SICB Annual Meeting 2018
January 3-7, 2018
San Francisco, CA

Symposium: Behavioral and physiological adaptation to urban environments

As urban areas continue to grow, understanding how species respond and adapt to urbanization is becoming increasingly important. Knowledge of the mechanisms behind observed phenotypic changes in urban animals will enable us to better judge the impact of urbanization on current and future generations of urban wildlife while also shedding light on how animals respond to novel environments. In the past decade, urban ecology has emerged as a means of understanding organismal adaptation but also as a framework for exploring mechanisms mediating evolutionary phenomena. This symposium will bring together leading experts in ecology and evolutionary biology who work in a broad range of taxa using innovative techniques. The overarching goals of this symposium are to: 1) develop an integrative framework for characterizing and predicting individual and population responses to urbanization at a larger and longer-term scale, one that will guide and inspire the field of behavioral and physiological adaptation; 2) development of an experimental approach to the study of urban eco-physiology which has been so far largely lacking; 3) integrate physiological mechanisms with behavioral studies for individual-based characterization of urban adapters or avoiders; 4) develop new connections between SICB and the larger community of ecologists whose work involves urban ecology.  

Sponsors: Society Wide Symposium. Sponsors: DCE, DAB, DEE, DEDE, DCPB


  • Jenny Ouyang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at University of Nevada, Reno
  • Davide Dominoni, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology


Symposium Itinerary. Tentative and subject to change.


SESSION 1. Behavioral responses to urbanization


8:00 Jenny Ouyang, Davide Dominoni (organizers)

An integrative framework to understand and predict species responses to urbanization


8:30 Frances Bonier (Queen’s University, Canada)

Environmental challenges, species interactions, and urban adaptation.


9:00 Louis Lefebvre (McGill University, Canada)

Innovations in feeding, learning and memory in novel environments.


9:30 Oriol La Piedra (Harvard University, USA)

Behavioral adaptations to urban environments: an integrative perspective from individuals to species


SESSION 2. Effects of urbanization on sensory and physiological processes


10:00 Sue-Anne Zollinger (Max Planck Institute, Germany)

Indirect effects of traffic noise on avian health and fitness.


10:30 Clinton Francis (CSU Cal Poly, USA)

Anthropogenic noise, psychological stress and fitness: disrupted glucocorticoid signaling among breeding songbirds.


11:00 Susannah French (Utah State University, USA)

Town and Country Reptiles: Physiological Trade-offs Across a Changing Landscape.


11:30 Kevin McGraw (Arizona State University, USA)

Sleep physiology in urban birds, linking disease and oxidative stress.


12:00 lunch break


SESSION 3. From individuals to populations: ecological effects of urbanization


1:30 Colin Garroway (University of Manitoba, Canada)

Genomic, evolutionary, and ecological analyses and population structures in urban and rural environments


2:00 Caroline Isaksson (Lund University, Sweden)

The role of physiological acclimation versus adaptation for coping with urban environmental stress.


2:30 Marty Martin (University of South Florida, USA)

Trade-Offs in Wildlife: Light Pollution Alters Stress and Infection Coping Strategies


3:00 Emilie Snell-Rood (University of Minnesota, USA)

Roadsides exert unique selective pressures on pollinators: interacting effects of sodium, heavy metals, and nitrogen

Photographs courtesy of: Colin Garroway, Dave Keeling, D. Zaraza, Kevin McGraw, Louis Lefebvre, Sue Anne Zollinger, Susannah French.