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Monday, 31 August 2015

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed - August 2015, Week 4

birdRS-Latest News

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).

PubMed Results

1. PLoS One. 2015 Aug 27;10(8):e0134284. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134284. 

Genetic Differentiation in Insular Lowland Rainforests: Insights from Historical Demographic Patterns in Philippine Birds. 
Sánchez-González LA(1), Hosner PA(1), Moyle RG(1). Author information: (1)Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Institute, Dyche Hall, University of Kansas, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7561, United States of America. 

Phylogeographic studies of Philippine birds support that deep genetic structure occurs across continuous lowland forests within islands, despite the lack of obvious contemporary isolation mechanisms. To examine the pattern and tempo of diversification within Philippine island forests, and test if common mechanisms are responsible for observed differentiation, we focused on three co-distributed lowland bird taxa endemic to Greater Luzon and Greater Negros-Panay: Blue-headed Fantail (Rhipidura cyaniceps), White-browed Shama (Copsychus luzoniensis), and Lemon-throated Leaf-Warbler (Phylloscopus cebuensis). Each species has two described subspecies within Greater Luzon, and a single described subspecies on Greater Negros/Panay. Each of the three focal species showed a common geographic pattern of two monophyletic groups in Greater Luzon sister to a third monophyletic group found in Greater Negros-Panay, suggesting that common or similar biogeographic processes may have produced similar distributions. However, studied species displayed variable levels of mitochondrial DNA differentiation between clades, and genetic differentiation within Luzon was not necessarily concordant with described subspecies boundaries. Population genetic parameters for the three species suggested both rapid population growth from small numbers and geographic expansion across Luzon Island. Estimates of the timing of population expansion further supported that these events occurred asynchronously throughout the Pleistocene in the focal species, demanding particular explanations for differentiation, and support that co-distribution may be secondarily congruent. PMID: 26312748 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

2. PLoS One. 2015 Aug 27;10(8):e0136316. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136316. 

Exploring Genomic, Geographic and Virulence Interactions among Epidemic and Non-Epidemic St. Louis Encephalitis Virus (Flavivirus) Strains. 
Diaz LA(1), Goñi SE(2), Iserte JA(3), Quaglia AI(4), Singh A(5), Logue CH(6), Powers AM(5), Contigiani MS(4). Author information: (1)Laboratorio de Arbovirus, Instituto de Virología ''Dr. J. M. Vanella", Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina; Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas y Tecnológicas, CONICET-Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina. (2)Área de Virosis Emergentes y Zoonóticas, Laboratorio de Ingeniería Genética y Biología Celular y Molecular, Instituto de Microbiología Básica y Aplicada, Departamento de Ciencia y Tecnología, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Bernal, Buenos Aires, Argentina. (3)Laboratorio de Bioinformática Estructural, Fundación Instituto Leloir, CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina. (4)Laboratorio de Arbovirus, Instituto de Virología ''Dr. J. M. Vanella", Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina. (5)Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention. Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America. (6)Novel and Dangerous Pathogens Training, Public Health England, Porton Down, United Kingdom. 

St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) is a re-emerging arbovirus in South America. In 2005, an encephalitis outbreak caused by SLEV was reported in Argentina. The reason for the outbreak remains unknown, but may have been related to virological factors, changes in vectors populations, avian amplifying hosts, and/or environmental conditions. The main goal of this study was to characterize the complete genome of epidemic and non-epidemic SLEV strains from Argentina. Seventeen amino acid changes were detected; ten were non-conservative and located in proteins E, NS1, NS3 and NS5. Phylogenetic analysis showed two major clades based on geography: the North America and northern Central America (NAnCA) clade and the South America and southern Central America (SAsCA) clade. Interestingly, the presence of SAsCA genotype V SLEV strains in the NAnCA clade was reported in California, Florida and Texas, overlapping with known bird migration flyways. This work represents the first step in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying virulence and biological variation among SLEV strains. PMID: 26312485 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

3. PeerJ. 2015 Aug 20;3:e1187. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1187. eCollection 2015. 

Irrigation and avifaunal change in coastal Northwest Mexico: has irrigated habit attracted threatened migratory species? 
Rohwer S(1), Grason E(2), Navarro-Sigüenza AG(3). Author information: (1)Burke Museum and Department of Biology, University of Washington , Seattle, WA , USA. (2)Department of Biology, University of Washington , Seattle, WA , USA. (3)Museo de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México , México D.F. , Mexico. 

Irrigation in desert ecosystems can either reduce or increase species diversity. Groundwater pumping often lowers water tables and reduces natural wetlands, whereas canal irrigation often creates mesic habitat, resulting in great increases in avian diversity from irrigation. Here we compare a dataset of potential natural vegetation to recent datasets from areal and satellite imagery to show that 60% of the land in the coastal plain of southern Sonora and northern Sinaloa lying below 200 m elevation has been converted by irrigation to more mesic habitats. We then use the record of bird specimens in the world's museums from this same region of Mexico to examine the avian community before and after the development of extensive irrigation. In general these museum records show an increase in the abundance and diversity of breeding birds associated with mesic habitats. Although thorn forest birds have likely decreased in total numbers, most are common enough in the remaining thorn forest that collection records did not indicate their probable decline. Four migrants having most of their breeding ranges in the US or Canada, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Cliff Swallow, Bell's Vireo, and Orchard Oriole, apparently have increased dramatically as breeders in irrigated habitats of NW Mexico. Because these species have decreased or even largely disappeared as breeding birds in parts of the US or Canada, further research should assess whether their increases in new mesic habitats of NW Mexico are linked to their declines as breeding birds in Canada and the US For Bell's Vireo recent specimens from Sinaloa suggest its new breeding population in NW Mexico may be composed partly of the endangered Least Bell's Vireo. PMID: 26312181 [PubMed] 

4. AoB Plants. 2015 Aug 26. pii: plv104. [Epub ahead of print] 

Long-term ecology resolves the timing, region of origin, and process of establishment for a disputed alien tree. 
Wilmshurst JM(1), McGlone MS(2), Turney CS(3). Author information: (1)Landcare Research, PO Box 69040, Lincoln 7640, New Zealand School of Environment, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand (2)Landcare Research, PO Box 69040, Lincoln 7640, New Zealand. (3)School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia. 

Alien plants are a pervasive environmental problem, particularly on islands where they can rapidly transform unique indigenous ecosystems. However, often it is difficult to confidently determine if a species is native or alien, especially if establishment occurred before historical records. This can present a management challenge: for example, should such taxa be eradicated or left alone until their region of origin and status is clarified? Here we show how combining palaeoecological and historical records can help resolve such dilemmas, using the tree daisy Olearia lyallii on the remote New Zealand subantarctic Auckland Islands as a case study. The status of this tree as native or introduced has remained uncertain for the 175 years since it was first discovered on the islands, and its appropriate management is debated. Elsewhere, O. lyallii has a highly restricted distribution on small sea bird-rich islands within a 2° latitudinal band south of mainland New Zealand. Analysis of palaeoecological and historical records from the islands suggest that O. lyallii established there c. 1807 when the islands were first exploited by European sealers. Establishment was facilitated by anthropogenic burning and clearing and its subsequent spread has been slow, limited in distribution, and probably human-assisted. O. lyallii has succeeded mostly in highly-disturbed sites which are also nutrient enriched from nesting sea birds, seals and sea spray. This marine subsidy has fuelled the rapid growth of O. lyallii and allowed this tree to be competitive against the maritime communities it has replaced. Although endemic to the New Zealand region, our evidence suggests that O. lyallii is alien to the Auckland Islands. Although such 'native' aliens can pose unique management challenges on islands, in this instance we suggest that ongoing monitoring with no control is an appropriate management action, as O. lyallii appears to pose minimal risk to ecological integrity. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. PMID: 26311733 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

5. J R Soc Interface. 2015 Sep 6;12(110). pii: 20150508. 

The role of passive avian head stabilization in flapping flight. 
Pete AE(1), Kress D(1), Dimitrov MA(1), Lentink D(2). Author information: (1)Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA. (2)Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA 

Birds improve vision by stabilizing head position relative to their surroundings, while their body is forced up and down during flapping flight. Stabilization is facilitated by compensatory motion of the sophisticated avian head-neck system. While relative head motion has been studied in stationary and walking birds, little is known about how birds accomplish head stabilization during flapping flight. To unravel this, we approximate the avian neck with a linear mass-spring-damper system for vertical displacements, analogous to proven head stabilization models for walking humans. We corroborate the model's dimensionless natural frequency and damping ratios from high-speed video recordings of whooper swans (Cygnus cygnus) flying over a lake. The data show that flap-induced body oscillations can be passively attenuated through the neck. We find that the passive model robustly attenuates large body oscillations, even in response to head mass and gust perturbations. Our proof of principle shows that bird-inspired drones with flapping wings could record better images with a swan-inspired passive camera suspension. © 2015 The Author(s). PMID: 26311316 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

6. Biol Lett. 2015 Aug;11(8). pii: 20150517. 

Stressful colours: corticosterone concentrations in a free-living songbird vary with the spectral composition of experimental illumination. 
Ouyang JQ(1), de Jong M(2), Hau M(3), Visser ME(2), van Grunsven RH(4), Spoelstra K(2). Author information: (1)Department of Animal Ecology, The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Wageningen, The Netherlands (2)Department of Animal Ecology, The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Wageningen, The Netherlands. (3)Department of Biology, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Evolutionary Physiology Group, Seewiesen, Germany University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany. (4)Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands. 

Organisms have evolved under natural daily light/dark cycles for millions of years. These cycles have been disturbed as night-time darkness is increasingly replaced by artificial illumination. Investigating the physiological consequences of free-living organisms in artificially lit environments is crucial to determine whether nocturnal lighting disrupts circadian rhythms, changes behaviour, reduces fitness and ultimately affects population numbers. We make use of a unique, large-scale network of replicated field sites which were experimentally illuminated at night using lampposts emanating either red, green, white or no light to test effect on stress hormone concentrations (corticosterone) in a songbird, the great tit (Parus major). Adults nesting in white-light transects had higher corticosterone concentrations than in the other treatments. We also found a significant interaction between distance to the closest lamppost and treatment type: individuals in red light had higher corticosterone levels when they nested closer to the lamppost than individuals nesting farther away, a decline not observed in the green or dark treatment. Individuals with high corticosterone levels had fewer fledglings, irrespective of treatment. These results show that artificial light can induce changes in individual hormonal phenotype. As these effects vary considerably with light spectrum, it opens the possibility to mitigate these effects by selecting street lighting of specific spectra. © 2015 The Author(s). PMID: 26311159 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

7. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2015 Aug 23. pii: S1569-9048(15)30036-7. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2015.08.007. [Epub ahead of print] 

Studying respiratory rhythm generation in a developing bird: hatching a new experimental model using the classic in vitro brainstem-spinal cord preparation. 
Vincen-Brown MA(1), Whitesitt KC(1), Quick FG(2), Pilarski JQ(3). Author information: (1)Department of Biological Sciences, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID, 83 208, USA. (2)Department of Biological Sciences, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID, 83 208, USA. Electronic address: (3)Department of Biological Sciences, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID, 83 208, USA; Department of Dental Sciences, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID, 83 208, USA. Electronic address: 

It has been more than thirty years since the in vitro brainstem-spinal cord preparation was first presented as a method to study automatic breathing behaviors in the neonatal rat. This straightforward preparation has led to an incredible burst of information about the location and coordination of several spontaneously active microcircuits that form the ventrolateral respiratory network of the brainstem. Despite these advances, our knowledge of the mechanisms that regulate central breathing behaviors is still incomplete. Investigations into the nature of spontaneous breathing rhythmicity have almost exclusively focused on mammals, and there is a need for comparative experimental models to evaluate several unresolved issues from a different perspective. With this in mind, we sought to develop a new avian in vitro model with the long term goal to better understand questions associated with the ontogeny of respiratory rhythm generation, neuroplasticity, and whether multiple, independent oscillators drive the major phases of breathing. The fact that birds develop in ovo provides unparalleled access to central neuronal networks throughout the prenatal period-from embryo to hatchling-that are free from confounding interactions with mother. Previous studies using in vitro avian models have been strictly limited to the early embryonic period. Consequently, the details and even the presence of brainstem derived breathing-related rhythmogenesis in birds have never been described. In the present study, we used the altricial zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) and show robust spontaneous motor outflow through cranial motor nerve IX, which is first detectable on embryonic day four and continues through prenatal and early postnatal development without interruption. We also show that brainstem oscillations change dramatically over the course of prenatal development, sometimes within hours, which suggests rapid maturational modifications in growth and connectivity. We propose that this experimental preparation will be useful for a variety of studies aimed at testing the biophysical and synaptic properties of neurons that participate in the unique spatiotemporal patterns of avian breathing behaviors, especially in the context of early development. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V. PMID: 26310580 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

8. J Med Entomol. 2014 Nov 1;51(6):1116-1121. Epub 2014 Nov 1. 

Key to Species of the Genus Neocheyletiella (Acariformes: Cheyletidae), With Description of a New Species. 
Mertins JW(1), Bochkov AV(2). Author information: (1)Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services, Science, Technology, and Analysis Services, National Veterinary Services Laboratories, 1920 Dayton Avenue, Ames, IA 50010. (2)Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Universitetskaya emb. 1, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia. Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, 1109 Geddes Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109. A new species of the genus Neocheyletiella Baker, 1949 (Acariformes: Cheyletidae) is described from the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata (Viellot, 1817) (Passeriformes: Estrildidae), from a laboratory colony at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. 

The setal additions in the ontogeny of the new species, Neocheyletiella parvisetosa Mertins & Bochkov, and the main differential characters of all 17 known species of the genus Neocheyletiella are provided in tabular format. Keys to females and males of Neocheyletiella spp. also are given. © 2014 Entomological Society of America. PMID: 26309296 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

9. PLoS One. 2015 Aug 26;10(8):e0136677. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136677. 

Validation of a Mechanistic Model for Non-Invasive Study of Ecological Energetics in an Endangered Wading Bird with Counter-Current Heat Exchange in its Legs. 
Fitzpatrick MJ(1), Mathewson PD(1), Porter WP(1). Author information: (1)Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America. 

Mechanistic models provide a powerful, minimally invasive tool for gaining a deeper understanding of the ecology of animals across geographic space and time. In this paper, we modified and validated the accuracy of the mechanistic model Niche Mapper for simulating heat exchanges of animals with counter-current heat exchange mechanisms in their legs and animals that wade in water. We then used Niche Mapper to explore the effects of wading and counter-current heat exchange on the energy expenditures of Whooping Cranes, a long-legged wading bird. We validated model accuracy against the energy expenditure of two captive Whooping Cranes measured using the doubly-labeled water method and time energy budgets. Energy expenditure values modeled by Niche Mapper were similar to values measured by the doubly-labeled water method and values estimated from time-energy budgets. Future studies will be able to use Niche Mapper as a non-invasive tool to explore energy-based limits to the fundamental niche of Whooping Cranes and apply this knowledge to management decisions. Basic questions about the importance of counter-current exchange and wading to animal physiological tolerances can also now be explored with the model. PMID: 26308207 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

10. Environ Monit Assess. 2015 Sep;187(9):4783. doi: 10.1007/s10661-015-4783-0. Epub 2015 Aug 26. 

Clutch size of a vole-eating bird of prey as an indicator of vole abundance. 
Solonen T(1), Ahola K, Karstinen T. Author information: (1)Luontotutkimus Solonen Oy, Neitsytsaarentie 7b B 147, FI-00960, Helsinki, Finland, 

Voles are often considered as harmful pests in agriculture and silviculture. Then, the knowledge of their abundance may be of considerable economical importance. Commonly used methods in the monitoring of vole abundances are relatively laborious, expensive, and spatially quite restricted. We demonstrate how the mean clutch size of the tawny owl Strix aluco may be cost-effectively used to predict relative densities of voles over large areas. Besides installing a number of suitable nest boxes, this vole monitoring system primarily includes only the inspection of the nest boxes and counting the number of tawny owl eggs found two times during a few weeks period in spring. Our results showed a considerable agreement between the fluctuations in the mean clutch size of tawny owls and the late spring abundance indices of small voles (Myodes, Microtus) in our study areas in southern Finland. The mean clutch size of the tawny owl reflected spring vole abundance over the spatial range examined, suggesting its suitability for general forecasting purposes. From the pest management point of view, an additional merit of the present method is that it may increase numbers of vole-eaters that provide biological control of vole populations. PMID: 26307687 [PubMed - in process] 

11. Conserv Biol. 2015 Aug 26. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12609. [Epub ahead of print] 

Quantifying the relative irreplaceability of important bird and biodiversity areas. 
Marco MD(1,)(2,)(3), Brooks T(4,)(5,)(6), Cuttelod A(7), Fishpool LD(8), Rondinini C(9), Smith RJ(10), Bennun L(11), Butchart SH(8), Ferrier S(12), Foppen RP(13,)(14,)(15), Joppa L(16), Juffe-Bignoli D(17), Knight AT(18,)(19,)(20), Lamoreux JF(21), Langhammer PF(22), May I(8), Possingham HP(18,)(19), Visconti P(16), Watson JE(23,)(24), Woodley S(25). Author information: (1)Global Mammal Assessment Program, Department of Biology and Biotechnologies, Sapienza Università di Roma, viale dell' Università 32, 00185, Rome, Italy. (2)ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, The University of Queensland, 4072, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. (3)School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, University of Queensland, 4072, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. (4)International Union for Conservation of Nature, 28 rue Mauverney, 1196, Gland, Switzerland. (5)World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna, 4031, Philippines. (6)School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, 7001, Australia. (7)International Union for Conservation of Nature, Sheraton House Castle Park, Cambridge, CB3 0AX, UK. (8)BirdLife International, Wellbrook Court, Girton Road, Cambridge, CB3 0NA, UK. (9)Global Mammal Assessment Program, Department of Biology and Biotechnologies, Sapienza Università di Roma, viale dell' Università 32, 00185, Rome, Italy. (10)Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NR, UK. (11)The Biodiversity Consultancy Ltd, 3E King's Parade, Cambridge, CB2 1SJ, UK. (12)CSIRO Land and Water Flagship, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia. (13)Sovon, Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology, PO Box 6521, 6503 GA, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. (14)European Bird Census Council, P.O. Box 6521, 6503 GA, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. (15)Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Department of Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology, Radboud University, P.O. Box 9100, 6500 GL, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. (16)Microsoft Research Computational Science Laboratory, Cambridge, UK. (17)United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), 219 Huntingdon Road, CB3 0DL, Cambridge, UK. (18)ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, The University of Queensland, 4072, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. (19)Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Buckhurst Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY, UK. (20)Department of Botany, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, P.O. Box 77000, Port Elizabeth, 6031, South Africa. (21)National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Washington, DC, 20005, USA. (22)School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, PO Box 874601, Tempe, Arizona, 85287-4601, USA. (23)School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, University of Queensland, 4072, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. (24)Global Conservation Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York, 10460, USA. (25)WCPA-SSC Joint Task Force on Biodiversity and Protected Areas, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 64 Juniper Road, Chelsea, Quebec, J9B 1T3, Canada. 

World governments have committed to increase the global protected areas coverage by 2020, but the effectiveness of this commitment for protecting biodiversity depends on where new protected areas are located. Threshold-based and complementarity-based approaches have been independently used to identify important sites for biodiversity. Here we bring together these approaches by performing a complementarity-based analysis of irreplaceability in Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs; which are sites identified using a threshold-based approach). We determined whether irreplaceability values are higher inside than outside IBAs, and whether any observed difference depends on known characteristics of the IBAs. We focussed on three regions having comprehensive IBAs inventories and bird distribution atlases: Australia, Southern Africa and Europe. Irreplaceability values were significantly higher inside than outside IBAs, although differences were much smaller in Europe than elsewhere. Higher irreplaceability values in IBAs were associated with: presence and number of restricted-range species; number of criteria under which the site was identified; and mean geographic range size of the species for which the site was identified ('trigger species'). In addition, IBAs were characterised by higher irreplaceability values when using proportional species representation targets, rather than fixed targets. There were broadly comparable results both when measuring irreplaceability for trigger species and when considering all bird species, indicating a good surrogacy effect of the former. Recently the International Union for Conservation of Nature has convened a consultation to consolidate global standards for the identification of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), building from existing approaches like IBAs. Our results are important for informing this consultation, and in particular for a proposed irreplaceability criterion that will allow the new KBA standard to draw on the strengths of both threshold-based and complementarity-based approaches. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. PMID: 26307601 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

12. PLoS One. 2015 Aug 25;10(8):e0136582. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136582. eCollection 2015. 

Body Condition Indices Predict Reproductive Success but Not Survival in a Sedentary, Tropical Bird. 
Milenkaya O(1), Catlin DH(2), Legge S(3), Walters JR(1). Author information: (1)Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, United States of America. (2)Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, United States of America. (3)Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary, Derby, Western Australia, Australia; Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Casuarina, Northern Territory, Australia. 

Body condition may predict individual fitness because those in better condition have more resources to allocate towards improving their fitness. However, the hypothesis that condition indices are meaningful proxies for fitness has been questioned. Here, we ask if intraspecific variation in condition indices predicts annual reproductive success and survival. We monitored a population of Neochmia phaeton (crimson finch), a sedentary, tropical passerine, for reproductive success and survival over four breeding seasons, and sampled them for commonly used condition indices: mass adjusted for body size, muscle and fat scores, packed cell volume, hemoglobin concentration, total plasma protein, and heterophil to lymphocyte ratio. Our study population is well suited for this research because individuals forage in common areas and do not hold territories such that variation in condition between individuals is not confounded by differences in habitat quality. Furthermore, we controlled for factors that are known to impact condition indices in our study population (e.g., breeding stage) such that we assessed individual condition relative to others in the same context. Condition indices that reflect energy reserves predicted both the probability of an individual fledging young and the number of young produced that survived to independence, but only during some years. Those that were relatively heavy for their body size produced about three times more independent young compared to light individuals. That energy reserves are a meaningful predictor of reproductive success in a sedentary passerine supports the idea that energy reserves are at least sometimes predictors of fitness. However, hematological indices failed to predict reproductive success and none of the indices predicted survival. Therefore, some but not all condition indices may be informative, but because we found that most indices did not predict any component of fitness, we question the ubiquitous interpretation of condition indices as surrogates for individual quality and fitness. PMID: 26305457 [PubMed - in process] 

13. PLoS One. 2015 Aug 25;10(8):e0136623. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136623. eCollection 2015. 

The Butterflies of Barro Colorado Island, Panama: Local Extinction since the 1930s. 
Basset Y(1), Barrios H(2), Segar S(3), Srygley RB(4), Aiello A(5), Warren AD(6), Delgado F(7), Coronado J(5), Lezcano J(5), Arizala S(5), Rivera M(2), Perez F(5), Bobadilla R(5), Lopez Y(5), Ramirez JA(5). Author information: (1)Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 0843-03092, Panama City, Republic of Panama; Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia and Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre of Czech Academy of Sciences, Branišovská 31, 370 05, České Budějovice, Czech Republic; Universidad de Panamá, Maestria de Entomologia, 080814, Panama City, Republic of Panama. (2)Universidad de Panamá, Maestria de Entomologia, 080814, Panama City, Republic of Panama. (3)Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia and Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre of Czech Academy of Sciences, Branišovská 31, 370 05, České Budějovice, Czech Republic. (4)Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 0843-03092, Panama City, Republic of Panama; Northern Plains Agricultural Lab, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, 1500 N. Central Ave., Sidney, Montana, 59270, United States of America. (5)Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 0843-03092, Panama City, Republic of Panama. (6)McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, 3215 Hull Rd., P.O. Box 112710, Gainesville, Florida, 32611-2710, United States of America. (7)Universidad de Panamá, Centro Regional Universitario de Veraguas, Santiago, Republic of Panama. 

Few data are available about the regional or local extinction of tropical butterfly species. When confirmed, local extinction was often due to the loss of host-plant species. We used published lists and recent monitoring programs to evaluate changes in butterfly composition on Barro Colorado Island (BCI, Panama) between an old (1923-1943) and a recent (1993-2013) period. Although 601 butterfly species have been recorded from BCI during the 1923-2013 period, we estimate that 390 species are currently breeding on the island, including 34 cryptic species, currently only known by their DNA Barcode Index Number. Twenty-three butterfly species that were considered abundant during the old period could not be collected during the recent period, despite a much higher sampling effort in recent times. We consider these species locally extinct from BCI and they conservatively represent 6% of the estimated local pool of resident species. Extinct species represent distant phylogenetic branches and several families. The butterfly traits most likely to influence the probability of extinction were host growth form, wing size and host specificity, independently of the phylogenetic relationships among butterfly species. On BCI, most likely candidates for extinction were small hesperiids feeding on herbs (35% of extinct species). However, contrary to our working hypothesis, extinction of these species on BCI cannot be attributed to loss of host plants. In most cases these host plants remain extant, but they probably subsist at lower or more fragmented densities. Coupled with low dispersal power, this reduced availability of host plants has probably caused the local extinction of some butterfly species. Many more bird than butterfly species have been lost from BCI recently, confirming that small preserves may be far more effective at conserving invertebrates than vertebrates and, therefore, should not necessarily be neglected from a conservation viewpoint. PMID: 26305111 [PubMed - in process] 

14. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2015 Aug 24. pii: 14-0590. [Epub ahead of print] 

Surveillance Potential of Non-Native Hawaiian Birds for Detection of West Nile Virus. 
Hofmeister EK(1), Dusek RJ(2), Brand CJ(2). Author information: (1)USGS National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, Wisconsin (2)USGS National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, Wisconsin. 

West Nile virus (WNV) was first detected in North America in 1999. Alaska and Hawaii (HI) remain the only U.S. states in which transmission of WNV has not been detected. Dead bird surveillance has played an important role in the detection of the virus geographically, as well as temporally. In North America, corvids have played a major role in WNV surveillance; however, the only corvid in HI is the endangered Hawaiian crow that exists only in captivity, thus precluding the use of this species for WNV surveillance in HI. To evaluate the suitability of alternate avian species for WNV surveillance, we experimentally challenged seven abundant non-native bird species present in HI with WNV and compared mortality, viremia, oral shedding of virus, and seroconversion. For detection of WNV in oral swabs, we compared viral culture, reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, and the RAMP(®) test. For detection of antibodies to WNV, we compared an indirect and a competitive enzyme-linked immunoassay. We found four species (house sparrow, house finch, Japanese white-eye, and Java sparrow) that may be useful in dead bird surveillance for WNV; while common myna, zebra dove, and spotted dove survived infection and may be useful in serosurveillance. © The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. PMID: 26304918 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

15. Anim Sci J. 2015 Aug 24. doi: 10.1111/asj.12407. [Epub ahead of print] 

Improving transport container design to reduce broiler chicken PSE (pale, soft, exudative) meat in Brazil. 
Spurio RS(1), Soares AL(1), Carvalho RH(2), Silveira Junior V(3), Grespan M(4), Oba A(2), Shimokomaki M(1,)(2,)(5). Author information: (1)Graduate Program in Food Science, Department of Food Science and Technology, State University of Londrina, PR, Brazil. (2)Graduate Program in Animal Science Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, State University of Londrina, PR, Brazil. (3)Faculty of Food Engineering, State University of Campinas, SP, Brazil. (4)DVM, Cascavel, PR, Brazil. (5)Professional Master in Food Technology Program, Paraná Federal Technological University, Campus Londrina, Londrina, PR, Brazil. 

Throughout the chicken production chain, transport from farm to the commercial abattoir is one of the most critical sources of stress, particularly heat stress. The aim of this work was to describe the performance of a new prototype truck container designed to improve the microenvironment and reduce the incidence of pale, soft and exudative (PSE) meat and dead on arrival (DOA) occurrences. Experiments were carried out for four different conditions: regular and prototype truck, both with and without wetting loaded cages at the farm (for bird thermal stress relief) just before transporting. While there was no difference in the DOA index (P ≥ 0.05), the prototype truck caused a reduction (P < 0.05) in the occurrence of PSE meat by 66.3% and 49.6% with and without wetting, respectively. The results of this experiment clearly revealed a low-cost solution for transporting chickens that yields better animal welfare conditions and improves meat quality. © 2015 Japanese Society of Animal Science. PMID: 26304672 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

16. Virus Genes. 2015 Aug 25. [Epub ahead of print] 

A novel gemycircularvirus from experimental rats. 
Li W(1), Gu Y, Shen Q, Yang S, Wang X, Wan Y, Zhang W. Author information: (1)Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, 212013, Jiangsu, China. 

Recently, gemycircularviruses have been found in humans and various species of animals. Here, a novel gemycircularvirus named Ch-zjrat-01 from blood samples of experimental rats was characterized. The novel gemycircularvirus encodes two major proteins, including a capsid protein (Cap) and a replication-associated protein (Rep). Phylogenetic analysis based on the amino acid sequence of Rep indicated that Ch-zjrat-01 clusters with two gemycircularviruses discovered from bird (KF371635) and mosquito (HQ335086), sharing 48.7 and 49.4 % sequence identities with them, respectively. PMID: 26303898 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

17. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2015 Aug 22. pii: S1055-7903(15)00248-1. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2015.08.017. [Epub ahead of print] 

Geographic isolation drives divergence of uncorrelated genetic and song variation in the Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus frantzii; Aves: Turdidae). 
Ortiz-Ramírez MF(1), Andersen MJ(2), Zaldívar-Riverón A(3), Ornelas JF(4), Navarro-Sigüenza AG(5). Author information: (1)Museo de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias, UNAM, Apartado Postal 70-399, México, D. F. 04510, Mexico; Posgrado en Ciencias Biológicas, UNAM, Mexico. Electronic address: (2)Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA; Department of Ornithology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024, USA. (3)Colección Nacional de Insectos, Instituto de Biología, UNAM, Apartado Postal 70-233, México, D. F. 04510, Mexico. (4)Departamento de Biología Evolutiva, Instituto de Ecología AC, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. (5)Museo de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias, UNAM, Apartado Postal 70-399, México, D. F. 04510, Mexico. 

Montane barriers influence the evolutionary history of lineages by promoting isolation of populations. The effects of these historical processes are evident in patterns of differentiation among extant populations, which are often expressed as genetic and behavioral variation between populations. We investigated the effects of geographic barriers on the evolutionary history of a Mesoamerican bird by studying patterns of genetic and vocal variation in the Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush (Turdidae: Catharus frantzii), a non-migratory oscine bird that inhabits montane forests from central Mexico to Panama. We reconstructed the phylogeographic history and estimated divergence times between populations using Bayesian and maximum likelihood methods. We found strong support for the existence of four mitochondrial lineages of C. frantzii corresponding to isolated mountain ranges: Sierra Madre Oriental; Sierra Madre del Sur; the highlands of Chiapas, Guatemala, and El Salvador; and the Talamanca Cordillera. Vocal features in C. frantzii were highly variable among the four observed clades, but vocal variation and genetic variation were uncorrelated. Song variation in C. frantzii suggests that sexual selection and cultural drift could be important factors driving song differentiation in C. frantzii. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc. PMID: 26302950 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

18. J Comp Psychol. 2015 Aug 24. [Epub ahead of print] 

A Comparison of Spontaneous Problem-Solving Abilities in Three Estrildid Finch (Taeniopygia guttata, Lonchura striata var. domestica, Stagonopleura guttata) Species. 
Schmelz M, Krüger O, Call J, Krause ET. 

Cognition has been extensively studied in primates while other, more distantly related taxa have been neglected for a long time. More recently, there has been an increased interest in avian cognition, with the focus mostly on big-brained species like parrots and corvids. However, the majority of bird species has never systematically been studied in diverse cognitive tasks other than memory and learning tasks, so not much can yet be concluded about the relevant factors for the evolution of cognition. Here we examined 3 species of the estrildid finch family in problem-solving tasks. These granivorous, non-tool-using birds are distributed across 3 continents and are not known for high levels of innovation or spontaneous problem solving in the wild. In this study, our aim was to find such abilities in these species, assess what role domestication might play with a comparison of 4 genetically separated zebra finch strains, and to look for between-species differences between zebra finches, Bengalese finches, and diamond firetails. Furthermore, we established a 3-step spontaneous problem-solving procedure with increasing levels of complexity. Results showed that some estrildid finches were generally capable of spontaneously solving problems of variable complexity to obtain food. We found striking differences in these abilities between species, but not between strains within species, and offer a discussion of potential reasons. Our established methodology can now be applied to a larger number of bird species for phylogenetic comparisons on the behavioral level to get a deeper understanding of the evolution of cognitive abilities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved). PMID: 26301340 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

19. J Gen Virol. 2015 Jul 9. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.000231. [Epub ahead of print] 

Next Generation Sequencing shows West Nile virus quasispecies diversification after a single passage in a carrion crow (Corvus corone) in vivo infection model. 
Dridi M(1), Rosseel T(2), Orton R(3), Johnson P(4), Lecollinet S(5), Muylkens B(6), Lambrecht B(7), van Borm S(8). Author information: (1)Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Center. (2)Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Center. (3)University of Glasgow. (4)University of Glasgow. (5)French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety. (6)University of Namur. (7)Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Center. (8)Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Center, Belgium. 

West Nile virus (WNV) occurs as a population of genetic variants (quasispecies) infecting a single animal. Previous low resolution viral genetic diversity estimates in sampled wild birds and mosquitoes and in multiple passage adaptation studies in vivo or in cell culture, suggest that WNV genetic diversification is mostly limited to the mosquito vector. This study investigates genetic diversification of WNV in avian hosts during a single passage using next generation sequencing. Wild-captured Carrion crows were subcutaneously infected using a clonal Middle-East WNV. Blood samples were collected on 2 and 4 days post-infection. A RT-PCR approach was used to amplify the WNV genome directly from serum samples prior to next generation sequencing resulting in an average depth of at least 700x in each sample. Appropriate controls were sequenced to discriminate biologically relevant low frequency variants from experimentally introduced errors. The WNV populations in the wild crows showed significant diversification away from the inoculum virus quasispecies structure. By contrast, WNV populations in intracerebrally infected day-old chickens did not diversify from that of the inoculum. Where previous studies concluded that WNV genetic diversification is only experimentally demonstrated in its permissive insect vector species, we have experimentally shown significant diversification of WNV populations in a wild bird reservoir species. PMID: 26297666 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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