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Abstract

The world's population is concentrated in urban areas. This change in demography has brought landscape transformations that have a number of documented effects on stream ecosystems. The most consistent and pervasive effect is an increase in impervious surface cover within urban catchments, which alters the hydrology and geomorphology of streams. This results in predictable changes in stream habitat. In addition to imperviousness, runoff from urbanized surfaces as well as municipal and industrial discharges result in increased loading of nutrients, metals, pesticides, and other contaminants to streams. These changes result in consistent declines in the richness of algal, invertebrate, and fish communities in urban streams. Although understudied in urban streams, ecosystem processes are also affected by urbanization. Urban streams represent opportunities for ecologists interested in studying disturbance and contributing to more effective landscape management.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.32.081501.114040
2001-11-01
2024-04-18
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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