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2013 | 58 | 1 |
Tytuł artykułu

Habitat selection by Southern water vole (Arvicola sapidus) in riparian environments of Mediterranean mountain areas: a conservation tool for the species

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Języki publikacji
The Southern water vole, Arvicola sapidus, is endemic to the Iberian Peninsula and France. Despite being catalogued as vulnerable, our current knowledge of this species is not sufficient to establish measures for its conservation and recovery, particularly in riparian zones of Mediterranean mountain areas. The aim of this study was to identify factors related to habitat configuration that determine the presence or absence of the species in the Montsant River. Specifically, we associated the presence/absence of this arvicolid rodent with composition of vegetation, river bank morphology, and watercourse characteristics. The results suggest that, in this area, the most favorable places for the species are those with a high degree of cover of herbaceous plants (mainly helophytes) and moderate to low levels of tree and shrub cover; gently sloping banks and a soft substrate; and the presence of water, with moderate to high stream widths and depths. In addition, we developed a classification method which allowed us to classify and characterize habitat conditions: the optimal scenario (preferential for arvicoline establishment), the suboptimal scenario (whose use is related to opportunities to find best scenarios), and the hostile scenario (not acceptable for use). In such riparian areas, the results revealed that the Southern water vole is a specialist in terms of habitat selection, but behaves as a generalist in terms of occupancy. Its ability to adapt to suboptimal conditions widens the options for managing Southern water vole populations, and indicates that the maintenance and rehabilitation of habitat along continuous stretches of river is the most effective approach to achieving self-sustaining populations.
Opis fizyczny
  • Department of Animal Biology, University of Barcelona, Av Diagonal 643, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
  • Department of Animal Biology, University of Barcelona, Av Diagonal 643, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
  • Department of Statistics, University of Barcelona, Av Diagonal 643, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
  • Department of Agriculture and Natural Environment, Doctor Roux 80, 08017 Barcelona, Spain
  • Department of Animal Biology, University of Barcelona, Av Diagonal 643, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
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