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One strategy doesn’t fit all: determinants of urban adaptation in mammals

Santini, L., Gonzalez-Suarez, M. ORCID:, Russo, D., Gonzalez-Voyer, A., von Hardenberg, A. and Ancillottto, L. (2019) One strategy doesn’t fit all: determinants of urban adaptation in mammals. Ecology Letters, 22 (2). pp. 365-376. ISSN 1461-0248

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/ele.13199


Urbanization exposes wildlife to new challenging conditions and environmental pressures. Some mammalian species have adapted to these novel environments, but it remains unclear which characteristics allow them to persist. To address this question we identified 190 mammals regularly recorded in urban settlements worldwide, and used phylogenetic path analysis to test hypotheses regarding which behavioural, ecological, and life history traits favour adaptation to urban environments for different mammalian groups. Our results show that all urban mammals produce larger litters; whereas other traits such as body size, behavioural plasticity and diet diversity were important for some but not all taxonomic groups. This variation highlights the idiosyncrasies of the urban adaptation process and likely reflects the diversity of ecological niches and roles mammals can play. Our study contributes towards a better understanding of mammal association to humans, which will ultimately allow the design of wildlife-friendly urban environments and contribute to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:80855


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