A strong scientific background is a key factor in all of our work. Many of our consultants are among the leading experts within their respective fields of interest. Throughout the years a vast amount of scientific papers have been produced by the people connected to Amphi Consult. In the following we highlights some of the papers written by the staff in Amphi Consult. Many of the papers do originate from specific Amphi Consult projects, such as different EU LIFE projects, others have been made parallel with the work conducted by Amphi Consult.

 

Amphibians:

Restoring ponds for amphibians: a success story.

The paper describe a landscape-scale restoration project targeted at two declining amphibian species -the crested newt Triturus cristatus and the common spadefoot toad Pelobates fuscus - in six protected areas in southern and southeastern Estonia. In only 3 years the number of ponds occupied by the common spadefoot toad increased 6.5 times. Concerning the crested newt and the moor frog Rana arvalis, the increase was 2.3 and 2.5 times, respectively. The paper highlight that habitat restoration for threatened pond-breeding amphibians can rapidly increase their numbers if the restoration is implemented at the landscape scale, taking into account the habitat requirements of target species and the ecological connectivity of populations. 

Rannap, R., Lõhmus, A., & Briggs, L. (2009): Restoring ponds for amphibians: a success story. Hydrobiologia, 634: 87–95. 

 

Niche position, but not niche breadth, differs in two coexisting amphibians having contrasting trends in Europe.

Baseline inventories in the LIFE BALTRIT project lead to this paper addressing the habitat niches of the rare and declining crested newt Triturus cristatus, and the more common smooth newt Lisotriton vulgaris. Diverse invertebrate fauna (prey base) and shorter distances to other ponds inhabited by conspecifics were positive for both species, while the surrounding habitat (notably dry grasslands with forests) was important for the crested newt and the sediment type of the pond for the smooth newt only. The study suggests that the rarity and/or continuing decline of the crested newt is related to the degradation of (semi)natural terrestrial habitats around suitable water bodies in Europe. 

Rannap, R., Lõhmus, A., Briggs, L. (2009): Niche position, but not niche breadth, differs in two coexisting amphibians having contrasting trends in Europe. Diversity and Distributions, 15: 692-700

 

Habitat fragmentation causes bottlenecks and inbreeding in the European tree frog Hyla arborea

A genetic study of the European tree frog, Hyla arborea, in Denmark was undertaken to examine the population structure on mainland Jutland and the island of Lolland after a period of reduction in suitable habitat and population sizes. The two regions have experienced the same rate of habitat loss but fragmentation has been more severe on Lolland. A significant reduction in genetic variation (bottleneck) was detected in most of the ponds on Lolland. A severe fragmentation process reducing population size and fitness within some of the populations probably caused the significant reduction in genetic variation of tree frog populations on Lolland.

Andersen, L.W., Fog, K. & Damgaard, C. (2004): Habitat fragmentation causes bottlenecks and inbreeding in the European tree frog (Hyla arborea). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 271: 1293-1302

 

Reproduction and hybrid load in all-hybrid populations of Rana esculenta water frogs in Denmark

The paper addresses the all-hybrid populations of the water frog, Rana esculenta, present in Denmark. The study test the hypothesis that nonhybrids arise every year in these all-hybrid populations, but die during larval development. Microsatellite markers were used to determine the genotypes of adults and abnormal and healthy offspring in three all-hybrid populations of R. esculenta in Denmark. The study demonstrates how faulty gametogenesis and mating between frogs with incompatible gametes induce a significant hybrid load in all-hybrid populations of R. esculenta.

Christiansen DG, K Fog, BV Pedersen, JJ Boomsma (2005): Reproduction and hybrid load in all-hybrid populations of Rana esculenta water frogs in Denmark. Evolution 59: 1348-1361

 

Northern natterjack toads Bufo calamita select breeding habitats that promote rapid development

The paper describes the results from a field study on the growth and development of tadpoles and habitat selection of breeding adults of the natterjack toad Bufo calamita in Denmark and in Estonia. In Estonia the toads selected shallower breeding ponds with higher temperature and oxygen concentrations, compared to Denmark. Thus suggesting, that at higher latitudes active selection of specific water bodies ensures faster growth and development of larvae. The paper indicate that the distribution limits of the natterjack toad are shaped both by adaptive differences in developmental rates and behavioral plasticity. 

Rannap, R., Lõhmus, A., Tammaru, T., Briggs, L., de Vries, W., Pappel, P., Bibelriether, F. (2012): Northern natterjack toads (Bufo calamita) select breeding habitats that promote rapid development. Behavior, 149: 737-754.

Ornithology:

Status of the Baltic Dunlin Calidris alpina in Lithuania

The paper assess the present status of the threatened Baltic Dunlin population in Lithuania, based on surveys of the former key breeding sites for the species in May 2011 and recorded current land use. No breeding Dunlins in Lithuania and at the majority of the former breeding sites current land use no longer affords suitable habitat. Dunlins have suffered from a reduction in the intensity of grazing and a lowering of the water table in their former coastal meadow habitats. A broad suite of other meadow breeding waders have also disappeared from these areas; moreover the globally red-listed Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola has declined markedly in the same habitat.

Thorup O., Preiksa Z., Pehlak H., Altemüller M. & Drews H. (2011): Status of the Baltic Dunlin Calidris alpina in Lithuania. Wader Study Group Bulletin, 118: 184-187

 

Migration and wintering of Baltic Dunlins Calidris alpina schinzii with known breeding origin

As part of intensive studies on Baltic Dunlins Calidris alpina schinzii in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany during the last 40 years, chicks and breeding adults have been marked, which has resulted in 110 recoveries during migration and winter. The data indicate that the main wintering areas of the Baltic Dunlin are the estuaries in northern Africa. During spring and autumn, the Baltic Dunlin migrates well before the larger and much more numerous alpina subspecies, which breeds in arctic Eurasia. The recovery data suggest that the estuaries in the Baltic, the Wadden Sea, SE and S England, the Atlantic seaboard in France, and the Iberian Peninsula are of similar importance for the Baltic Dunlin as they are for the alpina Dunlins.

Thorup O., Timonen S., Blomqvist D., Flodin L-Å., Jönsson P.E., Larsson M., Pakanen V-M. & Soikkeli M. (2009): Migration and wintering of Baltic Dunlins Calidris alpina schinzii with known breeding origin. ARDEA 97: 43-50

 

Invertebrates:

Temporary ponds of eastern Poland: an initial assessment of their importance for nature conservation

A preliminary investigation of temporary pond water beetle and larger branchiopod crustacean assemblages was undertaken in eastern Poland in 2003 and 2004. Ponds were studied in three landscape types: floodplain, agricultural plateau and forest. Overall, the results of the study provide evidence that temporary ponds in floodplain and other low intensity agricultural landscapes support rich invertebrate assemblages of high nature conservation interest in a European context.

Biggs , J. D. Bilton, P. Williams, P. Nicolet, L. Briggs, B. Eeles, and M. Whitfield. (2004): Temporary ponds of eastern Poland: an initial assessment of their importance for nature conservation. Archives des Sciences 57: 73-84.

 

How do low dispersal species establish large range sizes? – the case of the water beetle Graphoderus bilineatus.

In this paper the water beetle, Graphoderus bilineatus a philopatric species of conservation concern in Europe, is used as a model to explain large range size and to support effective conservation measures for such species that also have limited dispersal. The study reason that the large range of G. bilineatus is best explained by the historical combination of lakes, river systems and wetlands which used to be highly connected throughout the central plains of Europe. The paper suggest that a broad habitat niche can prevent landscape elements from becoming barriers for species like G. bilineatus. The baseline monitoring in the LIFE DRAGONLIFE project provided parts of the data used in this paper.

Iversen L. L., Rannap R., Kielgast J., Thomsen P.F. & Sand-Jensen K. (2013): How do low dispersal species establish large range sizes? – the case of the water beetle Graphoderus bilineatus. Ecography, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0587.2013.00001.x

Environmental Monitoring:

Monitoring endangered freshwater biodiversity by environmental DNA

This is a study demonstrating that a diversity of rare and threatened freshwater animals -representing amphibians, fish, mammals, insects and crustaceans- can be detected and quantified based on DNA obtained directly from small water samples of lakes, ponds and streams. The paper further shows that entire faunas of amphibians and fish can be detected by high-throughput sequencing of DNA extracted from pond water. The findings establish environmental DNA as a tool for monitoring rare and threatened species across a wide range of taxonomic groups.

Thomsen, P. F., Kielgast, J., Iversen, L. L., Wiuf, C., Rasmussen, M., Gilbert M. T. P., Orlando, L. & Willerslev, E. (2011): Monitoring endangered freshwater biodiversity by environmental DNA. Molecular Ecology, 21:  2565-2573

 

Detection of a Diverse Marine Fish Fauna Using Environmental DNA from Seawater Samples

The paper investigate the potential of using metabarcoding of environmental DNA (eDNA) obtained directly from seawater samples to account for marine fish biodiversity. Using next-generation DNA sequencing of PCR amplicons, eDNA from 15 different fish species from ½-litre seawater samples was obtained, including both important consumption species, as well as species rarely or never recorded by conventional monitoring. Promisingly, eDNA covered the fish diversity better than or equal to any of the existing applied conventional methods. Although further studies are needed to validate the eDNA approach in varying environmental conditions, the findings in the paper provide a strong proof-of-concept with great perspectives for future monitoring of marine biodiversity and resources

Thomsen, P. F., Kielgast, J., Iversen, L. L., Møller, P.R., Rasmussen, M & Willerslev, E. (2012): Detection of a Diverse Marine Fish Fauna Using Environmental DNA from Seawater Samples. PLoS ONE, 7: e41732. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041732

 

Microsatellite analysis of the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita)
in Denmark: populations are islands in a fragmented landscape

Authors: Morten E. Allentoft, Hans R. Siegismund, Lars Briggs, Liselotte W. Andersen

Abstract: The European natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) has declined rapidly in recent years, primarily due to loss of habitat, and in Denmark it is estimated that 50% of the isolated populations are lost each decade. To efficiently manage and conserve this species and its genetic diversity, knowledge of the genetic structure is crucial. Based on nine polymorphic microsatellite loci, the genetic diversity, genetic structure and gene flow were investigated at 12 sites representing 5–10% of the natterjack toad localities presently known in Denmark. The expected heterozygosity (HE) within each locality was generally low (range: 0.18–0.43). Further analyses failed to significantly correlate genetic diversity with population size, degree of isolation and increasing northern latitude, indicating a more complex combination of factors in determining the present genetic profile. Genetic differentiation was high (overall h = 0.29) and analyses based on a Bayesian clustering method revealed that the dataset constituted 11 genetic clusters, defining nearly all sampling sites as distinct populations. Contemporary gene flow among populations was undetectable in nearly all cases, and the failure to detect a pattern of isolation by distance within major regions supported this apparent lack of a gene flow continuum. Indications of a genetic bottleneck were found in three populations. The analyses suggest that the remaining Bufo calamita populations in Denmark are genetically isolated, and represent independent units in a highly fragmented gene pool. Future conservation management of this species is discussed in light of these results. Keywords: Bufo calamita, Microsatellites, Fragmentation, Conservation genetics

Microsatellite analysis of the natterjack toad

Recovery og Bombina bombina in Funen County Denmark
Lars Briggs (1997): Momoranda Soc. Fauna Flora Fennica 73:101-104

Recovery og Bombina bombina in Funen County Denmark

Kort om Amphi

Amphi Consult er et landsdækkende konsulentfirma med speciale i fagbiologisk feltarbejde, natur- og miljøovervågning, naturbeskyttelse og naturgenopretning.

Firmaet har eksisteret siden 1992, og har siden opbygget et stærkt netværk af kunder og konsulenter i hele Danmark.

Firmaets konsulenter er fordelt over hele Danmark. Derfor kan vi udføre højt kvalificerede konsulentopgaver overalt i landet til en lavere pris.

Opgaver vedrørende overvågning, sporing og alarmering af vandforurening udføres af Amphi-Bac Aps, se www.amphi-bac.dk.

 

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