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Monday, 17 November 2014

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed: November Week 2, 2014

My NCBI what's new results from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Search: (bird[TIAB] OR songbird[TIAB]) NOT (flu[TIAB] OR influenza[TIAB] OR bird[AUTH]) AND (2014/04/01[PDAT]:2020/01/01[PDAT])

View complete results in PubMed (results may change over time).

PubMed Results

1. Conserv Biol. 2014 Nov 13. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12422. [Epub ahead of print]

Effect of scale on trait predictors of species responses to agriculture.

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


Species persistence in human-altered landscapes can depend on factors operating at multiple spatial scales. To understand anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity, it is useful to examine relationships between species traits and their responses to land-use change. A key knowledge gap concerns whether these relationships vary depending on the scale of response under consideration. We examined how local- and large-scale habitat variables influence the occupancy dynamics of a bird community in cloud forest zones in the Colombian Chocó-Andes. Using data collected across a continuum of forest and agriculture, we examined which traits best predict species responses to local variation in farmland and which traits best predict species responses to isolation from contiguous forest. Global range size was a strong predictor of species responses to agriculture at both scales; widespread species were less likely to decline as local habitat cover decreased and as distance from forest increased. Habitat specialization was a strong predictor of species responses only at the local scale. Open-habitat species were particularly likely to increase as pasture increased, but they were relatively insensitive to variation in distance to forest. Foraging plasticity and flocking behavior were strong predictors of species responses to distance from forest, but not their responses to local habitat. Species with lower plasticity in foraging behaviors and obligate flock-following species were more likely to decline as distance from contiguous forest increased. For species exhibiting these latter traits, persistence in tropical landscapes may depend on the protection of larger contiguous blocks of forest, rather than the integration of smaller-scale woodland areas within farmland. Species listed as threatened or near threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List were also more likely to decline in response to both local habitat quality and isolation from forest relative to least-concern species, underlining the importance of contiguous forests for threatened taxa.
© 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.
PMID: 25395246 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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BMC Evol Biol. 2014 Nov 15;14(1):227. [Epub ahead of print]

Genetic and phenotypic characterization of a hybrid zone between polyandrous Northern and Wattled Jacanas in Western Panama.

Miller MJ, Lipshutz SE, Smith NG, Bermingham E.


BackgroundHybridization provides a unique perspective into the ecological, genetic and behavioral context of speciation. Hybridization is common in birds, but has not yet been reported among bird species with a simultaneously polyandrous mating system; a mating system where a single female defends a harem of males who provide nearly all parental care. Unlike simple polyandry, polyandrous mating is extremely rare in birds, with only 1% of bird species employing this mating system. Although it is classically held that females are ¿choosy¿ in avian hybrid systems, nearly-exclusive male parental care raises the possibility that female selection against heterospecific matings might be reduced compared to birds with other mating systems.ResultsWe describe a narrow hybrid zone in southwestern Panama between two polyandrous freshwater waders: Northern Jacana, Jacana spinosa and Wattled Jacana, J. jacana. We document coincident cline centers for three phenotypic traits, mtDNA, and one of two autosomal introns. Cline widths for these six markers varied from seven to 142 km, with mtDNA being the narrowest, and five of the six markers having widths less than 100 km. Cline tails were asymmetrical, with greater introgression of J. jacana traits extending westward into the range of J. spinosa. Likewise, within the hybrid zone, the average hybrid index of phenotypic hybrids was significantly biased towards J. spinosa. Species distribution models indicate that the hybrid zone is located at the edge of a roughly 100 km wide overlap where habitat is predicted to be suitable for both species, with more westerly areas suitable only for spinosa and eastward habitats suitable only for J. jacana.ConclusionThe two species of New World jacanas maintain a narrow, and persistent hybrid zone in western Panama. The hybrid zone may be maintained by the behavioral dominance of J. spinosa counterbalanced by unsuitable habitat for J. spinosa east of the contact zone. Although the two parental species are relatively young, mitochondrial cline width was extremely narrow. This result suggests strong selection against maternally-inherited markers, which may indicate either mitonuclear incompatibilities and/or female choice against heterospecific matings typical of avian hybrid systems, despite jacana sex role reversal.
PMID: 25394718 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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3. Springerplus. 2014 Oct 24;3:630. doi: 10.1186/2193-1801-3-630. eCollection 2014.

Molecular diagnosis of bird-mediated pest consumption in tropical farmland.

Karp DS1, Judson S2, Daily GC3, Hadly EA2.
Author information:
1Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 USA ; Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 USA ; Now at Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA.
2Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 USA.
3Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 USA ; Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 USA ; Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 USA.


Biodiversity loss will likely have surprising and dramatic consequences for human wellbeing. Identifying species that benefit society represents a critical first step towards predicting the consequences of biodiversity loss. Though natural predators prevent billions of dollars in agricultural pest damage annually, characterizing which predators consume pests has proven challenging. Emerging molecular techniques may illuminate these interactions. In the countryside of Costa Rica, we identified avian predators of coffee's most damaging insect pest, the coffee berry borer beetle (Coleoptera:Scolytidae Hypothenemus hampeii), by assaying 1430 fecal samples of 108 bird species for borer DNA. While feeding trials confirmed the efficacy of our approach, detection rates were low. Nevertheless, we identified six species that consume the borer. These species had narrow diet breadths, thin bills, and short wings; traits shared with borer predators in other systems. Borer predators were not threatened; therefore, safeguarding pest control necessitates managing species beyond those at risk of regional extinction by maintaining populations in farmland habitats. Generally, our results demonstrate potential for pairing molecular methods with ecological analyses to yield novel insights into species interactions.
PMID: 25392800 [PubMed]
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4. J Agric Food Chem. 2014 Nov 13. [Epub ahead of print]

Identification of edible bird's nest with amino acid and monosaccharide analysis.

Chua YG, Chan SH, Bloodworth BC, Li SF, Leong LP.


This study describes the approach of amino acid and monosaccharide combined with Hotelling T2 range plot to identify edible bird nests (EBN) and non-EBN. Prior to the approach, an analytical method was developed and validated to quantify monosaccharides in EBN. Hotelling T2 range plot of both compounds were successful in predicting the different types of EBN and differentiating EBN and non-EBN. This outcome suggests EBN contains a group of glycoproteins which is not affected by the EBN's coloration, country of origin and/or the processing method of the food item. In addition, the glycoproteins were shown to be unique to EBN. EBN was revealed to be rich in protein and essential amino acids as well as contains a wider variety of monosaccharides than most food items. The overall findings suggest that amino acid and monosaccharide provide information not only on the detected compounds and also insights into the glycoproteins of EBN.
PMID: 25392186 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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. J Neurophysiol. 2014 Nov 12:jn.00635.2014. doi: 10.1152/jn.00635.2014. [Epub ahead of print]

Origins of basal ganglia output signals in singing juvenile birds.

Pidoux M1, Bollu T1, Riccelli T1, Goldberg JH2.
Author information:
1Cornell University.
2 Cornell University


Across species, complex circuits inside the basal ganglia (BG) converge on pallidal output neurons that exhibit movement-locked firing patterns. Yet the origins of these firing patterns remain poorly understood. In songbirds during vocal babbling, BG output neurons homologous to those found in the primate internal pallidal segment (GPi) are uniformly activated in the tens of milliseconds prior to syllable onsets. To test the origins of this remarkably homogenous BG output signal, we recorded from diverse upstream BG cell types during babbling. Prior to syllable onsets, at the same time that GPi-like neurons were activated, putative medium spiny neurons (MSNs), fast spiking (FS) and tonically active (TAN) interneurons also exhibited transient rate increases. In contrast, pallidal neurons homologous to those found in primate external pallidal segment (GPe) exhibited transient rate decreases. To test origins of these signals, we performed recordings following lesion of corticostriatal inputs from premotor nucleus HVC. HVC lesions largely abolished these syllable-locked signals. Altogether, these findings indicate a striking homogeneity of syllable timing signals in the songbird BG during babbling, and are consistent with a role for the indirect and hyperdirect pathways in transforming cortical inputs into BG outputs during an exploratory behavior.
Copyright © 2009, Journal of Neurophysiology.
PMID: 25392171 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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6. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 12;9(11):e111947. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111947. eCollection 2014.

Spatial distribution of oak mistletoe as it relates to habits of oak woodland frugivores.

Wilson EA1, Sullivan PJ1, Dickinson JL2.
Author information:
1Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 14850, United States of America.
2Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 14850, United States of America; The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, New York, 14850, United States of America.


This study addresses the underlying spatial distribution of oak mistletoe, Phoradendron villosum, a hemi-parasitic plant that provides a continuous supply of berries for frugivorous birds overwintering the oak savanna habitat of California's outer coast range. As the winter community of birds consuming oak mistletoe varies from group-living territorial species to birds that roam in flocks, we asked if mistletoe volume was spatially autocorrelated at the scale of persistent territories or whether the patterns predicted by long-term territory use by western bluebirds are overcome by seed dispersal by more mobile bird species. The abundance of mistletoe was mapped on trees within a 700 ha study site in Carmel Valley, California. Spatial autocorrelation of mistletoe volume was analyzed using the variogram method and spatial distribution of oak mistletoe trees was analyzed using Ripley's K and O-ring statistics. On a separate set of 45 trees, mistletoe volume was highly correlated with the volume of female, fruit-bearing plants, indicating that overall mistletoe volume is a good predictor of fruit availability. Variogram analysis showed that mistletoe volume was spatially autocorrelated up to approximately 250 m, a distance consistent with persistent territoriality of western bluebirds and philopatry of sons, which often breed next door to their parents and are more likely to remain home when their parents have abundant mistletoe. Using Ripley's K and O-ring analyses, we showed that mistletoe trees were aggregated for distances up to 558 m, but for distances between 558 to 724 m the O-ring analysis deviated from Ripley's K in showing repulsion rather than aggregation. While trees with mistletoe were aggregated at larger distances, mistletoe was spatially correlated at a smaller distance, consistent with what is expected based on persistent group territoriality of western bluebirds in winter and the extreme philopatry of their sons.
Free Article
PMID: 25389971 [PubMed - in process]
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7. Parasit Vectors. 2014 Nov 12;7(1):502. [Epub ahead of print]

Molecular and morphological evidence for three species of Diplostomum (Digenea: Diplostomidae), parasites of fishes and fish-eating birds in Spain.

Pérez-Del-Olmo A, Georgieva S, Pula HJ, Kostadinova A.


BackgroundRecent molecular studies have revealed high species diversity of Diplostomum in central and northern Europe. However, our knowledge of the distribution of Diplostomum spp. in the southern distributional range in Europe of the snail intermediate hosts (Lymnaea stagnalis and Radix spp.) is rather limited. This study aims to fill this gap in our knowledge using molecular and morphological evidence.MethodsNineteen fish species and six fish-eating bird species were sampled opportunistically in three regions (Catalonia, Extremadura and Aragon) in Spain. All isolates of Diplostomum spp. were characterised morphologically and molecularly. Partial sequences of the barcode region of the cox1 mitochondrial gene and complete sequences of the ribosomal ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 gene cluster were used for molecular identification of the isolates.ResultsIntegrated morphological and molecular analyses demonstrated the presence of three species among the larval and adult isolates of Diplostomum spp. sampled in Spain: Diplostomum spathaceum (in fish and birds), D. pseudospathaceum (in birds) and Diplostomum sp. referred to as Clade Q sensu Georgieva et al. (Int J Parasitol, 43:57¿72, 2013) (in fish). We detected ten cox1 haplotypes among the isolates of D. spathaceum with only one haplotype shared with adult isolates from central and northern Europe. No specific geographic pattern of the distribution of the novel haplotypes was found.ConclusionThis first molecular exploration of the diversity of Diplostomum spp. in southern Europe indicates much lower species richness compared with the northern regions of Europe.

PMID: 25388753 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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Genet Sel Evol. 2014 Nov 12;46(1):72. doi: 10.1186/s12711-014-0072-6.

Protein evolution of Toll-like receptors 4, 5 and 7 within Galloanserae birds.

Vinkler M1, Bainová H, Bryja J.
Author information:
1Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Praha, Czech Republic.



Toll-like receptors (TLR) are essential activators of the innate part of the vertebrate immune system. In this study, we analysed the interspecific variability of three TLR (bacterial-sensing TLR4 and TLR5 and viral-sensing TLR7) within the Galloanserae bird clade, investigated their phylogeny, assessed their structural conservation and estimated site-specific selection pressures.


Physiochemical properties varied according to the TLR analysed, mainly with regards to the surface electrostatic potential distribution. The predicted ligand-binding features (mainly in TLR4 and TLR5) differed between the avian proteins and their fish and mammalian counterparts, but also varied within the Galloanserae birds. We identified 20 positively selected sites in the three TLR, among which several are topologically close to ligand-binding sites reported for mammalian and fish TLR. We described 26, 28 and 25 evolutionarily non-conservative sites in TLR4, TLR5 and TLR7, respectively. Thirteen of these sites in TLR4, and ten in TLR5 were located in functionally relevant regions. The variability appears to be functionally more conserved for viral-sensing TLR7 than for the bacterial-sensing TLR. Amino-acid positions 268, 270, 343, 383, 444 and 471 in TLR4 and 180, 183, 209, 216, 264, 342 and 379 in TLR5 are key candidates for further functional research.


Host-pathogen co-evolution has a major effect on the features of host immune receptors. Our results suggest that avian and mammalian TLR may be differentially adapted to pathogen-derived ligand recognition. We have detected signatures of positive selection even within the Galloanserae lineage. To our knowledge, this is the first study to depict evolutionary pressures on Galloanserae TLR and to estimate the validity of current knowledge on TLR function (based on mammalian and chicken models) for non-model species of this clade.
PMCID: PMC4228102 Free PMC Article
PMID: 25387947 [PubMed - in process]
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. J Exp Zool A Ecol Genet Physiol. 2014 Nov 11. doi: 10.1002/jez.1894. [Epub ahead of print]

House finch responses to Mycoplasma gallisepticum infection do not vary with experimentally increased aggression.

Adelman JS1, Moore IT, Hawley DM.
Author information:
1Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia.


Aggression can alter infectious disease dynamics through two, non-exclusive mechanisms: 1) increasing direct contact among hosts and 2) altering hosts' physiological response to pathogens. Here we examined the latter mechanism in a social songbird by manipulating intraspecific aggression in the absence of direct physical contact. We asked whether the extent of aggression an individual experiences alters glucocorticoid levels, androgen levels, and individual responses to infection in an ecologically relevant disease model: house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) infected with Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG). Wild-caught male finches were housed in one of three settings, designed to produce increasing levels of aggression: 1) alone, with no neighbor ("no neighbor"), 2) next to a sham-implanted stimulus male ("sham neighbor"), or 3) next to a testosterone-implanted stimulus male ("testosterone neighbor"). Following one week of social treatment, focal males were experimentally infected with MG, which causes severe conjunctivitis and induces sickness behaviors such as lethargy and anorexia. While social treatment increased aggression as predicted, there were no differences among groups in baseline corticosterone levels, total circulating androgens, or responses to infection. Across all focal individuals regardless of social treatment, pre-infection baseline corticosterone levels were negatively associated with the severity of conjunctivitis and sickness behaviors, suggesting that corticosterone may dampen inflammatory responses in this host-pathogen system. However, because corticosterone levels differed based upon population of origin, caution must be taken in interpreting this result. Taken together, these results suggest that in captivity, although aggression does not alter individual responses to MG, corticosterone may play a role in this disease. J. Exp. Zool. 00A:1-13, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
PMID: 25387693 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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10. An Acad Bras Cienc. 2014 Nov 11;0:0. [Epub ahead of print]

Reproductive phenology and sharing of floral resource among hummingbirds (Trochilidae) in inflorescences of Dahlstedtia pinnata (Benth.) Malme. (Fabaceae) in the Atlantic forest.

Missagia CC1, Verçoza FC2, Alves MA3.
Author information:
1Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.
2Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Biológicas (Botânica), Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.
3Departamento de Ecologia, IBRAG, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the reproductive phenology and sharing of floral resource (nectar) of Dahlstedtia pinnata (Benth.) Malme. (Fabaceae), endemic of Atlantic forest, among hummingbirds. For the phenology, we looked at the presence of reproductive structures in the plants, and for floral resource sharing, the frequency of potential pollinators and foraging behaviors were examined. This study was conducted in Pedra Branca State Park, in state of Rio de Janeiro, in a dense ombrophilous forest, between August 2010 and August 2011. Flowering occurred between December 2010 and March 2011, and fruiting between April and June 2011. Hummingbirds' foraging schedules differed significantly, with legitimate visits to the flowers occurring in the morning and illegitimate visits occurring during late morning and the afternoon. Five species visited flowers, three of which were legitimate visitors: Phaethornis ruber, P. pretrei, and Ramphodon naevius. Amazilia fimbriata and Thalurania glaucopis females only visited illegitimately. Phaethornis ruber robbed nectar (78% of illegitimate visits, n=337). Ramphodon naevius, with a territorial foraging behavior and a body size bigger than that of other observed hummingbird species, dominated the floral visits, which suggests that D. pinnata is an important nourishing resource for this endemic bird of the Atlantic forest, currently globally categorized as Near Threatened.

PMID: 25387391 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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11. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 11;9(11):e112347. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112347. eCollection 2014.

Temporal Changes in Randomness of Bird Communities across Central Europe.

Renner SC1, Gossner MM2, Kahl T3, Kalko EK4, Weisser WW2, Fischer M5, Allan E6.
Author information:
1Institute of Experimental Ecology, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany; Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, Front Royal, Virginia, United States of America.
2Terrestrial Ecology Research Group, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Centre for Food and Life Sciences Weihenstephan, Technische Universität München, Freising, Germany.
3Chair of Silviculture, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.
4Institute of Experimental Ecology, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.
5Institute of Plant Sciences and Botanical Garden, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
6Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.


Many studies have examined whether communities are structured by random or deterministic processes, and both are likely to play a role, but relatively few studies have attempted to quantify the degree of randomness in species composition. We quantified, for the first time, the degree of randomness in forest bird communities based on an analysis of spatial autocorrelation in three regions of Germany. The compositional dissimilarity between pairs of forest patches was regressed against the distance between them. We then calculated the y-intercept of the curve, i.e. the 'nugget', which represents the compositional dissimilarity at zero spatial distance. We therefore assume, following similar work on plant communities, that this represents the degree of randomness in species composition. We then analysed how the degree of randomness in community composition varied over time and with forest management intensity, which we expected to reduce the importance of random processes by increasing the strength of environmental drivers. We found that a high portion of the bird community composition could be explained by chance (overall mean of 0.63), implying that most of the variation in local bird community composition is driven by stochastic processes. Forest management intensity did not consistently affect the mean degree of randomness in community composition, perhaps because the bird communities were relatively insensitive to management intensity. We found a high temporal variation in the degree of randomness, which may indicate temporal variation in assembly processes and in the importance of key environmental drivers. We conclude that the degree of randomness in community composition should be considered in bird community studies, and the high values we find may indicate that bird community composition is relatively hard to predict at the regional scale.

PMID: 25386924 [PubMed - in process]
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12. Front Zool. 2014 Oct 31;11(1):80. doi: 10.1186/s12983-014-0080-y. eCollection 2014.

Reproductive responses of birds to experimental food supplementation: a meta-analysis.

Ruffino L1, Salo P1, Koivisto E1, Banks PB2, Korpimäki E1.
Author information:
1Section of Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Turku, FI-20014 Turku, Finland.
2School of Biological Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.



Food availability is an important environmental cue for animals for deciding how much to invest in reproduction, and it ultimately affects population size. The importance of food limitation has been extensively studied in terrestrial vertebrate populations, especially in birds, by experimentally manipulating food supply. However, the factors explaining variation in reproductive decisions in response to food supplementation remain unclear. By performing meta-analyses, we aim to quantify the extent to which supplementary feeding affects several reproductive parameters in birds, and identify the key factors (life-history traits, behavioural factors, environmental factors, and experimental design) that can induce variation in laying date, clutch size and breeding success (i.e., number of fledglings produced) in response to food supplementation.


Food supplementation produced variable but mostly positive effects across reproductive parameters in a total of 201 experiments from 82 independent studies. The outcomes of the food effect were modulated by environmental factors, e.g., laying dates advanced more towards low latitudes, and food supplementation appeared not to produce any obvious effect on bird reproduction when the background level of food abundance in the environment was high. Moreover, the increase in clutch size following food addition was more pronounced in birds that cache food, as compared to birds that do not. Supplementation timing was identified as a major cause of variation in breeding success responses. We also document the absence of a detectable food effect on clutch size and breeding success when the target species had poor access to the feed due to competitive interactions with other animals.


Our findings indicate that, from the pool of bird species and environments reviewed, extra food is allocated to immediate reproduction in most cases. Our results also support the view that bird species have evolved different life-history strategies to cope with environmental variability in food supply. However, we encourage more research at low latitudes to gain knowledge on how resource allocation in birds changes along a latitudinal gradient. Our results also emphasize the importance of developing experimental designs that minimise competition for the supplemented food and the risk of reproductive bottle-necks due to inappropriate supplementation timings.
PMCID: PMC4222371 Free PMC Article
PMID: 25386221 [PubMed]
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13. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 10;9(11):e112905. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112905. eCollection 2014.

Social information embedded in vocalizations induces neurogenomic and behavioral responses.

Lin LC1, Vanier DR1, London SE2.
Author information:
1Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.
2Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America; Institute for Mind and Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America; Committee on Neurobiology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.


Social cues facilitate relationships within communities. Zebra finches form long-term stable mate pairs and produce offspring within a multi-family, multi-generational community that can include hundreds of birds. Males use song to communicate in this complex environment. Males sing as part of their courtship display but also abundantly throughout each day, suggesting a role for their vocal signature outside of a reproductive context. One advantage of a vocal social cue is that it can be exchanged when birds are out of visual contact, as regularly occurs in a zebra finch community. Previous works have demonstrated that females hearing song are affected by their social relationship to the bird singing it, and the immediate social context. Here, we probed the question of whether or not the song itself carried social information, as would be expected from the situations when males sing outside of view of the female. We quantified behavioral and neurogenomic responses to two songs we predicted would have distinct "attractive" qualities in adult females housed in either mixed sex or female-only social communities. Our results show that only mixed sex-housed females show distinctive behavioral and neurogenomic responses to attractive songs. These data are consistent with the idea that the acoustic properties of song carry social information, and that the current social situation modulates the neural and behavioral responses to these signals.
PMCID: PMC4226578 Free PMC Article
PMID: 25384071 [PubMed - in process]
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14. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2014 Nov 8. doi: 10.1002/ar.23088. [Epub ahead of print]

Morphological features of Herbst corpuscles in the oropharynx of the ostrich (Struthio camelus) and emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae).

Crole MR1, du Plessis L, Soley JT.
Author information:
1Anatomy section, Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110, South Africa.


The distribution of Herbst corpuscles in the oropharynx of the ostrich and emu has recently been documented. However, although the morphology of these mechanoreceptors is well known in neognathous birds, little structural information is available on the Herbst corpuscles of ratites. Tissue sections from those regions of the oropharynx known to possess a high concentration of Herbst corpuscles were sampled from ostrich and emu heads collected after slaughter and prepared for light and transmission electron microscopy. Intra-oral Herbst corpuscles in the ostrich and emu displayed the same basic components (capsule, outer zone, inner core and axon) described in neognathous birds. However, some important differences were observed, notably, the presence of myofibroblasts in the capsule, sensory cilia in cells of the outer layers, a relatively larger, less organised outer zone and narrower inner core, and variations in the shape of the axon. The previously unreported presence of myofibroblasts in the capsule possibly indicates its ability to contract, thus altering the tension of the capsule, which in turn has implications for the conduction of vibrational stimuli. The sensory cilia in the myofibroblasts of the capsule bordering the outer zone, and in the fibroblasts of the outer zone itself, may play a regulatory role in controlling the contraction of the capsule. Such a function has not previously been reported for Herbst corpuscles in any species of bird. Anat Rec, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Copyright © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
PMID: 25382625 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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15. Transbound Emerg Dis. 2014 Nov 10. doi: 10.1111/tbed.12290. [Epub ahead of print]

A Transitional Model for the Evaluation of West Nile Virus Transmission in Italy.

Calistri P1, Savini L, Candeloro L, Di Sabatino D, Cito F, Bruno R, Danzetta ML.
Author information:
1Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise "G. Caporale", Teramo, Italy.


In August 2008, after 10 years of apparent silence, West Nile virus (WNV) infection re-emerged in northern Italy, spreading through the territories of three regions. In the following years, new cases occurred in the same area and additional foci of infection were observed in central and southern Italy, involving also Sicily and Sardinia islands. The Italian Ministry of Health ordered to test by RT-PCR all blood and organ donors from 15th June to 15th November of each year in the infected areas. The period at risk of WNV transmission was defined on the basis of literature data, but a more scientific estimation of the transmission season, under Italian circumstances, needs to be performed. A transitional model previously developed by other Authors was applied and adapted to Italian circumstances, to describe and quantify the WNV transmission cycle between birds and mosquitoes. Culex spp. was considered the main vector, and mosquito parameters were adapted to this genus. Magpies (Pica pica) were considered the main bird host. The model was partially validated through the results of the entomological surveys carried out in central Italy and in Po Valley. The results of the transitional model permitted to calculate the basic reproduction number (R0 ) during 2010 for the whole Italian territory at 1 km of spatial resolution, estimating the risk of WNV transmission during the year and creating detailed risk maps for Italy. The mean values of R0 for the whole Italy varied between 0.4 and 4.8, with values >1 from the end of May to the middle of September. The coastal and flat zones of Italy showed the highest R0 values. Although partially validated, the model showed a substantial acceptable capacity of defining the period at major risk of WNV transmission in Italy, helping Public health authorities in the application of appropriate and timely control and preventive measures.
© 2014 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.
PMID: 25382294 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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16. Anim Cogn. 2014 Nov 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Problem-solving and learning in Carib grackles: individuals show a consistent speed-accuracy trade-off.

Ducatez S1, Audet JN, Lefebvre L.
Author information:
1Department of Biology, McGill University, 1205, Avenue Docteur Penfield, Montreal, QC, H3A 1B1, Canada,


The generation and maintenance of within-population variation in cognitive abilities remain poorly understood. Recent theories propose that this variation might reflect the existence of consistent cognitive strategies distributed along a slow-fast continuum influenced by shyness. The slow-fast continuum might be reflected in the well-known speed-accuracy trade-off, where animals cannot simultaneously maximise the speed and the accuracy with which they perform a task. We test this idea on 49 wild-caught Carib grackles (Quiscalus lugubris), a tame opportunistic generalist Icterid bird in Barbados. Grackles that are fast at solving novel problems involving obstacle removal to reach visible food perform consistently over two different tasks, spend more time per trial attending to both tasks, and are those that show more shyness in a pretest. However, they are also the individuals that make more errors in a colour discrimination task requiring no new motor act. Our data reconcile some of the mixed positive and negative correlations reported in the comparative literature on cognitive tasks, suggesting that a speed-accuracy trade-off could lead to negative correlations between tasks favouring speed and tasks favouring accuracy, but still reveal consistent strategies based on stable individual differences.
PMID: 25381576 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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17. Int J Biometeorol. 2014 Nov 8. [Epub ahead of print]

Trophic level responses differ as climate warms in Ireland.

Donnelly A1, Yu R, Liu L.
Author information:
1Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, 53201, USA,


Effective ecosystem functioning relies on successful species interaction. However, this delicate balance may be disrupted if species do not respond to environmental change at a similar rate. Here we examine trends in the timing of spring phenophases of groups of species occupying three trophic levels as a potential indicator of ecosystem response to climate warming in Ireland. The data sets were of varying length (1976-2009) and from varying locations: (1) timing of leaf unfolding and May Shoot of a range of broadleaf and conifer tree species, (2) first appearance dates of a range of moth species, and (3) first arrival dates of a range of spring migrant birds. All three groups revealed a statistically significant (P<0.01 and P<0.001) advance in spring phenology that was driven by rising spring temperature (P<0.05; 0.45 °C /decade). However, the rate of advance was greater for moths (1.8 days/year), followed by birds (0.37 days/year) and trees (0.29 days/year). In addition, the length of time between (1) moth emergence and leaf unfolding and (2) moth emergence and bird arrival decreased significantly (P<0.05 and P<0.001, respectively), indicating a decrease in the timing between food supply and demand. These differing trophic level response rates demonstrate the potential for a mismatch in the timing of interdependent phenophases as temperatures rise. Even though these data were not specifically collected to examine climate warming impacts, we conclude that such data may be used as an early warning indicator and as a means to monitor the potential for future ecosystem disruption to occur as climate warms.
PMID: 25380974 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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18. Mol Ecol. 2014 Oct;23(19):4677-8. doi: 10.1111/mec.12905.

Genome scans and elusive candidate genes: detecting the variation that matters for speciation.

Sætre GP.
Author information:
Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, P. O. Box 1066 Blindern, N-0316, Oslo, Norway.

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Next-generation sequencing is providing us with vast amounts of genetic data, yet we are currently struggling in our attempts to make sense of them. In particular, it has proven difficult to link phenotypic divergence and speciation to genome level divergence. In the current issue of Molecular Ecology, Ruegg et al. () present new empirical results from two closely related bird taxa. They use a promising approach combining genome scan and candidate gene analysis. Their results suggest that we may have been looking in vain for candidate speciation genes by focusing only on genes found within genomic islands of divergence. This is because genes important in divergence and speciation may not be detected by genome scans and because features of the genomic architecture per se may have a large effect on the pattern of genome divergence.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
PMID: 25263403 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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