ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202306.0029.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Ecology Keywords: PLUS model; InVEST model; Land use; Habitat quality; Temperate desert subzone of Ordos Plateau
Online: 1 June 2023 (05:33:45 CEST)
Habitat quality has great significance for regional ecological conservation and human welfare. In this study, we evaluated the spatial and temporal characteristics of land use and habitat quality in the temperate desert sub-region of Ordos Plateau using patch-generating land use simulation (PLUS) and integrated valuation of ecosystem services and trade-offs (InVEST) models. From 2000 to 2020, the areas of grassland, cropland, and unused land in the study area increased significantly; the areas of water bodies and woodland increased slightly; and the area of wasteland decreased significantly. Moreover, the habitat quality in the temperate desert subzone of the Ordos Plateau showed a trend of increasing and then decreasing from 2000 to 2020. The areas of lower and low habitat quality first decreased and then increased, and the overall area decreased over time. Conversely, the areas of high and higher habitat quality initially increased and then decreased, and the overall area increased over time. The area of medium habitat quality first decreased and then increased, although the overall change was minimal. Based on the PLUS model, the habitat quality of the study area in 2025 predicted under the natural development scenario was compared with that predicted under the ecological conservation scenario, showing higher habitat quality and lower habitat degradation under the ecological conservation development scenario. These results can be used to provide a scientific basis and decision reference for the sustainable use of land resources and high-quality socio-economic development in the temperate desert sub-region of the Ordos Plateau.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202311.0617.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Ecology Keywords: habitat suitability; data-driven model; artificial light at night; riparian habitat; firefly
Online: 9 November 2023 (11:13:53 CET)
The Genji firefly is a key symbol of the conservation and management of rural environments. The species lives underwater as larvae, in the soil when they pupate, and emerges on the ground as adults. Because of the large differences in habitat conditions between larvae and adults, the habitat requirements of the Genji firefly must be clarified over a wide range, from the instream to the surrounding riparian environment. In this study, we built a habitat suitability model for the Genji firefly by relating local landscape features to the number of individuals surveyed in a small river in an agricultural watershed. For habitat suitability modelling, tree-based machine learning methods, namely Random Forests (RF) and classification and regression trees (CART), are used to model species distributions and extract quantitative information on their ecological characteristics. Because the model performance on the test dataset was poor, we removed noisy absences using model outputs from the RF computation using the entire dataset. As a result, we observed improved model performance, in which there seems to be an optimal level for removing noisy absences. Variable importance and partial dependence plots were then used to visualize the relationship between the local landscape features and habitat suitability of the adult firefly. Detailed information on landscape features extracted using RF and CART is useful for a deeper understanding of the ecology of the Genji fireflies.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202305.1484.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: urbanization; urban parks; lead; copper; zinc; habitat selection; habitat choice; body mass
Online: 22 May 2023 (09:34:37 CEST)
In response to long-lasting high levels of Metallic Trace Elements (MTEs) in urban soils, we expect soil invertebrates inhabiting urban environments to have evolved detection and avoidance and/or tolerance mechanisms to MTE pollution. In this study, I used artificial soils with concentrations of lead, zinc, copper, chromium and nickel that reflect pollution levels in soils of Parisian parks. Using choice experiments, I compared habitat preference (i.e. the occurrence of individuals in the polluted vs. unpolluted soil) and health status (i.e. body mass maintenance, mobility, mortality) between three species of endogeic earthworms – Apporectodea caliginosa, Apporectodea icterica and Allolobophora chlorotica – originating either from urban or rural grasslands. This study highlights a clear avoidance of MTE polluted soils in all three species, as well as MTE-induced health impairments, especially in A. chlorotica. Interestingly, earthworm response to MTE exposure only slightly differed between earthworms from urban and rural origin, suggesting the absence of widespread acclimatization or adaptation mechanisms to MTE pollution in cities. As a consequence, MTE pollution is expected to significantly shape earthworm spatial distribution in both urban and rural environments and, as a consequence, affect ecosystem functioning.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202307.0934.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: land use change; land use conflict; PLUS model; SSPs-RCP scenario; habitat quality; Qin-Ba Mountains
Online: 13 July 2023 (13:32:02 CEST)
In the future, the pursuit of high-quality economic development and a focus on ecological environmental protection in China will inevitably result in significant conflicts between land use and ecological land use. The challenge lies in achieving sustainable high-quality development while simultaneously protecting the ecological environment, optimizing the land use structure, and promoting a harmonious relationship between humans and the land. These challenges are faced by all regions. Land use conflicts primarily occur in peri-urban areas characterized by prominent economic development and urban agglomeration. Previous studies have mainly focused on analyzing the effects of land use on habitat quality during intense urbanization. However, it is important to recognize that land pressure encompasses economic, ecological, and social aspects. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the spatial conflict of land use and the impact on habitat quality in Ankang, a city that has been advocating ecological protection for the past two decades, this study aims to objectively analyze the spatial trends in land use changes in such cities. Additionally, it aims to provide insights for the harmonious development of land use in eco-region-oriented cities. Using the SSP-RCP scenarios provided by CMIP6, this paper employs a system analysis method, PLUS model, InVEST model, and land use conflict measurement model to dynamically simulate the future habitat quality and spatial conflict patterns of land use in Ankang City. The study explores the spatial coupling effect of both factors under different scenarios. The results indicate the following:(1) Under different future shared socio-economic path scenarios, land use intensity and land conflict levels follow the order of SSP585 (high forcing scenario), SSP370 (medium to high forcing scenario), SSP245 (medium forcing scenario), and SSP126 (low forcing scenario), with intensity and conflict decreasing accordingly. (2) The overall development trend in Ankang City reveals an intensification of land use conflicts and a decrease in habitat quality. The expansion rate of construction land is increasing and exhibiting aggregation, while agricultural land area is expanding and forest land area is continuously decreasing. (3) Land use intensity exhibits a significant positive correlation with land conflict levels, while land conflict levels demonstrate a significant negative correlation with habitat quality. These findings suggest that land use has had some impact on the ecological environment, with indications of habitat degradation. Even in Ankang, where ecological development is highly valued, the city will gradually face conflicts between ecological protection and economic development in future scenarios. The study highlights that Ankang's future development space will be constrained within the context of environmental protection, leading to greater land use conflicts in urban and surrounding areas. Consequently, the quality of habitats will inevitably decline. Therefore, it is crucial to allocate sufficient space for economic development while simultaneously prioritizing ecological protection. This approach will ensure a healthy economic development trajectory and foster a harmonious relationship between humans and the land.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0079.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Anatomy And Physiology Keywords: Environmental heterogeneity; Habitat; Anthropization; Chiropterans
Online: 2 June 2021 (12:47:01 CEST)
Bats play important ecosystem roles. Anthropogenic activities cause the decrease and loss of biological diversity and, consequently, the loss of these ecosystem services. One way of measuring local habitat conditions and relating the landscape to biodiversity. Our objective is to investigate how the bat community is influenced by this change in the landscape. Collections were carried out at five points and 76 individuals of 12 species are sampled. Although the points present a high variation in relation to land use, we did not observe any correlation between species richness and guilds with land use. However, the difference in the composition of the guilds is related to the variation in land use, in which 74% of the variation in the abundance of guilds is related to the different patterns of land use. At SENAI, even though it was the place with the greatest anthropic impact, it was the one with the greatest abundance of species, while the points Module two and Sítio Jaburu had the greatest abundance of guilds. This result corroborates the idea that ecosystem services are dependent on habitat maintenance, since the greater the heterogeneity the greater the difference in the composition of the trophic guilds.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0676.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Anatomy And Physiology Keywords: habitat modeling; helmeted hornbill; conservation
Online: 27 September 2020 (10:57:45 CEST)
Helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil) is a protected wildlife in Indonesia according to enactment no. 5, 1999 about Conservation of Natural Resources and its Ecosystems and Government Regulation no. 9, 1999 about plant and wildlife preservation. Helmeted Hornbill habitats spread in five country regions: Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia (Malayan Peninsula and Serawak), Brunei, and Indonesia (Sumatra and Borneo). Silokek Geopark which located in Sijunjung Regency, West Sumatra Province, Indonesia is an identified location of Helmeted Hornbill habitat existence. Beside its uniqueness in physics, this bird also have an ecological function as seed dispersal in nature. The utilization of Remote Sensing (RS) technology and and Geographic Information System (GIS) is highly useful in identification the Helmeted Hornbill habitat distribution in this research. Geographic dateset used in this research are Landsat OLI 8 imagery, Shuttle Radar Topographic Model (SRTM), Coordinate points of Helmeted Hornbill existence and location assesment, and other dataset related to administration boundary in Silokek Geopark. This research aims to find conservation priority zone of Helmeted Hornbill in Silokek Geopark. By utilizing Maximun Entropy (MaxEnt) algorithm with finding points and location assessment, we can determine the distribution of Helmeted Hornbill habitat in Silokek Geopark based on habitat likeness. This research produces the model of conservation priority zones in geopark silokek which are distributed in hilly protected forest area and the distributions are concentrated in the center and noth east part of our researc area. This model is highly influenced by forest texture (25.7%), distance of patches (24.3%), and distance of settlement.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0617.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Paleontology Keywords: elevation; habitat; hippo; Pleistocene; river
Online: 26 September 2020 (06:50:16 CEST)
In the late Pleistocene, a prehistoric hippo species was distributed from Africa to the Asia including Pakistan, India, and Java island. This study aims to model habitat suitability of Asian hippo known as a Hippopotamus sivalensis spp. in east Java. The measured parameters included the fossil locality, vegetation cover, elevation, and distance to the river in a forest river basin sizing 6652 Ha. Those parameters using GIS were weighted, overlaid, and interpolated to determine the most suitable habitats. The model projected that the suitable habitats of H. sivalensis spp. were in the central of the basin near the river. The largest suitable habitats were located in the eastern parts of basin which were dominated by forests
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0355.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Paleontology Keywords: Bovid; forest; habitat; model; Pleistocene
Online: 16 September 2020 (08:33:49 CEST)
The migration routes have facilitated the distribution of mammals from south east Asian mainland to the Sundaland including Java island in the early Pleistocene. One of species that has migrated through that route is antelope-like bovid Duboisia santeng. In the present study, the potential distribution areas and the suitable habitats of D. santeng have been projected and modeled. The modeled habitat was a forest river basin sizing 302.91 Ha in the central of Java island. The model has classified and reconstructed the habitat suitability ranged from low to high back to Pleistocene. The surrounding areas of forest were mostly classified as medium and low related to the limited tree covers. Most suitable habitats were identified in the middle of forest river basin where the tree covers were presented
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0757.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Anatomy And Physiology Keywords: habitat connectivity; movements of organisms; nutrient transport; offshore ecological restoration; artificial habitat; biodiversity conservation
Online: 31 March 2021 (10:12:41 CEST)
Ecological connectivity, as a research method related to spatial ecology and conservation biology, has attracted increasing attention from researchers at home and abroad in recent years. Habitat connectivity, as a key link in ecological connectivity, is of great significance to promote offshore ecological restoration and protection. However, there has been less systematic research about habitat connectivity, which lacks corresponding theories and practices. Therefore, this paper discusses habitat connectivity from three aspects: (1) the concept of habitat connectivity is introduced and clarified, (2) the application of connectivity in artificial habitat and adjacent waters and its relationship with biodiversity conservation are reviewed and illustrated with examples, and (3) the future development trends of this research direction are summarized and prospected, in order to provide a scientific basis and useful reference for the related work of offshore restoration projects in China. Generally, this paper argues that an increase in human behavior irreversibly destroys the connectivity of marine habitats and threatens the temporal scales of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Therefore, the theoretical research results and practical experience of ecological connectivity should be fully applied to marine ecosystems, and the restoration of degraded ecosystems should be encouraged and supported in ways that promote natural recovery.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0509.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science And Meteorology Keywords: Habitat use; model; megalodon; Java; shark
Online: 25 January 2021 (15:05:04 CET)
Otodus megalodon is known as the biggest shark ever alive and recent records show this species was only existed in America, Africa and Europe continents in the last Miocene period 20 million years ago (Ma). Recently, megalodon teeth have been discovered in South coast of West Java. Here this study aims to present and model the presence of O. megalodon. The length of the excavated tooth was ranging from 13 to 19 cm. The lithological analysis shows that the tooth was found in Miocene rock layers. Paleogeographic model shows that during Miocene southern parts of Java island were submerged including the recent locations where the megalodon tooth have been found. Half parts of the modeled West Java were an ocean with depth ranging from 0 to 200 m. High habitat use preferences by juvenile megalodon were estimated in the shelf (depth 0-40 m) with the size of 1365 km2 . Whereas habitat use preference by adult megalodon was low at this depth. Both juvenile and adult habitat use frequencies were low at a depth of between 80 m and 160 m. Habitat use preferences were increasing at a depth of > 200 m. After Miocene, the paleoclimate records show a decline in temperature and lead to the decline of whale population in ocean. The declining of megalodon’s prey explains the declining of this giant shark especially in post Miocene and early Pliocene periods.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0498.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Anatomy And Physiology Keywords: Sun bear; ecosystem; habitat; spatial modeling
Online: 24 August 2020 (02:58:29 CEST)
The sun bear is conservation mammal in Indonesia. The ecological problems as conflict among mammals and human often happen around wildlife, the one of the case is the conflict between sun bear (helarctos malayanus) with human. In Pasaman where around the anthropogenic landscape is bounded by natural forest as sun bear habitat. In this decade, the story has recorded about ±16 incidents. The aim of this research is to geospatial modeling the area of potential conflict between sun bear- human. The method in this research is to use natural logarithmic and regression logistic. The tool is geographical information system and maximum entropy. The result of this research, there has found the distribute energy each variable landscape ecosystem. The statistical model of the potential conflict it has spread on landscape ecosystem. The average value of AUC prediction in this model is at number of 0.91. The variable contribution which affect are forest edge at number of 39.2%, the alternative food (plantation) at number of 31.4%, and forest fragmentation at number of 16.9%.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0243.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Forestry Keywords: Habitat types, visual differences, landscape characteristics.
Online: 13 July 2018 (17:07:05 CEST)
The unique qualities of areas with natural landscape features help provide sustainability. Moreover, their different vegetation covers and ecosystems contribute to the preservation of their visual attraction. In recent years, the demand for natural areas has not only been seen at a recreational level, but has also become associated with the conservation and sustainability of those areas. Although the concept of sustainability is expressed from an ecological point of view, studies indicate that the visual aspect is also an important component. Thus, in this study, a visual quality assessment was carried out which considered both objective and subjective evaluations of different habitat types. Efteni lake-wetland and Melen Ağzı dunes (Düzce), Anzer, Ayder, and Çat Düzü highlands (Rize), and Sultanmurat and Taşli highlands (Trabzon) were selected as the study areas. A visual quality analysis was conducted with a total of 43 participants (23 students, 16 local inhabitants and four lecturers) in order establish their preferences in areas with different landscape characteristics. For the determination of the visual qualifications of these areas, a total of 24 photographs showing typical images representing each habitat type (three photographs for each) were employed. Taking perceptual parameters into consideration, assessment of visual quality was made according to the points given to each photo by the participants. Consequently, differences in visual quality were found to be influenced by the demographic status of the participants, differences in habitat types, recreational trends and the conservation status of the habitats.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0476.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Aquatic Science Keywords: Trophic ecology; ecological plasticity; European catfish; pelagic habitat; littoral habitat; commercial fishermen; stomach content analyses; commercial harvest
Online: 24 August 2021 (16:14:00 CEST)
Ecological information of invasive alien species are crucial for their effective management. How-ever, they are often lacking in newly invaded ecosystems. This is the case of the European catfish Silurus glanis L. in Lake Maggiore where the species is present since 1990 but no scientific infor-mation are available on its ecology. To start filling this knowledge gap, 236 catfish (67 cm to 150 cm of total length) were collected, measured, and dissected for stomach content analyses from three localities and in two habitats (littoral vs. pelagic) in late autumn/early winter. NPUE and BPUE (individuals and biomass (g) per unit effort (m2)) of catfish was generally higher in littoral (NPUE > 0.01; BPUE > 96) than pelagic habitats (NPUE < 0.009; BPUE < 114) but catfish had, on average, larger sizes in pelagic habitats. Overall, 581 individual prey items were recorded belonging to12 taxa. Pelagic catfish specialized their diet exclusively on three prey fish (coregonids, shad and roach) whilst the diet of littoral catfish was more variable, and was dominated by crayfish, perch, and roach. These results highlighted for the first time the interaction of larger catfish with the lake’s pelagic food web, and thus possible consequences are discussed, including the potential contrasting role S. glanis may have for the lake’s fishery.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202307.0712.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: avifauna; checklist; habitat variation; species diversity; Vavuniya
Online: 13 July 2023 (07:11:21 CEST)
Vavuniya District is located in the lowland dry zone district of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, which is still unexplored with a natural forest cover of 1,238 km2. Literature relates to the avifaunal birds is still a gap in the Vavuniya, as there are already studies about the diversity of water avifaunal species. In addition to that, the habitat diversity within the study area was discussed using a prepared checklist and the community indices like the Shannon-Weiner index (H’), Simpson’s diversity index (D), Simpson’s evenness (E), and Species richness (R) across various habitat ecosystems: Woodland-Paddy land (H1); Woodland-Water catchment area (H2); Forest (H3); Grassland with inundated land ecosystem (H4); and Manage garden with Occasional trees (H5); of the Pampaimadu premise, University of Vavuniya. The study area is located 10 km from the center of Vavuniya along the A30 highway, with the dry-mixed evergreen forest as vegetation. The checklist resulted in the observation of 93 avifaunal species belonging to 47 families (including 9 endemics, and 5 nationally threatened species). Family Columbidae (Rock Pigeon: Columba livia (n=123)) is found (68%) to be observed with the highest frequency and evenly distributed across different habitats but the family Ardeidae is found extensively dominating in H5 (39%). H1 is with the highest H` (3.5) and D (0.96); while H3 has the highest R (2.52) and E (0.62). Many anthropogenic disturbances, such as habitat alterations, intentional wildfire, and road mortality are the key threats encountered by the avifaunal species in the study area.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202305.1879.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: Tagging; Home Range; Habitat Use; Movement Patterns
Online: 26 May 2023 (07:34:27 CEST)
The reef manta ray (Mobula alfredi) is a highly mobile and plankton-feeding species, classified vulnerable to extinction on the IUCN Red List for Threatened Species. Knowledge on their spatial ecology and the extent of their dispersal remain incomplete, especially within island-fragmented habitats as found in New Caledonia. Satellite telemetry was used to investigate the horizontal movement ecology of reef manta rays in New Caledonia. A total of 21 manta rays were tagged with pop-up satellite archival transmitting tags (21 Fastloc and 2 MiniPAT) that remained deployed for a duration ranging from 3 to 180 days (mean ± SE = 76.7 ± 50.3). Rays presented a strong site fidelity and an important affinity for coastal waters. Long-distance migrations (> 300 km) were also observed, mainly through coastal and shallow water paths. Horizontal movements were compared to a home range area and classified into four distinct patterns: Fidelity, Excursion, Fidelity + Relocation and Relocation. The most dominant pattern was Fidelity where manta rays remained within their home range for the whole duration of the tag deployment. Our findings may assist the design of more appropriate management strategies for the species in New Caledonia and other regions worldwide.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201903.0213.v4
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: compensatory habitat, frog, invertebrate, predation, reintroduction, tadpoles
Online: 2 April 2019 (15:25:57 CEST)
The role of invertebrate predation in shaping vertebrate communities is often underestimated or overlooked, which has resulted in the lack of their recognition in conservation planning. This is evident with predaceous diving beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae) which are often the top predator in many aquatic freshwater habitats. During weekly monitoring of a compensatory habitat reintroduction for an endangered frog species, a group of a dozen adult diving beetles were encountered attacking and quickly dismembering and consuming a tadpole. A single adult diving beetle was also discovered burrowing its head deep inside and consuming a tadpole approximately three to four times its size. Although Dytiscidae are known to occasionally consume vertebrates such as tadpoles, adults are typically considered scavengers, and this communal predatory behavior and feeding method have not been previously documented. Besides these interesting novel behaviors, these observations may have implications for amphibian conservation since management efforts are not typically concerned with naturally occurring ubiquitous threats such as those from small invertebrate predators, as it is rarely been observed in nature. However, this may be perhaps due to their ability to consume prey rapidly, especially if predating in groups. Although amphibian conservation plans expect some losses from natural predation, diving beetles may affect conservation efforts such as captive breeding and reintroductions with populations already on the threshold of extinction and where every individual critical to success.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202306.1451.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: Mantidactylus pauliani; Ankaratra; landscape; habitat type; season; distribution.
Online: 20 June 2023 (14:41:41 CEST)
Mountain summit in Madagascar have generally a specific habitat and that figure home a local endemicity of herpetofauna. Mantidactylus pauliani, a typically aquatic and critically endangered amphibian from Ankaratra Mountain, is among of them. This species inhabits high elevation with restricted distribution range. Our study highlights here a new data of this species and its viability with environmental change. So that, we carried out annual monitoring from 2018 to 2021. Nine fixed transects of 100 m were done along the streams between 1762 and 2378 m a.s.l. We followed the herpetofaunal standard technique for collecting data (systematic ecological niche searching and direct observation), and data analysis was performed using χ² tests and Fac-tor Correspondence Analysis. Here we present the new ecological data of M. pauliani. This spe-cies home between 1900 - 2378 m a.s.l. within the humid forest and savannah habitat. We noticed also a fluctuation in population size and migration to the upper throughout the years across the season, and the stream quality and volume of water variation. This habitat change makes it vul-nerable and the annual bushfire surrounding plays a negative impact. Knowledge and under-standing of its ecological guilds is needed for running and updating conservation activities
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202202.0092.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: Carnivores; Habitat suitability; Landscape gradients; Scrublands; Woodlands; Wildfires.
Online: 7 February 2022 (15:10:29 CET)
Wildfires are important sources of landscape change in Mediterranean environments, creating large patches of natural habitats (i.e., scrublands) inside protected areas, whereas woodland patches remained at the border in the vicinity of human settlements. Landscape patterns resulting from these gradients influence habitat suitability for mesocarnivores regarding food and shelter. In winter and summer 2019, we sampled 16 independent line-transects of four camera traps each (for a total of 64 cameras), covering the main habitats of the study area (woodlands, scrublands, and crops). Cameras were baited to compensate for low detectability of target species, and mesocarnivore contacts were analyzed by means of GLMMs and occupancy models. We hypothesized that Mediterranean mesocarnivores were constrained by two opposing forces, pushing them living in semi-natural but highly fragmented and heterogeneous landscapes created by humans, or living in natural but less suitable and continuous habitats created by fire regimes. In the former case, mesocarnivores will find protection against predators and resting sites in forests, as well as improved food opportunities in crops and urban areas, despite the possible interference with humans and their pets. Potential cascading effects linked to ecological roles of Mediterranean mesocarnivores on the succession of Mediterranean landscapes would imply longer-term effects of human disturbance on landscape trends.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0383.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Salamandridae; Calotriton; arnoldi; Montseny Brook Newt; Habitat Management
Online: 26 October 2021 (12:28:00 CEST)
Calotriton arnoldi is an endemic amphibian inhabiting Montseny Natural Park and Biosphere Re-serve (PNRBM). It was recognized as a new taxon in 2005 by means of genetic and morphologi-cal analyses and, due to its small distribution range and population size, it was listed as “Criti-cally endangered (CR)” by IUCN. Its area of distribution is small and fragmented less than line-ar 5 km. The Montseny Brook Newt is adapted to mountain streams and requires a pristine hab-itat, one which is currently being affected by conservation issues linked to climate change and human activities (logging, water catchments, visitor’s frequency, among others). At the end of 2016, the Life Tritó del Montseny (LifeTM) project (LIFE15 NAT/ES/000757) was launched. This project’s aim was to promote around fifty actions to ensure the conservation of C. arnoldi and its natural habitat, in the Montseny SCI of the Natura 2000 Network, with five strategic lines: 1) To increase scientific and technical knowledge with regard to C. arnoldi conservation status and its habitat management. 2) To ensure its genetic conservation and expand its geographic distribu-tion 3) To eliminate or minimize threats that exist in the riparian habitat. 4) To Involve and en-gage stakeholders and local residents in the conservation of Montseny brook newt riparian hab-itats. 5) To establish proper legal coverage and define long-term strategic planning. Since 2017, several actions linked to the strategic lines 1 and 3 have been initiated. Many unforeseen events have been overcome and there have been some failures, but there have also been several satis-factory results that allow us to be optimistic about the future of the species. These achievements and failures obtained throughout the process provide us with essential information to develop an adaptive habitat management. Dozens of monitoring surveys have been carried out which allow us to understand the evolution of natural populations, to improve our knowledge re-garding their biology and to assess the impact of conservation actions. In relation to eliminating or minimizing threats to the newt’s habitat, some of the actions that are being carried out are: a) Land acquisitions and land exchanges with different private properties. b) Land stewardship with two custody agreements being signed. c) Reduction of water withdrawal with nine water catchments and distribution being remodeled. e) Improvement of water treatments and storage by installing ecological wastewater treatment facilities. f) Ensure ecological connectivity and ri-parian forest restoration by removing twenty-two river connectivity barriers removed and exe-cuting twelve forestry and bioengineering interventions within the riverside habitat. With re-gard to analyzing the conservation status, management activities and scientific and technical knowledge, active long-term monitoring of the newt population and hydrological conditions has begun. Here we present an evaluation of the actions carried out to improve the habitat of this species, including the necessary considerations for them to be implemented correctly and to be successful in a natural area, which is under public-private management.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0480.v2
Subject: Engineering, Aerospace Engineering Keywords: invasive species; thermal imaging; habitat identification; deep learning
Online: 21 September 2020 (06:01:38 CEST)
Invasive species are significant threats to global agriculture and food security being the major causes of crop loss. An operative biosecurity policy requires full automation of detection and habitat identification of the potential pests and pathogens. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) mounted thermal imaging cameras can observe and detect pest animals and their habitats, and estimate their population size around the clock. However, their effectiveness becomes limited due to manual detection of cryptic species in hours of captured flight videos, failure in habitat disclosure and the requirement of expensive high-resolution cameras. Therefore, the cost and efficiency trade-off often restricts the use of these systems. In this paper, we present an invasive animal species detection system that uses cost-effectiveness of consumer-level cameras while harnessing the power of transfer learning and an optimised small object detection algorithm. Our proposed optimised object detection algorithm named Optimised YOLO (OYOLO) enhances YOLO (You Only Look Once) by improving its training and structure for remote detection of elusive targets. Our system, trained on the massive data collected from New South Wales and Western Australia, can detect invasive species (rabbits, Kangaroos and pigs) in real-time with a higher probability of detection (85–100 %), compared to the manual detection. This work will enhance the visual analysis of pest species while performing well on low, medium and high-resolution thermal imagery, and equally accessible to all stakeholders and end-users in Australia via a public cloud.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201911.0376.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Insect Science Keywords: steppe; habitat fragmentation; carabid beetles; community; richness; abundance
Online: 29 November 2019 (10:40:21 CET)
It is well known that human activities and climate change have increased steppe habitat loss and fragmentation in Northwest China. Carabid beetles are often used as bioindicators of environmental change because they are extremely sensitive to disturbance. We chose 42 landscapes (18 fragmented and 24 continuous) in both desert and typical steppes of Northwest China to examine the influence of habitat loss and fragmentation on carabid beetle communities. The results showed the largest correlation coefficient between carabid communities and landscape compositions within a 7-km spatial scale in both desert and typical steppes. Further, the response of carabid communities to habitat fragmentation was species-specific in both desert and typical steppes. Habitat fragmentation in the desert steppe had positive effects on the richness and abundance of carabid communities, while in the typical steppe, the effects were negative. Additionally, habitat fragmentation significantly decreased the abundance of two common carabid species in the desert steppe. Therefore, the effects of habitat fragmentation on carabid biodiversity differ with species characteristics and habitat traits, where plant communities, soil structure, and microclimate vary in the different steppe types. The results of this study provide experimental evidence and technical support for biodiversity conservation management in the steppes of Northwest China.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201808.0065.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: Egrets and herons; MaxEnt; potential habitat; residential district
Online: 3 August 2018 (11:59:19 CEST)
Potential breeding habitat of egrets and herons was evaluated using the Maximum Entropy Model (MaxEnt). Model output can help guide management of nuisance egret and heron rookeries in urban forests of Daejeon Metropolitan City, Korea. This study examined 126 locations regarded as breeding sites of egrets and herons at the nationwide census conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Research between 2011 and 2012. In addition, 252 randomly selected locations were used to identify the significant variables among a total of 15 environmental variables within 4 factors (topography, natural environment, distance and climate). Twelve variables were significantly different between the breeding and randomly selected points. The final 10 variables were selected through Pearson’s correlation analysis. Using MaxEnt, breeding area was estimated using the 10 selected variables in Daejeon. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was 0.950, which was the average value through 10-fold cross-validation to estimate the model reliability. The potential breeding habitat for egrets and herons was estimated to be 106.69 km2 (19.76% of the total area) in Daejeon. Within the estimated potential habitat, 11.82 km2 (12.46%) were less than 50 m from the residential district while 79.85 km2 (88.92%) were more than 50m from the residential district. Discriminative management strategies considering the breeding location of egrets and herons should be applied not only to minimize conflicts with residents, but also to maintain stable egret and heron breeding sites in Daejeon, Korea.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202310.1646.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: Scaling laws; biodiversity; habitat loss; ecological networks; tipping points
Online: 26 October 2023 (03:41:36 CEST)
Preserving and restoring biodiversity is becoming a great challenge as we face a world where planetary boundaries will likely be crossed over the following decades. Such challenge needs to consider multiple scales of complexity, both in space and time. A common thread in most cases is the presence of nonlinear phenomena generating shifts among alternative states. These breaking points imply a new perception of risk and different management strategies. A broad range of phenomena affect the preservation of healthy communities and constrain the ways to deal with conservation, from local features associated with habitat loss or facilitation to mesoscale or global network-level ecological complexity and the role played by extreme events. How are these scales connected? How can the emergent properties associated with ecosystem dynamics be exploited? Here a synthesis of ideas is presented, with a complex systems view of the different scales involved, the emergent phenomena separating them, and the universal properties that allow defining simple models on each scale.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202310.0130.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: acetylcholine; adrenoceptors; environment; habitat; Tokara Islands; serotonin; snake; vasoreactivity
Online: 3 October 2023 (09:14:37 CEST)
Vasoreactivity is relatively well documented in terrestrial snakes, but has previously been investigated in only one semi-arboreal snake species. Consequently, the extent to which vasoreactivity is common across snake taxa, or varies by habitat is unclear. The Tokara habu (Protobothrops tokarensis) is a semi-arboreal snake endemic to only two small adjacent Japanese islands, and hence a useful species for further investigation of vasoreactivity. We evaluated responses to known vasoactive substances in thoracic aortas isolated from Tokara habu. Under resting tension, noradrenaline and angiotensin II induced concentration-dependent contraction, but acetylcholine, serotonin (5-hydroxytriptamine; 5-HT), and isoproterenol induced relaxation followed by contraction. Histamine and rattlesnake bradykinin had no effect. Experiments with receptor-specific antagonists suggest that M1 and M3 receptors are involved in the acetylcholine-induced response, 5-HT1, 5-HT2 and 5-HT7 receptors in the serotonin-induced response, and β1 and β2 receptors in isoproterenol-induced relaxation. NO may be involved in acetylcholine-induced relaxation, but not the responses to serotonin or isoproterenol. In contrast to the uniform vasoreactivity observed in terrestrial snakes, the vasoreactivity of semi-arboreal snakes may be governed by diverse regulatory mechanisms.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202309.0054.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: nature-based solutions; habitat types; urban planning; approach setting
Online: 1 September 2023 (10:18:33 CEST)
The study focuses on solving urban challenges such as temperature reduction, urban stormwater management, noise reduction, air quality improvement, and CO2 concentrations reduction, and suggests terrestrial and freshwater habitat types (HTs) found in Europe, as innovative forms of nature-based solutions (NBS) for them. Establishment of native HTs in different urban environments to solve urban challenges would enhance biodiversity at different levels and integrate this aspect in urban planning. This contribution builds on the recognition that surfaces of vegetated terrain are the most versatile NBS in addressing the broadest range of environmental problems in urban areas and that the processes running within these green spaces offer the key to socio-ecological improvements of such areas. Employing narrative literature review, qualitative content analysis, and interdisciplinary expert discussion this paper defines why and how native HTs of unchanged nature can be implemented as NBS in the urban environment, indicate potential HTs for specific urban challenges and presents an approach to the inclusion of HTs as NBS into spatial planning documents at national, regional, and local levels. The proposed planning approach attributes added value to HT, and by linking the concepts of NBS and HT integrates them into urban planning.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202211.0490.v2
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: Ticks; species distribution models; habitat suitability models; Illinois; climate
Online: 6 February 2023 (03:09:45 CET)
The greater U.S. Midwest is on the leading edge of tick and tick-borne disease (TBD) expansion, with tick and TBD encroachment into Illinois occurring from both the northern and the southern regions. To assess historical and future habitat suitability of four ticks of medical concern within the state, we fit individual and mean-weighted ensemble species distribution models for Ixodes scapularis, Amblyomma americanum, Dermacentor variabilis, and a newly invading species, Amblyomma maculatum using a variety of landscape and mean climate variables for the periods of 1970-2000, 2041-2060, and 2061-2080. Ensemble model projections for the historical climate were consistent with known distributions of each species but predicted the habitat suitability of A. maculatum to be much greater throughout Illinois than what known distributions demonstrate. Presence of forest and wetlands were the most important landcover classes predicting occurrence of all tick species. As the climate warmed, the expected distribution of all species became strongly responsive to precipitation and temperature variables, particularly precipitation of the warmest quarter and mean diurnal range, as well as proximity to forest cover and water sources. The suitable habitat all species was predicted to shrink in the 2050 climate scenario, and then increase more broadly statewide in the 2070 scenario, but at reduced likelihoods. Predicting where ticks may invade and concentrate as the climate changes will be important to anticipate, prevent, and treat TBD in Illinois.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0360.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: Dispersal range; nesting habitat; reproduction; caste system; ecological dominance
Online: 20 December 2022 (08:40:04 CET)
This review discusses the distribution pattern, nesting style, mating behavior, and colony structure of the Asian weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) in Asia. Recent findings suggested that weaver ant occurrences are not only limited to tropical rainforests biome, agroforestry and large monoculture fields, but have encroached human rural habitation including densely populated urban areas. Comparatively, O. longinoda and O. smaragdina are taxonomically classified as two distinct species, but the main differences between them are strongly dependent on the allopatric nature or geographical speciation of their distribution. Although weaver ants are dominant ubiquitous and conspicuous arboreal insects with a predilection for habitation in trees canopies, viable nests colonies on the ground have been reported in Thailand. O. smaragdina usually construct their polydomous nests (multiple satellites nests arrangement within a single host but diverse plants species) by weaving tree-leaves using their larval silk. Knowledge on mating behavior is rudimentary; hence more studies are needed especially in understanding how weather parameters affect nuptial flight swarming act. At the colony organization level, comprehensive reports about minor and major workers contrasts with the poorly documented but significant intermediate size of workers caste. The versatile impact of Asian Oecophylla is offering important ecological subsistence services to both the nature and humans. This is by combining positive economic implications to food security concern with a provision of organic nutrients for host plants and highly healthful diet enhancer (nourishing-medicinal). Despite its wide presence in large oil palms monoculture, only one report had exposed weaver ants’ potential positive ecological impact (i.e. predation on bagworms Pteroma pendula) in Southeast Asia.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0189.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Anatomy And Physiology Keywords: Portunus trituberculatu; climate change; species distribution model; suitable habitat
Online: 11 January 2021 (12:33:19 CET)
Species have shown their habital variations in responding to climate change, especially during the spring and summer spawning seasons. The species distribution model (SDM) is considered the most favorable tool to study the potential effects of climate change on species distribution. Therefore, we developed the ensemble SDM to predict the changes in species distribution of Portunus trituberculatus among different seasons in 2050 and 2100 under the climate scenarios RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. The results of SDM indicate that the distribution of this species will move northward and have obviouse seasonal variations. Meanwhile, the suitable habitat for the species will be significantly reduced in summer, with loses rates ranging from 45.23% (RCP4.5) to 88.26% (RCP.8.5) by 2100s. Habitat reduction will mainly occur in the East China Sea and southern part of the Yellow Sea, while there will be a small increase in the northern Bohai Sea. These findings will be important to manage the ecosystem and fishery, provide an information forecast of this species in the future, and maintain species diversity if the seawater temperature rises.
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: Biodiversity; Conservation; Extinction; Threat management; Habitat retention; Protected Areas.
Online: 19 October 2020 (11:08:56 CEST)
Earth’s extinction crisis is escalating, and threat classification schemes are increasingly important for assessing which human activities are the most prominent drivers of species declines. However, a quantitative understanding of the conservation responses needed to abate threatening processes, and avoid species extinctions, is often lacking. Here, we provide a threat abatement framework which groups threats based on the shared conservation goal of the actions needed to abate their impact. We apply this framework to Australia’s threatened species to quantify the relative importance of achieving different conservation response goals. Our analysis shows the most important conservation responses across Australia are habitat retention and restoration, due to the combined impact of threatening processes causing habitat destruction and degradation (e.g. logging, mining, urbanisation and agriculture), which affects the majority (86%) of Australia’s threatened species and the effective control of invasive species (82%). Most species also require conservation responses focussed on improved fire management (66%). We show that implementing responses in isolation will be inadequate for abating species extinctions as almost all species (89%) require multiple, integrated management responses to redress their threats. We also acknowledge that already small and potentially genetically compromised taxa may require more direct interventions (e.g. captive insurance populations or genetic rescue). Our analysis highlights the necessity of addressing multiple threats at appropriate geographic scales across Australia. Our threat abatement framework ensures that core conservation actions can be identified and aid recovery of threatened species, and can be applied to other geographic regions and conservation contexts.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201804.0146.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: species richness; latitudinal gradients; water-energy; habitat; animal richness
Online: 11 April 2018 (11:24:46 CEST)
Species data of 249 National Nature Reserves in China was used to identify potential underlying drivers of latitudinal gradients in plant diversity. We used generalized linear models (GLMs) to assess the correlations between predictor and response variables. We also used SAM (Spatial Analysis in Macroecology) to eliminate autocorrelation along each of the 249 studied locations. We used the Akaike information criterion (AICc; Montoya et al. 2007) to select the independent variables were those included in the best models from different combinations of climate, habitat and animal variables. Variance partitioning was used to decompose the variation in plant richness across different taxonomic levels among the three groups of predictors. We found that: Total plant species, gymnosperms, angiosperms and ferns showed significant latitudinal trends in richness (p < 0.001). Water-energy and habitat variables generally explained more variation in richness across different plant groups than did animal richness. Annual precipitation was selected as the best water-energy variable across different taxonomic plants groups, soil PH and elevation range were selected as the best habitat variables across different taxonomic plant groups. The independent effects of habitatvariables were higher than that of water-energy and animal variables across different taxonomic plants groups. Water-energy, habitat heterogeneity, and animal variables explain 48.8% of the variation in total species richness, 28.2% in gymnosperm richness, 44.2% in angiosperm richness, and 38.9% in fern richness.Plants showed significant latitudinal trends in richness (p < 0.001). Water-energy and habitat variables generally explained more variation in richness across different taxonomic plants groups than did animal variables. The independent effects of habitat variables were higher than those of water-energy and animal variables across different taxonomic plants groups.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201612.0036.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: conservation; governance; habitat loss; livelihood; eco-tourism; carbon credits
Online: 7 December 2016 (11:13:38 CET)
Establishment of protected areas (PAs) is one of the key global conservation strategies that currently cover approximately 15% of the earth’s land surface. Globally, PA networks are designed to curb the growing anthropogenic pressures in areas with high biological diversity. Despite the importance of PAs in conserving the vanishing biodiversity and unique habitats, many of them are in critical condition due to poor governance thus functioning below the expected level. Moreover, in many developing countries, the PA coverage is below the global standard. Recognizing their contemporary role in conservation, governments have recently agreed to expand the global PA coverage to 17% by the year 2020 (Aichi target 11). This book with eight chapters from different regions of the world provides an overview of the PAs governance, institutional mechanisms, conservation benefits, limitations and challenges associated with their respective policy discourse, integrated management, and functional attributes. Protected areas expect to to play an important role in the long rn in conservation and protection of biodiversity and ecosystems particularly in countries where population pressure and habitat loss are high. Regular intervention, political commitment, and effective governance are essential for the sustainability of PAs across the world. Here, we also attempted to shed some light on future development clues for the sustainable management and monitoring of PAs worldwide.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202307.0426.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: Cold temperate zone; moose; habitat; landscape pattern; landscape ecological risk
Online: 6 July 2023 (11:45:21 CEST)
The change of habitat pattern is one of the key factors affecting the survival of moose population. The study of habitat landscape pattern is the key to protect Chinese cold temperate forest moose population and monitor the global distribution of moose. By means of MaxEnt model, landscape index calculation and ecological risk assessment model, combined with field survey and infrared camera monitoring data from April 2014 to January 2023, the author evaluated the habitat suitability of moose population in Nanwenghe National Nature Reserve of the Great Khingan Mountains, and divided the range of moose habitat based on the logical threshold of the model. The landscape pattern index of moose habitat was calculated by Fragstats software and a landscape ecological risk assessment model was established to analyze the landscape pattern and ecological risk dynamic changes of moose habitat in 2015 and 2020. The results showed that under the premise of global warming, the habitat landscape contagion index decreased by 4.53 and the split index increased by 4.86 from 2015 to 2020. In terms of ecological risk: the area of low ecological risk areas increased by 0.88%; the area of medium ecological risk areas decreased by 1.11%; and the area of higher ecological risk areas increased by 0.23%. The fragmentation risk of landscape pattern of moose habitat tends to increase, the preferred patch type is dispersed, the degree of aggregation is low, and the risk of patch type transformation increases. And the middle and high ecological risk areas are mainly concentrated in the river area and its nearby forests, showing a fine and scattered distribution. Under the interference of global warming and human activities, the fragmenta-tion trend of moose habitat in the study area is increasing, and the habitat quality is declining, which is likely to cause moose population migration. For this reason, the author believes that the whole cold temperate forest is likely to face the risk of increasing the transformation trend of dominant patch types in the cold temperate coniferous forest region mainly caused by global warming, resulting in an in-crease in the risk of habitat fragmentation. While the distribution range of moose is reduced, it has a significant impact on the diversity and ecological integrity of the whole cold temperate forest ecosystem. This study is helpful for human beings to strengthen their awareness of forest and river protection, avoid further intervention in more human activities, and formulate a reasonable plan for forest protec-tion and sustainable development in cold temperate zones. to provide theoretical reference for effective monitoring and protection of cold temperate forest and moose population dynamics.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0539.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: Araucanía Region; species composition; habitat fragmentation; carnivorous mammals; nested subsets.
Online: 22 March 2021 (14:23:29 CET)
Abstract: The probability of existence or not of local extinctions of six species of carnivorous mammals was analyzed by ordering the species composition in nested subsets in 7 fragments of forest habitats in the Coastal Mountains in the Araucanía Region, in southern Chile. Nested Temperature Calculator (NTC) and BINMATNEST computer programs were used to process the results. The first software provided a temperature in the archipelago of 28.21 degree Celsius, whereas the second program showed a nesting temperature of 16.58 degree Celsius. The computer software used in this study suggest that there is no nesting pattern at the level species composition of carnivorous mammal assemblage in the evaluated area, which may be due to the habitat use characteristics of the different carnivorous mammals studied here.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202010.0251.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: African Swine Fever; wild boar; deterrent; carcass, habitat cycle, endemic
Online: 12 October 2020 (15:31:08 CEST)
African swine fever (ASF) is a viral infection of pigs and represents a major threat to animal health and trade. Due to the high tenacity of the causative virus also in carcasses of wild boar, contacts of wild boar with infectious carcasses are regarded an important driver of the so-called habitat cycle. The latter is believed to play a major role in maintaining the present ASF situation in wild boar in Europe. Therefore, search campaigns and timely removal and disposal of carcasses are considered important disease control approaches. If timely disposal is not feasible due to logistic reasons, deterrence of wild boar could be a provisionary option. The performance of seven deterrents (physical and chemical) was tested in a forest near Greifswald, Germany. Carcasses as entities of attraction for wild boar were substituted by luring sites. It could be demonstrated that certain physical (LED-Blinkers, aluminum stripes) and chemical (Wildschwein-Stopp™, Hukinol™) deterrents are capable of reducing significantly the odds of wild boar contacts to one third. It is recommended to carry a choice of the aforementioned, reasonable and easy to apply deterrents, when carcass search campaigns are launched in case of an outbreak of ASF in wild boar.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201902.0120.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: DHABSIM; iRIC suite; numerical modelling; Po River; River2D; river habitat
Online: 13 February 2019 (15:36:43 CET)
Numerical modelling is becoming a major tool for supporting environmental studies at different scales, thanks to the capability of up-to-date codes in reproducing the natural behaviour in a quite reliable manner. In evaluating the habitat diversity of anthropized rivers, however, many issues are rising because of the intrinsic complexity of the processes involved. Using a reach of the Po River in Italy as a case study, the present works aims to provide an estimate of the changes of the Eco-Environmental Diversity as a response to different constant flow discharges. The goals are achieved by means of two solvers of the iRIC suite, applied in sequence to firstly simulate the fluvial hydrodynamics and subsequently provide an estimate of the habitat conditions. Despite the simplifications intrinsically present in the models and the ones introduced for practical purposes, the results pointed out that the reduction of the flow discharge recently observed can threat the overall biological status of the river. Because of the modelling uncertainties, on the other side, these preliminary outcomes show the need for more research, both in terms of data acquisition and numerical schematization, for adequately evaluate the effects of transient hydrology on the river ecosystems. Moreover, additional field surveys are necessary to calibrate and validate the used model for having sufficiently reliable estimates.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202308.1260.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Ecology Keywords: marine ecosystem restoration; habitat restoration; artificial reef; restoration strategies; biodiversity conservation
Online: 17 August 2023 (07:30:05 CEST)
Maldivian coral reefs have been experiencing significant degradation due to a combination of global climate change and local anthropogenic pressures. To enforce the conservation of coral reefs worldwide, coral restoration is becoming a popular tool to restore ecosystems actively. In the Maldives, restoration interventions are performed only around touristic islands, where there are economic resources available to support these projects. Unfortunately, on local islands, coral restoration does not benefit from the same support and is rarely boosted. A challenging coral restoration intervention has been performed, for the first time, a on a local island of the Maldives affected by intense human pressures that caused the degradation of its reefs. A total of 242 coral fragments were collected from impacted colonies and transferred to the coral nursery of the island. Survival and growth rates of the fragments were monitored for 12 months. After one year, a survival rate of 70.2% was recorded. Although this rate might appear lower when compared to other restoration experiences, it is very promising considering the origin of the fragments and the poor quality of the environment where they have been transplanted. Some potential threats to the success of this restoration have also been identified, i.e., water temperature anomaly, diseases and parasites, the latter being the leading causes of coral mortality. The procedure presented here is comparatively less expensive than the typical relocation of entire coral colonies from donor healthy reefs to degraded reefs, thus providing an opportunity and a viable option also for local islands to restore their reefs and preserve local biodiversity.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202307.1604.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: Interspecific competition; Spatial ecological niche; Ensemble model; Habitat selection; Xinlong County
Online: 25 July 2023 (03:24:10 CEST)
Large terrestrial carnivores play a crucial role in top-down control within terrestrial ecosystems, maintaining ecosystem stability and biodiversity. However, intense interspecific competition often arises among sympatric large carnivores, leading to population reductions or even extinctions. Spatial partitioning through divergent habitat selection helps mitigate such competition. In Xinlong County, Sichuan Province, we used 293 infrared cameras for monitoring from September to May 2016 and March to October 2022. By employing the Generalized Linear Model (GLM) and the Maximum Entropy Model (MaxEnt), we developed an ensemble model predicting the suitable habitat distribution of leopards (Panthera pardus) and wolves (Canis lupus). We analyzed the main environmental factors influencing habitat selection and the fragmentation of suitable habitats. We found that suitable habitat distribution differed significantly between them. Both species preferred areas with gentle slopes close to settlements. While leopards' habitat selection primarily depended on the distance from settlements, the slope was predominant for wolves. Suitable habitats displayed aggregation, yet wolves exhibited higher fragmentation and more complex patch shapes, indicating greater susceptibility to human activities. These results suggest that sympatric large carnivores, such as leopards and wolves, can reduce spatial competition intensity and promote spatial partitioning by selecting divergent suitable habitats, thereby facilitating species coexistence.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202306.0526.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: Dispersal; Connectivity; Movement; Conservation Genomics; Madagascar; Habitat Loss and Fragmentation; Rodents
Online: 7 June 2023 (09:30:53 CEST)
Habitat loss and fragmentation are of concern to conservation biologists worldwide. However, not all organisms are affected equally by these processes, thus it is important to study the effects of living in fragmented habitats on species that differ in lifestyle and habitat requirements. In this study we examined dispersal and connectivity patterns of rodents, one endemic (Eliurus myoxinus) and one invasive (Rattus rattus), in two landscapes containing forest fragments and adjacent continuous forest patches in northwestern Madagascar. We generated genomic (RADseq) data for 66 E. myoxinus and 81 R. rattus individuals to evaluate differences in genetic diversity as well as inbreeding and connectivity in two landscapes. We found higher levels of inbreeding and lower levels of genetic diversity in E. myoxinus compared with R. rattus. We observed related dyads both within and between habitat patches and positive spatial autocorrelation at lower distance classes for both species, with a stronger pattern of spatial autocorrelation in R. rattus. Across each site we identified contrasting migration rates for each species, but these did not correspond to habitat-matrix dichotomies. The relatively low genetic diversity in the endemic E. myoxinus suggests ecological constraints that require further investigation.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0512.v2
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Anatomy And Physiology Keywords: fish; functional data analysis; long-term monitoring; habitat; occupancy; modeling; California
Online: 21 March 2023 (10:25:11 CET)
Coincident changes in abundance and behavior pose a challenge for interpreting abundance data from monitoring programs. In the San Francisco Estuary, long-term monitoring documented the declines of many species including the anadromous Longfin Smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys). We identified seasonal patterns in reginal presence of Longfin Smelt through its life cycle using monitoring data and generalized additive modelling. We then investigated the year-to-year variability in the seasonal patterns of presence using functional data analysis (FDA). FDA separated the variability due to population size from variability due to differences in timing of presence. We found that Longfin Smelt have consistent seasonal distribution patterns and that two trawl types were needed to accurately describe those patterns. After accounting for variability due to year-class strength, shifts in the timing of presence were evident in three regions. The most variable period for the upstream regions Suisun Bay and West Delta was for age-0 fish in summer and for the downstream region Central Bay was for age-0 fish in late fall. This manifested as a delay in the typical fall re-occupation of upstream regions that comprise the study area for another monitoring study (Fall Midwater Trawl). Thus, a portion of the recent reductions in Fall Midwater Trawl abundance of Longfin Smelt resulted from changes in behavior rather than a decline in abundance. The presence of multiple monitoring surveys allowed analysis of distribution from one data set to aid interpretation of patterns in abundance from another monitoring survey. This study highlights how identifying portions of the life cycle with the most and least variability in distribution can help inform the types of management strategies that will be most effective. It also illustrates an analytical method that can be used to address the problem of confounded effects of abundance and behavior on patterns in monitoring data.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202202.0358.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: Asian elephant; MaxEnt; habitat suitability; protected area; climate change; human footprint
Online: 28 February 2022 (12:00:28 CET)
The reduction of biodiversity loss is one of the targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The protection of endangered species is critical for conserving global biodiversity. Asian elephants，as one of the last few mega-herbivores on Earth, are currently threatened by climate changes and anthropogenic modifications. The modelling of their living habitats is of top priority to the conservation of Asian elephant. In this study, we used the maximum entropy model (MaxEnt) to identify the current and potential future habitats of Asian elephants in South and Southeast Asia. We performed analyses for future projections with 17 scenarios by using the present results as baseline. To optimise the modelling results, we delineated the core habitats by using the Core Mapper Tool and compared them with existing protected areas (PAs) through gap analysis. The results showed that the current total area of core habitats is 491,455 km2 in size and will be reduced to 332,544 km2 by 2090 under SSP585 (the shared socioeconomic pathway). The projection analysis under differential scenarios suggested that most of the core habitats in the current protected areas would remain stable and suitable for elephants in the future. However, the remaining 75.17% of the core habitats lay outside the current PAs, and finally we mapped approximately 219,545 km2 of suitable habitats as priority protected areas in the future. Although our model did not perform well in some regions, our analyses and findings still could provide useful references to the planning of protected areas and conservation of Asian elephant.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0415.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: seagrass; anthropogenic disturbance; boat anchoring; meadow traits; habitat loss; island ecosystem
Online: 18 September 2020 (04:03:57 CEST)
Seagrass ecosystems are lost due to habitat disturbance, coastal development and human pressure. We assessed the impact of boat anchors from traditional fishing and recreational activities on the seagrass Halophila ovalis from the Andaman and Nicobar Isalnds of India. The plant density, biomass, morphometrics, canopy height and percentage cover were estimated from two sites of Govind Nagar beach of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The shoot density of H. ovalis was reduced by physical damage caused by boat anchors. The morphometrics of H. ovalis, such as number of leaves per ramet, leaf length, width and horizontal rhizome length were significantly reduced when impacted by boat anchors. Seagrass canopy height and percentage cover were reduced by 41% and 47% respectively. Though the impact of boat anchors reported here is on small-scale, it may impact feeding grounds of locally endangered dugongs. Therefore, proper management and preventive measures should be implemented to prevent the loss of dugong grass habitats from tourism, recreational and fishing activities.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0146.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Pharmacology And Toxicology Keywords: ubiquitous exposure; diagnosis; research design; quality of health care; habitat injuries; discovery
Online: 11 May 2022 (05:40:27 CEST)
As of now, anthropogenic habitat injury via dissemination of manufactured chemicals is injuring the world’s ecosystems, but doctors have yet to recognize its consequences to humans. Recognition of overt toxicity due to chronic low-dose exposure will open the door to diagnosis, sequential elimination studies, and prescriptions for preventive cure that represent a first step in preventing escalating chronic diseases. This paper offers a diagnostic construct for such use: chronic ambient poisoning. Incorporating it into clinical practice can reduce misdiagnosis of gastro- and near-toxicity that doctors and patients presently suppress rather than remove, and reduce patient co-dependence with proton-pump inhibitors, anxiolytics, and antidepressants—and the thriving “alternative” health industry. This diagnostic elephant-in-the-room is presently missed for reasons of habit (when an ailment is not recognized, it cannot be included in the differential diagnosis) and of poor conduct and interpretation of non-clinical research studies that are taken to mean an absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Moreover, modern methods fail when: the exposure comprises a “daily cocktail” of poisons acting additively, interactively, and cumulatively over a lifetime; when there is no normal, unexposed comparison group; and when absence of a robust etiopathogenetic model disallows inapt statistics. Only patient-led, consultant-informed sequential elimination studies can “peel the onion” of toxicity and its recognition and “preventive cure”. Clinical use of the chronic ambient poisoning diagnosis can thus open the door to stemming and reversing anthropogenic epidemics.
ARTICLE | doi:10.3390/sci1010009.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Soil Science Keywords: land cover; landscape change; habitat fragmentation; conservation planning; Oti-Keran-Mandouri; Togo
Online: 14 February 2019 (00:00:00 CET)
Biodiversity conservation planning is highly important in the current context of global change. Biodiversity conservation can be achieved by understanding changes in land use at the landscape scale. Such understanding is needed to reverse the unprecedented pressure on natural resources that has been reported by many studies conducted on biodiversity conservation within the Oti-Keran-Mandouri protected areas. Land cover maps reflecting different dates (1987, 2000, and 2013) and depicting different management systems, with overall accuracy ranging from 73% to 79%, were analyzed to understand the processes that lead to habitat degradation within these protected areas. The nature of change, within a given land cover class, was determined by comparing land cover maps on different dates using a decision tree algorithm that compares the number of patches, their areas, and their perimeters at different time periods (T1 and T2). Specifically, two time-periods were considered for this analysis: 1987–2000 and 2000–2013. Croplands and settlements increased at an average of 108.13% and 5.45%, respectively, from 1987 to 2000. From 2000 to 2013, croplands gained from all other land categories and continued to increase at a rate of 11.77% per year, whereas forests and savannas decreased at an annual average rate by 5.79% and 2.32%, respectively. The dominant processes of habitat change from 1987 to 2000 were the creation of forests, dissection of savannas, attrition of wetlands, and creation of croplands. Meanwhile, from 2000 to 2013, there was attrition of forests, as well as attrition of savannas, dissection of wetlands, and aggregation of croplands. In general, from 1987 to 2013, natural habitats regressed and were replaced by croplands; forests, savannas, and wetlands decreased at an average annual percentage 5.74%, 3.94%, and 2.02%, respectively, whereas croplands increased at an average annual rate of 285.39% of their own area. Aggregation, attrition, dissection, and creation were the main habitat change processes identified for the overall period from 1987 to 2013. There was habitat loss in forests and savannas and habitat fragmentation in wetland due to attrition and dissection, respectively. Identifying and understanding habitat change processes would enable the taking of appropriate biodiversity conservation actions.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201709.0051.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: Guadiana estuary; salt marsh; non-indigenous species (NIS); anthropogenic pressures; habitat degradation
Online: 13 September 2017 (09:25:30 CEST)
This work updates the characterization of winter fish communities in salt marsh areas of Guadiana estuary (SE-Portugal) and discusses the potential risks of habitat dominance by a non-indigenous species (NIS). To this effect, six field campaigns were carried out during winter season targeting the collection of fish species. Individuals from seven different families (marine and estuarine) were collected although the community was dominated by two estuarine species – the native Pomatoschistus sp. (goby) and the NIS Fundulus heteroclitus (mummichog). Goby controlled the majority of salt marsh habitats, except one specific, marsh pool, where extreme environmental conditions were registered, namely high temperature and salinity. Such conditions may have boosted the intrusion of mummichog in this area. This species is well adapted to a wide range of abiotic factors enabling them to colonize habitats where no predators inhabit. Impacts of mummichog intrusion in the Guadiana salt marsh area are still unpredictable since this is the first recorded in such high density. Nevertheless, in scenarios of increased anthropogenic pressure and, consequently, habitat degradation, there is a potential risk of mummichog spread to other habitats and therefore compete for space and food resources with native species.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0504.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Anatomy And Physiology Keywords: Microbiota; Microbiome; Mosquitoes; Behavior; Oviposition; Larval habitat; Life History Traits; Nutrition; Development; Survival
Online: 21 June 2021 (11:22:15 CEST)
Mosquitoes are considered one of the most important threats worldwide due to their ability to vector pathogens. They are responsible for the transmission of major pathogens such as Malaria, dengue, Zika or Chikungunya. Due to the lack of treatments or prophylaxis against many of the transmitted pathogens and an increasing prevalence of mosquito resistance to insecticides and drugs available, alternative strategies are now being explored. Some of these involve the use of microorganisms as promising agent to limit the fitness of mosquitoes, attract or repel them and decrease the replication and transmission of pathogenic agents. In recent years, the importance of microorganisms colonizing the habitat of mosquitoes has particularly been investigated since they appeared to play major roles in their development and diseases transmission. In this issue we will synthesize researches investigating how microorganisms present within water habitats may influence breeding site selection and oviposition strategy of gravid mosquito females. We will also highlight the impact, effect of such microbes on the fate of females’ progeny during their immature stages with a specific focus on egg hatching, development rate and larvae of pupae survival.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0455.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: river restoration; large rivers; transverse groynes; geomorphic monitoring; riverscape approach; fish habitat models
Online: 29 February 2020 (08:48:37 CET)
River regulations ultimately degrade fluvial forms and morphodynamics and simplify riparian and aquatic habitats. For several decades, river restoration actions have been performed to recover geomorphic processes and diversify these habitats to enhance both river biodiversity and ecosystem services. The objective of this study is to provide quantitative feedback on the experimental restoration of a large regulated and by-passed river (the Upper Rhine downstream of the Kembs Dam, France/Germany). This restoration consisted of the construction of two transverse groynes and the removal of bank protection. A monitoring framework composed of topo-bathymetric surveys as well as flow velocity and grain size measurements was established to assess the channel morphodynamic responses and evaluate their effects on habitat suitability for five native fish species using habitat models. A riverscape approach was used to evaluate the landscape changes in terms of both the configuration and the composition, which cannot be considered with classic approaches (e.g., WUA). Our results show that the two transverse groynes and, to a lesser extent, bank erosion, which was locally enhanced by the two groynes, increased habitat diversity due to the creation of new macroforms (e.g., pools and mid-bars) and fining of the bed grain size. Using a riverscape approach, our findings highlight that the restoration improved lentic fish habitats (eel and juvenile nase species) due to slowing of the local current and the deposition of fine sediments downstream of both groynes. As a consequence, the restoration improved the habitat suitability of the studied reach for more fish species compared with the pre-restoration conditions. This study also demonstrates that the salmon habitats downstream of the restored reach were improved due to fining of the bed grain size. This finding highlights that for restorations aimed at fish habitats, the grain size conditions must be taken into consideration along with the flow conditions. Furthermore, the implementation of groynes, while not a panacea, can be a strategy for improving fish habitats on highly regulated rivers, but only when more functional and natural options are impossible due to major constraints.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0485.v2
Subject: Social Sciences, Geography, Planning And Development Keywords: carbon storage & sequestration; climate change; habitat diversity; Kainji national park; protected areas; air quality
Online: 16 May 2022 (04:33:24 CEST)
Due to rising global warming and climate change, biodiversity protection has become a critical ecological concern. The rich biodiversity zones are under threat and are deteriorating, necessitating national, regional, and provincial efforts to safeguard these natural areas. The effective conservation of National Parks and Nature-protected Areas helps to improve biodiversity conservation, forest, and urban air quality. The continuous encroachment and abuse of these protected areas have degraded the ecosystem over time. While exploring the geophysical ecology and biodiversity conservation of these areas in West Africa, Kainji National Park was selected for this study because of its notable location, naturalness, rich habitat diversity, topographic uniqueness, and landmass. The conservation of national parks and nature-protected areas is a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation globally. This study is aimed at the target of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13, 2030- Climate Action, targeted at taking urgent action towards combating climate change and its impacts. The study captures both flora and fauna that are dominant in the study area. The 15 identified tree species were selected from over 30 species with 563,500,000 (an average of 3,700,000 in each sample frame) trees for every tree species/type with a total of 63% tree green canopy cover. The study areas divided into three zones were randomly sampled within a stratum of 25x25km frames divided into 150 sample frames for proper analyses using the i-Tree Eco v6.0.23. The following microclimatic data were captured and analyzed; photosynthetically active radiation, rain/precipitation, temperature, transpiration, evaporation, water intercepted by trees, avoided a runoff by trees, potential evaporation by trees, isoprene and monoterpene by trees. This study also further discusses the tree benefits of a green, low carbon, and sustainable environment within the context of biodiversity conservation considering carbon storage, carbon sequestration, hydrology effects, pollution removal, oxygen production, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There is a quick need for remotely-sensed information about the protected areas at regular intervals and government policies must be strict against illegal poaching, logging activities and other hazardous human impacts.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0023.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Anatomy And Physiology Keywords: Bivalvia, Cave Adapted, Conservation Efforts, Dreissenidae, Endangered, Filter Feeding, Habitat Destruction, Human Impact, Stygofauna
Online: 4 May 2021 (14:19:04 CEST)
Groundwater habitats in the Dinaric Karst are home to the only known cave-adapted genus of bivalve mollusks, which currently survives as three distinct species with a highly fragmented distribution. Over the past few decades, Congeria populations suffered a steep decline across their range, as a result of human activities. Here, we identify the most pressing issues concerning the current conservation status of Congeria and identify key priorities for its scientific study. The building of dams and other hydrotechnical constructions have led to a significant decrease in the water inputs that used to supply underground systems where Congeria lives, contributing to a reduction of the cave habitats feasible for bivalve settlement. This is relatively well documented in Popovo polje where, as a result of hydrotechnical interventions on Trebisnjica river, water level drop destroyed well over 99 % of Congeria kusceri population in Zira cave and caused their complete disappearance in other caves. Similar factors are likely to have also affected the sister species Congeria jalzici in the Lika region. In addition, the salinization of Neretva river, lack of proper wastewater management, intense agriculture, tourist exploitation, and additional hydrotechnical plans add to the ongoing decline of the quality of Congeria habitats. These threats are expected to least to drastic reductions in population size within the next few decades, and this situation might be further aggravated by the lack of regulations and active measures for Congeria protection, as well by the limited understanding of its biology. Future scientific studies should be aimed at better elucidating microhabitat preference, defining the range of tolerance of environmental parameters, and assessing the size and genetic viability of existing Congeria populations. However, we highlight that these efforts would most certainly require the collaboration of local authorities and the allocation of appropriate financial resources in order to be effective.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202305.1950.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: species distribution modeling; tuna species; climate change scenarios; potential suitability habitat; predictor variables; ensemble models
Online: 29 May 2023 (03:02:46 CEST)
The potential impacts of climate change on the distribution of tuna in Pacific Island Countries’ Exclusive Economic Zones have yet to be investigated rigorously, and so their persistence and abundance in these areas remain uncertain. Here, we estimate optimal fisheries areas for four tuna species; Albacore (Thunnus alalunga), Bigeye (Thunnus obesus), Skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), and Yellowfin (Thunnus albacares). We consider different climate change scenarios, RCP 2.6, RCP 4.5, RCP 6.0 and RCP 8.5, within a set of tuna catch records in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Tonga. Using environmental and CPUE datasets, species distribution modelling estimated and predicted these fisheries areas in the current and future climatic scenarios. Our projections indicate an expansion in area and a shift of productive areas to the southern part of this Exclusive Economic Zone of Tonga. This is an indication that future climatic scenarios might be suitable for the species under study however, changes in trophic layers, ocean currents and ocean chemistry might alter this finding. Information provided here will be relevant in planning future national actions towards proper management of these species.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202308.0391.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Global amphibian decline; climate change; drought; invasive alien species; Procambarus clarkii; EU Habitat Directive; amphibian conservation
Online: 4 August 2023 (12:37:06 CEST)
Detecting the trends of species and populations is fundamental to identify taxa with high conservation priority. Unfortunately, long-term monitoring programs are challenging and often lacking. The Italian agile frog Rana latastei is endemic to Northern Italy and adjacent countries, is considered vulnerable by the IUCN, and is protected at the European level. However, quantitative estimates of its decline are extremely scarce. In this study, we document the trends in abundance and distribution of Rana latastei within the Monza Park, which currently represents the area closer to the type locality of the species. Wetlands within the park were monitored from 2000 to 2023; counts of egg clutches were taken as a measure of reproductive output and of the abundance of breeding females. In 2000, the species occurred over a significant proportion of the park. Total abundance showed strong yearly variation but remained rather constant from 2000 to 2019. However, Rana latastei disappeared from the park around 2021 and was never detected in 2022-23. The decline is probably related to the joint effect of multiple factors, including the conversion of breeding sites for farming, inappropriate water management, invasive alien species, and severe drought. The local extinction of Rana latastei occurred despite legal protection, highlighting the need for more effective and stringent tools for the conservation of European biodiversity.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201712.0100.v2
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Geophysics And Geology Keywords: cold-water coral; carbonate mound; habitat mapping; spatial prediction; image segmentation; GEOBIA; random forest; accuracy, confidence
Online: 18 January 2018 (16:08:36 CET)
Cold-water coral reefs are rich, yet fragile ecosystems found in colder oceanic waters. Knowledge of their spatial distribution on continental shelves, slopes, seamounts and ridge systems is vital for marine spatial planning and conservation. Cold-water corals frequently form conspicuous carbonate mounds of varying sizes, which are identifiable from multibeam echosounder bathymetry and derived geomorphometric attributes. However, the often large number of mounds makes manual interpretation and mapping a tedious process. We present a methodology that combines image segmentation and random forest spatial prediction with the aim to derive maps of carbonate mounds and an associated measure of confidence. We demonstrate our method based on multibeam echosounder data from Iverryggen on the mid-Norwegian shelf. We identified the image-object mean planar curvature as the most important predictor. The presence and absence of carbonate mounds is mapped with high accuracy (overall accuracy = 84.4%, sensitivity = 0.827 and specificity = 0.866). Spatially-explicit confidence in the predictions is derived from the predicted probability and whether the predictions are within or outside the modelled range of values and is generally high. We plan to apply the showcased method to other areas of the Norwegian continental shelf and slope where MBES data have been collected with the aim to provide crucial information for marine spatial planning.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0221.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Oceanography Keywords: seagrass; remote sensing; machine learning; species distribution model (SDM); hybrid model; habitat suitability; niches; meta-heuristic optimization
Online: 15 September 2022 (07:32:27 CEST)
Globally, seagrass meadows provide critical ecosystem services. However, seagrasses are globally degraded at an accelerated rate. The lack of information on seagrass spatial distribution and seagrass health status seriously hinders seagrass conservation and management. Therefore, this study proposes to combine remote sensing big data with a new hybrid machine learning model (RF-SWOA) to predict potential seagrass habitats. The multivariate remote sensing data is used to train the machine learning model, which can improve the prediction accuracy of the model. This study shows that a hybrid machine learning model (RF-SWOA) can predict potential seagrass habitats more accurately and effectively than traditional models. At the same time, it has been shown that the most important factors influencing the potential habitat of seagrass in the Hainan region were the distance from land (38.2%) and the depth of the ocean (25.9%). This paper provides a more accurate machine learning model approach for predicting the distribution of marine species, which can help develop seagrass conservation strategies to restore healthy seagrass ecosystems.
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Anatomy And Physiology Keywords: Fennel; Semi-natural habitat; Interspersion and juxtaposition index (IJI); Insecticides – Insect abundance and richness – Essential oil yield
Online: 12 April 2021 (12:43:39 CEST)
Agricultural landscapes are more and more characterized by intensification and habitat losses. Landscape composition and configuration are known to mediate insect abundance and richness. In the context of global insect decline, and despite 75% of crops being under insect’s dependence, there is still a gap of knowledge about the link between pollinators and aromatic crops. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is an aromatic plant cultivated in South of France, for its essential oil which is of great economic interest. Using pan-traps, we investigated the influence of the surrounding habitats at landscape scale (semi-natural habitat proportion and vicinity, landscape configuration) and local scale agricultural practices (insecticides and patch size) on fennel-flower-visitor abundance and richness and their subsequent impact on fennel essential oil yield. We found that fennel may to be a generalist plant species. We did not find any effect of intense local management practices on insect abundance and richness. Landscape configuration and the proximity to semi-natural habitat were the main drivers of flying insect’s family richness. This richness positively influenced fennel essential oil yield. Maintaining a complex configuration of patches at the landscape scale are important to sustain insect diversity and crop yield.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201908.0272.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Oceanography Keywords: side-scan sonar; swath bathymetry; habitat monitoring; hurricane Sandy; hurricane Joaquin; climate change; shoreline detection; remote sensing
Online: 26 August 2019 (15:47:04 CEST)
This study utilizes repeated geoacoustic mapping to quantify the morphodynamic response of the nearshore to storm-induced changes. The aim of this study was to quantitatively map the nearshore zone of Assateague Island National Seashore (ASIS) to determine what changes in bottom sediments, benthic fauna and fish habitat are attributable to storm events including hurricane Sandy and the passage of hurricane Joaquin. Specifically, (1) the entire domain of the National Parks Service offshore area was mapped with side-scan sonar and multibeam bathymetry at a resolution comparable to that of the existing pre-storm survey, (2) a subset of the benthic stations were resampled that represented all sediment strata previously identified, and (3) newly obtained data were compared to that from the pre-storm survey to determined changes that could be attributed to specific storms such as Sandy and Joaquin. Capturing event specific dynamics requires rapid response surveys in close temporal association of the before and after period. The time-lapse between the pre-storm surveys for Sandy and our study meant that only a time and storm integrated signature for that storm could be obtained whereas with hurricane Joaquin we could identify impacts to the habitat type and geomorphology more directly related to that particular storm. This storm impacts study provides for the National Park Service direct documentation of storm-related changes in sediments and marine habitats on multiple scales: from large scale, side-scan sonar maps and interpretation of acoustic bottom types, to characterize as fully as possible habitats from 1 to 10 m up to many kilometer scales, as well as from point benthic samples within each sediment stratum and these results can help guide management of the island resources.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202310.1372.v2
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Remote Sensing Keywords: conservation gis; spatial data; biodiversity conservation; habitat mapping; protected area management; machine learning; artificial intelligence; remote sensing; data collection
Online: 27 October 2023 (11:59:37 CEST)
The use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for biodiversity monitoring and conservation, shortened to Conservation GIS, is an influential tool that has revolutionized conservation efforts by providing spatially explicit data to inform conservation decision-making. However, Conservation GIS also faces challenges related to data quality and availability, technical limitations, as well as policy and governance issues. The diverse and rising uses of GIS for conservation has resulted in a need for continued research and development of Conservation GIS, including advancements in technology and data collection, integration with other fields such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, and collaborative approaches to Conservation GIS. Conservation GIS has the potential to make a significant impact on conservation efforts, and this article emphasizes the importance of its implementation to achieve the broader goal of biodiversity conservation for planetary health. In this review, we discuss the various applications of Conservation GIS, including biodiversity conservation and monitoring, habitat mapping and restoration, climate change mitigation and adaptation, wildlife tracking and management, and protected area management. We highlight some of the key knowledge gaps or research questions that need to be addressed in the future to further advance the field of Conservation GIS. By addressing these challenges and knowledge gaps, Conservation GIS can become a powerful tool for addressing the challenges facing biodiversity and ecosystems worldwide, and for promoting sustainable land-use practices.
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science And Meteorology Keywords: Habitat grasslands monitoring; Brachypodium genuense; vegetation dynamics; Campo Imperatore plateau; Sentinel-2; Machine learning; Multispectral classification; Topographic niche models; Natura 2000.
Online: 25 February 2021 (10:06:59 CET)
Remote sensing (RS) has been widely adopted as a tool to investigate several biotic and abiotic factors, directly and indirectly, related to biodiversity conservation. European grasslands are one of the most biodiverse habitats in Europe. Most of these habitats are subject to priority conservation measure, and they are threatened by several human induced process. The broad expansions of few dominant species are widely reported as drivers of biodiversity loss. In this context, using Sentinel-2 (S2) images, we investigate the distribution of one of the most spreading species: <i>Brachypodium genuense</i>. We performed a binary Random Forest (RF) classification of <i>B. genuense</i> using a RS image and field sampled presence/absence points. Then, we integrate the occurrences obtained from RS classification into niche models to identify the topographic drivers of <i>B. genuense</i> distribution. Lastly, the impact of <i>B. genuense</i> distribution in the N2k habitats was assessed by overlay analysis. The RF classification process detected <i>B. genuense</i>'s cover with an overall accuracy of 91.18%. The integration of RS and topographic niche models shows that the most relevant topographic variables that influence the distribution of <i>B. genuense</i> are slope, elevation, solar radiation and Topographic Wet Index (TWI) in order of importance. The overlay analysis shows that 74.04% of the <i>B. genuense</i> identified in the study area falls on the semi-natural dry grasslands. The study highlights the importance of the RS classification and the topographic niche models as an integrated approach for mapping a broad-expansion species such as <i>B. genuense</i>. The coupled techniques presented in this work should be applicable to other plant communities with remotely recognizable characteristics for more effective management of N2k habitats.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202311.0796.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: Aegolius acadicus; Aegolius funereus; Asio otus; boreal owl; Bubo virginianus; climate change; ecosystem vulnerability model; flammulated owl; Glaucidium gnoma; habitat model forecasts; long-eared owl; Megascops kennicotti; Megascops trichopsis; northern pygmy-owl; northern saw-whet owl; great horned owl; Psiloscops flammeolus; western screech-owl; whiskered screech-owl
Online: 13 November 2023 (09:05:47 CET)
High-resolution forecasting of vegetation type shifts may prove essential for anticipating and mitigating the impacts of future climate change on bird populations. Here, we used the US Forest Service Ecological Response Unit (ERU) classification to develop and assess vegetation-based breeding habitat profiles for eight owl species occurring in foothills and mountains of the southwestern US. Shifts in mapped habitat were forecast using an ecosystem vulnerability model based on the pre-1990 climate envelopes of ERUs and the A1B moderate IPCC emission scenario of future climate. For five of the eight owl species, regional breeding habitat extent was projected to decline by at least 60% by 2090. Three species, the boreal owl (Aegolius funereus; at the trailing edge of its distribution), flammulated owl (Psiloscops flammeolus), and northern pygmy-owl (Glaucidium gnoma) were projected to experience the steepest habitat-loss rates, or 85%, 85%, and 76%, respectively. Projected vegetation shifts overlaid with well-documented flammulated owl breeding populations showed complete or near complete loss of habitat by 2090 in areas of montane forest currently supporting dense aggregations of owl territories. Generalist or lower-elevation owl species were predicted to be less impacted, while for the whiskered screech-owl (Megascops trichopsis), the contraction of current habitat was nearly offset by a projected northward expansion. In general, the results of this study suggest high exposure to climate change impacts for upper-elevation forest owls of semi-arid southwestern North America. Long distance migration and low natal philopatry may prove important to some montane owl populations for adapting to regional loss of habitat.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0248.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: Posidonia oceanica (PO); LAI & density; PO health & Pergent model; sea truth sampling; Earth Observation; HR satellite multispectral/hyperspectral sensors; atmospheric correction; coastal monitoring; mapping shallow waters habitat seabed; Calibration/validation & training/test; Classification & regression Machine Learning; Model Performance & thematic Accuracy; Sentinel 2 MSI multispectral & PRISMA hyperspectral; ISWEC(Inertial Sea Wave Energy Converter)
Online: 18 October 2021 (14:41:35 CEST)
The Mediterranean basin is a hot spot of climate change where the Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile (PO) and other seagrass are under stress due to its effect on marine habitats and the rising influence of anthropogenic activities (tourism, fishery). The PO and seabed ecosystems, in the coastal environments of Pantelleria and Lampedusa, suffer additional growing impacts from tourism in synergy with specific stress factors due to increasing vessel traffic for supplying potable water, fossil fuels for electrical power generation. Earth Observation (EO) data, provided by high resolution (HR) multi/hyperspectral operative satellite sensors of the last generation (i.e. Sentinel 2 MSI and PRISMA) have been successfully tested, using innovative calibration and sea truth collecting methods, for monitoring and mapping of PO meadows under stress, in the coastal waters of these islands, located in the Sicily Channel, to better support the sustainable management of these vulnerable ecosystems. The area of interest in Pantelleria was where the first prototype of the Italian Inertial Sea Wave Energy Converter (ISWEC) for renewable energy production was installed in 2015, and sea truth campaigns on the PO meadows were conducted. The PO of Lampedusa coastal areas, impacted by ship traffic linked to the previous factors and tropicalization effects of Italy southernmost climate change transitional zone, was mapped through a multi/hyper spectral EO-based approach, using training/testing data provided by side scan sonar data, previously acquired. Some advanced machine learning algorithms (MLA) were successfully evaluated with different supervised regression/classification models to map seabed and PO meadow classes and related Leaf Area Index (LAI) distributions in the areas of interest, using multi/hyperspectral data atmospherically corrected via different advanced approaches.