Effect of Methodological and Ecological Approaches on Heterogeneity of Nest-Site Selection of a Long-Lived Vulture

Moreno-Opo, Rubén; Fernández-Olalla, Mariana; Margalida, Antoni; Arredondo, Ángel; Guil, Francisco (2012). Effect of Methodological and Ecological Approaches on Heterogeneity of Nest-Site Selection of a Long-Lived Vulture. PLoS ONE, 7(3), e33469. Lawrence, Kans.: Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0033469

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The application of scientific-based conservation measures requires that sampling methodologies in studies modelling similar ecological aspects produce comparable results making easier their interpretation. We aimed to show how the choice of different methodological and ecological approaches can affect conclusions in nest-site selection studies along different Palearctic meta-populations of an indicator species. First, a multivariate analysis of the variables affecting nest-site selection in a breeding colony of cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus) in central Spain was performed. Then, a meta-analysis was applied to establish how methodological and habitat-type factors determine differences and similarities in the results obtained by previous studies that have modelled the forest breeding habitat of the species. Our results revealed patterns in nesting-habitat modelling by the cinereous vulture throughout its whole range: steep and south-facing slopes, great cover of large trees and distance to human activities were generally selected. The ratio and situation of the studied plots (nests/random), the use of plots vs. polygons as sampling units and the number of years of data set determined the variability explained by the model. Moreover, a greater size of the breeding colony implied that ecological and geomorphological variables at landscape level were more influential. Additionally, human activities affected in greater proportion to colonies situated in Mediterranean forests. For the first time, a meta-analysis regarding the factors determining nest-site selection heterogeneity for a single species at broad scale was achieved. It is essential to homogenize and coordinate experimental design in modelling the selection of species' ecological requirements in order to avoid that differences in results among studies would be due to methodological heterogeneity. This would optimize best conservation and management practices for habitats and species in a global context.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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

UniBE Contributor:

Margalida, Antoni

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:41

Last Modified:

10 Dec 2014 23:34

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0033469

Web of Science ID:

000303062000046

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.16618

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/16618 (FactScience: 224296)

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