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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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Ecotourism as a data source on rare species

Ecotourism as a data source on rare species

Monitoring long-term trends in population size is important for species' conservation assessments. However, it may be unfeasible for rare species, for which past records are typically sparse. In this study, the potential of birding trip reports as an underappreciated source of biological information to monitor rare species was investigated. For this purpose, the Peruvian thick-knee, a cryptic gregarious species, was used as an example to assess population trends over 2000?2010, using flock size dynamics as a proxy. All observations of thick-knees that could be accessed from trip reports across the entire geographic range of the species were collected. Overall, this search yielded 218 records of 2403 individuals, of which 73.9% were fully useable for this study. Mean flock size declined slightly over the study period in Lima (Central Peru), whereas in Tarapacá (North Chile), it increased at the beginning of the decade and then decreased nearly 90% until the end of the study period. This suggests that, at least at the southernmost part of the distribution range of the thick-knee, the magnitude and speed of the change in population size could be sufficient to qualify for a threatened category. Compared to other sources, nature trip reports seem a promising data source for monitoring rare species, since sightings of sought-after species are increasingly posted online as a form of tourist attraction. This study highlights the great utility that trip reports freely available online may have to provide retrospective data on rare species that would otherwise be impossible to collect. Nonetheless, they might not be universally valid due to species-specific differences and possible lack of non detection records. Potential biases due to varying sampling effort or detectability should also be carefully considered. information[at] Camacho (2016) Birding trip reports as a data source for monitoring rare species. Anim Conserv DOI:10.1111/acv.12258