Monday 19 February 2024

New Publication on birds and humans!

Marjakangas, E.-L., Johnston, A., Santangeli, A., & Lehikoinen, A. (2024). Bird species' tolerance to human pressures and associations with population change. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, e13816.

In a shell: About 22% of bird species can tolerate heavily modified human-dominated environments, while only 0.001% are exclusive to intact environments, with variations in HTI linked to species' population trends, providing valuable insights for conservation planning and identifying species at risk

 Abstract: Some species thrive in human-dominated environments, while others are highly sensitive to all human pressures. However, standardized estimates of species' tolerances to human pressures are lacking at large spatial extents and taxonomic breadth. Here, we quantify the world's bird species' tolerances to human pressures. The associated precision values can be applied to scientific research and conservation. We used binary observation data from eBird and modelled species' occurrences as a function of the Human Footprint Index (HFI). With these models, we predicted how likely each species was to occur under different levels of human pressures.

Then, we calculated each species' Human Tolerance Index (HTI) as the level of the HFI where predicted occurrence probability was reduced to 50% of the maximum species' occurrence probability. We used resampling to obtain estimates of uncertainty of the Human Tolerance Indices. We also compared tolerances across species with increasing, stable, and decreasing population trends. We found that 22% of the bird species tolerated the most modified human-dominated environments, whereas 0.001% of species only occurred in the intact environments. We also found that HTI varied according to species' population trend categories, whereby species with decreasing population trends had a lower tolerance than species with increasing or stable population trends. 

The estimated HTI indicates the potential of species to exist in a landscape of intensifying human pressures. It can identify species unable to tolerate these environments and inform subsequent conservation efforts. We found evidence that species' sensitivity to human-dominated environments may be driving birds' use of space. Bird species' tolerances are also linked to their population trends, making the tolerances a relevant addition to conservation planning.


Monday 12 February 2024

GEDA at the 11F!

GEDA at the 11F, the International day of Women and Girls in Science. More info on the activities here and interviews here. For updates:

Friday 2 February 2024

Incoming workshop on IPM!

Intermediate-level workshop (in person only)
Bayesian integrated population modelling (IPM) using JAGS

14 – 18 October 2024

Institute for Mediterranean Studies (IMEDEA), CSIC-UIB, Esporles, Spain (Majorca)

Michael Schaub (Population Biology Research Unit, Swiss Ornithological Institute, Sempach, Switzerland)
Marc Kéry Giacomo Tavecchia (Animal Demography and Ecology Unit, IMEDEA, CSIC-UIB, Esporles, Spain)

Bring your own laptop with latest R and JAGS

Euro 500 (Euro 300 for Mster and PhD students).
Integrated population models (IPMs) represent the powerful combination, typically around a single matrix population model, of multiple data sources that are informative about the dynamics of an animal population. Typical IPMs combine one or more time-series of counts with other data sets that are directly informative about survival probabilities, such as ring-recovery or capture-recapture, or about productivity, such as nest survey data. However, many other sources of demographic information may be envisioned instead or in addition, including age-at-death data, radio tracking data, occupancy or replicated point count data. For non-statisticians the only practical manner to develop and fit IPMs is by using BUGS software (JAGS and Nimble). This course is a practical and hands-on introduction to developing and fitting integrated population models. It is based on the new book by Schaub & Kéry, Integrated Population Models (Academic Press, 2022). Beyond IPMs, the course also provides a broad introduction for ecologists and wildlife managers to a wide variety of models fit using BUGS software.

Contents include the following topics:
1. Basic introduction:
• Hierarchical models as an overarching theme of population modelling, including IPMs
• Bayesian analysis of hierarchical models
• Introduction to BUGS software in the context of GLMs and traditional random-effects models

2. Ingredients of Integrated Population Models:
• State-space models for time-series of counts
• Cormack-Jolly-Seber models for estimating survival probabilities
• Multistate capture-recapture models for estimating survival and transition probabilities

3. Integrated Population Models (IPMs)
• Introduction to matrix population models and their analysis with BUGS
• Theory of integrated population models
• Various case studies which differ in complexity and in the data types that are combined

In this intermediate-level workshop about 80% of the time is spent on lecturing and 20% on solving exercises. No previous experience with BUGS software, or Bayesian statistics, is assumed. However, a good working knowledge of modern regression methods (linear models, GLMs) and of program R is required. Moreover, a basic understanding of capture-recapture and/or occupancy models is highly desirable.

Send your application to Michael Schaub (, with CC to Marc Kéry (; describing your background and knowledge in statistical modelling, R and JAGS/Nimble, and capture-recapture, by 30 April 2024 at the latest. Workshop invitations will be sent out immediately afterwards.

Friday 5 January 2024

Protected areas on the news!

Dr. A. Santangeli explains here why protected areas are insufficient to reduce the current biodiversity loss. They should be larger, better connected but efforts should be made outside the areas with a more sustainable agricultures and practices. 

The interview is framed by the scientific work of Dr. Santangeli and his colleagues (here).

Monday 4 December 2023

The 2023 Workshop on CMR ended!

The 2023 Workshop on the Introduction to capture-mark-recapture analyses ended last Friday. It has been a busy and exciting week. We have learnt about bees, marmots, sharks, choughs, rays, vultures...and many other species and biological systems. Thanks to all for coming.

Wednesday 15 November 2023

GEDAi at the European Vulture Conference 2023!

Dr. A. Santangeli presents his first results on the age-dependent survival probabilities of vulture in Europe and Middle East at the European Vulture Conference 2023 in Caceres, Spain. 

Monday 23 October 2023

New publication on bird conservation and aesthetic!

Santangeli, A., Haukka, A., Morris, W. et al. What drives our aesthetic attraction to birds?. npj biodivers 2, 20 (2023).

In a shell: Understanding our relationship with other species is crucial. This study reveals that people are most aesthetically attracted to smaller birds with vivid colors and extreme ornaments. Unveiling the visual features underpinning our aesthetic attraction to birds is a critical step towards optimizing conservation

Abstract: In the Anthropocene, the era when the imprint of humans on nature is pervasive across the planet, it is of utmost importance to understand human relationships with other species. The aesthetics of nature, and of species, is one of the values that plays a role in shaping human-nature relationships. 

Birds are ubiquitous across the world. The beauty of birds exerts a powerful tug on human emotions, and bird-rich areas attract scores of eco-tourists. People naturally find some birds more beautiful or interesting than others, but we currently lack a global understanding of the specifics of what makes a species aesthetically attractive. Here, we used a global citizen-science database on bird attractiveness covering nearly all extant bird species, to show that there are specific visual features that drive our aesthetic appeal for some bird species over others. First, our aesthetic attraction is highest for smaller birds with specific, vivid colors (e.g., blue and red, and departing from brown-grey) and extreme ornaments (a long crest or tail). Second, our aesthetic attraction is highest for species with broad ranges, possibly because such species may be more familiar to us. The features that make us attracted to a particular bird strongly align with broad human visual aesthetic preferences in modern society. Unveiling the visual features underpinning our aesthetic attraction to birds is a critical step towards optimizing conservation (e.g., via conservation marketing) and education campaigns, and leverage the cultural ecosystem service potential of birds.



Friday 13 October 2023

Shearwaters on the news!

 J.-M. Igual explains the  breeding biology of Cory's Shearwaters and the importance of long-term monitoring to identify threats. The full interview here.

New Publication on birds and humans!

Marjakangas, E.-L. , Johnston, A. , Santangeli, A. , & Lehikoinen, A. ( 2024 ). Bird specie...