Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit

Barcelona, Spain

Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit

Barcelona, Spain
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Borras A.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit | Senar J.C.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit | Alba-Sanchez F.,University of Granada | Cabrera J.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit | And 2 more authors.
Animal Biodiversity and Conservation | Year: 2010

The Citril finch Serinus citrinella is a Paleartic endemic species that breeds in the subalpine mountain zones of western temperate Europe. The species seems to be suffering a serious decline in its northern range, mainly in the Black Forest and the NE of the Alps. Numerous reasons have been provided for this decline, but all of them have been related to breeding habitats. Given that the species undergoes an altitudinal migration and that during winter it may use very different habitats, a sound knowledge of the distribution patterns and habitats used outside the breeding period is needed to conduct adequate conservation policies and management. This information, however, is largely lacking. The aim of this paper was to determine the current habitat used by Citril finches in north-eastern Spain during the winter, to analyse habitat suitability and to study movements, by investigating the origin of birds that overwinter in Catalonia. Citril finch distribution was modelled using both discriminant analysis and maximum entropy modelling, on the basis of species occurrences during winter in Catalonia (data from 1972-2009). Results showed that the presence of two tree species, Black pine (Pinus nigra subsp. salzmanii) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), both as part of mixed open forests, and the presence of abundant farmland and arvensic plants -the two vegetation units located in a typical submediterranean context, where the warm temperatures (sunny days) in late winter permit the cones to open-, were the ecological and bioclimatic variables that explain the distribution model. All these variables in tandem seem to be the key for the current potential distribution of the Citril finch in winter (AUC scores: training data AUC = 0.955; test data AUC = 0.953). We analyzed recoveries (N = 238) of 2,368 birds ringed at wintering grounds and 12,648 birds ringed at subalpine localities in the adjacent Pyrenees from 1977-2004. We found that in the study area, we recovered ringed birds from many different locations from across the distributional range of the species, including trans-Pyrenean birds from the Alps. This stresses the high mobility of Citril finch populations to reach wintering areas. From a conservation point of view, the high importance of pines (mainly Black pine) for the wintering distribution of the species stresses that any threat on pines, especially forest fires, will have acute detrimental effects for Citril finch populations. © 2010 Museu de Ciències Naturals.


Edelaar P.,Uppsala University | Edelaar P.,CSIC - Doñana Biological Station | Alonso D.,Aranzadi Ringing Scheme | Lagerveld S.,Leiden University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2012

Divergent selection stemming from environmental variation may induce local adaptation and ecological speciation whereas gene flow might have a homogenizing effect. Gene flow among populations using different environments can be reduced by geographical distance (isolation-by-distance) or by divergent selection stemming from resource use (isolation-by-ecology). We tested for and encountered phenotypic and genetic divergence among Spanish crossbills utilizing different species of co-occurring pine trees as their food resource. Morphological, vocal and mtDNA divergence were not correlated with geographical distance, but they were correlated with differences in resource use. Resource diversity has now been found to repeatedly predict crossbill diversity. However, when resource use is not 100% differentiated, additional characters (morphological, vocal, genetic) must be used to uncover and validate hidden population structure. In general, this confirms that ecology drives adaptive divergence and limits neutral gene flow as the first steps towards ecological speciation, unprevented by a high potential for gene flow. © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2012 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.


Giraudeau M.,University of Sydney | Mateos-Gonzalez F.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit | Mateos-Gonzalez F.,University of Texas at Austin | Cotin J.,University of Barcelona | And 4 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2015

Metals are naturally found in the environment but are also emitted through anthropogenic activities, raising some concerns about the potential deleterious effects of these elements on wildlife. The potential effects of metals on bird coloration have been the focus of several recent studies since animal colored-signals often reflect the physiology of their bearers and are thus used by animals to assess the quality of another individual as a mate or competitor. These studies have shown that the melanin pigmentation seems to be positively associated and the carotenoid-based coloration negatively associated with metal exposure in wild birds. Although these studies have been very useful to show the associations between metal exposure and coloration, only few of them have actually quantified the levels of metal exposure at the individual level; always focusing on one or two of them. Here, we measured the concentrations of eight metals in great tits' feathers and then assessed how these levels of metals were associated with the carotenoid and melanin-based colorations. We found that the melanin pigmentation was positively associated with the copper concentration and negatively correlated with the chromium concentration in feathers. In addition, we have shown that the carotenoid-based coloration was negatively associated with the feather's mercury concentration. This study is the first one to identify some metals that might affect positively and negatively the deposition of melanin and carotenoid into the plumage of wild birds. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Carlos Senar J.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit | Carrillo-Ortiz J.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit | Arroyo L.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit
Journal of Field Ornithology | Year: 2012

Most parakeets, parrots, and cockatoos are difficult to mark because of their strong beaks and ability to manipulate items with their feet. We developed a marking method that consists of a numbered tag hung on a neck collar. We used this method to successfully monitor Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) and Ring-necked Parakeets (Psittacula krameri) in Barcelona, Spain, from 2003 to 2009. We marked 881 Monk Parakeets and 88 Ring-necked Parakeets with collars. Fifteen tags placed on adult Monk Parakeets in 2003 (N= 57) lasted until 2008 and nine until 2009. Three of 12 Ring-necked Parakeets marked in 2003 were resighted in 2008. We estimated that 4.5% of Monk Parakeets and 5.8% of Ring-necked Parakeets lost their tags, with median intervals between attachment and tag loss of 347 and 370 d, respectively. Behavioral observations revealed no differences in the time budgets of marked and unmarked Monk Parakeets. In addition, the mass of marked Monk Parakeets did not change between successive recaptures. These results suggest that neck collars had no adverse effects on the birds. Neck collars may also be a suitable marking method for other psittacines, with stronger, more durable components likely needed for larger species. © 2012 Association of Field Ornithologists.


Borras A.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit | Cabrera J.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit | Colome X.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit | Cabrera T.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit | Senar J.C.,Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit
Bird Study | Year: 2011

Capsule: Individuals ringed at different localities, where previous analyses detected local genetic and morphological differentiation, overlapped in wintering areas. Aims: To analyse winter site fidelity and connectivity in Citril Finches, a species with locally differentiated allopatric breeding populations, but which forms into pairs at the end of the wintering period, when these populations could be sympatric. Methods: Analysis based on 238 recoveries obtained from 12648 birds ringed at alpine localities and 2368 birds ringed at lower-elevation wintering areas in Central Catalonia. Results: Citril Finches showed marked winter site fidelity. Birds ringed at different sub-alpine mountain ranges tended to winter in different river basins, but we found some overlap between these sub-populations. Birds from different localities within the same mountain range partly overlapped in wintering areas. Conclusion: We found that many Citril Finch sub-populations cohabit during the winter pair formation period, which prompts the question of how Citril Finch populations can maintain local differentiation despite the ample opportunities for gene flow. © 2011 British Trust for Ornithology.


PubMed | University of Sydney, University of Barcelona and Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Associate Research Unit
Type: | Journal: The Science of the total environment | Year: 2015

Metals are naturally found in the environment but are also emitted through anthropogenic activities, raising some concerns about the potential deleterious effects of these elements on wildlife. The potential effects of metals on bird coloration have been the focus of several recent studies since animal colored-signals often reflect the physiology of their bearers and are thus used by animals to assess the quality of another individual as a mate or competitor. These studies have shown that the melanin pigmentation seems to be positively associated and the carotenoid-based coloration negatively associated with metal exposure in wild birds. Although these studies have been very useful to show the associations between metal exposure and coloration, only few of them have actually quantified the levels of metal exposure at the individual level; always focusing on one or two of them. Here, we measured the concentrations of eight metals in great tits feathers and then assessed how these levels of metals were associated with the carotenoid and melanin-based colorations. We found that the melanin pigmentation was positively associated with the copper concentration and negatively correlated with the chromium concentration in feathers. In addition, we have shown that the carotenoid-based coloration was negatively associated with the feathers mercury concentration. This study is the first one to identify some metals that might affect positively and negatively the deposition of melanin and carotenoid into the plumage of wild birds.

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