Nav: Home

Yellow-legged gull adapts its annual lifecycle to human activities to get food

May 05, 2020

The yellow-legged gull has a high ability to adapt to human activities and benefit from these as a food resource during all year. This is stated in a scientific article published in the journal Ecology and Evolution whose first author is the researcher Francisco Ramírez, from the Faculty of Biology and the Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio) of the University of Barcelona.

Other participants in the study are the experts Josep Lluís Carrasco (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the UB); Isabel Afán y Manuela González Forero (Doñana BIologial Station, EBD-CSIC); Joan Navarro (Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC)) and Willem Bouten (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands). This research is part of a Talent-Hub project funded by Agencia Andaluza del Conocimiento.

Opportunist species with great spread abilities

The yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) is an opportunist species which feeds from a great range of preys (fish, crustaceans, annellids, organic rests from dumping sites, etc.). As part of the new study, experts analysed -with remote monitoring devices- the movement of thirty gulls that nest in the Marismas del Odiel Natural Site (Huelva).

The animals were marked with GPS devices to obtain their location every five minutes for a year, from the moment of breeding -also during winter season- until the next reproductive season. The exact location of each animal enabled experts to identify their use of the land and the relationship with human activity. As a result, the research team could obtain a detailed map of their movements in space and time.

Changes in the eating pattern over the year

The conclusions of the study reveal a tight relation between the space distribution of the gulls and the human-origin resources during a year. "The preferences of the gulls in the use of habitat changed over their annual cycle as a possible response to the restrictions the species suffer over the course of their phenological cycle: physiological restrictions due to the differences of energetic demand of each period, and time restrictions resulting from the fluctuations in the availability of food resources", notes researcher Francisco Ramírez (UB-IRBio). The expert notes that "The extreme ability to adapt allows these species to modify their eating habits and the exploitation of different habitats to manage both limitations".

In the study, the location of the gulls was compared to the information on the occupation of the land obtained in high-resolution databases. The use of information of the aboard satellite sensors -to quantify the intensity of artificial night lights- enabled researchers to relate the habitats of hulls with the close activity to urban sites.

The high ability of spread of these individuals, covering cross-bordering areas of Spain, Portugal and Morocco during their annual cycle, shows the need for international efforts to limit the availability of human food resources and improve the management of this species.

"The knowledge of behavioural patterns over the year in opportunist species with a wide spread, such the yellow-legged gull, is important in order to assess potential impacts such species can have on the ecosystem", concludes Ramírez.
-end-


University of Barcelona

Related Biology Articles:

Experimental Biology press materials available now
Though the Experimental Biology (EB) 2020 meeting was canceled in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, EB research abstracts are being published in the April 2020 issue of The FASEB Journal.
Structural biology: Special delivery
Bulky globular proteins require specialized transport systems for insertion into membranes.
Cell biology: All in a flash!
Scientists of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have developed a tool to eliminate essential proteins from cells with a flash of light.
A biology boost
Assistance during the first years of a biology major leads to higher retention of first-generation students.
Cell biology: Compartments and complexity
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich biologists have taken a closer look at the subcellular distribution of proteins and metabolic intermediates in a model plant.
Cell biology: The complexity of division by two
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers have identified a novel protein that plays a crucial role in the formation of the mitotic spindle, which is essential for correct segregation of a full set of chromosomes to each daughter cell during cell division.
Cell biology: Dynamics of microtubules
Filamentous polymers called microtubules play vital roles in chromosome segregation and molecular transport.
The biology of color
Scientists are on a threshold of a new era of color science with regard to animals, according to a comprehensive review of the field by a multidisciplinary team of researchers led by professor Tim Caro at UC Davis.
Kinky biology
How and why proteins fold is a problem that has implications for protein design and therapeutics.
A new tool to decipher evolutionary biology
A new bioinformatics tool to compare genome data has been developed by teams from the Max F.
More Biology News and Biology Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Warped Reality
False information on the internet makes it harder and harder to know what's true, and the consequences have been devastating. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around technology and deception. Guests include law professor Danielle Citron, journalist Andrew Marantz, and computer scientist Joy Buolamwini.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.