Project details

Name:Resiliencia de las poblaciones de aves marinas a perturbaciones naturales y antropogénicas: una aproximación interdiscliplinar
Acronym:RESET CTA 161
Abstract:The present project aims to study the resilience of populations to natural as well as anthropogenic perturbations using data from 5 seabirds at 15 sites of the Western Mediterranean. Resilience is defined as the capacity of a system to come back to the initial state after a given perturbation (a sudden change in environmental conditions that caused a modification at any level of the system).  Natural perturbations of ecosystems, communities and populations have shaped the individual strategy to respond to perturbation, even when facing extreme environmental changes (i.e. catastrophes). In addition to natural perturbations over the last centuries human induced perturbations, such as overexploitation of resources, habitat fragmentation and the introduction of alien species have summed up to natural ones. At present it is unknown how rapid and through which mechanisms the populations of seabirds, the group with the highest extinction probability among birds, respond to an increase in the frequency of perturbations (natural as well as anthropogenic). The present study will be conducted at 15 sites of the Western Mediterranean. It will be inter-disciplinary merging issues and methodologies borrowed from spatial ecology, population ecology and behavioral ecology. We will gather three types of data : 1) population surveys (time-series of population counts and/or reproductive parameters collected over the last forty years) 2) individual data (breeding success, capture-mark-recapture data on more than 1x104 individuals) y 3) locations during foraging trips. We will first focus on estimating the frequency and the intensity of perturbation at individual (change in vital rates) and population level (tipping points and hysteresis) with newly developed statistical techniques. We aim to quantify the resilience in relation to the intensity and type of perturbation, its duration, extension and the role of species life-history traits on its effect. Subsequently data on foraging trips will be coupled with those from the Vessel Monitoring System (VSM) to investigate where and with which type of boat seabird-boat encounters are more likely to occur. To do so, the project aims to develop an API (Application Program Interface) to couple bird position (from GPS data) with VSM data. Moreover, we will contrast the data f foraging trips with those from isotopic analyses from feathers of marked seabirds to investigate individual foraging strategy. Finally, we will incorporate the information on the frequency and impact of perturbations and the individual heterogeneity in foraging strategy (difference in boat encounters) into population model to obtain more realistic projections of population states. Despite we will work on empirical data, we aim to use changes in the environmental policies and human activities as a BACI experimental design to study population resilience. Among others, for example, the UE policy on fishing discards, the closure of open air landfill, the control of predators and the mitigation measures to reduce seabird bycatch.

Related staff

Related departments

  • Animal and Microbial Biodiversity
  • Related research groups