The Urbane Ecologist

My own urban ecology project is taking shape!


So excited! After weeks of researching the field of urban ecology, I finally had a meeting with the generous Amy Dunham, Rice University conservation ecologist, who will be helping me plan and execute my very own urban ecology study!

We have narrowed down the topic of my study, but there’s still much left to research, plan, and learn. It’s a little daunting…

The goal of my study is to examine the effects of various land uses on plant diversity and bird biodiversity, and upon community structures. I’m hoping that I’ll also be able to examine the relationship between particular socioeconomic indicators and plant and bird biodiversity and community structures.

Use of Land in Houston

Use of Land in Houston. Image from the City of Houston website (

Do you have any suggestions? Anything you would be interested in seeing? Any suggestions for particular types of plants and birds I should be studying? Comment away!


4 thoughts on “My own urban ecology project is taking shape!

  1. Best of luck on the future project.

  2. Our work in Austin will help you focus your work. And my blog may help too. Google “marginal nature”

  3. I apologize that it took me a long time to get back to you regarding your project. I hope my comments will still be helpful.

    I don’t know if I can be of help with narrowing the scope of your project (I am only familiar with basic ecology), but you may want to look at a case study in Singapore. I took an Urban Tropical Ecology field-trip class to Singapore, and they are trying to connect all their parks/gardens through “park connectors.” Singapore’s park officials and government want to transform Singapore from the “Garden City” to a “City in the Garden.” Connecting these parks will provide corridors for species of birds/plants throughout their natural habitats, as well as, unintentionally, monkeys (my professor kept saying that Singapore is going to have a “monkey problem”). Part of the rationale is to enhance the aesthetics of the Singapore urban environment, and the other part is for conservation. Here’s a link to the Wikipedia page: If you search “park connector” AND “biodiversity” in Google Scholar, there’s a lot of journal articles that mention the implications of Singapore’s urban park connector system on biodiversity. That’s probably the best way to start.

    In terms of your project, maybe you can research urban “park connectors” in a more general sense, and provide feedback on how Houston can incorporate this concept to improve the desirability to live downtown and to conserve biodiversity in the region. I think it is a very interesting concept that can be applied to major cities in the United States.

    I also have some friends in Singapore, so if you want me to put you in touch with them, just let me know. Let me know if I can be of more help. Good luck on the project! Although you need to focus your research question more, it seems like you are off to a great start.

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