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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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Are fisheries affecting seabird juvenile survival during the first days at sea?

Are fisheries affecting seabird juvenile survival during the first days at sea?

The study of juvenile migration behaviour of seabird species has been limited so far by the inability to track their movements during long time periods. Foraging and flying skills of young individuals are assumed to be inferior to those of adults, making them more vulnerable during long-distance migrations. In addition to natural oceanographic effects and intrinsic conditions, incidental seabird harvest by human fisheries is one of the main causes of worldwide seabird population declines, and it has been hypothesized that juveniles are particularly vulnerable to bycatch during their first weeks at sea after leaving the nest. Solar-powered satellite tags were used to track the at-sea movements of adults and juveniles of Scopoli's shearwater Calonectris diomedea after the autumn departure from their breeding colony in Chafarinas Islands (southwestern Mediterranean Sea). Eighty per cent of juvenile tags stopped transmitting during the first week at sea, within 50 km of their natal colony, in an area with one of the highest concentrations of fishing activities in the Mediterranean Sea. All adult birds tagged and only 20% of juveniles migrated into the Atlantic and southwards along the coast of West Africa. The two age groups showed different habitat preferences, with juveniles travelling farther from the coast, in windier and less productive waters than adults. Results show that Scopoli's shearwater juveniles are particularly vulnerable to mortality events, and fisheries, along with differential age-related behaviour skills between adults and juveniles, are likely causes of this mortality. Overall, the study highlights the importance of conducting tracking studies during the first stages of juvenile migration. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Afán et al (2019) Maiden voyage into death: are fisheries affecting seabird juvenile survival during the first days at sea? Roy Soc Open Sci https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4365833.v1


https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.181151