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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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On the path to extinction: inbreeding and admixture in a declining gray wolf population

On the path to extinction: inbreeding and admixture in a declining gray wolf population

Allee effects reduce the viability of small populations in many different ways, which act synergistically to lead populations towards extinction vortexes. The Sierra Morena wolf population, isolated in the south of the Iberian Peninsula and composed of just one or few packs for decades, represents a good example of how diverse threats act additively in very small populations. The genome of one of the last wolves identified (and road?killed) in Sierra Morena and that of another wolf in the Iberian Wolf Captive Breeding Program were sequenced, and compared with other wolf and dog genomes from around the world (including two previously published genome sequences from northern Iberian wolves). The results showed relatively low overall genetic diversity in Iberian wolves, but diverse population histories including past introgression of dog genes. The Sierra Morena wolf had an extraordinarily high level of inbreeding and long runs of homozygosity, resulting from the long isolation. In addition, about one third of the genome was of dog origin. Despite the introgression of dog genes, heterozygosity remained low because of continued inbreeding after several hybridization events. The results thus illustrate the case of a small and isolated wolf population where the low population density may have favored hybridization and introgression of dog alleles, but continued inbreeding may have resulted in large chromosomal fragments of wolf origin completely disappearing from the population, and being replaced by chromosomal fragments of dog origin. The latest population surveys suggest that this population may have gone extinct. informacion[at] Gómez?Sánchez et al (2018) On the path to extinction: inbreeding and admixture in a declining gray wolf population. Mol Ecol. DOI: 10.1111/mec.14824