rss_2.0Life Sciences FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Life Sciences Sciences Feed effect of N 2000 network on the Eurasian Eagle-owl population in Southeast Bulgaria: implications for conservation<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The effectiveness and efficiency of the N<sc>atura</sc> 2000 network for the Eurasian Eagle-owl conservation in SE Bulgaria was assessed by comparing data collected during a long-term study on number of breeding pairs and fledglings before and after network establishment. The N<sc>atura</sc> 2000 network and non-protected areas showed similar values of the calculated indices according to the number of occupied localities. However, the pairs in N<sc>atura</sc> 2000 sites bred significantly less fledglings after the creation of the network than the pairs in non-protected ones. The Special Protection Areas (SPA) system created specifically for the preservation of birds has the lowest efficiency in respect to Eurasian Eagle-owl protection. Proposals were made after ‘gap analysis’ for real protection and optimization of the protected-area network to increase the stability of the Eurasian Eagle-owl population in the changing environment.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00The wing phalanges of Gaviiformes, Podicipediformes, Pelecaniformes, Ardeiformes, Anseriformes, Gruiformes, Ralliformes, Charadriiformes and Galliformes<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The authors compared the first phalanx of the second wing-finger of 93 species belong to 9 order (Gaviiformes – 2 species, Podicipediformes – 4 species, Pelecaniformes – 4 species, Ardeiformes – 12 species, Anseriformes – 27 species, Gruiformes – 4 species, Ralliformes – 6 species, Charadriiformes – 25 species and Galliformes – 9 species). The importance of studying this bone lies in the fact that, although it has diagnosable characteristics, it was practically neglected by osteologists and paleontologists. Thus, fossil materials can be identified through them, as well as those from owl pellets. The comparison was made possible by the comparative avian skeleton collection of the Hungarian Natural History Museum. The text is supplemented by 10 figures and 1 table.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00Diet of the Red-footed Falcon in Cyprus during autumn migration<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The diet of the Red-footed Falcon <italic>(Falco vespertinus)</italic> was studied at Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus, in October 2008, during the autumn migration. Based on 180 pellets collected that represented 3,066 prey items, the diet consisted exclusively of invertebrates, nearly all preys were insects. Winged ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) formed 94% of the diet by number of specimens and 76% of biomass. Beetles (Coleoptera), mainly Carabidae and Scarabaeidae, made up 5% of the prey numbers but 22.5% of biomass. The other preys were made up by small numbers of earwigs (Dermaptera), true bugs (Hemiptera) and snails (Gastropoda).</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00Breeding biology of the Woodcock ( L.) in the Carpathian Basin<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Based on 356 observations of Woodcock nestings published in the Hungarian hunting and ornithological literature between 1846 and 2019, which also includes published and unpublished personal observations, it can be stated that the nesting dates of Woodcock in Hungary are scattered over a large interval. 47.3% of all nestings registered with exact dates (n=93) happen in April. The second peak of breeding in June does not stand out significantly. Based on the data of the clutches (n=65) reported with known number of eggs, as well as the clutches (n=14) – probably with full number of eggs – found in the Hungarian egg collections, the average number of eggs per clutch was 3.8. Based on the observational data of the Woodcock families (n=36) observed during the study period, the number of chicks per hen was 3.6, of which the hens were able to raise an average of 2.8 chicks up to a flying age.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00Conservation management rules for reconstructing Moluccan Scrubfowl egg-laying habitats<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This research focused on the efforts of indigenous people invested into the reconstruction of damaged Moluccan Scrubfowl <italic>(Eulipoa wallacei)</italic> egg-laying habitats, as well as, on the ways how the current conditions of the landscapes are conserved by indigenous people. This is a qualitative and quantitative study that used a combination of observation and interview methods. We also used descriptive analysis and spatial analysis including remote sensing techniques. The results showed that the abrasion process that destroyed the Moluccan Scrubfowl egg-laying habitat left a remaining sandbar with an area of 1,161 m<sup>2</sup>, or about 17% of the area of the initial sandbar. Even though the habitat has not fully recovered, Moluccan Scrubfowls still lay their eggs there. The details of the reconstruction activities carried out by indigenous people are as follows: making embankments, adding sand to the eroded area, replanting supporting coastal vegetation, and making breeding sites. In addition, efforts were also made to restore the surrounding support areas that were also damaged. The activities carried out were as follows: replantation of coral reefs, turtle breeding, nurseries and mangrove planting, nurseries of other plant species such as cloves and nutmegs, picking up trash along the coast, and early education for children in how to be environmentally conscious.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00Nesting and breeding attempts of (Laxmann, 1769) in Tunisia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>During fieldworks in 2019, a pair of Red-rumped Swallows <italic>(Cecropis daurica)</italic> were seen building their nest (June) and one of them brooding (August). The pair was still present in the area by the end of September, while all other swallows left this breeding area. In June 2020, the nest entrance was destroyed and the nest was occupied by a pair of <italic>Passer</italic> sp. Another nest of <italic>C. daurica</italic> was found in an abandoned building but was completely destroyed. This observation is the first record concerning an attempt and failure of nesting of the species in Tunisia. The nesting area of the Red-rumped Swallow is extended to the Mediterranean in southern Europe and to northwest Africa. The nesting sites are described, and the extension of the nesting area is discussed in this work.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00A cross-sectional study on knowledge, attitude and practices related to owls in central Punjab, Pakistan<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Owls are considered as dominant predators for control of rats and mice population in agricultural fields and presently their populations are continuously declining in Punjab, Pakistan. The present study was aimed to assess the knowledge and attitude of people of rural and urban areas about the declining trend of owls. During this survey, more than 1600 people were asked to collect information regarding the owl populations from six localities including Faisalabad, Sialkot, Jhang, Lahore and Bahawalnagar. Four parameters were the major part of the questionnaire: familiarity, misconceptions, awareness about owls and their acceptance as a biological controlling agent. The results revealed that about 95% of people were familiar with owls in the agro-ecosystem. Only 15.6% of people thought that owls should be eliminated; 23.0% were of the opinion that owl’s presence in a locality leads to ruination; 33.3% agreed that the owls presence was a sign of bad omen; 41.8% considered them as signs of foolishness; 47.0% believed that owl’s body parts were used for black magic purposes. In contrast, 50% of people acknowledged that owls are beneficial to humans; 60.3% knew that owls are the enemies of rodents, 67.7% agreed that they are suppressors of rats and mice and 63.8% agreed that artificial nest boxes can serve as their nests and roosts. It was encouraging to know that 74.8% showed their willingness to enhance the owl’s population on their farms, and 74.0% were willing to permit the installation of nest boxes in or near the villages. The study of attitudes of respondents towards owl will help to develop an effective conservation strategy and to boost owl’s population in croplands for biological control of rats and mice.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00Nesting habitat selection and challenges of conservation of the vulnerable Lesser Adjutant (Horsfield, 1821) in the Chitwan National Park, Nepal<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The nesting ecology and conservation threats of the Lesser Adjutant <italic>(Leptoptilos javanicus)</italic> were studied in the Chitwan National Park, Nepal. We located nine nesting colonies during the nesting season. The number of nests was highly positively correlated with tree height, diameter at breast height and canopy cover. The uppermost canopy of the trees was the most preferred nesting place. Storks preferred to nest in compact colonies on large, widely branched trees with thin foliage cover, such as <italic>Bombax ceiba,</italic> and also nearby the foraging grounds such as wetlands and grasslands. Storks mostly preferred to nest in <italic>Bombax ceiba,</italic> but if this tree was not available, they nested in other trees, such as <italic>Shorea robusta, Ficus racemosa</italic> and <italic>Terminalia alata</italic>. During the breeding season, 180 adults, 76 nests and 88 chicks were recorded, where the highest number of chicks was recorded near the Sauraha area of the Chitwan National Park. Most of the colonies were far from human settlements, which suggest that human disturbance could be the major determinant of nesting habitat selection in this area. The wetlands nearby human settlements are either overexploited in terms of mass collection of the storks` prey species by people or disturbed highly due to presence of a large number of people. These empirical findings suggest that conservation of Lesser Adjutant mainly rely on the protection of mature <italic>Bombax ceiba</italic> trees and the reduction of human disturbance and of the collection of stork prey animals from foraging areas.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00The possible occurrence of cranial asymmetry in three harrier (Accipitridae: ) species<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The harriers (Accipitridae: <italic>Circus</italic>) represent a unique group of raptorial birds due to their hunting behaviour and their facial ruff and prominent facial disc. During previous studies it was suggested that harrier species may have other convergent features shared with owls like asymmetric or enlarged ear openings related to sensitive hearing capabilities. In this study, cranial asymmetry was done using SAGE (Symmetry and Asymmetry of Geometric Data) software. 32 skulls of 3 species (Western Marsh Harrier <italic>(Circus aeruginosus</italic>) n=8, Montagu’s Harrier <italic>(Circus pygargus)</italic> n=10, Hen Harrier <italic>(Circus cyaneus)</italic> n=14) were photographed, digitized and assigned with 2D landmarks with TpsDig software. The variables were analysed based on Generalized Procrustes analysis. The morphometric data showed cranial asymmetry of harriers. This asymmetry should rather be explained by foraging strategies as the results are corresponding to the exceptionally good hearing of these species among diurnal raptors.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00Diet of Long-eared Owl and Common Kestrel in an urban landscape (Ukraine)<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In the present study we performed a comparative dietary analysis of two predatory birds, the Long-eared Owl <italic>(Asio otus)</italic> and the Common Kestrel <italic>(Falco tinnunculus)</italic> in the district of Lviv city. We found that the Long-eared Owl and the Common Kestrel are typical small mammal specialists within the urban ecosystem. Considering the abundance and biomass of prey, small mammals comprise 98.4% of the Long-eared Owl’s diet. The species composition of mammals coincides almost 50% in the food intake comparison of the two birds. It has been established that the main prey of both species is the Common Vole <italic>(Microtus arvalis)</italic>. The diet of the Common Kestrel is more varied, compared to the Long-eared Owl, due to the consumption of different species of insects (families Gryllotalpidae, Tettigoniidae, Carabidae and Scarabaeidae), reptiles and birds. This result suggested that dietary plasticity of the Common Kestrel facilitate successful adaptation to the urban landscape. The Long-eared Owl is more narrowly specialized in feeding on murine rodents, which reduces the trophic competition between the two predatory birds and allows the coexistence of two predators in the urban ecosystem.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00Long-term lead intoxication of Griffon Vulture ( Hablizl, 1783) supposedly the result of illegal shooting<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The European Griffon Vulture <italic>Gyps fulvus</italic> is a large-sized scavenger exploiting carcasses of livestock and wild ungulates and thus having a paramount importance in the natural ecosystems. In this study, we report on an adult Griffon Vulture detected with lead levels in the bones over the threshold. After two years of tracking, the bird died. The corpse’s clinical examination and radiography detected the presence of two embedded lead pellets from a healed gunshot wound in its right wing. Quantitative laboratory analysis of lead in bone and liver samples evidencing subclinical/chronic lead intoxication of the Griffon Vulture could potentially be a result of the long-term exposure to the lead originating from the pellets in its wing.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00Woodpecker foraging activity in oak-dominated hill forests in Hungary<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>We documented the foraging activities of woodpeckers on selected trees in an established conservation-oriented management study in five oak-dominated forests in Hungary. We examined the tree species preference of woodpeckers as a group and the impact of specific tree characteristics on the habitat use of woodpeckers. We estimated the percentage of visible foraging signs on the trunks and upper limbs of selected trees through the winter and early spring of 2019–2020. Based on the Jacobs’ index, woodpeckers preferred oak species for foraging and most foraging signs were on limbs rather than trunks. Foraging signs on trunks were more frequent on those of larger diameters and greater heights. It was also found that the lower the tree, the greater the effect of its diameter on the occurrence of signs.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00The instrumental signals of the Eurasian Wryneck<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In a study of acoustic communication at seven nest cavities of Eurasian Wrynecks, sound recordings were made of ninety-one separate bursts of tapping. From Hungary in the east, and France in the west, tapping was heard both from inside cavities and at their entrances. Analysis of the tapping rhythms indicated two forms corresponding to different observed behaviour. They were never loud and were used exclusively in communication between breeding pairs. No functional significance was found in the only two brief examples of tapping fast enough to be described structurally as drumming.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00Wintering waterbird assemblage in an emerging wetland of West Bengal, India: characterization for conservation management<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Waterbirds constitute a prominent biota and reflect the ecosystem health and functionality of the freshwater wetlands. Documentation of the bird species assemblages of wetlands is therefore carried out as a part of monitoring of wetlands from a sustainability viewpoint. Using the emerging wetland of Purbasthali, West Bengal, India, as a model study area, the diversity of the associated bird species was estimated to supplement necessary information for conservation management of birds and ecosystems. The point count method was applied to count the waterbirds from each sighting location with a 25 m radius covering 360° arc and the counting period lasted 10 min for each site, and counts were made in the winter of 2016/2017. The data on the waterbirds encountered were recorded and subjected to diversity analysis, including the residential status, global population trend and feeding guilds. Apparently, the wetland was considered as suitable habitat for 27 waterbird species, which could be grouped under 24 genera, 10 families and 5 orders. Among these, the family Anatidae with maximum relative density and abundance dominated in the wetland. Out of the 27 recorded species, 5 species were widespread winter visitors, 3 species widespread resident, as well as, widespread winter visitors and 2 species were sparse local winter visitors. A globally near threatened species, the Black-headed Ibis <italic>(Threskiornis melanocephalus)</italic> was very common in the sampling sites. The waterbird assemblage in the wetland was dominated by carnivores followed by omnivores and herbivores. The abundance of the waterbirds with considerable variations in the foraging guild reflects availability and exploitation of multiple resources of the Purbasthali wetlands. Prominence in the differences in relative abundance of the different waterbirds could be linked with the heterogeneity in the habitat quality. The present information on waterbird assemblage calls for appropriate measures for conservation of the species and appropriate management of Purbasthali wetlands.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00Influence of habitat features of urban streetscapes on richness and abundance of avian species<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In human-dominated landscapes, roads are known to negatively influence birds causing decline in species richness, as well as reduction in the number of avian species. However, linear stretches of green spaces formed by roadside plantations in urban streetscapes can support diverse avian communities. In spite of being an integral habitat feature of urban areas, there is a clear paucity of studies on avian diversity in urban streetscapes. The present study was carried out in Kolkata, where data on avian species richness and abundance was collected from 16 randomly placed belt transects (replicates), each of 500 m length and 20 m width, on different major roads throughout the study area keeping a minimum gap of 200 m between adjacent transects to avoid data overlapping. Each of these transects were traversed on foot twice in a month from January to March 2017 during days with calm weather conditions. We recorded 31 species of birds belonging to 8 orders and 19 families, of which maximum species belonged to the order Passeriformes (13 species). We found that both abundance and species richness of birds in transects with higher number of trees (78±4.1 individuals and 19.55±1.703 species of birds) were significantly higher than transects with fewer trees (53.74±2.5 individuals and 9.5±0.789 species of birds). Amongst various habitat features along these streetscapes, the total number of trees positively influenced both species richness (GLMM: F<sub>1, 90</sub>=14.485, P&lt;0.05) and abundance of birds (GLMM: F<sub>1, 90</sub>=8.081, P&lt;0.05). However, the other land use variables (i.e. number of bushes, waterbodies, markets and buildings) neither influenced the abundance of birds nor the species richness. Our findings can be useful for urban development to perceive the importance of various habitat features in urban streetscapes in sustaining avian diversity.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-22T00:00:00.000+00:00Vectors of Efficiency in Hybrid Poplar Genotype Testing<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The Natural Resources Research Institute Hybrid Poplar Program breeds and tests genetically improved clones for bio-mass production and environmental services. The testing process progresses from Nursery Progeny Tests (NPT) to Family Field Trials (FFT) to Clone Trials (CT) to Yield Blocks (YB), with limited replication of many clones in FFT and CT and a limited number of highly selected clones set out in monoclonal blocks (YB) to approximate the conditions of commercial plantations. We used correlation vectors, R<sup>2</sup> (coefficient of determination) and r<sub>s</sub> (Spearman’s Coefficient) for growth (DBH<sup>2</sup>) and McFadden’s Pseudo R<sup>2</sup> for canker severity score, to determine where testing times could be altered (age – age correlations) and whole testing steps eliminated. FFT can be shortened from 5 years to 4 years. In CT, rank correlations between age 5 (half-rotation) and age 9/10 (full rotation) were significant (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.39 – 0.72), but age 5 selection missed 44 % of the top ten clones at age 9/10. Clone rank in CT at full, but not half, rotation was correlated with rank at full rotation in YB. Choosing clones at 9 years in CT adds 4 years but allows possible elimination of YB for clone selection. Both FFT and CT are necessary. Canker abundance and severity in CT at full rotation cannot be determined at earlier ages. An aggressive strategy saves 6 years of testing.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-28T00:00:00.000+00:00Polyploidy in Gymnosperms-A Reappraisal<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Recent polyploidy in gymnosperms is unusually scarce being present in only 9.80 % of the 714 taxa studied cytologically. Polyploid forms are represented by sporadic seedlings and individual trees, intraspecific polyploidy in cultivation or in wild and entirely polyploid species and genera. Polyploidy shows a non-random distribution in different genera being mostly prevalent in <italic>Ephedra</italic> and <italic>Juniperus</italic>, besides the classic examples of <italic>Sequoia</italic> and <italic>Fitzroya</italic>. Remarkably, both <italic>Ephedra</italic> and <italic>Juniperus</italic> show adaptive radiation by interspecific hybridization followed by polyploidy while in <italic>Ginkgo</italic> viable polyploid cytotypes are found in cultivation. Induced polyploidy has not provided any tangible results in the past but recent attempts on certain genera of Cupressaceae hold some promise of producing cultivars for horticulture trade. Lastly, various evidences derived from cytological analysis, fossil pollen, guard cells and comparative genomic studies indicating the occurrence of paleopolyploidy have been discussed.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Cross-transferability-based identification and validation of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers in oaks of western Himalayas<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Cross-amplification is a cost-effective method to extend the applicability of SSR markers to closely related taxa which lack their own sequence information. In the present study, 35 SSR markers developed in four oak species of Europe, North America and Asia were selected and screened in five species of the western Himalayas. Fifteen markers were successfully amplified in <italic>Quercus semecarpifolia</italic>, followed by 11 each in <italic>Q. floribunda</italic> and <italic>Q. leucotrichophora</italic>, 10 in <italic>Q. glauca</italic>, and 9 in <italic>Q. lana-ta</italic>. Except two primer pairs in <italic>Q. semecarpifolia</italic>, all were found to be polymorphic. Most of the positively cross-amplified SSRs were derived from the Asian oak, <italic>Q. mongolica</italic>. The genoty-ping of 10 individuals of each species with positively cross-amplified SSRs displayed varied levels of polymorphism in the five target oak species, viz., QmC00419 was most polymorphic in <italic>Q. floribunda</italic>, QmC00716 in <italic>Q. glauca</italic> and <italic>Q. lanata</italic>, QmC01368 in <italic>Q. leucotrichophora</italic>, and QmC02269 in <italic>Q. semecarpifolia</italic>. Among five oak species, the highest gene diversity was depicted in <italic>Q. lanata</italic> and <italic>Q. semecarpifolia</italic> with expected heterozygosity (He = 0.72), while the minimum was recorded for <italic>Q. leucotrichophora</italic> and <italic>Q. glauca</italic> (He = 0.65). The SSRs validated here provide a valuable resource to carry out further population genetic analysis in oaks of the western Himalayas.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-20T00:00:00.000+00:00Genome-wide bioinformatics analysis revealed putative substrate specificities of SABATH and MES family members in silver birch ()<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Plant SABATH family members catalyze the methylation of many hormones, signaling molecules, and floral scent metabolites, including salicylic acid (SA), jasmonic acid (JA), and indol-3 acetic acid (IAA). Demethylation of resulting methyl esters was executed by members of the MES family. Members of both families are significantly involved in plant developmental processes. Here, using different bioinformatics tools, we studied the evolutionary relationship and characterized the putative functions of the family members in silver birch (<italic>Betula pendula</italic>). It is a socio-ecologically important tree species and plays a vital role in reforestation. Ten and twelve members of the SABATH (BpSABATH1-10) and MES (BpMES1-12) family were identified in silver birch, respectively at the gene and enzyme levels. The <italic>BpSABATH</italic> and <italic>BpMES</italic> genes were distributed on seven of fourteen chromosomes, indicating the occurrence of moderate duplication events important for the expansion of both families. Phylogenetic clustering and the gene ontology database suggest, BpSA-BATH8 is involved in the methylation of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), while BpSABATH5, BpSABATH6, and BpSABATH7 methylate JA to methyl jasmonate (MeJA). BpSABATH9 was alone in the phylogenetic functional group 1 and prefers SA as a substrate to synthesize methyl salicylate (MeSA). Likewise, BpMES5 and BpMES12 are possibly involved in the demethylation of the methyl ester of IAA, while BpMES6, BpMES7, and BpMES8 are responsible for the demethylation of MeJA. BpMES9 clustered with MES and prefers MeSA as a substrate. The current analysis helped to select candidate genes that could be subjected to further molecular breeding of birch varieties adapted to biotic and abiotic stress conditions.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-04-06T00:00:00.000+00:00Genetic structure and postglacial recolonization of Du Tour in the West Siberian Plain, inferred from nuclear microsatellite markers<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The total of 257 trees from the ten natural Siberian stone pine populations of West Siberian Plain, Ural Mountains and Kuznetsk Alatau were studied with the eight nuclear microsatellite loci. Differentiation of population groups indicates the possible existence of separate refugia in the past in the Urals and Kuznetsk Alatau. The northern populations of Western Siberia were characterized by a reduced level of genetic diversity, which could be a consequence of the founder effect in the process of <italic>P. sibirica</italic> migration from the southern regions of Western Siberia and the Urals since the end of the last glacial maximum. The genetic variability distribution among populations shows the uneven dynamics of Siberian stone pine migration from the zones of supposed refugia. The map of the proposed ways of Siberian stone pine migration from the zones of possible refugia was constructed, and it is in a good agreement with the results of palynological investigations.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-20T00:00:00.000+00:00en-us-1