Scale-dependent approaches in conservation biogeography of a cosmopolitan raptor: the Osprey.
Being a cosmopolitan and migratory species, the osprey Pandion haliaetus provides a good opportunity to explore how behavioural adaptations in different populations, that evolved under different ecological conditions and are widely spaced, can be the proximate causes of geographical distribution, genetic divergence, population connectivity, migratory strategies and foraging ecology. According to this, a multi-scale integrated approach has been adopted for the osprey: through an interdisciplinary framework made by molecular ecology, trophic ecology as assessed via stable isotopic analyses, spatial ecology through the use of novel biotelemetry tools, as well as population dynamics, fish censuses and assessments of levels of human disturbance, we: a) evidenced the existence of four different lineages at global scale that should be treated as Evolutionary Significant Units (ESUs) and deserve specific management; b) revealed population connectivity in the Western Palearctic; c) disentangled the migratory behaviour and winter ecology of Mediterranean ospreys and compared it with northern European populations, in an evolutionary context; d) stressed the need of adequate management measures to be adopted for three local populations of the Mediterranean basin (Corsica, Morocco and Italy). Overall, this work has led to some important advances with respect to the conservation biogeography of ospreys at different scales. Those insights are particularly valuable with respect to the effective management of this emblematic species.