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Budapest, Hungary

Katzner T.E.,West Virginia University | Katzner T.E.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Wheeler M.,Duquesne University | Negro J.J.,CSIC - Donana Biological Station | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Avian Biology

McDonald and Griffith (2011) raise important points in their critique of reliance on feathers as a source of DNA for scientific research. Although those authors are right about many details, their one-size-fits all approach (i.e. prescribing blood draws for avian DNA analyses) obscures bigger picture issues that are of extraordinary relevance to avian biology. We introduce four points to provide alternative perspectives on their commentary. In particular, we feel that a) scientific goals should determine methodologies; b) stress to animals is context specific and blood sampling is not always less stressful to birds than feather plucking; c) feather DNA is too valuable to be ignored, especially when coupled with other analyses that require feathers; and d) logistical and other concerns often preclude blood sampling. A one size fits all approach to science is generally short-sighted, be it in regard to the collection of genetic or other samples from birds, or to a suite of other research problems. © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Avian Biology © 2012 Nordic Society Oikos. Source

Mihok B.,Center forEcological Research | Kovacs E.,Szent Istvan University | Kovacs E.,Environmental Social Science Research Group ESSRG | Balazs B.,Szent Istvan University | And 34 more authors.
Journal for Nature Conservation

Halting biodiversity loss is a critical aim for the forthcoming decades, but is hindered by the gap between research and practice. Bridging this gap is a significant challenge in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, where, compared to Western European countries, biodiversity is higher but the research budget is lower. Approaches to address bridging this gap include participatory research prioritizing exercises. These demand-driven collaborative ranking processes have proven to be a useful tool in providing a research agenda derived from a review of critical challenges based on stakeholder engagement. However, for research agendas to be effectively realized, they are best developed and implemented at the operative level of research financing and implementation. This paper shows the process and the outcome of an exercise conducted in Hungary aiming to compile the most important conservation research questions at the country-level and outlines a set of further measures and tools required for dissemination and advocacy for the research agenda. During the process 792 research questions were collated from conservation practitioners and natural resource managers based on interviews and via an online questionnaire; the final 50 most important questions were identified by practitioners and policy makers during an expert workshop. Questions are embedded in global and EU biodiversity targets and imply a pragmatic approach with the aim of identifying research that supports policy- and decision-making regarding habitat management, land-use and regional development, while also focussing on conflicting issues. The outcome of the process includes the potential for lobbying, therefore post-publication activities and dissemination strategies are outlined as an integrated part of the exercise. © 2015 Elsevier GmbH. Source

Horvath M.,MME Birdlife Hungary | Demeter I.,MME Birdlife Hungary | Fater I.,MME Birdlife Hungary | Firmanszky G.,Aggtelek National Park Directorate | And 6 more authors.
Acta Zoologica Bulgarica

The Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca Savigny 1809) reaches the western border of its range in the Carpathian Basin, which is the largest known population outside Russia and Kazakhstan. An increasing trend of this population in Hungary and also in the nearby areas of Slovakia has been reported since the 1980's, when the number of breeding pairs supposedly reached the historical minimum. In this study we evaluated the dynamics of the Hungarian Imperial Eagle population between 2001 and 2009. As a result of the continuous increase of the population the monitoring program revealed 105 nesting pairs by 2009. While an expansion of the breeding area towards lowland agricultural habitats was observed, the ratio of pairs inhabiting the historical mountainous breeding habitats decreased from 50 % to only 15 % during the study period. The frequency of the two- and three-chick broods in respect to single-chick broods increased in comparison to the 1980-2000 period showing a higher average annual productivity of the population (1.15 fledglings per nesting pair). Besides the favourable changes in population trend and productivity, the area expansion in the recently occupied lowland habitats also raised several new threats to the population, such as the increased number of illegal poisoning incidents and more frequent collisions with vehicles. Source

Zhan X.,University of Cardiff | Zhan X.,CAS Institute of Zoology | Dixon A.,International Wildlife Consultants Ltd | Batbayar N.,Wildlife Science and Conservation Center | And 19 more authors.

Recent years have seen considerable progress in applying single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to population genetics studies. However, relatively few have attempted to use them to study the genetic differentiation of wild bird populations and none have examined possible differences of exonic and intronic SNPs in these studies. Here, using 144 SNPs, we examined population genetic differentiation in the saker falcon (Falco cherrug) across Eurasia. The position of each SNP was verified using the recently sequenced saker genome with 108 SNPs positioned within the introns of 10 fragments and 36 SNPs in the exons of six genes, comprising MHC, MC1R and four others. In contrast to intronic SNPs, both Bayesian clustering and principal component analyses using exonic SNPs consistently revealed two genetic clusters, within which the least admixed individuals were found in Europe/central Asia and Qinghai (China), respectively. Pairwise D analysis for exonic SNPs showed that the two populations were significantly differentiated and between the two clusters the frequencies of five SNP markers were inferred to be influenced by selection. Central Eurasian populations clustered in as intermediate between the two main groups, consistent with their geographic position. But the westernmost populations of central Europe showed evidence of demographic isolation. Our work highlights the importance of functional exonic SNPs for studying population genetic pattern in a widespread avian species. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved. Source

Pechy T.,MME Birdlife Hungary | Halpern B.,MME Birdlife Hungary | Halpern B.,U For Life | Sos E.,Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden | Walzer C.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna
International Zoo Yearbook

In order to stop the decline of Hungarian meadow viper Vipera ursinii rakosiensis, in 2004 MME BirdLife Hungary together with national parks and Budapest Zoo started a complex conservation programme, supported by the European Union LIFE-Nature fund. The Hungarian Meadow Viper Conservation Centre was established with 16 adult individuals, collected from six different populations. By 2013 the number of vipers bred reached c. 1700 individuals. First reintroductions took place in March 2010, with 30 adult snakes released into a reconstructed habitat in Kiskunság National Park. By 2013, a total of 240 snakes had been released into three locations. Snakes were released by relocating the animals in the artificial burrows they used in the semi-natural terrariums at the Hungarian Meadow Viper Conservation Centre. At the release sites vipers were recorded 255 times during post-release monitoring, and 69 individuals were identified. Eighteen of the observed ♀♀ were gravid, and ten juvenile or subadult individuals were documented. In order to develop a remote-tracking method, pre-programmed radio-tags with a detection range of 200-300m were surgically implanted into the abdomens of 16 vipers. These tags also operated as temperature loggers, recording data every 5 minutes for one year. Zoos play an important role in communicating the results of this captive-breeding and release programme. Exhibits of live Hungarian meadow vipers are located at Budapest Zoo and Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria, and there are information points about the species located in all Hungarian zoos. © 2014 The Zoological Society of London. Source

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