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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed: September 2015, Week 2

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. J Appl Ecol. 2015 Aug;52(4):1082-1091. Epub 2015 May 29. 

Identifying effective actions to guide volunteer-based and nationwide conservation efforts for a ground-nesting farmland bird. 
Santangeli A(1), Arroyo B(2), Millon A(3), Bretagnolle V(4). Author information: (1)Department of Biosciences, Finnish Centre of Excellence in Metapopulation Biology, University of Helsinki PO Box 65 (Viikinkaari 1), Helsinki, FI-00014, Finland ; Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki Helsinki, FI-00014, Finland ; Section of Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Turku FI-20014, Turku, Finland. (2)Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos (IREC), CSIC-UCLM-JCCM Ronda de Toledo, s/n, E-13005, Ciudad Real, Spain. (3)Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d'Ecologie marine et continentale (IMBE), Aix-Marseille Université, UMR CNRS IRD Avignon Université, Technopôle Arbois-Méditerranée Bât. Villemin - BP 80, F-13545, Aix-en-Provence, France. (4)CEBC-CNRS, UMR CNRS & Université de La Rochelle Beauvoir-sur-Niort, 79360, France. 1. 

Modern farming practices threaten wildlife in different ways, and failure to identify the complexity of multiple threats acting in synergy may result in ineffective management. To protect ground-nesting birds in farmland, monitoring and mitigating impacts of mechanical harvesting is crucial. 2. Here, we use 6 years of data from a nationwide volunteer-based monitoring scheme of the Montagu's harrier, a ground-nesting raptor, in French farmlands. We assess the effectiveness of alternative nest protection measures and map their potential benefit to the species. 3. We show that unprotected nests in cultivated land are strongly negatively affected by harvesting and thus require active management. Further, we show that protection from harvesting alone (e.g. by leaving a small unharvested buffer around the nest) is impaired by post-harvest predation at nests that become highly conspicuous after harvest. Measures that simultaneously protect from harvesting and predation (by adding a fence around the nest) significantly enhance nest productivity. 4. The map of expected gain from nest protection in relation to available volunteers' workforce pinpoints large areas of high expected gain from nest protection that are not matched by equally high workforce availability. This mismatch suggests that the impact of nest protection can be further improved by increasing volunteer efforts in key areas where they are low relative to the expected gain they could have. 5. Synthesis and applications. This study shows that synergistic interplay of multiple factors (e.g. mechanical harvesting and predation) may completely undermine the success of well-intentioned conservation efforts. However, identifying areas where the greatest expected gains can be achieved relative to effort expended can minimize the risk of wasted volunteer actions. Overall, this study underscores the importance of citizen science for collecting large-scale data useful for producing science and ultimately informs large-scale evidence-based conservation actions within an adaptive management framework. PMID: 26361397 [PubMed] 

2. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 11;10(9):e0137401. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137401. 

Cloacal Microbiome Structure in a Long-Distance Migratory Bird Assessed Using Deep 16sRNA Pyrosequencing. 
Kreisinger J(1), Čížková D(2), Kropáčková L(3), Albrecht T(4). Author information: (1)Studenec Research Facility, Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic; Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University Prague, Viničná 7, 128 44 Prague 2, Czech Republic; Department of Biodiversity and Molecular Ecology, Fondazione Edmund Mach, Research and Innovation Centre, I-38010 San Michele all'Adige, TN, Italy. (2)Studenec Research Facility, Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic. (3)Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University Prague, Viničná 7, 128 44 Prague 2, Czech Republic. (4)Studenec Research Facility, Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic; Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University Prague, Viničná 7, 128 44 Prague 2, Czech Republic. 

Effects of vertebrate-associated microbiota on physiology and health are of significant interest in current biological research. Most previous studies have focused on host-microbiota interactions in captive-bred mammalian models. These interactions and their outcomes are still relatively understudied, however, in wild populations and non-mammalian taxa. Using deep pyrosequencing, we described the cloacal microbiome (CM) composition in free living barn swallows Hirundo rustica, a long-distance migratory passerine bird. Barn swallow CM was dominated by bacteria of the Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria and Firmicutes phyla. Bacteroidetes, which represent an important proportion of the digestive tract microbiome in many vertebrate species, was relatively rare in barn swallow CM (< 5%). CM composition did not differ between males and females. A significant correlation of CM within breeding pair members is consistent with the hypothesis that cloacal contact during within-pair copulation may promote transfer of bacterial assemblages. This effect on CM composition had a relatively low effect size, however, possibly due to the species' high level of sexual promiscuity. PMID: 26360776 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

3. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 11;10(9):e0137457. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137457. 

Genome-Wide Transcription Study of Cryptococcus neoformans H99 Clinical Strain versus Environmental Strains. 
Movahed E(1), Munusamy K(1), Tan GM(1), Looi CY(2), Tay ST(1), Wong WF(1). Author information: (1)Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (2)Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

The infection of Cryptococcus neoformans is acquired through the inhalation of desiccated yeast cells and basidiospores originated from the environment, particularly from bird's droppings and decaying wood. Three environmental strains of C. neoformans originated from bird droppings (H4, S48B and S68B) and C. neoformans reference clinical strain (H99) were used for intranasal infection in C57BL/6 mice. We showed that the H99 strain demonstrated higher virulence compared to H4, S48B and S68B strains. To examine if gene expression contributed to the different degree of virulence among these strains, a genome-wide microarray study was performed to inspect the transcriptomic profiles of all four strains. Our results revealed that out of 7,419 genes (22,257 probes) examined, 65 genes were significantly up-or down-regulated in H99 versus H4, S48B and S68B strains. The up-regulated genes in H99 strain include Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA synthase (MVA1), Mitochondrial matrix factor 1 (MMF1), Bud-site-selection protein 8 (BUD8), High affinity glucose transporter 3 (SNF3) and Rho GTPase-activating protein 2 (RGA2). Pathway annotation using DAVID bioinformatics resource showed that metal ion binding and sugar transmembrane transporter activity pathways were highly expressed in the H99 strain. We suggest that the genes and pathways identified may possibly play crucial roles in the fungal pathogenesis. PMID: 26360021 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

4. J Comp Neurol. 2015 Sep 10. doi: 10.1002/cne.23893. [Epub ahead of print] 

Sex and Age Differences in Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Vimentin in the Zebra Finch Song System: Relationships to Newly Generated Cells. 
Tang YP(1), Wade J(1,)(2). Author information: (1)Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, 48824, USA. (2)Neuroscience Program, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, 48824, USA. 

The neural song circuit is enhanced in male compared to female zebra finches due to differential rates of incorporation and survival of cells between the sexes. Two double-label immunohistochemical experiments were conducted to increase the understanding of relationships between newly generated cells (marked with bromodeoxyuridine, BrdU) and those expressing brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and vimentin, a marker for radial glia. The song systems of males and females were investigated at post-hatching day 25 during a heightened period of sexual differentiation (following BrdU injections on days 6-10) and in adulthood (following a parallel injection paradigm). In both HVC (proper name) and the robust nucleus of the archopallium (RA), about half of the BrdU-positive cells expressed BDNF across sexes and ages. Less than 10% of the BDNF-positive cells expressed BrdU, but this percentage was greater in juveniles than adults. Across both brain regions, more BDNF-positive cells were detected in males compared to females. In RA, the number of these cells was also greater in juveniles than adults. In HVC, the average cross-sectional area covered by the vimentin labeling was greater in males than females and in juveniles compared to adults. In RA, more vimentin was detected in juveniles than adults, and within adults it was greater in females. In juveniles only, BrdU-positive cells appeared in contact with vimentin labeled fibers in HVC, RA and Area X. Collectively, the results are consistent with roles of BDNF and vimentin-labeled cells influencing sexual differentiated plasticity of the song circuit. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID: 26355496 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

5. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2015 Sep 9:ajpcell.00187.2015. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00187.2015. [Epub ahead of print] 

A Novel Mechanism of Myostatin Regulation by Its Alternative Splicing Variant during Myogenesis in Avian Species. 
Shin S(1), Song Y(2), Ahn J(2), Kim E(2), Chen P(2), Yang S(2), Suh Y(2), Lee K(3). Author information: (1)Pusan National University. (2)The Ohio State University. (3)The Ohio State University 

Myostatin (MSTN) is a key negative regulator of muscle growth and development, and an increase of muscle mass is achieved by inhibiting MSTN signaling. In the current study, five alternative splicing isoforms of MSTN mRNAs in avian species were identified in various tissues. Among these five, three truncated forms of myostatin, MSTN-B, -C, and -E created premature stop codons and produced partial MSTN prodomains encoded from exon 1. MSTN-B is the second dominant isoform following full-length MSTN-A, and their expression was dynamically regulated during muscle development of chicken, turkey, and quail in vivo and in vitro. To clarify the function of MSTN-B, two stable cell lines of quail myoblasts (QM7) were generated to overexpress MSTN-A or MSTN-B. Interestingly, MSTN-B promoted both cell proliferation and differentiation similar to the function of the MSTN prodomain to counteract the negative role of MSTN on myogenesis. The co-immunoprecipitation assay revealed that MSTN-B binds to MSTN-A and reduces the generation of mature MSTN. Furthermore, the current study demonstrated that the partial prodomain encoded from exon 1 is critical for binding of MSTN-B to MSTN-A. Altogether, these data imply that alternative splicing isoforms of MSTN could negatively regulate pro-myostatin processing in muscle cells and prevent MSTN-mediated inhibition of myogenesis in avian species. Copyright © 2015, American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology. PMID: 26354750 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

6. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2015 Sep;46(3):633-6. doi: 10.1638/2015-0054.1. 

Manasse JL, Steinberg H. 

An adult female emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) with no previous abnormal clinical signs was found dead in its stall. A postmortem examination revealed carcinomatosis of unknown origin. Histopathology identified the masses as teratomas with malignant transformation by the presence of poorly differentiated tissue and dissemination throughout the coelomic cavity. We propose a new term, "teratocarcinomatosis," for this finding. This is the first case of a reproductive tumor described in an emu and the first case of such marked spread of malignant teratomas in a bird. PMID: 26352977 [PubMed - in process] 

7. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 9;10(9):e0136260. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136260. eCollection 2015. 

Use of Hyperspectral Imagery to Assess Cryptic Color Matching in Sargassum Associated Crabs. 
Russell BJ(1), Dierssen HM(2). Author information: (1)Department of Marine Science, University of Connecticut, Groton, CT, 06340, United States of America. (2)Department of Marine Science, University of Connecticut, Groton, CT, 06340, United States of America; Department of Geography, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, 06268, United States of America. 

Mats of the pelagic macroalgae Sargassum represent a complex environment for the study of marine camouflage at the air-sea interface. Endemic organisms have convergently evolved similar colors and patterns, but quantitative assessments of camouflage strategies are lacking. Here, spectral camouflage of two crab species (Portunus sayi and Planes minutus) was assessed using hyperspectral imagery (HSI). Crabs matched Sargassum reflectance across blue and green wavelengths (400-550 nm) and diverged at longer wavelengths. Maximum discrepancy was observed in the far-red (i.e., 675 nm) where Chlorophyll a absorption occurred in Sargassum and not the crabs. In a quantum catch color model, both crabs showed effective color matching against blue/green sensitive dichromat fish, but were still discernible to tetrachromat bird predators that have visual sensitivity to far red wavelengths. The two species showed opposing trends in background matching with relation to body size. Variation in model parameters revealed that discrimination of crab and background was impacted by distance from the predator, and the ratio of cone cell types for bird predators. This is one of the first studies to detail background color matching in this unique, challenging ecosystem at the air-sea interface. PMID: 26352667 [PubMed - in process] 

8. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 9;10(9):e0137622. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137622. eCollection 2015. 

Feathers as a Tool to Assess Mercury Contamination in Gentoo Penguins: Variations at the Individual Level. 
Pedro S(1), Xavier JC(2), Tavares S(1), Trathan PN(3), Ratcliffe N(3), Paiva VH(4), Medeiros R(5), Pereira E(6), Pardal MA(1). Author information: (1)Centre of Functional Ecology, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal. (2)MARE-Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal; British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom. (3)British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom. (4)MARE-Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal. (5)Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales, United Kingdom. (6)Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal. 

Feathers have been widely used to assess mercury contamination in birds as they reflect metal concentrations accumulated between successive moult periods: they are also easy to sample and have minimum impact on the study birds. Moult is considered the major pathway for mercury excretion in seabirds. Penguins are widely believed to undergo a complete, annual moult during which they do not feed. As penguins lose all their feathers, they are expected to have a low individual-variability in feather mercury concentration as all feathers are formed simultaneously from the same somatic reserves. This assumption is central to penguin studies that use feathers to examine the annual or among-individual variation in mercury concentrations in penguins. To test this assumption, we measured the mercury concentrations in 3-5 body feathers of 52 gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) breeding at Bird Island, South Georgia (54°S 38°W). Twenty-five percent of the penguins studied showed substantial within-individual variation in the amount of mercury in their feathers (Coefficient of Variation: 34.7-96.7%). This variation may be caused by differences in moult patterns among individuals within the population leading to different interpretations in the overall population. Further investigation is now needed to fully understand individual variation in penguins' moult. PMID: 26352664 [PubMed - in process] 

9. Microbiol Spectr. 2015 Aug;3(4). doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0004-2015. 

Diseases Transmitted by Birds. 
Levison ME. 

Although many people these days actually work very hard at leisure time activities, diseases are most commonly acquired from birds during the course of work in the usual sense of the term, not leisure. However, travel for pleasure to areas where the diseases are highly endemic puts people at risk of acquiring some of these bird-related diseases (for example, histoplasmosis and arbovirus infections), as does ownership of birds as pets (psittacosis). PMID: 26350315 [PubMed - in process] 

10. J Exp Zool A Ecol Genet Physiol. 2015 Sep 9. doi: 10.1002/jez.1965. [Epub ahead of print] 

Traffic noise affects embryo mortality and nestling growth rates in captive zebra finches. 
Potvin DA(1,)(2), MacDougall-Shackleton SA(1,)(2). Author information: (1)Advanced Facility for Avian Research, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada. (2)Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada. 

Over the past two decades, studies of songbird populations have detected decreases in the reproductive success of individuals living in urban areas. Anthropogenic noise is considered to be particularly detrimental, however the exact relationship between noise and reproductive success is still unclear because noise is often correlated with many other detrimental factors (e.g., predation, reduced territory quality). We used an experiment to specifically test the effects of urban noise on reproduction of captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). We found that latency to breed and the size of successfully fledged clutches were consistent between groups, however success of initial nesting attempts was reduced by traffic noise. Further, this reduced success leading to increased numbers of nesting attempts by birds in the noise condition was due to higher levels of embryo mortality in the traffic noise treatment group, which also suffered a lag in nestling growth rates during the first two weeks post-hatch. While parental baseline circulating corticosterone was not chronically affected by noise treatment, we identified some interaction effects whereby certain reproductive measures (laying latency and clutch size) were most strongly affected by treatment when mothers had higher levels of baseline corticosterone. These results indicate that traffic noise may reduce reproductive success through changes in parental behaviour, and that traffic noise may disproportionately affect chronically stressed individuals during reproduction. J. Exp. Zool. 9999A:XX-XX, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID: 26349453 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

11. Int J Parasitol. 2015 Sep 5. pii: S0020-7519(15)00222-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2015.08.001. [Epub ahead of print] 

Discovering potential sources of emerging pathogens: South America is a reservoir of generalist avian blood parasites. 
Moens MA(1), Pérez-Tris J(2). Author information: (1)Department of Zoology and Physical Anthropology. Faculty of Biology. Complutense University of Madrid. Calle José Antonio Novais 12, 28040, Madrid, Spain. Electronic address: (2)Department of Zoology and Physical Anthropology. Faculty of Biology. Complutense University of Madrid. Calle José Antonio Novais 12, 28040, Madrid, Spain. 

Generalist pathogens are capable of infecting a wide range of host species, and may pose serious disease emergence threats if accidentally moved outside their native areas. To date little effort has been devoted to identifying geographic areas that may act as reservoirs of generalist pathogens. According to current theory, where host diversity is high, parasite specialization in one host species may be penalized by reduced host availability, while generalist parasites may benefit from the exploitation of various host species. Therefore natural selection could favor generalist parasites where host diversity is high. Here we explored if, in a highly diverse bird community in Ecuador, a generalist strategy is promoted among local Haemoproteus and Plasmodium blood-borne parasites compared with similar parasite communities throughout the world. We reconstructed the phylogenetic relationships of every parasite lineage in order to understand the evolution of host specificity in this megadiverse area. We found high levels of host generalization for both parasite genera, and the mean host range of the Haemoproteus community in Ecuador was significantly higher than other parasite communities in other areas outside the Neotropics. Generalist Haemoproteus parasites in this bird community had diverse phylogenetic ancestry, were closely related to specialist parasites and were apparently endemic to the Amazon, showing that different parasites have independently evolved into host generalists in this region. Finally we show that Haemoproteus communities in Ecuador and South America are more generalist than in temperate areas, making this continent a hotspot of generalist Haemoproteus parasites for wild birds. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd. PMID: 26348660 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

12. Exp Gerontol. 2015 Sep 5. pii: S0531-5565(15)30036-X. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2015.08.012. [Epub ahead of print] 

Telomeres shorten more slowly in slow-aging wild animals than in fast-aging ones. 
Dantzer B(1), Fletcher QE(2). Author information: (1)Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA; Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. Electronic address: (2)Department of Biology and Centre for Forest Interdisciplinary Research, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E9, Canada. 

Research on the physiological causes of senescence aim to identify common physiological mechanisms that explain age-related declines in fitness across taxonomic groups. Telomeres are repetitive nucleotide sequences found on the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. Past research indicates that telomere attrition is strongly correlated with inter-specific rates of aging, though these studies cannot distinguish whether telomere attrition is a cause or consequence of the aging process. We extend previous research on this topic by incorporating recent studies to test the hypothesis that telomeres shorten more slowly with age in slow-aging animals than in fast-aging ones. We assembled all studies that have quantified cross-sectional (i.e. between-individual) telomere rates of change (TROC) over the lifespans of wild animals. This included 22 estimates reflecting absolute TROC (TROCabs, bp/yr., primarily measured using the terminal restriction fragment length method), and 10 estimates reflecting relative TROC (TROCrel, relative telomere length/yr., measured using qPCR), from five classes (Aves, Mammalia, Bivalvia, Reptilia, and Actinopterygii). In 14 bird species, we correlated between-individual (i.e. cross-sectional) TROCabs estimates with both maximum lifespan and a phylogenetically-corrected principle component axis (pcPC1) that reflected the slow-fast axis of life-history variation. Bird species characterized by faster life-histories and shorter maximum lifespans had faster TROCabs. In nine studies, both between-individual and within-individual TROC estimates were available (n=8 for TROCabs, n=1 for TROCrel). Within-individual TROC estimates were generally greater than between-individual TROC estimates, which is indicative of selective disappearance of individuals with shorter telomeres. However, the difference between within- and between-individual TROC estimates was only significant in two out of nine studies. The relationship between within-individual TROCabs and maximum lifespan did not differ from the relationship of between-individual TROCabs and maximum lifespan. Overall, our results provide additional support for the hypothesis that TROC is correlated with inter-specific rates of aging and compliment the intra-specific research that also find relationships between telomere attrition and components of fitness. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc. PMID: 26348426 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

13. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 8;10(9):e0137242. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137242. eCollection 2015. 

Performance of Encounternet Tags: Field Tests of Miniaturized Proximity Loggers for Use on Small Birds. 
Levin II(1), Zonana DM(1), Burt JM(2), Safran RJ(1). Author information: (1)Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, United States of America. (2)Encounternet LLC, Portland, Oregon, United States of America; Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America. 

Proximity logging is a new tool for understanding social behavior as it allows for accurate quantification of social networks. We report results from field calibration and deployment tests of miniaturized proximity tags (Encounternet), digital transceivers that log encounters between tagged individuals. We examined radio signal behavior in relation to tag attachment (tag, tag on bird, tag on saline-filled balloon) to understand how radio signal strength is affected by the tag mounting technique used for calibration tests. We investigated inter-tag and inter-receiver station variability, and in each calibration test we accounted for the effects of antennae orientation. Additionally, we used data from a live deployment on breeding barn swallows (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster) to analyze the quality of the logs, including reciprocal agreement in dyadic logs. We evaluated the impact (in terms of mass changes) of tag attachment on the birds. We were able to statistically distinguish between RSSI values associated with different close-proximity (<5m) tag-tag distances regardless of antennae orientation. Inter-tag variability was low, but we did find significant inter-receiver station variability. Reciprocal agreement of dyadic logs was high and social networks were constructed from proximity tag logs based on two different RSSI thresholds. There was no evidence of significant mass loss in the time birds were wearing tags. We conclude that proximity loggers are accurate and effective for quantifying social behavior. However, because RSSI and distance cannot be perfectly resolved, data from proximity loggers are most appropriate for comparing networks based on specific RSSI thresholds. The Encounternet system is flexible and customizable, and tags are now light enough for use on small animals (<50g). PMCID: PMC4562698 PMID: 26348329 [PubMed - in process] 

14. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2015 Sep 5. pii: S1095-6433(15)00227-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2015.08.015. [Epub ahead of print] 

Effects of nicotine on the digestive performance of nectar-feeding birds reflect their relative tolerance to this alkaloid. 
Lerch-Henning S(1), Nicolson SW(2). Author information: (1)Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield 0028, South Africa. Electronic address: (2)Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield 0028, South Africa.  
The paradox of secondary metabolites, toxic defence compounds produced by plants, in nectar and fruits is well known. Deterrence of feeding by nectarivorous and frugivorous birds is better understood than the effect of these chemicals on the digestive performance of birds. Digestive parameters such as transit time and sugar assimilation are important in assessing nutrient utilization and deterrence may be related to post-ingestive effects involving these parameters. Nectar and many fruits contain mainly sugars and water, and avian consumers compensate for low sugar content in their diet by increasing food intake: this may also increase their intake of secondary metabolites. We investigated how the alkaloid nicotine, naturally present in nectar of Nicotiana species, influences compensatory feeding and digestive performance of nectar-feeding birds. High nicotine concentration negatively affected compensatory feeding and apparent assimilation efficiency of white-bellied sunbirds Cinnyris talatala and Cape white-eyes Zosterops virens; but nicotine slowed gut transit time only in the latter species. In contrast, food intake and digestive performance of dark-capped bulbuls Pycnonotus tricolor was unaffected by nicotine up to a concentration of 50 μM. Bulbuls are primarily frugivorous, hence they are more exposed to secondary metabolites than sunbirds and possibly white-eyes. Because their diet is richer in toxins, frugivorous birds may have evolved more efficient detoxification strategies than those of specialist nectar-feeding birds. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc. PMID: 26348126 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

15. Trends Cogn Sci. 2015 Sep 4. pii: S1364-6613(15)00202-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2015.08.011. [Epub ahead of print] 

Do Animal Communication Systems Have Phonemes? 
Bowling DL(1), Fitch WT(2). Author information: (1)Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. (2)Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. Electronic address: 

Biologists often ask whether animal communication systems make use of conceptual entities from linguistics, such as semantics or syntax. A new study of an Australian bird species argues that their communication system has phonemes, but we argue that imposing linguistic concepts obscures, rather than clarifyies, communicative function. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. PMID: 26346993 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

16. ScientificWorldJournal. 2015;2015:105296. doi: 10.1155/2015/105296. Epub 2015 Aug 9. 

The Relationships between Morphological Characteristics and Foraging Behavior in Four Selected Species of Shorebirds and Water Birds Utilizing Tropical Mudflats. 
Norazlimi NA(1), Ramli R(1). Author information: (1)Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

A study was conducted to investigate the relationship between the physical morphology of shorebirds and water birds (i.e., Lesser adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus), Common redshank (Tringa totanus), Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), and Little heron (Butorides striata)) and their foraging behavior in the mudflats area of Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia, from August 2013 to July 2014 by using direct observation techniques (using binoculars and a video recorder). The actively foraging bird species were watched, and their foraging activities were recorded for at least 30 seconds for up to a maximum of five minutes. A Spearman Rank Correlation highlighted a significant relationship between bill size and foraging time (R = 0.443, p < 0.05), bill size and prey size (R = -0.052, p < 0.05), bill size and probing depth (R = 0.42, p = 0.003), and leg length and water/mud depth (R = 0.706, p < 0.005). A Kruskal-Wallis Analysis showed a significant difference between average estimates of real probing depth of the birds (mm) and species (H = 15.96, p = 0.0012). Three foraging techniques were recorded: pause-travel, visual-feeding, and tactile-hunting. Thus, morphological characteristics of bird do influence their foraging behavior and strategies used when foraging. PMCID: PMC4546753 PMID: 26345324 [PubMed - in process] 

17. J Parasit Dis. 2015 Sep;39(3):426-8. doi: 10.1007/s12639-013-0356-8. Epub 2013 Sep 3. 

Incidence of Haemoproteus columbae in pigeons of Jammu district. 
Borkataki S(1), Katoch R(1), Goswami P(2), Godara R(1), Khajuria JK(1), Yadav A(1), Kour R(1), Mir I(3). Author information: (1)Division of Veterinary Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, R.S. Pura, 181 102 Jammu, India. (2)Division of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology-K, Suhama, Srinagar, India. (3)Department of Microbiology, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, RAJUVAS, Bikaner, India. 

Haemoproteus columbae is the major protozoan infection reported in pigeon and appeared in the erythrocyte of the peripheral circulation. Incidence and parasitaemia of H. columbae in pigeon was studied in different localities of Jammu, India for a period from April to September 2010 using thin blood smear examination. Of the 150 pigeons (wild: 70, domestic: 80), 92 (61.33 %) were found to be infected with H. columbae. Domestic pigeon showed higher incidence rate (74.28 %) than the wild (50 %). Mature and immature gametocyte encircled the erythrocyte nucleus to form a halter shaped appearance were characteristic feature of the parasite. Pseudolynchia canariensis, the vector for H. columbae was also recovered from beneath the feathers of pigeons. No other haemoprotozoan parasite was observed in the blood smear of examined pigeon. Counting of infected erythrocyte revealed higher affection of 1-2 erythrocytes indicative of milder infection in the birds. A long term study within bird population is essential in order to disclose seasonal variation in parasite, vector density and age of infection such as nesting area. PMCID: PMC4554597 [Available on 2016-09-01] PMID: 26345046 [PubMed] 

18. Vet Parasitol. 2015 Aug 30. pii: S0304-4017(15)30009-1. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2015.08.028. [Epub ahead of print] 

Arthropods and associated arthropod-borne diseases transmitted by migrating birds. The case of ticks and tick-borne pathogens. 
Sparagano O(1), George D(2), Giangaspero A(3), Špitalská E(4). Author information: (1)Vice-Chancellor Office, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK. Electronic address: (2)Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK; Stockbridge Technology Centre, Cawood, Selby YO8 3TZ, UK. (3)Department of Science of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, 71121 Foggia, Italy. (4)Institute of Virology SAS, Bratislava, Slovak Republic. 

Geographic spread of parasites and pathogens poses a constant risk to animal health and welfare, particularly given that climate change is expected to potentially expand appropriate ranges for many key species. The spread of deleterious organisms via trade routes and human travelling is relatively closely controlled, though represents only one possible means of parasite/pathogen distribution. The transmission via natural parasite/pathogen movement between geographic locales, is far harder to manage. Though the extent of such movement may be limited by the relative inability of many parasites and pathogens to actively migrate, passive movement over long distances may still occur via migratory hosts. This paper reviews the potential role of migrating birds in the transfer of ectoparasites and pathogens between geographic locales, focusing primarily on ticks. Bird-tick-pathogen relationships are considered, and evidence provided of long-range parasite/pathogen transfer from one location to another during bird migration events. As shown in this paper not only many different arthropod species are carried by migrating birds but consequently these pests carry many different pathogens species which can be transmitted to the migrating birds or to other animal species when those arthropods are dropping during these migrations. Data available from the literature are provided highlighting the need to understand better dissemination paths and disease epidemiology. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. PMID: 26343302 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

19. Avian Dis. 2015 Mar;59(1):165-70. 

Electron-Beam-Inactivated Vaccine Against Salmonella Enteritidis Colonization in Molting Hens. 
Jesudhasan PR, McReynolds JL, Byrd AJ, He H, Genovese KJ, Droleskey R, Swaggerty CL, Kogut MH, Duke S, Nisbet DJ, Praveen C, Pillai SD. 

Electron-beam (eBeam) irradiation technology has a variety of applications in modern society. The underlying hypothesis was that eBeam-inactivated Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (SE) cells can serve as a vaccine to control SE colonization and shedding in poultry birds. An eBeam dose of 2.5 kGy (kilograys) was used to inactivate a high-titer (10(8) colony-forming units [CFU]) preparation of SE cells. Microscopic studies revealed that the irradiation did not damage the bacterial cell membranes. The vaccine efficacy was evaluated by administering the eBeam-killed SE cells intramuscularly (1 x 10(6) CFU/bird) into 50-wk-old single comb white leghorn hens. On day 14 postvaccination, the hens were challenged orally with live SE cells (1 x 10(9) CFU) and SE colonization of liver, spleen, ceca, and ovaries determined on day 23. Blood samples were collected on days 0, 14, and 23 postvaccination and the sera were analyzed to quantify SE-specific IgG titers. The vaccinated chickens exhibited significantly (P < 0.0001) higher SE-specific IgG antibody responses and reduced SE ceca colonization (1.46 ± 0.39 logi10 CFU/g) compared to nonvaccinated birds (5.32 ± 0.32 log10 CFU/g). They also exhibited significantly lower SE colonization of the ovaries (1/30), spleen (3/30), liver (4/30), and ceca (7/30) compared to nonvaccinated birds. These results provide empirical evidence that eBeam-based SE vaccines are immunogenic and are capable of protecting chickens against SE colonization. The advantages of eBeam-based vaccine technology are that it is nonthermal, avoids the use of formalin, and can be used to generate inactivated vaccines rapidly to address strain-specific infections in farms or flocks. PMID: 26292553 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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