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Cornec C.,University Paris - Sud | Cornec C.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Hingrat Y.,Reneco for Wildlife Consultants | Rybak F.,University Paris - Sud
Ethology | Year: 2014

Selection pressures acting on both intrasexual competition and intersexual relationships may lead to the emphasis of individual variation and might thus lead to the expression of individual signature. This is particularly true in lek mating systems, where providing information on identity and/or quality to potential mates or congeners of the same sex can be essential for individuals to optimize their reproductive success. Visual and acoustic signals produced during the courtship of the lekking North African Houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata undulata), based on field data from wild birds, are investigated here for the first time. Results show that the vocal signals, called booms, are characterized by a very low frequency, a rare phenomenon in birds which should allow booms to propagate over long distances. Results also show that both visual and acoustic signals are individualized and stereotyped between males. Using three methods of analysis, we highlight the acoustic parameters likely to support vocal individual signature and show that such information mainly relies on frequency parameters. © 2014 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

Frenette-Dussault C.,Universite de Sherbrooke | Shipley B.,Universite de Sherbrooke | Leger J.-F.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Meziane D.,University Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah | Hingrat Y.,RENECO Wildlife Consultants LLC
Journal of Vegetation Science | Year: 2012

Questions: (1) How do community-weighted mean (CWM) trait values of 23 functional traits measured on 34 plant species vary along a gradient of aridity under grazed and ungrazed conditions in an arid steppe? (2) How does variation in our CWM trait values differ from those of more mesic grasslands? Location: Eastern Morocco. Methods: We measured relative abundance and functional traits along a short aridity gradient over two consecutive years at five heavily grazed sites, each with an exclosure preventing grazing. We analysed the relationship between aridity, grazing, and the expression of CWM trait values using ordination methods and a fourth-corner analysis. Results: Unconstrained and constrained ordinations identified three distinct suites of temporally consistent functional traits that co-varied with aridity and grazing, and the fourth-corner analysis identified a number of significant but weak trait-environment associations. Grazing selected for short, fast-growing annual species with high SLA, high pastoral value and low seed mass, while aridity selected for species possessing succulent leaves with high δ 13C leaf content, spines, low LDMC and short stature, although the relative importance of precipitation and grazing changed between years. Conclusions: Although distinct from more mesic grasslands, our study sites exhibited patterns of trait correlations that were similar to the worldwide leaf economics spectrum. These correlation patterns represented three groups that were reminiscent of Grime's C-S-R model. Direct ordinations supported this interpretation. Temporal variation in our results was due in part to precipitation fluctuations. Our results also indicated selection for a grazing avoidance strategy under heavy grazing. Integrating plant functional traits in conservation and management of arid ecosystems represents a novel and challenging task to ensure more sustainable use of these lands. © 2011 International Association for Vegetation Science.

Hardouin L.A.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Hardouin L.A.,CNRS Science Conservation Center | Hingrat Y.,Reneco for Wildlife Preservation | Nevoux M.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 3 more authors.
Animal Conservation | Year: 2015

For endangered species that are hunted, the establishment of mixed conservation areas including both hunting zones and sanctuaries to complement translocation actions (i.e. reinforcement) can improve both hunting yields and population sustainability. However, the effects of this type of management on the demography of the exploited species are not well understood. We used multi-event capture-recapture modelling in a population of captive-bred houbara bustards Chlamydotis undulata translocated into a mixed conservation area in Morocco. The specific management practice of our system (hunting regime varying in time and space) led to a quasi-experimental situation that allowed the differentiation of 'natural' from 'hunting-induced' mortality and movement between areas. The analysis uncovered strong asymmetries in both movement and survival that were not only due to direct hunting effects. Firstly, movement probabilities were higher from the sanctuary to the hunting areas than vice versa, even in years without hunting. Secondly, in addition to a direct effect of hunting on mortality in hunting areas, our results uncovered permanent differences in both areas (even outside the hunting period). Overall, our results were consistent with predictions under a source-sink dynamic model but illustrated that mixed conservation areas should not merely be treated as homogeneous systems with spatially heterogeneous hunting pressure but rather as fully heterogeneous systems. The patterns observed may be related to (1) the choice and design of hunting and sanctuary areas by managers, which might not be neutral with respect to habitat quality, or (2) indirect consequences of hunting via an effect on local growth rate and density. © 2015 The Zoological Society of London.

Soldati F.,Laboratoire National dEntomologie Forestiere | Francois A.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation
Annales Zoologici | Year: 2015

Alphasida (Glabrasida) bounaceurensis sp. nov. is described from the Jbel Bou Naceur top, the most eastern summit of the Moroccan Middle Atlas range. It is compared to other morphologically and geographically related species. Type material of Alphasida (Glabrasida) lecerfi Koch, 1940 and its subspecies is studied. A lectotype is designated for Alphasida (Glabrasida) iblanensis Antoine, 1939. We propose here a new synonymy: Alphasida (Glabrasida) iblanensis Antoine, 1939 = Alphasida (Glabrasida) lecerfi ighrezranensis Koch, 1940.

Lesobre L.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Lacroix F.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Le Nuz E.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | Hingrat Y.,Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Avian Biology | Year: 2010

Behavioural studies have led to the perception that lekking species experience a high male reproductive skew as a consequence of females' selective mate choice. In addition, observations suggest that females copulate only once and therefore polyandry seems unlikely as females are supposed to choose the best male available. In order to analyse the mating strategy of the Houbara bustard, an endangered lekking species under reinforcement in eastern Morocco, we used microsatellite data to perform paternity analyses. None of our observations followed common expectations under a lek mating system: we found no male reproductive skew suggesting no apparent selective female mate choice and no apparent male benefit from lekking. In contrast, a high level of polyandry (60 % of the nests) was recorded suggesting that sperm competition may operate. In addition, we present another case of conspecific brood parasitism in a lekking species and this was an unexpected alternative strategy for a species presenting high parental cost and low fecundity. The increasing number of studies contradicting common assumptions on lekking species suggests that alternative breeding strategies such as males pursuing an off-lek mating strategy, female polyandry and even conspecific brood parasitism might be more widespread in lekking species than previously thought. © 2010 The Authors.

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