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30/09/2014
Research on the ecology of top predators has provided regular contributions to general ecology Yet, an exponentially expanding literature coupled with rapid disintegration into specialized, disconnected subfields for study increasingly means that we are losing a coherent, integrated understating of the role and importance of these species in ecosystems. This process of canalization is likely to hinder sharing of scientific discovery and continued progress, especially as there is a growing need to understand the generality of the top–down forcing. Ways are proposed to facilitate synthesis by promoting changes in mentality and awareness among specialists. The strategy will rely on the collective contribution by all scientists in the field and will strive to consolidate and formalise top-order predation as a holistic, cohesive, cross-taxonomical field of research. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Sergio et al (2014) Towards a cohesive, holistic view of top predation: a definition, synthesis and perspective. Oikos 123: 1234–1243. Doi 10.1111/oik.01468
25/09/2014
Little is known about how migratory performance develops through life for any organism. The long-term monitoring of individuals through GPS satellite tracking is exploited to combine within-individual and cross-sectional data on 364 migration episodes from 92 individuals of a raptorial bird, aged 1–27 years old. The development of migratory behaviour follows a consistent trajectory, and this is promoted by both individual improvements and selective mortality, mainly operating in early life and during the pre-breeding migration. Individuals of different age used different travelling tactics and varied in their ability to exploit tailwinds or to cope with wind drift. All individuals seemed aligned along a race with their contemporary peers, whose outcome was largely determined by the ability to depart early, affecting their subsequent recruitment, reproduction and survival. Understanding how climate change and human action can affect the migration may be the key to managing threatened migrants. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Sergio et al (2014) Individual improvements and lifelong mortality shape lifelong migration. Nature. Doi 10.1038/nature13696
24/09/2014
Wind can have a strong influence on flight cost and birds should try to reduce energy expenditure when possible. Along the breeding season of the lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) 664 foraging trips directions from 19 individuals have been analyzed in relation to wind speed and direction. Outward flights direction changed from uniform to a concentrated distribution along the season, as prey abundance and individual experience increased. A temporal trend has been found in the angular difference between outward flights and wind directions. Results suggest changes in kestrels foraging strategy along the season in relation to wind. Kestrels depart more with tailwinds in exploratory flights early in the season, while there is a spurious coincidence in direction to preferred foraging patches and dominant wind direction at the end. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Hernández-Pliego et al (2014) Gone with the wind: seasonal trends in foraging movement directions for a central-place forager. Curr Zool 60: 642-652
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    Estación Biólogica de Doñana - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas - Apdo 1056 E - 41013 Sevilla
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