AbstractAedes pulcritarsis is a tree-hole breeding species with its main distribution in the Mediterranean area. Within the scope of two independent monitoring programmes, this mosquito species was detected for the first time in Austria, in the province of Lower Austria (2018, districts Mistelbach and Gaenserndorf; 2020, district Bruck an der Leitha). As the climatic and habitat situation in Central Europe seems to be generally suitable for this species, the most likely explanation for the species not being recorded previously is that it might have been overlooked in the past due to its specialized breeding habitat. However, further research on the distribution of Ae. pulcritarsis in Austria would be needed to support this hypothesis. The results from this study will contribute to the investigation of the northern distribution limit of Ae. pulcritarsis in Europe and possible changes thereof.
The Siberian Grouse (Falcipennis falcipennis), which is endemic to the “dark-needle” taiga of the Russian Far East, is one of the least studied grouse species in the world. We examined post-breeding habitat selection of Siberian Grouse and contrasted it with that of the better examined Hazel Grouse (Tetrastes bonasia) in two areas near Komsomolsk na Amure, Russia. To infer species-specific preferences, we used field sampling, logistic regression, and AIC model selection, and compared late summer habitats of Siberian Grouse and Hazel Grouse in a mountain- and hilly area in the dark needle taiga. Our study is the first to explain Siberian Grouse habitat relationships with an empirical modelling approach. Results indicate proportions of coniferous/ pioneer trees forest and rejuvenation to be the most important covariates separating Siberian and Hazel Grouse observation sites in forests from both areas. Siberian Grouse tended to select sites with low proportions of pioneer trees and rejuvenation but availability of dwarf shrubs. Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) appeared to be of high importance for the presence of Siberian Grouse in both regions. Hazel Grouse were common in places dominated by pioneer trees with high canopy cover, and high proportions of grass/herb cover. Hazel Grouse also occurred more often in forest sites with dense vertical layering and rejuvenation. Modern forestry, which results in increasing amounts of forests at younger successional stages, is likely to favour the Hazel Grouse at the expense of the Siberian Grouse.
Encroachment of rush Juncus spp. in the United Kingdom uplands poses a threat to declining wader populations due to taller, denser swards that can limit foraging and breeding habitat quality for some species. Rush management via cutting, implemented through agri-environment schemes (AESs), could thus increase wader abundance, but there is insufficient assessment and understanding of how rush management influences upland waders. Across two upland regions of England [South West Peak (SWP) and Geltsdale nature reserve, Cumbria], we surveyed waders over four visits in fields where rush was managed according to AES prescriptions (treatment; n = 21) and fields without rush management that were otherwise ecologically similar (control; n = 22) to assess how the densities of breeding wader pairs respond to rush management in the short-term. We find evidence for regional variation in the response of waders to rush management, with densities of Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago significantly higher in treatment than control fields in the SWP, but not Geltsdale. There were no statistically significant responses to treatment on densities of Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata or Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus. The 95% confidence intervals for the treatment parameter estimates suggest that this may be due to limited statistical power in the case of Lapwing. For Curlew, however, any potential increases in densities are negligible. There was no evidence that variation in rush cover, which ranged from 10 to 70%, influenced densities of any of our three focal species. Our results suggest that rush management through AES prescriptions delivered in isolation of other interventions may not lead to general increases in breeding wader densities in the short-term, but benefits may arise in some situations due to regional and inter-specific variation in effectiveness. Rush management supported with interventions that improve soil conditions and thus food availability, or reduce predation pressure, may enable AES rush management to generate benefits. Additional research is required to maximise the potential benefits of rush management for each species through the development of prescriptions that tailor to individual species’ optimum sward structure.
There has been significant sea ice loss associated with climate change in the Pacific Arctic, with unquantified impacts to the habitat of ice-obligate marine mammals such as ringed seals (Pusa hispida). Ringed seals maintain breathing holes and excavate subnivean lairs on sea ice to provide protection from weather and predators during birthing, nursing, and resting. However, there is limited baseline information on the snow and ice habitat, distribution, density, and configuration of ringed seal structures (breathing holes, simple haul-out lairs, and pup lairs) in Alaska. Here, we describe historic field records from two regions of the eastern Chukchi Sea (Kotzebue Sound and Ledyard Bay) collected during spring 1983 and 1984 to quantify baseline ringed seal breeding habitat and map the distribution of ringed seal structures using modern geospatial tools. Of 490 structures located on pre-established study grids by trained dogs, 29% were pup lairs (25% in Kotzebue Sound and 33% in Ledyard Bay). Grids in Ledyard Bay had greater overall density of seal structures than those in Kotzebue Sound (8.6 structures/km2 and 7.1 structures/km2), but structures were larger in Kotzebue Sound. Pup lairs were located in closer proximity to other structures and characterized by deeper snow and greater ice deformation than haul-out lairs or simple breathing holes. At pup lairs, snow depths averaged 74.9 cm (range 37–132 cm), with ice relief nearby averaging 76 cm (range 31–183 cm), and ice deformation 29.9% (range 5–80%). We compare our results to similar studies conducted in other geographic regions and discuss our findings in the context of recent declines in extent and duration of seasonal cover of landfast sea ice and snow deposition on sea ice. Ultimately, additional research is needed to understand the effects of recent environmental changes on ringed seals, but our study establishes a baseline upon which future research can measure pup habitat in northwest Alaska.
The non-treated wastewater from residential areas contains high concentration of ammonium-nitrogen (NH4+-N). When discharged into the drainage water system, it deteriorates the water quality in urban rivers. This study used two types of materials to form eco-bags, using activated zeolite bead (AZB) and alkaline pretreated straw (APS), in geotextile bags for easy recovery and reuse. The AZB and APS provided the breeding habitat for the microorganisms that promoted biofilm formation on their surface. The immobilization of engineered denitrification microorganisms facilitated the removal of NH4+-N from the urban river water. The NH4+-N removal in the AZB and APS bags were in the range of 64–73%, and 56–61%, respectively, while the chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal in the AZB and APS bags ranged from 33–36%, and 30–31%, respectively. Besides, as evident from DNA and microbial community analysis, the microorganisms demonstrated a greater proclivity to grow and proliferate on the surface of AZB and APS and improved the water quality of urban rivers.
Arboviruses transmitted by Aedes aegypti (e.g., dengue, chikungunya, Zika) are of major public health concern on the arid coastal border of Ecuador and Peru. This high transit border is a critical disease surveillance site due to human movement-associated risk of transmission. Local level studies are thus integral to capturing the dynamics and distribution of vector populations and social-ecological drivers of risk, to inform targeted public health interventions. Our study examines factors associated with household-level Ae. aegypti presence in Huaquillas, Ecuador, while accounting for spatial and temporal effects. From January to May of 2017, adult mosquitoes were collected from a cohort of households (n = 63) in clusters (n = 10), across the city of Huaquillas, using aspirator backpacks. Household surveys describing housing conditions, demographics, economics, travel, disease prevention, and city services were conducted by local enumerators. This study was conducted during the normal arbovirus transmission season (January—May), but during an exceptionally dry year. Household level Ae. aegypti presence peaked in February, and counts were highest in weeks with high temperatures and a week after increased rainfall. Univariate analyses with proportional odds logistic regression were used to explore household social-ecological variables and female Ae. aegypti presence. We found that homes were more likely to have Ae. aegypti when households had interruptions in piped water service. Ae. aegypti presence was less likely in households with septic systems. Based on our findings, infrastructure access and seasonal climate are important considerations for vector control in this city, and even in dry years, the arid environment of Huaquillas supports Ae. aegypti breeding habitat.