News News

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;

Read press release (Spanish)
Average (0 Votes)

Latest News Latest News


Noninvasive sampling of saliva for genetic analysis in ecology

Noninvasive sampling of saliva for genetic analysis in ecology

Saliva is a secretion rich in epithelial cells and an excellent source of DNA for genetic analysis. Attempts to identify wild vertebrates from noninvasive samples of saliva have been restricted to searching for food remains recently handled by target species. This approach often requires close tracking of animals, which is unfeasible for most species and may explain why saliva is seldom considered in ecological studies. Authors develop a noninvasive method of collection that combines baits and porous materials able to capture saliva. Its potential in optimal conditions has been reported using confined dogs and collecting saliva early after deposition. Mean DNA concentration in saliva extracts was high (14 ng µl-1), whereas species (85%) and individual identification rates (90%) were as high as, or higher than, those reported for other kinds of noninvasive samples such as hair, urine or faeces. Genotyping errors (2%) and mean genotyping effort (2 replicates) remained at very low levels. The procedure could advantageously allow detection of socially low-ranked individuals underrepresented in faecal or urine samples associated with marking behaviour. Once adapted and refined, this technique could yield high rates of individual identification of wild vertebrates in ecological field studies requiring noninvasive sampling. informacion[at] Lobo et al (2015) A new method for noninvasive genetic sampling of saliva in ecological research. PLoS ONE 10 (10) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139765