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Vaugoyeau M.,University Paris - Sud | Adriaensen F.,University of Antwerp | Artemyev A.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Banbura J.,University of Lodz | And 76 more authors.
Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2016

The increase in size of human populations in urban and agricultural areas has resulted in considerable habitat conversion globally. Such anthropogenic areas have specific environmental characteristics, which influence the physiology, life history, and population dynamics of plants and animals. For example, the date of bud burst is advanced in urban compared to nearby natural areas. In some birds, breeding success is determined by synchrony between timing of breeding and peak food abundance. Pertinently, caterpillars are an important food source for the nestlings of many bird species, and their abundance is influenced by environmental factors such as temperature and date of bud burst. Higher temperatures and advanced date of bud burst in urban areas could advance peak caterpillar abundance and thus affect breeding phenology of birds. In order to test whether laying date advance and clutch sizes decrease with the intensity of urbanization, we analyzed the timing of breeding and clutch size in relation to intensity of urbanization as a measure of human impact in 199 nest box plots across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East (i.e., the Western Palearctic) for four species of hole-nesters: blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus), great tits (Parus major), collared flycatchers (Ficedula albicollis), and pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca). Meanwhile, we estimated the intensity of urbanization as the density of buildings surrounding study plots measured on orthophotographs. For the four study species, the intensity of urbanization was not correlated with laying date. Clutch size in blue and great tits does not seem affected by the intensity of urbanization, while in collared and pied flycatchers it decreased with increasing intensity of urbanization. This is the first large-scale study showing a species-specific major correlation between intensity of urbanization and the ecology of breeding. The underlying mechanisms for the relationships between life history and urbanization remain to be determined. We propose that effects of food abundance or quality, temperature, noise, pollution, or disturbance by humans may on their own or in combination affect laying date and/or clutch size. © 2016 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Lambrechts M.M.,CNRS Center of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology | Adriaensen F.,University of Antwerp | Ardia D.R.,Franklin And Marshall College | Artemyev A.V.,Russian Academy of Sciences | And 52 more authors.
Acta Ornithologica | Year: 2010

The widespread use of artificial nestboxes has led to significant advances in our knowledge of the ecology, behaviour and physiology of cavity nesting birds, especially small passerines. Nestboxes have made it easier to perform routine monitoring and experimental manipulation of eggs or nestlings, and also repeatedly to capture, identify and manipulate the parents. However, when comparing results across study sites the use of nestboxes may also introduce a potentially significant confounding variable in the form of differences in nestbox design amongst studies, such as their physical dimensions, placement height, and the way in which they are constructed and maintained. However, the use of nestboxes may also introduce an unconsidered and potentially significant confounding variable due to differences in nestbox design amongst studies, such as their physical dimensions, placement height, and the way in which they are constructed and maintained. Here we review to what extent the characteristics of artificial nestboxes (e.g. size, shape, construction material, colour) are documented in the 'methods' sections of publications involving hole-nesting passerine birds using natural or excavated cavities or artificial nestboxes for reproduction and roosting. Despite explicit previous recommendations that authors describe in detail the characteristics of the nestboxes used, we found that the description of nestbox characteristics in most recent publications remains poor and insufficient. We therefore list the types of descriptive data that should be included in the methods sections of relevant manuscripts and justify this by discussing how variation in nestbox characteristics can affect or confound conclusions from nestbox studies. We also propose several recommendations to improve the reliability and usefulness of research based on long-term studies of any secondary hole-nesting species using artificial nestboxes for breeding or roosting.

Sorace A.,Associazione Parus | Savo E.,Associazione Parus | De Santis E.,Associazione Parus | Duiz A.,Associazione Parus | And 3 more authors.
Avocetta | Year: 2015

Ringing is an effective tool to monitor bird species. The present contribution presents some data on the autumn passage of migrants in 'Palude di Torre Flavia' natural Monument (and SPA IT6030020) collected during 2001-2014. A total of 10,630 birds, from 55 species were ringed during the 14 years of study. Remiz pendulinus, Emberiza schoeniclus, Phylloscopus collybita, Erithacus rubecula and Acrocephalus melanopogon produced the highest numbers followed by Cettia cetti, Saxicola torquatus and Acrocephalus scirpaceus. Among the species of conservation concern, Torre Flavia appears to be of particular importance for the passage of Alcedo atthis, Luscinia svecica and Acrocephalus melanopogon. Trends in the number of yearly captured species and individuals showed fluctuations during the 14 years of study. As far as single species are concerned, the positive trend of Alcedo atthis and Cettia cetti and the negative trend of Saxicola torquatus and Passer italiae were statistically significant. © 2015 CISO - Centro Italiano Studi Ornitologici.

Moller A.P.,CNRS Ecology, Systematic and Evolution Laboratory | Adriaensen F.,University of Antwerp | Artemyev A.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Banbura J.,University of Lodz | And 81 more authors.
Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2014

Nests are structures built to support and protect eggs and/or offspring from predators, parasites, and adverse weather conditions. Nests are mainly constructed prior to egg laying, meaning that parent birds must make decisions about nest site choice and nest building behavior before the start of egg-laying. Parent birds should be selected to choose nest sites and to build optimally sized nests, yet our current understanding of clutch size-nest size relationships is limited to small-scale studies performed over short time periods. Here, we quantified the relationship between clutch size and nest size, using an exhaustive database of 116 slope estimates based on 17,472 nests of 21 species of hole and non-hole-nesting birds. There was a significant, positive relationship between clutch size and the base area of the nest box or the nest, and this relationship did not differ significantly between open nesting and hole-nesting species. The slope of the relationship showed significant intraspecific and interspecific heterogeneity among four species of secondary hole-nesting species, but also among all 116 slope estimates. The estimated relationship between clutch size and nest box base area in study sites with more than a single size of nest box was not significantly different from the relationship using studies with only a single size of nest box. The slope of the relationship between clutch size and nest base area in different species of birds was significantly negatively related to minimum base area, and less so to maximum base area in a given study. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that bird species have a general reaction norm reflecting the relationship between nest size and clutch size. Further, they suggest that scientists may influence the clutch size decisions of hole-nesting birds through the provisioning of nest boxes of varying sizes. © 2014 The Authors.

Moller A.P.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Adriaensen F.,University of Antwerp | Artemyev A.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Banbura J.,University of Lodz | And 84 more authors.
Methods in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2014

Secondary hole-nesting birds that do not construct nest holes themselves and hence regularly breed in nest boxes constitute important model systems for field studies in many biological disciplines with hundreds of scientists and amateurs involved. Those research groups are spread over wide geographic areas that experience considerable variation in environmental conditions, and researchers provide nest boxes of varying designs that may inadvertently introduce spatial and temporal variation in reproductive parameters. We quantified the relationship between mean clutch size and nest box size and material after controlling for a range of environmental variables in four of the most widely used model species in the Western Palaearctic: great tit Parus major, blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus, pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca and collared flycatcher F. albicollis from 365 populations and 79 610 clutches. Nest floor area and nest box material varied non-randomly across latitudes and longitudes, showing that scientists did not adopt a random box design. Clutch size increased with nest floor area in great tits, but not in blue tits and flycatchers. Clutch size of blue tits was larger in wooden than in concrete nest boxes. These findings demonstrate that the size of nest boxes and material used to construct nest boxes can differentially affect clutch size in different species. The findings also suggest that the nest box design may affect not only focal species, but also indirectly other species through the effects of nest box design on productivity and therefore potentially population density and hence interspecific competition. © 2014 The Authors. Methods in Ecology and Evolution © 2014 British Ecological Society.

Sorace A.,SROPU | Artese C.,SOA Stazione Ornitologica Abruzzese | Antonucci A.,Parco Nazionale della Maiella | Bernoni M.,SROPU | And 19 more authors.
Avocetta | Year: 2013

Scarce information is available on the current status of Apennine populations of Alectoris graeca. In this paper, data on recent distribution of the species in each Apennine region and data on census in several Apennine areas are reported. In Marche region, the size of population was estimated in 110-137 pairs and maximum density (1.25 pairs/ km2) was observed in M. Sibillini National Park. In Umbria region, the size of population was estimated in 9-23 pairs. In Lazio region, the size of population was estimated in 171-342 pairs and the highest densities were recorded in the Reatini Mountains (2.02 pairs/ km2) and in 'Montagne della Duchessa' natural Reserve (1.90 pairs/ km2). In Abruzzo-Molise regions, the size of population was estimated in 1500-1700 pairs and highest regional densities were recorded in the Maiella National Park (4.2 pairs/ km2) and Velino Sirente Regional Park (2.10 pairs/ km2). In Campania region, the specie was present only in Cilento e Vallo di Diano National Park, where the size of regional population was estimated in 84 pairs. In Basilicata-Calabria regions, population was estimated in 55-120 pairs. The Apennine population of rock partridge was evaluated in 1939- 2436 pairs. The distribution of rock partridge showed that many Apennine, pre-Apennine and anti-Apennine areas, apparently suitable for the species, were not occupied. Factors limiting the expansion and the growth of populations of rock partridge in Apennine areas are highlighted. A correct management of populations of Abruzzo region, in particular of local hunting pressure, plays a pivotal role for the conservation of Apennine rock partridge. © 2013 CISO - Centro Italiano Studi Ornitologici.

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