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El CSIC advierte de que la biodiversidad de los ecosistemas alpinos africanos está en extinción por la presión humana

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The conservation of tropical montane biodiversity requires a holistic approach, using genetic, ecological and geographic information to understand the effects of environmental changes across temporal scales and simultaneously addressing the impacts of multiple threats. This problem is especially acute in understudied and highly threatened areas like the Ethiopian Highlands, where accelerated land conversion and degradation is placing further pressures on biodiversity.

While climate change is recognized as a major future threat to biodiversity, most species are currently threatened by extensive human?induced habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation. Tropical high?altitude alpine and montane forest ecosystems and their biodiversity are particularly sensitive to temperature increases under climate change, but they are also subject to accelerated pressures from land conversion and degradation due to a growing human population.

A research team have studied the combined effects of anthropogenic land?use change, past and future climate changes and mountain range isolation on the endemic Ethiopian Highlands long?eared bat, Plecotus balensis, an understudied bat that is restricted to the remnant natural high?altitude Afroalpine and Afromontane habitats.

The EBD researcher Javier Juste participated in this study, together with the University of Exeter and the University of Stirling, in the United Kingdom; Dire Dawa University in Ethiopia; the Center for Research in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (CIBIO), Veirão, and the University of Porto, in Portugal; and the CIBER of Epidemiology and Public Health, of Madrid.

The research team integrated ecological niche modelling, landscape genetics and model?based inference to assess the genetic, geographic and demographic impacts of past and recent environmental changes. They show that mountain range isolation and historic climates shaped population structure and patterns of genetic variation, but recent anthropogenic land?use change and habitat degradation are associated with a severe population decline and loss of genetic diversity.

Models predict that the suitable niche of this bat has been progressively shrinking since the last glaciation period. This study highlights threats to Afroalpine and Afromontane biodiversity, squeezed to higher altitudes under climate change while losing genetic diversity and suffering population declines due to anthropogenic land?use change.

The study concludes that the conservation of tropical montane biodiversity requires a holistic approach, using genetic, ecological and geographic information to understand the effects of environmental changes across temporal scales and simultaneously addressing the impacts of multiple threats.

 

informacion[at]ebd.csic.es

REFERENCIA:

Orly Razgour, Mohammed Kasso, Helena Santos, Javier Juste (2020) Threats to Afromontane biodiversity from climate change and habitat loss revealed by genetic monitoring of the Ethiopian Hi ghlands bat. Evolutionary applications. DOI: 10.1111/eva.13161

Read full press release (Spanish)
 


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Endozoochory of similar plants by storks and gulls

Endozoochory of similar plants by storks and gulls

Research into the dispersal of plants lacking a fleshy fruit by avian endozoochory remains limited, particularly regarding the different roles of specific vectors in the same habitat. Plants dispersed by endozoochory were compared between two migratory waterbirds differing in body size: the lesser black-backed gull, and the white stork. Faeces and pellets were collected from roosting flocks on dykes in the Doñana rice fields, and extracted intact seeds. 424 intact seeds from 21 plant taxa were recovered, 11 of which germinated under laboratory conditions. Eight plant species are considered weeds, four of them as alien species, and only two have a fleshy fruit. Toadrush (Juncus bufonius) was the dominant species, accounting for 49% of seeds recovered. Community analyses revealed no differences in the proportions of each plant species dispersed by the two birds, suggesting that waterbird plant dispersal networks are different from frugivore networks. These avian vectors provide maximum dispersal distances several orders of magnitude greater than predicted from their dispersal syndromes. Endozoochory by migratory waterbirds has major implications for plant distributions in a rapidly changing world. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Martín-Vélez et al (2020) Endozoochory of the same community of plants lacking fleshy fruits by storks and gulls. J Veg Science DOI 10.1111/jvs.12967


https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jvs.12967