Why are exotic birds so successful in urbanized environments?

Sol, D., González-Lagos, C., Lapiedra, O., Díaz, M. (2017) Why are exotic birds so successful in urbanized environments?. Ecology and Conservation of Birds in Urban Environments. : 75-89.
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Doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-43314-1_5

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Environmental variation and the evolution of large brains in birds

Sayol, F., Maspons, J., Lapiedra, O., Iwaniuk, A.N., Székely, T., Sol, D. (2016) Environmental variation and the evolution of large brains in birds. Nature Communications. 7: 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1038/ncomms13971

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Random processes and phylogenetic loss caused by plant invasions

Lapiedra O., Sol D., Traveset A., Vila M. (2015) Random processes and phylogenetic loss caused by plant invasions. Global Ecology and Biogeography. : 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1111/geb.12310

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Aim: Although biological invasions represent a major cause of biodiversity loss, the actual mechanisms driving species extinctions remain insufficiently understood. Here we investigate the role of three processes as drivers of phylogenetic loss in invaded local plant communities, namely the 'biotic resistance', 'environmental filtering' and 'functional equivalence' hypotheses. Location: Balearic Islands (western Mediterranean). Methods: We quantified the phylogenetic diversity and structure of 109 pairs of invaded and non-invaded local plant communities from two Mediterranean islands. Each pair contained one control plot and one plot invaded either by the deciduous tree Ailanthus altissima, the succulent subshrubs Carpobrotus spp. or the pseudoannual geophyte Oxalis pes-caprae. We combined generalized linear models, analyses of phylogenetic community structure and generalized linear mixed models using a Markov chain Monte Carlo technique (MCMCglmm) to contrast the 'biotic resistance', 'environmental filtering' and 'functional equivalence' hypotheses. Results: While the phylogenetic structure of the non-invaded communities was not more clustered or overdispersed than expected by chance, minimum phylogenetic distance to the invasive species increased in invaded assemblages, in which the magnitude of phylogenetic diversity loss ranged from 6 to 37% depending on the invader's identity. Invader or island identity did not explain the probabilities of native species becoming locally extinct. Rather, the likelihood of extinction was mainly explained by species abundance, with scarcer species exhibiting a higher chance of becoming locally extinct. Species identity explained a small fraction of the variation in extinction risk (12%), independently of each species' evolutionary history. Main conclusions: The most relevant driver of local extinction is a stochastic process where less abundant species tend to disappear more frequently irrespective of their evolutionary history. This has strong implications for conservation because it suggests that in the study region the invaders are unlikely to drive regional and global extinctions except in cases where the native species is already rare. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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Urbanisation tolerance and the loss of avian diversity

Sol D., Gonzalez-Lagos C., Moreira D., Maspons J., Lapiedra O. (2014) Urbanisation tolerance and the loss of avian diversity. Ecology Letters. 17: 942-950.
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Doi: 10.1111/ele.12297

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Urbanisation is considered an important driver of current biodiversity loss, but the underlying causes are not fully understood. It is generally assumed that this loss reflects the fact that most organisms do not tolerate well the environmental alterations associated with urbanisation. Nevertheless, current evidence is inconclusive and the alternative that the biodiversity loss is the result of random mechanisms has never been evaluated. Analysing changes in abundance between urbanised environments and their non-urbanised surroundings of > 800 avian species from five continents, we show here that although random processes account for part of the species loss associated with urbanisation, much of the loss is associated with a lack of appropriate adaptations of most species for exploiting resources and avoiding risks of the urban environments. These findings have important conservation implications because the extinction of species with particular features should have higher impact on biodiversity and ecosystem function than a random loss. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

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Do close relatives make bad neighbors?

Sol D., Lapiedra O., Vila M. (2014) Do close relatives make bad neighbors?. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 111: 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1073/pnas.1320729111

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[No abstract available]

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Behavioural adjustments for a life in the city

Sol D., Lapiedra O., Gonzalez-Lagos C. (2013) Behavioural adjustments for a life in the city. Animal Behaviour. 85: 1101-1112.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.01.023

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While human-induced rapid environmental changes are putting many organisms at risk of extinction, others are doing better than ever. This raises the question of why organisms differ in their tolerance to environmental alterations. Here, we ask whether and how behavioural adjustments assist animals in dealing with the urbanization process, one of the primary causes of biodiversity loss and biotic homogenization. Based on a literature review, we present both theoretical and empirical arguments to show that behavioural adjustments to urban habitats are widespread and that they may potentially be important in facilitating resource use, avoiding disturbances and enhancing communication. While a growing number of studies report behavioural differences between urban and nonurban animals, very few studies directly address the underlying mechanisms. In some cases, the changes in behaviour occur very rapidly and involve learning, and hence can be attributed to behavioural plasticity. In other cases, however, it cannot be ruled out that behavioural differences between urban and nonurban animals result from natural selection or nonrandom sorting of individuals by behavioural traits that affect dispersal, habitat selection or establishment. Because the urbanization process is expected to continue to threaten biodiversity in the near future, there is some urgency to improve our understanding of the mechanisms through which behaviour helps animals to cope with such environmental alterations. © 2013 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

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Behavior drives morphological diversification in pigeons and doves.

Lapiedra O, Sol D, Carranza S, Beaulie J (2012) Behavior drives morphological diversification in pigeons and doves. Oral presentation, Animal Behavior Society conference, New Mexico (USA), 2012.

A framework for estimating niche metrics using the resemblance between qualitative resources

de Cáceres M., Sol D., Lapiedra O., Legendre P. (2011) A framework for estimating niche metrics using the resemblance between qualitative resources. Oikos. 120: 1341-1350.
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Doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.19679.x

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Despite the central importance of the niche concept for the ecological theory, current methods to quantify the species niche from qualitative resources, such as food or habitat types, remain insufficiently developed. Classically, information theory and diversity measures have formed the toolbox used for calculating resource niche metrics on species preference data for a set of qualitative resources. We provide a comprehensive framework that extends these classical approaches by incorporating the resemblance between resources into the calculation of resource niche metrics. This does not only allow estimation of the niche centre, breadth, overlap and displacement with greater accuracy, but also makes the estimates less influenced by the way the resources are subdivided. In addition, all niche metrics can be calculated while taking into account the variation in resource availability, and confidence intervals can be obtained by bootstrapping. We illustrate the utility of the framework with an analysis of dietary preferences in feral pigeons Columba livia. © 2011 The Authors. Oikos © 2011 Nordic Society Oikos.

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