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Vlašim, Czech Republic

Cech M.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Cech P.,Czech Union for Nature Conservation
Bird Study

Capsule Non-fish prey constitutes an important component of the diet of many fish-eating birds.Aims In the present study, the role of non-fish prey in the diet of the Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis was evaluated.Methods The species and size spectrum of prey in the diet was studied at 15 nest sites on 6 trout streams, 1 river and 1 reservoir in the Czech Republic, using the analysis of the nest sediment.Results 16 933 individual prey items were identified (99.93% fish and 0.07% non-fish prey). European Perch Perca fluviatilis, Roach Rutilus rutilus and Bleak Alburnus alburnus dominated the diets on the reservoir; Gudgeon Gobio gobio, European Chub Squalius cephalus and Roach those on the river; and Gudgeon, European Chub, Bullhead Cottus gobio, Roach, Bleak and Brown Trout Salmo trutta m. fario those in the trout streams. The sizes of their fish prey ranged from 16 to 134mm in total length (LT) with an average size of 66mm. The remains of non-fish prey were detected in only 5 of 30 nest sediments. The non-fish prey were mostly composed of large aquatic insect larvae: dragonflies Anax sp. and Aeshna sp., Common Club-tail Gomphus vulgatissimus and Great Diving Beetle Dytiscus marginalis. Kingfishers also took Spiny-cheek Crayfish Orconectes limosus, Newt Triturus sp. and a Lizard Lacerta sp. The estimated sizes of the non-fish prey ranged from 30 to 90mm.Conclusion The catch of non-fish prey appears to be accidental, and is more likely a result of target misinterpretation (fish-like body and fish-like movement) than a Kingfisher regularly switching to prey other than fish. The unique finding of a Lizard is the first record of an amniotic vertebrate in the diet of Common Kingfisher. © 2015 British Trust for Ornithology. Source

Piasecna K.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Poncova A.,Czech Union for Nature Conservation | Tejedo M.,CSIC - Donana Biological Station | Gvozdik L.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Journal of Thermal Biology

Many ectotherms employ diverse behavioral adjustments to effectively buffer the spatio-temporal variation in environmental temperatures, whereas others remain passive to thermal heterogeneity. Thermoregulatory studies are frequently performed on species living in thermally benign habitats, which complicate understanding of the thermoregulation-thermoconformity continuum. The need for new empirical data from ectotherms exposed to thermally challenging conditions requires the evaluation of available methods for quantifying thermoregulatory strategies. We evaluated the applicability of various thermoregulatory indices using fire salamander larvae, Salamandra salamandra, in two aquatic habitats, a forest pool and well, as examples of disparate thermally-constrained environments. Water temperatures in the well were lower and less variable than in the pool. Thermal conditions prevented larvae from reaching their preferred body temperature range in both water bodies. In contrast to their thermoregulatory abilities examined in a laboratory thermal gradient, field body temperatures only matched the mean and range of operative temperatures, showing thermal passivity of larvae in both habitats. Despite apparent thermoconformity, thermoregulatory indices indicated various strategies from active thermoregulation, to thermoconformity, and even thermal evasion, which revealed their limited applicability under thermally-constrained conditions. Salamander larvae abandoned behavioral thermoregulation despite varying opportunities to increase their body temperature above average water temperatures. Thermoconformity represents a favored strategy in these ectotherms living in more thermally-constrained environments than those examined in previous thermoregulatory studies. To understand thermal ecology and its impact on population dynamics, the quantification of thermoregulatory strategies of ectotherms in thermally-constrained habitats requires the careful choice of an appropriate method to avoid misleading results. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Chytry M.,Masaryk University | Drazil T.,Administration of the Slovensky Raj | Hajek M.,Masaryk University | Kalnikova V.,Masaryk University | And 31 more authors.

We provide an inventory of the sites and vegetation types in the Czech Republic and Slovakia that contain the highest numbers of vascular plant species in small areas of up to 625 m2. The highest numbers of species were recorded in semi-natural grasslands, in which we report four new world records for fine-scale species richness: 17 species of vascular plants in 0.0044 m2 in a mountain meadow in the Krkonoše Mts, 52 and 63 species in 0.25 and 0.5 m2, respectively, in the Kopanecké lúky meadows in the Slovak Paradise (Slovenský raj), and 109 species in 16 m2 in the Porážky meadows in the White Carpathians (Bílé Karpaty). The previous world record of 43 species in 0.1 m2 was equalled in the Čertoryje meadows in the White Carpathians, however, the previous record referred to shoot presence while the new record considers only the species rooted in the plot. We interpreted and corrected the data from the Czech Republic that Wilson et al. (2012) used to compile a list of world records and provide an updated list. The updated list contains five world records from the Czech Republic and two from Slovakia. The most species-rich grasslands and forests in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are concentrated in regions with base-rich soils in the Western Carpathians, especially in the flysch zone in SE Moravia and the Czech-Slovak borderland, and in limestone and volcanic areas in central Slovakia. The richest types of non-forest vegetation include semi-dry base-rich meadows (Bromion erecti and Cirsio-Brachypodion pinnati), base-rich pastures and mesic meadows (Cynosurion cristati and Arrhenatherion elatioris), Nardus stricta grasslands (Violion caninae and Nardo strictae-Agrostion tenuis) and some wet meadows and natural subalpine grasslands. A special type of species-rich herbaceous to open woodland vegetation develops as successional stages on gravel accumulations in Carpathian rivers after severe flooding. The maximum counts of vascular plant species in non-forest vegetation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are 7 species/0.0009 m2, 11/0.0011 m2, 12/0.004 m2, 17/0.0044 m2, 23/0.01 m2, 37/0.04 m2, 43/0.1 m2, 52/0.25 m2, 63/0.5 m2, 82/1 m2, 88/4 m2, 109/16 m2, 116/25 m2, 131/49 m2 and 133/100 m2. While the maximum counts for plots smaller than 0.5 m2 are from various regions and probably mainly depend on appropriate management, the maximum counts for plots larger than 0.5 m2 are for two areas only, the south-eastern part of the White Carpathians and Kopanecké lúky meadows, suggesting the importance of regionally specific landscape processes for high species richness at such scales. Czech and Slovak forest vegetation is much poorer than grasslands, reaching maxima of 100, 109 and 118 species in plots of 100, 400 and 500 m2, which are considerably smaller than global maxima for temperate forests. Most of the species-rich sites occur on base-rich soils, in habitats with intermediate values of environmental factors, are subject to low-intensity management or natural disturbance, occur in landscapes with large areas of natural and semi-natural vegetation and probably have a long historical continuity. Source

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