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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Auk. April 2016: Volume 133, Issue 2

The Auk

Published by: The American Ornithologists' Union

Apr 2016 : Volume , 133 Issue 2 


Comment on Jukema et al. (2015), “Geographic variation in morphometrics, molt, and migration suggests ongoing subspeciation in Pacific Golden-Plovers (Pluvialis fulva)”
Alice Cibois and Frederick H. Sheldon

Jukema and colleagues published in The Auk a study dealing with geographic variation within the Pacific Golden-Plover (Pluvialis fulva). We highlight a taxonomic problem created unwittingly by the last sentence of their article, in which the authors suggest a new name for the Siberian population.


Darker eggshell spotting indicates lower yolk antioxidant level and poorer female quality in the Eurasian Great Tit (Parus major) 
Rita Hargitai, Gergely Nagy, Márton Herényi, Zoltán Nyiri, Miklós Laczi, Gergely Hegyi, Zsuzsanna Eke and János Török

Protoporphyrin pigment causes the red-brown eggshell colors; however, for many species, the function of this pigment is unknown. It has been proposed that eggshell pigmentation may strengthen the shell or that it may be a sexually selected signal, which advertises the quality of the female and that of her offspring to the male parent. In this study, we aimed to discover whether protoporphyrin-based eggshell pigmentation patterns of Eurasian Great Tits (Parus major) were related to female or egg quality. Additionally, we tested whether different methods of eggshell pigmentation estimation could be reliable predictors of eggshell protoporphyrin levels. We found that spot intensity, spot size, spotting coverage, and brown spot chroma indicated the protoporphyrin pigment concentration of the eggshell. Our results revealed that Eurasian Great Tit females that laid eggs with darker pigmentation had more lymphocytes in their circulation and had paler yellow breast and lower UV plumage reflectance, possibly indicating poorer health and individual quality. However, we did not find evidence that eggshell pigmentation patterns indicated the body condition, body size, or plasma oxidative status of females. Furthermore, we found that eggs with darker spots contained lower concentrations of antioxidants in the yolk. High protoporphyrin levels may be detrimental to females as they may cause oxidative damage, and this may be why birds that laid eggs with darker spots deposited lower amounts of antioxidants into the egg yolk. Shell spot darkness may also indicate territory quality, as females that laid smaller clutches also laid eggs with higher eggshell pigmentation levels. Thus, our results suggest that shell spot darkness may indicate the state of health of the female, egg yolk antioxidant level, and possibly also the quality of the territory.

Nondestructive Raman spectroscopy confirms carotenoid-pigmented plumage in the Pink-headed Duck
Daniel B. Thomas and Helen F. James

A small group of pigment classes is responsible for the wide range of plumage colors in modern birds. Yellow, pink, and other “warm” feather colors of many species are attributed to carotenoid pigments, a plumage trait that has an uneven distribution across modern bird species. Carotenoid plumage pigments are especially rare among fowl (superorder Galloanseres), and until recently, the Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) from Australia provided the only evidence that any species of waterfowl (order Anseriformes) exhibits carotenoid-pigmented plumage. We analyzed a Pink-headed Duck (Rhodonessa caryophyllacea) study skin using Raman spectroscopy, without plucking or otherwise damaging the specimen. Raman spectra confirmed that the pink feathers of Rhodonessa are pigmented with carotenoids. Spectra from Rhodonessa were similar to those from Malacorhynchus, which suggests that the same carotenoid is the primary plumage pigment in both species. Moreover, spectra from Rhodonessa were similar to spectra from other taxa pigmented with ketocarotenoids. Malacorhynchus and Rhodonessa are distant relatives within Anseriformes, so these findings indicate multiple evolutionary origins of plumage carotenoids within the waterfowl or (less likely) many losses of plumage carotenoids from duck species. Our results show that pigment chemistry can be studied in precious ornithological specimens without damaging the specimens, and provide new evidence that the (apparently extinct) Rhodonessa possessed what is evolutionarily an extremely rare trait among waterfowl.

Isolation and characterization of bacteria from the feathers of wild Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis)
John W. Dille, Christopher M. Rogers and Mark A. Schneegurt

We dislodged microbes from samples of composites of ventral feathers from different birds of overwintering Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis) after mist-net capture in south-central Kansas, USA. Bacterial loads were measured by standard plate counts and >300 isolates were purified by repetitive streak-plating on R2A medium (+ cycloheximide). Biochemical and physiological characterization included identification by 16S rRNA gene phylogeny. Nearly half of the isolates grew on keratin and 80% exhibited lipase activity, suggesting that these isolates can degrade feathers and thus may affect survival and reproduction. Individual bacterial loads from 8 juncos varied within a 3-fold range, 105–106 colony-forming units g−1 feather. At 97% DNA sequence identity (species-level), 63 operational taxonomic units were detected among 202 sequences; the Chao1 estimate was 123. The Shannon diversity index (H; 97% identity) was 3.75, Simpson's diversity index (1/D) was 16.1, and Good's coverage was 82.4. Gram-positive bacteria dominated the culture collection, balanced between low and high G+C clades. Bacillus spp. were abundant, including B. asahii, B. cereus, B. megaterium, and B. pumilus. Lysinibacillus, Paenibacillus, and Staphylococcus also were isolated. Remarkably, substantial numbers of Actinomycetes were isolated, including representatives of Clavibacter, Curtobacterium, Microbacterium, and Rathayibacter, genera recognized as being populated by xylem-filling crop plant pathogens. Apposed to these were feather isolates implicated as beneficial to host plants, Frigoribacterium and Kitasatospora, being antagonists to plant pathogens or acting as plant growth promoters. High G+C Gram-positive bacterial isolates included Blastococcus, Cellulomonas, Humicoccus, Nocardioides, Promicromonospora, and Rhodococcus. Proteobacteria dominated the Gram-negative bacteria, with Alphaproteobacteria most abundant, including the potential plant pathogens Agrobacterium and Sphingomonas, and the oligotrophs Aurantimonas, Brevundimonas, Methylobacterium, Rhizobium, and Rhodobacter. Gammaproteobacteria included Pantoea, Pseudomonas, and Stenotrophomonas. Ours is the first report of abundant helpful and harmful phyllosphere bacteria on wild bird feathers. The clear implication is that free-living migratory birds may carry bacteria throughout their geographic ranges and may transmit pathogens and beneficial bacteria to plants.

Diet reconstruction using next-generation sequencing increases the known ecosystem usage by a shorebird
Travis G. Gerwing, Jin-Hong Kim, Diana J. Hamilton, Myriam A. Barbeau and Jason A. Addison

Molecular scatology and next-generation sequencing identified previously unknown linkages among ecosystems in the diet of Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) in the Bay of Fundy, Canada. During their annual migratory stopover, the birds consumed a wider range of prey items than previously reported, which suggests that they are not selecting for the amphipod Corophium volutator and are acting as generalist foragers. Our analysis identified several novel prey items—arachnids, crabs, bivalves, several terrestrial and freshwater insect species, ctenophores, cnidarians, and fish (likely eggs or juveniles)—indicating that Semipalmated Sandpipers consume prey from marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems. Connections between Semipalmated Sandpipers and freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems were previously unknown in the Bay of Fundy. Current conservation efforts for this species are focused on beach and intertidal habitats; however, we may also need to consider the surrounding freshwater and terrestrial habitat.

Dietary divergence in the most sexually size-dimorphic bird
Carolina Bravo, Carlos Ponce, Luis M. Bautista and Juan C. Alonso

In sexually size-dimorphic species, physiological constraints derived from differences in body size may determine different food requirements and thus a trophic niche divergence between males and females. These relationships between sexual size dimorphism (SSD) and dietary overlap are not well understood in birds. We analyzed differences between the sexes in diet composition, dietary diversity, diet selection, and volume and density of droppings, as well as the dietary overlap between sexes, in the Great Bustard (Otis tarda), the species showing the highest SSD among birds. We discuss the differences that we found in relation to various predictions derived from ecological and physiological differences between the sexes, under the hypothesis that these differences are ultimately determined by the strong SSD of this species. As expected, our best linear mixed-effects food selection models included sex as a main factor explaining differences in diet composition and dietary diversity of Great Bustards throughout the annual cycle. Both sexes were mostly herbivorous, consuming legumes when they were available. Males consumed fewer arthropods, but of significantly larger size, than females. The droppings of males were larger, heavier, and slightly denser than those of females. Males showed higher dietary diversity than females, except during the postmating season. The mean dietary overlap between the sexes was 0.7, one of the smallest values among birds. Overall, our results suggest that the species' extreme SSD along with the distinct reproductive role of each sex might explain the trophic niche divergence in the Great Bustard.

Nest size is not closely related to breeding success in Blue Tits: A long-term nest-box study in a Mediterranean oak habitat
Marcel M. Lambrechts, Pascal Marrot, Amélie Fargevieille, Pablo Giovannini, Annick Lucas, Virginie Demeyrier, Afiwa Midamegbe, Philippe Perret, Arnaud Grégoire, Anne Charmantier and Claire Doutrelant

Various components of breeding success are predicted to be related to avian nest size because (1) some individuals are physically able to build larger nests than other individuals or (2) larger nests provide more protection in the absence of predation than smaller nests. The results of an 18-yr correlative nest-box study in Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) show that nest size is not closely related to components that reflect breeding performance, after controlling for other female characteristics (first-egg date, clutch size, and female age) assumed to influence breeding performance in long-term studies. Our results support those of most short-term field studies that have reported weak associations between nest size and breeding performance in cavity-nesting passerines. We suggest that the absence of an association between nest size and breeding performance can be explained by the fact that the vast majority of nest-box studies have used small nest chambers that imposed physical constraints on the full expression of the nest. We recommend using a larger range of nest-chamber sizes that better reflect the characteristics of natural holes exploited by secondary cavity-nesting species.

Wing size-related reed habitat selection by Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) males
Thomas Oliver Mérő, Antun Žuljević, Katalin Varga and Szabolcs Lengyel

In this study we explored the linkage between wing size of Great Reed Warbler males (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and their habitat selection and relate these linkages to differences in reed habitat quality. We measured the wing sizes of males nesting in 6 different reed habitats. To explain reed habitat selection, we modeled male wing size as a function of 7 predictor variables describing reedbeds: proportion of managed reed; densities of mixed, old, and fresh reed; reed stem diameter; water depth; and fluctuation of water level. Mean wing size was greatest for males at large canals, intermediate at mining ponds and smaller canals, and lowest at marshes and very small canals. The proportion of managed reed and fluctuation of water level were negatively related to wing size, and water depth was positively related to wing size, which suggests that males with larger wings preferred reed habitats with little management in deep water with little fluctuation in water level. We concluded that the availability of stable, deep water and lack of management are primarily important in attracting larger-winged (presumably dominant) males.

How connectivity shapes genetic structure during range expansion: Insights from the Virginia's Warbler
Christine M. Bubac and Garth M. Spellman

Species range expansions facilitated by global climate change have been documented across many taxa. The ecological and evolutionary costs of range expansion in response to climate change are beginning to be teased apart, and have the potential to be strikingly different among taxa experiencing different types of range expansion across highly variable landscapes. We investigated how population expansion and connectivity have affected genetic diversity in the Virginia's Warbler (Oreothlypis virginiae), a recent colonist of the Black Hills of South Dakota, USA. To investigate population connectivity, we sampled Virginia's Warbler across their breeding range. Genetic data from the mtDNA NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 (ND2) gene and 7 polymorphic microsatellite loci were used to characterize structure within and among populations and to investigate genetic variability associated with connectivity. The analyses suggested little genetic differentiation, minimal population structure, and similar mtDNA haplotype and nuclear heterozygosity diversities throughout all 7 of the sampled regions. Results from Tajima's D and Fu's FS neutrality tests and a starburst haplotype network indicated a demographic expansion similar to what would be expected in a species that underwent historical range expansion following the last glacial maximum. This study demonstrates that range expansion with recurring gene flow can curtail the loss of genetic diversity and prevent significant differentiation in newly colonized areas.

Association between nest defense and egg rejection behavior of Brown-breasted Bulbuls (Pycnonotus xanthorrhous)
Tongping Su, Canchao Yang, Guoxian Liang, Changqing Ding and Wei Liang

Different lines of host defense against parasites may be antagonistic or have additive benefits. For example, nest defense and egg rejection behaviors are important adaptations against brood parasitism in hosts that have been subject to much attention and numerous studies. However, the relationship between these 2 defensive behaviors within a single host population has hardly been elucidated. We investigated the correlation between nest defense and egg recognition behavior in Brown-breasted Bulbuls (Pycnonotus xanthorrhous) by conducting dummy and artificial-parasitism experiments. Our results illustrate that in Brown-breasted Bulbuls, rejecters of parasite eggs were more aggressive toward a cuckoo dummy than acceptors, which was opposite to the results of a previous study. We discuss the possible explanations for consistent and antagonistic defenses at the individual level of hosts and suggest that accumulated experience, sufficient to recognize harmful objects, may account for our results in Brown-breasted Bulbuls.


Stopover biology of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) during autumn migration
Theodore J. Zenzal Jr. and Frank R. Moore

Surprisingly little is known about the migration and stopover biology of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris), and even less is known about their sex- or age-dependent migration. First, we provide basic information on the migration and stopover biology of this species along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico during autumn, including phenology, stopover duration, fuel deposition rate (FDR), arrival mass, and estimated flight ranges. Second, we investigate whether these stopover variables are influenced by age or sex. Age-dependent migration is expected because young, hatch-year birds on their first migration lack the experience of older individuals. Sex-dependent migration is expected because of sexually dimorphic characteristics in wing morphology and body size. We obtained information on arrival mass, phenology, FDR, stopover duration, and estimated flight ranges through banding data, passive integrated transponder tags, radio telemetry, and color marking at a long-term migration station along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Our data provide strong evidence for age-dependent migration and only weak evidence for sex-dependent migration. Older birds arrived earlier, had larger fuel loads, and had shorter stopover durations than younger birds. In younger birds, we found no effect of sex on FDR, arrival mass, stopover duration, or phenology. Older males arrived with larger fuel loads than females. Finally, we used flight simulation software and our data to estimate that males and older birds were capable of longer potential flight ranges than either females or younger birds.

Individual quality and double-brooding in a highly synchronous songbird population
Allison Cornell and Tony D. Williams

Multiple brooding, the production of more than one set of offspring per breeding season, is a life-history trait that potentially doubles or triples fecundity, but the factors responsible for variation in the occurrence of multiple brooding within species remain poorly understood. We investigated the potential causes and consequences of double-brooding in the highly synchronously breeding European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), for which we predicted that clutch initiation date would have little effect on double-brooding propensity compared with individual quality. Double-brooding effectively doubled annual fecundity in European Starlings (based on the annual number of chicks fledged), but on average only 38% of individual females had a second brood. Furthermore, 39% of females that initiated a second clutch experienced total failure of their second brood, and thus accrued no advantage in fecundity from their decision to double-brood. As we predicted, variation in the propensity for, and success of, double-brooding was independent of laying date, but also of other putative measures of individual quality (clutch size, egg mass, relative female age, and nestling provisioning rate). However, we found no evidence of a cost of double-brooding; females that double-brooded had significantly higher return rates and similar breeding productivity in the year after double-brooding compared with single-brooding females. Thus, a small proportion (~20%) of ‘high-quality' female European Starlings effectively double their potential breeding productivity through double-brooding without apparently paying a cost or experiencing any simple tradeoffs.

Nestling growth rates in relation to food abundance and weather in the Arctic
Jonathan H. Pérez, Jesse S. Krause, Helen E. Chmura, Shae Bowman, Michaela McGuigan, Ashley L. Asmus, Simone L. Meddle, Kathleen E. Hunt, Laura Gough, Natalie T. Boelman and John C. Wingfield

Raising nestlings to fledging is energetically demanding for songbirds, requiring parents to balance several major tradeoffs. Nestling growth rates are highly susceptible to variation in environmental conditions and parental investment, and highly variable environments with short breeding seasons such as the Arctic magnify these tradeoffs. Arctic-nesting passerines provide a good model system in which to explore variation within and between species in growth rates with regard to environmental conditions and the timing of clutch initiation. Here we investigated interannual and interspecies variation in nestling mass gain for 2 species of Arctic-breeding passerine, Gambel's White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii) and Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus), across 2 years. The nestling period of 2014 was both colder (with lower minimum and maximum temperatures) and wetter (with 73% more rainfall) than 2013. Arthropod biomass was also reduced in shrub tundra in 2014 compared to 2013. Both species showed reductions in rate of daily mass gain of nestlings in 2014 compared to 2013, but we observed no significant difference between species. Furthermore, we found that in 2014 early nesting birds had higher rates of nestling growth than those initiating clutches later in the season. These findings suggest that overall environmental conditions were more challenging for raising nestlings in 2014 compared to 2013 and that these differences were manifested in a reduced rate of nestling mass gain in both species. Furthermore, both species showed a negative correlation between precipitation and growth rates, whereas only Lapland Longspur showed a positive correlation between growth rates and temperature.

Vocal imitation of mother's calls by begging Red-backed Fairywren nestlings increases parental provisioning
Diane Colombelli-Négrel, Michael S. Webster, Jenélle L. Dowling, Mark E. Hauber and Sonia Kleindorfer

Prenatal imitative learning is an emerging research area in both human and non-human animals. Previous studies in Superb Fairywrens (Malurus cyaneus) showed that mothers are vocal tutors to their embryos and that better imitation of maternal calls yields more parental provisions after hatching. To begin to test if such adaptive behavior is widespread amongst Australasian wrens in Maluridae, we investigated maternal in-nest calling patterns in Red-backed Fairywrens (Malurus melanocephalus). We first compared the structure of maternal and nestling call elements. Next, we examined how in-nest calling behavior varied with parental behaviors and ecological contexts (i.e. prevalence of brood parasitism and nest predation). All Red-backed Fairywren females called to their eggs during incubation and they continued to do so for several days after hatching at a lower rate. Embryos that received more calls per hour during the incubation period (but not the nestling period) developed into hatchlings with higher call element similarity between mother and young. Female call rate was mostly independent of nest predation but in years with more interspecific brood parasitism, nestling element similarity was greater and female call rates tended to be higher. Playback experiments showed that broods with higher element similarity to their mother received more successful feeds. The potential for prenatal tutoring and imitative begging calls in 2 related fairywren taxa sets the stage for a full-scale comparative analysis of the evolution and function of these behaviors across Maluridae and in other vocal-learning lineages.

Subtle benefits of cooperation to breeding males of the Red-backed Fairywren
Ahva L. Potticary, Jenélle L. Dowling, Douglas G. Barron, Daniel T. Baldassarre and Michael S. Webster

Cooperative breeding is a phenomenon whereby breeding and nonbreeding individuals collectively provision young. Nonbreeding group members (“helpers”) may gain indirect and/or direct fitness benefits by breeding in a group, but there has been conflicting evidence regarding the benefits to breeders. In fact, the presence of helpers may sometimes be detrimental to aspects of breeder fitness. For example, in some species of the chiefly Australian genus Malurus, breeding males with helpers have lower within-pair paternity than do males without helpers. Additionally, indirect benefits to breeding males are often limited by low relatedness to their helpers due to high extrapair paternity rates, and helpers often appear to have minimal impact on breeder reproductive success. However, the presence of helpers may allow breeding males to shift their behaviors from guarding and provisioning young to alternative behaviors that affect other components of fitness, such as extraterritory forays (which might increase extrapair mating success) and self-maintenance (which might increase survival). We investigated these possibilities in the facultatively cooperative Red-backed Fairywren (Malurus melanocephalus). Males with helpers spent significantly less time engaging in guarding behaviors and provisioning of young than did those without helpers, but there was no difference in the frequency of extrapair forays nor the number of young sired by males with vs. without helpers. Additionally, the decreased investment in nesting behaviors did not result in consistently higher survival, but may have increased survival in some years. Overall, the results of this study did not suggest any strong direct fitness benefits to breeding males, which may indicate that the costs of retaining helpers are negligible relative to the indirect benefits of helping a potentially related male.

Opportunistic conspecific brood parasitism in a box-nesting population of Prothonotary Warblers (Protonotaria citrea)
Anna M. Tucker, Rodney J. Dyer, Sarah K. Huber and Lesley P. Bulluck

Conspecific brood parasitism (CBP), although prevalent in some avian taxa, is easily overlooked when it occurs in low frequencies, and therefore the ecology of this behavior has only occasionally been described in passerines. We describe the occurrence of CBP in a population of Prothonotary Warblers (Protonotaria citrea) breeding in nest boxes, demonstrate associated fitness costs, and investigate parasite strategy. We genotyped individuals at 6 microsatellite loci and used Cervus software to determine log-likelihood of maternity (LOD scores) for offspring and social mothers. We set critical cutoff LOD scores at 95% confidence for exclusion of the social mother and assignment of a parasite mother from the breeding population. Of 805 nestlings (233 family groups during 2009–2013), we found that 12.7% had genotypes that were incompatible with their social mother. Females with unrelated nestlings (hosts) fledged fewer biological offspring within the host year than nonhost females despite fledging more total offspring, but being a host was not significantly associated with total reproductive success over 5 yr of breeding. We were able to identify only ∼30% of parasite females, which suggests that the majority of parasites may be floaters (i.e. non-nesters) in the population or nesting in nearby natural cavities. We found no evidence of host selection based on host age, arrival at the breeding site, or nest-box productivity in the previous year. This opportunistic behavior is likely facilitated by the nesting ecology of this population, in that nest sites are limited, conspicuous, and relatively dense. Future studies investigating CBP in populations using natural cavities can help elucidate the drivers of this behavior.

Red-crested Cardinals use color and width as cues to reject Shiny Cowbird eggs
Luciano N. Segura, Facundo G. Di Sallo, Bettina Mahler and Juan C. Reboreda

As part of the coevolutionary process between brood parasites and their hosts, the latter have developed different strategies to discriminate and reject parasitic eggs. This recognition–rejection process is the primary host defense against costly brood parasitism. The Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata) is an occasional host of the generalist Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) that successfully rejects all parasitic eggs. We studied the cues used by Red-crested Cardinals to recognize and reject foreign eggs by experimentally adding real parasite and host eggs painted as mimetic or nonmimetic of host eggs and analyzing whether eggshell coloration and/or shape were used as cues for egg rejection. Rejection rates, mostly through egg ejection, were high for all nonmimetic eggs (95% for unpainted cowbird eggs and 100% for painted nonmimetic cowbird and host eggs). On the contrary, they were low for mimetic host eggs (6% for unpainted host eggs and 20% for painted mimetic host eggs), but intermediate for painted mimetic cowbird eggs (55%). We also found that egg width significantly affected the probability of rejection, with wider parasitic eggs (i.e. more different from host eggs) more frequently rejected. We report for the first time that egg width is an important cue for recognition and ejection of cowbird eggs in an open-cup-nesting host. Our results show that coloration is a reliable cue used by Red-crested Cardinals to discriminate and reject parasitic eggs, but when coloration alone does not allow discrimination of foreign eggs, this host uses egg width as an additional cue.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

What's new for 'birdRS' in PubMed. April 2016, Week 2

Latest Bird Research from Pubmed - birdRS

April 2016 Week 2

PubMed Results

1. Vet World. 2016 Mar;9(3):245-50. doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2016.245-250. Epub 2016 Mar 8. 

Effect of dietary supplementation of garlic, ginger and their combination on feed intake, growth performance and economics in commercial broilers. 
Karangiya VK(1), Savsani HH(1), Patil SS(1), Garg DD(1), Murthy KS(1), Ribadiya NK(1), Vekariya SJ(2). Author information: (1)Department of Animal Nutrition, College of Veterinary Science and Animal House, Jungadh Agricultural University, Junagadh, Gujarat, India. (2)Department of Animal Husbandry and Extension Education, College of Veterinary Science and Animal House, Jungadh Agricultural University, Junagadh, Gujarat, India. 

AIM: The present study was carried out to evaluate the effect of supplementation of garlic, ginger and their combination in the diets of broiler chickens and assessment in terms of feed intake, growth performance and economics of feeding. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 240 1-day-old Cobb-400 broiler chicks were randomly assigned to four dietary treatments each with three replicates of 20 chicks per replicate (n=60). Four experimental diets were formulated in such a way that control diet (T1) contained neither ginger nor garlic. While, birds in group T2 and T3 were fed with diets containing 1% garlic and ginger, respectively. Diet 4 (T4 group) contained a combination of 1% of garlic and ginger. The feeding experiment was carried out for 42 days, and different parameters evaluated includes feed intake, weight gain, feed conversion ratio, gut morphometry, and economics of feeding in terms of return over feed cost (ROFC) and European Performance Efficiency Index. RESULTS: Feed intake of experimental birds in ginger and mixture of garlic and ginger supplemented groups, i.e., T3 and T4 groups have significantly (p<0.05) higher feed intake as compared to control. While, feeding of garlic have non-significant effect on feed intake as compared to other groups. A body weight gain (g/bird) was found to be significantly (p<0.05) higher in garlic (T2 group) and ginger (T3 group) supplemented group as compare to control and garlic and ginger mixture supplemented group (T4 group). Feed conversion ratio was significantly (p<0.05) lower in ginger (T3 group) supplemented group as compare to other groups. Mean villi length, villi width and cryptal depth were significantly (p<0.05) higher in T3 group than rest of all three groups, indicating increased absorptive surface area. ROFC was significantly (p<0.05) lower in T3 and T4 groups as compare to control. However, it was not significantly different between control and T2 group. CONCLUSION: On the basis of the results of the study, it is concluded that supplementation of garlic improves the performance of broilers when added at the rate of 1% of broiler ration and can be a viable alternative to antibiotic growth promoter in the feeding of broiler chicken. PMID: 27057106 [PubMed] 

2. Environ Monit Assess. 2016 May;188(5):274. Epub 2016 Apr 8. 

Trace elements (Cu, Zn, and Hg) and δ(13)C/δ(15)N in seabird subfossils from three islands of the South China Sea and its implications. 
Xu L(1,)(2), Liu X(3), Nie Y(4,)(5). Author information: (1)School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, Anhui, 230009, China. (2)Institute of Polar Environment, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, 230026, China. (3)Institute of Polar Environment, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, 230026, China. (4)Institute of Polar Environment, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, 230026, China. (5)Key Laboratory of Ion Beam Bioengineering, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Key Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Control Technology Of Anhui Province, Hefei, Anhui, 230031, China. 

Seabird subfossils were collected on three islands of the Xisha Archipelago, South China Sea. Via elemental analysis, we identified that bird guano was a significant source for heavy metals Cu, Zn, and Hg. Cu and Zn levels in these guano samples are comparable to their levels in wildbird feces, but guano Hg was lower than previously reported. Trophic positions significantly impacted transfer efficiency of heavy metals by seabirds. Despite of a common source, trace elements, as well as stable isotopes (i.e., guano δ(13)C and collagen δ(15)N), showed island-specific characteristics. Bird subfossils on larger island had relatively greater metal concentrations and revealed higher trophic positions. Partition of element and isotope levels among the islands suggested that transfer efficacy of seabirds on different islands was different, and bird species were probably unevenly distributed among the islets. Island area is possibly a driving factor for distributions of seabird species. PMID: 27056479 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

3. Horm Behav. 2016 Apr 4. pii: S0018-506X(15)30135-5. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2016.03.006. [Epub ahead of print] 

Effects of experimentally manipulated yolk thyroid hormone levels on offspring development in a wild bird species. 
Ruuskanen S(1), Darras VM(2), Visser ME(3), Groothuis TG(4). Author information: (1)Section of Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Turku, Finland; Department of Animal Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Wageningen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: (2)Laboratory of Comparative Endocrinology, Biology Department, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address: (3)Department of Animal Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Wageningen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: (4)Groningen Institute of Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: 

Maternal effects are a crucial mechanism in a wide array of taxa to generate phenotypic variation, thereby affecting offspring development and fitness. Maternally derived thyroid hormones (THs) are known to be essential for offspring development in mammalian and fish models, but have been largely neglected in avian studies, especially in respect to natural variation and an ecological context. We studied, for the first time in a wild species and population, the effects of maternally derived THs on offspring development, behavior, physiology and fitness-related traits by experimental elevation of thyroxine and triiodothyronine in ovo within the physiological range in great tits (Parus major). We found that elevated yolk TH levels had a sex-specific effect on growth, increasing male and decreasing female growth, relative to controls, and this effect was similar throughout the nestling period. Hatching or fledging success, motor coordination behavior, stress reactivity and resting metabolic rate were not affected by the TH treatment. We conclude that natural variation in maternally derived THs may affect some offspring traits in a wild species. As this is the first study on yolk thyroid hormones in a wild species and population, more such studies are needed to investigate its effects on pre-hatching development, and juvenile and adult fitness before generalizations on the importance of maternally derived yolk thyroid hormones can be made. However, this opens a new, interesting avenue for further research in the field of hormone mediated maternal effects. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc. PMID: 27056104 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

4. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2016 Apr 4. pii: S0016-6480(16)30078-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2016.04.003. [Epub ahead of print]

Enhanced GABAergic inhibition in the premammillary nucleus of photorefractory turkey hens via GABAA receptor upregulation. 
Kosonsiriluk S(1), Chaiworakul V(1), Mauro LJ(1), El Halawani ME(2). Author information: (1)Department of Animal Science, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA. (2)Department of Animal Science, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA. Electronic address: 

The premammillary nucleus (PMM) of the turkey mediobasal hypothalamus, where dopamine-melatonin (DA-Mel) neurons are localized, is a site for photoreception and photoperiodic time measurement, which is essential for the initiation of avian reproductive seasonality. In addition, this area could also be responsible for the onset and maintenance of photorefractoriness at the end of the breeding season due to the enhanced inhibitory effect of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system which interferes with the photosexual response in the turkey, a seasonally breeding bird. Here, we further characterized the GABAA receptor subunits in the PMM DA-Mel neurons related to reproductive seasonality and the onset of photorefractoriness. GABAA receptor subunits and GABA synthesis enzymes in the PMM of photosensitive and photorefractory turkey hens were identified using real-time qRT-PCR. The upregulation of GABAA receptor α1-3, β2-3, γ1-3, ρ1-3, δ, and θ mRNA expression were observed in the PMM of photorefractory birds when compared to those of photosensitive ones while there is no change observed in the GABA synthesis enzymes, glutamate decarboxylase 1 and 2. Those upregulated GABAA receptor subunits were further examined using immunohistochemical staining and they appeared to be co-localized within the PMM DA-Mel neurons. The upregulation of GABAA receptor subunits observed in the PMM of photorefractory birds coincides with a lack of responsiveness to a light stimulus provided during the photosensitive phase. This is supported by the absence of c-fos induction and TH upregulation in the PMM and a subsequence inhibition of c-fos and GnRH-I expression in the nucleus commissurae pallii. The augmented GABAA receptor subunits expression may mediate an enhancement of inhibitory GABAergic neurotransmission and the subsequent interference with the photosexual response. This could contribute to the state of photorefractoriness and the termination of breeding activities in the turkey, a temperate zone bird. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Inc. PMID: 27055929 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

5. Ambio. 2016 Apr 7. [Epub ahead of print] 

AvianBuffer: An interactive tool for characterising and managing wildlife fear responses. 
Guay PJ(1), van Dongen WF(1), Robinson RW(1), Blumstein DT(2), Weston MA(3). Author information: (1)Applied Ecology Research Group and Institute for Sustainability and Innovation, College of Engineering and Science, Victoria University, Footscray Park Campus, PO Box 14428, Melbourne, VIC, MC 8001, Australia. (2)Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. (3)Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Engineering and the Built Environment, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC, 3125, Australia. 

The characterisation and management of deleterious processes affecting wildlife are ideally based on sound scientific information. However, relevant information is often absent, or difficult to access or contextualise for specific management purposes. We describe 'AvianBuffer', an interactive online tool enabling the estimation of distances at which Australian birds respond fearfully to humans. Users can input species assemblages and determine a 'separation distance' above which the assemblage is predicted to not flee humans. They can also nominate the diversity they wish to minimise disturbance to, or a specific separation distance to obtain an estimate of the diversity that will remain undisturbed. The dataset is based upon flight-initiation distances (FIDs) from 251 Australian bird species (n = 9190 FIDs) and a range of human-associated stimuli. The tool will be of interest to a wide audience including conservation managers, pest managers, policy makers, land-use planners, education and public outreach officers, animal welfare proponents and wildlife ecologists. We discuss possible applications of the data, including the construction of buffers, development of codes of conduct, environmental impact assessments and public outreach. This tool will help balance the growing need for biodiversity conservation in areas where humans can experience nature. The online resource will be expanded in future iterations to include an international database of FIDs of both avian and non-avian species. PMID: 27055852 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

6. Parasitol Res. 2016 Apr 7. [Epub ahead of print] 

Intestinal and liver flukes of birds of prey (Accipitriformes, Falconiformes, Strigiformes) from Slovakia: uniform or diverse compound? 
Komorová P(1), Sitko J(2), Špakulová M(3), Hurníková Z(4,)(3). Author information: (1)Department of Epizootology and Parasitology, Institute of Parasitology, The University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice, Komenského 73, 041 81, Košice, Slovakia. (2)Ornitological Station of Commenius Museum in Přerov, Bezručova 10, 750 02, Přerov, Czech Republic. (3)Institute of Parasitology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Hlinkova 3, 040 01, Košice, Slovakia. (4)Department of Epizootology and Parasitology, Institute of Parasitology, The University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice, Komenského 73, 041 81, Košice, Slovakia. 

During 2012-2014 up to 286 birds of the orders Falconiformes (5 species), Accipitriformes (11 species), and Strigiformes (7 species) were examined for trematodes and this represents the first detailed study in Slovakia. A total of 12 trematode species belonging to the families Diplostomidae, Cyathocotylidae, Strigeidae, and Opisthorchiidae were identified. Rare infections were found in falcons where only two species (40 %) and three of 85 examined birds (3.5 %) were infected with a low range of two to four worms of generalists Strigea falconis or Plagiorchis elegans. Contrary to that, ten accipitriformes species (90.9 %) and 63 of 156 bird individuals (40.4 %) were infected with nine flukes: Conodiplostomum perlatum, Conodiplostomum spathula, Neodiplostomum attenuatum, Neodiplostomum spathoides, Parastrigea flexilis, Strigea falconis, Strigea vandenbrokae, Paracoenogonimus ovatus, and Metorchis bilis. S. falconis and N. attenuatum were the most frequent, occurring in parallel in eight and four bird species, in numbers up to 575 and 224. The intensity of infection with other fluke species was low ranging from one to 13 worms. Three owl (Strigiformes) representatives (42.9 %) were exclusive hosts for Neodiplostomum canaliculatum and Strigea strigis, and the proportion of positive and dissected individual birds was 10:45 (22.2 %). Both trematodes occurred in two or three owl species. In conclusion, apparent dissimilarity of trematode load of three unrelated lines of falcons, eagles, and owls was revealed. The present study extends our knowledge on the composition of the trematode fauna in Slovakia as all species except S. falconis and P. elegans that represent new host and species records in Slovakia. PMID: 27055533 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

7. Parazitologiia. 2015 Nov-Dec;49(6):433-43. 

Kuklina MM. 

Relationships between the northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis L., 1761) and cestodes Tetrabothrius minor Loennberg, 1893 (Cestoda: Tetrabothriidae) were studied. The results of calculation of the number of tapeworms in different parts (proximal, medial and distal) of bird intestines are represented. Parameters of protein metabolism in the northern fulmar and cestodes T. minor were investigated. Activity of proteases in different parts of northern fulmar intestine and in the strobila of T. minor was determined. Digestion processes occurring on digestive-absorptive surfaces of the intestine of the northern fulmar and of cestodes were studied. Biochemical indices of blood plasma of the northern fulmar were analyzed in relation to the intensity of invasion and the stage parasite maturation. The highest indices of the invasion of the northern fulmar with T. minor were recorded in the proximal part if the intestine. It was shown that the preferred localization of tapeworms in the proximal department of the intestine was determined by abundance of food and high activity of digestive enzymes in this place. Active hydrolysis of proteins in the intestine of the northern fulmar and on tegument surfaces of T. minor occurred mainly during the process of cavernous digestion. To a greater extent, the physiological state of the northern fulmar depended on the intensity of invasion and on the maturation stage of tapeworms. PMID: 27055330 [PubMed - in process] 

8. Parazitologiia. 2015 Nov-Dec;49(6):393-411. 

Galaktionov KV, Atrashkevich GI. 

This study, based on the materials on parasitic infection of marine birds and invertebrates in Frantz Josef Land (FJL) collected in 1991-1993, focussed on the acanthocephalan Polymorphus phippsi. We identified this parasite, confirmed its species status and analysed its circulation and transmission patterns in high Arctic. The causes of its erroneous identification as P. minutus in several studies were also examined. In contrast to P. minutus, the transmission of P. phippsi is realized in marine coastal ecosystems. Its' main intermediate host in the Arctic is the amphipod Gammarus (Lagunogammarus) setosus, commonin coastal. areas of the shelf zone throughout the Arctic basin. P. phippsi population in FJL and the entire European Arctic is on the whole maintained by a single obligate final host, the common eider Somateria mollissima. Prevalence (P) of P. phippsi in this bird reached 100 %, with the maximal infection intensity (IImax) of 1188 and the mean abundance (MA) of 492.1. Other species of birds found to be infected with P. phippsi (Arctic turn, black guillemot, purple sandpiper and several gulls) are facultative and/or eliminative hosts. The most heavily infected birds were Arctic terns (P = 72.7%, IImax = 227, MA = = 47.1), which contained single mature acanthocephalans. For one of the FJL regions, infections flows of P. phippsi through various host categories were calculated. Involvement of birds unrelated to the common eider into the circulation of P. phippsi is facilitated by their feeding character in the Arctic. While coastal crustaceans are abundant, fish food is relatively scarce (polar cod, snailfishes), and so amphipods make up a considerable part of the diet of marine birds in FJL, if not most of it, as for instance in case of Arctic tern. This promotes an easy entry of the larvae of crustaceans-parasitizing helminthes (cestodes and acanthocephalans, including cystacanths P. phippsi) into non-specific hosts and opens broad colonization possibilities. Besides acanthocephalans, the phenomenon of non-specific parasitism has been shown for some cestodes circulating in the Arctic coastal ecosystems. Similar conditions for helminths transmission might have formed in marine coastal refugia during the glacial periods of late Pliocene-Pleistocene. According to the Arctic refugium hypothesis of Hoberg and Adams, this promoted parasitic colonization of phylogenetically distant hosts using similar foraging resources. Thus, present-day transmission patterns of helminthes in high Arctic can be, in a way, considered as a model allowing us to witness various stages of helminthes' speciation by host-switching. PMID: 27055327 [PubMed - in process] 

9. Proc Biol Sci. 2016 Apr 13;283(1828). pii: 20160214. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0214. 

Rates of morphological evolution are heterogeneous in Early Cretaceous birds. 
Wang M(1), Lloyd GT(2). Author information: (1)Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 142 Xizhimenwai Street, Beijing 100044, People's Republic of China (2)Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia 

The Early Cretaceous is a critical interval in the early history of birds. Exceptional fossils indicate that important evolutionary novelties such as a pygostyle and a keeled sternum had already arisen in Early Cretaceous taxa, bridging much of the morphological gap betweenArchaeopteryxand crown birds. However, detailed features of basal bird evolution remain obscure because of both the small sample of fossil taxa previously considered and a lack of quantitative studies assessing rates of morphological evolution. Here we apply a recently available phylogenetic method and associated sensitivity tests to a large data matrix of morphological characters to quantify rates of morphological evolution in Early Cretaceous birds. Our results reveal that although rates were highly heterogeneous between different Early Cretaceous avian lineages, consistent patterns of significantly high or low rates were harder to pinpoint. Nevertheless, evidence for accelerated evolutionary rates is strongest at the point when Ornithuromorpha (the clade comprises all extant birds and descendants from their most recent common ancestors) split from Enantiornithes (a diverse clade that went extinct at the end-Cretaceous), consistent with the hypothesis that this key split opened up new niches and ultimately led to greater diversity for these two dominant clades of Mesozoic birds. © 2016 The Author(s). PMID: 27053742 [PubMed - in process]

10. Oecologia. 2016 Apr 6. [Epub ahead of print] 

Sex and migratory strategy influence corticosterone levels in winter-grown feathers, with positive breeding effects in a migratory pelagic seabird. 
Pérez C(1,)(2), Granadeiro JP(3), Dias MP(4), Catry P(5). Author information: (1)Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE), ISPA-Instituto Universitário, Rua Jardim do Tabaco 34, 1149-041, Lisbon, Portugal. (2)Department of Ecology and Animal Biology, University of Vigo, 36310, Pontevedra, Spain. (3)CESAM and Departamento de Biologia Animal, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal. (4)BirdLife International, Wellbrook Court, Girton Road, Cambridge, CB3 0NA, UK. (5)Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE), ISPA-Instituto Universitário, Rua Jardim do Tabaco 34, 1149-041, Lisbon, Portugal. 

To overcome unpredictable stressful transitory events, animals trigger an allostatic response involving the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal cortex. This hormonal response, which involves the release of glucocorticoids which in turn mediate between the main physiological mechanisms that regulate the energetic demands and resource allocation trade-off with behavioural responses to environmental perturbations and may ultimately lead to variation in fitness. We have used the Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis, a sexually dimorphic pelagic seabird with a partial migratory strategy, as a model bird species to analyse a number of traits related to the stress response. We investigated whether the activation of a stressful response, mediated by corticosterone, during the wintering period (1) correlated with the previous breeding success, (2) was affected by the migratory behaviour of male birds and (3) had consequences in the fitness of the birds. Corticosterone levels in feathers grown overwinter were analysed in 61 adult birds during three consecutive migratory periods (2009-2012) and in 14 immature birds in the wintering period 2010-2011. Moreover, the levels of corticosterone were analysed in experimental birds which were freed from their reproductive duties and compared with control birds which raised fledglings to the end of the breeding period. The results show that the levels of corticosterone were sex dependent, differed between years and were affected by the migratory strategy performed by the birds. The activation of the stressful response over the wintering period generated residual carry-over effects that positively affected the reproductive output in the subsequent breeding stage, a phenomenon previously undescribed in a long-lived pelagic seabird. Our study provides evidence that the analysis of corticosterone from feathers is a useful tool to evaluate carry-over effects in birds far away from breeding sites, opening new possibilities for future studies in this field. PMID: 27053322 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

11. Infect Ecol Epidemiol. 2016 Apr 5;6:31217. doi: 10.3402/iee.v6.31217. eCollection 2016. 

Campylobacter growth rates in four different matrices: broiler caecal material, live birds, Bolton broth, and brain heart infusion broth. 
Battersby T(1,)(2), Walsh D(1), Whyte P(2), Bolton DJ(3). Author information: (1)Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin 15, Ireland. (2)UCD School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. (3)Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin 15, Ireland; 

BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to characterise Campylobacter growth in enrichment broths (Bolton broth, brain heart infusion broth), caecal material (in vitro), and in the naturally infected live broilers (in vivo) in terms of mean lag periods and generation times as well as maximum growth rates and population (cell concentration) achieved. METHODS: Bolton and brain heart infusion broths and recovered caecal material were inoculated with 10 poultry strains of Campylobacter (eight Campylobacter jejuni and two Campylobacter coli), incubated under microaerobic conditions, and Campylobacter concentrations determined periodically using the ISO 10272:2006 method. Caeca from 10 flocks, infected at first thinning, were used to characterise Campylobacter growth in the live birds. Mean generation times (G) (early lag to exponential phase) were calculated using the formula: G=t/3.3 logb/B. Mean lag times and µmax were calculated using the Micro Fit(©) Software (Version 1.0, Institute of Food Research). Statistical comparison was performed using GENSTAT ver. 14.1 (VSN International Ltd., Hemel, Hempstead, UK). RESULTS: The mean lag periods in Bolton broth, brain heart infusion broth, caecal material, and in the live bird were estimated to be 6.6, 6.7, 12.6, and 31.3 h, respectively. The corresponding mean generation times were 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, and 6.7 h, respectively; maximum growth rates were 0.7, 0.8, 0.4, and 2 generations h(-1) and the maximum populations obtained in each matrix were 9.6, 9.9, 7.8, and 7.4 log10 CFU/g, respectively. CONCLUSION: This study provides data on the growth of Campylobacter in a range of laboratory media, caecal contents, and in broilers which may be used to develop predictive models and/or inform science-based control strategies such as the maximum time between flock testing and slaughter, logistical slaughter, and single-stage depopulation of broiler units. PMID: 27052025 [PubMed] 

12. Vet World. 2016 Feb;9(2):207-10. doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2016.207-210. Epub 2016 Feb 27. 

Evaluation of Emblica officinalis fruit powder as a growth promoter in commercial broiler chickens. 
Patel AP(1), Bhagwat SR(1), Pawar MM(1), Prajapati KB(2), Chauhan HD(3), Makwana RB(3). Author information: (1)Department of Animal Nutrition, College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University, Banaskantha, Gujarat, India. (2)Livestock Research Station, Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University, Banaskantha, Gujarat, India. (3)Department of Livestock Production and Management, College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University, Banaskantha, Gujarat, India. 

AIM: The present study was conducted to evaluate the dietary addition of Emblica officinalis (Amla) fruit powder as a growth promoter in commercial broiler chickens. MATERIALS AND METHODS: An experiment was conducted on 135 commercial broiler chicks (Ven-Cobb 400 strain) divided into three groups with three replicates of 15 chicks each. Three treatment groups were as follows - T1: Basal diet as per BIS standards; T2: Basal diet supplemented with 0.4% of E. officinalis fruit powder; and T3: Basal diet supplemented with 0.8% of E. officinalis fruit powder. RESULTS: The average body weights at the end of the 6(th) week were significantly higher (p<0.05) in groups T2 and T3 compared to group T1. Feed intake, feed conversion ratio and feed cost per kg live weight production were similar among the treatment groups. The net profit per bird was the highest in group T2 (Rs. 19.22/bird) followed by group T3 (Rs. 17.86/bird) and the lowest in group T1 (Rs. 14.61/bird). CONCLUSION: Based on the results of the present study, it was concluded that dietary addition of E. officinalis (Amla) fruit powder had a positive effect on growth performance and net profit per bird in commercial broiler chickens. PMCID: PMC4819374 PMID: 27051210 [PubMed] 

13. Vet World. 2016 Feb;9(2):192-8. doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2015.192-198. Epub 2016 Feb 20. 

Effect of feeding different levels of Azolla pinnata on blood biochemicals, hematology and immunocompetence traits of Chabro chicken. 
Mishra DB(1), Roy D(1), Kumar V(1), Bhattacharyya A(2), Kumar M(1), Kushwaha R(1), Vaswani S(1). Author information: (1)Department of Animal Nutrition, College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, U.P. Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Pashu Chikitsa Vigyan Vishwavidyalaya Evam Go Anusandhan Sansthan, Mathura - 281001, Uttar Pradesh, India. (2)Department of Poultry Science, College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, U.P. Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Pashu Chikitsa Vigyan Vishwavidyalaya Evam Go Anusandhan Sansthan, Mathura - 281001, Uttar Pradesh, India. 

AIM: The present study was conducted to see the effect of feeding different levels of Azolla meal on blood biochemicals, hematology and immunocompetence traits of Chabro chicken. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was conducted on 160 Chabro chicks, which were randomly divided into four treatment groups each with four replicates of 10 birds. The first treatment (T1) served as a control in which basal diets was offered without Azolla supplementation while in T2, T3, and T4 groups, basal diet was replaced with Azolla meal at 5%, 7.5%, and 10% levels, respectively. A feeding trial was conducted upto 8 weeks. At the last week of trial, blood samples were collected randomly from one bird of each replicate and plasma was separated to estimate certain biochemical parameters, some blood metabolites, minerals and enzymes like alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). Hematological parameters such as hemoglobin, packed cell volume, total leukocytes count and differential leukocytes count were estimated in fresh blood just after collection. The humoral immune response was measured against sheep red blood cells,and cell-mediated immune response was measured against phyto hemagglutinin lectin from Phaseolus vulgaris (PHA-P). RESULTS: The study showed that hematological profile of the Chabro bird was not affected by any treatment except heterophil and lymphocyte which was found higher in T2 and T3 groups and eosinophil was found higher in a T3 group than control. Blood glucose, creatinine, cholesterol, total protein, albumin, uric acid, and triglycerides were found similar in all the groups and within the normal values for broiler chicken. Liver enzymes and macro mineral content in blood were found similar in all the treatment groups and within normal physiological range. Although AST was found higher in 10% replacement group than control, the value was within normal range for broiler chicken. Although antibody titer was found similar in all the experimental groups in the present study, cell-mediate immune response (response to PHA-P) was found higher in 5%, 7.5%, and 10% replacement groups than control(p<0.05). CONCLUSION: Similar blood biochemical parameters and higher cell-mediated immune response in Azolla replacement group indicated immune-modulatory effect of Azolla meal without any toxicity. PMCID: PMC4819371 PMID: 27051207 [PubMed] 

14. Vet World. 2016 Feb;9(2):123-7. doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2016.123-127. Epub 2016 Feb 8. 

Isolation and characterization of Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli of animal and bird origin by multiplex polymerase chain reaction. 
Neher S(1), Hazarika AK(1), Barkalita LM(2), Borah P(2), Bora DP(1), Sharma RK(1). Author information: (1)Department of Veterinary Microbiology, College of Veterinary Science, Assam Agricultural University, Guwahati, Assam, India. (2)Department of Animal Biotechnology, College of Veterinary Science, Assam Agricultural University, Guwahati, Assam, India. 

AIM: The purpose of this study was to determine the virulence genes and serotype of Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains isolated from animals and birds. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 226 different samples viz., fecal, intestinal content, rectal swab and heart blood were collected from different clinically affected/healthy animals and birds and were streaked on McConkeys' lactose agar and eosin methylene blue agar for isolation of E. coli, confirmed by staining characteristics and biochemical tests. By polymerase chain reaction (PCR) all the E. coli isolates were screened for certain virulence genes, viz., Shiga toxin 1 (stx1), stx2 and eae and enterohemolytic (Ehly) phenotype was observed in washed sheep blood agar plate. All the isolated E. coli strains were forwarded to the National Salmonella and Escherichia Centre, Central Research Institute, Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh) for serotyping. RESULTS: Out of 226 samples 138 yielded E. coli. All the isolates were screened for molecular detection of different virulent genes, viz. stx1, stx2 and eae, based on which 36 (26.08%) were identified as STEC. Among those STEC isolates, 15 (41.67%), 14 (38.89%), 1 (2.78%) exhibited eae, stx2, stx1 alone, respectively, whereas 4 (11.11%) and 2 (5.56%) carried both stx1 and stx2, stx2 and eae, respectively. Among the STEC isolates 22 were belonged to 15 different sero-groups, viz., O2, O20, O22, O25, O43, O60, O69, O90, O91, O95, O106, O118, O130, O162 and O170 and others were untypable. Ehly phenotype was observed in 10 (27.78%) the STEC isolates. CONCLUSION: The present study concluded that STEC could be isolated from both clinically affected as well as healthy animals and birds. Regular monitoring of more samples from animal and bird origin is important to identify natural reservoir of STEC to prevent zoonotic infection. PMCID: PMC4819360 PMID: 27051196 [PubMed] 

15. PLoS One. 2016 Apr 6;11(4):e0150822. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150822. eCollection 2016. 

Complexity, Predictability and Time Homogeneity of Syntax in the Songs of Cassin's Vireo (Vireo cassinii). 
Hedley RW(1). Author information: (1)Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America. 

Many species of animals deliver vocalizations in sequences presumed to be governed by internal rules, though the nature and complexity of these syntactical rules have been investigated in relatively few species. Here I present an investigation into the song syntax of fourteen male Cassin's Vireos (Vireo cassinii), a species whose song sequences are highly temporally structured. I compare their song sequences to three candidate models of varying levels of complexity-zero-order, first-order and second-order Markov models-and employ novel methods to interpolate between these three models. A variety of analyses, including sequence simulations, Fisher's exact tests, and model likelihood analyses, showed that the songs of this species are too complex to be described by a zero-order or first-order Markov model. The model that best fit the data was intermediate in complexity between a first- and second-order model, though I also present evidence that some transition probabilities are conditioned on up to three preceding phrases. In addition, sequences were shown to be predictable with more than 54% accuracy overall, and predictability was positively correlated with the rate of song delivery. An assessment of the time homogeneity of syntax showed that transition probabilities between phrase types are largely stable over time, but that there was some evidence for modest changes in syntax within and between breeding seasons, a finding that I interpret to represent changes in breeding stage and social context rather than irreversible, secular shifts in syntax over time. These findings constitute a valuable addition to our understanding of bird song syntax in free-living birds, and will contribute to future attempts to understand the evolutionary importance of bird song syntax in avian communication. PMID: 27050537 [PubMed - in process] 

16. Electromagn Biol Med. 2016 Apr 6:0. [Epub ahead of print] 

Magnetic correlates in electromagnetic consciousness. 
Liboff AR(1). Author information: (1)a Department of Physics , Oakland University , Rochester , MI , USA. 

We examine the hypothesis that consciousness is a manifestation of the electromagnetic field, finding supportive factors not previously considered. It is not likely that traditional electrophysiological signaling modes can be readily transmitted throughout the brain to properly enable this field because of electric field screening arising from the ubiquitous distribution of high dielectric lipid membranes, a problem that vanishes for low-frequency magnetic fields. Many reports over the last few decades have provided evidence that living tissue is robustly sensitive to ultrasmall (1-100 nT) ELF magnetic fields overlapping the γ-frequency range often associated with awareness. An example taken from animal behavior (coherent bird flocking) lends support to the possibility of a disembodied electromagnetic consciousness. In contrast to quantum consciousness hypotheses, the present approach is open to experimental trial. PMID: 27049696 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

17. Parasitol Res. 2016 Apr 6. [Epub ahead of print] 

Tick infestation in birds and prevalence of pathogens in ticks collected from different places in Germany. 
Klaus C(1), Gethmann J(2), Hoffmann B(3), Ziegler U(4), Heller M(5), Beer M(3). Author information: (1)Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute, Institute of Bacterial Infections and Zoonoses, Naumburger Str. 96a, D-07743, Jena, Germany. (2)Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute, Institute of Epidemiology, Greifswald, Insel Riems, Germany. (3)Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute, Institute of Diagnostic Virology, Greifswald, Insel Riems, Germany. (4)Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute, Institute of Novel and Emerging Diseases, Greifswald, Insel Riems, Germany. (5)Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute, Institute of Molecular Pathogenesis, Jena, Germany. 

The importance of ticks and tick-borne pathogens for human and animal health has been increasing over the past decades. For their transportation and dissemination, birds may play a more important role than wingless hosts. In this study, tick infestation of birds in Germany was examined. Eight hundred ninety-two captured birds were infested with ticks and belonged to 48 different species, of which blackbirds (Turdus merula) and song thrushes (Turdus philomelos) were most strongly infested. Ground feeders were more strongly infested than non-ground feeders, sedentary birds more strongly than migratory birds, and short-distance migratory birds more strongly than long-distance migratory birds. Mean tick infestation per bird ranged between 2 (long-distance migratory bird) and 4.7 (sedentary bird), in some single cases up to 55 ticks per bird were found. With the exception of three nymphs of Haemaphysalis spp., all ticks belonged to Ixodes spp., the most frequently detected tick species was Ixodes ricinus. Birds were mostly infested by nymphs (65.1 %), followed by larvae (32.96 %). Additionally, ticks collected from birds were examined for several pathogens: Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) and Sindbisvirus with real-time RT-PCR, Flaviviruses, Simbuviruses and Lyssaviruses with broad-range standard RT-PCR-assays, and Borrelia spp. with a Pan-Borrelia real-time PCR. Interestingly, no viral pathogens could be detected, but Borrelia spp. positive ticks were collected from 76 birds. Borrelia (B.) garinii, B. valaisiaina, B. burgdorferi s.s. and B. afzelii were determined. The screening of ticks and birds for viral pathogens with broad range PCR-assays was tested and the use as an "early warning system" is discussed. PMID: 27048511 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] 

18. Biol Lett. 2016 Apr;12(4). pii: 20160087. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0087. 

Long-term consequences of high incubation temperature in a wild bird population. 
Nord A(1), Nilsson JÅ(2). Author information: (1)Department of Biology, Section for Evolutionary Ecology, Lund University, Ecology Building, 223 62 Lund, Sweden (2)Department of Biology, Section for Evolutionary Ecology, Lund University, Ecology Building, 223 62 Lund, Sweden. 

Because incubation by birds is energetically costly, parents frequently trade off investment in incubation against self-maintenance. This can be manifested by a reduction in incubation temperature, which comes at high somatic costs for nestlings. The extent to which these costs constrain fitness is poorly understood. We incubated wild blue tit clutches at three biologically relevant temperatures and subsequently recorded winter survival and survival to the breeding season. Fledglings from the coldest treatment (35.0°C) survived less well than other fledglings, but the proportion of winter and breeding survivors did not differ significantly between treatments. However, survival probability in both seasons increased with body mass at fledging in birds from low and mid incubation temperatures, but decreased with fledging body mass in the high-temperature treatment. Mid-temperature nestlings were heavier as adults, weighing 7% more than low- and high-temperature survivors. Thus, high incubation temperature can be beneficial in the short term, but costs of accelerated embryonic development may equal those of protracted development in the long term. Such hidden consequences of faster development could maintain natural selection for average incubation temperature. © 2016 The Author(s). PMID: 27048468 [PubMed - in process]