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Congruence between breeding and wintering biodiversity hotspots: A case study in farmlands of Western Poland

Abstract

Farmland landscapes are recognized as important ecosystems, not only for their rich biodiversity but equally so for the human beings who live and work in these places. However, biodiversity varies among sites (spatial change) and among seasons (temporal change). In this work, we tested the hypothesis that bird diversity hotspots distribution for breeding is congruent with bird diversity hotspots for wintering season, focusing also the representation of protected areas for the conservation of local hotspots. We proposed a framework based on the use of species richness, functional diversity, and evolutionary distinctiveness to characterize avian communities.

Although our findings show that the spatial distribution of local bird hotspots differed slightly between seasons, the protected areas’ representation was similar in both seasons. Protected areas covered 65% of the most important zones for breeding and 71% for the wintering season in the farmland studied. Functional diversity showed similar patterns as did bird species richness, but this measure can be most effective for highlighting differences on bird community composition. Evolutionary distinctiveness was less congruent with species richness and functional diversity, among seasons.

Our findings suggest that inter-seasonal spatial congruence of local hotspots can be considered as suitable areas upon which to concentrate greater conservation efforts. However, even considering the relative congruence of avian diversity metrics at a local spatial scale, simultaneous analysis of protected areas while inter-seasonally considering hotspots, can provide a more complete representation of ecosystems for assessing the conservation status and designating priority areas.

Open access
Discriminating between nesting and non-nesting habitat in a vulnerable bird species: implications for behavioural ecology

Abstract

Nowadays, partitioning amongst nesting and non-nesting habitats is not much studied. Here, I investigate whether or not the turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur) nesting habitats overlap with those used for other purposes in a North African agroforestry system. A total of 33 nest points and 33 turtle dove presence points were considered. The study, conducted in May to June 2017, attempted to determine the factors that may play a role in discriminating between the nesting habitats and non-nesting habitats. I used a linear discriminant analysis (LDA) to test the relevance of proximity of food resources, forest edge and human presence variables in the distribution of the species. The results show substantial segregation in the habitats selected for nesting and those selected for other uses [average distance was 1129.69 ± 169.40 m (n = 66) with a maximum of 1518.6 m and a minimum of 617.72 m], with selection depending primarily on the proximity to forest edge and feeding areas. I discuss these findings and their implications on behavioural ecology and future researches of this vulnerable species. I suggest guidelines for future studies that will seek to better understand the behavioural dynamics of turtle doves in the Mediterranean agroforestry systems. This can only be done when disturbance covariates, such as: (i) forest logging, (ii) cereal harvesting and (iii) hunting and predation pressures, were imperatively taken into account.

Open access
Effects of recreational activity on Acorn Barnacle (Tetraclita squamosa rufotincta) in the Red Sea

Abstract

Environmental recreation is a fast growing industry. However, in many cases the consequences for the environment are ignored. Eilat is just such a case wherein tourism is the mainstay of the city and the Red Sea is the main attraction. Most areas are developed specifically for enhancing tourism and one of the most benign of creatures, that sits permanently on rocks and seashores, is trodden upon regularly is the Acorn Barnacle (Tetraclita squamosa rufotincta). We surveyed 10 sites with the same area for the number of barnacles that were live, dead or deserted. We compared between areas frequented by recreationists, and from which, they were denied access. We found a significantly greater number of individuals, live barnacles, and fewer deserted barnacles in the restricted areas. We conclude that the Acorn Barnacles in the undisturbed areas had significantly greater probability of survival and longevity compared to those exposed to anthropogenic activity.

Open access
Efficiency of traps in collecting selected Diptera families according to the used bait: comparison of baits and mixtures in a field experiment

Abstract

Traps made from PET bottles were used to assess the efficiency of four baits in terms of the number of individuals for selected Diptera families collecting in Eastern Slovak gardens in summer and autumn. Bait used in traps significantly affected the taxonomical composition of the samples obtained. Moreover, significant differences in bait efficiencies and temporal shift in bait efficiencies were confirmed for the Diptera order and for selected dipteran families. The most effective bait for baited-trap Diptera sampling was beer, followed by wine, meat, and syrup from the summer sampling season. In the autumn sampling season, the wine was most effective, followed by beer, syrup, and meat. For the family Scatopsidae wine, and for the family Platystomatidae, meat were the most effective baits. Drosophilidae were most attracted to beer in summer and to wine bait in autumn.

Open access
First record of spider Tegenaria ferruginea (Panzer, 1804) from Belarus with notes on overwintering

Abstract

First record of the spider Tegenaria ferruginea (Panzer, 1804) from Belarus, along with taxonomic diagnosis and photographs are presented. Contrary to the expectations, males and females were found during overwintering in the silken sac in the fort of Brest, Belarus.

Open access
Go to the city: urban invasions of four pipistrelle bat species in eastern Slovakia

Abstract

Until now, late summer or autumn invasions into inhabited building have been regarded as phenomenon typical for the common pipistrelle, pipistrellus pipistrellus, exclusively. During the investigation of this phenomenon in the city of Košice (eastern Slovakia), we discovered that it was not always entirely specific for this species. During the period 2016–2018, we recorded 3 events out of 35 invasions, where small groups of common pipistrelles that invaded into inhabited buildings were also accompanied by individuals of two con-generic bat species, pipistrellus pygmaeus and pipistrellus kuhlii. Cryptic species p. pipistrellus and p. pygmaeus were determined by genetic test. In addition, in 2019, we recorded the first winter occurrence of another pipistrelle species, pipistrellus nathusii, in this urban environment. We conclude that areas of frequent invasive behaviour of p. pipistrellus may be sometimes associated with concomitant occurrence of other related species that share common thermal or foraging niche and such behaviour could be evidence of their urbanisation tendencies.

Open access
Long-term species richness-abundance dynamics in relation to species departures and arrivals in wintering urban bird assemblages

Abstract

Temporal dynamics of local assemblages depend on the species richness and the total abundance of individuals as well as local departure and arrival rates of species. We used urban bird survey data collected from the same 31 study plots and methods during three winters (1991–1992; 1999–2000 and 2009–2010) to analyze the temporal relationship between bird species richness and total number of individuals (abundance). We also evaluated local departures and arrivals of species in each assemblage. In total, 13,812 individuals of 35 species were detected. The temporal variation in bird species richness followed the variation in the total number of individuals. The numbers of local departure and arrival events were similar. Also, the mean number of individuals of the recently arrived species (8.6) was almost the same as the mean number of individuals of the departed species (8.2). Risk of species departure was inversely related to number of individuals. Local species richness increased by one species when the total abundance of individuals increased by around 125 individuals and vice versa. Our results highlight the important role of local population departures and arrivals in determining the local species richness-abundance dynamics in human-dominated landscapes. Local species richness patterns depend on the total number of individuals as well as both the departure-arrival dynamics of individual species as well as the dynamics of all the species together. Our results support the more individuals hypothesis, which suggests that individual-rich assemblages have more species.

Open access
Structure and diversity of fish communities in man-made ponds of the Niger Delta (southern Nigeria)

Abstract

1. A survey of eight local earthen hand-dug ponds located within the freshwater swamps of a Niger Delta area (southern Nigeria) was conducted over a period of 3 months. A total of 4,313 fishes representing 19 species from 12 families were recorded.

2. The most abundant species was Xenomystus nigri (905 individuals), whereas the least common was Protopterus annectens (13). Cichlidae and Clariidae counted three species each, whereas Anabantidae, Hepsetidae, Mochokidae, Protopteridae, Phractolaemidae, Malapteruridae and Gymnarchidae were represented by a single species each.

3. A lotic species, Synodontis sp., was recorded possibly as a result of the episodic flood of 2012.

4. The Engenni swamps harbour a moderately diverse ichthyofauna. Regulations should be put in place to further enhance the fisheries potential of these local ponds.

Open access
Tardigrades as potential bioindicators in biological wastewater treatment plants

Abstract

The aim of this study was the evaluation of the relationship between the presence of tardigrades and various levels of sewage pollution in different tanks of a wastewater treatment plant. The study was carried out in the wastewater treatment plant located near Poznań (Poland) during one research season. The study was conducted in a system consisting of three bioreactor tanks and a secondary clarifier tank, sampled at regular time periods. The presence of one tardigrade species, Thulinius ruffoi, was recorded in the samples. The tardigrades occurred in highest abundance in the tanks containing wastewater with a higher nutrient load. Thulinius ruffoi was mainly present in well-oxygenated activated sludge and its abundance was subject to seasonal fluctuations; however, its preference for more polluted tanks seems to be consistent across the year. Although more detailed experimental study is needed to support the observations, our data indicate that T. ruffoi has a high potential to be used as a bioindicator of nutrient load changes.

Open access
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in environmental biology: a review

Abstract

Acquiring information about the environment is a key step during each study in the field of environmental biology at different levels, from an individual species to community and biome. However, obtaining information about the environment is frequently difficult because of, for example, the phenological timing, spatial distribution of a species or limited accessibility of a particular area for the field survey. Moreover, remote sensing technology, which enables the observation of the Earth’s surface and is currently very common in environmental research, has many limitations such as insufficient spatial, spectral and temporal resolution and a high cost of data acquisition. Since the 1990s, researchers have been exploring the potential of different types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for monitoring Earth’s surface. The present study reviews recent scientific literature dealing with the use of UAV in environmental biology. Amongst numerous papers, short communications and conference abstracts, we selected 110 original studies of how UAVs can be used in environmental biology and which organisms can be studied in this manner. Most of these studies concerned the use of UAV to measure the vegetation parameters such as crown height, volume, number of individuals (14 studies) and quantification of the spatio-temporal dynamics of vegetation changes (12 studies). UAVs were also frequently applied to count birds and mammals, especially those living in the water. Generally, the analytical part of the present study was divided into following sections: (1) detecting, assessing and predicting threats on vegetation, (2) measuring the biophysical parameters of vegetation, (3) quantifying the dynamics of changes in plants and habitats and (4) population and behaviour studies of animals. At the end, we also synthesised all the information showing, amongst others, the advances in environmental biology because of UAV application. Considering that 33% of studies found and included in this review were published in 2017 and 2018, it is expected that the number and variety of applications of UAVs in environmental biology will increase in the future.

Open access