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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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Evolutionary and demographic history of the Californian scrub white oak species complex: an integrative approach

Evolutionary and demographic history of the Californian scrub white oak species complex: an integrative approach

Understanding the factors promoting species formation is a major task in evolutionary biology research. In this project, the evolutionary history of the six putative species included within the Californian scrub white oak species complex has been studied. To infer the relative importance of geographical isolation and ecological divergence in driving the speciation process, authors have first analysed inter- and intra-specific patterns of genetic differentiation and employed an approximate Bayesian computation framework to evaluate different plausible scenarios of species divergence. In a second step, the inferred divergence pathways has been linked with current and past species distribution models, and tested for niche differentiation and phylogenetic niche conservatism across taxa. Analyses showed that the most plausible scenario is the one considering the divergence of two main lineages followed by a more recent pulse of speciation. Genotypic data in conjunction with species distribution models and niche differentiation analyses support that different factors (geography vs. environment) and modes of speciation (parapatry, allopatry and maybe sympatry) have played a role in the divergence process within this complex. This study shows that different mechanisms can drive divergence even among closely related taxa representing early stages of species formation and exemplifies the importance of adopting integrative approaches to get a better understanding of the speciation process and the evolutionary phenomena contributing to generate biodiversity. informacion[at] Ortego et al (2015) Evolutionary and demographic history of the Californian scrub white oak species complex: an integrative approach. Mol Ecol 24, 6188-6208 doi: 10.1111/mec.13457