Effects of Robinia pseudoacacia on understory vegetation

Full title

Invasion of Robinia pseudoacacia in Europe and its effects on understory vegetation in urban and rural areas

Abstract

The aim of this PhD study is to assess the invasion of the legume Robinia pseudoacacia in Europe and its effects on understory vegetation in terms of species composition and richness, with a focus on other alien species, which might have advantages, growing under this alien tree species. Furthermore the effect of urbanization will be taken into account. Until now Robinia is known to invade dry grasslands and urban wastelands, thus diminishing their usually high biodiversity. In woods it is known to respond well to anthropogenic disturbances and coppice forest management. All previous studies were conducted on a local to regional scale. This study will broaden the view of Robinia Invasion in forests; the study area shall extend from Hungary to western France, with Luxembourg as a main central point. Methodologically, the study will examine pairs of wood stands, on one hand, stands composed of Robinia and stands composed of native wooden species, under similar environmental conditions, will be compared. On the other hand stands in urbanized environments will be compared to stands in rural regions. The main variables, that will be gathered, are species composition (α-, ß-diversity), climate data (on a larger scale) and soil features, mainly the N-content of the soil, as Robinia has the capability to bind atmospheric nitrogen. In the end we hope to have an answer to the following questions:

  • Does Robinia pseudoacacia pose a threat to certain native European woodland communities in certain regions?
  • Does it change soil factors in a way to favour other alien species and to change biodiversity?
  • Is there a difference between urban and rural stands?

Status of Phd

Supervisor at university: Prof. Dr. Ingo Kowarik, institute: Ecology, faculty: Planning Building Environment, university: Technische Universität Berlin

Supervisor in Luxembourg: Dr. Christian Ries, institution : Scientific Research Center of the National Museum of Natural History

PhD granted by Fonds national de la recherche Luxembourg. Duration: 3 years (01.08.2013 – 31.07.2016).

Host institution: Fondation faune-flore @ Centre de recherche scientifique, Musée national d’histoire naturelle.

Contact

Yan Steil
Musée national d’histoire naturelle
Centre de recherche scientifique
Laboratoire/Section d’Écologie
24, rue Münster
L-2160 Luxembourg
phone: (+352) 46 22 40 -212
fax: (+352) 46 38 48

Publications and not published works

  • Steil, Y., 2013. The distribution and ecology of Lamium galeobdolon ssp. in Luxembourg and Europe. Diploma theses, University of Bonn, Germany. ii + 27 p.

Talks and poster presentations

  • Steil, Y., 2013. The distribution and ecology of Lamium galeobdolon ssp. in Luxembourg and Europe. Talk, réunion des collaborateurs scientifiques, 16.3.2013.
  • Ries C., Y. Steil & P. Thommes, 2013. Common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) seeds in bird food in Luxemburg in 2007 and 2012. Poster, réunion des collaborateurs scientifiques, 16.3.2013.
  • Ries, C., Y. Steil, M. Pfeiffenschneider, 2013. Survey amongst physicians in Luxembourg on burns caused in 2011 and 2012 by the giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum SOMMIER & LEVIER, Apiaceae). Poster, réunion des collaborateurs scientifiques, 16.3.2013.

Landscape genetics of ungulates

Full title:

Using comparative landscape genetics to assess connectivity in fragmented landscapes and identify functional ecological networks

Abstract

Habitat fragmentation has been recognised as one of the key threats to wildlife worldwide. Protected areas are usually considered to be the cornerstone of biological conservation as they are expected to represent the best areas available to ensure the persistence of biodiversity and thereby counteract the negative effects of fragmentation and habitat loss. However, existing protected areas, particularly in Europe, are often too small to maintain viable populations and it has been suggested that the interconnectivity of protected areas should be considered of the same importance as the sites themselves. Preserving, improving and restoring connectivity and movement corridors in fragmented landscapes are therefore essential elements in any conservation strategy. Recently, researchers have started to relate gene-flow patterns to landscape features in order to assess the extent to which landscape elements hinder or facilitate the movement of individuals. The main objective of this study is to use genetics-based resistance surfaces to perform rigorous landscape connectivity analyses in order to test how well regional sets of protected areas in Europe are integrated into functional ecological networks. While these landscape genetic approaches provide a key foundation for rigorous analysis of landscape resistance to movement, there are, however, a number of important basic questions related to optimal study design where additional research is needed to advance the field of landscape genetics and to make outputs for conservation planning more robust. Specifically, working on three mammal species, I want to (a) replicate species-specific landscape genetic analyses across multiple European study areas to test if the same landscape features are found to be influencing gene flow in different regions, (b) perform landscape genetic analyses on co-distributed species to test if the same landscape features are found to be influencing gene flow in different species in the same study area, (c) assess the influence of sample size on which landscape features are found the be influencing gene flow and (d) use the results from the landscape genetic analyses to derive empirically-validated movement corridors (for individual & multiple species) and to assess how well these are integrated into established protected area networks.

Status of Postdoc

Supervisor at university: Prof. Dr. Niko Balkenhol, Forest Zoology & Forest Conservation, University of Göttingen.

Supervisor in Luxembourg: Edmée Engel, curator, section zoologie des vertébrés, National Museum for Natural History, Luxembourg.

Postdoc granted by Fonds national de la recherche Luxembourg. Duration: 2 years (01.11.2012 – 31.10.2014).

Host institution: Fondation faune-flore @ Centre de recherche scientifique, Musée national d’histoire naturelle.

Contact

Alain Frantz
Musée national d’histoire naturelle
Centre de recherche scientifique
Section : zoologie des vertébrés
24, rue Münster
L-2160 Luxembourg
phone: (+352) 46 22 33 – 414
fax: (+352) 46 38 48

Publications and not published works

Peer-reviewed publications

  • Pérez-González, J., Frantz, A.C., Torres-Porras, J, Castillo L. & J. Carranza, 2012. Population structure, habitat features and genetic structure of managed red deer populations. European Journal of Wildlife Research DOI: 10.1007/s10344-012-0636-0
  • Frantz, A.C, Massei, G. & T. Burke, 2012. Genetic evidence for past hybridisation between domestic pigs and English wild boars. Conservation Genetics 13: 1355-1364.
  • Frantz, A.C., Bertouille, S., Eloy, M.C., Licoppe, A.,Chaumont, F. & M.C. Flamand, M.C., 2012. Comparative landscape genetic analyses show a Belgian motorway to be a gene flow barrier for red deer (Cervus elaphus), but not wild boars (Sus scrofa). Molecular Ecology 21: 3445-3457.
  • Raisin, C., Frantz, A.C., Kundu, S., Greenwood, A., Jones, C.G., Zuel, N. & J.J. Groombridge, in press. Genetic consequences of intensive conservation management for the Mauritius parakeet. Conservation Genetics 13: 707-715.
  • Dellicour, S., Frantz, A.C., Colyn, M., Bertouille, S., Chaumont, F. & M.C. Flamand, 2011. Population structure and genetic diversity of red deer (Cervus elaphus) in forest fragments in north-western France. Conservation Genetics 12: 1287-1297.
  • Balestrieri, A., Remonti, L., Frantz, A.C., Capelli, E., Zenato, M., Dettori, E.E., Guidali, F & C. Prigioni, 2010. Efficacy of passive hair-traps for the genetic sampling of a low-density badger population. Hystrix 21: 137-146.
  • Frantz, A.C., Do Linh San, E., Pope, L.C. & T. Burke, 2010. Using genetic methods to investigate dispersal in two badger (Meles meles) populations with different ecological characteristics. Heredity 104: 493-501.
  • Frantz, A.C., Pope, L.C., Etherington, T.R., Wilson, G.J. & T Burke, 2010. Using isolation-by-distance-based approaches to assess the barrier effect of linear landscape elements on badger (Meles meles) dispersal. Molecular Ecology 19: 1663-1674.
  • Bourke, B.P., Frantz, A.C., Lavers, C.P., Davison, A., Dawson, D.A. & T.A. Burke, 2010. Genetic signatures of population change in the British golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). Conservation Genetics 11: 1837-1846.
  • Jan, C.M.I., Frith, K., Glover, A.M., Butlin, R.K., Scott, C.D., Greenaway, F., Ruedi, M., Frantz, A.C., Dawson, D.A. & J.D. Altringham, 2010. Myotis alcathoe in the UK. Acta Chiropterologica 12: 471-483.
  • Frantz, A.C., Schley, L., Schaul, M., Balestrieri, A. & T.J. Roper, 2010. Spatial organisation of badgers (Meles meles) in a medium-density population in Luxembourg. Hystrix 21: 3-18.
  • Guillot, G., Leblois, R., Coulon, A. & A.C. Frantz, 2009. Statistical methods in spatial genetics. Molecular Ecology 18: 4734-4756.
  • Frantz, A.C., Proess, R., Burke, T. & L. Schley, 2009. A genetic assessment of the two remnant populations of the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) in Luxembourg. Herpetological Journal 19: 53-59.
  • Wright, J.A., Barker, R.J., Schofield, M.R., Frantz, A.C., Byrom, A.E. & D.M. Gleeson, 2009. Incorporating genotype uncertainty into mark-recapture-type models for estimating abundance using DNA samples. Biometrics: 65, 833-840.
  • Evans, K.L., Gaston, K.J., Frantz, A.C., Simeoni, M., Sharp, S.P., McGowan, A., Dawson, D.A., Walasz, K., Partecke, J., Burke, T. & B.J. Hatchwell, 2009. Independent colonization of multiple urban centres by a formerly forest specialist bird species. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 276: 2403-2410.
  • Frantz, A.C., Cellina, S., Krier, A., Schley, L. & T. Burke (2009) Using spatial Bayesian methods to determine the genetic structure of a continuously distributed population: clusters or isolation by distance? Journal of Applied Ecology 46: 493-505.
  • Schley, L., Dufrêne, M., Krier, A. & A.C. Frantz, 2008. Patterns of crop damage by wild boar (Sus scrofa) in Luxembourg over a 10-year period. European Journal of Wildlife Research 54: 589-599.
  • Huck, M., Frantz, A.C., Dawson, D.A., Burke, T. & T.J. Roper, 2008. Low genetic variability, female-biased dispersal and high movement rates in an urban population of badgers. Journal of Animal Ecology 77: 905-915.
  • Frantz, A.C., Hamann, J.-L. & F. Klein, 2008. Fine-scale genetic structure of red deer (Cervus elaphus) in a French temperate forest. European Journal of Wildlife Research 54: 44-52.
  • Scheppers, T.L.J., Frantz, A.C., Schaul, M., Engel, E., Breyne, P., Schley, L. & T.J. Roper, 2007. Estimating social group size of Eurasian badgers by genotyping remotely plucked single hairs. Wildlife Biology 13: 195-207.
  • Frantz, A.C., Tigel Pourtois, J., Heuertz, M., Schley, L., Flamand, M.C., Krier, A., Bertouille, S., Chaumont, F. & T. Burke, 2006. Genetic structure and assignment tests demonstrate illegal translocation of red deer (Cervus elaphus) into a continuous population. Molecular Ecology 15: 3191-3203.
  • Frantz, A.C. & T.J. Roper, 2006. Simulations to assess the performance of different rarefaction methods in estimating population size using small datasets. Conservation Genetics 7: 315-318.
  • Frantz, A.C., Fack, F., Muller, C.P. & T.J. Roper, 2006. Faecal DNA typing as a tool for investigating territorial behaviour of badgers (Meles meles). European Journal of Wildlife Research 52: 138-141.
  • Frantz, A.C., Cyriacks, P. & L. Schley, 2005. Spatial behaviour of a female raccoon (Procyon lotor) at the edge of the species’ European distribution range. European Journal of Wildlife Research 51: 126-130.
  • Frantz, A.C., Schaul, M., Pope, L.C., Fack, F., Schley, L., Muller, C.P. & T.J. Roper, 2004. Estimating population size by genotyping remotely plucked hair: the Eurasian badger. Journal of Applied Ecology 41: 985-995.
  • Pocock, M.J.O., Frantz, A.C., Cowan, D.P., White, P.C.L. & J.B. Searle, 2004. Tapering bias inherent in minimum number alive (MNA) population indices. Journal of Mammalogy 85: 959-962.
  • Frantz, A.C., Pope, L.C., Carpenter, P.J., Roper, T.J., Wilson, G.J., Delahay, R.J. & T. Burke, 2003. Reliable microsatellite genotyping of the Eurasian badger (Meles meles) using faecal DNA. Molecular Ecology 12: 1649-1661.
  • Wilson, G.J., Frantz, A.C., Pope, L.C., Roper, T.J., Burke, T.A., Cheeseman, C.L. & R.J. Delahay, 2003. Estimation of badger abundance using faecal DNA typing. Journal of Applied Ecology 40: 658-666.

Other publications

  • Frantz, A.C. & A. Krier, 2007. Further evidence for illegal translocation of red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Luxembourg. Beiträge zur Jagd- und Wildforschung 32: 339-344.
  • Frantz, A.C., 2004. Non-Invasive Genetic Typing in the Study of Badger (Meles meles) Ecology. DPhil Thesis, University of Sussex, UK. [PDF 6MB]

Talks and poster presentations in 2011

  • Frantz, A.C., Zachos, F.E., Šprem, N., Kühn, R., Skog, A., Colyn, M., Chaumont, F. & M.C. Flamand, 2011. Identification of illegally introduced deer and their source populations: a European perspective. Vortrag zum VIth European Congress of Mammalogy, Paris, 07/2011.
  • Frantz, A.C., Massei, G. & T. Burke, 2011. Genetic evidence for past hybridisation between illegally reintroduced English wild boar and domestic pigs. Poster zum 13th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, Tübingen, 08/2011.
  • Frantz, A.C., Zachos, F.E., Šprem, N., Kühn, R., Skog, A., Colyn, M., Chaumont, F. & M.C. Flamand, 2011. Identification of illegally introduced deer and their source populations: a European perspective. Vortrag zur 8th International Conference on Behaviour, Physiology and Genetics of Wildlife, Berlin, 09/2011.
  • Frantz, A.C.: Genes in the landscape: potential and pitfalls of statistical methods in spatial genetics. Vortrag zum 19th International Symposium Animal Science Days, Primošten, 09/2011.
  • Frantz, A.C., Bertouille, S., Eloy, M.C., Prévot, C.,Licoppe, A. & M.C. Flamand, 2011. Comparative landscape genetics of two ungulate species: does sample size affect the outcome of clustering methods? Vortrag zur International Conference in Landscape Genetics. Białowieża, 10/2011.
  • Frantz, A.C., Bertouille, S., Eloy, M.C., Prévot, C.,Licoppe, A. & M.C. Flamand: Comparative landscape genetics of two ungulate species: does sample size affect the outcome of clustering methods? Vortrag zur Tagung der Vereinigung der Wildbiologen und Jagdwissenschaftler Deutschlands (VWJD), Freising, 10/2011.

Genetic studies on Saxifraga rosacea

Full title: Consequences of ploidy level on the reproductive isolation, ecological niche differentiation and plasticity of two subspecies of Saxifraga rosacea.

Abstract

Despite technological advances at the molecular level, it is still difficult to differentiate two subspecies of closely related taxa. It is often necessary to combine genetic techniques with ecological studies to distinguish each of them. The main purpose of the present project is to assess the importance of ecological niche differentiation that can be found between two closely related species with different ploidy levels. We will cross by artificial pollination, two subspecies of Saxifraga rosacea: Saxifraga rosacea subsp. rosacea (hexaploid) and Saxifraga rosacea subsp. sponhemica (tetraploid), and measure the offspring performance and establish whether the differences in ploidy levels create a reproductive isolation. We will also test the ecological isolation of both subspecies by measuring various environmental habitat characteristics like temperature or humidity. These measures will help to determine the optimal environmental conditions for the establishment and survival of the two subspecies. We will also study their demography, with measures at different life stages of the two sub-species to determine their life cycle. Finally we want to test the plasticity and adaptation of Saxifraga rosacea subsp. rosacea and Saxifraga rosacea subsp. sponhemica using climate chambers with controlled conditions in temperature and/or hygrometry. A common garden experiment will be conducted at the MNHNL with both subspecies in order to study the plasticity and robustness to environmental treatments such as hydric stress and competition by other species. The expected results will enable us to complete the results of a current PhD project of the museum, which focuses on the phylogenetic and phylogeographic aspects of the two subspecies and to allow a better understanding of particular links between speciation, plasticity and adaptation. Our results will also have implications for the conservation and management of these taxa. Saxifraga rosacea subsp. sponhemica is an endangered species of special conservation interest as a large number of the known extant populations occur in Luxembourg.

Status of PhD

Supervisor at university: Prof. Dr. Matthies Diethart, Phillips-University Marburg, Germany.

Supervisor in Luxembourg: Dr. Colling Guy, Population biology research group, National Museum for Natural History, Luxembourg.

PhD granted by Fonds national de la recherche Luxembourg. Duration: 3 years (01.03.2012 – 28.02.2015).

Host institution: Fondation faune-flore @ Centre de recherche scientifique, Musée national d’histoire naturelle.

Contact

Lucile Decanter
Musée national d’histoire naturelle
Centre de recherche scientifique
Laboratoire/Section Biologie des populations
24, rue Münster
L-2160 Luxembourg
phone: (+352)46 22 40 224
fax: (+352) 46 38 48

Publications and not published works

  • Decanter, L., Colling, G., Elvinger, N., Heiðmarsson, S., & Matthies, D. (2020) Ecological niche differences between two polyploid cytotypes of Saxifraga rosacea. American Journal of Botany, 107, 423-435. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajb2.1431
  • Decanter L. 2011. Diversité et structure génétique de Saxifraga rosacea subsp. sponhemica (Saxifragaceae). Master thesis, University of Metz, France.
  • Decanter L. 2010. Etude de l’effet de croisement au sein et entre populations de Saxifraga rosacea (Saxifragaceae). 1rst year Master thesis, University of Metz, France.

Talks and poster presentations

Macroevolutionary pattern of belemnites

Full title: Macroevolutionary pattern of belemnites (Mollusca, Cephalopoda) from the Lower Jurassic: a multidisciplinary approach.

Abstract

It is now widely assumed that the current erosion of biodiversity is a significant phenomenon in Earth’s history.  Understanding the dynamics of past extinctions seems crucial if we are to put the attrition of biodiversity into perspective. Since the pioneering work of Raup & Sepkoski, many palaeontological studies examined the role of extinction selectivity on macroevolutionary patterns in relation to the geographical range, life-span, morphology and ecology of taxa. Palaeontology tends to adopt an approach of methodological uniformitarianism by appealing to causes observable at the present time, before seeking extraordinary explanations for observed evolutionary patterns.

The present project basically aims to contribute to this topic, using paleontological data as palaeobiodiversity model. Its main interest is to explore biodiversity through time, which is obviously not possible for present taxa based studies. The present project focuses on belemnites (Mollusca, Cephalopoda), which have surprisingly never been studied in this context, and will focus on the Pliensbachian–Toarcian period (~190–175 Ma), which encompassed one of the most important marine crises of the Mesozoic, affecting groups such as ostracods, foraminifers and ammonites.

The present project will investigate the following questions:

  1. What are the main macroevolutionary patterns of belemnites during this period?
  2. Are there any biogeographical pattern changes during the studied period?
  3. What are the palaeoenvironmental and biological triggers of macroevolutionary and biogeographical changes?
  4. Are the patterns different from those observed for other taxa, and specially ammonites?

However, reaching these main objectives imply to get a good knowledge of belemnites species for the studied period. Recent results based on taxonomic revision or quantification of intra- and interspecific variations call for a reappraisal of species, particularly taking into account shape variation for their recognition. For this reason, the present project explicitly includes a first step of basic studies of belemnites in order to get a homogeneous database, based on a reappraisal of species. This is the first objective to reach before addressing macroevolutionary questions.

Finally, these nektonic cephalopods, are widely used to constrain palaeoenvironments using the isotopic signal of their rostrum. A reappraisal of species definition, and a better knowledge of their ecology will obviously conduct to have a fresh view on geochemistry interpretation.

Status of PhD

Supervisor at university: Prof. Dr. Pascal Neige, Laboratory Biogeosciences (UMR CNRS/uB 5561), University of Burgundy, Dijon.

Supervisor in Luxembourg: Robert Weis, Paleontological Department, National Museum for Natural History, Luxembourg.

PhD granted by Fonds national de la recherche Luxembourg. Duration: 3 years (01.03.2012 – 28.02.2015).

Host institution: Fondation faune-flore @ Centre de recherche scientifique, Musée national d’histoire naturelle.

Contact

Jean-Daniel Pinard
Musée national d’histoire naturelle
Centre de recherche scientifique
Laboratoire/Section de Paléontologie
24, rue Münster
L-2160 Luxembourg
phone: (+352) 462240-203
fax: (+352) 463848

Publications and not published works

  • Pinard, J.D., 2010. Biometric and morphometric study of a population of Youngibelus (Belemnitida) from early Toarcian (Lower Jurassic). 1st year Master-thesis, University of Burgundy (Dijon).
  • Pinard, J.D., 2011. Morphological quantification and isotopic analysis of a belemnites assemblage from Toarcian (Lower Jurassic). Master-thesis, University of Burgundy (Dijon).
  • Pinard, J.D. & Neige, P., 2011. Morphological quantification of belemnites rostra, Toarcian (Lower Jurassic). Abstract volume of the 4th International Symposium Coleoid Cephalopods Through Time.

Talks and poster presentations

  • Pinard, J.D. & Neige, P. (2011). Morphological quantification of belemnites rostra, Toarcian (Lower Jurassic). Poster presentation during the 4th International Symposium Coleoid Cephalopods Through Time, Stuttgart, sept. 2011

Plant-animal interactions and climate change

Abstract

The biological diversity of montane regions may be threatened by predicted climate change. Low mountain species frequently cannot respond to climate change by migrating upward, but only by plasticity or genetic adaptation. Predicted climate change will not only result in changed environmental conditions, but also affect biotic interactions. The aim of this project is to study the possible impact of climate change on the interactions of the threatened plant species Arnica montana with both generalist herbivores and a specialised parasite, the seed fly Tephritis arnicae. We will investigate the impact of herbivory and parasitism on the model species A. montana along an altitudinal gradient, investigate defenses against herbivores using metabolomic profiles, and experimentally study how plant-animal interactions would be affected under predicted climatic change. Population sizes of generalist herbivores are foreseen to increase in upland regions which may threaten the survival of mountain populations of plants that may be less defended against herbivores than lowland populations. We will also study genetic variation in metabolomic profiles and herbivore resistance among and within populations and its importance for adaptation to changed conditions. The population biology of A. montana is currently studied in a PhD project (AFR FNR Grant) hosted by the MNHNL. The proposed PhD project will take advantage of the knowledge about the population biology and quantitative genetics of A. montana obtained in this study and use two common garden experiments already set up at high and low altitudes. The expected results of the project will contribute to a better understanding of the genetic and metabolomic diversity of rare and endangered species and its importance under the scenario of projected climate change. The outcomes will also have implications for the conservation and management of biodiversity and allow a better understanding of the role of systems biology in biodiversity conservation.

Status of PhD

Supervisor at university: Prof. Dr Diethart Matthies, Department of Ecology, Faculty of biology, Philips University of Marburg.

Supervisor in Luxembourg: Dr Guy Colling, Department of population biology, National Museum of Natural History Luxembourg.

PhD granted by Fonds national de la recherche Luxembourg. Duration: 3 years (01.10.2010 – 30.09.2013). Extension period granted until 2014.

Host institution: Fondation faune-flore @ Centre de recherche scientifique, Musée national d’histoire naturelle.

Contact

Claude Pepin
Musée national d’histoire naturelle
Centre de recherche scientifique
Laboratoire/Section de biologie des populations
24, rue Münster
L-2160 Luxembourg
phone: (+352) 46 22 40 -226
fax: (+352) 46 38 48

Publications and not published works

  • Pepin C (2006) Catalytic intramolecular hydroamination of activated olefins. Master thesis, Université catholique de Louvain (UCL).

Changes & current consistency of the Cerambycofauna

Full title: Spatiotemporal changes and current consistency of the Cerambycofauna of Luxembourg for purposes of biodiversity conservation and forestry management.

Abstract

The Cerambycidae is a family of phytophagous Coleoptera widespread in Europe with ~550 species. Their larvae are mostly xylophagous or even saproxylic, acting as primary decomposers of dead or senescent trees. Since some species also have moderate size and pluriannual larval development, Cerambycids are considered high bioindicators of the state of forest health, having become a target group for many research programs in biodiversity and wildlife ecosystems in Europe and abroad. Moreover, several species are protected by Natura-2000 and the law of several European countries. A small number of cerambycids are synanthropic, attacking building woods, sometimes with dramatic consequences. The remaining species are related to living plants, some having great economical importance.

In spite of this, knowledge of the Luxembourgian fauna is still at an early stage not being listed in a local catalogue yet and its biogeographical location being still unknown. The purpose of this project is to improve knowledge on biodiversity, consistency and biogeographical significance of the Luxembourgian cerambycofauna through study of the existing collections, research in the field, comparisons and statistical analyses of data. Species richness will be compared with that of the neighbouring biogeographical regions in order to investigate and understand the faunistic relationships among the different regions of the area around Luxembourg.

The cerambycid biodiversity will be analysed in time and compared with the changes observed over time in climate, vegetation and other groups of insects in order to understand the current quality of environment and individuate the causes of the observed variations. Possible ecological countermeasures will be individuated and proposed. These important environmental topics will be divulgated to the public through the first catalogue on the Cerambycoidea of Luxembourg, including description, colour plates, maps, known biology, importance to forestry, and all faunistic data and salient aspects from a historical-ecological point of view.

Status of PhD

Supervisor at university: Prof. Dr. Thomas Schmitt, Biogeography, Fachbereich VI, Geographie/Geowissenschaften , University Trier.

Supervisor in Luxembourg: Jean-Michel Guinet, Scientifical collections/Entomology, Musée national d’histoire naturelle Luxembourg.

PhD granted by Fonds national de la recherche Luxembourg. Duration: 3 years (01.04.2011-31.03.2014).

Host institution: Fondation faune-flore @ Centre de recherche scientifique, Musée national d’histoire naturelle.

Contact

Francesco Vitali
Musée national d’histoire naturelle
Centre de recherche scientifique
Laboratoire/Section d’Entomologie
24, rue Münster
L-2160 Luxembourg
phone: (+352) 46 22 40 -206
fax: (+352) 463 848

Publications and not published works

  • Vitali, F., 1991. Segnalazioni faunistiche italiane, 190. Bollettino della Società entomologica italiana, 123 (1): 74.
  • Vitali, F., 1995. Segnalazioni faunistiche italiane, 283-287. Bollettino della Società entomologica italiana, 127 (1): 68-69.
  • Vitali, F., 1996. Segnalazioni faunistiche italiane, 309-312. Bollettino della Società entomologica italiana, 128 (1): 90.
  • Vitali, F., 1998a. Nouvelle découverte de Phorachanta semipunctata (Fabricius) (Col. Cerambycidae). L’Entomologiste, 54 (6): 250.
  • Vitali, F., 1998b. La figura del naturalista nell’indagine ricognitiva. Presenza tecnica, XXVI (2): 78.
  • Vitali, F., 1999a. Il pericolo termiti per la cattedrale di Genova. Presenza tecnica, XXVII (2): 54-55.
  • Vitali, F., 1999a. Nuovi dati corologici per alcune specie di Cerambicidi italiani (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Doriana, VII (315): 1-6.
  • Vitali, F., 1999b. Eine neue Trirachys-Art von den Philippinen (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Cerambycinae). Mitteilungen der Münchner entomologischen Gesellschaft, 89: 71-73.
  • Vitali, F., 2000. Eine neue Cylindrepomus-Art von Malakka (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Entomofauna, 21 (21): 253-256.
  • Vitali, F., 2001a. Description des œufs des espèces françaises du genre Cerambyx. (première contribution à l’étude des œufs des longicornes) (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Cerambycinae). Les Cahiers Magellanes, 4: 1-14.
  • Vitali, F., 2001b. Vesperus ligusticus, nuova specie di cerambicide italiano (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Vesperinae). Lambillionea, CI (1): 149-152.
  • Vitali, F., 2001c. Description de la larve de deux longicornes de Guadeloupe: Chaetanes fleutiauxi Villiers, 1980 et Leptostyloides assimilis (Gahan, 1895) (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Lamiinae, Acanthocinini). L’Entomologiste, 57 (3-4): 151-156.
  • Vitali, F., 2002a. Versetzung der Tribus Holopterini Lacordaire, 1869 zur Unterfamilie Lepturinae (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Entomofauna, 23 (3): 29-33.
  • Vitali, F., 2002b. Acrepidopterum reseri nov. sp., a new Jamaican longicorn beetle (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Lamiinae, Ptericoptini) – Spixiana, 25 (2): 137-139.Vitali
  • Vitali, F., 2002c. Segnalazioni faunistiche italiane, 407. Bollettino della Società entomologica italiana, 133 (3): 272.
  • Vitali, F. & L., Rezbanyai-Reser, 2003a. Beiträge zur Insektenfauna von Jamaika, Westindien (Karibik). 5. Bockkäfer, Teil I (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Les Cahiers Magellanes, 26: 1-16.
  • Vitali, F. & L., Rezbanyai-Reser, 2003b. Beiträge zur Insektenfauna von Jamaika, Westindien (Karibik). 5. Bockkäfer, Teil II (Folge)(Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Les Cahiers Magellanes, 27: 1-27.
  • Vitali, F., 2004a. Pseudosieversia europaea new species from Baltic amber (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Lepturinae). Les Cahiers Magellanes, 35: 1 -8.
  • Vitali, F., 2004b. Plectromerus tertiarius new fossil species from Hispaniola (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Cerambycinae). Lambillionea, CIV (3): 453-458.
  • Vitali, F., 2004c. Palaeological consideration about a Paracorymbia hybrida (Rey, 1885) relict station (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Lepturinae). Biocosme Mesogéen, 20 (3-4): 137-144.
  • Vitali, F., 2004d. Xylotrechus smei (Castelnau & Gory, 1841), its presence in Palaearctic region and description of the pupa (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Doriana, VII (340): 1-7.
  • Vitali, F., 2005a. Vesperus strepens m. litigiosus Mulsant, 1862 new species for Italy (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Vesperinae). Lambillionea CV (2): 331-334.
  • Vitali, F., 2005b. Notes about European fossil Lepturinae and the description of a new species (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Lepturinae). Lambillionea CV (4): 530-538.
  • Vitali, F. & J., Touroult, 2005. Contribution à la connaisance des larves des longicornes des Antilles françaises (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). L’Entomologiste, 61 (2): 64-81.
  • Vitali, F., 2006a. About Aenictosoma doenitzi Schaufuss, 1891 (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Scydmaenidae). Spixiana 29 (2): 99-101.
  • Vitali, F., 2006b. A new cerambycid from Dominican amber and remarks on the fossil Plectromerus-species (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 1 (1): 1-12.
  • Vitali, F., 2006c. About two Batrachorhina-species included in Malagasy copal (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 1(2): 13-20.
  • Vitali, F., 2006d. The real taxonomic position of Spondylis florissantensis Wickham, 1920 (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 1(2): 21-27.
  • Vitali, F., 2006e. Contribution à la connaissance des Nethinius malgaches (Coleoptera, Disteniidae). L’Entomologiste 62 (5-6) ): 175-178.
  • Vitali, F., 2006f. Taxonomic, biological and evolutionistic notes on the Spondylidinae included in Baltic amber (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 1 (3): 29-44.
  • Vitali, F. & J., Touroult, 2006a. Contribution à la connaissance des états pré-imaginaux des longicornes de Guadeloupe (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). L’Entomologiste 62 (1-2): 3-6.
  • Vitali, F. & J., Touroult, 2006b. Contribution à la connaissance des états pré-imaginaux des longicornes des Canaries (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Lamiinae). Lambillionea CVI (2): 193-201.
  • Vitali, F., Wolf, K. W. & J., Haxaire, (2006). Biological and faunistic notes on the Jamaican population of Steirastoma histrionicum White, 1855 (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Lambillionea CVI (4): 661-667.
  • Vitali, F., 2007a. A new species of Corticeus Piller & Mitterpacher, 1783 from Dominican amber (Coleoptera Tenebrionidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 2 (1): 1-6.
  • Vitali, F., 2007b. About some sub-fossil Glaucytini included in Malagasy copal (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 2 (1): 7-13.
  • Vitali, F., 2007c. Short Notes I: Observations about another specimen of Pseudosieversia europaea Vitali, 2004 (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 2 (1): 14.
  • Vitali, F., 2007d. Short Notes II: About the identity of Dorcadionoides subaeneus Motschulsky, 1857 (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 2 (1): 15-16.
  • Vitali, F., 2007e. Anomalies multiples chez un exemplaire tératologique d’Acanthinodera cumingii (Hope, 1833) (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). L’Entomologiste 63 (2): 87-88.
  • Vitali, F., 2007f. Notes and taxonomic corrections to the Beiträge von Insektenfauna von Jamaika, Cerambycidae (Coleoptera Cerambycidae) -Entomapeiron (N. S.) 1 (2): 37-59.
  • Vitali, F., 2007g. A new fossil species of Elaphidion Audinet-Serville, 1834 with systematic notes on the Lamiinae from Dominican amber (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 2 (3): 29-39.
  • Vitali, F., 2007h. Short notes III: The taxonomic position of Haplocnemia sophiae Statz, 1938 (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 2 (3): 40.
  • Vitali, F., 2007i. About the taxonomic status of some species of the genus Aeolesthes Gahan, 1890 (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (N. S.) 1 (3): 65-80.
  • Vitali, F., & Casadio, C. A., 2007. Contribution to the Cerambycid Fauna of the Solomon Islands (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (N. S.) 1 (1): 1-36.
  • Vitali, F. & J., Haxaire, 2007. A new species of Plectromerus Haldeman from Jamaica (West-Indies) (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (N. S.) 1 (2): 60-64.
  • Bellés, X. & F., Vitali, 2007. New fossil spider beetles from Baltic amber (Coleoptera Ptinidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 2 (2): 17-28.
  • Vitali, F., 2008a. Systematic revision of the fossil cerambycids from Geiseltal (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 3 (1): 1-10.
  • Vitali, F., 2008b. A new species of Tyrtaeus Champion, 1913 from Dominican amber (Coleoptera Tenebrionidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 3 (1): 11-15.
  • Vitali, F., 2008c. Taxonomic and faunistic notes about the genus Olethrius Thomson, 1860 (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (N. S.) 2 (1): 1-32.
  • Vitali, F., 2009a. Two new longhorned beetles from Dominican amber (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Denisia 69: 223-230.
  • Vitali, F., 2009b. The cerambycids included in Baltic amber: current knowledge status with the description of new taxa (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Denisia 69: 231-242.
  • Vitali, F., 2009c. About some interesting fossil and sub-fossil Cerambycids of the collection Velten (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae) – Lambillionea CIX (3): 352-357.
  • Vitali, F. & Nagirnyi, V., 2009. Nemophas ramosi Schultze, 1920, a forgotten Philippine species (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Lambillionea CIX (4): 470-475.
  • Vitali, F., 2010a. Diplocoelus probiphyllus n. sp., the first known fossil False Skin Beetle (Coleoptera: Biphyllidae). Annales de la Société entomologique de France 46 (1/2): 168-172
  • Vitali, F., 2010b. Taxonomic and synonymic notes about some Indonesian species of the genus Acalolepta Pascoe, 1858 (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae, Lamiini). Suara Serangga Papua 4 (4): 94-98.
  • Vitali, F., 2010c. Taxonomic and Faunistic notes about some Asian cerambycids belonging to the national museum of natural history of Luxembourg (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Lambillionea CX (2): 179-184.
  • Vitali, F., 2010d. Catalogue of the types of the Cerambycoidea of the National Museum of Natural History of Luxembourg. Annales de la Societé entomologique de Belgique 80: 109-126.
  • Vitali, F., 2010e. A new fossil species of the genus Stizocera Audinet-Serville, 1834 from Dominican amber (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Lambillionea CX (3): 340-343.
  • Haller, P. & Vitali, F., 2010. Une nouvelle espèce de Pachydissus Newman, 1838 (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Lambillionea CX (2) : 263-266.
  • Vitali, F. & H., Menufandu, 2010. A new species of Protilema Aurivillius, 1908 (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae, Morimopsini) from Waigeo Island, New Guinea. Suara Serangga Papua 4 (4): 89-93.
  • Vitali, F., 2011a. Six new fossil Cerambycids included in Baltic and Saxon amber (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 4 (1): 1-34.
  • Vitali, F., 2011b. Short Notes IV. Saperdopsis robusta Schmidt, 1967: an extant Chinese species? (Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.) 4 (1): 35-36.
  • Vitali, F., 2011c. Un nouveau Callichromatini de la République démocratique du Congo (Coleoptera Cerambycidae Cerambycinae). L’Entomologiste 67 (2): 91–93.
  • Vitali, F., 2011d. Systematic, taxonomic and faunistic notes about some African cerambycids belonging to the National Museum of Natural History of Luxembourg (Coleoptera, Cerambycidæ). Entomologia Africana 16 (1): 2-12.
  • Vitali, F., 2011e. Une nouvelle espèce d’Acanthocinus du Portugal (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Lambillionea CXI (2): 161-164.
  • Vitali, F., 2011f. Notes on the genus Acalolepta Pascoe, 1858 (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) from Indonesian Papua and the Moluccas. Wallacea 1: 291-297 + Pl. 40-43.
  • Vitali, F., 2011g. Observations faunistiques sur les Cérambycidés luxembourgeois conservés dans la collection du Musée national d’histoire naturelle de Luxembourg (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Lambillionea CXI (3): 278-284.
  • Casadio, C. A. & F., Vitali, 2011. Faunistic notes about an entomological survey to Kepulauan Biak, Papua (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Suara Serangga Papua 5 (3): 92-98.
  • Juhel P. & Vitali, F., 2011. Contribution à l’étude des Callichromatini Africains (5e Note): les types de Hintz. (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Cerambycinae). Les Cahiers Magellanes N.S. 4 (1): 1-22.
  • Vitali, C. & F., Vitali, 2011. Révision du sous-genre Ochropyga Aurivillius, 1913 (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Lamiinae, Prosopocerini). Les Cahiers Magellanes N.S. 4 (1): 23-30.
  • Vitali, F., Drumont, A. & J. L., Renneson, 2012. Note sur la distribution de Protaetia (Liocola) marmorata (Fabricius, 1792) au Grand-duché de Luxembourg (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae, Cetoniinae). Cetonimania N.S. 3: 14-19.
  • Vitali, F., 2012a. Les espèces de Meloe L., 1758 au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg (Coleoptera, Meloidae). L’Entomologiste 68 (1): 49–52.
  • Vitali, F., 2012b. Nouvelles données faunistiques sur les Longicornes du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Lambillionea CXII (3): 235-240.
  • Perger, R. & F., Vitali, 2012. Revision of the genus Megacriodes Pascoe, 1866, a new synonym of Batocera Laporte de Castelnau, 1840 (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Lamiinae). Les Cahiers Magellanes N.S. 7: 1-17.
  • Vitali, F., Drumont, A. & J. L., Renneson, 2012. Note sur la distribution de Protaetia (Liocola) marmorata (Fabricius, 1792) au Grand-duché de Luxembourg (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae, Cetoniinae). Cetonimania N.S. 3: 14-19.
  • Vitali, F. & C., Vitali, 2012. Notes faunistiques et taxonomiques concernant quelques espèces de Lamiaires Africains (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae). Lambillionea CXII (1): 7-10.

Talks and poster presentations

  • Vitali, F., 1992. The family Cerambycidae. Genoa University, Department of Zoology, Genoa, Italy 05/92.
  • Vitali, F., 1998. The ultrasounds employment in the research about the materials: the wood decay. Polytechnic, Faculty of Architecture, Turin, Italy, 11/05/98.
  • Vitali, F., 1999. The analysis of the wood and the concrete decay. Polytechnic, Faculty of Architecture, Turin, Italy, 11/05/99.
  • Vitali, F., 2007a.  Between earth and sea, biodiversity in the Cinque Terre National Park. Insects: a park in miniature to be defended and discovered. Conference hall of Torre Guardiola, Riomaggiore, La Spezia, Italy, 11/05/07.
  • Vitali, F., 2007b. Between earth and sea, biodiversity in the Cinque Terre National Park. Insects: a park in miniature to be defended and discovered. Municipality of Monterosso al Mare, La Spezia, Italy, 12/05/07.
  • Vitali, F., 2012a. Longicornes du Luxembourg et changement climatique. Réunion des collaborateurs scientifiques, Centre culturel de rencontre Abbaye Neumünster, Luxembourg, 17/03/12.
  • Vitali, F., 2012b. Longicornes du Luxembourg et changement climatique. Société Lorraine d’Entomologie, MJC Bazin, Nancy, France, 15/05/12.

Behaviour of stone martens (Martes foina) after re-release

Full title: Behaviour of captive-reared and wild-caught stone martens (Martes foina) after re-release, and the effectiveness of translocation as a managing tool.

Abstract

It is common practice to rehabilitate wounded or orphaned wildlife with the intention of re-releasing them into the wild, or to capture, trans-locate and re-release animals that cause disturbance to humans or damage property. The proposed project aims to investigate the post-release behaviour of stone martens (Martes foina) and to assess the welfare implications and practical efficiency of re-release as a management strategy. Stone martens have been chosen as subjects because they are common in urban and rural environments throughout most of Europe including Luxembourg, and they are responsible for various sources of human/wildlife conflict. Captive reared orphaned and wild-caught adult stone martens will be radio tracked after rerelease, and their behaviour and survival rates recorded under two different release regimes (‘soft’ and ‘hard’ release). A questionnaire survey will be conducted to see whether the problems that led to the capture and relocation of the wild-captured adult martens ceased after the removal of the martens from their territory; or whether the territory was reoccupied and the problems persisted. The overall aim of the study is to improve re-release protocols so as to (a) optimize the chances of survival and the welfare of the re-released stone martens after and during the process of release, and to (b) minimize the likelihood of further human/wildlife conflict.

Status of PhD

Supervisor at university: Prof Timothy J. Roper, Biology & Environmental Science, School of life sciences, University of Sussex.

Supervisor in Luxembourg: Edmée Engel, Musée national d’histoire naturelle Luxembourg.

PhD granted by Fonds national de la recherche Luxembourg. Duration:  3 years (20.04.2009 – 19.04.2012).

Host institution: Fondation faune-flore @ Centre de recherche scientifique, Musée national d’histoire naturelle.

Contact

M. Sc. Lieke Mevis
Musée national d’histoire naturelle
Centre de recherche scientifique
Zoologie des vertébrés
24, rue Münster
L-2160 Luxembourg

Publications and not published works

  • Mevis L (2005) The influence of social rank and environmental factors on the behaviour of captive ostriches (Struthio camelus) in Central Europe (Luxembourg). Bachelor Thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.
  • Mevis L (2006) Processes underlying the spread of a novel behaviour through a group of long tailed macaques. Masters Thesis, University of Utrecht.
  • Mevis L (2007) Post-conflict Behaviour in free-ranging male stumptail macaques (Macaca arctoides). Masters Thesis, University of Utrecht.
  • Richter C, Mevis L, Malaivijitnond S, Schülke O, Ostner J (2009) Social Relationships in Free-Ranging Male Macaca arctoides. International Journal of Primatology 30, 4: 625-642.

Talks and poster presentations

  • Mevis L, Richter C, Ostner J, Schülke O (2007) Post-conflict behaviour in free-ranging male stumptail macaques (Macaca arctoides). 2nd Congress of the European Federation for Primatology. Charles University, Prague.

Changes in ground beetle assemblages on Keuper

Full title: What really counts – changes in ground beetle assemblages on the Keuperscharren in the Luxembourg and Bitburger Gutland since the nineteen-eighties

Abstract

Twentieth century anthropogenic global change has already affected all of the earth biota. One-third to one half of earth’s ice free surface has been transformed by human land use. This land cover change represents the most important component of global change now, and will do so for the next decades to come.

Especially for semi-natural grasslands in Central- Europe intensification or abandonment has resulted in a dramatic reduction of such habitats. The Keuperscharren in the Bitburger and Luxembourger Gutland present examples for the threat through abandonment. Because they are rated as historical dry grasslands (cultural-historical meaning), the Scharren in the Bitburger Gutland are protected by the Habitat Directive. This implies a prohibition of degradation for those sites.

To satisfy this claim, a fundamental knowledge of factors, influencing this habitat is vital. Carabid beetles can be used very well as indicator species to determine the stability or changes in habitats. Therefore, in this study, the factors determining stability or changes on the Keuperscharren should be defined, based on a habitat suitability model and autecological studies for the representative carabid species. Based on a microsatellite analysis, the effect of habitat fragmentation on the genetic interchange between the different sites and potential genetic depletion will be measured. Based on that knowledge, propositions for a customized management for such sites can be made. This will contribute vital information to fulfil the requirements of protecting those Keuperscharren as places with a cultural – historical meaning. Furthermore this study will provide valuable data for the endeavour to compile a Red List on the Ground beetles in Luxembourg or a Red List of the Rhine-Province.

Status of PhD

Supervisor at university: Prof. Dr. Roland Klein , FB VI Geography, faculty of biogeography, university of Trier.

Supervisor in Luxembourg: Marc Meyer, Musée National d´histoire naturelle Luxembourg.

PhD granted by Fonds national de la recherche Luxembourg. Duration: 3 years (01.09.2009 – 31.08.2012).

Host institution: Fondation faune-flore @ Centre de recherche scientifique, Musée national d’histoire naturelle.

Contact

Dipl. Biogeogr. Bettina Augenstein
Musée national d’histoire naturelle
Centre de recherche scientifique
Laboratoire/Section Zoologie des invertébrés
24, rue Münster
L-2160 Luxembourg

Publications and not published works

  • Augenstein B (2007) Laufkäferzöbnosen in Weinbergsbrachen als Nahrungsgrundlage für das Große Mausohr. Dipl. Thesis. (pages? University?)
  • Habel JC, Augenstein B, Nève G, Rödder D (2010) Population genetics and ecological niche modelling reveal high fragmentation and potential future extinction of the endangered relict butterfly Lycaena helle. In: Habel JC, Assmann T (Eds.) (2010) Relict Species. Phylogeography and Conservation Biology. XV, 449 p. ISBN: 978-3-540-92159-2.
  • Schmitt T, Augenstein B, Finger A (2008) The influence of viniculture and its fallow stages on the butterfly diversity in a wine growing region of southwestern Germany. European Journal of Entomology 105: 249-255.

Talks and poster presentations

  • Augenstein B (?) Laufkäferzönosen auf Weinbergslagen als Nahrungsgrundlage für Myotis myotis. Talk, annual meeting, Landesfachausschuss Fledermausschutz. (Where?)
  • Augenstein B (?) Anwendung und Funktionsweise von Ökologischen Nischenmodellen. Talk, annual meeting, Gesellschaft für Angewandte Carabidologie. (Where?)

The Muskrat as an Alien Species in Luxembourg

Full title: Spatiotemporal Pattern and other Ecological Aspects of the Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) as an Alien Species in Luxembourg

Abstract

Invasive species have become an ecological and economic problem all over the world. In Luxembourg this problem becomes obvious particularly with freshwater mussels. This applies above all to the last population of the seriously endangered freshwater pearlmussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) in Luxembourg, which is located in the Natura 2000 area „Vallée supérieure de l’Our et affluents de Lieler à Dasbourg”. With respect to its population decline, the invasive species muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) plays an important part as a predator of the mussels. This rodent occurs in the same area and caused a large-scale damage in the last mussel beds in 2005/06. Therefore, to reduce the impact, trapping of the muskrat started in 2007 with uncertain success. To evaluate and improve the conservation management system of the mussels and to elucidate the ecological requirements of the muskrat in montane areas scientific work has to be done.

The study, which is run in the Our river system, aims at the determination of the space use pattern of the muskrat (e.g., annual and seasonal size and location of home ranges, habitat preferences, dispersion pattern) on the level of individuals and the population to elucidate the spreading pattern of the species with respect to the colonisation and recolonisation of (new) habitats. Another objective is the assessment of muskrat impact on freshwater mussels in the respective section of the Our river. Together with the collection of structural parameters of the population (e.g., population size, age and sex structure, reproduction rate) of the muskrat the study will deliver important data for improving the already running managment of the muskrat.

Status of PhD

PhD interrupted.

Supervisor at university: Prof. Dr. rer. Nat. habil. Mechthild Roth, Chair of Forest Zoology, Department of Forestry, Dresden University of Technology

Supervisor in Luxembourg: Edmée Engel, curator, section zoologie des vertébrés, MNHN

PhD granted by Fonds national de la recherche Luxembourg. Duration: 3 years (01.02.2009 -31.01.2012).

Host institution: Fondation faune-flore @ Centre de recherche scientifique, Musée national d’histoire naturelle.

Contact

Frank Richarz
Musée national d’histoire naturelle
Centre de recherche scientifique
Laboratoire / Section zoologie des vertébrés
24, rue Münster
L-2160 Luxembourg

Publications and not published works

  • Richarz F, Elle O, Zimmermann M (2007) Massenhaftes Auftreten der Südlichen Eichenschrecke (Meconema meridionale) in Trier als Erstnachweis einer etablierten Population im rheinland-pfälzischen Moseltal. Articulata 22(1): 81-90.
  • Richarz F (o.J.) (non publ.) Entwicklung und Evaluierung eines non-invasiven Monitoringinstruments für Mauswiesel (Mustela nivalis L. 1766) und Hermelin (Mustela erminea L. 1758). Diploma Thesis, University of Trier.

Subspecies of Podarcis muralis in Luxembourg

Full title: Analysis for the definition of subspecies of the common wall lizards (Podarcis muralis, Laurenti 1768) living in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Abstract

The common wall lizard is a warmth – loving species which is mainly spread in the Mediterranean area. Its northern area of circulation spreads over the north of France, Luxembourg, along the Maas in Belgium, the south of the Netherlands (with the northernmost existing population in Maastricht), scattered appearances in the Eifel area and the Rhine area as far as Bonn. In its northern area of circulation there are probably the following two subspecies: Podarcis muralis brogniardi in the northern Eifel area and the Vennvorland as well as Podarcis muralis merremia at the Rhine and the Moselle.

During the field mapping processes for the “Atlas of Reptiles” of the grand duchy of Luxembourg morphological differentiations came to the attention of the originators. These correspond to the observations and results of the applicant during his dissertation. Accordingly, two subspecies appear to exist in Luxembourg which are only slightly separated in geographical terms, but at the same time both appear at their northern border of circulation. Expansive behaviour of the species is being reported from the Saarland, which has not yet been proven for Luxembourg. If the species behaves expansively in Luxembourg, a bioturbation of the subspecies should occur within a few years. This has to be assumed, because several new habitats have been mapped for the first time between the localities of the Luxembourg – populations with the potential subspecies. A bioturbation of the species would severely exacerbate the differentiation. At present there is still a chance of reconstructing the immigration – route of the species into its northern area of circulation throughout a differentiation of the subspecies.

All of the Luxembourg – populations are being examined morphologically as well as genetically and compared to European reference – populations, thus making an identification of the subspecies possible. Furthermore the routes of immigration of the subspecies in its northern area of circulation are examined. The intended assignment is meant to make a contribution to showing the special importance of Luxembourg for the differentiation of the subspecies of this species.

Status of Phd

Supervisor at university: Prof. Dr. Jobst Meyer, Department of Neurobehavioral Genetics, Psychobiologie, University of Trier (D)

Supervisor in Luxembourg: Edmée Engel, curator, section zoologie des vertébrés, MNHN

PhD granted by Fonds national de la recherche Luxembourg. Duration: 2 years (01.04.2008 – 31.03.2010).

Host institution: Fondation faune-flore @ Centre de recherche scientifique, Musée national d’histoire naturelle.

Contact

Dr. Franz Gassert

Vogelsang 34
D-54292 Trier

Musée national d’histoire naturelle
Centre de recherche scientifique
Laboratoire / Section zoologie des vertébrés
24, rue Münster
L-2160 Luxembourg
phone: (+352) 46 22 33 – 414

Publications and not published works

  • Gassert F (2000) Genetische Isolation der Mauereidechsenpopulationen Podarcis muralis (Laurenti 1768) der Stadt Trier. Diplomarbeit. Universität Trier.
  • Gassert F (2005) Untersuchung der genetischen Diversität ausgewählter Populationen der Mauereidechse (Podarcis muralis, Laurenti 1768) mit Hilfe der Mikrosatelliten-DNA-Analyse. Dissertation, Universität Trier.
  • Gassert F ( 2007) Podarcis muralis. Pp. 30-35 in: Proess R (éd.) 2007. Verbreitungsatlas der Reptilien des Großherzogtums Luxembourg. Ferrantia 52. 58 p.
  • Gassert F, Kautenburger R, Müller P (2002) Populationsgenetische Untersuchungen isolierter Mauereidechsenpopulationen (Podarcis muralis Laurenti, 1768) der Stadt Trier. Mitt. Biog. 26: 1-14.
  • Kautenburger R, Eisenbarth D, Gassert F, Langer M, Müller P (2001b): Genetic analyses of natural populations in agriculturally used ecosystems in the Trier region. Verh. Ges. Ökologie 31: 271.
  • Müller P, Kautenburger R, Elle O, Gassert F, He X, Langer M, Bürger K, TU, N. (2002): Flächennutzungsinduzierte Anpassungsprozesse, molekulargenetische Veränderungen und Indikationsbedeutung von Organismen in der Region Trier als Grundlagen für verbesserte Umweltmanagementstrategien. In: Müller, Rumpf & Monheim (2002) Umwelt und Region. Aus der Werkstatt des Sonderforschungsbereichs 1: 137-142.
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