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Editorial - All that glitters is not gold: The world of scientific publications and the challenges of publishing high-quality research
Mapping the distribution of the Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops and the Pine Processionary Moth in Lebanon based on a Citizen Science approach
Leila Rossa Mouawad, Salim Kattar, Jad Rizkallah, Dany El Obeid, Samara P. El Haddad & Karma Bou AzzaAbstract Read Article Download94 70The Pine Processionary Moth (PPM) Thaumetopoea wilkinsoni has long been attacking Mediterranean forests. In its management strategy, Lebanon has focused mainly on pesticides, leaving natural predators as anunderstudied control option. This study aims to understand the distribution of the Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops, by assessing the damage caused by the PPM. We attempted to explain the distribution of the twospecies, their relation to other factors and, with a Citizen Science (CS) approach, we developed their distribution maps. We found that the varying PPM damage between cadastral units was linked to Important Bird Areas (IBAs), highlighting the importance of multiple birds, including the Eurasian Hoopoe, as natural predators of this pest and calling for their conservation. As understudied species in Lebanon, this paper sets the path and offers guidelines for future researchers willing to work on similar crucial research in a climate change context and reveal the underlying relation between the two species.
What species are being researched and why? A bibliometric analysis of breeding birds in Italy
Maurizio SaràAbstract Read Article Download58 66The publication of updated works on the distribution, breeding and conservation status of Italian birds has stimulated an analysis of the factors that have so far guided the research. This was done through a bibliometric analysis of one of the largest scientific databases on the web. Two publication metrics were used, the total number of papers and the h-index. They express the quantity and the quality of research effortsthrough their impact on the scientific community. 791 articles concerning the 270 species reported in the Italian Atlas of Breeding Birds were selected and analysed by univariate statistics and negative binomial GLMs. Eight multilevel factors (origin of species, breeding phenology, main occupied habitat, population trends, degree of threat, national interest relative to population management, functional grouping and geographic range size) were used as potential predictors of species publication metrics. These 791 papers attracted 20,982 citations and had an overall h-index of 48. The publication years ranged from 1975 to 2023 with a significant increase in slope through time. The Barn Swallow leads the top ten of both publication metrics followed by the Lesser Kestrel and the Golden Eagle in the case of number of papers, while the Red-backed Shrike, and again the Lesser Kestrel follow the Barn Swallow in the first places of the h-index top ten. Main habitat, functional grouping and geographic range size are modelled as significant factors predicting a change in publication metrics, instead, the other five factors do not predict a significant change in both response variables. The lack of focus on research on species in numerical decline, threatened, or of national interest for population management reveals a main gap in Italian ornithological research. Another one is the skewed distribution of studies, with a not negligible 17% of breeding species that have never been the subject of a paper. These weaknesses are likely due to the low presence of ornithologists in local/national environmental and wildlife management bodies and to the uneven distribution of research groups among the Italian regions. Increasing the number of professional ornithologists and including them in local authorities and regional administrations is the best strategy to grow the levels of research and protection of Italian birds.
Peri-urban wetlands as biodiversity hotspots: the approach study of the waterbird community seasonal variation of Arnovecchio oasis in Florence province (Tuscany)
Clara Sargentini, Roberto Tocci & Francesco BimbiAbstract Read Article Download65 88
The aim of this work was to monitor the waterbird community throughout the year in an anthropized peri-urban wetland of Florence province. The sampling was conducted from January 2018 to December 2020 throughout all seasons of the year by direct observations, using binoculars and acoustic surveys. To evaluate bird biodiversity, we calculated the relative frequency, abundance and species richness, the Shannon-Wiener Index and evenness. We monitored 19 species, among which six were dominant species: Anas platyrhynchos, Larus michahellis, Fulica atra, Podiceps cristatus, Aythya ferina, Chroicocephalus ridibundus. Abundance, species richness and Shannon-Wiener diversity were highest in winter, while evenness was highest in spring; a
Principal Component Analysis confirmed that Arnovecchio is an important wetland both for breeding (Podiceps cristatus, Tachybaptus ruficollis, Anas platyrhynchos) and wintering species (Aythya ferina, Chroicocephalus ridibundus). Most of the species were identified in autumn and in winter when this area may represent for some birds a protected refuge during the hunting season. Among the most observed species, Aythya ferina and Chroicocephalus ridibundus were absent in spring but were more common in winter. Among the nesting species, the most common are Podiceps cristatus and Tachybaptus ruficollis. The results of this study suggest a constant presence of birds during the whole year in this peri-urban area, thereby highlighting its relevance for
biodiversity as well as for providing the opportunity to human visitors to enjoy its natural values in all seasons.
Long-term monitoring of the Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus nesting in the Furlo Gorge State Nature Reserve (Marches, central Italy)
Maurizio Saltarelli & Marco PantaloneAbstract Read Article Download128 159
The present study shows the results of the long-term monitoring of the Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
nesting in the Furlo Gorge State Nature Reserve located in the Marches region (central Italy). Monitoring
took place between 1997-2022, when a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 3 breeding pairs nested within
the protected area. During the study period, we identified 11 nesting sites used by the Peregrine Falcons that
were located on cliffs with ledges and small niches, placed at an average height of 416 m (±89 m) a.s.l. Over the
study period, the breeding pairs laid a total of 69 eggs, with an annual mean of 2.34 per pair, raising a total of 61
chicks of which 57 fledged successfully. Breeding attempts always occurred in March (with a pronounced peak
in the second week) and incubation period lasted on average 32±1.60 days. During the 23 years of monitoring,
the productivity rate was of 1.32 (n fledglings/n pairs), with a chick mortality of only 2.44% and a fledging success
of 2.47 (fledglings/pairs with juveniles). This study highlights the Furlo Gorge as the second most important
monitored breeding area for the Peregrine Falcon in the Marches region being the first one the Regional
Park Gola della Rossa e di Frasassi (AN).
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni diet during different phases of breeding and post breeding periods in central Greece
Christos Christakis, Maria Makri, Haralambos Alivizatos & Athanassios SfougarisAbstract Read Article Download50 64
The Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni is a small migratory falcon, foraging in areas covered by relatively low vegetation. In the Thessalian Plain, Central Greece, it feeds mainly on large Orthoptera and Coleoptera, and is characterized by an opportunistic feeding strategy. The purpose of this study was to investigate the composition of the Lesser Kestrel diet in the Thessalian plain. Systematic visits to two large representative colonies of the Lesser Kestrel in the study area were performed, in order to collect pellets during 2014 and 2015 breeding and post breeding periods of the species. Pellet analysis indicated that Orthoptera and Coleoptera were the main prey categories, which seem to have been the most specialized and dominant feeding choices of the species in the study area, while all other prey categories were rare and not specialized. Lesser Kestrel relied its diet on Orthoptera (Tettigoniidae and Acrididae), mainly during the breeding and post breeding phases, while the feeding strategy of the species during these two phases can be characterized as opportunistic. On the contrary, prior to the breeding phase, main prey category of the species in the study area was Coleoptera (Carabidae and Scarabaeidae). Moreover, a narrower niche breadth of the species based on Levins’ index, was recorded during the breeding phase for both years of the study, indicating that the species restricted the variety of the diet during this phase. Conclusively, the species during its whole breeding season made different prey choices, depending on the breeding phase and its specialized needs during each phase.