From: University of Toronto
Published November 7, 2017 07:58 AM

Increases in rats, bedbugs and mosquitoes are unintended consequence of urbanization

The recent uproar about seats on a British Airways flight crawling with bedbugs is only one of the unintended consequences that urbanization worldwide has on evolution, says a University of Toronto researcher whose new study takes a comprehensive look at those consequences.
 “As we build cities, we have little understanding of how they are influencing organisms that live there,” says Marc Johnson, an associate professor of biology at U of T Mississauga who is also a director of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Urban Environments.
“It’s good news that some organisms are able to adapt, such as native species that have important ecological functions in the environment. But it can also be bad news that the ability of some of these organisms to adapt to our cities might increase the transmission of disease. Bedbugs, for example, were scarce two decades ago, but they’ve adapted to the insecticides used to keep them at bay and have exploded in abundance worldwide.”

In the first study to take a broad look at the way urbanization is affecting evolution, Johnson (left) and Jason Munshi-South, an associate professor of biological sciences at Fordham University, reviewed all existing research studies about urbanization and evolution and synthesized the results. 


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Photo via University of Toronto.

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