News News

Human impact has contributed to the decline of the Eurasion lynx

Disentangling the contribution of long?term evolutionary processes and recent anthropogenic impacts to current genetic patterns of wildlife species is key to assessing genetic risks and designing conservation strategies. Eighty whole nuclear genomes and 96 mitogenomes from populations of the Eurasian lynx covering a range of conservation statuses, climatic zones and subspecies across Eurasia were used to infer the demographic history, reconstruct genetic patterns, and discuss the influence of long?term isolation and more recent human?driven changes. Results show that Eurasian lynx populations shared a common history until 100,000 years ago, when Asian and European populations started to diverge and both entered a period of continuous and widespread decline, with western populations, except Kirov (Russia), maintaining lower effective sizes than eastern populations. Population declines and increased isolation in more recent times probably drove the genetic differentiation between geographically and ecologically close westernmost European populations. By contrast, and despite the wide range of habitats covered, populations are quite homogeneous genetically across the Asian range, showing a pattern of isolation by distance and providing little genetic support for the several proposed subspecies. Mitogenomic and nuclear divergences and population declines starting during the Late Pleistocene can be mostly attributed to climatic fluctuations and early human influence, but the widespread and sustained decline since the Holocene is more probably the consequence of anthropogenic impacts which intensified in recent centuries, especially in western Europe. Genetic erosion in isolated European populations and lack of evidence for long?term isolation argue for the restoration of lost population connectivity between European and Asian poulations. informacion[at] Lucena-Perez et al (2020). Genomic patterns in the widespread Eurasian lynx shaped by Late Quaternary climatic fluctuations and anthropogenic impacts. MOL ECOL 29(4) DOI 10.1111/mec.15366
Average (0 Votes)

Latest News Latest News


Individual habitat specialization of a successful species

Individual habitat specialization of a successful species

Population expansions of successful species have gained importance as a major conservation and management concern. The success of these ‘winners' is widely attributed to their high adaptability and behavioural plasticity, which allow them to efficiently use opportunities provided by human-modified habitats. However, most of these studies consider conspecifics as ecological equivalents, without considering the individual components within populations. This is critical for a better understanding of the main ecological mechanisms related to the success of winning species. Here, the spatial ecology of the opportunistic yellow-legged gull Larus michahellis, a clear example of a winning species in southern Europe, is investigated to examine its degree of individual specialization in habitat use. To test for such individual strategies, specialization metrics is applied to spatial data obtained from 18 yellow-legged gulls that were GPS-tracked simultaneously during the breeding season. The results revealed that population-level generalism in habitat use in the yellow-legged gull arises through varying levels of individual specialization, and individual spatial segregation within each habitat. Importantly, the combination of individual specialization and individual spatial segregation may reduce intra-specific competition, with these 2 important mechanisms driving the success of this winning species. informacion[at] Navarro et al (2017) Shifting individual habitat specialization of a successful predator living in anthropogenic landscapes. Mar Ecol Prog Ser variability in seabird foraging and migration/av5