Royal Institute of Natural science of Belgium

Brussels, Belgium

Royal Institute of Natural science of Belgium

Brussels, Belgium
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Bouyer Y.,University of Liège | Bouyer Y.,Royal Institute of Natural science of Belgium | Rigot T.,Pests and Diseases Risk Analysis and Control UR 106 | Panzacchi M.,Norwegian Institute for Nature Research | And 5 more authors.
Annales Zoologici Fennici | Year: 2015

In Norway, recovering populations of large carnivores commonly prey on roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). Understanding predator habitat use and ecology requires fine-scaled information on prey distribution and abundance. However, the massive spatial scales at which large carnivores use the landscape presents many practical and statistical challenges for developing functional prey distribution models. Pellet-count data from > 1000 km of transects gathered across southeastern Norway between 2005 and 2011 were used to derive a map of the relative prey abundance for roe deer. These data were modeled using zero-inflated hurdle models using both environmental and anthropogenic variables. Snow depth and agricultural fields were the most significant variables in explaining both presence and abundance. Internal k-cross validation of the model showed medium accuracy (Spearman's r = 0.35), whereas external evaluation carried out on the basis of independently collected snow-tracking data (Spearman's r = 0.37) and hunting statistics (Spearman's r = 0.88) showed higher accuracy. The map generated can facilitate both the study of broad scale processes linking predators and prey as well as roe deer management in southeastern Norway. © Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board 2015.

Bouyer Y.,University of Liège | Bouyer Y.,Royal Institute of Natural science of Belgium | San Martin G.,Walloon Agricultural Research Center | Poncin P.,University of Liège | And 3 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2015

Eurasian lynx are often regarded as being particularly sensitive to human land-use. However, in the European context where human influence is pervasive, the conservation of lynx requires that they be integrated into the human-dominated landscape. Although previous studies have looked at how lynx respond to human land-use in a broad sense, they have failed to examine the details of how different types of human induced impacts (forest fragmentation, human density, different types of transport infrastructure) influence distinct lynx behaviors. Furthermore, they have not examined the extent to which lynx modify their fine scaled avoidance behavior of anthropogenic landscape features according to the specific behaviors (resting sites, kill sites, movement) in which they are engaged and how these relationships are modified by prey density or the sex of the lynx. We used Resource Selection Functions to examine how 19 GPS-marked lynx in southeastern Norway responded to an index of cumulative human habitat modification while engaged in different activities. We found that lynx select for areas with medium levels of human modification, avoiding both the very highly modified and the areas with low degrees of modification. Females in general appear to be less tolerant of human modification than males, especially when it comes to resting sites. Terrain (ruggedness and elevation) appears to be important in permitting lynx to exploit heavily modified areas. Our study demonstrates that lynx show a nuanced response to human habitat modification, which offers hope for their conservation in Europe. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Taverne L.,Royal Institute of Natural science of Belgium | Capasso L.,Museo Universitario Delluniversita nnunzio Of Chieti Pescara
European Journal of Taxonomy | Year: 2015

The osteology of Acrorhinichthys poyatoi gen. et sp. nov., a pycnodontid fish from the marine Cenomanian (Late Cretaceous) of Lebanon, is studied in detail. The new fossil genus belongs to the order Pycnodontiformes, but is less evolved than the Pycnodontidae. It still exhibits a few bony plates (= tesserae) in the gular region, 3 teeth on the premaxilla and 5 teeth on the dentary, and its parietal is devoid of a brush-like process. It shares a few characters with Akromystax, the most primitive taxon within Pycnodontidae, characters lost in the other members of the family. © 2015, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle. All rights reserved.

Bouyer Y.,University of Liège | Bouyer Y.,Royal Institute of Natural science of Belgium | Gervasi V.,Norwegian Institute for Nature Research | Poncin P.,University of Liège | And 3 more authors.
Animal Conservation | Year: 2015

The relative merits of land sparing versus land sharing are being debated within conservation biology. While the debate is multifaceted, a central issue concerns the ability of biodiversity to actually persist in 'shared' human-dominated landscapes. There is a widespread perception that large predators are synonymous with wilderness and have a low tolerance for human-modified landscapes. However, there is an increasing body of evidence that is questioning this paradigm. In order to explore the tolerance levels of Eurasian lynx to human activity, we have analysed data on 49 lynx home ranges in south-eastern Norway occupying a gradient of landscapes from near wilderness to the urban-forest interface. Our results indicate that lynx have the ability to tolerate relatively high levels of human presence both within their home ranges and within the immediate surroundings of their home ranges. Home-range orientations reflect preference for areas associated with low levels of human-induced habitat modification, and avoidance of the more heavily disturbed areas. The results show that lynx have a large potential to exist in shared landscapes if their presence is tolerated by people. © 2014 The Zoological Society of London.

The osteology of Kisanganichthys casieri gen. and sp. nov., a small catervariolid fish from the Stanleyville Formation (Middle Jurassic), Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo, is studied in details. K. casieri gen. and sp. nov. has a pair of small triangular toothed lateral dermethmoids located at the symphysis op the upper jaw, the toothed premaxillae being more laterally positioned. The frontals have a broad anterior extremity that is sutured with the dermethmoid (= rostral). There is only one supramaxilla. The nasals are separated from each other by the dermethmoid and from the orbit by the antorbital. There are two supraorbitals and two large postorbitals (= suborbitals). The preopercle is crescent-like but with a very short dorsal part. The subopercle is much larger than the opercle. Within Catervariolidae, K. casieri gen. and sp. nov. seems more closely allied to Songanella callida than to Catervariolus hornemani. The systematic relationships of Catervariolidae in the "pholidophoriform" lineages are re-discussed and a basal position is confirmed.

The osteology and the phylogenetic relationships of Congophiopsis lepersonnei gen. nov.,an ionoscopiform fish from the Middle Jurassic (Songa Limestones, Stanleyville Formation) of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo, are studied in details. C. lepersonnei differs from all other known Ionoscopiformes by two important characters. Its dermosphenotic and its autosphenotic are posteriorly located and sutured with only the dermopterotic and not with the frontal. Its reduced first infraorbital (= lacrimal) is disjoined from the maxilla and forms a bridge between the first supraorbital and the second infraorbital. Within Ionoscopiformes, C. lepersonnei belongs to the family Ophiopsidae. Indeed, it has the parietal as long as the dermopterotic, a low number of supraneurals (less than 15), the lateral faces of the vertebrae devoid of fossae and ganoid scales. Within Ophiopsidae, C. lepersonnei occupies an intermediate position between the plesiomorphic genus Ophiopsis, on the one hand, and the apomorphic genera Archaeosemionotus, Macrepistius, Teoichthys and Ophiopsiella, on the other hand.

White S.,Napier University | Briers R.A.,Napier University | Bouyer Y.,University of Liège | Bouyer Y.,Royal Institute of Natural science of Belgium | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Zoology | Year: 2015

In carnivores, securing suitable den sites with associated early maternal home ranges is important for successful reproduction, and understanding natal den site selection is essential to ensure that these habitats are protected from human disturbance. This study investigated Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx natal den site selection across multiple use landscapes in Norway and explores whether the selection of early maternal home ranges across southern Norway involved a trade-off of security for access to their preferred prey species, roe deer Capreolus capreolus. The characteristics of natal dens and home ranges from 33 reproductive events were quantified across south-eastern and northern Norway. Natal dens were located in terrain further from the most accessible and disturbed areas (public roads) and in terrain more rugged than generally available. Early maternal home ranges were characterized by low human and low road density in rugged terrain and a selection for areas associated with higher or lower roe deer densities was not important in our analysis. Humans are the dominant cause of lynx mortality throughout Norway and our findings suggest that female lynx primarily chose areas that limited their interaction with people during the denning period. © 2015 The Zoological Society of London.

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