Thursday, 30 May 2019

New Publication on invasive species and social perception!

Luna,A., Edelaar, P., Shwartz, A. 2019. Assesment of social perception of an invasive parakeet using a novel visual survey method. NeoBiota, 46:71-89. https://doi.org/10.3897/neobiota.42.31017

Photo: R. Kasambe, source: Wikipedia

Abstract:The perceptions of the general public regarding invasive alien species (IAS) are important in the prevention of future invasions and the success of management programmes. Here we use a novel visual method to investigate the perception of a charismatic IAS, the rose-ringed parakeet, across different stakeholders in Seville, Spain. Respondents were asked to select images of 10 bird species they would like to have present in their surroundings, out of 20 available images, including the parakeet and three other non-natives. This makes the survey easy, fast to take and attractive to potential participants, while prior and potentially biasing information of survey goals is minimised. Although more than 95% of the respondents recognised the parakeet, at least up to family level, only 34.8% selected it. Selection rates were even lower for three other IAS and even more so when the status of non-native species was indicated next to the images, suggesting that a social norm against IAS may be established. To validate our novel visual approach, we also assessed perception via a traditional questionnaire and the results of the two survey methods coincided. Finally parakeet selection differed importantly amongst pre-defined sectors of the public and people who had prior experience with the parakeet selected it less frequently (e.g. farmers, park managers). These results highlight the importance of studying different stakeholders to get the full picture when considering IAS management programmes. Our new visual survey method can thus serve as an excellent and user-friendly tool to study people’s perceptions regarding charismatic IAS and facilitate well-informed and sensible decision-making.

Monday, 27 May 2019

New Publication on scavangers in the Anthropocene!

Sebastián-González, E., [...], Cortés-Avizanda, A., [...] 2019. Scavenging in the Anthropocene: human impact drives vertebrate scavenger species richness at a global scale. Global Change Biology https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14708

Photo: Chris Johns, Nat. Geogr. Education
Abstract: Understanding the distribution of biodiversity across the Earth is one of the most challenging questions in biology. Much research has been directed at explaining the species latitudinal pattern showing that communities are richer in tropical areas; however, despite decades of research, a general consensus has not yet emerged. In addition, global biodiversity patterns are being rapidly altered by human activities. 
Here, we aim to describe large‐scale patterns of species richness and diversity in terrestrial vertebrate scavenger (carrion‐consuming) assemblages, which provide key ecosystem functions and services. We used a worldwide dataset comprising 43 sites, where vertebrate scavenger assemblages were identified using 2,485 carcasses monitored between 1991‐2018. First, we evaluated how scavenger richness (number of species) and diversity (Shannon diversity index) varied among seasons (cold vs. warm, wet vs. dry). Then, we studied the potential effects of human impact and a set of macroecological variables related to climatic conditions on the scavenger assemblages. Vertebrate scavenger richness ranged from species‐poor assemblages to species‐rich (4 ‐ 30 species). Both scavenger richness and diversity also showed some seasonal variation. However, in general, climatic variables did not drive latitudinal patterns, as scavenger richness and diversity were not affected by temperature or rainfall. Rainfall seasonality slightly increased the number of species in the community, but its effect was weak. Instead, the human impact index included in our study was the main predictor of scavenger richness. Scavenger assemblages in highly human‐impacted areas sustained the smallest number of scavenger species, suggesting human activity may be over‐riding other macroecological processes in shaping scavenger communities. Our results highlight the effect of human impact at a global scale. As species‐rich assemblages tend to be more functional, we warn about possible reductions in ecosystem functions and the services provided by scavengers in human‐dominated landscapes in the Anthropocene.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Wind Power and Biodiversity

A. Sanz-Aguilar has collaborated on the video "Wind Power and Biodiversity" (in Spanish) where vultures are sentinels of Wind Power mortality.





Friday, 10 May 2019

Caught on camera !

This year we planned camera-trapping (left) and photos by trigger-happy photographs (below) to increase recapture rate. 
Both methods resulted in additional readings to those made by telescope alone. After these encouraging results we will be probably using these techniques regularly. A special thanks to Miguel, Javi y Paco for the nice images.


Thursday, 2 May 2019

Press release !

The last work published by members of the GEDA received media attention:

REWILDING (here)
RED KITE IN SOUTHERN SPAIN (here)

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 ...