricultur...
Article
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Caribbean islands are important hotspots for endemic species, concentrating high biodiversity on exceptionally small areas. Cozumel Island is not an exception, yet little published information exists on its bird diversity. In this study, we assessed the contribution of each major ecosystem of Cozumel Island (i.e., tropical forest, mangrove, palm th...
Article
Biological invasions occur when individuals of alien species establish and colonize new locations. The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is one of the most widespread invasive birds, native to Eurasia and North Africa, and has successfully invaded many regions from across the world. The House Sparrow was successfully introduced in 1852 into North A...
Article
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The global lockdown to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic health risks has altered human interactions with nature. Here, we report immediate impacts of changes in human activities on wildlife and environmental threats during the early lockdown months of 2020, based on 877 qualitative reports and 332 quantitative assessments from 89 different studies. Hundr...
Book
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For being a relatively small island, of approximately 480 km2, Cozumel receives particular national and international attention for the coral reefs to which it is related, which are part of the Great Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Due to its ecological importance, in 1996 the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park was decreed in order to protect these uniq...
Article
Full-text available
Urbanization drives changes in acoustic communication systems in some animal species. Noise and light pollution are among the main urban factors known to disrupt the timing and structure of avian singing behaviour. Despite our understanding of the ways in which urbanization can drive variations in avian acoustic communication, our ability to genera...
Article
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With the establishment and expansion of urban areas, many plants are lost, while some are gained. Understanding plant species richness and composition in cities, including planted elements along streetscapes, is a priority for urban vegetation management and biodiversity conservation. In this study, we assessed the compositional dissimilarity of st...
Chapter
Urban environments around the world are the result of their evolutionary and geographic history, and more contemporary influences of the social, cultural, economic, political and technical systems that shaped their construction. In this chapter, we use urban filters as the overarching framework within which specific aspects pertaining to the histor...
Article
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During the last decades, urbanization has been highlighted as one of the main causes of biodiversity loss worldwide. Among organisms commonly associated with urban environments, ants occupy urbanized green areas and can live both inside and around human settlements. However, despite the increasing number of studies on the ecological dynamics of ant...
Article
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Bird‐window collisions have been estimated to be among the most important sources of bird death. Despite increasing knowledge in Latin America, our understanding of this phenomenon is still incipient, with research performed in Mexico limited to a handful of studies. Here, we present the results of a citizen science effort focused on bird‐window co...
Article
Full-text available
Technology is transforming societies worldwide. A major innovation is the emergence of robotics and autonomous systems(RAS), which have the potential to revolutionize cities for both people and nature. Nonetheless, the opportunities and challenges associated with RAS for urban ecosystems have yet to be considered systematically. Here, we report the...
Article
In Mexico, the CEMIE-Océano (Mexican Center for Ocean Energy Innovation) is exploring potential locations for marine energy production while assessing social perception and protecting the environment. The goals of this study were to: a) calculate potential renewable energy production in the north of the Yucatan Peninsula; b) understand the percepti...
Article
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In 2020, a small urban center from southern Finland, the City of Lahti, was awarded the 2021 European Green Capital, which recognizes and rewards local efforts that seek to improve the urban environment, together with its economy and the quality of life for its inhabitants, further posing ambitious goals for ecological improvement. In this commenta...
Article
In this study we focused on urban bird diversity across Mexico, a megadiverse country, with a special focus on the relative role of urban greenspaces and heavily-built sites. We considered a country-wide approach, including 24 different sized Mexican cities. Our aims were to describe the urban bird diversity in focal cities and further assess the r...
Article
Technology is transforming societies worldwide. A major innovation is the emergence of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS), which have the potential to revolutionize cities for both people and nature. Nonetheless, the opportunities and challenges associated with RAS for urban ecosystems have yet to be considered systematically. Here, we report th...
Article
Rapid urbanization and the global loss of biodiversity necessitate the development of a research agenda that addresses knowledge gaps in urban ecology that will inform policy, management, and conservation. To advance this goal, we present six topics to pursue in urban biodiversity research: the socioeconomic and social-ecological drivers of biodive...
Chapter
The magnitude of both direct and indirect anthropogenic disturbances has altered all ecosystems across the globe. Human actions have triggered such extensive environmental consequences that an era has been coined to encompass them: the Anthropocene. This myriad of shifts has been abstracted in a unifying “global change” concept. Among the most worr...
Article
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Damage to maize (Zea mays) fields leads to negative attitudes towards wildlife that can affect conservation. In a Biosphere Reserve in central Mexico, local inhabitants perceive that wildlife causes major damage to maize fields. Therefore, we quantified maize damaged by wildlife species and by wind, and we explored whether this was related to the p...
Article
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Urbanization has been identified as one of the major causes of species endangerment. Albeit important efforts by urban ecologists, there are still understudied regions in the globe with an important bias toward bird studies. Fortunately, studies from biodiversity-rich regions are increasingly growing; yet, with few exceptions, most evidence-based s...
Article
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Background Among urban stimuli, anthropogenic noise has been identified to be one of the behavioral drivers of species that rely on acoustic signals for communication. Studies have shown both species-specific and assemblage responses to urban noise, ranging from the modulation of their acoustic frequencies and spatiotemporal adjustments to declines...
Article
Full-text available
Urbanization has been recognized as one of the most widespread threats to biodiversity. However, the response of wildlife to urbanization differs among groups, with many species being able to persist, adapt, and even thrive in these novel ecosystems. With the aim of assessing the response of avian communities in a neotropical green city, we evaluat...
Article
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Biological invasions are the second most important cause of species extinction. Aided by processes such as transportation and urbanization, exotic species can establish and spread to new locations, causing changes in the function and structure of ecosystems. The House Sparrow is a widespread and highly abundant landbird associated to human presence...
Article
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In semi-arid environments, the marked contrast in temperature and precipitation over the year strongly shapes ecological communities. The composition of species and their ecological interactions within a community may vary greatly over time. Although intra-annual variations are often studied, empirical information on how plant–bird relationships ar...
Article
Behavioral plasticity can drive feeding innovations, a frequent trait of urban exploiter species. The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a widespread and abundant urban dweller whose success has often been related to its dietary breadth. Although both formal and informal sources (e.g., internet videos, news, and blogs) have shown meat scavenging...
Article
Birds invest time and resources in escape behaviors, thus changing their foraging strategies, habitat selection, and even reproduction. Flight initiation distance (FID) and the distance at which birds detect a threat, alert distance (AD), have been used as indicators of the ability of birds to detect potential predators. In this study we compared t...
Article
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Background: Cities differ from non-urban environments by the intensity, scale, and extent of anthropogenic pressures, which can drive the occurrence, physiology, and behavior of the organisms thriving in these settings. Traits as green cover often predict the occurrence patterns of bird species in urban areas. Yet, anthropogenic noise and artificia...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recently, a wide array of epidemiological models have been developed to guide public health actors in containing the rapid dissemination of the new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), cause of COVID-19. Despite their usefulness, many epidemiological models recently developed to understand the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and infec...
Article
Full-text available
A team of 79 scientists from more than 50 institutions partnered to gather all available information regarding Mexican ants since 1894, the year in which the first geographical record of an ant is known for the country. In this new study, including more than 21,000 records, we showed that there are ~900 species of ants in Mexico, which are distribu...
Article
A team of 79 scientists from more than 50 institutions partnered to gather all available information regarding Mexican ants since 1894, the year in which the first geographical record of an ant is known for the country. In this new study, including more than 21,000 records, we showed that there are ~900 species of ants in Mexico, which are distribu...
Article
A team of 79 scientists from more than 50 institutions partnered to gather all available information regarding Mexican ants since 1894, the year in which the first geographical record of an ant is known for the country. In this new study, including more than 21,000 records, we showed that there are ~900 species of ants in Mexico, which are distribu...
Article
There is no current agreement on the definition of 'rural'. • We performed a global survey on the academic conception of 'rural'. • Results show no clear consensus, not even in the components of its definition. • Conception of 'rural' is related with respondent origin, rather than area of expertise. • We suggest a framework that encompasses all soc...
Chapter
Full-text available
Las ciudades albergan a más de la mitad de la población del mundo y están relacionadas con cuatro de los componentes más importantes del cambio global (cambio de uso del suelo, alteración de ciclos biogeoquímicos, introducción de especies exóticas y con potencial invasor, cambio climático), por lo que representan una amenaza para la biodiversidad y...
Article
Living in the city represents a great challenge for organisms that are exposed to the novel environmental conditions inherent to urbanization. Recent studies have highlighted the ecological impact that urbanization poses on the acoustic phenotype and singing routines of birds. However, the organization and structure of avian dawn choruses in urban...
Article
The Altamira Yellowthroat Geothlypis flavovelata is endemic to north-eastern Mexico, with a restricted distribution due to the spatial arrangement of its major habitat: wetlands. Given the lack of information regarding this vulnerable and endemic landbird, here we describe and analyse the sites where we recorded it in Northern Veracruz, as well as...
Article
Full-text available
The House Sparrow Passer domesticus, closely associated with human presence along urban–agricultural landscapes and widely distributed outside its native range, has shown great morphological and physiological variations, with its plasticity linked to its invasiveness. Yet, there is a dearth of knowledge on the escape behavior of this sparrow along...
Research
Full-text available
Los paisajes sonoros son el componente acústico que existe en los diferentes tipos de ecosistemas alrededor del mundo, tanto terrestres como acuáticos, desde selvas hasta áreas fuertemente intervenidas por el ser humano, como lo son las ciudades. En un sentido amplio, la agrupación de todos los sonidos que escuchamos en nuestra vida cotidiana confo...
Article
Full-text available
Window strikes are among the most worrisome causes of bird mortality. Being responsible for billions of avian deaths, bird-window collisions have been widely studied in the US and Canada, with few studies from Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Thus, there is still a dearth of knowledge regarding this alarming phenomenon in regions where biodiversity...
Article
Full-text available
The process of expansion of human settlements commonly occurs without proper urban planning, which can directly affect green areas located within cities and adjacent areas. This study focuses on: (1) a spatiotemporal analysis to quantify the growth of the city of Xalapa (1950s to 2010s), (2) changes in woody vegetation cover within the boundaries o...
Article
Urbanisation poses important challenges for animal communication. Avian dawn choruses are a prominent component of urban soundscapes and have received attention in recent urban ecology studies. Current evidence based on comparisons of urban and non-urban sites suggest that urbanisation is associated with earlier dawn chorus singing activity. Howeve...
Article
Prevalence responses to anthropic factors differ across hosts and parasite species. We here analyzed the spatiotemporal variation of avian haemosporidian prevalence in bird assemblages of the Mooswald forest (i.e., urban greenspace; Freiburg, Germany), in response to local environmental features (e.g., water sources, human presence (visited)/absenc...
Article
Full-text available
Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is one of the most urbanized and biologically diverse regions in the world but is often characterized by weak environmental governance and socioeconomic inequalities. Given large expanses of intact biomes, a long history of pre-Colombian civilizations, and recent urbanization trends, the urban ecosystem service...
Article
Prevalence responses to anthropic factors differ across hosts and parasite species. We here analyzed the spatiotemporal variation of avian haemosporidian prevalence in bird assemblages of the Mooswald forest (i.e., urban greenspace; Freiburg, Germany), in response to local environmental features (e.g., water sources, human presence (visited)/absenc...
Article
Urbanization affects the ecology of wildlife diseases and while it has been suggested that there are lower risks of infection in urban areas, there have been no experiments to support this conclusion. We assessed haemosporidian prevalence and intensity in House Sparrows Passer domesticus using field and experimental data under contrasting condition...