Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

habitat loss Related Abstracts

2 Habitat Suitability, Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Two Sympatric Fruit Bat Species Reveal the Need of an Urgent Conservation Action

Authors: Mohamed Thani Ibouroi, Ali Cheha, Claudine Montgelard, Veronique Arnal, Dawiyat Massoudi, Guillelme Astruc, Said Ali Ousseni Dhurham, Aurelien Besnard

Abstract:

The Livingstone's flying fox (Pteropus livingstonii) and the Comorian fruit bat (P.seychellensis comorensis) are two endemic fruit bat species among the mostly threatened animals of the Comoros archipelagos. Despite their role as important ecosystem service providers like all flying fox species as pollinators and seed dispersers, little is known about their ecologies, population genetics and structures making difficult the development of evidence-based conservation strategies. In this study, we assess spatial distribution and ecological niche of both species using Species Distribution Modeling (SDM) based on the recent Ensemble of Small Models (ESMs) approach using presence-only data. Population structure and genetic diversity of the two species were assessed using both mitochondrial and microsatellite markers based on non-invasive genetic samples. Our ESMs highlight a clear niche partitioning of the two sympatric species. Livingstone’s flying fox has a very limited distribution, restricted on steep slope of natural forests at high elevation. On the contrary, the Comorian fruit bat has a relatively large geographic range spread over low elevations in farmlands and villages. Our genetic analysis shows a low genetic diversity for both fruit bats species. They also show that the Livingstone’s flying fox population of the two islands were genetically isolated while no evidence of genetic differentiation was detected for the Comorian fruit bats between islands. Our results support the idea that natural habitat loss, especially the natural forest loss and fragmentation are the important factors impacting the distribution of the Livingstone’s flying fox by limiting its foraging area and reducing its potential roosting sites. On the contrary, the Comorian fruit bats seem to be favored by human activities probably because its diets are less specialized. By this study, we concluded that the Livingstone’s flying fox species and its habitat are of high priority in term of conservation at the Comoros archipelagos scale.

Keywords: Population Genetics, Conservation Biology, ecological niche, Comoros islands, habitat loss, fruit bats

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1 Spatial Ecology of an Endangered Amphibian Litoria Raniformis within Modified Tasmanian Landscapes

Authors: Timothy Garvey, Don Driscoll

Abstract:

Within Tasmania, the growling grass frog (Litoria raniformis) has experienced a rapid contraction in distribution. This decline is primarily attributed to habitat loss through landscape modification and improved land drainage. Reductions in seasonal water-sources have placed increasing importance on permanent water bodies for reproduction and foraging. Tasmanian agricultural and commercial forestry landscapes often feature small artificial ponds, utilized for watering livestock and fighting wildfires. Improved knowledge of how L. raniformis may be exploiting anthropogenic ponds is required for improved conservation management. We implemented telemetric tracking in order to evaluate the spatial ecology of L. raniformis (n = 20) within agricultural and managed forestry sites, with tracking conducted periodically over the breeding season (November/December, January/February, March/April). We investigated (1) potential differences in habitat utilization between agricultural and plantation sites, and (2) the post-breeding dispersal of individual frogs. Frogs were found to remain in close proximity to ponds throughout November/December, with individuals occupying vegetative depauperate water bodies beginning to disperse by January/February. Dispersing individuals traversed exposed plantation understory and agricultural pasture land in order to enter patches of native scrubland. By March/April all individuals captured at minimally vegetated ponds had retreated to adjacent scrub corridors. Animals found in ponds featuring dense riparian vegetation were not recorded to disperse. No difference in behavior was recorded between sexes. Rising temperatures coincided with increased movement by individuals towards native scrub refugia. The patterns of movement reported in this investigation emphasize the significant contribution of manmade water-bodies towards the conservation of L. raniformis within modified landscapes. The use of natural scrubland as cyclical retreats between breeding seasons also highlights the importance of the continued preservation of remnant vegetation corridors. Loss of artificial dams or buffering scrubland in heavily altered landscapes could see the breakdown of the greater L. raniformis meta-population further threatening their regional persistence.

Keywords: Telemetry, Spatial Ecology, habitat loss, modified landscapes

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