Giunchi, Dimitri

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  • Data package
    Data from: Productivity changes in the Mediterranean Sea drive foraging movements of yelkouan shearwater Puffinus yelkouan from the core of its global breeding range
    (2021-12-10) Pezzo, Francesco; Zenatello, Marco; Cerritelli, Giulia; Navone, Augusto; Giunchi, Dimitri; Spano, Giovanna; Pollonara, Enrica; Massolo, Alessandro; Gagliardo, Anna; Baccetti, Nicola
    Pelagic seabirds are tied to their breeding colonies throughout their long-lasting breeding season, but at the same time, they have to feed in a highly dynamic marine environment where prey abundance and availability rapidly change across space and seasons. Here, we describe the foraging movements of yelkouan shearwater Puffinus yelkouan, a seabird endemic to the Mediterranean Sea that spends its entire life cycle within this enclosed basin and whose future conservation is intimately linked to human-driven and climatic changes affecting the sea. The aim was to understand the main factors underlying the choice of foraging locations during the reproductive phases. A total of 34 foraging trips were obtained from 21 breeding adults tagged and tracked on Tavolara Archipelago (N Sardinia, Italy). This is the largest and most important breeding area for the species, accounting for more than 50% of the world population. The relationships between foraging movements during two different breeding stages and the seasonal changes of primary productivity at sea were modeled. Movements appeared to be addressed toward inshore (<20 km), highly productive, and relatively shallow (<200 m) foraging areas, often in front of river mouths and at great distances from the colony. During incubation, the Bonifacio Strait and other coastal areas close to North and West Sardinia were the most preferred locations (up to 247 km from the colony). During the chick-rearing phase, some individuals reached areas placed at greater distances from the colony (up to 579 km), aiming at food-rich hotspots placed as far north as the Gulf of Lion (France). The need for such long distance and long-lasting foraging trips is hypothesized to be related to unfavorable conditions on the less productive (and already depleted) Sardinian waters.
  • Data package
    Data from: GPS tracking technology and re-visiting the relationship between the avian visual wulst and homing pigeon navigation
    (2024-04-02) Cioccarelli, Sara; Giunchi, Dimitri; Pollonara, Enrica; Casini, Giovanni; Bingman, Verner P.; Gagliardo, Anna
    Within their familiar areas homing pigeons rely on familiar visual landscape features and landmarks for homing. However, the neural basis of visual landmark-based navigation has been so far investigated mainly in relation to the role of the hippocampal formation. The avian visual Wulst is the telencephalic projection field of the thalamofugal pathway that has been suggested to be involved in processing lateral visual inputs that originate from the far visual field. The Wulst is therefore a good candidate for a neural structure participating in the visual control of familiar visual landmark-based navigation. We repeatedly released and tracked Wulst-lesioned and control homing pigeons from three sites about 10-15 km from the loft. Wulst lesions did not impair the ability of the pigeons to orient homeward during the first release from each of the three sites nor to localise the loft within the home area. In addition, Wulst-lesioned pigeons displayed unimpaired route fidelity acquisition to a repeated homing path compared to the intact birds. However, compared to control birds, Wulst-lesioned pigeons displayed persistent oscillatory flight patterns across releases, diminished attention to linear (leading lines) landscape features, such as roads and wood edges, and less direct flight paths within the home area. Differences and similarities between the effects of Wulst and hippocampal lesions suggest that although the visual Wulst does not seem to play a direct role in the memory representation of a landscape-landmark map, it does seem to participate in influencing the perceptual construction of such a map.