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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed: January 2015, Week 4

PubMed birdRS search: January 2015, Week 4

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).

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

PubMed Results

1. Genome. 2015 Jan 11:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]

De novo assembly and analysis of crow lungs transcriptome.

Vijayakumar P1, Raut AA, Kumar P, Sharma D, Mishra A.


The jungle crow (Corvus macrorhynchos) belongs to the order Passeriformes of bird species and is important for avian ecological and evolutionary genetics studies. However, there is limited information on the transcriptome data of this species. In the present study, we report the characterization of the lung transcriptome of the jungle crow using GS FLX Titanium XLR70. Altogether, 1 510 303 high-quality sequence reads with 581 198 230 bases was de novo assembled into 22 169 isotigs (isotig represents an individual transcript) and 784 009 singletons. Using these isotigs and 581 681 length-filtered (greater than 300 bp) singletons, 20 010 unique protein-coding genes were identified by BLASTx comparison against a nonredundant (nr) protein sequence database. Comparative analysis revealed that 46 604 (70.29%) and 51 642 (72.48%) of the assembled transcripts have significant similarity to zebra finch and chicken RefSeq proteins, respectively. As determined by GO annotation and KEGG pathway mapping, functional annotation of the unigenes recovered diverse biological functions and processes. Transcripts putatively involved in the immune response were identified. Furthermore, 20 599 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 7525 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) were retrieved from the assembled transcript database. This resource should lay an important base for future ecological, evolutionary, and conservation genetic studies on this species and in other related species.
PMID: 25633965 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

2. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2014 Dec;45(4):961-5.

Air sac adenocarcinoma of the sternum in a Quaker parrot (Myiopsitta monachus).

Loukopoulos P, Okuni JB, Micco T, Garcia JP, Uzal FA, Diab SS.


Respiratory neoplasia is rarely reported in avian species. A 17-yr-old Quaker parrot (Myiopsitta monachus) was admitted with a 2-wk history of anorexia, depression, and respiratory distress. Clinical examination revealed a large, firm mass in the left pectoral muscle. Radiology showed a mass silhouetting the heart and the liver. Supportive treatment was provided, but the bird died during the seventh weekly visit to drain thoracic cavity fluid. Necropsy showed a white, 3 x 3 x 2-cm, hard, gritty sternal mass. Histology showed a nonencapsulated, moderately differentiated air sac carcinoma of the sternum. Immunohistochemically the neoplasm was cytokeratin positive and vimentin and calretinin negative. This is the first report of an air sac neoplasia in a Quaker parrot and one of few respiratory tumors in psittacines.
PMID: 25632693 [PubMed - in process]

3. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2014 Dec;45(4):958-60.

Absolute polycythemia in a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).

Fernandes AF, Fenton H, Martinson S, Desmarchelier M, Ferrell ST.


An approximately 6-mo-old female bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was presented for an inability to fly and bilateral drooped wings. Pectoral muscle atrophy with a moderate polycythemia was present. Over the course of 3 wk, there were no improvements in flight capacity, although the bird gained substantial weight. Further investigation revealed a prominent cyanosis that was responsive to oxygen therapy, a chronic respiratory acidosis with hypoxia, a cardiac murmur, and a persistent polycythemia. No obvious antemortem etiology for the clinical findings was discovered on computerized tomography, angiography, or echocardiography. The bird was euthanatized as a result of the poor prognosis. Necropsy and histopathology revealed no significant cardiovascular or pulmonary pathology. No myopathy was evident on electron microscopy of formalin-fixed tissues. Based on these diagnostics, a neuromuscular disorder is suspected as the cause for the blood gas abnormalities, with a resulting polycythemia from the hypoxia.
PMID: 25632692 [PubMed - in process]

4. Genome Biol. 2015 Jan 29;16(1):19. [Epub ahead of print]

Using the canary genome to decipher the evolution of hormone-sensitive gene regulation in seasonal singing birds.

Frankl-Vilches C, Kuhl H, Werber M, Klages S, Kerick M, Bakker A, de Oliveira EH, Reusch C, Capuano F, Vowinckel J, Leitner S, Ralser M, Timmermann B, Gahr M.


BackgroundWhile the song of all songbirds is controlled by the same neural circuit, the hormone dependence of singing behavior varies greatly between species. For this reason, songbirds are ideal organisms to study ultimate and proximate mechanisms of hormone-dependent behavior and neuronal plasticity.ResultsWe present the high quality assembly and annotation of a female 1.2-Gbp canary genome. Whole genome alignments between the canary and 13 genomes throughout the bird taxa show a much-conserved synteny, whereas at the single-base resolution there are considerable species differences. These differences impact small sequence motifs like transcription factor binding sites such as estrogen response elements and androgen response elements. To relate these species-specific response elements to the hormone-sensitivity of the canary singing behavior, we identify seasonal testosterone-sensitive transcriptomes of major song related brain regions, HVC and RA, and find the seasonal gene networks related to neuronal differentiation only in the HVC. Testosterone-sensitive up-regulated gene networks of HVC of singing males concerned neuronal differentiation. Among the testosterone-regulated genes of canary HVC, 20% lack estrogen response elements and 4-8% lack androgen response elements in orthologous promoters in the zebra finch.ConclusionThe canary genome sequence and complementary expression analysis reveal intra-regional evolutionary changes in a multi-regional neural circuit controlling seasonal singing behavior and identify gene evolution related to the hormone-sensitivity of this seasonal singing behavior. Such genes that are testosterone- and estrogen-sensitive specifically in the canary and that are involved in rewiring of neurons might be crucial for seasonal re-differentiation of HVC underlying seasonal song patterning.
PMID: 25631560 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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5. Poult Sci. 2015 Jan 28. pii: peu078. [Epub ahead of print]

Impact of commercial housing systems and nutrient and energy intake on laying hen performance and egg quality parameters.

Karcher DM1, Jones DR2, Abdo Z3, Zhao Y4, Shepherd TA4, Xin H4.


The US egg industry is exploring alternative housing systems for laying hens. However, limited published research related to cage-free aviary systems and enriched colony cages exists related to production, egg quality, and hen nutrition. The laying hen's nutritional requirements and resulting productivity are well established with the conventional cage system, but diminutive research is available in regards to alternative housing systems. The restrictions exist with limited availability of alternative housing systems in research settings and the considerable expense for increased bird numbers in a replicate due to alternative housing system design. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to evaluate the impact of nutrient and energy intake on production and egg quality parameters from laying hens housed at a commercial facility. Lohmann LSL laying hens were housed in three systems: enriched colony cage, cage-free aviary, and conventional cage at a single commercial facility. Daily production records were collected along with dietary changes during 15 production periods (28-d each). Eggs were analyzed for shell strength, shell thickness, Haugh unit, vitelline membrane properties, and egg solids each period. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) coupled with a principal components analysis (PCA) approach was utilized to assess the impact of nutritional changes on production parameters and monitored egg quality factors. The traits of hen-day production and mortality had a response only in the PCA 2 direction. This finds that as house temperature and Met intake increases, there is an inflection point at which hen-day egg production is negatively effected. Dietary changes more directly influenced shell parameters, vitelline membrane parameters, and egg total solids as opposed to laying hen housing system. Therefore, further research needs to be conducted in controlled research settings on laying hen nutrient and energy intake in the alternative housing systems and resulting impact on egg quality measures.
© 2015 Poultry Science Association Inc.
PMID: 25630672 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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6. Ecol Evol. 2015 Jan;5(1):59-72. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1323. Epub 2014 Dec 5.

Increase in body size is correlated to warmer winters in a passerine bird as inferred from time series data.

Björklund M1, Borras A2, Cabrera J2, Senar JC2.


Climate change is expected to affect natural populations in many ways. One way of getting an understanding of the effects of a changing climate is to analyze time series of natural populations. Therefore, we analyzed time series of 25 and 20 years, respectively, in two populations of the citril finch (Carduelis citrinella) to understand the background of a dramatic increase in wing length in this species over this period, ranging between 1.3 and 2.9 phenotypic standard deviations. We found that the increase in wing length is closely correlated to warmer winters and in one case to rain in relation to temperature in the summer. In order to understand the process of change, we implemented seven simulation models, ranging from two nonadaptive models (drift and sampling), and five adaptive models with selection and/or phenotypic plasticity involved and tested these models against the time series of males and females from the two population separately. The nonadaptive models were rejected in each case, but the results were mixed when it comes to the adaptive models. The difference in fit of the models was sometimes not significant indicating that the models were not different enough. In conclusion, the dramatic change in mean wing length can best be explained as an adaptive response to a changing climate.
Free Article
PMID: 25628864 [PubMed]

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7. Braz J Biol. 2014 Nov;74(4):890-8. doi: 10.1590/1519-6984.08713. Epub 2014 Nov 1.

Birds' nesting parameters in four forest types in the Pantanal wetland.

Pinho J1, Marini M2.


We tested the heterogeneity/productivity hypothesis with respect to the abundance and richness of birds and the vegetation density hypothesis with respect to birds' nest predation rates, and determined the relative importance of forested vegetation formations for the conservation of birds in the Pantanal. We estimated the apparent nesting success, and the abundance and richness of nesting birds' in four forest types, by monitoring nests during two reproductive seasons in four forested physiognomies (two high productivity/heterogeneity evergreen forests = Cambará and Landi; two low productivity/heterogeneity dry forests = Cordilheira and Carvoeiro) in the Pantanal wetland in Poconé, State of Mato Grosso, Brazil. We found 381 nests of 46 species (35 Passeriformes and 11 non-Passeriformes) in the four forest types. Of these, we monitored 220 active nests belonging to 44 species, 101 during the reproductive season of 2001 and 119 in 2002. We supported the productivity/heterogeneity hypothesis since the two evergreen forests had higher nest abundance and one of them (Cambará) had higher nesting species richness than the dry forests. The number of nests found in each habitat differed with most nests monitored in the Cambará forest (82%), followed by Landi (9%), Cordilheira (6%) and Carvoeiro (3%) forests. The total number of nests monitored was significantly higher in evergreen forests than in dry forests. Also, more species nested in evergreen (37 species) than in dry (16 species) forests. A Correspondence Analysis revealed that only Carvoeiros had a different nesting bird community. The overall apparent nesting success of 220 nests was 26.8%. We did not support the vegetation density hypothesis since nest predation rates were similar between evergreen (73.5%) and dry (70%) forests, and were higher in the Landi (85%) than in the other three forests (69.2 to 72.2%). Our data indicate that Cambará forests seem to be a key nesting habitat for many bird species of the Pantanal. If this local pattern also occurs in other regions of the Pantanal, the use and management of Cambará forests might prove to be important for the conservation of forest birds of this biome. However, conflicting results with other taxonomic groups show that conservation measures for these forests and land use policies should be based on a more complete biodiversity evaluation of the region.
Free Article
PMID: 25627600 [PubMed - in process]

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8. Braz J Biol. 2014 Nov;74(4):844-853. Epub 2014 Nov 1.

Distribution, composition and seasonality of aquatic birds in the Nhecolândia sub-region of South Pantanal, Brazil.

Donatelli R1, Posso S2, Toledo M3.


Despite remarkable significance of Pantanal for the conservation of aquatic birds, the status of their populations, the spatiotemporal patterns of distribution and habitat use and structure of communities are little known. Thus, we studied three aquatic environments (Negro river, bays and salines) from 2007 to 2009 in the Nhecolândia Pantanal to verify the distribution and composition of aquatic birds and also if there is significant seasonal influence on these aspects. We adopted the transect method (288 hours of sampling) and recorded 135 species (7.834 individuals). The Negro river showed the highest diversity, while the salines the lowest. The similarity of aquatic bird communities was higher between bays and salines, followed by Negro river and bays and lower between salines and Negro river. The equidistribution is more variable in the salines and more stable in the Negro river. The environments strongly differ from each other in aquatic bird composition in space (habitat use and distribution) and time (seasonal water fluctuations). The diversity of bird community in the dry season varies significantly in the salines, followed by the bays and more stable in the Negro river. The Negro river, regardless of large annual amplitude of flow, is more seasonally stable since its riparian vegetation is continuous (not isolated) and constant. These aspects provide better conditions to stay all year, contributing to decrease the seasonal nomadic tendencies of aquatic birds. Finally, all these data provide strong arguments to the preservation of all phytophysiognomies in the Nhecolândia sub- region of Pantanal, but with special attention to the salines widely used by many flocks of aquatic birds (mainly in the dry season) and migrant and/or rare species restricted to this habitat.
Free Article
PMID: 25627594 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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9. Braz J Biol. 2014 Nov;74(4):821-7. doi: 10.1590/1519-6984.04213. Epub 2014 Nov 1.

Foraging behavior and diet of the vulnerable Cinereous Warbling-finch Poospiza cinerea (Aves, Emberizidae).

Wischhoff U1, Marques-Santos F1, Rodrigues M1.


The Cinereous Warbling-finch Poospiza cinerea is a globally vulnerable Emberizidae passerine, patchily distributed and rare in the open savannah of central South America. Attributes of rare species include niche specificity such as feeding habits. To verify possible niche specialization in this species we aimed to describe its foraging habits related to substrate use, foraging and substrate height, attack maneuvers, and consumed food items. We monitored two groups at two study sites and sampled foraging events with intervals of 15 minutes. The substrates used in greater frequency were foliage and reproductive organs. Foraging and substrate height varied widely with study area. The attack maneuver adopted in greater frequency was glean. Most food items attacked were small invertebrates. Big invertebrates included Lepidoptera, Hemiptera, Coleoptera, Hymenoptera and Orthoptera. Poospiza cinerea was also recorded foraging in mixed bird flocks with seven other species. The generalist foraging behavior of the species cannot be associate to its rarity.
Free Article
PMID: 25627591 [PubMed - in process]

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10. Braz J Biol. 2014 Nov;74(4):795-802. doi: 10.1590/1519-6984.02813. Epub 2014 Nov 1.

New insights on the rarity of the vulnerable Cinereous Warbling-finch (Aves, Emberizidae) based on density, home range, and habitat selection.

Marques-Santos F1, Wischhoff U1, Rodrigues M1.


The Cinereous Warbling-finch Poospiza cinerea (Emberizidae) is a Neotropical grassland bird considered rare, with population declining due to habitat loss and classified as vulnerable. However, the species conspicuously remains in several degraded areas, suggesting that it may be favored by these environments. Studies which focus on this species were inexistent until 2012, making questionable any statement about its threaten status. Here we analyzed population density, home range, and habitat selection of two groups of P. cinerea at independent sites that differ in human impact levels. Density was estimated by counting and mapping birds. Kernel density and minimum convex polygon were used to estimate home ranges. Habitat selection was inferred from use and availability of every habitat identified within the home range boundaries. One group positively selected urban tree vegetation, despite the availability of natural habitats in its home range. Based on a review on the literature and our findings, we assume that it is unlikely that P. cinerea is rare owing to habitat degradation, as previously thought. Nevertheless, this species was always recorded around native Cerrado vegetation and thus habitat modification may still threaten this species at some level. It is suggested that this species might be a woodland edge species, but future studies are necessary to confirm this assumption.
Free Article
PMID: 25627588 [PubMed - in process]

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11. Genetica. 2015 Jan 28. [Epub ahead of print]

Characterisation of Toll-like receptors 4, 5 and 7 and their genetic variation in the grey partridge.

Vinkler M1, Bainová H, Bryjová A, Tomášek O, Albrecht T, Bryja J.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a cornerstone of vertebrate innate immunity. In this study, we identified orthologues of TLR4, TLR5 and TLR7 (representing both bacterial- and viral-sensing TLRs) in the grey partridge (Perdix perdix), a European Galliform game bird species. The phylogeny of all three TLR genes follows the known phylogeny of Galloanserae birds, placing grey partridge TLRs (PePeTLRs) in close proximity to their turkey and pheasant orthologues. The predicted proteins encoded by the PePeTLR genes were 843, 862-863 and 1,047 amino acids long, respectively, and clearly showed all TLR structural features. To verify functionality in these genes we mapped their tissue-expression profiles, revealing generally high PePeTLR4 and PePeTLR5 expression in the thymus and absence of PePeTLR4 and PePeTLR7 expression in the brain. Using 454 next-generation sequencing, we then assessed genetic variation within these genes for a wild grey partridge population in the Czech Republic, EU. We identified 11 nucleotide substitutions in PePeTLR4, eight in PePeTLR5 and six in PePeTLR7, resulting in four, four and three amino acid replacements, respectively. Given their locations and chemical features, most of these non-synonymous substitutions probably have a minor functional impact. As the intraspecific genetic variation of the three TLR genes was low, we assume that either negative selection or a bottleneck may have reduced TLR population variability in this species.
PMID: 25626717 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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12. PLoS Biol. 2015 Jan 27;13(1):e1002052. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002052. eCollection 2015.

Optimal conservation outcomes require both restoration and protection.

Possingham HP1, Bode M2, Klein CJ3.


Conservation outcomes are principally achieved through the protection of intact habitat or the restoration of degraded habitat. Restoration is generally considered a lower priority action than protection because protection is thought to provide superior outcomes, at lower costs, without the time delay required for restoration. Yet while it is broadly accepted that protected intact habitat safeguards more biodiversity and generates greater ecosystem services per unit area than restored habitat, conservation lacks a theory that can coherently compare the relative outcomes of the two actions. We use a dynamic landscape model to integrate these two actions into a unified conservation theory of protection and restoration. Using nonlinear benefit functions, we show that both actions are crucial components of a conservation strategy that seeks to optimise either biodiversity conservation or ecosystem services provision. In contrast to conservation orthodoxy, in some circumstances, restoration should be strongly preferred to protection. The relative priority of protection and restoration depends on their costs and also on the different time lags that are inherent to both protection and restoration. We derive a simple and easy-to-interpret heuristic that integrates these factors into a single equation that applies equally to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service objectives. We use two examples to illustrate the theory: bird conservation in tropical rainforests and coastal defence provided by mangrove forests.
Free Article
PMID: 25625277 [PubMed - in process]

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13. Proc Biol Sci. 2015 Jan 22;282(1799):20141897.

Long sperm fertilize more eggs in a bird.

Bennison C, Hemmings N, Slate J, Birkhead T.


Sperm competition, in which the ejaculates of multiple males compete to fertilize a female's ova, results in strong selection on sperm traits. Although sperm size and swimming velocity are known to independently affect fertilization success in certain species, exploring the relationship between sperm length, swimming velocity and fertilization success still remains a challenge. Here, we use the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), where sperm size influences sperm swimming velocity, to determine the effect of sperm total length on fertilization success. Sperm competition experiments, in which pairs of males whose sperm differed only in length and swimming speed, revealed that males producing long sperm were more successful in terms of (i) the number of sperm reaching the ova and (ii) fertilizing those ova. Our results reveal that although sperm length is the main factor determining the outcome of sperm competition, complex interactions between male and female reproductive traits may also be important. The mechanisms underlying these interactions are poorly understood, but we suggest that differences in sperm storage and utilization by females may contribute to the outcome of sperm competition.
PMCID: PMC4286041 Free PMC Article
PMID: 25621327 [PubMed - in process]

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14. Proc Biol Sci. 2015 Jan 22;282(1799):20142263.

Maternal and genetic factors determine early life telomere length.

Asghar M, Bensch S, Tarka M, Hansson B, Hasselquist D.


In a broad range of species--including humans--it has been demonstrated that telomere length declines throughout life and that it may be involved in cell and organismal senescence. This potential link to ageing and thus to fitness has triggered recent interest in understanding how variation in telomere length is inherited and maintained. However, previous studies suffer from two main drawbacks that limit the possibility of understanding the relative importance of genetic, parental and environmental influences on telomere length variation. These studies have been based on (i) telomere lengths measured at different time points in different individuals, despite the fact that telomere length changes over life, and (ii) parent-offspring regression techniques, which do not enable differentiation between genetic and parental components of inheritance. To overcome these drawbacks, in our study of a songbird, the great reed warbler, we have analysed telomere length measured early in life in both parents and offspring and applied statistical models (so-called 'animal models') that are based on long-term pedigree data. Our results showed a significant heritability of telomere length on the maternal but not on the paternal side, and that the mother's age was positively correlated with their offspring's telomere length. Furthermore, the pedigree-based analyses revealed a significant heritability and an equally large maternal effect. Our study demonstrates strong maternal influence on telomere length and future studies now need to elucidate possible underlying factors, including which types of maternal effects are involved.
PMCID: PMC4286038 [Available on 2016/1/22]
PMID: 25621325 [PubMed - in process]

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15. Evodevo. 2014 Jul 29;5:25. doi: 10.1186/2041-9139-5-25. eCollection 2014.

From dinosaurs to birds: a tail of evolution.

Rashid DJ1, Chapman SC2, Larsson HC3, Organ CL4, Bebin AG5, Merzdorf CS6, Bradley R6, Horner JR1.


A particularly critical event in avian evolution was the transition from long- to short-tailed birds. Primitive bird tails underwent significant alteration, most notably reduction of the number of caudal vertebrae and fusion of the distal caudal vertebrae into an ossified pygostyle. These changes, among others, occurred over a very short evolutionary interval, which brings into focus the underlying mechanisms behind those changes. Despite the wealth of studies delving into avian evolution, virtually nothing is understood about the genetic and developmental events responsible for the emergence of short, fused tails. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of the signaling pathways and morphological events that contribute to tail extension and termination and examine how mutations affecting the genes that control these pathways might influence the evolution of the avian tail. To generate a list of candidate genes that may have been modulated in the transition to short-tailed birds, we analyzed a comprehensive set of mouse mutants. Interestingly, a prevalent pleiotropic effect of mutations that cause fused caudal vertebral bodies (as in the pygostyles of birds) is tail truncation. We identified 23 mutations in this class, and these were primarily restricted to genes involved in axial extension. At least half of the mutations that cause short, fused tails lie in the Notch/Wnt pathway of somite boundary formation or differentiation, leading to changes in somite number or size. Several of the mutations also cause additional bone fusions in the trunk skeleton, reminiscent of those observed in primitive and modern birds. All of our findings were correlated to the fossil record. An open question is whether the relatively sudden appearance of short-tailed birds in the fossil record could be accounted for, at least in part, by the pleiotropic effects generated by a relatively small number of mutational events.
PMCID: PMC4304130 Free PMC Article
PMID: 25621146 [PubMed]

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16. Exp Parasitol. 2015 Jan 22. pii: S0014-4894(14)00208-2. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2014.08.018. [Epub ahead of print]

Isospora streperae n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) from a grey currawong (Strepera versicolour plumbea) (Passeriformes: Artamidae) in Western Australia.

Yang R1, Brice B2, Habsi KA3, Elliot A3, Ryan U3.


A new species, Isospora streperae n. sp., (Apicomplexa:Eimeriidae) is described from a single grey currawong bird (Strepera versicolour) (subspecies S. v. plumbea) in Western Australia. Sporulated oocysts (n = 32) are spherical to subspherical, with smooth colourless bilayered oocyst wall, 1.0 µm thick (outer layer 0⋅8 µm, inner 0.2 µm thick). Oocyst with a polar granule, an oocyst residuum and two spheroidal to subspheroidal sporocysts. Oocyst length, 23.8 (20.4-25.0) µm; oocyst width, 22.5 (20.0-24.6) µm; a shape index of 1.06, with Stieda, substieda bodies. Micropyle is absent. Sporocysts with compressed sporocyst residuum and four sporozoites. Sporocyst length, 14.4 (12.5 - 15.2) µm; sporocyst width, 11.2 (10.6 -14.0) µm, sporocyst L/W ratio, 1.29. Necropsy of the bird identified hemorrhaging mostly along the ileum and jejunum, which is where Isospora oocysts were also mostly detected. Molecular analysis was conducted at three loci; the 18S, 28S ribosomal RNA and the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase (COI) gene. At the 18S locus, I. streperae n. sp. exhibited 99.5% and 99.4% similarity respectively to an Isospora sp. (MS-2003) from a Southern cape sparrow (Passer melanurus melanurus) and Isospora dovati from a domestic pigeon (Columba livia domestica). At the 28S locus, I. streperae n. sp. exhibited 96.9% similarity to an Isospora sp. (MS-2003) from a grosbeak starling (Scissirostrum dubium) and 95.8% similarity with the Isospora sp. (MS-2003) from a Southern cape sparrow. At the COI locus, I. streperae n. sp. exhibited 95.0% similarity to Isospora sp. from a yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) from the Czech Republic. Based on morphological and molecular data, this isolate is a new species of Isospora, which is named Isospora streperae n. sp. after its host, the grey currawong (Strepera versicolour plumbea).
Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.
PMID: 25620542 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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17. Physiol Behav. 2015 Jan 22. pii: S0031-9384(15)00040-2. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.01.026. [Epub ahead of print]

Social cues are unlikely to be the single cause for early reproduction in urban European blackbirds (Turdus merula).

Dominoni DM1, Van't Hof TJ2, Partecke J3.


Despite urban ecology being an established field of research, there is still surprisingly little information about the relative contribution of specific environmental factors driving the observed changes in the behaviour and physiology of city dwellers. One of the most reported effects of urbanization is the advanced phenology observed in birds. Many factors have been suggested to underline such effect, including warmer microclimate, anthropogenic food supply and light pollution. Since social stimuli are known to affect reproductive timing and breeding density is usually higher in urban populations compared to rural ones, we experimentally tested whether social interactions could advance the onset of reproduction in European blackbirds (Turdus merula). We housed male blackbirds of rural and urban origin with or without a conspecific female, and recorded their seasonal variation in gonadal size and production of luteinizing hormone (LH). Paired and unpaired males of both urban and rural origins did not significantly differ in their timing of gonadal growth. Moreover, rural and urban birds did not differ in their response to the social stimuli, rather they became reproductively active at the same time, a result that confirms previous studies that attributed the difference in reproductive timing observed in the field to phenotypic plasticity. We conclude that social stimuli do not contribute substantially to the observed early onset of reproductive physiology in urban bird species, rather other factors such as light pollution are likely to be stronger drivers of these physiological changes.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
PMID: 25619949 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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18. Avian Dis. 2014 Dec;58(4):654-8.

Enterococcus cecorum infection in a racing pigeon.

Jung A, Teske L, Rautenschlein S.


Until now, Enterococcus cecorum (EC) has been known as a pathogen for broilers, broiler breeders, and Pekin ducks. In the present report, we describe a fatal systemic EC infection in a young racing pigeon (Columba livia forma domestica). EC was isolated from the heart, liver, spleen, and intestine of the bird in pure culture. In the pathologic examination, the pigeon showed enteritis and an ulcerative gastritis, which may have been predisposing factors for the development of the generalized EC infection. An accumulation of gram-positive cocci in spleen tissue was found in the histopathologic examination and confirms the presence of a systemic EC infection in the pigeon. Additionally, EC was isolated from cloacal swabs of other pigeons in the same loft, but no additional pigeons were submitted for necropsy. All EC isolates tested were negative by PCR for the enterococcal virulence factors cytolysin, enterococcal surface protein, aggregation substance, hyaluronidase, and gelatinase. Therefore, the reason for the enhanced virulence of the EC isolate remains unknown. Our report confirms EC as a disease-causing agent in pigeons and presents the first data concerning the analysis of EC for virulence factors.
PMID: 25619014 [PubMed - in process]

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