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El CSIC advierte de que la biodiversidad de los ecosistemas alpinos africanos está en extinción por la presión humana

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The conservation of tropical montane biodiversity requires a holistic approach, using genetic, ecological and geographic information to understand the effects of environmental changes across temporal scales and simultaneously addressing the impacts of multiple threats. This problem is especially acute in understudied and highly threatened areas like the Ethiopian Highlands, where accelerated land conversion and degradation is placing further pressures on biodiversity.

While climate change is recognized as a major future threat to biodiversity, most species are currently threatened by extensive human?induced habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation. Tropical high?altitude alpine and montane forest ecosystems and their biodiversity are particularly sensitive to temperature increases under climate change, but they are also subject to accelerated pressures from land conversion and degradation due to a growing human population.

A research team have studied the combined effects of anthropogenic land?use change, past and future climate changes and mountain range isolation on the endemic Ethiopian Highlands long?eared bat, Plecotus balensis, an understudied bat that is restricted to the remnant natural high?altitude Afroalpine and Afromontane habitats.

The EBD researcher Javier Juste participated in this study, together with the University of Exeter and the University of Stirling, in the United Kingdom; Dire Dawa University in Ethiopia; the Center for Research in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (CIBIO), Veirão, and the University of Porto, in Portugal; and the CIBER of Epidemiology and Public Health, of Madrid.

The research team integrated ecological niche modelling, landscape genetics and model?based inference to assess the genetic, geographic and demographic impacts of past and recent environmental changes. They show that mountain range isolation and historic climates shaped population structure and patterns of genetic variation, but recent anthropogenic land?use change and habitat degradation are associated with a severe population decline and loss of genetic diversity.

Models predict that the suitable niche of this bat has been progressively shrinking since the last glaciation period. This study highlights threats to Afroalpine and Afromontane biodiversity, squeezed to higher altitudes under climate change while losing genetic diversity and suffering population declines due to anthropogenic land?use change.

The study concludes that the conservation of tropical montane biodiversity requires a holistic approach, using genetic, ecological and geographic information to understand the effects of environmental changes across temporal scales and simultaneously addressing the impacts of multiple threats.

 

informacion[at]ebd.csic.es

REFERENCIA:

Orly Razgour, Mohammed Kasso, Helena Santos, Javier Juste (2020) Threats to Afromontane biodiversity from climate change and habitat loss revealed by genetic monitoring of the Ethiopian Hi ghlands bat. Evolutionary applications. DOI: 10.1111/eva.13161

Read full press release (Spanish)
 


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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]ebd.csic.es: 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 https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13657


https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1365-2435.13657