Rafael Villafuerte

Rafael Villafuerte
Spanish National Research Council | CSIC · Instituto de Estudios Sociales Avanzados

Ph.D

About

213
Publications
53,289
Reads
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5,950
Citations
Citations since 2016
32 Research Items
2325 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400
Additional affiliations
January 2009 - present
University of New Hampshire
January 2005 - present
Universidad de Córdoba (España)
January 1990 - January 1993
University of Zaragoza
Position
  • Research Associate

Publications

Publications (213)
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the biogeography of species in space and time is essential for the development of evidence‐based conservation and management plans. In this paper we propose a biogeographical spatial modelling approach based on the favourability function, and developed under a fuzzy logic framework, to unravel the historical biogeography of the two Eu...
Chapter
Although hunters often blame predators for the decline of the red-legged partridge, predation is just one of a number of possible causal factors. The main mammalian predators of partridges are those associated with humanized environments (feral dogs and cats). Other partridge predators include raptors, carnivores, rodents, insectivores and wild boa...
Article
Full-text available
The assessment of the human dimensions of wildlife reintroduction projects is essential for their success. To date, few longitudinal studies (if any) have compared attitudes and perceived impacts before and after human‐assisted large predator reintroduction. In this study, we evaluated public (n = 1582) and hunters' (n = 773) support and perceived...
Article
Context. Some prey species can shift their daily activity patterns to reduce the risk of encountering predators, and, in turn, predators develop strategies to increase their chances of meeting prey. European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is a key species in Iberian Mediterranean ecosystems. It is the main prey for many vertebrate predators. It is...
Article
Counting latrines is a standard method to estimate European wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) abundance. This method plays an important role in endangered predators’ conservation programs in the Iberian Peninsula, especially in potential reintroduction areas for the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus). However, since the last half-century, rabbit popul...
Article
Full-text available
Accurate methods for age determination are critical to the knowledge of wildlife populations' age structure and, therefore, to their successful management. The reliability of age estimation may have profound economic and ecological consequences on the management of the European wild rabbits, Oryctolagus cuniculus, in its native and introduced range...
Article
Optimal foraging theory predicts that in situations of high prey abundance, predators will select the largest ones if the cost of capture is similar. This relationship is not clear in species of large owls. We aimed to evaluate the selection by the Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) of different body sizes of a profitable prey, the European Rabbit (Oryctolagus...
Article
Full-text available
Studies connecting microbiome composition and functional performance in wildlife have received little attention and understanding their connections with wildlife physical condition are sorely needed. We studied the variation in gut microbiota (hard fecal pellets) between allopatric subspecies of the European wild rabbit in wild populations and in c...
Article
Full-text available
Conflicts over the management of wildlife species that impact human livelihoods are increasingly frequent. In Spanish farmland areas, the European rabbit, one of the most important game species, can cause considerable crop damage. Tensions typically emerge between farmers who advocate rabbit reduction and hunters who are responsible for controlling...
Article
Predation is a key factor in prey population dynamics and could impact population recovery. One common means employed to recover prey populations is that of translocations, but most fail owing to high predation during the early stages. We tested whether conditioned odor aversion can reduce predation during animal translocations by using the predati...
Article
Full-text available
The European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus faces a paradoxical situation in its native range, the Iberian Peninsula. While many populations have declined sharply due to a new variant of the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV-b), others remain healthy. The latter populations, which flourish mostly in farmland, are even causing significant crop d...
Article
The recreational use of natural resources requires the implementation of sustainable management systems. However, the existence of socioeconomic interests and the difficulty involved in applying evidence-based information often hinder this implementation. The European wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is an appropriate case with which to study th...
Article
This article presents results of a qualitative study on the opinions and attitudes of stakeholders of the areas affected by the moratorium on European eel (Anguilla anguilla) fishing (declared in 2010) in the Guadalquivir River marshlands of southern Spain. Results suggest that the stakeholders were sustaining different principles, criterions, and...
Chapter
The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is a key species of great ecological and economical interest in the Mediterranean ecosystem. During the last decades important changes in the land use have transformed part of its natural habitat, a problem that has been aggravated by the incidence of two viral diseases, myxomatosis and hemorrhagic diseas...
Article
Full-text available
No solamente los rumores y las referencias de agricultores y cazadores, también diversos medios de comunicación y bases de datos internacionales hablan de la introducción de S. floridanus en España, conejo mucho mayor que los autóctonos y capacitado para subir a los árboles-lo que se achacaba al hecho de que podría tratarse de un conejo americano,...
Article
Pest species cause significant ecological, social and economic impacts, and programs to control them usually target specific landscape features when pests use these to disperse. Roads or railways are often used by pest species as dispersal corridors, but little is known about the specific characteristics of these human infrastructures that facilita...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding use of space in free ranging populations that cause damage to agriculture can help in the design of measures aimed at reducing their impact. Food availability is known to determine use of space in terrestrial vertebrates so, providing alternative food sources during a specific time period may help the management of vertebrate pests by...
Article
Full-text available
El conejo europeo (Oryctolagus cuniculus) es una especie clave y de gran interés económico y ecológico en los ecosistemas Mediterráneos. Durante las últimas décadas los drásticos cambios en los usos del territorio han transformado parte de él, modificando los hábitats naturales, problemática que se ha visto agravada con la incidencia de dos enferme...
Article
Context: Humans have introduced lagomorph species in areas outside their native ranges for their meat, fur and/or value as game species. Assessing the rate of success of lagomorph introductions is vital to address the ecological damage they may cause. Cases of failed lagomorph introductions in apparently suitable areas may also shed light on mechan...
Article
Full-text available
Aim of study: Monitoring and control the hunting activity is primordial to guarantee its sustainability. However, the governmental agencies responsible to manage hunting commonly are unable to adequately do this job because the thousands of small private hunting states, associated exclusively by political-administrative criteria. In this work, we p...
Article
Full-text available
Significance A common feature of all domestic animals is their tame behavior and lack of fear for humans. Consistent with this, we have previously demonstrated that genes with a role in brain or neural development have been particularly targeted during rabbit domestication. Here we show, using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging, that domest...
Article
Full-text available
Speciation is a process proceeding from weak to complete reproductive isolation. In this continuum, naturally hybridizing taxa provide a promising avenue for revealing the genetic changes associated with the incipient stages of speciation. To identify such changes between two subspecies of rabbits that display partial reproductive isolation, we stu...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Numerous small and medium-sized mammal pests cause widespread and economically significant damage to crops all over the globe. However, most research on pest species has focused on accounts of the level of damage. There are fewer studies concentrating on the description of crop damage caused by pests at large geographical scales, or on...
Article
In many parts of the world, millions of wildlife species are hunted for sport, food, skins, and other products. In recent years, a backlash has emerged from certain groups of society against this long-standing human pursuit. However, attitudes towards the control of wild animals to reduce the health risk to other animals, to lessen agricultural dam...
Article
Myxomatosis is a viral disease that affects European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) worldwide. In Spain, populations of wild rabbits drastically decreased in the 1950s after the first outbreak of myxomatosis. Since that first appearance, it seems to be an annual epizootic in Spain with periodic outbreaks, predominantly in summer and autumn. Taking...
Article
Full-text available
How foraging behaviour of predators is influenced by prey abundance is often not clear. Predators may behave as generalist or specialist depending on the relationship between the predator feeding behaviour and prey abundance, known as functional response. The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is a key species for most Iberian vertebrate preda...
Article
Full-text available
Widespread generalist predators may affect declining keystone prey populations. However, this phenomenon is not well understood. In this paper, we assessed whether the abundance and population growth of European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus, a keystone prey species in Mediterranean Iberia, was related to the abundance and diet of red foxes, Vulpes...
Article
The use of restocking of animals is common practice in the management of populations subject to hunting or recreational fishing. This practice encompasses the release of large numbers of individuals in an area where the species already exists, and thus it can have detrimental genetic impacts on the target populations, especially when captive-reared...
Article
The climatic oscillations that have occurred in the last few million years have strongly affected species distribution ranges. Highly divergent genetic lineages arose, some of which correspond to recognized subspecies that currently occupy small geographical areas. Understanding the implications of the genetic differences between these subspecies i...
Article
The climatic oscillations that have occurred in the last few million years have strongly affected species distribution ranges. Highly divergent genetic lineages arose, some of which correspond to recognized subspecies that currently occupy small geographical areas. Understanding the implications of the genetic differences between these subspecies i...
Article
Biodiversity conflicts arise when the interests of different stakeholders over common resources compete. Typically, the more parties involved, the more complex situations become.Resolution of biodiversity conflicts requires an understanding of the ecological, social and economic factors involved, in other words the interests and priorities of each...
Article
Full-text available
The genetic changes underlying the initial steps of animal domestication are still poorly understood. We generated a high-quality reference genome for the rabbit and compared it to resequencing data from populations of wild and domestic rabbits. We identified more than 100 selective sweeps specific to domestic rabbits but only a relatively small nu...
Article
Full-text available
The analysis of introgression of genomic regions between divergent populations provides an excellent opportunity to determine the genetic basis of reproductive isolation during the early stages of speciation. However, hybridization and subsequent gene flow must be relatively common in order to localize individual loci that resist introgression. In...
Article
The European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus was designated as a protected species in Spain and Portugal following sharp declines in many populations. The ongoing decline highlights the need to implement cost-effective management strategies for this staple prey and important small game species of Iberian Mediterranean ecosystems.Habitat management is...
Article
Full-text available
In Mediterranean ecosystems, the European rabbit is a keystone species that has declined dramatically, with profound implications for conservation and manage-ment. Predation and disease acting on juveniles are con-sidered the likely causes. In the field, these processes are managed by removing predators, increasing cover to reduce predation risk an...
Article
Full-text available
The European rabbit is a growing problem for agriculture in parts of its natural range. In this study, our aim was to use historical records over two periods within the last 50 years to analyze trends in the number of requests made for rabbit control in Central Spain. We gathered data on rabbit control applications made in 1967 from Rabbit and Hare...
Article
Full-text available
We compared movement patterns and rhythms of activity of a top predator, the Iberian lynx Lynx pardinus, a mesopredator, the red fox Vulpes vulpes, and their shared principal prey, the rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus, in relation to moon phases. Because the three species are mostly nocturnal and crepuscular, we hypothesized that the shared prey would...
Article
Maintenance of genetic distinction in the face of gene flow is an important aspect of the speciation process. Here, we provide a detailed spatial and genetic characterization of a hybrid zone between two subspecies of the European rabbit. We examined patterns of allele frequency change for 22 markers located on the autosomes, X-chromosome, Y-chromo...
Article
Agricultural intensification has led to the extreme simplification of agricultural landscapes. The subsequent impoverishment of farmland plant communities can drive dramatic changes in the associated food webs of agricultural systems, with potential implications for vertebrate pest management. Weeds may provide alternative food sources for damaging...
Article
Full-text available
In many parts of the world, illegal poisoning of wild predators has increased abruptly in recent decades. Birds of prey and carnivores have been targeted directly or indirectly if these are perceived to impact game species or domestic animals. Non‐target species have experienced widespread declines, even local extinctions, as the result of illegal...
Article
Full-text available
Wild predators are targeted if they are perceived to affect game species or domestic animals. Over the last century, the direct persecution of birds of prey and mammalian carnivores has led to their widespread decline, even local extirpations. Many such cases involved the illegal use of poisoned bait. We used 1,305 detected poisoning events and 59...
Article
Full-text available
This work evaluates the effectiveness of fox control as a method to improve the survival of red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa). We radio-tracked 89 adult partridges and their chicks (62 few days old chicks and 46 over one-month-old chicks) and monitored their nests (N = 45) on two hunting estates in northern Spain over two years. Generalist pred...
Data
Full-text available
European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), a keystone species in the Iberian Mediterranean ecosystem, are the staple prey of the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) and the Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti). These predators require medium to high rabbit densities and a low degree of human disturbance. We compared rabbit abundances in areas of centr...
Data
Differentially expressed genes. (XLSX)
Data
PCA of gene expression variation. Blue: domesticated/tame rat, red: wild/aggressive rat; circles: females, squares: males. (PDF)
Data
Domestication-related genes. (XLSX)
Data
Full details on samples and sequencing runs performed for this study. (XLS)
Data
Gene expression values used in the analyses, stored as R objects. (ZIP)
Data
Full-text available
PCA of SNV data. Blue: domesticated/tame rat, red: wild/aggressive rat; circles: females, squares: males. (PDF)
Data
Transcript sequence differences to the reference genome in genes with common expression in domesticated animals. For each gene, the median fold change of expression in domesticated vs. wild animals is plotted as a function of the difference between wild and domesticated mean sequence difference to the reference genome. The p-values are from Wilcoxo...
Data
PCA of expression data in all 12 rabbit samples. Note the large distance separating A115 from all other samples. Blue: domesticated, red: wild, circles: females, squares: males. (PDF)
Data
“Extreme” and random permutations when testing for shared gene expression across domestication events. (DOCX)
Data
Shown is the number of genes that are 1∶1 orthologues in the given comparison and that are “expressed” in both pairs (i.e. have >0 counts in at least half the samples in both species pairs that are compared). (DOCX)