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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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The structure of waterbird seed dispersal networks is not mediated by functional traits

The structure of waterbird seed dispersal networks is not mediated by functional traits

Plants and their dispersers form interaction networks whose structure has important implications for the persistence and stability of the community. Frugivory is vital for the dispersal of many plants, but the dispersal interactions between plants and non-frugivorous animals, such as waterfowl, are poorly studied. In this study, the authors characterized the structure of networks for seed dispersal by waterfowl, considered whether their structure is similar to that of the networks formed between frugivorous birds and plants with fleshy fruits, and searched for functional traits of birds or plants that are important for maintenance of network structure. Data from four European community-level studies on the content of the digestive tracts of ducks and rallids, including 12 species of birds and 88 of plants, were used. Waterbird seed dispersal networks shared some organizational patterns with those of frugivores, but unlike frugivores, their underlying structure was not related to functional traits. This is likely related to fundamental differences between waterfowl and frugivores in the way they ingest seeds. Differences in the functional role of particular waterbird species for seed dispersal are likely due to other processes, such as differences in population size, movement patterns, microhabitat selection, or gut processing of seeds. informacion[at] Sebastián-González et al (2020) Waterbird seed-dispersal networks are similarly nested but less modular than those of frugivorous species, and not driven by species ecological traits. Funct Ecol