Science.gov

Sample records for capercaillie tetrao urogallus

  1. Mycobacterium infection in a captive-reared capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus).

    PubMed

    Marco, I; Domingo, M; Lavin, S

    2000-01-01

    One captive male capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) was found dead on December 1993 at the breeding center of capercaillie in Catalonia, Spain. The bird was emaciated and, at necropsy, had numerous nodules of various sizes subcutaneously in the cervical region, pleura, lungs, liver, spleen, and mesentery. Microscopic examination revealed granulomatous lesions with central caseous necrosis, epithelioid cells, giant cells, and few lymphocytes in all affected organs. Numerous acid-fast bacilli were demonstrated in the tubercles with Ziehl-Nielsen stain.

  2. Simple and Effective Methods of Freezing Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L.) Semen

    PubMed Central

    Kowalczyk, Artur; Łukaszewicz, Ewa

    2015-01-01

    A continuous decline in the number and range of capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L.) in many European countries can be observed, mostly due to habitat destruction by human activity, unecological forestry management, and increased density of natural predators. Ex situ in vitro gene banks provide a unique opportunity to preserve the genetic material for future generations. Simple and effective cryopreservation methods for capercaillie semen are discussed. Semen was collected from seven males kept in the Capercaillie Breeding Centre at Forestry Wisła in Poland. Within five minutes after collection, ejaculates were diluted with EK diluent, then divided into two parts, and subjected to two freezing procedures: in pellets and in straws. In fresh semen, ejaculate clearness, viscosity, color and volume, as well as sperm concentration, motility and morphology, were evaluated, while in frozen-thawed semen only motility and morphology of sperm were determined. Fertilizing ability of thawed semen was examined for samples frozen in straws. Significant (P<0.05) differences between individual males were found in relation to the majority of fresh semen traits: ejaculate volume averaged 102.1 µL (varying from 49.0 to 205.0); average sperm concentration was 632.5 x106 mL-1 (178.8–1257.1); percentage of live normal cells varied from 39.2 to 70.3% (58.7% on an average); percentage of motile cells ranged from 76.0 to 85.7%) and motility parameters were male dependent, as well. Both cryopreservation methods had a negative effect on morphology and motility of frozen-thawed semen; however, the straw method yielded 60.7% and the pellet method 42.5% of live cells in total in thawed semen (P<0.05), while the number of live normal (intact) cells was similar (22.4 and 22.2%, respectively). Egg fertility varied between 77.8 and 91.7% (average 84.4%). Both freezing procedures seem to be effective in obtaining acceptable viability and high fertilizing potency of thawed sperm and can be used to

  3. Successful preservation of capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L.) semen in liquid and frozen states.

    PubMed

    Kowalczyk, Artur; Łukaszewicz, Ewa; Rzońca, Zenon

    2012-03-15

    Experiments on semen collection and preservation were undertaken by Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences and Forestry Wisła, Poland to assist in the protection of the capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L.) and to create an ex situ in vitro cryobank. Semen was collected from 11 captive-bred males, using dorsoabdominal massage. Ejaculates once obtained were diluted 3-fold at room temperature with EK diluent and then a number of them were stored at 4 °C for 18, 24, and 48 hours, while the remaining ejaculates were equilibrated with 6% dimethylacetamide and frozen by pipetting, drop-by-drop directly onto a liquid nitrogen surface. Frozen pellets were thawed at 60 °C in a water bath after 4 to 28 mo of storage. In total, 103 individually collected ejaculates (54 stored as liquid and 49 frozen in liquid nitrogen) were of appropriate value for further processing. The volume of ejaculates varied from 30 to 240 μL; spermatozoa concentration from 70 × 10(6) mL(-1) to 1950 × 10(6) mL(-1). The total amount of live spermatozoa in the fresh semen varied from 85.3% to 99.0%, of which from 41.1% to 85.3% were morphologically normal. Among morphologically abnormal forms, bulb-head (5.6% to 36.0%) and midpiece deformations (1.3% to 16.6%) were the most frequent. Dilution and semen storage up to 24 h at 4 °C did not affect the semen quality, as far as motility and sperm morphology are concerned. A significant (P < 0.05) decrease in total live (94.9 vs. 91.7%) and live normal cells (66.4 vs. 56.7%) was observed after 48 h. About 30% to 40% of spermatozoa remained motile. Cryopreservation significantly decreased (P < 0.05) the total number of live and live normal spermatozoa however, in relation to the fresh semen, their average content was 44.1% and 37.4%, respectively. Significant (P < 0.05) individual differences were observed in the quality of the fresh, liquid stored and the frozen-thawed semen assessed in terms of spermatozoa motility and morphology. After a

  4. Development of a real-time PCR assay to control the illegal trade of meat from protected capercaillie species (Tetrao urogallus).

    PubMed

    Rojas, María; González, Isabel; Pavón, Miguel Ángel; Pegels, Nicolette; Hernández, Pablo E; García, Teresa; Martín, Rosario

    2011-07-15

    A rapid and highly species-specific real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay has been developed for the detection of capercaillie DNA (Tetrao urogallus) in meat and meat mixtures. The method combines the use of capercaillie-specific primers, that amplify a 142bp fragment of the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene, and a positive control primer pair that amplifies a 141bp fragment of the nuclear 18S rRNA gene from eukaryotic DNA. SYBR(®) Green dye or TaqMan(®) fluorogenic probes were used to monitor the amplification of the target genes. Results obtained with the use of TaqMan(®) probes as detection platform increased the specificity of the real-time PCR assay in comparison with the results obtained using SYBR(®) Green. The proposed real-time PCR assay represents a rapid and straightforward method for the accurate identification of capercaillie that could be used by law enforcement agencies as a tool for the control of poaching and illegal trade of meat from this protected species.

  5. Estimating Population Size for Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L.) with Spatial Capture-Recapture Models Based on Genotypes from One Field Sample

    PubMed Central

    Mollet, Pierre; Kéry, Marc; Gardner, Beth; Pasinelli, Gilberto; Royle, J. Andrew

    2015-01-01

    We conducted a survey of an endangered and cryptic forest grouse, the capercaillie Tetrao urogallus, based on droppings collected on two sampling occasions in eight forest fragments in central Switzerland in early spring 2009. We used genetic analyses to sex and individually identify birds. We estimated sex-dependent detection probabilities and population size using a modern spatial capture-recapture (SCR) model for the data from pooled surveys. A total of 127 capercaillie genotypes were identified (77 males, 46 females, and 4 of unknown sex). The SCR model yielded atotal population size estimate (posterior mean) of 137.3 capercaillies (posterior sd 4.2, 95% CRI 130–147). The observed sex ratio was skewed towards males (0.63). The posterior mean of the sex ratio under the SCR model was 0.58 (posterior sd 0.02, 95% CRI 0.54–0.61), suggesting a male-biased sex ratio in our study area. A subsampling simulation study indicated that a reduced sampling effort representing 75% of the actual detections would still yield practically acceptable estimates of total size and sex ratio in our population. Hence, field work and financial effort could be reduced without compromising accuracy when the SCR model is used to estimate key population parameters of cryptic species. PMID:26087321

  6. Estimating population size for Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L.) with spatial capture-recapture models based on genotypes from one field sample

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mollet, Pierre; Kery, Marc; Gardner, Beth; Pasinelli, Gilberto; Royle, Andy

    2015-01-01

    We conducted a survey of an endangered and cryptic forest grouse, the capercaillie Tetrao urogallus, based on droppings collected on two sampling occasions in eight forest fragments in central Switzerland in early spring 2009. We used genetic analyses to sex and individually identify birds. We estimated sex-dependent detection probabilities and population size using a modern spatial capture-recapture (SCR) model for the data from pooled surveys. A total of 127 capercaillie genotypes were identified (77 males, 46 females, and 4 of unknown sex). The SCR model yielded atotal population size estimate (posterior mean) of 137.3 capercaillies (posterior sd 4.2, 95% CRI 130–147). The observed sex ratio was skewed towards males (0.63). The posterior mean of the sex ratio under the SCR model was 0.58 (posterior sd 0.02, 95% CRI 0.54–0.61), suggesting a male-biased sex ratio in our study area. A subsampling simulation study indicated that a reduced sampling effort representing 75% of the actual detections would still yield practically acceptable estimates of total size and sex ratio in our population. Hence, field work and financial effort could be reduced without compromising accuracy when the SCR model is used to estimate key population parameters of cryptic species.

  7. Is It Necessary Managing Carnivores to Reverse the Decline of Endangered Prey Species? Insights from a Removal Experiment of Mesocarnivores to Benefit Demographic Parameters of the Pyrenean Capercaillie

    PubMed Central

    Moreno-Opo, Rubén; Afonso, Iván; Jiménez, José; Fernández-Olalla, Mariana; Canut, Jordi; García-Ferré, Diego; Piqué, Josep; García, Francisco; Roig, Job; Muñoz-Igualada, Jaime; González, Luis Mariano; López-Bao, José Vicente

    2015-01-01

    Mesopredator control has long been used to alleviate the effect of elevated predation pressure on vulnerable, threatened or valuable species. However, the convenience of using mesopredator controls is technically questionable and scientifically-sound research is therefore required to evaluate the impact of predation on prey case by case. In this study we evaluated the effect of the alteration of terrestrial mesopredator dynamics on the demographic parameters of a relict capercaillie Tetrao urogallus aquitanicus population currently in decline for which the impact of predation has not previously been assessed. We used a six-year mesocarnivore removal experiment (2008–2013) together with seven-years of previous demographic information on capercaillies (1999–2007) within a before-after control-impact (BACI) design to evaluate the effect of mesocarnivore removal on capercaillie demographic parameters and on spatial behaviour of the most frequent predatory mesocarnivores of the capercaillie (Martes spp. and red fox Vulpes vulpes). Using a dynamic site-occupancy approach, the reduction of mesocarnivore population levels as a result of removal was clear for marten species, mainly during key months for capercaillie reproduction, but not for the red fox. Our results show that the breeding success of capercaillies was enhanced in areas where carnivores were removed and was inversely related to the occupation level of the studied mesocarnivores, although being only significant for Martes spp. Moreover, capercaillie predation rates were lower and adult survival seemingly higher in treatment during the removal phase. Cost-effective, long-term management interventions to ensure the recovery of this threatened capercaillie population are discussed in the light of the results. At our study area, the decision for implementing predation management should be included within a broader long-term conservation perspective. In this regard, a more feasible and sustainable management

  8. Is It Necessary Managing Carnivores to Reverse the Decline of Endangered Prey Species? Insights from a Removal Experiment of Mesocarnivores to Benefit Demographic Parameters of the Pyrenean Capercaillie.

    PubMed

    Moreno-Opo, Rubén; Afonso, Iván; Jiménez, José; Fernández-Olalla, Mariana; Canut, Jordi; García-Ferré, Diego; Piqué, Josep; García, Francisco; Roig, Job; Muñoz-Igualada, Jaime; González, Luis Mariano; López-Bao, José Vicente

    2015-01-01

    Mesopredator control has long been used to alleviate the effect of elevated predation pressure on vulnerable, threatened or valuable species. However, the convenience of using mesopredator controls is technically questionable and scientifically-sound research is therefore required to evaluate the impact of predation on prey case by case. In this study we evaluated the effect of the alteration of terrestrial mesopredator dynamics on the demographic parameters of a relict capercaillie Tetrao urogallus aquitanicus population currently in decline for which the impact of predation has not previously been assessed. We used a six-year mesocarnivore removal experiment (2008-2013) together with seven-years of previous demographic information on capercaillies (1999-2007) within a before-after control-impact (BACI) design to evaluate the effect of mesocarnivore removal on capercaillie demographic parameters and on spatial behaviour of the most frequent predatory mesocarnivores of the capercaillie (Martes spp. and red fox Vulpes vulpes). Using a dynamic site-occupancy approach, the reduction of mesocarnivore population levels as a result of removal was clear for marten species, mainly during key months for capercaillie reproduction, but not for the red fox. Our results show that the breeding success of capercaillies was enhanced in areas where carnivores were removed and was inversely related to the occupation level of the studied mesocarnivores, although being only significant for Martes spp. Moreover, capercaillie predation rates were lower and adult survival seemingly higher in treatment during the removal phase. Cost-effective, long-term management interventions to ensure the recovery of this threatened capercaillie population are discussed in the light of the results. At our study area, the decision for implementing predation management should be included within a broader long-term conservation perspective. In this regard, a more feasible and sustainable management

  9. Reintroduction of the European Capercaillie from the Capercaillie Breeding Centre in Wisła Forest District: Genetic Assessments of Captive and Reintroduced Populations

    PubMed Central

    Strzała, Tomasz; Kowalczyk, Artur; Łukaszewicz, Ewa

    2015-01-01

    The Western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) is a specific bird species, which, despite its very broad distribution and large global population size, is highly endangered in many Western and Central European countries. According to the species situation, in many countries (including Poland), breeding and reintroduction programmes have been started. One of the most complex and large-scale reintroduction programmes was started in Bory Dolnośląskie Forest, and the Capercaillie Breeding Centre in Wisła Forest District was used as one of the sources of individuals for reintroduction. As genetic tools provide essential knowledge about species biodiversity, which is crucially important during the breeding process and reintroduction, both captive and reintroduced grouse populations were genetically analysed. We were particularly interested in genetic diversity of the individuals in both populations and the genetic relationship between them, as well as between them and other capercaillie representatives from their current range. To fulfil these goals we determined nine microsatellite loci along with a fragment of the mitochondrial control region. Genetic diversity parameters were moderate to high compared to populations from other Central and Western European countries. Both populations were clustered into three distinct genetic clades based on microsatellites. Phylogenetic analysis placed all mitochondrial haplotypes we revealed in the Eurasian clade. The present results will play an important role as they will help to preserve and maximize genetic diversity in captive populations, and will provide a basis for future monitoring of the reintroduction process. PMID:26682897

  10. Reintroduction of the European Capercaillie from the Capercaillie Breeding Centre in Wisła Forest District: Genetic Assessments of Captive and Reintroduced Populations.

    PubMed

    Strzała, Tomasz; Kowalczyk, Artur; Łukaszewicz, Ewa

    2015-01-01

    The Western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) is a specific bird species, which, despite its very broad distribution and large global population size, is highly endangered in many Western and Central European countries. According to the species situation, in many countries (including Poland), breeding and reintroduction programmes have been started. One of the most complex and large-scale reintroduction programmes was started in Bory Dolnośląskie Forest, and the Capercaillie Breeding Centre in Wisła Forest District was used as one of the sources of individuals for reintroduction. As genetic tools provide essential knowledge about species biodiversity, which is crucially important during the breeding process and reintroduction, both captive and reintroduced grouse populations were genetically analysed. We were particularly interested in genetic diversity of the individuals in both populations and the genetic relationship between them, as well as between them and other capercaillie representatives from their current range. To fulfil these goals we determined nine microsatellite loci along with a fragment of the mitochondrial control region. Genetic diversity parameters were moderate to high compared to populations from other Central and Western European countries. Both populations were clustered into three distinct genetic clades based on microsatellites. Phylogenetic analysis placed all mitochondrial haplotypes we revealed in the Eurasian clade. The present results will play an important role as they will help to preserve and maximize genetic diversity in captive populations, and will provide a basis for future monitoring of the reintroduction process.

  11. Genetic Differentiation of the Western Capercaillie Highlights the Importance of South-Eastern Europe for Understanding the Species Phylogeography

    PubMed Central

    Ballian, Dalibor; Kunovac, Saša; Zubić, Goran; Grubešić, Marijan; Zhelev, Petar; Paule, Ladislav; Grebenc, Tine; Kraigher, Hojka

    2011-01-01

    The Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L.) is a grouse species of open boreal or high altitude forests of Eurasia. It is endangered throughout most mountain range habitat areas in Europe. Two major genetically identifiable lineages of Western Capercaillie have been described to date: the southern lineage at the species' southernmost range of distribution in Europe, and the boreal lineage. We address the question of genetic differentiation of capercaillie populations from the Rhodope and Rila Mountains in Bulgaria, across the Dinaric Mountains to the Slovenian Alps. The two lineages' contact zone and resulting conservation strategies in this so-far understudied area of distribution have not been previously determined. The results of analysis of mitochondrial DNA control region sequences of 319 samples from the studied populations show that Alpine populations were composed exclusively of boreal lineage; Dinaric populations of both, but predominantly (96%) of boreal lineage; and Rhodope-Rila populations predominantly (>90%) of southern lineage individuals. The Bulgarian mountains were identified as the core area of the southern lineage, and the Dinaric Mountains as the western contact zone between both lineages in the Balkans. Bulgarian populations appeared genetically distinct from Alpine and Dinaric populations and exhibited characteristics of a long-term stationary population, suggesting that they should be considered as a glacial relict and probably a distinct subspecies. Although all of the studied populations suffered a decline in the past, the significantly lower level of genetic diversity when compared with the neighbouring Alpine and Bulgarian populations suggests that the isolated Dinaric capercaillie is particularly vulnerable to continuing population decline. The results are discussed in the context of conservation of the species in the Balkans, its principal threats and legal protection status. Potential conservation strategies should consider the

  12. 75 FR 286 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing Six Foreign Birds as Endangered Throughout...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-01-05

    ...We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, propose to list the following six foreign species found on islands in French Polynesia and in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Africa: Cantabrian capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus cantabricus); Marquesan Imperial Pigeon (Ducula galeata); the Eiao Polynesian warbler (Acrocephalus percernis aquilonis), previously referred to as (Acrocephalus mendanae aquilonis);......

  13. [Role of microbiocenosis of the gastrointestinal tract in the nutrition of grouse].

    PubMed

    Vecherskiĭ, M V; Kuznetsova, T A; Kostina, N A; Gorlenko, M V; Golichenkov, M B; Umarov, M M; Naumova, E I

    2014-01-01

    In order to assess the role of the microbiocenosis of the digestive tract of herbivorous birds in transforming poor forage, the activity of cellulolytic enzymes in all departments of the gastrointestinal tract of the black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) and Western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) was studied. The functional diversity of microbial communities of different departments was also investigated. In both species of birds, nitrogenase and cellobiohydrolase activities were discovered in the digestive tract, with the maximum observed in the cecum.

  14. Do multiple herbivores maintain chemical diversity of Scots pine monoterpenes?

    PubMed

    Iason, Glenn R; O'Reilly-Wapstra, Julianne M; Brewer, Mark J; Summers, Ron W; Moore, Ben D

    2011-05-12

    A central issue in our understanding of the evolution of the diversity of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) is whether or not compounds are functional, conferring an advantage to the plant, or non-functional. We examine the hypothesis that the diversity of monoterpene PSMs within a plant species (Scots pine Pinus sylvestris) may be explained by different compounds acting as defences against high-impact herbivores operating at different life stages. We also hypothesize that pairwise coevolution, with uncorrelated interactions, is more likely to result in greater PSM diversity, than diffuse coevolution. We tested whether up to 13 different monoterpenes in Scots pine were inhibitory to herbivory by slugs (Arion ater), bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus) and capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), each of which attack trees at a different life stage. Plants containing more α-pinene were avoided by both slugs and capercaillie, which may act as reinforcing selective agents for this dominant defensive compound. Herbivory by red deer and capercaillie were, respectively, weakly negatively associated with δ(3)-carene, and strongly negatively correlated with the minor compound β-ocimene. Three of the four herbivores are probably contributory selective agents on some of the terpenes, and thus maintain some, but by no means all, of the phytochemical diversity in the species. The correlated defensive function of α-pinene against slugs and capercaillie is consistent with diffuse coevolutionary processes.

  15. Demographic Status and Genetic Tagging of Endangered Capercaillie in NW Spain

    PubMed Central

    Morán-Luis, María; Fameli, Alberto; Blanco-Fontao, Beatriz; Fernández-Gil, Alberto; Rodríguez-Muñoz, Rolando; Quevedo, Mario; Mirol, Patricia; Bañuelos, María-José

    2014-01-01

    Counting rare and elusive animals and evaluating their demographic status, are fundamental yet challenging aspects of population ecology and conservation biology. We set out to estimate population size (Nc), genetic effective population size (Ne gen), sex ratio, and movements based on genetic tagging for the threatened Cantabrian capercaillie. We used 9 microsatellite loci to genotype 134 droppings collected at 34 display areas during the breeding season. Using genetic capture-mark-recapture, we estimated 93 individuals (Nc, 95% CI: 70–116) in an area of about 500 km2, with sex ratio biased towards males (1∶1.6). Estimated Ne gen (35.5) was 38% of Nc, notably higher than the published average in wild populations. This capercaillie population is small and well within concern in terms of population viability. By genetic tagging, we detected mostly short movements; just a few males were recaptured between contiguous display areas. Non-invasive surveys of endangered populations have a great potential, yet adequate sample size and location are key to obtain reliable information on conservation status. PMID:24926790

  16. Transcriptome sequencing of black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) for immune gene discovery and microsatellite development

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Biao; Ekblom, Robert; Castoe, Todd A.; Jones, Eleanor P.; Kozma, Radoslav; Bongcam-Rudloff, Erik; Pollock, David D.; Höglund, Jacob

    2012-01-01

    The black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) is a galliform bird species that is important for both ecological studies and conservation genetics. Here, we report the sequencing of the spleen transcriptome of black grouse using 454 GS FLX Titanium sequencing. We performed a large-scale gene discovery analysis with a focus on genes that might be related to fitness in this species and also identified a large set of microsatellites. In total, we obtained 182 179 quality-filtered sequencing reads that we assembled into 9035 contigs. Using these contigs and 15 794 length-filtered (greater than 200 bp) singletons, we identified 7762 transcripts that appear to be homologues of chicken genes. A specific BLAST search with an emphasis on immune genes found 308 homologous chicken genes that have immune function, including ten major histocompatibility complex-related genes located on chicken chromosome 16. We also identified 1300 expressed sequence tag microsatellites and were able to design suitable flanking primers for 526 of these. A preliminary test of the polymorphism of the microsatellites found 10 polymorphic microsatellites of the 102 tested. Genomic resources generated in this study should greatly benefit future ecological, evolutionary and conservation genetic studies on this species. PMID:22724064

  17. Transcriptome sequencing of black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) for immune gene discovery and microsatellite development.

    PubMed

    Wang, Biao; Ekblom, Robert; Castoe, Todd A; Jones, Eleanor P; Kozma, Radoslav; Bongcam-Rudloff, Erik; Pollock, David D; Höglund, Jacob

    2012-04-01

    The black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) is a galliform bird species that is important for both ecological studies and conservation genetics. Here, we report the sequencing of the spleen transcriptome of black grouse using 454 GS FLX Titanium sequencing. We performed a large-scale gene discovery analysis with a focus on genes that might be related to fitness in this species and also identified a large set of microsatellites. In total, we obtained 182 179 quality-filtered sequencing reads that we assembled into 9035 contigs. Using these contigs and 15 794 length-filtered (greater than 200 bp) singletons, we identified 7762 transcripts that appear to be homologues of chicken genes. A specific BLAST search with an emphasis on immune genes found 308 homologous chicken genes that have immune function, including ten major histocompatibility complex-related genes located on chicken chromosome 16. We also identified 1300 expressed sequence tag microsatellites and were able to design suitable flanking primers for 526 of these. A preliminary test of the polymorphism of the microsatellites found 10 polymorphic microsatellites of the 102 tested. Genomic resources generated in this study should greatly benefit future ecological, evolutionary and conservation genetic studies on this species.

  18. Coupling in goshawk and grouse population dynamics in Finland.

    PubMed

    Tornberg, Risto; Lindén, Andreas; Byholm, Patrik; Ranta, Esa; Valkama, Jari; Helle, Pekka; Lindén, Harto

    2013-04-01

    Different prey species can vary in their significance to a particular predator. In the simplest case, the total available density or biomass of a guild of several prey species might be most relevant to the predator, but behavioural and ecological traits of different prey species can alter the picture. We studied the population dynamics of a predator-prey setting in Finland by fitting first-order log-linear vector autoregressive models to long-term count data from active breeding sites of the northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis; 1986-2009), and to three of its main prey species (1983-2010): hazel grouse (Bonasa bonasia), black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) and capercaillie (T. urogallus), which belong to the same forest grouse guild and show synchronous fluctuations. Our focus was on modelling the relative significance of prey species and estimating the tightness of predator-prey coupling in order to explain the observed population dynamics, simultaneously accounting for effects of density dependence, winter severity and spatial correlation. We established nine competing candidate models, where different combinations of grouse species affect goshawk dynamics with lags of 1-3 years. Effects of goshawk on grouse were investigated using one model for each grouse species. The most parsimonious model for goshawk indicated separate density effects of hazel grouse and black grouse, and different effects with lags of 1 and 3 years. Capercaillie showed no effects on goshawk populations, while the effect of goshawk on grouse was clearly negative only in capercaillie. Winter severity had significant adverse effects on goshawk and hazel grouse populations. In combination, large-scale goshawk-grouse population dynamics are coupled, but there are no clear mutual effects for any of the individual guild members. In a broader context, our study suggests that pooling data on closely related, synchronously fluctuating prey species can result in the loss of relevant information, rather than

  19. Monitoring landscape changes in Caucasian black grouse (Tetrao mlokosiewiczi) habitat in Iran during the last two decades.

    PubMed

    Darvishi, Asef; Fakheran, Sima; Soffianian, Alireza

    2015-07-01

    Caucasian black grouse (Tetrao mlokosiewiczi) is on the 'red' list of species of high conservation concern as nearest threatened (NT) and also in level (I) of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The black grouse distribution range in Iran is restricted to the Arasbaran region, Northwest of Iran, and the populations and range of this specialist bird species have been declining over the last decades. Management of forest and grassland structures is important for black grouse population survival. The main goals of this study were to monitor and quantify the landscape pattern changes in Caucasian black grouse habitat in the Arasbaran biosphere reserve in two periods of 14 years (1987-2001) and 10 years (2001-2011). For quantifying landscape pattern changes, various landscape metrics were derived by spatial analysis software FRAGSTATS 3.3, including NP (number of habitat patches), LPI (largest patch index) and TE (total edge). The results indicated that the proportion of forest decreased from 39.95 to 31.95% and the proportion of grassland decreased from 44.45 to 38.44% in the 24-year span. NP of forests increased in the first period and decreased in the second period of study. TE of dense forest at altitude above 1800 m decreased. Reduction of forest edge is an indicator of reduction in habitat availability for Caucasian black grouse which use the forest edge for living, lekking and hatching in upland. Our results provided quantitative data on habitat loss and fragmentation in the Arasbaran biosphere reserve and indicated negative impacts of the landscape structure changes on Black grouse habitat.

  20. Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism authentication of raw meats from game birds.

    PubMed

    Rojas, María; González, Isabel; Fajardo, Violeta; Martín, Irene; Hernández, Pablo E; García, Teresa; Martín, Rosario

    2008-01-01

    Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) analysis has been applied to the identification of meats from quail (Coturnix coturnix), pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa), guinea fowl (Numida meleagris), capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), Eurasian woodcock (Scolopax rusticola), woodpigeon (Columba palumbus), and song thrush (Turdus philomelos). PCR amplification was performed using a set of primers flanking a conserved region of approximately 720 base pairs (bp) from the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene. Restriction site analysis based on sequence data from this DNA fragment permitted the selection of AluI and BfaI endonucleases for species identification. The restriction profiles obtained when amplicons were digested with the chosen enzymes allowed the unequivocal identification of all game bird species analyzed. However, the use of the PCR-RFLP technique described is limited to raw meat authentication. It is not suitable for cooked products because thermal treatment strongly accelerates DNA degradation leading to difficulties in amplifying the 720 bp fragment.

  1. Karyotypic evolution in the Galliformes: an examination of the process of karyotypic evolution by comparison of the molecular cytogenetic findings with the molecular phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Shibusawa, M; Nishibori, M; Nishida-Umehara, C; Tsudzuki, M; Masabanda, J; Griffin, D K; Matsuda, Y

    2004-01-01

    To define the process of karyotypic evolution in the Galliformes on a molecular basis, we conducted genome-wide comparative chromosome painting for eight species, i.e. silver pheasant (Lophura nycthemera), Lady Amherst's pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae), ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), Western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), Chinese bamboo-partridge (Bambusicola thoracica) and common peafowl (Pavo cristatus) of the Phasianidae, and plain chachalaca (Ortalis vetula) of the Cracidae, with chicken DNA probes of chromosomes 1-9 and Z. Including our previous data from five other species, chicken (Gallus gallus), Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) and blue-breasted quail (Coturnix chinensis) of the Phasianidae, guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) of the Numididae and California quail (Callipepla californica) of the Odontophoridae, we represented the evolutionary changes of karyotypes in the 13 species of the Galliformes. In addition, we compared the cytogenetic data with the molecular phylogeny of the 13 species constructed with the nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene, and discussed the process of karyotypic evolution in the Galliformes. Comparative chromosome painting confirmed the previous data on chromosome rearrangements obtained by G-banding analysis, and identified several novel chromosome rearrangements. The process of the evolutionary changes of macrochromosomes in the 13 species was in good accordance with the molecular phylogeny, and the ancestral karyotype of the Galliformes is represented.

  2. Honeybees Increase Fruit Set in Native Plant Species Important for Wildlife Conservation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cayuela, Luis; Ruiz-Arriaga, Sarah; Ozers, Christian P.

    2011-11-01

    Honeybee colonies are declining in some parts of the world. This may have important consequences for the pollination of crops and native plant species. In Spain, as in other parts of Europe, land abandonment has led to a decrease in the number of non professional beekeepers, which aggravates the problem of honeybee decline as a result of bee diseases In this study, we investigated the effects of honeybees on the pollination of three native plant species in northern Spain, namely wildcherry Prunus avium L., hawthorn Crataegus monogyna Jacq., and bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus L. We quantified fruit set of individuals from the target species along transects established from an apiary outwards. Half the samples were bagged in a nylon mesh to avoid insect pollination. Mixed-effects models were used to test the effect of distance to the apiary on fruit set in non-bagged samples. The results showed a negative significant effect of distance from the apiary on fruit set for hawthorn and bilberry, but no significant effects were detected for wildcherry. This suggests that the use of honeybees under traditional farming practices might be a good instrument to increase fruit production of some native plants. This may have important consequences for wildlife conservation, since fruits, and bilberries in particular, constitute an important feeding resource for endangered species, such as the brown bear Ursus arctos L. or the capercaillie Tetrao urogallus cantabricus L.

  3. Honeybees increase fruit set in native plant species important for wildlife conservation.

    PubMed

    Cayuela, Luis; Ruiz-Arriaga, Sarah; Ozers, Christian P

    2011-11-01

    Honeybee colonies are declining in some parts of the world. This may have important consequences for the pollination of crops and native plant species. In Spain, as in other parts of Europe, land abandonment has led to a decrease in the number of non professional beekeepers, which aggravates the problem of honeybee decline as a result of bee diseases In this study, we investigated the effects of honeybees on the pollination of three native plant species in northern Spain, namely wildcherry Prunus avium L., hawthorn Crataegus monogyna Jacq., and bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus L. We quantified fruit set of individuals from the target species along transects established from an apiary outwards. Half the samples were bagged in a nylon mesh to avoid insect pollination. Mixed-effects models were used to test the effect of distance to the apiary on fruit set in non-bagged samples. The results showed a negative significant effect of distance from the apiary on fruit set for hawthorn and bilberry, but no significant effects were detected for wild cherry. This suggests that the use of honeybees under traditional farming practices might be a good instrument to increase fruit production of some native plants. This may have important consequences for wildlife conservation, since fruits, and bilberries in particular, constitute an important feeding resource for endangered species, such as the brown bear Ursus arctos L. or the capercaillie Tetrao urogallus cantabricus L.

  4. Three-dimensional habitat structure and landscape genetics: a step forward in estimating functional connectivity.

    PubMed

    Milanesi, P; Holderegger, R; Bollmann, K; Gugerli, F; Zellweger, F

    2017-02-01

    Estimating connectivity among fragmented habitat patches is crucial for evaluating the functionality of ecological networks. However, current estimates of landscape resistance to animal movement and dispersal lack landscape-level data on local habitat structure. Here, we used a landscape genetics approach to show that high-fidelity habitat structure maps derived from Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data critically improve functional connectivity estimates compared to conventional land cover data. We related pairwise genetic distances of 128 Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) genotypes to least-cost path distances at multiple scales derived from land cover data. Resulting β values of linear mixed effects models ranged from 0.372 to 0.495, while those derived from LiDAR ranged from 0.558 to 0.758. The identification and conservation of functional ecological networks suffering from habitat fragmentation and homogenization will thus benefit from the growing availability of detailed and contiguous data on three-dimensional habitat structure and associated habitat quality.

  5. Genetic impoverishment of the last black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) population in the Netherlands: detectable only with a reference from the past.

    PubMed

    Larsson, J Karl; Jansman, Hugh A H; Segelbacher, Gernot; Höglund, Jacob; Koelewijn, Hans Peter

    2008-04-01

    We have studied a small isolated population of black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) in the Netherlands to examine the impact of isolation and reduction in numbers on genetic diversity. We compared the genetic diversity in the last extant Dutch population with Dutch museum samples and three other black grouse populations (from England, Austria and Norway, respectively) representing isolated and continuous populations. We found significantly lower allelic richness, observed and expected heterozygosities in the present Dutch population compared to the continuous populations (Austria and Norway) and also to the historical Dutch population. However, using a bottleneck test on each population, signs of heterozygosity excess were only found in the likewise isolated English population despite that strong genetic drift was evident in the present Dutch population in comparison to the reference populations, as assessed both in pairwise F(ST)and STRUCTURE analyses. Simulating the effect of a population reduction on the Dutch population from 1948 onwards, using census data and with the Dutch museum samples as a model for the genetic diversity in the initial population, revealed that the loss in number of alleles and observed heterozygosity was according to genetic drift expectations and within the standard error range of the present Dutch population. Thus, the effect of the strong decline in the number of grouse on genetic diversity was only detectable when using a reference from the past. The lack of evidence for a population reduction in the present Dutch population by using the program bottleneck was attributed to a rapidly found new equilibrium as a consequence of a very small effective population size.

  6. Female-biased dispersal alone can reduce the occurrence of inbreeding in black grouse (Tetrao tetrix).

    PubMed

    Lebigre, C; Alatalo, R V; Siitari, H

    2010-05-01

    Although inbreeding depression and mechanisms for kin recognition have been described in natural bird populations, inbreeding avoidance through mate choice has rarely been reported suggesting that sex-biased dispersal is the main mechanism reducing the risks of inbreeding. However, a full understanding of the effect of dispersal on the occurrence of inbred matings requires estimating the inbreeding risks prior to dispersal. Combining pairwise relatedness measures and kinship assignments, we investigated in black grouse whether the observed occurrence of inbred matings was explained by active kin discrimination or by female-biased dispersal. In this large continuous population, copulations between close relatives were rare. As female mate choice was random for relatedness, females with more relatives in the local flock tended to mate with genetically more similar males. To quantify the initial risks of inbreeding, we measured the relatedness to the males of females captured in their parental flock and virtually translocated female hatchlings in their parental and to more distant flocks. These tests indicated that dispersal decreased the likelihood of mating with relatives and that philopatric females had higher inbreeding risks than the actual breeding females. As females do not discriminate against relatives, the few inbred matings were probably due to the variance in female dispersal propensity and dispersal distance. Our results support the view that kin discrimination mate choice is of little value if dispersal effectively reduces the risks of inbreeding.

  7. Mechanisms Underlying the Bioindicator Notion: Spatial Association between Individual Sexual Performance and Community Diversity

    PubMed Central

    Laiolo, Paola; Bañuelos, María J.; Blanco-Fontao, Beatriz; García, Mónica; Gutiérrez, Gloria

    2011-01-01

    The bioindicator notion is an appealing concept that has received more support in applied than in basic ecology, mostly due to the difficulty in deriving general ecological rules applicable to all target organisms. However, recognizing the mechanisms that determine the association between a particular species and the well-being of many other species is important for understanding the functioning of ecosystems and the relationship among different biological levels. We examined here the processes at the individual level that cause an association between species performance and biodiversity value, by analyzing attributes that can be studied in a variety of animals with sexual reproduction, namely breeding site selection and condition-dependent sexual signals. Our study model was the Capercaillie, an indicator of forest functioning and diversity, and the associated bird community, used here as a surrogate of broader forest biodiversity. At a regional scale Capercaillie occurrence was not associated with the most diverse forest patches, but at the scale of male spring territories the sexual display grounds (arenas) were located in the oldest and less disturbed forest portions, which also hosted the richest local bird communities. Social mechanisms and conspecific cueing likely concurred with habitat-driven processes in determining the long-term persistence of traditional display grounds, which were appealing to many other species because of their structural composition. Characteristics of male vocal display that honestly advertize male quality (low frequencies and rapid song rates) were significantly correlated with high diversity values, resulting in a spatial association between individual and community performances. Costly or risky activities such as reproductive or social behaviors, which more than other attributes match gradients in habitat quality, are therefore contributing to functionally connect individuals with ecosystem health. PMID:21818374

  8. Epidemiology of Sindbis virus infections in Finland 1981-96: possible factors explaining a peculiar disease pattern.

    PubMed Central

    Brummer-Korvenkontio, M.; Vapalahti, O.; Kuusisto, P.; Saikku, P.; Manni, T.; Koskela, P.; Nygren, T.; Brummer-Korvenkontio, H.; Vaheri, A.

    2002-01-01

    Pogosta disease (PD), an epidemic rash-arthritis occurring in late summer is caused by Sindbis virus (SINV) and is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Altogether 2183 PD cases were serologically confirmed 1981-96 in Finland, with an annual incidence of 2.7/100000 (18 in the most endemic area of Northern Karelia). The annual average was 136 (varying from 1 to 1282) with epidemics occurring in August-September with a 7-year interval. Studies on 6320 patients with suspected rubella (1973-89) revealed 107 PD cases. The depth of snow cover and the temperature in May-July seemed to predict the number of cases. The morbidity was highest in 45- to 65-year-old females and lowest in children. Subclinical SINV infections were 17 times more common than the clinical ones. The SINV-antibody prevalence in fertile-age females was 0.6% in 1992; the estimated seroprevalence in Finland is about 2%. Among game animals the tetraonids (black grouse and capercaillie) had the highest seroprevalence (65%) in the epidemic year of 1981. PMID:12403109

  9. Microsatellite markers reveal the potential for kin selection on black grouse leks

    PubMed Central

    glund, J. H; Alatalo, R. V.; Lundberg, A.; ki, P. T. Rintam; Lindell, J.

    1999-01-01

    The evolution of social behaviour has puzzled biologists since Darwin. Since Hamilton's theoretical work in the 1960s it has been realized that social behaviour may evolve through the effects of kinship. By helping relatives, an individual may pass on its genes despite negative effects on its own reproduction. Leks are groups of males that females visit primarily to mate. The selective advantage for males to join such social groups has been given much recent attention, but no clear picture has yet emerged. Here we show, using microsatellite analysis, that males but not females of a lekking bird (the black grouse, Tetrao tetrix) are genetically structured at the lek level. We interpret this structuring to be the effects of strong natal philopatry in males. This has the consequence that males on any specific lek should be more related than expected by chance as indicated by our genetic data. Our results thus suggest that kin selection is a factor that needs to be considered in the evolution and maintenance of the lek mating system in black grouse and sheds new light on models of lek evolution.

  10. Female choice selects for lifetime lekking performance in black grouse males

    PubMed Central

    Kokko, H.; ki, P. T. Rintam; Alatalo, R. V.; glund, J. H; Karvonen, E.; Lundberg, A.

    1999-01-01

    'Good genes' models assume that females can use a signal such as mating effort to assess a male's lifetime fitness. Inferring long-term performance from short-term behavioural observations can be unreliable, and repeated sampling may be needed for more accurate assessment of males. Additionally, if sexual advertisement is viewed as a life-history trait subject to trade-offs, reliable comparison of mates should yield information on all life-history components rather than on one trait value in one season. We show that in the lekking black grouse (Tetrao tetrix), a male's success is best explained by assuming that females are informed of the past history of males up to the beginning of the study (eight years). Much of this extremely lasting 'memory' can be attributed to females observing long-term outcomes of male–male competition: current territory position is the only momentarily observable variable that has high power in predicting female choice, and it correlates to a male's past lekking effort on a cumulative lifetime scale. We conclude that females can use territory position as a signal that conveys information of a male's lifetime performance that combines lekking effort and longevity. Females may thus overcome the problem of male allocations varying in time, without the need to pay costs associated with repeated sampling.

  11. Spreading free-riding snow sports represent a novel serious threat for wildlife

    PubMed Central

    Arlettaz, Raphaël; Patthey, Patrick; Baltic, Marjana; Leu, Thomas; Schaub, Michael; Palme, Rupert; Jenni-Eiermann, Susanne

    2007-01-01

    Stress generated by humans on wildlife by continuous development of outdoor recreational activities is of increasing concern for biodiversity conservation. Human disturbance often adds to other negative impact factors affecting the dynamics of vulnerable populations. It is not known to which extent the rapidly spreading free-riding snow sports actually elicit detrimental stress (allostatic overload) upon wildlife, nor what the potential associated fitness and survival costs are. Using a non-invasive technique, we evaluated the physiological stress response induced by free-riding snow sports on a declining bird species of Alpine ecosystems. The results of a field experiment in which radiomonitored black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) were actively flushed from their snow burrows once a day during four consecutive days showed an increase in the concentration of faecal stress hormone (corticosterone) metabolites after disturbance. A large-scale comparative analysis across the southwestern Swiss Alps indicated that birds had higher levels of these metabolites in human-disturbed versus undisturbed habitats. Disturbance by snow sport free-riders appears to elevate stress, which potentially represents a new serious threat for wildlife. The fitness and survival costs of allostatic adjustments have yet to be estimated. PMID:17341459

  12. Scenario-Led Habitat Modelling of Land Use Change Impacts on Key Species.

    PubMed

    Geary, Matthew; Fielding, Alan H; McGowan, Philip J K; Marsden, Stuart J

    2015-01-01

    Accurate predictions of the impacts of future land use change on species of conservation concern can help to inform policy-makers and improve conservation measures. If predictions are spatially explicit, predicted consequences of likely land use changes could be accessible to land managers at a scale relevant to their working landscape. We introduce a method, based on open source software, which integrates habitat suitability modelling with scenario-building, and illustrate its use by investigating the effects of alternative land use change scenarios on landscape suitability for black grouse Tetrao tetrix. Expert opinion was used to construct five near-future (twenty years) scenarios for the 800 km2 study site in upland Scotland. For each scenario, the cover of different land use types was altered by 5-30% from 20 random starting locations and changes in habitat suitability assessed by projecting a MaxEnt suitability model onto each simulated landscape. A scenario converting grazed land to moorland and open forestry was the most beneficial for black grouse, and 'increased grazing' (the opposite conversion) the most detrimental. Positioning of new landscape blocks was shown to be important in some situations. Increasing the area of open-canopy forestry caused a proportional decrease in suitability, but suitability gains for the 'reduced grazing' scenario were nonlinear. 'Scenario-led' landscape simulation models can be applied in assessments of the impacts of land use change both on individual species and also on diversity and community measures, or ecosystem services. A next step would be to include landscape configuration more explicitly in the simulation models, both to make them more realistic, and to examine the effects of habitat placement more thoroughly. In this example, the recommended policy would be incentives on grazing reduction to benefit black grouse.

  13. Where to Combat Shrub Encroachment in Alpine Timberline Ecosystems: Combining Remotely-Sensed Vegetation Information with Species Habitat Modelling.

    PubMed

    Braunisch, Veronika; Patthey, Patrick; Arlettaz, Raphaël

    2016-01-01

    In many cultural landscapes, the abandonment of traditional grazing leads to encroachment of pastures by woody plants, which reduces habitat heterogeneity and impacts biodiversity typical of semi-open habitats. We developed a framework of mutually interacting spatial models to locate areas where shrub encroachment in Alpine treeline ecosystems deteriorates vulnerable species' habitat, using black grouse Tetrao tetrix (L.) in the Swiss Alps as a study model. Combining field observations and remote-sensing information we 1) identified and located the six predominant treeline vegetation types; 2) modelled current black grouse breeding habitat as a function thereof so as to derive optimal habitat profiles; 3) simulated from these profiles the theoretical spatial extension of breeding habitat when assuming optimal vegetation conditions throughout; and used the discrepancy between (2) and (3) to 4) locate major aggregations of homogeneous shrub vegetation in otherwise suitable breeding habitat as priority sites for habitat restoration. All six vegetation types (alpine pasture, coniferous forest, Alnus viridis (Chaix), Rhododendron-dominated, Juniperus-dominated and mixed heathland) were predicted with high accuracy (AUC >0.9). Breeding black grouse preferred a heterogeneous mosaic of vegetation types, with none exceeding 50% cover. While 15% of the timberline belt currently offered suitable breeding habitat, twice that fraction (29%) would potentially be suitable when assuming optimal shrub and ground vegetation conditions throughout the study area. Yet, only 10% of this difference was attributed to habitat deterioration by shrub-encroachment of dense heathland (all types 5.2%) and Alnus viridis (4.8%). The presented method provides both a general, large-scale assessment of areas covered by dense shrub vegetation as well as specific target values and priority areas for habitat restoration related to a selected target organism. This facilitates optimizing the spatial

  14. Where to Combat Shrub Encroachment in Alpine Timberline Ecosystems: Combining Remotely-Sensed Vegetation Information with Species Habitat Modelling

    PubMed Central

    Braunisch, Veronika; Patthey, Patrick; Arlettaz, Raphaël

    2016-01-01

    In many cultural landscapes, the abandonment of traditional grazing leads to encroachment of pastures by woody plants, which reduces habitat heterogeneity and impacts biodiversity typical of semi-open habitats. We developed a framework of mutually interacting spatial models to locate areas where shrub encroachment in Alpine treeline ecosystems deteriorates vulnerable species’ habitat, using black grouse Tetrao tetrix (L.) in the Swiss Alps as a study model. Combining field observations and remote-sensing information we 1) identified and located the six predominant treeline vegetation types; 2) modelled current black grouse breeding habitat as a function thereof so as to derive optimal habitat profiles; 3) simulated from these profiles the theoretical spatial extension of breeding habitat when assuming optimal vegetation conditions throughout; and used the discrepancy between (2) and (3) to 4) locate major aggregations of homogeneous shrub vegetation in otherwise suitable breeding habitat as priority sites for habitat restoration. All six vegetation types (alpine pasture, coniferous forest, Alnus viridis (Chaix), Rhododendron-dominated, Juniperus-dominated and mixed heathland) were predicted with high accuracy (AUC >0.9). Breeding black grouse preferred a heterogeneous mosaic of vegetation types, with none exceeding 50% cover. While 15% of the timberline belt currently offered suitable breeding habitat, twice that fraction (29%) would potentially be suitable when assuming optimal shrub and ground vegetation conditions throughout the study area. Yet, only 10% of this difference was attributed to habitat deterioration by shrub-encroachment of dense heathland (all types 5.2%) and Alnus viridis (4.8%). The presented method provides both a general, large-scale assessment of areas covered by dense shrub vegetation as well as specific target values and priority areas for habitat restoration related to a selected target organism. This facilitates optimizing the spatial

  15. Inbreeding depression and male fitness in black grouse.

    PubMed

    Höglund, Jacob; Piertney, Stuart B; Alatalo, Rauno V; Lindell, Johan; Lundberg, Arne; Rintamäki, Pekka T

    2002-04-07

    The male lifetime lekking performance was studied, and related to inbreeding-outbreeding in a wild population of black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) in central Finland between 1989 and 1995. Inbreeding was measured as the mean heterozygosity and mean d(2) of 15 microsatellite loci. We found a significantly positive relationship between mean d(2) and lifetime copulation success (LCS), while the relationship between heterozygosity and LCS was close to significant. We also found that males that never obtained a lek territory had significantly lower mean heterozygosity than males that were observed on a territory at least during one mating season in their life. Furthermore, among males that were successful in obtaining a lek territory, LCS and mean d(2) were highest for those males that held central territories. We suggest that inbred males have a disadvantage (or outbred males have an advantage) in the competition for territories that may explain the relationships with LCS and inbreeding. Furthermore, the fact that mean d(2) was positively correlated with LCS whereas heterozygosity was not when we restricted the analysis to territorial males, suggests that mean d(2) provides more information about levels of inbreeding-outbreeding than heterozygosity alone, and potentially highlights the effects of heterosis. To our knowledge, this is the first time that measures of inbreeding and lifetime fitness have been linked in a non-isolated population. This is important in establishing that the relationships found in previous studies are not artefacts of low gene flow created by limited dispersal but a general feature of wild vertebrate populations.

  16. Impact of transient climate change upon Grouse population dynamics in the Italian Alps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pirovano, Andrea; Bocchiola, Daniele

    2010-05-01

    Understanding the effect of short to medium term weather condition, and of transient global warming upon wildlife species life history is essential to predict the demographic consequences therein, and possibly develop adaptation strategies, especially in game species, where hunting mortality may play an important role in population dynamics. We carried out a preliminary investigation of observed impact of weather variables upon population dynamics indexes of three alpine Grouse species (i.e. Rock Ptarmigan, Lagopus Mutus, Black Grouse, Tetrao Tetrix, Rock Partridge, Alectoris Graeca), nested within central Italian Alps, based upon 15 years (1995-2009) of available censuses data, provided by the Sondrio Province authority. We used a set of climate variables already highlighted within recent literature for carrying considerable bearing on Grouse population dynamics, including e.g. temperature at hatching time and during winter, snow cover at nesting, and precipitation during nursing period. We then developed models of Grouses' population dynamics by explicitly driving population change according to their dependence upon the significant weather variables and population density and we evaluated objective indexes to assess the so obtained predictive power. Eventually, we develop projection of future local climate, based upon locally derived trends, and upon projections from GCMs (A2 IPCC storyline) already validated for the area, to project forward in time (until 2100 or so) the significant climatic variables, which we then use to force population dynamics models of the target species. The projected patterns obtained through this exercise are discussed and compared against those expected under stationary climate conditions at present, and preliminary conclusions are drawn.

  17. Vulnerability of black grouse hens to goshawk predation: result of food supply or predation facilitation?

    PubMed

    Tornberg, Risto; Helle, Pekka; Korpimäki, Erkki

    2011-07-01

    The plant cycle hypothesis says that poor-quality food affects both herbivorous voles (Microtinae spp.) and grouse (Tetraonidae spp.) in vole decline years, leading to increased foraging effort in female grouse and thus a higher risk of predation by the goshawk Accipiter gentilis. Poor-quality food (mainly the bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus) for these herbivores is induced by seed masting failure in the previous year, when the bilberry is able to allocate resources for chemical defence (the mast depression hypothesis; MDH). The predation facilitation hypothesis (PFH) in turn states that increased searching activity of vole-eating predators during or after the decline year of voles disturbs incubating and brooding grouse females. The behaviours used by grouse to avoid these terrestrial predators make them more vulnerable to predation by goshawks. We tested the main predictions of the MDH and PFH by collecting long-term (21-year) data from black grouse Tetrao tetrix hens and cocks killed by breeding goshawks supplemented with indices of bilberry crop, vole abundance and small carnivores in the vicinity of Oulu, northern Finland. We did not find obvious support for the prediction of the MDH that there is a negative correlation of bilberry crop in year t with vole abundance and with predation index of black grouse hens in year t + 1. We did find obvious support for the prediction of the PFH that there is a positive correlation between predator abundance and predation index of grouse hens, because the stoat Mustela erminea abundance index was positively related to the predation index of black grouse hens. We suggest that changes in vulnerability of grouse hens may mainly be caused by the guild of vole-eating predators, who shift to alternative prey in the decline phase of the vole cycle, and thus chase grouse hens and chicks to the talons of goshawks and other avian predators.

  18. The anatomy of population change in a black grouse population 1992-2008.

    PubMed

    Geary, Matthew; Fielding, Alan H; Marsden, Stuart J

    2012-01-01

    We interrogate an 18-year-long dataset containing counts of displaying male black grouse Tetrao tetrix and incidental counts of females within an 800-km(2) region of Perthshire, Scotland. We examine the trends in the population and investigate how different components of the population might act as signposts of different stages of overall population change. We found statistical evidence for a decline in black grouse numbers between 1992 and 2000, and then a recovery from 2002 to 2008, but little evidence for a link between population change and weather during the decline phase. There was some evidence for a positive relationship between male and female counts. The two main components of male population size, lek size and lek frequency followed the overall population trend while it was increasing, but during the earlier decline, the two became uncoupled, to expose a complex structure within the data. During the decline, when black grouse numbers were approaching their minimum, mean lek size was actually increasing. Small leks lost proportionally more birds than did large leks, and lek longevity was positively correlated with lek size, indicating that maintenance of large leks is crucial in buffering the population against serious declines. During the decline, the spatial arrangement of leks changed, with remnant leks showing tight clustering at larger spatial scales, before expanding out to fill the large areas of unoccupied landscape during the population increase. We discuss these findings in terms of species monitoring and suggest that counts of young males may add much useful demographic information with little extra effort.

  19. Guardian or threat: does golden eagle predation risk have cascading effects on forest grouse?

    PubMed

    Lyly, Mari S; Villers, Alexandre; Koivisto, Elina; Helle, Pekka; Ollila, Tuomo; Korpimäki, Erkki

    2016-10-01

    Previous studies on intraguild predation have mainly focused on within-class assemblages, even though avian top predators may also influence mammalian mesopredator prey. By using nation-wide long-term data from Finland, northern Europe, we examined the impacts of golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) together with red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and pine martens (Martes martes) on forest-dwelling herbivores, black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) and hazel grouse (Tetrastes bonasia). We hypothesized that eagles may alleviate the overall predation pressure on grouse by imposing intraguild predation risk on mesopredators. The predation impact of eagle was modelled using eagle density estimates and distance to eagle nest. Wildlife triangle counts were used as predation impact proxies of mammalian mesopredators and as measures of response in grouse. Our results show that eagle density correlated negatively with black grouse abundance indices while being positively associated with the proportion of juveniles in both grouse species, irrespective of the abundance of mesopredators. Yet, foxes and martens alone had a negative effect on the abundance indices and the proportion of young in the two grouse species. This suggests that the possible cascading effects of eagles are not mediated by decreased mesopredator numbers, but instead by fear effects. Alternatively, they may be mediated by other species than fox or marten studied here. In conclusion, we found support for the hypothesis that eagles provide protection for juvenile black and hazel grouse, whereas they are a threat for adult grouse. This important information helps us to better understand the role of avian top predators in terrestrial ecosystems.

  20. Territory occupancy rate of goshawk and gyrfalcon: no evidence of delayed numerical response to grouse numbers.

    PubMed

    Selås, Vidar; Kålås, John Atle

    2007-09-01

    Two recent studies on territory occupancy rates of goshawk Accipiter gentilis and gyrfalcon Falco rusticolus report a 2-3-year-delayed numerical response to grouse numbers, which is a requirement for a hypothesis of predator-generated grouse cycles. The time lags were assumed to reflect the average age of sexual maturity in the raptor species. In southern Norway, however, subadult (two-year-old) goshawk hens occupied only 18-25% of territories where occupancy was not recorded in the preceding year, and there was no significant relationship between the proportion of subadults among recruits and grouse indices two years earlier. We argue that territory occupancy rates are not appropriate indices of total raptor population levels, but rather reflect the proportion of territorial pairs that attempt to nest. Because this depends on the body condition of the hens, fluctuations in other important winter resident prey species (most important for the goshawk) and winter weather (most important for the gyrfalcon) should also be addressed. During 1988-2006, the annual proportion of goshawk territories with recorded nesting attempts in southern Norway was most closely related to the preceding autumn's population indices of black grouse Tetrao tetrix and mountain hare Lepus timidus, whereas the annual proportion of gyrfalcon territories with observations of falcons or with confirmed breeding attempts in central Norway were best explained by population indices of willow grouse Lagopus lagopus and ptarmigan L. mutus from the previous autumn, and by December temperatures. Hence, our studies do not support the predation hypothesis for grouse cycles.

  1. Scenario-Led Habitat Modelling of Land Use Change Impacts on Key Species

    PubMed Central

    Geary, Matthew; Fielding, Alan H.; McGowan, Philip J. K.; Marsden, Stuart J.

    2015-01-01

    Accurate predictions of the impacts of future land use change on species of conservation concern can help to inform policy-makers and improve conservation measures. If predictions are spatially explicit, predicted consequences of likely land use changes could be accessible to land managers at a scale relevant to their working landscape. We introduce a method, based on open source software, which integrates habitat suitability modelling with scenario-building, and illustrate its use by investigating the effects of alternative land use change scenarios on landscape suitability for black grouse Tetrao tetrix. Expert opinion was used to construct five near-future (twenty years) scenarios for the 800 km2 study site in upland Scotland. For each scenario, the cover of different land use types was altered by 5–30% from 20 random starting locations and changes in habitat suitability assessed by projecting a MaxEnt suitability model onto each simulated landscape. A scenario converting grazed land to moorland and open forestry was the most beneficial for black grouse, and ‘increased grazing’ (the opposite conversion) the most detrimental. Positioning of new landscape blocks was shown to be important in some situations. Increasing the area of open-canopy forestry caused a proportional decrease in suitability, but suitability gains for the ‘reduced grazing’ scenario were nonlinear. ‘Scenario-led’ landscape simulation models can be applied in assessments of the impacts of land use change both on individual species and also on diversity and community measures, or ecosystem services. A next step would be to include landscape configuration more explicitly in the simulation models, both to make them more realistic, and to examine the effects of habitat placement more thoroughly. In this example, the recommended policy would be incentives on grazing reduction to benefit black grouse. PMID:26569604

  2. Inbreeding depression and male fitness in black grouse.

    PubMed Central

    Höglund, Jacob; Piertney, Stuart B; Alatalo, Rauno V; Lindell, Johan; Lundberg, Arne; Rintamäki, Pekka T

    2002-01-01

    The male lifetime lekking performance was studied, and related to inbreeding-outbreeding in a wild population of black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) in central Finland between 1989 and 1995. Inbreeding was measured as the mean heterozygosity and mean d(2) of 15 microsatellite loci. We found a significantly positive relationship between mean d(2) and lifetime copulation success (LCS), while the relationship between heterozygosity and LCS was close to significant. We also found that males that never obtained a lek territory had significantly lower mean heterozygosity than males that were observed on a territory at least during one mating season in their life. Furthermore, among males that were successful in obtaining a lek territory, LCS and mean d(2) were highest for those males that held central territories. We suggest that inbred males have a disadvantage (or outbred males have an advantage) in the competition for territories that may explain the relationships with LCS and inbreeding. Furthermore, the fact that mean d(2) was positively correlated with LCS whereas heterozygosity was not when we restricted the analysis to territorial males, suggests that mean d(2) provides more information about levels of inbreeding-outbreeding than heterozygosity alone, and potentially highlights the effects of heterosis. To our knowledge, this is the first time that measures of inbreeding and lifetime fitness have been linked in a non-isolated population. This is important in establishing that the relationships found in previous studies are not artefacts of low gene flow created by limited dispersal but a general feature of wild vertebrate populations. PMID:11934362

  3. Spatially explicit modeling of conflict zones between wildlife and snow sports: prioritizing areas for winter refuges.

    PubMed

    Braunisch, Veronika; Patthey, Patrick; Arlettaz, Raphaël

    2011-04-01

    Outdoor winter recreation exerts an increasing pressure upon mountain ecosystems, with unpredictable, free-ranging activities (e.g., ski mountaineering, snowboarding, and snowshoeing) representing a major source of stress for wildlife. Mitigating anthropogenic disturbance requires the spatially explicit prediction of the interference between the activities of humans and wildlife. We applied spatial modeling to localize conflict zones between wintering Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix), a declining species of Alpine timberline ecosystems, and two free-ranging winter sports (off-piste skiing [including snow-boarding] and snowshoeing). Track data (snow-sports and birds' traces) obtained from aerial photographs taken over a 585-km transect running along the timberline, implemented within a maximum entropy model, were used to predict the occurrence of snow sports and Black Grouse as a function of landscape characteristics. By modeling Black Grouse presence in the theoretical absence of free-ranging activities and ski infrastructure, we first estimated the amount of habitat reduction caused by these two factors. The models were then extrapolated to the altitudinal range occupied by Black Grouse, while the spatial extent and intensity of potential conflict were assessed by calculating the probability of human-wildlife co-occurrence. The two snow-sports showed different distribution patterns. Skiers' occurrence was mainly determined by ski-lift presence and a smooth terrain, while snowshoers' occurrence was linked to hiking or skiing routes and moderate slopes. Wintering Black Grouse avoided ski lifts and areas frequented by free-ranging snow sports. According to the models, Black Grouse have faced a substantial reduction of suitable wintering habitat along the timberline transect: 12% due to ski infrastructure and another 16% when adding free-ranging activities. Extrapolating the models over the whole study area results in an overall habitat loss due to ski infrastructure of