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Photo of Minor, Emily

Emily Minor, PhD

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

Biological Sciences


Building & Room:

3346 SES


845 W. Taylor St.

Office Phone:

(312) 355-0823

Related Sites:


I have a wide range of interests related to how humans alter landscapes and the ecological communities within them. As human populations grow and demand more resources, fewer and fewer places on the planet remain untouched by our influence. Therefore, it is important to understand the impact we are having on the world around us.

For example, habitat fragmentation is almost always an outcome of urban development. The way in which a natural habitat is fragmented during the course of development may have large and poorly understood effects on the species in that habitat. Fragmentation causes "edge effects", which have been shown to alter plant growth and avian breeding success, among other things. Fragmentation also usually increases distance between habitat patches, which can impede the ability of species to move across the landscape. On the other hand, humans create novel habitats, such as yards, that are used by many species in different ways. I am interested in how these and other factors interact to affect ecological communities and processes at the landscape scale.

I use a combination of field studies, social surveys, GIS, and computer modeling in my research. Recent projects include examining the provision of ecosystem services to urban residents and studying plant, bird, and bee communities in residential neighborhoods. I have a growing interest in the socio-ecological dynamics of residential and community gardens. I also have an interest in applying graph theory (or network analysis) to a number of different socio-ecological problems, including landscape connectivity, mutualistic (e.g., plant-pollinator) networks, and social networks. My students and I focus most of our research efforts on the Chicago metropolitan area. We are particularly interested in finding ways to make cities good habitat for both humans and wildlife.

Selected Publications

(Complete list of publications on Google Scholar)

  1. A Ossola, D Locke, B Lin, ES Minor. 2019. Greening in style: Urban form, architecture and the structure of front and backyard vegetation. Landscape and Urban Planning 185: 141-157.
  2. ES Minor, EC Anderson, JA Belaire, M Garfinkel, AD Smith. 2018. Urban green infrastructures and ecological networks for urban biodiversity conservation. In  Urban Biodiversity: From Research to Practice (Edited by A Ossola & J Niemelä), pp 186-199.
  3. EC Anderson, ES Minor. 2017. Vacant lots: An underexplored resource for ecological and social benefits in cities. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 21: 146-152.
  4. D Lowenstein, ES Minor. 2016. Diversity in flowering plants and functional characteristics: Integrating humans as a driver of urban floral resources. Urban Ecosystems 19:1735-1748.
  5. Belaire, J.A., C.J. Whelan, E.S. Minor.  In press. Having our yards and sharing them too: the collective effects of yards on native bird species in an urban landscape. Ecological Applications.
  6. Davis, A.Y., N. Malas, E.S. Minor. 2014. Substitutable habitats? The biophysical and anthropogenic drivers of an exotic bird’s distribution. Biological Invasions 16: 415-427.
  7. Matteson, K.D., J.B. Grace, and E.S. Minor. 2013. Direct and indirect effects of land use on floral resources and flower-visiting insects across an urban landscape. Oikos 122(5): 682-694.
  8. Davis, A.Y., J.A. Belaire, M.A. Farfan, D. Milz, E.R. Sweeney, S.R. Loss, E.S. Minor. 2012. Green infrastructure and bird diversity across an urban socioeconomic gradient. Ecosphere 3(11): 1-18.
  9. Matteson, K., D. Taron, and E.S. Minor. 2012. Assessing citizen contributions to butterfly monitoring in two large cities. Conservation Biology 26 (3): 557-564.
  10. Belaire, J.A., A.K. Dribin, D.P. Johnston, D.J. Lynch, and E.S. Minor. 2011. Mapping stewardship networks in urban ecosystems. Conservation Letters 4: 464-473
  11. Minor, E.S. and D.L. Urban. 2010. Forest bird communities across a gradient of urban development. Urban Ecosystems 13: 51-71.
  12. Minor, E.S. and D.L. Urban. 2008. A graph theory framework for evaluating landscape connectivity and conservation planning. Conservation Biology 22: 297-307.


PhD, Duke University

BS, University of South Florida