Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit CSIC

Barcelona, Spain

Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit CSIC

Barcelona, Spain

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Senar J.C.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit CSIC | Moller A.P.,University Paris - Sud | Moller A.P.,Center for Advanced Study | Ruiz I.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit CSIC | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: Since carotenoids have physiological functions necessary for maintaining health, individuals should be selected to actively seek and develop a specific appetite for these compounds. Methodology/Principal Findings: Great tits Parus major in a diet choice experiment, both in captivity and the field, preferred carotenoid-enriched diets to control diets. The food items did not differ in any other aspects measured besides carotenoid content. Conclusions/Significance: Specific appetite for carotenoids is here demonstrated for the first time, placing these compounds on a par with essential nutrients as sodium or calcium. © 2010 Senar et al.


Le Gros A.,University Paris Diderot | Le Gros A.,CNRS Systematics, Biodiversity and Evolution Institute | Le Gros A.,CNRS Science Conservation Center | Samadi S.,CNRS Systematics, Biodiversity and Evolution Institute | And 5 more authors.
Biological Invasions | Year: 2016

The Ring-necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri), native of Asia and Africa, is a very successful invasive species in Europe: it has been present there for over 50 years. A recent study showed that European invasive populations occupy a colder climatic niche than in their native range but the establishment of this tropical species in temperate regions remains unexplained. Two main hypotheses may explain the success of Ring-necked parakeet in Europe: admixture between individuals from different origins and/or rapid adaptation to new environmental conditions. In this study, we investigated with molecular data the origin of European populations of Ring-necked parakeets to assess whether these populations result from admixture between individuals from different source populations. We also investigated the morphology of individuals from European populations and from the native range to assess whether the invasive populations have morphologically diverged from their source and could have become adapted to European conditions. We found evidence of admixture in some of the European populations but not all of them. Admixture between individuals from different origins within European populations thus cannot explain alone their invasive success. Conversely, we found that the morphology of the individuals from European populations has diverged from the morphology of native individuals, in a similar direction. Rapid adaptation to European environmental conditions via phenotypic plasticity or natural selection could thus be a factor explaining the invasive success of Ring-necked parakeets in Europe. © 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland


Senar J.C.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit CSIC | Domenech J.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit CSIC
Acta Ethologica | Year: 2011

Males are dominant over females in many bird species. This may lead to male monopolisation of resources whenever food is scarce or clumped and secondarily to lower female survival rates. As a result of the consequent male-biased sex ratio in the adult population, competition may arise either (1) between males and females, as males attempt to exclude females from feeding patches, or (2) between males because females do not pose a competitive threat. We recorded agonistic interactions between males and females in wintering foraging flocks of serins (Serinus serinus) and siskins (Carduelis spinus) to test for inter-specific differences. Most of the aggressive interactions in serins were between males and females, whereas in siskins they were between males. We also compared sex ratios for each species during the winter, determined from separate trapping efforts over an 11-year period, to test whether the direction of aggression by males (i. e. male/male; male/female) relates to variations in female survival rates. The proportion of females was smaller in winter than in autumn for serins, but differences in siskins were negligible. Results are interpreted in relation to the social organization displayed by both species studied. © 2010 Springer-Verlag and ISPA.


Pagani-Nunez E.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit CSIC | Senar J.C.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit CSIC | Tella J.L.,CSIC - Doñana Biological Station
Bird Study | Year: 2013

Capsule The Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea) is a superficially sexually monochromatic colourful bird native to the Indian subcontinent, which has colonized many locations across the world as an introduced species. We investigated the best method to accurately sex the species, capturing and measuring the colour and external morphometry of a sample of 57 individuals, which were later sexed molecularly from blood samples. We found that sexes showed no dimorphism in biometry or size of wing coloured-patches. However, a Discriminant Function based on hue of the throat, chroma of the crown and lightness of the breast allowed us to determine sex with an accuracy of 91%. © 2013 Copyright British Trust for Ornithology.


Pagani-Nunez E.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit CSIC | Senar J.C.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit CSIC
Acta Oecologica | Year: 2014

Given the known influence of parental investment on breeding success of great tits Parus major, females should be expected to use male parental quality as an essential criterion in mate choice. Since parental quality cannot usually be observed directly at the time of pairing, it has been suggested that females rely on male ornaments as indicative of their ability to provide parental care. This hypothesis, called the good parent hypothesis, has been tested repeatedly assessing only parental effort as the number of feedings made by parents. However, in evaluating parental investment, the focus should also be on the quality of prey captured rather than only on its quantity. We analyzed feeding rates and the provisioning of different prey in relation to both male yellow carotenoid-based breast coloration and the size of the black melanin-based stripe in a Mediterranean great tit population. We predicted that more carotenoid ornamented individuals would feed nestlings with a diet consisting of a higher proportion of caterpillars. However, and contrary to predictions, we found that males with higher values of hue in the yellow breast feathers, fed their offspring with a lower proportion of caterpillars and a higher proportion of spiders. In addition, nestlings that received a higher proportion of spiders showed an improved body condition after controlling for tarsus length and other variables. Male feeding rates correlated positively with brood size and tended to correlate negatively with date, although we did not find any effect of male coloration. Our data therefore support the good parent hypothesis, insofar as parental investment is also a matter of quality, and that, at least in the Mediterranean area, caterpillars are not the only key food source. © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS.

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