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Thursday, 12 May 2016

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

Latest birdRS News from Pubmed - May 2016 Week 2

PubMed Results
1.A robust nonparametric method for quantifying undetected extinctions.
Chisholm RA, Giam X, Sadanandan KR, Fung T, Rheindt FE.
Conserv Biol. 2016 Jun;30(3):610-617. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12640. Epub 2016 Jan 12.


How many species have gone extinct in modern times before being described by science? To answer this question, and thereby get a full assessment of humanity's impact on biodiversity, statistical methods that quantify undetected extinctions are required. Such methods have been developed recently, but they are limited by their reliance on parametric assumptions; specifically, they assume the pools of extant and undetected species decay exponentially, whereas real detection rates vary temporally with survey effort and real extinction rates vary with the waxing and waning of threatening processes. We devised a new, nonparametric method for estimating undetected extinctions. As inputs, the method requires only the first and last date at which each species in an ensemble was recorded. As outputs, the method provides estimates of the proportion of species that have gone extinct, detected, or undetected and, in the special case where the number of undetected extant species in the present day is assumed close to zero, of the absolute number of undetected extinct species. The main assumption of the method is that the per-species extinction rate is independent of whether a species has been detected or not. We applied the method to the resident native bird fauna of Singapore. Of 195 recorded species, 58 (29.7%) have gone extinct in the last 200 years. Our method projected that an additional 9.6 species (95% CI 3.4, 19.8) have gone extinct without first being recorded, implying a true extinction rate of 33.0% (95% CI 31.0%, 36.2%). We provide R code for implementing our method. Because our method does not depend on strong assumptions, we expect it to be broadly useful for quantifying undetected extinctions.
PMID: 27153528 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

2.Associations between Resting, Activity, and Daily Metabolic Rate in Free-Living Endotherms: No Universal Rule in Birds and Mammals.
Portugal SJ, Green JA, Halsey LG, Arnold W, Careau V, Dann P, Frappell PB, Grémillet D, Handrich Y, Martin GR, Ruf T, Guillemette MM, Butler PJ.
Physiol Biochem Zool. 2016 May-Jun;89(3):251-261. Epub 2016 Apr 14.


Energy management models provide theories and predictions for how animals manage their energy budgets within their energetic constraints, in terms of their resting metabolic rate (RMR) and daily energy expenditure (DEE). Thus, uncovering what associations exist between DEE and RMR is key to testing these models. Accordingly, there is considerable interest in the relationship between DEE and RMR at both inter- and intraspecific levels. Interpretation of the evidence for particular energy management models is enhanced by also considering the energy spent specifically on costly activities (activity energy expenditure [AEE] = DEE - RMR). However, to date there have been few intraspecific studies investigating such patterns. Our aim was to determine whether there is a generality of intraspecific relationships among RMR, DEE, and AEE using long-term data sets for bird and mammal species. For mammals, we use minimum heart rate (fH), mean fH, and activity fH as qualitative proxies for RMR, DEE, and AEE, respectively. For the birds, we take advantage of calibration equations to convert fH into rate of oxygen consumption in order to provide quantitative proxies for RMR, DEE, and AEE. For all 11 species, the DEE proxy was significantly positively correlated with the RMR proxy. There was also evidence of a significant positive correlation between AEE and RMR in all four mammal species but only in some of the bird species. Our results indicate there is no universal rule for birds and mammals governing the relationships among RMR, AEE, and DEE. Furthermore, they suggest that birds tend to have a different strategy for managing their energy budgets from those of mammals and that there are also differences in strategy between bird species. Future work in laboratory settings or highly controlled field settings can tease out the environmental and physiological processes contributing to variation in energy management strategies exhibited by different species.
PMID: 27153134 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

3.Density-dependent productivity in a colonial vulture at two spatial scales.
Fernández-Bellon D, Cortés-Avizanda A, Arenas R, Donázar JA.
Ecology. 2016 Feb;97(2):406-16.


Understanding how density dependence modifies demographic parameters in long-lived vertebrates is a challenge for ecologists. Two alternative hypotheses have been used to explain the mechanisms behind density-dependent effects on breeding output: habitat heterogeneity and individual adjustment (also known as interference competition). A number of studies have highlighted the importance of habitat heterogeneity in density dependence in territorial species, but less information exists on demographic processes in colonial species. For these, we expect density-dependent mechanisms to operate at two spatial scales: colony and breeding unit. In this study, we used long-term data from a recovering population of Cinereous Vultures (Aegypius monachus) in southern Spain. We analyzed a long-term data set with information on 2162 breeding attempts at four colonies over a nine-year period (2002-2010) to evaluate environmental and population parameters influencing breeding output. Our results suggest that breeding productivity is subject to density-dependent processes at the colony and the nest site scale and is best explained by interference competition. Factors intrinsic to each colony, as well as environmental constraints linked to physiography and human presence, also play a role in regulatory processes. We detected the existence of a trade-off between the disadvantages of nesting too close to conspecifics and the benefits of coloniality. These could be mediated by the agonistic interactions between breeding pairs and the benefits derived from social sharing of information by breeding individuals. We propose that this trade-off may play a role in defining colony structure and may hold true for other colonial breeding bird species. Our findings also have important management implications for the conservation of this threatened species.
PMID: 27145615 [PubMed - in process]

4.Impact of nest sanitation on the immune system of parents and nestlings in a passerine bird.
Evans JK, Griffith SC, Klasing KC, Buchanan KL.
J Exp Biol. 2016 May 3. pii: jeb.130948. [Epub ahead of print]


Bacterial communities are thought to have fundamental effects on the growth and development of nestling birds. The antigen exposure hypothesis suggests that, for both nestlings and adult birds, exposure to a diverse range of bacteria would select for stronger immune defences. However, there are relatively few studies that have tested the immune/bacterial relationships outside of domestic poultry. We therefore sought to examine indices of immunity (microbial killing ability in naïve birds, which is a measure of innate immunity and the antibody response to sheep red blood cells, which measures adaptive immunity) in both adult and nestling zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). We did this throughout breeding and between reproductive attempts in nests that were experimentally manipulated to change the intensity of bacterial exposure. Our results suggest that nest sanitation and bacterial load affected measures of the adaptive immune system, but not the innate immune parameters tested. Adult finches breeding in clean nests had a lower primary antibody response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC), particularly males, and a greater difference between primary and secondary responses. Adult microbial killing of E.coli decreased as parents moved from incubation to nestling rearing for both nest treatments; however, killing of C.albicans remained consistent throughout. In nestlings, both innate microbial killing and the adaptive antibody response did not differ between nest environments. Together, these results suggest that the exposure to microorganisms in the environment affect the adaptive immune system in nesting birds, with exposure upregulating the antibody response in adult birds.
PMID: 27143751 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

5.Incubation temperature causes skewed sex ratios in a precocial bird.
Durant SE, Hopkins WA, Carter AW, Kirkpatrick LT, Navara KJ, Hawley DM.
J Exp Biol. 2016 May 3. pii: jeb.138263. [Epub ahead of print]


Many animals that have genetic sex determination are capable of manipulating sex ratios via behavioral and physiological means, which can sometimes result in fitness benefits to the parent. Sex ratio manipulation in birds is not widely documented, and revealing the mechanisms for altered sex ratios in vertebrates remains a compelling area of research. Incubation temperature is a key component of the developmental environment for birds, but despite its well documented effects on offspring phenotype it has rarely been considered as a factor in avian sex ratios. Using ecologically-relevant manipulations of incubation temperature within 35.0-37.0°C, we found greater mortality of female embryos during incubation than males regardless of incubation temperature, and evidence that more female than male embryos die at the lowest incubation temperature (35.0 °C). Our findings in conjunction with previous work in brush turkeys suggest incubation temperature is an important determinant of avian secondary sex ratios that requires additional study, and should be considered when estimating the impact of climate change on avian populations.
PMID: 27143750 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

6.Multiple Visual Field Representations in the Visual Wulst of a Laterally Eyed Bird, the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata).
Bischof HJ, Eckmeier D, Keary N, Löwel S, Mayer U, Michael N.
PLoS One. 2016 May 3;11(5):e0154927. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154927. eCollection 2016.


The visual wulst is the telencephalic target of the avian thalamofugal visual system. It contains several retinotopically organised representations of the contralateral visual field. We used optical imaging of intrinsic signals, electrophysiological recordings, and retrograde tracing with two fluorescent tracers to evaluate properties of these representations in the zebra finch, a songbird with laterally placed eyes. Our experiments revealed that there is some variability of the neuronal maps between individuals and also concerning the number of detectable maps. It was nonetheless possible to identify three different maps, a posterolateral, a posteromedial, and an anterior one, which were quite constant in their relation to each other. The posterolateral map was in contrast to the two others constantly visible in each successful experiment. The topography of the two other maps was mirrored against that map. Electrophysiological recordings in the anterior and the posterolateral map revealed that all units responded to flashes and to moving bars. Mean directional preferences as well as latencies were different between neurons of the two maps. Tracing experiments confirmed previous reports on the thalamo-wulst connections and showed that the anterior and the posterolateral map receive projections from separate clusters within the thalamic nuclei. Maps are connected to each other by wulst intrinsic projections. Our experiments confirm that the avian visual wulst contains several separate retinotopic maps with both different physiological properties and different thalamo-wulst afferents. This confirms that the functional organization of the visual wulst is very similar to its mammalian equivalent, the visual cortex.
PMID: 27139912 [PubMed - in process] Free Article

7.Alpine bird distributions along elevation gradients: the consistency of climate and habitat effects across geographic regions.
Chamberlain D, Brambilla M, Caprio E, Pedrini P, Rolando A.
Oecologia. 2016 Apr 30. [Epub ahead of print]


Many species have shown recent shifts in their distributions in response to climate change. Patterns in species occurrence or abundance along altitudinal gradients often serve as the basis for detecting such changes and assessing future sensitivity. Quantifying the distribution of species along altitudinal gradients acts as a fundamental basis for future studies on environmental change impacts, but in order for models of altitudinal distribution to have wide applicability, it is necessary to know the extent to which altitudinal trends in occurrence are consistent across geographically separated areas. This was assessed by fitting models of bird species occurrence across altitudinal gradients in relation to habitat and climate variables in two geographically separated alpine regions, Piedmont and Trentino. The ten species studied showed non-random altitudinal distributions which in most cases were consistent across regions in terms of pattern. Trends in relation to altitude and differences between regions could be explained mostly by habitat or a combination of habitat and climate variables. Variation partitioning showed that most variation explained by the models was attributable to habitat, or habitat and climate together, rather than climate alone or geographic region. The shape and position of the altitudinal distribution curve is important as it can be related to vulnerability where the available space is limited, i.e. where mountains are not of sufficient altitude for expansion. This study therefore suggests that incorporating habitat and climate variables should be sufficient to construct models with high transferability for many alpine species.
PMID: 27139426 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

8.Exposure to oxychlordane is associated with shorter telomeres in arctic breeding kittiwakes.
Blévin P, Angelier F, Tartu S, Ruault S, Bustamante P, Herzke D, Moe B, Bech C, Gabrielsen GW, Bustnes JO, Chastel O.
Sci Total Environ. 2016 Apr 29;563-564:125-130. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.04.096. [Epub ahead of print]


Telomeres are DNA-protein complexes located at the end of chromosomes, which play an important role in maintaining the genomic integrity. Telomeres shorten at each cell division and previous studies have shown that telomere length is related to health and lifespan and can be affected by a wide range of environmental factors. Among them, some persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have the potential to damage DNA. However, the effect of POPs on telomeres is poorly known for wildlife. Here, we investigated the relationships between some legacy POPs (organochlorine pesticides and polychlorobiphenyls) and telomere length in breeding adult black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), an arctic seabird species. Our results show that among legacy POPs, only blood concentration of oxychlordane, the major metabolite of chlordane mixture, is associated with shorter telomere length in females but not in males. This suggests that female kittiwakes could be more sensitive to oxychlordane, potentially explaining the previously reported lower survival rate in most oxychlordane-contaminated kittiwakes from the same population. This study is the first to report a significant and negative relationship between POPs and telomere length in a free-living bird and highlights sex-related susceptibility to banned pesticides.
PMID: 27135574 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

9.Thermal Acclimation in a Small Afrotropical Bird.
Thompson LJ, Brown M, Downs CT.
Behav Processes. 2016 Apr 28. pii: S0376-6357(16)30096-1. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2016.04.018. [Epub ahead of print]


Wild-caught animals are regularly used in physiological studies, yet the length of time it takes for completion of their acclimation to laboratory conditions remains largely unknown. In particular, Afrotropical species are relatively understudied compared with temperate and Holarctic species. Thus, we measured a number of metabolic variables in a 10g Afrotropical bird, the Cape White-eye (Zosterops virens), at weekly intervals, over an 8-week period, while birds were acclimating to two different constant thermal environments; 25°C and 29°C. Body mass increased significantly in the first three weeks, remaining approximately constant thereafter, with no significant difference between birds housed at 25°C and those housed at 29°C. However, whole animal resting metabolic rates remained constant throughout the eight-week study period, with values for birds housed at 29°C lower than for birds housed at 25°C. Rather than pointing to a minimum time period necessary for thermal acclimation, these results suggest that in some instances, freshly wild-caught small passerines may not need to be acclimated to laboratory conditions or respirometry equipment, prior to measurements of their resting metabolic rate.
PMID: 27133922 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

10.A Fish-Eating Enantiornithine Bird from the Early Cretaceous of China Provides Evidence of Modern Avian Digestive Features.
Wang M, Zhou Z, Sullivan C.
Curr Biol. 2016 Apr 26. pii: S0960-9822(16)30137-3. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.02.055. [Epub ahead of print]


Modern birds differ from their theropod ancestors in lacking teeth and heavily constructed bony jaws, having evolved a lightly built beak and a specialized digestive system capable of processing unmasticated food [1, 2]. Enantiornithes, the most successful clade of Mesozoic birds, represents the sister group of the Ornithuromorpha, which gave rise to living birds [3]. Nevertheless, the feeding habits of enantiornithines have remained unknown because of a lack of fossil evidence. In contrast, exceptionally preserved fossils reveal that derived avian features were present in the digestive systems of some non-enantiornithine birds with ages exceeding 125 million years [4, 5]. Here, we report a new piscivorous enantiornithine from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota of China. This specimen preserves a gastric pellet that includes fish bones. The new enantiornithine, like many modern piscivores and raptors, seems to have swallowed its prey whole and regurgitated indigestible materials such as bones, invertebrate exoskeletons, scales, and feathers. This fossil represents the oldest unambiguous record of an avian gastric pellet and the only such record from the Mesozoic. The pellet points to a fish diet and suggests that the alimentary tract of the new enantiornithine resembled that of extant avians in having efficient antiperistalsis and a two-chambered stomach with a muscular gizzard capable of compacting indigestible matter into a cohesive pellet. The inferred occurrence of these advanced features in an enantiornithine implies that they were widespread in Cretaceous birds and likely facilitated dietary diversification within both Enantiornithes and Ornithuromorpha.
PMID: 27133872 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

11.Differential foraging success across a light level spectrum explains the maintenance and spatial structure of colour morphs in a polymorphic bird.
Tate GJ, Bishop JM, Amar A.
Ecol Lett. 2016 May 2. doi: 10.1111/ele.12606. [Epub ahead of print]


Detectability of different colour morphs under varying light conditions has been proposed as an important driver in the maintenance of colour polymorphism via disruptive selection. To date, no studies have tested whether different morphs have selective advantages under differing light conditions. We tested this hypothesis in the black sparrowhawk, a polymorphic raptor exhibiting a discrete white and dark morph, and found that prey provisioning rates differ between the morphs depending on light condition. Dark morphs delivered more prey in lower light conditions, while white morphs provided more prey in brighter conditions. We found support for the role of breeding season light level in explaining the clinal pattern of variation in morph ratio across the species range throughout South Africa. Our results provide the first empirical evidence supporting the hypothesis that polymorphism in a species, and the spatial structuring of morphs across its distribution, may be driven by differential selective advantage via improved crypsis, under varying light conditions.
PMID: 27132885 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

12.Critical Care of Pet Birds.
Jenkins JR.
Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract. 2016 May;19(2):501-12. doi: 10.1016/j.cvex.2016.01.014. Review.


Successful care of the critical pet bird patient is dependent on preparation and planning and begins with the veterinarian and hospital staff. An understanding of avian physiology and pathophysiology is key. Physical preparation of the hospital or clinic includes proper equipment and understanding of the procedures necessary to provide therapeutic and supportive care to the avian patient. An overview of patient intake and assessment, intensive care environment, and fluid therapy is included.
PMID: 27131161 [PubMed - in process]

13.SwarmSight: Measuring the temporal progression of animal group activity levels from natural-scene and laboratory videos.
Birgiolas J, Jernigan CM, Smith BH, Crook SM.
Behav Res Methods. 2016 Apr 29. [Epub ahead of print]


We describe SwarmSight (available at ), a novel, open-source, Microsoft Windows software tool for quantitative assessment of the temporal progression of animal group activity levels from recorded videos. The tool utilizes a background subtraction machine vision algorithm and provides an activity metric that can be used to quantitatively assess and compare animal group behavior. Here we demonstrate the tool's utility by analyzing defensive bee behavior as modulated by alarm pheromones, wild-bird feeding onset and interruption, and cockroach nest-finding activity. Although more sophisticated, commercial software packages are available, SwarmSight provides a low-cost, open-source, and easy-to-use alternative that is suitable for a wide range of users, including minimally trained research technicians and behavioral science undergraduate students in classroom laboratory settings.
PMID: 27130170 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

14.Dynamics of Vector-Host Interactions in Avian Communities in Four Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus Foci in the Northeastern U.S.
Molaei G, Thomas MC, Muller T, Medlock J, Shepard JJ, Armstrong PM, Andreadis TG.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2016 Jan 11;10(1):e0004347. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004347. eCollection 2016 Jan.


Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus (Togaviridae, Alphavirus) is a highly pathogenic mosquito-borne zoonosis that is responsible for occasional outbreaks of severe disease in humans and equines, resulting in high mortality and neurological impairment in most survivors. In the past, human disease outbreaks in the northeastern U.S. have occurred intermittently with no apparent pattern; however, during the last decade we have witnessed recurring annual emergence where EEE virus activity had been historically rare, and expansion into northern New England where the virus had been previously unknown. In the northeastern U.S., EEE virus is maintained in an enzootic cycle involving the ornithophagic mosquito, Culiseta melanura, and wild passerine (perching) birds in freshwater hardwood swamps. However, the identity of key avian species that serve as principal virus reservoir and amplification hosts has not been established. The efficiency with which pathogen transmission occurs within an avian community is largely determined by the relative reservoir competence of each species and by ecological factors that influence contact rates between these avian hosts and mosquito vectors.
Contacts between vector mosquitoes and potential avian hosts may be directly quantified by analyzing the blood meal contents of field-collected specimens. We used PCR-based molecular methods and direct sequencing of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene for profiling of blood meals in Cs. melanura, in an effort to quantify its feeding behavior on specific vertebrate hosts, and to infer epidemiologic implications in four historic EEE virus foci in the northeastern U.S. Avian point count surveys were conducted to determine spatiotemporal host community composition. Of 1,127 blood meals successfully identified to species level, >99% of blood meals were from 65 avian hosts in 27 families and 11 orders, and only seven were from mammalian hosts representing three species. We developed an empirically informed mathematical model for EEE virus transmission using Cs. melanura abundance and preferred and non-preferred avian hosts. To our knowledge this is the first mathematical model for EEE virus, a pathogen with many potential hosts, in the northeastern U.S. We measured strong feeding preferences for a number of avian species based on the proportion of mosquito blood meals identified from these bird species in relation to their observed frequencies. These included: American Robin, Tufted Titmouse, Common Grackle, Wood Thrush, Chipping Sparrow, Black-capped Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, and Warbling Vireo. We found that these bird species, most notably Wood Thrush, play a dominant role in supporting EEE virus amplification. It is also noteworthy that the competence of some of the aforementioned avian species for EEE virus has not been established. Our findings indicate that heterogeneity induced by mosquito host preference, is a key mediator of the epizootic transmission of vector-borne pathogens.

Detailed knowledge of the vector-host interactions of mosquito populations in nature is essential for evaluating their vectorial capacity and for assessing the role of individual vertebrates as reservoir hosts involved in the maintenance and amplification of zoonotic agents of human diseases. Our study clarifies the host associations of Cs. melanura in four EEE virus foci in the northeastern U.S., identifies vector host preferences as the most important transmission parameter, and quantifies the contribution of preference-induced contact heterogeneity to enzootic transmission. Our study identifies Wood Thrush, American Robin and a few avian species that may serve as superspreaders of EEE virus. Our study elucidates spatiotemporal host species utilization by Cs. melanura in relation to avian host community. This research provides a basis to better understand the involvement of Cs. melanura and avian hosts in the transmission and ecology of EEE virus and the risk of human infection in virus foci.
PMID: 26751704 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article

15.Virology: Host protein clips bird flu's wings in mammals.
Lowen AC.
Nature. 2016 Jan 7;529(7584):30-1. doi: 10.1038/529030a. No abstract available.

16.Commercial Hy-Line W-36 pullet and laying hen venous blood gas and chemistry profiles utilizing the portable i-STAT®1 analyzer.
Schaal TP, Arango J, Wolc A, Brady JV, Fulton JE, Rubinoff I, Ehr IJ, Persia ME, O'Sullivan NP.
Poult Sci. 2016 Feb;95(2):466-71. doi: 10.3382/ps/pev350. Epub 2015 Dec 25.


Venous blood gas and chemistry reference ranges were determined for commercial Hy-Line W-36 pullets and laying hens utilizing the portable i-STAT®1 analyzer and CG8+ cartridges. A total of 632 samples were analyzed from birds between 4 and 110 wk of age. Reference ranges were established for pullets (4 to 15 wk), first cycle laying hens (20 to 68 wk), and second cycle (post molt) laying hens (70 to 110 wk) for the following traits: sodium (Na mmol/L), potassium (K mmol/L), ionized calcium (iCa mmol/L), glucose (Glu mg/dl), hematocrit (Hct% Packed Cell Volume [PCV]), pH, partial pressure carbon dioxide (PCO2 mm Hg), partial pressure oxygen (PO2 mm Hg), total concentration carbon dioxide (TCO2 mmol/L), bicarbonate (HCO3 mmol/L), base excess (BE mmol/L), oxygen saturation (sO2%), and hemoglobin (Hb g/dl). Data were analyzed using ANOVA to investigate the effect of production status as categorized by bird age. Trait relationships were evaluated by linear correlation and their spectral decomposition. All traits differed significantly among pullets and mature laying hens in both first and second lay cycles. Levels for K, iCa, Hct, pH, TCO2, HCO3, BE, sO2, and Hb differed significantly between first cycle and second cycle laying hens. Many venous blood gas and chemistry parameters were significantly correlated. The first 3 eigenvalues explained ∼2/3 of total variation. The first 2 principal components (PC) explained 51% of the total variation and indicated acid-balance and relationship between blood O2 and CO2. The third PC explained 16% of variation and seems to be related to blood iCa. Establishing reference ranges for pullet and laying hen blood gas and chemistry with the i-STAT®1 handheld unit provides a mechanism to further investigate pullet and layer physiology, evaluate metabolic disturbances, and may potentially serve as a means to select breeder candidates with optimal blood gas or chemistry levels on-farm.
PMID: 26706355 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

17.Potential environmental benefits of prospective genetic changes in broiler traits.
Leinonen I, Williams AG, Kyriazakis I.
Poult Sci. 2016 Feb;95(2):228-36. doi: 10.3382/ps/pev323. Epub 2015 Dec 1.


A system approach-based Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) framework, combined with a simple mechanistic model of bird energy balance was used to predict the potential effects of 15 y prospective broiler breeding on the environmental impacts of the standard UK broiler production system. The year 2014 Ross 308 genotype was used as a baseline, and a future scenario was specified from rates of genetic improvement predicted by the industry. The scenario included changes in the traits of growth rate (reducing the time to reach a target weight 2.05 kg from 34 d to 27 d), body lipid content, carcass yield, mortality and the number of chicks produced by a breeder hen. Diet composition was adjusted in order to accommodate the future nutrient requirements of the birds following the genetic change. The results showed that predicted changes in biological performance due to selective breeding could lead to reduced environmental impacts of the broiler production chain, most notably in the Eutrophication Potential (by 12%), Acidification Potential (by 10%) and Abiotic Resource Use (by 9%) and Global Warming Potential (by 9%). These reductions were mainly caused by the reduced maintenance energy requirement and thus lower feed intake, resulting from the shorter production cycle, together with the increased carcass yield. However, some environmental benefits were limited by the required changes in feed composition (e.g., increased inclusion of soy meal and vegetable oil) as a result of the changes in bird nutrient requirements. This study is the first one aiming to link the mechanistic animal modeling approach to predicted genetic changes in order to produce quantitative estimates of the future environmental impacts of broiler production. Although a more detailed understanding on the mechanisms of the potential changes in bird performance and their consequences on feeding and husbandry would be still be needed, the modeling framework produced in this study provides a starting point for predictions of the effects of prospective genetic progress.
PMID: 26628347 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

18.Evaluating best practices for Campylobacter and Salmonella reduction in poultry processing plants.
Wideman N, Bailey M, Bilgili SF, Thippareddi H, Wang L, Bratcher C, Sanchez-Plata M, Singh M.
Poult Sci. 2016 Feb;95(2):306-15. doi: 10.3382/ps/pev328. Epub 2015 Nov 14.


Poultry processing plants in the United States were surveyed on their current Campylobacter and Salmonella control practices. Following surveys, data were collected to develop a baseline for prevalence rates of Salmonella and Campylobacter; then changes in practices were implemented and evaluated for improvements in pathogen control. Surveys were sent to the plant Quality Assurance managers to determine production levels, antimicrobial interventions, and current pathogen testing practices. Initial sampling was performed at 6 plants with similar production volumes, at sites that included carcass samples before any pre-evisceration intervention, after exiting the inside-outside bird washer (IOBW), after exiting the pre-chiller, after exiting the primary chiller, and after exiting any post-chill intervention, as well as a water sample from each scalder, pre-chiller, primary chiller, and post-chill dip tank or finishing chiller. Enumerations and enrichments were performed for Campylobacter and Salmonella. Following the baseline sampling, changes in practices were suggested for each plant and a second sampling was conducted to determine their effectiveness. Results demonstrated that peracetic acid (PAA) was the most effective (P < 0.05) antimicrobial currently in use. The use of a post-chill antimicrobial immersion tank and/or use of a cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) spray cabinet also displayed a further reduction in microbial levels (P < 0.05) when the primary chiller was not sufficient (P > 0.05). Microbial buildup in the immersion tanks demonstrates the need for effective cleaning, sanitation practices, and chiller maintenance to reduce contamination of poultry with Campylobacter and Salmonella.
PMID: 26574037 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

19.Hydrodynamic schooling of flapping swimmers.
Becker AD, Masoud H, Newbolt JW, Shelley M, Ristroph L.
Nat Commun. 2015 Oct 6;6:8514. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9514.


Fish schools and bird flocks are fascinating examples of collective behaviours in which many individuals generate and interact with complex flows. Motivated by animal groups on the move, here we explore how the locomotion of many bodies emerges from their flow-mediated interactions. Through experiments and simulations of arrays of flapping wings that propel within a collective wake, we discover distinct modes characterized by the group swimming speed and the spatial phase shift between trajectories of neighbouring wings. For identical flapping motions, slow and fast modes coexist and correspond to constructive and destructive wing-wake interactions. Simulations show that swimming in a group can enhance speed and save power, and we capture the key phenomena in a mathematical model based on memory or the storage and recollection of information in the flow field. These results also show that fluid dynamic interactions alone are sufficient to generate coherent collective locomotion, and thus might suggest new ways to characterize the role of flows in animal groups.
PMID: 26439509 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article

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