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Optimization of protocols for DNA extraction from fecal samples

High-throughput sequencing offers new possibilities in molecular ecology and conservation studies. However, its potential has not yet become fully exploited for noninvasive studies of free–ranging animals, such as those based on feces. High–throughput sequencing allows sequencing of short DNA fragments and could allow simultaneous genotyping of a very large number of samples and markers at a low cost. The application of high throughput genotyping to fecal samples from wildlife has been hindered by several labor intensive steps. Alternative protocols which could allow higher throughput were evaluated for two of these steps: sample collection and DNA extraction. Two different field sampling and seven different DNA extraction methods were tested on grey wolf (Canis lupus) feces. There was high variation in genotyping success rates. The field sampling method based on surface swabbing performed much worse than the extraction from a fecal fragment. In addition, there is a lot of room for improvement in the DNA extraction step. Optimization of protocols can lead to very much more efficient, cheaper and higher throughput noninvasive monitoring. Selection of appropriate markers is still of paramount importance to increase genotyping success. informacion[at] Sarabia et al (2020) Towards high-throughput analyses of fecal samples from wildlife. Animal Biodiver Conserv 43.2: 271–283 Doi 10.32800/abc.2020.43.0271
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Joint actions to reverse the fate of the Egyptian vulture

Joint actions to reverse the fate of the Egyptian vulture

Large body-sized avian scavengers, including the Egyptian vulture, are globally threatened due to human-related mortality so guidelines quantifying the efficacy of different management approaches are urgently needed. Fourteen years of territory and individual-based data on a small and geographically isolated Spanish population were used to estimate survival, recruitment and breeding success. Their population viability was then forecasted under current vital rates and under management scenarios that mitigated the main sources of non-natural mortality at breeding grounds (fatalities from wind farms and illegal poisoning). Population viability analyses estimated an annual decline of 3–4% of the breeding population under current conditions. Results indicate that only by combining different management actions in the breeding area, especially by removing the most important causes of human-related mortality (poisoning and collisions on wind farms), will the population grow and persist in the long term. Reinforcement with captive breeding may also have positive effects but only in combination with the reduction in causes of non-natural mortality. These results, although obtained for a focal species, may be applicable to other endangered populations of long-lived avian scavengers inhabiting southern Europe. informacion[at] Sanz-Aguilar et al (2015) Action on multiple fronts, illegal poisoning and wind farm planning, is required to reverse the decline of the Egyptian vulture in Southern Spain. Biological Conservation  187:10-18