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1.
Zootaxa ; 4564(1): zootaxa.4564.1.6, 2019 Mar 04.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31716519

RESUMO

The taxonomic status and systematic nomenclature of the Australian dingo remain contentious, resulting in decades of inconsistent applications in the scientific literature and in policy. Prompted by a recent publication calling for dingoes to be considered taxonomically as domestic dogs (Jackson et al. 2017, Zootaxa 4317, 201-224), we review the issues of the taxonomy applied to canids, and summarise the main differences between dingoes and other canids. We conclude that (1) the Australian dingo is a geographically isolated (allopatric) species from all other Canis, and is genetically, phenotypically, ecologically, and behaviourally distinct; and (2) the dingo appears largely devoid of many of the signs of domestication, including surviving largely as a wild animal in Australia for millennia. The case of defining dingo taxonomy provides a quintessential example of the disagreements between species concepts (e.g., biological, phylogenetic, ecological, morphological). Applying the biological species concept sensu stricto to the dingo as suggested by Jackson et al. (2017) and consistently across the Canidae would lead to an aggregation of all Canis populations, implying for example that dogs and wolves are the same species. Such an aggregation would have substantial implications for taxonomic clarity, biological research, and wildlife conservation. Any changes to the current nomen of the dingo (currently Canis dingo Meyer, 1793), must therefore offer a strong, evidence-based argument in favour of it being recognised as a subspecies of Canis lupus Linnaeus, 1758, or as Canis familiaris Linnaeus, 1758, and a successful application to the International Commission for Zoological Nomenclature - neither of which can be adequately supported. Although there are many species concepts, the sum of the evidence presented in this paper affirms the classification of the dingo as a distinct taxon, namely Canis dingo.


Assuntos
Canidae , Lobos , Animais , Austrália , Cães , Filogenia
2.
Animals (Basel) ; 9(10)2019 Oct 14.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31615026

RESUMO

Hybrid cats-created by crossing different species within the family Felidae-are popular pets, but they could potentially threaten native species if they escape and establish free-roaming populations. To forestall this possibility, the Australian government imposed a specific ban on importation of the savannah cat, a hybrid created by crossing the domestic cat Felis catus and serval Leptailurus serval, in 2008. We develop a decision-framework that identifies those species of non-volant native mammals in Australia that would likely have been susceptible to predation by savannah cats if importation and establishment had occurred. We assumed that savannah cats would hunt ecologically similar prey to those that are depredated by both the domestic cat and the serval, and categorised native mammals as having different levels of susceptibility to predation by savannah cats based on their size, habitat range, and behaviour. Using this framework, we assessed savannah cats as likely to add at least 28 extant native mammal species to the 168 that are known already to be susceptible to predation by the domestic cat, posing a risk to 91% of Australia's extant non-volant terrestrial mammal species (n = 216) and to 93% of threatened mammal species. The framework could be generalised to assess risks from any other hybrid taxa.

3.
PLoS Biol ; 16(9): e2005577, 2018 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30226872

RESUMO

Carnivore predation on livestock often leads people to retaliate. Persecution by humans has contributed strongly to global endangerment of carnivores. Preventing livestock losses would help to achieve three goals common to many human societies: preserve nature, protect animal welfare, and safeguard human livelihoods. Between 2016 and 2018, four independent reviews evaluated >40 years of research on lethal and nonlethal interventions for reducing predation on livestock. From 114 studies, we find a striking conclusion: scarce quantitative comparisons of interventions and scarce comparisons against experimental controls preclude strong inference about the effectiveness of methods. For wise investment of public resources in protecting livestock and carnivores, evidence of effectiveness should be a prerequisite to policy making or large-scale funding of any method or, at a minimum, should be measured during implementation. An appropriate evidence base is needed, and we recommend a coalition of scientists and managers be formed to establish and encourage use of consistent standards in future experimental evaluations.


Assuntos
Carnívoros/fisiologia , Conservação dos Recursos Naturais , Gado/fisiologia , Animais , Geografia , Comportamento Predatório/fisiologia
4.
PLoS One ; 13(8): e0201300, 2018.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30089131

RESUMO

For generalist predators, a mixed diet can be advantageous as it allows individuals to exploit a potentially broad range of profitable food types. Despite this, some generalist predators show preferences for certain types of food and may forage selectively in places or at times when these foods are available. One such species is the lesser hairy-footed dunnart (Sminthopsis youngsoni). Usually considered to be a generalist insectivore, in the Simpson Desert, Australia, this small marsupial predator has been found to selectively consume wolf spiders (Family Lycosidae), for reasons yet unknown. Here, we tested whether lycosids have relatively high energy or nutrient contents compared to other invertebrates, and hence whether these aspects of food quality can explain selective predation of lycosids by S. youngsoni. Energy, lipid and protein composition of representatives of 9 arthropod families that are eaten by S. youngsoni in the Simpson Desert were ascertained using microbomb calorimetry, chloroform-methanol extraction and Dumas combustion, respectively. Although lycosids contained a high proportion of energy and nutrients, they were not found to yield statistically greater amounts of these food components than many other available arthropod prey that are not selected by S. youngsoni. Our results therefore suggest that alternative factors may be more influential in shaping dietary selection in this marsupial predator, such as high rates of encounter between lycosids and S. youngsoni.


Assuntos
Metabolismo Energético/fisiologia , Cadeia Alimentar , Marsupiais/fisiologia , Modelos Biológicos , Comportamento Predatório , Animais , Aranhas
5.
R Soc Open Sci ; 5(5): 171872, 2018 May.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29892379

RESUMO

Interspecific competition may occur when resources are limited, and is often most intense between animals in the same ecological guild. Intraguild predation (IGP) is a distinctive form of interference competition, where a dominant predator selectively kills subordinate rivals to gain increased access to resources. However, before IGP can be identified, organisms must be confirmed as members of the same guild and occur together in space and time. The lesser hairy-footed dunnart (Sminthopsis youngsoni, Dasyuridae) is a generalist marsupial insectivore in arid Australia, but consumes wolf spiders (Lycosa spp., Lycosidae) disproportionately often relative to their availability. Here, we test the hypothesis that this disproportionate predation is a product of frequent encounter rates between the interactants due to high overlap in their diets and use of space and time. Diet and prey availability were determined using direct observations and invertebrate pitfall trapping, microhabitat use by tracking individuals of both species-groups, and temporal activity using spotlighting and camera traps. Major overlap (greater than 75% similarity) was found in diet and temporal activity, and weaker overlap in microhabitat use. Taken together, these findings suggest reasonable potential, for the first time, for competition and intraguild predation to occur between taxa as disparate as marsupials and spiders.

6.
Sci Total Environ ; 634: 382-393, 2018 Sep 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29627562

RESUMO

An unprecedented rate of global environmental change is predicted for the next century. The response to this change by ecosystems around the world is highly uncertain. To address this uncertainty, it is critical to understand the potential drivers and mechanisms of change in order to develop more reliable predictions. Australia's Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTERN) has brought together some of the longest running (10-60years) continuous environmental monitoring programs in the southern hemisphere. Here, we compare climatic variables recorded at five LTERN plot network sites during their period of operation and place them into the context of long-term climatic trends. Then, using our unique Australian long-term datasets (total 117 survey years across four biomes), we synthesize results from a series of case studies to test two hypotheses: 1) extreme weather events for each plot network have increased over the last decade, and; 2) trends in biodiversity will be associated with recent climate change, either directly or indirectly through climate-mediated disturbance (wildfire) responses. We examined the biodiversity responses to environmental change for evidence of non-linear behavior. In line with hypothesis 1), an increase in extreme climate events occurred within the last decade for each plot network. For hypothesis 2), climate, wildfire, or both were correlated with biodiversity responses at each plot network, but there was no evidence of non-linear change. However, the influence of climate or fire was context-specific. Biodiversity responded to recent climate change either directly or indirectly as a consequence of changes in fire regimes or climate-mediated fire responses. A national long-term monitoring framework allowed us to find contrasting species abundance or community responses to climate and disturbance across four of the major biomes of Australia, highlighting the need to establish and resource long-term monitoring programs across representative ecosystem types, which are likely to show context-specific responses.

7.
Nat Ecol Evol ; 2(1): 50-56, 2018 Jan.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29203922

RESUMO

Biodiversity is declining in many local communities while also becoming increasingly homogenized across space. Experiments show that local plant species loss reduces ecosystem functioning and services, but the role of spatial homogenization of community composition and the potential interaction between diversity at different scales in maintaining ecosystem functioning remains unclear, especially when many functions are considered (ecosystem multifunctionality). We present an analysis of eight ecosystem functions measured in 65 grasslands worldwide. We find that more diverse grasslands-those with both species-rich local communities (α-diversity) and large compositional differences among localities (ß-diversity)-had higher levels of multifunctionality. Moreover, α- and ß-diversity synergistically affected multifunctionality, with higher levels of diversity at one scale amplifying the contribution to ecological functions at the other scale. The identity of species influencing ecosystem functioning differed among functions and across local communities, explaining why more diverse grasslands maintained greater functionality when more functions and localities were considered. These results were robust to variation in environmental drivers. Our findings reveal that plant diversity, at both local and landscape scales, contributes to the maintenance of multiple ecosystem services provided by grasslands. Preserving ecosystem functioning therefore requires conservation of biodiversity both within and among ecological communities.


Assuntos
Biodiversidade , Pradaria , Plantas , Modelos Biológicos , Análise Espacial
8.
R Soc Open Sci ; 4(9): 170317, 2017 Sep.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28989739

RESUMO

Predators often display dietary shifts in response to fluctuating prey in cyclic systems, but little is known about predator diets in systems that experience non-cyclic prey irruptions. We tracked dietary shifts by feral cats (Felis catus), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and dingoes (Canis dingo) through a non-cyclic irruption of small mammalian prey in the Simpson Desert, central Australia. We predicted that all three predators would alter their diets to varying degrees as small mammals declined post irruption, and to test our predictions we live-trapped small mammals through the irruption event and collected scats to track predator diets. Red foxes and dingoes included a broader variety of prey in their diets as small mammals declined. Feral cats did not exhibit a similar dietary shift, but did show variable use and selectivity of small mammal species through the irruption cycle. Results were largely consistent with prior studies that highlighted the opportunistic feeding habits of the red fox and dingo. They also, however, showed that feral cats may exhibit less dietary flexibility in response to small mammal irruptions, emphasizing the importance of tracking predator diets before, during and after irruption events.

9.
Nat Commun ; 8: 15469, 2017 05 23.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28534486

RESUMO

Top predators can suppress mesopredators by killing them, competing for resources and instilling fear, but it is unclear how suppression of mesopredators varies with the distribution and abundance of top predators at large spatial scales and among different ecological contexts. We suggest that suppression of mesopredators will be strongest where top predators occur at high densities over large areas. These conditions are more likely to occur in the core than on the margins of top predator ranges. We propose the Enemy Constraint Hypothesis, which predicts weakened top-down effects on mesopredators towards the edge of top predators' ranges. Using bounty data from North America, Europe and Australia we show that the effects of top predators on mesopredators increase from the margin towards the core of their ranges, as predicted. Continuing global contraction of top predator ranges could promote further release of mesopredator populations, altering ecosystem structure and contributing to biodiversity loss.

10.
PLoS One ; 12(1): e0168460, 2017.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28068378

RESUMO

Apex predators are subject to lethal control in many parts of the world to minimize their impacts on human industries and livelihoods. Diverse communities of smaller predators-mesopredators-often remain after apex predator removal. Despite concern that these mesopredators may be 'released' in the absence of the apex predator and exert negative effects on each other and on co-occurring prey, these interactions have been little studied. Here, we investigate the potential effects of competition and intraguild predation between red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and feral cats (Felis catus) in south-eastern Australia where the apex predator, the dingo (Canis dingo), has been extirpated by humans. We predicted that the larger fox would dominate the cat in encounters, and used a fox-removal experiment to assess whether foxes affect cat abundance, diet, home-range and habitat use. Our results provide little indication that intraguild predation occurred or that cats responded numerically to the fox removal, but suggest that the fox affects some aspects of cat resource use. In particular, where foxes were removed cats increased their consumption of invertebrates and carrion, decreased their home range size and foraged more in open habitats. Fox control takes place over large areas of Australia to protect threatened native species and agricultural interests. Our results suggest that fox control programmes could lead to changes in the way that cats interact with co-occurring prey, and that some prey may become more vulnerable to cat predation in open habitats after foxes have been removed. Moreover, with intensive and more sustained fox control it is possible that cats could respond numerically and alter their behaviour in different ways to those documented herein. Such outcomes need to be considered when estimating the indirect impacts of fox control. We conclude that novel approaches are urgently required to control invasive mesopredators at the same time, especially in areas where apex predators are absent.


Assuntos
Raposas , Comportamento Predatório , Animais , Austrália , Gatos , Ecossistema , Densidade Demográfica , Dinâmica Populacional
11.
Oecologia ; 182(4): 1095-1106, 2016 Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27670414

RESUMO

The conditions that a population experiences during one season can affect the strength of density dependence in the following season. In the tropics, many populations face their biggest challenges in the dry season due to limited food and cold-dry conditions. Seasonal environmental changes can be especially problematic for small, short-lived, seasonally breeding endotherms. To investigate the effects of seasonality on population dynamics, we studied five marsupial species in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, using a 16-year dataset. We tested if (1) compensatory density feedback is stronger in the dry season, due to the high population sizes and limited food; (2) lower temperatures and the overall abundance of small mammals negatively affect dry season population growth rates; and (3) rainfall, a proxy for food availability, is positively related to wet season population growth rates. Population growth rates were regressed against seasonal population sizes and exogenous variables, and analyzed with linear autoregressive models. Seasonal compensatory density feedback occurred in both seasons, with compensation processes in just one season being sufficient to allow population persistence. Rainfall and the overall abundance of small mammals had little influence on populations, while colder temperatures decreased population growth rate of smaller species in both seasons. Although the study marsupials share similar life histories and phylogeny, they varied with respect to the season when compensatory density feedback was strongest. Our results demonstrate that seasonality plays a key role in driving marsupial population dynamics, and highlight the need to account for seasonality in demographic studies even in tropical environments.


Assuntos
Marsupiais , Estações do Ano , Animais , Florestas , Densidade Demográfica , Dinâmica Populacional , Clima Tropical
12.
PLoS One ; 11(4): e0151962, 2016.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27050447

RESUMO

International differences in practices and attitudes regarding pet cats' interactions with wildlife were assessed by surveying citizens from at least two cities in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the USA, China and Japan. Predictions tested were: (i) cat owners would agree less than non-cat owners that cats might threaten wildlife, (ii) cat owners value wildlife less than non-cat owners, (iii) cat owners are less accepting of cat legislation/restrictions than non-owners, and (iv) respondents from regions with high endemic biodiversity (Australia, New Zealand, China and the USA state of Hawaii) would be most concerned about pet cats threatening wildlife. Everywhere non-owners were more likely than owners to agree that pet cats killing wildlife were a problem in cities, towns and rural areas. Agreement amongst non-owners was highest in Australia (95%) and New Zealand (78%) and lowest in the UK (38%). Irrespective of ownership, over 85% of respondents from all countries except China (65%) valued wildlife in cities, towns and rural areas. Non-owners advocated cat legislation more strongly than owners except in Japan. Australian non-owners were the most supportive (88%), followed by Chinese non-owners (80%) and Japanese owners (79.5%). The UK was least supportive (non-owners 43%, owners 25%). Many Australian (62%), New Zealand (51%) and Chinese owners (42%) agreed that pet cats killing wildlife in cities, towns and rural areas was a problem, while Hawaiian owners were similar to the mainland USA (20%). Thus high endemic biodiversity might contribute to attitudes in some, but not all, countries. Husbandry practices varied internationally, with predation highest where fewer cats were confined. Although the risk of wildlife population declines caused by pet cats justifies precautionary action, campaigns based on wildlife protection are unlikely to succeed outside Australia or New Zealand. Restrictions on roaming protect wildlife and benefit cat welfare, so welfare is a better rationale.


Assuntos
Animais Selvagens , Atitude , Internacionalidade , Comportamento Predatório , População Urbana , Animais , Gatos , Inquéritos e Questionários
13.
PeerJ ; 4: e1609, 2016.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26839751

RESUMO

In environments where food resources are spatially variable and temporarily impoverished, consumers that encounter habitat patches with different food density should focus their foraging initially where food density is highest before they move to patches where food density is lower. Increasing missed opportunity costs should drive individuals progressively to patches with lower food density as resources in the initially high food density patches deplete. To test these expectations, we assessed the foraging decisions of two species of dasyurid marsupials (dunnarts: Sminthopsis hirtipes and S. youngsoni) during a deep drought, or bust period, in the Simpson Desert of central Australia. Dunnarts were allowed access to three patches containing different food densities using an interview chamber experiment. Both species exhibited clear preference for the high density over the lower food density patches as measured in total harvested resources. Similarly, when measuring the proportion of resources harvested within the patches, we observed a marginal preference for patches with initially high densities. Models analyzing behavioral choices at the population level found no differences in behavior between the two species, but models analyzing choices at the individual level uncovered some variation. We conclude that dunnarts can distinguish between habitat patches with different densities of food and preferentially exploit the most valuable. As our observations were made during bust conditions, experiments should be repeated during boom times to assess the foraging economics of dunnarts when environmental resources are high.

14.
PLoS One ; 9(9): e107788, 2014.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25229348

RESUMO

Poison baiting is used frequently to reduce the impacts of pest species of mammals on agricultural and biodiversity interests. However, baiting may not be appropriate if non-target species are at risk of poisoning. Here we use a desktop decision tree approach to assess the risks to non-target vertebrate species in Australia that arise from using poison baits developed to control feral house cats (Felis catus). These baits are presented in the form of sausages with toxicant implanted in the bait medium within an acid-soluble polymer capsule (hard shell delivery vehicle, or HSDV) that disintegrates after ingestion. Using criteria based on body size, diet and feeding behaviour, we assessed 221 of Australia's 3,769 native vertebrate species as likely to consume cat-baits, with 47 of these likely to ingest implanted HSDVs too. Carnivorous marsupials were judged most likely to consume both the baits and HSDVs, with some large-bodied and ground-active birds and reptiles also consuming them. If criteria were relaxed, a further 269 species were assessed as possibly able to consume baits and 343 as possibly able to consume HSDVs; most of these consumers were birds. One threatened species, the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) was judged as definitely able to consume baits with implanted HSDVs, whereas five threatened species of birds and 21 species of threatened mammals were rated as possible consumers. Amphibia were not considered to be at risk. We conclude that most species of native Australian vertebrates would not consume surface-laid baits during feral cat control programs, and that significantly fewer would be exposed to poisoning if HSDVs were employed. However, risks to susceptible species should be quantified in field or pen trials prior to the implementation of a control program, and minimized further by applying baits at times and in places where non-target species have little access.


Assuntos
Árvores de Decisões , Controle de Pragas , Venenos , Acidentes , Animais , Gatos , Portadores de Fármacos/química , Espécies em Perigo de Extinção , Venenos/química , Polímeros/química , Medição de Risco , Solubilidade
15.
PLoS One ; 9(2): e90566, 2014.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24587396

RESUMO

In open, arid environments with limited shelter there may be strong selection on small prey species to develop behaviors that facilitate predator avoidance. Here, we predicted that rodents should avoid predator odor and open habitats to reduce their probability of encounter with potential predators, and tested our predictions using a native Australian desert rodent, the spinifex hopping-mouse (Notomys alexis). We tested the foraging and movement responses of N. alexis to non-native predator (fox and cat) odor, in sheltered and open macro- and microhabitats. Rodents did not respond to predator odor, perhaps reflecting the inconsistent selection pressure that is imposed on prey species in the desert environment due to the transience of predator-presence. However, they foraged primarily in the open and moved preferentially across open sand. The results suggest that N. alexis relies on escape rather than avoidance behavior when managing predation risk, with its bipedal movement probably allowing it to exploit open environments most effectively.


Assuntos
Clima Desértico , Ecossistema , Muridae/fisiologia , Comportamento Predatório/fisiologia , Animais , Animais Selvagens/fisiologia , Austrália , Aprendizagem da Esquiva/fisiologia , Gatos/fisiologia , Sinais (Psicologia) , Cadeia Alimentar , Raposas/fisiologia , Geografia , Movimento/fisiologia , Odorantes , Fatores de Risco
16.
PLoS One ; 9(3): e92341, 2014.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24670997

RESUMO

We construct a state-and-transition model for mammals in tropical savannas in northern Australia to synthesize ecological knowledge and understand mammalian declines. We aimed to validate the existence of alternative mammal assemblage states similar to those in arid Australian grasslands, and to speculate on transition triggers. Based on the arid grassland model, we hypothesized that assemblages are partitioned across rainfall gradients and between substrates. We also predicted that assemblages typical of arid regions in boom periods would be prevalent in savannas with higher and more regular rainfall. Data from eight mammal surveys from the Kimberley region, Western Australia (1994 to 2011) were collated. Survey sites were partitioned across rainfall zones and habitats. Data allowed us to identify three assemblage states: State 0:--low numbers of mammals, State II:--dominated by omnivorous rodents and State III:--dominated by rodents and larger marsupials. Unlike arid grasslands, assemblage dominance by insectivorous dasyurids (State I) did not occur in savannas. Mammal assemblages were partitioned across rainfall zones and between substrates as predicted, but-unlike arid regions-were not related strongly to yearly rainfall. Mammal assemblage composition showed high regional stability, probably related to high annual rainfall and predictable wet season resource pulses. As a consequence, we speculate that perpetually booming assemblages in savannas allow top-down control of the ecosystem, with suppression of introduced cats by the dingo, the region's top predator. Under conditions of low or erratic productivity, imposed increasingly by intense fire regimes and introduced herbivore grazing, dingoes may not limit impacts of cats on native mammals. These interacting factors may explain contemporary declines of savanna mammals as well as historical declines in arid Australia. The cat-ecosystem productivity hypothesis raised here differs from the already-articulated cat-habitat structure hypothesis for mammal declines, and we suggest approaches for explicit testing of transition triggers for competing hypotheses.


Assuntos
Pradaria , Mamíferos/fisiologia , Modelos Teóricos , Clima Tropical , Animais , Austrália , Clima Desértico , Geografia , Chuva , Análise de Regressão , Especificidade da Espécie , Inquéritos e Questionários
17.
Oecologia ; 175(1): 139-50, 2014 May.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24488213

RESUMO

Resource subsidies to opportunistic predators may alter natural predator-prey relationships and, in turn, have implications for how these predators affect co-occurring prey. To explore this idea, we compared the prey available to and eaten by a top canid predator, the Australian dingo (Canis lupus dingo), in areas with and without human-provided food. Overall, small mammals formed the majority of dingo prey, followed by reptiles and then invertebrates. Where human-provided food resources were available, dingoes ate them; 17% of their diet comprised kitchen waste from a refuse facility. There was evidence of dietary preference for small mammals in areas where human-provided food was available. In more distant areas, by contrast, reptiles were the primary prey. The level of seasonal switching between small mammals and reptiles was also more pronounced in areas away from human-provided food. This reaffirmed concepts of prey switching but within a short, seasonal time frame. It also confirmed that the diet of dingoes is altered where human-provided food is available. We suggest that the availability of anthropogenic food to this species and other apex predators therefore has the potential to alter trophic cascades.


Assuntos
Comportamento Alimentar , Cadeia Alimentar , Comportamento Predatório , Lobos , Animais , Austrália , Comportamento de Escolha , Dieta , Resíduos de Alimentos , Humanos
18.
Conserv Physiol ; 2(1): cou054, 2014.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27293675

RESUMO

Conservation translocations aim to restore species to their indigenous ranges, protect populations from threats and/or reinstate ecosystem functions. They are particularly important for the conservation and management of rare and threatened species. Despite tremendous efforts and advancement in recent years, animal conservation translocations generally have variable success, and the reasons for this are often uncertain. We suggest that when little is known about the physiology and wellbeing of individuals either before or after release, it will be difficult to determine their likelihood of survival, and this could limit advancements in the science of translocations for conservation. In this regard, we argue that physiology offers novel approaches that could substantially improve translocations and associated practices. As a discipline, it is apparent that physiology may be undervalued, perhaps because of the invasive nature of some physiological measurement techniques (e.g. sampling body fluids, surgical implantation). We examined 232 publications that dealt with translocations of terrestrial vertebrates and aquatic mammals and, defining 'success' as high or low, determined how many of these studies explicitly incorporated physiological aspects into their protocols and monitoring. From this review, it is apparent that physiological evaluation before and after animal releases could progress and improve translocation/reintroduction successes. We propose a suite of physiological measures, in addition to animal health indices, for assisting conservation translocations over the short term and also for longer term post-release monitoring. Perhaps most importantly, we argue that the incorporation of physiological assessments of animals at all stages of translocation can have important welfare implications by helping to reduce the total number of animals used. Physiological indicators can also help to refine conservation translocation methods. These approaches fall under a new paradigm that we term 'translocation physiology' and represent an important sub-discipline within conservation physiology generally.

19.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 110(44): 17910-4, 2013 Oct 29.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24101455

RESUMO

Suicidal reproduction (semelparity) has evolved in only four genera of mammals. In these insectivorous marsupials, all males die after mating, when failure of the corticosteroid feedback mechanism elevates stress hormone levels during the mating season and causes lethal immune system collapse (die-off). We quantitatively test and resolve the evolutionary causes of this surprising and extreme life history strategy. We show that as marsupial predators in Australia, South America, and Papua New Guinea diversified into higher latitudes, seasonal predictability in abundance of their arthropod prey increased in multiple habitats. More-predictable prey peaks were associated with shorter annual breeding seasons, consistent with the suggestion that females accrue fitness benefits by timing peak energy demands of reproduction to coincide with maximum food abundance. We demonstrate that short mating seasons intensified reproductive competition between males, increasing male energy investment in copulations and reducing male postmating survival. However, predictability of annual prey cycles alone does not explain suicidal reproduction, because unlike insect abundance, peak ovulation dates in semelparous species are often synchronized to the day among years, triggered by a species-specific rate of change of photoperiod. Among species with low postmating male survival, we show that those with suicidal reproduction have shorter mating seasons and larger testes relative to body size. This indicates that lethal effort is adaptive in males because females escalate sperm competition by further shortening and synchronizing the annual mating period and mating promiscuously. We conclude that precopulatory sexual selection by females favored the evolution of suicidal reproduction in mammals.


Assuntos
Evolução Biológica , Marsupiais/fisiologia , Preferência de Acasalamento Animal/fisiologia , Reprodução/fisiologia , Comportamento Sexual Animal/fisiologia , Espermatozoides/fisiologia , Animais , Austrália , Teorema de Bayes , Feminino , Cadeia Alimentar , Masculino , Papua Nova Guiné , Dinâmica Populacional , Análise de Regressão , Estações do Ano , América do Sul , Análise de Sobrevida , Testículo/anatomia & histologia
20.
PLoS One ; 8(10): e72690, 2013.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24124446

RESUMO

Resource pulses in the world's hot deserts are driven largely by rainfall and are highly variable in both time and space. However, run-on areas and drainage lines in arid regions receive more water more often than adjacent habitats, and frequently sustain relatively high levels of primary productivity. These landscape features therefore may support higher biotic diversity than other habitats, and potentially act as refuges for desert vertebrates and other biota during droughts. We used the ephemeral Field River in the Simpson Desert, central Australia, as a case study to quantify how resources and habitat characteristics vary spatially and temporally along the riparian corridor. Levels of moisture and nutrients were greater in the clay-dominated soils of the riverine corridor than in the surrounding sand dunes, as were cover values of trees, annual grasses, other annual plants and litter; these resources and habitat features were also greater near the main catchment area than in the distal reaches where the river channel runs out into extensive dune fields. These observations confirm that the riverine corridor is more productive than the surrounding desert, and support the idea that it may act as a refuge or as a channel for the ingress of peri-desert species. However, the work also demonstrates that species diversity of invertebrates and plants is not higher within the river corridor; rather, it is driven by rainfall and the accompanying increase in annual plants following a rain event. Further research is required to identify the biota that depend upon these resource pulses.


Assuntos
Ecossistema , Rios , Biodiversidade
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