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Popa-Lisseanu A.G.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Sorgel K.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Luckner A.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Wassenaar L.I.,Environment Canada | And 13 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Despite a commitment by the European Union to protect its migratory bat populations, conservation efforts are hindered by a poor understanding of bat migratory strategies and connectivity between breeding and wintering grounds. Traditional methods like mark-recapture are ineffective to study broad-scale bat migratory patterns. Stable hydrogen isotopes (δD) have been proven useful in establishing spatial migratory connectivity of animal populations. Before applying this tool, the method was calibrated using bat samples of known origin. Here we established the potential of δD as a robust geographical tracer of breeding origins of European bats by measuring δD in hair of five sedentary bat species from 45 locations throughout Europe. The δD of bat hair strongly correlated with well-established spatial isotopic patterns in mean annual precipitation in Europe, and therefore was highly correlated with latitude. We calculated a linear mixed-effects model, with species as random effect, linking δD of bat hair to precipitation δD of the areas of hair growth. This model can be used to predict breeding origins of European migrating bats. We used δ 13C and δ 15N to discriminate among potential origins of bats, and found that these isotopes can be used as variables to further refine origin predictions. A triple-isotope approach could thereby pinpoint populations or subpopulations that have distinct origins. Our results further corroborated stable isotope analysis as a powerful method to delineate animal migrations in Europe. © 2012 Popa-Lisseanu et al.


Roque De Pinho J.,Colorado State University | Roque De Pinho J.,University of Lisbon | Grilo C.,Estacion Biologica de Donana Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas | Grilo C.,University of Aveiro | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

The influence of human aesthetic appreciation of animal species on public attitudes towards their conservation and related decision-making has been studied in industrialized countries but remains underexplored in developing countries. Working in three agropastoralist communities around Amboseli National Park, southern Kenya, we investigated the relative strength of human aesthetic appreciation on local attitudes towards the conservation of wildlife species. Using semi-structured interviewing and free listing (n = 191) as part of a mixed methods approach, we first characterized local aesthetic judgments of wildlife species. With a Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMM) approach, we then determined the influence of perceiving four species as beautiful on local support for their protection ("rescuing them"), and of perceiving four other species as ugly on support for their removal from the area, while controlling for informant personal and household socioeconomic attributes. Perceiving giraffe, gazelles and eland as beautiful is the strongest variable explaining support for rescuing them. Ugliness is the strongest variable influencing support for the removal of buffalo, hyena, and elephant (but not lion). Both our qualitative and quantitative results suggest that perceptions of ugly species could become more positive through direct exposure to those species. We propose that protected areas in developing countries facilitate visitation by local residents to increase their familiarity with species they rarely see or most frequently see in conflict with human interests. Since valuing a species for its beauty requires seeing it, protected areas in developing countries should connect the people who live around them with the animals they protect. Our results also show that aesthetic appreciation of biodiversity is not restricted to the industrialized world. Copyright: © 2014 de Pinho et al.


Grilo C.,University of Lisbon | Grilo C.,University of Aveiro | Sousa J.,University of Lisbon | Ascensao F.,University of Lisbon | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Understanding the ecological consequences of roads and developing ways to mitigate their negative effects has become an important goal for many conservation biologists. Most mitigation measures are based on road mortality and barrier effects data. However, studying fine-scale individual spatial responses in roaded landscapes may help develop more cohesive road planning strategies for wildlife conservation. Methodology/Principal Findings: We investigated how individuals respond in their spatial behavior toward a highway and its traffic intensity by radio-tracking two common species particularly vulnerable to road mortality (barn owl Tyto alba and stone marten Martes foina). We addressed the following questions: 1) how highways affected home-range location and size in the immediate vicinity of these structures, 2) which road-related features influenced habitat selection, 3) what was the role of different road-related features on movement properties, and 4) which characteristics were associated with crossing events and road-kills. The main findings were: 1) if there was available habitat, barn owls and stone martens may not avoid highways and may even include highways within their home-ranges; 2) both species avoided using areas near the highway when traffic was high, but tended to move toward the highway when streams were in close proximity and where verges offered suitable habitat; and 3) barn owls tended to cross above-grade highway sections while stone martens tended to avoid crossing at leveled highway sections. Conclusions: Mortality may be the main road-mediated mechanism that affects barn owl and stone marten populations. Fine-scale movements strongly indicated that a decrease in road mortality risk can be realized by reducing sources of attraction, and by increasing road permeability through measures that promote safe crossings. © 2012 Grilo et al.


Gonzalez-Suarez M.,Estacion Biologica de Donana Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas | Gonzalez-Suarez M.,Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries | Gonzalez-Suarez M.,Free University of Berlin | Bacher S.,University of Fribourg | And 5 more authors.
American Naturalist | Year: 2015

Many studies have aimed to identify common predictors of successful introductions of alien species, but the search has had limited success, particularly for animals. Past research focused primarily on mean trait values, even though genetic and phenotypic variation has been shown to play a role in establishment success in plants and some animals (mostly invertebrates). Using a global database describing 511 introduction events representing 97 mammalian species, we show that intraspecific variation in morphological traits is associated with establishment success, even when controlling for the positive effect of propagule pressure. In particular, greater establishment success is associated with more variation in adult body size but, surprisingly, less variation in neonate body size, potentially reflecting distinct trade-offs and constraints that influence population dynamics differently. We find no mean trait descriptors associated with establishment success, although species occupying wider native distribution ranges (which likely have larger niches) are more successful. Our results emphasize the importance of explicitly considering intraspecific variation to predict establishment success in animal species and generally to understand population dynamics. This understanding might improve management of alien species and increase the success of intentional releases, for example, for biocontrol or reintroductions. © 2015 by The University of Chicago.


Galvan I.,Estacion Biologica de Donana Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas | Solano F.,University of Murcia
Physiological and Biochemical Zoology | Year: 2015

Knowledge of melanin chemistry has important implications for the study of the evolutionary ecology of animal pigmentation, but the actual chemical diversity of these widely expressed biological pigments has been largely overlooked. Considering all melanin forms and the different conditions of endogenous oxidative stress during their synthesis provides information about physiological costs and benefits of different pigmentation patterns and opens a new perspective to understanding the evolution of color phenotypes in animals. © 2015 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.


Tsuboi M.,Uppsala University | Gonzalez-Voyer A.,Estacion Biologica de Donana Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas | Kolm N.,University of Stockholm
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2014

Background: Phenotypic integration among different anatomical parts of the head is a common phenomenon across vertebrates. Interestingly, despite centuries of research into the factors that contribute to the existing variation in brain size among vertebrates, little is known about the role of phenotypic integration in brain size diversification. Here we used geometric morphometrics on the morphologically diverse Tanganyikan cichlids to investigate phenotypic integration across key morphological aspects of the head. Then, while taking the effect of shared ancestry into account, we tested if head shape was associated with brain size while controlling for the potentially confounding effect of feeding strategy. Results: The shapes of the anterior and posterior parts of the head were strongly correlated, indicating that the head represents an integrated morphological unit in Lake Tanganyika cichlids. After controlling for phylogenetic non-independence, we also found evolutionary associations between head shape, brain size and feeding ecology. Conclusions: Geometric morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative analyses revealed that the anterior and posterior parts of the head are integrated, and that head morphology is associated with brain size and feeding ecology in Tanganyikan cichlid fishes. In light of previous results on mammals, our results suggest that the influence of phenotypic integration on brain diversification is a general process. © 2014 Tsuboi et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


PubMed | Estacion Biologica de Donana Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The American naturalist | Year: 2015

Many studies have aimed to identify common predictors of successful introductions of alien species, but the search has had limited success, particularly for animals. Past research focused primarily on mean trait values, even though genetic and phenotypic variation has been shown to play a role in establishment success in plants and some animals (mostly invertebrates). Using a global database describing 511 introduction events representing 97 mammalian species, we show that intraspecific variation in morphological traits is associated with establishment success, even when controlling for the positive effect of propagule pressure. In particular, greater establishment success is associated with more variation in adult body size but, surprisingly, less variation in neonate body size, potentially reflecting distinct trade-offs and constraints that influence population dynamics differently. We find no mean trait descriptors associated with establishment success, although species occupying wider native distribution ranges (which likely have larger niches) are more successful. Our results emphasize the importance of explicitly considering intraspecific variation to predict establishment success in animal species and generally to understand population dynamics. This understanding might improve management of alien species and increase the success of intentional releases, for example, for biocontrol or reintroductions.

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