Jason Munshi-South's research while affiliated with Fordham University and other places

Publications (115)

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Carnivores are currently colonizing cities where they were previously absent. These urban environments are novel ecosystems characterized by habitat degradation and fragmentation, availability of human food, and different prey assemblages than surrounding areas. Coyotes ( Canis latrans ) established a breeding population in New York City (NYC) over...
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Ecological limits on population sizes and the number of species a region can sustain are thought to simultaneously produce spatial patterns in population genetic diversity and species richness due to the effects of random drift operating in parallel across population and community levels. Here, we test the extent to which resource‐based environment...
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Research on the evolutionary ecology of urban areas reveals how human-induced evolutionary changes affect biodiversity and essential ecosystem services. In a rapidly urbanizing world imposing many selective pressures, a time-sensitive goal is to identify the emergent issues and research priorities that affect the ecology and evolution of species wi...
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Environmental educators have used guided-inquiry in natural and supportive learning environments for decades, but comparatively little programming and research has focused on experiences in urban environments, including in constructed ecosystems like green roofs, or impacts on older youth and adults. To address this gap, we designed a tiered, near-...
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Urbanization transforms environments in ways that alter biological evolution. We examined whether urban environmental change drives parallel evolution by sampling 110,019 white clover plants from 6169 populations in 160 cities globally. Plants were assayed for a Mendelian antiherbivore defense that also affects tolerance to abiotic stressors. Urban...
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Many of the choices humans make with regard to infrastructure, urban planning and other phenomena have impacts that will last thousands of years. This can readily be seen in modern cities in which contemporary streets run along street grids that were laid out thousands of years prior or even in which ancient viaducts still play a role. However, rar...
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Understanding the forces that drive genotypic and phenotypic change in wild populations is a central goal of evolutionary biology. We examined exome variation in populations of deer mice from two of the California Channel Islands: Peromyscus maniculatus elusus from Santa Barbara Island and P. m. santacruzae from Santa Cruz Island exhibit significan...
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Background: Authentic research experiences and mentoring have positive impacts on fostering STEM engagement among youth from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM. Programs applying an experiential learning approach often incorporate one or both of these elements, however, there is little research on how these factors impact youth's STEM engagement...
Preprint
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Background: Authentic research experiences and mentoring have positive impacts on fostering STEM engagement among youth from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM. Programs applying an experiential learning approach often incorporate one or both of these elements, however, there is little research on how these factors impact youth’s STEM engagement...
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Purpose of Review Urbanization has the potential to jeopardize the sustainability of populations of organisms living within and dispersing across urban areas. Landscape genetics approaches offer a great promise for quantifying how urban features affect ecological and evolutionary processes for species living within and around cities. In this review...
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Brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) have commensally spread from northern China and Mongolia to become among the most invasive species on the planet. Understanding the proximate source(s) of invasion can inform biosecurity plans and eradication strategies for preventing or mitigating impacts to native biodiversity. The Haida Gwaii archipelago, located o...
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Rats contaminate foods and spread pathogens. Thus, changes in rat populations have consequences for society, especially in densely-populated cities. Following widespread social distancing and lockdown measures to curtail SARS-CoV-2, worldwide media outlets reported increased sightings of rats. To document possible changes in rat populations, we: (i...
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The overpopulation of domestic cats (Felis catus) presents a serious concern for wildlife conservationists, animal welfare advocates, public health officials, and community members alike. In cities, free-ranging, unowned cats often form high-density groups (commonly called ‘colonies’) around human provisioned food sources. While previous diet studi...
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We know little about the general links between broad-scale biodiversity patterns at the nuclear genetic and species levels. Recent work in mammals suggests environmental carrying capacity and ecological opportunity link these two base levels of biodiversity. Energy- and resource-rich environments are thought to support larger populations with highe...
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As the rate of urbanization continues to increase globally, a growing body of research is emerging that investigates how urbanization shapes the movement – and consequent gene flow – of species in cities. Of particular interest are native species that persist in cities, either as small relict populations, or larger populations of synanthropic speci...
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Natural landscape heterogeneity and barriers resulting from urbanization can reduce genetic connectivity between populations. The evolutionary, demographic, and ecological effects of reduced connectivity may lead to population isolation and ultimately extinction. Alteration to the terrestrial and aquatic environment caused by urban influence can af...
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Cities are uniquely complex systems regulated by interactions and feedbacks between natural and social processes. Characteristics of human society – including culture, economics, technology, and politics – underlie social patterns and activity, creating a heterogeneous environment that can influence and be influenced by both ecological and evolutio...
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Urbanization may restrict, facilitate, or have no effect on gene flow, depending on the organism and extent of urbanization. In human commensals, with high dispersal ability, urbanization can facilitate gene flow by providing continuous suitable habitat across a wide range. Additionally, suburban or rural areas with lower human population density m...
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Urban Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) carry several pathogens transmissible to people. However, pathogen prevalence can vary across fine spatial scales (i.e., by city block). Using a population genomics approach, we sought to describe rat movement patterns across an urban landscape, and to evaluate whether these patterns align with pathogen distrib...
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Brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) thrive in urban environments by navigating the anthropocentric environment and taking advantage of human resources and by-products. From the human perspective, rats are a chronic problem that causes billions of dollars in damage to agriculture, health and infrastructure. Did genetic adaptation play a role in the sprea...
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Urbanization is changing Earth's ecosystems by altering the interactions and feedbacks between the fundamental ecological and evolutionary processes that maintain life. Humans in cities alter the eco-evolutionary play by simultaneously changing both the actors and the stage on which the eco-evolutionary play takes place. Urbanization modifies land...
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By combining phylogeography and zooarchaeology, the spatial distribution and temporal dynamics within species lineages can be reconstructed. Both approaches should be used with four rat species (black, Asian house, Pacific, and brown) to understand the minimum dates of commensalism, urbanization dynamics, and connections among human societies. More...
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Urbanization exposes species to novel environments and selection pressures that may change morphological traits within a population. We investigated how the shape and size of crania and mandibles changed over time within a population of brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) living in Manhattan, New York, USA, a highly urbanized environment. We measured 3D...
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Little is known about the relatedness structure of carnivores living in urban areas, where green spaces may vary in size and resource availability. We examined the minimum population size, relatedness structure, and genetic diversity of a recently established population of eastern coyotes (Canis latrans) inhabiting New York City (NYC). The populati...
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Phylogeography and zooarchaeology are largely separate disciplines, yet each interrogates relationships between humans and commensal species. Knowledge gained about human history from studies of four commensal rats (Rattus rattus, R. tanezumi, R. exulans, and R. norvegicus) is outlined, and open questions about their spread alongside humans are ide...
Preprint
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Brown rats ( Rattus norvegicus ) thrive in urban environments by navigating the anthropocentric environment and taking advantage of human resources and by-products. From the human perspective, rats are a chronic problem that causes billions of dollars in damage to agriculture, health and infrastructure. Did genetic adaptation play a role in the spr...
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Evidence is growing that human modification of landscapes has dramatically altered evolutionary processes. In urban population genetic studies, urbanization is typically predicted to act as a barrier that isolates populations of species, leading to increased genetic drift within populations and reduced gene flow between populations. However, urbani...
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Effective management of rodent pests requires an ecological understanding of how they move through their environment and how those movements influence the invasion, persistence, or reinvasion of problematic colonies. Traditional methodologies used to describe rodent movement patterns, such as mark-recapture, are hindered by their time-consuming nat...
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Population genomics offers innovative approaches to test hypotheses related to the source and timing of introduction of invasive species. These approaches are particularly appropriate to study colonization of island ecosystems. The brown rat is a cold-hardy global invasive that has reached most of the world’s island ecosystems, including even highl...
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Fossil evidence indicates that the globally distributed brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) originated in northern China and Mongolia. Historical records report the human-mediated invasion of rats into Europe in the 1500s, followed by global spread because of European imperialist activity during the 1600s-1800s. We analyzed 14 genomes representing seven...
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Theory predicts that range expansion results in genetic diversity loss in colonizing populations. Rapid reduction of population size exacerbates negative effects of genetic drift, while sustained isolation decreases neutral variation. Amid this demographic change, natural selection can act to maintain functional diversity. Thus, characterizing neut...
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Wild rats (Rattus norvegicus) are among the most ubiquitous and consequential organisms in the urban environment. However, collecting data from city rats is difficult, and there has been little research to determine the influence, or valence, of rat scents on urban conspecifics. Using a mark-release-monitor protocol, we previously learned rats can...
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The field of ecology is poised to substantially contribute to the creation of a socially and environmentally equitable urban future. To realize this contribution, the field of ecology must create strategies that ensure inclusion of underrepresented minorities so that a broad array of experiences and ideas collectively address challenges inherent to...
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Urban ecosystems are rapidly expanding throughout the world, but how urban growth affects the evolutionary ecology of species living in urban areas remains largely unknown. Urban ecology has advanced our understanding of how the development of cities and towns changes environmental conditions and alters ecological processes and patterns. However, d...
Preprint
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Fossil evidence indicates that the globally-distributed brown rat ( Rattus norvegicus ) originated in northern China and Mongolia. Historical records report the human-mediated invasion of rats into Europe in the 1500s, followed by global spread due to European imperialist activity during the1600s-1800s. We analyzed 14 genomes representing seven pre...
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Feral cats (Felis catus) are predators that cause widespread loss of native wildlife in urban ecosystems. Despite these risks, cats are commonly released as control agents for city rats (Rattus spp.). Cats can influence their prey directly by killing or indirectly through changes to feeding or space-use. However, cats prefer defenseless prey, and t...
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Urbanization often substantially influences animal movement and gene flow. However, few studies to date have examined gene flow of the same species across multiple cities. In this study, we examine brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) to test hypotheses about the repeatability of neutral evolution across four cities: Salvador, Brazil; New Orleans, USA; V...
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Brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) are a globally distributed pest. Urban habitats can support large infestations of rats, posing a potential risk to public health from the parasites and pathogens they carry. Despite the potential influence of rodent-borne zoonotic diseases on human health, it is unclear how urban habitats affect the structure and tran...
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Over 500 strains of inbred brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) have been developed for use as a biomedical model organism. Most of these inbred lines were derived from the colony established at the Wistar Institute in 1906 or its descendants following worldwide distribution to research and breeding centers. The geographic source of the animals that foun...
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Our planet is an increasingly urbanized landscape, with over half of the human population residing in cities. Despite advances in urban ecology, we do not adequately understand how urbanization affects the evolution of organisms, nor how this evolution may affect ecosystems and human health. Here, we review evidence for the effects of urbanization...
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Human commensal species such as rodent pests are often widely distributed across cities and threaten both infrastructure and public health. Spatially-explicit population genomic methods provide insights into movements for cryptic pests that drive evolutionary connectivity across multiple spatial scales. We examined spatial patterns of neutral genom...
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Urbanization significantly alters natural ecosystems and has accelerated globally. Urban wildlife populations are often highly fragmented by human infrastructure, and isolated populations may adapt in response to local urban pressures. However, relatively few studies have identified genomic signatures of adaptation in urban animals. We used a lands...
Preprint
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Urbanization significantly alters natural ecosystems and has accelerated globally. Urban wildlife populations are often highly fragmented by human infrastructure, and isolated populations may adapt in response to local urban pressures. However, relatively few studies have identified genomic signatures of adaptation in urban animals. We used a lands...
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Range expansion has genetic consequences expected to result in differentiated wave-front populations with low genetic variation and potentially introgression from a local species. The northern expansion of Peromyscus leucopus in southern Quebec provides an opportunity to test these predictions using population genomic tools. Our results show eviden...
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Tick-borne flaviviruses (TBFVs), including Powassan virus and Tick-borne encephalitis virus cause encephalitis or hemorrhagic fevers in humans with case-fatality rates ranging from 1–30%. Despite severe disease in humans, TBFV infection of natural rodent hosts has little noticeable effect. Currently, the basis for resistance to disease is not known...
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City rats are among the most important but least-studied wildlife in urban environments. Their presence, compounded by the rate of human urbanization and effects of climate change, frequently bring potentially infectious organisms into contact with people and other wildlife. Urban rat control, however, is ineffective, largely because so little is k...
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Genetic studies have shown that New York City white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) populations exhibit substantial genetic structure and high levels of allelic diversity and heterozygos-ity. These studies have also identified mutations and genes involved in the divergence of urban and rural P. leucopus populations. To investigate whether morpho...
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Urbanization is an increasingly pervasive form of land transformation that reduces biodiversity of many taxonomic groups. Beetles exhibit a broad range of responses to urbanization, likely due to the high functional diversity in this order. Carrion beetles (Order: Coleoptera, Family: Silphidae) provide an important ecosystem service by promoting de...
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Relationship between carrion beetle (A) species richness and (B) species diversity (1/D) with percent forest area at all sampled sites (site abbreviations found in Table 1 and Fig. 1).
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Relative abundance (mean) across different site classification (urban, suburban, rural) comparing beetle size classes (small, medium, large) and habitat specialization (generalist, specialist; classifications from Gibbs & Stanton, 2001.
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Raw data on carrion beetles collected at 13 sites along an urban-to-rural gradient This file includes a single entry for every individual carrion beetle collected during this study, including information on species, site (codes follow Table 1 in the manuscript), site coordinates, and Start and End dates of the surveys in which the beetle was collec...
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Hill’s True Diversity numbers; q = 0, q = 1 and q = 2 calculated for comparison of species diversity indices. Equations retrieved from (Jost, 2006).
Preprint
Full-text available
Urbanization is an increasingly pervasive form of land transformation that reduces biodiversity of many taxonomic groups. Beetles exhibit a broad range of responses to urbanization, likely due to the high functional diversity in this order. Carrion beetles (Order: Coleoptera, Family: Silphidae) provide an important ecosystem service by promoting de...
Article
The lower Congo River (LCR) is a freshwater biodiversity hotspot in Africa characterized by some of the world's largest rapids. However, little is known about the evolutionary forces shaping this diversity, which include numerous endemic fishes. We investigated phylogeographic relationships in Teleogramma, a small clade of rheophilic cichlids, in t...
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Native to China and Mongolia, the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) now enjoys a worldwide distribution. While black rats and the house mouse tracked the regional development of human agricultural settlements, brown rats did not appear in Europe until the 1500s, suggesting their range expansion was a response to relatively recent increases in global tr...
Article
Full-text available
Urbanization is an increasingly pervasive form of land transformation that reduces biodiversity of many taxonomic groups. Beetles (Order: Coleoptera) exhibit a broad range of responses to urbanization, likely due to the high functional diversity in this order. Carrion beetles (Family: Silphidae) provide an important ecosystem service by promoting d...
Article
Deer mice in the genus Peromyscus occupy nearly every terrestrial habitat in North America, and have a long history as subjects of behavioral, ecological, evolutionary, and physiological study. Recent advances in transcriptomics, the study of the complete set of RNA transcripts produced by certain cell types or under certain conditions, have contri...
Preprint
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How urbanization shapes population genomic diversity and evolution of urban wildlife is largely unexplored. We investigated the impact of urbanization on white-footed mice, Peromyscus leucopus , in the New York City metropolitan area using coalescent-based simulations to infer demographic history from the site frequency spectrum. We assigned indivi...
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How urbanization shapes population genomic diversity and evolution of urban wildlife is largely unexplored. We investigated the impact of urbanization on white-footed mice, Peromyscus leucopus, in the New York City (NYC) metropolitan area using coalescent-based simulations to infer demographic history from the site-frequency spectrum. We assigned i...
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Table S1. Correlation coefficients calculated between % impervious surface and human population sizes calculated at buffers around study sites of 500 m, 1 km, 1.5 km, and 2 km.
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Table S2. Summary population genomic statistics calculated for all nucleotide positions (variant and fixed).
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Figure S2. Compoplot/bar plot result from DAPC analysis on all 23 populations.
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Figure S1. Cross‐validation (i.e., a‐score optimization) to identify the optimal number of principal components to retain for DAPC without overfitting4.
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Figure S4. Cross‐validation of results from ADMIXTURE for K = 1 – 12.
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Figure S5. Cumulative current map from isolation by resistance (IBR) modeling in Circuitscape. Lighter areas represent landscape cells with higher cumulative predicted current (i.e., higher movement).
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Figure S3. Scatterplot of first two discriminant functions from DAPC for populations on Long Island.
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Table S3. Matrix of pairwise FST (above diagonal) and great‐circle geographic distance (km; below diagonal) calculated between all pairs of 23 populations.