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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]ebd.csic.es: Ferrer et al (2020) Transporting Biodiversity Using Transmission Power Lines as Stepping-Stones? Diversity 12(11): 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12110439

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https://www.mdpi.com/1424-2818/12/11/439
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Low levels of chemical anthropogenic pollution may threaten amphibians by impairing predator recognition

Low levels of chemical anthropogenic pollution may threaten amphibians by impairing predator recognition

Recent studies suggest that direct mortality and physiological effects caused by pollutants are major contributing factors to global amphibian decline. This study shows how sublethal concentrations of pollutants can disrupt the ability of amphibian larvae to recognize their natural predators, hence increasing the risk of predation in the populations. This indirect effect is indeed much more important since very low amounts of pollutants are ubiquitous, and environmental efforts are mostly directed towards preventing lethal spills. Researches have compared the swimming activity of tadpoles of the western spadefoot toad, Pelobates cultripes, in the presence and absence of water-borne chemical cues from a common predator –nymphs of the dragonfly Anax imperator–, at different concentrations of two contaminants present in natural waters: humic acid and ammonium nitrate. Tadpoles reduced swimming activity in response to predator cues in the absence of pollutants, whereas they remained unresponsive to these cues when either humic acid or ammonium nitrate was added to the water, even at low concentrations. Alteration of the natural chemical environment of aquatic systems by pollutants may represent a serious threat for amphibian populations. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es Polo-Cavia et el (2016) Low levels of chemical anthropogenic pollution may threaten amphibians by impairing predator recognition Aquat Toxicol 172: 30-35 doi:10.1016/j.aquatox.2015.12.019


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166445X1530134X