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.

Friday, 4 January 2019

New Publication on Woodcock mortality and hunting pressure

Prieto, N., Tavecchia, G., Telletxea, I, Ibañez, R., Ansorregi, F., Galdos, A., Urruzola, A., Iriarte, I. and Ariziaga, J. 2019 Survival probabilities of wintering Eurasian Woodcocks Scolopax rusticola in northern Spain reveal a direct link with hunting regimes. J. Ornithol. doi: 10.1007/s10336-018-1617-1
Abstract  The management of game species relies on robust estimates of hunting-related mortality. A relative measure of this mortality can be obtained by comparing survival estimates of animals across similar areas with different hunting pressures. We conducted live recapture-dead recovery analyses on wintering Eurasian Woodcocks Scolopax rusticola (hereinafter “Woodcock”) in provinces of Gipuzkoa (GIP) and Álava (ALA), two neighboring regions of northern Spain. The two regions have a similar number of hunting licences issued on a per day basis, but while hunting is limited to 3days per week in ALA, in GIP it is allowed on a daily basis, resulting in a ca. 50% longer period of  exposure of game species to hunting-related mortality here.We used a model based on monthly survival estimates to test whether the mortality of Woodcock varied between the two regions. Mean (± SE from a time-constant model) annual survival of Woodcocks was estimated to be 0.37 (± 0.04) and 0.56 (± 0.04) in GIP and ALA, respectively. If we assumed that this difference was only due to the longer period of exposure to hunting, mortality was increased by ca. 10% per additional day of hunting per week. Moreover, we also found that survival was positively associated with temperature in one of the study zones (ALA), suggesting that a high hunting pressure can override the effect of climate-dependent fluctuations. However, further research into fecundity and dispersal is necessary to assess the viability and sustainability of the wintering Woodcock populations under the current hunting regimes in these two zones.

Lizard campaign just started!

  The first island has been sampled. Likely we had good weather and animals were collaborating. Looking forward to calculate an estimate of ...