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Cassino, Italy

Rebelo H.,University of Bristol | Rebelo H.,University of Porto | Froufe E.,CIIMAR - Interdisciplinary Center of Marine and Environmental | Brito J.C.,University of Porto | And 5 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2012

The barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus) is a rare forest bat with a wide distribution in Europe. Here, we combine results from the analysis of two mtDNA fragments with species distribution modelling to determine glacial refugia and postglacial colonization routes. We also investigated whether niche conservatism occurs in this species. Glacial refugia were identified in the three southern European peninsulas: Iberia, Italy and the Balkans. These latter two refugia played a major role in the postglacial colonization process, with their populations expanding to England and central Europe, respectively. Palaeo-distribution models predicted that suitable climatic conditions existed in the inferred refugia during the last glacial maximum (LGM). Nevertheless, the overlap between the current and the LGM distributions was almost inexistent in Italy and in the Balkans, meaning that B. barbastellus populations were forced to shift range between glacial and interglacial periods, a process that probably caused some local extinctions. In contrast, Iberian populations showed a 'refugia within refugium' pattern, with two unconnected areas containing stable populations (populations that subsisted during both glacial and interglacial phases). Moreover, the match between LGM models and the refugial areas determined by molecular analysis supported the hypothesis of niche conservatism in B. barbastellus. We argue that geographic patterns of genetic structuring, altogether with the modelling results, indicate the existence of four management units for conservation: Morocco, Iberia, Italy and UK, and Balkans and central Europe. In addition, all countries sampled possessed unique gene pools, thus stressing the need for the conservation of local populations. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Nardone V.,University of Naples Federico II | Cistrone L.,Forestry and Conservation | Di Salvo I.,University of Naples Federico II | Ariano A.,University of Naples Federico II | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Intra-sexual segregation is a form of social segregation widespread among vertebrates. In the bat Myotis daubentonii, males are disproportionately abundant at higher elevations, while females are restricted to lower altitude. Intra-male segregation is also known to occur yet its ecological and behavioural determinants are unclear. We studied male segregation along a river in Central Italy where we tested the following predictions: 1. Upstream (> 1000 m a.s.l.) males will rely on scarcer prey; 2. To deal with this limitation and exploit a cooler roosting environment, they will employ more prolonged and deeper torpor than downstream (< 900 m a.s.l.) males; 3. Body condition will be better in downstream males as they forage in more productive areas; 4. To cope with less predictable foraging opportunities, upstream males will use more habitat types. Consistent with our predictions, we found that prey were less common at higher altitudes, where bats exhibited prolonged and deeper torpor. Body condition was better in downstream males than in upstream males but not in all summer months. This result reflected a decrease in downstream males' body condition over the season, perhaps due to the energy costs of reduced opportunities to use torpor and/or intraspecific competition. Downstream males mainly foraged over selected riparian vegetation whereas upstream males used a greater variety of habitats. One controversial issue is whether upstream males are excluded from lower elevations by resident bats. We tested this by translocating 10 upstream males to a downstream roost: eight returned to the high elevation site in 1-2 nights, two persisted at low altitude but did not roost with resident bats. These results are consistent with the idea of segregation due to competition. Living at high altitude allows for more effective heterothermy and may thus be not detrimental for survival, but by staying at lower altitude males increase proximity to females and potentially benefit from summer mating opportunities. Copyright © 2015 Nardone et al. Source

Russo D.,University of Naples Federico II | Russo D.,University of Bristol | Ancillotto L.,University of Naples Federico II | Cistrone L.,Forestry and Conservation | Korine C.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev
Ethology | Year: 2016

Bats broadcast rapid sequences of echolocation calls, named 'drinking buzzes', when they approach water to drink on the wing. So far this phenomenon has received little attention. We recorded echolocation sequences of drinking bats for 12 species, for 11 of which we also recorded feeding buzzes. Based on the different sensorial tasks faced by feeding and drinking bats, we hypothesize that the drinking buzz structure will differ from that of feeding buzzes since unlike the latter drinking buzzes are not designed to detect and track mobile prey. We demonstrated that drinking buzzes are structurally different from feeding buzzes. We show that the buzz-II phase common in feeding buzzes is absent in drinking buzzes; that is, call frequency is not lowered to broaden sonar beam since the task of drinking does not imply tracking fast-moving targets. This finding indirectly confirms the role of buzz II in feeding buzzes. Pulse rate in drinking buzzes is also lower than in feeding buzzes, as predicted since the high pulse rate typical of feeding buzzes is important to update rapidly the relative location of moving targets. The most likely function of drinking buzzes is to guide a safe drinking manoeuvre, similar to 'landing buzzes' broadcast when bats land on the ground. © 2016 Blackwell Verlag GmbH. Source

Russo D.,University of Naples Federico II | Russo D.,University of Bristol | Cistrone L.,Forestry and Conservation | Garonna A.P.,University of Naples Federico II
Journal of Insect Conservation | Year: 2011

Despite the popularity of the saproxylic cerambycid Rosalia alpina as a flagship species, its ecology is still poorly know, especially in the southern part of its range. Detailed information on its habitat preferences is needed to plan appropriate management. We set our multiple spatial scale assessment of habitat preferences in a beech forest of central Italy whose landscape, featuring both unmanaged forest and two types of grazed open forest, allowed us to look at the influence of different land uses. Preferred trees occurred in open sites, and those close to tall undergrowth were avoided. A range of moribund or dead trees were used: those preferred had a lower percentage canopy closure, significantly thicker bark, and were more sun-exposed, than the average. Logistic regression showed that the most important variables for selection were distance from nearest occupied tree, bark thickness, undergrowth height and irradiation. Occurrence likelihood augmented as the distance from nearest other occupied tree increased. Despite being mostly unmanaged, forest was avoided, whereas open forest (with trees pruned by 'shredding') was used more than expected. Although intensive forestry limits the availability of dead wood, closed forest may be unsuitable when shadowing useful substrate. The disappearance of traditional forms of forest management as shredding and moderate cattle grazing may lead to woody vegetation expansion and habitat closure eventually threatening the persistence of R. alpina. The return to traditional habitat management would be beneficial to R. alpina, an issue that conservation plans should carefully take it into account. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source

Serangeli M.T.,University of Naples Federico II | Cistrone L.,Forestry and Conservation | Ancillotto L.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Tomassini A.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 2 more authors.
Animal Welfare | Year: 2012

Although bats are frequently admitted to rescue centres - mainly as orphans - very little information is available on their survival after release. Our study answered the following questions: i) do hand-reared bats survive over a short time; ii) which activities and habitat selection do they exhibit; iii) are bats loyal to the release area; and iv) are they able to join local colonies? We radio-tracked 21 hand-reared Pipistrellus kuhlii over a two-year period released on a site that differed from that where they were rescued. At the study site they were provided with the same bat boxes used in the rehabilitation room. Nineteen bats were confirmed to survive, stay in the area and actively forage over 4-14 days. Fourteen day roosts in buildings (nine of which hosted a local colony) were used by 12 subjects. Bats travelled less than 5 km in total each night; their most frequent activity was night roosting, followed by foraging and commuting. We recorded typical foraging behaviour, including hunting around street lamps at sites exploited by many conspecifics. A comparison of habitats available within individual home ranges with those within the study area showed that urban areas, riparian vegetation and farmland were equally important and preferred to woodland. When the foraging time spent in each habitat was compared with habitat composition within individual home ranges or within the study area, urban sites were preferred for foraging over all other habitats, followed by farmland and woodland and finally riparian vegetation. Overall, we showed that hand-raised orphaned P. kuhlii may readily adapt to environments they are not familiar with, exhibit a high short-term survival and select key resources in the release area, provided appropriate rehabilitation and training techniques are adopted. © 2012 Universities Federation for Animal Welfare The Old School. Source

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