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At what spatial scale(s) do mammals respond to urbanization?

Cite this dataset

Moll, Remington (2019). At what spatial scale(s) do mammals respond to urbanization? [Dataset]. Dryad.


Spatial scale is fundamental in understanding species-landscape relationships because species’ responses to landscape characteristics typically vary across scales. Nonetheless, such scales are often unidentified or unreliably predicted by theory. Many landscapes worldwide are urbanizing, yet the spatial scaling of species’ responses to urbanization is poorly understood. We investigated the spatial scaling of urbanization effects on a community of 15 mammal species using ~ 60,000 wildlife detections collected from a constellation of 207 camera traps across an extensive urban park system. We embedded a bivariate Gaussian kernel in hierarchical multi-species models to determine two scales of effect (a scale of maximal effect and a broader scale of cumulative landscape effect) for two biological responses (occupancy and site visit frequency) across two seasons (winter and summer) for each species. We then assessed whether scales of effect varied according to theoretical predictions associated with biological responses and species traits (body size and mobility). Scales of effect ranged from < 50 m to > 9,000 m and varied among species, but not as predicted by theory. Species’ occupancy generally showed a weak response to urbanization and the scale of this effect was both highly uncertain and consistent across species. We did not detect any relationship between scales of effect and species’ body size or mobility, nor was there any evident pattern of scaling across biological response or seasons. These results imply that 1) urbanization effects on mammals manifest across a very broad spectrum of spatial scales, and 2) current theories that a priori predict the scale at which urbanization affects mammals may be of limited use within a given system. Overall, this study suggests that developing general theory regarding the scaling of species-landscape relationships requires additional empirical work conducted across multiple species, systems, and timescales.


Please refer to the article associated with this dataset.

Usage notes

The .tif file is a raster representing urbanization around the Cleveland, Ohio, USA area.

The summer_counts files is an R file that contains the number of detections of 14 mammal species at camera trap sites during the summer season. The locations of the sites are censored to avoid theft/damage because the research is ongoing. The 14 species are, in order: domestic cat, eastern chipmunk, coyote, white-tailed deer, fox squirrel, eastern gray squirrel, mustelid sp., Virginia opossum, eastern cottontail, raccoon, red fox, red squirrel, striped skunk, and woodchucks (see article for scientific names).

The winter_counts is the same data but for the winter season.