Campus Drie Eiken

Antwerpen, Belgium

Campus Drie Eiken

Antwerpen, Belgium
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Lambrechts M.M.,CNRS Center of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology | Adriaensen F.,University of Antwerp | Ardia D.R.,Franklin And Marshall College | Artemyev A.V.,Russian Academy of Sciences | And 52 more authors.
Acta Ornithologica | Year: 2010

The widespread use of artificial nestboxes has led to significant advances in our knowledge of the ecology, behaviour and physiology of cavity nesting birds, especially small passerines. Nestboxes have made it easier to perform routine monitoring and experimental manipulation of eggs or nestlings, and also repeatedly to capture, identify and manipulate the parents. However, when comparing results across study sites the use of nestboxes may also introduce a potentially significant confounding variable in the form of differences in nestbox design amongst studies, such as their physical dimensions, placement height, and the way in which they are constructed and maintained. However, the use of nestboxes may also introduce an unconsidered and potentially significant confounding variable due to differences in nestbox design amongst studies, such as their physical dimensions, placement height, and the way in which they are constructed and maintained. Here we review to what extent the characteristics of artificial nestboxes (e.g. size, shape, construction material, colour) are documented in the 'methods' sections of publications involving hole-nesting passerine birds using natural or excavated cavities or artificial nestboxes for reproduction and roosting. Despite explicit previous recommendations that authors describe in detail the characteristics of the nestboxes used, we found that the description of nestbox characteristics in most recent publications remains poor and insufficient. We therefore list the types of descriptive data that should be included in the methods sections of relevant manuscripts and justify this by discussing how variation in nestbox characteristics can affect or confound conclusions from nestbox studies. We also propose several recommendations to improve the reliability and usefulness of research based on long-term studies of any secondary hole-nesting species using artificial nestboxes for breeding or roosting.

Moller A.P.,CNRS Ecology, Systematic and Evolution Laboratory | Adriaensen F.,University of Antwerp | Artemyev A.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Banbura J.,University of Lodz | And 81 more authors.
Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2014

Nests are structures built to support and protect eggs and/or offspring from predators, parasites, and adverse weather conditions. Nests are mainly constructed prior to egg laying, meaning that parent birds must make decisions about nest site choice and nest building behavior before the start of egg-laying. Parent birds should be selected to choose nest sites and to build optimally sized nests, yet our current understanding of clutch size-nest size relationships is limited to small-scale studies performed over short time periods. Here, we quantified the relationship between clutch size and nest size, using an exhaustive database of 116 slope estimates based on 17,472 nests of 21 species of hole and non-hole-nesting birds. There was a significant, positive relationship between clutch size and the base area of the nest box or the nest, and this relationship did not differ significantly between open nesting and hole-nesting species. The slope of the relationship showed significant intraspecific and interspecific heterogeneity among four species of secondary hole-nesting species, but also among all 116 slope estimates. The estimated relationship between clutch size and nest box base area in study sites with more than a single size of nest box was not significantly different from the relationship using studies with only a single size of nest box. The slope of the relationship between clutch size and nest base area in different species of birds was significantly negatively related to minimum base area, and less so to maximum base area in a given study. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that bird species have a general reaction norm reflecting the relationship between nest size and clutch size. Further, they suggest that scientists may influence the clutch size decisions of hole-nesting birds through the provisioning of nest boxes of varying sizes. © 2014 The Authors.

Moller A.P.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Adriaensen F.,University of Antwerp | Artemyev A.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Banbura J.,University of Lodz | And 84 more authors.
Methods in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2014

Secondary hole-nesting birds that do not construct nest holes themselves and hence regularly breed in nest boxes constitute important model systems for field studies in many biological disciplines with hundreds of scientists and amateurs involved. Those research groups are spread over wide geographic areas that experience considerable variation in environmental conditions, and researchers provide nest boxes of varying designs that may inadvertently introduce spatial and temporal variation in reproductive parameters. We quantified the relationship between mean clutch size and nest box size and material after controlling for a range of environmental variables in four of the most widely used model species in the Western Palaearctic: great tit Parus major, blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus, pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca and collared flycatcher F. albicollis from 365 populations and 79 610 clutches. Nest floor area and nest box material varied non-randomly across latitudes and longitudes, showing that scientists did not adopt a random box design. Clutch size increased with nest floor area in great tits, but not in blue tits and flycatchers. Clutch size of blue tits was larger in wooden than in concrete nest boxes. These findings demonstrate that the size of nest boxes and material used to construct nest boxes can differentially affect clutch size in different species. The findings also suggest that the nest box design may affect not only focal species, but also indirectly other species through the effects of nest box design on productivity and therefore potentially population density and hence interspecific competition. © 2014 The Authors. Methods in Ecology and Evolution © 2014 British Ecological Society.

Wood F.,University of Cardiff | Brookes-howell L.,University of Cardiff | Hood K.,University of Cardiff | Cooper L.,University of Liverpool | And 7 more authors.
Family Practice | Year: 2011

Background. Point of care tests (POCTs) are being promoted to better target antibiotic prescribing with the aim of improving outcomes and containing antibiotic resistance. Objective. We aimed to explore clinician and patient views about POCTs to assist with the diagnosis and management of lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) in primary care. Methods. Multi-country European qualitative interview study with 80 primary care clinicians and 121 adult patients in nine primary care networks who had recently consulted with symptoms of acute cough/LRTI. Transcripts were subjected to a five-stage analytic framework approach (familiarization, developing a thematic framework from the interview questions and the themes emerging from the data, indexing, charting, and mapping to search for interpretations in the data), with local network facilitators commenting on preliminary reports. Results. Clinicians who did not routinely use POCTs for acute cough/LRTI felt that the tests' advantages included managing patient expectations for antibiotics. Perceived disadvantages included questionable test performance, problems interpreting results, a detraction from clinical reasoning, costs, time and patients not wanting, or demanding, the tests. Clinicians who routinely used POCTs echoed these disadvantages. Almost all patients would be happy to be managed with the addition of a POCT. Patients with experience of POCTs accepted it as part of routine care.Conclusions. Acceptability of POCTs to clinicians is likely to be improved if tests perform well on accuracy, time to result, simplicity and cost. Including POCTs in the routine management of acute cough/LRTI is likely to be acceptable to most patients. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Nuttall J.,University of Cardiff | Hood K.,University of Cardiff | Verheij T.J.,University Utrecht | Little P.,University of Southampton | And 4 more authors.
BMC Family Practice | Year: 2011

Background: Implementing a primary care clinical research study in several countries can make it possible to recruit sufficient patients in a short period of time that allows important clinical questions to be answered. Large multi-country studies in primary care are unusual and are typically associated with challenges requiring innovative solutions. We conducted a multi-country study and through this paper, we share reflections on the challenges we faced and some of the solutions we developed with a special focus on the study set up, structure and development of Primary Care Networks (PCNs). Method. GRACE-01 was a multi-European country, investigator-driven prospective observational study implemented by 14 Primary Care Networks (PCNs) within 13 European Countries. General Practitioners (GPs) recruited consecutive patients with an acute cough. GPs completed a case report form (CRF) and the patient completed a daily symptom diary. After study completion, the coordinating team discussed the phases of the study and identified challenges and solutions that they considered might be interesting and helpful to researchers setting up a comparable study. Results: The main challenges fell within three domains as follows:. i) selecting, setting up and maintaining PCNs;. ii) designing local context-appropriate data collection tools and efficient data management systems; and. iii) gaining commitment and trust from all involved and maintaining enthusiasm. The main solutions for each domain were:. i) appointing key individuals (National Network Facilitator and Coordinator) with clearly defined tasks, involving PCNs early in the development of study materials and procedures. ii) rigorous back translations of all study materials and the use of information systems to closely monitor each PCNs progress;. iii) providing strong central leadership with high level commitment to the value of the study, frequent multi-method communication, establishing a coherent ethos, celebrating achievements, incorporating social events and prizes within meetings, and providing a framework for exploitation of local data. Conclusions: Many challenges associated with multi-country primary care research can be overcome by engendering strong, effective communication, commitment and involvement of all local researchers. The practical solutions identified and the lessons learned in implementing the GRACE-01 study may assist in establishing other international primary care clinical research platforms. Trial registration. Identifier: NCT00353951. © 2011 Nuttall et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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