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Friday, 26 February 2016

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed, February 2016, Week 3

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. J Neurosci. 2016 Feb 17;36(7):2176-89. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3883-15.2016. 

Dopaminergic Contributions to Vocal Learning. 
Hoffmann LA(1), Saravanan V(1), Wood AN(1), He L(2), Sober SJ(3). Author information: (1)Neuroscience Doctoral Program, Department of Biology, and. (2)Department of Ophthalmology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322. (3)Department of Biology, and 

Although the brain relies on auditory information to calibrate vocal behavior, the neural substrates of vocal learning remain unclear. Here we demonstrate that lesions of the dopaminergic inputs to a basal ganglia nucleus in a songbird species (Bengalese finches, Lonchura striata var. domestica) greatly reduced the magnitude of vocal learning driven by disruptive auditory feedback in a negative reinforcement task. These lesions produced no measureable effects on the quality of vocal performance or the amount of song produced. Our results suggest that dopaminergic inputs to the basal ganglia selectively mediate reinforcement-driven vocal plasticity. In contrast, dopaminergic lesions produced no measurable effects on the birds' ability to restore song acoustics to baseline following the cessation of reinforcement training, suggesting that different forms of vocal plasticity may use different neural mechanisms.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: During skill learning, the brain relies on sensory feedback to improve motor performance. However, the neural basis of sensorimotor learning is poorly understood. Here, we investigate the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in regulating vocal learning in the Bengalese finch, a songbird with an extremely precise singing behavior that can nevertheless be reshaped dramatically by auditory feedback. Our findings show that reduction of dopamine inputs to a region of the songbird basal ganglia greatly impairs vocal learning but has no detectable effect on vocal performance. These results suggest a specific role for dopamine in regulating vocal plasticity. Copyright © 2016 the authors 0270-6474/16/362176-14$15.00/0. PMID: 26888928 [PubMed - in process] 

2. Oecologia. 2016 Feb 18. [Epub ahead of print] 

Differential migration and the link between winter latitude, timing of migration, and breeding in a songbird. 
Woodworth BK(1), Newman AE(2), Turbek SP(3), Dossman BC(4), Hobson KA(5), Wassenaar LI(5,)(6), Mitchell GW(2,)(7), Wheelwright NT(3), Norris DR(2). Author information: (1)Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada. (2)Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada. (3)Department of Biology, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME, 04011, USA. (4)School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA. (5)Environment Canada, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 3H5, Canada. (6)International Atomic Energy Agency, 1400, Vienna, Austria. (7)Wildlife Research Division, National Wildlife Research Centre, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0H3, Canada. 

Patterns of connectivity between breeding and wintering grounds can have important implications for individual fitness and population dynamics. Using light-level geolocators and stable hydrogen isotopes (δ(2)H) in feathers, we evaluated differential migration of Savannah sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis) breeding on Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada in relation to sex, age, and body size. Based on geolocators recovered from 38 individuals between 2012 and 2014, the winter distribution was centered in North Carolina (median latitude 34°, range 26°-41°), with males overwintering, on average, approximately 275 km further north than females. Based on analyses of tail feather samples collected from 106 individuals from the same population between 2008 and 2012, males and adults had more negative δ(2)H values than females and juveniles, respectively, providing additional evidence that males wintered north of females and that adults wintered north of juveniles. Winter latitude and δ(2)H values within each sex were not found to be related to body size. From geolocator data, males returned to the breeding grounds, on average, 14 days earlier than females. For males, there was some evidence that arrival date on the breeding grounds was negatively correlated with winter latitude and that individuals which arrived earlier tended to breed earlier. Thus, benefits for males of early arrival on the breeding grounds may have contributed to their wintering farther north than females. Social dominance may also have contributed to age and sex differences in winter latitude, whereby dominant males and adults forced subordinate females and juveniles further south. PMID: 26888571 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

3. Evolution. 2016 Feb 17. doi: 10.1111/evo.12882. [Epub ahead of print] 

Molecular development of fibular reduction in birds and its evolution from dinosaurs. 
Botelho JF(1), Smith-Paredes D(2), Soto-Acuña S(3,)(4), O'Connor J(5), Palma V(6), Vargas A(7). Author information: (1)Laboratorio de Ontogenia y Filogenia, Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de Chile. (2)Laboratorio de Ontogenia y Filogenia, Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de Chile. (3)Laboratorio de Ontogenia y Filogenia, Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de Chile. (4)Área de Paleontología, Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Santiago, RM, Chile. (5)Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Beijing, China. (6)FONDAP Center for Genomic Regulation, Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de Chile. (7)Laboratorio de Ontogenia y Filogenia, Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de Chile. 

Birds have a distally reduced, splinter-like fibula that is shorter than the tibia. In embryonic development, both skeletal elements start out with similar lengths. We examined molecular markers of cartilage differentiation in chicken embryos. We found that the distal end of the fibula expresses Indian Hedgehog (IHH), undergoing terminal cartilage differentiation, and almost no Parathyroid-related-protein (PTHrP), which is required to develop a proliferative growth plate (epiphysis). Reduction of the distal fibula may be influenced earlier by its close contact with the nearby fibulare, which strongly expresses PTHrP. The epiphysis-like fibulare however then separates from the fibula, which fails to maintain a distal growth plate, and fibular reduction ensues. Experimental downregulation of IHH signaling at a post-morphogenetic stage led to a tibia and fibula of equal length: The fibula is longer than in controls and fused to the fibulare, while the tibia is shorter and bent. We propose that the presence of a distal fibular epiphysis may constrain greater growth in the tibia. Accordingly, many Mesozoic birds show a fibula that has lost its distal epiphysis, but remains almost as long as the tibia, suggesting that loss of the fibulare preceded and allowed subsequent evolution of great fibulo-tibial disparity. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. PMID: 26888088 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

4. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2016 Feb;170:1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2015.12.010. Epub 2015 Dec 31. 

Expression analysis of cytosolic DNA-sensing pathway genes in the intestinal mucosal layer of necrotic enteritis-induced chicken. 
Rengaraj D(1), Truong AD(2), Lee SH(3), Lillehoj HS(4), Hong YH(5). Author information: (1)Department of Animal Science and Technology, Chung-Ang University, Anseong, Gyeonggi-do 17546, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: (2)Department of Animal Science and Technology, Chung-Ang University, Anseong, Gyeonggi-do 17546, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: (3)National Academy of Agricultural Science, Rural Development Administration, Wanju-gun, Jeollabuk-do 55365, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: (4)Animal Biosciences and Biotechnology Laboratory, Agricultural Research Services, United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA. Electronic address: (5)Department of Animal Science and Technology, Chung-Ang University, Anseong, Gyeonggi-do 17546, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: 

Necrotic enteritis (NE) is a serious problem to the poultry farms, which report NE outbreaks more than once per year, as a result of the inappropriate use of antibiotics in the feed. The NE affected bird die rapidly as a result of various pathophysiological complications in the intestine and immune system. Also, several studies have reported that the genes exclusively related to intestine and immune functions are significantly altered in response to NE. In this study, NE was induced in two genetically disparate chicken lines that are resistant (line 6.3) and sensitive (line 7.2) to avian leukosis and Marek's disease. The intestinal mucosal layer was collected from NE-induced and control chickens, and subjected to RNA-sequencing analysis. The involvement of differentially expressed genes in the intestinal mucosal layer of line 6.3 and 7.2 with the immune system-related pathways was investigated. Among the identified immune system-related pathways, a candidate pathway known as chicken cytosolic DNA-sensing pathway (CDS pathway) was selected for further investigation. RNA-sequencing and pathway analysis identified a total of 21 genes that were involved in CDS pathway and differentially expressed in the intestinal mucosal layer of lines 6.3 and 7.2. The expression of CDS pathway genes was further confirmed by real-time qPCR. In the results, a majority of the CDS pathway genes were significantly altered in the NE-induced intestinal mucosal layer from lines 6.3 and 7.2. In conclusion, our study indicate that NE seriously affects several genes involved in innate immune defense and foreign DNA sensing mechanisms in the chicken intestinal mucosal layer. Identifying the immune genes affected by NE could be an important evidence for the protective immune response to NE-causative pathogens. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. PMID: 26872625 [PubMed - in process] 

5. PLoS One. 2016 Feb 17;11(2):e0147988. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147988. eCollection 2016. 

Net Effects of Ecotourism on Threatened Species Survival. 
Buckley RC(1), Morrison C(1), Castley JG(1). Author information: (1)School of Environment, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia. 

Many threatened species rely on ecotourism for conservation funding, but simultaneously suffer direct ecological impacts from ecotourism. For a range of IUCN-Redlisted terrestrial and marine bird and mammal species worldwide, we use population viability analyses to calculate the net effects of ecotourism on expected time to extinction, in the presence of other anthropogenic threats such as poaching, primary industries and habitat loss. Species for which these calculations are currently possible, for one or more subpopulations, include: orangutan, hoolock gibbon, golden lion tamarin, cheetah, African wild dog, New Zealand sealion, great green macaw, Egyptian vulture, and African penguin. For some but not all of these species, tourism can extend expected survival time, i.e., benefits outweigh impacts. Precise outcomes depend strongly on population parameters and starting sizes, predation, and ecotourism scale and mechanisms. Tourism does not currently overcome other major conservation threats associated with natural resource extractive industries. Similar calculations for other threatened species are currently limited by lack of basic population data. PMID: 26886876 [PubMed - in process] 

6. Annu Rev Anim Biosci. 2016 Feb 15;4:45-59. doi: 10.1146/annurev-animal-021815-111216. 

Perspectives from the Avian Phylogenomics Project: Questions that Can Be Answered with Sequencing All Genomes of a Vertebrate Class. 
Jarvis ED(1). Author information: (1)Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710. 

The rapid pace of advances in genome technology, with concomitant reductions in cost, makes it feasible that one day in our lifetime we will have available extant genomes of entire classes of species, including vertebrates. I recently helped cocoordinate the large-scale Avian Phylogenomics Project, which collected and sequenced genomes of 48 bird species representing most currently classified orders to address a range of questions in phylogenomics and comparative genomics. The consortium was able to answer questions not previously possible with just a few genomes. This success spurred on the creation of a project to sequence the genomes of at least one individual of all extant ∼10,500 bird species. The initiation of this project has led us to consider what questions now impossible to answer could be answered with all genomes, and could drive new questions now unimaginable. These include the generation of a highly resolved family tree of extant species, genome-wide association studies across species to identify genetic substrates of many complex traits, redefinition of species and the species concept, reconstruction of the genomes of common ancestors, and generation of new computational tools to address these questions. Here I present visions for the future by posing and answering questions regarding what scientists could potentially do with available genomes of an entire vertebrate class. PMID: 26884102 [PubMed - in process] 

7. Biol Open. 2016 Feb 16. pii: bio.014779. doi: 10.1242/bio.014779. [Epub ahead of print] 

Does migratory distance affect fuelling in a medium-distance passerine migrant?: results from direct and step-wise simulated magnetic displacements. 
Ilieva M(1), Bianco G(2), Åkesson S(3). Author information: (1)Centre for Animal Movement Research, Department of Biology, Lund University, Ecology Building, Lund SE-223 62, Sweden Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 2 Gagarin str., Sofia 1113, Bulgaria (2)Centre for Animal Movement Research, Department of Biology, Lund University, Ecology Building, Lund SE-223 62, Sweden. (3)Centre for Animal Movement Research, Department of Biology, Lund University, Ecology Building, Lund SE-223 62, Sweden 

In birds, fat accumulation before and during migration has been shown to be endogenously controlled and tuned by, among other factors, the Earth's magnetic field. However, our knowledge about the influence of the geomagnetic field on the fuelling in migrating birds is still limited to just a few nocturnally migrating passerine species. In order to study if variations of the magnetic field can also influence the fuelling of both day- and night-migrating passerines, we caught first-year dunnocks (Prunella modularis) and subjected them to three magnetic field conditions simulated by a system of magnetic coils: (1) local geomagnetic field of southern Sweden, (2) magnetic field corresponding to the centre of the expected wintering area, and (3) magnetic field met at the northern limit of the species' breeding distribution. We did not find a difference in mass increase between the birds kept in a local magnetic field and a field resembling their wintering area, irrespectively of the mode of magnetic displacement, i.e. direct or step-wise. However, the dunnocks magnetically displaced north showed a lower rate of fuelling in comparison to the control group, probably due to elevated activity. Compared with previous studies, our results suggest that the fuelling response to magnetic displacements during the migration period is specific to the eco-physiological situation. Future studies need to address if there is an effect of magnetic field manipulation on the level of migratory activity in dunnocks and how widespread the influence of local geomagnetic field parameters is on fuelling decisions in different bird species, which have different migratory strategies, distances and migration history. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd. PMID: 26883627 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

8. Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 17;6:20977. doi: 10.1038/srep20977. 

Cryptococcus neoformans Thermotolerance to Avian Body Temperature Is Sufficient For Extracellular Growth But Not Intracellular Survival In Macrophages. 
Johnston SA(1,)(2), Voelz K(3), May RC(3,)(4). Author information: (1)Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease, Medical School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK. (2)Bateson Centre, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK. (3)Institute of Microbiology and Infection and School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK. (4)NIHR Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre, University Hospitals of Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK. 

Cryptococcus neoformans is a fatal fungal pathogen of humans that efficiently parasitises macrophages. Birds can be colonised by cryptococci and can transmit cryptococcosis to humans via inhalation of inoculated bird excreta. However, colonisation of birds appears to occur in the absence of symptomatic infection. Here, using a pure population of primary bird macrophages, we demonstrate a mechanism for this relationship. We find that bird macrophages are able to suppress the growth of cryptococci seen in mammalian cells despite C. neoformans being able to grow at bird body temperature, and are able to escape from bird macrophages by vomocytosis. A small subset of cryptococci are able to adapt to the inhibitory intracellular environment of bird macrophages, exhibiting a large cell phenotype that rescues growth suppression. Thus, restriction of intracellular growth combined with survival at bird body temperature explains the ability of birds to efficiently spread C. neoformans in the environment whilst avoiding systemic disease. PMID: 26883088 [PubMed - in process] 

9. J Comp Psychol. 2016 Feb;130(1):36-43. doi: 10.1037/a0040027. 

Mate call as reward: Acoustic communication signals can acquire positive reinforcing values during adulthood in female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). 
Hernandez AM(1), Perez EC(1), Mulard H(1), Mathevon N(1), Vignal C(1). Author information: (1)Université de Lyon/Saint-Etienne, Neuro-PSI/ENES - CNRS UMR 9197. 

Social stimuli can have rewarding properties and promote learning. In birds, conspecific vocalizations like song can act as a reinforcer, and specific song variants can acquire particular rewarding values during early life exposure. Here we ask if, during adulthood, an acoustic signal simpler and shorter than song can become a reward for a female songbird because of its particular social value. Using an operant choice apparatus, we showed that female zebra finches display a preferential response toward their mate's calls. This reinforcing value of mate's calls could be involved in the maintenance of the monogamous pair-bond of the zebra finch. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved). PMID: 26881942 [PubMed - in process] 

10. Sci Data. 2016 Feb 16;3:160007. doi: 10.1038/sdata.2016.7. 

Analysing biodiversity and conservation knowledge products to support regional environmental assessments. 
Brooks TM(1,)(2,)(3), Akçakaya HR(4), Burgess ND(5,)(6), Butchart SH(7), Hilton-Taylor C(1), Hoffmann M(1,)(5), Juffe-Bignoli D(5), Kingston N(5), MacSharry B(5), Parr M(8), Perianin L(1), Regan EC(5,)(9), Rodrigues AS(10), Rondinini C(11), Shennan-Farpon Y(5), Young BE(12). Author information: (1)International Union for Conservation of Nature, 28 Rue Mauverney, 1196 Gland, Switzerland. (2)World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna 4031, Philippines. (3)School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia. (4)Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794, USA. (5)United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, UK. (6)Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Natural History Museum, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen DK-2100, Denmark. (7)BirdLife International, Wellbrook Court, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, UK. (8)American Bird Conservancy, The Plains, Virginia 20198, USA. (9)The Biodiversity Consultancy, 3E King's Parade, Cambridge CB1 2RR, UK. (10)Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, CNRS UMR5175, 1919 Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier, France. (11)Global Mammal Assessment programme, Department of Biology and Biotechnologies, Sapienza Università di Roma, Viale dell'Università 32, 00185 Roma, Italy. (12)NatureServe, Apdo. 358-1260, Plaza Colonial, San José, Costa Rica. 

Two processes for regional environmental assessment are currently underway: the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) and Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Both face constraints of data, time, capacity, and resources. To support these assessments, we disaggregate three global knowledge products according to their regions and subregions. These products are: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Key Biodiversity Areas (specifically Important Bird &Biodiversity Areas [IBAs], and Alliance for Zero Extinction [AZE] sites), and Protected Planet. We present fourteen Data citations: numbers of species occurring and percentages threatened; numbers of endemics and percentages threatened; downscaled Red List Indices for mammals, birds, and amphibians; numbers, mean sizes, and percentage coverages of IBAs and AZE sites; percentage coverage of land and sea by protected areas; and trends in percentages of IBAs and AZE sites wholly covered by protected areas. These data will inform the regional/subregional assessment chapters on the status of biodiversity, drivers of its decline, and institutional responses, and greatly facilitate comparability and consistency between the different regional/subregional assessments. PMID: 26881749 [PubMed - in process] 

11. PLoS One. 2016 Feb 16;11(2):e0149270. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149270. eCollection 2016. 

Evaluating Functional Diversity: Missing Trait Data and the Importance of Species Abundance Structure and Data Transformation. 
Májeková M(1,)(2), Paal T(3), Plowman NS(4,)(5), Bryndová M(6,)(7), Kasari L(3), Norberg A(8), Weiss M(4), Bishop TR(9,)(10), Luke SH(11,)(12), Sam K(4,)(5), Le Bagousse-Pinguet Y(2,)(13), Lepš J(2,)(4), Götzenberger L(14), de Bello F(2,)(14). Author information: (1)Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovak Republic. (2)Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice, Czech Republic. (3)Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia. (4)Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre CAS, České Budějovice, Czech Republic. (5)Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice, Czech Republic. (6)Institute of Soil Biology, Biology Centre CAS, České Budějovice, Czech Republic. (7)Department of Ecosystem Biology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice, Czech Republic. (8)Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. (9)Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom. (10)Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa. (11)School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom. (12)Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom. (13)Area de Biodiversidad y Conservación, Departamento de Ciencias, Escuela Superior de Ciencias Experimentales y Tecnología, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, C/ Tulipán s/n, Móstoles, Spain. (14)Institute of Botany, Biology Centre CAS, Třeboň, Czech Republic. 

Functional diversity (FD) is an important component of biodiversity that quantifies the difference in functional traits between organisms. However, FD studies are often limited by the availability of trait data and FD indices are sensitive to data gaps. The distribution of species abundance and trait data, and its transformation, may further affect the accuracy of indices when data is incomplete. Using an existing approach, we simulated the effects of missing trait data by gradually removing data from a plant, an ant and a bird community dataset (12, 59, and 8 plots containing 62, 297 and 238 species respectively). We ranked plots by FD values calculated from full datasets and then from our increasingly incomplete datasets and compared the ranking between the original and virtually reduced datasets to assess the accuracy of FD indices when used on datasets with increasingly missing data. Finally, we tested the accuracy of FD indices with and without data transformation, and the effect of missing trait data per plot or per the whole pool of species. FD indices became less accurate as the amount of missing data increased, with the loss of accuracy depending on the index. But, where transformation improved the normality of the trait data, FD values from incomplete datasets were more accurate than before transformation. The distribution of data and its transformation are therefore as important as data completeness and can even mitigate the effect of missing data. Since the effect of missing trait values pool-wise or plot-wise depends on the data distribution, the method should be decided case by case. Data distribution and data transformation should be given more careful consideration when designing, analysing and interpreting FD studies, especially where trait data are missing. To this end, we provide the R package "traitor" to facilitate assessments of missing trait data. PMID: 26881747 [PubMed - in process] 

12. Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2016 Feb 8;22:100-109. doi: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2016.02.003. [Epub ahead of print] 

SkydancerPlex: A novel STR multiplex validated for forensic use in the hen harrier (Circus cyaneus). 
van Hoppe MJ(1), Dy MA(1), van den Einden M(1), Iyengar A(2). Author information: (1)School of Forensic & Applied Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, PR1 2HE Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom. (2)School of Forensic & Applied Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, PR1 2HE Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom. Electronic address: 

The hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) is a bird of prey which is heavily persecuted in the UK because it preys on the game bird red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus). To help investigations into illegal killings of hen harrier, a STR multiplex kit containing eight short tandem repeat (STR) markers and a chromohelicase DNA binding protein 1 (CHD 1) sexing marker was developed. The multiplex kit was tested for species specificity, sensitivity, robustness, precision, accuracy and stability. Full profiles were obtained with as little as 0.25ng of template DNA. Concurrent development of an allelic ladder to ensure reliable and accurate allele designation across laboratories makes the SkydancerPlex the first forensic DNA profiling system in a species of wildlife to be fully validated according to SWGDAM and ISFG recommendations. An average profile frequency of 3.67×10(-8), a PID estimate of 5.3×10(-9) and a PID-SIB estimate of 9.7×10(-4) make the SkydancerPlex an extremely powerful kit for individualisation. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved. PMID: 26881329 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

13. Mov Ecol. 2016 Feb 15;4:4. doi: 10.1186/s40462-016-0069-6. eCollection 2016. 

Gene expression in the brain of a migratory songbird during breeding and migration. 
Boss J(1), Liedvogel M(2), Lundberg M(3), Olsson P(4), Reischke N(3), Naurin S(3), Åkesson S(5), Hasselquist D(3), Wright A(6), Grahn M(6), Bensch S(3). Author information: (1)Karolinska Institute, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Research Center, Karolinska University Hospital, SE-14186 Huddinge, Sweden ; School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Södertörn University, SE-141 89 Huddinge, Sweden. (2)Department of Biology, Molecular Ecology and Evolution Laboratory, Lund University, Ecology Building, SE-22362 Lund, Sweden ; Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, AG Behavioural Genomics, August-Thienemann-Straße 2, 24306 Plön, Germany. (3)Department of Biology, Molecular Ecology and Evolution Laboratory, Lund University, Ecology Building, SE-22362 Lund, Sweden. (4)Centre of Environmental and Climate Research, Lund University, Ecology Building, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden. (5)Department of Biology, Centre for Animal Movement Research, Lund University, Ecology Building, SE-22362 Lund, Sweden. (6)Karolinska Institute, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Research Center, Karolinska University Hospital, SE-14186 Huddinge, Sweden. 

BACKGROUND: We still have limited knowledge about the underlying genetic mechanisms that enable migrating species of birds to navigate the globe. Here we make an attempt to get insight into the genetic architecture controlling this complex innate behaviour. We contrast the gene expression profiles of two closely related songbird subspecies with divergent migratory phenotypes. In addition to comparing differences in migratory strategy we include a temporal component and contrast patterns between breeding adults and autumn migrating juvenile birds of both subspecies. The two willow warbler subspecies, Phylloscopus trochilus trochilus and P. t. acredula, are remarkably similar both in phenotype and genotype and have a narrow contact zone in central Scandinavia. Here we used a microarray gene chip representing 23,136 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata to identify mRNA level differences in willow warbler brain tissue in relation to subspecies and season. RESULTS: Out of the 22,109 EST probe sets that remained after filtering poorly binding probes, we found 11,898 (51.8 %) probe sets that could be reliably and uniquely matched to a total of 6,758 orthologous zebra finch genes. The two subspecies showed very similar levels of gene expression with less than 0.1 % of the probe sets being significantly differentially expressed. In contrast, 3,045 (13.8 %) probe sets were found to be differently regulated between samples collected from breeding adults and autumn migrating juvenile birds. The genes found to be differentially expressed between seasons appeared to be enriched for functional roles in neuronal firing and neuronal synapse formation. CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that only few genes are differentially expressed between the subspecies. This suggests that the different migration strategies of the subspecies might be governed by few genes, or that the expression patterns of those genes are time-structured or tissue-specific in ways, which our approach fails to uncover. Our findings will be useful in the planning of new experiments designed to unravel the genes involved in the migratory program of birds. PMCID: PMC4753645 PMID: 26881054 [PubMed] 

14. Ann Parasitol. 2015;61(4):291-3. doi: 10.17420/ap6104.21. 

New host records for parasitic mites of the family Syringophilidae from accipitriform birds (Aves: Accipitriformes). 
Zmudzinski M(1), Unsoeld M(2), Knee W(3), Skoracki M(1). Author information: (1)Department of Animal Morphology, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznań, Poland. (2)Ornithological Section, Bavarian State Collection of Zoology, Muenchhausenstrasse 21, 81247 Munich, Germany. (3)Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 960 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0C6. Four accipitriform bird species of the family Accipitridae are reported as new hosts for quill mites (Acari: Cheyletoidea: Syringophilidae): Megasyringophilus aquilus Skoracki, Lontkowski and Stawarczyk, 2010 was collected from Hieraaetus pennatus Gmelin, 1788 in France and Spain, and Buteo jamaicensis Gmelin, 1788 in Canada; Peristerophila accipitridicus Skoracki, Lontkowski and Stawarczyk, 2010 was collected from Circaetus gallicus Gmelin, 1788 in France, and Buteo lagopus Pontoppidan, 1763 in Germany.KEY WORDS: Acari, Accipitridae, birds, ectoparasites, quill mites. PMID: 26878628 [PubMed - in process] 19. Zookeys. 2016 Jan 20;(555):115-24. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.555.6173. eCollection 2016. GPS tracking data of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls breeding at the southern North Sea coast. Stienen EW(1), Desmet P(1), Aelterman B(1), Courtens W(1), Feys S(2), Vanermen N(1), Verstraete H(1), de Walle MV(1), Deneudt K(3), Hernandez F(3), Houthoofdt R(3), Vanhoorne B(3), Bouten W(4), Buijs RJ(5), Kavelaars MM(6), Müller W(7), Herman D(8), Matheve H(8), Sotillo A(8), Lens L(8). Author information: (1)Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), Kliniekstraat 25, 1070, Brussels, Belgium. (2)Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), Kliniekstraat 25, 1070, Brussels, Belgium; Ethology (ETHO), University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610, Antwerp, Belgium. (3)Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), Wandelaarkaai 7, 8400, Ostend, Belgium. (4)Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098 XH, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (5)Buijs Eco Consult B.V., Philips van Dorpstraat 49, 4698 RV, Oud-Vossemeer, The Netherlands. (6)Ethology (ETHO), University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610, Antwerp, Belgium; Terrestrial Ecology Unit (TEREC), Ghent University, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000, Ghent, Belgium. (7)Ethology (ETHO), University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610, Antwerp, Belgium. (8)Terrestrial Ecology Unit (TEREC), Ghent University, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000, Ghent, Belgium. 

In this data paper, Bird tracking - GPS tracking of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls breeding at the southern North Sea coast is described, a species occurrence dataset published by the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO). The dataset (version 5.5) contains close to 2.5 million occurrences, recorded by 101 GPS trackers mounted on 75 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 26 Herring Gulls breeding at the Belgian and Dutch coast. The trackers were developed by the University of Amsterdam Bird Tracking System (UvA-BiTS, These automatically record and transmit bird movements, which allows us and others to study their habitat use and migration behaviour in great detail. Our bird tracking network is operational since 2013. It is funded for LifeWatch by the Hercules Foundation and maintained in collaboration with UvA-BiTS and the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ). The recorded data are periodically released in bulk as open data (, and are also accessible through CartoDB and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). PMCID: PMC4740824 PMID: 26877689 [PubMed] 

15. Korean J Food Sci Anim Resour. 2015;35(6):715-20. doi: 10.5851/kosfa.2015.35.6.715. Epub 2015 Dec 31. 

Effects of Beak Trimming, Stocking Density and Sex on Carcass Yield, Carcass Components, Plasma Glucose and Triglyceride Levels in Large White Turkeys. 
Sengul T(1), Inci H(1), Sengul AY(1), Sogut B(1), Kiraz S(2). Author information: (1)Animal Science Department, Agricultural Faculty, Bingöl University, Bingöl 12000, Turkey. (2)Animal Science and Nutrition Department, Agricultural Faculty, Harran University, Sanliurfa 63300, Turkey. 

This study was conducted to determine the effects of beak trimming, stocking density (D) and sex (S) on live weight (LW), carcass yield and its component, and plasma glucose (PG) and triglyceride levels in Large White turkeys. To accomplish this aims, totally 288 d old large white turkey chicks (144 in each sex) were used. Beaks of 77 male and female poults were trimmed when 8 d old with an electrical beak trimmer. The birds were fed by commercial turkey rasion. Experiment was designed as 2 × 2 × 2 factorial arrangement with 3 replications in each group. Beak trimming and stocking density did not affect live weight, carcass composition and its components. The higher LW and carcass weight observed in trimmed groups. As expected, male birds are heavier than female, and carcass percentage (CP) would be adverse. However, in this study, CP of male was higher in trimmed, in 0.25 m(2)/bird. (D) × sex (S) interaction had an effect on both CP and thigh weights (p<0.05). Significantly D × S was observed in LW, CP and PG. The weight of carcass and its some components were higher in male. S × D interaction had an effect on plasma glucose level (p<0.05). Triglyceride level was affected (p<0.05) by sex. Significant relationships were found between percentage of thighs (r=0.447, p<0.01) and percentage of breast (r=0.400, p<0.01). According to this study, it can be said that trimming is useful with density of 0.25 m(2)/bird in turkey fattening. PMCID: PMC4726950 PMID: 26877630 [PubMed]

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed. February Week 2, 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. Nat Commun. 2016 Feb 12;7:10697. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10697. 

Land use imperils plant and animal community stability through changes in asynchrony rather than diversity. 
Blüthgen N(1), Simons NK(2), Jung K(3), Prati D(4), Renner SC(5,)(6), Boch S(4), Fischer M(4,)(7), Hölzel N(8), Klaus VH(8), Kleinebecker T(8), Tschapka M(3), Weisser WW(2), Gossner MM(2). Author information: (1)Department of Biology, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Schnittspahnstrasse 3, D-64287 Darmstadt, Germany. (2)Terrestrial Ecology Research Group, Department for Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Center for Life and Food Sciences Weihenstephan, Technische Universität München, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, D-85354 Freising, Germany. (3)Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Genomics, University of Ulm, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, D-89069 Ulm, Germany. (4)Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, Altenbergrain 21, CH 3013 Bern, Switzerland. (5)Institute of Zoology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Gregor-Mendel-Strasse 33, 1180 Vienna, Austria. (6)Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute at the National Zoological Park, Front Royal 22630, Virginia, USA. (7)Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), D-60325 Frankfurt, Germany. (8)Institute of Landscape Ecology, University of Münster, Heisenbergstrasse 2, D-48149 Münster, Germany. 

Human land use may detrimentally affect biodiversity, yet long-term stability of species communities is vital for maintaining ecosystem functioning. Community stability can be achieved by higher species diversity (portfolio effect), higher asynchrony across species (insurance hypothesis) and higher abundance of populations. However, the relative importance of these stabilizing pathways and whether they interact with land use in real-world ecosystems is unknown. We monitored inter-annual fluctuations of 2,671 plant, arthropod, bird and bat species in 300 sites from three regions. Arthropods show 2.0-fold and birds 3.7-fold higher community fluctuations in grasslands than in forests, suggesting a negative impact of forest conversion. Land-use intensity in forests has a negative net impact on stability of bats and in grasslands on birds. Our findings demonstrate that asynchrony across species-much more than species diversity alone-is the main driver of variation in stability across sites and requires more attention in sustainable management. PMID: 26869180 [PubMed - in process] 

2. Trop Life Sci Res. 2015 Dec;26(2):85-103. 

Bird Diversity and Structure in Different Land-use Types in Lowland South-Central Mindanao, Philippines. 
Tanalgo KC(1), Pineda JA(2), Agravante ME(2), Amerol ZM(2). Author information: (1)Department of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences. (2)Department of Secondary Education, College of Education, University of Southern Mindanao, Kabacan, North Cotabato, 9407, Philippines. 

Birds are crucial to maintaining the balance of many ecosystems by providing various ecological services. The diversity of birds and their feeding guilds in different land-use types were investigated in south-central Mindanao to elucidate the effect of disturbance and habitat modification on bird communities. Point count method was employed to identify birds in three habitat types: i) agroforests; ii) ricefields; iii) roads and heavily disturbed areas. A total of 1114 bird sightings were recorded that included 33 species of 24 families; of these, 3 were Philippine endemics, and 5 were migrant species. Among all of the habitat types, the highest species diversity was found in agroforests (1/D = 16.148), and the lowest was recorded from roads and heavily disturbed habitats. The species composition of agroforests was more similar to ricefields than to areas with high levels of disturbance, such as roads. The characteristic of the vegetation and the availability of food resources may be vital to the diversity of birds in every habitat as evidenced by the high species richness of frugivores and insectivores in agroforests and ricefields, respectively, where food source is largely available. The observation of Streptopelia tranquebarica was a new record for Mindanao, and it was particularly sighted in ricefields. Therefore, this study indicates that land-use change and modification may alter bird diversity structure, and the maintenance of the vegetation in land-use types as food and resource, and as habitat is essential to the conservation of the native and ecologically-important bird species in south-central Mindanao. Publisher: Abstract available from the publisher. PMID: 26868712 [PubMed] 

3. Ecol Evol. 2016 Jan 11;6(3):716-26. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1894. eCollection 2016. 

Local parasite lineage sharing in temperate grassland birds provides clues about potential origins of Galapagos avian Plasmodium. 
Levin II(1), Colborn RE(2), Kim D(3), Perlut NG(4), Renfrew RB(5), Parker PG(1). Author information: (1)Department of BiologyUniversity of Missouri - St. LouisOne University Blvd.St. LouisMissouri63121; Whitney R. Harris World Ecology CenterUniversity of Missouri - St. LouisOne University Blvd.St. LouisMissouri63121; Saint Louis ZooWildCare InstituteOne Government Dr.St. LouisMissouri63110. (2)Department of Biology University of Missouri - St. Louis One University Blvd. St. Louis Missouri 63121. (3)Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust 6611 W. Whooping Crane Dr. Wood River Nebraska 68883. (4)Department of Environmental Studies University of New England 11 Hills Beach Road Biddeford Maine 04005. (5)Vermont Center for Ecostudies PO Box 420 Norwich Vermont 05055. 

Oceanic archipelagos are vulnerable to natural introduction of parasites via migratory birds. Our aim was to characterize the geographic origins of two Plasmodium parasite lineages detected in the Galapagos Islands and in North American breeding bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) that regularly stop in Galapagos during migration to their South American overwintering sites. We used samples from a grassland breeding bird assemblage in Nebraska, United States, and parasite DNA sequences from the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, to compare to global data in a DNA sequence registry. Homologous DNA sequences from parasites detected in bobolinks and more sedentary birds (e.g., brown-headed cowbirds Molothrus ater, and other co-occurring bird species resident on the North American breeding grounds) were compared to those recovered in previous studies from global sites. One parasite lineage that matched between Galapagos birds and the migratory bobolink, Plasmodium lineage B, was the most common lineage detected in the global MalAvi database, matching 49 sequences from unique host/site combinations, 41 of which were of South American origin. We did not detect lineage B in brown-headed cowbirds. The other Galapagos-bobolink match, Plasmodium lineage C, was identical to two other sequences from birds sampled in California. We detected a close variant of lineage C in brown-headed cowbirds. Taken together, this pattern suggests that bobolinks became infected with lineage B on the South American end of their migratory range, and with lineage C on the North American breeding grounds. Overall, we detected more parasite lineages in bobolinks than in cowbirds. Galapagos Plasmodium had similar host breadth compared to the non-Galapagos haemosporidian lineages detected in bobolinks, brown-headed cowbirds, and other grassland species. This study highlights the utility of global haemosporidian data in the context of migratory bird-parasite connectivity. It is possible that migratory bobolinks bring parasites to the Galapagos and that these parasites originate from different biogeographic regions representing both their breeding and overwintering sites. PMID: 26865960 [PubMed] 

4. Zookeys. 2016 Jan 13;(552):137-54. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.552.6934. eCollection 2016. 

Dataset of Passerine bird communities in a Mediterranean high mountain (Sierra Nevada, Spain). 
Pérez-Luque AJ(1), Barea-Azcón JM(2), Álvarez-Ruiz L(3), Bonet-García FJ(1), Zamora R(1). Author information: (1)Laboratorio de Ecología (iEcolab), Instituto Interuniversitario de Investigación del Sistema Tierra en Andalucía (CEAMA), Universidad de Granada, Avenida del Mediterráneo s/n, 18006, Granada, Spain; Grupo de Ecología Terrestre, Departamento de Ecología, Universidad de Granada, Facultad de Ciencias, Campus de Fuentenueva s/n, 18071, Granada, Spain. (2)Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua, Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio (Junta de Andalucía), C/ Joaquina Egüaras 10, E-18013, Granada, Spain. (3)Laboratorio de Ecología (iEcolab), Instituto Interuniversitario de Investigación del Sistema Tierra en Andalucía (CEAMA), Universidad de Granada, Avenida del Mediterráneo s/n, 18006, Granada, Spain. 

In this data paper, a dataset of passerine bird communities is described in Sierra Nevada, a Mediterranean high mountain located in southern Spain. The dataset includes occurrence data from bird surveys conducted in four representative ecosystem types of Sierra Nevada from 2008 to 2015. For each visit, bird species numbers as well as distance to the transect line were recorded. A total of 27847 occurrence records were compiled with accompanying measurements on distance to the transect and animal counts. All records are of species in the order Passeriformes. Records of 16 different families and 44 genera were collected. Some of the taxa in the dataset are included in the European Red List. This dataset belongs to the Sierra Nevada Global-Change Observatory (OBSNEV), a long-term research project designed to compile socio-ecological information on the major ecosystem types in order to identify the impacts of global change in this area. PMID: 26865820 [PubMed] 

5. Genome Biol Evol. 2016 Feb 9. pii: evw013. [Epub ahead of print] 

Contrasting patterns of evolutionary diversification in the olfactory repertoires of reptile and bird genomes. 
Vandewege MW(1), Mangum SF(2), Gabaldón T(3), Castoe TA(4), Ray DA(2), Hoffmann FG(5). Author information: (1)Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762, USA. (2)Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas 79409, USA. (3)Bioinformatics and Genomics Programme, Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Barcelona, Spain Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain Institució Catalana de Recerca I Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Barcelona, Spain. (4)Department of Biology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas 76010, USA. (5)Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762, USA Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biochemistry, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762, USA 

Olfactory receptors (ORs) are membrane proteins that mediate the detection of odorants in the environment, and are the largest vertebrate gene family. Comparative studies of mammalian genomes indicate that OR repertoires vary widely, even between closely related lineages, as a consequence of frequent OR gains and losses. Several studies also suggest that mammalian OR repertoires are influenced by life history traits. Sauropsida is a diverse group of vertebrates group that is the sister group to mammals, and includes birds, testudines, squamates and crocodilians, and represents a natural system to explore predictions derived from mammalian studies. In this study, we analyzed OR repertoire variation among several representative species and found that the number of intact OR genes in sauropsid genomes analyzed ranged over an order of magnitude, from 108 in the green anole to over 1000 in turtles. Our results suggest that different sauropsid lineages have highly divergent OR repertoire composition that derive from lineage-specific combinations of gene expansions, losses, and retentions of ancestral OR genes. These differences also suggest that varying degrees of adaption related to life history have shaped the unique OR repertoires observed across sauropsid lineages. © The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. PMID: 26865070 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

6. Conserv Biol. 2016 Feb 11. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12687. [Epub ahead of print] 

Evaluating the efficacy of restoration plantings through DNA barcoding characterization of frugivorous bird diets. 
Galimberti A(1), Spinelli S(2), Bruno A(2), Mezzasalma V(2), De Mattia F(3), Cortis P(4), Labra M(2). Author information: (1)ZooPlantLab, Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Della Scienza 2, 20126, Milan, Italy. (2)ZooPlantLab, Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Della Scienza 2, 20126, Milan, Italy. (3)FEM2-Ambiente s.r.l., Della Scienza 2, 20126, Milan, Italy. (4)Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Macrosection of Botany and Botanic Garden, University of Cagliari, Viale S. Ignazio 13, 09123, Cagliari, Italy.  
Frugivores are critical components of restoration programs, because of their role as seed dispersers. Thus, knowledge about bird-plant trophic relationships is essential to evaluate the efficacy of restoration processes. Traditionally, the diet of frugivores is characterized by the microscopic identification of plant residues in droppings, which is time-consuming, requires botanic knowledge, and cannot be used for fragments lacking detectable morphological characteristics (e.g., fragmented seeds and skins). This study aimed to test DNA barcoding as a universal and rapid molecular tool to characterize the diet of a frugivorous bird bioindicator (blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla) and apply this tool to assess the efficacy of restoration efforts and monitor the diversity of potentially dispersed plants in a protected area in Northern Italy. The diet of blackcap was molecularly characterized by identifying the plant residues found in 642 droppings collected at the restored site during the autumn migration in a three year survey. Intact seeds (IS) and fragmented plant material (FPM) were analyzed at two plastidial barcode loci (rbcL and trnH-psbA) and identification results were validated by comparison with a reference molecular dataset of local flora. At least 17 plant taxa, including most of the newly transplanted species were found. This study demonstrates that DNA barcoding is a useful tool to investigate the effectiveness of restoration plantings in addition to obtain information about fruit consumption and potential dispersal of invasive or unexpected plant species. Such approach provides valuable information that could be used to study local plant biodiversity and to monitor its evolution after restoration events. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. PMID: 26864475 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

7. J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2016 Feb 10. [Epub ahead of print] 

Hierarchical emergence of sequence sensitivity in the songbird auditory forebrain. 
Ono S(1,)(2,)(3), Okanoya K(1,)(2,)(3), Seki Y(4,)(5,)(6,)(7). Author information: (1)Department of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-8902, Japan. (2)ERATO, Okanoya Emotional Information Project, Japan Science and Technology Agency, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama, 351-0198, Japan. (3)Emotional Information Joint Research Laboratory, RIKEN BSI, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama, 351-0198, Japan. (4)Department of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-8902, Japan. (5)ERATO, Okanoya Emotional Information Project, Japan Science and Technology Agency, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama, 351-0198, Japan. (6)Emotional Information Joint Research Laboratory, RIKEN BSI, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama, 351-0198, Japan. (7)Faculty of Letters, Aichi University, 1-1 Machihata, Machihata-cho, Toyohashi, Aichi, 441-8522, Japan. 

Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata var. domestica) generate more complex sequences in their songs than zebra finches. Because of this, we chose this species to explore the signal processing of sound sequence in the primary auditory forebrain area, field L, and in a secondary area, the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM). We simultaneously recorded activity from multiple single units in urethane-anesthetized birds. We successfully replicated the results of a previous study in awake zebra finches examining stimulus-specific habituation of NCM neurons to conspecific songs. Then, we used an oddball paradigm and compared the neural response to deviant sounds that were presented infrequently, with the response to standard sounds, which were presented frequently. In a single sound oddball task, two different song elements were assigned for the deviant and standard sounds. The response bias to deviant elements was larger in NCM than in field L. In a triplet sequence oddball task, two triplet sequences containing elements ABC and ACB were assigned as the deviant and standard. Only neurons in NCM that displayed broad-shaped spike waveforms had sensitivity to the difference in element order. Our results suggest the hierarchical processing of complex sound sequences in the songbird auditory forebrain. PMID: 26864094 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

8. PLoS One. 2016 Feb 10;11(2):e0148570. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148570. eCollection 2016. 

Linking Vital Rates of Landbirds on a Tropical Island to Rainfall and Vegetation Greenness. 
Saracco JF(1), Radley P(2), Pyle P(1), Rowan E(1), Taylor R(1), Helton L(1). Author information: (1)The Institute for Bird Populations, P.O. Box 1346, Point Reyes Station, CA, 94956-1346, United States of America. (2)Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Lands and Natural Resources, P. O. Box 10007, Saipan, MP, 96950, United States of America. 

Remote tropical oceanic islands are of high conservation priority, and they are exemplified by range-restricted species with small global populations. Spatial and temporal patterns in rainfall and plant productivity may be important in driving dynamics of these species. Yet, little is known about environmental influences on population dynamics for most islands and species. Here we leveraged avian capture-recapture, rainfall, and remote-sensed habitat data (enhanced vegetation index [EVI]) to assess relationships between rainfall, vegetation greenness, and demographic rates (productivity, adult apparent survival) of three native bird species on Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands: rufous fantail (Rhipidura rufifrons), bridled white-eye (Zosterops conspicillatus), and golden white-eye (Cleptornis marchei). Rainfall was positively related to vegetation greenness at all but the highest rainfall levels. Temporal variation in greenness affected the productivity of each bird species in unique ways. Predicted productivity of rufous fantail was highest when dry and wet season greenness values were high relative to site-specific 5-year seasonal mean values (i.e., relative greenness); while the white-eye species had highest predicted productivity when relative greenness contrasted between wet and dry seasons. Survival of rufous fantail and bridled white eye was positively related to relative dry-season greenness and negatively related to relative wet-season greenness. Bridled white-eye survival also showed evidence of a positive response to overall greenness. Our results highlight the potentially important role of rainfall regimes in affecting population dynamics of species on oceanic tropical islands. Understanding linkages between rainfall, vegetation, and animal population dynamics will be critical for developing effective conservation strategies in this and other regions where the seasonal timing, extent, and variability of rainfall is expected to change in the coming decades. PMID: 26863013 [PubMed - in process] 

9. PLoS One. 2016 Feb 10;11(2):e0147340. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147340. eCollection 2016. 

Predicting Effects of Water Regime Changes on Waterbirds: Insights from Staging Swans. 
Nolet BA(1), Gyimesi A(1), van Krimpen RR(1,)(2), de Boer WF(2), Stillman RA(3). Author information: (1)Department of Animal Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), AA Wageningen, The Netherlands. (2)Resource Ecology Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands. (3)Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom. 

Predicting the environmental impact of a proposed development is notoriously difficult, especially when future conditions fall outside the current range of conditions. Individual-based approaches have been developed and applied to predict the impact of environmental changes on wintering and staging coastal bird populations. How many birds make use of staging sites is mostly determined by food availability and accessibility, which in the case of many waterbirds in turn is affected by water level. Many water systems are regulated and water levels are maintained at target levels, set by management authorities. We used an individual-based modelling framework (MORPH) to analyse how different target water levels affect the number of migratory Bewick's swans Cygnus columbianus bewickii staging at a shallow freshwater lake (Lauwersmeer, the Netherlands) in autumn. As an emerging property of the model, we found strong non-linear responses of swan usage to changes in water level, with a sudden drop in peak numbers as well as bird-days with a 0.20 m rise above the current target water level. Such strong non-linear responses are probably common and should be taken into account in environmental impact assessments. PMID: 26862895 [PubMed - in process] 

10. PLoS One. 2016 Feb 9;11(2):e0148928. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148928. eCollection 2016. 

Population Viability and Vital Rate Sensitivity of an Endangered Avian Cooperative Breeder, the White-Breasted Thrasher (Ramphocinclus brachyurus). 
Mortensen JL(1), Reed JM(1). Author information: (1)Department of Biology, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, United States of America. 

Social behaviors can significantly affect population viability, and some behaviors might reduce extinction risk. We used population viability analysis to evaluate effects of past and proposed habitat loss on the White-breasted Thrasher (Ramphocinclus brachyurus), a cooperatively breeding songbird with a global population size of <2000 individuals. We used an individual-based approach to build the first demographic population projection model for this endangered species, parameterizing the model with data from eight years of field study before and after habitat loss within the stronghold of the species' distribution. The recent habitat loss resulted in an approximately 18% predicted decline in population size; this estimate was mirrored by a separate assessment using occupancy data. When mortality rates remained close to the pre-habitat loss estimate, quasi-extinction probability was low under extant habitat area, but increased with habitat loss expected after current plans for resort construction are completed. Post-habitat loss mortality rate estimates were too high for projected populations to persist. Vital rate sensitivity analyses indicated that population growth rate and population persistence were most sensitive to juvenile mortality. However, observed values for adult mortality were closest to the threshold value above which populations would crash. Adult mortality, already relatively low, may have the least capacity to change compared to other vital rates, whereas juvenile mortality may have the most capacity for improvement. Results suggest that improving mortality estimates and determining the cause(s) of juvenile mortality should be research priorities. Despite predictions that aspects of cooperative systems may result in variation in reproduction or juvenile mortality being the most sensitive vital rates, adult mortality was the most sensitive in half of the demographic models of other avian cooperative breeders. Interestingly, vital rate sensitivity differed by model type. However, studies that explicitly modeled the species' cooperative breeding system found reproduction to be the most sensitive rate. PMID: 26859690 [PubMed - in process] 

11. Curr Biol. 2016 Feb 8;26(3):R105-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.005. 

Supergenes: The Genomic Architecture of a Bird with Four Sexes. 
Campagna L(1). Author information: (1)Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14950, USA. Electronic address: 

Supergenes are clusters of physically linked, co-evolving genes that often control complex traits. A new study clarifies the origin and possible fate of a fascinating supergene that determines the coloration and mating behavior of a widespread North American bird. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. PMID: 26859263 [PubMed - in process] 

12. Nuncius. 2015;30(3):637-74. 

Authoritative Images. The Kiwi and the Transactions of the Zoological Society of London. 
Canadelli E. 

The first exemplar of a kiwi, the wingless bird of New Zealand, arrived in the form of a lifeless specimen in Europe in 1812. A debate was sparked over the appearance and nature of this strange creature and indeed whether it actually existed. In 1833 the Transactions of the Zoological Society of London entered the debate and the illustrations published in this journal contributed greatly to the acceptance and further study of the kiwi. Some of the most eminent British zoologists and anatomists of the time were involved, from William Yarrell to Richard Owen, and from John Gould to Abraham Dee Bartlett. This crucial period in the discussion, which would extend over two decades and would only be brought to a close with the arrival of the first living specimen in the London Zoological Garden in 1851, will be analyzed based on a detailed examination of the reports published in the Transactions and other journals. This essay will show how images of the bird were produced and used by zoologists during different stages in the early research on the bird and how these figures circulated inside and outside the zoologists' community. PMID: 26856068 [PubMed - in process] 

13. PeerJ. 2016 Feb 1;4:e1652. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1652. eCollection 2016. 

Patterns of bird-window collisions inform mitigation on a university campus. 
Ocampo-Peñuela N(1), Winton RS(1), Wu CJ(2), Zambello E(3), Wittig TW(1), Cagle NL(1). Author information: (1)Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University , Durham, NC , United States. (2)Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC, United States; Ecology & Environment Inc., Arlington, VA, United States. (3)Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC, United States; Tourism Development Department, Okaloosa County, Fort Walton Beach, FL, United States. 

Bird-window collisions cause an estimated one billion bird deaths annually in the United States. Building characteristics and surrounding habitat affect collision frequency. Given the importance of collisions as an anthropogenic threat to birds, mitigation is essential. Patterned glass and UV-reflective films have been proven to prevent collisions. At Duke University's West campus in Durham, North Carolina, we set out to identify the buildings and building characteristics associated with the highest frequencies of collisions in order to propose a mitigation strategy. We surveyed six buildings, stratified by size, and measured architectural characteristics and surrounding area variables. During 21 consecutive days in spring and fall 2014, and spring 2015, we conducted carcass surveys to document collisions. In addition, we also collected ad hoc collision data year-round and recorded the data using the app iNaturalist. Consistent with previous studies, we found a positive relationship between glass area and collisions. Fitzpatrick, the building with the most window area, caused the most collisions. Schwartz and the Perk, the two small buildings with small window areas, had the lowest collision frequencies. Penn, the only building with bird deterrent pattern, caused just two collisions, despite being almost completely made out of glass. Unlike many research projects, our data collection led to mitigation action. A resolution supported by the student government, including news stories in the local media, resulted in the application of a bird deterrent film to the building with the most collisions: Fitzpatrick. We present our collision data and mitigation result to inspire other researchers and organizations to prevent bird-window collisions. PMCID: PMC4741078 PMID: 26855877 [PubMed] 

14. PeerJ. 2016 Feb 1;4:e1598. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1598. eCollection 2016. 

Phylogenetic and morphologic evidence confirm the presence of a new montane cloud forest associated bird species in Mexico, the Mountain Elaenia (Elaenia frantzii; Aves: Passeriformes: Tyrannidae). 
Hanna ZR(1), Ortiz-Ramírez MF(2), Ríos-Muñoz CA(3), Cayetano-Rosas H(2), Bowie RC(4), Navarro-Sigüenza AG(5). Author information: (1)Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States of America; Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States of America; Ornithology & Mammalogy, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California, United States of America. (2)Museo de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, Distrito Federal, México; Posgrado en Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, Distrito Federal, México. (3)Museo de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, Distrito Federal, México; Unidad de Investigación en Medicina Experimental, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, Distrito Federal, México. (4)Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States of America; Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States of America. (5)Museo de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México , México, Distrito Federal , México. 

Here we provide evidence to support an extension of the recognized distributional range of the Mountain Elaenia (Elaenia frantzii) to include southern Mexico. We collected two specimens in breeding condition in northwestern Sierra Norte de Chiapas, Mexico. Morphologic and genetic evidence support their identity as Elaenia frantzii. We compared environmental parameters of records across the entire geographic range of the species to those at the northern Chiapas survey site and found no climatic differences among localities. PMCID: PMC4741067 PMID: 26855860 [PubMed] 

15. Res Vet Sci. 2016 Feb;104:123-5. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2015.12.010. Epub 2015 Dec 23. 

Plasmodium spp. In a captive raptor collection of a safaripark in northwest Italy. 
Scaglione FE(1), Cannizzo FT(2), Chiappino L(2), Sereno A(2), Ripepi M(3), Salamida S(4), Manuali E(4), Bollo E(2). Author information: (1)Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie, Università degli Studi di Torino, Largo P. Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco, Italia. Electronic address: (2)Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie, Università degli Studi di Torino, Largo P. Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco, Italia. (3)Practicing Veterinarian, Safaripark Pombia, SS 32 Km 23,4, 28050 Pombia (NO), Italia. (4)Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Umbria e delle Marche, Via Gaetano Salvemini, 1, 06126 Perugia, Italia. PMID: 26850550 [PubMed - in process] 20. Parazitologiia. 2015 Jul-Aug;49(4):304-8. NEW DATA ON BIRD HELMINTHS IN MONGOLIA. Lebedeva DI, Chantuu K. 

For the first time the data on helminths in piscivorous birds (the great cormorant and the Mongolian gull) in Mongolia were obtained. Surveys yielded 11 species (Cestoda--2, Trematoda--6, Nematoda--3). The cormorant hosted 5 helminth species, the herring gull--6 species. PMID: 26827489 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Acta Ornithologica. December 2015, Volume 50, Issue 2: Abstracts and Links

Acta Ornithologica

Published by: Museum and Institute of Zoology, 
Polish Academy of Sciences

December 2015 : Volume 50, Issue 2



Long-Term Changes in Habitat Selection of Wintering Waterbirds: High Importance of Cold Weather Refuge Sites
Matyáš Adam, Zuzana Musilová, Petr Musil, Jan Zouhar and Dušan Romportl

Recent studies showed that climate changes shape species distribution and could cause range shifts in the flyway level of the species. Here, we demonstrated changes in species habitat selection as a response to weather severity in twelve most abundant wintering waterbird species with prevailing increase in numbers during three investigated periods (1972–1978, 1987–1993 and 2003–2009). We used wintering waterbird counts from 93 sites throughout the Czech Republic from mid-January term as the coldest period of winter when the effect of thermoregulation on wintering waterbirds distribution is most apparent. We recorded no significant changes in weather severity in three investigated periods in our study area, and hence we considered the effect of preference of cold weather refuge sites, i.e. habitats which can reduce negative effect of cold weather (running waters, urban area and extensive water surface area). We found prevailing effect of weather severity in the first period what may show thermoregulatory effects being expressed by weather severity on species habitat selection in the next period in six of the twelve investigated species (Mute Swan Cygnus olor, Common Pochard Aythya ferina, Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula, Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis, Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus and Common Coot Fulica atra). In the face of recent climate change and in spite of the increasing importance of wetlands in the Czech Republic for wintering waterbirds, the suitability of these sites for wintering is likely temperature-dependent. Thus, the preference of cold weather refuges reducing the effect of winter harshness becomes important in individual species.

Effect of Pre-Fledging Body Condition on Juvenile Survival in Yellowlegged Gulls Larus michahellis
Juan Arizaga, Alfredo Herrero, Asier Aldalur, Juan F. Cuadrado and Daniel Oro

Body condition of nestlings can influence their future survival. Here, we used data obtained from a colourringing program of Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis in two colonies from northern Iberia to quantify the relative importance of pre-fledging body size and mass on post-fledging juvenile survival. Chicks were ringed with colour-rings at their colony in June/July when they were almost ready to fledge, and, thereafter, sighting data of these birds were collected over a period of one year and analysed with Cormack-Jolly-Seber capture-recapture models. The Yellowlegged Gull in the region is resident, so sighting data were mostly collected within an area close to natal colonies, where the field effort was intensive. Monthly survival from August onwards was higher than from ringing date to August (0.59± 0.06 SE), reaching model averaged values of 0.91 ± 0.03 and 0.98 ± 0.03 for the two colonies analysed. Moreover, condition of chicks (measured as residual body mass and body size) before fledging had a positive effect on survival from ringing date to August, but not from August onwards, when survival was strongly affected by the colony of origin.

Does Core-Periphery Gradient Determine Breeding Performance in a Breeding Colony of White Storks Ciconia ciconia?
Mohammed Bouriach, Farrah Samraoui, Ramzi Souilah, Imen Houma, Imen Razkallah, Ahmed H. Alfarhan and Boudjéma Samraoui

The timing of breeding and nest location in colonial birds may have fitness consequences. In particular, it has been demonstrated that peripheral breeders perform less well than core breeders. To determine whether environmental factors such as date of breeding and nest position influence reproductive success, we studied the breeding ecology of a large colony of White Stork Ciconia ciconia at Dréan, northeast Algeria, during 2011 and 2012. Mean egg-laying dates varied significantly between years and differed between core and peripheral nests with more precocious laying occurring in the center. Egg-laying in larger nests started earlier than in smaller ones in the core area but neither nest size nor nest position along the core-periphery gradient had any influence on studied breeding parameters i.e. clutch size, hatching success and chick productivity. There was no yearly difference in clutch size which averaged 4.7 ± 0.7 eggs (N = 156 clutches). Mean chick productivity was higher in 2012 (2.85 ± 1.21 chicks) than in 2011 (2.29 ± 2.28 chicks) and was marginally associated with egg-laying date. In contrast, nesting success declined with delayed onset of breeding. Results suggest that a low predation rate, abundant resources and a possible trade-off between fitness components may confound adaptive breeding-habitat selection in White Stork.

Suitability of Poplar Plantations for a Cavity-Nesting Specialist, the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor, in the Mediterranean Mosaic Landscape
Jordi Camprodon, Jordi Faus, Pep Salvanyà, Jaume Soler-Zurita and José Luis Romero

Monocultures of even-aged trees in short rotation are a forest system of low ecological complexity that has been described as unsuitable for the establishment of stable populations of forest birds. However, key habitat quality cues could make them attractive to forest specialists. This paper assesses the suitability of poplar plantations in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula for a forest specialist, the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor. Poplar stands occupy a small area of an agroforestry mosaic landscape where semi-natural Mediterranean woodland is predominant. Population size, nesting success, home ranges and habitat selection were studied by radio-tracking and monitoring during the breeding season and the winter. Poplar plantations were preferentially selected for breeding and foraging in the spring and the winter. Home ranges in the breeding season and the winter (32.4 and 438.5 ha, respectively) were similar to those observed in semi-natural woodlands that have been studied in Europe. However, population density (0.25 territories/100 ha) was lower than that described in most European semi-natural woodlands. Nesting success was low (0.54), due to strong competition with other cavity nesters, predation of nests by the Greater Spotted Woodpecker, and loss of one of the adults. Fifty per cent of the foraging activity during the breeding season took place in an area of 180 metres around the nest. The amount of standing dead wood in poplar stands was much higher than in the surrounding habitats and source areas. The moderate breeding success and the high rate of adult predation may suggest that poplar plantations act as an ecological trap, in which standing dead wood may be a habitat quality cue that attracts birds to this non-ideal habitat. Poplar plantations become even less suitable when most of the available habitat is felled at the same time. Suitable planning of poplar plantation rotations and recovery of riparian forest is the best way to ensure the survival of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker populations in the long term.

Rabbit Abundance Influences Predation on Bird Nests in Mediterranean Olive Orchards 
Antonio J. Carpio, Francisco S. Tortosa and Isabel C. Barrio

In recent decades, the intensification of agricultural practices in olive orchards, including intensive use of agrochemicals, along with the absence of natural herb layer, has led to a decline in songbird communities. Increased nest predation has been suggested as another important factor in the decline of farmland birds. High abundances of alternative prey species, such as European Rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus may attract generalist predators, which may increase predation rates on bird nests, a phenomenon known as hyperpredation. In this work, we evaluate artificial nest predation in intensively farmed olive orchards, using quail eggs (one plaster and two natural eggs in each nest) placed on the ground (97 nests) and on trees (106 nests). 53.7% of nests (109 out of 203) were predated; 51 of these nests had at least one egg with signs of predation and in 58 nests all eggs were predated. Nests placed on the ground (61%) were predated more frequently than those on trees (46%). Rabbit abundance was identified as one of the main factors increasing the probabilities of a nest being predated. Despite lower rates of nest predation in areas with low rabbit abundance, we found a higher diversity of nest predators, such as Mustela nivalis, Mustela putorius, Martes foina or Erinaceus europaeus in these areas. This study suggests that conservation efforts aimed at increasing the breeding success of farmland birds should avoid areas with high abundance of rabbits owing to the phenomenon of hyperpredation.

Effects of Hedges and Herbaceous Cover on Passerine Communities in Mediterranean Olive Groves
Juan Carlos Castro-Caro, Isabel C. Barrio and Francisco S. Tortosa

In recent decades, agricultural intensification and landscape simplification have dramatically affected farmland biodiversity. To reduce this trend, agri-environmental schemes (AES) of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) were launched in the European Union in the early 1990s. Since then an effort has been made to asses the effectiveness of these measures, but, in the Mediterranean region, where olive groves are among the predominant crops, the effectiveness of AESs to maintain farmland biodiversity remains poorly evaluated. In conventional olive farming, the only AES now in practice are the implementation of herbaceous, non-crop vegetation within crops (i.e. ground covers) aimed at preventing soil erosion, and the maintenance of hedges. These practices, when applied separately, can increase structural complexity, likely benefitting farmland biodiversity at different spatial scales; however, little is known about the potential synergistic effects when these measures are applied in combination in Mediterranean agroecosystems. This study assessed the combined effects of herbaceous ground cover and hedges on passerine communities of olive groves over a 4-yr period. Hedges, and to a lesser extent ground covers, efficiently increased the abundance and richness of passerine communities of olive groves, particularly that of insectivorous birds, but the effects of both measures were independent of each other. Hedges were particularly relevant to the richness and abundance of passerine communities, especially at distances up to 50 m. Therefore, we suggest that management should promote the creation of a hedge network embedded in the olive grove matrix, for example by promoting or maintaining hedgerows located between properties. This study underscores the important role of increasing structural complexity in Mediterranean perennial agroecosystems through the implementation of ground covers and maintaining hedges, to preserve farmland passerine communities, and encourages the use of these agri-environmental measures as a tool in landscape planning and conservation.

Low Immigration and High Local Recruitment in an Isolated, Coastal Population of a Declining Grassland Passerine, the Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe 
Pierre-Yves Henry and Philippe Ollivier

The western European populations of Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe have halved over the past two decades. In this context of increasingly fragmented populations, a key issue is to understand the role of immigration in the maintenance of remnant populations. We characterized the local survival, fecundity, recruitment and immigration rates of a small, geographically isolated, coastal French population during a period of population stability, while the regional population was rapidly decreasing (1991–1999). Annual local adult and juvenile survival rates were estimated with capture-resighting data at, respectively, 0.463 ± 0.052 (n = 157 adults) and 0.215 ± 0.054 (n = 363 nestlings). Only 2.1 immigrants joined the population per year (7.3% of all recruits). This annual immigration rate (0.039) is lower than all 14 available estimates for small to medium-sized birds. The local population growth rate depended equally on all demographic parameters, apart from a minor influence of the immigration rate. Within-site breeding dispersal distances were low, and differed between sexes (78 ± 49 m for males, 259 ± 274 m for females). Juvenile and adult survival rates appeared lower than for populations of wheatears settled in high quality habitats, but this deficiency was compensated by high fecundity and the 2 annual immigrants. The small population size (22–27 pairs), extremely low immigration, and strong dependence on local recruits suggest that this population was demographically isolated on a patch of moderate habitat quality, with no chance of rescue by immigration in case of stochastic event. Indeed, this population went extinct in the 2000′s, after a disturbance of unknown origin.

High Egg Size Variation in African Blue Tits Cyanistes caeruleus ultramarinus on the Periphery of Species Range
Mohamed Kouidri, Ala-Eddine Adamou, Anna Bańbura, Mohamed Laïd Ouakid, Yassine Chabi and Jerzy Bańbura

Amount and quality of resources may be variable and generally poor in habitats of marginal avian populations living at the edge of species breeding range. We studied variation in egg traits (length, breadth, volume and shape) in three populations of the African Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus ultramarinus inhabiting degraded habitats in highlands of Algerian Saharan Atlas at mean altitudes 1328–1437 m a.s.l. We found high within-clutch repeatability of all the egg traits studied. As theoretically expected in peripheral parts of the species geographic range, there was considerable variation in egg-size traits among the study populations, with eggs being distinctly smaller and more elongated at a site characterised by most human-modified habitat composed of maquis scrubland with rare Pistacia trees. Egg length and shape tended to be affected by the altitude of nest site and by clutch size, but not laying date. We found some effects of egg traits on hatching and fledging success, suggesting that fitness advantage of egg sizes is dependent of egg shape. We conclude that the above patterns of variation in egg size and shape of the African Blue Tit populations have influence of fitness. Our finding of considerable variation in egg traits between separate peripheral populations confirms the theoretical expectation and seems to be a novel result.

Offspring Sex Ratio of Japanese Tits Parus minor is Related to Laying Date and Clutch Size Only in the First Clutches 
Daisuke Nomi, Teru Yuta and Itsuro Koizumi

Over decades, several hypotheses for sex allocation have been proposed and tested repeatedly. However, many studies have shown inconsistent results among species, populations, and study years. We investigated sex ratio patterns in a population of Japanese Tit Parus minor, which is closely related to the Great Tit Parus major. In this fouryear study, a total of 1500 offspring from 191 nests were sexed. We found that the proportion of male offspring in each brood was negatively related to laying date and clutch size only in the first clutches. This corresponds to our prediction that in sexually dimorphic Japanese Tits, females may control sex ratio by adjusting clutch size or the timing of laying to reduce costs of rearing. However, this relationship did not appear in later clutches, indicating that manipulation of sex ratios occurred only in part of the season. Parental quality was not related to sex ratio in either first or later clutches. Our results suggest that female Japanese Tits may control the sex ratio to balance reproductive effort and self-maintenance rather than to raise the offspring fitness benefits in relation to the quality of parents, and that they use a different sex allocation strategy between first and later clutches.

House Sparrows Passer domesticus and Tree Sparrows Passer montanus: Fine-Scale Distribution, Population Densities, and Habitat Selection in a Central European city
Martin Šálek, Jan Riegert and Stanislav Grill

Populations of House and Tree Sparrows have rapidly declined in various breeding habitats throughout their European distribution range; however, the strongest decline was recorded within urban environments. In our study we investigated fine-scale distribution, population densities and habitat selection of both sparrow species within a 200 × 200 m squares in a medium sized city (České Budějovice, Czech Republic) during the breeding season. The total population density of House and Tree Sparrow was 11.7 and 2.8 individuals/10 ha; however the densities of both sparrow species markedly differed among various urban units. The highest density of House Sparrow was recorded in residential areas (33.3 ind./10 ha) and Tree Sparrows were mostly found in garden colonies (10.3 ind./10 ha). After removing spatial effects, we found that numbers of both sparrows were negatively correlated with area of artificial surfaces (e.g. pavements, streets, railway networks or parking spaces) and positively correlated with area of city green. Built-up area did not affect numbers of House Sparrow, but there was a slight negative relationship with Tree Sparrow numbers. However, maximum numbers per square for both species were found in the areas where city green represented ca 50 % of all habitats. This suggests that mix of built-up areas and city green is more important for sparrow numbers than each habitat per se. Comparison of use/availability for studied habitat reveals that both sparrow species clearly avoided artificial surfaces. House Sparrow showed preference for built-up areas and Tree Sparrow showed similar preference for built-up areas and city green. Different habitat selection can be explained by a combination of different requirements for nest sites together with the nutritional needs of sparrows during the breeding season. The majority of nest sites were located in artificial structures such as roof tiles (80% for House Sparrow and 50% for Tree Sparrow), followed by nests located in crevices and holes on buildings. Both sparrows nested in older buildings: 92% of House Sparrow and 85% of Tree Sparrow nests were situated in buildings older than 30 years, i.e. built before the 1980s.

Does Traffic Noise Affect the Distribution and Abundance of Wintering Birds in a Managed Woodland?
Jarosław Wiącek and Marcin Polak

Anthropogenic noise, a consequence of expanding infrastructure and industry in ecosystems, is a serious and ubiquitous threat, which can significantly modify the behaviour and certain population parameters in animals. Birds are particularly vulnerable in this respect, given that they communicate mostly vocally in dense habitats. In the winter time traffic noise can modify distribution of birds by masking of their alarm and contact calls. Additionally seasonal variation in avian auditory can modified birds responses to traffic noise during winter. The present paper reports the results of an investigation into the influence of a busy road (annual average 6673 motor vehicles per day) and traffic noise on woodland birds in winter. To our knowledge this study is the first to assess the effect of road noise on woodland birds during winter. We counted birds using the point—count method at 36 survey stations located in the forest at various distances from the road. At each such station we assessed selected habitat parameters, the distance from the road and the noise intensity level. We recorded a total of 454 birds belonging to 19 species. The mean noise intensity during the counts was 74.9 ± 2.6 dB at the stations situated 60 m from the road, 49.3 ± 2.5 dB at the stations 310 m from the road and 41.2 ± 2.9 dB at the stations 560 m from the road. The abundance and species richness of wintering birds did not depend on distance from the busy road or traffic noise in December, but in next months (January and February) the number of species and bird abundance were lower near the road. There were also differences in the abundance of a particular ecological bird assemblages distinguished according to food preference or social behaviour in relation to distance from the road. The proportion of granivorous birds decreased from December to February and with increasing noise level. The proportion of birds belonging to flocking species was related primarily to survey month and increased from December to February. This case study indicates that, in contrast to the results obtained during the breeding season and the autumn migration in the same study plot, road and traffic noise has no effect on the number of birds in the vicinity of a road during December. However in the next months, in January and February bird abundance and number of species was lower near the road, similar as during breeding and autumn migration periods.


Nest Surface Temperature Predicts Fledging Success of Blue Tits Cyanistes caeruleus But Not Great Tits Parus major
D. Charles Deeming and Thomas W. Pike

Studies investigating nest function in birds show that individual preferences and environmental temperature can affect the type and amount of materials used in their construction and, thus, how well insulated they are. Levels of insulation of bird nests may be important because this could impact on heat loss by adults and eggs during incubation, and by nestlings during rearing, which may in turn affect individual fitness. Here we used infrared (IR) thermography to measure the surface temperature of nests of Great Tits Parus major and Blue Tits Cyanistes caeruleus in situ during incubation to test the hypothesis that nest insulation predicts reproductive success. Previous studies of thermodynamics during incubation have focussed on factors, e.g. egg temperature, which do not directly measure the thermal conditions in the nest itself. Rarely applied to studies of avian incubation, IR thermography has yet to be used to quantify the thermal properties of nests with the incubating bird in situ. The rate of temperature change (°C/cm) of the nest material, as determined for the first 1.5 cm away from the edge of the bird, was significantly associated with fledging success in Blue Tits, although not Great Tits. This provides the first evidence that the insulatory properties of nests during incubation can correlate with offspring fitness, and so has important implications for the study of nest function in an ecological context. IR thermography provides a methodology that allows future research to investigate the factors that determine nest insulation.

Parentage Analyses Reveal Hidden Breeding Strategies of European Rollers Coracias garrulus
Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar, Deseada Parejo, Juan Gabriel Martínez, Juan Rodríguezruiz and Jesús Miguel Avilés

The European Roller Coracias garrulus is a secondary hole-nesting bird that has largely been considered genetically monogamous, although molecular techniques to confirm this assumption had never been used. Here we test this hypothesis by using 5 years of data from a nest-box population in the south of Spain and 6 microsatellite markers recently tested in the species. Overall, 49 broods containing 176 nestlings were included. The average annual percentage of nests with either extra-pair paternity or extra-pair maternity was 4.6 and 6.4, respectively. No evidence of cooperative breeding was found in the provisioning videos analysed. Our work confirms for the first time that European Rollers are not exclusively genetically monogamous, opening new avenues in the study of the breeding biology of this near-threatened species.