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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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Correlated evolution of white spots on ears and closed habitat preferences in felids

Correlated evolution of white spots on ears and closed habitat preferences in felids

The pigmentation patterns of many carnivorous mammals comprise contrasting white patches of hair in different parts of the body whose evolution remains largely misunderstood. Some felids (Felidae) exhibit conspicuous white spots on the posterior part of the ears, while the ear color of others is uniform. On the basis that ear movement in felids has a role in intraspecific communication and that color contrast enhances detection, here it is hypothesized that white spots on ears may be particularly adaptive under conditions of poor visibility and thus be associated with the occupancy of closed habitats. This prediction was tested using phylogenetic logistic regression models with all species of extant felids. Results show a clear association between the occurrence of white spots on ears and preference for closed habitats, and this is independent of body size and whether species that occupy both closed and open habitats are considered as closed- or open-habitat specialists. Phylogenetic signal analyses indicate that the occurrence of white spots on ears is a highly conserved trait while habitat preferences are evolutionarily labile, suggesting that the presence of white spots may have partly contributed to the adaptation of felids to closed habitats. These findings indicate that some subtle pigment traits have fulfilled a significant role in determining the success of habitat occupancy by felids and possibly other mammals, which in turn has driven the evolutionary maintenance of such traits. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Galván (2019) Correlated evolution of white spots on ears and closed habitat preferences in felids. J Mammal Evol https://doi.org/10.1007/s10914-019-09464-x


https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10914-019-09464-x