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Oversea migration of white storks through the water barriers of the straits of Gibraltar

Soaring landbirds typically exploit atmospheric uplift as they fly overland, displaying a highly effective energy-saving locomotion. However, large water bodies lack thermal updrafts, potentially becoming ecological barriers that hamper migration. The effects of a sea surface on the migratory performance of GPS-tagged white storks (Ciconia ciconia) were assessed before, during and after they crossed the straits of Gibraltar. Oversea movements involved only flapping and gliding and were faster, traversed in straighter, descending trajectories and resulted in higher movement-related energy expenditure levels than overland, supporting the water barrier hypothesis. Overland movements at both sides of the sea straits resulted in tortuous routes and ascending trajectories with pre-crossing flights showing higher elevations and more tortuous routes than post-crossing, thus supporting the barrier negotiation hypothesis. Individual positions at both ends of the sea narrow were predicted by zonal winds and storks´ location at entry in the European hinterland, and birds did not show compensational movements overland in anticipation to subsequent wind displacements oversea. The length of the water narrow at departure shore, the elevation therein and the winds on route affected major components of sea crossing performance (such as distances and times overwater, minimum elevations, climb angles, speeds and energy expenditure), supporting the departure position and oversea winds hypotheses. In summary, this study provides a prime example at high temporal resolution of how birds adjust their behavior and physiology as they interact with the changing conditions of the travelling medium, reallocating resources and modifying their movement to overcome an ecological barrier. informacion[at] Blas et al (2020) Overland and oversea migration of white storks through the water barriers of the straits of Gibraltar. Scientific Reports 10: 20760. DOI 10.1038/s41598-020-77273-x. See Spanish press release
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Impact of fisheries on sea turtles

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