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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed September 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. Virus Genes. 2015 Sep 24. [Epub ahead of print] 
The genome sequence of parrot bornavirus 5.  
Guo J(1), Tizard I(2). Author information: (1)Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 77843, USA. (2)Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 77843, USA.  

Although several new avian bornaviruses have recently been described, information on their evolution, virulence, and sequence are often limited. Here we report the complete genome sequence of parrot bornavirus 5 (PaBV-5) isolated from a case of proventricular dilatation disease in a Palm cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus). The complete genome consists of 8842 nucleotides with distinct 5' and 3' end sequences. This virus shares nucleotide sequence identities of 69-74 % with other bornaviruses in the genomic regions excluding the 5' and 3' terminal sequences. Phylogenetic analysis based on the genomic regions demonstrated this new isolate is an isolated branch within the clade that includes the aquatic bird bornaviruses and the passerine bornaviruses. Based on phylogenetic analyses and its low nucleotide sequence identities with other bornavirus, we support the proposal that PaBV-5 be assigned to a new bornavirus species:- Psittaciform 2 bornavirus. PMID: 26403158 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]  

2. Conserv Biol. 2015 Sep 24. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12635. [Epub ahead of print]  

Assessing strategies to reconcile agriculture and bird conservation in the temperate grasslands of South America.  
Dotta G(1,)(2,)(3), Phalan B(1), Silva TW(2), Green R(1), Balmford A(1). Author information: (1)Department of Zoology, Conservation Science Group, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, United Kingdom, CB2 3EJ. (2)Museu de Ciências e Tecnologia, Laboratório de Ornitologia, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, sala 112, Avenida Ipiranga, 6681, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, 90619-900. (3)Museu de Ciências e Tecnologia, Laboratório de Ornitologia, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, sala 112, Avenida Ipiranga, 6681, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.  

Looked at globally, agriculture is the greatest source of threat to biodiversity, through both ongoing conversion of natural habitat and intensification of existing farmland. Land sparing and land sharing have been suggested as alternative approaches to reconcile this threat with the need for land to produce food. To examine which approach holds most promise for grassland species, we examined how bird population densities changed with farm yield (production per unit area) in the Campos of Brazil and Uruguay. Information on biodiversity and yields were obtained from 24 sites which varied in agricultural production. Density-yield functions were fitted for 121 bird species to describe the response of population densities to increasing farm yield, measured in terms of both food energy and profit. Individual species were categorised according to how their population changed across the yield gradient as 'losers' or 'winners' from farming, and also according to whether the species' total population size would be greater under land sparing, land sharing or an intermediate strategy. Irrespective of the yield currency used, most species were losers; increasing yields reduced densities of around 80% of bird species. Land sparing would result in larger populations than other sorts of strategies for 67% (energy) to 70% (profit) of the loser species, given current production levels, including three threatened species. This suggests that increasing yields in some areas while reducing grazing to low levels elsewhere would be the best option for bird conservation in these grasslands. Implementing such an approach would require conservation and production policies to be explicitly linked, to (1) support yield increases in farmed areas; and (2) concurrently guarantee that larger areas of lightly-grazed natural grasslands are set aside for conservation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. PMID: 26400720 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]  

3. Glob Chang Biol. 2015 Sep 24. doi: 10.1111/gcb.13070. [Epub ahead of print]  

Is supplementary feeding in gardens a driver of evolutionary change in a migratory bird species?  
Plummer KE(1), Siriwardena GM(1), Conway GJ(1), Risely K(1), Toms MP(1). Author information: (1)British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU, UK.  

Human activities are causing rapid environmental change at a global scale. Urbanization is responsible for some of the most extreme human-altered habitats and is a known driver of evolutionary change, but evidence and understanding of these processes is limited. Here, we investigate the potential underlying mechanisms contributing to the contemporary evolution of migration behaviour in the Eurasian blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla). Blackcaps from central Europe have been wintering in urban areas of Britain with increasing frequency over the past 60 years, rather than migrating south to the Mediterranean. It has been hypothesized that the popularization of providing supplementary foods for wild birds within Britain may have influenced this marked migratory change, but quantifying the selective forces shaping evolutionary changes remains challenging. Using a long-term national scale data set, we examine both the spatial distribution and interannual variation in blackcap wintering behaviour in Britain in relation to supplementary food availability and local climate. Over a 12-year period, we show that blackcaps are becoming increasingly associated with the provision of supplementary foods in British gardens, and that the reliability of bird food supplies is influencing their winter distribution at a national scale. In addition, local climatic temperatures and broader scale weather variation are also important determinants of blackcap wintering patterns once they arrive in Britain. Based on our findings, we conclude that a synergistic effect of increased availability of feeding resources, in the form of garden bird food, coupled with climatic amelioration, has enabled a successful new wintering population to become established in Britain. As global biodiversity is threatened by human-induced environmental change, this study presents new and timely evidence of the role human activities can play in shaping evolutionary trajectories. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. PMID: 26400594 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]  

4. J Anim Ecol. 2015 Sep 24. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12448. [Epub ahead of print]  

Patterns and predictors of β-diversity in the fragmented Brazilian Atlantic forest: A multiscale analysis of forest specialist and generalist birds.

Morante-Filho JC(1), Arroyo-Rodríguez V(2), Faria D(1). Author information: (1)Applied Conservation Ecology Lab, Programa de Pós-graduação Ecologia e Conservação da Biodiversidade, Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Rodovia Ilhéus-Itabuna, km16, Salobrinho, 45662-000, Ilhéus, Bahia, Brazil. (2)Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico.  

1.Biodiversity maintenance in human-altered landscapes (HALs) depends on the species turnover among localities, but the patterns and determinants of β-diversity in HALs are poorly known. In fact, declines, increases, and neutral shifts in β-diversity have all been documented, depending on the landscape, ecological group and spatial scale of analysis. 2.We shed some light on this controversy by assessing the patterns and predictors of bird β-diversity across multiple spatial scales considering forest specialist and habitat generalist bird assemblages. 3.We surveyed birds from 144 point counts in 36 different forest sites across two landscapes with different amount of forest cover in the Brazilian Atlantic forest. We analysed β-diversity among points, among sites, and between landscapes with multiplicative diversity partitioning of Hill numbers. We tested whether β-diversity among points was related to within-site variations in vegetation structure, and if β-diversity among sites was related to site location and/or to differences among sites in vegetation structure and landscape composition (i.e. percent forest and pasture cover surrounding each site). 4.β-diversity between landscapes was lower than among sites and among points in both bird assemblages. In forest specialist birds, the landscape with less forest cover showed the highest β-diversity among sites (bird differentiation among sites), but generalist birds showed the opposite pattern. At the local scale, however, the less forested landscape showed the lowest β-diversity among points (bird homogenisation within sites), independently of the bird assemblage. β-diversity among points was weakly related to vegetation structure, but higher β-diversity values were recorded among sites that were more isolated from each other, and among sites with higher differences in landscape composition, particularly in the less forested landscape. 5.Our findings indicate that patterns of bird β-diversity vary across scales and are strongly related to landscape composition. Bird assemblages are shaped by both environmental filtering and dispersal limitation, particularly in less forested landscapes. Conservation and management strategies should therefore prevent deforestation in this biodiversity hotspot. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. PMID: 26399774 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]  

5. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 23;10(9):e0138415. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138415. 
Comparative Examination of Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L.) Behaviour Responses and Semen Quality to Two Methods of Semen Collection.  
Łukaszewicz ET(1), Kowalczyk AM(1), Rzońca Z(2). Author information: (1)Division of Poultry Breeding, Institute of Animal Breeding, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Wrocław, Poland. (2)Forestry Wisła; Czarne 6; 43-460 Wisła, Poland.  

Artificial insemination (AI) is very helpful in solving the reproductive and biodiversity problems observed in small, closed avian populations. The successful production of fertilized eggs using AI is dependent on the collection of good quality semen. Two methods of male sexual stimulation and semen collection from captive kept capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L.), one of the most seriously endangered grouse species in Europe, are compared in this study. Ejaculates were obtained either with the use of a dummy female or by the dorso-abdominal massage method. Differences in the individual responses of the males to the two methods of semen collection as well as in their semen quality were noted. Only sperm concentration (432.4 x 106 mL-1 with dummy female and 614.5 x 106 mL-1 for massage method) was significantly affected by capercaillie stimulation method. Sperm motility and morphology were not affected (P≥0.05). Thus, for semen collection from captive kept capercaillie both methods can be used successfully. The dummy female can be an alternative to dorso-abdominal massage method, commonly used for semen collection from domesticated bird species. PMID: 26397704 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]  

6. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 22;10(9):e0134582. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134582.  

On the Estimation of Time Dependent Lift of a European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) during Flapping Flight.  
Stalnov O(1), Ben-Gida H(2), Kirchhefer AJ(3), Guglielmo CG(4), Kopp GA(3), Liberzon A(5), Gurka R(6). Author information: (1)Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, Southampton, Hampshire, SO17 1BJ, United Kingdom. (2)Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, 32000, Israel. (3)Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory, London, ON N6A3K7, Canada. (4)Department of Biology, Advanced Facility for Avian Research, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, N6A5B7 Canada. (5)School of Mechanical Engineering, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, 69978, Israel. (6)School of Coastal and Marine Systems Science, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC 29528, United States of America.  

We study the role of unsteady lift in the context of flapping wing bird flight. Both aerodynamicists and biologists have attempted to address this subject, yet it seems that the contribution of unsteady lift still holds many open questions. The current study deals with the estimation of unsteady aerodynamic forces on a freely flying bird through analysis of wingbeat kinematics and near wake flow measurements using time resolved particle image velocimetry. The aerodynamic forces are obtained through two approaches, the unsteady thin airfoil theory and using the momentum equation for viscous flows. The unsteady lift is comprised of circulatory and non-circulatory components. Both approaches are presented over the duration of wingbeat cycles. Using long-time sampling data, several wingbeat cycles have been analyzed in order to cover both the downstroke and upstroke phases. It appears that the unsteady lift varies over the wingbeat cycle emphasizing its contribution to the total lift and its role in power estimations. It is suggested that the circulatory lift component cannot assumed to be negligible and should be considered when estimating lift or power of birds in flapping motion. PMID: 26394213 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]  

7. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2015 Sep 21. pii: S0016-6480(15)00260-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2015.09.016. [Epub ahead of print]  

Hormonally-mediated maternal effects in birds: Lessons from the flycatcher model system.  
Ruuskanen S(1). Author information: (1)Section of Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Turku, Finland. Electronic address:  

Maternal effects are a crucial mechanism in many taxa in generating phenotypic variation, affecting offspring development and fitness and thereby potentially adapting them to their expected environments. Androgen hormones in bird eggs have attracted considerable interest in past years, and it is frequently assumed that their concentrations in eggs are shaped by Darwinian selection. Currently, however, the data is scattered over species with very different life-history strategies, environments and selection pressures, making it difficult to draw any firm conclusions as to their functional significance for a given system. I review the evidence available as to the function, variation and potential adaptive value of yolk androgens (testosterone, T and androstenedione, A4) using one well-studied wild bird model system, the European flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca and Ficedula albicollis. These species both show genetic and environmental variation in yolk androgen levels, along with fitness correlations for the female, suggesting the potential for selection. However, variation in yolk T and A4 seem to be differentially affected, suggesting that maternal constraints/costs shape the transfer of the yolk steroids differently. Most of the environmental variation is consistent with the idea of high yolk androgen levels under poor rearing conditions, although the effect sizes in relation to environmental variation are rather small in relation to genetic among-female variation. Importantly, within-clutch patterns too vary in relation to environmental conditions. Yolk androgens seem to have multiple short- and long-term effects on phenotype and behavior; importantly, they are also correlated with the fitness of offspring and mothers. However, the effects are often sex-dependent, and not universally beneficial for the offspring. Unfortunately, conclusive data as to the adaptive benefits of clutch mean androgen levels or within clutch-patterns in different environmental conditions is still lacking. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc. PMID: 26393309 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]  

8. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2015 Sep 20. pii: S0016-6480(15)00258-0. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2015.09.014. [Epub ahead of print]  

Effectiveness of the GnRH agonist Deslorelin as a tool to decrease levels of circulating testosterone in zebra finches.  
Murphy K(1), Wilson DA(2), Burton M(3), Slaugh S(4), Dunning JL(5), Prather JF(6). Author information: (1)Program in Neuroscience, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States. Electronic address: (2)Program in Neuroscience, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States. Electronic address: (3)Program in Neuroscience, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States. Electronic address: (4)Program in Neuroscience, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States. Electronic address: (5)Program in Neuroscience, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States. Electronic address: (6)Program in Neuroscience, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States. Electronic address:  

Songbirds are widely used in studies of the neurobiology underlying learning, memory and performance of the sounds used in vocal communication. Development and activity of neurons in many brain sites implicated in those behaviors are closely related to levels of circulating testosterone. Approaches to understand the effects of testosterone in songbirds are presently limited to testosterone implants, which elevate testosterone levels to supraphysiological values, or castration, which eliminates gonadal production of testosterone. Previous studies in mammals indicate that GnRH agonists may be an effective tool to reduce testosterone within that range of extremes and without invasive surgery. To evaluate the effectiveness of the GnRH agonist Deslorelin as a tool to modulate levels of testosterone in songbirds, we recorded the effects of Deslorelin in adult male zebra finches. We recorded songs, body mass and blood testosterone levels pre-treatment, then we gave each bird a small subcutaneous implant of Deslorelin. We measured blood plasma testosterone levels weekly and recorded song behavior and gross morphology of brain, testes and heart at the end of each experiment. Testosterone levels were reduced at the 5mg/kg dose, and the very slight song changes we observed at that dose were like those reported for castrated zebra finches. As expected, there were no changes in the number of cells in androgen-sensitive brain structures. Suppression of testosterone at the 5mg/kg dose was reversible through implant removal. Thus, Deslorelin is a new tool to transiently suppress testosterone levels without the invasiveness and undesirable aftereffects of surgical castration. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc. PMID: 26391838 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]  

9. Microb Ecol. 2015 Sep 21. [Epub ahead of print]  

Bacterial Diversity in the Soda Saline Crater Lake from Isabel Island, Mexico.  
Aguirre-Garrido JF(1,)(2), Ramírez-Saad HC(2), Toro N(1), Martínez-Abarca F(3). Author information: (1)Grupo de Ecología Genética, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, C/ Profesor Albareda 1, 18008, Granada, Spain. (2)Departamento de Sistemas Biológicos, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Unidad Xochimilco, Calz. del Hueso 1110, CP 14310, DF México, Mexico. (3)Grupo de Ecología Genética, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, C/ Profesor Albareda 1, 18008, Granada, Spain.  

Isabel Lake is a moderate saline soda crater lake located in Isabel Island in the eastern tropical Pacific coast of Mexico. Lake is mainly formed by rainfall and is strongly affected by evaporation and high input of nutrients derived from excretions of a large bird community inhabiting the island. So far, only the island macrobiota has been studied. The knowledge of the prokaryotic biota inhabiting the upper layers of this meromictic lake can give clues for the maintenance of this ecosystem. We assessed the diversity and composition of prokaryotic community in sediments and water of the lake by DGGE profiling, 16S rRNA gene amplicon pyrosequencing, and cultivation techniques. The bacterial community is largely dominated by halophilic and halotolerant microorganisms. Alpha diversity estimations reveal higher value in sediments than in water (P > 0.005). The lake water is dominated by γ-Proteobacteria belonging to four main families where Halomonadaceae presents the highest abundance. Aerobic, phototrophic, and halotolerant prokaryotes such as Cyanobacteria GPIIa, Halomonas, Alcanivorax, Idiomarina, and Cyclobacterium genera are commonly found. However, in sediment samples, Formosa, Muricauda, and Salegentibacter genera corresponding to Flavobacteriaceae family accounted for 15-20 % of the diversity. Heterotrophs like those involved in sulfur cycle, Desulfotignum, Desulfuromonas, Desulfofustis, and Desulfopila, appear to play an important role in sediments. Finally, a collection of aerobic halophilic bacterial isolates was created from these samples; members of the genus Halomonas were predominantly isolated from lake water. This study contributes to state the bacterial diversity present in this particular soda saline crater lake. PMID: 26391805 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]  

10. Am J Bot. 2015 Sep;102(9):1453-61. doi: 10.3732/ajb.1500138. Epub 2015 Sep 7.  

Bicolored display of Miconia albicans fruits: Evaluating visual and physiological functions of fruit colors.  

de Camargo MG(1), Schaefer HM(2), Habermann G(3), Cazetta E(4), Soares NC(5), Morellato LP(5). Author information: (1)Departamento de Botânica, Laboratório de Fenologia, Grupo de Fenologia e Dispersão de Sementes, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Avenida 24A 1515, CEP 13506-900, Rio Claro, SP, Brazil; fax: 55 19 3526-4201 (2)Department of Evolutionary Biology and Animal Ecology, Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg, Hauptstr. 1 79104 Freiburg, Germany. (3)Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Av. 24-A 1515, CEP 13506-900, Rio Claro, SP, Brazil; fax: 55 19 3526-4201. (4)Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Rodovia Jorge Amado km 16, CEP 45662-900, Ilhéus, BA, Brazil; fax: 55 73 3680 5226. (5)Departamento de Botânica, Laboratório de Fenologia, Grupo de Fenologia e Dispersão de Sementes, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Avenida 24A 1515, CEP 13506-900, Rio Claro, SP, Brazil; fax: 55 19 3526-4201.  

PREMISE OF THE STUDY: Most bird-dispersed fruits are green when unripe and become colored and conspicuous when ripe, signaling that fruits are ready to be consumed and dispersed. The color pattern for fruits of Miconia albicans (Melastomataceae), however, is the opposite, with reddish unripe and green ripe fruits. We (1) verified the maintenance over time of its bicolored display, (2) tested the communicative function of unripe fruits, (3) tested the photoprotective role of anthocyanins in unripe fruits, and (4) verified whether green ripe fruits can assimilate carbon. METHODS: Using a paired experiment, we tested whether detection of ripe fruits was higher on infructescences with unripe and ripe fruits compared with infructescences with only ripe fruits. We also measured and compared gas exchange, chlorophyll a fluorescence, and heat dissipation of covered (to prevent anthocyanin synthesis) and uncovered ripe and unripe fruits. KEY RESULTS: Although the bicolored display was maintained over time, unripe fruits had no influence on bird detection and removal of ripe fruits. Ripe and unripe fruits did not assimilate CO2, but they respired instead. CONCLUSIONS: Since the communicative function of unripe fruits was not confirmed, seed dispersers are unlikely to select the display with bicolored fruits. Because of the absence of photosynthetic activity in ripe and unripe fruits and enhanced photoprotective mechanisms in ripe fruits rather than in unripe fruits, we could not confirm the photoprotective role of anthocyanins in unripe fruits. As an alternative hypothesis, we suggest that the bicolored fruit display could be an adaptation to diversify seed dispersal vectors instead of restricting dispersal to birds and that anthocyanins in unripe fruits may have a defense role against pathogens. © 2015 Botanical Society of America. PMID: 26391709 [PubMed - in process]  

11. Mol Ecol Resour. 2015 Sep 22. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12466. [Epub ahead of print]  

Sequence capture of ultraconserved elements from bird museum specimens.  
McCormack JE(1), Tsai WL(1), Faircloth BC(2). Author information: (1)Moore Laboratory of Zoology, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA 90041. (2)Department of Biological Sciences and Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.  

New DNA sequencing technologies are allowing researchers to explore the genomes of the millions of natural history specimens collected prior to the molecular era. Yet, we know little about how well specific next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques work with the degraded DNA typically extracted from museum specimens. Here, we use one type of NGS approach, sequence capture of ultraconserved elements (UCEs), to collect data from bird museum specimens as old as 120 years. We targeted 5,060 UCE loci in 27 Western Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma californica) representing three evolutionary lineages that could be species, and we collected an average of 3,749 UCE loci containing 4,460 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Despite older specimens producing fewer and shorter loci in general, we collected thousands of markers from even the oldest specimens. More sequencing reads per individual helped to boost the number of UCE loci we recovered from older specimens, but more sequencing was not as successful at increasing the length of loci. We detected contamination in some samples and determined that contamination was more prevalent in older samples that were subject to less sequencing. For the phylogeny generated from concatenated UCE loci, contamination led to incorrect placement of some individuals. In contrast, a species tree constructed from SNPs called within UCE loci correctly placed individuals into three monophyletic groups, perhaps because of the stricter analytical procedures we used for SNP calling. This study and other recent studies on the genomics of museums specimens have profound implications for natural history collections, where millions of older specimens should now be considered genomic resources. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. PMID: 26391430 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]  

12. Oecologia. 2015 Sep 21. [Epub ahead of print]  

Trophic cascade effects of avian predation on a willow in an urban wetland.  
Wu PC(1), Shaner PL(2). Author information: (1)Department of Life Science, National Taiwan Normal University, No. 88, Section 4, Tingzhou Road, Taipei, Taiwan. (2)Department of Life Science, National Taiwan Normal University, No. 88, Section 4, Tingzhou Road, Taipei, Taiwan.  

Trophic cascades play a crucial role in ecosystem functioning. In this study, we tested the effects of avian predation on willows (Salix warburgii) and associated arthropods in an urban wetland. We excluded birds by netting around willow branches for 20 months from September-November 2010 to June 2012. We compared the leaf count, leaf area, leaf biomass, bud count, catkin (flower) count and herbivory from pairs of bird-exclusion and no-exclusion branches on 11 trees. Simultaneously, we compared herbivorous and predatory arthropod abundances associated with bird-exclusion and no-exclusion branches. Another nine trees were used as reference branches to assess whether the bird exclusion impacted other branches of the same trees (i.e., no-exclusion branches). Bird exclusion resulted in increased herbivory 1 year after the treatment, followed by a reduced leaf count, leaf area, leaf biomass, bud count and catkin count in the second year. The bird-exclusion branches exhibited greater spider abundance than the no-exclusion branches. However, herbivorous arthropod abundances were similar between the branch types. The reference branches had similar values in all plant traits and for all arthropod abundances to those of the no-exclusion branches. This study demonstrated the branch-level effects of trophic cascades on willows via the exclusion of birds and a resulting reduction in herbivory. However, whether and how the arthropods mediate such effects require further investigation. This study adds to the limited empirical data demonstrating the effects of trophic cascades on plant reproduction. Our findings highlight the importance of bird conservation in urban wetlands. PMID: 26391382 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]  

13. Behav Brain Res. 2015 Sep 16. pii: S0166-4328(15)30192-3. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.09.019. [Epub ahead of print]  

Annual life-history dependent seasonal differences in neural activity of the olfactory system between non-migratory and migratory songbirds.  
Rastogi A(1), Surbhi(2), Malik S(1), Rani S(1), Kumar V(3). Author information: (1)DST-IRHPA Centre for Excellence in Biological Rhythms Research and IndoUS Centre for Biological Timing, Department of Zoology, University of Lucknow, Lucknow, 226 007, India. (2)DST-IRHPA Centre for Excellence in Biological Rhythms Research and IndoUS Centre for Biological Timing, Department of Zoology, University of Delhi, Delhi, 110 007, India. (3)DST-IRHPA Centre for Excellence in Biological Rhythms Research and IndoUS Centre for Biological Timing, Department of Zoology, University of Delhi, Delhi, 110 007, India. Electronic address:  

Present study investigated seasonal plasticity in neural activity of the olfactory system, and assessed whether this was influenced by differences in seasonal life-history states (LHSs) between the non-migratory and migratory birds. Brains of non-migratory Indian weaver birds and migratory redheaded buntings were processed for ZENK immunohistochemistry, a marker of neuronal activation, at the times of equinoxes (March, September) and solstices (June, December), which correspond with the periods of different seasonal LHSs during the year. Immunoreactivity was quantified in brain regions comprising the olfactory system viz. olfactory bulb (OB), anterior olfactory nucleus (AON), prepiriform cortex (CPP), lateral olfactory tract (LOT) and olfactory cortex (piriform cortex, CPI; lateral olfactory cortex, LOC). In weaver birds, ZENK-like immunoreactive (ZENK-lir) cells were significantly higher in all the brain areas during post-breeding season (September) than during the other seasons; OBs had higher neuronal activity in the breeding season (June), however. A similar neural activity pattern but at enhanced levels was found in migratory buntings almost all the year. These results for the first time show LHS-associated differences in the seasonal plasticity of a sensory system between the non-migratory and migratory songbirds. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V. PMID: 26386306 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]  

14. Genesis. 2015 Sep 18. doi: 10.1002/dvg.22900. [Epub ahead of print]  

Zebra finch as a developmental model.  
Mak SS(1), Wrabel A(1,)(2), Nagai H(2), Ladher RK(1,)(3), Sheng G(2). Author information: (1)Laboratory for Sensory Development, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, 2-2-3 Minatojima-Minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Japan, 650-0047. (2)Laboratory for Early Embryogenesis, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, 2-2-3 Minatojima-Minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Japan, 650-0047. (3)National Center for Biological Sciences, Bellary Road, Bangalore, India.  

The domesticated zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is a well-established animal model for studying vocal learning. It is also a tractable model for developmental analyses. The finch genome has been sequenced and methods for its transgenesis have been reported. Hatching and sexual maturation in this species takes only two weeks and three months, respectively. Finch colonies can be established relatively easily and its eggs are laid at a stage earlier than in other common avian experimental models, facilitating the analysis of very early avian development. Representing the Neoaves to which 95% of all bird species belong, the finch can potentially complement two existing, Galloanserae developmental models, the chick and quail. Here, we provide a step-by-step guide for how to set up a finch colony in a conventional lab environment. Technical tips are offered to optimize hens' productivity and ensure a constant supply of fertilized finch eggs. Methods of handling finch eggs and embryos for subsequent embryological, cellular or molecular analyses are also discussed. We conclude by emphasizing scientific values and cost effectiveness of maintaining a finch colony for avian developmental studies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID: 26385755 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]  

Monday, 21 September 2015

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed September 2015 Week 3

birdRS-Latest News

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

PubMed Results

1. Parasit Vectors. 2015 Sep 17;8(1):463. 

Experimental studies on comparison of the vector competence of four Italian Culex pipiens populations for West Nile virus. 
Fortuna C(1), Remoli ME(2), Di Luca M(3), Severini F(4), Toma L(5), Benedetti E(6), Bucci P(7), Montarsi F(8), Minelli G(9), Boccolini D(10), Romi R(11), Ciufolini MG(12). Author information: (1)Unit of Viral diseases and attenuated vaccine, Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Diseases Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy. (2)Unit of Viral diseases and attenuated vaccine, Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Diseases Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy. (3)Unit of Vector-borne Diseases and International Health, Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Diseases Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy. (4)Unit of Vector-borne Diseases and International Health, Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Diseases Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy. (5)Unit of Vector-borne Diseases and International Health, Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Diseases Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy. (6)Unit of Viral diseases and attenuated vaccine, Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Diseases Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy. (7)Unit of Viral diseases and attenuated vaccine, Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Diseases Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy. (8)Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Legnaro, PD, Italy. (9)National Centre for Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Promotion, Unit of Statistics Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy. (10)Unit of Vector-borne Diseases and International Health, Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Diseases Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy. (11)Unit of Vector-borne Diseases and International Health, Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Diseases Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy. (12)Unit of Viral diseases and attenuated vaccine, Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Diseases Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy. 

BACKGROUND: West Nile virus (WNV) is a vector-borne disease responsible for causing epidemics in many areas of the world. The virus is maintained in nature by an enzootic bird-mosquito-bird cycle and occasionally transmitted to other hosts, such as equines and humans. Culex species, in particular the ubiquitous species Culex pipiens is thought to play a major vector role both in enzootic and epizootic maintenance and transmission of WNV. Introduced in Europe in recent years, since 2008 WNV has been stably circulating mainly in the Northeastern regions of Italy, although sporadic equine and/or human cases, as well as WNV infected Cx. pipiens pools, have been recorded in other Italian areas. The scope of our study was to evaluate the potential competence of some Italian populations of Cx. pipiens to transmit WNV and to assess their ability for vertical transmission of the virus. For this purpose four Italian populations, from different areas, were experimentally infected. METHODS: After the infectious blood meal, fed females were monitored for 32 days to determine the length of viral extrinsic incubation period. WNV titre of infected mosquitoes was evaluated both by quantitative Real Time PCR and viral titration by Plaque Forming Units/ml (PFU/mL) in VERO cells. Potential Infection, Dissemination, Transmission rates (IR, DR, TR) were assessed by detection of the virus in body, legs plus wings and saliva of the fed females, respectively. RESULTS: All tested populations were susceptible to the WNV infection. The viral presence in legs and wings demonstrated the ability of WNV to disseminate in the mosquitoes. Viral RNA was detected in the saliva of tested populations. No significant differences in TR values were observed among the four studied populations. The offspring of the Cx. pipiens infected females were WNV negative. CONCLUSIONS: Our study addressed an important issue in the knowledge on the complex WNV-vector relationships in Italy, indicating that all Italian Cx. pipiens populations tested exhibited vector competence for WNV. Further studies should be performed in order to better clarify the role of other factors (vector density, climatic conditions, reservoir presence etc.) in order to predict where and when WNV outbreaks could occur. PMID: 26383834 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

2. Genome Announc. 2015 Sep 17;3(5). pii: e01082-15. doi: 10.1128/genomeA.01082-15. 

Draft Genome Sequences of Five Clinical Enterococcus cecorum Strains Isolated from Different Poultry Species in Poland. 
Dolka B(1), Heidemann Olsen R(2), Naundrup Thøfner IC(2), Christensen JP(2). Author information: (1)Department of Pathology and Veterinary Diagnostics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Warsaw University of Life Sciences - SGGW, Warsaw, Poland (2)Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark. 

Here, we report five draft genome sequences of Enterococcus cecorum strains that were isolated from different bird species of affected poultry flocks (commercial broilers [CB], broiler breeders [BB], commercial layers [CL], ducks [D], and geese [G]) in Poland. Copyright © 2015 Dolka et al. PMID: 26383654 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

3. Data Brief. 2015 Aug 13;5:9-12. doi: 10.1016/j.dib.2015.08.001. eCollection 2015. 

Survey of viral populations within Lake Michigan nearshore waters at four Chicago area beaches. 
Sible E(1), Cooper A(1), Malki K(1), Bruder K(1), Watkins SC(1), Fofanov Y(2), Putonti C(3). Author information: (1)Department of Biology, Loyola University Chicago, 1032 W Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660, USA. (2)Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Texas Medical Branch, 5.112 BSB, Galveston, TX 77555, USA. (3)Department of Biology, Loyola University Chicago, 1032 W Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660, USA ; Bioinformatics Program, Loyola University Chicago, 1032 W Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660, USA ; Department of Computer Science, Loyola University Chicago, 820 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA. 

In comparison to the oceans, freshwater environments represent a more diverse community of microorganisms, exhibiting comparatively high levels of variability both temporally and spatially Maranger and Bird, Microb. Ecol. 31 (1996) 141-151. This level of variability is likely to extend to the world of viruses as well, in particular bacteria-infecting viruses (bacteriophages). Phages are known to influence bacterial diversity, and therefore key processes, in environmental niches across the globe Clokie et al., Bacteriophage 1 (2011) 31-45; Jacquet et al., Adv. Ocean Limn. 1 (2010) 97-141; Wilhelm and Suttle, Bioscience 49 (1999) 781-788; Bratback et al., Microb. Ecol. 28 (1994) 209-221. Despite their prevalence and likely critical role in freshwater environments, very few viral species have been characterized. Metagenomic approaches, however, have allowed for a glimpse into phage diversity. We collected surface water samples from four Chicago area beaches - Gillson Park, Montrose Beach, 57th Street Beach, and Calumet Beach - every two weeks from May 13 through August 5, 2014. Sampling was conducted with four biological replicates for each sampling date and location, resulting in 112 samples. DNA isolated from each of the individual samples for a given collection date/location was pooled together, with one exception - Calumet Beach on August 5, 2014 - in which each biological replicate was sequenced individually. Raw sequence data is available via NCBI's SRA database (part of BioProject PRJNA248239). PMID: 26380839 [PubMed] 

4. Ecol Evol. 2015 Sep;5(17):3743-55. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1639. Epub 2015 Aug 18. 

Potential merger of ancient lineages in a passerine bird discovered based on evidence from host-specific ectoparasites. 
Block NL(1), Goodman SM(2), Hackett SJ(3), Bates JM(3), Raherilalao MJ(4). Author information: (1)Biology Department, Stonehill College 320 Washington Street, Easton, Massachusetts, 02357 ; Field Museum of Natural History 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, Illinois, 60605. (2)Field Museum of Natural History 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, Illinois, 60605 ; Association Vahatra BP 3972, Antananarivo (101), Madagascar. (3)Field Museum of Natural History 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, Illinois, 60605. (4)Association Vahatra BP 3972, Antananarivo (101), Madagascar ; Département de Biologie Animale, Université d'Antananarivo BP 906, Antananarivo (101), Madagascar. 

The merger of formerly isolated lineages is hypothesized to occur in vertebrates under certain conditions. However, despite many demonstrated instances of introgression between taxa in secondary contact, examples of lineage mergers are rare. Preliminary mtDNA sequencing of a Malagasy passerine, Xanthomixis zosterops (Passeriformes: Bernieridae), indicated a possible instance of merging lineages. We tested the hypothesis that X. zosterops lineages are merging by comparing mtDNA sequence and microsatellite data, as well as mtDNA sequence data from host-specific feather lice in the genus Myrsidea (Phthiraptera: Menoponidae). Xanthomixis zosterops comprises four deeply divergent, broadly sympatric, cryptic mtDNA clades that likely began diverging approximately 3.6 million years ago. Despite this level of divergence, the microsatellite data indicate that the X. zosterops mtDNA clades are virtually panmictic. Three major phylogroups of Myrsidea were found, supporting previous allopatry of the X. zosterops clades. In combination, the datasets from X. zosterops and its Myrsidea document a potential merger of previously allopatric lineages that likely date to the Pliocene. This represents the first report of sympatric apparent hybridization among more than two terrestrial vertebrate lineages. Further, the mtDNA phylogeographic pattern of X. zosterops, namely the syntopy of more than two deeply divergent cryptic clades, appears to be a novel scenario among vertebrates. We highlight the value of gathering multiple types of data in phylogeographic studies to contribute to the study of vertebrate speciation. PMID: 26380702 [PubMed] 

5. Ecol Evol. 2015 Sep;5(17):3695-703. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1621. Epub 2015 Aug 15. 

Host range and community structure of avian nest parasites in the genus Philornis (Diptera: Muscidae) on the island of Trinidad. 
Bulgarella M(1), Heimpel GE(1). Author information: (1)Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota St. Paul, Minnesota, 55108. 

Parasite host range can be influenced by physiological, behavioral, and ecological factors. Combining data sets on host-parasite associations with phylogenetic information of the hosts and the parasites involved can generate evolutionary hypotheses about the selective forces shaping host range. Here, we analyzed associations between the nest-parasitic flies in the genus Philornis and their host birds on Trinidad. Four of ten Philornis species were only reared from one species of bird. Of the parasite species with more than one host bird species, P. falsificus was the least specific and P. deceptivus the most specific attacking only Passeriformes. Philornis flies in Trinidad thus include both specialists and generalists, with varying degrees of specificity within the generalists. We used three quantities to more formally compare the host range of Philornis flies: the number of bird species attacked by each species of Philornis, a phylogenetically informed host specificity index (Poulin and Mouillot's S TD), and a branch length-based S TD. We then assessed the phylogenetic signal of these measures of host range for 29 bird species. None of these measures showed significant phylogenetic signal, suggesting that clades of Philornis did not differ significantly in their ability to exploit hosts. We also calculated two quantities of parasite species load for the birds - the parasite species richness, and a variant of the S TD index based on nodes rather than on taxonomic levels - and assessed the signal of these measures on the bird phylogeny. We did not find significant phylogenetic signal for the parasite species load or the node-based S TD index. Finally, we calculated the parasite associations for all bird pairs using the Jaccard index and regressed these similarity values against the number of nodes in the phylogeny separating bird pairs. This analysis showed that Philornis on Trinidad tend to feed on closely related bird species more often than expected by chance. PMID: 26380698 [PubMed] 

6. Ecol Evol. 2015 Sep;5(17):3628-41. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1630. Epub 2015 Aug 11. 

Candidate gene-environment interactions and their relationships with timing of breeding in a wild bird population. 
Bourret A(1), Garant D(1). Author information: (1)Département de biologie, Université de Sherbrooke 2500 boulevard de l'Université, Sherbrooke, QC, J1K 2R1, Canada. 

Monitoring and predicting evolutionary changes underlying current environmental modifications are complex challenges. Recent approaches to achieve these objectives include assessing the genetic variation and effects of candidate genes on traits indicating adaptive potential. In birds, for example, short tandem repeat polymorphism at four candidate genes (CLOCK, NPAS2, ADCYAP1, and CREB1) has been linked to variation in phenological traits such as laying date and timing of migration. However, our understanding of their importance as evolutionary predictors is still limited, mainly because the extent of genotype-environment interactions (GxE) related to these genes has yet to be assessed. Here, we studied a population of Tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) over 4 years in southern Québec (Canada) to assess the relationships between those four candidate genes and two phenological traits related to reproduction (laying date and incubation duration) and also determine the importance of GxE in this system. Our results showed that NPAS2 female genotypes were nonrandomly distributed across the study system and formed a longitudinal cline with longer genotypes located to the east. We observed relationships between length polymorphism at all candidate genes and laying date and/or incubation duration, and most of these relationships were affected by environmental variables (breeding density, latitude, or temperature). In particular, the positive relationships detected between laying date and both CLOCK and NPAS2 female genotypes were variable depending on breeding density. Our results suggest that all four candidate genes potentially affect timing of breeding in birds and that GxE are more prevalent and important than previously reported in this context. PMID: 26380692 [PubMed] 

7. J Environ Manage. 2015 Sep 14;164:171-179. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.09.005. [Epub ahead of print] 

Assessing the effect of agricultural land abandonment on bird communities in southern-eastern Europe. 
Zakkak S(1), Radovic A(2), Nikolov SC(3), Shumka S(4), Kakalis L(5), Kati V(6). Author information: (1)University of Patras, Department of Environmental & Natural Resources Management, Seferi 2, 30100 Agrinio, Greece. Electronic address: (2)Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Applied Geoinformatics and Spatial Planning, 165 21 Prague, Czech Republic. Electronic address: (3)Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/BirdLife Bulgaria, Yavorov Complex, bl. 71, vh. 17 4, PO box 50, 1111 Sofia, Bulgaria. Electronic address: (4)Agricultural University of Tirana, Faculty of Biotechnology and Food, Koder Kamza, 1000 Tirana, Albania. Electronic address: (5)University of the Aegean, Department of Environmental Studies, Biodiversity Conservation Laboratory, 81100 Mytilene, Greece. Electronic address: (6)University of Patras, Department of Environmental & Natural Resources Management, Seferi 2, 30100 Agrinio, Greece. Electronic address: 

Agricultural land abandonment is recognized as a major environmental threat in Europe, being particularly pronounced in south-eastern Europe, where knowledge on its effects is limited. Taking the Balkan Peninsula as a case study, we investigated agricultural abandonment impact on passerine communities at regional level. We set up a standard methodology for site selection (70 sites) and data collection, along a well-defined forest-encroachment gradient that reflects land abandonment in four countries: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Greece. Regardless the different socio-economic and political histories in the Balkans that led to diverse land abandonment patterns in space and time, rural abandonment had a consistent negative effect on bird communities, while regional-level analysis revealed patterns that were hidden at local level. The general trends were an increase of forest-dwelling bird species at the expense of farmland birds, the decline of overall bird species richness, as well as the decline of Species of European Conservation Concern (SPECs) richness and abundance. Many farmland bird species declined with land abandonment, whereas few forest species benefited from the process. In conclusion, our results support CAP towards hampering rural land abandonment and preserving semi-open rural mosaics in remote upland areas, using a suite of management measures carefully tailored to local needs. The maintenance of traditional rural landscapes should be prioritized in the Balkans, through the timely identification of HNV farmland that is most prone to abandonment. We also suggest that coordinated transnational research is needed, for a better assessment of conservation options in remote rural landscapes at European scale, including the enhancement of wild grazers' populations as an alternative in areas where traditional land management is rather unlikely to be re-established. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. PMID: 26379254 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

8. J Avian Med Surg. 2015 Sep;29(3):231-7. doi: 10.1647/2014-047. 

Mange Caused by a Novel Micnemidocoptes Mite in a Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). 
Sadar MJ, Lv DS, Mete A, Foley J, Stephenson N, Rogers KH, Grosset C, Smallwood KS, Shipman J, Wells A, White SD, Bell DA, Hawkins MG. 

A second-year, female golden eagle ( Aquila chrysaetos ) was live trapped in northern California because of severe feather loss and crusting of the skin on the head and legs. On physical examination, the bird was lethargic, dehydrated, and thin, with severe feather loss and diffuse hyperemia and crusting on the head, ventral wings, ventrum, dorsum, and pelvic limbs. Mites morphologically similar to Micnemidocoptes derooi were identified with scanning electron microscopy. The eagle was treated with ivermectin (0.4 mg/kg) once weekly for 7 weeks, as well as pyrethrin, meloxicam, ceftiofur crystalline free acid, and voriconazole. Although the eagle's condition improved, and live mites or eggs were not evident on skin scrapings at the time of completion of ivermectin treatment, evidence of dead mites and mite feces were present after the last dose of ivermectin. Two additional doses of ivermectin and 2 doses of topical selamectin (23 mg/kg) were administered 2 and 4 weeks apart, respectively. No mite eggs, feces, or adults were evident after treatment was completed. A second golden eagle found in the same region was also affected with this mite but died soon after presentation. This is the first report, to our knowledge, of successful treatment, as well as treatment with selamectin, of mites consistent with Micnemidocoptes species in any raptorial species. PMID: 26378670 [PubMed - in process] 

9. J Avian Med Surg. 2015 Sep;29(3):210-5. doi: 10.1647/2014-032.

Metronomic Chemotherapy for Myxosarcoma Treatment in a Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori). 
Sander SJ, Hope KL, McNeill CJ, Roberts JF, Boedeker NC, Murray SZ, Aczm D. 

A 22-year-old, wild-caught male kori bustard (Ardeotis kori) developed a large, slow-growing subcutaneous mass over the keel. The mass was surgically debulked and histopathologically described as a myxosarcoma. Surgical dehiscence and concurrent local tumor regrowth, with no evidence of metastasis, occurred over the subsequent 3 months, necessitating 2 additional surgical procedures to close the wound. At 19 weeks after the initial procedure, a second debulking surgical procedure was performed, at which time carboplatin-impregnated matrix beads were placed in the lesion. Moderate local tumor regrowth was clinically appreciable 4 weeks after surgery, at which time an oral metronomic chemotherapeutic protocol consisting of daily cyclophosphamide (10 mg/m(2)) and meloxicam (0.1 mg/kg) was initiated. Four months later, the tumor was no longer palpable. While oral therapy was discontinued during the breeding season, mass regrowth was observed, and the mass was surgically debulked before reinitiating oral chemotherapy. Treatment was extended for over 1 year with no hematologic evaluation or serum biochemical abnormalities, and the bird otherwise remained clinically healthy. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a myxosarcoma in a bustard species and the first report of successful clinical application of metronomic chemotherapy in an avian species. PMID: 26378667 [PubMed - in process] 

10. Ecology. 2015 Jul;96(7):1933-42. 

Experimental reduction of winter food decreases body condition and delays migration in a long-distance migratory bird. 
Cooper NW, Sherry TW, Marra PP. 

Many tropical habitats experience pronounced dry seasons, during which arthropod food availability declines, potentially limiting resident and migratory animal populations. In response to declines in food, individuals may attempt to alter their space use to enhance access to food resources, but may be socially constrained from doing so by con- and heterospecifics. If social constraints exist, food declines should result in decreased body condition. In migratory birds, correlational evidence suggests a link between body condition and migration timing. Poor body condition and delayed migration may, in turn, impact fitness in subsequent seasons via carry-over effects. To determine if winter food availability affects space use, inter- and intraspecific competition, body composition (i.e., mass, fat, and pectoral muscle), and migration timing, we experimentally decreased food availability on individual American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) territories in high-quality mangrove habitat. Redstarts on control territories experienced -40% loss of food due to the seasonal nature of the environment. Redstarts on experimental territories experienced -80% declines in food, which closely mimicked natural declines in nearby, low-quality, scrub habitat. Individuals on food-reduced territories did not expand their territories locally, but instead either became non-territorial "floaters" or remained on territory. Regardless of territorial status, food-reduced American Redstarts all deposited fat compared to control birds. Fat deposits provide insurance against the risk of starvation, but, for American Redstarts, came at the expense of maintaining pectoral muscle. Subsequently, food-reduced American Redstarts experienced, on average, a one-week delay in departure on spring migration, likely due to the loss of pectoral muscle. Thus, our results demonstrate experimentally, for the first time, that declines in winter food availability can result in a fat-muscle trade-off, which, in turn, delays departure on spring migration. Previous work has demonstrated that, for each day delayed after the first male arrival on the breeding grounds, American Redstarts experience an 11% decrease in the chance of successfully reproducing. Therefore, such delays in departure likely lead to fitness costs for migratory birds. Because tropical seasonal forests are expected to become drier in response to global climate change, Neotropical migratory bird populations may experience significant winter food limitation, further exacerbating population declines in the coming decades. PMID: 26378315 [PubMed - in process] 

11. Proc Biol Sci. 2015 Sep 22;282(1815). pii: 20151429. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1429. 

Feeder use predicts both acquisition and transmission of a contagious pathogen in a North American songbird. 
Adelman JS(1), Moyers SC(2), Farine DR(3), Hawley DM(4). Author information: (1)Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0406, USA Natural Resource Ecology and Management Department, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA. (2)Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, Derring Hall Room 2125, 1405 Perry Street, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0406, USA (3)Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK Department of Anthropology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Ancon, Panama. (4)Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0406, USA. 

Individual heterogeneity can influence the dynamics of infectious diseases in wildlife and humans alike. Thus, recent work has sought to identify behavioural characteristics that contribute disproportionately to individual variation in pathogen acquisition (super-receiving) or transmission (super-spreading). However, it remains unknown whether the same behaviours enhance both acquisition and transmission, a scenario likely to result in explosive epidemics. Here, we examined this possibility in an ecologically relevant host-pathogen system: house finches and their bacterial pathogen, Mycoplasma gallisepticum, which causes severe conjunctivitis. We examined behaviours likely to influence disease acquisition (feeder use, aggression, social network affiliations) in an observational field study, finding that the time an individual spends on bird feeders best predicted the risk of conjunctivitis. To test whether this behaviour also influences the likelihood of transmitting M. gallisepticum, we experimentally inoculated individuals based on feeding behaviour and tracked epidemics within captive flocks. As predicted, transmission was fastest when birds that spent the most time on feeders initiated the epidemic. Our results suggest that the same behaviour underlies both pathogen acquisition and transmission in this system and potentially others. Identifying individuals that exhibit such behaviours is critical for disease management. © 2015 The Author(s). PMID: 26378215 [PubMed - in process] 

12. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 16;10(9):e0136536. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136536. eCollection 2015. 

Diversification of Nitrogen Sources in Various Tundra Vegetation Types in the High Arctic. 
Skrzypek G(1), Wojtuń B(2), Richter D(3), Jakubas D(4), Wojczulanis-Jakubas K(4), Samecka-Cymerman A(2). Author information: (1)West Australian Biogeochemistry Centre, School of Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia. (2)Department of Ecology, Biogeochemistry and Environmental Protection, The University of Wrocław, Wrocław, Poland. (3)Department of Botany and Plant Ecology, The Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Wrocław, Poland. (4)Department of Vertebrate Ecology and Zoology, The University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland. 

Low nitrogen availability in the high Arctic represents a major constraint for plant growth, which limits the tundra capacity for carbon retention and determines tundra vegetation types. The limited terrestrial nitrogen (N) pool in the tundra is augmented significantly by nesting seabirds, such as the planktivorous Little Auk (Alle alle). Therefore, N delivered by these birds may significantly influence the N cycling in the tundra locally and the carbon budget more globally. Moreover, should these birds experience substantial negative environmental pressure associated with climate change, this will adversely influence the tundra N-budget. Hence, assessment of bird-originated N-input to the tundra is important for understanding biological cycles in polar regions. This study analyzed the stable nitrogen composition of the three main N-sources in the High Arctic and in numerous plants that access different N-pools in ten tundra vegetation types in an experimental catchment in Hornsund (Svalbard). The percentage of the total tundra N-pool provided by birds, ranged from 0-21% in Patterned-ground tundra to 100% in Ornithocoprophilous tundra. The total N-pool utilized by tundra plants in the studied catchment was built in 36% by birds, 38% by atmospheric deposition, and 26% by atmospheric N2-fixation. The stable nitrogen isotope mixing mass balance, in contrast to direct methods that measure actual deposition, indicates the ratio between the actual N-loads acquired by plants from different N-sources. Our results enhance our understanding of the importance of different N-sources in the Arctic tundra and the used methodological approach can be applied elsewhere. PMID: 26376204 [PubMed - in process] 

13. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 16;10(9):e0136456. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136456. eCollection 2015. 

Hunting, Exotic Carnivores, and Habitat Loss: Anthropogenic Effects on a Native Carnivore Community, Madagascar. 
Farris ZJ(1), Golden CD(2), Karpanty S(1), Murphy A(1), Stauffer D(1), Ratelolahy F(3), Andrianjakarivelo V(3), Holmes CM(4), Kelly MJ(1). Author information: (1)Virginia Tech, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Blacksburg, VA, United States of America. (2)Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States of America; Wildlife Health and Health Policy Program, HEAL (Health & Ecosystems: Analysis of Linkages) Wildlife Conservation Society, NY, United States of America. (3)Wildlife Conservation Society Madagascar Program, Antananarivo, Madagascar. (4)Wildlife Conservation Society Asia Program, Vientiane, Laos. 

The wide-ranging, cumulative, negative effects of anthropogenic disturbance, including habitat degradation, exotic species, and hunting, on native wildlife has been well documented across a range of habitats worldwide with carnivores potentially being the most vulnerable due to their more extinction prone characteristics. Investigating the effects of anthropogenic pressures on sympatric carnivores is needed to improve our ability to develop targeted, effective management plans for carnivore conservation worldwide. Utilizing photographic, line-transect, and habitat sampling, as well as landscape analyses and village-based bushmeat hunting surveys, we provide the first investigation of how multiple forms of habitat degradation (fragmentation, exotic carnivores, human encroachment, and hunting) affect carnivore occupancy across Madagascar's largest protected area: the Masoala-Makira landscape. We found that as degradation increased, native carnivore occupancy and encounter rates decreased while exotic carnivore occupancy and encounter rates increased. Feral cats (Felis species) and domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) had higher occupancy than half of the native carnivore species across Madagascar's largest protected landscape. Bird and small mammal encounter rates were negatively associated with exotic carnivore occupancy, but positively associated with the occupancy of four native carnivore species. Spotted fanaloka (Fossa fossana) occupancy was constrained by the presence of exotic feral cats and exotic small Indian civet (Viverricula indica). Hunting was intense across the four study sites where hunting was studied, with the highest rates for the small Indian civet ([Formula: see text] individuals consumed/year), the ring-tailed vontsira (Galidia elegans) ([Formula: see text] consumed/year), and the fosa (Cryptoprocta ferox) ([Formula: see text] consumed/year). Our modeling results suggest hunters target intact forest where carnivore occupancy, abundance, and species richness, are highest. These various anthropogenic pressures and their effects on carnivore populations, especially increases in exotic carnivores and hunting, have wide-ranging, global implications and demand effective management plans to target the influx of exotic carnivores and unsustainable hunting that is affecting carnivore populations across Madagascar and worldwide. PMID: 26375991 [PubMed - in process] 

14. Environ Entomol. 2015 Sep 15. pii: nvv145. [Epub ahead of print] 

Avanex Unique Endophyte Technology: Reduced Insect Food Source at Airports. 
Pennell CG(1), Popay AJ(2), Rolston MP(1), Townsend RJ(1), Lloyd-West CM(3), Card SD(4). Author information: (1)AgResearch Ltd., Lincoln Research Centre, Private Bag 4749, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand. (2)AgResearch Ltd., Ruakura Research Centre, Private Bag 3123, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand. (3)AgResearch Ltd., Grasslands Research Centre, Private Bag 11008, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand. (4)AgResearch Ltd., Grasslands Research Centre, Private Bag 11008, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand. 

Birds and other forms of wildlife are a major issue for airport authorities worldwide, as they can create hazards to operating aircraft. Wildlife "strikes," the majority caused by birds, can cause damage to operating aircraft and in severe cases lead to a loss of human life. Many airfields contain large areas of ground cover herbage alongside their runways that consist of mixtures of grasses, legumes, and weeds that can harbor many invertebrates. Many airfields use insecticides to control insect populations; however, mounting pressure from regional councils and water boards aim to reduce this practice due to ground water runoff and contamination concerns. Avanex Unique Endophyte Technology, a product specifically developed to reduce the attractiveness of airports and surrounding areas to birds, is based on a novel association between a selected strain of Epichloë endophyte and a turf-type tall fescue cultivar. This grass-endophyte association acts through a direct mechanism whereby a negative response in birds is created through taste aversion and postingestion feedback as well as an indirect mechanism by deterring many invertebrates, a food source of many bird species. © The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: PMID: 26374758 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

15. J Med Entomol. 2015 Sep 15. pii: tjv138. [Epub ahead of print] 

Life History Traits and Demographic Parameters of Triatoma infestans (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) Fed on Human Blood. 
Medone P(1), Balsalobre A(2), Rabinovich JE(2), Marti GA(2), Menu F(3). Author information: (1)Centro de Parasitológicos y de Vectores (CEPAVE-CCT-La Plata-CONICET-UNLP), Boulevard 120 S/N e/61 y 62 (B1902CHX), La Plata, Argentina (2)Centro de Parasitológicos y de Vectores (CEPAVE-CCT-La Plata-CONICET-UNLP), Boulevard 120 S/N e/61 y 62 (B1902CHX), La Plata, Argentina. (3)Laboratory of Biometry and Evolutionary Biology, CNRS, UMR 5558, Lyon University, F-69000 Lyon, France Claude Bernard University, Lyon 1 F-69622, Villeurbanne, France. 

Triatoma infestans (Klug, 1834) (Hemiptera: Reduviidae), the main vector of Chagas disease in South America, feeds primarily on humans, but ethical reasons preclude carrying out demographical studies using people. Thus, most laboratory studies of T. infestans are conducted using bird or mammal live hosts that may result in different demographic parameters from those obtained on human blood. Therefore, it is of interest to determine whether the use of an artificial feeder with human blood would be operational to rear triatomines and estimate population growth rates. We estimated life history traits and demographic parameters using an artificial feeder with human blood and compared them with those obtained on live hens. Both groups of T. infestans were kept under constant conditions [28 ± 1°C, 40 ± 5% relative humidity, a photoperiod of 12:12 (L:D) h] and fed weekly. On the basis of age-specific survival and age-specific fecundity, we calculated the intrinsic rate of natural increase (r), the finite rate of population growth (λ), the net reproductive rate (Ro), and the mean generation time (Tg). Our results show differences in life history traits between blood sources, resulting in smaller population growth rates on human blood than on live hens. Although demographic growth rate was smaller on human blood than on hens, it still remains positive, so the benefit/cost ratio of this feeding method seems relatively attractive. We discuss possibility of using the artificial feeder with human blood for both ecological and behavioral studies. © The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: PMID: 26373893 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

16. Genome. 2015 Aug 15:1-7. [Epub ahead of print] 

Limits of imagination: the 150th Anniversary of Mendel's Laws, and why Mendel failed to see the importance of his discovery for Darwin's theory of evolution. 
Singh RS(1,)(2). Author information: (1)Department of Biology, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada. 

Mendel is credited for discovering Laws of Heredity, but his work has come under criticism on three grounds: for possible falsification of data to fit his expectations, for getting undue credit for the laws of heredity without having ideas of segregation and independent assortment, and for being interested in the development of hybrids rather than in the laws of heredity. I present a brief review of these criticisms and conclude that Mendel deserved to be called the father of genetics even if he may not, and most likely did not, have clear ideas of segregation and particulate determiners as we know them now. I argue that neither Mendel understood the evolutionary significance of his findings for the problem of genetic variation, nor would Darwin have understood their significance had he read Mendel's paper. I argue that the limits to imagination, in both cases, came from their mental framework being shaped by existing paradigms-blending inheritance in the case of Darwin, hybrid development in the case of Mendel. Like Einstein, Darwin's natural selection was deterministic; like Niels Bohr, Mendel's Laws were probabilistic-based on random segregation of trait-determining "factors". Unlike Einstein who understood quantum mechanics, Darwin would have been at a loss with Mendel's paper with no guide to turn to. Geniuses in their imaginations are like heat-seeking missiles locked-in with their targets of deep interests and they generally see things in one dimension only. Imagination has limits; unaided imagination is like a bird without wings - it goes nowhere. PMID: 26372894 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

17. Eur J Neurosci. 2015 Sep 15. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13073. [Epub ahead of print] 

Time-dependent localization of high- and low-sulfated keratan sulfates in the song nuclei of developing zebra finches. 
Fujimoto H(1), Ohgomori T(1), Abe K(2), Uchimura K(3), Kadomatsu K(3), Jinno S(1). Author information: (1)Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan. (2)Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. (3)Department of Biochemistry, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan. 

Keratan sulfate proteoglycans (KSPGs) and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) are comprised of a protein core with covalently attached glycosaminoglycan side chain. Although CSPGs are shown to regulate the end of the critical period, the role of KSPGs in brain development remains unclear. Young male zebra finches memorize song templates during development. The brain regions that are responsible for song learning, known as song nuclei, are recognized as a suitable model for the study of brain development. To understand the potential role of KSPGs, here we examined the localization of KSs with different degrees of sulfation in the brain of developing male zebra finches. Exclusively in the song nuclei, increase in expression of 5-D-4-positive (5-D-4(+) ) high-sulfated KS started after hatching, and reached a plateau at the end of the sensory period, during which the young bird listens to and memorizes the song of an adult tutor. On the other hand, weak and ubiquitous expression of BCD-4(+) low-sulfated KS remained unchanged till the end of the sensory period, and first increased in the song nuclei at the end of the sensorimotor period, during which the young bird produce plastic songs. Immunoblot analysis showed that phosphacan was a common core protein of 5-D-4(+) KS and BCD-4(+) KS. Finally, we confirmed that the sulfotransferase responsible for the synthesis of high-sulfated KS was exclusively localized in the song nuclei. Our observations suggest that time-dependent localization of KSPGs with different sulfation patterns in the song nuclei may underlie song learning in developing male zebra finches. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. PMID: 26369722 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

18. Glob Chang Biol. 2015 Sep 14. doi: 10.1111/gcb.13090. [Epub ahead of print] 

Response of the endangered tropical dry forests to climate change and the role of Mexican Protected Areas for their conservation. 
Prieto-Torres DA(1), Navarro-Sigüenza AG(2), Santiago-Alarcon D(3), Rojas-Soto OR(1). Author information: (1)Red de Biología Evolutiva, Instituto de Ecología, A.C., Laboratorio de Biogeografía, carretera antigua a Coatepec No. 351, El Haya, 91070, Xalapa, Veracruz, México. (2)Museo de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado Postal 70-399, México, D. F. 04510, México. (3)Red de Biología y Conservación de Vertebrados, Instituto de Ecología, A.C., Laboratorio de Ecología de Vertebrados e Interacciones Parasitarias, carretera antigua a Coatepec No 351, El Haya, 91070, Xalapa, Veracruz, México. 

Assuming that co-distributed species are exposed to similar environmental conditions, ecological niche models (ENMs) of bird and plant species inhabiting tropical dry forests (TDFs) in Mexico were developed to evaluate future projections of their distribution for the years 2050 and 2070. We used ENM-based predictions and climatic data for two Global Climate Models, considering two Representative Concentration Pathway scenarios (RCP4.5 / RCP8.5). We also evaluated the effects of habitat loss and the importance of the Mexican system of Protected Areas (PAs) on the projected models for a more detailed prediction of TDFs and to identify hotspots that require conservation actions. We identified four major distributional areas: the main one located along the Pacific Coast (from Sonora to Chiapas, including the Cape and Bajío regions, and the Balsas river basin), and three isolated areas: the Yucatán peninsula, central Veracruz, and southern Tamaulipas. When considering the effect of habitat loss, a significant reduction (~61%) of the TDFs predicted area occurred, whereas climate change models suggested (in comparison to the present distribution model) an increase in area of 3.0-10.0% and 3.0-9.0% for 2050 and 2070, respectively. In future scenarios, TDFs will occupy areas above its current average elevational distribution that are outside of its present geographical range. Our findings show that TDFs may persist in Mexican territory until the middle of the XXI century; however, the challenges about long-term conservation are partially addressed (only 7% unaffected within the Mexican network of PAs) with the current Mexican PAs network. Based on our ENM approach, we suggests that a combination of models of species inhabiting present TDFs and taking into account change scenarios represent an invaluable tool in order to create new PAs and ecological corridors, as a response to the increasing levels of habitat destruction and the effects of climate change on this ecosystem. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. PMID: 26367278 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]