Federico Morelli, Zbigniew Kwieciński, Piotr Indykiewicz, Łukasz Jankowiak, Paweł Szymański, Petra Šímová and Piotr Tryjanowski
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.
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.
Reuven Yosef, Elena Polyakov, Noyah Ben Harush and Piotr Zduniak
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.
Peter Manko, Lenka Demková, Martina Kohútová and Jozef Oboňa
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.
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.
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.
O.T. Lazarus, Godfrey C. Akani, Luca Luiselli, Nioking Amadi, Adaobi P. Ugbomeh, A. Osuamkpe, Daniele Dendi, Nwabueze Ebere, Nic Pacini, Chimela Wala, Stephanie Nwanefulu Ajong and Harrison S. Uyi
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.
Natalia Jakubowska-Krepska, Bartłomiej Gołdyn, Paulina Krzemińska-Wowk and Łukasz Kaczmarek
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.
Maciej M. Nowak, Katarzyna Dziób and Paweł Bogawski
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.
Michael P. Braun, Nicole Braun, Detlev Franz, Bernadette Groß, Wolfgang Dreyer, Silke Laucht, Steven Kragten, Liviu G. Pârâu, Esther Koch, Darius Stiels, Kathrin Schidelko, Sven Nekum, Claus Walter, Jana Romero, Achim Kemper, Markus Hubatsch, Tobias Krause, Simon Bruslund, Nicole Bruslund, Mirjam I. Reinke-Beck, Andreas Bauer, Philipp Kremer, Markus S. Braun, Hedwig Sauer-Gürth and Michael Wink
Asian ring-necked parakeets (Alexandrinus manillensis, formerly Psittacula krameri, hereafter RNP) first bred in Germany in 1969. Since then, RNP numbers increased in all three major German subpopulations (Rhineland, Rhine-Main, Rhine-Neckar) over the period 2003-2018. In the Rhine-Neckar region, the population increased to more than fivefold within only 15 years. Interestingly, there was no significant breeding range expansion of RNP in the period 2010-2018. In 2018, the total number of RNP in Germany amounted to >16,200 birds. Differences in RNP censuses between years were evident. Surprisingly, cold winters (extreme value, −13.7 °C) and cold weather conditions in the breeding season (coldest month average, −1.36 °C) were not able to explain between-year variation. This finding suggests that in general winter mortality is low - with exceptions for winters 2008/2009 and 2009/2010, and a population-relevant loss of broods is low in our study population. Surprisingly, the social behaviour in terms of spatio-temporal stability of roost sites could well explain positive and negative population trends. Years of spatially stable and regularly used roost sites seem to correlate with increasing population sizes. In contrast, known shifts of RNP among different roost sites or the formations of new roost sites by split are related to population stagnation or a decrease in numbers. Climate change may lead to further range expansion as cities not suitable yet for RNP may become so in the near future.”