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  • 1
    In: PLoS ONE, 2013, Vol.8(8)
    Description: Organisms living in urban environments are exposed to different environmental conditions compared to their rural conspecifics. Especially anthropogenic noise and artificial night light are closely linked to urbanization and pose new challenges to urban species. Songbirds are particularly affected by these factors, because they rely on the spread of acoustic information and adjust their behaviour to the rhythm of night and day, e.g. time their dawn song according to changing light intensities. Our aim was to clarify the specific contributions of artificial night light and traffic noise on the timing of dawn song of urban European Blackbirds ( Turdus merula ). We investigated the onset of blackbird dawn song along a steep urban gradient ranging from an urban forest to the city centre of Leipzig, Germany. This gradient of anthropogenic noise and artificial night light was reflected in the timing of dawn song. In the city centre, blackbirds started their dawn song up to 5 hours earlier compared to those in semi-natural habitats. We found traffic noise to be the driving factor of the shift of dawn song into true night, although it was not completely separable from the effects of ambient night light. We additionally included meteorological conditions into the analysis and found an effect on the song onset. Cloudy and cold weather delayed the onset, but cloud cover was assumed to reflect night light emissions, thus, amplified sky luminance and increased the effect of artificial night light. Beside these temporal effects, we also found differences in the spatial autocorrelation of dawn song onset showing a much higher variability in noisy city areas than in rural parks and forests. These findings indicate that urban hazards such as ambient noise and light pollution show a manifold interference with naturally evolved cycles and have significant effects on the activity patterns of urban blackbirds.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Biology ; Social And Behavioral Sciences ; Veterinary Science
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 2
    In: PLoS ONE, 2015, Vol.10(5)
    Description: Quantifying population status is a key objective in many ecological studies, but is often difficult to achieve for cryptic or elusive species. Here, non-invasive genetic capture-mark-recapture (CMR) methods have become a very important tool to estimate population parameters, such as population size and sex ratio. The Eurasian otter ( Lutra lutra ) is such an elusive species of management concern and is increasingly studied using faecal-based genetic sampling. For unbiased sex ratios or population size estimates, the marking behaviour of otters has to be taken into account. Using 2132 otter faeces of a wild otter population in Upper Lusatia (Saxony, Germany) collected over six years (2006–2012), we studied the marking behaviour and applied closed population CMR models accounting for genetic misidentification to estimate population sizes and sex ratios. We detected a sex difference in the marking behaviour of otters with jelly samples being more often defecated by males and placed actively exposed on frequently used marking sites. Since jelly samples are of higher DNA quality, it is important to not only concentrate on this kind of samples or marking sites and to invest in sufficiently high numbers of repetitions of non-jelly samples to ensure an unbiased sex ratio. Furthermore, otters seemed to increase marking intensity due to the handling of their spraints, hence accounting for this behavioural response could be important. We provided the first precise population size estimate with confidence intervals for Upper Lusatia (for 2012: N ^ = 20 ± 2.1, 95% CI = 16–25) and showed that spraint densities are not a reliable index for abundances. We further demonstrated that when minks live in sympatry with otters and have comparably high densities, a non-negligible number of supposed otter samples are actually of mink origin. This could severely bias results of otter monitoring if samples are not genetically identified.
    Keywords: Research Article
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 3
    In: Journal of Wildlife Management, November 2013, Vol.77(8), pp.1490-1511
    Description: The main goal of non-invasive genetic capture-mark-recapture (CMR) analysis is to gain an unbiased and reliable population size estimate of species that cannot be sampled directly. The method has become an important and widely used tool to research and manage wildlife populations. However, researchers have to struggle with low amplification success rates and genotyping errors, which substantially bias subsequent analysis. To receive reliable results and to minimize the time and costs required for non-invasive microsatellite genotyping, one must carefully choose a species-specific sampling design, methods that maximize the amount of template DNA, and methods that could overcome genotyping errors, especially when using low-quality samples. This article reviews the literature and the pros and cons of the main methods used along the process described above. The review is strengthened by a case study on Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) using feces; we tested several methods for their appropriateness to accommodate for genotyping errors. Based on this method testing, we demonstrated that high genotyping error rates are the key problem in this process leading to a severely flawed dataset if no consensus genotype is formed. However, even if generating consensus genotypes minimizes errors dramatically, we show that it may not achieve a definite eradication of all errors, which results in overestimated population sizes if conventional estimators are used. In conjunction with these findings, we offer a step-by-step protocol for non-invasive genetic CMR studies to achieve a reliable estimate of population sizes in the presence of high genotyping error rates. © 2013 The Wildlife Society. [PUBLICATION ]
    Keywords: Capture‐Mark‐Recapture Cmr ; Consensus Genotypes ; Eurasian Otter Lutra Lutra ; Fecal Dna ; Microsatellites ; Screening Approach
    ISSN: 0022-541X
    E-ISSN: 1937-2817
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  • 4
    Keywords: Wind Energy ; Birds ; Carcass Monitoring Search Operations ; Land-Use Types ; Collision Sensitive Part Of The Ecological Niche ; Landscape Planning ; Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (Enfa) ; Brandenburg ; Germany ; 2000-2011
    ISSN: 1932-6203
    Source: DataCite
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 1 December 2013, Vol.125(4), pp.848-851
    Description: Larvae of bird blow flies are hematophagous intermittent parasites and they infect a variety of bird host species. In this study we focused on the prevalence of infestation in nests of Turdus merula in two sites with different climate. We collected 57 nests from Bratislava (Slovakia) which has a warmer climate and 37 nests from Leipzig (Germany) where there is cooler weather during the breeding season. There is no significant difference in the prevalence of infestation and in number of puparia between these two sites. The average number of infested nests was 18.68% while the average number of blow flies per nest was 10.0 ± 7.32 with 2.54 ± 1.83 larvae per nestling.
    Keywords: Behavioral sciences -- Ethology -- Animal behavior ; Biological sciences -- Ecology -- Ecological processes ; Biological sciences -- Biology -- Parasitology ; Biological sciences -- Biology -- Developmental biology ; Biological sciences -- Biology -- Zoology ; Biological sciences -- Ecology -- Ecological processes ; Biological sciences -- Biology -- Parasitology ; Biological sciences -- Biology -- Zoology ; Biological sciences -- Biology -- Biological taxonomies ; Biological sciences -- Ecology -- Ecological processes
    ISSN: 15594491
    E-ISSN: 19385447
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  • 6
    In: PLoS ONE, 2013, Vol.8(12)
    Description: In long–lived social mammals such as primates, individuals can benefit from social bonds with close kin, including their mothers. In the patrilocal chimpanzee ( Pan troglodytes spp.) and bonobo ( Pan paniscus ), sexually mature males reside and reproduce in their natal groups and can retain post-dependency bonds with their mothers, while immatures of both sexes might also have their paternal grandmothers available. However, quantitative information on the proportion of males and immatures that co-reside with both types of these close female relatives is limited for both species. Combining genetic parentage determination and group composition data from five communities of wild chimpanzees and three communities of wild bonobos, we estimated the frequency of co-residence between (1) mature males and their mothers, and (2) immature males and females and their paternal grandmothers. We found that adult males resided twice as frequently with their mothers in bonobos than in chimpanzees, and that immature bonobos were three times more likely to possess a living paternal grandmother than were immature chimpanzees. Patterns of female and male survivorship from studbook records of captive individuals of both species suggest that mature bonobo females survive longer than their chimpanzee counterparts, possibly contributing to the differences observed in mother–son and grandmother–immature co-residency levels. Taking into account reports of bonobo mothers supporting their sons' mating efforts and females sharing food with immatures other than their own offspring, our findings suggest that life history traits may facilitate maternal and grandmaternal support more in bonobos than in chimpanzees.
    Keywords: Research Article
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 7
    In: Journal of Applied Ecology, June 2017, Vol.54(3), pp.903-913
    Description: Nature conservation policies need to deliver on multiple criteria, including genetic diversity, population viability and species richness as well as ecosystem services. The challenge of integrating these may be addressed by simulation modelling. We used four models (MetaConnect, SPOMSIM, a community model and InVEST) to assess a variety of spatial habitat patterns with two levels of total habitat cover and realised at two spatial scales, exploring which landscape structures performed best according to five different conservation criteria assessed for four functional types of organisms (approximately representing trees, butterflies, small mammals and birds). The results display both synergies and trade‐offs: population size and pollination services generally benefitted more from fragmentation than did genetic heterozygosity, and species richness more than allelic richness, although the latter two varied considerably among the functional types. No single landscape performed best across all conservation criteria, but averaging over criteria and functional types, overall performance improved with greater levels of habitat cover and intermediate fragmentation (or less fragmentation in cases with lower habitat cover). Policy implications. Using four simulation models, we show that different conservation objectives must be traded off in spatial conservation planning, and that considering only a single taxon or criterion may result in suboptimal choices when planning reserve networks. Nevertheless, heterogeneous spatial patterns of habitat can provide reasonable compromises for multiple criteria.
    Keywords: Allelic Richness ; Connectivity ; Fragmentation ; Genetic Diversity ; Habitat Area ; Heterozygosity ; Metapopulations ; Pollination ; Spatial Scale ; Species Richness
    ISSN: 0021-8901
    E-ISSN: 1365-2664
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Ornithology, 2015, Vol.156(1), pp.123-131
    Description: In the urbanized world, the diurnal cycle of light and darkness has lost its accuracy due to artificial light at night (LAN). Because light is one of the most important zeitgebers for the synchronization of the endogenous clock, this loss of the night has serious implications for health and activity patterns. Although it is a well-known phenomenon that LAN advances the onset of dawn song of passerines, little is known ABOUT whether birds extend their activity into the evening hours and THUS may benefit from exploiting the night light niche. By observing wild urban Blackbirds ( Turdus merula ) under different LAN intensities, we found birds exposed to high levels of LAN to forage longer in the evening than their conspecifics in the darker areas. This difference was most pronounced during the short days in March, but decreased steeply towards the summer solstice. However, body condition of the Blackbirds did not correlate with the exposure to LAN, indicating that urban birds extending their activity under LAN might not benefit from the prolonged foraging times. Our findings further indicate that male Blackbirds are more sensitive to LAN than females. This study reveals that LAN plays a considerable role in the activity times of urban Blackbirds but, regarding their body condition, other urban factors may be more important than the influence of LAN. : Der tägliche Wechsel zwischen Hell und Dunkel hat in der urbanisierten Welt durch das künstliche Nachtlicht seine Präzision verloren. Da Licht einer der wichtigsten Zeitgeber der inneren Uhr ist, hat dieser Verlust der Nacht weitreichende Auswirkungen auf Gesundheit und Aktivitätsmuster. Der unter künstlichem Licht früher einsetzende Morgengesang von Singvögeln ist ein gut untersuchtes Phänomen, jedoch ist nur wenig darüber bekannt, ob Vögel ihre Aktivität auch in die Abendstunden ausweiten und so von der Nachlicht-Nische profitieren können. Wir beobachteten frei lebende Amseln unter verschiedenen Lichtintensitäten und fanden, dass sie bei hohen nächtlichen Lichtintensitäten ihre Nahrungssuche stärker in die Abendstunden ausweiteten als Artgenossen im dunkleren Gebieten. Dieser Unterschied war während der kurzen Tage im März besonders ausgeprägt, nahm aber zum Sommer hin stark ab. Einen Zusammenhang zwischen der Körperkondition der Vögel und der nächtlichen Lichtintensität konnten wir nicht finden, was darauf hinweist, dass Vögel mit lichtbedingt längeren Aktivitätszeiten nicht von der verlängerten Nahrungssuche profitieren. Darüber hinaus scheinen Amselhähne sensibler als Amselhennen auf künstliches Nachtlicht zu reagieren. Diese Studie deutet darauf hin, dass künstliches Nachtlicht einen bedeutenden Einfluss auf die Aktivitätszeiten von städtischen Amseln hat, aber hinsichtlich der Körperkondition andere urbane Faktoren eine wichtigere Rolle als künstliches Nachtlicht haben.
    Keywords: Urbanization ; Light at night ; Circadian rhythm ; Temporal niche ; Night light niche
    ISSN: 2193-7192
    ISSN: 00218375
    E-ISSN: 2193-7206
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: Marine and Freshwater Research, 2010, Vol.61(3), p.320-329
    Description: One of the main obstacles to resolving the conflict between an increasing population of cormorants, , and the fishing industry is the lack of documentation of the effect of the birds’ predation on fish stocks. Tagging and releasing fish with coded wire tags followed by intensive cormorant pellet sampling may be a viable method to measure the impact of cormorants on fish populations. To test this new method, we studied cormorant predation in a shallow estuary, where nearly 100 000 fish were tagged and more than 10 000 cormorant pellets were collected over a 3-year study period. A total of 112 tags were recovered from the collected pellets. Analyses of tag recovery data indicated considerable cormorant predation on tagged flounder, eel and salmon smolts, but the method did not deliver high-quality documentation, mainly because of limitations in pellet sampling. We conclude with recommendations to enhance the value of this method.
    Keywords: conflicts; eel; flounder; ; smolt.
    ISSN: 1323-1650
    E-ISSN: 1448-6059
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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: Biological Conservation, 2009, Vol.142(7), pp.1450-1460
    Description: Biological invasions constitute one of the most important threats to biodiversity. This is especially true for “naïve” birds that have evolved in the absence of terrestrial predators in island ecosystems. The American mink ( ) has recently established a feral population on Navarino Island (55°S), southern Chile, where it represents a new guild of terrestrial mammal predators. We investigated the impact of mink on ground-nesting coastal waterbirds with the aim of deriving a vulnerability profile for birds as a function of different breeding strategies, habitat, and nest characteristics. We compared rates of nest survival and mink predation on 102 nests of solitary nesting species ( , ), on 361 nests of colonial birds ( , ), and on 558 artificial nests. We calculated relative mink and bird densities at all nest sites. Nests of colonial species showed the highest nest survival probabilities (67–84%) and no predation by mink. Nest survival rates for solitary nesting species were lower (5–20%) and mink predation rates higher (10–44%). Discriminant analyses revealed that mink preyed upon artificial nests mainly at shores with rocky outcroppings where mink were abundant. High nest concealment increased the probability for predation by mink. Conservation planning should consider that invasive mink might severely affect the reproduction success of bird species with the following characteristics: solitary nesting, nesting habitat at rocky outcrop shores, and concealed nests. We recommend that work starts immediately to control the mink population with a priority in the nesting habitats of vulnerable endemic waterbirds.
    Keywords: Artificial Nests ; Breeding Birds ; Management ; Mustela Vison ; Nest Characteristics ; Nest Survival ; Agriculture ; Biology ; Ecology
    ISSN: 0006-3207
    E-ISSN: 18732917
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