Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 20

Search results for: predation

20 A Predator-Prey Model with Competitive Interaction amongst the Preys

Authors: Titus G. Kassem, Izang A. Nyam


A mathematical model is constructed to study the effect of predation on two competing species in which one of the competing species is a prey to the predator whilst the other species are not under predation. Conditions for the existence and stability of equilibrium solutions were determined. Numerical simulation results indicate the possibility of a stable coexistence of the three interacting species in form of stable oscillations under certain parameter values. We also noticed that under some certain parameter values, species under predation go into extinction.

Keywords: competition, predator-prey, species, ecology

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19 Livestock Depredation by Large Predators: Patterns, Perceptions and Implications for Conservation and Livelihoods in Karakoram Mountain Ranges

Authors: Muhammad Zafar Khan, Babar Khan, Muhammad Saeed Awan, Farida Begum


Livestock depredation has greater significance in pastoral societies like Himalaya-Karakoram-Hindu Kush mountain ranges. The dynamics of depredation by large predators (snow leopard and wolf) and its implications for conservation and livelihoods of local people was investigated by household surveys in Hushey valley of Central Karakoram National Park, Pakistan. We found that, during five years (2008-12) 90% of the households in the valley had lost their livestock to snow leopard and wolf, accounting for 4.3% of the total livestock holding per year. On average each household had to bear a loss of 0.8 livestock head per year, equivalent to Pak Rupees 9,853 (US$ 101), or 10% of the average annual cash income. Majority of the predation incidences occurred during late summer in alpine pastures, mostly at night when animals were not penned properly. The prey animals in most of the cases were females or young ones. Of the total predation incidences, 60% were attributed to snow leopard, 37% to wolf, while in 3% the predator was unknown. The fear of snow leopard is greater than that of wolf. As immediate response on predation, majority of the local people (64%, n=99) preferred to report the case to their village conservation committee, 32% had no response while only 1% tended to kill the predator. The perceived causes of predation were: poor guarding practices (77%); reduction in wild prey (13%) and livestock being the favourite food of predators (10%). The most preferred strategies for predator management, according to the respondents were improved and enhanced guarding of livestock (72%), followed by increasing wild prey (18%) and lethal control (10%). To strike a balance between predator populations and pastoral livelihoods, better animal husbandry practices should be promoted including: improved guarding through collective hiring of skilled shepherds; corral improvement and use of guard dogs.

Keywords: Panthera unica, Canis lupus, Karakoram, human-carnivore conflict, predation

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18 Human-Carnivore Interaction: Patterns, Causes and Perceptions of Local Herders of Hoper Valley in Central Karakoram National Park, Pakistan

Authors: Saeed Abbas, Rahilla Tabassum, Haider Abbas, Babar Khan, Shahid Hussain, Muhammad Zafar Khan, Fazal Karim, Yawar Abbas, Rizwan Karim


Human–carnivore conflict is considered to be a major conservation and rural livelihood concern because many carnivore species have been heavily victimized due to elevated conflict levels with communities. Like other snow leopard range countries, this situation prevails in Pakistan, where WWF is currently working under Asia High Mountain Project (AHMP) in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan. To mitigate such conflicts requires a firm understanding of grazing and predation pattern including human-carnivore interaction. For this purpose we conducted a survey in Hoper valley (one of the AHMP project sites in Pakistan), during August, 2013 through a questionnaire based survey and unstructured interviews covering 647 households, permanently residing in the project area out of the total 900 households. The valley, spread over 409 km2 between 36°7'46" N and 74°49'2"E, at 2900m asl in Karakoram ranges is considered to be one of an important habitat of snow leopard and associated prey species such as Himalayan ibex. The valley is home of 8100 Brusho people (ancient tribe of Northern Pakistan) dependent on agro-pastoral livelihoods including farming and livestock rearing. The total number of livestock reported were (N=15,481) out of which 8346 (53.91%) were sheep, 3546 (22.91%) goats, 2193 (14.16%) cows, 903 (5.83%) yaks, 508 (3.28%) bulls, 28 (0.18%) donkeys, 27 (0.17%) zo/zomo (cross breed of yak and cow), and 4 (0.03%) horses. 83 percent respondent (n=542 households) confirmed loss of their livestock during the last one year July, 2012 to June, 2013 which account for 2246 (14.51%) animals. The major reason of livestock loss include predation by large carnivores such as snow leopards and wolf (1710, 76.14%) followed by diseases (536, 23.86%). Of the total predation cases snow leopard is suspected to kill 1478 animals (86.43%). Among livestock sheep were found to be the major prey of snow leopard (810, 55%) followed by goats (484, 32.7%) cows (151, 10.21%), yaks (15, 1.015%), zo/zomo (7, 0.5%) and donkey (1, 0.07%). The reason for the mass depredation of sheep and goats is that they tend to browse on twigs of bushes and graze on soft grass near cliffs. They are also considered to be very active as compared to other species in moving quickly and covering more grazing area. This makes them more vulnerable to snow leopard attack. The majority (1283, 75%) of livestock killed by predators occurred during the warm season (May-September) in alpine and sub-alpine pastures and remaining (427, 25%) occurred in the winter season near settlements in valley. It was evident from the recent study that Snow leopard kills outside the pen were (1351, 79.76%) as compared to inside pen (359, 20.24%). Assessing the economic loss of livestock predation we found that the total loss of livestock predation in the study area is equal to PKR 11,230,000 (USD 105,797), which is about PRK 17, 357 (USD 163.51) per household per year. Economic loss incurred by the locals due to predation is quite significant where the average cash income per household per year is PKR 85,000 (USD 800.75).

Keywords: carnivores, conflict, predation, livelihood, conservation, rural, snow leopard, livestock

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17 Impact of Mixed Prey Population on Predation Potential and Food Preference of a Predaceous Ladybird, Coccinella septempunctata

Authors: Ahmad Pervez


We investigated predation potential and food preference of different life stages of a predaceous ladybird Coccinella septempunctata L. (Coleptera: Coccinellidae) using a nutritive food (mustard aphid, Lipaphis erysimi) and a toxic food (cabbage aphid, Brevicoryne brassicae). We gave monotypic prey, L. erysimi, then B. brassicae to all life stages and found that second, third and fourth instars and adult female C. septempunctata daily consumed greater number of former prey. However, the first instar and the adult male equally consumed both the prey. In choice condition, each larva, adult male and female consumed mixed aphid diet separately in three proportions (i.e. low: high, equal: equal and high: low densities of L. erysimi: B. brassicae). We hypothesized that life stages of C. septempunctata will prefer L. erysimi regardless of its proportions. Laboratory experiment supported this hypothesis only at the adult level showing high values of β and C preference indices. However, it rejects this hypothesis at the larval level, as larvae preferred B. brassicae in certain combinations and showed no preference in a few combinations. We infer that mixing of nutritive diet in a toxic diet may possibly overcome the probable nutritive deficiency and/or reduces the toxicity of toxic diet, especially to the larvae of C. septempunctata. Consumption of high proportion of B. brassicae mixed with fewer L. erysimi suggests that mixed diet could be better for the development of immature stages of C. septempunctata.

Keywords: Coccinella septempunctata, predatory potential, prey preference, Lipaphis erysimi, Brevicoryne brassicae

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16 Ecosystem Engineering Strengthens Bottom-Up and Weakens Top-Down Effects via Trait-Mediated Indirect Interactions

Authors: Zhiwei Zhong, Xiaofei Li, Deli Wang


Ecosystem engineering is a powerful force shaping community structure and ecosystem function. Yet, very little is known about the mechanisms by which engineers affect vital ecosystem processes like trophic interactions. Here, we examine the potential for a herbivore ecosystem engineer, domestic sheep, to affect trophic interactions between the web-building spider Argiope bruennichi, its grasshopper prey Euchorthippus spp., and the grasshoppers’ host plant Leymus chinensis. By integrating small- and large-scale field experiments, we demonstrate that: 1) moderate sheep grazing changed the structure of plant communities by suppressing strongly interacting forbs within a grassland matrix; 2) this change in plant community structure drove interaction modifications between the grasshoppers and their grass host plants and between grasshoppers and their spider predators, and 3) these interaction modifications were entirely mediated by plasticity in grasshopper behavior. Overall, ecosystem engineering by sheep grazing strengthened bottom-up effects and weakened top-down effects via trait-mediated interactions, resulting in a nearly two-fold increase in grasshopper densities. Interestingly, the grasshopper behavioral shifts which reduced spider per capita predation rates in the microcosms did not translate to reduced spider predation rates at the larger system scale because increased grasshopper densities offset behavioral effects at larger scales. Our findings demonstrate that 1) ecosystem engineering can strongly alter trophic interactions, 2) such effects can be driven by cryptic trait-mediated interactions, and 3) the relative importance of trait- versus density effects as measured by microcosm experiments may not reflect the importance of these processes at realistic ecological scales due to scale-dependent interactions.

Keywords: bottom-up effects, ecosystem engineering, trait-mediated indirect effects, top-down effects

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15 A Plant-Insect Association for Enhancing Survival of an Ecosystem Engineer Termite Species in a Semi-Arid Savanna

Authors: G. Nampa, M. Ndlovu


Mutualistic relationships amongst organisms drive diversity in terrestrial ecosystems. Yet, few mutual associations have been documented in the semi-arid savannas of Africa. The levels and benefits of association between Carissa bispinosa, a medium-sized evergreen thorny shrub, and Trinervitermes trinervoides, an ecosystem engineer termite species, were studied at a semi-arid savanna setting in Nylsvley nature reserve, South Africa. It was hypothesized that there would be a close plant-insect association since termite mounds provide nutrients for plant growth and, in return, the thorny shrubs protect mounds from predation and also provide a temperature buffer. Comparative plant and mounds measurements were taken from associated and isolated occurrences seasonally. Soil particle size, macro- and micronutrients were also evaluated from mounds and the adjacent topsoil matrix General Additive Mixed Models were used to assess internal mound temperatures in relation to prevailing ambient and plant shade temperatures. Findings revealed that plants growing on mounds were significantly taller with a wider canopy and remained greener in the dry season with more fruits. On the other hand, termite mounds under plants were less prone to be damaged by aardvarks and pangolins and had a significantly wider diameter than exposed mounds. All soil macronutrients except for calcium and phosphorous were enriched in mounds relative to the matrix. Only Manganese was enriched in mounds while the other micronutrients (Cu, Fe, Zn and B) were not. Termite mounds under plants maintained a better constant and higher mean internal temperature during winter compared to exposed mounds. To our best knowledge, the study has revealed a previously undocumented survival mechanism that termites use to escape extreme temperatures and predation in semi-arid savannas.

Keywords: mound, mutualism, soil nutrients, termites, thermoregulation

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14 The Ecological Role of Loligo forbesii in the Moray Firth Ecosystem, Northeast Scotland

Authors: Godwin A. Otogo, Sansanee Wangvoralak, Graham J. Pierce, Lee C. Hastie, Beth Scott


The squid Loligo forbesii is suspected to be an important species in marine food webs, as it can strongly impact its prey and be impacted upon by predation, competition, fishing and/or climate variability. To quantify these impacts in the food web, the measurement of its trophic position and ecological role within well-studied ecosystems is essential. An Ecopath model was balanced and run for the Moray Firth ecosystem and was used to investigate the significance of this squid’s trophic roles. The network analysis routine included in Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) was used to estimate trophic interaction, system indicators (health condition and developmental stage) and food web features. Results indicated that within the Moray Firth squid occupy a top trophic position in the food web and also a major prey item for many other species. Results from Omnivory Index (OI) showed that squid is a generalized feeder transferring energy across wide trophic levels and is more important as a predator than that as a prey in the Moray Firth ecosystem. The results highlight the importance of taking squid into account in the management of Europe’s living marine resources.

Keywords: Squid, Loligo forbesii, Ecopath, Moray Firth, Trophic level

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13 Contribution to the Study of Reproduction of Water Birds (Case of Marsh Bouessdra, North East Algeria)

Authors: Wahiba Boudraa, Khalil Draidi, Badis Bakhouch, Farah Chettibi, Meriem Aberkane, Zihad Bouslama, Moussa Houhamdi


The Gulf of Annaba, located at the extreme north eastern Algerian; our site of study is a marsh administratively it is part of the wilaya of Annaba, municipality of El-Bouni; extends on a surface from 55 hectare, the maximum depth is of less 2m. A scheme of work was adopted for an evaluation and characterization of the reproduction of the water nicheurs birds in the marsh of Boussedra. Some important parameters described by the scientific literature; According to standardized methods, variables were the object of a regular follow-up during the period of reproduction. These parameters were taken into account: the installation date of the nests, the vegetable support; blossoming of eggs, causes of the failure of the blossomings (predation or abandonment), characteristics of the nests (composition, internal diameter, external diameter, depth and heightening), measurements of the distances nest-nest nearest, Depth of water, the measurement of eggs, size of laying, size of laying. The follow-up in the marsh was carried out between March 2013 until the month of July 2014 at a rate of two outputs per weeks, one located and noted the nests to control them each week. The study on the reproduction of the water birds enables us to note that this site plays a very important part in the wintering and the reproduction of certain species important. This study opens broad prospects for study of several phenomena related to the ecology of the water birds, and the conservation of the wetlands.

Keywords: Algeria, Boussedra, nests, reproduction, water birds

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12 Simulating the Effect of Chlorine on Dynamic of Main Aquatic Species in Urban Lake with a Mini System Dynamic Model

Authors: Zhiqiang Yan, Chen Fan, Beicheng Xia


Urban lakes play an invaluable role in urban water systems such as flood control, landscape, entertainment, and energy utilization, and have suffered from severe eutrophication over the past few years. To investigate the ecological response of main aquatic species and system stability to chlorine interference in shallow urban lakes, a mini system dynamic model, based on the competition and predation of main aquatic species and TP circulation, was developed. The main species of submerged macrophyte, phytoplankton, zooplankton, benthos and TP in water and sediment were simulated as variables in the model with the interference of chlorine which effect function was attenuation equation. The model was validated by the data which was investigated in the Lotus Lake in Guangzhou from October 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016. Furthermore, the eco-exergy was used to analyze the change in complexity of the shallow urban lake. The results showed the correlation coefficient between observed and simulated values of all components presented significant. Chlorine showed a significant inhibitory effect on Microcystis aeruginosa,Rachionus plicatilis, Diaphanosoma brachyurum Liévin and Mesocyclops leuckarti (Claus).The outbreak of Spiroggra spp. inhibited the growth of Vallisneria natans (Lour.) Hara, caused a gradual decrease of eco-exergy, reflecting the breakdown of ecosystem internal equilibria. It was concluded that the study gives important insight into using chlorine to achieve eutrophication control and understand mechanism process.

Keywords: system dynamic model, urban lake, chlorine, eco-exergy

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11 Effect of Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis against Culex pipiens (Insect: Culicidae) Effect of Bti on Two Non-Target Species Eylais hamata (Acari: Hydrachnidia) and Physa marmorata (Gastropoda: Physidae) and Dosage of Their GST Biomarker

Authors: Meriem Mansouri, Fatiha Bendali Saoudi, Noureddine Soltani


Biological control presents a means of control for the protection of the environment. Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis Berliner 1915 is an inseticide of biological origin because it is a bacterium of the Bacillaceae family. This biocide has a biological importance, because of its specific larvicidal action against Culicidae, blood-sucking insects, responsible for several diseases to humans and animals through the world. As well as, its high specificity for these insects. Also, the freshwater mites, this necessarily parasitic group for aquatic species such as the Physidae, also have an effective biological control against the Culicidae, because of their voracious predation to the larvae of these insects. The present work aims to study the effects of the biocide Bacillus thuringiensis var israelinsis, against non-target adults of water mites Eylais hamata Koenike, 1897, as well as its associated host species Physa marmorata Fitzinger, 1833. After 12 days of oral treatment of adults with lethal concentration (LC50:0.08µg/ml), determined from essays on 4th instar larvae of Culex pipiens (hematophagous insects). No adverse effect has been recorded for adult individuals of Eylais hamata, contrary, snail Physa marmorata were sensitive for this dose of Bti. In parallel, after treatment at the Bti by LC50, the enzyme stress bio marker glutathione S-transferase, was measured after 24, 48 and 72 hours. The enzymatic activity of GST has increased after 24 and 48 hours following treatment.

Keywords: biological control, Bacillus thuringiensis var israelinsis, culicidae, hydrachnidia, enzymatic activity

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10 Evaluating Habitat Manipulation as a Strategy for Rodent Control in Agricultural Ecosystems of Pothwar Region, Pakistan

Authors: Nadeem Munawar, Tariq Mahmood


Habitat manipulation is an important technique that can be used for controlling rodent damage in agricultural ecosystems. It involves intentionally manipulation of vegetation cover in adjacent habitats around the active burrows of rodents to reduce shelter, food availability and to increase predation pressure. The current study was conducted in the Pothwar Plateau during the respective non-crop period of wheat-groundnut (post-harvested and un-ploughed/non-crop fallow lands) with the aim to assess the impact of the reduction in vegetation height of adjacent habitats (field borders) on rodent’s richness and abundance. The study area was divided into two sites viz. treated and non-treated. At the treated sites, habitat manipulation was carried out by removing crop cache, and non-crop vegetation’s over 10 cm in height to a distance of approximately 20 m from the fields. The trapping sessions carried out at both treated and non-treated sites adjacent to wheat-groundnut fields were significantly different (F 2, 6 = 13.2, P = 0.001) from each other, which revealed that a maximum number of rodents were captured from non-treated sites. There was a significant difference in the overall abundance of rodents (P < 0.05) between crop stages and between treatments in both crops. The manipulation effect was significantly observed on damage to crops, and yield production resulted in the reduction of damage within the associated croplands (P < 0.05). The outcomes of this study indicated a significant reduction of rodent population at treated sites due to changes in vegetation height and cover which affect important components, i.e., food, shelter, movements and increased risk sensitivity in their feeding behavior; therefore, they were unable to reach levels where they cause significant crop damage. This method is recommended for being a cost-effective and easy application.

Keywords: agricultural ecosystems, crop damage, habitat manipulation, rodents, trapping

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9 The Study of Ecological Seabirds in Algeria

Authors: A. Baaloudj, F. Samraoui, B. Samraoui


We have been studied the reproductive ecology and dispersal of Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis for three years 2009-2011. The study of the breeding ecology of the species was undertaken at the Srigina Island (Skikda). The mean clutch size was 2.64±0.62, 2.49±0.72 and 2.37±0.77eggsin the three study years 2009-2011 respectively. Hatching success was similar for the first two years of study (53% in 2009and 54% in 2010) but significantly lower in the third year (27% in 2011). The same trend was found for the fledging success, it was 33% and 32% in 2009and 2010respectivelyandonly 14% in 2011. Cannibalism and predation by cats were the two likely causes of low reproductive success in the third year. Regarding the species dispersal, we started a banding program of the yellow-legged gulls Larus michahellis michahellis in 2009, the first scheme of its kind in North Africa. Banding of chicks was initiated at Skikda and extended, a year later, to four other colonies located along the Algerian coast. Preliminary analysis of ringed yellow-legged gulls from Algerian colonies indicates that juveniles dispersed in a north-westerly direction to the Balearic Sea, the Bay of Biscay, the Alboran Sea and the western Atlantic coast from the Bay of Cadiz to the Galician shores. Preliminary data suggested two distinct routes: gulls from the eastern North African colonies moved N/NW to eastern Spain and overland to the Bay of Biscay, a pattern of dispersal previously reported for birds from Spanish and French western Mediterranean colonies. Juveniles from western colonies seemed also to move N/NW to the Alboran Sea and the Bay of Cadiz. In Spain, where most of the dispersal took place, data suggested that Algerian gulls occupied coastal areas which are used as aestivating refuges before returning to North Africa in late autumn and winter.

Keywords: breeding ecology, population dynamic, dispersal, yellow-legged gull larus michahellis, sea bird, banding scheme, Srigina, Algeria

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8 New Challenges to the Conservation and Management of the Endangered Persian Follow Deer (Dama dama mesopotamica) in Ashk Island of Lake Uromiyeh National Park, Iran

Authors: Morteza Naderi


The Persian fallow deer was considered as a globally extinct species until 1956 when a small population was rediscovered from Dez Wildlife Refuge and Karkheh Wildlife Refuge in southwestern parts of Iran. After long species rehabilitation process, the species was transplanted to Dasht-e-Naz Wildlife Refuge in northern Iran, and from where, follow deer was introduced to the different selected habitats such as Ashk Island in Lake Uromiyeh National Park. During 12 years, (from 1978 to 1989) 58 individuals (25 males and 33 females) were transferred to Ask Island. The main threat to the established population was related to the freshwater shortage and existing just one single trough such as high mortality rate of adult males during rutting season, snake biting and dilutional hyponatremia. Desiccation of Lake Uromiyeh in recent years raised new challenges to the conservation process, as about 80 individuals, nearly one third of the population were died in 2011. Connection of Island to the mainland caused predators’ accessibility (such as wolf and Jackal) to the Ask Island and higher mortality because of follow deer attraction to the surrounding mainland farms. Conservation team faced such new challenges that may cause introduction plan to be probably failed. Investigations about habitat affinities and carrying capacity are the main basic researches in the management and conservation of the species. Logistic regression analysis showed that the presence of the different fresh water resources as well as Allium akaka and Pistacia atlantica are the main environmental variables affect Follow deer habitat selection. Habitat carrying capacity analysis both in summer and winter seasons indicated that Ashk Island can support 240±30 of Persian follow deer.

Keywords: carrying capacity, follow deer, lake Uromiyeh, microhabitat affinities, population oscillation, predation, sex ratio

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7 Human Pressure Threaten Swayne’s Hartebeest to Point of Local Extinction from the Savannah Plains of Nech Sar National Park, South Rift Valley, Ethiopia

Authors: Simon Shibru, Karen Vancampenhout, Jozef Deckers, Herwig Leirs


We investigated the population size of the endemic and endangered Swayne’s Hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus swaynei) in Nech Sar National Park from 2012 to 2014 and document the major threats why the species is on the verge of local extinction. The park was once known for its abundant density of Swayne’s Hartebeest. We used direct total count methods for a census. We administered semi-structured interviews and open-ended questionnaires with senior scouts who are the member of the local communities. Historical records were obtained to evaluate the population trends of the animals since 1974. The density of the animal decreased from 65 in 1974 to 1 individual per 100 km2 in 2014 with a decline of 98.5% in the past 40 years. The respondents agreed that the conservation status of the park was in its worst condition ever now with only 2 Swayne’s Hartebeest left, with a rapid decline from 4 individuals in 2012 and 12 individuals in 2009. Mainly hunting and habitat loss, but also the unsuitable season of reproduction and shortage of forage as minor factors were identified as threats for a local extinction of the Swayne’s Hartebeests. On the other hand, predation, fire, disease, and ticks were not considered a cause for the declining trend. Hunting happens mostly out of some kind of revenge since the local community thought that they were pushed out from the land because of the presence of Swayne's Hartebeest in the area. Respondents agreed that the revenge action of the local communities was in response to their unwillingness to be displaced from the park in 1982/3. This conflict situation is resulting from the exclusionary wildlife management policy of the country. We conclude that the human interventions in general and illegal hunting, in particular, pushed the Swayne’s Hartebeest to a point of local extinction. Therefore, we recommend inclusive wildlife management approach for continuing existence of the park together with its natural resources so that sustainable use of the resources is in place.

Keywords: hunting, habitat destruction, local extinction, Nech Sar National Park, Swayne’s Hartebeest

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6 Rates of Hematophagous Ectoparasite Consumption during Grooming by an Endemic Madagascar Fruit Bat

Authors: Riana V. Ramanantsalama, Aristide Andrianarimisa, Achille P. Raselimanana, Steven M. Goodman


Few details are available on the consumption of ectoparasites, specifically bat flies (Diptera: Nycteribiidae and Streblidae), by their chiropteran hosts while grooming. Such details could provide information on the dynamics of host-parasite interactions. This study presents data on ectoparasite ingestion rates for an endemic Malagasy fruit bat (Pteropodidae: Rousettus madagascariensis) occupying a cave day roost colony in northern Madagascar. Using quantified behavioral analyses, grooming and associated ingestion rates were measured from infrared videos taken in close proximity to day-roosting bats. The recorded individual bats could be visually identified to age (adult, juvenile) and sex (male, female), allowing analyses of the proportion of time these different classes allocated to consuming ectoparasites via auto-grooming (self) or allo-grooming (intraspecific) per 10 min video recording session. These figures could then be extrapolated to estimates of individual daily consumption rates. Based on video recordings, adults spent significantly more time auto-grooming and allo-grooming than juveniles. The latter group was not observed consuming ectoparasites. Grooming rates and the average number of ectoparasites consumed per day did not differ between adult males and females. The mean extrapolated number consumed on a daily basis for individual adults was 37 ectoparasites. When these figures are overlaid on the estimated number of adult Rousettus occurring at the roost site during the dry season, the projected daily consumption rate was 57,905 ectoparasites. To the best knowledge of the authors of this study, the details presented here represent the first quantified data on bat consumption rates of their ectoparasites, specifically dipterans. These results provide new insights into host-parasite predation dynamics. More research is needed to explore the mechanism zoonotic diseases isolated from bat flies might be transmitted to their bat hosts, specifically those pathogens that can be communicated via an oral route.

Keywords: diptera, host-parasite interactions, Madagascar, nycteribiidae, pteropodidae, Rousettus madagascariensis

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5 Dynamic Modeling of the Impact of Chlorine on Aquatic Species in Urban Lake Ecosystem

Authors: Zhiqiang Yan, Chen Fan, Yafei Wang, Beicheng Xia


Urban lakes play an invaluable role in urban water systems such as flood control, water supply, and public recreation. However, over 38% of the urban lakes have suffered from severe eutrophication in China. Chlorine that could remarkably inhibit the growth of phytoplankton in eutrophic, has been widely used in the agricultural, aquaculture and industry in the recent past. However, little information has been reported regarding the effects of chlorine on the lake ecosystem, especially on the main aquatic species.To investigate the ecological response of main aquatic species and system stability to chlorine interference in shallow urban lakes, a mini system dynamic model was developed based on the competition and predation of main aquatic species and total phosphorus circulation. The main species of submerged macrophyte, phytoplankton, zooplankton, benthos, spiroggra and total phosphorus in water and sediment were used as variables in the model,while the interference of chlorine on phytoplankton was represented by an exponential attenuation equation. Furthermore, the eco-exergy expressing the development degree of ecosystem was used to quantify the complexity of the shallow urban lake. The model was validated using the data collected in the Lotus Lake in Guangzhoufrom1 October 2015 to 31 January 2016.The correlation coefficient (R), root mean square error-observations standard deviation ratio (RSR) and index of agreement (IOA) were calculated to evaluate accuracy and reliability of the model.The simulated values showed good qualitative agreement with the measured values of all components. The model results showed that chlorine had a notable inhibitory effect on Microcystis aeruginos,Rachionus plicatilis, Diaphanosoma brachyurum Liévin and Mesocyclops leuckarti (Claus).The outbreak of Spiroggra.spp. inhibited the growth of Vallisneria natans (Lour.) Hara, leading to a gradual decrease of eco-exergy and the breakdown of ecosystem internal equilibria. This study gives important insight into using chlorine to achieve eutrophication control and understand mechanism process.

Keywords: system dynamic model, urban lake, chlorine, eco-exergy

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4 Counting Fishes in Aquaculture Ponds: Application of Imaging Sonars

Authors: Juan C. Gutierrez-Estrada, Inmaculada Pulido-Calvo, Ignacio De La Rosa, Antonio Peregrin, Fernando Gomez-Bravo, Samuel Lopez-Dominguez, Alejandro Garrocho-Cruz, Jairo Castro-Gutierrez


The semi-intensive aquaculture in traditional earth ponds is the main rearing system in Southern Spain. These fish rearing systems are approximately two thirds of aquatic production in this area which has made a significant contribution to the regional economy in recent years. In this type of rearing system, a crucial aspect is the correct quantification and control of the fish abundance in the ponds because the fish farmer knows how many fishes he puts in the ponds but doesn’t know how many fishes will harvest at the end of the rear period. This is a consequence of the mortality induced by different causes as pathogen agents as parasites, viruses and bacteria and other factors as predation of fish-eating birds and poaching. Track the fish abundance in these installations is very difficult because usually the ponds take up a large area of land and the management of the water flow is not automatized. Therefore, there is a very high degree of uncertainty on the abundance fishes which strongly hinders the management and planning of the sales. A novel and non-invasive procedure to count fishes in the ponds is by the means of imaging sonars, particularly fixed systems and/or linked to aquatic vehicles as Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). In this work, a method based on census stations procedures is proposed to evaluate the fish abundance estimation accuracy using images obtained of multibeam sonars. The results indicate that it is possible to obtain a realistic approach about the number of fishes, sizes and therefore the biomass contained in the ponds. This research is included in the framework of the KTTSeaDrones Project (‘Conocimiento y transferencia de tecnología sobre vehículos aéreos y acuáticos para el desarrollo transfronterizo de ciencias marinas y pesqueras 0622-KTTSEADRONES-5-E’) financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg V-A Spain-Portugal Programme (POCTEP) 2014-2020.

Keywords: census station procedure, fish biomass, semi-intensive aquaculture, multibeam sonars

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3 Variations in Spatial Learning and Memory across Natural Populations of Zebrafish, Danio rerio

Authors: Tamal Roy, Anuradha Bhat


Cognitive abilities aid fishes in foraging, avoiding predators & locating mates. Factors like predation pressure & habitat complexity govern learning & memory in fishes. This study aims to compare spatial learning & memory across four natural populations of zebrafish. Zebrafish, a small cyprinid inhabits a diverse range of freshwater habitats & this makes it amenable to studies investigating role of native environment in spatial cognitive abilities. Four populations were collected across India from waterbodies with contrasting ecological conditions. Habitat complexity of the water-bodies was evaluated as a combination of channel substrate diversity and diversity of vegetation. Experiments were conducted on populations under controlled laboratory conditions. A square shaped spatial testing arena (maze) was constructed for testing the performance of adult zebrafish. The square tank consisted of an inner square shaped layer with the edges connected to the diagonal ends of the tank-walls by connections thereby forming four separate chambers. Each of the four chambers had a main door in the centre. Each chamber had three sections separated by two windows. A removable coloured window-pane (red, yellow, green or blue) identified each main door. A food reward associated with an artificial plant was always placed inside the left-hand section of the red-door chamber. The position of food-reward and plant within the red-door chamber was fixed. A test fish would have to explore the maze by taking turns and locate the food inside the right-side section of the red-door chamber. Fishes were sorted from each population stock and kept individually in separate containers for identification. At a time, a test fish was released into the arena and allowed 20 minutes to explore in order to find the food-reward. In this way, individual fishes were trained through the maze to locate the food reward for eight consecutive days. The position of red door, with the plant and the reward, was shuffled every day. Following training, an intermission of four days was given during which the fishes were not subjected to trials. Post-intermission, the fishes were re-tested on the 13th day following the same protocol for their ability to remember the learnt task. Exploratory tendencies and latency of individuals to explore on 1st day of training, performance time across trials, and number of mistakes made each day were recorded. Additionally, mechanism used by individuals to solve the maze each day was analyzed across populations. Fishes could be expected to use algorithm (sequence of turns) or associative cues in locating the food reward. Individuals of populations did not differ significantly in latencies and tendencies to explore. No relationship was found between exploration and learning across populations. High habitat-complexity populations had higher rates of learning & stronger memory while low habitat-complexity populations had lower rates of learning and much reduced abilities to remember. High habitat-complexity populations used associative cues more than algorithm for learning and remembering while low habitat-complexity populations used both equally. The study, therefore, helped understand the role of natural ecology in explaining variations in spatial learning abilities across populations.

Keywords: algorithm, associative cue, habitat complexity, population, spatial learning

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2 'Sextually' Active: Teens, 'Sexting' and Gendered Double Standards in the Digital Age

Authors: Annalise Weckesser, Alex Wade, Clara Joergensen, Jerome Turner


Introduction: Digital mobile technologies afford Generation M a number of opportunities in terms of communication, creativity and connectivity in their social interactions. Yet these young people’s use of such technologies is often the source of moral panic with accordant social anxiety especially prevalent in media representations of teen ‘sexting,’ or the sending of sexually explicit images via smartphones. Thus far, most responses to youth sexting have largely been ineffective or unjust with adult authorities sometimes blaming victims of non-consensual sexting, using child pornography laws to paradoxically criminalise those they are designed to protect, and/or advising teenagers to simply abstain from the practice. Prevention strategies are further skewed, with sex education initiatives often targeted at girls, implying that they shoulder the responsibility of minimising the risks associated with sexting (e.g. revenge porn and sexual predation). Purpose of Study: Despite increasing public interest and concern about ‘teen sexting,’ there remains a dearth of research with young people regarding their experiences of navigating sex and relationships in the current digital media landscape. Furthermore, young people's views on sexting are rarely solicited in the policy and educational strategies aimed at them. To address this research-policy-education gap, an interdisciplinary team of four researchers (from anthropology, media, sociology and education) have undertaken a peer-to-peer research project to co-create a sexual health intervention. Methods: In the winter of 2015-2016, the research team conducted serial group interviews with four cohorts of students (aged 13 to 15) from a secondary school in the West Midlands, UK. To facilitate open dialogue, girls and boys were interviewed separately, and each group consisted of no more than four pupils. The team employed a range of participatory techniques to elicit young people’s views on sexting, its consequences, and its interventions. A final focus group session was conducted with all 14 male and female participants to explore developing a peer-to-peer ‘safe sexting’ education intervention. Findings: This presentation will highlight the ongoing, ‘old school’ sexual double standards at work within this new digital frontier. In the sharing of ‘nudes’ (teens’ preferred term to ‘sexting’) via social media apps (e.g. Snapchat and WhatsApp), girls felt sharing images was inherently risky and feared being blamed and ‘slut-shamed.’ In contrast, boys were seen to gain in social status if they accumulated nudes of female peers. Further, if boys had nudes of themselves shared without consent, they felt they were expected to simply ‘tough it out.’ The presentation will also explore what forms of supports teens desire to help them in their day-to-day navigation of these digitally mediated, heteronormative performances of teen femininity and masculinity expected of them. Conclusion: This is the first research project, within UK, conducted with rather than about teens and the phenomenon of sexting. It marks a timely and important contribution to the nascent, but growing body of knowledge on gender, sexual politics and the digital mobility of sexual images created by and circulated amongst young people.

Keywords: teens, sexting, gender, sexual politics

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1 A Review on Biological Control of Mosquito Vectors

Authors: Asim Abbasi, Muhammad Sufyan, Iqra, Hafiza Javaria Ashraf


The share of vector-borne diseases (VBDs) in the global burden of infectious diseases is almost 17%. The advent of new drugs and latest research in medical science helped mankind to compete with these lethal diseases but still diseases transmitted by different mosquito species, including filariasis, malaria, viral encephalitis and dengue are serious threats for people living in disease endemic areas. Injudicious and repeated use of pesticides posed selection pressure on mosquitoes leading to development of resistance. Hence biological control agents are under serious consideration of scientific community to be used in vector control programmes. Fish have a history of predating immature stages of different aquatic insects including mosquitoes. The noteworthy examples in Africa and Asia includes, Aphanius discolour and a fish in the Panchax group. Moreover, common mosquito fish, Gambusia affinis predates mostly on temporary water mosquitoes like anopheline as compared to permanent water breeders like culicines. Mosquitoes belonging to genus Toxorhynchites have a worldwide distribution and are mostly associated with the predation of other mosquito larvae habituating with them in natural and artificial water containers. These species are harmless to humans as their adults do not suck human blood but feeds on floral nectar. However, their activity is mostly temperature dependent as Toxorhynchites brevipalpis consume 359 Aedes aegypti larvae at 30-32 ºC in contrast to 154 larvae at 20-26 ºC. Although many bacterial species were isolated from mosquito cadavers but those belonging to genus Bacillus are found highly pathogenic against them. The successful species of this genus include Bacillus thuringiensis and Bacillus sphaericus. The prime targets of B. thuringiensis are mostly the immatures of genus Aedes, Culex, Anopheles and Psorophora while B. sphaericus is specifically toxic against species of Culex, Psorophora and Culiseta. The entomopathogenic nematodes belonging to family, mermithidae are also pathogenic to different mosquito species. Eighty different species of mosquitoes including Anopheles, Aedes and Culex proved to be highly vulnerable to the attack of two mermithid species, Romanomermis culicivorax and R. iyengari. Cytoplasmic polyhedrosis virus was the first described pathogenic virus, isolated from the cadavers of mosquito specie, Culex tarsalis. Other viruses which are pathogenic to culicine includes, iridoviruses, cytopolyhedrosis viruses, entomopoxviruses and parvoviruses. Protozoa species belonging to division microsporidia are the common pathogenic protozoans in mosquito populations which kill their host by the chronic effects of parasitism. Moreover, due to their wide prevalence in anopheline mosquitoes and transversal and horizontal transmission from infected to healthy host, microsporidia of the genera Nosema and Amblyospora have received much attention in various mosquito control programmes. Fungal based mycopesticides are used in biological control of insect pests with 47 species reported virulent against different stages of mosquitoes. These include both aquatic fungi i.e. species of Coelomomyces, Lagenidium giganteum and Culicinomyces clavosporus, and the terrestrial fungi Metarhizium anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana. Hence, it was concluded that the integrated use of all these biological control agents can be a healthy contribution in mosquito control programmes and become a dire need of the time to avoid repeated use of pesticides.

Keywords: entomopathogenic nematodes, protozoa, Toxorhynchites, vector-borne

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