Saturday, 9 January 2016

Mapping the distribution of the Southern Pudú in Chile.

The Southern Pudú, Pudu pudu,  is one pf the world's smallest Deer species, typically weighing 35 to 45 cm at the shoulder and weighing 6.4 to 13.4 kg. It is found in southern Chile and Argentina, and is listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, with an estimated population of about 10 000 individuals, and is known to be at threat due to habitat loss, competition with introduced species and predation by feral Dogs. However it is both small and secretive in nature, and its true distribution and numbers are therefore somewhat unclear.

In a paper published in the journal BMC Ecology on 7 January 2015, Melissa Pavez‑Fox of the Instituto de Ciencias Ambientales y Evolutivas at the Universidad Austral de Chile and the Programa de Magíster en Ciencias Biológicas mención Neurociencia at the Universidad de Valparaíso and Sergio Estay of the Instituto de Ciencias Ambientales y Evolutivas at the Universidad Austral de Chile and the Center of Applied Ecology and Sustainability at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile describe a project to map the distribution of Southern Pudú in Chile using recorded observations of the species to establish its ecological tolerances.

A female Southern Pudú in the Los Lagos Region of Chile. Rodrigo Fernández/Wikimedia Commons.

Pavez-Fox and Estay collected data from 73 recorded occurrences of the Southern Pudú in Chile and 62 from Argentina to establish the ecological tolerances of the species. At each of these locations the average annual temperature, mean diurnal temperature range, temperature seasonality, maximum temperature of the warmest month, minimum temperature of the coldest month, annual precipitation, seasonal precipitation, precipitation over the wettest quarter, precipitation of the driest quarter, precipitation of the warmest quarter, precipitation of the coldest quarter and altitude was found and incorporated into the study.

Using this data a map of suitable territory for the Southern Pudú in Chile in Chile was established. It was found that most of the suitable territory was located at low altitudes within the Central Valley between Andes and the Cordillera de la Costa. Only 5.87% of this range was within protected areas, which were concentrated at higher altitudes.

(a) Projection of the model fitted for the Chilean territory. Colors represent the suitability of each pixel for Puda puda habitat. (b) Binary map of the projection of the model fitted for the Chilean territory (red) with respect to the distribution determined by the IUCN (dark grey) for Puda puda. (c) Overlap areas between Puda puda suitable areas and protected areas according to the model (red). Pavez-Fox & Estay (2015).

Pavez-Fox and Estay note that the distribution of the Southern Pudú is poorly covered by the Chilean National Parks system, which has been criticized on other occasions for being concentrated to much in the north of the country, despite much of the nation's distinctive biodiversity being found in the south. They further suggest that as a charismatic species the Pudú could be used as a 'flagship species' to help develop better protection for the distinctive habitats of southern Chile.

See also...

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http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/capreolus-constantini-roe-deer-from.htmlCapreolus constantini: A Roe Deer from the Early Pliocene of Hidalgo State, Mexico.   Deer, Cervidae, are one of the most abundant and diverse groups of Artiodactyls (even-toed...
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/ancient-collagen-provides-insights-into.htmlAncient collagen provides insights into the relationships of the South American ‘Ungulates’.                                                                  South America was an isolated continent for much of the Cainozoic,  connected only to Antarctica during the earlier part of the period and...

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