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See detailDiet and food preference of the waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa) in the Pendjari National Park, Benin
Kassa, Barthélemy; Libois, Roland ULg; Sinsin, Brice

in African Journal of Ecology (2008), 46(3), 303-310

This study investigated composition and selectivity in diet for waterbuck in the Pendjari National Park in northwestern Benin, through the use of micrographic analysis of faecal samples. Three plant ... [more ▼]

This study investigated composition and selectivity in diet for waterbuck in the Pendjari National Park in northwestern Benin, through the use of micrographic analysis of faecal samples. Three plant species (Panicum anabaptistum, Echinochloa stagnina and Andropogon gayanus) were regularly consumed all year round. Meanwhile, three other species (i.e., Hyparrhenia involucrata, Acroceras amplectens and Oryza barthii) are mostly found in its diet during the beginning of the rainy season. During the dry season, long life grasses (>40%) and tree forage (about 35%) were the most dominant life form in the diet. On the contrary at the beginning of the rainy season, annual species (> 50%) were dominant. In conclusion, the waterbuck has a grazer regime when plant species are abundant and a mixed diet during the dry season. Waterbuck’s food niche breath, defined by Hespenheide [Ecology and Evolution of communities. Harvard Univ. Press, 1975], was lower than 1, implying this antelope does not eat all food categories in a proportional way. Shannon diversity index showed that the diet was more diversified during the rainy season and less diversified at the end of the dry season. Based on [Ecology, 64 (1983), 1297] diet selectivity index, waterbuck exerted a positive selection on the major graminaceous species. [less ▲]

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See detailThe diet of the serotine bat: A Comparison between rural and urban environments
Kervyn, Thierry; Libois, Roland ULg

in Belgian Journal of Zoology (2008), 138(1), 41-49

The diet of four maternity colonies of serotine bats in Southern Belgium was investigated by analysing faecal pellets collected from beneath the roost throughout the activity season. Their diet is ... [more ▼]

The diet of four maternity colonies of serotine bats in Southern Belgium was investigated by analysing faecal pellets collected from beneath the roost throughout the activity season. Their diet is composed of Coleoptera Melolonthidae (Melolontha sp., Amphimallon sp., Rhizotrogus sp., Serica brunnea), Coleoptera Scarabaeidae (Aphodius sp., Geotrupes sp.), Coleoptera Carabidae, Diptera Tipulidae, Diptera Chironomidae, Lepidoptera, Hemiptera Pentatomidae, Hymenoptera Ichneumonoidea Ophionidae, Trichoptera and Arachnida. <br />The diet of an urban colony of serotine bats was broadly the same as the diets of three rural colonies. Though some qualitative and quantitative variations were observed between study sites, the main source of variation in the diet was the seasonal availability of potential prey. <br />The prominence of agriculture-dependant prey (chafers in mid summer and Aphodius beetles in late summer and autumn) was observed at all study sites. Consequently, dietary breadth and diversity is smaller during these periods. [less ▲]

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See detailA Critical Study of Primate Reintroduction Projects in the Mesoamerican Region.
Martin, Sarah ULg; Huynen, Marie-Claude ULg; Libois, Roland ULg

Poster (2008)

Very little is known about primate reintroduction projects in Mesoamerica. The aim of this study was to focus on existing projects concerning primate re-introductions, conservation-introduction ... [more ▼]

Very little is known about primate reintroduction projects in Mesoamerica. The aim of this study was to focus on existing projects concerning primate re-introductions, conservation-introduction, translocation, as well as on reinforcement-supplementation of parallel initiatives. In order to create a database, a survey was sent to a panel of scientists in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, and we visited five projects in Costa Rica from March to August 2006. A total of 19 projects were found: Costa Rica hosted the higher number (7) while Salvador and Nicaragua did not host any. Fourteen out of those 19 projects concerned confiscated animals. Six of the 7 Costa Rican projects used confiscated primates; the other ones came from wild populations or were born in captivity. Alouatta palliata and Ateles geoffroyi are the most common species subject to reintroduction effort in the Mesoamerican region. A wide range of factors seem to influence reintroduction success such as: the project’s budget, the release site, the mode of transportation, the caging setting, the support from local communities, the presence of environmental education programs, but also the age of primates, etc. Each project seems to work as a completely separated entity, with its own definition of reintroduction success and its own policy. There’s no communication between the projects, no matter if they are based in the same country or work on the same species. A reintroduction guideline for this region should be established as well as a regional network coordinating the information. [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence of a highly complex phylogeographic structure on a specialist river bird species, the dipper (Cinclus cinclus).
Hourlay, F.; Libois, Roland ULg; D'Amico, F. et al

in Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution (2008), 49(2), 435-44

This study details the phylogeographic pattern of the white-throated dipper (Cinclus cinclus), a Palearctic, temperate, passerine bird that is exclusively associated with flowing water. Our results reveal ... [more ▼]

This study details the phylogeographic pattern of the white-throated dipper (Cinclus cinclus), a Palearctic, temperate, passerine bird that is exclusively associated with flowing water. Our results reveal a complex phylogeographic structure with at least five distinct lineages for the Western Palearctic region. As for many species of the Western Palearctic fauna and flora, this genetic structure is probably linked to the isolation of populations in different southern refuges during glacial periods. Furthermore, the isolation of populations in Scandinavia and/or Eastern regions, but also in Morocco and probably in Corsica, was accentuated by ecological and biogeographic barriers during Quaternary interglacial periods. During glacial periods, Italy, Sicily and the Balkano-Carpathian region acted as major refuge zones for the dipper. At the end of the last ice age, Western Europe was repopulated by dippers from an Italian refuge, while Eastern Europe was recolonised by Balkano-Carpathian birds. A large contact zone between these two lineages was evidenced and extends from Luxembourg to Hungary. Finally, our results indicate the need to clarify the taxonomic status of the dipper, especially concerning the European subspecies whose validity appears uncertain. [less ▲]

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See detailGeography and host biogeography matter for understanding the phylogeography of a parasite.
Nieberding, Caroline M. ULg; Durette-Desset, Marie-Claude; Vanderpoorten, Alain ULg et al

in Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution (2008), 47(2), 538-54

The co-evolution between hosts and parasites has long been recognized as a fundamental driver of macro-evolutionary patterns of diversification. The effect of co-differentiation on parasite ... [more ▼]

The co-evolution between hosts and parasites has long been recognized as a fundamental driver of macro-evolutionary patterns of diversification. The effect of co-differentiation on parasite diversification is, however, often confounded by underlying geographic patterns of host distribution. In order to disentangle the confounding effects of allopatric versus host speciation, the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) gene was sequenced in seventy individuals of the parasitic nematode genus Heligmosomoides sampled in the six Apodemus mice species common in the western Palearctic region. The nuclear internal transcribed spacers (ITS) 1 and 2 were also sequenced in fifteen parasites to confirm the mitochondrial data. All lineages differentiated according to a geographic pattern and independently from the sampled host species. This suggests that host speciation did not involve concurrent parasite speciation. However, the geographic distribution range of some parasite lineages mirrors that of A. sylvaticus lineages in SW Europe, and that of A. flavicollis lineages in the Balkans and in the Middle East. Thus, regional co-differentiation likely occurred between the parasite and the two sister Apodemus hosts in different parts of their distribution range. We suggest that differences in regional abundances of A. sylvaticus and A. flavicollis are responsible for generating this pattern of regional co-differentiation. This study highlights the importance of integrating both geography and biogeographic information from potential hosts to better understand their parasite phylogeography. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic pattern of the recent recovery of European otters in southern France
Janssens, Xavier; Fontaine, Michael C; Michaux, Johan ULg et al

in Ecography (2008), 31(2), 176-186

We investigated how landscape affects the population genetic structure and the dispersal of the elusive European otter Lutra lutra in a contemporary colonization context, over several generations and at ... [more ▼]

We investigated how landscape affects the population genetic structure and the dispersal of the elusive European otter Lutra lutra in a contemporary colonization context, over several generations and at the level of hydrographic basins. Our study area included 10 basins located in the Cevennes National Park (CNP), at the southern front of the natural otter recovery in France. Each basin comprised 50 to 300 km of permanent rivers that were surveyed for otter presence from 1991 to 2005. Faecal samples collected in 2004 and 2005 in this area were genotyped at 9 microsatellite loci, resulting in the identification of 70 genetically distinct individuals. Bayesian clustering methods were used to infer genetic structure of the populations and to compare recent gene flow to the observed colonization. At the regional level, we identified 2 distinct genetic clusters (NE and SW; FST=0.102) partially separated by ridges, suggesting that the CNP was recolonized by 2 genetically distinct otter populations. At the basin level, the genetic distance between groups of individuals in different basins was positively correlated to the mean slope separating these basins. The probable origins and directions of individual movements (i.e. migration between clusters and basin colonization inside clusters) were inferred from assignment tests. This approach shows that steep and dry lands can stop, impede or divert the dispersal of a mobile carnivore such as the otter. [less ▲]

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See detailLe suivi des populations de muscardin en région wallonne
Schockert, Vincianne ULg; Van der Linden, Samuel; Le Proux de la Rivière, Bettina et al

Learning material (2007)

Le muscardin bénéficie d'une protection intégrale en Région wallonne. A ce titre, le suivi de ses populations constitue une nécessiténactuellement traitée par l'unité de recherches zoogéographiques (U.Lg ... [more ▼]

Le muscardin bénéficie d'une protection intégrale en Région wallonne. A ce titre, le suivi de ses populations constitue une nécessiténactuellement traitée par l'unité de recherches zoogéographiques (U.Lg). Or, l'animal, petit et nocturne, est très difficile à observer. L'équipe chargée de mission a, dans ce cadre, lancé une campagne de recensement via une méthode de collecte d'indices de présence indirecte: la recherche de noisettes rongées [less ▲]

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See detailPlague and the human flea, Tanzania
Laudisoit, Anne ULg; Leirs, H.; Makundi, R. H. et al

in Emerging Infectious Diseases (2007), 13(5), 687-693

Domestic fleas were collected in 12 villages in the western Usambara Mountains in Tanzania. Of these, 7 are considered villages with high plague frequency, where human plague was recorded during at least ... [more ▼]

Domestic fleas were collected in 12 villages in the western Usambara Mountains in Tanzania. Of these, 7 are considered villages with high plague frequency, where human plague was recorded during at least 6 of the 17 plague seasons between 1986 and 2004. In the remaining 5 villages with low plague frequency, plague was either rare or unrecorded. Pulex irritans, known as the human flea, was the predominant flea species (72.4%) in houses. The density of P. irritans, but not of other domestic fleas, was significantly higher in villages with a higher plague frequency or incidence. Moreover, the P. irritans index was strongly positively correlated with plague frequency and with the logarithmically transformed plague incidence. These observations suggest that in Lushoto District human fleas may play a role in plague epidemiology. These findings are of immediate public health relevance because they provide an indicator that can be surveyed to assess the risk for plague. [less ▲]

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See detailBiodiversité comparée des communautés d'oiseaux des plantations et jachères du sud du Bénin
Lougbegnon, Toussaint Olou; Clédjo, Placide G.A.; Codjia, Jean T. et al

in Sciences de l'Environnement (2007), 3

The birds have been used as an indicator of biodiversity in old fallows (after cultivation) and wood plantations (Tectonia grandis, Cocos nucifera and Elaeis guineensis). In the Tectonia woods, 89 species ... [more ▼]

The birds have been used as an indicator of biodiversity in old fallows (after cultivation) and wood plantations (Tectonia grandis, Cocos nucifera and Elaeis guineensis). In the Tectonia woods, 89 species were observed whereas 77 in Cocos and 66 in the palm plantations. The old fallows are richer (68 sp.) than the young ones (33 sp. In these fallows, the bird community is much more diversified in woody vegetation cover (78 sp.) than the shrubby or herbaceous fallows (23 sp.). [less ▲]

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See detailBiodiversité et distribution écologique de l'avifaune des plantations du sud du Bénin
Lougbegnon, Toussaint; Codjia, Jean T. Claude; Libois, Roland ULg

in Actes du 1er colloque de l'UAC des Sciences Cultures et Technologies, Agronomie (2007)

In Benin and particular in the southern part, the natural habitat disappear or deteriorate dangerously. Only subsist the substitution biotopes. Thus, in this part of the country, the plantations will the ... [more ▼]

In Benin and particular in the southern part, the natural habitat disappear or deteriorate dangerously. Only subsist the substitution biotopes. Thus, in this part of the country, the plantations will the last "forest" cover in the next future. Are the plantations could be a good subsitution habitat for forest birds ? In the southern Benin, the wood cover consist in Elaeis guineensis, Tectona grandis and Cocos nucifera (littoral). Birds was surveyed in 12 sites in the three plantation types. Moreover, in these sites, the vegetation structure were described (vegetation cover in different height). The 99 birds species observed were analysed in terms of vegetation cover (ACP). This analysis revealed a good fit between the bird community and their habitat: some species are restricted in one or two plantation type when others ones are more ecological tolerant. [less ▲]

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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

Learning material (2006)

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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

Learning material (2006)

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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

Learning material (2005)

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See detailHutte ou terrier ?
Libois, Roland ULg

Learning material (2005)

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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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