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la Seu d'Urgell, Spain

Louzao M.,CNRS Chize Center for Biological Studies | Louzao M.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Louzao M.,Spanish Institute of Oceanography | Delord K.,CNRS Chize Center for Biological Studies | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

The protection of key areas for biodiversity at sea is not as widespread as on land and research investment is necessary to identify biodiversity hotspots in the open ocean. Spatially explicit conservation measures such as the creation of representative networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) is a critical step towards the conservation and management of marine ecosystems, as well as to improve public awareness. Conservation efforts in ecologically rich and threatened ecosystems are specially needed. This is particularly urgent for the Mediterranean marine biodiversity, which includes highly mobile marine vertebrates. Here, we studied the at sea distribution of one of the most endangered Mediterranean seabird, the critically endangered Balearic shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus. Present knowledge, from vessel-based surveys, suggests that this species has a coastal distribution over the productive Iberian shelf in relation to the distribution of their main prey, small pelagic fish. We used miniaturised satellite transmitters to determine the key marine areas of the southern population of Balearic shearwaters breeding on Eivissa and spot the spatial connections between breeding and key marine areas. Our tracking study indicates that Balearic shearwaters do not only forage along the Iberian continental shelf but also in more distant marine areas along the North African coast, in particular W of Algeria, but also NE coast of Morocco. Birds recurrently visit these shelf areas at the end of the breeding season. Species distribution modelling identified chlorophyll a as the most important environmental variable in defining those oceanographic features characterizing their key habitats in the western Mediterranean. We identified persistent oceanographic features across time series available in the study area and discuss our results within the current conservation scenario in relation to the ecology of the species. © 2012 Louzao et al. Source

Iglesias-Merchan C.,Technical University of Madrid | Diaz-Balteiro L.,Technical University of Madrid | De La Puente J.,SEO BirdLife
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2016

There is a global and growing concern with regard to anthropogenic noise impact on wildlife and natural habitats, but it is difficult to find consensus regarding scoping and assessment tools. This study adapts noise mapping procedures, common to most European countries, to a low traffic road (below 1000 vehicles per day) noise impact assessment in a breeding colony of the largest bird of prey in Europe. Results show that nest sites are located avoiding road traffic Leq levels higher than 40 dB. This means a road-effect zone of up to 500 m width from road margins, which previous scientific literature only refers in cases of traffic volumes higher than 10 000 vehicles per day. This finding is a noticeable impact by road traffic noise that reduces the breeding potential habitat more than 11% within the study area. This work shows the feasibility of expanding common methods and mapping tools for assessing and managing environmental noise in protected areas, which has worthwhile implications for both acoustics and conservation. © 2016 Acoustical Society of America. Source

Ibez C.,IRTA - Institute of Agricultural-Alimentary Research and Technology | Curc A.,Parc Natural del Delta de lEbre | Riera X.,SEO BirdLife | Ripoll I.,SEO BirdLife | Snchez C.,SEO BirdLife
Waterbirds | Year: 2010

Most literature on birds and rice (Oryza sativa) focuses on the non-growing period and little is known about the influence of management practices during cultivation. A review found that the main factors affecting species composition and abundance in rice fields during the growing season were water level, flooding period, rice plant structure and size, and pesticide use. Highest bird density and diversity occurred at intermediate water levels (1020 cm). Early flooding and late drying favored waterbird density and diversity, and the stopover of migrating species. Taller plants, at higher densities, reduced prey availability to most waterbirds but favored smaller species. Pesticides and herbicides have been shown to be toxic to birds and reduce food resources. A case study is presented for the Ebro delta, Spain. Three management schemes were compared: organic, agri-environmental and conventional. Bird density, biomass and diversity throughout the growing and non-growing seasons were determined in three consecutive years. Bird biomass, density and diversity averaged higher in the organic rice fields, but only biomass was significantly different. The higher biomass reflects the presence of a higher biomass of prey items (fish, invertebrates and macrophytes) in the organic rice fields, likely due to the lack of pesticides. Further research should focus on a quantitative assessment of the effects of specific management practices. Source

Mellone U.,University of Alicante | De La Puente J.,SEO BirdLife | Lopez-Lopez P.,University of Alicante | Liminana R.,University of Alicante | And 2 more authors.
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology | Year: 2014

Many studies suggest that migratory birds are expected to travel more quickly during spring, when they are en route to the breeding grounds, in order to ensure a high-quality territory. Using data recorded by means of Global Positioning System satellite tags, we analysed at three temporal scales (hourly, daily and overall journey) seasonal differences in migratory performance of the booted eagle (Aquila pennata), a soaring raptor migrating between Europe and tropical Africa, taking into account environmental conditions such as wind, thermal uplift and day length. Unexpectedly, booted eagles showed higher travel rates (hourly speed, daily distance, overall migration speed and overall straightness) during autumn, even controlling for abiotic factors, probably thanks to higher hourly speeds, more straight routes and less non-travelling days during autumn. Tailwinds were the main environmental factor affecting daily distance. During spring, booted eagles migrated more quickly when flying over the Sahara desert. Our results raise new questions about which ecological and behavioural reasons promote such unexpected faster speeds in autumn and not during spring and how events occurring in very different regions can affect migratory performance, interacting with landscape characteristics, weather conditions and flight behaviour. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

Mellone U.,University of Alicante | De La Puente J.,SEO BirdLife | Lopez-Lopez P.,University of Alicante | Liminana R.,University of Alicante | And 3 more authors.
Bird Study | Year: 2013

Capsule Five Booted Eagles breeding in Spain were tracked by GPS during migration. Autumn routes were generally more eastern than spring routes, showing a typical loop migration. Birds covered on average ca. 200 km/day, and only one individual used a long-term stopover site (for up to 4 weeks). All but one used a single wintering area, located in Sub-Saharan Africa, at 2800-3500 km from their nests. Eagles were forced to stop migration at the Strait of Gibraltar for up to 6 days. © 2013 British Trust for Ornithology. Source

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