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Concept: Coat of arms of Mexico


Proactive conservation planning for species requires the identification of important spatial attributes across ecologically relevant scales in a model-based framework. However, it is often difficult to develop predictive models, as the explanatory data required for model development across regional management scales is rarely available. Golden eagles are a large-ranging predator of conservation concern in the United States that may be negatively affected by wind energy development. Thus, identifying landscapes least likely to pose conflict between eagles and wind development via shared space prior to development will be critical for conserving populations in the face of imposing development. We used publically available data on golden eagle nests to generate predictive models of golden eagle nesting sites in Wyoming, USA, using a suite of environmental and anthropogenic variables. By overlaying predictive models of golden eagle nesting habitat with wind energy resource maps, we highlight areas of potential conflict among eagle nesting habitat and wind development. However, our results suggest that wind potential and the relative probability of golden eagle nesting are not necessarily spatially correlated. Indeed, the majority of our sample frame includes areas with disparate predictions between suitable nesting habitat and potential for developing wind energy resources. Map predictions cannot replace on-the-ground monitoring for potential risk of wind turbines on wildlife populations, though they provide industry and managers a useful framework to first assess potential development.

Concepts: Coat of arms of Mexico, Wind turbine, Eagles, Golden Eagle, World energy resources and consumption, Wind power, Eagle, Bald Eagle


Second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) are commonly used for rodent pest control in Norway resulting in the potential exposure of non-target raptor species. In this study the occurrence of flocoumafen, difethialone, difenacoum, bromadiolone and brodifacoum was determined in the livers of five species of raptors found dead in Norway between 2009 and 2011. The SGARs brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum and flocoumafen were detected in golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and eagle owl (Bubo bubo) livers at a total SGAR concentration of between 11 and 255ng/g in approximately 70% of the golden eagles and 50% of the eagle owls examined in this study. In the absence of specific golden eagle and eagle owl toxicity thresholds for SGARs, a level of >100ng/g was used as a potential lethal range, accepting that poisoning may occur below this level. Thirty percent (7/24) of the golden eagle and eagle owl livers contained total SGAR residue levels above this threshold. Further estimation of the potential mortality impact on the sampled raptor populations was not possible.

Concepts: National symbols of Mexico, Coat of arms of Mexico, Eagles, Bald Eagle, Aquila, Rodenticide, Golden Eagle, Eagle


Wind power is a major candidate in the search for clean, renewable energy. Beyond the technical and economic challenges of wind energy development are environmental issues that may restrict its growth. Avian fatalities due to collisions with rotating turbine blades are a leading concern and there is considerable uncertainty surrounding avian collision risk at wind facilities. This uncertainty is not reflected in many models currently used to predict the avian fatalities that would result from proposed wind developments. We introduce a method to predict fatalities at wind facilities, based on pre-construction monitoring. Our method can directly incorporate uncertainty into the estimates of avian fatalities and can be updated if information on the true number of fatalities becomes available from post-construction carcass monitoring. Our model considers only three parameters: hazardous footprint, bird exposure to turbines and collision probability. By using a Bayesian analytical framework we account for uncertainties in these values, which are then reflected in our predictions and can be reduced through subsequent data collection. The simplicity of our approach makes it accessible to ecologists concerned with the impact of wind development, as well as to managers, policy makers and industry interested in its implementation in real-world decision contexts. We demonstrate the utility of our method by predicting golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) fatalities at a wind installation in the United States. Using pre-construction data, we predicted 7.48 eagle fatalities year-1 (95% CI: (1.1, 19.81)). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses the 80th quantile (11.0 eagle fatalities year-1) in their permitting process to ensure there is only a 20% chance a wind facility exceeds the authorized fatalities. Once data were available from two-years of post-construction monitoring, we updated the fatality estimate to 4.8 eagle fatalities year-1 (95% CI: (1.76, 9.4); 80th quantile, 6.3). In this case, the increased precision in the fatality prediction lowered the level of authorized take, and thus lowered the required amount of compensatory mitigation.

Concepts: Wind power, Coat of arms of Mexico, Prediction, Futurology, Bald Eagle, Aquila, Eagle, Golden Eagle


Increasing development across the western United States (USA) elevates concerns about effects on wildlife resources; the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) is of special concern in this regard. Knowledge of golden eagle abundance and distribution across the western USA must be improved to help identify and conserve areas of major importance to the species. We used distance sampling and visual mark-recapture procedures to estimate golden eagle abundance from aerial line-transect surveys conducted across four Bird Conservation Regions in the western USA between 15 August and 15 September in 2006-2010, 2012, and 2013. To assess golden eagle-habitat relationships at this scale, we modeled counts of golden eagles seen during surveys in 2006-2010, adjusted for probability of detection, and used land cover and other environmental factors as predictor variables within 20-km2 sampling units randomly selected from survey transects. We found evidence of positive relationships between intensity of use by golden eagles and elevation, solar radiation, and mean wind speed, and of negative relationships with the proportion of landscape classified as forest or as developed. The model accurately predicted habitat use observed during surveys conducted in 2012 and 2013. We used the model to construct a map predicting intensity of use by golden eagles during late summer across our ~2 million-km2 study area. The map can be used to help prioritize landscapes for conservation efforts, identify areas where mitigation efforts may be most effective, and identify regions for additional research and monitoring. In addition, our map can be used to develop region-specific (e.g., state-level) density estimates based on the latest information on golden eagle abundance from a late-summer survey and aid designation of geographic management units for the species.

Concepts: Verreaux's Eagle, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Coat of arms of Mexico, Eagles, Bald Eagle, Aquila, Golden Eagle, Eagle


Raptors are exposed to a wide variety of human-related mortality agents, and yet population-level effects are rarely quantified. Doing so requires modeling vital rates in the context of species life-history, behavior, and population dynamics theory. In this paper, we explore the details of such an analysis by focusing on the demography of a resident, tree-nesting population of golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in the vicinity of an extensive (142 km2) windfarm in California. During 1994-2000, we tracked the fates of >250 radio-marked individuals of four life-stages and conducted five annual surveys of territory occupancy and reproduction. Collisions with wind turbines accounted for 41% of 88 uncensored fatalities, most of which were subadults and nonbreeding adults (floaters). A consistent overall male preponderance in the population meant that females were the limiting sex in this territorial, monogamous species. Estimates of potential population growth rate and associated variance indicated a stable breeding population, but one for which any further decrease in vital rates would require immigrant floaters to fill territory vacancies. Occupancy surveys 5 and 13 years later (2005 and 2013) showed that the nesting population remained intact, and no upward trend was apparent in the proportion of subadult eagles as pair members, a condition that would have suggested a deficit of adult replacements. However, the number of golden eagle pairs required to support windfarm mortality was large. We estimated that the entire annual reproductive output of 216-255 breeding pairs would have been necessary to support published estimates of 55-65 turbine blade-strike fatalities per year. Although the vital rates forming the basis for these calculations may have changed since the data were collected, our approach should be useful for gaining a clearer understanding of how anthropogenic mortality affects the health of raptor populations, particularly those species with delayed maturity and naturally low reproductive rates.

Concepts: Coat of arms of Mexico, Bald Eagle, Population ecology, Aquila, Golden Eagle, Population, Eagle, Demography


Renewable energy production is expanding rapidly despite mostly unknown environmental effects on wildlife and habitats. We used genetic and stable isotope data collected from Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) killed at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) in California in demographic models to test hypotheses about the geographic extent and demographic consequences of fatalities caused by renewable energy facilities. Geospatial analyses of δ(2) H values obtained from feathers showed that ≥25% of these APWRA-killed eagles were recent immigrants to the population, most from long distances away (>100 km). Data from nuclear genes indicated this subset of immigrant eagles was genetically similar to birds identified as locals from the δ(2) H data. Demographic models implied that in the face of this mortality, the apparent stability of the local Golden Eagle population was maintained by continental-scale immigration. These analyses demonstrate that ecosystem management decisions concerning the effects of local-scale renewable energy can have continental-scale consequences.

Concepts: National symbols of Mexico, Altamont Pass, Coat of arms of Mexico, Eagles, Bald Eagle, Aquila, Golden Eagle, Eagle


Plants belonging to the genus Opuntia spp. are the most abundant of the Cactaceae family, grown throughout America and the Mediterranean central area. Its fruit, known as cactus pear or prickly pear, is an oval berry grouped in different colors. Some studies have shown its antioxidant activities which may help in preventing chronic pathologies such as diabetes. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the antioxidant capacity of three varieties of prickly pear juice (red-purple, white-green and yellow-orange) in five different concentrations (100, 250, 500, 750, and 1000 mg/mL) by DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical) colorimetric method, selecting the best variety to determine its anticlastogenic potential against methyl methanesulfonate (MMS). The results indicate that the highest antioxidant was found in the juice of the prickly pear red-purple variety (PPRP), in all concentrations. Its anticlastogenic potential was therefore evaluated with a micronucleus assay. The experiment was run over two weeks. A negative control was included along with a positive control with MMS (40 mg/kg), a group of mice treated with PPRP (25 mL/kg), and three groups with PPRP (in doses of 25, 16.5 and 8.3 mL/kg) plus the mutagen. The PPRP was administered daily by oral gavage and the MMS was injected intraperitoneally five days prior to the end of the experiment. Blood samples were obtained at 0, 24, 48, 72 and 96 h in order to determine the frequency of micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes (MNPE). The results indicated that PPRP is not a genotoxic agent, on the contrary, it may reduce the number of MNPE. In this regard, the PPRP showed an anticlastogenic effect directly proportional to its concentrations. Thus, the highest protection was obtained with a concentration of 25 mL/kg after 48 h of treatment.

Concepts: Mutation, Scientific control, Coat of arms of Mexico, Cochineal, Opuntia ficus-indica, Fruit, Cactus, Opuntia


Lead poisoning of animals due to ingestion of fragments from lead-based ammunition in carcasses and offal of shot wildlife is acknowledged globally and raises great concerns about potential behavioral effects leading to increased mortality risks. Based on analyses of tracking data, we found that even sub-lethal lead concentrations in blood (25 ppb, wet weight), can likely negatively affect movement behavior (flight height and movement rate) of free-ranging scavenging Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos). Lead levels in liver of recovered post-mortem analyzed eagles suggested that sub-lethal exposure increases the risk of mortality in eagles. Such adverse effects on animals are probably common worldwide and across species, where game hunting with lead-based ammunition is widespread. Our study highlights lead exposure as a considerably more serious threat to wildlife conservation than previously realized and suggests implementation of bans of lead ammunition for hunting.

Concepts: Coat of arms of Mexico, Eagles, Lead poisoning, Bald Eagle, Aquila, Golden Eagle, Eagle


The wild cochineal (Dactylopius opuntiae Cockerell) (Hemiptera: Dactylopiidae) is considered to be the most important pest in cactus pear plantations. In Mexico, there are seven natural enemies that provide natural biological control of D. opuntiae. However, their role and impact have not been evaluated. In this article, we report on aspects of the population biology of Chilocorus cacti L. (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), which is considered one of the main natural enemies of D. opuntiae. We also conducted experiments to evaluate the consumption of C. cacti by this predator when fed nymphs and adult females of D. opuntiae. Changes in the survival function of D. opuntiae in the presence or absence C. cacti were also identified. Both larvae and adults of C. cacti prefer to consume D. opuntiae nymphs because the wax produced by adult females presents a significant obstacle. The survival analysis showed that the presence of C. cacti had significant negative effects on D. opuntiae survival. C. cacti significantly increased its abundance while reducing the density of adult female D. opuntiae, but this impact occurred only after they had consumed the more preferred nymphs. For this reason, natural enemies other than C. cacti may be required to achieve adequate levels of biological control.

Concepts: Biology, Predation, Insect, Coat of arms of Mexico, Opuntia ficus-indica, Cochineal, Cactus, Opuntia


In birds there are reports of intracranial lesions but not of the clinical, computed tomographic and histopathologic features of acute intraparenchymal cerebral haemorrhage in Iberian golden eagle.

Concepts: White-tailed Eagle, National symbols of Mexico, Aquila, Coat of arms of Mexico, Intracranial hemorrhage, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Eagle