Volume 13 Issue 1
Mar.  2022
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Yanyan Zhao, Emilio Pagani-Núñez, Yu Liu, Xiaoying Xing, Zhiqiang Zhang, Guangji Pan, Luting Song, Xiang Li, Zhuoya Zhou, Yanqiu Chen, Donglai Li, Yang Liu, Rebecca J. Safran. 2022: The effect of urbanization and exposure to multiple environmental factors on life-history traits and breeding success of Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) across China. Avian Research, 13(1): 100048. doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100048
Citation: Yanyan Zhao, Emilio Pagani-Núñez, Yu Liu, Xiaoying Xing, Zhiqiang Zhang, Guangji Pan, Luting Song, Xiang Li, Zhuoya Zhou, Yanqiu Chen, Donglai Li, Yang Liu, Rebecca J. Safran. 2022: The effect of urbanization and exposure to multiple environmental factors on life-history traits and breeding success of Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) across China. Avian Research, 13(1): 100048. doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100048

The effect of urbanization and exposure to multiple environmental factors on life-history traits and breeding success of Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) across China

doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100048
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  • Corresponding author: E-mail address: emilio.pnunez@xjtlu.edu.cn (E. Pagani-Núñez)
  • Received Date: 10 Mar 2022
  • Accepted Date: 27 Jun 2022
  • Rev Recd Date: 27 Jun 2022
  • Available Online: 11 Oct 2022
  • Publish Date: 31 Jul 2022
  • In addition to landscape changes, urbanization also brings about changes in environmental factors that can affect wildlife. Despite the common referral in the published literature to multiple environmental factors such as light and noise pollution, there is a gap in knowledge about their combined impact. We developed a multidimensional environmental framework to assess the effect of urbanization and multiple environmental factors (light, noise, and temperature) on life-history traits and breeding success of Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) across rural to urban gradients in four locations spanning over 2500 ​km from North to South China. Over a single breeding season, we measured these environmental factors nearby nests and quantified landscape urbanization over a 1 ​km2 radius. We then analysed the relationships between these multiple environmental factors through a principal component analysis and conducted spatially explicit linear-mixed effects models to assess their effect on life-history traits and breeding success. We were particularly interested in understanding whether and how Barn Swallows were able to adapt to such environmental conditions associated with urbanization. The results show that there is significant variation in the exposure to environmental conditions experienced by Barn Swallows breeding across urbanization gradients in China. These changes and their effects are complex due to the behavioural responses ameliorating potential negative effects by selecting nesting sites that minimize exposure to environmental factors. However, significant relationships between landscape urbanization, exposure to environmental factors, and life-history traits such as laying date and clutch size were pervasive. Still, the impact on breeding success was, at least in our sample, negligible, suggesting that Barn Swallows are extremely adaptable to a wide range of environmental features.


  • 1 These authors contributed equally to the paper.
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