44 Works

Data from: The influence of crop tiller density on the breeding performance of a cereal-nesting specialist

Rosemary P. Setchfield & Will J. Peach
In the pursuit of maximizing agricultural yields and profits, crop management under intensive agriculture has reduced the heterogeneity of crop sward structure within fields. Several farmland bird specialists that nest within arable crops have undergone marked population declines during recent periods of agricultural intensification. Understanding the mechanisms that link crop sward structure to demographic fitness and population change may be important for developing effective conservation solutions. We studied whole-season breeding performance of a declining cereal...

Gradients in richness and turnover of a forest passerine’s diet prior to breeding: a mixed model approach applied to faecal metabarcoding data

Jack Shutt, James Nicholls, Urmi Trivedi, Malcolm Burgess, Graham Stone, Jarrod Hadfield & Albert Phillimore
Little is known about the dietary richness and variation of generalist insectivorous species, including birds, due primarily to difficulties in prey identification. Using faecal metabarcoding we provide the most comprehensive analysis of a passerine’s diet to date, identifying the relative magnitudes of biogeographic, habitat and temporal trends in the richness and turnover in diet of Cyanistes caeruleus (blue tit) along a 39-site, 2° latitudinal transect in Scotland. Faecal samples were collected during 2014-15 from adult...

Optimising nature conservation outcomes for a given region-wide level of food production

Tom Finch, Rhys Green, Dario Massimino, Will Peach & Andrew Balmford
The land sharing-sparing framework aims to quantify the trade-off between food production and biodiversity conservation, but it has been criticised for offering, for reasons of simplicity, an unrealistically limited set of different land uses. Here, we develop the framework to evaluate a much larger suite of land-use strategies in which the areas and yields of three land-use compartments, natural habitat, high-yield farmland, and lower-yield farmland, are varied simultaneously. For two regions of England, we use...

Data from: The consequences of land sparing for birds in the United Kingdom

Anthony Lamb, Tom Finch, James W. Pearce-Higgins, Malcolm Ausden, Andrew Balmford, Claire Feniuk, Graham Hirons, Dario Massimino & Rhys E. Green
1. Land sparing has been proposed as a strategy to reconcile biodiversity conservation with agricultural production, with empirical studies on five continents indicating that most species would benefit if food demand was met through high-yield farming combined with the protection or restoration of natural habitat. 2. Most such studies come from landscapes covered by large areas of natural habitat and without a long history of intense human modification. However, much of Europe, consists of human-dominated...

Diurnal timing of nonmigratory movement by birds: the importance of foraging spatial scales

Julie Mallon, Marlee Tucker, Annalea Beard, , Keith Bildstein, Katrin Böhning-Gaese, John Brzorad, Evan Buechley, Javier Bustamante, Carlos Carrapato, José Castillo-Guerrero, Elizabeth Clingham, Mark Desholm, Christopher DeSorbo, Robert Domenech, Hayley Douglas, Olivier Duriez, Peter Enggist, Nina Farwig, Wolfgang Fiedler, Anna Gagliardo, Clara García-Ripollés, Juan Antonio Gil, Morgan Gilmour, Roi Harel … & Bill Fagan
Timing of activity can reveal an organism’s efforts to optimize foraging either by minimizing energy loss through passive movement or by maximizing energetic gain through foraging. Here, we assess whether signals of either of these strategies are detectable in the timing of activity of daily, local movements by birds. We compare the similarities of timing of movement activity among species using six temporal variables: start of activity relative to sunrise, end of activity relative to...

The Pantheon database: habitat related traits, conservation status and taxa associations for invertebrates in England

J. Webb, D. Heaver, D. Lott, H.J. Dean, J. Van Breda, J. Curson, M.C. Harvey, M. Gurney, D.B. Roy, A. Van Breda, M. Drake, K.N.A. Alexander & G. Foster
The Pantheon database contains habitat-related traits, feeding guilds, conservation status (including rarity and threat status), legal protection data and associations with other taxa for just over 11,700 invertebrates. The database has been developed for invertebrates within England so the data should be used with caution when applying it to invertebrates of other countries. The data have been extracted from numerous sources within the published literature and compiled and categorised by entomological experts over a number...

First egg dates for great tits (Parus major) and blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) breeding in three deciduous woods in Cambridgeshire, England in 1993 to 2016

S.A. Hinsley & P.E. Bellamy
This dataset contains first egg dates for great tits (Parus major) and blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) from Monks Wood, Brampton Wood and Wennington Wood in Cambridgeshire, England, over a 23 year period. The dataset runs from the breeding season in 1993 to the end of the breeding season in 2015. The first egg dates are presented as the number of days from the start date which was set as the 1st April each year. Because...

Geolocation and stable isotopes indicate habitat segregation between sexes in Magellanic penguins during the winter dispersion

Melina Barrionuevo, Javier Ciancio, Antje Steinfurth & Esteban Frere
The Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) is a top predator and a major consumer of marine resources in the Patagonian Continental Shelf and worldwide. It is the most highly migratory of the Spheniscus penguins, but until recently, its migration route was only partially known. Regarding Magellanic penguins breeding on Isla Quiroga, in Argentina, our goals were: (1) to compare distribution during winter period between sexes and (2) if habitat is found to be segregated, to evaluate...

Data from: Have Welsh agri-environment schemes delivered for focal species? Results from a comprehensive monitoring programme

Michael A. MacDonald, Ruth Angell, Trevor D. Dines, Stephen Dodd, Karen A. Haysom, Russel Hobson, Ian G. Johnstone, Vaughn Matthews, Anthony J. Morris, Rob Parry, Catharine H. Shellswell, James Skates, George M. Tordoff & Elizabeth M. Wilberforce
1. Agri-environment schemes (AES) have been criticised for being inadequately monitored and for not delivering the expected benefits to nature. Consequently, the Welsh Government funded a comprehensive programme of monitoring of Welsh AES, which took place between 2009 and 2012. The AES assessment focused primarily on Tir Gofal (which translates as “Land in Care”), but also included the Organic Farming Scheme, and monitoring focused on a range of taxa of conservation importance: arable plants, grassland...

Experimental evidence that novel land management interventions inspired by history enhance biodiversity

Robert Hawkes, Jennifer Smart, Andy Brown, Helen Jones, Steve Lane, Colin Lucas, James McGill, Nick Owens, Amanda Ratier Backes, Jonathan Webb, Doreen Wells & Paul Dolman
To address biodiversity declines within semi-natural habitats, land-management must cater for diverse taxonomic groups. Integrating our understanding of the ecological requirements of priority (rare, scarce or threatened) species through ‘biodiversity auditing’, with that of the intensity and complexity of historical land-use, encourages novel forms of management. Experimental confirmation is needed to establish whether this enhances biodiversity conservation relative to routine management. Biodiversity auditing and historical land-use of dry-open terrestrial habitats in Breckland (Eastern England) both...

How butterflies keep their cool: physical and ecological traits influence thermoregulatory ability and population trends.

Andrew Bladon, Matthew Lewis, Eleanor Bladon, Sam Buckton, Stuart Corbett, Steven Ewing, Matthew Hayes, Gwen Hitchcock, Richard Knock, Colin Lucas, Adam McVeigh, Rosa Menendez, Jonah Walker, Tom Fayle & Edgar Turner
Understanding which factors influence the ability of individuals to respond to changing temperatures is fundamental to species conservation under climate change. We investigated how a community of butterflies responded to fine-scale changes in air temperature, and whether species-specific responses were predicted by ecological or morphological traits. Using data collected across a UK reserve network, we investigated the ability of 29 butterfly species to buffer thoracic temperature against changes in air temperature. First, we tested whether...

Data from: Seven decades of mountain hare counts show severe declines where high‐yield recreational game bird hunting is practised

Adam Watson & Jeremy D. Wilson
Recreational hunting is widespread and can benefit nature conservation when well‐practised, monitored, and regulated. Management for recreational red grouse Lagopus lagopus scotica shooting on upland heathland in the UK causes conservation conflict because the intensive habitat, predator, and disease management needed to maintain high‐grouse densities for “driven” shooting has detrimental environmental impacts, notably for raptor populations. Sustainable management of mountain hares Lepus timidus scoticus, a game species in the same landscapes, poses a challenge. Control...

Data from: Nesting success and nest-site selection of white-rumped vultures (Gyps bengalensis) in western Maharashtra, India

Iravatee D Majgaonkar, Christopher G. R. Bowden, Suhel Quader & Iravatee Majgaonkar
A few breeding populations of White-rumped Vultures Gyps bengalensis still survive in pockets of their original vast range in India, having weathered a diclofenac induced population decline of 99.9% since the early 1990s. These breeding populations are potential sources of recruits, now that the overall population appears to be stabilising or even recovering in some areas. We studied two White-rumped Vulture nesting colonies in the Raigad district of coastal Maharashtra in 2013-14, to investigate site-specific...

Data from: Metapopulation dynamics of Roseate Terns: sources, sinks and implications for conservation management decisions

Adam Seward, Norman Ratcliffe, Steve Newton, Richard Caldow, Daniel Piec, Paul Morrison, Tom Cadwallender, Wesley Davies & Mark Bolton
1. Habitat management to restore or create breeding sites may allow metapopulations to increase in size and reduce the risk of demographic stochasticity or disasters causing metapopulation extinction. However, if newly restored or created sites are of low quality, they may act as sinks that draw individuals away from better quality sites to the detriment of metapopulation size. 2. Following intensive conservation effort, the metapopulation of roseate tern (Sterna dougallii) in NW Europe is recovering...

Data from: Benefits and costs of ecological restoration: rapid assessment of changing ecosystem service values at a UK wetland

Francine M. R. Hughes, Kelvin S. H. Peh, Andrew Balmford, Rob H. Field, Anthony Lamb, Jennifer C. Birch, Richard B. Bradbury, Claire Brown, Stuart H. M. Butchart, Martin Lester, Ross Morrison, Isabel Sedgwick, Chris Soans, Alison J. Stattersfield, Peter A. Stroh, Ruth D. Swetnam, David H. L. Thomas, Matt Walpole, Stuart Warrington & Kelvin S.-H. Peh
Restoration of degraded land is recognized by the international community as an important way of enhancing both biodiversity and ecosystem services, but more information is needed about its costs and benefits. In Cambridgeshire, U.K., a long-term initiative to convert drained, intensively farmed arable land to a wetland habitat mosaic is driven by a desire both to prevent biodiversity loss from the nationally important Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve (Wicken Fen NNR) and to increase the...

Data from: Urban development, land sharing and land sparing: the importance of considering restoration

Lydia Collas, Rhys E. Green, Alexander Ross, Josie H. Wastell & Andrew Balmford
1. At present, there is limited knowledge of how best to reconcile urban development with biodiversity conservation, and in particular whether populations of wild species would be greater under low-density housing (with larger gardens), or high-density housing (allowing more area to be left as undeveloped green spaces). The land sharing/sparing framework – originally developed in the context of farming – can be applied to address this question. 2. We sampled the abundance of trees in...

Data from: Geographical variation in species' population responses to changes in temperature and precipitation

James W. Pearce-Higgins, Nancy Ockendon, David J. Baker, Jamie Carr, Elizabeth C. White, Rosamunde E. A. Almond, Tatsuya Amano, Esther Bertram, Richard B. Bradbury, Cassie Bradley, Stuart H. M. Butchart, Nathalie Doswald, Wendy Foden, David J. C. Gill, Rhys E. Green, William J. Sutherland & Edmund V. J. Tanner
Despite increasing concerns about the vulnerability of species’ populations to climate change, there has been little overall synthesis of how individual population responses to variation in climate differ between taxa, with trophic level or geographically. To address this, we extracted data from 132 long-term (≥20 years) studies of population responses to temperature and precipitation covering 236 animal and plant species across terrestrial and freshwater habitats. Temperature tended to have a greater overall impact on populations...

Data from: Tweeting birds: online mentions predict future citations in ornithology

Tom Finch, Nina O'Hanlon & Steve P. Dudley
The rapid growth of online tools to communicate scientific research raises the important question of whether online attention is associated with citations in the scholarly literature. The Altmetric Attention Score (AAS) quantifies the attention received by a scientific publication on various online platforms including news, blogs and social media. It has been advanced as a rapid way of gauging the impact of a piece of research, both in terms of potential future scholarly citations and...

Buoys with looming eyes deter seaducks and could potentially reduce seabird bycatch in gillnets

Yann Rouxel, Rory Crawford, Ian R. Cleasby, Pete Kibel, Ellie Owen, Veljo Volke, Alexandra K. Schnell & Steffen Oppel
Bycatch of seabirds in gillnet fisheries is a global conservation issue with an estimated 400,000 seabirds killed each year. To date, no underwater deterrents trialled have consistently reduced seabird bycatch across operational fisheries. Using a combination of insights from land-based strategies, seabirds’ diving behaviours and their cognitive abilities, we developed a floating device exploring the effect of large eyespots and looming movement to prevent vulnerable seabirds from diving into gillnets. Here, we tested whether this...

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