Urban Ecology

Urban Ecology

Kris French Research Area

Our earlier work investigated bird assemblages in cities where we sought to understand patterns of decline of small birds. We defined the factors that might influence the composition of birds in remnant bushland in cities. Our work pointed to a significant role of Noisy Miners Manorina melanocephala in limiting species in suburban areas. This work also emphasised the importance of the characteristics of the matrix in structuring assemblages in remnant vegetation. We have also undertaken an extensive project in understanding movements of Australian Ibis in Sydney.

Recently we have begun investigating parasite loads in birds to determine if patterns of parasite prevalence are associated with urbanisation. This work is likely to be expanded in the future.

An important new area of research is involved in understanding how urban vegetation may be affected as our cities get hotter and drier. We have investigated heat stress in a range of native and exotic species.

Current students

  • Carlos Delgado-Velez
  • Axton Aguiar
  • Isaac Jansens

Past PhD students

  • John Martin
  • Holly Parsons
  • Patricia Hodgson

Publications in Urban Ecology (since 2000)

Baker J., Harvey, KJ and French, K (2013) Adverse impacts of introduced birds on native birds. Emu, Rowley review 114, 1-12.

Martin, J, French, K, Major R (2012) Behavioural adaptation of a bird from transient wetland specialist to an urban resident. PLoS ONE 7(11): e50006. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050006

Delgado-Velez, C., French K. (2012) Parasite-bird interactions in urban areas: Current evidence and emerging questions. Landscape and Urban Planning 105, 5–14.

Crates, RA, French, K and McLean, CM. (2011) The abundance and distribution of two species of fairy-wren in suburban and natural habitats. Emu, 111, 341–349

Martin, J.M., French K., Ross, G.A., Major, R.E. (2011) Foraging distances and habitat preferences of a recent urban colonizer: the Australian white ibis. Landscape and Urban Planning, 102, 65– 72.

Martin, J, French, K., Major, R. (2010). Population and breeding trends of an urban coloniser: the Australian white ibis 2006-08. Wildlife Research 37(3), 230 – 239.

Schmelischek, EM, French, K, Parry-Jones, KA (2009) Fruit availability and utilisation by grey-headed flying foxes, Pteropus poliocephalus, (Pteropodidae) in a human-modified environment on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. Wildlife Research. 36, 592-600,

Parsons H, French, K and Major, RE (2008) The vegetation requirements of Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus) in non-urban edge and urbanised habitats. Emu, 108, 283–291

Martin, JM, French, K and Major, RE. (2007) The pest status of Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) in urban situations, and the effectiveness of egg-oil in reproductive control, Wildlife Research 34, 319-324

Hodgson P, French K and Major RE (2007) Avian movement across abrupt ecological edges: differential responses to housing density in an urban matrix. Landscape and Urban Planning,79, 266-272

Hodgson P, French K and Major RE. (2006) Comparison of foraging behaviour of small, urban-sensitive insectivores in continuous woodland and woodland remnants in a suburban landscape. Wildlife Research 33: 591-603

Parsons H, Major R. E. and French K. (2006) Species interactions and habitat preferences of birds inhabiting urban areas of Sydney, Australia. Austral Ecology 31, 217-227.

Densmore, P and French K (2005) The effects of recreation areas and human presence on avian communities. Ecological Management and Restoration 6,182-9.

French, K. Major, RE, Hely, K. (2005) Use of native and exotic garden plants by suburban nectarivorous birds. Biol Cons 21,545-559

Parsons, H., French, K. & Major R.E. (2003) The influence of remnant bushland on the composition of suburban bird assemblages’. Landscape and Urban Planning 66,43-56.