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Similar local and landscape processes affect both a common and a rare newt species.

Denoël M, Perez A, Cornet Y, Ficetola GF - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: We tested this hypothesis by examining, through an information-theoretic approach, the importance of ecological processes at multiple scales in the great crested newt Triturus cristatus, regionally endangered and protected in Europe, and the more common smooth newt, Lissotriton vulgaris.The results show that environmental pressures threaten both common and rare species, and therefore the more widespread species should not be neglected in conservation programs.On the other hand, in agreement with the umbrella species concept, targeting conservation efforts on the most demanding species would also protect part of the populations of the most common species.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Laboratory of Fish and Amphibian Ethology, Behavioural Biology Unit, Department of Biology, Ecology and Evolution, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium. Mathieu.Denoel@ulg.ac.be

ABSTRACT
Although rare species are often the focus of conservation measures, more common species may experience similar decline and suffer from the same threatening processes. We tested this hypothesis by examining, through an information-theoretic approach, the importance of ecological processes at multiple scales in the great crested newt Triturus cristatus, regionally endangered and protected in Europe, and the more common smooth newt, Lissotriton vulgaris. Both species were similarly affected by the same processes, i.e. suitability of aquatic and terrestrial components of their habitat at different scales, connectivity among breeding sites, and the presence of introduced fish. T. cristatus depended more on water depth and aquatic vegetation than L. vulgaris. The results show that environmental pressures threaten both common and rare species, and therefore the more widespread species should not be neglected in conservation programs. Because environmental trends are leading to a deterioration of aquatic and terrestrial habitat features required by newt populations, populations of the common species may follow the fate of the rarest species. This could have substantial conservation implications because of the numerical importance of common species in ecosystems and because commonness could be a transient state moving towards rarity. On the other hand, in agreement with the umbrella species concept, targeting conservation efforts on the most demanding species would also protect part of the populations of the most common species.

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The crested newt (Triturus cristatus) (A) and the smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) (B).Both pictures show males from a pond in Pays de Herve (Belgium) and are representative of a rare and emblematic (A) and a more common and less protected (B) species.
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pone-0062727-g001: The crested newt (Triturus cristatus) (A) and the smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) (B).Both pictures show males from a pond in Pays de Herve (Belgium) and are representative of a rare and emblematic (A) and a more common and less protected (B) species.

Mentions: Amphibians are a valuable group in which to examine these questions as they are one of the most threatened classes of organisms worldwide, but also because much attention has been paid to the rarest species [8], [9]. Common amphibian species also face population declines, such as the common toad (Bufo bufo) in Europe and the northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) in many states of the USA [10], [11]. In newts, several conservation programs (e.g. Life, Natura 2000) have focused on the great crested newt Triturus cristatus, an emblematic species protected under the Habitat Directive Annex 2 [12]–[17] (Figure 1A). In contrast, the smooth newt Lissotriton vulgaris (Figure 1B) is much less protected, in part because of its assumed commonness. However, reports of regional decline suggest that it could also be affected by environmental pressures [17]–[19].


Similar local and landscape processes affect both a common and a rare newt species.

Denoël M, Perez A, Cornet Y, Ficetola GF - PLoS ONE (2013)

The crested newt (Triturus cristatus) (A) and the smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) (B).Both pictures show males from a pond in Pays de Herve (Belgium) and are representative of a rare and emblematic (A) and a more common and less protected (B) species.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3643927&req=5

pone-0062727-g001: The crested newt (Triturus cristatus) (A) and the smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) (B).Both pictures show males from a pond in Pays de Herve (Belgium) and are representative of a rare and emblematic (A) and a more common and less protected (B) species.
Mentions: Amphibians are a valuable group in which to examine these questions as they are one of the most threatened classes of organisms worldwide, but also because much attention has been paid to the rarest species [8], [9]. Common amphibian species also face population declines, such as the common toad (Bufo bufo) in Europe and the northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) in many states of the USA [10], [11]. In newts, several conservation programs (e.g. Life, Natura 2000) have focused on the great crested newt Triturus cristatus, an emblematic species protected under the Habitat Directive Annex 2 [12]–[17] (Figure 1A). In contrast, the smooth newt Lissotriton vulgaris (Figure 1B) is much less protected, in part because of its assumed commonness. However, reports of regional decline suggest that it could also be affected by environmental pressures [17]–[19].

Bottom Line: We tested this hypothesis by examining, through an information-theoretic approach, the importance of ecological processes at multiple scales in the great crested newt Triturus cristatus, regionally endangered and protected in Europe, and the more common smooth newt, Lissotriton vulgaris.The results show that environmental pressures threaten both common and rare species, and therefore the more widespread species should not be neglected in conservation programs.On the other hand, in agreement with the umbrella species concept, targeting conservation efforts on the most demanding species would also protect part of the populations of the most common species.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Laboratory of Fish and Amphibian Ethology, Behavioural Biology Unit, Department of Biology, Ecology and Evolution, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium. Mathieu.Denoel@ulg.ac.be

ABSTRACT
Although rare species are often the focus of conservation measures, more common species may experience similar decline and suffer from the same threatening processes. We tested this hypothesis by examining, through an information-theoretic approach, the importance of ecological processes at multiple scales in the great crested newt Triturus cristatus, regionally endangered and protected in Europe, and the more common smooth newt, Lissotriton vulgaris. Both species were similarly affected by the same processes, i.e. suitability of aquatic and terrestrial components of their habitat at different scales, connectivity among breeding sites, and the presence of introduced fish. T. cristatus depended more on water depth and aquatic vegetation than L. vulgaris. The results show that environmental pressures threaten both common and rare species, and therefore the more widespread species should not be neglected in conservation programs. Because environmental trends are leading to a deterioration of aquatic and terrestrial habitat features required by newt populations, populations of the common species may follow the fate of the rarest species. This could have substantial conservation implications because of the numerical importance of common species in ecosystems and because commonness could be a transient state moving towards rarity. On the other hand, in agreement with the umbrella species concept, targeting conservation efforts on the most demanding species would also protect part of the populations of the most common species.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus