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Impact of fisheries on sea turtles

The bycatch of sea turtles by industrial fisheries is receiving an increasing attention in recent years due to the high impact it causes on these endangered species. This issue was evaluated in southern Spain waters that harbors an important feeding ground of loggerhead and leatherback turtles, including the endangered Eastern Atlantic loggerhead population. To quantify the impact that different fisheries represents to sea turtles, 272 fishermen answered to detailed illustrated questionnaires in all the main ports of Andalusia and Murcia (Spain) during 2014. This study has updated the knowledge of turtle bycatch in the southwestern Mediterranean revealing a widespread impact of fisheries on sea turtles. Fishermen recognized an annual catch of 2.3 turtles per boat. Considering the census of industrial fishing boats in the study area (1182), more than 2840 sea turtles could be bycaught per year in the study area. Most of captures (96.2%) were produced during the summer. These results suggest a severe impact of most of legal fisheries (surface longline, pursue seine, trawling and small scale fisheries) on loggerhead feeding grounds in the southwestern Mediterranean. Fishermen suggests that drift fishing conducted by foreign or illegal fishermen and almadrabas are also causing a significant bycatch of turtles. Several measures such as reviewing compliance of current fishing and environmental regulations, modifying turtle technics to reduce turtle bycatch (e.g. reduction of the use of squid as bait and disposal of hooks deeper in the water column), facilitating the rescue and handle of wound turtles and their transport to the port for recovery, and recognizing the efforts of anglers to perform a more sustainable fishing, are recommended to mitigate this impact. informacion[at] Marco et al (2020) Sea turtle bycatch by different types of fisheries in southern Spain. Basic and Applied Herpetology
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Lack of evolution of sexual size dimorphism in Heteromyidae (Rodentia)

Lack of evolution of sexual size dimorphism in Heteromyidae (Rodentia)

One paradoxical finding in some mammals is the presence of male–male intrasexual competition in the absence of sexual size dimorphism. It has been a major goal of evolutionary biologists for over a century to understand why some species in which large males can monopolize multiple mates while excluding smaller competitors, exhibit little or no sexual dimorphism. In this paper three of the main hypotheses that have been proposed to explain this conundrum are examined using as study case the Heteromyidae, a rodent family with subtle sexual size dimorphism. Using a phylogenetic comparative approach, the potential influence of (1) fecundity selection, (2) covariation between pre- and post-copulatory traits, and (3) environmental constraints (resource shortage) in explaining patterns of body size and sexual size dimorphism (SSD) across 62 heteromyid species are addressed. Baculum size, a proxy of the strength of post-copulatory sexual selection, and SSD were negatively correlated suggesting that heteromyid rodents balance their reproductive investment between pre- and post-copulatory traits, which may prevent the evolution of extensive SSD. Results also support a role for resource competition in moderating SSD. The amount of SSD correlated negatively with latitude. This can be explained if high productivity relaxes the level of intrasexual competition among females, leading to more male-biased dimorphism since forces acting on both sexes are not cancelled. In line with this argument, territorial species exhibited a higher dimorphism in comparison with social species. No support was found for the fecundity selection hypothesis. Overall, this study provides insight into the factors driving observed patterns of sexual dimorphism in this iconic group and highlights the need to consider a broader framework beyond sexual selection for better understanding the evolution of dimorphism in this family. García-Navas (2017) Lack of evolution of sexual size dimorphism in Heteromyidae (Rodentia): the influence of resource defense and the trade-off between pre- and post-copulatory trait investment. Evol Biol DOI:10.1007/s11692-016-9390-7