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1.  Psychological benefits of greenspace increase with biodiversity 
Biology Letters  2007;3(4):390-394.
The world's human population is becoming concentrated into cities, giving rise to concerns that it is becoming increasingly isolated from nature. Urban public greenspaces form the arena of many people's daily contact with nature and such contact has measurable physical and psychological benefits. Here we show that these psychological benefits increase with the species richness of urban greenspaces. Moreover, we demonstrate that greenspace users can more or less accurately perceive species richness depending on the taxonomic group in question. These results indicate that successful management of urban greenspaces should emphasize biological complexity to enhance human well-being in addition to biodiversity conservation.
PMCID: PMC2390667  PMID: 17504734
urban greenspace; biodiversity; psychological well-being; Attention Restoration Theory
2.  Daytime noise predicts nocturnal singing in urban robins 
Biology Letters  2007;3(4):368-370.
Ambient noise interferes with the propagation of acoustic signals through the environment from sender to receiver. Over the past few centuries, urbanization and the development of busy transport networks have led to dramatic increases in the levels of ambient noise with which animal acoustic communications must compete. Here we show that urban European robins Erithacus rubecula, highly territorial birds reliant on vocal communication, reduce acoustic interference by singing during the night in areas that are noisy during the day. The effect of ambient light pollution, to which nocturnal singing in urban birds is frequently attributed, is much weaker than that of daytime noise.
PMCID: PMC2390663  PMID: 17456449
urbanization; ambient noise; vocal communication; nocturnal song
3.  Protected areas and regional avian species richness in South Africa 
Biology Letters  2006;2(2):184-188.
Protected areas are generally regarded as essential for the long-term maintenance of biodiversity. Evidence for their effectiveness in this regard is, however, somewhat equivocal. Here, we document the relationship between the proportion of protected land and species richness in a region, both with and without taking spatial variation in environmental energy availability into account. Using the South African avifauna as a case study, we find that total and threatened species richness exhibit modest increases with the proportion of protected land. While the protected area network should be expanded, it is essential that conservation efforts also focus on maintaining biodiversity in the wider unprotected landscape that supports high species richness.
PMCID: PMC1618914  PMID: 17148358
birds; conservation; extinction; protected areas; South Africa; species–energy relationship
4.  Relative contribution of abundant and rare species to species–energy relationships 
Biology Letters  2005;1(1):87-90.
A major goal of ecology is to understand spatial variation in species richness. The latter is markedly influenced by energy availability and appears to be influenced more by common species than rare ones; species–energy relationships should thus be stronger for common species. Species–energy relationships may arise because high-energy areas support more individuals, and these larger populations may buffer species from extinction. As extinction risk is a negative decelerating function of population size, this more-individuals hypothesis (MIH) predicts that rare species should respond more strongly to energy. We investigate these opposing predictions using British breeding bird data and find that, contrary to the MIH, common species contribute more to species–energy relationships than rare ones.
PMCID: PMC1629054  PMID: 17148135
abundance; commonness; more-individuals hypothesis; rarity; range size; species richness

Results 1-4 (4)