Instituto da Conservacao da Natureza e Biodiversidade

Lisbon, Portugal

Instituto da Conservacao da Natureza e Biodiversidade

Lisbon, Portugal
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Fontaine M.C.,University of Liège | Fontaine M.C.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Fontaine M.C.,University Paris - Sud | Fontaine M.C.,CNRS Ecology, Systematic and Evolution Laboratory | And 16 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

Recent climate change has triggered profound reorganization in northeast Atlantic ecosystems, with substantial impact on the distribution of marine assemblages from plankton to fishes. However, assessing the repercussions on apex marine predators remains a challenging issue, especially for pelagic species. In this study, we use Bayesian coalescent modelling of microsatellite variation to track the population demographic history of one of the smallest temperate cetaceans, the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in European waters. Combining genetic inferences with palaeo-oceanographic and historical records provides strong evidence that populations of harbour porpoises have responded markedly to the recent climate-driven reorganization in the eastern North Atlantic food web. This response includes the isolation of porpoises in Iberian waters from those further north only approximately 300 years ago with a predominant northward migration, contemporaneous with the warming trend underway since the 'Little Ice Age' period and with the ongoing retreat of cold-water fishes from the Bay of Biscay. The extinction or exodus of harbour porpoises from the Mediterranean Sea (leaving an isolated relict population in the Black Sea) has lacked a coherent explanation. The present results suggest that the fragmentation of harbour distribution range in the Mediterranean Sea was triggered during the warm 'Mid-Holocene Optimum' period (approx. 5000 years ago), by the end of the post-glacial nutrient-rich 'Sapropel' conditions that prevailed before that time. © 2010 The Royal Society.

Catry T.,University of Lisbon | Alves J.A.,University of East Anglia | Andrade J.,Sociedade Portuguesa Para O Estudo das Aves | Costa H.,Av. Engineering Arantes e Oliveira | And 12 more authors.
Bird Conservation International | Year: 2011

Migratory wader populations face global threats, mainly related to increasing rates of habitat loss and disturbance driven by human activities. To a large extent, the long-term survival of these populations requires the conservation of networks of sites along their migratory flyways. The Tagus estuary, Portugal, is among the most important wetlands for waders in the East Atlantic Flyway. Annual winter wader counts have been carried in this wetland since 1975 and a monthly roost-monitoring programme was implemented in 2007. Wintering populations of three out of the five most abundant species, Dunlin Calidris alpina, Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola and Redshank Tringa totanus, showed significant population declines over the past three decades, which are most likely due to the loss and degradation of roost sites as a result of increasing human activity. The situation is unlikely to improve, as a high proportion of the wintering waders use roost sites that are situated in highly urbanised areas with no legal protection. The use of different roost sites by waders is highly variable both temporally and spatially, thus emphasizing the need for a network of good quality roost sites. Additionally, during migration, 60-80% of all the waders of the Tagus estuary concentrate at a single refuge, thus increasing the risk for wader populations during these periods. © 2011 BirdLife International.

Carrapato C.,Instituto da Conservacao da Natureza e Biodiversidade | Ribeiro F.,University of Lisbon | Ribeiro F.,Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Limnetica | Year: 2012

Anaecypris hispanica is the most threatened cyprinid fish in the Iberian Peninsula. The distribution of this Iberian cyprinid is restricted to the Guadiana River drainage and a single tributary in the Guadalquivir River and has been rapidly diminishing over the past thirty years. Several A. hispanica populations have been depleted to a point which individual densities are below a level where adults can be detected, making it necessary to identify A. hispanica larvae to assess populations and to make declarations about local extinctions. This work is the first detailed description of the larval stages of A. hispanica from egg to stage 5 observed from laboratory-reared specimens. The eggs are spherical, adhesive, and transparent, and they measure 1.4 mm (mean diameter). The larvae hatch 72 hours after activation and measure 5.0 mm (mean total length-TL). The notochord flexion occurs at 5.9 mm (mean TL), and larvae have 38-39 total myomeres. Anaecypris hispanica larvae have little cephalic pigmentation with few melanophores anterior to the eyes, although pigmentation intensifies during development. Identifying features are presented here that will enable researchers to distinguish A. hispanica from other sympatric species. This information will allow us to identify larvae and can help to assess whether this species is present at locations where adults are not detected. © Asociacion Iberica de Limnologia, Madrid. Spain.

Casas-Marce M.,CSIC - Doñana Biological Station | Revilla E.,CSIC - Doñana Biological Station | Fernandes M.,Instituto da Conservacao da Natureza e Biodiversidade | Rodriguez A.,CSIC - Doñana Biological Station | And 2 more authors.
BioScience | Year: 2012

Natural history collections have existed for considerable time, and their contribution to research has been discussed and praised in recent decades. In scientific literature, however, there is a general lack of records from private and other small collections. Here, we show that these collections represent a highly valuable resource for research, because they may include an important number of specimens with a broad range of origins. We used the Iberian lynx to demonstrate that the wider and less-biased representation of specimens often found in these collections allows for additional and better inferences than those that are drawn exclusively from large institutions. Locating small zoological collections, however, is very time consuming, and, unfortunately, such collections often disappear quickly, putting their long-term persistence at risk. We propose that authorities, researchers, and curators work together to locate and legalize these specimens and facilitate their inclusion in public databases and, eventually, in larger natural history museums that will ensure their existence in perpetuity. © 2012 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved.

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