News FocusEcology

A Surprising Tale of Life in the City

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Science  22 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5440, pp. 663
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5440.663

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In a landmark shift 2 years ago, the National Science Foundation's Long Term Ecological Research program, which funds a network of sites in relatively pristine areas in the United States and Antarctica, added two urban LTER sites: Phoenix, Arizona, and Baltimore, Maryland. And the deeper scientists dig into the ecology of these cities, the more life they are finding, according to a report on the Phoenix project released this month. The findings have a handful of ecologists arguing that maybe--just maybe--cities aren't such a blight after all, although others caution against making too much of the variety of life in the big city.