Academic Articles October 28th

Source: Mammals on the move show why protected and connected habitats matter


The latest academic papers on conservation. If you have a paper that you would like to share, please get in contact with us. Click on the title to follow the link to each article. Please note that some of these articles are behind a paywall.

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Sponges as bioindicators for microparticulate pollutants?

  • Source: Environmental Pollution
  • Author(s): Elsa Girard et al.
  • Amongst other threats, the world’s oceans are faced with man-made pollution, including an increasing number of microparticulate pollutants. Sponges, aquatic filter-feeding animals, are able to incorporate fine foreign particles, and thus may be a potential bioindicator for microparticulate pollutants…

Innate immune gene expression in Acropora palmata is consistent despite variance in yearly disease events

  • Source: Plos One
  • Author(s): Benjamin Young et al.
  • Coral disease outbreaks are expected to increase in prevalence, frequency and severity due to climate change and other anthropogenic stressors. This is especially worrying for the Caribbean branching coral Acropora palmata which has already seen an 80% decrease in cover primarily due to disease. Despite the importance of this keystone species, there has yet to be a characterization of its transcriptomic response to disease exposure…

Trophic downgrading reduces spatial variability on rocky reefs

  • Source: Scientific Reports
  • Author(s): Matthew Edwards, Brenda Konar 
  • Trophic downgrading in coastal waters has occurred globally during recent decades. On temperate rocky reefs, this has resulted in widespread kelp deforestation and the formation of sea urchin barrens. We hypothesize that…

Riparian buffers act as microclimatic refugia in oil palm landscapes

  • Source: Journal of Applied Ecology
  • Author(s): Joseph Williamson et al.
  • There is growing interest in the ecological value of set‐aside habitats around rivers in tropical agriculture. These riparian buffers typically comprise forest or other non‐production habitat, and are established to maintain water quality and hydrological processes, whilst also supporting biodiversity, ecosystem function and landscape connectivity…

Reference genome and demographic history of the most endangered marine mammal, the vaquita

  • Source: Molecular Ecology Resources
  • Author(s): Phillip Morin et al.
  • The vaquita is the most critically endangered marine mammal, with fewer than 19 remaining in the wild. First described in 1958, the vaquita has been in rapid decline for more than 20 years resulting from inadvertent deaths due to the increasing use of large‐mesh gillnets…

The importance of wetland margin microhabitat mosaics; the case of shorebirds and thermoregulation

  • Source: Journal of Applied Ecology
  • Author(s): Julia Ryeland, Michael Weston, Matthew Symonds
  • Wetland creation and management requires an understanding of the functional significance of such microhabitats, not only for foraging and breeding, but also for roosting. We demonstrate that managing wetland margins is likely important in minimising heat stress in birds, with our findings emphasising…

Seabird establishment during regional cooling drove a terrestrial ecosystem shift 5000 years ago

  • Source: Science Advances
  • Author(s): Dulcinea V. Groff et al.
  • The coastal tussac (Poa flabellata) grasslands of the Falkland Islands are a critical seabird breeding habitat but have been drastically reduced by grazing and erosion. Meanwhile, the sensitivity of seabirds and tussac to climate change is unknown because of a lack of long-term records in the South Atlantic….

Long‐term change in the avifauna of undisturbed Amazonian rainforest: ground‐foraging birds disappear and the baseline shifts

  • Source: Ecology Letters
  • Author(s): Philip Stouffer et al.
  • Repeated sampling of undisturbed Amazonian forest reveals strong declines for a suite of ground and near‐ground birds since the early 1980s. This shifted baseline in ‘pristine’ forest means that modern disturbed landscapes are more depauperate than revealed through comparison with modern control sites….

Finding clarity in ecological outcomes using empirical integrated social–ecological systems: A case study of agriculture‐dependent grassland birds

  • Source: Journal of Applied Ecology
  • Author(s): Michael Allen, Julie Lockwood, Joanna Burger
  • Structural equation modelling revealed potential social–ecological pathways for halting regional population declines in a grassland bird, the Grasshopper Sparrow. Lower population growth rates followed years of higher hay yields…

Species distribution modelling is needed to support ecological impact assessments

  • Source: Journal of Applied Ecology
  • Author(s): David Baker, Ilya Maclean, Martin Goodall, Kevin Gaston
  • Legislation commonly mandates the mitigation of impacts to biodiversity in planning and development processes, with potential impacts identified through some form of ecological impact assessment. Yet, protections for biodiversity are frequently undermined because the distributions of…

Buffering effects of soil seed banks on plant community composition in response to land use and climate

  • Source: Global Ecology and Biogeography
  • Author(s): Jan Plue et al.
  • Climate and land use are key determinants of biodiversity, with past and ongoing changes posing serious threats to global ecosystems. Unlike most other organism groups, plant species can possess dormant life‐history stages such as soil seed banks, which may help plant communities to…

Wildflower strips enhance wild bee reproductive success

  • Source: Journal of Applied Ecology
  • Author(s): Dominik Ganser, Matthias Albrecht, Eva Knop
  • Intensification of agriculture has resulted in a simplification and fragmentation of agroecosystems. Yet, its impact on the reproductive success and population dynamics of wild bees, and how adverse effects can be mitigated, remains poorly understood…

Estimating probabilistic site‐specific species pools and dark diversity from co‐occurrence data

  • Source: Global Ecology and Biogeography
  • Author(s): Carlos Carmona, Meelis Pärtel
  • The species pool specific for a site includes all species from the region that are theoretically able to live in the site’s particular ecological conditions. The absent portion of the site‐specific species pool forms the site’s dark diversity, which is unobservable and can only be estimated…

Do carnivore surveys match reports of carnivore presence by pastoralists? A case of the eastern Serengeti ecosystem

  • Source: Global Ecology and Conservation
  • Author(s): Franco Mbise et al.
  • Human-carnivore encounters are common where humans and wild carnivores share the same landscape. The frequency of such encounters gives insight regarding carnivore density and might correlate with human-carnivore conflict incidences. We interviewed livestock owners in the eastern Serengeti ecosystem and recorded reported carnivore presence and relative abundance…

Genetic diversity, population structure, and evolutionary relationships within a taxonomically complex group revealed by AFLP markers: A case study on Fritillaria cirrhosa D. Don and closely related species

  • Source: Global Ecology and Conservation
  • Author(s): Xiaobo Wu, Lizhen Duan, Qi Chen, Dequan Zhang
  • Fritillaria cirrhosa D. Don is an endangered perennial herb which has important medicinal properties. This study provides reference for conservation and sustainable use of F. cirrhosa and closely related species…

Combing benefits and costs to prioritize the distribution of conservation resources: Evidence from Israel

  • Source: Journal for Nature Conservation
  • Author(s): David Lehrer, Nir Becker, Pua Bar (Kutiel)
  • Using a conservation index as a prioritization tool, we explore combining some protected areas and dividing others in order to optimally redistribute rangers when no additional financial resources are available. Then we explore splitting protected areas to achieve the optimal distribution of additional human resources if additional financial resources become available…

Europe’s Green Deal offshores environmental damage to other nations

  • Source: Nature
  • Author(s): Richard Fuchs, Calum Brown, Mark Rounsevell
  • EU member states are outsourcing environmental damage to other countries, while taking the credit for green policies at home. Although the EU acknowledges that some new legislation will be required around trade, in the short term, nothing will change under the Green Deal…

It’s the product not the polymer: Rethinking plastic pollution

  • Source: Wires Water
  • Author(s):
  • Hotspots of plastic pollution, which are often international in their source, present complex environmental problems in certain parts of the world. Here we argue, however, that the current discourse on plastic waste overshadows greater threats to the environment and society at a global scale…
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