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Monday, 28 April 2014

Bird Research this week on PubMed: April 2014 Week 3

PubMed listing for 'bird' OR 'songbird' excluding references to influenza and flu - April 2014 Week 3

1. PeerJ. 2014 Apr 10;2:e352. doi: 10.7717/peerj.352. eCollection 2014.

Castration modulates singing patterns and electrophysiological properties of RA projection neurons in adult male zebra finches.

Wang S, Liao C, Li F, Liu S, Meng W, Li D.Author information:
School of Life Science, South China Normal University, Key Laboratory of Ecology and Environmental Science in Higher Education of Guangdong Province , Guangzhou , China.


Castration can change levels of plasma testosterone. Androgens such as testosterone play an important role in stabilizing birdsong. The robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA) is an important premotor nucleus critical for singing. In this study, we investigated the effect of castration on singing patterns and electrophysiological properties of projection neurons (PNs) in the RA of adult male zebra finches. Adult male zebra finches were castrated and the changes in bird song assessed. We also recorded the electrophysiological changes from RA PNs using patch clamp recording. We found that the plasma levels of testosterone were significantly decreased, song syllable's entropy was increased and the similarity of motif was decreased after castration. Spontaneous and evoked firing rates, membrane time constants, and membrane capacitance of RA PNs in the castration group were lower than those of the control and the sham groups. Afterhyperpolarization AHP time to peak of spontaneous action potential (AP) was prolonged after castration.These findings suggest that castration decreases song stereotypy and excitability of RA PNs in male zebra finches.
PMID: 24765586 [PubMed]
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2. Glob Chang Biol. 2014 Apr 25. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12482. [Epub ahead of print]

Optimizing carbon storage and biodiversity protection in tropical agricultural landscapes.

Gilroy JJ1, Woodcock P, Edwards FA, Wheeler C, Medina Uribe CA, Haugaasen T, Edwards DP.Author information:
1Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, 1430, Norway.


With the rapidly expanding ecological footprint of agriculture, the design of farmed landscapes will play an increasingly important role for both carbon storage and biodiversity protection. Carbon and biodiversity can be enhanced by integrating natural habitats into agricultural lands, but a key question is whether benefits are maximized by including many small features throughout the landscape ('land-sharing' agriculture) or a few large contiguous blocks alongside intensive farmland ('land-sparing' agriculture). In this study, we are the first to integrate carbon storage alongside multi-taxa biodiversity assessments to compare land-sparing and land-sharing frameworks. We do so by sampling carbon stocks and biodiversity (birds and dung beetles) in landscapes containing agriculture and forest within the Colombian Chocó-Andes, a zone of high global conservation priority. We show that woodland fragments embedded within a matrix of cattle pasture hold less carbon per unit area than contiguous primary or advanced secondary forests (>15 years). Farmland sites also support less diverse bird and dung beetle communities than contiguous forests, even when farmland retains high levels of woodland habitat cover. Landscape simulations based on these data suggest that land-sparing strategies would be more beneficial for both carbon storage and biodiversity than land-sharing strategies across a range of production levels. Biodiversity benefits of land-sparing are predicted to be similar whether spared lands protect primary or advanced secondary forests, owing to the close similarity of bird and dung beetle communities between the two forest classes. Land-sparing schemes that encourage the protection and regeneration of natural forest blocks thus provide a synergy between carbon and biodiversity conservation, and represent a promising strategy for reducing the negative impacts of agriculture on tropical ecosystems. However, further studies examining a wider range of ecosystem services will be necessary to fully understand the links between land-allocation strategies and long-term ecosystem service provision.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
PMID: 24764180 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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3. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 24;9(4):e96587. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096587. eCollection 2014.

Correction: equations for lipid normalization of carbon stable isotope ratios in aquatic bird eggs.



[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083597.].
PMID: 24763819 [PubMed - in process]
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4. PLoS Curr. 2014 Apr 18;6. pii: ecurrents.outbreaks.b0f031fc8db2a827d9da0f30f0766871. doi: 10.1371/currents.outbreaks.b0f031fc8db2a827d9da0f30f0766871.

West nile virus transmission in winter: the 2013 great salt lake bald eagle and eared grebes mortality event.

Ip HS1, Van Wettere AJ2, McFarlane L3, Shearn-Bochsler V1, Dickson SL4, Baker J5, Hatch G6, Cavender K3, Long R1, Bodenstein B1.Author information:
1USGS National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
2Department of Animal, Dairy & Veterinary Sciences, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA.
3Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
4Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
5Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
6Davis County Mosquito Abatement District, Kaysville, Utah, USA.


West Nile Virus (WNV) infection has been reported in over 300 species of birds and mammals. Raptors such as eagles, hawks and falcons are remarkably susceptible, but reports of WNV infection in Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) are rare and reports of WNV infection in grebes (Podicipediformes) even rarer. We report an unusually large wild bird mortality event involving between 15,000-20,000 Eared Grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) and over 40 Bald Eagles around the Great Salt Lake, Utah, in November-December 2013. Mortality in grebes was first reported in early November during a period when the area was unseasonably warm and the grebes were beginning to gather and stage prior to migration. Ten out of ten Eared Grebes collected during this period were WNV RT-PCR and/or isolation positive. This is the first report of WNV infection in Eared Grebes and the associated mortality event is matched in scale only by the combined outbreaks in American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) colonies in the north central states in 2002-2003. We cannot be sure that all of the grebes were infected by mosquito transmission; some may have become infected through contact with WNV shed orally or cloacally from other infected grebes. Beginning in early December, Bald Eagles in the Great Salt Lake area were observed to display neurological signs such as body tremors, limb paralysis and lethargy. At least 43 Bald Eagles had died by the end of the month. Nine of nine Bald Eagles examined were infected with WNV. To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest single raptor mortality event since WNV became endemic in the USA. Because the majority of the eagles affected were found after onset of below-freezing temperatures, we suggest at least some of the Bald Eagles were infected with WNV via consumption of infected Eared Grebes or horizontal transmission at roost sites.
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PMID: 24761310 [PubMed]
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5. J Comp Physiol B. 2014 Apr 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Photoperiodic induction of pre-migratory phenotype in a migratory songbird: identification of metabolic proteins in flight muscles.

Srivastava S1, Rani S, Kumar V.Author information:
1Department of Zoology, DST-IRHPA Center for Excellence in Biological Rhythm Research, University of Lucknow, Lucknow, 226 007, India.


Migratory birds need to undergo physiological changes during their preparation for migration. The current study characterized those changes in photoperiodic migratory black-headed buntings (Emberiza melanocephala), which initiate their northward spring migration in response to increasing day lengths. We measured differences in body mass, testis size and triglycerides levels in buntings between groups exposed to short (8 h light:16 h darkness, 8L:16D; SD) and long (16L:8D; LD) days, and identified proteins that showed significant differences between SD and LD in the flight muscle. To confirm that photostimulated changes were linked with migration, similar measurements were done on photoperiodic non-migratory Indian weaverbirds (Ploceus philippinus), which share the habitat with buntings for almost half-a-year. Buntings were fattened and gained weight and had elevated serum triglyceride levels and recrudesced testes under LD, but not SD. The SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed differences between SD and LD conditions in the flight muscle protein profiles of buntings, but not of weaverbirds. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of flight muscle of bunting separated three proteins, of which two were upregulated under LD condition. Mass spectroscopic analysis and a protein database search identified them as the fatty acid binding protein (FABP), myoglobin and creatine kinase (CK). Further semi-quantitative and quantitative PCR assays revealed that FABP and myoglobin transcript levels in buntings, but not in weaverbirds, were upregulated under LD condition. However, there was no difference in CK mRNA levels between SD and LD in both the species. High FABP is perhaps linked with increased energy demands and high myoglobin with intense physical activity during migration. A difference in the CK protein, but not in mRNA levels between SD and LD may possibly indicate its photoperiodic regulation at the translational level.
PMID: 24760598 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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6. Proc Biol Sci. 2014 Apr 23;281(1784):20140473. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0473. Print 2014.

Settling down of seasonal migrants promotes bird diversification.

Rolland J1, Jiguet F, Jønsson KA, Condamine FL, Morlon H.Author information:
1Centre de Mathématiques Appliquées (Ecole Polytechnique), CNRS, , UMR 7641 Route de Saclay, 91128 Palaiseau, France, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, UMR 7204 MNHN-CNRS-UPMC, Centre d'Ecologie et des Sciences de la Conservation, , CP51, 55 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France, Institut de Biologie de l'École Normale Supérieure, CNRS UMR 8197, École Normale Supérieure, , 46 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, , Silwood Park Campus, Ascot SL5 7PY, UK, Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, , Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK.


How seasonal migration originated and impacted diversification in birds remains largely unknown. Although migratory behaviour is likely to affect bird diversification, previous studies have not detected any effect. Here, we infer ancestral migratory behaviour and the effect of seasonal migration on speciation and extinction dynamics using a complete bird tree of life. Our analyses infer that sedentary behaviour is ancestral, and that migratory behaviour evolved independently multiple times during the evolutionary history of birds. Speciation of a sedentary species into two sedentary daughter species is more frequent than speciation of a migratory species into two migratory daughter species. However, migratory species often diversify by generating a sedentary daughter species in addition to the ancestral migratory one. This leads to an overall higher migratory speciation rate. Migratory species also experience lower extinction rates. Hence, although migratory species represent a minority (18.5%) of all extant birds, they have a higher net diversification rate than sedentary species. These results suggest that the evolution of seasonal migration in birds has facilitated diversification through the divergence of migratory subpopulations that become sedentary, and illustrate asymmetrical diversification as a mechanism by which diversification rates are decoupled from species richness.
PMID: 24759866 [PubMed - in process]
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7. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 23;9(4):e95674. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095674. eCollection 2014.

Mercury reduces avian reproductive success and imposes selection: an experimental study with adult- or lifetime-exposure in zebra finch.

Varian-Ramos CW1, Swaddle JP2, Cristol DA2.Author information:
1Biology Department, Colorado State University - Pueblo, Pueblo, Colorado, United States of America.
2Institute for Integrative Bird Behavior Studies, Biology Department, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, United States of America.


Mercury is a global pollutant that biomagnifies in food webs, placing wildlife at risk of reduced reproductive fitness and survival. Songbirds are the most diverse branch of the avian evolutionary tree; many are suffering persistent and serious population declines and we know that songbirds are frequently exposed to mercury pollution. Our objective was to determine the effects of environmentally relevant doses of mercury on reproductive success of songbirds exposed throughout their lives or only as adults. The two modes of exposure simulated philopatric species versus dispersive species, and are particularly relevant because of the heightened mercury-sensitivity of developing nervous systems. We performed a dosing study with dietary methylmercury in a model songbird species, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), at doses from 0.3 - 2.4 parts per million. Birds were exposed to mercury either as adults only or throughout their lives. All doses of mercury reduced reproductive success, with the lowest dose reducing the number of independent offspring produced in one year by 16% and the highest dose, representing approximately half the lethal dose for this species, causing a 50% reduction. While mercury did not affect clutch size or survivorship, it had the most consistent effect on the proportion of chicks that fledged from the nest, regardless of mode of exposure. Among birds exposed as adults, mercury caused a steep increase in the latency to re-nest after loss of a clutch. Birds exposed for their entire lifetimes, which were necessarily the offspring of dosed parents, had up to 50% lower reproductive success than adult-exposed birds at low doses of methylmercury, but increased reproductive success at high doses, suggesting selection for mercury tolerance at the highest level of exposure. Our results indicate that mercury levels in prey items at contaminated sites pose a significant threat to populations of songbirds through reduced reproductive success.
Free Article
PMID: 24759822 [PubMed - in process]
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8. Nature. 2014 Apr 24;508(7497):488-93. doi: 10.1038/nature13151.

Origins and functional evolution of Y chromosomes across mammals.

Cortez D1, Marin R1, Toledo-Flores D2, Froidevaux L3, Liechti A3, Waters PD4, Grützner F2, Kaessmann H1.Author information:
11] Center for Integrative Genomics, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland [2] Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
2The Robinson Research Institute, School of Molecular and Biomedical Science, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia.
3Center for Integrative Genomics, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
4School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, UNSW Australia, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia.

Comment in


Y chromosomes underlie sex determination in mammals, but their repeat-rich nature has hampered sequencing and associated evolutionary studies. Here we trace Y evolution across 15 representative mammals on the basis of high-throughput genome and transcriptome sequencing. We uncover three independent sex chromosome originations in mammals and birds (the outgroup). The original placental and marsupial (therian) Y, containing the sex-determining gene SRY, emerged in the therian ancestor approximately 180 million years ago, in parallel with the first of five monotreme Y chromosomes, carrying the probable sex-determining gene AMH. The avian W chromosome arose approximately 140 million years ago in the bird ancestor. The small Y/W gene repertoires, enriched in regulatory functions, were rapidly defined following stratification (recombination arrest) and erosion events and have remained considerably stable. Despite expression decreases in therians, Y/W genes show notable conservation of proto-sex chromosome expression patterns, although various Y genes evolved testis-specificities through differential regulatory decay. Thus, although some genes evolved novel functions through spatial/temporal expression shifts, most Y genes probably endured, at least initially, because of dosage constraints.
PMID: 24759410 [PubMed - in process]
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9. Environ Entomol. 2014 Apr 21. [Epub ahead of print]

Contribution of Predator Identity to the Suppression of Herbivores by a Diverse Predator Assemblage.

Long EY, Finke DL.


Studies manipulating predator diversity and measuring the impact on herbivore abundance have found that enhancing predator species richness often increases the strength of prey suppression. This relationship may be due to mechanisms such as complementarity or facilitation, which are considered "true" benefits of diversity because greater prey suppression is an emergent property of the multispecies predator community. Or it may be due to an identity effect, an "apparent" benefit of diversity that results from the greater likelihood of including one particularly voracious predator species as the total number of predator species increases. In separate greenhouse and field experiments, we simultaneously manipulated the species richness and species composition of predators attacking bird cherry-oat aphids (Rhopalosiphum padi) (L.) on wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). We found that on average aphid suppression by species-rich predator assemblages was greater than suppression by single-species monocultures. However, the performance of individual predator species varied and the species-rich assemblages did not outperform all single-species compositions, suggesting an identity effect. In particular, single-species compositions of the lady beetle Coleomegilla maculata (DeGeer) exhibited high performance across experiments, and on average predator assemblages that contained a lady beetle predator had lower overall aphid abundance than compositions where lady beetles were absent. Taken together, these results provide evidence for the dominant role of lady beetles, especially C. maculata, in natural pest suppression and suggest that predator species composition and identity are important factors to consider in efforts to conserve this valuable ecosystem service.
PMID: 24755243 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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10. Ecol Lett. 2014 Apr 22. doi: 10.1111/ele.12285. [Epub ahead of print]

Ecological traits influence the phylogenetic structure of bird species co-occurrences worldwide.

Barnagaud JY1, Daniel Kissling W, Sandel B, Eiserhardt WL, Sekercioğlu CH, Enquist BJ, Tsirogiannis C, Svenning JC.Author information:
1Section for Ecoinformatics & Biodiversity, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, DK-8000, Aarhus C, Denmark.


The extent to which species' ecological and phylogenetic relatedness shape their co-occurrence patterns at large spatial scales remains poorly understood. By quantifying phylogenetic assemblage structure within geographic ranges of >8000 bird species, we show that global co-occurrence patterns are linked - after accounting for regional effects - to key ecological traits reflecting diet, mobility, body size and climatic preference. We found that co-occurrences of carnivorous, migratory and cold-climate species are phylogenetically clustered, whereas nectarivores, herbivores, frugivores and invertebrate eaters tend to be more phylogenetically overdispersed. Preference for open or forested habitats appeared to be independent from the level of phylogenetic clustering. Our results advocate for an extension of the tropical niche conservatism hypothesis to incorporate ecological and life-history traits beyond the climatic niche. They further offer a novel species-oriented perspective on how biogeographic and evolutionary legacies interact with ecological traits to shape global patterns of species coexistence in birds.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.
PMID: 24754339 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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11. Am J Case Rep. 2014 Apr 16;15:155-8. doi: 10.12659/AJCR.890184. eCollection 2014.

Bird fanciers' lung induced by exposure to duck and goose feathers.

Cooper CJ, Teleb M, Elhanafi S, Ajmal S, Hernandez GT. Author information:
Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, TX, U.S.A.


Patient: Female, 60 Final Diagnosis: Bird fanciers' lung Symptoms: Cough productive • hypoxia • short of breath • substernal chest pain Medication: - Clinical Procedure: - Specialty: -


Rare disease.


Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) is a group of inflammatory interstitial lung diseases caused by hypersensitivity reactions from repeated insults of inhalation of fine particulate organic dusts derived from environmental sources. Bird fanciers' lung (BFL) is the most common form of HP, with an estimated prevalence of 0.5-7.5% and is observed in individuals who develop a hypersensitivity response to avian droppings or antigens on bird feathers.


A 60-year-old woman presented to our care with shortness of breath with exertion. She was hypoxic with oxygen saturation of 70% on room air. The CTA of the chest revealed a diffuse bilateral ground glass density in the lung parenchyma with a mosaic attenuation pattern. On further questioning she explained that she collected many duck and goose feathers she found on the ranch and placed them in a vase at home. Transbronchial lung biopsy revealed non-caseating granulomas, aggregates of epithelioid macrophages, and patchy mononuclear cell infiltration with lymphocytes and fibrotic tissue. The patient clinically improved and was discharged home on the 6(th) hospital day with prednisone 20 mg daily, with clinical improvement noted on subsequent follow up visits.


There is no specific clinical manifestation; abnormal laboratory test results help establish a definitive diagnosis. The best diagnostic tool is the correlation of symptom onset with the environmental exposure. The prognosis is excellent after a single episode of HP, but continuous re-exposure carries the risk of progressive pulmonary impairment.
PMCID: PMC3992218 Free PMC Article
PMID: 24753784 [PubMed]
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12. Mol Ecol. 2014 Apr 21. doi: 10.1111/mec.12763. [Epub ahead of print]

Behaviour-related DRD4 polymorphisms in invasive bird populations.

Mueller JC1, Edelaar P, Carrete M, Serrano D, Potti J, Blas J, Dingemanse NJ, Kempenaers B, Tella JL.Author information:
1Department of Behavioural Ecology & Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany.


It has been suggested that individual behavioural traits influence the potential to successfully colonize new areas. Identifying the genetic basis of behavioural variation in invasive species thus represents an important step towards understanding the evolutionary potential of the invader. Here, we sequenced a candidate region for neophilic/neophobic and activity behaviour - the complete exon 3 of the DRD4 gene - in 100 Yellow-crowned bishops (Euplectes afer) from two invasive populations in Spain and Portugal. The same birds were scored twice for activity behaviour while exposed to novel objects (battery or slice of apple) in captivity. Response to novel objects was repeatable (r = 0.41) within individuals. We identified two synonymous DRD4 SNPs which explained on average between 11 and 15% of the phenotypic variance in both populations, indicating a clear genetic component to the neophilic/neophobic/activity personality axis in this species. This consistently high estimated effect size was mainly due to the repeated measurement design, which excludes part of the within-individual non-genetic variance in the response to different novel objects. We suggest that the alternative alleles of these SNPs are likely introduced from the original population and maintained by weak or antagonistic selection during different stages of the invasion process. The identified genetic variants have not only the potential to serve as genetic markers of the neophobic/neophilic/activity personality axis, but may also help to understand the evolution of behaviour in these invasive bird populations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
PMID: 24750181 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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13. Evolution. 2014 Apr 17. doi: 10.1111/evo.12429. [Epub ahead of print]


Illera JC1, Palmero AM, Laiolo P, Rodríguez F, Moreno AC, Navascués M.Author information:
1Research Unit of Biodiversity (UO-CSIC-PA), Oviedo University, Campus of Mieres, Research Building, 5th Floor. C/ Gonzalo Gutiérrez Quirós, s/n, 33600, Mieres, Asturias, Spain; Island Ecology and Evolution Research Group, IPNA, CSIC, 38206 La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.


Songbirds with recently (i.e. early Holocene) founded populations are suitable models for studying incipient differentiation in oceanic islands. On such systems each colonization event represents a different evolutionary episode that can be studied by addressing sets of diverging phenotypic and genetic traits. We investigate the process of early differentiation in the spectacled warbler (Sylvia conspicillata) in 14 populations separated by sea barriers from three Atlantic archipelagos and from continental regions spanning from tropical to temperate latitudes. Our approach involved the study of sexual acoustic signals, morphology and genetic data. Mitochondrial DNA did not provide clear population structure. However, microsatellites analyses consistently identified two genetic groups, albeit without correspondence to subspecies classification and little correspondence to geography. Coalescent analyses showed significant evidence for gene flow between the two genetic groups. Discriminant analyses could not correctly assign morphological or acoustic traits to source populations. Therefore, although theory predicting that in isolated populations genetic, morphological or acoustic traits can lead to radiation, we have strikingly failed to document differentiation on these attributes in a resident passerine throughout three oceanic archipelagos. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
PMID: 24749863 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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14. J Anim Ecol. 2014 Apr 21. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12237. [Epub ahead of print]

Exotic birds increase generalization and compensate for native bird decline in plant-frugivore assemblages.

García D1, Martínez D, Stouffer DB, Tylianakis JM.Author information:
1Departamento de Biología de Organismos y Sistemas, Universidad de Oviedo, and Unidad Mixta de Investigación en Biodiversidad (UMIB, CSIC-UO-PA), C/ Valentín Andrés Álvarez s/n, Oviedo, 33006, Spain.


1. Exotic species are thought to alter the structure of natural communities and disrupt ecosystem functioning through invasion. Nevertheless, exotic species may also provide ecological insurance when they contribute to maintain ecosystem functions after the decline of native species following anthropogenic disturbance. 2. Here, this hypothesis is tested with the assemblage of frugivorous birds and fleshy-fruited plants of New Zealand, which has suffered strong historical declines in native birds while simultaneously gaining new frugivores introduced by European settlers. 3. We studied the plant-frugivore assemblage from measures of fruit and bird abundances and fruit consumption in nine forest patches, and tested how this changed across a gradient of relative abundance of exotic birds. We then examined how each bird species' role in the assemblage (the proportion of fruits and the number of plant species consumed) varied with their relative abundance, body size, and native/exotic status. 4. The more abundant and, to a lesser extent, larger birds species consumed a higher proportion of fruits from more plant species. Exotic birds consumed fruits less selectively and more proportionate to the local availability than did native species. Interaction networks in which exotic birds had a stronger role as frugivores had higher generalization, higher nestedness and higher redundancy of plants. 5. Exotic birds maintained frugivory when native birds became rarer, and diversified the local spectrum of frugivores for co-occurring native plants. These effects seemed related to the fact that species abundances, rather than trait-matching constraints, ultimately determined the patterns of interactions between birds and plants. By altering the structure of plant-frugivore assemblages, exotic birds likely enhance the stability of the community-wide seed dispersal in the face of continued anthropogenic impact. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
PMID: 24749667 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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15. Cognition. 2014 Apr 15;132(1):22-29. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2014.02.007. [Epub ahead of print]

The moral pop-out effect: Enhanced perceptual awareness of morally relevant stimuli.

Gantman AP1, Van Bavel JJ2.Author information:
1Psychology Department, New York University, 6 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA.
2Psychology Department, New York University, 6 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA. Electronic address:


People perceive religious and moral iconography in ambiguous objects, ranging from grilled cheese to bird feces. In the current research, we examined whether moral concerns can shape awareness of perceptually ambiguous stimuli. In three experiments, we presented masked moral and non-moral words around the threshold for conscious awareness as part of a lexical decision task. Participants correctly identified moral words more frequently than non-moral words-a phenomenon we term the moral pop-out effect. The moral pop-out effect was only evident when stimuli were presented at durations that made them perceptually ambiguous, but not when the stimuli were presented too quickly to perceive or slowly enough to easily perceive. The moral pop-out effect was not moderated by exposure to harm and cannot be explained by differences in arousal, valence, or extremity. Although most models of moral psychology assume the initial perception of moral stimuli, our research suggests that moral beliefs and values may shape perceptual awareness.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
PMID: 24747444 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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16. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2014 Apr 16. pii: S0016-6480(14)00122-1. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2014.03.046. [Epub ahead of print]

Dopamine and prolactin involvement in the maternal care of chicks in the native Thai hen (Gallus domesticus).

Chokchaloemwong D1, Rozenboim I2, El Halawani ME3, Chaiseha Y4.Author information:
1School of Biology, Institute of Science, Suranaree University of Technology, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
2Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel.
3Department of Animal Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA.
4School of Biology, Institute of Science, Suranaree University of Technology, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. Electronic address:


The dopaminergic (DAergic) system plays a pivotal role in incubation behavior via the regulation of prolactin (PRL) secretion in birds, however the role of the DA/PRL system in rearing behavior is poorly understood. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between the DA/PRL system and rearing behavior in a gallinaceous bird, the native Thai chicken. Incubating native Thai hens were divided into two groups. In the first group, hens were allowed to care for their chicks (rearing hens; R). In the second group, hens were deprived of their chicks immediately after hatching (non-rearing hens; NR). In both groups, blood samples and brain sections were collected at different time points after the chicks hatched (days 4, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24, and 28; 6 hens/time point/group). In this study, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) was used as a marker for DAergic neurons. The numbers of TH-immunoreactive (-ir) neurons in the nucleus intramedialis (nI) and in the nucleus mamillaris lateralis (ML), which regulate the vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP)/PRL system, were determined in R and NR hens utilizing immunohistochemical techniques. Plasma PRL levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The results revealed that both the number of TH-ir neurons in the nI and the plasma PRL levels were significantly higher in the R hens compared with the NR hens during the first 14days of chick rearing (P<0.05). However, there was no significant change in the DAergic activity in the ML in either the R or NR groups throughout the 28-day rearing periods. These results suggest that the DA/PRL system is involved in early rearing behavior. The additional decline in DAergic activity and plasma PRL levels during the disruption of rearing behavior further supports their involvement in rearing behavior in this equatorial precocial species.
Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.
PMID: 24746677 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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17. Vet Parasitol. 2014 Apr 1. pii: S0304-4017(14)00196-4. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2014.03.025. [Epub ahead of print]

Risk of infection by the consumption of liver of chickens inoculated with low doses of Toxocara canis eggs.

Dutra GF1, Pinto NS2, de Avila LF3, Dutra PC4, Telmo PD5, Rodrigues LH4, Silva AM4, Scaini CJ4.Author information:
1Post-Graduate Program in Health Sciences - Parasitology Laboratory, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), Brazil; Post-Graduate Program in Health and Behavior, Universidade Católica de Pelotas (UCPel), Brazil. Electronic address:
2Recipient of Beginning Scientific Scholarship, Parasitology Laboratory, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), Brazil.
3Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Universidade Federal de Pelotas (UFPEL), Brazil.
4Post-Graduate Program in Health Sciences - Parasitology Laboratory, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), Brazil.
5Center for Technological Development - Universidade Federal de Pelotas (UFPEL), Brazil.


Experimental studies and registries of cases of human toxocariasis have shown that the consumption of raw or undercooked offal of the paratenic host of Toxocara canis may pose a risk of infection. Thus, we evaluated the risk of infection due to the consumption of liver of chickens inoculated with different doses of embryonated T. canis eggs. Doses were 5-100 times smaller than the ones previously employed in this type of study. Groups of five chickens were inoculated with 5000 (control), 1000, 500, 300 or 50 eggs of T. canis, and at 72h post-inoculation, the liver of each bird was consumed by a BALB/c receptor mouse. Forty-eight hours after consumption, we examined the organs and carcasses of the mice for larvae of T. canis. All mice were positive for larvae, except the group that consumed the chicken liver inoculated with 50 eggs. This group contained only one positive mouse, in which the larva was lodged in the brain. In mice that consumed livers of chickens inoculated with ≥300 eggs, larvae concentration was primarily in the liver and lungs, characterizing the initial phase of infection. We conclude that the consumption of raw poultry liver, under the studied conditions, poses a risk of infection even with a low number of infected T. canis eggs.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
PMID: 24746238 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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18. Front Psychol. 2014 Apr 1;5:199. eCollection 2014.

Scene analysis in the natural environment.

Lewicki MS1, Olshausen BA2, Surlykke A3, Moss CF4.Author information:
1Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH, USA.
2Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, School of Optometry, Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, University of California at Berkeley Berkeley, CA, USA.
3Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark Odense, Denmark.
4Department of Psychology and Institute for Systems Research, University of Maryland College Park, MD, USA.


The problem of scene analysis has been studied in a number of different fields over the past decades. These studies have led to important insights into problems of scene analysis, but not all of these insights are widely appreciated, and there remain critical shortcomings in current approaches that hinder further progress. Here we take the view that scene analysis is a universal problem solved by all animals, and that we can gain new insight by studying the problems that animals face in complex natural environments. In particular, the jumping spider, songbird, echolocating bat, and electric fish, all exhibit behaviors that require robust solutions to scene analysis problems encountered in the natural environment. By examining the behaviors of these seemingly disparate animals, we emerge with a framework for studying scene analysis comprising four essential properties: (1) the ability to solve ill-posed problems, (2) the ability to integrate and store information across time and modality, (3) efficient recovery and representation of 3D scene structure, and (4) the use of optimal motor actions for acquiring information to progress toward behavioral goals.
PMCID: PMC3978336 Free PMC Article
PMID: 24744740 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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19. J Exp Biol. 2014 Apr 17. [Epub ahead of print]

Feather corticosterone reveals developmental stress in seabirds.

Will AP1, Suzuki Y, Elliott KH, Hatch SA, Watanuki Y, Kitaysky AS.Author information:
1University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA;


In nest-bound avian offspring food shortages typically trigger a release of the stress hormone corticosterone (CORT). Recent studies indicate that CORT is passively deposited in the tissue of growing feathers and thus may provide an integrated measure of stress incurred during development in the nest. The current hypothesis predicts that, assuming a constant rate of feather growth, elevated CORT circulating in the blood corresponds to higher levels of CORT in feather tissue, but experimental evidence for nutritionally stressed chicks is lacking. Here we examine how food limitation affects feather CORT content in the rhinoceros auklet (Cerorhinca moncerata). We i) used captive chicks reared on control vs. restricted diets, and ii) applied this technique to free-living chicks with unknown nutritional histories that fledged at three separate colonies. We found that i) feather growth was not affected by experimentally-induced nutritional stress; ii) captive chicks raised on a restricted diet had higher levels of CORT in their primary feathers; iii) feather CORT deposition is a sensitive method of detecting nutritional stress; and iv) free-living fledglings from the colony with poor reproductive performance had higher CORT in their primary feathers. We conclude that feather CORT is a sensitive integrated measure revealing the temporal dynamics of food limitations experienced by rhinoceros auklet nestlings. The use of feather CORT may be a powerful endocrine tool in ecological and evolutionary studies of bird species with similar preferential allocation of limited resources to feather development.
PMID: 24744418 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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20. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2014 Apr 17. doi: 10.1099/ijs.0.060319-0. [Epub ahead of print]

Pseudomonas hussainii sp. nov., isolated from droppings of a seashore bird, and emended descriptions of Pseudomonas pohangensis , Pseudomonas benzenivorans and Pseudomonas segetis.

Hameed A1, Shahina M, Lin SY, Liu YC, Young CC.Author information:
1National Chung Hsing University, Taichung 402, Taiwan.


Two Gram-staining-negative, aerobic, rod-shaped, non-spore-forming bacterial strains which are motile by monopolar flagellum, designated CC-AMH-11T and CC-AMHZ-5, were isolated from droppings of a seashore bird off the coast of Hualien, Taiwan. Strains mutually shared 99.7 % pairwise 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity while exhibiting <96.2 % sequence homology with other Pseudomonas species (95.7-95.9 % with type species) and formed a distinct co-phyletic lineage in the phylogenetic trees. The common major (≥5 % of the total) fatty acids were C 18:1 ω7c and/or C 18:1 ω6c, C16:1 ω6c and/or C16:1 ω7c, C16:0 and C12:0. Phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol, diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylserine, an unidentified lipid and an unidentified phospholipid were detected as common polar lipids. The DNA G+C contents of strains CC-AMH-11T and CC-AMHZ-5 were 61.1 and 61.6 mol%, respectively. The common major respiratory quinone was ubiquinone-9 (Q-9) and predominant polyamine was putrescine. The DNA-DNA hybridization value obtained between these two strains was 79.0 % (89.4 % reciprocal using CC-AMHZ-5 probe). Very high 16S rRNA gene sequence homology and DNA-DNA relatedness and poorly distinguishable phenotypic features witnessed between CC-AMH-11T and CC-AMHZ-5 unambiguously suggested that they are two distinct strains of single genomic species. However, strains also showed several genotypic and phenotypic characteristics that distinguished themselves from other closely related species of Pseudomonas. Thus, one of the strains is proposed to represent a novel species of Pseudomonas, for which the name Pseudomonas hussainii sp. nov. is assigned. The type strain is CC-AMH-11T (= JCM 19513T = BCRC 80696T). Another strain of the same species is CC-AMHZ-5 (= JCM 19512 = BCRC 80697). In addition, emended descriptions of the species Pseudomonas pohangensis, Pseudomonas benzenivorans and Pseudomonas segetis are also proposed.
PMID: 24744016 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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21. Sci Total Environ. 2014 Apr 14;485-486C:371-376. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.03.094. [Epub ahead of print]

Assessment of anticoagulant rodenticide exposure in six raptor species from the Canary Islands (Spain).

Ruiz-Suárez N1, Henríquez-Hernández LA1, Valerón PF1, Boada LD1, Zumbado M1, Camacho M1, Almeida-González M1, Luzardo OP2.Author information:
1Unidad de Toxicología, Departamento de Ciencias Clínicas, Facultad de Veterinaria/Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Apartado de correos 550, 35080 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.
2Unidad de Toxicología, Departamento de Ciencias Clínicas, Facultad de Veterinaria/Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Apartado de correos 550, 35080 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. Electronic address:


Anticoagulant rodenticides are highly toxic compounds that are widely used for pest control of rodents, but that also may threaten the wildlife's health. This work aimed to assess the exposure to first- and second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) in six birds of prey species from the Canary Islands (Spain). The concentrations of seven widely used ARs were determined by LC-MS/MS in 104 liver samples of six species of birds of prey (Buteo buteo, Accipiter nisus, Falco pelegrinoides, Falco tinnunculus, Asio otus, and Tyto alba). We determined that 61% of the livers had detectable residues of at least one AR. The most frequently detected AR was bromadiolone, which was detected in 60.3% of the positive cases. The detection frequencies of these compounds varied widely, depending on the species. More than 75% of the A. nisus, T. alba, and A. otus individuals had detectable rodenticide residues in the liver. However, F. tinnunculus exhibited the highest concentrations of AR, with median values above 100ng/g w.w. We did not detect first-generation ARs in any of the samples. When grouped, nocturnal species exhibited higher AR concentrations than diurnal species (P<0.001). The residue levels were higher among small mammal-eaters than bird-eaters (P<0.01). While most animals exhibited no macroscopic signs of coagulation disorders, approximately 35% exceeded the threshold levels of toxicity, which suggests that these compounds could weaken these animals in their natural environment. In conclusion, the control of rodent populations by ARs suggests that these compounds will enter the food chain and thus threaten the vulnerable populations of raptors on the Canary Islands. Our findings require authorities to ban or strictly control the use of these rodenticides in the natural environment for the conservation of raptors and other predatory species.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
PMID: 24742545 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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