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Melanie Walter, Katharina Brugger, Franz Rubel
The Usutu virus (USUV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus closely related to the better known West Nile virus, and it can cause mass mortalities of song birds. In the present paper, a dataset of georeferenced locations of USUV-positive birds was compiled and then used to map the geographical distribution of suitable USUV habitats in Central Europe. Six habitat models, comprising BIOCLIM, DOMAIN, maximum entropy model (MAXENT), generalized linear model (GLM), boosted regression trees model (BRT), and random forests model (RF), were selected and tested for their performance ability to predict cases of disease in unsampled areas...
November 1, 2018: Preventive Veterinary Medicine
Omri Bronstein, Andreas Kroh
Diadema setosum (Leske, 1778), a widespread tropical echinoid and key herbivore in shallow water environments is currently expanding in the Mediterranean Sea. It was introduced by unknown means and first observed in southern Turkey in 2006. From there it spread eastwards to Lebanon (2009) and westwards to the Aegean Sea (2014). Since late 2016 sporadic sightings of black, long-spined sea urchins were reported by recreational divers from rock reefs off the Israeli coast. Numerous attempts to verify these records failed; neither did the BioBlitz Israel task force encounter any D...
October 11, 2018: Zootaxa
Jesús Nadal, Carolina Ponz, Carles Comas, Antoni Margalida
Farmland and migratory bird populations are in decline. The Common quail (Coturnix coturnix) provides an exception to this trend and its populations have remained stable over the last two decades. However, some basic facts regarding quail biology and ecology, such as the geographic distribution of age and sex classes during the summer, remain poorly understood. We analyzed 43,194 Spanish quail ringing records from 1961 to 2014 to assess the effects of geography and weather conditions on the probability that individuals will be ringed during the various stages of their annual cycle (arrival -spring migration-, stationary breeding period, departure -autumn migration- and winter) for the different quail age-sex classes over time...
February 1, 2019: Science of the Total Environment
Priscila Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Alejandro G Fernández de Castro, Jaume Seguí, Anna Traveset, Pedro A Sosa
Background and Aims: Alpine oceanic ecosystems are considered amongst the most ephemeral and restricted habitats, with a biota highly vulnerable to climate changes and disturbances. As an example of an alpine insular endemic, the past and future population genetic structure and diversity, and the future distribution of Viola cheiranthifolia (Violaceae), endemic to Tenerife (Canary Islands), were estimated. The main goals were to predict distribution changes of this alpine oceanic plant under climate change, and to assist in actions for its conservation...
October 10, 2018: Annals of Botany
Jennifer N Ward, Joseph W Hinton, Kristina L Johannsen, Melissa L Karlin, Karl V Miller, Michael J Chamberlain
To ensure reproductive success, Canis species establish contiguous mosaics of territories in suitable habitats to partition space and defend limiting resources. Consequently, Canis species can exert strong effects on prey populations locally because of their year-round maintenance of territories. We assessed prey use by coyotes (Canis latrans) by sampling scats from within known territories in southeastern Alabama and the Savannah River area of Georgia and South Carolina. We accounted for the size and habitat composition of coyote home ranges to investigate the influence of space use, vegetation density, and habitat type on coyote diets...
2018: PloS One
J Brett Sallach, Robert Crawford, Hui Li, Cliff T Johnston, Brian J Teppen, Norbert E Kaminski, Stephen A Boyd
The use of activated carbon (AC) as an in situ sorbent amendment to sequester polychlorinated-dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs) present in contaminated soils and sediments has recently gained attention as a novel remedial approach. This remedy could be implemented at much lower cost while minimizing habitat destruction as compared to traditional remediation technologies that rely on dredging/excavation and landfilling. Several prior studies have demonstrated the ability of AC amendments to reduce pore water concentrations and hence bioaccumulation of PCDD/Fs in invertebrate species...
September 22, 2018: Science of the Total Environment
Mikkel Andreas Jørnsøn Kvasnes, Hans Christian Pedersen, Erlend Birkeland Nilsen
BACKGROUND: Habitat models provide information about which habitat management should target to avoid species extinctions or range contractions. The willow ptarmigan inhabits alpine- and arctic tundra habitats in the northern hemisphere and is listed as near threatened (NT) in the Norwegian red list due to declining population size. Habitat alteration is one of several factors affecting willow ptarmigan populations, but there is a lack of studies quantifying and describing habitat selection in willow ptarmigan...
October 3, 2018: BMC Ecology
Alejandra Pascual-Garrido
Chimpanzees are well-studied, but raw material acquisition for tool use is still poorly understood as sources are difficult to trace. This study pioneers the use of information that can be gleaned from plant scars made by chimpanzees while they source vegetation parts to manufacture termite fishing tools. Source plant species, raw material types and locations relative to targeted termite mounds were recorded for populations at Gombe, Issa, and Mahale in western Tanzania. Recovered bark, twig, and vine tools were traced to 29 plant species, while grass sources were indeterminable...
September 2018: American Journal of Primatology
Rachel M Egly, Eric R Larson
Our study evaluates the distribution, habitat associations, and current conservation status of the Snake River pilose crayfish Pacifastacus connectens (Faxon, 1914) and pilose crayfish Pacifastacus gambelii (Girard, 1852) , two little-studied and data-deficient species endemic to the western United States. We first developed a species distribution model (SDM) for the pilose crayfishes based on their historical occurrence records using boosted regression trees and freshwater GIS data layers. We then sampled 163 sites in the summers of 2016 and 2017 within the distribution of these crayfishes, including 50 where these species were observed historically...
2018: PeerJ
Anne K Scharf, Jerrold L Belant, Dean E Beyer, Martin Wikelski, Kamran Safi
Background: Increases in landscape connectivity can improve a species' ability to cope with habitat fragmentation and degradation. Wildlife corridors increase landscape connectivity and it is therefore important to identify and maintain them. Currently, corridors are mostly identified using methods that rely on generic habitat suitability measures. One important and widely held assumption is that corridors represent swaths of suitable habitat connecting larger patches of suitable habitat in an otherwise unsuitable environment...
2018: Movement Ecology
Ivo Steinmetz, Gabriel E Wagner, Estelle Kanyala, Mamadou Sawadogo, Hema Soumeya, Mekonnen Teferi, Emawayish Andargie, Biruk Yeshitela, Louise Yaba Atsé-Achi, Moussa Sanogo, Bassirou Bonfoh, Raphael Rakotozandrindrainy, Célestin Pongombo Shongo, Mick Shongoya Pongombo, Eric Kasamba Ilunga, Sabine Lichtenegger, Karoline Assig, Jürgen May, Eric Bertherat, Michael Owusu, Ellis Owusu-Dabo, Yaw Adu-Sarkodie
Melioidosis is an often fatal infectious disease with a protean clinical spectrum, caused by the environmental bacterial pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei . Although the disease has been reported from some African countries in the past, the present epidemiology of melioidosis in Africa is almost entirely unknown. Therefore, the common view that melioidosis is rare in Africa is not evidence-based. A recent study concludes that large parts of Africa are environmentally suitable for B. pseudomallei . Twenty-four African countries and three countries in the Middle East were predicted to be endemic, but no cases of melioidosis have been reported yet...
June 10, 2018: Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
Margaret E Hunter, Nathan A Johnson, Brian J Smith, Michelle C Davis, John S S Butterfield, Ray W Snow, Kristen M Hart
The invasive Burmese python ( Python bivittatus ) has been reproducing in the Florida Everglades since the 1980s. These giant constrictor snakes have caused a precipitous decline in small mammal populations in southern Florida following escapes or releases from the commercial pet trade. To better understand the invasion pathway and genetic composition of the population, two mitochondrial (mtDNA) loci across 1,398 base pairs were sequenced on 426 snakes and 22 microsatellites were assessed on 389 snakes. Concatenated mtDNA sequences produced six haplotypes with an average nucleotide and haplotype diversity of π  = 0...
September 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Jörg Hoffmann, Udo Wittchen, Gert Berger, Ulrich Stachow
Agricultural field crops differ in their vegetation height, coverage, and temporal development, affecting the abundances of bird species, which are often used as bioindicators. Although this relationship has been observed, no significant methodology exists to describe the dynamics of field crop growth on a landscape scale in connection with the abundance of indicator bird species that allows meaningful interpretation of bird abundance data with respect to crop vegetation parameters during the breeding season...
September 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Amalia Naranjo-Lucena, María Pía Munita Corbalán, Ana María Martínez-Ibeas, Guy McGrath, Gerard Murray, Mícheál Casey, Barbara Good, Riona Sayers, Grace Mulcahy, Annetta Zintl
BACKGROUND: Fasciola hepatica has always represented a threat to Irish livestock because the Irish climate is highly suitable for the main local intermediate host of the parasite, the snail Galba truncatula. The recent clinical emergence of infections due to Calicophoron daubneyi has raised the question of whether the two parasites, which share a niche during part of their life-cycles, interact in some way. Here, we used geographical information systems (GIS) to analyse the distribution of both parasites in cattle and sheep...
September 29, 2018: Parasites & Vectors
Wout Van Echelpoel, Peter L M Goethals
Data sets plagued with missing data and performance-affecting model parameters represent recurrent issues within the field of data mining. Via random forests, the influence of data reduction, outlier and correlated variable removal and missing data imputation technique on the performance of habitat suitability models for three macrophytes (Lemna minor, Spirodela polyrhiza and Nuphar lutea) was assessed. Higher performances (Cohen's kappa values around 0.2-0.3) were obtained for a high degree of data reduction, without outlier or correlated variable removal and with imputation of the median value...
September 28, 2018: Scientific Reports
Anastasia Krainyk, Bart M Ballard, Michael G Brasher, Barry C Wilson, Mark W Parr, Cynthia K Edwards
The Western Gulf Coast provides important habitat for migratory and resident waterfowl. The mottled duck (Anas fulvigula) relies on this region for all of its life-cycle events. Its relatively small population, limited worldwide range, and generally declining population trajectory has earned it a "Red" status on the Audubon WatchList and is a species of concern among state and federal agencies. The Western Gulf Coast (WGC) mottled duck population decline is believed to be primarily caused by the historical conversion and degradation of coastal wetlands and native prairie, and recent declines in cultivated rice...
September 25, 2018: Journal of Environmental Management
Laura González García, Graham J Pierce, Emmanuelle Autret, Jesús M Torres-Palenzuela
Blue whales are sighted every year around the Azores islands, which apparently provide an important seasonal foraging area. In this paper we aim to characterize habitat preferences and analyze the temporal distribution of blue whales around São Miguel Island. To do so, we applied Generalized Additive Models to an opportunistic cetacean occurrence dataset and remotely sensed environmental data on bathymetry, sea surface temperature, chlorophyll concentration and altimetry. We provide a brief description of the oceanography of the area, emphasizing its high spatio-temporal variability...
2018: PloS One
Alok Patel, Leonidas Matsakas, Parul A Pruthi, Vikas Pruthi
Biodiesel production from vegetable oils is not sustainable and economical due to the food crisis worldwide. The development of a cost-effective non-edible feedstock is essential. In this study, we proposed to use aquatic oomycetes for microbial oils, which are cellulolytic fungus-like filamentous eukaryotic microorganisms, commonly known as water molds. They differ from true fungi as cellulose is present in their cell wall and chitin is absent. They show parasitic as well as saprophytic nature and have great potential to utilize decaying animal and plant debris in freshwater habitats...
September 28, 2018: Environmental Science and Pollution Research International
Luisa Zielke, Nicole Wrage-Mönnig, Jürgen Müller
Resettlement projects of the strongly threatened European bison ( Bison bonasus ) require a monitoring phase to assess both population status and habitat quality. Schemes of animal body condition scores (BCS) are robust tools to meet this requirement in practice. However, so far, no BCS scheme has been designed for European bison. Here, we suggest a body condition score scheme based on the extent of soft tissue around bony structures. The scoring system was developed with scores ranging from 1 (emaciated) to 5 (obese)...
September 26, 2018: Animals: An Open Access Journal From MDPI
Agustín M Bartual, Gionata Bocci, Simone Marini, Anna Camilla Moonen
In Europe, the surface devoted to sunflower cultivation has expanded by ∼ 26% from 2006 to 2016. Theoretically, this implies an increasing demand for pollinators, while at the same time, scientific reports claim that pollinator communities worldwide are threatened by multiple stressors such as agrochemicals, the loss of suitable habitats and habitat fragmentation. However, the question that arises is whether insect pollination is still relevant for modern sunflower varieties that are often highly self-fertile...
2018: PloS One
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