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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. itizard@cvm.tamu.edu.  

Abstract
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.  

Abstract
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.  

Abstract
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.  

Abstract
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.  

Abstract
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.  

Abstract
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: skruus@utu.fi.  

Abstract
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: kmurph17@uwyo.edu. (2)Program in Neuroscience, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States. Electronic address: dwilson3@uwyo.edu. (3)Program in Neuroscience, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States. Electronic address: markkburt@gmail.com. (4)Program in Neuroscience, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States. Electronic address: shaylaslaugh@gmail.com. (5)Program in Neuroscience, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States. Electronic address: jdunnin2@uwyo.edu. (6)Program in Neuroscience, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States. Electronic address: jprathe2@uwyo.edu.  

Abstract
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. fmabarca@eez.csic.es.  

Abstract
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 gabicamargo@yahoo.com. (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.  

Abstract
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.  

Abstract
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. pshaner@ntnu.edu.tw.  

Abstract
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: drvkumar11@yahoo.com.  

Abstract
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.  

Abstract
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]  



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