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Urban Ecology

Slender mongoose in the Kyalami area
Slender mongoose in the Kyalami area
Stream in Gauteng
Stream in Gauteng
Scorpion found during boidiversity assessment
Scorpion found during boidiversity assessment
Black-backed Jackal in the Kyalami area
Black-backed Jackal in the Kyalami area
Scrub hare, image taken with a Bushnell camera trap
Jackal in the Kyalami area

Within the field of ecology, urban ecology involves the study of structure, processes and dynamics in urban ecological systems. This field of study focusses on the relationships of humans and wildlife in urban areas, their interactions with each other, with the natural and built physical environment, and the impacts of these relationships on fluxes of materials, energy and information within single urban systems and between urban and rural systems. Urban ecology applies common ecological methods and concepts to urban areas, but also integrates the concepts and approaches of social sciences, resulting in a hybrid discipline. Urban ecological systems comprise individuals, populations, communities, and landscapes, both native and man-made, as well as buildings and other infrastructure. This field recognizes specific urban ecosystems as a part of global biogeochemical, economic, and human demographic systems

Pickett S.T.A., Cadenasso M.L. (2012) Urban Ecology. In: Meyers R.A. (eds) Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology. Springer, New York, NY. 
Research Focus:
  • Urban landscape ecology
  • Urban ecosystem services
  • Human-wildlife interactions in urban and peri-urban areas
  • Behaviour and ecology of urban wildlife
  • Nature-based solutions and climate resilience (both human and ecological resilience)
  • Urban ecological corridors and conservation planning
  • Ecosystems based adaptation in cities
  • Biodiversity Stewardship Programmes in South Africa
Completed postgraduate research to date:
  • Urban ecosystem services in Johannesburg, South Africa (Dissertation)
  • Assessing the potential risk of accumulation of selected freshwater contaminants in urban and peri-urban otters (Dissertation)
  • A sociological and biological study of human-wildlife interactions within the urban edge of Johannesburg (Dissertation)
  • The impact of environmental contamination on the morphology of small mammals (Dissertation)
  • Ecological corridors in urban landscapes: identifying and assessing an ecological corridor in Johannesburg (Dissertation)
  • The ecological state of the Braamfontein Spruit – an urban river (Dissertation)
  • The ecology of Otters in an urban environment: Adapting to a changing world