Search birdRS Box

Search birdRS blog posts

Browse the Blog Posts

Or scan through the blog archive below for items of interest as only the latest post is shown below, thanks.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed. February Week 4, 2015

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. Poult Sci. 2015 Feb 25. pii: pev049. [Epub ahead of print]

Potential of fructooligosaccharide prebiotics in alternative and nonconventional poultry production systems.

Ricke SC1.
Author information:
Center for Food Safety and Department of Food Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72704


Fructooligosaccharide and inulin prebiotics are carbohydrate-based polymers derived from natural sources that can be utilized by certain gastrointestinal tract bacteria but not by the host animal. They are attractive as feed additives for nonconventional poultry production systems because they select for beneficial microorganisms that are thought to promote nutritional benefits to the bird and potentially limit foodborne pathogen establishment. There have been numerous studies conducted with prebiotic supplements to assess their impact in humans, animals, and conventionally raised poultry but only limited research has been conducted with birds grown under nonconventional production conditions. Much remains unknown about the specific mechanism(s) associated with their impact on the host as well as the gastrointestinal tract microflora. Utilization of several recently developed approaches such as microbiome and metabolomic analyses should offer more insight on how dietary prebiotic additives influence the development of the gastrointestinal tract microbiota and these subsequent changes correspond with alterations in a bird's physiology as it matures. As more detailed and precise studies are done with nonconventional poultry, it is likely that structurally distinct prebiotics will influence not only the gastrointestinal tract microbiota differently, but potentially interact directly and/or indirectly with the bird host in distinguishable patterns as well. These functions will be important to delineate if further applications are to be developed for specific prebiotics in nonconventional poultry production systems.
© 2015 Poultry Science Association Inc.
PMID: 25717086 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Icon for HighWire

2. J Neurosci. 2015 Feb 25;35(8):3431-45. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3407-14.2015.

Seasonal plasticity of precise spike timing in the avian auditory system.

Caras ML1, Sen K2, Rubel EW3, Brenowitz EA4.
Author information:
Neurobiology and Behavior Graduate Program, Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center,
Hearing Research Center and Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215.
Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, Departments of Psychology, Otolaryngology-HNS, Physiology and Biophysics, and.
Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, Departments of Psychology, Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, and.


Vertebrate audition is a dynamic process, capable of exhibiting both short- and long-term adaptations to varying listening conditions. Precise spike timing has long been known to play an important role in auditory encoding, but its role in sensory plasticity remains largely unexplored. We addressed this issue in Gambel's white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii), a songbird that shows pronounced seasonal fluctuations in circulating levels of sex-steroid hormones, which are known to be potent neuromodulators of auditory function. We recorded extracellular single-unit activity in the auditory forebrain of males and females under different breeding conditions and used a computational approach to explore two potential strategies for the neural discrimination of sound level: one based on spike counts and one based on spike timing reliability. We report that breeding condition has robust sex-specific effects on spike timing. Specifically, in females, breeding condition increases the proportion of cells that rely solely on spike timing information and increases the temporal resolution required for optimal intensity encoding. Furthermore, in a functionally distinct subset of cells that are particularly well suited for amplitude encoding, female breeding condition enhances spike timing-based discrimination accuracy. No effects of breeding condition were observed in males. Our results suggest that high-resolution temporal discharge patterns may provide a plastic neural substrate for sensory coding.
Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/353431-15$15.00/0.
PMID: 25716843 [PubMed - in process]
Icon for HighWire

3. PLoS One. 2015 Feb 25;10(2):e0118455. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118455. eCollection 2015.

Environmental gradients explain species richness and community composition of coastal breeding birds in the baltic sea.

Nord M1, Forslund P1.
Author information:
Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.


Scientifically-based systematic conservation planning for reserve design requires knowledge of species richness patterns and how these are related to environmental gradients. In this study, we explore a large inventory of coastal breeding birds, in total 48 species, sampled in 4646 1 km2 squares which covered a large archipelago in the Baltic Sea on the east coast of Sweden. We analysed how species richness (α diversity) and community composition (β diversity) of two groups of coastal breeding birds (specialists, i.e. obligate coastal breeders; generalists, i.e. facultative coastal breeders) were affected by distance to open sea, land area, shoreline length and archipelago width. The total number of species per square increased with increasing shoreline length, but increasing land area counteracted this effect in specialists. The number of specialist bird species per square increased with decreasing distance to open sea, while the opposite was true for the generalists. Differences in community composition between squares were associated with differences in land area and distance to open sea, both when considering all species pooled and each group separately. Fourteen species were nationally red-listed, and showed similar relationships to the environmental gradients as did all species, specialists and generalists. We suggest that availability of suitable breeding habitats, and probably also proximity to feeding areas, explain much of the observed spatial distributions of coastal birds in this study. Our findings have important implications for systematic conservation planning of coastal breeding birds. In particular, we provide information on where coastal breeding birds occur and which environments they seem to prefer. Small land areas with long shorelines are highly valuable both in general and for red-listed species. Thus, such areas should be prioritized for protection against human disturbance and used by management in reserve selection.
Free Article
PMID: 25714432 [PubMed - in process]
Icon for Public Library of Science

4. PLoS One. 2015 Feb 25;10(2):e0118146. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118146. eCollection 2015.

Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Lato Spirochetes in Wild Birds in Northwestern California: Associations with Ecological Factors, Bird Behavior and Tick Infestation.

Newman EA1, Eisen L2, Eisen RJ3, Fedorova N4, Hasty JM5, Vaughn C6, Lane RS4.
Author information:
Energy and Resources Group, University of California, 310 Barrows Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, United States of America; Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, 130 Mulford Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, United States of America.
Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, United States of America; Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado 80522, United States of America.
Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado 80522, United States of America.
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, 130 Mulford Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, United States of America.
Hawaii Department of Health, Sanitation Branch, Vector Control, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813, United States of America.
University of California Hopland Research & Extension Center, Hopland, CA 95449, United States of America.


Although Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) are found in a great diversity of vertebrates, most studies in North America have focused on the role of mammals as spirochete reservoir hosts. We investigated the roles of birds as hosts for subadult Ixodes pacificus ticks and potential reservoirs of the Lyme disease spirochete B. burgdorferi sensu stricto (s.s.) in northwestern California. Overall, 623 birds representing 53 species yielded 284 I. pacificus larvae and nymphs. We used generalized linear models and zero-inflated negative binomial models to determine associations of bird behaviors, taxonomic relationships and infestation by I. pacificus with borrelial infection in the birds. Infection status in birds was best explained by taxonomic order, number of infesting nymphs, sampling year, and log-transformed average body weight. Presence and counts of larvae and nymphs could be predicted by ground- or bark-foraging behavior and contact with dense oak woodland. Molecular analysis yielded the first reported detection of Borrelia bissettii in birds. Moreover, our data suggest that the Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla), a non-resident species, could be an important reservoir for B. burgdorferi s.s. Of 12 individual birds (9 species) that carried B. burgdorferi s.l.-infected larvae, no birds carried the same genospecies of B. burgdorferi s.l. in their blood as were present in the infected larvae removed from them. Possible reasons for this discrepancy are discussed. Our study is the first to explicitly incorporate both taxonomic relationships and behaviors as predictor variables to identify putative avian reservoirs of B. burgdorferi s.l. Our findings underscore the importance of bird behavior to explain local tick infestation and Borrelia infection in these animals, and suggest the potential for bird-mediated geographic spread of vector ticks and spirochetes in the far-western United States.
Free Article
PMID: 25714376 [PubMed - in process]
Icon for Public Library of Science

5. Mitochondrial DNA. 2015 Feb 25:1-2. [Epub ahead of print]

Complete mitochondrial genome of the Saker falcon, Falco cherrug (Falco, Falconidae).

Lu J1, Lu J, Li XF, Jiang H.
Author information:
College of Life Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences , Beijing , China .


Abstract The Falco cherrug (Saker falcon) is a large bird of prey. In this article, the complete mitochondrial genome of F. cherrug has been determined for the first time. The mitogenome (18,059 bp) comprised 13 protein-coding genes, 22 tRNA genes, 2 rRNA genes and 1 control region. Most protein-coding genes started with an ATG or ATA codon except for COI, which initiated with nontypical start codon of GTG instead, and terminated with the typical stop codon (TAA/TAG/AGA/AGG) or a single T. Two tandem repeats were identified in the control region, which was almost identical to Falco peregrinus, and the length of these two repeats are 204 bp and 291 bp, respectively.
PMID: 25714141 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Icon for Informa Healthcare

6. Behav Ecol. 2015 Jan-Feb;26(1):30-37. Epub 2014 Sep 3.

Biparental incubation-scheduling: no experimental evidence for major energetic constraints.

Bulla M1, Cresswell W2, Rutten AL1, Valcu M1, Kempenaers B1.
Author information:
Department of Behavioural Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology , Eberhard Gwinner Str. 7 , 82319 Seewiesen , Germany and.
School of Biology, University of St. Andrews , St. Andrews , Harold Mitchell Building, Fife KY16 9TH, UK.


Incubation is energetically demanding, but it is debated whether these demands constrain incubation-scheduling (i.e., the length, constancy, and timing of incubation bouts) in cases where both parents incubate. Using 2 methods, we experimentally reduced the energetic demands of incubation in the semipalmated sandpiper, a biparental shorebird breeding in the harsh conditions of the high Arctic. First, we decreased the demands of incubation for 1 parent only by exchanging 1 of the 4 eggs for an artificial egg that heated up when the focal bird incubated. Second, we reanalyzed the data from the only published experimental study that has explicitly tested energetic constraints on incubation-scheduling in a biparentally incubating species (Cresswell et al. 2003). In this experiment, the energetic demands of incubation were decreased for both parents by insulating the nest cup. We expected that the treated birds, in both experiments, would change the length of their incubation bouts, if biparental incubation-scheduling is energetically constrained. However, we found no evidence that heating or insulation of the nest affected the length of incubation bouts: the combined effect of both experiments was an increase in bout length of 3.6min (95% CI: -33 to 40), which is equivalent to a 0.5% increase in the length of the average incubation bout. These results demonstrate that the observed biparental incubation-scheduling in semipalmated sandpipers is not primarily driven by energetic constraints and therefore by the state of the incubating bird, implying that we still do not understand the factors driving biparental incubation-scheduling.
PMCID: PMC4309980 Free Article
PMID: 25713473 [PubMed]
Icon for Europe PubMed Central

7. Glob Chang Biol. 2015 Feb 25. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12909. [Epub ahead of print]

Twenty-five years of change in southern African passerine diversity: non-climatic factors of change.

Péron G1, Altwegg R.
Author information:
Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7701, Cape Town, South Africa.


We analysed more than 25 years of change in passerine bird distribution in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho, in order to show that species distributions can be influenced by processes that are at least in part independent of the local strength and direction of climate change: land use and ecological succession. We used occupancy models that separate species' detection from species' occupancy probability, fitted to citizen science data from both phases of the Southern African Bird Atlas Project (1987-1996 and 2007-2013). Temporal trends in species' occupancy probability were interpreted in terms of local extinction/colonisation and temporal trends in detection probability were interpreted in terms of change in abundance. We found for the first time at this scale that, as predicted in the context of bush encroachment, closed savanna specialists increased where open savanna specialists decreased. In addition, the trend in the abundance of species a priori thought to be favoured by agricultural conversion was negatively correlated with human population density, which is in line with hypotheses explaining the decline in farmland birds in the Northern Hemisphere. In addition to climate, vegetation cover and the intensity and time since agricultural conversion constitute important predictors of biodiversity changes in the region. Their inclusion will improve the reliability of predictive models of species distribution. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
PMID: 25711802 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Icon for John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

8. J Phys Chem B. 2015 Feb 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Photoactivation of Cryptochromes from Drosophila Melanogaster and Sylvia Borin: Insight into the Chemical Compass Mechanism by Computational Investigation.

Hong G, Pachter R.


Although behavioral studies demonstrated light-induced magnetoreception in the insect Drosophila melanogaster, gaining insight into the possibility of a radical-pair mechanism that accounts for the magnetic response of the cryptochrome (DmCry1) is complicated by a number of factors. In addition, the mechanism of magnetoreception for the cryptochrome from the garden warbler bird Sylvia borin (gwCry1a), which demonstrated a long-lived radical-pair by transient optical absorption measurements, has also not been rationalized. To assess potential feasibility of a radical-pair mechanism in DmCry1 and gwCry1a, formed by excitation and electron transfer between a Trp-triad and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), further separated by electron transfer within the triad, we applied a combination of theoretical methods, including homology modeling and molecular dynamics (MD) for structure refinement, high-level ab initio theory, and MD simulations using a polarizable force-field for prediction of pKa and the electron transfer rate. Calculated excitation energies followed by electron transfer in model compounds of DmCry1 that assume proton transfer in conjunction with electron transfer from Trp (W420) to FAD, and the predicted pKa for the proximate residue to FAD (Cys416), support a radical-pair mechanism. Furthermore, free energy and reorganization energies for the Trp-triad in DmCry1 demonstrate facile electron transfer, explained by the local protein environment and exposure to solvent, which in turn enable a large enough distance separation for the radical-pair partners. Results for gwCry1a demonstrated the importance of accounting for relaxed excited-state geometries in validating the first stage of a radical-pair mechanism. This work provides insight into the so-called chemical compass mechanism to explain magnetic field sensing in DmCry1 and gwCry1a, expanding on previous work on the cyrptochrome from the plant Arabidopsis thaliana (Solov'yov et al., J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 18046-18052; Solov'yov, et al., Sci. Rep. 2014, 4, 1-8).
PMID: 25710635 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Icon for American Chemical Society

9. J Food Prot. 2015 Feb;78(2):457-76. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-14-328.

Prevalence and Risk Factors for Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Meat Animals and Meat Products Destined for Human Consumption.

Guo M1, Dubey JP2, Hill D2, Buchanan RL3, Gamble HR4, Jones JL5, Pradhan AK6.
Author information:
Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agriculture Research Center, Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA.
Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Center for Food Safety and Security Systems, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.
Fellowships Office, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC 20001, USA.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.
Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Center for Food Safety and Security Systems, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite that is responsible for approximately 24% of all estimated deaths attributed to foodborne pathogens in the United States. Human infection results from accidental ingestion of oocysts from the environment, in water, or on insufficiently washed produce or from consumption of raw or undercooked meat products that contain T. gondii tissue cysts. This review focused on studies of T. gondii in meat because many human T. gondii infections are acquired through consumption of raw or undercooked meat. Prevalence of T. gondii is higher in conventionally reared pigs, sheep, and poultry than in cattle and is greater in meat products from organic than from conventionally reared meat animals because of outdoor access, which poses substantially greater opportunities for exposure to infected rodents, wildlife, and oocyst-contaminated feed, water, or environmental surfaces. Risk factors related to T. gondii exposure for livestock include farm type, feed source, presence of cats, methods of rodent and bird control, methods of carcass handling, and water quality. This review serves as a useful resource and information repository for informing quantitative risk assessment studies for T. gondii infection in humans through meat consumption.
PMID: 25710166 [PubMed - in process]
Icon for Ingenta plc

10. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2015 Feb 20;115C:223-228. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2015.02.024. [Epub ahead of print]

Micronucleus as biomaker of genotoxicity in birds from Brazilian Cerrado.

Baesse CQ1, Tolentino VC2, Silva AM2, Silva AA3, Ferreira GÂ3, Paniago LP2, Nepomuceno JC4, Melo C5.
Author information:
Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Department of Biology, Laboratory of Ornithology and Bioacoustic, Umuarama Campus, Rua Ceará, s/n, Bairro Umuarama, CEP 38400-902 Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil; Graduate Program in Ecology and Conservation of Natural Resources, Brazil. Electronic address:
Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Department of Biology, Laboratory of Ornithology and Bioacoustic, Umuarama Campus, Rua Ceará, s/n, Bairro Umuarama, CEP 38400-902 Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil; Graduate Program in Ecology and Conservation of Natural Resources, Brazil.
Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Department of Biology, Laboratory of Ornithology and Bioacoustic, Umuarama Campus, Rua Ceará, s/n, Bairro Umuarama, CEP 38400-902 Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Department of Biology, Laboratory of Ornithology and Bioacoustic, Umuarama Campus, Rua Ceará, s/n, Bairro Umuarama, CEP 38400-902 Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil; Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Department of Genetics and Biochemistry, Brazil.
Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Department of Biology, Laboratory of Ornithology and Bioacoustic, Umuarama Campus, Rua Ceará, s/n, Bairro Umuarama, CEP 38400-902 Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Electronic address:


Birds are considered efficient bioindicators, by their behavioral characteristics, diversified diet, and use of several vegetation layers, including in contaminated environments. The accumulation of contaminants can harm the reproductive process and survival of species, in addition to causing severe metabolic disorders. Air pollution can also affect the birds' health. Micronucleus analysis, a technique able to evaluate the organisms' sensitivity to contaminant agents, has been regarded as a practical tool for evaluating and monitoring the clastogenic and aneugenic effects caused by pollutants. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the presence of micronuclei in bird species that use forest environments and their surroundings; and to verify if the frequency and amount of micronuclei varies between species, areas and populations. Birds transiting between the Brazilian Cerrado forest and open formations were analyzed, coming from four forest fragments of Triângulo Mineiro, two close to urban areas and two more distant. Birds were captured with mist-nets for collecting blood extensions, which were used for counting micronuclei. In total, 103 individuals of 21 species were captured, and the micronucleus rate for every 5000 erythrocytes analyzed was 1.30. Only six populations had sampling sufficiency. There was no difference between the number of individuals with and without micronuclei (χ²=3.18, df=1, p=0.08). In areas closer to the urban perimeter, the micronuclei averages in birds were greater compared to the most isolated areas (H=27.534, df=3, p<0,001). In São José, the individuals of Myiothlypis flaveola presented a number of micronuclei significantly greater than the Galheiro and Água Fria (H=9.601, df=2, p=0.008). M. flaveola clearly reflected the area quality. The micronuclei analysis in birds was effective for evaluating the area quality as well as the intensity with which the birds respond to impacts caused by the surrounding matrix.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PMID: 25706087 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Icon for Elsevier Science

11. Evol Biol. 2015;42(1):88-98. Epub 2014 Dec 4.

Maternal Age-Related Depletion of Offspring Genetic Variance in Immune Response to Phytohaemagglutinin in the Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus).

Drobniak SM1, Dubiec A2, Gustafsson L3, Cichoń M1.
Author information:
Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University, ul. Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Kraków, Poland.
Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland.
Departament of Ecology and Genetics/Animal Ecology, Evolutionary Biology Center, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.


Studies examining age-specific patterns in genetic variance have focussed primarily on changes in the genetic variance within cohorts. It remains unclear whether parental age may affect the genetic variance among offspring. To date, such an effect has been reported only in a single study performed in a wild bird population. Here, we provide experimental evidence that the additive genetic variance (VA) observed among offspring may be related to parental age in a wild passerine-the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). To separate genetic and environmental components of phenotypic variance in nestling body size and immune function we cross-fostered nestlings between pairs of broods born to young and old mothers and used an animal model to estimate VA. We show that the genetic variance in immune response to phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) and body weight among offspring depends on maternal age. VA in response to PHA appeared to be lower among nestlings of older mothers. Such a tendency was not observed for tarsus length. We argue that the lower VA may result either from depletion of additive genetic variation due to selection acting on parents across age classes or from environmental effects confounded with parental age. Thus, our study suggests that parental age may significantly affect estimates of quantitative genetic parameters in the offspring.
PMCID: PMC4328104 Free PMC Article
PMID: 25705062 [PubMed]

12. J Anim Ecol. 2015 Feb 19. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12354. [Epub ahead of print]

Differences in host species relationships and biogeographical influences produce contrasting patterns of prevalence, community composition and genetic structure in two genera of avian malaria parasites in southern Melanesia.

Olsson-Pons S1, Clark NJ, Ishtiaq F, Clegg SM.
Author information:
Environmental Futures Research Institute and School of Environment, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Gold Coast, Queensland, 4222, Australia.


1.Host-parasite interactions have the potential to influence broad scale ecological and evolutionary processes, levels of endemism, divergence patterns and distributions in host populations. Understanding the mechanisms involved requires identification of the factors that shape parasite distribution and prevalence. 2.A lack of comparative information on community-level host-parasite associations limits our understanding of the role of parasites in host population divergence processes. Avian malaria (haemosporodian) parasites in bird communities offer a tractable model system to examine the potential for pathogens to influence evolutionary processes in natural host populations. 3.Using cytochrome b variation, we characterized phylogenetic diversity and prevalence of two genera of avian haemosporidian parasites, Plasmodium and Haemoproteus, and analysed biogeographic patterns of lineages across islands and avian hosts, in southern Melanesian bird communities to identify factors that explain patterns of infection. 4.Plasmodium spp. displayed isolation by distance effects, a significant amount of genetic variation distributed among islands but insignificant amounts among host species and families, and strong local island effects with respect to prevalence. Haemoproteus spp. did not display isolation by distance patterns, showed significant structuring of genetic variation among avian host species and families, and significant host species prevalence patterns. 5.These differences suggest that Plasmodium spp. infection patterns were shaped by geography and the abiotic environment, whereas Haemoproteus spp. infection patterns were shaped predominantly by host associations. Heterogeneity in the complement and prevalence of parasite lineages infecting local bird communities likely exposes host species to a mosaic of spatially divergent disease selection pressures across their naturally fragmented distributions in southern Melanesia. Host associations for Haemoproteus spp. indicate a capacity for the formation of locally co-adapted host-parasite relationships, a feature that may limit intraspecific gene flow or range expansions of closely related host species. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
PMID: 25704868 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Icon for Blackwell Publishing

13. Plant Biol (Stuttg). 2015 Feb 19. doi: 10.1111/plb.12322. [Epub ahead of print]

Bees, birds and yellow flowers: Pollinator-dependent convergent evolution of UV-patterns.

Papiorek S1, Junker RR, Alves-Dos-Santos I, Melo GA, Amaral-Neto LP, Sazima M, Wolowski M, Freitas L, Lunau K.
Author information:
Institute of Sensory Ecology, Department Biology, Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf, Brazil.


Colour is one of the most obvious advertisements of flowers and occurs in a huge diversity among the angiosperms. Flower colour is responsible for the attraction from a distance, whereas contrasting colour patterns within flowers aid orientation of flower-visitors after approaching the flowers. Due to the striking differences in colour vision systems and neural processing across animal taxa, flower colours evoke specific behavioural responses by different flower-visitors. We tested whether and how yellow flowers differ in their spectral reflectance depending on the main pollinator. We focused on bees and birds and examined whether the presence or absence of the widespread UV-reflectance pattern of yellow flowers predicts the main pollinator. Most bee-pollinated flowers displayed a pattern with UV-absorbing centres and UV-reflecting peripheries, whereas the majority of bird-pollinated flowers are entirely UV-absorbing. In choice experiments we found that bees did not show consistent preferences for any colour- or pattern-types. However, all tested bee species made their first antennal contact preferably at the UV-absorbing area of the artificial flower irrespective of its spatial position within the flower. The appearance of UV-patterns within flowers is the main difference in spectral reflectance between yellow bee- and bird-pollinated flowers, and affects the foraging behaviour of flower-visitors. The results support the hypothesis that flower colours and the visual capabilities of their efficient pollinators are adapted to each other. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
PMID: 25703147 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

14. Horm Behav. 2015 Feb 18. pii: S0018-506X(15)00020-3. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2015.02.002. [Epub ahead of print]

Lack of seasonal and moult-related stress modulation in an opportunistically breeding bird: the white-plumed honeyeater (Lichenostomus penicillatus).

Buttemer WA1, Addison BA2, Astheimer LB2.
Author information:
Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Electronic address:
Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.


In most vertebrate species, glucocorticoid levels and stress sensitivity vary in relation to season and life-history stage. In birds, baseline corticosterone (CORT) and stress sensitivity are typically highest while breeding and decrease substantially during moult. Because elevated CORT adversely affects protein synthesis, moult-related CORT suppression is thought to be necessary for forming high-quality feathers. Surprisingly, some passerine species lack moult-related CORT suppression, but these are distinguished by having slow rates of moult and being opportunistic breeders. We examined baseline and stress-induced CORT levels in an opportunistically breeding Australian passerine, the white-plumed honeyeater (Lichenostomus penicillatus). Although this species has a slower moult rate than high-latitiude breeders, it differs little from north-temperate passerines. Neither baseline nor stress-induced CORT levels varied with season (winter, spring or summer), sex or moult status in adult birds. While breeding tended to be highest in early spring through late summer, laparotomies revealed only limited reduction in testicular size in males the year round. In all but one sampling period, at least some females displayed follicular hierarchy. Breeding usually coincides with outbreaks of phytophagous insects, which can happen at any time of the year. This results in moult/breeding overlap when infestations occur in late spring or summer. The ability of this species to moult and breed at the same time while having breeding-levels of CORT demonstrates that CORT suppression is not a prerequisite for synthesis of high-quality feathers. An experimental design incorporating moulting and non-moulting phenotypes is suggested to test the functional significance of CORT suppression in other species.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
PMID: 25701624 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Icon for Elsevier Science

15. Acta Trop. 2015 Feb 18;145C:23-25. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.02.007. [Epub ahead of print]

Seroprevalence and risk factors of Chlamydia psittaci infection in domestic geese Anser domestica, in Hainan province of China.

Zhao JM1, Rong G2, Zhou HL2, Hou GY3.
Author information:
Scientific and Technical Information Institute, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences, Danzhou, Hainan Province, PR China.
Tropical Crops Genetic Resources Institute, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences, Danzhou, Hainan Province, PR China.
Tropical Crops Genetic Resources Institute, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences, Danzhou, Hainan Province, PR China. Electronic address:


Chlamydia psittaci, the agent of psittacosis in humans, infects a wide range of bird species. To assess the risk of psittacosis posed by domestic geese in China, the seroprevalence of C. psittaci infection in domestic geese in Hainan province, tropical China was examined using indirect hemagglutination assay (IHA). The overall seroprevalence was estimated at 25.6% (461/1800; 95% CI: 23.6-27.6). The C. psittaci seroprevalence ranged from 19% (95% CI: 14.6-23.4) to 34% (95% CI: 28.6-39.4) among different regions in Hainan province, and the differences were statistically significant (P<0.01). The risk factors significantly associated with C. psittaci seroprevalence were the presence of hygiene conditions, age, gender, and environment of geese in the farms. The results of the present investigation indicated the high seroprevalence of C. psittaci infection in geese in Hainan province, tropical China. Close contact with these geese is associated with a risk of zoonotic transmission of C. psittaci. Public education should be implemented to reduce the risk of avian to human transmission of such a pathogenic agent. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report documenting the occurrence of C. psittaci seroprevalence in geese in China.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
PMID: 25700712 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Icon for Elsevier Science

16. Science. 2015 Feb 20;347(6224):875-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1260154.

Evolutionary ecology. Cycles of species replacement emerge from locally induced maternal effects on offspring behavior in a passerine bird.

Duckworth RA1, Belloni V2, Anderson SR3.
Author information:
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA. Department of Tropical Medicine, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


An important question in ecology is how mechanistic processes occurring among individuals drive large-scale patterns of community formation and change. Here we show that in two species of bluebirds, cycles of replacement of one by the other emerge as an indirect consequence of maternal influence on offspring behavior in response to local resource availability. Sampling across broad temporal and spatial scales, we found that western bluebirds, the more competitive species, bias the birth order of offspring by sex in a way that influences offspring aggression and dispersal, setting the stage for rapid increases in population density that ultimately result in the replacement of their sister species. Our results provide insight into how predictable community dynamics can occur despite the contingency of local behavioral interactions.
Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
PMID: 25700519 [PubMed - in process]
Icon for HighWire

No comments:

Post a comment