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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed: January 2015, Week 2

This message contains My NCBI what's new results from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Saturday, 2015 January 17

Search: (bird[TIAB] OR songbird[TIAB]) NOT (flu[TIAB] OR influenza[TIAB] OR bird[AUTH]) AND (2014/04/01[PDAT]:2020/01/01[PDAT])

PubMed Results

1. An Acad Bras Cienc. 2014 Dec;86(4):1693-702. doi: 10.1590/0001-3765201420130134. Epub 2014 Nov 11.

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.


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.
Free Article
PMID: 25590708 [PubMed - in process]

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2. J R Soc Interface. 2015 Mar 6;12(104). pii: 20141283. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2014.1283.

In vivo recording of aerodynamic force with an aerodynamic force platform: from drones to birds.

Lentink D1, Haselsteiner AF2, Ingersoll R2.


Flapping wings enable flying animals and biomimetic robots to generate elevated aerodynamic forces. Measurements that demonstrate this capability are based on experiments with tethered robots and animals, and indirect force calculations based on measured kinematics or airflow during free flight. Remarkably, there exists no method to measure these forces directly during free flight. Such in vivo recordings in freely behaving animals are essential to better understand the precise aerodynamic function of their flapping wings, in particular during the downstroke versus upstroke. Here, we demonstrate a new aerodynamic force platform (AFP) for non-intrusive aerodynamic force measurement in freely flying animals and robots. The platform encloses the animal or object that generates fluid force with a physical control surface, which mechanically integrates the net aerodynamic force that is transferred to the earth. Using a straightforward analytical solution of the Navier-Stokes equation, we verified that the method is accurate. We subsequently validated the method with a quadcopter that is suspended in the AFP and generates unsteady thrust profiles. These independent measurements confirm that the AFP is indeed accurate. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the AFP by studying aerodynamic weight support of a freely flying bird in vivo. These measurements confirm earlier findings based on kinematics and flow measurements, which suggest that the avian downstroke, not the upstroke, is primarily responsible for body weight support during take-off and landing.
PMID: 25589565 [PubMed - in process]

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3. Biol Lett. 2015 Jan;11(1). pii: 20140930. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0930.

Evidence for the buffer effect operating in multiple species at a national scale.

Sullivan MJ1, Newson SE2, Pearce-Higgins JW1.


A long-standing aim of ecologists is to understand the processes involved in regulating populations. One such mechanism is the buffer effect, where lower quality habitats are increasingly used as a species reaches higher population densities, with a resultant average reduction in fecundity and survival limiting population growth. Although the buffer effect has been demonstrated in populations of a number of species, a test of its importance in influencing population growth rates of multiple species across large spatial scales is lacking. Here, we use habitat-specific population trends for 85 bird species from long-term national monitoring data (the UK Breeding Bird Survey) to examine its generality. We find that both patterns of population change and changes in habitat preference are consistent with the predictions of the buffer effect, providing support for its widespread operation.
© 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
PMID: 25589487 [PubMed - in process]

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4. Avian Pathol. 2015 Jan 15:1-12. [Epub ahead of print]

Assessment of two different matrices for the early detection and isolation of thermophilic Campylobacter in broiler farms.

Urdaneta S1, Dolz R, Cerdà-Cuéllar M.


In order to assess the optimal method for the early detection and isolation of thermophilic Campylobacter in broilers at farm level, two types of samples were compared: caecal contents obtained by necropsy and cloacal swabs transported in charcoal Amies medium. The study was conducted in five batches of broilers from five different farms, where weekly samples (caecal contents and cloacal swabs) from 30 birds were obtained. Samples were plated onto selective agar (mCCDA) for Campylobacter isolation. Four out of five batches were positive for Campylobacter. No marked differences in sensitivity of both sample types were observed. However, a higher percentage of positive birds were detected when cloacal swabs were used. The results show that cloacal swab samples are adequate, and in some cases even better, than caecal samples for the early detection of Campylobacter in broiler flocks at farm. Also, this sample avoids sacrificing birds to test Campylobacter, which not only allows saving time in sample collection, transportation and processing at the laboratory, but also improves bird welfare and cost of sampling.
PMID: 25588419 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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5. J Wildl Dis. 2015 Jan 14. [Epub ahead of print]


Cha SY1, Seo HS, Wei B, Kang M, Roh JH, Yoon RH, Kim JH, Jang HK.


We conducted surveillance for Riemerella anatipestifer (RA) in wild birds along the East Asian-Australasian flyway in South Korea. Detected RA were characterized by serotype, antibiotic susceptibility, and sequence analysis of the 16S rRNA gene. We collected 944 wild birds of 34 species from 19 of South Korea's major migratory wild bird habitats between 2011 and 2012. We identified RA by PCR and rRNA gene sequence in 71/102 (69.6%) pharyngeal swabs and 19/944 (2.0%) cloacal swabs of wild birds. Most RA positives (71/75 [95%] pharyngeal and 19/704 [(2.6%] cloacal) were from three duck species (family Anatidae): Mallard Duck (Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Pintail (Anas acuta), and Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha). Thirty-three RA isolates obtained and examined were highly resistant to aminoglycosides: kanamycin (100%), gentamicin (94%), amikacin (91%), neomycin (88%), and streptomycin (82%). Six isolates were identified as serotype 4 by agar gel precipitation. Serotypes 1 and 7, which are known virulent serotypes, were also identified in three isolates from wild duck species.
PMID: 25588012 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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6. Biomacromolecules. 2015 Jan 14. [Epub ahead of print]

Dopamine-melanin nanofilms for biomimetic structural coloration.

Wu TF, Hong JD.


This article describes the formation of dopamine-melanin thin films (50 - 200 nm thick) at an air/dopamine solution interface under static conditions. Beneath these films, spherical melanin granules formed in bulk liquid phase. The thickness of dopamine-melanin films at the interface relied mainly on the concentration of dopamine solution and the reaction time. A plausible mechanism underlining dopamine-melanin thin film formation was proposed based on the hydrophobicity of dopamine-melanin aggregates and the mass transport of the aggregates to the air/solution interface as a result of convective flow. The thickness of the interfacial films increased linearly with the dopamine concentration and the reaction time. The dopamine-melanin thin film and granules (formed in bulk liquid phase) with a double-layered structure were transferred onto a solid substrate to mimic the (keratin layer)/(melanin granules) structure present in bird plumage, thereby preparing full dopamine-melanin thin film reflectors. The reflected color of the thin film reflectors depended on the film thickness, which could be adjusted according to the dopamine concentration and base type. The reflectance of the resulted reflectors exhibited a maximal reflectance value of 8% - 11%, comparable to that of bird plumage (~ 11%). This study provides a useful, simple, and low cost approach to the fabrication of biomimetic thin film reflectors using full dopamine-melanin materials.
PMID: 25587771 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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7. Am J Bot. 2015 Jan;102(1):149-64. doi: 10.3732/ajb.1400277. Epub 2014 Dec 30.

The roles of history and ecology in chloroplast phylogeographic patterns of the bird-dispersed plant parasite Phoradendron californicum (Viscaceae) in the Sonoran Desert.

Lira-Noriega A1, Toro-Núñez O1, Oaks JR1, Mort ME1.



A recurrent explanation for phylogeographic discontinuities in the Baja California Peninsula and the Sonoran Desert Region has been the association of vicariant events with Pliocene and Pleistocene seaway breaks. Nevertheless, despite its relevance for plant dispersal, other explanations such as ecological and paleoclimatic factors have received little attention. Here, we analyzed the role of several of these factors to describe the phylogeographic patterns of the desert mistletoe, Phoradendron californicum.•


Using noncoding chloroplast regions, we assess the marginal probability of 19 a priori hypotheses related to geological and ecological factors to predict the cpDNA variation in P. californicum using a Bayesian coalescent framework. Complementarily, we used the macrofossil record and niche model projections on Last Glacial Maximum climatic conditions for hosts, mistletoe, and a bird specialist to interpret phylogeographic patterns.•


Genealogical reconstructions revealed five clades, which suggest a combination of cryptic divergence, long-distance seed dispersal, and isolating postdivergence events. Bayesian hypothesis test favored a series of Pliocene and Pleistocene geological events related to the formation of the Baja California Peninsula and seaways across the peninsula as the most supported explanation for this genealogical pattern. However, age estimates, niche projections, and fossil records show dynamic host-mistletoe interactions and evidence of host races, indicating that ecological and geological factors have been interacting during the formation and structuring of phylogeographic divergence.•


Variation in cpDNA across the species range results from the interplay of vicariant events, past climatic oscillations, and more dynamic factors related to ecological processes at finer temporal and spatial scales.
© 2015 Botanical Society of America, Inc.
PMID: 25587157 [PubMed - in process]

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8. Conserv Biol. 2015 Jan 9. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12440. [Epub ahead of print]

Geographic range size and extinction risk assessment in nomadic species.

Runge CA1, Tulloch A, Hammill E, Possingham HP, Fuller RA.


Geographic range size is often conceptualized as a fixed attribute of a species and treated as such for the purposes of quantification of extinction risk; species occupying smaller geographic ranges are assumed to have a higher risk of extinction, all else being equal. However many species are mobile, and their movements range from relatively predictable to-and-fro migrations to complex irregular movements shown by nomadic species. These movements can lead to substantial temporary expansion and contraction of geographic ranges, potentially to levels which may pose an extinction risk. By linking occurrence data with environmental conditions at the time of observations of nomadic species, we modeled the dynamic distributions of 43 arid-zone nomadic bird species across the Australian continent for each month over 11 years and calculated minimum range size and extent of fluctuation in geographic range size from these models. There was enormous variability in predicted spatial distribution over time; 10 species varied in estimated geographic range size by more than an order of magnitude, and 2 species varied by >2 orders of magnitude. During times of poor environmental conditions, several species not currently classified as globally threatened contracted their ranges to very small areas, despite their normally large geographic range size. This finding raises questions about the adequacy of conventional assessments of extinction risk based on static geographic range size (e.g., IUCN Red Listing). Climate change is predicted to affect the pattern of resource fluctuations across much of the southern hemisphere, where nomadism is the dominant form of animal movement, so it is critical we begin to understand the consequences of this for accurate threat assessment of nomadic species. Our approach provides a tool for discovering spatial dynamics in highly mobile species and can be used to unlock valuable information for improved extinction risk assessment and conservation planning.
© 2014 The Authors. Conservation Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc., on behalf of the Society for Conservation Biology.
PMID: 25580637 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

9. Infect Genet Evol. 2015 Jan 8. pii: S1567-1348(15)00008-8. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2015.01.004. [Epub ahead of print]

Genetic diversity of avian haemosporidians in Malaysia: Cytochrome b lineages of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus (Haemosporida) from Selangor.

Ivanova K1, Zehtindjiev P2, Mariaux J3, Georgiev BB2.


The knowledge of the diversity of haemosporidian parasites is of primary importance as their representatives include agents of bird malaria. We investigated the occurrence of Haemoproteus spp. and Plasmodium spp. in bird populations from a single locality in the State of Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia, and report on the parasite prevalence of the two genera. A combination of methods (molecular and morphological) was used for detecting these parasites. Seventy-nine bird individuals were caught using mist-nets in July and August 2010 at Gombak Field Station of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. In total, 23 birds were identified as positive for Haemoproteus or Plasmodium infection and one individual was recognized as carrying mixed infection. The total prevalence of haemosporidians in the collected samples was 30.3%. Infections with parasites of the genus Haemoproteus were predominant compared to those of the genus Plasmodium. In total, 10 new cyt b lineages of Haemoproteus spp. and 3 new cyt b lineages of Plasmodium spp. were recorded in this study. From all recorded haemosporidian lineages (16 in total), 3 were known from previous studies - hCOLL2, hYWT2 and pNILSUN1. Two of them are linked with their corresponding morphospecies - Haemoproteus pallidus (COLL2) and Haemoproteus motacillae (YWT2). The morphological analysis in the present study confirmed the results obtained by the PCR method relative to prevalence, with 25.3% total prevalence of Haemoproteus and Plasmodium parasites. The intensities of infection varied between 0.01% and 19%. Most infections were light, with intensities below 0.1%. The present study is the first molecular survey of the protozoan blood parasites of the order Haemosporida recorded in Malaysia.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
PMID: 25577987 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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10. Gene. 2015 Jan 8. pii: S0378-1119(15)00025-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2015.01.009. [Epub ahead of print]

Profiles of mRNA expression of related genes in the duck hypothalamus-pituitary growth axis during embryonic and early post-hatch development.

Hu Y1, Liu H1, Song C1, Xu W1, Ji G1, Zhu C1, Shu J1, Li H2.


In this study, the ontogeny of body and liver weight and the pattern of related gene mRNA expression in the hypothalamus-pituitary growth axis (HPGA) of two different duck breeds (Anas platyrhynchos domestica) were compared during embryonic and post-hatch development. Duck hypothalamic growth hormone release hormone (GHRH), somatostatin (SS), pituitary growth hormone (GH), liver growth hormone receptor (GHR) and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-1) mRNA were first detected on the 13th embryonic day. During early duck development, SS maintained a lower expression status, whereas the other four genes exhibited highly significant variations in an age-specific manner. Highly significant breed specificity was observed with respect to hepatic IGF-1 mRNA expression, which showed a significant breed-age interaction effect. Compared with previous studies on chickens, significant species differences were observed regarding the mRNA expression of bird embryonic HPGA-related genes. During early development, highly significant breed and age specificity were observed with respect to developmental changes in body and liver weight, and varying degrees of significant linear correlation were found between these performances and the mRNA expression of HPGA-related genes in the duck HPGA. These results suggest that different genetic backgrounds may lead to differences in duck growth and HPGA-related gene mRNA expression, and the differential mRNA expression of related genes in the duck HPGA may be particularly important in the early growth of ducks. Furthermore, hepatic IGF-1 mRNA expression presented highly significant breed specificity, and evidence suggests the involvement of hepatic IGF-1 in mediating genetic effects on embryo and offspring growth in ducks.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
PMID: 25577952 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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11. Poult Sci. 2015 Jan;94(1):80-7. doi: 10.3382/ps/peu020.

Characterization of red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa) sperm: Seasonal changes and influence of genetic purity.

Santiago-Moreno J1, Castaño C2, Toledano-Díaz A2, Esteso MC2, López-Sebastián A2, Gañán N2, Hierro MJ3, Marchal F4, Campo JL5, Blesbois E6 .


The general decline in wild Iberian populations of the red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa) has been accompanied by an increase in game-farm facilities producing hybrids with chukar partridges (Alectoris chukar). Genetic introgression from chukar partridges is thought to modify male red-legged partridge reproductive indicators. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of such genetic introgression on seasonal reproductive patterns by comparing the sperm and plasma testosterone concentrations of males from pure red-legged and hybrid red-legged/chukar populations. Semen was collected twice monthly over a 12-mo period using a massage technique. Both types of bird showed a clear seasonal pattern of spermatogenic activity. The proportion of males ejaculating sperm was higher (P < 0.05) among the pure red-legged birds. The greatest sperm production was recorded in March to May among the pure birds and April to May among the hybrids. Reproductive activity in both groups decreased in June, to reach a minimum in August to December among the hybrids and in September to December among the pure birds. Spermatogenic activity resumed in January in both groups. The sperm concentration produced by the pure birds was smaller than that of the hybrids (P < 0.001), but the percentage of motile sperm was higher in the pure birds (P < 0.001). The sperm of the hybrids showed greater straight-line velocity (P < 0.05), linearity (P < 0.001), straightness (P < 0.001), sperm wobble (P < 0.05), and beat-cross frequency values (P < 0.001). The length and area of the sperm head were smaller in the pure birds (P < 0.05). The seasonal plasma testosterone concentration pattern followed a trend roughly parallel to the ejaculatory response. The present results suggest that genetic introgression influences the reproductive variables of the red-legged partridge.
© 2015 Poultry Science Association Inc.
PMID: 25577796 [PubMed - in process]

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12. Sci Total Environ. 2015 Jan 8;511C:523-529. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.12.080. [Epub ahead of print]

Prevalence of toxin-producing Clostridium botulinum associated with the macroalga Cladophora in three Great Lakes: Growth and management.

Lan Chun C1, Kahn CI1, Borchert AJ1, Byappanahalli MN2, Whitman RL2, Peller J3, Pier C4, Lin G4, Johnson EA4, Sadowsky MJ5.


The reemergence of avian botulism caused by Clostridium botulinum type E has been observed across the Great Lakes in recent years. Evidence suggests an association between the nuisance algae, Cladophora spp., and C. botulinum in nearshore areas of the Great Lakes. However, the nature of the association between Cladophora and C. botulinum is not fully understood due, in part, to the complex food web interactions in this disease etiology. In this study, we extensively evaluated their association by quantitatively examining population size and serotypes of C. botulinum in algal mats collected from wide geographic areas in lakes Michigan, Ontario, and Erie in 2011-2012 and comparing them with frequencies in other matrices such as sand and water. A high prevalence (96%) of C. botulinum type E was observed in Cladophora mats collected from shorelines of the Great Lakes in 2012. Among the algae samples containing detectable C. botulinum, the population size of C. Botulinum type E was 100-104MPN/g dried algae, which was much greater (up to 103 fold) than that found in sand or the water column, indicating that Cladophora mats are sources of this pathogen. Mouse toxinantitoxin bioassays confirmed that the putative C. botulinum belonged to the type E serotype. Steam treatment was effective in reducing or eliminating C. botulinum type E viable cells in Cladophora mats, thereby breaking the potential transmission route of toxin up to the food chain. Consequently, our data suggest that steam treatment incorporated with a beach cleaning machine may be an effective treatment of Cladophora-borne C. botulinum and may reduce bird mortality and human health risks.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
PMID: 25577739 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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13. Pneumonol Alergol Pol. 2015;83(1):39-44. doi: 10.5603/PiAP.2015.0005.

Bird fancier's lung: clinical-radiological presentation in 15 cases.

Kumar R1, Singh M.



Bird fancier's lung (BFL) is a type of hypersensitivity pneumonitis occurring in response to avian antigens (usually inhaled proteins in bird feathers and droppings). The diagnosis is based on a combination of clinical, radiological, and biopsy characteristics. The present study was planned to highlight the clinico-radiological presentation in cases of BFL.


The present study is a retrospective analysis of cases of bird fancier's lung diagnosed in a unit of Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute over a period of two years, from 2013-2014. The clinico-radiological features of the subjects were analysed. The diagnosis of BFL was made as per criteria laid down by Mark Schuyler and Yvon Cormier.


There were a total of fifteen cases diagnosed with BFL during the study period, comprising twelve females and three males with a mean age of 54.93 ± 14.21 years. All the studied subjects gave significant history of exposure to pigeons and were non-smokers. The period of symptoms prior to presentation varied from one to eight years. The main symptoms on presentation were exertional breathlessness and cough. Radiologically, diffuse centrilobular nodules, ground glassing - diffuse or patchy predominant in upper lobes, fibrosis with or without traction bronchiectasis, honeycombing, and mediastinal lymphadenopathy were seen. Bronchoscopy showed ill-defined granulomas and chronic interstitial inflammation.


BFL can exhibit a wide range of radiological patterns, and a high index of suspicion must be maintained, with particular attention to detailed exposure history in every case of interstitial lung disease.
Free Article
PMID: 25577532 [PubMed - in process]

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14. Ambio. 2015 Jan;44 Suppl 1:69-77. doi: 10.1007/s13280-014-0600-1.

Change in spring arrival of migratory birds under an era of climate change, Swedish data from the last 140 years.

Kullberg C1, Fransson T, Hedlund J, Jonzén N, Langvall O, Nilsson J, Bolmgren K.


Many migratory bird species have advanced their spring arrival during the latest decades, most probably due to climate change. However, studies on migratory phenology in the period before recent global warming are scarce. We have analyzed a historical dataset (1873-1917) of spring arrival to southern and central Sweden of 14 migratory bird species. In addition, we have used relative differences between historical and present-day observations (1984-2013) to evaluate the effect of latitude and migratory strategy on day of arrival over time. There was a larger change in spring phenology in short-distance migrants than in long-distance migrants. Interestingly, the results further suggest that climate change has affected the phenology of short-distance migrants more in southern than in central Sweden. The results suggest that the much earlier calculated arrival to southern Sweden among short-distance migrants mirrors a change in location of wintering areas, hence, connecting migration phenology and wintering range shifts.
PMCID: PMC4289004 Free PMC Article
PMID: 25576282 [PubMed - in process]

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15. Ambio. 2015 Jan;44 Suppl 1:39-50. doi: 10.1007/s13280-014-0606-8.

A boreal invasion in response to climate change? Range shifts and community effects in the borderland between forest and tundra.

Elmhagen B1, Kindberg J, Hellström P, Angerbjörn A.


It has been hypothesized that climate warming will allow southern species to advance north and invade northern ecosystems. We review the changes in the Swedish mammal and bird community in boreal forest and alpine tundra since the nineteenth century, as well as suggested drivers of change. Observed changes include (1) range expansion and increased abundance in southern birds, ungulates, and carnivores; (2) range contraction and decline in northern birds and carnivores; and (3) abundance decline or periodically disrupted dynamics in cyclic populations of small and medium-sized mammals and birds. The first warm spell, 1930-1960, stands out as a period of substantial faunal change. However, in addition to climate warming, suggested drivers of change include land use and other anthropogenic factors. We hypothesize all these drivers interacted, primarily favoring southern generalists. Future research should aim to distinguish between effects of climate and land-use change in boreal and tundra ecosystems.
PMCID: PMC4289007 Free PMC Article
PMID: 25576279 [PubMed - in process]

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16. PLoS One. 2015 Jan 9;10(1):e0116415. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116415. eCollection 2015.

Age-related variation in foraging behaviour in the wandering albatross at South georgia: no evidence for senescence.

Froy H1, Lewis S2, Catry P3, Bishop CM4, Forster IP5, Fukuda A6, Higuchi H7, Phalan B8, Xavier JC9, Nussey DH2, Phillips RA10.


Age-related variation in demographic rates is now widely documented in wild vertebrate systems, and has significant consequences for population and evolutionary dynamics. However, the mechanisms underpinning such variation, particularly in later life, are less well understood. Foraging efficiency is a key determinant of fitness, with implications for individual life history trade-offs. A variety of faculties known to decline in old age, such as muscular function and visual acuity, are likely to influence foraging performance. We examine age-related variation in the foraging behaviour of a long-lived, wide-ranging oceanic seabird, the wandering albatross Diomedea exulans. Using miniaturised tracking technologies, we compared foraging trip characteristics of birds breeding at Bird Island, South Georgia. Based on movement and immersion data collected during the incubation phase of a single breeding season, and from extensive tracking data collected in previous years from different stages of the breeding cycle, we found limited evidence for age-related variation in commonly reported trip parameters, and failed to detect signs of senescent decline. Our results contrast with the limited number of past studies that have examined foraging behaviour in later life, since these have documented changes in performance consistent with senescence. This highlights the importance of studies across different wild animal populations to gain a broader perspective on the processes driving variation in ageing rates.
PMCID: PMC4289070 Free PMC Article
PMID: 25574995 [PubMed - in process]

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17. Sci Rep. 2015 Jan 9;5:7700. doi: 10.1038/srep07700.

A unique mechanism of successful fertilization in a domestic bird.

Sasanami T1, Izumi S2, Sakurai N3, Hirata T2, Mizushima S1, Matsuzaki M1, Hiyama G1, Yorinaga E4, Yoshimura T4, Ukena K5, Tsutsui K6.


Fertilization is an indispensable step for formation of a zygote in sexual reproduction, leading to species survival. When mating occurs, sperm is transported to the female reproductive tracts via the seminal plasma (SP). SP is derived from male accessory sex glands and it plays pivotal roles for fertilization in animals. However, molecular mechanisms of SP or a fluid derived from male accessory sex glands for successful fertilization remain unclear. Here, we report that in male quail the cloacal gland (CG) produces prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) that contributes to successful fertilization. PGF2α, as well as the secretion of CG (CGS), induced vaginal contractions and caused the opening of the entrance of the sperm storage tubules, the structures responsible for the long-term sperm storage and fertilization. The removal of CGS from the male before mating reduced the fertility, but the supplementation of CGS or PGF2α rescued the subfertility. We further showed that male CG contains glucose that is utilized as energy source for the intrinsic sperm mobility after transportation to female vagina. This mechanism, in concert with the excitatory effects of PGF2α enables successful fertilization in the domestic bird.
PMID: 25572424 [PubMed - in process]

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18. J Genet. 2014 Dec;93(3):699-707.

The complete mitochondrial genome of the yellow-browed bunting, Emberiza chrysophrys (Passeriformes: Emberizidae), and phylogenetic relationships within the genus Emberiza.

Ren Q1, Yuan J, Ren L, Zhang L, Zhang L, Jiang L, Chen D, Kan X, Zhang B.


Mitochondrial genomes have proved to be powerful tools in resolving phylogenetic relationships. Emberiza chrysophrys (least concern species: IUCN 2013) is a passerine bird in the bunting family, Emberizidae. The complete mitochondrial genome of E. chrysophrys was sequenced. This circular mitochondrial genome was 16,803 bp in length, with an A+T content of 52.26%, containing 13 protein-coding genes (PCGs), two rRNAs, 22 tRNAs and a putative control region (CR). The CR of E. chrysophrys was divided into three conserved domains. Six conserved sequence boxes in the central conserved domain II were identified as F, E, D, C, b and B. An obvious positive AT-skew and negative GC-skew bias were found for all 28 genes encoded by the H strand, whereas it was the reverse in the remaining nine genes encoded by the L strand. Remarkable rate heterogeneity was present in the mitochondrial genome of E. chrysophrys. Notably, unusual slow rate of evolution in the mitochondrial CR of E. chrysophrys was detected, which is rarely seen in other birds. Phylogenetic analyses were carried out based on 13 PCGs that showed E. pusilla was the sister group of E. rustica, and the monophyly of Emberiza was established.
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PMID: 25572228 [PubMed - in process]

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