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22/08/2014
Land use changes often lead to habitat loss, thus reducing biodiversity. However, not every species respond negatively to landscape alteration. In two contrastingly managed areas, the length of daily movements by red-necked nightjars (Caprimulgus ruficollis) to access their roosts and foraging sites from nests have been investigated. In both areas, the fraction of functional habitat was held relatively constant, but landscape configuration changed noticeably. As a result, nightjars in the managed area had to perform longer trips to meet their spatial requirements than those in the unmanaged site, which is likely underlying the significantly higher abundance of nightjars observed in the managed area. Results suggest that moderate changes in landscape configuration could minimize the energy expenditure and mortality risks of movement and thus favour the occurrence of species moving across multiple habitats on a daily basis without reducing agricultural production. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Camacho et al. (2014) Human-induced changes in landscape configuration influence individual movement routines: lessons from a versatile, highly mobile species. PLoS ONE 9(8): e104974
19/08/2014
Phylogenetic comparative approaches are powerful analytical tools for making evolutionary inferences from interspecific data and phylogenies. The phylogenetic toolkit available to evolutionary biologists is currently growing at an incredible speed. This textbook provides an overview of several newly developed phylogenetic comparative methods that allow to investigate a broad array of questions on how phenotypic characters evolve along the branches of phylogeny and how such mechanisms shape complex animal communities and interspecific interactions. The authors carefully explain the philosophy behind different methodologies and provide pointers – mostly using a dynamically developing online interface – on how these methods can be implemented in practice. These “conceptual” and “practical” materials are essential for expanding the qualification of both students and scientists, but also offer a valuable resource for educators. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Garamszegi (Ed) 2014. Modern phylogenetic comparative methods and their application in evolutionary biology. Concepts and practice. Doi 10.1007/978-3-662-43550-2. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
12/08/2014
Feral pigeons have colonised all corners of the Earth, having developed a close association with humans and their activities. The wild ancestor of the feral pigeon, the rock dove (Columba livia), is a species of rocky habitats, nesting typically on cliff ledges and at the entrance to large caves. The association between humans and rock doves is an ancient one with its roots in the Palaeolithic and predates the arrival of modern humans into Europe. At Gorham’s Cave, Gibraltar, the Neanderthals exploited rock doves for food for a period of over 40 thousand years. The exploitation was not casual or sporadic, having found repeated evidence of the practice in different temporal contexts within the cave. Results point to hitherto unappreciated capacities of the Neanderthals to exploit birds as food resources on a regular basis. More so, they were practising it long before the arrival of modern humans and had therefore invented it independently. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Blasco et al (2014) Scientific reports 4: 5971. Doi 10.1038/srep05971
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    Estación Biólogica de Doñana - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas - Apdo 1056 E - 41013 Sevilla
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