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      Reproduction and survival in the city: which fitness components drive urban colonization in a reed-nesting waterbird?

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          Abstract

          Processes of adaptation to urban environments are well described for relatively few avian taxa, mainly passerines, but selective forces responsible for urban colonization in ecologically different groups of birds remain mostly unrecognized. The aim of this article is to identify drivers of recent urban colonization (Łódź, central Poland) by a reed-nesting waterbird, the Eurasian coot Fulica atra. Urban colonizers were found to adopt a distinct reproductive strategy by maximizing the number of offspring (carryover effects of higher clutch size), whereas suburban individuals invested more in the quality of the progeny (higher egg volume), which could reflect differences in predatory pressure between 2 habitats. In fact, reduced predation rate was strongly suggested by elevated hatching success in highly urbanized areas, where probability of hatching at least 1 chick was higher by 30% than in suburban natural-like habitats. Coots nesting in highly urbanized landscape had considerably higher annual reproductive success in comparison to suburban pairs, and the difference was 4-fold between the most and least urbanized areas. There was also a constant increase in size-adjusted body mass and hemoglobin concentration of breeding coots from the suburbs to the city centre. Urban colonization yielded no survival benefits for adult birds and urban individuals showed higher site fidelity than suburban conspecifics. The results suggest that the recent urban colonization by Eurasian coots was primary driven by considerable reproductive benefits which may be primarily attributed to: (1) reduced predation resulting from an exclusion of most native predators from highly urbanized zones; (2) increased condition of urban-dwelling birds resulting from enhanced food availability.

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          A DNA test to sex most birds.

          Birds are difficult to sex. Nestlings rarely show sex-linked morphology and we estimate that adult females appear identical to males in over 50% of the world's bird species. This problem can hinder both evolutionary studies and human-assisted breeding of birds. DNA-based sex identification provides a solution. We describe a test based on two conserved CHD (chromo-helicase-DNA-binding) genes that are located on the avian sex chromosomes of all birds, with the possible exception of the ratites (ostriches, etc.; Struthioniformes). The CHD-W gene is located on the W chromosome; therefore it is unique to females. The other gene, CHD-Z, is found on the Z chromosome and therefore occurs in both sexes (female, ZW; male, ZZ). The test employs PCR with a single set of primers. It amplifies homologous sections of both genes and incorporates introns whose lengths usually differ. When examined on a gel there is a single CHD-Z band in males but females have a second, distinctive CHD-W band.
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            Urbanization as a major cause of biotic homogenization

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              Global forecasts of urban expansion to 2030 and direct impacts on biodiversity and carbon pools.

              Urban land-cover change threatens biodiversity and affects ecosystem productivity through loss of habitat, biomass, and carbon storage. However, despite projections that world urban populations will increase to nearly 5 billion by 2030, little is known about future locations, magnitudes, and rates of urban expansion. Here we develop spatially explicit probabilistic forecasts of global urban land-cover change and explore the direct impacts on biodiversity hotspots and tropical carbon biomass. If current trends in population density continue and all areas with high probabilities of urban expansion undergo change, then by 2030, urban land cover will increase by 1.2 million km(2), nearly tripling the global urban land area circa 2000. This increase would result in considerable loss of habitats in key biodiversity hotspots, with the highest rates of forecasted urban growth to take place in regions that were relatively undisturbed by urban development in 2000: the Eastern Afromontane, the Guinean Forests of West Africa, and the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka hotspots. Within the pan-tropics, loss in vegetation biomass from areas with high probability of urban expansion is estimated to be 1.38 PgC (0.05 PgC yr(-1)), equal to ∼5% of emissions from tropical deforestation and land-use change. Although urbanization is often considered a local issue, the aggregate global impacts of projected urban expansion will require significant policy changes to affect future growth trajectories to minimize global biodiversity and vegetation carbon losses.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Curr Zool
                Curr Zool
                czoolo
                czoolo
                Current Zoology
                Oxford University Press
                1674-5507
                April 2016
                21 March 2016
                21 March 2016
                : 62
                : 2
                : 79-87
                Affiliations
                Department of Teacher Training and Biodiversity Studies, University of Łódź, Banacha 1/3, 90-237 Łódź, Poland
                Author notes
                *Address correspondence to Piotr Minias. E-mail: pminias@ 123456op.pl .
                Article
                zow034
                10.1093/cz/zow034
                5804234
                © The Author (2016). Published by Oxford University Press.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com

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                Pages: 9
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