Sighișoara, Romania
Sighișoara, Romania

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Hartel T.,Mihai Eminescu Trust | Ollerer K.,Institute of Biology Romanian Academy | Cogalniceanu D.,Ovidius University | Nemes S.,Gothenburg University | And 2 more authors.
Italian Journal of Zoology | Year: 2010

Habitat-based inventories provide critical reference data that are essential to track changes in amphibian communities and their habitats. We present the results of a pond inventory in a cultural landscape from central Romania. The presence/absence of amphibians was assessed through multiple-year surveys during the breeding season and larval development. Ten amphibian species and a species complex were identified: Triturus cristatus, T. vulgaris, Bombina variegata, Bufo bufo, B. viridis, Rana dalmatina, R. temporaria, R. arvalis, Hyla arborea, Pelobates fuscus and the R. esculenta complex. The species richness is larger in the permanent ponds than in the temporary ones. Rana dalmatina, B. bufo and the R. esculenta complex are the most frequent in the permanent ponds, while Bombina variegata and R. temporaria were the most common in temporary ponds. The scarcity of B. viridis and R. arvalis is explained by the lack of available habitats. Our data allow a more complex analysis of the spatial and temporal determinants of amphibian habitat use in this cultural landscape, and provide a consistent baseline for future surveys and monitoring programmes. © 2010 Unione Zoologica Italiana.


Moga C.I.,Mihai Eminescu Trust | Ollerer K.,Institute of Biology Romanian Academy | Hartel T.,Mihai Eminescu Trust
North-Western Journal of Zoology | Year: 2010

This paper describes observed patterns of habitat occupancy in breeding passerines in burned and unburned reed-beds during two periods of their reproductive season (May and June). In burned areas only two species, Acrocephalus palustris and Saxicola torquata, exhibited differences in habitat occupancy between the two study periods. The differences regarding average number of singing males per observation plot were significant only in the case of Acrocephalus palustris. In unburned areas, for all species we recorded the same average number of males per observation plot in the two study periods. We also compared the number of singing males of A. palustris and of S. torquata observed in burned and unburned areas in the second study period. In this period (June) the reed was grown, and the habitats were occupied by both species. The average number of A. palustris recorded in the observation plots located in unburned areas was lower than in burned areas, but the difference was not statistically significant. The average number of S. torquata males observed in the unburned areas was also lower than in the burned areas, again without statistical significance. © NwjZ, Oradea, Romania, 2010.


Hartel T.,Mihai Eminescu Trust | Hartel T.,Babes - Bolyai University | Hartel T.,Netherlands Center for Biodiversity Naturalis | Schweiger O.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | And 3 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2010

A massive decline of biodiversity is caused by land-use changes. Efforts must therefore be made to better understand the factors that govern organismal distribution, especially for countries where traditional management is about to be intensified such as in Romania. We here document the spatial distribution of amphibians from a Romanian rural landscape where land-use is still largely traditional. We related the occurrence of nine amphibian species and species richness to measures of composition and configuration of the landscape surrounding 54 ponds at three spatial scales: circular areas of 400, 600 and 800 m radii. Busy roads most severely impacted single species and amphibian richness whereas landscape composition measures, such as cover of urban areas, agricultural areas, pastures, forests and wetlands were of little importance. We suggest that the relative unimportance of landscape compositional measures on amphibians is a consequence of the traditional management of these landscapes that keep the environmental conditions favorable for most species. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Tryjanowski P.,University of Life Sciences in Poznań | Hartel T.,Mihai Eminescu Trust | Bldi A.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Szymanski P.,Polish Academy of Sciences | And 18 more authors.
Acta Ornithologica | Year: 2011

Birds are commonly used as an example of the strongly declining farmland biodiversity in Europe. The populations of many species have been shown to suffer from intensification of management, reduction of landscape heterogeneity, and habitat loss and fragmentation. These conditions particularly dominate farmland in the economically well developed countries of Western Europe. Currently, the farmland environment in Central-Eastern Europe is generally more extensive than in Western Europe and a larger proportion of people still live in rural areas; thus generating different conditions for birds living in agricultural areas. Furthermore, the quasi-subsistence farming in much of Central-Eastern Europe has resulted in agricultural landscapes that are generally more complex than those in Western Europe. To protect declining bird populations living in farmland, detailed knowledge on both species and communities is necessary. However, due to scientific tradition and availability of funding, the majority of studies have been carried out in Western Europe. In consequence this provokes a question: are findings obtained in western conditions useful to identify the fate of farmland bird biodiversity in Central-Eastern Europe? Therefore, the major goal of this paper is to highlight some local and regional differences in biodiversity patterns within EU farmland by comparing intensive agricultural landscapes with more extensive ones. More specifically, we aim to outline differences in agricultural landscapes and land use history in the two regions, use farmland birds to provide examples of the differences in species dynamics and species-habitat interactions between the two regions, and discuss possible social and ecological drivers of the differences in the context of biodiversity conservation. Factors governing spatio-temporal dynamics of farmland bird populations may differ in intensive and extensive landscapes as illustrated here using the Grey Partridge Perdix perdix and the Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio as examples. The unevenness of farmland bird studies distribution across Europe was also presented. We call for more emphasis on pluralism in furthering both pan-European research on farmland bird ecology and conservation strategies. We also highlight some features specific to Central-Eastern Europe that merit consideration for the more efficient conservation of farmland birds and farmland biodiversity across Europe.


Balog A.,Yale University | Balog A.,Sapientia University | Ferencz L.,Sapientia University | Hartel T.,Mihai Eminescu Trust
Journal of Insect Science | Year: 2011

A five-year research project was performed to explore the potential effects of contact insecticide applications on the change of abundance and species richness of predatory rove beetles (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) in conventionally managed orchards. Twelve blocks of nine orchards were used for this study in Central Europe. High sensitivity atomic force microscopic examination was carried out for chitin structure analyses as well as computer simulation for steric energy calculation between insecticides and chitin. The species richness of rove beetles in orchards was relatively high after insecticide application. Comparing the mean abundance before and after insecticide application, a higher value was observed before spraying with alphacypermethrin and lambda-cyhalothrin, and a lower value was observed in the cases of diflubenzuron, malathion, lufenuron, and phosalone. The species richness was higher only before chlorpyrifos-methyl application. There was a negative correlation between abundance and stability value of chitin-insecticides, persistence time, and soil absorption coefficients. Positive correlation was observed with lipo- and water solubility.


Hartel T.,Mihai Eminescu Trust | Hartel T.,Babes - Bolyai University | Hartel T.,Netherlands Center for Biodiversity Naturalis | Nemes S.,Mihai Eminescu Trust | And 4 more authors.
Environmental Conservation | Year: 2010

Spatial models are increasingly employed to help understand the distribution of organisms and establish conservation priorities. Classic patch-orientated models may have limited power to accurately predict the organisms' distributions. Pond breeding amphibians are appropriate study organisms because of their complex life cycle, low dispersal and sensitivity to environmental conditions. Here connectivity metrics and niche modelling were used to predict the occurrence of the northern crested newt in a rural landscape from central Romania. Pond-related variables, such as macrophyte cover and the presence of predatory fish, were the most important predictors of newt occurrence, followed by one landscape-related variable (urbanization) and a connectivity metric (nearest neighbouring occupied pond). Most of the landscape and connectivity variables were not adequate predictors, presumably because most of the terrestrial habitats in this traditionally used rural landscape are ecologically optimal for amphibians. Conservation measures for the northern crested newt should promote the preservation of traditional extensive agricultural practices and discourage stocking of ponds with predatory fish. Copyright © Foundation for Environmental Conservation 2010.


Hartel T.,Mihai Eminescu Trust | Hartel T.,Ovidius University | Hartel T.,Netherlands Center for Biodiversity Naturalis | Bancila R.,Ovidius University | And 2 more authors.
Freshwater Biology | Year: 2011

1.Habitat loss is a major driver of biodiversity decline worldwide. Temporary waterbodies are especially vulnerable because they are sensitive both to human impact and to climatic variations. Pond-breeding amphibians are often dependent on temporary waterbodies for their reproduction, and hence are sensitive to loss of temporary ponds. 2.Here we present the results of a 5-year study regarding the use of temporary aquatic habitats by amphibians in a hydrologically modified area of Eastern Europe (Romania). The annual number of aquatic habitats varied between 30 and ~120. Each aquatic habitat was characterised by a number of variables such as: 'type' (pond, drainage ditch and archaeological ditch), 'hydroperiod' (number of weeks the ponds were filled in a given year), 'depth' (cm), 'area' (m2) and the density of predatory insects ('predation'). The turnover rate for each amphibian species for each wetland was calculated based on the pond occupancy. 3.Eight amphibian species were recorded from the aquatic habitats. Hydroperiod was the most important variable, positively influencing wetland use by amphibians and their reproductive success. Most species preferred drainage ditches for reproduction, and the reproductive success was highest in this habitat type every year. For most of the species, the local extinction rate was higher than the colonisation rate in the first 4years, but the situation reversed in the last year of the study when wetland use by amphibians sharply increased because of high rainfall. 4.This study confirms the importance for amphibians of maintaining and managing aquatic habitat diversity at small spatial scales. Man-made aquatic habitats such as drainage ditches may be important habitats for amphibians, and this should be considered in restoration activities. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Nemes S.,Mihai Eminescu Trust | Hartel T.,Mihai Eminescu Trust
North-Western Journal of Zoology | Year: 2010

Ecological studies often result in dichotomous, binary outcomes of the response variables (e.g. the presence or absence of the studied species). In such cases, logistic regression is used to model organismal response to various environmental factors. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve, a relatively old technique, is a standard procedure for assessing classifier's performance in various fields of science and is increasingly used in ecology. In this note, we present the idea and sketch the mathematics behind the ROC curve, discussing its utility and interpretation. © NwjZ, Oradea, Romania, 2010.


Moga C.I.,Mihai Eminescu Trust | Hartel T.,Mihai Eminescu Trust | Ollerer K.,Romanian Academy of Sciences
North-Western Journal of Zoology | Year: 2010

Singing corncrake males were surveyed in the Saxon landscapes of southern Transylvania, Romania. We found 132 singing males, meaning an average density of 0.77 males/km2. Most singing males were detected in reed mixed with weeds (52.52%), followed by mesophilous or mesohygrophilous meadows (32.32%), and in a much smaller number in cropland (8.08% in alfalfa, and 7.07% in wheat). The narrow valleys contain a higher density of corncrake than the wide open valleys, the differences only approaching statistical significance. The conservation of characteristic habitats, present only in a relatively small amount within the study area, is a compulsory measure for the maintenance of the corncrake populations. Therefore, the continuation of traditional practices (i.e. hand-scything) in order to control the natural succession of pastures towards woodland and reducing the rate of conversion of grasslands into arable lands are crucial aspects of the corncrake conservation measures. © NwjZ, Oradea, Romania, 2010.


Moga C.I.,Mihai Eminescu Trust | Hartel T.,Mihai Eminescu Trust | Ollerer K.,Romanian Academy of Sciences | Szapanyos A.,Mihai Eminescu Trust
Belgian Journal of Zoology | Year: 2010

In this paper we present dasta relating to nest density and habitat use by the Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor in the Târnava Mare Valley, Romania, using both nesting tree parameters (microhabitat), and habitat parameters measured in a 100m radius around each nest. The density of nests was 0.96 per km 2. Average distance between nests was 768.4m. Most of the nests (94.1%) were found in poplars, in the region of the middle third of their trunk, especially at the terminal parts of the branches. The birds preferred open habitats, with extended arable field cover. Moreover, the tree and shrub cover were small in areas used for nesting. As poplars are the preferred nesting habitats of this bird, and are scarcely represented in this area, the protection of these trees is critical for conservation of the Lesser Grey Shrike.

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