Urban Resilience and The Human-Animal Bond: Towards a New Solution-Based Science

Eric Strauss

Presented by the Hugh Hanson Ecology Seminar Series and Global Drylands Center.

Eric Strauss, President's Professor of Biology, Loyola Marymount University

The confluence of recent ecological trends, such as human demographic transition to urbanized landscapes, climate change as characterized by drought, and improvements in public wellness, have resulted in major shifts in the way we live in association with both wild and domestic animals. Urban communities are rich habitats for synanthropic species that span a domestic to wild gradient.

In this presentation, I will explore the dynamic nature of our relationships with these animals across this broad arc of synanthropy using examples that include crows and ravens, coyotes, feral cats, domestic dogs and avian species. Research into these complex relationships inform our understanding of urban ecosystem services and shape our models of landscape design, patterns of land use and potential risks to future human well-being.

Eric Strauss is President’s Professor of Biology at Loyola Marymount University and executive director of the LMU Center for Urban Resilience (CURes). Trained as a behavioral ecologist, Strauss has extended the model for faculty scholarship by co-founding the Urban Ecology Institute in Boston while he served as a faculty member at Boston College and CURes in Los Angeles, both of which provide interdisciplinary educational, research and restoration programs to underserved neighborhoods and their residents. 

He is the senior editor of the web-based, peer-reviewed journal Cities and the Environment. His research studies of coyotes, White tailed deer, crows, hummingbirds and other vertebrates. His specialty is in understanding wildlife in urban areas, animal-human relationships and the appropriate management responses to wildlife problems. His work also includes investigating the role of green space and urban forests in supporting of healthy neighborhoods, and how those features can be used to improve science education and restorative justice.

School of Life Sciences
Nancy Grimm
Life Sciences C, room 202
Tempe campus