Breeding Sites (breeding + site)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Selected Abstracts


EVOLUTION, Issue 1 2004
Denis Bourguet
Abstract Genetic changes conferring adaptation to a new environment may induce a fitness cost in the previous environment. Although this prediction has been verified in laboratory conditions, few studies have tried to document this cost directly in natural populations. Here, we evaluated the pleiotropic effects of insecticide resistance on putative fitness components of the mosquito Culex pipiens. Experiments using different larval densities were performed during the summer in two natural breeding sites. Two loci that possess alleles conferring organophosphate (OP) resistance were considered: ace-1 coding for an acetylcholinesterase (AChE1, the OP target) and Ester, a "super locus" including two closely linked loci coding for esterases A and B. Resistance ace-1 alleles coding for a modified AChE1 were associated with a longer development time and shorter wing length. The pleiotropic effects of two resistance alleles Ester1 and Ester4 coding for the overproduced esterases A1 and A4-B4, respectively, were more variable. Both A1 and A4-B4 reduced wing length, although only A1 was associated with a longer preimaginal stage. The fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of the wing did not respond to the presence or to the interaction of resistance alleles at the two loci at any of the density levels tested. Conversely, the FA of one wing section decreased when larval density increased. This may be the consequence of selection against less developmentally stable individuals. The results are discussed in relation to the local evolution of insecticide resistance genes. [source]

Pair bond and breeding success in Blue Tits Parus caeruleus and Great Tits Parus major

IBIS, Issue 1 2005
Data from 939 nests of the Blue Tit Parus caeruleus and 1008 nests of the Great Tit P. major from nestboxes provided in superabundance in mixed forest study sites between 1976 and 2001 were analysed to examine the effects of mate retention on breeding success and the relationship between mate fidelity and site fidelity. Most birds retained their former partner (76% in Great Tits and 65% in Blue Tits). The probability of a pair divorcing was affected by male age in Great Tits, divorce being more likely in pairs with first-year males. Great Tit pairs breeding together for a second season bred earlier, but had no higher breeding success than pairs breeding together for the first time. In Blue Tits laying date and start of incubation tended to be earlier in pairs breeding together for a second season, but hatching and fledging dates were not earlier than in other pairs. Great Tit pairs breeding together for two consecutive seasons bred earlier in the second season than in the first, but breeding success did not differ significantly between years. In both species, breeding performance did not differ between pairs that divorced after a season and pairs that stayed together. Thus breeding success did not determine whether a pair divorced or bred together again. Neither Blue Tits nor Great Tits improved their breeding performance through divorce. Blue Tit females even had fewer fledglings in the year after divorce than in the year before. Mate retention affected breeding site fidelity. Blue Tit females had greater breeding dispersal distances between consecutive years when re-mating than when breeding again with the same mate. In Great Tits both males and females dispersed more when re-mating than when retaining the former partner, suggesting that mate retention increased the chance of retaining the breeding site. In both species, breeding dispersal distances did not differ between pairs that divorced and pairs in which one mate disappeared. Because no major advantage of mate retention was evident, we suggest that mate retention evolved under different conditions than those found in study sites with high breeding densities and a superabundance of artificial nesting sites. [source]

Effects of age, breeding experience, mate fidelity and site fidelity on breeding performance in a declining population of Cassin's auklets

Peter Pyle
Summary 1We examined how mate and site fidelity varied with age, experience and sex, and how age, breeding experience, mate experience, site experience and sex affected annual reproductive success and lifetime reproductive output in a declining population of Cassin's auklets (Ptychoramphusaleuticus). Our 276 study birds were 2,14 years of age, recruited at age 2,12 years, and had 0,11 years' breeding experience, 0,8 years' experience with the same mate and 0,11 years' experience in the same nest box. 2Mate fidelity was significantly greater with increasing age in males but not females. There was also a significant negative relationship between mate fidelity and breeding density (as measured by proportion of box occupancy); i.e. the lower the breeding density the higher the incidence of breeding with the same mate. 3Site fidelity showed significant linear and curvilinear increases with age that were significant in females but not males. There was also a significant negative relationship between site fidelity and breeding density; i.e. the lower the breeding density the higher the incidence of breeding at the same site. 4Previous breeding experience had no effect on either mate fidelity or site fidelity, and both mate and site fidelity were significantly lower after a breeding season was skipped. In addition, mate fidelity was significantly lower when a site was switched and vice versa. 5Lifetime reproductive output increased significantly with mate fidelity but showed no relationship with site fidelity. This suggests that fitness is optimized more through mate selection than site selection and that mate fidelity is not a by-product of site fidelity. 6Annual reproductive success showed a significant linear increase with age in males but not females, and a strong parabolic relationship with breeding experience that was significant in both sexes and significantly greater in males than females. 7These results suggest that (i) males may be more responsible for mate selection and females for site selection; (ii) improved foraging experience with age and a cost of reproduction may be more important factors in males than females; and (iii) reproductive success may be optimized by behaviour of the male rather than the female. 8Controlling for the age and experience terms of both parents, experience with a mate had a significant positive linear effect on annual reproductive success. This suggests that mate fidelity is adaptive in Cassin's auklets, and that studies examining the effects of age and experience on reproductive performance should separately consider the duration of the pair bond. 9,Controlling for all other variables, neither experience at a breeding site nor breeding density showed significant correlations with reproductive success. 10,We suggest that reductions in food supply, which correlate with reduced breeding densities, may prevent all but the highest quality breeders (those which have already established a pair bond) from reproducing, and that the increase in quality offsets the reduction in food availability. [source]

Intrapopulation variation in reproduction by female eastern kingbirds Tyrannus tyrannus: the impacts of age, individual performance, and breeding site

Michael T. Murphy
I used data from a 13-year study of eastern kingbirds Tyrannus tyrannus from central New York, USA, to evaluate the relative impact of female age and body size on reproduction. I also calculated repeatabilities of reproductive traits for both females and the sites where they bred in an attempt to evaluate the relative contribution of each to intrapopulation variation in reproduction. Female age had a strong influence on timing of breeding (breeding date advanced by one day for each year of life), but was not a significant source of variation for clutch size, egg mass, number of young to hatch or fledge, or total seasonal production. Repeatabilities of breeding date for females and sites were both significant (0.284 and 0.181, respectively), but the only other significant repeatabilities were for female clutch size (0.282) and female egg mass (0.746). Among-year repeatabilities of breeding date for females who bred at two or more sites over their lifetime were as high as those for females that were site faithful. Thus, breeding date was probably affected independently by the female and site. No measure of productivity exhibited a repeatable pattern in comparisons made among females or sites. All reproductive traits were entered as dependent variables in a series of stepwise multiple regression analyses in an attempt to identify female properties (size, lifespan and condition) that might be linked proximately to differences in breeding statistics. I found that (a) large birds tended to breed the earliest, (b) clutch size was independent of female size, condition and lifespan, (c) female body size and egg size were correlated positively, but (d) production of young was independent of all measured female properties. Reproduction appears to be linked more closely to the female than to the site. Body size accounts for a portion of the repeatable portion of breeding date and egg mass, but most of the intrapopulation variation in these and other traits remained unexplained. [source]

Process in the evolution of bird migration and pattern in avian ecogeography

Christopher P. Bell
Current ideas about the evolution of bird migration equate its origin with the first appearance of fully migratory populations, and attribute its evolution to a selective advantage generated by increased breeding success, gained through temporary emigration from resident populations to breed in under-exploited seasonal areas. I propose an alternative hypothesis in which migration first appears as a temporary directional shift away from the breeding site outside the reproductive period, in response to seasonal variation in the direction and/or severity of environmental gradients. Fully migratory populations then appear through either extinction of sedentary phenotypes, or colonisation of vacant seasonal areas by migrants. Where colonisation occurs, resident ancestral populations can be driven to extinction by competition from migrants which invade their range outside the breeding season, resulting in fully migratory species. An analogous process drives the evolution of migration between high latitudes and the tropics, since extension of breeding range into higher latitudes may drive low latitude populations to extinction, resulting in an overall shift of breeding range. This process can explain reverse latitudinal gradients in avian diversity in the temperate zone, since the breeding ranges of migratory species concentrate in latitudes where they enjoy the highest breeding success. Near absence of forest-dwelling species among Palaearctic-African migrants is attributable to the lack of forest in northern Africa for much of the Tertiary, which has precluded selection both for southward extension of migration by west Palaearctic forest species, and northward breeding colonisation by African forest species. [source]

The role of environment in shaping the genetic diversity of the subalpine mosquito, Aedes rusticus (Diptera, Culicidae)

J. P. David
Abstract The relative involvement of larval dietary tolerance to the leaf-litter toxic polyphenols in shaping population genetic structure of the subalpine mosquito Aedes rusticus was examined. This was compared with other parameters such as geographical range, type of vegetation surrounding the breeding site, and occurrence of annual larvicidal treatments. Population genetic structure was analysed at 10 presumed neutral polymorphic isoenzyme loci. Toxicological comparisons involved standard bioassays performed on larvae fed on toxic decomposed leaf litter. Significant overall genetic differentiation was observed among the 22 studied populations and within the five defined geographical groups. Analysis of molecular variance revealed an absence of relation between genetic and environmental parameters, genetic variance being essentially found within populations. This suggested that the larval dietary tolerance to the toxic leaf litter and the other studied parameters poorly influence population genetic structure. The local adaptation of subalpine mosquito populations to the surrounding vegetation thus appears as a labile trait. Such a dynamic adaptation is also suggested by the correlation between geographical and toxicological distances and the correlation between dietary tolerance to the leaf-litter toxic polyphenols and annual larvicidal treatments. [source]

Microsatellite DNA markers for the Chinese wood frog (Rana chensinensis) and tests for their cross-utility in 15 ranid frog species

Abstract We developed 22 microsatellite markers for the Chinese wood frog (Rana chensinensis) to study the impact of landscape features on its population structure. Thirty-four individuals from one breeding site were examined and 14 loci were polymorphic. The number of alleles, expected heterozygosity and observed heterozygosity varied from two to 14, from 0.0833 to 0.9118, and from 0.1376 to 0.8667, respectively. Cross-species amplification was tested for 15 ranid frog species. The Plateau brown frog, Rana kukunoris (n = 23), was successfully amplified at 18 loci, and 15 were polymorphic with number of alleles varying from two to 18. Ten other species were also amplified at a limited number of loci. [source]

High divorce rates in Corsican blue tits: how to choose a better option in a harsh environment

OIKOS, Issue 3 2000
Jacques Blondel
We investigate which hypothesis, the "better mate hypothesis" or the "better territory hypothesis" best explains the unusually high divorce rate (59%) in a population of blue tits (Parus caeruleus) living in a sclerophyllous habitat characterised by severe environmental constraints (trophic, parasitic, climatic) on the island of Corsica, France. Using data from the breeding seasons 1985,1998 and from a brood size experiment (1990,1993) we examined the causes of divorce and their consequences on breeding performance, mate assortment and territory choice. Breeding performance had no significant effect on whether birds re-united or divorced in the next breeding season. Re-uniting pairs did better than divorced females and the latter improved their breeding performance compared to prior to divorce, but this was mainly due to age and territory effects. There were no differences in male performance depending on whether they re-united or divorced. The age combination of pairs did not differ between re-uniting and divorcing pairs, but mate assortment changed after divorce with males re-mating more often with older partners than females. Manipulation of brood size showed a trend for birds with enlarged broods to divorce more. Pairs responded significantly to territory quality by divorcing more often in poor than in good breeding sites. Both faithful pairs and male divorcees had shorter breeding dispersal distances than female divorcees. Divorce rates were determined by the large differences in quality among breeding sites. Males, whatever their status, usually retained their previous territory whereas divorced females moved significantly longer distances and improved their breeding site. Moving to a better territory after divorce benefits only females which appear to be the choosing sex in the decision to divorce. This study strongly supports the "habitat mediated hypothesis" and we suggest that the large observed intraspecific variation in the magnitude of divorce rates in many species of birds is mostly determined by habitat characteristics. [source]

Population structure and migratory directions of Scandinavian bluethroats Luscinia svecica, a molecular, morphological and stable isotope analysis

ECOGRAPHY, Issue 1 2008
Olof Hellgren
Many species of birds show evidence of secondary contact zones and subspeciation in their Scandinavian distribution range, presumably resulting from different post-glacial recolonization routes. We investigated whether this is the case also in the Scandinavian bluethroat Luscinia svecica, a species that has been suggested to consist of two separate populations: one SW-migrating and long-winged (L. s. gaetkei) breeding in southern Norway, and one shorter-winged ESE-migrating (L. s. svecica) in northern Scandinavia. We sampled males at eleven breeding sites from southern Norway to northernmost Sweden. There were no morphological differences or latitudinal trends within the sample, neither were there any genetic differences or latitudinal trends as measured by variation in AFLP and microsatellite markers. Stable isotope ratios of throat feathers moulted on the wintering grounds showed no, or possibly marginal differences between birds from southern Norway and northern Sweden. We also re-measured old museum skins that in previous studies were classified as L. s.gaetkei, and found marginally longer wings in birds from the southern part of the Scandinavian breeding range. The difference, however, was much smaller than proposed in earlier studies. We conclude that there is no evidence of a genetic population structure among Scandinavian bluethroats that would suggest the presence of a zone of secondary contact. Finally we discuss whether the presumed subspecies gaetkei ever existed. [source]

The effects of green tree retention and subsequent prescribed burning on ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in boreal pine-dominated forests

ECOGRAPHY, Issue 5 2006
Petri Martikainen
We studied how two methods to promote biodiversity in managed forests, i.e. green tree retention and prescribed fire, affect the assemblages of carabid beetles. Our experiment consisted of 24 study sites, each 3,5 ha in size, which had been prepared according to factorial design. Each of the eight treatment combinations determined by the two factors explored , tree retention level (0, 10, 50 m3/ha,1 and uncut controls) and prescribed use of fire (yes/no) , was replicated three times. We sampled carabids using pitfall traps one year after the treatments. Significantly more individuals were caught in most of the burned sites, but this difference was partially reflective of the trap-catches of Pterostichus adstrictus. The fire did not increase no. of P. adstrictus in the uncut sites as much as in the other sites. Species richness was significantly affected by both factors, being higher in the burned than in the unburned sites and in the harvested than in the unharvested sites. Many species were concentrated in the groups of retention trees in the burned sites, but only a few were in the unburned sites. The species turnover was greater in the burned than in the unburned sites, as indicated by the NMDS ordinations. Greater numbers of smaller sized species and proportion of brachypterous species were present in the burned sites. Fire-favored species, and also the majority of other species that prefer open habitats were more abundantly caught in the burned sites than in the unburned sites. Dead wood or logging waste around the traps did not correlate with the occurrence of species. We conclude that carabids are well adapted to disturbances, and that frequent use of prescribed fire is essential for the maintenance of natural assemblages of carabid beetles in the boreal forest. Small retention tree groups can not maintain assemblages of uncut forest, but they can be important by providing food, shelter and breeding sites for many species, particularly in the burned sites. [source]

Conserving the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly over two decades: Where to next?

Don Sands
Summary The Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, restricted to subtropical areas of Australia, is threatened with extinction in the Queensland part of its range because of clearing and fragmenting rainforests containing its larval food vines. Habitat fragmentation and drought have exacerbated risks of inbreeding depression and a range of other threats exist, including invasions of the exotic Dutchmans Pipe Vine which is toxic to Richmond Birdwing larvae. This article outlines the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly project from its beginnings in the Double Helix Club project and recently the Richmond Birdwing Recovery Network. It provides details of the biology of the butterfy and its food vines, as well as discussing elements for consideration in a future recovery plan including (i) protecting the remaining breeding sites; and, for the shorter term (ii) continuing to propagate and plant food plants at appropriate localities that previously supported the butterfly. [source]

Host-related life history traits in interspecific hybrids of cactophilic Drosophila

E. M. Soto
Abstract In the genus Drosophila (Diptera: Drosophilidae), interspecific hybridization is a rare phenomenon. However, recent evidence suggests a certain degree of introgression between the cactophilic siblings Drosophila buzzatii Patterson & Wheeler and Drosophila koepferae Fontdevila & Wasserman. In this article, we analyzed larval viability and developmental time of hybrids between males of D. buzzatii and females of D. koepferae, raised in media prepared with fermenting tissues of natural host plants that these species utilize in nature as breeding sites. In all cases, developmental time and larval viability in hybrids was not significantly different from parental lines and, depending on the cross, hybrids developed faster than both parental species or than the slowest species. When data of wing length were included in a discriminant function analysis, we observed that both species can be clearly differentiated, while hybrids fell in two categories, one intermediate between parental species and the other consisting of extreme phenotypes. Thus, our results point out that hybrid fitness, as measured by developmental time and viability, is not lower than in the parental species. [source]


EVOLUTION, Issue 1 2004
Denis Bourguet
Abstract Genetic changes conferring adaptation to a new environment may induce a fitness cost in the previous environment. Although this prediction has been verified in laboratory conditions, few studies have tried to document this cost directly in natural populations. Here, we evaluated the pleiotropic effects of insecticide resistance on putative fitness components of the mosquito Culex pipiens. Experiments using different larval densities were performed during the summer in two natural breeding sites. Two loci that possess alleles conferring organophosphate (OP) resistance were considered: ace-1 coding for an acetylcholinesterase (AChE1, the OP target) and Ester, a "super locus" including two closely linked loci coding for esterases A and B. Resistance ace-1 alleles coding for a modified AChE1 were associated with a longer development time and shorter wing length. The pleiotropic effects of two resistance alleles Ester1 and Ester4 coding for the overproduced esterases A1 and A4-B4, respectively, were more variable. Both A1 and A4-B4 reduced wing length, although only A1 was associated with a longer preimaginal stage. The fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of the wing did not respond to the presence or to the interaction of resistance alleles at the two loci at any of the density levels tested. Conversely, the FA of one wing section decreased when larval density increased. This may be the consequence of selection against less developmentally stable individuals. The results are discussed in relation to the local evolution of insecticide resistance genes. [source]

How can dragonflies discern bright and dark waters from a distance?

The degree of polarisation of reflected light as a possible cue for dragonfly habitat selection
SUMMARY 1.,Based on the findings that some dragonflies prefer either ,dark' or ,bright' water (as perceived by the human eye viewing downwards perpendicularly to the water surface), while others choose both types of water bodies in which to lay their eggs, the question arises: How can dragonflies distinguish a bright from a dark pond from far away, before they get sufficiently close to see it is bright or dark? 2.,Our hypothesis is that certain dragonfly species may select their preferred breeding sites from a distance on the basis of the polarisation of reflected light. Is it that waters viewed from a distance can be classified on the basis of the polarisation of reflected light? 3.,Therefore we measured, at an angle of view of 20° from the horizontal, the reflection-polarisation characteristics of several ponds differing in brightness and in their dragonfly fauna. 4.,We show that from a distance, at which the angle of view is 20° from the horizontal, dark water bodies cannot be distinguished from bright ones on the basis of the intensity or the angle of polarisation of reflected light. At a similar angle of view, however, dark waters reflect light with a significantly higher degree of linear polarisation than bright waters in any range of the spectrum and in any direction of view with respect to the sun. 5.,Thus, the degree of polarisation of reflected light may be a visual cue for the polarisation-sensitive dragonflies to distinguish dark and bright water bodies from far away. Future experimental studies should prove if dragonflies do indeed use this cue for habitat selection. [source]

Reproductive ecology of Drosophila

T. A. Markow
Summary 1Species of the genus Drosophila reproduce in a wide range of different resources, including fruits, sap, flowers, mushrooms and cacti. Drosophila species and their resources also exhibit considerable variability in geographic distribution. 2Habitat and resource differences pose enormous challenges for Drosophila species. Host chemistry may include highly toxic compounds and breeding sites may be characterized by extreme abiotic conditions such as high and/or low temperature and humidity. 3Drosophila reproductive biology, in terms of morphology, physiology, and behaviour, is as variable among Drosophila species as is their resource use. In some species, adults are ready to reproduce upon emergence, whereas one sex or the other in other species may require weeks to become sexually mature. 4Already a robust system for transmission and population genetic studies, the sequencing of the genomes of 12 diverse Drosophila species now brings the power of genomics to investigators wishing to understand the functional aspects of Drosophila ecology [source]

A Geostatistical Analysis of Soil, Vegetation, and Image Data Characterizing Land Surface Variation

Sarah E. Rodgers
The elucidation of spatial variation in the landscape can indicate potential wildlife habitats or breeding sites for vectors, such as ticks or mosquitoes, which cause a range of diseases. Information from remotely sensed data could aid the delineation of vegetation distribution on the ground in areas where local knowledge is limited. The data from digital images are often difficult to interpret because of pixel-to-pixel variation, that is, noise, and complex variation at more than one spatial scale. Landsat Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Satellite Pour l'Observation de La Terre (SPOT) image data were analyzed for an area close to Douna in Mali, West Africa. The variograms of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from both types of image data were nested. The parameters of the nested variogram function from the Landsat ETM+ data were used to design the sampling for a ground survey of soil and vegetation data. Variograms of the soil and vegetation data showed that their variation was anisotropic and their scales of variation were similar to those of NDVI from the SPOT data. The short- and long-range components of variation in the SPOT data were filtered out separately by factorial kriging. The map of the short-range component appears to represent the patterns of vegetation and associated shallow slopes and drainage channels of the tiger bush system. The map of the long-range component also appeared to relate to broader patterns in the tiger bush and to gentle undulations in the topography. The results suggest that the types of image data analyzed in this study could be used to identify areas with more moisture in semiarid regions that could support wildlife and also be potential vector breeding sites. [source]

Survival analysis of Little Penguin Eudyptula minor chicks on Motuara Island, New Zealand

IBIS, Issue 4 2001
Chick survival of Little Penguins Eudyptula minor was studied on predator-free Motuara Island, Cook Strait, New Zealand (41d,05'S, 174d,15'E), in 1995 and 1996. We used the Kaplan-Meier estimator and robust Cox regression to estimate chick survival rate (pL se) at 0.325 pL 0.044, leading to an estimated survival from laying to fledging of 0.13 or a reproductive output of 0.26 chicks per pair and breeding attempt. Starvation posed the greatest mortality risk, followed by unknown factors and rain. Risk of death due to rain was restricted to the guard stage, whereas starvation occurred throughout the nesting period, though with a peak in the early guard stage. Significant seasonal differences in survival rate were detected in both years, but with reversed trends, survival decreasing with the season in 1995 and increasing in 1996. Failure of adults to relieve their partner on the nest after chicks hatched accounted for 16% mortality or 34% of all chick deaths. Differences in chick survival rate between nest types were significant in 1995, a year with high rainfall, but not in 1996. Nests in the base of hollow trees had the highest chick survival rate. Of chicks in open nests - a nest type that is unusual for this species - 5.4% fledged. Our results suggest that on Motuara Island good breeding sites are scarce and that the food supply has been poor during the years of this study. [source]

Food provision to nestlings in the Hoopoe Upupa epops: implications for the conservation of a small endangered population in the Swiss Alps

IBIS, Issue 1 2001
In an attempt to recognize the possible ecological causes of the decline of a population of Hoopoes Upupa epops in the Swiss Alps, we collected data on resource exploitation. The prey provisioned to nestlings by parents was investigated at four breeding sites using photographs (n = 4353, 80% of which enabled prey identification). Molecrickets Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa and Lepidoptera (larvae and pupae) were dominant in nestling diet (93% frequency; 97% biomass). Although Molecrickets were provisioned less frequently (26%) than Lepidoptera (67%), they represented 68% of the total biomass (vs 29% for Lepidoptera). There was an overall negative relationship between the proportion of Molecricket biomass in the diet and the parents' feeding rate, whereas a comparison between broods showed that a higher provisioning activity did not lead to an increase in the biomass supplied to the chicks. A diet based on Molecrickets therefore appears to be energetically advantageous. As Molecrickets are a traditional prey of Hoopoes in central Europe, this might be relevant to other populations. In the study area, Molecrickets occur only on the intensively cultivated plain, whereas the majority of Hoopoe pairs nest at various altitudes on the foothills adjacent to the plain as the latter provides at present almost no suitable nesting sites. Hoopoes breeding higher up on the foothills seem to experience greater provisioning costs and have, on average, lower breeding success. Providing nest sites on the plain is the main conservation measure proposed for the local Hoopoe population. Further attention should also be paid to Molecrickets as these may be crucial for Hoopoes. [source]

Sink habitats can alter ecological outcomes for competing species

Summary 1Species often compete for breeding sites in heterogeneous landscapes consisting of sources and sinks. To understand how the presence or absence of sink breeding sites influence ecological outcomes, we extend Pulliam's source,sink model to competing species. 2In a homogeneous landscape consisting of source sites, we prove that one species, the ,superior' competitor, competitively excludes the other. Dominance is determined by a simple rule: the species that at equilibrium acquires new breeding sites at a faster rate dominates. 3We prove that the inclusion of sink sites can alter this ecological outcome by either mediating coexistence, reversing competitive dominance, or facilitating a priority effect. 4Sink-mediated coexistence requires the species to exhibit asymmetries in acquiring sink sites, the ,inferior' species to have a competitive advantage on sink sites and the ratio of sink to source sites be sufficiently low. 5For example, if the sink breeding sites are competitive refuges for the ,inferior' competitor and not too low in quality, coexistence occurs if the number of sink sites lies below a threshold. Alternatively, when the number of sink sites exceeds this threshold, competitive dominance is reversed and the ,superior' competitor is displaced. 6Counter-intuitively, despite being unable to support species in isolation, sink habitats embedded in a geographical mosaic of sources and sinks can enhance biodiversity by mediating coexistence or alter species composition by reversing competitive interactions. [source]

Breeding habitat selection in cliff swallows: the effect of conspecific reproductive success on colony choice

Charles R. Brown
Summary 1.,One way that animals may select breeding sites is by assessing the reproductive success of conspecifics in one season and settling the next year in those habitat patches where success collectively had been greatest. This sort of habitat assessment may promote the formation of colonies at high quality sites. 2.,We examined whether cliff swallows, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota, in south-western Nebraska used conspecific breeding performance to choose colony sites. 3.,Reproductive success at colony sites varied spatially within seasons and between seasons, and was autocorrelated at a site from one year to the next, but not over longer time intervals. Cliff swallows thus met the conditions for potential use of information on conspecific breeding performance. 4.,Among sites re-used in consecutive years, those with highest collective success in one season showed the greatest rates in colony growth the next season, including the greatest influx of immigrants. 5.,The probability of colony-site re-use in successive years increased with collective reproductive success and average breeder body mass (a measure of individual condition) the previous season. 6.,Cliff swallows probably use conspecific breeding performance in selecting colonies. This mechanism is one component of habitat selection that also includes attraction to conspecifics and assessment of an individual's own success. [source]

Population genetics suggests effectiveness of habitat connectivity measures for the European tree frog in Switzerland

Sonia Angelone
Summary 1.,Governmental authorities in many countries financially support the implementation of habitat connectivity measures to enhance the exchange of individuals among fragmented populations. The evaluation of the effectiveness of such measures is crucial for future management directions and can be accomplished by using genetic methods. 2.,We retraced the population history of the European tree frog in two Swiss river valleys (Reuss and Thur), performed comprehensive population sampling to infer the genetic structure at 11 microsatellite markers, and used first-generation migrant assignment tests to evaluate the contemporary exchange of individuals. 3.,Compared with the Thur valley, the Reuss valley has lost almost double the number of breeding sites and exhibited a more pronounced genetic grouping. However, similar numbers of contemporary migrants were detected in both valleys. In the Reuss valley, 81% of the migration events occurred within the identified genetic groups, whereas in the Thur valley migration patterns were diffuse. 4.,Our results show that the connectivity measures implemented in the Reuss valley facilitated effective tree frog migration among breeding sites within distances up to 4 km. Nevertheless, the Reuss valley exhibited high genetic differentiation, which reflected the impact of barriers to tree frog movement such as the River Reuss. By contrast in the Thur valley, a larger number of breeding sites have been preserved and high admixture indicated exchange of individuals at distances up to 16 km. 5.,Synthesis and applications. We show that genetic methods can substantiate the effectiveness of connectivity measures taken in conservation management at the landscape scale. We urge responsible authorities from both river valleys to continue implementing connectivity measures and to create a dense network of breeding sites, as spatial gaps of 8 km are rarely traversed by tree frogs. [source]

Ecologically justified charisma: preservation of top predators delivers biodiversity conservation

Summary 1Because of their popular appeal, top vertebrate predators have frequently been used as flagship or umbrella species to acquire financial support, raise environmental awareness and plan systems of protected areas. However, some have claimed that the utilization of charismatic predators may divert a disproportionate amount of funding to a few glamorous species without delivering broader biodiversity benefits, an accusation aggravated by the fact that the conservation of top predators is often complex, difficult and expensive. Therefore, tests are needed of whether apex predators may be employed to achieve ecosystem-level targets. 2To test such a hypothesis, we compared the biodiversity values recorded at the breeding sites of six raptor species, differing widely in diet and habitat associations, with those observed at three types of control locations, (i) sites randomly chosen in comparable habitat, (ii) breeding sites of a randomly selected bird species of lower trophic level and (iii) breeding sites of a lower trophic level species with specialized ecological requirements. Biodiversity was measured as the richness and evenness of bird, butterfly and tree species. 3Biodiversity levels were consistently higher at sites occupied by top predators than at any of the three types of control sites. Furthermore, sites occupied by top predators also held greater densities of individual birds and butterflies (all species combined) than control sites. 4In a reserve-selection simulation exercise, networks of protected sites constructed on the basis of top predators were more efficient than networks based on lower trophic level species, enabling higher biodiversity coverage to be achieved with a smaller number of reserves. 5Synthesis and applications. Our results provide evidence of a link between the strategic utilization of top predatory species and ecosystem-level conservation. We suggest that, at least in some biological systems, conservation plans based on apex predators could be implemented to deliver broader biodiversity benefits. [source]

Reducing the density of breeding gulls influences the pattern of recruitment of immature Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica to a breeding colony

S. K. Finney
Summary 1By acting as both competitors and predators, gulls (Larus spp.) are generally considered to reduce significantly the attractiveness of potential breeding sites for other birds. This perceived threat posed by gulls to other breeding birds has led to the implementation of gull control procedures at many seabird colonies. However, the extent to which reducing gull numbers benefits other species has received little rigorous scientific investigation. 2During a gull control programme (1972,89), gull nest density on the Isle of May, south-east Scotland, was reduced by between 30% and 100% in different sections of the island. Following termination of the original programme in 1989, several sections were maintained as gull-free by repeated removal of nests. 3We used data collected over a 23-year period to determine the extent to which the spatial variation in puffin Fratercula arctica recruitment was influenced by changes in the density and spatial distribution of breeding gulls resulting from the control programme. 4The presence of breeding gulls significantly affected the pattern of recruitment of puffins to the colony. Puffin recruitment rate was highest in the sections of the island where gull nest density was low. Gull density explained 21% of the variation in puffin recruitment rate. 5These results suggest that the reduction in the number of breeding gulls substantially increased the attractiveness of areas of the colony as breeding sites for puffins, and is thus likely to have played an important role in the pattern of expansion of the puffin population on the island. 6Synthesis and applications. Following a recent increase in the conservation status of both herring L. argentatus and lesser black-backed gulls L. fuscus, there has been a move to make management decisions more objective. This has highlighted the need for studies such as this, aimed at assessing the impact of gulls and their removal on other breeding birds, to ensure that any future control programmes are both necessary and effective. [source]

Breeding latitude and timing of spring migration in songbirds crossing the Gulf of Mexico

Kathryn M. Langin
Each spring, millions of songbirds migrate across the Gulf of Mexico on their way to breeding sites in North America. Data from radar and migration monitoring stations have revealed broad patterns in the spatial and temporal course of trans-Gulf migration. Unfortunately, we have limited information on where these birds have previously spent the winter and where they are migrating to breed. Here we measure stable-hydrogen isotopes in feathers (,Df) to infer the breeding latitude of five species of songbirds , hooded warblers Wilsonia citrina, American redstarts Setophaga ruticilla, black-and-white warblers Mniotilta varia, ovenbirds Seiurus aurocapilla, and northern waterthrushes S. noveboracensis, that were captured at a stopover site along the coast of southwestern Louisiana in spring 2004. Values of ,Df across all species ranged from ,163 to ,35, (n=212), and within most species the range was consistent with the latitudinal extent of known breeding sites in central and eastern North America. Individuals that arrived first along the northern Gulf coast had ,Df values indicative of southerly breeding sites in hooded warblers, American redstarts, black-and-white warblers, and ovenbirds, but no relationship was found between passage timing and ,Df for northern waterthrushes. Our findings suggest that spring passage is often timed to coincide with the emergence of suitable conditions on breeding areas, with southern breeding birds migrating first. [source]

Limited dispersal by Nazca boobies Sula granti

Kathryn P. Huyvaert
We documented natal and breeding dispersal at several spatial scales by Galápagos Nazca boobies Sula granti, a wide-ranging pelagic seabird. We found exceptionally low degrees of both types of dispersal despite these birds' vagility. Median natal dispersal distances were 26 m and 105 m for males and females, respectively. Median breeding dispersal distances for both sexes were 0 m. No natal or breeding dispersals occurred from our study site at Punta Cevallos, Isla Española to six other colonies in the Galápagos, but we did document four long-distance natal dispersals from Punta Cevallos to islands near the South American coast. Recaptures and dead recoveries of ringed birds showed long distance non-breeding movements to the Central American coast and elsewhere in the eastern Pacific, contrasting with the very limited dispersal to breeding sites. [source]

Use of trace elements in feathers of sand martin Riparia riparia for identifying moulting areas

Tibor Szép
We investigated whether trace elements in tail feathers of an insectivorous and long-distance migratory bird species could be used to identify moulting areas and hence migratory pathways. We analysed tail feathers from birds of different age and sex collected from a range of different breeding sites across Europe. The site of moult had a large effect on elemental composition of feathers of birds, both at the European and African moulting sites. Analysis of feathers of nestlings with known origin suggested that the elemental composition of feathers depended largely upon the micro-geographical location of the colony. The distance between moulting areas could not explain the level of differences in trace elements. Analysis of feathers grown by the same individuals on the African wintering grounds and in the following breeding season in Europe showed a large difference in composition indicating that moulting site affects elemental composition. Tail feathers moulted in winter in Africa by adults breeding in different European regions differed markedly in elemental composition, indicating that they used different moulting areas. Analysis of tail feathers of the same adult individuals in two consecutive years showed that sand martins in their first and second wintering season grew feathers with largely similar elemental composition, although the amounts of several elements in tail feathers of the older birds was lower. There was no difference between the sexes in the elemental composition of their feathers grown in Africa. Investigation of the trace element composition of feathers could be a useful method for studying similarity among groups of individuals in their use of moulting areas. [source]

Speciation chronology of rockhopper penguins inferred from molecular, geological and palaeoceanographic data

Marc De Dinechin
Abstract Aim, The Southern Ocean is split into several biogeographical provinces between convergence zones that separate watermasses of different temperatures. Recent molecular phylogenies have uncovered a strong phylogeographic structure among rockhopper penguin populations, Eudyptes chrysocome sensu lato, from different biogeographical provinces. These studies suggested a reclassification as three species in two major clades, corresponding, respectively, to warm, subtropical and cold sub-Antarctic watermasses rather than to geographic proximity. Such a phylogeographic pattern, also observed in plants, invertebrates and fishes of the Southern Ocean, suggests that past changes in the positions of watermasses may have affected the evolutionary history of penguins. We calculated divergence times among various rockhopper penguin clades and calibrated these data with palaeomagmatic and palaeoceanographic events to generate a speciation chronology in rockhopper penguins. Location, Southern Ocean. Methods, Divergence times between populations were calculated using five distinct mitochondrial DNA loci, and assuming a molecular clock model as implemented in mdiv. The molecular evolution rate of rockhopper penguins was calibrated using the radiochronological age of St Paul Island and Amsterdam Island in the southern Indian Ocean. Separations within other clades were correlated with palaeoceanographic data using this calibrated rate. Results, The split between the Atlantic and Indian populations of rockhopper penguins was dated as 0.25 Ma, using the date of emergence of St Paul and Amsterdam islands, and the divergence between sub-Antarctic and subtropical rockhopper penguins was dated as c. 0.9 Ma (i.e. during the mid-Pleistocene transition, a major change in the Earth's climate cycles). Main conclusions, The mid-Pleistocene transition is known to have caused a major southward shift in watermasses in the Southern Ocean, thus changing the environment around the northernmost rockhopper penguin breeding sites. This ecological isolation of northernmost populations may have caused vicariant speciation, splitting the species into two major clades. After the emergence of St Paul and Amsterdam islands in the subtropical Indian Ocean 0.25 Ma, these islands were colonized by penguins from the subtropical Atlantic, 6000 km away, rather than by penguins from the sub-Antarctic Indian Ocean, 5000 km closer. [source]

The use of breeding sites of Tilapia congica (Thys & van Audenaerde 1960) to delineate conservation sites in the Lake Tumba, Democratic Republic of Congo: toward the conservation of the lake ecosystem

Bila-Isia Inogwabini
Abstract To guide the zoning process in Lake Tumba, Democratic Republic of Congo, breeding sites of Tilapia congica were studied. Physical metrics measured were: nest depths, exposure to sun rays, distance from the edges, site spreads, and habitat types. Mean nest depth = 0.23 m ± 0.08 (SD), range = 0.04,2.2 m (n = 553 nests); 100% (n = 70 sites) sites were exposed to the sun and the polynomial regression analysis showed 90% sites were within the range 51,250 m from the lake shores (y = ,1.7143x2 + 10.371x, 1.8; R2 = 0.597, n = 70 sites), with 60% clumped within the range of 51,150 m, indicating a relationship between nesting sites and the distance from edges. The largest group spread group was 300 m, and among the four breeding sites identified, one was ,10 km long, meaning a zonal spatial spread , = 300 ha and a core reproduction zone ,, = 100 ha. T. congica built 87.30% of their nest in habitats where Hippo grass Vossia cuspidata (48.20%) and Water lily Nympheae stellata (39.10%) dominated. T. congica shared 41.81% of its nesting sites with other fish species, leading to the conclusion that protecting the species habitats would provide the umbrella for the conservation of other species. Résumé Pour orienter le processus de zonage au lac Tumba, en République Démocratique du Congo, nous avons étudié les sites de reproduction de Tilapia congica. Les paramètres physiques mesurés étaient : la profondeur des nids, l'exposition aux rayons du soleil, la distance par rapport à la berge, l'étendue des sites et les types d'habitat. La profondeur moyenne des nids = 0,23 m ± 0,08 (DS), le domaine vital du nid = 0,04,2,2 m (n = 553 nids); 100% des sites (n = 70) étaient exposés au soleil, et l'analyse de la régression polynomiale a montré que 90% des sites se trouvaient entre 51 et 250 m des berges du lac (y = ,1,7143x2 + 10,371x , 1,8; R2 = 0,597; n = 70 sites) et 60% d'entre eux étaient rassemblés à une distance comprise entre 51 et 150 m des berges, ce qui indique une relation entre les sites de nidification et la distance par rapport aux berges. Le groupe le plus étendu avait 300 m et, parmi les quatre sites de reproduction identifiés, un avait , 10 km de long, ce qui signifie une dispersion spatiale zonale , = 300 ha et une zone de reproduction centrale ,' = 100 ha. Les T.congica construisent 87,30% de leurs nids dans des habitats où dominent l'herbe à hippos Vossia cuspidata (48,20%) et les nénuphars Nymphea stellata (39,10%). Les T. congica partagent 41,81% de leurs sites de nidification avec d'autres espèces de poissons, d'où la conclusion que la protection des habitats de cette espèce fournirait aussi une protection à d'autres espèces. [source]

Species-level selection reduces selfishness through competitive exclusion

Abstract Adaptation does not necessarily lead to traits which are optimal for the population. This is because selection is often the strongest at the individual or gene level. The evolution of selfishness can lead to a ,tragedy of the commons', where traits such as aggression or social cheating reduce population size and may lead to extinction. This suggests that species-level selection will result whenever species differ in the incentive to be selfish. We explore this idea in a simple model that combines individual-level selection with ecology in two interacting species. Our model is not influenced by kin or trait-group selection. We find that individual selection in combination with competitive exclusion greatly increases the likelihood that selfish species go extinct. A simple example of this would be a vertebrate species that invests heavily into squabbles over breeding sites, which is then excluded by a species that invests more into direct reproduction. A multispecies simulation shows that these extinctions result in communities containing species that are much less selfish. Our results suggest that species-level selection and community dynamics play an important role in regulating the intensity of conflicts in natural populations. [source]

Direct and correlated responses to selection for larval ethanol tolerance in Drosophila melanogaster

J. D. Fry
Ethanol is an important larval resource and toxin for natural Drosophila melanogaster populations, and ethanol tolerance is genetically variable within and among populations. If ethanol-tolerant genotypes have relatively low fitness in the absence of ethanol, as suggested by the results of an earlier study, genetic variation for ethanol tolerance could be maintained by variation in ethanol levels among breeding sites. I selected for ethanol tolerance in large laboratory populations by maintaining flies on ethanol-supplemented media. After 90 generations, the populations were compared with control populations in egg-to-adult survival and development rate on ethanol-supplemented and unsupplemented food. When compared on ethanol-supplemented food, the ethanol-selected populations had higher survival and faster development than the control populations, but on unsupplemented food, the populations did not differ in either trait. These results give no evidence for a ,trade-off' between the ability to survive and develop rapidly in the presence of ethanol and the ability to do so in its absence. The effect of physiological induction of ethanol tolerance by exposing eggs to ethanol was also investigated; exposing eggs to ethanol strongly increased subsequent larval survival on ethanol-supplemented food, but did not affect survival on regular food, and slowed development on both ethanol-supplemented and regular food, partly by delaying egg hatch. [source]