Changes in eggshell thickness and ultrastructure in the Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) Pyrenean population: A long-term analysis

Hernández, Mauro; Colomer, M.À.; Pizarro, Manuel; Margalida, Antoni (2018). Changes in eggshell thickness and ultrastructure in the Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) Pyrenean population: A long-term analysis. Science of the total environment, 624, pp. 713-721. Elsevier 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.12.150

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The Spanish Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) population has suffered from negative trends in a number of reproductive parameters that could jeopardize its long-term viability. From 1989 to 2012, 27 entire eggs and 63 eggshell fragments were collected from nests after breeding failure and/or fledging. Longer-term changes in eggshell thickness were made by examining 69 eggs collected in Spain from 1858 to 1911, and now held in Eu- ropean museums. Low levels of contamination with organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls were found in whole eggs and in conjunction with the high fertility rates observed in the field (66.7%) do not in- dicate a population suffering from the effects of organochlorine contamination. However, a decrease in the Ratcliffe Index and eggshell thickness were observed in eggs collected since 2001, increasingly so in samples post-2004, indicating an abrupt loss of egg quality. We found no significant relationship between organochlorine residues and eggshell in any of the variables measured. In contrast, we found a positive relationship between food availability and the Ratcliffe Index, eggshell thickness and eggshell surface area. A density-dependent explana- tion of reduced egg quality could arise from ecological constraints as the decrease of food resources. The impact of sudden changes in food availability due to sanitary regulations between 2006 and 2011 could be related with the loss of Bearded Vulture egg quality.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Margalida, Antoni

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

0048-9697

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

04 Jun 2019 16:13

Last Modified:

26 Oct 2019 15:15

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.12.150

PubMed ID:

29272840

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.126913

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/126913

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