Contrasting impacts of precipitation on Mediterranean birds and butterflies

Herrando S., Titeux N., Brotons L., Anton M., Ubach A., Villero D., García-Barros E., Munguira M.L., Godinho C., Stefanescu C. (2019) Contrasting impacts of precipitation on Mediterranean birds and butterflies. Scientific Reports. 9: 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-42171-4

Resum:

The climatic preferences of the species determine to a large extent their response to climate change. Temperature preferences have been shown to play a key role in driving trends in animal populations. However, the relative importance of temperature and precipitation preferences is still poorly understood, particularly in systems where ecological processes are strongly constrained by the amount and timing of rainfall. In this study, we estimated the role played by temperature and precipitation preferences in determining population trends for birds and butterflies in a Mediterranean area. Trends were derived from long-term biodiversity monitoring data and temperature and precipitation preferences were estimated from species distribution data at three different geographical scales. We show that population trends were first and foremost related to precipitation preferences both in birds and in butterflies. Temperature preferences had a weaker effect on population trends, and were significant only in birds. The effect of precipitation on population trends operated in opposite directions in the two groups of species: butterfly species from arid environments and bird species from humid habitats are decreasing most. Our results indicate that, although commonly neglected, water availability is likely an important driver of animal population change in the Mediterranean region, with highly contrasting impacts among taxonomical groups. © 2019, The Author(s).

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Assessing impacts of land abandonment on Mediterranean biodiversity using indicators based on bird and butterfly monitoring data

HERRANDO S., BROTONS L., ANTON M., PARAMO F., VILLERO D., TITEUX N., QUESADA J., STEFANESCU C. (2015) Assessing impacts of land abandonment on Mediterranean biodiversity using indicators based on bird and butterfly monitoring data. Environmental Conservation. : 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1017/S0376892915000260

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In Europe, and particularly in the Mediterranean Basin, the abandonment of traditional land-use practices has been reported as one of the main causes of decline for open-habitat species. Data from large-scale bird and butterfly monitoring schemes in the north-east Iberian Peninsula were used to evaluate the impact that land abandonment has had on local biodiversity. Species’ habitat preferences, along a gradient from open to forest habitats, were significantly related to population trends: for both birds and butterflies, open-habitat species showed the most marked declines while forest species increased moderately. Multi-species indicators for tracking the impact of land abandonment on bird and butterfly populations were developed using habitat preference estimates and population trend indices. The patterns shown by these indicators were in line with the changes occurring in forest cover in the monitoring sites. This study reveals that multi-species indicators based on monitoring data from different taxonomic groups (here, birds and butterflies) may usefully be employed to track impacts of environmental change on biodiversity. Copyright © Foundation for Environmental Conservation 2015

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Biogeography of species richness gradients: Linking adaptive traits, demography and diversification

Carnicer J., Brotons L., Stefanescu C., Peñuelas J. (2012) Biogeography of species richness gradients: Linking adaptive traits, demography and diversification. Biological Reviews. 87: 457-479.
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Doi: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2011.00210.x

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Here we review how adaptive traits contribute to the emergence and maintenance of species richness gradients through their influence on demographic and diversification processes. We start by reviewing how demographic dynamics change along species richness gradients. Empirical studies show that geographical clines in population parameters and measures of demographic variability are frequent along latitudinal and altitudinal gradients. Demographic variability often increases at the extremes of regional species richness gradients and contributes to shape these gradients. Available studies suggest that adaptive traits significantly influence demographic dynamics, and set the limits of species distributions. Traits related to thermal tolerance, resource use, phenology and dispersal seem to play a significant role. For many traits affecting demography and/or diversification processes, complex mechanistic approaches linking genotype, phenotype and fitness are becoming progressively available. In several taxa, species can be distributed along adaptive trait continuums, i.e. a main axis accounting for the bulk of inter-specific variation in some correlated adaptive traits. It is shown that adaptive trait continuums can provide useful mechanistic frameworks to explain demographic dynamics and diversification in species richness gradients. Finally, we review the existence of sequences of adaptive traits in phylogenies, the interactions of adaptive traits and community context, the clinal variation of traits across geographical gradients, and the role of adaptive traits in determining the history of dispersal and diversification of clades. Overall, we show that the study of demographic and evolutionary mechanisms that shape species richness gradients clearly requires the explicit consideration of adaptive traits. To conclude, future research lines and trends in the field are briefly outlined. © 2011 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2011 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

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