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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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Total bee dependence on a single flower species

Total bee dependence on a single flower species

A new study provides multiple lines of evidence on the total dependence of the solitary bee Flavipanurgus venustus (Andrenidae) on the flowers of a common Mediterranean scrub (Cistus crispus). This association was consistent across space (18 sites in SW Iberian Peninsula) and time (three years) despite the presence of other Cistus species whose flowers are morphologically similar. This finding is remarkable since bee specialization on a single flower species (monolecty) has been a questioned fact. Indeed, known cases have been explained by the absence of sympatric and synchronic flowers of the same plant genus or family, reflecting therefore a lack of closely related choices. The study uncovers that the bee's flight phenology is synchronized with the blooming period of C. crispus, and that the densities of bee populations are correlated with the local densities of this flower. This system provides new insights into the evolutionary ecology of extreme specialization in mutualistic interactions. Besides, it provides a nice example of the importance of interspecies interactions for biodiversity conservation. informacion[at] González-Varo et al (2016) Total bee dependence on one flower species despite available congeners of similar floral shape. PLoS One