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Title

Changes in eggshell thickness and ultrastructure in the Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) Pyrenean population: A long-term analysis

AuthorsHernández, Mauro; Colomer, Mª Àngels; Pizarro, Manuel; Margalida, Antoni
KeywordsFood shortages
Egg quality
Organochlorine contaminants
Vulture conservation
Issue Date2018
PublisherElsevier
CitationScience of the Total Environment 624: 713-721 (2018)
AbstractThe Spanish Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) population has suffered from negative trends in a number of reproductive parameters that could jeopardize its long-term viability. From 1989 to 2012, 27 entire eggs and 63 eggshell fragments were collected from nests after breeding failure and/or fledging. Longer-term changes in eggshell thickness were made by examining 69 eggs collected in Spain from 1858 to 1911, and now held in European museums. Low levels of contamination with organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls were found in whole eggs and in conjunction with the high fertility rates observed in the field (66.7%) do not indicate a population suffering from the effects of organochlorine contamination. However, a decrease in the Ratcliffe Index and eggshell thickness were observed in eggs collected since 2001, increasingly so in samples post-2004, indicating an abrupt loss of egg quality. We found no significant relationship between organochlorine residues and eggshell in any of the variables measured. In contrast, we found a positive relationship between food availability and the Ratcliffe Index, eggshell thickness and eggshell surface area. A density-dependent explanation of reduced egg quality could arise from ecological constraints as the decrease of food resources. The impact of sudden changes in food availability due to sanitary regulations between 2006 and 2011 could be related with the loss of Bearded Vulture egg quality.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.12.150
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/177176
DOI10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.12.150
ISSN0048-9697
E-ISSN1879-1026
Appears in Collections:(IREC) Artículos
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