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Monday, 8 February 2016

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed. February Week 1, 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. Animals (Basel). 2016 Feb 2;6(2). pii: E10. 

Assessing Activity and Location of Individual Laying Hens in Large Groups Using Modern Technology. 
Siegford JM(1), Berezowski J(2), Biswas SK(3), Daigle CL(4), Gebhardt-Henrich SG(5), Hernandez CE(6), Thurner S(7), Toscano MJ(8). Author information: (1)Animal Behavior and Welfare Group, Department of Animal Science, Michigan State University, 474 S. Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA. (2)Veterinary Public Health Institute, Vetsuisse Fakultät, University of Bern, Schwarzenburgstrasse 155, Liebefeld CH-3097, Switzerland. (3)Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Michigan State University, 428 S. Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA. (4)Department of Animal Science, Texas A & M University, Room 133 Kleberg, 2471 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843, USA. (5)Center for Proper Housing: Poultry and Rabbits (ZTHZ), Division of Animal Welfare, VPH Institute, University of Bern, Burgerweg 22, Zollikofen CH-3052, Switzerland. (6)Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 7024, Uppsala SE-750 07, Sweden. (7)Bavarian State Research Centre for Agriculture, Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Animal Husbandry, Voettingerstrasse 36, Freising 85354, Germany. (8)Center for Proper Housing: Poultry and Rabbits (ZTHZ), Division of Animal Welfare, VPH Institute, University of Bern, Burgerweg 22, Zollikofen CH-3052, Switzerland. 

Tracking individual animals within large groups is increasingly possible, offering an exciting opportunity to researchers. Whereas previously only relatively indistinguishable groups of individual animals could be observed and combined into pen level data, we can now focus on individual actors within these large groups and track their activities across time and space with minimal intervention and disturbance. The development is particularly relevant to the poultry industry as, due to a shift away from battery cages, flock sizes are increasingly becoming larger and environments more complex. Many efforts have been made to track individual bird behavior and activity in large groups using a variety of methodologies with variable success. Of the technologies in use, each has associated benefits and detriments, which can make the approach more or less suitable for certain environments and experiments. Within this article, we have divided several tracking systems that are currently available into two major categories (radio frequency identification and radio signal strength) and review the strengths and weaknesses of each, as well as environments or conditions for which they may be most suitable. We also describe related topics including types of analysis for the data and concerns with selecting focal birds. PMID: 26848693 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

2. Epidemiol Infect. 2016 Feb 5:1-5. [Epub ahead of print] 

West Nile virus-neutralizing antibodies in wild birds from southern Spain. 
Ferraguti M(1), LA Puente JM(1), Soriguer R(1), Llorente F(2), Jiménez-Clavero MÁ(3), Figuerola J(1). Author information: (1)Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC),Seville,Spain. (2)Centro de Investigación en Sanidad Animal - Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (CISA-INIA),Valdeolmos,Madrid,Spain. (3)CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP),Spain. 

West Nile virus (WNV) is an emerging vector-borne arbovirus with a zoonotic life-cycle whose main reservoir hosts are birds. In humans and horses, WNV infections rarely result in clinical disease but on occasions - depending on factors such as climatic conditions, insect communities and background immunity levels in local populations - they can lead to outbreaks that threaten public and animal health. We tested for the presence of WNV antibodies in 149 birds belonging to 32 different species. Samples were first tested using a bird-specific ELISA kit and then both positive and doubtful results were confirmed by neutralization tests using WNV and Usutu virus. WNV antibodies were confirmed in a resident Sylvia melanocephala juvenile, supporting the idea of local transmission of WNV in southern Spain in 2013. In addition, the serum from an adult blackbird (Turdus merula) showed neutralization of both WNV and Usutu virus. We discuss our results in light of the occurrence of WNV on horse farms in southern Spain in 2013. PMID: 26846720 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

3. Virol J. 2016 Feb 4;13(1):23. doi: 10.1186/s12985-016-0476-8. 

Circulation of avian paramyxoviruses in wild birds of Kazakhstan in 2002-2013. 
Karamendin K(1), Kydyrmanov A(2), Seidalina A(3,)(4), Asanova S(5), Daulbayeva K(6), Kasymbekov Y(7,)(8), Khan E(9,)(10), Fereidouni S(11,)(12,)(13), Starick E(14), Zhumatov K(15), Sayatov M(16). Author information: (1)Institute of Microbiology and Virology, 103 Bogenbay batyr Str, Almaty, 050010, Kazakhstan. (2)Institute of Microbiology and Virology, 103 Bogenbay batyr Str, Almaty, 050010, Kazakhstan. (3)Institute of Microbiology and Virology, 103 Bogenbay batyr Str, Almaty, 050010, Kazakhstan. (4)Kazakh National Agrarian University, 8 Abay Str., 050010, Almaty, Kazakhstan. (5)Institute of Microbiology and Virology, 103 Bogenbay batyr Str, Almaty, 050010, Kazakhstan. (6)Institute of Microbiology and Virology, 103 Bogenbay batyr Str, Almaty, 050010, Kazakhstan. (7)Institute of Microbiology and Virology, 103 Bogenbay batyr Str, Almaty, 050010, Kazakhstan. (8)Kazakh National Agrarian University, 8 Abay Str., 050010, Almaty, Kazakhstan. (9)Institute of Microbiology and Virology, 103 Bogenbay batyr Str, Almaty, 050010, Kazakhstan. (10)Kazakh National Agrarian University, 8 Abay Str., 050010, Almaty, Kazakhstan. (11)Friedrich Loeffler Institute, Greifswald, Insel Riems, Germany. (12)WESCA Wildlife Network, Greifswald, Germany. (13)Present Address: University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, Vienna, Austria. (14)Friedrich Loeffler Institute, Greifswald, Insel Riems, Germany. (15)Institute of Microbiology and Virology, 103 Bogenbay batyr Str, Almaty, 050010, Kazakhstan. (16)Institute of Microbiology and Virology, 103 Bogenbay batyr Str, Almaty, 050010, Kazakhstan. 

BACKGROUND: Screening wild birds for avian paramyxoviruses is of increasing importance. 6913 samples of tracheal and cloacal swabs were collected during 2002-2013 and tested to study the prevalence of APMVs in wild avifauna of Kazakhstan. As a result, 45 isolates were obtained during this period and their ecological niches and genetic relationships were defined. METHODS: Tracheal and cloacal samples from wild birds were collected using sterile swabs placed in viral transport medium and kept in liquid nitrogen until delivery to the laboratory. Samples were inoculated into 10-day-old embryonated chicken eggs and reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) assays were performed via a one-step protocol. The PCR products were sequenced and phylogenetic trees were constructed using the 'Neighbour Joining' method. RESULTS: Six thousand nine hundred thirteen samples from 183 bird species were investigated and 45 isolates belonging to four different serotypes APMV-1, APMV-4, APMV-6 and APMV-8 were identified. All APMVs were isolated predominantly from birds belonging to Anatidae family (ducks and geese) and only one APMV-4 isolate was obtained from shorebird (Curlew) on the Caspian seashore. Genetic studies showed that the recovered APMV-1 strains had highest homology with European isolates. APMV-4 strains isolated in 2003, and APMV-6 and APMV-8 isolated in 2013 were 99 % identical to isolates from Far East. CONCLUSION: This is the first reported characterization of avian paramyxoviruses from wild birds isolated in Kazakhstan. These data confirm the wide distribution of APMV-1, APMV-4 and APMV-6 in the Asian subcontinent. The obtained data contribute to the accumulation of knowledge on the genetic diversity and prevalence of APMVs in wild bird populations. PMID: 26846092 [PubMed - in process] 

4. J Wildl Dis. 2016 Apr;52(2 Suppl):S54-64. doi: 10.7589/52.2S.S54.  
Harms CA(1), Jinks MR(2), Harms RV(3). Author information: (1)1  Center for Marine Sciences and Technology and Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 303 College Circle, Morehead City, North Carolina 28557, USA. (2)2  College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 1060 William Moore Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina 27607, USA. (3)3  814 South Yaupon Terrace, Morehead City, North Carolina 28557, USA. 

Venous blood gas partial pressures, pH, bicarbonate and lactate concentrations, packed cell volume, white blood cell differential counts, and heterophil/lymphocyte ratios were measured from Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura), Boat-tailed Grackles (Quiscalus major), and House Sparrows (Passer domesticus). Birds were bled promptly after mist-net capture and banding or following a targeted delay of 45-60 min, in order to assess the impacts of a brief holding period commonly practiced in large-scale bird banding operations. Additionally, effects of venipuncture location (basilic [=ulnar] vein versus jugular vein) were evaluated in male Boat-tailed Grackles sampled promptly after capture and banding. All comparisons were with unpaired samples; no birds were subjected to more than one venipuncture. All three species exhibited moderate improvements in blood gas and acid-base status after the delay, with reductions in lactate concentrations with or without concurrent increases in pH and bicarbonate. Boat-tailed Grackles exhibited an increased proportion of heterophils in the differential white blood cell count following a delay in sampling, suggestive of a stress leukogram. There were no significant differences between basilic and jugular venipuncture results from male Boat-tailed Grackles. Most metabolic, respiratory, and acid-base alterations were minor, but a small number of birds exhibited values (e.g., temperature-corrected pH <7.3, lactate >10 mmol/L) that could be of concern if combined with other adverse conditions. For such birds, a short delay between capture and processing could benefit their blood gas and acid-base status, although loss of time foraging or feeding young and greater activation of the hypophyseal-pituitary-adrenal axis are additional considerations. PMID: 26845300 [PubMed - in process] 

5. Bioinspir Biomim. 2016 Feb 4;11(1):016007. doi: 10.1088/1748-3190/11/1/016007. 

Animal-to-robot social attachment: initial requisites in a gallinaceous bird. 
Jolly L(1), Pittet F, Caudal JP, Mouret JB, Houdelier C, Lumineau S, de Margerie E. Author information: (1)Université Rennes 1, Laboratoire d'Ethologie Animale et Humaine, UMR n° 6552, Rennes, F-35000, France. 

Animal-Robot Interaction experiments have demonstrated their usefulness to understand the social behaviour of a growing number of animal species. In order to study the mechanisms of social influences (from parents and peers) on behavioural development, we design an experimental setup where young quail chicks, after hatching, continuously live with autonomous mobile robots in mixed triadic groups of two chicks and one robot. As precocial birds are subject to imprinting, we compare groups where chicks meet the robot as their very first social partner, on their first day after hatching (R chicks), with groups where chicks meet a real conspecific first (C chicks), and the robot later (on the second day after hatching). We measured the behavioural synchronization between chicks and robot over three days. Afterwards, we directly tested the existence of a possible social bond between animal and robot, by performing separation-reunion behavioural tests. R chicks were more synchronized with the robot in their daily feeding-resting activities than C chicks. Moreover, R chicks emitted numerous distress calls when separated from the robot, even in the presence of another chick, whereas C chicks emitted calls only when separated from the other chick. Whether the observed chick-robot attachment bond reflects filial, or sibling-imprinting of chicks towards the robot remains unclear, as the latter process is not fully understood in natural familial groups. Still, these results reveal the necessary initial conditions for stable, cohesive mixed groups of chicks and robots, a promising tool to experiment on the long-term dynamics of social behaviour. PMID: 26845286 [PubMed - in process] 

6. PeerJ. 2016 Jan 5;4:e1541. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1541. eCollection 2016. 

Assessing conservation status of resident and migrant birds on Hispaniola with mist-netting. 
Lloyd JD(1), Rimmer CC(1), McFarland KP(1). Author information: (1)Vermont Center for Ecostudies , Norwich, VT , United States. 

We analyzed temporal trends in mist-net capture rates of resident (n = 8) and overwintering Nearctic-Neotropical migrant (n = 3) bird species at two sites in montane broadleaf forest of the Sierra de Bahoruco, Dominican Republic, with the goal of providing quantitative information on population trends that could inform conservation assessments. We conducted sampling at least once annually during the winter months of January-March from 1997 to 2010. We found evidence of declines in capture rates for three resident species, including one species endemic to Hispaniola. Capture rate of Rufous-throated Solitaire (Myadestes genibarbis) declined by 3.9% per year (95% CL = 0%, 7.3%), Green-tailed Ground-Tanager (Microligea palustris) by 6.8% (95% CL = 3.9%, 8.8%), and Greater Antillean Bullfinch (Loxigilla violacea) by 4.9% (95% CL = 0.9%, 9.2%). Two rare and threatened endemics, Hispaniolan Highland-Tanager (Xenoligea montana) and Western Chat-Tanager (Calyptophilus tertius), showed statistically significant declines, but we have low confidence in these findings because trends were driven by exceptionally high capture rates in 1997 and varied between sites. Analyses that excluded data from 1997 revealed no trend in capture rate over the course of the study. We found no evidence of temporal trends in capture rates for any other residents or Nearctic-Neotropical migrants. We do not know the causes of the observed declines, nor can we conclude that these declines are not a purely local phenomenon. However, our findings, along with other recent reports of declines in these same species, suggest that a closer examination of their conservation status is warranted. Given the difficulty in obtaining spatially extensive, long-term estimates of population change for Hispaniolan birds, we suggest focusing on other metrics of vulnerability that are more easily quantified yet remain poorly described, such as extent of occurrence. PMID: 26844015 [PubMed] 

7. Acta Vet Scand. 2016 Feb 3;58(1):11. doi: 10.1186/s13028-016-0192-9. 

Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli in wild birds on Danish livestock farms. 
Hald B(1,)(2), Skov MN(3,)(4), Nielsen EM(5,)(6), Rahbek C(7,)(8,)(9), Madsen JJ(10), Wainø M(11,)(12), Chriél M(13,)(14), Nordentoft S(15,)(16), Baggesen DL(17,)(18), Madsen M(19,)(20). Author information: (1)Danish Veterinary Laboratory, Department of Poultry, Fish and Fur Animals, 8200, Aarhus N, Denmark. (2)National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, 2860, Søborg, Denmark. (3)Department of Microbiology, Danish Veterinary Laboratory, 1870, Frederiksberg C, Denmark. (4)Research Unit for Clinical Microbiology, University of Southern Denmark, 5000, Odense C, Denmark. (5)Department of Microbiology, Danish Veterinary Laboratory, 1870, Frederiksberg C, Denmark. (6)Department of Microbiology and Infection Control, Statens Serum Institut, 2300, Copenhagen S, Denmark. (7)Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, 1350, Copenhagen K, Denmark. (8)Center for Macroecology, Evolution, and Climate, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, 2100, Copenhagen Ø, Denmark. (9)Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY, UK. (10)Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, 1350, Copenhagen K, Denmark. (11)Danish Veterinary Laboratory, Department of Poultry, Fish and Fur Animals, 8200, Aarhus N, Denmark. (12)Chr. Hansen, 2970, Hørsholm, Denmark. (13)The Danish Meatboard, 1609, Copenhagen V, Denmark. (14)National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark, 1870, Frederiksberg C, Denmark. (15)Danish Veterinary Laboratory, Department of Poultry, Fish and Fur Animals, 8200, Aarhus N, Denmark. (16)Novo Nordisk, 4400, Kalundborg, Denmark. (17)Department of Microbiology, Danish Veterinary Laboratory, 1870, Frederiksberg C, Denmark. (18)National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, 2860, Søborg, Denmark. (19)Danish Veterinary Laboratory, Department of Poultry, Fish and Fur Animals, 8200, Aarhus N, Denmark. (20)Dianova Ltd., 8200, Aarhus N, Denmark. 

BACKGROUND: Reducing the occurrence of campylobacteriosis is a food safety issue of high priority, as in recent years it has been the most commonly reported zoonosis in the EU. Livestock farms are of particular interest, since cattle, swine and poultry are common reservoirs of Campylobacter spp. The farm environment provides attractive foraging and breeding habitats for some bird species reported to carry thermophilic Campylobacter spp. We investigated the Campylobacter spp. carriage rates in 52 wild bird species present on 12 Danish farms, sampled during a winter and a summer season, in order to study the factors influencing the prevalence in wild birds according to their ecological guild. In total, 1607 individual wild bird cloacal swab samples and 386 livestock manure samples were cultured for Campylobacter spp. according to the Nordic Committee on Food Analysis method NMKL 119. RESULTS: The highest Campylobacter spp. prevalence was seen in 110 out of 178 thrushes (61.8 %), of which the majority were Common Blackbird (Turdus merula), and in 131 out of 616 sparrows (21.3 %), a guild made up of House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) and Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus). In general, birds feeding on a diet of animal or mixed animal and vegetable origin, foraging on the ground and vegetation in close proximity to livestock stables were more likely to carry Campylobacter spp. in both summer (P < 0.001) and winter (P < 0.001) than birds foraging further away from the farm or in the air. Age, fat score, gender, and migration range were not found to be associated with Campylobacter spp. carriage. A correlation was found between the prevalence (%) of C. jejuni in wild birds and the proportions (%) of C. jejuni in both manure on cattle farms (R(2) = 0.92) and poultry farms (R(2) = 0.54), and between the prevalence (%) of C. coli in wild birds and the proportions (%) of C. coli in manure on pig farms (R(2) = 0.62). CONCLUSIONS: The ecological guild of wild birds influences the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. through the behavioural patterns of the birds. More specifically, wild birds eating food of animal or mixed animal and vegetable origin and foraging on the ground close to livestock were more likely to carry Campylobacter spp. than those foraging further away or hunting in the air. These findings suggest that wild birds may play a role in sustaining the epidemiology of Campylobacter spp. on farms. PMID: 26842400 [PubMed - in process] 

8. Oecologia. 2016 Feb 3. [Epub ahead of print] 

Intraguild predation and competition impacts on a subordinate predator. 
Björklund H(1,)(2), Santangeli A(3,)(4), Blanchet FG(4,)(5), Huitu O(6), Lehtoranta H(7), Lindén H(8), Valkama J(3), Laaksonen T(9). Author information: (1)Finnish Museum of Natural History Luomus, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 17, 00014, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. (2)Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 65, 00014, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. (3)Finnish Museum of Natural History Luomus, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 17, 00014, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. (4)Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 65, 00014, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. (5)Department of Mathematics and Statistics, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1, Canada. (6)Suonenjoki Research Unit, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Juntintie 154, 77600, Suonenjoki, Finland. (7)Suomen metsäkeskus, Itäinen palvelualue, Pohjois-Karjala, Poikolantie 2, 83900, Juuka, Finland. (8)Natural Resources Institute Finland, P.O. Box 2, 00791, Helsinki, Finland. (9)Department of Biology, University of Turku, 20014, Turku, Finland.

Intraguild (IG) predation and interspecific competition may affect the settlement and success of species in their habitats. Using data on forest-dwelling hawks from Finland, we addressed the impact of an IG predator, the northern goshawk Accipiter gentilis (goshawk), on the breeding of an IG prey, the common buzzard Buteo buteo. We hypothesized that the subordinate common buzzard avoids breeding in the proximity of goshawks and that interspecific competitors, mainly Strix owls, may also disturb common buzzards by competing for nests and food. Our results show that common buzzards more frequently occupied territories with a low IG predation threat and with no interspecific competitors. We also observed that common buzzards avoided territories with high levels of grouse, the main food of goshawks, possibly due to a risk of IG predation since abundant grouse can attract goshawks. High levels of small rodents attracted interspecific competitors to common buzzard territories and created a situation where there was not only an abundance of food but also an abundance of competitors for the food. These results suggest interplay between top-down and bottom-up processes which influence the interactions between avian predator species. We conclude that the common buzzard needs to balance the risks of IG predation and interference competition with the availability of its own resources. The presence of other predators associated with high food levels may impede a subordinate predator taking full advantage of the available food. Based on our results, it appears that interspecific interactions with dominant predators have the potential to influence the distribution pattern of subordinate predators. PMID: 26841931 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

9. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2016 Feb 3. [Epub ahead of print] 

Residues of plant protection products in grey partridge eggs in French cereal ecosystems. 
Bro E(1), Devillers J(2), Millot F(3), Decors A(3). Author information: (1)National Game and Wildlife Institute (ONCFS), Research Department, Saint Benoist, 78610, Auffargis, France. (2)Centre de Traitement de l'Information Scientifique, 3 chemin de la Gravière, 69140, Rillieux La Pape, France. (3)National Game and Wildlife Institute (ONCFS), Research Department, Saint Benoist, 78610, Auffargis, France. 

The contamination of the eggs of farmland birds by currently used plant protection products (PPPs) is poorly documented despite a potential to adversely impact their breeding performance. In this context, 139 eggs of 52 grey partridge Perdix perdix clutches, collected on 12 intensively cultivated farmlands in France in 2010-2011, were analysed. Given the great diversity of PPPs applied on agricultural fields, we used exploratory GC/MS-MS and LC/MS-MS screenings measuring ca. 500 compounds. The limit of quantification was 0.01 mg/kg, a statutory reference. A total of 15 different compounds were detected in 24 clutches. Nine of them have been used by farmers to protect crops against fungi (difenoconazole, tebuconazole, cyproconazole, fenpropidin and prochloraz), insects (lambda-cyhalothrin and thiamethoxam/clothianidin) and weeds (bromoxynil and diflufenican). Some old PPPs were also detected (fipronil(+sulfone), HCH(α,β,δ isomers), diphenylamine, heptachlor(+epoxyde), DDT(Σisomers)), as well as PCBs(153, 180). Concentrations ranged between <0.01 and 0.05 mg/kg but reached 0.067 (thiamethoxam/clothianidin), 0.11 (heptachlor + epoxyde) and 0.34 (fenpropidin) mg/kg in some cases. These results testify an actual exposure of females and/or their eggs to PPPs in operational conditions, as well as to organochlorine pollutants or their residues, banned in France since several years if not several decades, that persistently contaminate the environment.Routes of exposure, probability to detect a contamination in the eggs, and effects on egg/embryo characteristics are discussed with regard to the scientific literature. PMID: 26841780 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

10. PLoS One. 2016 Feb 3;11(2):e0147058. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147058. eCollection 2016. 

Human-Induced Landscape Changes Homogenize Atlantic Forest Bird Assemblages through Nested Species Loss. 
Villegas Vallejos MA(1), Padial AA(2,)(3), Vitule JR(3,)(4). Author information: (1)Hori Consultoria Ambiental, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. (2)Departamento de Botânica, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. (3)Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e Conservação, Setor de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. (4)Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação, Departamento de Engenharia Ambiental, Setor de Tecnologia, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. 

The increasing number of quantitative assessments of homogenization using citizen science data is particularly important in the Neotropics, given its high biodiversity and ecological peculiarity, and whose communities may react differently to landscape changes. We looked for evidence of taxonomic homogenization in terrestrial birds by investigating patterns of beta diversity along a gradient of human-altered landscapes (HAL), trying to identify species associated with this process. We analyzed bird data from 87 sites sampled in a citizen science program in the south Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Regional-scale taxonomic homogenization was assessed by comparing beta diversity among sites in different HALs (natural, rural or urban landscapes) accounting for variation derived from geographical distance and zoogeographical affinities by georeferencing sites and determining their position in a phytogeographical domain. Beta diversity was calculated by multivariate dispersion and by testing compositional changes due to turnover and nestedness among HALs and phytogeographical domains. Finally, we assessed which species were typical for each group using indicator species analysis. Bird homogenization was indicated by decreases in beta diversity following landscape changes. Beta diversity of rural sites was roughly half that of natural habitats, while urban sites held less than 10% of the natural areas' beta diversity. Species composition analysis revealed that the turnover component was important in differentiating sites depending on HAL and phytogeography; the nestedness component was important among HALs, where directional species loss is maintained even considering effects of sampling effort. A similar result was obtained among phytogeographical domains, indicating nested-pattern dissimilarity among compositions of overlapping communities. As expected, a few native generalists and non-native urban specialists were characteristic of rural and urban sites. We generated strong evidence that taxonomic homogenization occurs in the south Brazilian Atlantic Forest as a result of a directional and nested species loss, with the resultant assemblages composed of few disturbance-tolerant birds. PMID: 26840957 [PubMed - in process] 

11. Braz J Biol. 2016 Jan 22. pii: S1519-69842016005111608. [Epub ahead of print] 

The risks of introduction of the Amazonian palm Euterpe oleracea in the Atlantic rainforest. 
Tiberio FC(1), Sampaio-E-Silva TA(1), Matos DM(1), Antunes AZ(2). Author information: (1)Departamento de Hidrobiologia, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, São Carlos, SP, Brazil. (2)Divisão de Dasonomia, Instituto Florestal do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil. 

The introduction of a species may alter ecological processes of native populations, such as pollination and dispersal patterns, leading to changes in population structure. When the introduced and the native species are congeners, interference in pollination can also lead to hybridization. We aimed to understand the ecological aspects of Euterpe oleracea introduction in the Atlantic forest and the possible consequences for the conservation of the native congener Euterpe edulis. We analysed the population structure of palm populations, including hybrids, and observed the interaction with frugivorous birds of both palm species after E. oleracea introduction. We observed that E. edulis had significantly lower density and a smaller number of seedlings when occurring with E. oleracea. Native and introduced Euterpe species shared nine frugivorous bird species. E. oleracea and hybrids had dispersed outside the original planting area. Consequently, the risks of introduction of E. oleracea may mostly be related to the disruption of interactions between E. edulis and frugivorous birds and the spontaneous production of hybrids. Finally, the cultivation of E. oleracea and hybrids in Atlantic rainforest could affect the conservation of the already endangered E. edulis. PMID: 26840586 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

12. Braz J Biol. 2016 Jan 22. pii: S1519-69842016005111610. [Epub ahead of print] 

Use of perches and seed dispersal by birds in an abandoned pasture in the Porto Ferreira state park, southeastern Brazil. 
Athiê S(1), Dias MM(2). Author information: (1)Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia e Recursos Naturais, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, São Carlos, SP, Brazil. (2)Departamento de Ecologia e Biologia Evolutiva, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, São Carlos, SP, Brazil. 

We investigated the efficiency of different kinds of perches in attracting seed disperser-birds and increasing the seed rain in a degraded area located in the northeast region of São Paulo State. We installed seed traps under natural perches (NPs, living trees); simple artificial perches (SAPs) of 3m tall and a crossbar; elaborate artificial perches (EAPs) of 7m tall and three crossbars, and in a control area. Results showed the number of bird-dispersed seeds deposited was proportional to the number of structures for perching. The NPs also have provided other resources for birds such as food and shelter. Comparing visitation between artificial perches, there was greater use of EAPs also for having more perching structures and for being taller, providing better airspace visibility for predatory birds and tyrant-flycatchers, important seed dispersers. Thus, natural and artificial perches with similar characteristics to the EAPs are the most recommended as a base or complementary method for the restoration of degraded areas near to propagules source, also contributing to the maintenance of local fauna. PMID: 26840585 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

13. PLoS One. 2016 Feb 3;11(2):e0147130. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147130. eCollection 2016. 

Sex-Specific Audience Effect in the Context of Mate Choice in Zebra Finches. 
Kniel N(1), Bender S(1), Witte K(1). Author information: (1)Research Group of Ecology and Behavioral Biology, Institute of Biology, Department of Chemistry and Biology, University of Siegen, Siegen, Germany. 

Animals observing conspecifics during mate choice can gain additional information about potential mates. However, the presence of an observer, if detected by the observed individuals, can influence the nature of the behavior of the observed individuals, called audience effect. In zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis), domesticated males show an audience effect during mate choice. However, whether male and female descendants of the wild form show an audience effect during mate choice is unknown. Therefore, we conducted an experiment where male and female focal birds could choose between two distinctive phenotypes of the opposite sex, an artificially adorned stimulus bird with a red feather on the forehead and an unadorned stimulus bird, two times consecutively, once without an audience and once with an audience bird (same sex as test bird). Males showed an audience effect when an audience male was present and spent more time with adorned and less time with unadorned females compared to when there was no audience present. The change in time spent with the respective stimulus females was positively correlated with the time that the audience male spent in front of its cage close to the focal male. Females showed no change in mate choice when an audience female was present, but their motivation to associate with both stimulus males decreased. In a control for mate-choice consistency there was no audience in either test. Here, both focal females and focal males chose consistently without a change in choosing motivation. Our results showed that there is an audience effect on mate choice in zebra finches and that the response to a same-sex audience was sex-specific. PMID: 26839957 [PubMed - in process] 

14. Development. 2016 Feb 1;143(3):398-410. doi: 10.1242/dev.130849.  
WNT/β-catenin signaling mediates human neural crest induction via a pre-neural border intermediate. 
Leung AW(1), Murdoch B(2), Salem AF(3), Prasad MS(3), Gomez GA(3), García-Castro MI(4). Author information: (1)Kline Biology Tower, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, 266 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511, USA Yale Stem Cell Center, 10 Amistad Street, New Haven, CT 06519, USA. (2)Department of Biology, Eastern Connecticut State University, 83 Windham St., Willimantic, CT 06226, USA. (3)203 School of Medicine Research Building, School of Medicine, University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521, USA. (4)Kline Biology Tower, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, 266 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511, USA 203 School of Medicine Research Building, School of Medicine, University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521, USA 

Neural crest (NC) cells arise early in vertebrate development, migrate extensively and contribute to a diverse array of ectodermal and mesenchymal derivatives. Previous models of NC formation suggested derivation from neuralized ectoderm, via meso-ectodermal, or neural-non-neural ectoderm interactions. Recent studies using bird and amphibian embryos suggest an earlier origin of NC, independent of neural and mesodermal tissues. Here, we set out to generate a model in which to decipher signaling and tissue interactions involved in human NC induction. Our novel human embryonic stem cell (ESC)-based model yields high proportions of multipotent NC cells (expressing SOX10, PAX7 and TFAP2A) in 5 days. We demonstrate a crucial role for WNT/β-catenin signaling in launching NC development, while blocking placodal and surface ectoderm fates. We provide evidence of the delicate temporal effects of BMP and FGF signaling, and find that NC development is separable from neural and/or mesodermal contributions. We further substantiate the notion of a neural-independent origin of NC through PAX6 expression and knockdown studies. Finally, we identify a novel pre-neural border state characterized by early WNT/β-catenin signaling targets that displays distinct responses to BMP and FGF signaling from the traditional neural border genes. In summary, our work provides a fast and efficient protocol for human NC differentiation under signaling constraints similar to those identified in vivo in model organisms, and strengthens a framework for neural crest ontogeny that is separable from neural and mesodermal fates. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd. PMID: 26839343 [PubMed - in process] 

15. MBio. 2016 Feb 2;7(1). pii: e01938-15. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01938-15. 

Reconstruction of the Evolutionary History and Dispersal of Usutu Virus, a Neglected Emerging Arbovirus in Europe and Africa. 
Engel D(1), Jöst H(1), Wink M(2), Börstler J(1), Bosch S(3), Garigliany MM(4), Jöst A(5), Czajka C(6), Lühken R(1), Ziegler U(7), Groschup MH(7), Pfeffer M(8), Becker N(5), Cadar D(9), Schmidt-Chanasit J(10). Author information: (1)Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, WHO Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus and Hemorrhagic Fever Reference and Research, Hamburg, Germany. (2)Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany. (3)Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), Stuttgart, Germany. (4)Department of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium. (5)German Mosquito Control Association (KABSeV), Speyer, Germany. (6)Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, WHO Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus and Hemorrhagic Fever Reference and Research, Hamburg, Germany German Mosquito Control Association (KABSeV), Speyer, Germany. (7)Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases, Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany. (8)Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Institute of Animal Hygiene and Veterinary Public Health, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany. (9)Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, WHO Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus and Hemorrhagic Fever Reference and Research, Hamburg, Germany (10)Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, WHO Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus and Hemorrhagic Fever Reference and Research, Hamburg, Germany German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF), partner site Hamburg-Luebeck-Borstel, Hamburg, Germany. 

Usutu virus (USUV), one of the most neglected Old World encephalitic flaviviruses, causes epizootics among wild and captive birds and sporadic infection in humans. The dynamics of USUV spread and evolution in its natural hosts are unknown. Here, we present the phylogeny and evolutionary history of all available USUV strains, including 77 newly sequenced complete genomes from a variety of host species at a temporal and spatial scaled resolution. The results showed that USUV can be classified into six distinct lineages and that the most recent common ancestor of the recent European epizootics emerged in Africa at least 500 years ago. We demonstrated that USUV was introduced regularly from Africa into Europe in the last 50 years, and the genetic diversity of European lineages is shaped primarily by in situ evolution, while the African lineages have been driven by extensive gene flow. Most of the amino acid changes are deleterious polymorphisms removed by purifying selection, with adaptive evolution restricted to the NS5 gene and several others evolving under episodic directional selection, indicating that the ecological or immunological factors were mostly the key determinants of USUV dispersal and outbreaks. Host-specific mutations have been detected, while the host transition analysis identified mosquitoes as the most likely origin of the common ancestor and birds as the source of the recent European USUV lineages. Our results suggest that the major migratory bird flyways could predict the continental and intercontinental dispersal patterns of USUV and that migratory birds might act as potential long-distance dispersal vehicles.IMPORTANCE: Usutu virus (USUV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus of the Japanese encephalitis virus antigenic group, caused massive bird die-offs, mostly in Europe. There is increasing evidence that USUV appears to be pathogenic for humans, becoming a potential public health problem. The emergence of USUV in Europe allows us to understand how an arbovirus spreads, adapts, and evolves in a naive environment. Thus, understanding the epidemiological and evolutionary processes that contribute to the emergence, maintenance, and further spread of viral diseases is the sine qua non to develop and implement surveillance strategies for their control. In this work, we performed an expansive phylogeographic and evolutionary analysis of USUV using all published sequences and those generated during this study. Subsequently, we described the genetic traits, reconstructed the potential pattern of geographic spread between continents/countries of the identified viral lineages and the drivers of viral migration, and traced the origin of outbreaks and transition events between different hosts. Copyright © 2016 Engel et al. PMID: 26838717 [PubMed - in process] 

16. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2016 Jan 27. pii: S1877-959X(16)30014-0. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2016.01.015. [Epub ahead of print] 

Molecular detection of bacteria in the families Rickettsiaceae and Anaplasmataceae in northern crested caracaras (Caracara cheriway). 
Erwin JA(1), Fitak RR(2), Dwyer JF(3), Morrison JL(4), Culver M(5). Author information: (1)Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Genetics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA; James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA. Electronic address: (2)Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA. (3)EDM International, Inc., Fort Collins, CO 80525, USA. (4)Department of Biology, Trinity College, 300 Summit St., Hartford, CT 06106, USA. (5)Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Genetics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA; Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, U.S. Geological Survey, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA. 

Bacterial pathogens of the families Anaplasmataceae and Rickettsiaceae are often spread to humans or other animals from bites from infected arthropod hosts. Recently, an increasing number of studies have implicated migratory birds in the circulation of these pathogens through the spread of arthropod vectors. However, few studies have examined the potential for resident bird populations to serve as reservoirs for these zoonoses. In this study, we used nested PCRs of the GroESL and 17kDa genes to screen for Anaplasmataceae and Rickettsiaceae, respectively, in a resident population of the northern crested caracara (Caracara cheriway) from Florida (n=55). Additionally, a small number (n=6) of captive individuals from Texas were included. We identified one individual (1.64%) positive for Rickettsia felis and one (1.64%) positive for Ehrlichia chaffeensis; both these individuals were from Florida. Presence of these pathogens demonstrates that these birds are potential hosts; however, the low prevalence of infections suggests that these populations likely do not function as an ecological reservoir. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved. PMID: 26837860 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

17. Horm Behav. 2016 Jan 30. pii: S0018-506X(16)30054-X. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2016.01.006. [Epub ahead of print] 

A potential mate influences reproductive development in female, but not male, pine siskins. 
Watts HE(1), Edley B(2), Hahn TP(3). Author information: (1)Department of Biology, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA. Electronic address: (2)Department of Biology, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA. (3)Department of Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior, University of California, Davis 95616, USA. 

The role of photoperiod in avian reproductive timing has been well studied, and we are increasingly recognizing the roles of other environmental cues such as social cues. However, few studies have evaluated the extent to which males and females of the same species respond similarly to the same type of cue. Moreover, previous studies have rarely examined how variation in the quality or nature of a given social cue might modulate its effect. Here, we examine the sensitivity of male and female pine siskins (Spinus pinus) to a potential mate as a stimulatory cue for gonadal recrudescence, and we investigate whether variation in the relationship between a bird and its potential mate modulates the effect of that potential mate. Birds were initially housed without opposite sex birds on a 12L:12D photoperiod with ad libitum food. After gonadal recrudescence had begun males and females were randomly paired with an opposite sex bird or housed alone. An additional group of males was paired with estradiol-implanted females. In males, these social treatments had no effect on testis length, cloacal protuberance length, luteinizing hormone (LH) levels, or testosterone levels. In females, presence of a potential mate had a significant and positive effect on ovary score, defeathering of the brood patch, and LH levels. Among paired birds, the degree of affiliation within a pair corresponded to the extent of reproductive development in females, but not males. Thus, reproductive timing in females appears to be sensitive to both the presence of a potential mate and her relationship with him. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc. PMID: 26836771 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

18. Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl. 2015 Sep 11;4(3):421-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ijppaw.2015.09.001. eCollection 2015. 

Manifold habitat effects on the prevalence and diversity of avian blood parasites. 
Sehgal RN(1). Author information: (1)Dept. of Biology, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco, CA, 94132, USA.  
Habitats are rapidly changing across the planet and the consequences will have major and long-lasting effects on wildlife and their parasites. Birds harbor many types of blood parasites, but because of their relatively high prevalence and ease of diagnosis, it is the haemosporidians - Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, and Leucocytozoon - that are the best studied in terms of ecology and evolution. For parasite transmission to occur, environmental conditions must be permissive, and given the many constraints on the competency of parasites, vectors and hosts, it is rather remarkable that these parasites are so prevalent and successful. Over the last decade, a rapidly growing body of literature has begun to clarify how environmental factors affect birds and the insects that vector their hematozoan parasites. Moreover, several studies have modeled how anthropogenic effects such as global climate change, deforestation and urbanization will impact the dynamics of parasite transmission. This review highlights recent research that impacts our understanding of how habitat and environmental changes can affect the distribution, diversity, prevalence and parasitemia of these avian blood parasites. Given the importance of environmental factors on transmission, it remains essential that researchers studying avian hematozoa document abiotic factors such as temperature, moisture and landscape elements. Ultimately, this continued research has the potential to inform conservation policies and help avert the loss of bird species and threatened habitats. PMCID: PMC4699977 PMID: 26835250 [PubMed] 

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