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Monday, 1 September 2014

Bird research this week on PubMed: September 2014 Week 1

PubMed listing for 'bird' OR 'songbird' excluding references to influenza and flu - August 2014 Week 4

1. Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Aug 29. [Epub ahead of print]

Spatial ecotoxicology: migratory Arctic seabirds are exposed to mercury contamination while overwintering in the Northwest Atlantic.

Fort J, Robertson GJ, Gremillet D, Traisnel G, Bustamante P.


Arctic organisms are exposed to various levels of pollutants, among which mercury (Hg) has raised important environmental concerns. Previous studies examining Hg levels, trends and effects on Arctic marine top-predators have focused on the Arctic region. However, many of these top-predators, such as seabirds, migrate to spend a large part of their life-cycle far from the Arctic in areas where their exposure to contaminants is largely unknown. By combining biotelemetry, Hg and stable isotope analyses, we studied the seasonal Hg contamination of little auks (Alle alle; the most abundant Arctic seabird) in relation to their distribution and marine foraging habitat, as well as its potential impacts on bird reproduction. We show that little auks were about 3.5 times more contaminated when outside the breeding season, and that Hg accumulated during this non-breeding non-Arctic period was related to egg size the following season with females having more Hg laying smaller eggs. Our results highlight that ecotoxicological studies should be expanded to yield a comprehensive understanding of contamination risks and associated threats to top-predators over their entire annual cycle. Furthermore, we show that an important non-breeding area located in the northwest Atlantic was associated with higher Hg contamination and demonstrate the utility of bird-borne miniaturized technology to evaluate the contamination of marine systems at large spatial scales.
PMID: 25171766 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

2. Sensors (Basel). 2014 Aug 28;14(9):15981-16002.

Image-Based Environmental Monitoring Sensor Application Using an Embedded Wireless Sensor Network.

Paek J1, Hicks J2, Coe S3, Govindan R4.
Author information:
1Department of Computer Information Communication Engineering, Hongik University, Sejong 339-701, Korea.
2Computer Science Department, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
3Biology Department, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.
4Department of Computer Science, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.


This article discusses the experiences from the development and deployment of two image-based environmental monitoring sensor applications using an embedded wireless sensor network. Our system uses low-power image sensors and the Tenet general purpose sensing system for tiered embedded wireless sensor networks. It leverages Tenet's built-in support for reliable delivery of high rate sensing data, scalability and its flexible scripting language, which enables mote-side image compression and the ease of deployment. Our first deployment of a pitfall trap monitoring application at the James San Cannot Mountain Reserve provided us with insights and lessons learned into the deployment of and compression schemes for these embedded wireless imaging systems. Our three month-long deployment of a bird nest monitoring application resulted in over 100,000 images collected from a 19-camera node network deployed over an area of 0.05 square miles, despite highly variable environmental conditions. Our biologists found the on-line, near-real-time access to images to be useful for obtaining data on answering their biological questions.
PMID: 25171121 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

3. Monoclon Antib Immunodiagn Immunother. 2014 Aug;33(4):287-290.

Generation and Characterization of Polyclonal Antibody Against Part of Immunoglobulin Constant Heavy υ Chain of Goose.

Zhao P1, Guo Y, Ma B, Xing M, Wang J.
Author information:
1 College of Wildlife Resources, Northeast Forestry University , Harbin, China .


Immunoglobulin Y (abbreviated as IgY) is a type of immunoglobulin that is the major antibody in bird, reptile, and lungfish blood. IgY consists of two light (λ) and two heavy (υ) chains. In the present study, polyclonal antibody against IgYFc was generated and evaluated. rIgYCυ3/Cυ4 was expressed in Escherichia coli, purified and utilized to raise polyclonal antibody in rabbit. High affinity antisera were obtained, which successfully detected the antigen at a dilution of 1:204,800 for ELISA assay. The antibody can specifically recognize both rIgYCυ3/Cυ4 and native IgY by Western bolt analysis. Furthermore, the serum of Grus japonensis or immunoglobulin of chicken, duck, turkey, and silkie samples and dynamic changes of serum GoIgY after immunogenicity with GPV-VP3-virus-like particles (GPV-VP3-VLPs) can be detected with the anti-GoIgYFc polyclonal antibody. These results suggested that the antibody is valuable for the investigation of biochemical properties and biological functions of GoIgY.
PMID: 25171010 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

4. PLoS One. 2014 Aug 29;9(8):e106398. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106398. eCollection 2014.

The Effect of Local and Landscape-Level Characteristics on the Abundance of Forest Birds in Early-Successional Habitats during the Post-Fledging Season in Western Massachusetts.

Labbe MA1, King DI2.
Author information:
1Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, United States of America.
2Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, United States of America; United States Forest Service Northern Research Station, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, United States of America.


Many species of mature forest-nesting birds ("forest birds") undergo a pronounced shift in habitat use during the post-fledging period and move from their forest nesting sites into areas of early-successional vegetation. Mortality is high during this period, thus understanding the resource requirements of post-fledging birds has implications for conservation. Efforts to identify predictors of abundance of forest birds in patches of early-successional habitats have so far been equivocal, yet these previous studies have primarily focused on contiguously forested landscapes and the potential for landscape-scale influences in more fragmented and modified landscapes is largely unknown. Landscape composition can have a strong influence on the abundance and productivity of forest birds during the nesting period, and could therefore affect the number of forest birds in the landscape available to colonize early-successional habitats during the post-fledging period. Therefore, the inclusion of landscape characteristics should increase the explanatory power of models of forest bird abundance in early-successional habitat patches during the post-fledging period. We examined forest bird abundance and body condition in relation to landscape and habitat characteristics of 15 early-successional sites during the post-fledging season in Massachusetts. The abundance of forest birds was influenced by within-patch habitat characteristics, however the explanatory power of these models was significantly increased by the inclusion of landscape fragmentation and the abundance of forest birds in adjacent forest during the nesting period for some species and age groups. Our findings show that including factors beyond the patch scale can explain additional variation in the abundance of forest birds in early-successional habitats during the post-fledging period. We conclude that landscape composition should be considered when siting early-successional habitat to maximize its benefit to forest birds during the post-fledging period, and should also be included in future investigations of post-fledging habitat use by forest birds.
PMID: 25170610 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

5. Trop Anim Health Prod. 2014 Aug 30. [Epub ahead of print]

Performance and meat quality of broiler chickens that are fed diets supplemented with Agaricus brasiliensis mushrooms.

Guimarães JB1, Dos Santos EC, Dias ES, Bertechini AG, da Silva Ávila CL, Dias FS.
Author information:
1Department of Biology, Federal University of Lavras, Lavras, MG, 37200-000, Brazil.


This trial was performed to study the use of the mushroom Agaricus brasiliensis as an alternative additive to antimicrobial growth promoters in broiler chicken diets and to assess the quality of the broiler chicken breast meat of birds that are fed diets containing this fungus. Thus, 595 1-day-old chicks were reared in reused poultry litter without anticoccidial and antimicrobial additives. The results showed that a concentration of 1.6 g mushrooms/kg diet was ideal for these birds because it provided better bird performance. When the birds' immune system organs were analyzed, it was found that the addition of both mushrooms influenced the immune system organs of these broiler chickens. Adding A. brasiliensis to broiler chicken diets did not compromise breast meat quality.
PMID: 25169695 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

6. Ecol Lett. 2014 Aug 28. doi: 10.1111/ele.12346. [Epub ahead of print]

Latitudinal gradients in climatic-niche evolution accelerate trait evolution at high latitudes.

Lawson AM1, Weir JT.
Author information:
1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M1C 1A4, Canada.


Despite the importance of divergent selection to the speed of evolution, it remains poorly understood if divergent selection is more prevalent in the tropics (where species richness is highest), or at high latitudes (where paleoclimate change has been most intense). We tested whether the rate of climatic-niche evolution - one proxy for divergent selection - varies with latitude for 111 pairs of bird species. Using Brownian motion and Ornsetin-Ulhenbeck models, we show that evolutionary rates along two important axes of the climatic-niche - temperature and seasonality - have been faster at higher latitudes. We then tested whether divergence of the climatic-niche was associated with evolution in traits important in ecological differentiation (body mass) and reproductive isolation (song), and found that climatic divergence is associated with faster rates in both measures. These results highlight the importance of climate-mediated divergent selection pressures in driving evolutionary divergence and reproductive isolation at high latitudes.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.
PMID: 25168260 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

7. Parasit Vectors. 2014 Aug 28;7(1):399. [Epub ahead of print]

Avian roosting behavior influences vector-host interactions for West Nile virus hosts.

Janousek WM, Marra PP, Kilpatrick AM.



Extensive work has shown that vectors almost never feed at random. Often, a subset of individual hosts and host species are fed on much more frequently than expected from their abundance and this can amplify pathogen transmission. However, the drivers of variation in contact patterns between vectors and their hosts are not well understood, even in relatively well-studied systems such as West Nile virus (WNV).


We compared roosting height and roost aggregation size of seven avian host species of WNV with patterns of host-seeking mosquito (Culex pipiens) abundance at communal and non-communal roost sites.


First, host-seeking mosquito abundance increased with height and paralleled increased mosquito feeding preferences on species roosting higher in the tree canopy. Second, there were several hundred-fold fewer mosquitoes per bird trapped at American robin (Turdus migratorius) communal roosts compared to non-communal roost sites, which could reduce transmission from and to this key amplifying host species. Third, seasonal changes in communal roost formation may partly explain observed seasonal changes in mosquito feeding patterns, including a decrease in feeding on communal roosting robins.


These results illustrate how variation in habitat use by hosts and vectors and social aggregation by hosts influence vector-host interactions and link the behavioral ecology of birds and the transmission of vector-borne diseases to humans.
PMID: 25167979 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

8. Ecol Evol. 2014 Jul;4(14):2957-67. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1144. Epub 2014 Jun 23.

Comparing determinants of alien bird impacts across two continents: implications for risk assessment and management.

Evans T1, Kumschick S2, Dyer E3, Blackburn T4.
Author information:
1 Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus Buckhurst Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY, U.K.
2Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1 Matieland, 7602, South Africa.
3Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park London, NW1 4RY, U.K ; Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London London, WC1E 6BT, U.K.
4Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park London, NW1 4RY, U.K ; Distinguished Scientist Fellowship Program, King Saud University Riyadh, 1145, Saudi Arabia ; Environment Institute, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide Adelaide, South Australia, 5005, Australia.


Invasive alien species can have serious adverse impacts on both the environment and the economy. Being able to predict the impacts of an alien species could assist in preventing or reducing these impacts. This study aimed to establish whether there are any life history traits consistently correlated with the impacts of alien birds across two continents, Europe and Australia, as a first step toward identifying life history traits that may have the potential to be adopted as predictors of alien bird impacts. A recently established impact scoring system was used in combination with a literature review to allocate impact scores to alien bird species with self-sustaining populations in Australia. These scores were then tested for correlation with a series of life history traits. The results were compared to data from a previous study in Europe, undertaken using the same methodology, in order to establish whether there are any life history traits consistently correlated with impact across both continents. Habitat generalism was the only life history trait found to be consistently correlated with impact in both Europe and Australia. This trait shows promise as a potential predictor of alien bird impacts. The results support the findings of previous studies in this field, and could be used to inform decisions regarding the prevention and management of future invasions.
PMID: 25165531 [PubMed]

9. Ecol Evol. 2014 Jul;4(14):2867-83. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1131. Epub 2014 Jun 16.

Parallel adaptations to nectarivory in parrots, key innovations and the diversification of the Loriinae.

Schweizer M1, Güntert M1, Seehausen O2, Leuenberger C3, Hertwig ST1.
Author information:
1Naturhistorisches Museum der Burgergemeinde Bern Bernastrasse 15, CH 3005, Bern, Switzerland.
2Aquatic Ecology and Macroevolution, Institute of Ecology & Evolution, University of Bern Baltzerstrasse 6, CH 3012, Bern, Switzerland ; Fish Ecology and Evolution, EAWAG Seestrasse 79, CH 6047, Kastanienbaum, Switzerland.
3Department of Quantitative Economics, University of Fribourg Boulevard de Pérolles 90, CH 1700, Fribourg, Switzerland.


Specialization to nectarivory is associated with radiations within different bird groups, including parrots. One of them, the Australasian lories, were shown to be unexpectedly species rich. Their shift to nectarivory may have created an ecological opportunity promoting species proliferation. Several morphological specializations of the feeding tract to nectarivory have been described for parrots. However, they have never been assessed in a quantitative framework considering phylogenetic nonindependence. Using a phylogenetic comparative approach with broad taxon sampling and 15 continuous characters of the digestive tract, we demonstrate that nectarivorous parrots differ in several traits from the remaining parrots. These trait-changes indicate phenotype-environment correlations and parallel evolution, and may reflect adaptations to feed effectively on nectar. Moreover, the diet shift was associated with significant trait shifts at the base of the radiation of the lories, as shown by an alternative statistical approach. Their diet shift might be considered as an evolutionary key innovation which promoted significant non-adaptive lineage diversification through allopatric partitioning of the same new niche. The lack of increased rates of cladogenesis in other nectarivorous parrots indicates that evolutionary innovations need not be associated one-to-one with diversification events.
PMID: 25165525 [PubMed]

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