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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]ebd.csic.es: 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


https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/fwb.13618
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Population differentiation between natural and human-managed areas

Population differentiation between natural and human-managed areas

Landscape change induced by humans can alter the environmental conditions and thus promote unusually rapid evolutionary changes and/or at remarkably small spatial scales. In a managed property and a natural reserve situated less than 10 km apart, we tested for morphological differentiation of a migratory insectivorous bird, the red-necked nightjar (Caprimulgus ruficollis). At both sites, we also estimated site fidelity and quantified the potential foraging opportunities for nightjars, as measured by food supply and the availability of foraging sites. Breeding birds in the managed habitat were significantly larger in skeletal size than those in the natural one. However, there were no significant differences in wing or tail length. No individual (out of 1130 captures overall over 5 years) exchanged areas between years and immigration from neighboring areas was almost negligible, suggesting strong site fidelity. Food supply for nightjars was similar in both areas, but the availability of foraging sites was remarkably higher in the managed property as a result of human activity. Hence, nightjars in the latter habitat benefited from increased foraging opportunities in relation to those in the natural site. It seems likely that the fine-scale variation in nightjar morphology reflects a phenotypic response to unequal local conditions, since non-random dispersal or differential mortality had been determined not to be influential. High site fidelity appears to contribute to the maintenance of body-size differences between the two habitats. Results from this nightjar population highlight the potential of human-induced changes in landscape configuration to promote population-level responses at exceedingly small geographic scales. información[at]ebd.csic.es Camacho et al (2015) The road to opportunities: Landscape change promotes body size divergence in a highly mobile species Curr Zool 62:00?00