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Argentine ants harm nestlings of the blue tit

The consequences of ant invasions on ecosystems may only become apparent after long periods. In addition, predicting how sensitive native fauna will respond is only possible if the underlying proximate mechanisms of their impact are identified. The attraction of the native and invasive ant community to artificial bird nests was studied, together with reproduction of a wild native songbird over five consecutive breeding seasons in relation to the presence of an invasive ant species. Biometric, reproductive and individual blood parameters of great tits Parus major breeding in invaded as compared to uninvaded sites by Argentine ants Linepithema humile were analysed. Great tits bred preferably in uninvaded territories by the Argentine ant. Moreover, Argentine ants were more abundant at nests in invaded sites, than any native ant species were at uninvaded sites. Further, Argentine ants recruited at the artificial nests more intensively and responded to a larger variety of nest (intact eggs, cracked eggs, faeces, and cracked eggs plus faeces) contents than native species. Although breeding success and adult condition did not vary in relation to invasion status, offspring quality was negatively affected by the presence of Argentine ants. Nestlings reared in invaded sites were lighter, with lower wing/tarsus length ratio and had a reduced nutritional condition and altered oxidative stress balance as measured from several blood parameters. The interspersed distribution and small distance between invaded versus uninvaded territories suggest that ant presence affects nestling condition through direct interference at the nest. These results highlight the importance of evaluating the proximate effects like physiological parameters of the native fauna, when studying invasive ant-native bird interactions. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Álvarez et al (2020) Breeding consequences for a songbird nesting in Argentine ant' invaded land. Biol Invasions https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-020-02297-3


https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10530-020-02297-3
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New "Silk Road" brings challenges and opportunities for biodiversity conservation

New "Silk Road" brings challenges and opportunities for biodiversity conservation

China is establishing an infrastructure and service network to connect the country, by land and sea, to different parts of Asia, Africa and Europe. This Chinese project would then represent not only an investment to foster international trade but also an opportunity for sustainable development leadership. According to Chinese government, this new "Silk Road" counts on the participation of least 65 countries, involve about two-thirds of the world's population and boost one-third of the global economy. This "Belt and Road" initiative (BRI) promises to greatly influence the future of global trade and promote the economic development around the world. However, it may also promote permanent environmental degradation. The implementation of BRI implies massive rail and road infrastructure expansion, new ports construction in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the creation of oil and gas pipelines to Russia, Kazakhstan and Myanmar. BRI's economic development corridors coincide with high environmental value areas and can therefore have significant impacts on biodiversity. A recent report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) shows that these corridors overlap with 1739 Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and with the range of 265 threatened species, including 39 critically endangered. Abrupt changes in ecosystem quality and functionality due to pollution, the spread of invasive species, restrictions of animal movement, habitat loss and increased wildlife mortality, are at stake. In addition, raw materials and fossil fuels use, and increased oil and gas reserves exploitation constitute a scenario of an increasing dependency on fossil-fuel and high greenhouse gas emissions. All BRI-related projects should undergo Strategic Environmental and Social Assessments which provide, at an early stage of decision-making, holistic information on the costs and benefits of development plans, including those reflecting the impacts on biodiversity and human populations. The Belt and Road Initiative could be an opportunity for China to take a leading role in moving global development towards sustainability by requiring its overseas partners at least the same environmental quality China aspires for within its territory. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Ascensão et al (2018): Environmental challenges for the Belt and Road Initiative. Nature Sustainability Doi: 10.1038/s41893-018-0059-3


https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-018-0059-3