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See detailDes loutres dans le réseau aquifère des grottes d'Arcy-sur-Cure (Yonne)
Rosoux, René; Liger, J. C.; Libois, Roland ULg et al

in Recherches Naturalistes en Région Centre (2006), 15

La loutre peut aller pêcher loin sous terre et fréquente le milieu souterrain.

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See detailLe loir gris, Glis glis, en Belgique, un animal discret et méconnu
Hurner, H; Libois, Roland ULg

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See detailSauvage... le chat l'est-il toujours autant qu'on le souhaite ?
Le Proux de la Rivière, Bettina; Libois, Roland ULg

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See detailParasites and the island syndrome: the colonization of the western Mediterranean islands by Heligmosomoides polygyrus (Dujardin, 1845)
Nieberding, Caroline M. ULg; Morand, S.; Libois, Roland ULg et al

in Journal of Biogeography (2006), 33(7), 1212-1222

Aim Populations of free-living vertebrates on islands frequently differ from their mainland counterparts by a series of changes in morphometric, life-history, behavioural, physiological and genetic traits ... [more ▼]

Aim Populations of free-living vertebrates on islands frequently differ from their mainland counterparts by a series of changes in morphometric, life-history, behavioural, physiological and genetic traits, collectively referred to as the 'island syndrome'. It is not known, however, whether the 'island syndrome' also affects parasitic organisms. The present study establishes the colonization pattern of the Mediterranean islands by the nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus, a direct and specific parasite of rodent hosts of the Apodemus genus, and evaluates the effects of island colonization by this species on two components of the island syndrome: the loss of genetic diversity and the enlargement of the ecological niche. Location Heligmosomoides polygyrus was sampled on seven western Mediterranean islands - Corsica, Crete, Elba, Majorca, Minorca, Sardinia and Sicily - as well as in 20 continental locations covering the Mediterranean basin. Methods The mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (690 base pairs) was sequenced in 166 adult H. polygyrus individuals sampled in the 27 continental and island locations. Phylogenetic reconstructions in distance, parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian posterior probabilities were carried out on the whole cytochrome b gene data set. The levels of nucleotide, haplotype and genetic divergence (Kimura two-parameter distance estimator) diversities were estimated in each island population and in the various continental lineages. Results Phylogenetic reconstructions show that the mainland origins of H. polygyrus were continental Spain for the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Minorca), northern Italy for the Tyrrhenian Islands (Corsica, Sardinia, Elba), southern Italy for Sicily, and the Balkan region for Crete. A comparison of island H. polygyrus populations with their mainland source populations revealed two characteristic components of the island syndrome in this parasite. First, island H. polygyrus populations display a significant loss of genetic diversity, which is related (r(2) = 0.73) to the distance separating the island from the mainland source region. Second, H. polygyrus exhibits a niche enlargement following insularization. Indeed, H. polygyrus in Corsica is present in both A. sylvaticus and Mus musculus domesticus, while mainland H. polygyrus populations are present exclusively in Apodemus hosts. Main conclusions Our results show that H. polygyrus has undergone a loss of genetic diversity and a niche (host) enlargement following colonization of the western Mediterranean islands. To our knowledge, this study provides the first evidence for components of the 'island syndrome' in a parasitic nematode species. [less ▲]

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See detailCroque noisettes ou rat d'or ?
Libois, Roland ULg

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See detailHutte ou terrier ?
Libois, Roland ULg

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See detailKaryotype of dormice Eliomys quercinus from Tirol (Austria)
Ramalhinho, M. D.; Libois, Roland ULg

in Acta Theriologica (2005), 50(1), 133-136

A karyotype of 2n = 52 chromosomes was found in two Eliomys quercinus (Linnaeus, 1766) specimens from two different localities of Tirol (Austria). The karyotype is similar to the one described in the ... [more ▼]

A karyotype of 2n = 52 chromosomes was found in two Eliomys quercinus (Linnaeus, 1766) specimens from two different localities of Tirol (Austria). The karyotype is similar to the one described in the Italian Alps, suggesting that these mountains were not a barrier to the northern expansion of this chromosomal race. [less ▲]

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See detailBeyond the Mediterranean peninsulas: evidence of central European glacial refugia for a temperate forest mammal species, the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus).
Deffontaine Deurbroeck, Valérie ULg; Libois, Roland ULg; Kotlík, Petr et al

in Molecular Ecology (2005), 14(6), 1727-1739

This study details the phylogeographic pattern of the bank vole, Clethrionomys glareolus, a European rodent species strongly associated with forest habitat. We used sequences of 1011 base pairs of the ... [more ▼]

This study details the phylogeographic pattern of the bank vole, Clethrionomys glareolus, a European rodent species strongly associated with forest habitat. We used sequences of 1011 base pairs of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b gene from 207 bank voles collected in 62 localities spread throughout its distribution area. Our results reveal the presence of three Mediterranean (Spanish, Italian and Balkan) and three continental (western, eastern and 'Ural') phylogroups. The endemic Mediterranean phylogroups did not contribute to the postglacial recolonization of much of the Palaearctic range of species. Instead, the major part of this region was apparently recolonized by bank voles that survived in glacial refugia in central Europe. Moreover, our phylogeographic analyses also reveal differentiated populations of bank voles in the Ural mountains and elsewhere, which carry the mitochondrial DNA of another related vole species, the ruddy vole (Clethrionomys rutilus). In conclusion, this study demonstrates a complex phylogeographic history for a forest species in Europe which is sufficiently adaptable that, facing climate change, survives in relict southern and northern habitats. The high level of genetic diversity characterizing vole populations from parts of central Europe also highlights the importance of such regions as a source of intraspecific genetic biodiversity. [less ▲]

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See detailMartin pêcheur: oiseau de l'année 2005
Libois, Roland ULg

Learning material (2005)

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See detailEtude par radiopistage de la territorialité chez le martin pêcheur (Alcedo atthis): cas de deux mâles voisins
Hurner, H; Libois, Roland ULg

in Aves (2005), 42(1-2), 135-141

The kingfisher is generally considered as strongly territorial. However, different pairs are sometimes nesting at very close quarters. Two male kingfishers nesting along the river Meuse (Belgium) at a ... [more ▼]

The kingfisher is generally considered as strongly territorial. However, different pairs are sometimes nesting at very close quarters. Two male kingfishers nesting along the river Meuse (Belgium) at a distance of less than 500 m were radiotagged. Their respective home range (5.2 and 7.2 km) were largely overlapping, some fishing grounds being used simultaneously by both birds. Some kind of territorial defence (a bird chasing its neighbour) has been observed in a very limitid area around the nesting places. [less ▲]

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See detailPhylogeographic footprints of the Strait of Gibraltar and Quaternary climatic fluctuations in the western Mediterranean: a case study with the greater white-toothed shrew Crocidura russula (Mammalia: Soricidae)
Cosson, Jean François; Hutterer, Rainer; Libois, Roland ULg et al

in Molecular Ecology (2005), 14

We used mitochondrial cyt b sequences to investigate the phylogenetic relationships of Crocidura russula (sensu lato) populations across the Strait of Gibraltar, western Europe, Maghreb, and the ... [more ▼]

We used mitochondrial cyt b sequences to investigate the phylogenetic relationships of Crocidura russula (sensu lato) populations across the Strait of Gibraltar, western Europe, Maghreb, and the Mediterranean and Atlantic islands. This revealed very low genetic divergence between European and Moroccan populations. The application of a molecular clock previously calibrated for shrews suggested that the separation of European from Moroccan lineages occurred less than 60000 BP, which is at least 5 million years (Myr) after the reopening of the Strait of Gibraltar. This means that an overwater dispersal event was responsible for the observed phylogeographical structure. In contrast, genetic analyses revealed that Moroccan populations were highly distinct from Tunisian ones. According to the molecular clock, these populations separated about 2.2 million years ago (Ma), a time marked by sharp alternations of dry and humid climates in the Maghreb. The populations of the Mediterranean islands Ibiza, Pantellaria, and Sardinian were founded from Tunisian populations by overwater dispersal. In conclusion, overwater dispersal across the Strait of Gibraltar, probably assisted by humans, is possible for small terrestrial vertebrates. Moreover, as in Europe, Quaternary climatic fluctuations had a major effect on the phylogeographical structure of the Maghreb biota. [less ▲]

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See detailPhylogeography of a nematode (Heligmosomoides polygyrus) in the western Palearctic region: persistence of northern cryptic populations during ice ages?
Nieberding, Caroline M. ULg; Libois, Roland ULg; Douady, C. J. et al

in Molecular Ecology (2005), 14(3), 765-79

This study establishes the continental phylogeographical pattern of a European nematode, Heligmosomoides polygyrus (Dujardin, 1845; Heligmosomoidea). We sequenced 687 base pairs of the mitochondrial DNA ... [more ▼]

This study establishes the continental phylogeographical pattern of a European nematode, Heligmosomoides polygyrus (Dujardin, 1845; Heligmosomoidea). We sequenced 687 base pairs of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cyt b gene for 136 individuals collected in 22 localities. The results revealed that H. polygyrus populations are separated into five major units corresponding to the Italian, northern European (Denmark and Ireland), Iberian, western European, and Balkan populations. Different subclades were also observed within the first two groups. Based on the rate of molecular evolution of H. polygyrus cyt b gene-estimated to 3.5%-3.7% divergence per million years (Myr) in a previous study--the isolation time of the five clades was estimated between 2.5 +/- 0.24 and 1.5 +/- 0.23 million years ago. Moreover, H. polygyrus presents a higher genetic variability in the Mediterranean peninsulas as compared to northwestern Europe, highlighting the role of these regions as refuge areas. Like its specific host, the wood mouse Apodemus sylvaticus, H. polygyrus' pattern of postglacial recolonization of northwestern Europe was initiated from Iberian populations, while Italian and Balkan populations did not expand to the north. The results also suggest the existence of forested and temperate refuges in the southern British Isles during the Quaternary. Finally, the genetic diversity as well as the level of genetic divergence between the lineages of H. polygyrus are compared to those observed in other vertebrate and invertebrate phylogeographical studies: the existence of highly differentiated lineages in H. polygyrus (5%-10% of genetic divergence) highlights that the effects of Pleistocene climate changes on free-living organisms are also reflected in their obligate parasites. [less ▲]

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See detailSo close and so different: comparative phylogeography of two small mammal species, the yellow-necked fieldmouse (Apodemus flavicollis) and the woodmouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) in the Western Palearctic region.
Michaux, Johan ULg; Libois, Roland ULg; Filippucci, M*-G

in Heredity (2005), 94(1), 52-63

In Europe, concordant geographical distribution among genetic lineages within different species is rare, which suggests distinct reactions to Quaternary ice ages. This study aims to determine whether such ... [more ▼]

In Europe, concordant geographical distribution among genetic lineages within different species is rare, which suggests distinct reactions to Quaternary ice ages. This study aims to determine whether such a discrepancy also affects a pair of sympatric species, which are morphologically and taxonomically closely related but which have slight differences in their ecological habits. The phylogeographic structures of two European rodents, the Yellow-necked fieldmouse (A. flavicollis) and the woodmouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) were, therefore, compared on the basis of mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b (mtDNA cyt b) sequences (965 base pairs) from 196 specimens collected from 59 European localities spread throughout the species distributions. The results indicate that the two species survived in different ways through the Quaternary glaciations. A. sylvaticus survived in the Iberian Peninsula from where it recolonized almost all Europe at the end of the last glaciation. Conversely, the refuge from which A. flavicollis recolonized Europe, including northern Spain, during the Holocene corresponds to the Italo-Balkan area, where A. sylvaticus suffered a serious genetic bottleneck. This study confirms that even closely related species may have highly different phylogeographic histories and shows the importance of ecological plasticity of the species for their survival through climate change. Finally, it suggests that phylogeographic distinctiveness may be a general feature of European species. [less ▲]

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See detailConservation genetics and population history of the threatened European mink Mustela lutreola, with an emphasis on the west European population.
Michaux, Johan ULg; Hardy, O. J.; Justy, F. et al

in Molecular Ecology (2005), 14(8), 2373-88

In species of great conservation concern, special attention must be paid to their phylogeography, in particular the origin of animals for captive breeding and reintroduction. The endangered European mink ... [more ▼]

In species of great conservation concern, special attention must be paid to their phylogeography, in particular the origin of animals for captive breeding and reintroduction. The endangered European mink lives now in at least three well-separated populations in northeast, southeast and west Europe. Our aim is to assess the genetic structure of these populations to identify 'distinct population segments' (DPS) and advise captive breeding programmes. First, the mtDNA control region was completely sequenced in 176 minks and 10 polecats. The analysis revealed that the western population is characterized by a single mtDNA haplotype that is closely related to those in eastern regions but nevertheless, not found there to date. The northeast European animals are much more variable (pi = 0.012, h = 0.939), with the southeast samples intermediate (pi = 0.0012, h = 0.469). Second, 155 European mink were genotyped using six microsatellites. The latter display the same trends of genetic diversity among regions as mtDNA [gene diversity and allelic richness highest in northeast Europe (H(E) = 0.539, R(S) = 3.76), lowest in west Europe (H(E) = 0.379, R(S) = 2.12)], and provide evidences that the southeast and possibly the west populations have undergone a recent bottleneck. Our results indicate that the western population derives from a few animals which recently colonized this region, possibly after a human introduction. Microsatellite data also reveal that isolation by distance occurs in the western population, causing some inbreeding because related individuals mate. As genetic data indicate that the three populations have not undergone independent evolutionary histories for long (no phylogeographical structure), they should not be considered as distinct DPS. In conclusion, the captive breeding programme should use animals from different parts of the species' present distribution area. [less ▲]

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See detailEcologie de la loutre (Lutra lutra) et conservation de ses habitats riverains
Libois, Roland ULg

in Actes du 1er colloque international "gestion et préservation des ressoures en eau" (2004, September)

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See detailDynamique d'une population de martins pêcheurs (Alcedo atthis) en Belgique en liaison avec la gestion des cours d'eau.
Libois, Roland ULg

in Actes du 1er colloque international "gestion et préservation des ressoures en eau" (2004, September)

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See detailRégime alimentaire des Plecotus en périodes préhivernale et hivernale en Belgique
MOTTE, Gregory; Libois, Roland ULg

in Symbioses (2004), 10

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See detailRégime alimentaire hivernal du busard des roseaux, Circus aeruginosus dans les marais de Brouage (Charente Maritime)
Ingenbleek, Aude; Cuisin, J.; Libois, Roland ULg et al

in Annales de la Société des Sciences Naturelles de la Charente-Maritime (2004), 9(4), 389-398

The diet of European marsh harrier was studied from 555 pellets collected in the Marais de Brouage (Charente-Maritime) during four winters distributed over a 17 years period (1985-86 / 2001-02). A total ... [more ▼]

The diet of European marsh harrier was studied from 555 pellets collected in the Marais de Brouage (Charente-Maritime) during four winters distributed over a 17 years period (1985-86 / 2001-02). A total of 1074 prey items (70 taxa) were identified. The mammals are the most numerous (62.6%); three rodents represent half of the prey. The increase of coypu (Myocastor coypus) is the most important interannual variation, they currently represent more than the thrid of the prey [less ▲]

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See detailFood niche segregation between the Malachite Kingfisher, Alcedo cristata, and the Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis, at Lake Nokoué, Bénin
Libois, Roland ULg; Laudelout, Arnaud

in Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology (2004), 75

Several species of kingfisher occur on Lake Nokoué, southern Bénin, including Malachite (Alcedo cristata) and Pied Kingfishers (Ceryle rudis). Here, we compare their diet and estimate the degree of ... [more ▼]

Several species of kingfisher occur on Lake Nokoué, southern Bénin, including Malachite (Alcedo cristata) and Pied Kingfishers (Ceryle rudis). Here, we compare their diet and estimate the degree of overlap in food niche by analysing contents of regurgitated pellets collected near nesting sites of Pied Kingfishers or inside the nest chambers of Malachite Kingfishers. Characteristic fish skull bones were identified using a reference collection of local fish skeletons. Malachite Kingfishers feed most frequently on fish that occur around floating vegetation, mainly Kribia sp. (56%), Hemichromis fasciatus (28%) and Sarotherodon melanotheron (8%). Important differences were found between different pairs, and between adults and nestlings, the latter being fed almost exclusively on Kribia sp. Larger fish are fed to nestlings than are eaten by the adults. Pied Kingfishers prey upon 14 different fish species, some of them being caught in the pelagic region of the lake, particularly clupeids taken by hovering. By comparison with Malachite Kingfishers, Pied Kingfishers feed on a wider diversity of prey, and take larger fish, so that the dietary overlap between the species is relatively low (O = 0.181). [less ▲]

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See detailA parasite reveals cryptic phylogeographic history of its host.
Nieberding, C.; Morand, S.; Libois, Roland ULg et al

in Proceedings of the Royal Society B : Biological Sciences (2004), 271(1557), 2559-68

This study compares the continental phylogeographic patterns of two wild European species linked by a host-parasite relationship: the field mouse Apodemus sylvaticus and one of its specific parasites, the ... [more ▼]

This study compares the continental phylogeographic patterns of two wild European species linked by a host-parasite relationship: the field mouse Apodemus sylvaticus and one of its specific parasites, the nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus. A total of 740 base pairs (bp) of the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) gene were sequenced in 122 specimens of H. polygyrus and compared with 94 cyt b gene sequences (974 bp) previously acquired for A. sylvaticus. The results reveal partial spatial and temporal congruences in the differentiation of both species' lineages: the parasite and its host present three similar genetic and geographical lineages, i.e. Western European, Italian and Sicilian, and both species recolonized northwestern Europe from the Iberian refuge at the end of the Pleistocene. However, H. polygyrus presents three particular differentiation events. The relative rate of molecular evolution of the cyt b gene was estimated to be 1.5-fold higher in the parasite than in its host. Therefore, the use of H. polygyrus as a biological magnifying glass is discussed as this parasite may highlight previously undetected historical events of its host. The results show how incorporating phylogeographic information of an obligate associate can help to better understand the phylogeographic pattern of its host. [less ▲]

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