People often think of cities and suburban areas as zones with little or no wildlife. While it is true that the wildlife in our urban areas is not the same as what existed before we added our buildings and parking lots to the landscape, there is more non-human diversity than many realize. I am reminded of this each time I see a raptor in my neighborhood, hear the peeping of young tufted titmice in the nest box in my back yard, or watch the many insects that make a home in and around the rain garden in my front yard.
While my personal anecdotes of urban diversity are valuable to me on a personal level, they don't do much to advance scientific thought on the subject. For that, today I will defer to the research being done in the Camilo Lab at Saint Louis University. Dr. Camilo and his students look at native bee diversity in urban areas, specifically in community gardens. While you might expect to find more species of bees in rural areas, they are finding a greater diversity of species in urban areas. In addition, the number of species is higher in economically depressed urban areas. I'll let Dr. Camilo speak for himself; hear more about his work in this You Tube video.