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Transporting Biodiversity Using Transmission Power Lines as Stepping-Stones

The most common ecological response to climate change is the shifts in species distribution ranges. Nevertheless, landscape fragmentation compromises the ability of limited dispersal species to move following these climate changes. Building connected environments that enable species to track climate changes is an ultimate goal for biodiversity conservation. An experiment was conducted to determine if electric power transmission lines could be transformed in a continental network of biodiversity reserves for small animals. The study analysed if the management of the habitat located inside the base of the transmission electric towers (providing refuge and planting seedlings of native shrub) allowed to increase local richness of target species (i.e., small mammals and some invertebrates' groups). The results confirmed that by modifying the base of the electric transmission towers density and diversity of several species of invertebrates and small mammals increased as well as number of birds and bird species, increasing local biodiversity. The study suggests that modifying the base of the electric towers would potentially facilitate the connection of fragmented populations. This idea would be easily applicable in any transmission line network anywhere around the world, making it possible for the first time to build up continental scale networks of connectivity. informacion[at] Ferrer et al (2020) Transporting Biodiversity Using Transmission Power Lines as Stepping-Stones? Diversity 12(11): 439;

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Ancient intercontinental dispersals of grey wolves according to mitochondrial genomes

Ancient intercontinental dispersals of grey wolves according to mitochondrial genomes

Grey wolves (Canis lupus) are widespread across the Holarctic. Here, the previously proposed hypothesis that extant North American wolves originate from multiple waves of colonization from Asia is tested, along with the hypothesis that land connections have been important in the evolutionary history of other isolated wolf populations in Japan. Results suggest that the mitogenomes of all living wolves in North America, including Mexican wolves, most likely derive from a single colonization event from Eurasia that expanded the grey wolf range into North America. This colonization occurred while a land bridge connected Eurasia and North America before the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets fused in the Last Glacial Maximum, c. 23 ka, much more recent than predicted based on the fossil record. Pleistocene land bridges also facilitated the separate colonization of Hokkaido and the southern Japanese islands. Extant wolf lineages in North America derive from wolves that migrated into North America coincident with the formation of the most recent land bridge with Eurasia. The maternal lineages from earlier Pleistocene American wolves are not represented in living American wolves, indicating that they left no descendants. The timing of colonization of North America, Hokkaido and the southern Japanese islands corresponds to the changes in land connectivity as a consequence of changing sea level. informacion[at] Koblmüller et al (2016) Whole mitochondrial genomes illuminate ancient intercontinental dispersals of grey wolves (Canis lupus). J Biogeogr 43: 1728–1738. doi:10.1111/jbi.12765