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11/12/2014
The effects of a new variant of the rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) in the Iberian Peninsula are reported. Since 2011 a new variant of RHDV was detected in Spain and Portugal, producing a significant decline of rabbit populations in areas inhabited by the Iberian lynx, such as Coto del Rey, in Doñana National Park. The dramatic reduction of rabbits, over 80% in 2012-2013, was accompanied by a reduction in the number of lynx cubs and an increase of the lynxes killed on roads, linked to longer displacements to find food. This situation exemplifies how emerging diseases can affect biodiversity conservation, and highlights the importance of using wildlife monitoring schemes as detection tools for monitoring the impact of stochastic factors, such as the variant RHDV, on wildlife populations. Informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Delibes-Mateos et al (2014) Ecosystem Effects of Variant Rabbit Hemorragic Disease Virus, Iberian Peninsula. Emerging Infectious Diseases. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2012.140517.
09/12/2014
We explored the association between genetic diversity and four traits related to offspring viability in great tits. We tested whether significant heterozygosity-fitness correlations (HFCs) were due to a “general” (a genome-wide effect) or a “local” (only one or a few loci involved) effect. We found that maternal heterozygosity was positively associated with offspring size even after controlling for the average size of the parents. We also observed a significant negative relationship between parental genetic relatedness and hatching success. However, we found that one locus (Ase18) had disproportionately large effects on the observed HFCs. Our results suggest that this particular neutral marker may be linked to functional loci influencing fitness in this species and offer one of the most clear examples about the potential important role of local effects in observed HFCs. Information [at]ebd.csic.es: García-Navas et al (2014) Heterozygosity at a single locus explains a large proportion of variation in two fitness-related traits in great tits: a general or a local effect? J Evol Biol DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12539
05/12/2014
Europe has adopted innovative legislation on invasive species that could signal a step-change in the global response to biological invasion threats. This Regulation allows national authorities to take stringent measures on invasive species of national concern, and encourages coordinated approaches in boundary areas. On the other side, although a ‘‘Scientific Forum’’ to inform implementation has been introduced, the real strength of the legislation will largely depend on the decisions of Member States, with the risk that the real enforcement will be limited by political and economic, rather than scientific, considerations. At this respect, it will be crucial to ensure transparent and objective decision processes, and secure adequate resources for implementing the provisions of the legislation. Finally, the regulatory approach will have only a limited impact unless European citizens raise their awareness of this threat and adopt more responsible behaviours. informacion [at]ebd.csic.es: Genovesi et al (2014) EU adopts innovative legislation on invasive species: a step towards a global response to biological invasions? Biological Invasions. DOI 10.1007/s10530-014-0817-8
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    Estación Biólogica de Doñana - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas - Apdo 1056 E - 41013 Sevilla
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