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Secretarybird Sagittarius serpentarius population trends and ecology: insights from South African citizen science data.

Hofmeyr SD, Symes CT, Underhill LG - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: This implies that in the Fynbos biome, at least, Secretarybirds have adapted to transformed environments to some degree.However, in the rest of the country it is likely that habitat loss, largely through widespread bush encroachment but also through agriculture, afforestation, and urbanisation, is a major threat to the species.The methods developed here represent a new approach to analysing data from long-term citizen science projects, which can provide important insights into a species' conservation status and ecology.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa; Animal Demography Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.

ABSTRACT
Data from two long-term citizen science projects were used to examine the status and ecology of a Red List species, the Secretarybird Sagittarius serpentarius (Vulnerable), in South Africa. The first phase of the Southern African Bird Atlas Project operated from 1987 until 1992, and the second phase began in 2007. The Coordinated Avifaunal Roadcounts (CAR) project began in 1993 and by 1998 had expanded to cover much of the south-eastern half of the country. Data submitted up until April 2013 were used. A new method of comparing reporting rates between atlas projects was developed. Changing reporting rates are likely to reflect changes in abundance; in this instance the data suggest that the Secretarybird population decreased across much of South Africa between the two atlas projects, with a widespread important decrease in the Kruger National Park. Habitat data from the CAR project were analysed to gain insight into the ecology of the species. Secretarybirds tended to avoid transformed habitats across much of the area covered by the CAR project. In the winter rainfall region of the Western Cape, which is characterised by heavily transformed fynbos vegetation, at least 50% of Secretarybirds recorded were in transformed environments. This implies that in the Fynbos biome, at least, Secretarybirds have adapted to transformed environments to some degree. However, in the rest of the country it is likely that habitat loss, largely through widespread bush encroachment but also through agriculture, afforestation, and urbanisation, is a major threat to the species. The methods developed here represent a new approach to analysing data from long-term citizen science projects, which can provide important insights into a species' conservation status and ecology.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Numbers of quarter degree grid-cells (QDGCs) of different categories per province in Figure 1.Numbers in brackets following the names of the provinces are the numbers of QDGCs in which Secretarybirds were ever recorded. SABAP2 reporting rates were smaller than SABAP1 in red, orange and yellow grid cells, and greater than SABAP1 in light and dark green and blue grid cells (see Figure 1). Pink grid cells are those which had not yet been covered in SABAP2.
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pone-0096772-g003: Numbers of quarter degree grid-cells (QDGCs) of different categories per province in Figure 1.Numbers in brackets following the names of the provinces are the numbers of QDGCs in which Secretarybirds were ever recorded. SABAP2 reporting rates were smaller than SABAP1 in red, orange and yellow grid cells, and greater than SABAP1 in light and dark green and blue grid cells (see Figure 1). Pink grid cells are those which had not yet been covered in SABAP2.

Mentions: As at 19 April 2013 Secretarybirds had been reported in 1 262 QDGCs across South Africa, 64.9% of all South African QDGCs (Table 1, Figures 1 and 3). The Northern Cape had 26 QDGCs (11.5% of the provincial total of 226) for which Secretarybirds had been reported in SABAP1 but which had not yet been visited for SABAP2. For the country as a whole this figure was 39 (3.1%), with Limpopo, North-West and Eastern Cape contributing two, four and seven such QDGCs respectively.


Secretarybird Sagittarius serpentarius population trends and ecology: insights from South African citizen science data.

Hofmeyr SD, Symes CT, Underhill LG - PLoS ONE (2014)

Numbers of quarter degree grid-cells (QDGCs) of different categories per province in Figure 1.Numbers in brackets following the names of the provinces are the numbers of QDGCs in which Secretarybirds were ever recorded. SABAP2 reporting rates were smaller than SABAP1 in red, orange and yellow grid cells, and greater than SABAP1 in light and dark green and blue grid cells (see Figure 1). Pink grid cells are those which had not yet been covered in SABAP2.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4016007&req=5

pone-0096772-g003: Numbers of quarter degree grid-cells (QDGCs) of different categories per province in Figure 1.Numbers in brackets following the names of the provinces are the numbers of QDGCs in which Secretarybirds were ever recorded. SABAP2 reporting rates were smaller than SABAP1 in red, orange and yellow grid cells, and greater than SABAP1 in light and dark green and blue grid cells (see Figure 1). Pink grid cells are those which had not yet been covered in SABAP2.
Mentions: As at 19 April 2013 Secretarybirds had been reported in 1 262 QDGCs across South Africa, 64.9% of all South African QDGCs (Table 1, Figures 1 and 3). The Northern Cape had 26 QDGCs (11.5% of the provincial total of 226) for which Secretarybirds had been reported in SABAP1 but which had not yet been visited for SABAP2. For the country as a whole this figure was 39 (3.1%), with Limpopo, North-West and Eastern Cape contributing two, four and seven such QDGCs respectively.

Bottom Line: This implies that in the Fynbos biome, at least, Secretarybirds have adapted to transformed environments to some degree.However, in the rest of the country it is likely that habitat loss, largely through widespread bush encroachment but also through agriculture, afforestation, and urbanisation, is a major threat to the species.The methods developed here represent a new approach to analysing data from long-term citizen science projects, which can provide important insights into a species' conservation status and ecology.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa; Animal Demography Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.

ABSTRACT
Data from two long-term citizen science projects were used to examine the status and ecology of a Red List species, the Secretarybird Sagittarius serpentarius (Vulnerable), in South Africa. The first phase of the Southern African Bird Atlas Project operated from 1987 until 1992, and the second phase began in 2007. The Coordinated Avifaunal Roadcounts (CAR) project began in 1993 and by 1998 had expanded to cover much of the south-eastern half of the country. Data submitted up until April 2013 were used. A new method of comparing reporting rates between atlas projects was developed. Changing reporting rates are likely to reflect changes in abundance; in this instance the data suggest that the Secretarybird population decreased across much of South Africa between the two atlas projects, with a widespread important decrease in the Kruger National Park. Habitat data from the CAR project were analysed to gain insight into the ecology of the species. Secretarybirds tended to avoid transformed habitats across much of the area covered by the CAR project. In the winter rainfall region of the Western Cape, which is characterised by heavily transformed fynbos vegetation, at least 50% of Secretarybirds recorded were in transformed environments. This implies that in the Fynbos biome, at least, Secretarybirds have adapted to transformed environments to some degree. However, in the rest of the country it is likely that habitat loss, largely through widespread bush encroachment but also through agriculture, afforestation, and urbanisation, is a major threat to the species. The methods developed here represent a new approach to analysing data from long-term citizen science projects, which can provide important insights into a species' conservation status and ecology.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus