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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed. August Week 1: 2015

This message contains birdRS NCBI what's new results from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

PubMed Results

1. Ecology. 2015 Apr;96(4):1105-14.  

The diversity and abundance of North American bird assemblages fail to track changing productivity.  

Dobson LL, La Sorte FA, Manne LL, Hawkins BA. 
Plant biomass or productivity and the species richness of birds are associated across a range of spatial scales. Species-energy theory is generally assumed to explain these correlations. If true, bird richness should also track productivity temporally, and there should be spatial and temporal relationships between productivity and both bird abundance and bird richness. Using the summer normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) for 1982-2006 and the North American Breeding Bird Survey, we evaluated the response of avian richness and abundance to interannual changes in plant biomass or productivity. We found positive spatial relationships between richness and NDVI for all 25 years. Temporally, however, richness and NDVI were positively associated at 1579 survey sites and negatively associated at 1627 sites (mean r2 = 0.09). Further, total abundance and NDVI were unrelated spatially (r2 values spanning < 0.01 and 0.03) and weakly related temporally (mean r2 = 0.10). We found no evidence that productivity drives bird richness beyond the spatial correlations, and neither prediction arising from species-energy theory was confirmed. Spatial relationships between productivity and bird richness may thus be largely spurious, arising via covariance between plant biomass or productivity and vegetation structural complexity, and the latter may be driving bird communities. This is consistent with the MacArthurs' classic hypothesis that the vertical profile of foliage drives bird species diversity. PMID: 26230030 [PubMed - in process] 

2. Ecology. 2015 Apr;96(4):948-59. 

Environmental conditions during early life accelerate the rate of senescence in a short-lived passerine bird. 
Balbontín J, Møller AP. 

Environmental conditions experienced in early life may shape subsequent phenotypic traits including life history. We investigated how predation risk caused by domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) and local breeding density affected patterns of reproductive and survival senescence in Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) breeding semicolonially in Denmark. We recorded the abundance of cats and the number of breeding pairs at 39 breeding sites during 24 years and related these to age-specific survival rate and reproductive senescence to test predictions of the life history theory of senescence. We found evidence for actuarial senescence for the first time in this species. Survival rate increased until reaching a plateau in midlife and then decreased later. We also found that survival rate was higher for males than females. Local breeding density or predation risk did not affect survival as predicted by theory. Barn Swallows with short lives did not invest more in reproduction in early life, inconsistent with expectations for trade-offs between reproduction and survival as theory suggests. However, we found that the rate of reproductive decline during senescence was steeper for individuals exposed to intense competition, and predation pressure accelerated the rate of reproductive senescence, but only in sites with many breeding pairs. These latter results are in accordance with one of the predictions suggested by the life history theory of aging. These results emphasize the importance of considering intraspecific competition and interspecific interactions such as predation when analyzing reproductive and actuarial senescence. PMID: 26230016 [PubMed - in process] 

3. Ecology. 2015 Apr;96(4):885-901. 

The promise and peril of intensive-site-based ecological research: insights from the Hubbard Brook ecosystem study. 
Fahey TJ, Templer PH, Anderson BT, Battles JJ, Campbell JL, Driscoll CT, Fusco AR, Green MB, Kassam KA, Rodenhouse NL, Rustad L, Schaberg PG, Vadeboncoeur MA. 

Ecological research is increasingly concentrated at particular locations or sites. This trend reflects a variety of advantages of intensive, site-based research, but also raises important questions about the nature of such spatially delimited research: how well does site based research represent broader areas, and does it constrain scientific discovery? We provide an overview of these issues with a particular focus on one prominent intensive research site: the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF), New Hampshire, USA. Among the key features of intensive sites are: long-term, archived data sets that provide a context for new discoveries and the elucidation of ecological mechanisms; the capacity to constrain inputs and parameters, and to validate models of complex ecological processes; and the intellectual cross-fertilization among disciplines in ecological and environmental sciences. The feasibility of scaling up ecological observations from intensive sites depends upon both the phenomenon of interest and the characteristics of the site. An evaluation of deviation metrics for the HBEF illustrates that, in some respects, including sensitivity and recovery of streams and trees from acid deposition, this site is representative of the Northern Forest region, of which HBEF is a part. However, the mountainous terrain and lack of significant agricultural legacy make the HBEF among the least disturbed sites in the Northern Forest region. Its relatively cool, wet climate contributes to high stream flow compared to other sites. These similarities and differences between the HBEF and the region can profoundly influence ecological patterns and processes and potentially limit the generality of observations at this and other intensive sites. Indeed, the difficulty of scaling up may be greatest for ecological phenomena that are sensitive to historical disturbance and that exhibit the greatest spatiotemporal variation, such as denitrification in soils and the dynamics of bird communities. Our research shows that end member sites for some processes often provide important insights into the behavior of inherently heterogeneous ecological processes. In the current era of rapid environmental and biological change, key ecological responses at intensive sites will reflect both specific local drivers and regional trends. PMID: 26230010 [PubMed - in process] 

4. Curr Microbiol. 2015 Jul 31. [Epub ahead of print] 

High Prevalence and Genetic Diversity of Campylobacter jejuni in Wild Crows and Pigeons. 
Ramonaitė S(1), Novoslavskij A, Zakarienė G, Aksomaitienė J, Malakauskas M. Author information: (1)Department of Food Safety and Quality, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Tilzes 18, 47181, Kaunas, Lithuania, 

The occurrence, seasonal variation and genetic diversity of Campylobacter spp. in pigeons and crows over a 1-year period were evaluated. Campylobacter spp. were isolated from 166 (34.6 %) out of 480 wild bird faecal samples. The occurrence of Campylobacter spp. in faecal samples was higher among crows (39.2 %) than pigeons (30.0 %), (P < 0.05). Campylobacter jejuni was the most common species detected among wild bird faecal samples (98.2 %). Meanwhile, Campylobacter coli prevalence in wild bird faecal samples was low-6 %. The Simpson's diversity index of C. jejuni flaA RFLP types was lower in pigeons (D = 0.88) compared with C. jejuni isolates detected in crows (D = 0.97). Obtained results revealed that C. jejuni are widely prevalent among crows and pigeons, indicating these wild birds as potential infection sources to humans. Further studies are required to determine crows and pigeons role in zoonotic transmission of Campylobacter. PMID: 26228635 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

5. Dongwuxue Yanjiu. 2015 Jul 18;36(4):241-247. 

Effects of frugivorous birds on seed retention time and germination in Xishuangbanna, southwest China. 
Shi TT(1), Wang B(1), Quan RC(2). Author information: (1)Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xishuangbanna Yunnan 666303, China. (2)Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xishuangbanna Yunnan 666303, 

The dispersal of many plants depends on transportation by birds as seed dispersers. The birds play an important role in long distance seed dispersal and may also affect seed germination. However, for plants who have many bird dispersers, the influence of dominant and non-dominant dispersers on retention time (dispersal distance) and germination remains poorly understood. In this study, we performed experiments with captive frugivorous birds and fruiting plant species to study the effects of dominant and non-dominant dispersers on seed retention time (SRT) and germination (seed germination percentage and germination speed). Our study showed a great interspecific variation in the effects of frugivorous birds on both SRT and germination. Some birds enhance the germination of a given plant species, but others do not. Generally, the dominant visitors improved the seed germination and performed longer seed retention time. PMID: 26228475 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

6. Nat Commun. 2015 Jul 31;6:7851. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8851. 

Hydrologically driven ecosystem processes determine the distribution and persistence of ecosystem-specialist predators under climate change. 
Carroll MJ(1), Heinemeyer A(2), Pearce-Higgins JW(3), Dennis P(4), West C(2), Holden J(5), Wallage ZE(6), Thomas CD(7). Author information: (1)1] RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL, UK [2] Department of Biology, University of York, Wentworth Way, York YO10 5DD, UK. (2)Department of Environment, Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK. (3)British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk IP24 2PU, UK. (4)Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Cledwyn Building, Penglais Campus, Ceredigion SY23 3DD, UK. (5)water@leeds, School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK. (6)water@leeds, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK. (7)Department of Biology, University of York, Wentworth Way, York YO10 5DD, UK. 

Climate change has the capacity to alter physical and biological ecosystem processes, jeopardizing the survival of associated species. This is a particular concern in cool, wet northern peatlands that could experience warmer, drier conditions. Here we show that climate, ecosystem processes and food chains combine to influence the population performance of species in British blanket bogs. Our peatland process model accurately predicts water-table depth, which predicts abundance of craneflies (keystone invertebrates), which in turn predicts observed abundances and population persistence of three ecosystem-specialist bird species that feed on craneflies during the breeding season. Climate change projections suggest that falling water tables could cause 56-81% declines in cranefly abundance and, hence, 15-51% reductions in the abundances of these birds by 2051-2080. We conclude that physical (precipitation, temperature and topography), biophysical (evapotranspiration and desiccation of invertebrates) and ecological (food chains) processes combine to determine the distributions and survival of ecosystem-specialist predators. PMID: 26227623 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

7. Mitochondrial DNA. 2015 Jul 30:1-2. [Epub ahead of print] 

The complete sequence of mitochondrial genome of Siberian accentor (Prunella montanella). 
Yao J(1), Zhao X, Li Y, Li L, Yan S. Author information: (1)Animal Science and Technology College, Jilin Agricultural University , Changchun , PR China and. 

The Siberian accentor, Prunella montanella (Passeriformes, Prunellidae), is a small passerine bird. In this study, the complete mitochondrial genome sequence of Siberian accentor was determined. It has a total length of 16 832 bp, and contains 13 protein coding genes, 22 tRNA genes, two ribosome RNA genes, and one control region. The nucleotide composition is 30.1% for A, 31.0% for C, 15.0% for G and 23.9% for T, respectively. The overall GC content is lower than AT. The phylogenetic tree of Siberian accentor and 10 other species belonging to order Passeriformes was built. The DNA data presented here will be useful to study the evolutionary relationships and genetic diversity of Siberian accentors. PMID: 26226593 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

8. PLoS One. 2015 Jul 29;10(7):e0134116. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134116. eCollection 2015. 

The Evolution of Stomach Acidity and Its Relevance to the Human Microbiome. 
Beasley DE(1), Koltz AM(2), Lambert JE(3), Fierer N(4), Dunn RR(1). Author information: (1)Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, United States of America. (2)Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America. (3)Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, United States of America. (4)Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado United States of America; Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, United States of America. 

Gastric acidity is likely a key factor shaping the diversity and composition of microbial communities found in the vertebrate gut. We conducted a systematic review to test the hypothesis that a key role of the vertebrate stomach is to maintain the gut microbial community by filtering out novel microbial taxa before they pass into the intestines. We propose that species feeding either on carrion or on organisms that are close phylogenetic relatives should require the most restrictive filter (measured as high stomach acidity) as protection from foreign microbes. Conversely, species feeding on a lower trophic level or on food that is distantly related to them (e.g. herbivores) should require the least restrictive filter, as the risk of pathogen exposure is lower. Comparisons of stomach acidity across trophic groups in mammal and bird taxa show that scavengers and carnivores have significantly higher stomach acidities compared to herbivores or carnivores feeding on phylogenetically distant prey such as insects or fish. In addition, we find when stomach acidity varies within species either naturally (with age) or in treatments such as bariatric surgery, the effects on gut bacterial pathogens and communities are in line with our hypothesis that the stomach acts as an ecological filter. Together these results highlight the importance of including measurements of gastric pH when investigating gut microbial dynamics within and across species. PMID: 26222383 [PubMed - in process] 

9. Mol Ecol Resour. 2015 Jul 28. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12450. [Epub ahead of print] 

Characterization of the genome and transcriptome of the blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus: polymorphisms, sex-biased expression and selection signals. 
Mueller JC(1), Kuhl H(2), Timmermann B(2), Kempenaers B(1). Author information: (1)Department of Behavioural Ecology & Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany. (2)Sequencing Core Facility, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, Germany. 

Decoding genomic sequences and determining their variation within populations has potential to reveal adaptive processes and unravel the genetic basis of ecologically relevant trait variation within a species. The blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus - a long time ecological model species - has been used to investigate fitness consequences of variation in mating and reproductive behaviour. However, very little is known about the underlying genetic changes due to natural and sexual selection in the genome of this songbird. As a step to bridge this gap we assembled the first draft genome of a single blue tit, mapped the transcriptome of five females and five males to this reference, identified genome-wide variants and performed sex-differential expression analysis in the gonads, brain and other tissues. In the gonads we found a high number of sex-biased genes, and of those a similar proportion were sex-limited (genes only expressed in one sex) in males and females. However, in the brain, the proportion of female-limited genes within the female-biased gene category (82%) was substantially higher than the proportion of male-limited genes within the male-biased category (6%). This suggests a predominant on-off switching mechanism for the female-limited genes. In addition, most male-biased genes were located on the Z-chromosome, indicating incomplete dosage compensation for the male-biased genes. We called more than 500,000 SNPs from the RNA-seq data. Heterozygote detection in the single reference individual was highly congruent between DNA-seq and RNA-seq calling. Using information from these polymorphisms we identified potential selection signals in the genome. We list candidate genes which can be used for further sequencing and detailed selection studies, including genes potentially related to meiotic drive evolution. A public genome browser of the blue tit with the described information is available at http ://public-genomes-ngs.molgen. mpg. de This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. PMID: 26220359 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

10. J Chem Neuroanat. 2015 Jul 25. pii: S0891-0618(15)00057-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2015.07.006. [Epub ahead of print] 

Bird eyes distinguish summer from winter: Retinal response to acute photoperiod change in the night-migratory redheaded bunting. 
Majumdar G(1), Yadav G(2), Rani S(2), Kumar V(3). Author information: (1)Department of Zoology, University of Delhi, Delhi, 110 007, India. (2)Department of Zoology, University of Lucknow, Lucknow, 226 007, India. (3)Department of Zoology, University of Delhi, Delhi, 110 007, India. Electronic address: 

Eyes are the part of the circadian timekeeping system but not involved in the photoperiod regulated seasonal physiology in songbirds. Herein, two experiments tested whether eyes detect and respond to seasonal change in the photoperiod environment, by examining gene and protein expressions in the retinas of redheaded buntings exposed to a single long day (LD, 16L:8D), with controls on short days (SD, 8L:16D). In the first experiment, mRNA expression of genes implicated in the light perception (opsins, rhodopsin, neuropsin, melanopsin, peropsin) and photoperiod induction (eya3, tsh-β, dio2, dio3) was measured at hours 15 and 19 (hour 0=light on) on the first long day. There was a significant increase in the eya3, tsh-β and dio2 mRNA expression, albeit with a temporal difference, and decrease in the neuropsin mRNA expression in buntings on the first long day. There was no change in the dio3, rhodopsin, melanopsin and peropsin mRNA expressions on exposure to long days. The second experiment immunohistochemically examined the eya3, tsh-β and rhodopsin peptide expressions. eya3 was expressed in both light conditions, but with a significant higher levels in the retinal photoreceptor layer (PRL) under LD, as compared to SD. Similarly, tsh-β was expressed in the PRL of LD retinas only. Rhodopsin levels were not significantly different between SD and LD conditions, however. These results for the first time show photoperiod-dependent molecular switches in the bunting retina, similar to the well documented thyroid hormone response genes based molecular cascades in the avian hypothalamus. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V. PMID: 26219493 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

11. PLoS One. 2015 Jul 28;10(7):e0133383. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133383. eCollection 2015. 

Impact of Environmental and Disturbance Variables on Avian Community Structure along a Gradient of Urbanization in Jamshedpur, India. 
Verma SK(1), Murmu TD(2). Author information: (1)Department of Zoology, Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, India. (2)Independent Researcher, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India. 

Gradient pattern analysis was used to investigate the impact of environmental and disturbance variables on species richness, species diversity, abundance and seasonal variation of birds in and around Jamshedpur, which is one of the fastest growing cities of India. It was observed that avian community structure is highly influenced by the vegetation habitat variables, food availability and human-related disturbance variables. A total of 61 species belonging to 33 families were recorded from the suburban area. 55 species belonging to 32 families were observed in nearby wildland habitat consisting of natural vegetation whereas only 26 species belonging to 18 families were observed in urban area. Results indicated that the suburban habitat had more complex bird community structure in terms of higher species richness, higher species diversity and higher evenness in comparison to urban and wildland habitat. Bird species richness and diversity varied across seasons. Maximum species richness and diversity was observed during spring season in all type of habitat. Most of the birds observed in urban areas were found to belong to either rare or irregular category on the basis of their abundance. The observed pattern of avian community structure is due to combined effect of both environmental and human related disturbance variables. PMID: 26218583 [PubMed - in process] 

12. Ecol Appl. 2015 Apr;25(3):685-94. 

Community occupancy before-after-control-impact (CO-BACI) analysis of Hurricane Gudrun on Swedish forest birds. 
Russell JC, Stjernman M, Lindström Å, Smith HG. 

Resilience of ecological communities to perturbation is important in the face of increased global change from anthropogenic stressors. Monitoring is required to detect the impact of, and recovery from, perturbations, and before-after-control-impact (BACI) analysis provides a powerful framework in this regard. However, species in a community are not observed with perfect detection, and occupancy analysis is required to correct for imperfect detectability of species. We present a Bayesian community occupancy before-after-control-impact (CO-BACI) framework to monitor ecological community response to perturbation when constituent species are imperfectly detected. We test the power of the model to detect changes in community composition following an acute perturbation with simulation. We then apply the model to a study of the impact of a large hurricane on the forest bird community of Sweden, using data from the national bird survey scheme. Although simulation shows the model can detect changes in community occupancy following an acute perturbation, application to a Swedish forest bird community following a major hurricane detected no change in community occupancy despite widespread forest loss. Birds with landscape occupancy less than 50% required correcting for detectability. We conclude that CO-BACI analysis is a useful tool that can incorporate rare species in analyses and detect occupancy changes in ecological communities following perturbation, but, because it does not include abundance, some impacts may be overlooked. PMID: 26214914 [PubMed - in process] 

13. Ecol Appl. 2015 Apr;25(3):673-84. 

Patterns in diurnal airspace use by migratory landbirds along an ecological barrier. 
Peterson AC, Niemi GJ, Johnson DH. 

Migratory bird populations and survival are affected by conditions experienced during migration. While many studies and conservation and management efforts focus on terrestrial stoppage and staging areas, the aerial environment through which migrants move also is subjected to anthropogenic impacts with potential consequences to migratory movement and survival. During autumn migration, the northern coastline of Lake Superior acts as an ecological barrier for many landbirds migrating out of the boreal forests of North America. From 24 observation points, we assessed the diurnal movements of birds throughout autumn migration, 2008-2010, within a 210 × 10 km coastal region along the northern coast of Lake Superior. Several raptor species showed patterns in airspace associated with topographic features such as proximity to the coastline and presence of ridgelines. Funneling movement, commonly used to describe the concentration of raptors along a migratory diversion line that either prevents or enhances migration progress, occurred only for Bald and Golden Eagles. This suggests a "leaky" migration funnel for most migratory raptors (e.g., migrating birds exiting the purported migration corridor). Passerines migrating during the late season showed more spatial and temporal structure in airspace distribution than raptors did, including funneling and an association with airspace near the coast. We conclude that (1) the diurnal use of airspace by many migratory landbirds is patterned in space and time, (2) autumn count sites situated along ecological barriers substantially underestimate the number of raptors due to "leakage" out of these concentration areas, and (3) the magnitude and structure of diurnal passerine movements in airspace have been overlooked. The heavy and structured use of airspace by migratory landbirds, especially the airspace associated with anthropogenic development (e.g., buildings, towers, turbines) necessitates a shift in focus to airspace management and conservation attention for these animals. PMID: 26214913 [PubMed - in process] 

14. Ecol Appl. 2015 Apr;25(3):662-72. 

Spatial heterogeneity increases diversity and stability in grassland bird communities. 
Hovick TJ, Elmore RD, Fuhlendorf SD, Engle DM, Hamilton RG. 

Grasslands are inherently dynamic in space and time, evolving with frequent disturbance from fire and herbivores. As a consequence of human actions, many remaining grasslands have become homogenous, which has led to reduced ecosystem function, biodiversity loss, and decreased ecological services. Previous research has shown that restoring inherent heterogeneity to grasslands can increase avian diversity, but the amount of heterogeneity (i.e., number of patches or fire return interval) and the impact on avian community stability have yet to be investigated. We used a unique landscape-level design to examine avian response to interacting fire and grazing across multiple experimental landscapes that represented a gradient of fire- and grazing-dependent heterogeneity. We used seven landscapes (430-980 ha; x = 627 ha) with varying levels of patchiness ranging from annually burned (one single patch) with spring-only fires to a four-year fire return interval with spring and summer fires (eight patches). This design created a range of heterogeneity as a result of pyric herbivory, an ecological process in which fire and grazing are allowed to interact in space and time. We found that greater heterogeneity across experimental landscapes resulted in increased avian diversity and stability over time. An index of bird community change, quantified as the sum of the range of detrended correspondence analysis axis site scores, was nearly four times greater in the most homogenous experimental landscape when compared to the most heterogeneous experimental landscape. Species responses were consistently positively associated with increased heterogeneity at the landscape scale, and within-experimental-landscape responses were most often related to litter cover, litter accumulation, and vegetation height. We conclude that increased fire- and grazig-dependent heterogeneity can result in high variability in the bird community at finer, transect scales, but increased diversity and stability at broad landscape scales. We recommend that future management efforts in rangelands focus on restored disturbance processes to increase heterogeneity and improve grassland bird conservation. PMID: 26214912 [PubMed - in process] 

15. Genet Mol Res. 2015 Jul 17;14(3):7986-9. doi: 10.4238/2015.July.17.6. 

Characterization of microsatellite markers for the Restinga Antwren, Formicivora littoralis (Thamnophilidae), an endangered bird endemic to Brazil. 
Chaves FG(1), Vecchi MB(2), Webster MS(3), Alves MA(2). Author information: (1)Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, Instituto de Biologia Roberto Alcantara Gomes, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil (2)Departamento de Ecologia, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio Janeiro, RJ, Brasil. (3)Neurobiology and Behavior Department, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA. 

Molecular markers are important tools in determining parentage, gene flow, and the genetic structure of species. In the case of rare, endemic, and/or threatened species, these markers can be used to understand key ecological questions and support conservation actions. We developed seven microsatellite markers for the only bird endemic to the Restinga ecosystem. Microsatellite loci were isolated from a library that was based on 10 individuals (six males and four females). Primers were tested in 107 individuals of the same population. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 4 to 19, and the observed and expected heterozygosity varied from 0.15 to 0.84 and from 0.60 to 0.89, respectively. We expect that the polymorphic microsatellite loci we describe will be useful for other studies, particularly in the Tropics. PMID: 26214480 [PubMed - in process] 

16. PeerJ. 2015 Jul 16;3:e1097. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1097. eCollection 2015. 

Do the effects of crops on skylark (Alauda arvensis) differ between the field and landscape scales? 
Sausse C(1), Barbottin A(2), Jiguet F(3), Martin P(2). Author information: (1)Terres Inovia , Thiverval-Grignon , France ; AgroParisTech, UMR 1048 SAD-APT , Thiverval-Grignon , France ; INRA, UMR 1048 SAD-APT , Thiverval-Grignon , France. (2)AgroParisTech, UMR 1048 SAD-APT , Thiverval-Grignon , France ; INRA, UMR 1048 SAD-APT , Thiverval-Grignon , France. (3)Centre d'Ecologie et des Sciences de la Conservation UMR7204 CNRS-MNHN-UPMC-Sorbonne Universités , Paris , France. 

The promotion of biodiversity in agricultural areas involves actions at the landscape scale, and the management of cropping patterns is considered an important means of achieving this goal. However, most of the available knowledge about the impact of crops on biodiversity has been obtained at the field scale, and is generally grouped together under the umbrella term "crop suitability." Can field-scale knowledge be used to predict the impact on populations across landscapes? We studied the impact of maize and rapeseed on the abundance of skylark (Alauda arvensis). Field-scale studies in Western Europe have reported diverse impacts on habitat selection and demography. We assessed the consistency between field-scale knowledge and landscape-scale observations, using high-resolution databases describing crops and other habitats for the 4 km(2) grid scales analyzed in the French Breeding Bird Survey. We used generalized linear models to estimate the impact of each studied crop at the landscape scale. We stratified the squares according to the local and geographical contexts, to ensure that the conclusions drawn were valid in a wide range of contexts. Our results were not consistent with field knowledge for rapeseed, and were consistent for maize only in grassland contexts. However, the effect sizes were much smaller than those of structural landscape features. These results suggest that upscaling from the field scale to the landscape scale leads to an integration of new agronomic and ecological processes, making the objects studied more complex than simple "crop ∗ species" pairs. We conclude that the carrying capacity of agricultural landscapes cannot be deduced from the suitability of their components. PMCID: PMC4512765 PMID: 26213656 [PubMed] 

17. Conserv Biol. 2015 Jul 24. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12569. [Epub ahead of print] 

Effects of wind-energy facilities on breeding grassland bird distributions. 
Shaffer JA(1), Buhl DA(1). Author information: (1)U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, 8711 37th Street SE, Jamestown, ND, 58401, U.S.A. 

The contribution of renewable energy to meet worldwide demand continues to grow. Wind energy is one of the fastest growing renewable sectors, but new wind facilities are often placed in prime wildlife habitat. Long-term studies that incorporate a rigorous statistical design to evaluate the effects of wind facilities on wildlife are rare. We conducted a before-after-control-impact (BACI) assessment to determine if wind facilities placed in native mixed-grass prairies displaced breeding grassland birds. During 2003-2012, we monitored changes in bird density in 3 study areas in North Dakota and South Dakota (U.S.A.). We examined whether displacement or attraction occurred 1 year after construction (immediate effect) and the average displacement or attraction 2-5 years after construction (delayed effect). We tested for these effects overall and within distance bands of 100, 200, 300, and >300 m from turbines. We observed displacement for 7 of 9 species. One species was unaffected by wind facilities and one species exhibited attraction. Displacement and attraction generally occurred within 100 m and often extended up to 300 m. In a few instances, displacement extended beyond 300 m. Displacement and attraction occurred 1 year after construction and persisted at least 5 years. Our research provides a framework for applying a BACI design to displacement studies and highlights the erroneous conclusions that can be made without the benefit of adopting such a design. More broadly, species-specific behaviors can be used to inform management decisions about turbine placement and the potential impact to individual species. Additionally, the avoidance distance metrics we estimated can facilitate future development of models evaluating impacts of wind facilities under differing land-use scenarios. Published 2015. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA. PMID: 26213098 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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