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Restored and artificial wetlands do not support the same waterbird functional diversity as natural wetlands

The restoration of degraded areas and the creation of artificial ecosystems have partially compensated for the continuing loss of natural wetlands. However, the success of these wetlands in terms of the capacity of supporting biodiversity and ecosystem functions is unclear. Natural, restored, and artificially created wetlands present within the Doñana protected area were compared to evaluate if they are equivalent in terms of waterbird functional trait diversity and composition. Functional diversity measures and functional group species richness describing species diet, body mass, and foraging techniques were modelled in 20 wetlands in wintering and breeding seasons. Artificial wetlands constructed for conservation failed to reach the functional diversity of natural and restored wetlands. Unexpectedly, artificial ponds constructed for fish production performed better, and even exceeded natural wetlands for functional richness during winter. Fish ponds stood out as having a unique functional composition, connected with an increase in richness of opportunistic gulls and a decrease in species sensitive to high salinity. Overall, the functional structure of breeding communities was more affected by wetland type than wintering communities. These findings suggest that compensating the loss of natural wetlands with restored and artificial wetlands results in systems with altered waterbird?supported functions. Protection of natural Mediterranean wetlands is vital to maintain the original diversity and composition of waterbird functional traits. Furthermore, restoration must be prioritised over the creation of artificial wetlands, which, even when intended for conservation, may not provide an adequate replacement. informacion[at] Almeida et al. (2020) Comparing the diversity and composition of waterbird functional traits between natural, restored, and artificial wetlands. Freshwater Biology DOI 10.1111/fwb.13618
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Coexistence between sympatric carnivores in a Mediterranean habitat

Coexistence between sympatric carnivores in a Mediterranean habitat

One of the main objectives of community ecology is to understand the conditions allowing species to coexist. However, few studies have investigated the role of fine-scale habitat use segregation in the functioning of guild communities in relatively homogeneous landscapes where opportunities for coexistence are likely to be the most restrictive. Authors investigate how the process of habitat use differentiation at the home range level according to the degree of specialism/generalism of species can lead to coexistence between guild species. Differences in fine-scale habitat use and niche separation are examined as potential mechanisms explaining the coexistence of five sympatric carnivore species that differ in life history traits (Iberian lynx, Eurasian badger, Egyptian mongoose, common genet and red fox) by collecting data from systematic track censuses in a relatively homogeneous Mediterranean landscape. Results show that a higher degree of specialism determines the segregation of species among the fine-scale ecological niche dimensions defined using quantitative elements associated with vegetation, landscape, prey availability and human disturbance. The study indicates that in relatively homogeneous landscapes, there exist subtle patterns of habitat partitioning over small-scale gradients of habitat determinants as a function of the degree of specialism of carnivore species within a guild. Results also suggest that coexistence between generalist species may be permitted by fine-scale spatial–temporal segregation of activity patterns or trophic resource consumption, but not fine-scale habitat use differentiation. informacion[at] Soto and Palomares (2015) Coexistence of sympatric carnivores in relatively homogeneous Mediterranean landscapes: functional importance of habitat segregation at the fine-scale level. Oecologia. Doi: 10.1007/s00442-015-3311-9