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Accounting for cloud cover and circannual variation puts the effect of lunar phase on deer–vehicle collisions into perspective
Jacopo Cerri, Laura Stendardi, Elena Bužan, Boštjan Pokorny, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: Although several studies have focused on the influence of moonlight on deer–vehicle collisions, findings have been inconsistent. This may be due to neglect of the effects of cloud cover, a major impediment to moon illumination and circannual variation in both deer and human activity. We assessed how median cloud cover interacted with the illuminated fraction of the moon in affecting daily roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) roadkill in Slovenia (Central Europe). Data included nationwide roadkill (n = 49,259), collected between 2010 and 2019 by hunters, as required by law. Roadkill peaked under medium to high cloud cover and decreased during nights with low or extremely high cloudiness. This pattern was more pronounced on nights with a full moon. However, the effects of moon illumination and cloud cover had a lower predictive potential than circannual variation, as collisions clearly peaked in April/May, July and August/September. Our results suggest that moonlight could influence roe deer movements through compensatory foraging. However, on nights with a full moon, collisions could also be affected by weather. On bright nights, roe deer might be less active due to increased human presence and sustained vehicular traffic. Then, with medium to high cloud cover and also rainfall, human presence in the environment may be low enough to increase deer movements, but vehicular traffic can still be intermediate, maximizing the risk of collisions. Finally, with overcast skies, widespread rainfall can reduce both traffic volume and human outdoor activity, decreasing the risk of collisions. Moon illumination may indeed affect wildlife–vehicle collisions and roadkill, but its effects should be quantified as a function of cloud cover. Moreover, to make studies truly comparable, research about wildlife–vehicle collisions should also account for time of the year. Policy implications. Because collisions with roe deer peak at particular periods of the year, signs should be installed seasonally. By doing so, they would warn drivers about the risk, improve drivers' awareness and increase their safety. Moreover, as collisions also increase on nights with a full moon and overcast skies, interactive warning signs that are activated by ground illumination should also be useful.
Keywords: cloudiness, MODIS Surface Reflectance, moon, road ecology, roe deer, Slovenia, thin-plate splines, wildlife–vehicle collisions
Published in DiRROS: 16.11.2023; Views: 73; Downloads: 36
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Spatial genetic structure of European wild boar, with inferences on late-Pleistocene and Holocene demographic history
Joost F. de Jong, Laura Iacolina, Herbert H. T. Prins, Pim van Hooft, Richard Crooijmans, Sip E. van Wieren, Joaquin Vicente Baños, Eric Baubet, Seán Cahill, Eduardo Ferreira, Ida Jelenko Turinek, Boštjan Pokorny, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: European wildlife has been subjected to intensifying levels of anthropogenic impact throughout the Holocene, yet the main genetic partitioning of many species is thought to still reflect the late-Pleistocene glacial refugia. We analyzed 26,342 nuclear SNPs of 464 wild boar (Sus scrofa) across the European continent to infer demographic history and reassess the genetic consequences of natural and anthropogenic forces. We found that population fragmentation, inbreeding and recent hybridization with domestic pigs have caused the spatial genetic structure to be heterogeneous at the local scale. Underlying local anthropogenic signatures, we found a deep genetic structure in the form of an arch-shaped cline extending from the Dinaric Alps, via Southeastern Europe and the Baltic states, to Western Europe and, finally, to the genetically diverged Iberian peninsula. These findings indicate that, despite considerable anthropogenic influence, the deeper, natural continental structure is still intact. Regarding the glacial refugia, our findings show a weaker signal than generally assumed, but are nevertheless suggestive of two main recolonization routes, with important roles for Southern France and the Balkans. Our results highlight the importance of applying genomic resources and framing genetic results within a species’ demographic history and geographic distribution for a better understanding of the complex mixture of underlying processes.
Keywords: spatial genetic structure, European wild boar, demographic history
Published in DiRROS: 03.02.2023; Views: 196; Downloads: 135
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Pan-European phylogeography of the European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Kamila Plis, Magdalena Niedziałkowska, Tomasz Borowik, Johannes Lang, Mike Heddergott, Juha Tiainen, Aleksey Bunevich, Nikica Šprem, Ladislav Paule, Aleksey A. Danilkin, Marina Kholodova, Elena Zvychaynaya, Nadezhda Kashinina, Boštjan Pokorny, Katarina Flajšman, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: To provide the most comprehensive picture of species phylogeny and phylogeography of European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), we analyzed mtDNA control region (610 bp) of 1469 samples of roe deer from Central and Eastern Europe and included into the analyses additional 1541 mtDNA sequences from GenBank from other regions of the continent. We detected two mtDNA lineages of the species: European and Siberian (an introgression of C. pygargus mtDNA into C. capreolus). The Siberian lineage was most frequent in the eastern part of the continent and declined toward Central Europe. The European lineage contained three clades (Central, Eastern, and Western) composed of several haplogroups, many of which were separated in space. The Western clade appeared to have a discontinuous range from Portugal to Russia. Most of the haplogroups in the Central and the Eastern clades were under expansion during the Weichselian glacial period before the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), while the expansion time of the Western clade overlapped with the Eemian interglacial. The high genetic diversity of extant roe deer is the result of their survival during the LGM probably in a large, contiguous range spanning from the Iberian Peninsula to the Caucasus Mts and in two northern refugia.
Keywords: Capreolus capreolus, expansion, mitochondrial DNA, the Last Glacial Maximum refugia, the Quaternary history, Phylogenetics
Published in DiRROS: 26.05.2022; Views: 481; Downloads: 343
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COVID-19 related travel restrictions prevented numerous wildlife deaths on roads : ǂa ǂcomparative analysis of results from 11 countries
Michal Bíl, Richard Andrášik, Vojtěch Cícha, Amir Arnon, Maris Kruuse, Jochen Langbein, András Náhlik, Milla Niemig, Boštjan Pokorny, Victor J. Colino-Rabanal, Christer M. Rolandsen, Andreas Seiler, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Millions of wild animals are killed annually on roads worldwide. During spring 2020, the volume of road traffic was reduced globally as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. We gathered data on wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVC) from Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Israel, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and for Scotland and England within the United Kingdom. In all studied countries WVC statistics tend to be dominated by large mammals (various deer species and wild boar), while information on smaller mammals as well as birds are less well recorded. The expected number of WVC for 2020 was predicted on the basis of 2015%2019 WVC time series representing expected WVC numbers under normal traffic conditions. Then, the forecasted and reported WVC data were compared. The results indicate varying levels of WVC decrease between countries during the COVID-19 related traffic flow reduction (CRTR). While no significant change was determined in Sweden, where the state-wide response to COVID-19 was the least intensive, a decrease as marked as 37.4% was identified in Estonia. The greatest WVC decrease, more than 40%, was determined during the first weeks of CRTR for Estonia, Spain, Israel, and Czechia. Measures taken during spring 2020 allowed the survival of large numbers of wild animals which would have been killed under normal traffic conditions. The significant effects of even just a few weeks of reduced traffic, help to highlight the negative impacts of roads on wildlife mortality and the need to boost global efforts of wildlife conservation, including systematic gathering of roadkill data.
Keywords: wildlife-vehicle collisions, wildlife crash reporting systems, traffic flow, ungulates, mesocarnivores, COVID-19 lockdown
Published in DiRROS: 03.01.2022; Views: 663; Downloads: 429
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Na trajnostno upravljanje populacij divjadi smo lahko še kako ponosni!
Boštjan Pokorny, 2020, preface, editorial, afterword

Keywords: divjad, upravljanje divjadi, trajnostno upravljanje, lovstvo
Published in DiRROS: 20.10.2020; Views: 1011; Downloads: 317
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Capital-income breeding in male ungulates : causes and consequences of strategy differences among species
Marco Apollonio, Enrico Merli, Roberta Chirichella, Boštjan Pokorny, Ajša Alagić, Katarina Flajšman, Philip A. Stephens, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: The capital and income breeding concept links energy resources used during reproduction to the timing of their acquisition. During reproduction, capital breeders rely on resources gained previously and accumulated for reproductive investment. By contrast, income breeders use mainly resources collected during the period of reproductive activity. Most commonly, this concept is applied to females; relatively few studies have considered males. Moreover, there has been little attention to the link between the capital-income divide and other aspects of mating strategy. We studied adult males of three wild ungulates with different levels of polygyny. A large dataset (4,264 red deer, 53,619 roe deer, and 13,537 Alpine chamois, respectively) was obtained during 2007-2017 in the whole territory of Slovenia and in the Trento province, Italy. During the rut, body mass loss of males in highly polygynous species was more than twice that of weakly polygynous species: on average, red deer stags lost 19.5%; chamois bucks 16.0%; and roe deer bucks 7.5% of their body mass. This indicates potential for a hitherto unrecognized link between the degree of intrasexual competition and the degree of capital mating. The variability in body mass at the end of the rut was clearly reduced in both highly polygynous species (from 15.1 to 9.4% in red deer, and from 12.5 to 10.5% in chamois), but did not change in roe deer. Finally, roe deer bucks had recovered body mass to that of the pre-rut period by just 2 months after the rut, while red deer stags did not manage to compensate the loss of weight until the end of the year. We suggest that, at least in ungulates, there is a link between the degree of polygyny and that of capital breeding. Males of capital and income breeders underwent body mass changes resulting from different reproductive investment during the rut. Capital breeders lost considerably more weight, and invested a variable amount of energy among individuals or among years, possibly to cope with different environmental or body conditions. In so doing, they ended the rut with poorer but more even condition among individuals.
Keywords: capital-income breeding, male reproductive investment, Capreolus capreolus, Cervus elaphus, Rupicapra rupicapra
Published in DiRROS: 23.09.2020; Views: 1196; Downloads: 729
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