miércoles, 30 de marzo de 2016

YLG 2016 campaign just started !

Photo F.Pezzo

The 2016 Yellow Legged Gull campaign has just started at Dragonera island. 
Birds are building their nests while few are already incubating. A good moment to read rings.

martes, 22 de marzo de 2016

GEP on Media

The publication by M. Genovart on Balearic Shearwaters has reached the media !

Here a short television interview (Chapter 43/1, at min 24).  

A press release (in Spanish) here and a short note by the BBC Science & Environment here

martes, 15 de marzo de 2016

New Publication on Storm Petrel Ecology!

Ramírez, F., Afan, I., Tavecchia, G., Catalán, I. A., Oro, D. and Sanz-Aguilar, A. 2016 Oceanographic drivers and mistiming processes shape breeding success in a seabird. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2287

Photo: M. Gomilla
Abstract: Understanding the processes driving seabirds' reproductive performance through trophic interactions requires the identification of seasonal pulses in marine productivity. We investigated the sequence of environmental and biological processes driving the reproductive phenology and performance of the storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) in the Western Mediterranean. The enhanced light and nutrient availability at the onset of water stratification (late winter/early spring) resulted in annual consecutive peaks in relative abundance of phytoplankton, zooplankton and ichthyoplankton. The high energy-demanding period of egg production and chick rearing coincided with these successive pulses in food availability, pointing to a phenological adjustment to such seasonal patterns with important fitness consequences. Indeed, delayed reproduction with respect to the onset of water stratification resulted in both hatching and breeding failure. This pattern was observed at the population level, but also when confounding factors such as individuals' age or experience were also accounted for. We provide the first evidence of oceanographic drivers leading to the optimal time-window for reproduction in an inshore seabird at southern European latitudes, along with a suitable framework for assessing the impact of environmentally driven changes in marine productivity patterns in seabird performance.

Official press release (Spanish) here

miércoles, 9 de marzo de 2016

New publication : Balearic Shearwaters still critically endangered

Genovart, M., Arcos, J.M, Álvarez, D., McMinn, M., Meier, R., Wynn, R.B., Guilford, T. and Oro, D., 2016 Demography of the critically endangered Balearic shearwater: the impact of fisheries and time to extinction. Journal of Applied Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12622

Photo: P. Arcos
  1. World-wide, many seabirds are affected by fisheries in opposing ways: as a source of mortality from bycatch, but also by providing discards as a predictable and abundant food resource. This applies to the Balearic shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus, the most endangered European seabird, whose time to extinction was estimated at only ˜40 years a decade ago.
  2. Since the previous assessment, new data and more sophisticated demographic modelling have become available, and new fishing policies from the European Union (Common Fisheries Policy, CFP) will apply, posing different scenarios for the viability of the species. Thus, there is both an urgent need and an opportunity for a more reliable update of the conservation status of the species.
  3. Demographic data were collected between 1985 and 2014 at one of the world's largest colonies. Most demographic parameters were estimated using multievent capture–recapture modelling. Some parameters, such as bycatch rate, immature individual survival and recruitment, were estimated for the first time. We incorporated estimates into stochastic population models to forecast time to extinction and assess the viability under different management scenarios, accounting for upcoming fishing policies.
  4. Adult survival was much lower than expected (0·809, SE: 0·013) and largely influenced by bycatch, which accounted for a minimum of 0·455 (SE: 0·230) of total mortality. Breeding success was positively correlated with discard availability. Recruitment started at low rates in 3-year-old birds (0·030, SE: 0·0455), increasing in following age classes and was almost complete at 6 years. Under the present scenario, we predict a time to extinction of 61 years (95% CI: 55–69).
  5. Synthesis and applications. Population projections suggest that the actual impact of fisheries on Balearic shearwaters is unsustainable and the imminent discard ban under the new Common Fisheries Policy may accelerate the declining trend. This study demonstrates that reducing the bycatch rates of fisheries is an unavoidable and urgent conservation measure for avoiding the extinction of the species. We also advise setting up demographic long-term studies, to allow researchers to diagnose, with reliability, the effectiveness of management actions. These actions will also benefit many other marine top-predator species affected by this anthropogenic impact.

 You can read a press release here (Spanish)

martes, 8 de marzo de 2016

EMBC+ Master project with the GEP

Lluïsa Ferrer Palou has joint the GEP to complete her Master project in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (International Master of Science;  EMBC+).
Lluïsa will reveal predictors of the breeding success of Scopoli's Shearwaters using indivudal-based data collected in the Balearic Islands since 2001.

Welcome Lluïsa !!!

jueves, 3 de marzo de 2016

New Publication on Lilford's wall lizard !!

Rotger, A., Smith, J.J., Igual, J.-M. and Tavecchia, G., 2016: Relative role of population density and climatic factors in shaping the body growth rate of Lilford’s Wall Lizard (Podarcis lilfordi). Canadian Journal of Zoology. doi: 10.1139/cjz-2015-0188

 Abstract: The growth rate in small reptiles is modulated by per-capita food resources and recent evidence suggested that this constraint is the mechanism underlying differences between cohorts. Per-capita food resources depend on population size and climatic factors, but their relative role in explaining the variations in growth rate is unclear.
Photo: G. Tavecchia
We used morphological data collected over 6 years to model the body growth of an insular lizard (Lilford’s Wall Lizard, Podarcis lilfordi (Günther, 1874)). We used nonlinear equations to describe the appropriate length-at-age relationship. For each sex, seasonal growth was observed and the oscillatory von Bertalanffy curve was fitted to the data. Three age classes were recognized, and we investigated the relative role of density, spring rainfall, and temperature in explaining the variation of the growth rate in each sex-by-age class. Results showed that the relative role of density and climatic factors varied according to the age considered. While population size and temperature had a negative effect on the growth rate of juveniles, rainfall had a positive influence on the growth of subadults. Adult growth was near zero and constant over time. The different role of density-dependent and climatic factors in explaining age-dependent growth rate provides an important insight in understanding lizard population dynamics and life-history tactics.