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1.
Ecol Lett ; 25(3): 581-597, 2022 Mar.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35199922

RESUMO

Functional traits offer a rich quantitative framework for developing and testing theories in evolutionary biology, ecology and ecosystem science. However, the potential of functional traits to drive theoretical advances and refine models of global change can only be fully realised when species-level information is complete. Here we present the AVONET dataset containing comprehensive functional trait data for all birds, including six ecological variables, 11 continuous morphological traits, and information on range size and location. Raw morphological measurements are presented from 90,020 individuals of 11,009 extant bird species sampled from 181 countries. These data are also summarised as species averages in three taxonomic formats, allowing integration with a global phylogeny, geographical range maps, IUCN Red List data and the eBird citizen science database. The AVONET dataset provides the most detailed picture of continuous trait variation for any major radiation of organisms, offering a global template for testing hypotheses and exploring the evolutionary origins, structure and functioning of biodiversity.


Assuntos
Aves , Ecossistema , Animais , Biodiversidade , Evolução Biológica , Humanos , Filogenia
2.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0242586, 2021.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34478443

RESUMO

Road ecology has traditionally focused on the impact of in-situ and functional roads on wildlife. However, road construction also poses a major, yet understudied, threat and the implications for key aspects of animal behaviour are unknown. Badgers (Meles meles) have been implicated in the transmission of tuberculosis to cattle. There are concerns that environmental disturbances, including major road construction, can disrupt badger territoriality, promoting the spread of the disease to cattle. To address these knowledge gaps the ranging behaviour of a medium-density Irish badger population was monitored using GPS-tracking collars before, during, and after a major road realignment project that bisected the study area. We estimated badgers' home range sizes, nightly distances travelled, and the distance and frequency of extra-territorial excursions during each phase of the study and quantified any changes to these parameters. We show that road construction had a very limited effect on ranging behaviour. A small increase in nightly distance during road construction did not translate into an increase in home range size, nor an increase in the distance or frequency of extra-territorial excursions during road construction. In addition, suitable mitigation measures to prevent badger deaths appeared to ensure that normal patterns of ranging behaviour continued once the new road was in place. We recommend that continuous badger-proof fencing be placed along the entire length of new major roads, in combination with appropriately sited underpasses. Our analysis supports the view that road construction did not cause badgers to change their ranging behaviour in ways likely to increase the spread of tuberculosis.


Assuntos
Mustelidae , Territorialidade , Animais , Bovinos , Reservatórios de Doenças , Mycobacterium bovis , Tuberculose Bovina
4.
Sci Rep ; 10(1): 9665, 2020 06 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32541685

RESUMO

European badgers (Meles meles) in medium and high density populations show strong territorial behaviour. Territories in these populations are contiguous, well-marked and often unchanging over many years. However, badgers do not always stay within their territorial boundaries. In our medium-density population, most individual badgers made extra-territorial excursions (ETEs) throughout the year. ETEs were most frequent between April and September and least frequent in December and January (the period of winter lethargy). Male badgers made longer and more frequent ETEs than females (especially between January and March, and in autumn). Breeding females made longer and more frequent ETEs than non-breeding females in November. While these peaks correspond with the main mating seasons, mating activity does not explain ETEs throughout the year. The shorter, but more frequent, ETEs in summer months may serve a monitoring purpose, rather than simply providing additional mating opportunities with badgers from outside the 'home' social group. We found that young badgers did not make regular ETEs until the summer of their second year. If badgers could be vaccinated as cubs, this would reduce any potential risk of TB spread during ETEs.


Assuntos
Preferência de Acasalamento Animal/fisiologia , Mustelidae/fisiologia , Territorialidade , Animais , Cruzamento , Feminino , Masculino , Estações do Ano
5.
Ecol Evol ; 9(23): 13142-13152, 2019 Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31871635

RESUMO

European badgers (Meles meles) are group-living mustelids implicated in the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB) to cattle and act as a wildlife reservoir for the disease. In badgers, only a minority of individuals disperse from their natal social group. However, dispersal may be extremely important for the spread of TB, as dispersers could act as hubs for disease transmission. We monitored a population of 139 wild badgers over 7 years in a medium-density population (1.8 individuals/km2). GPS tracking collars were applied to 80 different individuals. Of these, we identified 25 dispersers, 14 of which were wearing collars as they dispersed. This allowed us to record the process of dispersal in much greater detail than ever before. We show that dispersal is an extremely complex process, and measurements of straight-line distance between old and new social groups can severely underestimate how far dispersers travel. Assumptions of straight-line travel can also underestimate direct and indirect interactions and the potential for disease transmission. For example, one female disperser which eventually settled 1.5 km from her natal territory traveled 308 km and passed through 22 different territories during dispersal. Knowledge of badgers' ranging behavior during dispersal is crucial to understanding the dynamics of TB transmission, and for designing appropriate interventions, such as vaccination.

6.
Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl ; 7(3): 439-444, 2018 Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30533382

RESUMO

Coprological analysis is the most widely used diagnostic tool for helminth infection in both domestic and wild mammals. Evaluation of the efficacy of this technique is rare, due to the lack of availability of adult worm burden. Where information is available the majority of studies are in small ruminants and seldom in a wild host. This study of 289 wild badgers is the first to report the relationship between faecal egg/larval counts and adult worm burden in badgers whilst also evaluating the reliability of coprological analysis as a diagnostic tool for hookworm (Uncinaria criniformis) and lungworm (Aelurostrongylus falciformis) infection. The prevalence of hookworm and lungworm infection, as assessed through adult worm burden was 59.2% and 20.8% respectively. For both species of helminth, infection was consistently under-reported by coprological analysis compared to adult worm burden with a reported 41% sensitivity for hookworm and 10% for lungworm. A significant positive relationship was found between faecal counts and adult worm burden for both species of helminths. Additionally the density -dependent relationship often reported in helminth infection appears to be weak or non-existent in this study, up to the observed worm intensity of 500.

7.
PLoS One ; 13(2): e0191818, 2018.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29444100

RESUMO

We monitored the ranging of a wild European badger (Meles meles) population over 7 years using GPS tracking collars. Badger range sizes varied seasonally and reached their maximum in June, July and August. We analysed the summer ranging behaviour, using 83 home range estimates from 48 individuals over 6974 collar-nights. We found that while most adult badgers (males and females) remained within their own traditional social group boundaries, several male badgers (on average 22%) regularly ranged beyond these traditional boundaries. These adult males frequently ranged throughout two (or more) social group's traditional territories and had extremely large home ranges. We therefore refer to them as super-rangers. While ranging across traditional boundaries has been recorded over short periods of time for extraterritorial mating and foraging forays, or for pre-dispersal exploration, the animals in this study maintained their super-ranges from 2 to 36 months. This study represents the first time such long-term extra-territorial ranging has been described for European badgers. Holding a super-range may confer an advantage in access to breeding females, but could also affect local interaction networks. In Ireland & the UK, badgers act as a wildlife reservoir for bovine tuberculosis (TB). Super-ranging may facilitate the spread of disease by increasing both direct interactions between conspecifics, particularly across social groups, and indirect interactions with cattle in their shared environment. Understanding super-ranging behaviour may both improve our understanding of tuberculosis epidemiology and inform future control strategies.


Assuntos
Comportamento Animal , Mustelidae/fisiologia , Animais , Europa (Continente)
8.
PLoS One ; 10(10): e0138093, 2015.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26465324

RESUMO

The reproductive biology of the European badger (Meles meles) is of wide interest because it is one of the few mammal species that show delayed implantation and one of only five which are suggested to show superfetation as a reproductive strategy. This study aimed to describe the reproductive biology of female Irish badgers with a view to increasing our understanding of the process of delayed implantation and superfetation. We carried out a detailed histological examination of the reproductive tract of 264 female badgers taken from sites across 20 of the 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland. The key results show evidence of multiple blastocysts at different stages of development present simultaneously in the same female, supporting the view that superfetation is relatively common in this population of badgers. In addition we present strong evidence that the breeding rate in Irish badgers is limited by failure to conceive, rather than failure at any other stages of the breeding cycle. We show few effects of age on breeding success, suggesting no breeding suppression by adult females in this population. The study sheds new light on this unusual breeding strategy of delayed implantation and superfetation, and highlights a number of significant differences between the reproductive biology of female Irish badgers and those of Great Britain and Swedish populations.


Assuntos
Blastocisto/fisiologia , Implantação Tardia do Embrião/fisiologia , Mustelidae/fisiologia , Reprodução , Dente/fisiologia , Análise de Variância , Animais , Corpo Lúteo/fisiologia , Desenvolvimento Embrionário , Feminino , Geografia , Irlanda , Progesterona/fisiologia , Análise de Regressão , Comportamento Sexual Animal , Suécia , Reino Unido
9.
J Appl Anim Welf Sci ; 18(4): 375-87, 2015.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25932924

RESUMO

There is increasing evidence that in some circumstances, zoo visitors may be aversive stimuli to nonhuman animals housed in zoos. Yet, most previous research has focused on primates with little attention given to numerous other species who are housed in zoos. The focus animal of this project was the cockatoo, a species who has received minimal attention in zoo-based research. Furthermore, although the influence of the zoo setting has become increasingly important in visitor effect studies, this is the 1st study to quantify the effect of activity at a children's playground on zoo animals. There was an investigation on the effect of a zoo playground on the behavior of citron-crested and Moluccan cockatoos (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata and Cacatua moluccensis), as well as the effect of children standing in front of the birds' aviaries. The results showed that in some circumstances, the Moluccan cockatoos retreated from visitors, while the citron-crested cockatoos did not retreat from visitors and became more social in the presence of visitors. These findings highlight the importance of careful selection of species and individual animals to be housed near zoo playgrounds.


Assuntos
Animais de Zoológico/psicologia , Cacatuas , Jogos e Brinquedos , Bem-Estar do Animal , Animais , Criança , Planejamento Ambiental , Feminino , Humanos , Masculino , Comportamento Social , Estresse Psicológico/etiologia
10.
PLoS One ; 9(6): e98694, 2014.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24896822

RESUMO

Accurate estimates of species richness are essential to macroecological and macroevolutionary research, as well as to the effective management and conservation of biodiversity. The resolution of taxonomic relationships is therefore of vital importance. While molecular methods have revolutionised taxonomy, contemporary species delimitation requires an integrative, multi-disciplinary approach. Despite boasting a remarkably high level of endemism, the avifauna of the Sulawesi region of Indonesia remains poorly studied. Previous studies of avian diversity in Sulawesi have focussed predominantly on phenotypic characteristics, thus potentially overlooking any genetically distinct lineages. Grey-sided Flowerpecker Dicaeum celebicum populations from the Wakatobi archipelago were originally described as a separate species from those on nearby mainland Sulawesi. However, for reasons that remain unknown, the Wakatobi populations were reclassified as a subspecies of the mainland form. Combining estimates of genetic divergence with phylogenetic and morphological analyses, we reassessed the status of Wakatobi populations. Our results describe the Wakatobi populations as a separate species to those on mainland Sulawesi; reproductively isolated, genetically and morphologically distinct. We therefore recommend the reclassification of these populations to their original status of Dicaeum kuehni and propose the vernacular name 'Wakatobi Flowerpecker'. In consideration of our findings and the lack of integrative ornithological research within the Sulawesi region, we believe species richness and avian endemism within the region are underestimated.


Assuntos
Aves/classificação , Aves/genética , Fenótipo , Filogenia , Animais , Biodiversidade , DNA Mitocondrial/genética , Feminino , Geografia , Haplótipos , Indonésia , Masculino
11.
PLoS One ; 7(12): e53071, 2012.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-23300863

RESUMO

Ecologists undertaking stable isotopic analyses of animal diets require trophic enrichment factors (TEFs) for the specific animal tissues that they are studying. Such basic data are available for a small number of species, so values from trophically or phylogenetically similar species are often substituted for missing values. By feeding a controlled diet to captive European badgers (Meles meles) we determined TEFs for carbon and nitrogen in blood serum. TEFs for nitrogen and carbon in blood serum were +3.0 ± 0.4‰ and +0.4 ± 0.1‰ respectively. The TEFs for serum in badgers are notably different from those published for the red fox (Vulpes vulpes). There is currently no data for TEFs in the serum of other mustelid species. Our data show that species sharing similar niches (red fox) do not provide adequate proxy values for TEFs of badgers. Our findings emphasise the importance of having species-specific data when undertaking trophic studies using stable isotope analysis.


Assuntos
Mustelidae/sangue , Estado Nutricional , Animais , Dieta , Raposas/sangue , Soro , Especificidade da Espécie
12.
Evolution ; 59(5): 933-40, 2005 May.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-16136793

RESUMO

Animals that are brightly colored have intrigued scientists since the time of Darwin, because it seems surprising that prey should have evolved to be clearly visible to predators. Often this self-advertisement is explained by the prey being unprofitable in some way, with the conspicuous warning coloration helping to protect the prey because it signals to potential predators that the prey is unprofitable. However, such signals only work in this way once predators have learned to associate the conspicuous color with the unprofitability of the prey. The evolution of warning coloration is still widely considered to be a paradox, because it has traditionally been assumed that the very first brightly colored individuals would be at an immediate selective disadvantage because of their greater conspicuousness to predators that are naive to the meaning of the signal. As a result, it has been difficult to understand how a novel conspicuous color morph could ever avoid extinction for long enough for predators to become educated about the signal. Thus, the traditional view that the evolution of warning coloration is difficult to explain rests entirely on assumptions about the foraging behavior of predators. However, we review recent evidence from a range of studies of predator foraging decisions, which refute these established assumptions. These studies show that: (1) Many predators are so conservative in their food preferences that even very conspicuous novel prey morphs are not necessarily at a selective disadvantage. (2) The survival and spread of novel color morphs can be simulated in field and aviary experiments using real predators (birds) foraging on successive generations of artificial prey populations. This work demonstrates that the foraging preferences of predators can regularly (though not always) result in the increase to fixation of a novel morph appearing in a population of familiar-colored prey. Such fixation events occur even if both novel and familiar prey are fully palatable and despite the novel food being much more conspicuous than the familiar prey. These studies therefore provide strong empirical evidence that conspicuous coloration can evolve readily, and repeatedly, as a result of the conservative foraging decisions of predators.


Assuntos
Adaptação Fisiológica , Evolução Biológica , Fenótipo , Pigmentação/fisiologia , Comportamento Predatório/fisiologia , Seleção Genética , Animais , Comportamento de Escolha/fisiologia
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