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Friday, 29 January 2016

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed. January Week 4 2016

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. Environ Pollut. 2016 Jan 19;211:382-388. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2015.12.061. [Epub ahead of print] 

Does temporal variation of mercury levels in Arctic seabirds reflect changes in global environmental contamination, or a modification of Arctic marine food web functioning? 
Fort J(1), Grémillet D(2), Traisnel G(3), Amélineau F(4), Bustamante P(3). Author information: (1)Littoral, Environnement et Sociétés (LIENSs), UMR 7266 CNRS - Université La Rochelle, 2 rue Olympe de Gouges, 17000 La Rochelle, France. Electronic address: (2)Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE), UMR 5175 CNRS - Université de Montpellier - Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier - EPHE, 1919 route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier, France; FitzPatrick Institute, DST/NRF Excellence Centre at the University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa. (3)Littoral, Environnement et Sociétés (LIENSs), UMR 7266 CNRS - Université La Rochelle, 2 rue Olympe de Gouges, 17000 La Rochelle, France. (4)Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE), UMR 5175 CNRS - Université de Montpellier - Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier - EPHE, 1919 route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier, France. 

Studying long-term trends of contaminants in Arctic biota is essential to better understand impacts of anthropogenic activities and climate change on the exposure of sensitive species and marine ecosystems. We concurrently measured temporal changes (2006-2014) in mercury (Hg) contamination of little auks (Alle alle; the most abundant Arctic seabird) and in their major zooplankton prey species (Calanoid copepods, Themisto libellula, Gammarus spp.). We found an increasing contamination of the food-chain in East Greenland during summer over the last decade. More specifically, bird contamination (determined by body feather analyses) has increased at a rate of 3.4% per year. Conversely, bird exposure to Hg during winter in the northwest Atlantic (determined by head feather analyses) decreased over the study period (at a rate of 1.5% per year), although winter concentrations remained consistently higher than during summer. By combining mercury levels measured in birds and zooplankton to isotopic analyses, our results demonstrate that inter-annual variations of Hg levels in little auks reflect changes in food-chain contamination, rather than a reorganization of the food web and a modification of seabird trophic ecology. They therefore underline the value of little auks, and Arctic seabirds in general, as bio-indicators of long-term changes in environmental contamination. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. PMID: 26798998 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

2. Genetica. 2016 Jan 21. [Epub ahead of print] 

Contrasted patterns of genetic differentiation across eight bird species in the Lesser Antilles. 
Khimoun A(1), Arnoux E(2), Martel G(2), Pot A(2), Eraud C(3), Condé B(4), Loubon M(2,)(5), Théron F(2,)(5), Covas R(5), Faivre B(2), Garnier S(2). Author information: (1)CNRS, Biogéosciences UMR6282, Univ. Bourgogne Franche-Comté, 21000, Dijon, France. (2)CNRS, Biogéosciences UMR6282, Univ. Bourgogne Franche-Comté, 21000, Dijon, France. (3)CNERA Avifaune migratrice, Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage, Station biologique de Chizé, Carrefour de la Canauderie, 79360, Villiers en Bois, France. (4)Cellule Technique des Antilles Françaises, Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage, 5 rue de la Dorade, 79229, Les Trois-Ilets, Martinique, France. (5)Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, CIBIO, Campus Agrário de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-661, Vairão, Portugal. 

Archipelagoes are considered as "natural laboratories" for studying processes that shape the distribution of diversity. The Lesser Antilles provide a favorable geographical context for divergence to occur. However, although morphological subspecies have been described across this archipelago in numerous avian species, the potential for the Lesser Antilles in driving intra-specific genetic divergence in highly mobile organisms such as birds remains understudied. Here, we assessed level of intra-specific genetic diversity and differentiation between three islands of the Lesser Antilles (Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique) using a multi-species approach on eight bird species. For each species, we built a set of microsatellite markers from cross-species amplifications. Significant patterns of inter-island and/or within-island genetic differentiation were detected in all species. However, levels of intra-specific genetic differentiation among the eight bird species were not always consistent with the boundaries of subspecies previously described in the sampled islands. These results suggest different histories of colonization/expansion and/or different species-specific ecological traits affecting gene flow, advocating for multi-species studies of historical and contemporary factors shaping the distribution of diversity on islands. PMID: 26797853 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

3. Korean J Parasitol. 2015 Dec;53(6):749-53. doi: 10.3347/kjp.2015.53.6.749. Epub 2015 Dec 31. 

Toxoplasmosis in a Pet Peach-Faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis). Cooper MK(1), Šlapeta J(1), Donahoe SL(1), Phalen DN(1). Author information: (1)Veterinary Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia. 

Toxoplasma gondii atypical type II genotype was diagnosed in a pet peach-faced lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis) based on histopathology, immunohistochemistry, and multilocus DNA typing. The bird presented with severe neurological signs, and hematology was suggestive of chronic granulomatous disease. Gross post-mortem examination revealed cerebral hemorrhage, splenomegaly, hepatitis, and thickening of the right ventricular free wall. Histologic sections of the most significant lesions in the brain revealed intralesional protozoan organisms associated with malacia, spongiform changes, and a mild histiocytic response, indicative of diffuse, non-suppurative encephalitis. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the causative organisms to be T. gondii. DNA isolated from the brain was used to confirm the presence of T. gondii DNA. Multilocus genotyping based on SAG1, altSAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1, and Apico markers demonstrated the presence of ToxoDB PCR-RFLP genotype #3 and B1 gene as atypical T. gondii type II. The atypical type II strain has been previously documented in Australian wildlife, indicating an environmental transmission route. PMID: 26797444 [PubMed - in process] 

4. Parasitol Res. 2016 Jan 21. [Epub ahead of print] 

Toxoplasmosis in geese and detection of two new atypical Toxoplasma gondii strains from naturally infected Canada geese (Branta canadensis). 
Verma SK(1), Calero-Bernal R(1), Cerqueira-Cézar CK(1), Kwok OC(1), Dudley M(2), Jiang T(3), Su C(3), Hill D(1), Dubey JP(4). Author information: (1)United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Building 1001, Beltsville, MD, 20705-2350, USA. (2)United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Farm Services, Building 513, Beltsville, MD, 20705-2350, USA. (3)Department of Microbiology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, 37996-0845, USA. (4)United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Building 1001, Beltsville, MD, 20705-2350, USA. 

Wild birds are important in the epidemiology of toxoplasmosis because they can serve as reservoir hosts, and vectors of zoonotic pathogens including Toxoplasma gondii. Canada goose (Branta canadensis) is the most widespread geese in North America. Little is known concerning T. gondii infection in both migratory, and local resident populations of Canada geese. Here, we evaluated the seroprevalence, isolation, and genetic characterization of viable T. gondii isolates from a migratory population of Canada geese. Antibodies against T. gondii were detected in 12 of 169 Canada geese using the modified agglutination test (MAT, cutoff 1:25). The hearts of 12 seropositive geese were bioassayed in mice for isolation of T. gondii. Viable parasites were isolated from eight. One isolate was obtained from a seropositive goose by both bioassays in mice, and in a cat; the cat fed infected heart excreted T. gondii oocysts. Additionally, one isolate was obtained from a pool of four seronegative (<1:25) geese by bioassay in a cat. The T. gondii isolates were further propagated in cell culture, and DNA extracted from cell culture-derived tachyzoites were characterized using 10 polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) genetic markers (SAG1, 5' and 3'SAG2, alt.SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1, and Apico). The results revealed five different genotypes. ToxoDB PCR-RFLP genotype #1 (type II) in one isolate, genotype #2 (type III) in four isolates, genotype #4 in two isolates, and two new genotypes (ToxoDB PCR-RFLP genotype #266 in one isolate and #267 in one isolate) were identified. These results indicate genetic diversity of T. gondii strains in the Canada geese, and this migratory bird might provide a mechanism of T. gondii transmission at great distances from where an infection was acquired. PMID: 26796021 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

5. PLoS One. 2016 Jan 21;11(1):e0147317. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147317. eCollection 2016. 

Impacts of Short-Rotation Early-Growing Season Prescribed Fire on a Ground Nesting Bird in the Central Hardwoods Region of North America. 
Pittman HT(1), Krementz DG(2). Author information: (1)Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 72701, United States of America. (2)U.S. Geological Survey Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 72701, United States of America. 

Landscape-scale short-rotation early-growing season prescribed fire, hereafter prescribed fire, in upland hardwood forests represents a recent shift in management strategies across eastern upland forests. Not only does this strategy depart from dormant season to growing season prescriptions, but the strategy also moves from stand-scale to landscape-scale implementation (>1,000 ha). This being so, agencies are making considerable commitments in terms of time and resources to this management strategy, but the effects on wildlife in upland forests, especially those dominated by hardwood canopy species, are relatively unknown. We initiated our study to assess whether this management strategy affects eastern wild turkey reproductive ecology on the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest. We marked 67 wild turkey hens with Global Positioning System (GPS) Platform Transmitting Terminals in 2012 and 2013 to document exposure to prescribed fire, and estimate daily nest survival, nest success, and nest-site selection. We estimated these reproductive parameters in forest units managed with prescribed fire (treated) and units absent of prescribed fire (untreated). Of 60 initial nest attempts monitored, none were destroyed or exposed to prescribed fire because a majority of fires occurred early than a majority of the nesting activity. We found nest success was greater in untreated units than treated units (36.4% versus 14.6%). We did not find any habitat characteristic differences between successful and unsuccessful nest-sites. We found that nest-site selection criteria differed between treated and untreated units. Visual concealment and woody ground cover were common selection criteria in both treated and untreated units. However, in treated units wild turkey selected nest-sites with fewer small shrubs (<5 cm ground diameter) and large trees (>20 cm DBH) but not in untreated units. In untreated units wild turkey selected nest-sites with more large shrubs (≥5cm ground diameter) but did not select for small shrubs or large trees. Our findings suggest that wild turkey have not benefited from the reintroduction of prescribed fire to the WRERA. PMID: 26795913 [PubMed - in process] 

6. Parasitol Int. 2016 Jan 18. pii: S1383-5769(16)30003-4. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2016.01.011. [Epub ahead of print] 

Integrative taxonomy of European parasitic flatworms of the genus Metorchis Looss, 1899 (Trematoda: Opisthorchiidae). 
Sitko J(1), Bizos J(2), Sherrard-Smith E(3), Stanton DW(4), Komorová P(5), Heneberg P(6). Author information: (1)Comenius Museum, Moravian Ornithological Station, Přerov, Czech Republic. (2)Charles University in Prague, Third Faculty of Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic. (3)Cardiff University, School of Biosciences, Cardiff, United Kingdom; Imperial College London, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London, United Kingdom. (4)Cardiff University, School of Biosciences, Cardiff, United Kingdom. (5)Slovak Academy of Sciences, Institute of Parasitology, Košice, Slovakia. (6)Charles University in Prague, Third Faculty of Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic. Electronic address: 

Metorchis spp. are flukes (Platyhelminthes: Digenea) that infect vertebrates, including humans, dogs, cats, poultry and wild game, with cyprinid freshwater fish serving as typical second intermediate hosts. In their definitive hosts, the Metorchis spp. are difficult to identify to species. We provide and analyze sequences of two nuclear (18S rDNA and ITS2) and two mitochondrial (CO1 and ND1) DNA loci of four morphologically identified European species of the Metorchis, namely Metorchis albidus, Metorchis bilis, Metorchis crassiusculus and Metorchis xanthosomus, and of another opisthorchiid, Euamphimerus pancreaticus. DNA analysis suggests that the Metorchis specimens identified morphologically as M. albidus (from Lutra lutra), M. bilis (from Phalacrocorax carbo) and M. crassiusculus (from Aquila heliaca and Buteo rufinus) represent a single species. Thus, M.albidus (Braun, 1893) Loos, 1899 and M.crassiusculus (Rudolphi, 1809) Looss, 1899 are recognized as junior subjective synonyms of M.bilis (Braun, 1790) Odening, 1962. We also provide comparative measurements of the Central European Metorchis spp., and address their tissue specificity and prevalence based on the examination of extensive bird cohort from 1962 to 2015. M. bilis and M. xanthosomus can be morphologically diagnosed by measuring the extent of genitalia relative to body length and by the size ratio of their suckers. They also differ in their core definitive hosts, with ducks (Anas, Aythya) and coots (Fulica) hosting M. xanthosomus, and cormorants (Phalacrocorax), the birds of prey (Buteo, Aquila, etc.), piscivorous mammals (Lutra, Vulpes, Ursus, etc.) and humans hosting M. bilis. Previous reports on the Metorchis spp. contain numerous suspected misidentifications. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. PMID: 26794684 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

7. Proc Biol Sci. 2016 Jan 27;283(1823). pii: 20152600. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2600. 

Reproductive costs in terrestrial male vertebrates: insights from bird studies. 
Bleu J(1), Gamelon M(2), Sæther BE(3). Author information: (1)Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics, Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim 7491, Norway Sorbonne Universités, UPMC, CNRS, INRA, IRD, Université Paris Diderot, Université Paris-Est Créteil, UMR 7618, Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences of Paris, Paris 75005, France. (2)Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics, Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim 7491, Norway (3)Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics, Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim 7491, Norway. 

Reproduction requires resources that cannot be allocated to other functions resulting in direct reproductive costs (i.e. trade-offs between current reproduction and subsequent survival/reproduction). In wild vertebrates, direct reproductive costs have been widely described in females, but their occurrence in males remains to be explored. To fill this gap, we gathered 53 studies on 48 species testing direct reproductive costs in male vertebrates. We found a trade-off between current reproduction and subsequent performances in 29% of the species and in every clade. As 73% of the studied species are birds, we focused on that clade to investigate whether such trade-offs are associated with (i) levels of paternal care, (ii) polygyny or (iii) pace of life. More precisely for this third question, it is expected that fast species (i.e. short lifespan, early maturity, high fecundity) pay a cost in terms of survival, whereas slow species (with opposite characteristics) do so in terms of fecundity. Our findings tend to support this hypothesis. Finally, we pointed out the potential confounding effects that should be accounted for when investigating reproductive costs in males and strongly encourage the investigation of such costs in more clades to understand to what extent our results are relevant for other vertebrates. © 2016 The Author(s). PMID: 26791619 [PubMed - in process] 

8. Proc Biol Sci. 2016 Jan 13;283(1823). pii: 20152314. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2314. 

Climate, demography and lek stability in an Amazonian bird. 
Ryder TB(1), Sillett TS(2). Author information: (1)Migratory Bird Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, MRC 5503, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA (2)Migratory Bird Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, MRC 5503, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA. 

Lekking is a rare, but iconic mating system where polygynous males aggregate and perform group displays to attract females. Existing theory postulates that demographic and environmental stability are required for lekking to be an evolutionarily viable reproductive strategy. However, we lack empirical tests for the hypotheses that lek stability is facilitated by age-specific variation in demographic rates, and by predictable, abundant resources. To address this knowledge gap, we use multistate models to examine how two demographic elements of lek stability-male survival and recruitment-vary with age, social status and phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in a Neotropical frugivorous bird, the wire-tailed manakin (Pipra filicauda). Our results show that demographic and environmental conditions were related to lek stability in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Apparent annual survival probability of territorial males was higher than that of non-territorial floaters, and recruitment probability increased as males progressed in an age-graded queue. Moreover, annual survival of territorial males and body condition of both floaters and territory holders were higher following years with El Niño conditions, associated with reduced rainfall and probably higher fruit production in the northern Neotropics, and lower after years with wet, La Niña conditions that predominated our study. Recruitment probabilities varied annually, independent of ENSO phase, and increased over our study period, but the annual mean number of territorial males per lek declined. Our results provide empirical support for hypothesized demographic and environmental drivers of lek dynamics. This study also suggests that climate-mediated changes in resource availability can affect demography and subsequent lek stability in a relatively buffered, lowland rainforest. © 2016 The Author(s). PMID: 26791615 [PubMed - in process] 

9. J Appl Microbiol. 2016 Jan 20. doi: 10.1111/jam.13066. [Epub ahead of print] 

The pattern of Campylobacter contamination on broiler farms; external and internal sources. 
Battersby T(1,)(2), Whyte P(2), Bolton D(1). Author information: (1)Teagasc Ashtown Food Research, Ashtown, Dublin 15, Ireland. (2)UCD School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland. 

AIM: The aim of this study was to apply the most sensitive molecular techniques in combination with culture based methods to characterise broiler farms in terms of the timeline ('appearance' and 'pattern') of Campylobacter contamination prior and post detection in the birds. METHODS AND RESULTS: Faecal and environmental samples were collected from 3 broiler farms (2 flocks per farm). RT-PCR was used to test for the presence of Campylobacter. Culture based methods (enrichment and direct plating) were also applied and isolates were subject to a range of confirmatory tests before speciation (multiplex PCR). All flocks were colonized by Campylobacter before first thin and a similar pattern of Campylobacter contamination was observed; [day -1] a range of external and internal samples RT-PCR positive but culture negative; [day 0] chicks negative; [6-9 days pre detection in the birds] internal samples (feeders, drinkers, barrier and/or bird weigh) culture positive and [post broiler infection] increasing concentrations of Campylobacter on internal samples but also on the tarmac apron and ante-room. CONCLUSION: It was concluded that; [1] vertical transmission did not occur; [2] the environment was a potential source of Campylobacter; [3] testing areas frequented by all birds (eg. feeders and drinkers), may offer an opportunity for early Campylobacter detection and [4] once the broilers are infected with Campylobacter, these bacteria are spread from the birds, through the ante-room to the areas surrounding the broiler house, highlighting the need for improved biosecurity. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: This study has established the pattern of Campylobacter contamination on broiler farms, identified an early detection opportunity, highlighted the need to better understand the role of VBNC Campylobacter in the ecology of Campylobacter on broiler farms and demonstrated the need for improved biosecurity to prevent the spread of Campylobacter from within the house to the surrounding environment. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. PMID: 26788933 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

10. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Jan 19. pii: 201506903. [Epub ahead of print] 

Central auditory neurons have composite receptive fields. 
Kozlov AS(1), Gentner TQ(2). Author information: (1)Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London, London, SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom; Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093; (2)Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093; Section of Neurobiology, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093; Neurosciences Program, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093; Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093. 

High-level neurons processing complex, behaviorally relevant signals are sensitive to conjunctions of features. Characterizing the receptive fields of such neurons is difficult with standard statistical tools, however, and the principles governing their organization remain poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate multiple distinct receptive-field features in individual high-level auditory neurons in a songbird, European starling, in response to natural vocal signals (songs). We then show that receptive fields with similar characteristics can be reproduced by an unsupervised neural network trained to represent starling songs with a single learning rule that enforces sparseness and divisive normalization. We conclude that central auditory neurons have composite receptive fields that can arise through a combination of sparseness and normalization in neural circuits. Our results, along with descriptions of random, discontinuous receptive fields in the central olfactory neurons in mammals and insects, suggest general principles of neural computation across sensory systems and animal classes. PMID: 26787894 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

11. J Exp Biol. 2016 Jan 19. pii: jeb.126987. [Epub ahead of print] 

Neural and neuroendocrine processing of a non-photic cue in an opportunistically-breeding songbird. 
Ernst DK(1), Bentley GE(2). Author information: (1)Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA (2)Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. 

Recent studies of the onset of breeding in long-day photoperiodic breeders have focused on the roles of type 2 and 3 iodothyronine deiodinases (DIO2 and DIO3) in the conversion of thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3) and subsequent activation of the reproductive axis. It has been hypothesized that an increase in DIO2 and reciprocal decrease in DIO3 causes the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamus, setting off a reproductive cascade, and that this DIO mechanism for GnRH release is conserved across vertebrate taxa. We sought to test whether social cues that are known to stimulate reproductive behaviors can activate the DIO system to initiate reproduction in a non-photoperiodic bird, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Isolation of males and subsequent presentation of females did not increase DIO2 or GnRH expression in the hypothalamus, nor did it decrease gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) or DIO3. Males receiving a female stimulus showed significantly higher mRNA expression and immunoreactive cell count of the immediate early gene early growth response protein 1 (EGR-1) than isolated males, indicating hypothalamic activation in response to a female. Cells immunoreactive for EGR-1 were not co-localized with those immunoreactive for GnRH. Reproductive behaviors (singing, copulation attempts, and overall activity) were significantly higher in males receiving a female stimulus. This study presents a social effect on behavior and EGR-1 expression in the hypothalamus of males in response to females, but more research is needed to determine if the DIO2 system and the GnRH system are responsive to social stimulation in this species. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd. PMID: 26787482 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

12. J Exp Biol. 2016 Jan 19. pii: jeb.132001. [Epub ahead of print] 

Seasonal and geographical variation in heat tolerance and evaporative cooling capacity in a passerine bird. 
Noakes MJ(1), Wolf BO(2), McKechnie AE(3). Author information: (1)DST-NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa. (2)UNM Biology Department, University of New Mexico, MSC03-2020, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, USA. (3)DST-NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa 

Intraspecific variation in avian thermoregulatory responses to heat stress has received little attention, despite increasing evidence that endothermic animals show considerable physiological variation among populations. We investigated seasonal (summer versus winter) variation in heat tolerance and evaporative cooling in an Afrotropical ploceid passerine, the white-browed sparrow-weaver (Plocepasser mahali;∼47 g) at three sites along a climatic gradient with more than 10 °C variation in mid-summer maximum air temperatures (Ta). We measured resting metabolic rate (RMR) and total evaporative water loss (TEWL) using open flow-through respirometry, and core body temperature (Tb) using passive integrated transponder tags. Sparrow-weavers were exposed to a ramped profile of progressively higher Ta between 30 °C - 52 °C to elicit maximum evaporative cooling capacity (n=10 per site per season); the maximum Ta birds tolerated before the onset of severe hyperthermia (Tb ≈ 44 °C) was considered their hyperthermia threshold Ta (HTTa). Our data reveal significant seasonal acclimatisation of heat tolerance, with a desert population of sparrow-weavers reaching significantly higher Ta in summer (49.5±1.4 °C; i.e., higher HTTa) than winter (46.8±0.9 °C), reflecting enhanced evaporative cooling during summer. Moreover, desert sparrow-weavers had significantly higher heat tolerance and evaporative cooling capacity during summer compared to populations from more mesic sites (HTTa=47.3±1.5 and 47.6±1.3 °C). A better understanding of the contributions of local adaptation versus phenotypic plasticity to intraspecific variation in avian heat tolerance and evaporative cooling capacity is needed for modelling species' responses to changing climates. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd. PMID: 26787477 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

13. Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 20;6:19613. doi: 10.1038/srep19613. 

Ecological opportunity and the evolution of habitat preferences in an arid-zone bird: implications for speciation in a climate-modified landscape. 
Norman JA(1,)(2), Christidis L(1,)(2). Author information: (1)National Marine Science Centre, Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia. (2)Department of Genetics, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia. 

Bioclimatic models are widely used to investigate the impacts of climate change on species distributions. Range shifts are expected to occur as species track their current climate niche yet the potential for exploitation of new ecological opportunities that may arise as ecosystems and communities remodel is rarely considered. Here we show that grasswrens of the Amytornis textilis-modestus complex responded to new ecological opportunities in Australia's arid biome through shifts in habitat preference following the development of chenopod shrublands during the late Plio-Pleistocene. We find evidence of spatially explicit responses to climatically driven landscape changes including changes in niche width and patterns of population growth. Conservation of structural and functional aspects of the ancestral niche appear to have facilitated recent habitat shifts, while demographic responses to late Pleistocene climate change provide evidence for the greater resilience of populations inhabiting the recently evolved chenopod shrubland communities. Similar responses could occur under future climate change in species exposed to novel ecological conditions, or those already occupying spatially heterogeneous landscapes. Mechanistic models that consider structural and functional aspects of the niche along with regional hydro-dynamics may be better predictors of future climate responses in Australia's arid biome than bioclimatic models alone. PMID: 26787111 [PubMed - in process] 

14. Vaccine. 2016 Jan 16. pii: S0264-410X(16)00025-6. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.01.006. [Epub ahead of print] 

Infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) vaccine intake evaluation by detection of virus amplification in feather pulps of vaccinated chickens. 
Davidson I(1), Raibshtein I(2), Altori A(2), Elkin N(3). Author information: (1)Division of Avian Diseases, Kimron Veterinary Institute, P.O. Box 12, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel. Electronic address: (2)Division of Avian Diseases, Kimron Veterinary Institute, P.O. Box 12, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel. (3)Biovac, Biological Laboratories, Ltd, Israel. 

Infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) is a respiratory disease of poultry caused by an alphaherpesvirus, ILTV. The live vaccine is applied worldwide by drinking water or by the respiratory route, and by the vent application in Israel. No system of direct evaluation of the efficacy of vaccination exists today, except of antibody elicitation, which is an indirect indication of vaccination intake and might happen due to environment exposure. We suggest for the first time an assay for evaluating the accuracy of the vaccination process by spotting the spread of the live vaccine systemically, namely by virus detection in the feather shafts of the vaccinated birds. The feathers are particularly beneficial as they are easy to collect, non-lethal for the bird, therefore advantageous for monitoring purposes. Moreover, the continuous survey of the vaccine virus unveiled the different kinetics of viremia by the different vaccination routes; while after the vent vaccination the systemic viremia peaks during the first week afterwards, after two consecutive vaccine administration by drinking water with 6 day interval, the vireamia peaks only after the second administration. A robust amplification was needed because the vaccine ILTV was present in the bird in minute quantities compared to the wild-type virus. For the vaccine virus identification in feather shafts a nested real-time PCR for the TK ILTV gene was developed. The sensitivity of detection of the nested rtPCR was greater by 1000 compared to conventional nested PCR and 10 times that real-time PCR. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ltd. PMID: 26784685 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

15. J Anim Ecol. 2016 Jan 19. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12494. [Epub ahead of print] 

The response of migratory populations to phenological change: a Migratory Flow Network modelling approach. 
Taylor CM(1), Laughlin AJ(2), Hall RJ(3). Author information: (1)Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans, USA. (2)Department of Environmental Studies, UNC Asheville, Asheville, USA. (3)Odum School of Ecology and Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Georgia, Athens, USA. 

1.Declines in migratory species have been linked to anthropogenic climate change through phenological mismatch, which arises due to asynchronies between the timing of life-history events (such as migration) and the phenology of available resources. Long-distance migratory species may be particularly vulnerable to phenological change in their breeding ranges, since the timing of migration departure is based on environmental cues at distant non-breeding sites. 2.Migrants may, however, be able to adjust migration speed en route to the breeding grounds and thus ability of migrants to update their timing of migration may depend critically on stopover frequency during migration; however, understanding how migratory strategy influences population dynamics is hindered by a lack of predictive models explicitly linking habitat quality to demography and movement patterns throughout the migratory cycle. 3.Here, we present a novel modelling framework, the Migratory Flow Network (MFN), in which the seasonally varying attractiveness of breeding, winter, and stopover regions drives the direction and timing of migration based on a simple general flux law. 4.We use the MFN to investigate how populations respond to shifts in breeding site phenology based on their frequency of stopover and ability to detect and adapt to these changes. 5.With perfect knowledge of advancing phenology, 'jump' migrants (low frequency stopover) require more adaptation for populations to recover than 'hop' and 'skip' (high or medium frequency stopover) migrants. If adaptation depends on proximity, hop and skip migrants' populations can recover but jump migrants cannot adjust and decline severely. 6.These results highlight the importance of understanding migratory strategies and maintaining high-quality stopover habitat to buffer migratory populations from climate-induced mismatch. 7.We discuss how MFNs could be applied to diverse migratory taxa, and highlight the potential of MFNs as a tool for exploring how migrants respond to other environmental changes such as habitat loss. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. PMID: 26782029 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

16. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2016 Jan 19. [Epub ahead of print] 

Concentrations of Metals in Feathers of Magpie (Pica pica) from Aran-O-Bidgol City in Central Iran. 
Zarrintab M(1), Mirzaei R(1), Mostafaei G(2), Dehghani R(3), Akbari H(4). Author information: (1)Department of Environment, Faculty of Natural Resources and Earth Sciences, University of Kashan, Kashan, Iran. (2)Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Health, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran. (3)Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Health, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran. (4)Faculty of Health, Trauma Research Center, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran. 

The present study aims to measure Zn, Cu, Pb and Cd concentrations in feathers of Magpies in urban areas to investigate the possibility of using Magpies to monitor metal contamination in urban areas. A total of 15 bird samples were collected in October 2013 from Aran-O-Bidgol City, in Central Iran and the concentration of metals were measured using a PerkinElmer ICP-OES. The average concentrations of Zn, Cu, Pb and Cd in the feathers were 167.16, 26.74, 9.29 and 1.583 µg/g dw, respectively. There were no significant differences in metal concentrations between various genders, ages and sites. However, the highest and lowest concentrations of non-essential elements were observed in the adult males and adult females, respectively. Significant correlations were observed between the concentrations of Cu and Zn as well as Pb and Cd. Moreover, wing length had the highest correlation with metals concentrations. PMID: 26781634 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

17. J Evol Biol. 2016 Jan 18. doi: 10.1111/jeb.12829. [Epub ahead of print] 

The role of selection and historical factors in driving population differentiation along an elevational gradient in an island bird. 
Bertrand JA(1), Delahaie B(1), Bourgeois YX(1), Duval T(2), García-Jiménez R(3), Cornuault J(1), Pujol B(1), Thébaud C(1), Milá B(3). Author information: (1)Laboratoire Évolution et Diversité Biologique, UMR 5174, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse 3 - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) - École Nationale de Formation Agronomique (ENFA), 118 route de Narbonne, F-31062, Toulouse, Cedex 9, France. (2)Hémisphères, BP 438, 98822, Poindimié, Nouvelle-Calédonie. (3)National Museum of Natural Sciences, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, Madrid, 28006, Spain. 

Adaptation to local environmental conditions and the range dynamics of populations can influence evolutionary divergence along environmental gradients. Thus, it is important to investigate patterns of both phenotypic and genetic variation among populations to reveal the respective roles of these two types of factors in driving population differentiation. Here, we test for evidence of phenotypic and genetic structure across populations of a passerine bird (Zosterops borbonicus) distributed along a steep elevational gradient on the island of Réunion. Using eleven microsatellite loci screened in 401 individuals from 18 localities distributed along the gradient, we found that genetic differentiation occurred at two spatial levels: (i) between two main population groups corresponding to highland and lowland areas, respectively, and (ii) within each of these two groups. In contrast, several morphological traits varied gradually along the gradient. Comparison of neutral genetic differentiation (FST ) and phenotypic differentiation (PST ) showed that PST largely exceeds FST at several morphological traits, which is consistent with a role for local adaptation in driving morphological divergence along the gradient. Overall, our results revealed an area of secondary contact mid-way up the gradient between two major, cryptic, population groups likely diverged in allopatry. Remarkably, local adaptation has shaped phenotypic differentiation irrespective of population history, resulting in different patterns of variation along the elevational gradient. Our findings underscore the importance of understanding both historical and selective factors when trying to explain variation along environmental gradients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. PMID: 26779843 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

18. Front Psychol. 2016 Jan 7;6:2008. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.02008. eCollection 2015. 

The Effect of Distance on Moral Engagement: Event Related Potentials and Alpha Power are Sensitive to Perspective in a Virtual Shooting Task. 
Petras K(1), Ten Oever S(2), Jansma BM(2). Author information: (1)Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht UniversityMaastricht, Netherlands; Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Institute of Neuroscience, Research Institute for Psychological Science, Université Catholique de LouvainLouvain la Neuve, Belgium. (2)Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University Maastricht, Netherlands. 

In a shooting video game we investigated whether increased distance reduces moral conflict. We measured and analyzed the event related potential (ERP), including the N2 component, which has previously been linked to cognitive conflict from competing decision tendencies. In a modified Go/No-go task designed to trigger moral conflict participants had to shoot suddenly appearing human like avatars in a virtual reality scene. The scene was seen either from an ego perspective with targets appearing directly in front of the participant or from a bird's view, where targets were seen from above and more distant. To control for low level visual features, we added a visually identical control condition, where the instruction to "shoot" was replaced by an instruction to "detect." ERP waveforms showed differences between the two tasks as early as in the N1 time-range, with higher N1 amplitudes for the close perspective in the "shoot" task. Additionally, we found that pre-stimulus alpha power was significantly decreased in the ego, compared to the bird's view only for the "shoot" but not for the "detect" task. In the N2 time window, we observed main amplitude effects for response (No-go > Go) and distance (ego > bird perspective) but no interaction with task type (shoot vs. detect). We argue that the pre-stimulus and N1 effects can be explained by reduced attention and arousal in the distance condition when people are instructed to "shoot." These results indicate a reduced moral engagement for increased distance. The lack of interaction in the N2 across tasks suggests that at that time point response execution dominates. We discuss potential implications for real life shooting situations, especially considering recent developments in drone shootings which are per definition of a distant view. PMCID: PMC4703753 PMID: 26779106 [PubMed]

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