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Monday, 27 April 2015

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed: April 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. Rev Bras Parasitol Vet. 2015 Jan-Mar;24(1):87-91.

Parasitological survey on birds at some selected brazilian zoos.

Hofstatter PG1, Guaraldo AM1.
Author information:
Department of Animal Biology, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brazil.


A parasitological survey was conducted at some zoos in the states of São Paulo and Paraná, Brazil, from 2009 to 2011. Several groups of birds were surveyed for fecal samples, but the most important was Psittacidae. Among the parasites, Eimeria (coccidian) and Capillaria, Ascaridia and Heterakis (nematodes) were observed in almost one third of the samples. Presence of a rich parasite fauna associated with captive birds seems to be an effect of captivity, since data on free-ranging birds indicate few or virtually no parasites at all. The discovery of new coccidian species during this survey reveals the need of more research on the subject as even well-known bird species have unknown parasites, but caution must be exercised in order to avoid descriptions of pseudoparasites.
PMID: 25909259 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

2. Proc Biol Sci. 2015 May 22;282(1807). pii: 20142924. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2924.

Mother-offspring and nest-mate resemblance but no heritability in early-life telomere length in white-throated dippers.

Becker PJ1, Reichert S2, Zahn S3, Hegelbach J1, Massemin S3, Keller LF1, Postma E4, Criscuolo F5.
Author information:
Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, Zurich 8057, Switzerland.
Département d'Ecologie, Physiologie et Ethologie (DEPE), Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, CNRS UMR7178, 23 rue Becquerel, Strasbourg Cedex 2 67087, France University of Strasbourg, 4 rue Blaise Pascal, Strasbourg Cedex 67081, France Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK.
Département d'Ecologie, Physiologie et Ethologie (DEPE), Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, CNRS UMR7178, 23 rue Becquerel, Strasbourg Cedex 2 67087, France University of Strasbourg, 4 rue Blaise Pascal, Strasbourg Cedex 67081, France.
Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, Zurich 8057, Switzerland
Département d'Ecologie, Physiologie et Ethologie (DEPE), Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, CNRS UMR7178, 23 rue Becquerel, Strasbourg Cedex 2 67087, France University of Strasbourg, 4 rue Blaise Pascal, Strasbourg Cedex 67081, France


Telomeres are protective DNA-protein complexes located at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes, whose length has been shown to predict life-history parameters in various species. Although this suggests that telomere length is subject to natural selection, its evolutionary dynamics crucially depends on its heritability. Using pedigree data for a population of white-throated dippers (Cinclus cinclus), we test whether and how variation in early-life relative telomere length (RTL, measured as the number of telomeric repeats relative to a control gene using qPCR) is transmitted across generations. We disentangle the relative effects of genes and environment and test for sex-specific patterns of inheritance. There was strong and significant resemblance among offspring sharing the same nest and offspring of the same cohort. Furthermore, although offspring resemble their mother, and there is some indication for an effect of inbreeding, additive genetic variance and heritability are close to zero. We find no evidence for a role of either maternal imprinting or Z-linked inheritance in generating these patterns, suggesting they are due to non-genetic maternal and common environment effects instead. We conclude that in this wild bird population, environmental factors are the main drivers of variation in early-life RTL, which will severely bias estimates of heritability when not modelled explicitly.
© 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
PMID: 25904662 [PubMed - in process]

3. Proc Biol Sci. 2015 May 22;282(1807). pii: 20141958. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1958.

Testing for effects of climate change on competitive relationships and coexistence between two bird species.

Stenseth NC1, Durant JM2, Fowler MS3, Matthysen E4, Adriaensen F4, Jonzén N5, Chan KS6, Liu H7, De Laet J8, Sheldon BC9, Visser ME10, Dhondt AA11.
Author information:
Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, PO Box 1066, Blindern, Oslo 0316, Norway
Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, PO Box 1066, Blindern, Oslo 0316, Norway.
Department of Biosciences, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK Population Ecology Group, IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), Institut Mediterrani d'Estudis Avançats C/ Miquel Marquès, 21, Esporles, Mallorca 07190, Spain.
Evolutionary Ecology Group, University of Antwerp, Antwerp 2020, Belgium.
Department of Biology, Theoretical Population Ecology and Evolution Group, Lund University, Ecology Building, Lund 22362, Sweden.
Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Iowa, 263 Schaeffer Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
Department of Biostatistics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.
Terrestrial Ecology Unit, Department of Biology, Ghent University, K. L. Ledeganckstraat 35, Ghent 9000, Belgium.
Edward Grey Institute, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK.
10 Department of Animal Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), PO Box 50, Wageningen 6700 AB, The Netherlands.
11 Evolutionary Ecology Group, University of Antwerp, Antwerp 2020, Belgium Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA.


Climate change is expected to have profound ecological effects, yet shifts in competitive abilities among species are rarely studied in this context. Blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) and great tits (Parus major) compete for food and roosting sites, yet coexist across much of their range. Climate change might thus change the competitive relationships and coexistence between these two species. Analysing four of the highest-quality, long-term datasets available on these species across Europe, we extend the textbook example of coexistence between competing species to include the dynamic effects of long-term climate variation. Using threshold time-series statistical modelling, we demonstrate that long-term climate variation affects species demography through different influences on density-dependent and density-independent processes. The competitive interaction between blue tits and great tits has shifted in one of the studied sites, creating conditions that alter the relative equilibrium densities between the two species, potentially disrupting long-term coexistence. Our analyses show that long-term climate change can, but does not always, generate local differences in the equilibrium conditions of spatially structured species assemblages. We demonstrate how long-term data can be used to better understand whether (and how), for instance, climate change might change the relationships between coexisting species. However, the studied populations are rather robust against competitive exclusion.
© 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
PMID: 25904659 [PubMed - in process]

4. Biol Lett. 2015 Apr;11(4). pii: 20150034. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0034.

Bateman's principle is reversed in a cooperatively breeding bird.

Apakupakul K1, Rubenstein DR2.
Author information:
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, 1200 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027, USA.
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, 1200 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027, USA


Bateman's principle is not only used to explain sex differences in mating behaviour, but also to determine which sex has the greater opportunity for sexual selection. It predicts that the relationship between the number of mates and the number of offspring produced should be stronger for males than for females. Yet, it is unclear whether Bateman's principle holds in cooperatively breeding systems where the strength of selection on traits used in intrasexual competition is high in both sexes. We tested Bateman's principle in the cooperatively breeding superb starling (Lamprotornis superbus), finding that only females showed a significant, positive Bateman gradient. We also found that the opportunity for selection was on average higher in females, but that its strength and direction oscillated through time. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that sexual selection underlies the female trait elaboration observed in superb starlings and other cooperative breeders. Even though the Bateman gradient was steeper for females than for males, the year-to-year oscillation in the strength and direction of the opportunity for selection likely explains why cooperative breeders do not exhibit sexual role reversal. Thus, Bateman's principle may not hold in cooperative breeders where both sexes appear to be under mutually strong sexual selection.
© 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
PMID: 25904321 [PubMed - in process]

5. Naturwissenschaften. 2015 Jun;102(5-6):1275. doi: 10.1007/s00114-015-1275-6. Epub 2015 Apr 24.

Keratin subsidies promote feather decomposition via an increase in keratin-consuming arthropods and microorganisms in bird breeding colonies.

Sugiura S1, Masuya H.
Author information:
Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Kobe University, Rokkodai, Nada, Kobe, 657-8501, Japan,


Resource subsidies are well known to increase population densities of consumers. The decomposition process of these subsidised resources can be influenced by increasing consumer abundance. However, few studies have assessed whether resource subsidies can promote resource decomposition via a population increase in consumers. Here, we examined the effects of keratin subsidies on feather decomposition in egret and heron breeding colonies. Egrets and herons (Ardeidae) frequently breed in inland forests and provide large amounts of keratin materials to the forest floor in the form of feathers of chicks (that die). We compared the decrease in the weights of egret and heron feathers (experimentally placed on the forest floor) over a 12-month period among egret/heron breeding colonies (five sites) and areas outside of colonies (five sites) in central Japan. Of the feathers placed experimentally on forest floors, 92-97 % and 99-100 % in colonies and 47-50 % and 71-90 % in non-colony areas were decomposed after 4 and 12 months, respectively. Then, decomposition rates of feathers were faster in colonies than in areas outside of colonies, suggesting that keratin subsidies can promote feather decomposition in colonies. Field observations and laboratory experiments indicated that keratin-feeding arthropods and keratinophilic fungi played important roles in feather decomposition. Therefore, scavenging arthropods and keratinophilic fungi, which dramatically increased in egret and heron breeding colonies, could accelerate the decomposition of feathers supplied to the forest floor of colonies.
PMID: 25903424 [PubMed - in process]

6. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract. 2015 May;18(2):197-211. doi: 10.1016/j.cvex.2015.01.009.

Psittacine Wellness Management and Environmental Enrichment.

Rupley AE1, Simone-Freilicher E2.
Author information:
All Pets Medical Center, 111 Rock Prairie Road, College Station, TX 77845, USA. Electronic address:
MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center, 350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130, USA.


The goal of this article is to present practical ways to provide a healthier lifestyle to the commonly kept companion psittacine pets. Necessary information for bird owners to provide for the physical and mental health of their bird is presented. This information is exquisitely important for people keeping birds as pets to know and apply. It is the exotic veterinarian's responsibility to educate clients on how to provide properly for the pet's mental and physical well-being.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PMID: 25902269 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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7. PLoS One. 2015 Apr 22;10(4):e0122715. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122715. eCollection 2015.

Hints of the early jehol biota: important dinosaur footprint assemblages from the jurassic-cretaceous boundary tuchengzi formation in beijing, china.

Xing L1, Zhang J1, Lockley MG2, McCrea RT3, Klein H4, Alcalá L5, Buckley LG3, Burns ME6, Kümmell SB7, He Q1.
Author information:
School of the Earth Sciences and Resources, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China.
Dinosaur Trackers Research Group, University of Colorado Denver, PO Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217, United States of America.
Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre, Box 1540, Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia V0C 2W0, Canada.
Saurierwelt Paläontologisches Museum, Alte Richt 7, D-92318 Neumarkt, Germany.
Fundación Conjunto Paleontológico de Teruel-Dinópolis, Teruel, Aragón E-44002, Spain.
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E9, Canada.
Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University Witten/Herdecke, Stockumerstr. 10-12, 58454 Witten, Germany.


New reports of dinosaur tracksites in the Tuchengzi Formation in the newly established Yanqing Global Geopark, Beijing, China, support previous inferences that the track assemblages from this formation are saurischian-dominated. More specifically, the assemblages appear theropod-dominated, with the majority of well-preserved tracks conforming to the Grallator type (sensus lato), thus representing relatively small trackmakers. Such ichnofaunas supplement the skeletal record from this unit that lacks theropods thus far, proving a larger diversity of dinosaur faunas in that region. Sauropods are represented by medium to large sized and narrow and wide-gauge groups, respectively. The latter correspond with earlier discoveries of titanosauriform skeletons in the same unit. Previous records of ornithischian tracks cannot be positively confirmed. Purported occurrences are re-evaluated here, the trackways and imprints, except of a single possible specimen, re-assigned to theropods. Palecologically the Tuchengzi ichnofauna is characteristic of semi-arid fluvio-lacustrine inland basins with Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous deposits in northern China that all show assemblages with abundant theropod and sauropod tracks and minor components of ornithopod, pterosaur and bird tracks.
Free Article
PMID: 25901363 [PubMed - in process]

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8. J Chem Neuroanat. 2015 Apr 18. pii: S0891-0618(15)00019-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2015.04.002. [Epub ahead of print]

Real-time monitoring of electrically evoked catecholamine signals in the songbird striatum using in vivo fast-scan cyclic voltammetry.

Smith AR1, Garris PA2, Casto JM2.
Author information:
School of Biological Sciences, Campus Box 4120, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4120, USA. Electronic address:
School of Biological Sciences, Campus Box 4120, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4120, USA.


Fast-scan cyclic voltammetry is a powerful technique for monitoring rapid changes in extracellular neurotransmitter levels in the brain. In vivo fast-scan cyclic voltammetry has been used extensively in mammalian models to characterize dopamine signals in both anesthetized and awake preparations, but has yet to be applied to a non-mammalian vertebrate. The goal of this study was to establish in vivo fast-scan cyclic voltammetry in a songbird, the European starling, to facilitate real-time measurements of extracellular catecholamine levels in the avian striatum. In urethane-anesthetized starlings, changes in catecholamine levels were evoked by electrical stimulation of the ventral tegmental area and measured at carbon-fiber microelectrodes positioned in the medial and lateral striata. Catecholamines were elicited by different stimulations, including trains related to phasic dopamine signaling in the rat, and were analyzed to quantify presynaptic mechanisms governing exocytotic release and neuronal uptake. Evoked extracellular catecholamine dynamics, maximal amplitude of the evoked catecholamine signal, and parameters for catecholamine release and uptake did not differ between striatal regions and were similar to those determined for dopamine in the rat dorsomedial striatum under similar conditions. Chemical identification of measured catecholamine by its voltammogram was consistent with the presence of both dopamine and norepinephrine in striatal tissue content. However, the high ratio of dopamine to norepinephrine in tissue content and the greater sensitivity of the carbon-fiber microelectrode to dopamine compared to norepinephrine favored the measurement of dopamine. Thus, converging evidence suggests that dopamine was the predominate analyte of the electrically evoked catecholamine signal measured in the striatum by fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. Overall, comparisons between the characteristics of these evoked signals suggested a similar presynaptic regulation of dopamine in the starling and rat striatum. Fast-scan cyclic voltammetry thus has the potential to be an invaluable tool for investigating the neural underpinnings of behavior in birds.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
PMID: 25900708 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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9. Prev Vet Med. 2015 Apr 9. pii: S0167-5877(15)00114-2. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2015.03.019. [Epub ahead of print]

Screening for Salmonella in backyard chickens.

Manning J1, Gole V1, Chousalkar K2.
Author information:
School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Roseworthy 5371, SA, Australia.
School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Roseworthy 5371, SA, Australia. Electronic address:


Salmonellosis is a significant zoonotic disease which has a considerable economic impact on the egg layer industry. There is limited information about the prevalence of Salmonella spp. in backyard chickens. The current study was conducted to determine the prevalence of Salmonella in backyard chickens, and the associated virulence of any serovars identified. Hundred and fifteen pooled samples from 30 backyard flocks in South Australia were screened. Four flocks tested positive for Salmonella spp. The overall Salmonella isolation rate in the current study was 10.4%. The estimated prevalence at individual bird level was 0.02% (95% CI 0.025-0.975). The serovars isolated were Salmonella Agona, Salmonella subsp 2 ser 21:z10:z6 (Wandsbek) and Salmonella Bovismorbificans. All Salmonella isolates tested positive for the prgH, orfL and spiC genes. The Salmonella subsp 2 ser 21:z10:z6 (Wandsbek) had the most antibiotic resistance, being resistant to ampicillin and cephalothin and having intermediate resistance to florphenicol. All of the Salmonella Agona had intermediate resistance to the ampicillin, while the Salmonella Bovismorbificans were susceptible to all antibiotics tested. With the increased interest of keeping backyard chickens, the current study highlights the zoonotic risk from Salmonella spp. associated with home flocks.
Crown Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
PMID: 25899620 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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10. Sci Total Environ. 2015 Apr 16;524-525C:157-165. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.04.008. [Epub ahead of print]

PBDEs and other POPs in urban birds of prey partly explained by trophic level and carbon source.

Elliott JE1, Brogan J2, Lee SL3, Drouillard KG4, Elliott KH5.
Author information:
Environment Canada, Science & Technology Branch, Pacific Wildlife Research Centre, Delta, British Columbia V4K 3N2, Canada; Department of Biological Science, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada.
Department of Biological Science, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada.
Environment Canada, Science & Technology Branch, Pacific Wildlife Research Centre, Delta, British Columbia V4K 3N2, Canada.
Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON N9B 3P4, Canada.
Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec H9X 3V9, Canada.


As urban sprawl and agricultural intensification continue to invade prime wildlife habitat, some animals, even apex predators, are managing to adapt to this new environment. Chemical pollution is one of many stressors that wildlife encounter in urban environments. Predators are particularly sensitive to persistent chemical pollutants because they feed at a high trophic level where such pollution is biomagnified. To examine levels of pollution in urban birds of prey in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, Canada, we analyzed persistent organic contaminants in adult birds found dead of trauma injury. The hepatic geometric mean concentration of sum polybrominated diphenyl ethers (∑PBDEs) in 13 Cooper's hawks (Accipiter cooperii) from Greater Vancouver was 1873ng/g (lipid weight) with one bird reaching 197,000ng/g lipid weight, the highest exposure reported to date for a wild bird. Concentrations of ∑PBDEs, ∑PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and, surprisingly, cyclodiene insecticides were greatest in the urban environment while those of DDE (1,1-dichloroethylene bis[p-chlorophenyl) were highest in a region of intensive agriculture. The level of most chlorinated and brominated contaminants increased with trophic level (δ15N). The concentrations of some contaminants, PBDEs in particular, in these birds of prey may have some toxicological consequences. Apex predators in urban environments continue to be exposed to elevated concentrations of legacy pollutants as well as more recent brominated pollutants.
Crown Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
PMID: 25897724 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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11. Peptides. 2015 Apr 17. pii: S0196-9781(15)00127-8. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2015.04.008. [Epub ahead of print]

ADNP: A major autism mutated gene is differentially distributed (age and gender) in the songbird brain.

Kleiman GH1, Barnea A2, Gozes I3.
Author information:
Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler Medical School, Adams Super Center for Brain Studies & Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel; Department of Natural and Life Sciences, The Open University, Raanana, Israel.
Department of Natural and Life Sciences, The Open University, Raanana, Israel.
Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler Medical School, Adams Super Center for Brain Studies & Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel. Electronic address:


ADNP is a protein necessary for brain development, important for brain plasticity, cognitive and social functioning, characteristics that are all impaired in autism and in the Adnp+/- mouse model, in a sex-dependent manner. ADNP was originally discovered as a protein that is secreted from glial cells in response to vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP). VIP is a major neuroprotective peptide in the CNS and PNS and was also associated with social recognition in rodents and aggression, pair-bonding and parental behaviors in birds. Comparative sequence alignment revealed high evolutionary conservation of ADNP in Chordata. Despite its importance in brain function, ADNP has never been studied in birds. Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are highly social songbirds that have a sexually dichotomous anatomical brain structure, with males demonstrating a developed song system, presenting a model to study behavior and potential sexually dependent fundamental differences. Here, using quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), we discovered sexually dichotomous and age related differences in ADNP mRNA expression in three different regions of the song bird brain-cerebellum, cerebrum, and brain stem. Higher levels of ADNP mRNA were specifically found in young male compared to the female cerebrum, while aging caused a significant 2 and 3-fold decrease in the female and male cerebrum, respectively. Furthermore, a comparison between the three tested brain regions revealed unique sex-dependent ADNP mRNA distribution patterns, affected by aging. Future studies are aimed at deciphering the function of ADNP in birds, toward a better molecular understanding of sexual dichotomy in singing behavior in birds.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
PMID: 25895853 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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12. Sex Dev. 2015 Apr 17. [Epub ahead of print]

A New Primer for Sex Identification of Ducks and a Minimally Invasive Technique for Sampling of Allantoic Fluid to Detect Sex during Bird Embryo Development.

Li H1, Hu Y, Song C, Ji G, Liu H, Xu W, Ding J.
Author information:
Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Poultry Genetics & Breeding, Institute of Poultry Science of Jiangsu Province, Yangzhou, PR China.


During the early incubation period of the duck, from embryonic day 1 to 13, a precise identification of the sex may be difficult. In a preliminary test, we found a defect in the use of the classical P2/P8, 1237L/1272H, and 2550F/2718R primers for chromo-helicase-DNA-binding 1 gene (CHD1) as a PCR-based test to identify sex in ducks. Therefore, universal PCR primers HPF/HPR for sexing ducks were designed. The PCR product was cloned, sequenced, and analyzed using GenBank. The effectiveness of the primers was compared using samples of blood and feathers from adult birds and chorioallantoic membranes and allantoic fluid (AF) of embryos as a source of DNA. The 495-bp CHD1-Z and the 351-bp CHD1-W PCR amplicons could be easily distinguished on a 3% agarose gel, and females (ZW) displayed 2 visible bands whereas only a single band was found in males (ZZ). The results indicated that HPF/HPR primers were highly efficient and more reliable than the classical primers used for sexing ducks. During the design of the new primers, an AF sampling technique was established to collect a very small amount of AF from free-living birds. This technique, which was minimally invasive, had no adverse effects on either embryos or the post-hatching survival of young ducks and could be used in developmental biology research in birds. © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.
PMID: 25895514 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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13. Int J Legal Med. 2015 Apr 17. [Epub ahead of print]

When the prey gets too big: an uncommon road accident involving a motorcyclist, a car and a bird.

Tschui J1, Feddern N, Schwendener N, Campana L, Utz S, Schweizer M, Jackowski C, Zech WD.
Author information:
Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Bern, Buehlstrasse 20, 3012, Bern, Switzerland,


We present the postmortem findings of a fatal road accident involving a motorcyclist, a car, and a common buzzard. Both the motorcyclist and the bird died on the scene of the accident and were examined by postmortem full-body CT and autopsy. In addition, a facial injury of the motorcyclist was compared with the dimensions of the buzzard's beak and claws by 3D scan technologies. Blood splatters collected on the bird's beak, feet, and tail were examined by DNA analysis. The overall findings suggested a collision of a common buzzard with a motorcyclist in full speed, causing the motorcyclist to lose control of his vehicle and crash with an approaching car on the oncoming lane.
PMID: 25895067 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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14. PLoS One. 2015 Apr 20;10(4):e0126292. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126292. eCollection 2015.

Increasing Accuracy: A New Design and Algorithm for Automatically Measuring Weights, Travel Direction and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) of Penguins.

Afanasyev V1, Buldyrev SV2, Dunn MJ1, Robst J1, Preston M1, Bremner SF1, Briggs DR1, Brown R1, Adlard S1, Peat HJ1.
Author information:
British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB30ET, United Kingdom.
Department of Physics, Yeshiva University, 500 W 185th Street, New York, NY, 10033, United States of America.


A fully automated weighbridge using a new algorithm and mechanics integrated with a Radio Frequency Identification System is described. It is currently in use collecting data on Macaroni penguins (Eudyptes chrysolophus) at Bird Island, South Georgia. The technology allows researchers to collect very large, highly accurate datasets of both penguin weight and direction of their travel into or out of a breeding colony, providing important contributory information to help understand penguin breeding success, reproductive output and availability of prey. Reliable discrimination between single and multiple penguin crossings is demonstrated. Passive radio frequency tags implanted into penguins allow researchers to match weight and trip direction to individual birds. Low unit and operation costs, low maintenance needs, simple operator requirements and accurate time stamping of every record are all important features of this type of weighbridge, as is its proven ability to operate 24 hours a day throughout a breeding season, regardless of temperature or weather conditions. Users are able to define required levels of accuracy by adjusting filters and raw data are automatically recorded and stored allowing for a range of processing options. This paper presents the underlying principles, design specification and system description, provides evidence of the weighbridge's accurate performance and demonstrates how its design is a significant improvement on existing systems.
Free Article
PMID: 25894763 [PubMed - in process]

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15. Environ Monit Assess. 2015 May;187(5):4502. doi: 10.1007/s10661-015-4502-x. Epub 2015 Apr 17.

Biomonitoring of heavy metals in feathers of eleven common bird species in urban and rural environments of Tiruchirappalli, India.

Manjula M1, Mohanraj R, Devi MP.
Author information:
Department of Environmental Management, School of Environmental Sciences, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli, 620 024, Tamil Nadu, India.


Heavy metals continue to remain as a major environmental concern in spite of emission control measures. In this study, we analyzed the concentrations of heavy metals (Fe, Cr, Mn, Ni, Cu, Zn, and Cd) in the feathers of 11 species of birds collected from urban and rural areas of Tiruchirappalli, Southern India. Metal concentrations followed the order: Fe > Cu > Zn > Cr > Mn > Ni > Cd. Irrespective of sample locations, heavy metals such as Fe, Cr, Ni, Zn, and Cu were detected in high concentrations, while Cd and Mn were observed in lower concentrations. In contrary to our assumption, there were no statistically significant intraspecific and urban-rural differences in the metal concentrations except for Zn. Pairwise comparisons among species irrespective of metal type showed significant interspecific differences between Acridotheres tristis and Centropus phasianinus, A. tristis and Milvus migrans, C. phasianinus and M. migrans, M. migrans and Eudynamys scolopaceus, and Psittacula krameri and E. scolopaceus. Principal component analysis carried out for urban data extracted Ni, Mn, Zn, Fe, and Cu accounting for 48 % variance implying dietary intake and external contamination as important sources for metals. In the rural, association of Zn, Cd, Ni, and Cr suggests the impact of metal fabrication industries and leather tanning operations.
PMID: 25893764 [PubMed - in process]

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16. Curr Biol. 2015 Apr 15. pii: S0960-9822(15)00400-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.03.047. [Epub ahead of print]

Temporal Dynamics of Avian Populations during Pleistocene Revealed by Whole-Genome Sequences.

Nadachowska-Brzyska K1, Li C2, Smeds L3, Zhang G4, Ellegren H3.
Author information:
Department of Evolutionary Biology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden. Electronic address:
China National GeneBank, BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China; Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 5-7, 1350 Copenhagen, Denmark.
Department of Evolutionary Biology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.
China National GeneBank, BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China; Centre for Social Evolution, Department of Biology, Universitetsparken 15, University of Copenhagen, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Global climate fluctuations have significantly influenced the distribution and abundance of biodiversity [1]. During unfavorable glacial periods, many species experienced range contraction and fragmentation, expanding again during interglacials [2-4]. An understanding of the evolutionary consequences of both historical and ongoing climate changes requires knowledge of the temporal dynamics of population numbers during such climate cycles. Variation in abundance should have left clear signatures in the patterns of intraspecific genetic variation in extant species, from which historical effective population sizes (Ne) can be estimated [3]. We analyzed whole-genome sequences of 38 avian species in a pairwise sequentially Markovian coalescent (PSMC, [5]) framework to quantitatively reveal changes in Ne from approximately 10 million to 10 thousand years ago. Significant fluctuations in Ne over time were evident for most species. The most pronounced pattern observed in many species was a severe reduction in Ne coinciding with the beginning of the last glacial period (LGP). Among species, Ne varied by at least three orders of magnitude, exceeding 1 million in the most abundant species. Several species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species showed long-term reduction in population size, predating recent declines. We conclude that cycles of population expansions and contractions have been a common feature of many bird species during the Quaternary period, likely coinciding with climate cycles. Population size reduction should have increased the risk of extinction but may also have promoted speciation. Species that have experienced long-term declines may be especially vulnerable to recent anthropogenic threats.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
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PMID: 25891404 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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