Different trends of neighboring populations of Lesser Kestrel: Effects of climate and other environmental conditions

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The sensitivity of population trends to the climate and environment is generallyconsidered a species-specific trait. However, evidence that populations may showdifferent responses to the climate and environmental conditions is growing.Whether this differential sensitivity may arise even among neighboring populationsremains elusive. We compared the trends of two neighboring populations of theLesser Kestrel Falco naumanni, using data from a 12-year survey of 158 coloniesin Sicily, Italy; the two populations inhabiting a lowland and an highland area,respectively. Population trends were modeled through the TRIM algorithms implementedin R (package rtrim). A reversed U-shaped population trend was observedin the lowland, while the highland population showed oscillations around a stabletrend. Sahel rainfall 2 years before each annual survey significantly affected populationvariation in the lowland, while rainfall in March and an index of primaryproductivity in the breeding areas affected population variation in the highland.This suggests that the population in the lowland may be limited mainly by wintersurvival in Sahel, because the lowland may be an optimal breeding area for thisspecies. In contrast, the highland population, which occupies a different part of theclimatic niche of the species, may be limited mainly by reproductive output,because rainfall in March and the primary productivity in May could represent preyavailability immediately before and during the breeding months. Overall, our findingssuggest that population-specific environmental sensitivity might occur evenover small (<100 km) geographical scales, highlighting the need for populationspecificconservation strategies.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)300-314
Numero di pagine15
RivistaPopulation Ecology
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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