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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] Álvarez et al (2020) Breeding consequences for a songbird nesting in Argentine ant' invaded land. Biol Invasions
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Historical citizen science to understand and predict climate-driven trout decline

Historical citizen science to understand and predict climate-driven trout decline

Historical species records offer an excellent opportunity to test the predictive ability of range forecasts under climate change, but researchers often consider that historical records are scarce and unreliable, besides the datasets collected by renowned naturalists. This study demonstrates the relevance of biodiversity records generated through citizen science initiatives generated outside the natural sciences academia. A Spanish geographic dictionary from the mid-19th century was used to compile over 10,000 freshwater fish records, including almost 4,000 brown trout (Salmo trutta) citations, and a historical presence-absence dataset covering over 2,000 10 × 10 km cells was constructed, which is comparable with present-day data. There has been a clear reduction in trout range in the last 150 years, coinciding with a generalized warming. The current trout distribution can be accurately predicted based on historical records and past and present values of three air temperature variables. The models indicate a consistent decline of average suitability of around 25% between 1850s and 2000s, which is expected to surpass 40% by the 2050s. The largely unexplored potential of historical species records from non-academic sources should open new pathways for long-term global change science. informacion[at] Clavero et al(2017) Historical citizen science to understand and predict climate-driven trout decline. Proc R Soc Lond DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.1979