Recently, two articles were published in the journal ‚Sustainability‘. Both are open access and can be downloaded from the publications page.
New articles „CityScapeLab Berlin: a research platform for untangling urbanization effects on biodiversity“ „Clean, green urban wetlands benefit nocturnal flying insects and associated insectivorous bat predators“
Tree cover mediates the effect of ALAN on urban bats has been published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. For Download, please go to the Frontiers Webpage.
Abstract: With urban areas growing worldwide, so does artificial light at night (ALAN) which negatively affects many nocturnal animals, including bats. The response of bats to ALAN ranges from some opportunistic species taking advantage of insect aggregations around street lamps, particularly those emitting ultraviolet (UV) light, to others avoiding lit areas at all. Tree cover has been suggested to mitigate the negative effects of ALAN on bats by shielding areas against light scatter. Here, we investigated the effect of tree cover on the relationship between ALAN and bats in Berlin, Germany. In particular, we asked if this interaction varies with the UV light spectrum of street lamps and also across urban bat species. We expected trees next to street lamps to block ALAN, making the adjacent habitat more suitable for all species, irrespective of the wavelength spectrum of the light source. Additionally, we expected UV emitting lights next to trees to attract insects and thus, opportunistic bats. In summer 2017, we recorded bat activity at 22 green open spaces in Berlin using automated ultrasonic detectors. We analyzed bat activity patterns and landscape variables (number of street lamps with and without UV light emission, an estimate of light pollution, and tree cover density around each recording site within different spatial scales) using generalized linear mixed-effects models with a negative binomial distribution. We found a species-specific response of bats to street lamps with and without UV light, providing a more detailed picture of ALAN impacts than simply total light radiance. Moreover, we found that dense tree cover dampened the negative effect of street lamps without UV for open-space foraging bats of the genera Nyctalus, Eptesicus, and Vespertilio, yet it amplified the already existing negative or positive effect of street lamps with or without UV on Pipistrellus pipistrellus, P. pygmaeus, and Myotis spp. Our study underpins the importance of minimizing artificial light at night close to vegetation, particularly for bats adapted to spatial complexity in the environment (i.e., clutter-adapted species), and to increase dense vegetation in urban landscape to provide, besides roosting opportunities, protection against ALAN for open-space foraging bats in city landscapes.
Biological richness of a large urban cemetery in Berlin. Results of a multi-taxon approach has been published in the Biodiversity Data Journal.
Urban green spaces can harbor a considerable species richness of plants and animals. A few studies on single species groups indicate important habitat functions of cemeteries, but this land use type is clearly understudied compared to parks. Such data are important as they (i) illustrate habitat functions of a specific, but ubiquitous urban land-use type and (ii)
may serve as a basis for management approaches. We sampled different groups of plants and animals in the Weißensee Jewish Cemetery in Berlin (WJC) which is one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe. With a total of 608 species of plants and animals, this first multi-taxon survey revealed a considerable biological richness in the WJC. In all, 363 wild-growing vascular plant, 72 lichen and 26 bryophyte taxa were recorded. The sampling also yielded 34 bird and 5 bat species as well as 39 ground beetle, 5 harvestman and 64 spider species. Some species are new records for Berlin.