Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC

Ciudad Real, Spain

Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC

Ciudad Real, Spain
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Noguerales V.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | Cordero P.J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | Ortego J.,CSIC - Doñana Biological Station
Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2017

Understanding the processes underlying spatial patterns of genetic diversity and structure of natural populations is a central topic in evolutionary biogeography. In this study, we combine data on ancient and contemporary landscape composition to get a comprehensive view of the factors shaping genetic variation across the populations of the scrub-legume grasshopper (Chorthippus binotatus binotatus) from the biogeographically complex region of southeast Iberia. First, we examined geographical patterns of genetic structure and employed an approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) approach to compare different plausible scenarios of population divergence. Second, we used a landscape genetic framework to test for the effects of (1) Late Miocene paleogeography, (2) Pleistocene climate fluctuations, and (3) contemporary topographic complexity on the spatial patterns of population genetic differentiation. Genetic structure and ABC analyses supported the presence of three genetic clusters and a sequential west-to-east splitting model that predated the last glacial maximum (LGM, c. 21 Kya). Landscape genetic analyses revealed that population genetic differentiation was primarily shaped by contemporary topographic complexity, but was not explained by any paleogeographic scenario or resistance distances based on climate suitability in the present or during the LGM. Overall, this study emphasizes the need of integrating information on ancient and contemporary landscape composition to get a comprehensive view of their relative importance to explain spatial patterns of genetic variation in organisms inhabiting regions with complex biogeographical histories. © 2017 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Ortego J.,CSIC - Doñana Biological Station | Noguerales V.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | Cordero P.J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC
Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2017

The study of the neutral and/or selective processes driving genetic variation in natural populations is central to determine the evolutionary history of species and lineages and understand how they interact with different historical and contemporary components of landscape heterogeneity. Here, we combine nuclear and mitochondrial data to study the processes shaping genetic divergence in the Mediterranean esparto grasshopper (Ramburiella hispanica). Our analyses revealed the presence of three main lineages, two in Europe that split in the Early-Middle Pleistocene and one in North Africa that diverged from the two European ones after the Messinian. Lineage-specific potential distribution models and tests of environmental niche differentiation suggest that the phylogeographic structure of the species was driven by allopatric divergence due to the re-opening of the Gibraltar strait at the end of the Messinian (Europe–Africa split) and population fragmentation in geographically isolated Pleistocene climatic refugia (European split). Although we found no evidence for environment as an important driver of genetic divergence at the onset of lineage formation, our analyses considering the spatial distribution of populations and different aspects of landscape composition suggest that genetic differentiation at mitochondrial loci was largely explained by environmental dissimilarity, whereas resistance-based estimates of geographical distance were the only predictors of genetic differentiation at nuclear markers. Overall, our study shows that although historical factors have largely shaped concordant range-wide patterns of mitonuclear genetic structure in the esparto grasshopper, different contemporary processes (neutral gene flow vs. environmental-based selection) seem to be governing the spatial distribution of genetic variation in the two genomes. © 2017 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC


Ortego J.,CSIC - Doñana Biological Station | Garcia-Navas V.,University of Zürich | Noguerales V.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | Cordero P.J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2015

Conservation plans can be greatly improved when information on the evolutionary and demographic consequences of habitat fragmentation is available for several codistributed species. Here, we study spatial patterns of phenotypic and genetic variation among five grasshopper species that are codistributed across a network of microreserves but show remarkable differences in dispersal-related morphology (body size and wing length), degree of habitat specialization and extent of fragmentation of their respective habitats in the study region. In particular, we tested the hypothesis that species with preferences for highly fragmented microhabitats show stronger genetic and phenotypic structure than codistributed generalist taxa inhabiting a continuous matrix of suitable habitat. We also hypothesized a higher resemblance of spatial patterns of genetic and phenotypic variability among species that have experienced a higher degree of habitat fragmentation due to their more similar responses to the parallel large-scale destruction of their natural habitats. In partial agreement with our first hypothesis, we found that genetic structure, but not phenotypic differentiation, was higher in species linked to highly fragmented habitats. We did not find support for congruent patterns of phenotypic and genetic variability among any studied species, indicating that they show idiosyncratic evolutionary trajectories and distinctive demographic responses to habitat fragmentation across a common landscape. This suggests that conservation practices in networks of protected areas require detailed ecological and evolutionary information on target species to focus management efforts on those taxa that are more sensitive to the effects of habitat fragmentation. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Ortego J.,CSIC - National Museum of Natural Sciences | Bonal R.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | Munoz A.,Institute Recursos Naturales
Journal of Heredity | Year: 2010

Large-scale forest fragmentation can increase interpopulation genetic differentiation and erode the genetic variability of remnant plant populations. In this study, we analyze the extent of clonality and the genetic variability and structure within a holm oak (Quercus ilex) population from Central Spain at 3 patches showing different degrees of fragmentation. For this purpose, we have typed 191 individuals (105 adults and 86 saplings) at 9 microsatellite loci. Microsatellite markers revealed an extensive clonal structure in this species, with most analyzed clumps constituting a single "genet", which in some cases extended over a considerable area (up to 318 m2). The maximum distance between "ramets" tended to be higher in the extremely fragmented patch, suggesting that intensive management and environmental perturbation has favored clonal propagation. We have also found evidence that fragmentation has contributed to reduce genetic variability and increase genetic differentiation in holm oak saplings, indicating that the younger cohorts are suffering some negative genetic consequences of long-term population fragmentation. Finally, analyses of fine spatial genetic structure have revealed significant kinship structures up to 20-50 m that were particularly patent in the 2 less fragmented patches. Overall, our findings point to long-term genetic shifts in population structure of holm oaks in fragmented landscapes; however, further research is required on pollen dispersal and gene flow in this species. © 2010 The American Genetic Association. All rights reserved.


Ferrer E.S.,University of Castilla - La Mancha | Ferrer E.S.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | Garcia-Navas V.,University of Castilla - La Mancha | Garcia-Navas V.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | And 2 more authors.
Parasitology Research | Year: 2012

We genetically analysed malaria parasites (Protozoa) in three Mediterranean blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) populations from central Spain. A total of 853 breeding individuals were screened for parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus using a very efficient polymerase chain reaction approach that amplifies a partial segment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene of these parasites. We have found six lineages of Plasmodium (SGS1, GRW11, COLL1, DELURB4, GRW04 and BLUTI10) parasitizing the studied populations but we did not detect any infection by Haemoproteus. One of the detected lineages (BLUTI10) has not been previously described in any bird species and this is the first study recording lineages DELURB4 and GRW04 in blue tits. SGS1 (belonging to the morphospecies Plasmodium relictum) was the most frequent lineage (overall prevalence, 24 %), whereas the other lineages showed a much lower prevalence (<4 %). Only a small proportion (12.2 %) of positive amplifications of the most common lineage (SGS1) was detected in blood smears using light microscopy and infection intensities were very low (mean∈±∈SE, 2.0∈±∈1.4 parasites/2,000 erythrocytes). We have also found strong inter-population variability in prevalence patterns (12-41 % for lineage SGS1), suggesting important differences in parasite transmission rates among the geographically close studied localities. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.


Ortego J.,CSIC - National Museum of Natural Sciences | Aguirre M.P.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | Cordero P.J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC
Journal of Insect Conservation | Year: 2012

The study of the association between morphological and genetic divergence can provide important information on the factors determining population differentiation and gene flow at different spatiotemporal scales. In this study we analyze the congruence between morphological and genetic divergence in the Iberian populations of Mioscirtus wagneri, a specialized grasshopper exclusively inhabiting highly fragmented hypersaline low grounds. We have found strong morphological variation among the studied localities and among mtDNA- and microsatellite-based genetic clusters. However, we have detected some cases of morphological convergence between highly differentiated populations. By contrast, certain genetically homogeneous populations at both mtDNA and microsatellite markers showed significant morphological differentiation which may be explained by phenotypic plasticity or divergent selection pressures acting at different spatiotemporal scales. Mantel tests also revealed that morphological divergence was associated with microsatellite- but not with mtDNA-based genetic distances. Overall, this study suggests that morphological traits can provide additional information on the underlying population genetic structure when only data on scarcely variable mtDNA markers is available. Thus, morphology can retain useful information on genetic structure and has the benefit over molecular methods of being inexpensive, offering a preliminary/complementary useful criterion for the establishment of management units necessary to guide conservation policies. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Estrada A.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | Arroyo B.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC
Biological Conservation | Year: 2012

Predicting distribution has become a fundamental component in conservation or wildlife management. Modelling is increasingly used to identify important areas (e.g., those areas more suitable for a species or more likely to hold high densities). Models often use presence/absence rather than abundance data, partly because measuring abundance is more difficult than measuring presence. We aimed to test if the relationship between occurrence models and predicted abundance varied for two sibling species that differ in the level of nest aggregation: the Montagu's harrier (a semi-colonial raptor species) and the hen harrier (more territorial). We modelled presence/absence distribution and the number of pairs of each species with GLM and large-scale environmental variables, and compared predicted results of both sets of models. In the case of the hen harrier, predictions of the presence/absence model reliably identified areas with highest densities for the species. In contrast, in the Montagu's harrier, there were large apparently favourable areas where predicted breeding density was low. Our results indicate that breeding system is likely to shape the relationship between presence/absence vs density models. In species that are randomly or evenly spaced, even if spatial variations in density occur, using results of presence/absence models is likely to be adequate for population monitoring. In contrast, in the case of semi-colonial species, it is necessary to take into account both occurrence and abundance models to identify areas of conservation importance or concern. There are a considerable number of birds which are semi-colonial or aggregated species, thus these results could have general implications. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Pareja-Carrera J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | Mateo R.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | Rodriguez-Estival J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety | Year: 2014

Livestock from the ancient mining area of Sierra Madrona and Alcudia Valley (Spain) is exposed to elevated levels of lead (Pb), as previous studies based on blood monitoring have revealed. Here we have studied blood, liver and muscle Pb levels in sheep in order to know if Pb exposure could represent a risk for human consumers of the meat and offal of these animals. A cross-sectional study was conducted with ≥4 years old (adults) ewes from the mining area (. n=46) and a control area (. n=21). Blood samples were taken before the sacrifice at the slaughterhouse, and liver and muscle samples were taken thereafter. At the same time, 2-3 year old rams (subadults, n=17) were blood sampled in the mining area. Blood, liver and muscle Pb levels were higher in the mining than in the control area. Blood Pb concentration in the mining area (. n= 44, mean: 6.7. μg/dl in ewes and 10.9. μg/dl in rams) was above background levels (>6. μg/dl) in 73.3 percent of animals. Liver Pb concentration in 68 percent of sheep from the mining area (. n=32, mean: 6.16. μg/g dry weight, d.w.) exceeded the minimum level associated with toxic exposure (5. μg/g d.w.) and 87.5 percent of liver samples were above European Union Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) established for offal destined for human consumption (0.5. μg/g w.w.~1.4. μg/g d.w.). On the contrary, none of the muscle samples in ewes exceeded the EU MRL (0.1. μg/g w.w.~0.34. μg/g d.w.) established for meat, which may be related to the decline of blood Pb levels with age observed in the present study. These results suggest a potential health effect for sheep exposed to Pb pollution in this area and implications for food safety, but further research with lamb meat may be necessary to refine the risk assessment for human consumers. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Calabuig G.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | Ortego J.,Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales CSIC | Aparicio J.M.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | Cordero P.J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC
Animal Behaviour | Year: 2010

The exploratory activity of individuals aimed at collecting information about potential future breeding sites is known as prospecting. We studied prospecting behaviour in the colonial lesser kestrel, Falco naumanni, using detailed information from radiomarked individuals, whose breeding attempts we terminated at the chick stage, and intensive videotape recording of nests. Half of the radiomarked individuals actively prospected nests in both their own and foreign colonies and they visited colonies up to 7400 m away from their own breeding colony. The presence and number of prospectors arriving at a given nest were influenced by parameters at both the colony and the nest scale. Prospector visits per nest increased with colony productivity and decreased with colony size. The latter does not necessarily mean that prospectors avoid large colonies but rather may be consequence of a dilution effect in colonies where more potential nests can be prospected. The number of prospectors attracted per nest was positively associated with colony connectivity, indicating that both high spatial colony isolation and a small number of breeding pairs in nearby colonies reduced the arrival of prospectors at a given nest. Finally, prospector visits per nest increased and then decreased with parental feeding rates, indicating this parental activity can attract prospectors up to a certain threshold at which nest owners visit their nests frequently enough to keep prospectors away. Overall, this study suggests that prospecting is the mechanism of acquiring public information that could ultimately determine breeding dispersal decisions and the growth and dynamics observed in breeding aggregations. © 2009 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.


Calabuig G.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | Ortego J.,Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales CSIC | Cordero P.J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC | Aparicio J.M.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos IREC CSIC
Animal Behaviour | Year: 2010

Understanding the process of colonization of new habitat patches is critical to clarify the proximate mechanisms involved in the distribution of a species and particularly in the formation of breeding aggregations. We studied the process of colony foundation in a long-term monitored population of lesser kestrels, Falco naumanni. For this purpose, we first analysed which habitat/demographic features influence the occupation of empty habitat patches experimentally supplied with nestboxes. Second, we studied the individual characteristics of founders and the reproductive consequences of occupation of new breeding patches in comparison with individuals settled in already established colonies. We found that the probability of occupation of experimental breeding patches increased with the relative cover of cereal crops. Regardless of sex, founders and individuals that settled in pre-existing colonies did not differ in body condition or age. However, there was a higher proportion of unringed kestrels in new than in pre-existing colonies, suggesting that founders are mostly immigrants from distant populations. Founders and nonfounders had similar breeding success, but the former had a lower parasitic burden of feather lice, indicating that occupying new breeding patches could reduce parasite pressure and/or transmission. Our results suggest habitat characteristics influence settlement decisions in the absence of pre-existing social cues, but do not support the idea that founders are suboptimal individuals unable to gain access to previously established colonies. © 2010 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

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