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Transporting Biodiversity Using Transmission Power Lines as Stepping-Stones

The most common ecological response to climate change is the shifts in species distribution ranges. Nevertheless, landscape fragmentation compromises the ability of limited dispersal species to move following these climate changes. Building connected environments that enable species to track climate changes is an ultimate goal for biodiversity conservation. An experiment was conducted to determine if electric power transmission lines could be transformed in a continental network of biodiversity reserves for small animals. The study analysed if the management of the habitat located inside the base of the transmission electric towers (providing refuge and planting seedlings of native shrub) allowed to increase local richness of target species (i.e., small mammals and some invertebrates' groups). The results confirmed that by modifying the base of the electric transmission towers density and diversity of several species of invertebrates and small mammals increased as well as number of birds and bird species, increasing local biodiversity. The study suggests that modifying the base of the electric towers would potentially facilitate the connection of fragmented populations. This idea would be easily applicable in any transmission line network anywhere around the world, making it possible for the first time to build up continental scale networks of connectivity. informacion[at] Ferrer et al (2020) Transporting Biodiversity Using Transmission Power Lines as Stepping-Stones? Diversity 12(11): 439;

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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