Wednesday, 20 February 2019

New Publication on Egyptian vulture and EU-LIFE project !

Adrià Badia‐Boher, J., Sanz-Aguilar A., de La Riva M., Gangoso, L., van Overveld, T., García-Alfonso, M., Luzardo, O. P,Suarez Pérez, A., and  Donázar, J. A. 2019 Evaluating European LIFE conservation projects: Improvements in survival of an endangered vulture. Journal of Applied Ecology, doi 10.1111/1365-2664.13350.
  1. Long‐lived avian scavengers are threatened worldwide and thus, are common targets of conservation plans. However, scientific evidence of both the factors limiting populations and effectiveness of management actions are greatly needed in order to develop more efficient and successful conservation strategies.
  2. We assessed the effectiveness of conservation actions applied within a LIFE‐Nature project aimed at improving the long‐term survival of the critically endangered Canarian Egyptian vulture: including education campaigns for public awareness and control of illegal poisoning and the modification of power lines to reduce the risk of accidents. We formulated a multievent capture–mark–recapture model to obtain estimates of survival for juvenile, subadult and adult birds accounting for probabilities of resight, recovery and losses of metal and colour rings.
  3. Models supported a substantial enhancement in survival for subadult and adult birds and a moderate improvement for juveniles after the implementation of LIFE actions. Ring loss probabilities became notably high in the middle to long term.
  4. Poisoning events became very rare after LIFE was implemented, suggesting a positive effect of environmental education and awareness campaigns. Entanglements and collisions in power lines were also efficiently mitigated. Instead, electrocutions became the most identified cause of death in the post‐LIFE stage.
  5. Synthesis and applications. Our results highlight the improvement of survival in a threatened island vulture population after the implementation of a European LIFE conservation project. On small islands, with small human populations and few stakeholders, education and awareness campaigns can be especially effective for biodiversity conservation. We also demonstrate the need to complement conservation programmes with long‐term monitoring, which is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of actions, especially for long‐lived species
Press notes here and here.

Monday, 18 February 2019

News on urban ecology!

A new press release by E. Soto at B@leópolis on Urban Ecology, inspired by the work of Alvaro Luna. Alvaro is a Ph.D student supervised by A. Sanz-Aguilar (from the GEDA) and M. Carrete (from the EBD-CSIC). In his book (available here and here) Alvaro compiles the most incredible cases of wild animals living in the urban enviornment, the new colonizations and the adaptations. The book identifies our cities as a new ecosystem to study and to explore.

Monday, 11 February 2019

GEDA at the 11F-Balears !

The GEDA joined the 11F-Balears during the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. A Sanz-Aguilar, M. Serra and A. Cortés-Avizanda participated to the "Science Speed Dating" (at the French international school, the Molta Barra and the Caixa Forum in Palma).
Marta made the point on the Grifon vulture proyect and introduced a real-size vulture model. Three persons were necessary to fully open its wings! More on 11F activities here.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

New Publication on Invasive species and uncertainty models ! (and Cover)

Senar, J.C., Arroyo, L., Ortega-Segalerva, A., Carrillo, J.G., Tomas, X., Montalvo, T., Sanz-Aguilar, A., 2019 Estimating age‐dependent survival when juveniles resemble females: Invasive ring‐necked parakeets as an example Ecology and Evolution

Photo M Cabrera
Abstract: Many species only show sexual dimorphism at the age of maturity, such that juveniles typically resemble females. Under these circumstances, estimating accurate age‐specific demographic parameters is challenging. Here, we propose a multievent model parameterization able to estimate age‐dependent survival using capture–recapture data with uncertainty in age and sex assignment of individuals. We illustrate this modeling approach with capture–recaptuPsittacula krameri. We analyzed capture, recapture, and resighting data (439 recaptures/resightings) of 156 ring‐necked parakeets tagged with neck collars in Barcelona city from 2003 to 2016 to estimate the juvenile and adult survival rate. Our models successfully estimated the survival probabilities of the different age classes considered. Survival probability was similar between adults (0.83, 95% CI = 0.77–0.87) and juveniles during their second (0.79, 95% CI = 0.58–0.87) and third winter (0.83, 95% CI = 0.65–0.88). The youngest juveniles (1st winter) showed a slightly lower survival (0.57, 95% CI = 0.37–0.79). Among adults, females showed a slightly higher survival than males (0.87, 95% CI = 0.78–0.93; and 0.80, 95% CI = 0.73–0.86, respectively). These high survival figures predict high population persistence in this species and urge management policies. The analysis also stresses the usefulness of multievent models to estimate juvenile survival when age cannot be fully ascertained.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

GEDA on the news!

Here a press release by E. Soto on the use of APHIS to identify individuals from digital image. Photo-identification techniques are becoming more and more popular in monitoring individual behaviour and life-history tactics. They allow an economic and not invasive method of indiviudal recongnition, particularly useful to study small species or for those that cannot be marked without potentially harm individuals or change their behaviour. The software, APHIS developped by the GEDA and the "Fundación Bit" in 2015 (here), is freely available (here) and it is increasingly being used in may taxa such as invertebrates, mammals, fish, reptiles and amphibians.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

The Kentish Plover Bird of the Year by S.E.O / BirdLife

The Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus has been elected by SEO / BirdLife "Bird of the year 2019". Here to know more about its status and the current threats (in Spanish). The general information refers to one of our recent studies that indicates that the population of Kentish Plovers in Mallorca is stable, here.

Friday, 11 January 2019

New Publication on Vulture, farming practices and diseases !

Blanco, G., Cortés-Avizanda, A., Frias, Ó., Arrondo, E., Donázar, J.A. 2019 Livestock farming practices modulate vulture diet-disease interactions Global Ecology and Conservation. doi: 10.1016/j.gecco.2018.e00518

Photo. A.Cortes-Avizanda,M. de la Riva, R. Sanchez-Carrion
Abstract: Low- and high-intensity farming exert different direct and indirect effects on vulture populations by driving the availability, exploitation and characteristics of carrion. This is especially true for the levels of pharmaceuticals in wild and domestic animal carcasses. However, the impact of farming systems on the diet-related health of avian scavengers remains unclear. Here, we evaluate diet and disease signs in nestlings of three European species of vultures (Cinereous, Aegypius monachus, Griffon, Gyps fulvus, and Egyptian, Neophron percnopterus), living in different regions of Spain under contrasting farming schemes.
We test the hypothesis that disease (oral mucosal lesions caused by mixed fungal and bacterial infections) in vultures is influenced by features of food and foraging conditions derived from farming systems, especially due to the expected chronic and irregular ingestion of pharmaceuticals under intensive (factory farms) compared to extensive systems. A large proportion of nestlings of the three vulture species in central Spain (high-intensity farming area) continue to be affected by oral lesions (cinereous: 75%, n = 16; griffon: 61%, n = 28; Egyptian: 46%, n = 13). The same type of lesions, at a much lower frequency, was found in nestling of the three vulture species in each of the selected areas corresponding to low-intensity farming areas in southern and northern Spain (Cinereous: 39%, n = 13; Griffon: 7%, n = 14; Egyptian: 6%, n = 17). As predicted, a positive relationship was found between the proportion of nestlings with lesions and the frequency of intensive livestock from factory farms (swine and poultry) in the diet. The intensive medication in factory farms deserves further research to assess its implications in vulture diet-disease interactions at large geographical scales. Assessing the presence of oral lesions as an indicator of physiological alterations is encouraged along with pharmacovigilance in surveillance programs aimed at evaluating the direct and indirect effects of livestock farming practices on vulture health. Given the increasing exploitation of domestic instead of wild animals by vultures, the growth in high-intensity farming and the medication practices in free-ranging and semi-extensive farming systems, this assessment would help to characterize the risks associated with different farming operations for wildlife. This evaluation is crucial to avoid exacerbating the detrimental consequences of supplementary feeding programs contrary to their primary aim of the conservation of endangered species.

New Publication on Egyptian vulture and EU-LIFE project !

Adrià Badia‐Boher , J., Sanz-Aguilar A., de La Riva M., Gangoso, L., van Overveld , T., García-Alfonso, M., Luzardo , O. P,Suarez Pérez, A...