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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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Seed dispersal by neotropical waterfowl depends on bird species and seasonality

Seed dispersal by neotropical waterfowl depends on bird species and seasonality

Waterbirds have an important ecological function as vectors of plant dispersal between different wetlands. In the Neotropical region, there is very limited information about this dispersal. In southern Brazil, seed dispersal by endozoochory was studied by five waterfowl, including Brazilian teal, yellow-billed teal, ringed teal, coscoroba swan, and whitefaced whistling-duck. Over 2000 diaspores were recovered from 40 different plants, including seeds of 37 angiosperms, and diaspores of mosses, ferns and charophytes. Seeds of the threatened grass Zizaniopsis bonariensis were the most abundant. The species richness and abundance of seeds dispersed varied between bird species, and between the cold and warm seasons, with a strong interaction between these two factors. 12 plant species were indicators of particular bird species or seasons. The largest bird, the coscoroba, dispersed a larger proportion of relatively large seeds. The coscoroba and the smallest bird (ringed teal) differed from each other, and from the other three ducks, in the community composition of plants dispersed. All five species make daily movements between wetlands and are widely distributed in South America, ranging from the sedentary Brazilian teal to the long-distance migratory coscoroba. informacion[at] Silva et al. (2020) Seed dispersal by neotropical waterfowl depends on bird species and seasonality.  Freshwater Biology