The effects of urbanisation on ecological interactions

Curr Opin Insect Sci. 2022 Aug:52:100922. doi: 10.1016/j.cois.2022.100922. Epub 2022 Apr 28.


Cities are expanding worldwide and urbanisation is considered a global threat to biodiversity. Urban ecology has provided important insights on how urban environmental changes might affect individuals, populations, and species; however, we know little about how the ecological impacts of urbanisation alter species interactions. Species interactions are the backbone of ecological communities and play a crucial role in population and community dynamics and in the generation, maintenance and structure of biodiversity. Here, I review urban ecological studies to identify key mechanistic pathways through which urban environmental processes could alter antagonistic and mutualistic interactions among species. More specifically, I focus on insect predation, parasitoidism and herbivory, competition, insect host-pathogen interactions, and pollination. I furthermore identify important knowledge gaps that require additional research attention and I suggest future research directions that may help to shed light on the mechanisms that affect species interactions and structure insect communities and will thus aid conservation management in cities.

Keywords: Cities; ecological interactions; insects; interspecific interactions; urbanisation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biodiversity*
  • Cities
  • Insecta
  • Pollination
  • Urbanization*