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Bibliography on: Corvids (crows, jays, etc)

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Robert J. Robbins is a biologist, an educator, a science administrator, a publisher, an information technologist, and an IT leader and manager who specializes in advancing biomedical knowledge and supporting education through the application of information technology. More About:  RJR | OUR TEAM | OUR SERVICES | THIS WEBSITE

RJR: Recommended Bibliography 26 May 2019 at 01:32 Created: 

Corvids (crows, jays, etc)

Wikipedia: Corvidae (crows, jays, etc) is a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers. In common English, they are known as the crow family, or, more technically, corvids. Over 120 species are described. The genus Corvus, including the jackdaws, crows, rooks, and ravens, makes up over a third of the entire family. Corvids display remarkable intelligence for animals of their size and are among the most intelligent birds thus far studied. Specifically, members of the family have demonstrated self-awareness in mirror tests (European magpies) and tool-making ability (crows, rooks), skills which until recently were thought to be possessed only by humans and a few other higher mammals. Their total brain-to-body mass ratio is equal to that of great apes and cetaceans, and only slightly lower than in humans. They are medium to large in size, with strong feet and bills, rictal bristles, and a single moult each year (most passerines moult twice). Corvids are found worldwide except for the tip of South America and the polar ice caps. The majority of the species are found in tropical South and Central America, southern Asia and Eurasia, with fewer than 10 species each in Africa and Australasia. The genus Corvus has re-entered Australia in relatively recent geological prehistory, with five species and one subspecies there. Several species of raven have reached oceanic islands, and some of these species are now highly threatened with extinction or have already gone extinct.

Created with PubMed® Query: (corvus[TIAB] OR corvid[TIAB] OR OR corvids[TIAB] OR corvidae[TIAB] OR crow[TIAB] OR crows[TIAB] OR raven[TIAB] OR ravens[TIAB] OR jay[TIAB] OR jays[TIAB] OR magpie[TIAB] OR magpies[TIAB] OR jackdaw[TIAB] OR jackdaws[TIAB]) NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)

RevDate: 2019-05-21

Adriaense JEC, Martin JS, Schiestl M, et al (2019)

Negative emotional contagion and cognitive bias in common ravens (Corvus corax).

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America pii:1817066116 [Epub ahead of print].

Emotional contagion is described as an emotional state matching between subjects, and has been suggested to facilitate communication and coordination in complex social groups. Empirical studies typically focus on the measurement of behavioral contagion and emotional arousal, yet, while highly important, such an approach often disregards an additional evaluation of the underlying emotional valence. Here, we studied emotional contagion in ravens by applying a judgment bias paradigm to assess emotional valence. We experimentally manipulated positive and negative affective states in demonstrator ravens, to which they responded with increased attention and interest in the positive condition, as well as increased redirected behavior and a left-eye lateralization in the negative condition. During this emotion manipulation, another raven observed the demonstrator's behavior, and we used a bias paradigm to assess the emotional valence of the observer to determine whether emotional contagion had occurred. Observers showed a pessimism bias toward the presented ambiguous stimuli after perceiving demonstrators in a negative state, indicating emotional state matching based on the demonstrators' behavioral cues and confirming our prediction of negative emotional contagion. We did not find any judgment bias in the positive condition. This result critically expands upon observational studies of contagious play in ravens, providing experimental evidence that emotional contagion is present not only in mammalian but also in avian species. Importantly, this finding also acts as a stepping stone toward understanding the evolution of empathy, as this essential social skill may have emerged across these taxa in response to similar socioecological challenges.

RevDate: 2019-05-20

Miller R, Boeckle M, Jelbert SA, et al (2019)

Self-control in crows, parrots and nonhuman primates.

Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Cognitive science [Epub ahead of print].

Self-control is critical for both humans and nonhuman animals because it underlies complex cognitive abilities, such as decision-making and future planning, enabling goal-directed behavior. For instance, it is positively associated with social competence and life success measures in humans. We present the first review of delay of gratification as a measure of self-control in nonhuman primates, corvids (crow family) and psittacines (parrot order): disparate groups that show comparable advanced cognitive abilities and similar socio-ecological factors. We compare delay of gratification performance and identify key issues and outstanding areas for future research, including finding the best measures and drivers of delayed gratification. Our review therefore contributes to our understanding of both delayed gratification as a measure of self-control and of complex cognition in animals. This article is categorized under: Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition Psychology > Comparative Psychology.

RevDate: 2019-05-20

Forzán MJ, Renshaw RW, Bunting EM, et al (2019)

A NOVEL ORTHOREOVIRUS ASSOCIATED WITH EPIZOOTIC NECROTIZING ENTERITIS AND SPLENIC NECROSIS IN AMERICAN CROWS (CORVUS BRACHYRHYNCHOS).

Journal of wildlife diseases pii:10.7589/2019-01-015 [Epub ahead of print].

Epizootic mortalities in American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) during the winter months, referred to as winter mortality of crows, have been recorded in North America for almost two decades. The most common postmortem findings include necrotizing enteritis, colitis, and fibrinous splenic necrosis. These findings are proposed to be due to infection with a Reovirus sp. Our objectives were to characterize the pathology and seasonality of the epizootics in New York State (NYS), confirm the causative role of an Orthoreovirus sp., and determine its phylogeny. On the basis of our proposed case definition for reovirosis, we examined case data collected by the NYS Wildlife Health Program for 16 yr. A total of 558 cases of reovirosis were recorded between 2001 and 2017. Reovirosis had a clear seasonal presentation: cases occurred almost exclusively in winter months (71% in December-January). Detailed data from a 2-yr period (2016 and 2017) demonstrated that reovirosis caused up to 70% of all recorded crow deaths during epizootic months. Crows with positive orthoreovirus isolation from the spleen or intestine were 32 times more likely to die with characteristic histologic lesions of enteritis or enterocolitis and splenic necrosis than crows with negative isolation results. An in situ hybridization probe specific to virus isolated from NYS crow reovirosis cases demonstrated a direct association between viral presence and characteristic histologic lesions. Sigma C (capsid protein) sequences of isolates from NYS crows showed high homology with Tvärminne avian virus, recently proposed as a novel Corvus orthoreovirus clade, and only distantly related to the avian orthoreovirus clade. Our study indicated that a novel orthoreovirus was the cause of winter mortality (or reovirosis) of American Crows and placed the NYS isolates in the newly proposed genus of Corvid orthoreovirus.

RevDate: 2019-05-20

Chuang KY, Chen YH, Balachandran P, et al (2019)

Revealing the Electrophysiological Correlates of Working Memory-Load Effects in Symmetry Span Task With HHT Method.

Frontiers in psychology, 10:855.

Complex span task is one of the commonly used cognitive tasks to evaluate an individual's working memory capacity (WMC). It is a dual task consisting of a distractor subtask and a memory subtask. Though multiple studies have utilized complex span tasks, the electrophysiological correlates underlying the encoding and retrieval processes in working memory span task remain uninvestigated. One previous study that assessed electroencephalographic (EEG) measures utilizing complex span task found no significant difference between its working memory loads, a typical index observed in other working memory tasks (e.g., n-back task and digital span task). The following design constructs of the paradigm might have been the reason. (1) The fixed-time limit of the distractor subtask may have hindered the assessment of individual WMC precisely. (2) Employing a linear-system-favoring EEG data analysis method for a non-linear system such as the human brain. In the current study, the participants perform the Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices (RAMP) task on 1 day and the symmetry span (Sspan) task on the other. Prior to the formal Sspan task, the participants were instructed to judge 15 simple symmetry questions as quickly as possible. A participant-specific time-limit is chartered from these symmetry questions. The current study utilizes the Sspan task sequential to a distractor subtask. Instead of the fixed time-limit exercised in the previous study, the distractor subtask of the current study was equipped with the participant-specific time-limit obtained from the symmetry questions. This could provide a precise measure of individual WMC. This study investigates if the complex span task resonates EEG patterns similar to the other working memory tasks in terms of working memory-load by utilizing ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) of Hilbert-Huang transform (HHT). Prior expectations were to observe a decrement in the P300 component of event-related mode (ERM) and a decrement in the power of alpha and beta band frequency with increasing working memory-load. We observed a significantly higher P300 amplitude for the low-load condition compared to the high-load condition over the circumscribed brain network across F4 and C4 electrodes. Time-frequency analysis revealed a significant difference between the high- and low-load conditions at alpha and beta band over the frontal, central, and parietal channels. The results from our study demonstrate precise differences in EEG data pertaining to varied memory-load differences in the complex span task. Thus, assessing complex span tasks with the HHT-based analysis may aid in achieving a better signal to noise ratio and effect size for the results in working memory EEG studies.

RevDate: 2019-05-19

D'Agati D, Beaudry MB, K Swartz (2019)

Thirteen Reasons Why Revisited: A Monograph for Teens, Parents, and Mental Health Professionals.

The Journal of medical humanities pii:10.1007/s10912-019-09548-y [Epub ahead of print].

Jay Asher's novel Thirteen Reasons Why and its Netflix adaptation have enjoyed widespread popularity. While they draw needed attention to issues like bullying and teen estrangement, they may have an unintended effect: they mislead about the etiology of suicide and even glamorize it to a degree. The medical literature has shown that suicide is almost always the result of psychiatric disorder, not provocative stress, in much the same way an asthmatic crisis is primarily the result of an underlying medical condition, not an allergic stimulus. Both the novel and Netflix series ignore this premise and even belittle the idea. Thus, while the story has artistic merits, it also has the potential to be destructive if accessed by young readers and viewers seeking guidance. Approximately ten percent of teens suffer from depression, and suicide recently surpassed homicide as the second-leading cause of death among persons ages ten to twenty-four in the United States. A more balanced view addressing these misconceptions is provided for teens, parents, and mental health professionals.

RevDate: 2019-05-17

Krupenye C, J Call (2019)

Theory of mind in animals: Current and future directions.

Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Cognitive science [Epub ahead of print].

Theory of mind (ToM; a.k.a., mind-reading, mentalizing, mental-state attribution, and perspective-taking) is the ability to ascribe mental states, such as desires and beliefs, to others, and it is central to the unique forms of communication, cooperation, and culture that define our species. As a result, for 40 years, researchers have endeavored to determine whether ToM is itself unique to humans. Investigations in other species (e.g., apes, monkeys, corvids) are essential to understand the mechanistic underpinnings and evolutionary origins of this capacity across taxa, including humans. We review the literature on ToM in nonhuman animals, suggesting that some species share foundational social cognitive mechanisms with humans. We focus principally on innovations of the last decade and pressing directions for future work. Underexplored types of social cognition have been targeted, including ascription of mental states, such as desires and beliefs, that require simultaneously representing one's own and another's conflicting motives or views of the world. Ongoing efforts probe the motivational facets of ToM, how flexibly animals can recruit social cognitive skills across cooperative and competitive settings, and appropriate motivational contexts for comparative inquiry. Finally, novel methodological and empirical approaches have brought new species (e.g., lemurs, dogs) into the lab, implemented critical controls to elucidate underlying mechanisms, and contributed powerful new techniques (e.g., looking-time, eye-tracking) that open the door to unexplored approaches for studying animal minds. These innovations in cognition, motivation, and method promise fruitful progress in the years to come, in understanding the nature and origin of ToM in humans and other species. This article is categorized under: Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition Psychology > Comparative Psychology Neuroscience > Cognition.

RevDate: 2019-05-11

Ong CS, Marcum JA, Zehr KJ, et al (2019)

A Century of Heparin.

The Annals of thoracic surgery pii:S0003-4975(19)30626-5 [Epub ahead of print].

2018 is the centennial of the naming of heparin by Emmett Holt and William Howell and the 102nd anniversary of Jay McLean's discovery of an anticoagulant heparphosphatide at Johns Hopkins. We discuss recently discovered historical artifacts that shed new light on heparin's christening, including McLean's unpublished letter written in 1950 that represents one of the most complete accounts of heparin's discovery prior to his untimely death. We also located a plaque dedicated to McLean and explored the circumstances of its removal from public display learned from interviews with present and former staff members.

RevDate: 2019-05-07

Pastore RL, Murray JA, Coffman FD, et al (2019)

Physician Review of a Celiac Disease Risk Estimation and Decision-Making Expert System.

Journal of the American College of Nutrition [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: Celiac disease is a genetic disease affecting people of all ages, resulting in small intestine enteropathy. It is considered to be a clinical chameleon. Average prevalence of celiac disease is 1 out of 100 people with data indicating the risk may be as high as 22% for those with first-degree relatives with the disease. Eighty-three percent of people with celiac disease may be undiagnosed. Average duration to diagnosis is 10 years. Data indicate that there is a lack of consensus regarding diagnostics and symptomatology.

METHOD: A clinical decision support system (CDSS) was developed using Exsys Corvid for expert analysis (CD-CDSS). The CD-CDSS was divided into symptoms and manifestations with 80 points of navigation, and a serology section, and was validated by 13 experts in the field of celiac disease using a 10-statement 5-point Likert scale.

RESULTS: This scale was analyzed using Cronbach's alpha reliability coefficient, which was calculated using SPSS and revealed good internal consistency and reliability with a result of 0.813. One hundred percent of experts agreed that the CD-CDSS is capable of guiding a health care professional through the diagnostic process, contains an accurate list of symptoms based on the clinical literature, and can foster improved awareness and education about celiac disease and that there is a need for this system.

CONCLUSIONS: A celiac disease risk estimation and decision-making expert system was successfully developed and evaluated by medical professionals, with 100% agreeing that this CD-CDSS is medically accurate and can guide health care professionals through the diagnostic process.

RevDate: 2019-05-07

Cumbo E, Cumbo S, Torregrossa S, et al (2019)

Treatment Effects of Vortioxetine on Cognitive Functions in Mild Alzheimer's Disease Patients with Depressive Symptoms: A 12 Month, Open-Label, Observational Study.

The journal of prevention of Alzheimer's disease, 6(3):192-197.

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: depressive symptoms are common in Alzheimer's disease(AD). Aim of the study was to investigate the efficacy of vortioxetine compared with other conventional antidepressants on cognitive functions in AD patients with depressive symptoms.

DESIGN: Prospective, randomized, 12 month, parallel-group study.

SETTING: All participants were evaluated on-site at Neurodegenerative Disorders Unit, ASP2 Caltanissetta(Italy).

PARTICIPANTS: 108(71 female, 37 male) AD patients with depression(mean age 76.7 ± 4.3).

INTERVENTION: Randomized subjects received vortioxetine, 15 mg/day(n=36) or other common antidepressants(n=72).

MEASURES: Primary outcome was change from baseline in the MMSE; secondary outcomes were change in Attentive Matrices, Raven Coloured Progressive Matrices, Digit Span, HAM-D and Cornell scale.

RESULTS: Statistically significant improvement vs. controls was observed for vortioxetine on most of the cognitive tests and showed significantly baseline-to-endpoint reduction in both HAM-D and Cornell total scores.The most commonly reported adverse events were nausea and headache for votioxetine; nausea in the control group.

CONCLUSIONS: Vortioxetine had a beneficial effect on cognition and mood in elderly AD patients and was safe and well tolerated.

RevDate: 2019-05-07

Ling H, Mclvor GE, van der Vaart K, et al (2019)

Costs and benefits of social relationships in the collective motion of bird flocks.

Nature ecology & evolution pii:10.1038/s41559-019-0891-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Current understanding of collective behaviour in nature is based largely on models that assume that identical agents obey the same interaction rules, but in reality interactions may be influenced by social relationships among group members. Here, we show that social relationships transform local interactions and collective dynamics. We tracked individuals' three-dimensional trajectories within flocks of jackdaws, a species that forms lifelong pair-bonds. Reflecting this social system, we find that flocks contain internal sub-structure, with discrete pairs of individuals tied together by spring-like effective forces. Within flocks, paired birds interacted with fewer neighbours than unpaired birds and flapped their wings more slowly, which may result in energy savings. However, flocks with more paired birds had shorter correlation lengths, which is likely to inhibit efficient information transfer through the flock. Similar changes to group properties emerge naturally from a generic self-propelled particle model. These results reveal a critical tension between individual- and group-level benefits during collective behaviour in species with differentiated social relationships, and have major evolutionary and cognitive implications.

RevDate: 2019-05-07

Preininger D, Schoas B, Kramer D, et al (2019)

Waste Disposal Sites as All-You-Can Eat Buffets for Carrion Crows (Corvus corone).

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 9(5): pii:ani9050215.

In cities and densely populated areas, several corvid species are considered nuisance animals. In Austria, particularly carrion (Corvus corone) and hooded crows (C. cornix) are regarded as pests by the general public that frequently cause damage to crops, feed on human waste, and thus spread trash. We conducted a detailed one-year field survey to estimate the abundance of carrion crows in relation to potential anthropogenic food sources and reference sites in the Austrian Rhine valley. Our results demonstrated that the number and proximity of waste management facilities, animal feeding areas, and agricultural areas, and the productive capacity of agricultural areas, predominantly influenced habitat choice and abundance of carrion crows. In the current study, the probability of observing more than two carrion crows at a survey site decreased with increasing human population density. Moreover, the abundance of crows increased despite a continuous increase in crow hunting kills registered during the past 25 years. Our study suggests a regionally comprehensive waste management plan could serve as a promising strategy to manage nuisance birds. A reduction in anthropogenic food supply through improved waste management practices is required for long-term, sustainable management to limit the abundance of crow populations in and close to urban environments.

RevDate: 2019-05-04

Lee DH, Killian ML, Torchetti MK, et al (2019)

Intercontinental spread of Asian-origin H7 avian influenza viruses by captive bird trade in 1990's.

Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases pii:S1567-1348(18)30502-1 [Epub ahead of print].

Wild bird migration and illegal trade of infected poultry, eggs, and poultry products have been associated with the spread of avian influenza viruses (AIV). During 1992-1996, H7N1 and H7N8 low pathogenic AIV (LPAIV) were identified from captive wild birds; such as Pekin robin (Leiothrix lutea), magpie robin (Copsychus saularis), flycatcher sp. (genus Empidonax), a species of softbill and parakeet, sun conure (Aratinga solstitialis), painted conure (Pyrrhura picta), fairy bluebird (Irena puella), and common iora (Aegithina tiphia), kept in aviaries or quarantine stations in England, The Netherlands, Singapore and the United States (U.S.). In this study, we sequenced these H7 viruses isolated from quarantine facilities and aviaries using next-generation sequencing and conducted a comparative phylogenetic analysis of complete genome sequences to elucidate spread patterns. The complete genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis suggested that H7 viruses originated from a common source, even though they were obtained from birds in distant geographical regions. All H7N1 and H7N8 viruses were LPAIV, except a H7N1 highly pathogenic AIV (HPAIV), A/Pekin robin/California/30412/1994(H7N1) virus. Our results support the continued need for regulation of the captive wild bird trade to reduce the risk of introduction and dissemination of both LPAIV and HPAIV throughout the world.

RevDate: 2019-05-01

Lee VE, McIvor GE, A Thornton (2019)

Testing relationship recognition in wild jackdaws (Corvus monedula).

Scientific reports, 9(1):6710 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-43247-x.

According to the social intelligence hypothesis, understanding the challenges faced by social animals is key to understanding the evolution of cognition. In structured social groups, recognising the relationships of others is often important for predicting the outcomes of interactions. Third-party relationship recognition has been widely investigated in primates, but studies of other species are limited. Furthermore, few studies test for third-party relationship recognition in the wild, where cognitive abilities are deployed in response to natural socio-ecological pressures. Here, we used playback experiments to investigate whether wild jackdaws (Corvus monedula) track changes in their own relationships and the relationships of others. Females were presented with 'infidelity simulations': playbacks of their male partner copulating with a neighbouring female, and their male neighbour copulating with another female, against a congruent control. Our results showed substantial inter-individual variation in responses, but females did not respond more strongly to infidelity playbacks, indicating that jackdaws may not attend and/or respond to relationship information in this experimental context. Our results highlight the need for further study of relationship recognition and other cognitive traits that facilitate group-living in the wild, particularly in non-primates and in a wider range of social systems.

RevDate: 2019-04-30

Hung A, Gedey R, Groeneweg M, et al (2019)

A Primer for Managed Care Residents: How to Conduct Research Using Live Medical and Pharmacy Claims Data.

Journal of managed care & specialty pharmacy, 25(5):538-543.

Managed care organizations are growing more sophisticated in their ability to analyze data. There are increasing numbers of data analysts at managed care organizations, as well as more types of real-time, or "live," data available. These data range from pharmacy claims and enrollment files to medical claims, medical records, and linkages to external data. Moreover, the data are often curated in a way that allows for easier data analysis. Using these data, managed care residents are often required to perform a project to evaluate a utilization management policy or clinical program. Yet, there is a lack of guidance specific to managed care organizations on how to conduct such a research study using "live" claims data. This Viewpoint article provides a primer for managed care residents and other managed care professionals who are seeking to use data to help inform decisions on how to manage their beneficiaries' health and costs. DISCLOSURES: There was no funding source for this manuscript. Hung reports a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and personal fees from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, outside the submitted work. Gedey, Groeneweg, and Jay have nothing to disclose.

RevDate: 2019-04-25

Wang W, Wang A, Yang Y, et al (2019)

Composition, diversity and function of gastrointestinal microbiota in wild red-billed choughs (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).

International microbiology : the official journal of the Spanish Society for Microbiology pii:10.1007/s10123-019-00076-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Hitherto, virtually nothing is known about the microbial communities related to the bird species in the family Corvidae. To fill this gap, the present study was conducted to provide a baseline description of the gut microbiota of wild red-billed choughs (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax). In this study, microbiota from four gastrointestinal locations (oropharynx, gizzard, small intestine, and large intestine) of three wild red-billed choughs were analyzed using the Illumina MiSeq sequencing platform by targeting the V4-V5 regions of the 16S rRNA genes. The gut microbiota of the red-billed choughs were dominated by the phylum Firmicutes (59.56%), followed by Proteobacteria (16.56%), Bacteroidetes (13.86%), and Actinobacteria (7.03%), which were commonly detected in avian gut ecosystems. Genus-level compositions were found to be largely dominated by Lactobacillus (18.21%), Weissella (12.37%), Erysipelatoclostridium (6.94%), Bacteroides (6.63%), Escherichia-Shigella (5.15%), Leuconostoc (4.60%), Proteus (3.33%), Carnobacterium (2.71%), Lactococcus (1.69%), and Enterococcus (1.63%). The overall intestinal microbiota was enriched with functions related to ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, DNA repair and recombination proteins, purine metabolism, ribosome, transcription factors, pyrimidine metabolism, peptidases, and two-component system. In terms of four different gastrointestinal locations, hierarchical clustering analysis and principal coordinate analysis showed that microbial communities of the oropharynx, gizzard, small intestine, and large intestine formed four separated clusters. A total of 825 OTUs and 382 genera were detected in all four gastrointestinal locations, which were considered as the major microbes in the intestines of red-billed choughs. Coexistence of lactic acid bacteria and potential pathogens in the gut environments of red-billed choughs required further investigations.

RevDate: 2019-04-24

Irie T, Ikeda T, Nakamura T, et al (2017)

First molecular detection of Sarcocystis ovalis in the intestinal mucosa of a Japanese jungle crow (Corvus macrorhynchos) in Hokkaido, Japan.

Veterinary parasitology, regional studies and reports, 10:54-57.

Although cysts of Sarcocystis spp. have been detected in domestic and wild animals throughout Japan, their natural definitive hosts have not been fully elucidated. Additionally, in Hokkaido, several Sarcocystis spp. are highly prevalent among wild sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis), one of which is S. ovalis. The life cycle of S. ovalis is maintained in corvid birds. To identify the definitive host for S. ovalis in Hokkaido, we investigated its prevalence among corvid birds (Corvus macrorhynchos and C. corone). A total of 42 crow carcasses were collected during August 2015-July 2016 in southern Hokkaido. Examination for coccidian sporocysts in rectal feces and intestinal mucosa, detection of Sarcocystis DNA (18S rRNA gene) from intestinal mucosa samples, and histological observation of intestinal tissue were conducted. No Sarcocystis sporocysts were detected in fecal and mucosal samples by flotation. DNA from intestinal mucosa was positive in one crow (C. macrorhynchos). Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated the isolate clustered with S. ovalis and was closely related to isolates obtained from sika deer in Hokkaido. Histologically, S. ovalis gamogenesis (gamonts or gametes) and oocyst production were observed in the villi of the crow positive for S. ovalis DNA. However, the crow was negative for other coccidian parasites, such as Eimeria, by fecal examination. Our results suggested that crows harbor S. ovalis in the intestine and may serve as a definitive host of S. ovalis in Hokkaido. To our knowledge, this is the first report on a natural definitive host for Sarcocystis spp. prevalent among sika deer in Japan.

RevDate: 2019-04-23

Hildebrand J, Pyrka E, Sitko J, et al (2019)

Molecular phylogeny provides new insights on the taxonomy and composition of Lyperosomum Looss, 1899 (Digenea, Dicrocoeliidae) and related genera.

International journal for parasitology. Parasites and wildlife, 9:90-99 pii:S2213-2244(19)30042-2.

Lyperosomum Looss, 1899 is one of the largest genera of the Dicrocoeliidae and is one of the best examples of the systematic complexity and taxonomic instability within this family. We present the molecular analyses based on novel sequences of nuclear and mitochondrial genes obtained from 56 isolates of adult flukes and larval stages of dicrocoeliids belonging to Lyperosomum, Skrjabinus, Zonorchis as well as previously available sequence data. According to obtained results we propose to return Zonorchis clathratus and Z. petiolatus into Lyperosomum, and to recognize L. alagesi as a synonym of L. petiolatum. Our study shows that L. petiolatum commonly occurs in Europe in corvids as well as in several species of migratory songbirds, e.g. Sylvia atricapilla. At the same time, the Turdidae appear to host a distinct species of Lyperosomum. The phylogenetic analysis has clearly demonstrated the paraphylepic nature of Lyperosomum and indicated the need of its thorough revision preferably using specimens from type hosts and type territories of nominal species. In addition, inclusion of numerous not yet sequenced dicrocoeliid genera into future phylogenetic studies is necessary to clarify the interrelationships of taxa within the family and stabilize its system.

RevDate: 2019-04-22

Zurfluh K, Albini S, Mattmann P, et al (2019)

Antimicrobial resistant and extended-spectrum β-lactamase producing Escherichia coli in common wild bird species in Switzerland.

MicrobiologyOpen [Epub ahead of print].

A total of 294 fecal swabs from 294 wild birds in Switzerland were cultivated for antimicrobial resistant (AMR) Escherichia coli. Samples were also subcultivated to detect E. coli with extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBL), carbapenemases, and plasmid-mediated aminoglycoside or colistin resistance, respectively. Samples from 17 (5.8%) of the birds contained 19 AMR E. coli, whereof 26.3% were multidrug resistant. Five (1.7%) ESBL-producing E. coli were detected. The isolates harbored blaCTX-M-1 (two isolated from carrion crows and from one great spotted woodpecker, respectively), blaCTX-M-15 (originating from a grey heron), blaCTX-M-55 (from a carrion crow), and blaCTX-M-65 (from a common blackbird). Phylogenetic analysis assigned three isolates to commensal phylogroups A and B1, one to extraintestinal pathogenic group B2, and one to phylogroup F. Multilocus sequence typing identified sequence types (STs) that have been found previously in ESBL E. coli in wild birds (ST58, ST205, ST540). One isolate harboring blaCTX-M-55 was assigned to the recently emerged fluoroquinolone-resistant, extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli clone ST1193. Wild birds have the potential to disperse AMR, including clinically important resistance genes, from anthropogenic-influenced habitats to diverse areas, including vulnerable natural environments such as surface waters or mountain regions.

RevDate: 2019-04-22

Te Nijenhuis J, Choi YY, van den Hoek M, et al (2019)

Spearman's hypothesis tested comparing Korean young adults with various other groups of young adults on the items of the Advanced Progressive Matrices.

Journal of biosocial science pii:S0021932019000026 [Epub ahead of print].

Spearman's hypothesis tested at the subtest level of an IQ battery states that differences between races on the subtests of an IQ battery are a function of the g loadings of these subtests, such that there are small differences between races on subtests with low g loadings and large differences between races on subtests with high g loadings. Jensen (1998) stated that Spearman's hypothesis is a law-like phenomenon. It has also been confirmed many times at the level of items of the Raven's Progressive Matrices. This study hypothesizes that with concern to Spearman's hypothesis, subtests and items function in fundamentally the same way, and tested whether Spearman's hypothesis is confirmed at the item level for White-East Asian comparisons. A group of Korean young adults (N=205) was compared with other groups of young adults from Canada, the US, Russia, Peru and South Africa (total N=4770) who took the Advanced Progressive Matrices. Spearman's hypothesis was strongly confirmed with a sample-size-weighted r with a value of 0.63. Computing the g loadings of the items of the Raven with either the Raven-g or the Wechsler-g led to the same conclusions. Tests of Spearman's hypothesis yielded less-strong outcomes when the 36-item Advanced Progressive Matrices were used than when the 60-item Standard Progressive Matrices were used. There is a substantial correlation between sample size and the outcome of Spearman's hypothesis. So, all four hypotheses were confirmed, showing that a part of the subtest-level nomological net replicates at the item level, strengthening the position that, with concern to Spearman's hypothesis, subtests and items function fundamentally the same. It is concluded that Spearman's hypothesis is still a law-like phenomenon. Detailed suggestions for follow-up research are made.

RevDate: 2019-04-16

Gryz J, D Krauze-Gryz (2019)

Pigeon and Poultry Breeders, Friends or Enemies of the Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis? A Long-Term Study of a Population in Central Poland.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 9(4): pii:ani9040141.

In this study, we focused on a goshawk population in central Poland (study area 105 km²,forests 24 km², seven small forest complexes) which was monitored long-term (with high densitiesrecorded in the 1980s of 16.3 pairs/100 km² despite persecution by farmers) to analyse howenvironmental factors (prey availability and changes in the forest structure) influenced populationabundance, breeding parameters, and diet composition. The study was undertaken from 2011-2018,and the results were compared with published data from two previous study periods (1982-1992and 2001-2003). The number of breeding pairs dropped from 17.1 to 8.0; the breeding success wasaround 75% in all study periods. The selection of nesting trees followed the changes in stand speciesand age structure. More nesting attempts per one nest were recorded in the current time period (1.7 vs.1.1), which probably reflected lower anthropopressure (i.e., no cases of persecution were recordedin this study). Diet composition seemed to follow changes in the prey availability: The share ofdomestic pigeons and poultry (the main prey in the 1980s) as well as small game dropped, whilethe share of Eurasian jay and wood pigeon increased. Our studies suggested that anthropogenicfood (poultry and domestic pigeons) played a key role for the goshawk population in thetransformed habitats of the field and forest mosaic.

RevDate: 2019-04-11

Vibert N, Braasch JLG, Darles D, et al (2019)

Adolescents' Developing Sensitivity to Orthographic and Semantic Cues During Visual Search for Words.

Frontiers in psychology, 10:642.

Two eye-tracking experiments were conducted to assess the influence of words either looking like the target word (orthographic distractors) or semantically related to the target word (semantic distractors) on visual search for words within lists by adolescents of 11, 13, and 15 years of age. In Experiment 1 (literal search task), participants saw the target word before the search (e.g., "raven"), whereas in Experiment 2 (categorical task) the target word was only defined by its semantic category (e.g., "bird"). In both experiments, participants' search times decreased from fifth to ninth grade, both because older adolescents gazed less often at non-target words during the search and because they could reject non-target words more quickly once they were fixated. Progress in visual search efficiency was associated with a large increase in word identification skills, which were a strong determinant of average gaze durations and search times for the categorical task, but much less for the literal task. In the literal task, the presence of orthographic or semantic distractors in the list increased search times for all age groups. In the categorical task, the impact of semantic distractor words was stronger than in the literal task because participants needed to gaze at the semantic distractors longer than at the other words before rejecting them. Altogether, the data support the assumption that the progressive automation of word decoding up until the age of 12 and the better quality of older adolescents' lexical representations facilitate a flexible use of both the perceptual and semantic features of words for top-down guidance within the displays. In particular, older adolescents were better prepared to aim at or reject words without gazing at them directly. Finally, the overall similar progression of the maturation of single word visual search processes and that of more real-life information search within complex verbal documents suggests that the young adolescents' difficulties in searching the Web effectively could be due to their insufficiently developed lexical representations and word decoding abilities.

RevDate: 2019-04-10

Hanage WP (2019)

Two Health or Not Two Health? That Is the Question.

mBio, 10(2): pii:mBio.00550-19.

How much drug-resistant infections in livestock contribute to disease in humans is controversial. While zoonoses are a prominent cause of emerging infections, and the profligate use of antibiotics as growth promoters is expected to lead to the spread of resistance, this resistance could remain concentrated in animal pathogens and only rarely spill over into humans. A recent paper compares genomes of Escherichia coli isolates from human bloodstream infections in England, focused on the Cambridge area, with isolates collected from farms and the food chain in the east of the country, seeking evidence of transmission (C. Ludden, K. E. Raven, D. Jamrozy, T. Gouliouris, et al., mBio 10:e02693-18, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.02693-18). While the human and livestock populations were clearly distinct, with very limited evidence for transmission of E. coli or resistance elements to humans, the results also illustrate our limited ability to infer historical transmission events from even the best samples. The implications for the One Health framework, aiming to unify human and veterinary medicine, are discussed.

RevDate: 2019-04-09

McMillan JR, Marcet PL, Hoover CM, et al (2019)

Feeding Success and Host Selection by Culex quinquefasciatus Say Mosquitoes in Experimental Trials.

Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.) [Epub ahead of print].

Arthropod vector feeding preferences are defined as an overutilization of a particular host species given its abundance in relationship to other species in the community. Numerous methods exist to quantify vector feeding preferences; however, controlled host choice experiments are generally an underutilized approach. In this report, we present results from controlled vector host choice experiments using Culex quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera: Culicidae) mosquitoes and wild avian hosts identified as important contributors to West Nile virus (WNv) transmission in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. In each experiment, we allowed lab-reared F1 Cx. quinquefasciatus to feed freely overnight on two avian individuals of a different species (i.e., northern cardinals, American robins, blue jays, brown thrashers, and gray catbirds). We then estimated WNv transmission potential using vectorial capacity and R0. We found that mosquito blood feeding success was extremely variable among experimental replicates and that patterns of host choice only occasionally aggregated to a particular bird species. Vectorial capacity was highest for American robins and blue jays due to these species' higher reservoir competence for WNv and greater probabilities of mosquito selection of these species. Despite species-specific differences in vectorial capacity, total community capacity was similar among species pairs. R0 estimates were qualitatively similar to capacity, and R0 was below and above unity across species pairs. Our results provide empirical evidence that C. quinquefasciatus is an opportunistic blood feeder and highlight how variability in vector-host contact rates as well as host community composition can influence the likelihood of WNv transmission in avian communities.

RevDate: 2019-04-09

Jelbert SA, Miller R, Schiestl M, et al (2019)

New Caledonian crows infer the weight of objects from observing their movements in a breeze.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 286(1894):20182332.

Humans use a variety of cues to infer an object's weight, including how easily objects can be moved. For example, if we observe an object being blown down the street by the wind, we can infer that it is light. Here, we tested whether New Caledonian crows make this type of inference. After training that only one type of object (either light or heavy) was rewarded when dropped into a food dispenser, birds observed pairs of novel objects (one light and one heavy) suspended from strings in front of an electric fan. The fan was either on-creating a breeze which buffeted the light, but not the heavy, object-or off, leaving both objects stationary. In subsequent test trials, birds could drop one, or both, of the novel objects into the food dispenser. Despite having no opportunity to handle these objects prior to testing, birds touched the correct object (light or heavy) first in 73% of experimental trials, and were at chance in control trials. Our results suggest that birds used pre-existing knowledge about the behaviour exhibited by differently weighted objects in the wind to infer their weight, using this information to guide their choices.

RevDate: 2019-04-08

Rubio E, Sanllorente O, Tieleman BI, et al (2018)

Fecal sacs do not increase nest predation in a ground nester.

Journal of ornithology, 159(4):985-990.

Most altricial birds remove their nestlings' feces from the nest, but the evolutionary forces driving this behavior are poorly understood. A possible adaptive explanation for this could be that birds avoid the attraction of nest predators to their nests due to the visual or olfactory cues produced by feces (nest predation hypothesis). This hypothesis has received contrasting support indicating that additional experimental studies are needed, particularly with respect to the visual component of fecal sacs. To test this hypothesis, we conducted an experiment manipulating the presence of fecal sacs on inactive Woodlark (Lullula arborea) nests. This ground nester has highly cryptic nests that are mainly depredated by visually oriented nest predators (i.e., corvids) in our study population, making it an excellent system to test for the nest predation hypothesis. Our results showed that the presence of fecal sacs in the nest does not seem to be an important factor explaining nest predation. Interestingly, the effect of nest concealment, the most important factor explaining nest predation in Woodlark nests, depended on whether the nest was depredated the previous year or not, supporting the importance of using different nesting sites between years. Our findings indicate that this important nest sanitation behavior is not likely motivated by nest predation and highlight the need to explore alternative selective pressures in this context.

RevDate: 2019-04-08

Baniukiewicz M, Dick ZL, PJ Giabbanelli (2018)

Capturing the fast-food landscape in England using large-scale network analysis.

EPJ data science, 7(1):39.

Fast-food outlets play a significant role in the nutrition of British children who get more food from such shops than the school canteen. To reduce young people's access to fast-food meals during the school day, many British cities are implementing zoning policies. For instance, cities can create buffers around schools, and some have used 200 meters buffers while others used 400 meters. But how close is too close? Using the road network is needed to precisely computing the distance between fast-food outlets (for policies limiting the concentration), or fast-food outlets and the closest school (for policies using buffers). This estimates how much of the fast-food landscape could be affected by a policy, and complementary analyses of food utilization can later translate the estimate into changes on childhood nutrition and obesity. Network analyses of retail and urban forms are typically limited to the scale of a city. However, to design national zoning policies, we need to perform this analysis at a national scale. Our study is the first to perform a nation-wide analysis, by linking large datasets (e.g., all roads, fast-food outlets and schools) and performing the analysis over a high performance computing cluster. We found a strong spatial clustering of fast-food outlets (with 80% of outlets being within 120 of another outlet), but much less clustering for schools. Results depend on whether we use the road network on the Euclidean distance (i.e. 'as the crow flies'): for instance, half of the fast-food outlets are found within 240 m of a school using an Euclidean distance, but only one-third at the same distance with the road network. Our findings are consistent across levels of deprivation, which is important to set equitable national policies. In line with previous studies (at the city scale rather than national scale), we also examined the relation between centrality and outlets, as a potential target for policies, but we found no correlation when using closeness or betweenness centrality with either the Spearman or Pearson correlation methods.

RevDate: 2019-04-08

Klump BC, Cantat M, C Rutz (2019)

Raw-material selectivity in hook-tool-crafting New Caledonian crows.

Biology letters, 15(2):20180836.

Animals that manufacture foraging tools face the challenge of identifying suitable raw materials among a multitude of options. New Caledonian crows exhibit strong population-specific material preferences for the manufacture of hooked stick tools, but it is unknown how they identify their favourite plants. We investigated experimentally whether crows pay attention to the stems of plants (from which the tools are made) and/or their leaves (which are usually discarded during manufacture but may enable rapid and reliable species identification at a distance). Subjects were highly selective in choice trials with multiple plant species. Two additional treatments with experimental leaf-stem combinations revealed that birds can identify their preferred plant species by its stems alone, and possibly also its leaves. These findings encourage future experiments that investigate whether New Caledonian crows attend to features of the stem that are required for the production of efficient hooked stick tools. Our study provides one of the most detailed assessments to date of how non-human animals identify raw materials for tool manufacture.

RevDate: 2019-04-08

Muigai W (2019)

"Something Wasn't Clean": Black Midwifery, Birth, and Postwar Medical Education in All My Babies.

Bulletin of the history of medicine, 93(1):82-113.

Set in rural Georgia, the 1953 health film All My Babies: A Midwife's Own Story was a government-sponsored project intended as a training tool for midwives. The film was unique to feature a black midwife and a live birth at a time when southern health officials blamed midwives for the region's infant mortality rates. Produced by the young filmmaker George Stoney, All My Babies was praised for its educational value and, as this article demonstrates, was a popular feature in postwar medical education. Yet as it drew acclaim, the film also sparked debates within and beyond medical settings concerning its portrayal of midwifery, birth, and health care for African Americans. In tracing the controversies over the film's messages and representations, this article argues that All My Babies exemplified the power and limits of health films to address the complexities of race and health during an era of Jim Crow segregation.

RevDate: 2019-04-04

Bocanegra BR, Poletiek FH, Ftitache B, et al (2019)

Intelligent problem-solvers externalize cognitive operations.

Nature human behaviour, 3(2):136-142.

Humans are nature's most intelligent and prolific users of external props and aids (such as written texts, slide-rules and software packages). Here we introduce a method for investigating how people make active use of their task environment during problem-solving and apply this approach to the non-verbal Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices test for fluid intelligence. We designed a click-and-drag version of the Raven test in which participants could create different external spatial configurations while solving the puzzles. In our first study, we observed that the click-and-drag test was better than the conventional static test at predicting academic achievement of university students. This pattern of results was partially replicated in a novel sample. Importantly, environment-altering actions were clustered in between periods of apparent inactivity, suggesting that problem-solvers were delicately balancing the execution of internal and external cognitive operations. We observed a systematic relationship between this critical phasic temporal signature and improved test performance. Our approach is widely applicable and offers an opportunity to quantitatively assess a powerful, although understudied, feature of human intelligence: our ability to use external objects, props and aids to solve complex problems.

RevDate: 2019-04-02

Mostafiz WR, Carley DW, Viana MGC, et al (2019)

Changes in sleep and airway variables in patients with obstructive sleep apnea after mandibular advancement splint treatment.

American journal of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics : official publication of the American Association of Orthodontists, its constituent societies, and the American Board of Orthodontics, 155(4):498-508.

INTRODUCTION: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an extensive public health problem that imposes considerable morbidity. Mandibular advancement splint (MAS) therapy is a well tolerated treatment, but success rates are difficult to predict. Our objective was to investigate the relationship of oropharyngeal airway dimensions, sleep characteristics, patient biometrics, and treatment response within an OSA patient sample.

METHODS: Records of 33 adults were assessed retrospectively with the use of Dolphin 3D and Image J to measure the airway on pretreatment supine cone-beam computed tomography images and derived lateral cephalograms. The patients used Somnodent (Somnomed; Crows Nest, Australia) MAS appliances, which were titrated over 6-8 weeks. Appliance titration measurements and pre- and posttreatment polysomnograms were assessed. Respiratory disturbance index (RDI), absolute and percentage changes in RDI, non-rapid eye movement (NREM) RDI, rapid eye movement (REM) RDI, supine and nonsupine NREM and REM RDI, and minimal blood-oxygen saturation variables were evaluated. The associations of measurements from 2D and 3D minimal anterior-posterior linear distance and 3D airway variables with MAS treatment response were estimated.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Combined effects of baseline total airway volume, body mass index, neck circumference, location of minimal cross sectional area, and OSA severity were associated with treatment response. Patients with higher initial OSA and more superiorly located airway constriction showed enhanced treatment response to MAS therapy. Airway constriction due to maxillofacial disproportions rather than soft tissue obstruction also showed better treatment response. No significant relationships were found in lateral cephalogram measurements.

RevDate: 2019-04-02

Hamner S, Brown BL, Hasan NA, et al (2019)

Metagenomic Profiling of Microbial Pathogens in the Little Bighorn River, Montana.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(7): pii:ijerph16071097.

The Little Bighorn River is the primary source of water for water treatment plants serving the local Crow Agency population, and has special significance in the spiritual and ceremonial life of the Crow tribe. Unfortunately, the watershed suffers from impaired water quality, with high counts of fecal coliform bacteria routinely measured during run-off events. A metagenomic analysis was carried out to identify potential pathogens in the river water. The Oxford Nanopore MinION platform was used to sequence DNA in near real time to identify both uncultured and a coliform-enriched culture of microbes collected from a popular summer swimming area of the Little Bighorn River. Sequences were analyzed using CosmosID bioinformatics and, in agreement with previous studies, enterohemorrhagic and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli and other E. coli pathotypes were identified. Noteworthy was detection and identification of enteroaggregative E. coli O104:H4 and Vibrio cholerae serotype O1 El Tor, however, cholera toxin genes were not identified. Other pathogenic microbes, as well as virulence genes and antimicrobial resistance markers, were also identified and characterized by metagenomic analyses. It is concluded that metagenomics provides a useful and potentially routine tool for identifying in an in-depth manner microbial contamination of waterways and, thereby, protecting public health.

RevDate: 2019-04-01

Boucherie PH, Loretto MC, Massen JJM, et al (2019)

What constitutes "social complexity" and "social intelligence" in birds? Lessons from ravens.

Behavioral ecology and sociobiology, 73(1):12.

In the last decades, the assumption that complex social life is cognitively challenging, and thus can drive mental evolution, has received much support from empirical studies in nonhuman primates. While extending the scope to other mammals and birds, different views have been adopted on what constitutes social complexity and which specific cognitive skills are selected for. Notably, many avian species form "open" groups as non-breeders (i.e., seasonally and before sexual maturity) that have been largely ignored as potential sources of social complexity. Reviewing 30 years of research on ravens, we illustrate the socio-ecological conditions faced by these birds as non-breeders and discuss how these relate to their socio-cognitive skills. We argue that the non-breeding period is key to understand raven social life and, to a larger extent, avian social life in general. We furthermore emphasize how the combination of the large-scale perspective (defining social system components: e.g., social organization, mating system) and the individual-scale perspective on social systems allows to better capture the complete set of social challenges experienced by individuals throughout their life, ultimately resulting on a more comprehensive understanding of species' social complexity.

RevDate: 2019-03-27

Maron JL, Agrawal AA, DW Schemske (2019)

Plant-herbivore coevolution and plant speciation.

Ecology [Epub ahead of print].

More than five decades ago, Ehrlich and Raven (1964) proposed a revolutionary idea-that the evolution of novel plant defense could spur adaptive radiation in plants. Despite motivating much work on plant-herbivore coevolution and defense theory, Ehrlich and Raven never proposed a mechanism for their "escape and radiate" model. Recent intriguing proposals by Marquis et al. (2016) include sympatric divergence, pleiotropic effects of plant defense traits on reproductive isolation, and strong postzygotic isolation, but these may not be general features of herbivore-mediated speciation. An alternate view is that herbivores may impose strong divergent selection on defenses in allopatric plant populations, with plant-herbivore coevolution driving local adaptation resulting in plant speciation. Building on these ideas, we propose three scenarios that consider the role of herbivores in plant speciation. These include: 1) vicariance, subsequent coevolution within populations and adaptive divergence between geographically isolated populations, 2) colonization of a new habitat lacking effective herbivores followed by loss of defense and then re-evolution and coevolution of defense in response to novel herbivores, and 3) evolution of a new defense followed by range expansion, vicariance and coevolution. We discuss the general role of coevolution in plant speciation and consider outstanding issues related to understanding: 1) the mechanisms behind cospeciation of plants and insects, 2) geographic variation in defense phenotypes, 3) how defensive traits and geography map on plant phylogenies, and 4) the role of herbivores in driving character displacement in defense phenotypes of related species in sympatry. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-03-26

Matsui H, EI Izawa (2019)

Control of bill-grasping aperture with varying food size in crows.

Neuroreport [Epub ahead of print].

Grasping movement in primates is known to be a visually guided behavior and the aperture of hand opening is adjusted to the target size on the basis of visual information. The analogous behavior can be found in birds, called 'pecking', consisting of head-reaching and bill-grasping. Bill-grasping has been investigated mainly in pigeons and an aperture adjustment as seen in primates has been reported. This study focused on kinematics of pecking in crows, known to possess dexterous visuomotor skills, to examine whether crows adjust the grasping aperture to food diameter with a kinematic mechanism similar to that in pigeons. The pecking at a small piece of food was video recorded to analyze the grasping aperture. The results showed that the grasping aperture was proportional to food diameter. Kinematic analysis showed that the aperture adjustment was mediated by grasping velocity and grasping duration, which is consistent with the findings of previous research on pecking in pigeons. However, the relative contribution of grasping velocity was much higher than that of grasping duration. Our findings suggest the different sensorimotor mechanisms to control bill-grasping between the avian species with different foraging ecology.

RevDate: 2019-03-26

Knief U, Bossu CM, Saino N, et al (2019)

Epistatic mutations under divergent selection govern phenotypic variation in the crow hybrid zone.

Nature ecology & evolution pii:10.1038/s41559-019-0847-9 [Epub ahead of print].

The evolution of genetic barriers opposing interspecific gene flow is key to the origin of new species. Drawing from information on over 400 admixed genomes sourced from replicate transects across the European hybrid zone between all-black carrion crows and grey-coated hooded crows, we decipher the interplay between phenotypic divergence and selection at the molecular level. Over 68% of plumage variation was explained by epistasis between the gene NDP and a ~2.8-megabase region on chromosome 18 with suppressed recombination. Both pigmentation loci showed evidence for divergent selection resisting introgression. This study reveals how few, large-effect loci can govern prezygotic isolation and shield phenotypic divergence from gene flow.

RevDate: 2019-03-26

Dobson AE, Schmidt DJ, JM Hughes (2019)

Heritability of plumage colour morph variation in a wild population of promiscuous, long-lived Australian magpies.

Heredity pii:10.1038/s41437-019-0212-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Colour polymorphisms have evolutionary significance for the generation and maintenance of species diversity. Demonstrating heritability of polymorphic traits can be challenging for wild populations of long-lived species because accurate information is required on trait expression and familial relationships. The Australian magpie Cracticus tibicen has a continent-wide distribution featuring several distinct plumage morphs, differing primarily in colour of back feathers. Black or white-backed morphs occur in eastern Australia, with intermediate morphs common in a narrow hybrid zone where the two morphs meet. This study investigated heritability of back colour phenotypes in a hybrid zone population (Seymour, Victoria) based on long-term observational data and DNA samples collected over an 18 year period (1993-2010). High extra-pair paternity (~ 36% offspring), necessitated verification of parent-offspring relationships by parentage analysis. A total of 538 birds (221 parents and 317 offspring) from 36 territories were analysed. Back colour was a continuous trait scored on a five-morph scale in the field (0-4). High and consistent estimates of back colour heritability (h2) were obtained via weighted mid-parent regression (h2 = 0.94) and by animal models (h2 = 0.92, C.I. 0.80-0.99). Single-parent heritability estimates indicated neither maternal nor paternal non-genetic effects (e.g., parent body condition) played a large role in determining offspring back colour, and environmental effects of territory group and cohort contributed little to trait heritability. Distinctive back colouration of the Australian magpie behaves as a quantitative trait that is likely polygenic, although mechanisms responsible for maintaining these geographically structured morphs and the hybrid zone where they meet are unknown.

RevDate: 2019-03-25

Milakovich J, Simonds VW, Held S, et al (2018)

Children as Agents of Change: Parent Perceptions of Child-driven Environmental Health Communication in the Crow Community.

Journal of health disparities research and practice, 11(3):115-127.

RevDate: 2019-03-25

Wu T, Shen H, Sheng Y, et al (2019)

Use of cognitive correction training improves learning for children with mathematics learning disability.

Applied neuropsychology. Child [Epub ahead of print].

Children with normal intelligence may experience varying degrees of mathematics learning disabilities (MD). This study aims to conduct training to improve the brain's cognitive ability for mathematics learning by focusing on two important mathematical cognitive abilities. This was a prospective study of 70 children in grades 2-5 from two primary schools in Changzhou and with MD enrolled from June 2015 to February 2017. The children were randomized 1:1 to the training and control groups. A training cycle included 40 sessions (5/weeks) (30 min each session). The efficacy of learning was assessed by assessing number learning and graph reasoning, and by using the Raven standard reasoning test score. In the training group, backward number memory (from 6.1 ± 1.8 to 6.7 ± 1.3, P = 0.02), number sequential connection (from 54.4 ± 14.5 to 47.1 ± 12.1, P < 0.01), and rapid graph judgment (from 531.9 ± 76.3 to 557.8 ± 85.7, P = 0.04) were improved by training, while there was no effect on forward number memory (P = 0.13). There were significant differences in total score and scores of b, c, and e series before and after training (all P < 0.05). The children in the control group had no improvement after 8 weeks. There was a correlation between the ability of rapid graphic judgment before and after training and the score of the Raven E series (r = 0.384, P = 0.024), and between the score of the Raven C series and the score of the Raven D series (r = 0.468, P = 0.013). Cognitive correction training improved the sensitivity to numbers and mathematics learning in children with MD.

RevDate: 2019-03-20

Policht R, Hart V, Goncharov D, et al (2019)

Vocal recognition of a nest-predator in black grouse.

PeerJ, 7:e6533 pii:6533.

Corvids count among the important predators of bird nests. They are vocal animals and one can expect that birds threatened by their predation, such as black grouse, are sensitive to and recognize their calls. Within the framework of field studies, we noticed that adult black grouse were alerted by raven calls during periods outside the breeding season. Since black grouse are large, extremely precocial birds, this reaction can hardly be explained by sensitization specifically to the threat of nest predation by ravens. This surprising observation prompted us to study the phenomenon more systematically. According to our knowledge, the response of birds to corvid vocalization has been studied in altricial birds only. We tested whether the black grouse distinguishes and responds specifically to playback calls of the common raven. Black grouse recognized raven calls and were alerted, displaying typical neck stretching, followed by head scanning, and eventual escape. Surprisingly, males tended to react faster and exhibited a longer duration of vigilance behavior compared to females. Although raven calls are recognized by adult black grouse out of the nesting period, they are not directly endangered by the raven. We speculate that the responsiveness of adult grouse to raven calls might be explained as a learned response in juveniles from nesting hens that is then preserved in adults, or by a known association between the raven and the red fox. In that case, calls of the raven would be rather interpreted as a warning signal of probable proximity of the red fox.

RevDate: 2019-03-19

Bugnyar T (2019)

Tool Use: New Caledonian Crows Engage in Mental Planning.

Current biology : CB, 29(6):R200-R202.

New Caledonian crows are able to flexibly use different tools in a sequence to retrieve food, whereby each step is out-of-sight of the others. Mental planning is thus not a human-specific trait.

RevDate: 2019-03-16

Triantafyllidou E, Moraitou D, Kaklamanaki E, et al (2019)

Retrogenetic models of working memory: Preliminary multi-group analysis.

Hellenic journal of nuclear medicine, 22 Suppl:4-16.

AIM: The aim of the present study was the qualitative comparison of working memory capacity of young children and older adults through the investigation of the latent structure stability or change in Working Memory capacity (WM) in childhood and aging, using Multiple Group Confirmatory Factor Analysis (MGCFA).

METHOD: The sample consisted of 62 kindergarten and 56 elementary school students (age range: 4-8 years) and 52 young-old adults and 54 old-old adults (age range: 60-94 years). Adults were asked to complete the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Geriatric Depression Scale-15 (GDS-15) as screening tests. The children were examined via the Raven Colored Progressive Matrix (CMP) test for the same reason. WM was examined via four measures of Working Memory Test Battery for Children (WMTB-C).

RESULTS: MGCFA applied to the data of the kindergarten students' subsample, elementary school students' subsample, young-old and old-old adults' subsamples as well as of older adults with low (0-9 years of education) educational level. Initially, through MGCFA, four "models" were confirmed, one for each age-related subsample, and they were different from each other. However, when the same method was applied exclusively to young-old and old-old adults with low educational level, the models that emerged were similar to the kindergarten students' model.

CONCLUSION: When we "keep" the educational level equal (low) for all, the hypothesis of retrogenesis is confirmed. Cognitive reserve appears to be protective, keeping differentiated WM's components in every age group other than that of kindergarten students. The results support the "retrogenetic" hypothesis, mainly due to the finding of a delay in WM components' development in the group of kindergarten students, and their dedifferentiation in the low-educated young-old and old-old adults.

RevDate: 2019-03-14

Gutiérrez-López R, Martínez-de la Puente J, Gangoso L, et al (2019)

Effects of host sex, body mass and infection by avian Plasmodium on the biting rate of two mosquito species with different feeding preferences.

Parasites & vectors, 12(1):87 pii:10.1186/s13071-019-3342-x.

BACKGROUND: The transmission of mosquito-borne pathogens is strongly influenced by the contact rates between mosquitoes and susceptible hosts. The biting rates of mosquitoes depend on different factors including the mosquito species and host-related traits (i.e. odour, heat and behaviour). However, host characteristics potentially affecting intraspecific differences in the biting rate of mosquitoes are poorly known. Here, we assessed the impact of three host-related traits on the biting rate of two mosquito species with different feeding preferences: the ornithophilic Culex pipiens and the mammophilic Ochlerotatus (Aedes) caspius. Seventy-two jackdaws Corvus monedula and 101 house sparrows Passer domesticus were individually exposed to mosquito bites to test the effect of host sex, body mass and infection status by the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium on biting rates.

RESULTS: Ochlerotatus caspius showed significantly higher biting rates than Cx. pipiens on jackdaws, but non-significant differences were found on house sparrows. In addition, more Oc. caspius fed on female than on male jackdaws, while no differences were found for Cx. pipiens. The biting rate of mosquitoes on house sparrows increased through the year. The bird infection status and body mass of both avian hosts were not related to the biting rate of both mosquito species.

CONCLUSIONS: Host sex was the only host-related trait potentially affecting the biting rate of mosquitoes, although its effect may differ between mosquito and host species.

RevDate: 2019-03-09

Shimmura T, Tamura M, Ohashi S, et al (2019)

Cholecystokinin induces crowing in chickens.

Scientific reports, 9(1):3978 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-40746-9.

Animals that communicate using sound are found throughout the animal kingdom. Interestingly, in contrast to human vocal learning, most animals can produce species-specific patterns of vocalization without learning them from their parents. This phenomenon is called innate vocalization. The underlying molecular basis of both vocal learning in humans and innate vocalization in animals remains unknown. The crowing of a rooster is also innately controlled, and the upstream center is thought to be localized in the nucleus intercollicularis (ICo) of the midbrain. Here, we show that the cholecystokinin B receptor (CCKBR) is a regulatory gene involved in inducing crowing in roosters. Crowing is known to be a testosterone (T)-dependent behavior, and it follows that roosters crow but not hens. Similarly, T-administration induces chicks to crow. By using RNA-sequencing to compare gene expression in the ICo between the two comparison groups that either crow or do not crow, we found that CCKBR expression was upregulated in T-containing groups. The expression of CCKBR and its ligand, cholecystokinin (CCK), a neurotransmitter, was observed in the ICo. We also showed that crowing was induced by intracerebroventricular administration of an agonist specific for CCKBR. Our findings therefore suggest that the CCK system induces innate vocalization in roosters.

RevDate: 2019-03-08

Uhl F, Ringler M, Miller R, et al (2019)

Counting crows: population structure and group size variation in an urban population of crows.

Behavioral ecology : official journal of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology, 30(1):57-67.

Social complexity arises from the formation of social relationships like social bonds and dominance hierarchies. In turn, these aspects may be affected by the degree of fission-fusion dynamics, i.e., changes in group size and composition over time. Whilst fission-fusion dynamics has been studied in mammals, birds have received comparably little attention, despite some species having equally complex social lives. Here, we investigated the influence of environmental factors on aspects of fission-fusion dynamics in a free-ranging population of carrion and hooded crows (Corvus corone ssp.) in the urban zoo of Vienna, Austria over a 1-year period. We investigated 1) the size and 2) spatio-temporal structure of the local flock, and 3) environmental influences on local flock and subgroup size. The local flock size varied considerably over the year, with fewest birds being present during the breeding season. The spatio-temporal structure of the local flock showed 4 distinct presence categories, of which the proportions changed significantly throughout the year. Environmental effects on both local flock and subgroup size were time of day, season, temperature, and weather, with additional pronounced effects of the structure of the surroundings and age class on subgroup size. Our findings show environmental influences on party size at the local flock and subgroup level, as well as indications of structured party composition in respect to the 4 presence categories. These results suggest that environmental factors have significant effects on fission-fusion dynamics in free-ranging crows, thereby influencing social complexity.

RevDate: 2019-03-07

Jelbert SA, Hosking RJ, Taylor AH, et al (2019)

Publisher Correction: Mental template matching is a potential cultural transmission mechanism for New Caledonian crow tool manufacturing traditions.

Scientific reports, 9(1):4151 pii:10.1038/s41598-018-37178-2.

A correction to this article has been published and is linked from the HTML and PDF versions of this paper. The error has been fixed in the paper.

RevDate: 2019-03-05

Cortes-Rodriguez N, Campana MG, Berry L, et al (2019)

Population Genomics and Structure of the Critically Endangered Mariana Crow (Corvus kubaryi).

Genes, 10(3): pii:genes10030187.

The Mariana Crow, or Åga (Corvus kubaryi), is a critically endangered species (IUCN -International Union for Conservation of Nature), endemic to the islands of Guam and Rota in the Mariana Archipelago. It is locally extinct on Guam, and numbers have declined dramatically on Rota to a historical low of less than 55 breeding pairs throughout the island in 2013. Because of its extirpation on Guam and population decline on Rota, it is of critical importance to assess the genetic variation among individuals to assist ongoing recovery efforts. We conducted a population genomics analysis comparing the Guam and Rota populations and studied the genetic structure of the Rota population. We used blood samples from five birds from Guam and 78 birds from Rota. We identified 145,552 candidate single nucleotide variants (SNVs) from a genome sequence of an individual from Rota and selected a subset of these to develop an oligonucleotide in-solution capture assay. The Guam and Rota populations were genetically differentiated from each other. Crow populations sampled broadly across their range on Rota showed significant genetic structuring ⁻ a surprising result given the small size of this island and the good flight capabilities of the species. Knowledge of its genetic structure will help improve management strategies to help with its recovery.

RevDate: 2019-02-25

McCune KB, Jablonski P, Lee SI, et al (2019)

Captive jays exhibit reduced problem-solving performance compared to wild conspecifics.

Royal Society open science, 6(1):181311 pii:rsos181311.

Animal cognitive abilities are frequently quantified in strictly controlled settings, with laboratory-reared subjects. Results from these studies have merit for clarifying proximate mechanisms of performance and the potential upper limits of certain cognitive abilities. Researchers often assume that performance on laboratory-based assessments accurately represents the abilities of wild conspecifics, but this is infrequently tested. In this experiment, we quantified the performance of wild and captive corvid subjects on an extractive foraging task. We found that performance was not equivalent, and wild subjects were faster at problem-solving to extract the food reward. By contrast, there was no difference in the time it took for captive and wild solvers to repeat the behaviour to get additional food rewards (learning speed). Our findings differ from the few other studies that have statistically compared wild and captive performance on assessments of problem-solving and learning. This indicates that without explicitly testing it, we cannot assume that captive animal performance on experimental tasks can be generalized to the species as a whole. To better understand the causes and consequences of a variety of animal cognitive abilities, we should measure performance in the social and physical environment in which the ability in question evolved.

RevDate: 2019-02-25

L'Herpiniere KL, O'Neill LG, Russell AF, et al (2019)

Unscrambling variation in avian eggshell colour and patterning in a continent-wide study.

Royal Society open science, 6(1):181269 pii:rsos181269.

The evolutionary drivers underlying marked variation in the pigmentation of eggs within many avian species remains unclear. The leading hypotheses proposed to explain such variation advocate the roles of genetic differences, signalling and/or structural integrity. One means of testing among these hypotheses is to capitalize on museum collections of eggs obtained throughout a broad geographical range of a species to ensure sufficient variation in predictors pertaining to each hypothesis. Here, we measured coloration and patterning in eggs from 272 clutches of Australian magpies (Cracticus tibicen) collected across most of their geographical range of ca 7 million km2; encompassing eight subspecies, variation in environmental parameters, and the presence/absence of a brood parasite. We found considerable variation in background colour, as well as in the extent and distribution of patterning across eggs. There was little evidence that this variation was explained by subspecies or the contemporary presence of a brood parasite. However, measures of maximum temperature, leaf area index and soil calcium all contributed to variation in egg appearance, although their explanatory power was relatively low. Our results suggest that multiple factors combine to influence egg appearance in this species, and that even in species with highly variable eggs, coloration is not readily explained.

RevDate: 2019-02-20

Anderson YC, Kirkpatrick K, Dolan GMS, et al (2019)

Do changes in weight status affect cognitive function in children and adolescents with obesity? A secondary analysis of a clinical trial.

BMJ open, 9(2):e021586 pii:bmjopen-2018-021586.

OBJECTIVES: It is unclear whether an association exists between obesity in children/adolescents and cognitive function, and whether the latter can be altered by body mass index (BMI) standard deviation score (SDS) reductions. We aimed to determine whether an association exists between BMI SDS and cognitive function in children/adolescents with obesity engaged in an obesity intervention. Second, we sought to determine if BMI SDS reduction at 12 months was associated with improved cognitive function.

DESIGN: Secondary analysis of a clinical trial.

PARTICIPANTS: Participants (n=69) were recruited from an obesity intervention. Eligible participants (recruited June 2013 to June 2015) were aged 6-16 years, with a BMI ≥98th centile or BMI >91st centile with weight-related comorbidities.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcome measure was change in BMI SDS from baseline at 12 months. Dependent variables of cognitive functioning and school achievement were assessed at baseline and 12 months, using dependent variables of cognitive functioning (elements of Ravens Standard Progressive Matrices, Wide Range Achievement Test-fourth edition and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-fourth edition).

RESULTS: At baseline, BMI SDS was not associated with all aspects of cognitive function tested (n=69). Reductions in BMI SDS over time did not alter cognitive function overall. However, there was a greater reduction in comprehension standard scores in participants who increased their BMI SDS (adjusted estimated difference -6.1, 95% CI -11.6 to -0.6; p=0.03).

CONCLUSIONS: There were no observed associations between BMI SDS and cognitive function in participants, apart from comprehension in the exploratory analyses, which may have been a random finding. Further studies need to include larger longitudinal cohorts incorporating a wider BMI range at entry to determine whether our findings persist.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ANZCTR12611000862943; Pre-results.

RevDate: 2019-02-18

Hong K, Wong IYH, Singh K, et al (2019)

Corneal Biomechanics Using a Scheimpflug-Based Noncontact Device in Normal-Tension Glaucoma and Healthy Controls.

Asia-Pacific journal of ophthalmology (Philadelphia, Pa.) [Epub ahead of print].

PURPOSE: To determine if a novel biomechanical parameter, corneal applanation velocity, as measured by the Corvis ST, is associated with a diagnosis of normal-tension glaucoma (NTG).

DESIGN: Prospective, cross-sectional study.

METHODS: Study and control subjects were recruited from the ophthalmology clinic of a university teaching hospital in Hong Kong over an 8-week period in 2013. A total of 80 eyes with NTG diagnosis and 155 healthy eyes randomly selected to be in the control group were included in the final analysis. All subjects underwent corneal biomechanical testing with the Oculus Corvis ST non-contact tonometer. Logistic regression analysis adjusted for age and central corneal thickness was conducted to assess the relationship between inward and outward applanation velocity and the risk of NTG. Secondary outcome variables included corneal applanation time, length, amplitude, and highest concavity.

RESULTS: Inward applanation velocity was faster in the NTG eyes (0.15 ± 0.02 m/s) than in the control eyes (0.14 ± 0.02 m/s) (P = 0.016). The odds ratio for a 0.01 m/s increase in inward applanation velocity when comparing NTG eyes with control eyes adjusted for age and central corneal thickness was 1.15 (95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.30) (P = 0.016). There was no evidence that outward applanation velocity or any secondary corneal biomechanical variable differed between the NTG and control eyes.

CONCLUSIONS: Normal-tension glaucoma eyes demonstrated a small, statistically significant faster corneal inward applanation velocity than normal control eyes.

RevDate: 2019-02-14

Bauch C, Boonekamp JJ, Korsten P, et al (2019)

Epigenetic inheritance of telomere length in wild birds.

PLoS genetics, 15(2):e1007827 pii:PGENETICS-D-18-01652.

Telomere length (TL) predicts health and survival across taxa. Variation in TL between individuals is thought to be largely of genetic origin, but telomere inheritance is unusual, because zygotes already express a TL phenotype, the TL of the parental gametes. Offspring TL changes with paternal age in many species including humans, presumably through age-related TL changes in sperm, suggesting an epigenetic inheritance mechanism. However, present evidence is based on cross-sectional analyses, and age at reproduction is confounded with between-father variation in TL. Furthermore, the quantitative importance of epigenetic TL inheritance is unknown. Using longitudinal data of free-living jackdaws Corvus monedula, we show that erythrocyte TL of subsequent offspring decreases with parental age within individual fathers, but not mothers. By cross-fostering eggs, we confirmed the paternal age effect to be independent of paternal age dependent care. Epigenetic inheritance accounted for a minimum of 34% of the variance in offspring TL that was explained by paternal TL. This is a minimum estimate, because it ignores the epigenetic component in paternal TL variation and sperm TL heterogeneity within ejaculates. Our results indicate an important epigenetic component in the heritability of TL with potential consequences for offspring fitness prospects.

RevDate: 2019-02-12

Gruber R, Schiestl M, Boeckle M, et al (2019)

New Caledonian Crows Use Mental Representations to Solve Metatool Problems.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(19)30010-7 [Epub ahead of print].

One of the mysteries of animal problem-solving is the extent to which animals mentally represent problems in their minds. Humans can imagine both the solution to a problem and the stages along the way [1-3], such as when we plan one or two moves ahead in chess. The extent to which other animals can do the same is far less clear [4-25]. Here, we presented New Caledonian crows with a series of metatool problems where each stage was out of sight of the others and the crows had to avoid either a distractor apparatus containing a non-functional tool or a non-functional apparatus containing a functional tool. Crows were able to mentally represent the sub-goals and goals of metatool problems: crows kept in mind the location and identities of out-of-sight tools and apparatuses while planning and performing a sequence of tool behaviors. This provides the first conclusive evidence that birds can plan several moves ahead while using tools.

RevDate: 2019-02-08

de Luna-Dias C, SP de Carvalho-E-Silva (2019)

Calls of Boanalatistriata (Caramaschi & Cruz, 2004) (Amphibia, Anura, Hylidae), an endemic tree frog from the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

ZooKeys.

Bioacoustical data are useful for studying amphibians, especially their conservation, taxonomy, and evolution, among others. Of the 12 species of the Boanapolytaenia clade, only B.buriti and B.latistriata have no published information about their advertisement calls. We recorded four males of B.latistriata in its type locality at Parque Nacional do Itatiaia, south-eastern Brazil. We used a Roland R26 digital recorder with a Sennheiser ME-67 microphone and analysed the recordings using the Raven Pro 1.5 software. We recorded two different types of calls (call A and call B). Both were composed of one pulsed note and presented a slightly ascending-descending frequency modulation. Call A was more frequent, having durations between 0.042 and 0.093 s with the dominant frequency ranging from 3375.0 to 3937.5 Hz, and was composed of 11 to 21 pulses separated by intervals that were not fully silent. Call B had durations between 0.711 and 1.610 s, with dominant frequency from 3281.2 to 3750.0 Hz, and was composed of 11 to 29 pulses separated by fully silent intervals. Among the B.polytaenia clade, the calls of B.latistriata are more similar to those of B.bandeirantes, B.beckeri, B.polytaenia, and B.aff.beckeri. The calls of B.latistriata differ from these species in its lower dominant frequency. Boanalatistriata present a short, single-note call with a lower pulse period (call A) and a long call with higher pulse period (call B), which differ from the other species of the clade. The coefficients of variation for the various bioacoustical attributes were calculated within- and between-males and these have been discussed. We also report a fight event between two males of B.latistriata. This is the first report of a fight in members of the B.polytaenia clade.

RevDate: 2019-02-07

Veiga IMB, Lüschow D, Gutzer S, et al (2019)

Phylogenetic relationship of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale isolated from poultry and diverse avian hosts based on 16S rRNA and rpoB gene analyses.

BMC microbiology, 19(1):31 pii:10.1186/s12866-019-1395-9.

BACKGROUND: Ornithobacterium (O.) rhinotracheale is an emerging bacterial pathogen in poultry and not fully understood to date. Because of its importance particularly for the global turkey meat industry, reliable diagnostic and characterization methods are needed for early treatment and in future for better vaccine production. The host range of birds infected by O. rhinotracheale or carrying the bacterium in their respiratory tract has constantly increased raising important epidemiological and taxonomic questions for a better understanding of its diversity, ecology and transmission cycles. The purpose of this study was to introduce partial rpoB gene sequencing for O. rhinotracheale into routine diagnostics to differentiate strains isolated from poultry and more diverse avian hosts (i.e., birds of prey, corvids and pigeons) and to compare phylogenetic relationships with results from 16S rRNA gene analysis and multilocus sequence typing (MLST).

RESULTS: Partial 16S rRNA gene analysis revealed a high level of homogeneity among the 65 investigated O. rhinotracheale sequences with similarity values ranging from 98.6 to 100% between sequences from non-galliform and poultry species. The corresponding rpoB gene sequences were heterogeneous and ranged in their similarity values from 85.1 to 100%. The structure of the rpoB tree was in strong correlation with previous MLST results revealing three main clusters A (poultry and birds of prey), B (poultry, birds of prey and corvids) and C (pigeons), which were clearly separated from each other.

CONCLUSIONS: By using partial sequences from a single gene, the rpoB gene analysis is in good agreement with MLST results with a slight decrease in resolution to distinguish more similar strains. The present results provide strong evidence that traditional phenotypic and genetic methods may not properly represent the heterogeneous group of bacteria classified as O. rhinotracheale. From housekeeping gene analyses, it is very likely that the genus Ornithobacterium includes additional species and partial rpoB gene sequencing can be recommended as fast, cost-effective and readily available method to identify strains and differentiate between O. rhinotracheale and Ornithobacterium-like bacteria.

RevDate: 2019-02-06

Shaver JB, Agudelo P, SB Martin (2013)

First Report of Stubby Root Caused by Trichodorus obtusus on Zoysiagrass and Bermudagrass in South Carolina.

Plant disease, 97(6):852.

In September 2011, diagnostic samples were taken from 'Tifway' Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis) tees and from 'Emerald' Zoysia (Zoysia japonica) roughs of a golf course in Charleston, SC. Additional samples were taken from a sod farm located near Charleston, SC from a field of 'Empire' Zoysia. The soil was sandy loam and the samples were taken at a depth of 10 to 15 cm from symptomatic turf. Symptoms on bermudagrass and zoysiagrass included stubby roots and lightly to severely chlorotic or dead patches of irregular sizes and shapes. Nematodes were extracted by sugar centrifugal-flotation and counted. The predominant nematode species recovered was Trichodorus obtusus Cobb, 1913: syn. T. proximus Allen, 1957, n.syn. (3). Nematode densities (per 100 cm3 of soil) were 30 to 170 (average 94, n = 5) at the sod farm, and 30 to 230 (average 107, n = 7) at the golf course. This nematode has been reported as a pathogen of bermudagrass in Florida, where it is more damaging than Paratrichodorus minor, the other stubby root nematode commonly associated with turfgrass (1). In Florida, 120 T. obtusus individuals per 100 cm3 is considered high risk (2). We have encountered several additional samples from across South Carolina with comparable densities since our first diagnosis. Infested soil (94 individuals per 100 cm3) collected from the sod farm was put into columns and planted with 'Empire' sod and maintained in the greenhouse. After 140 days, the population density increased to an average of 230 individuals per 100 cm3. Plants were prone to wilting and new root growth showed symptoms similar to those observed in the field. Morphologic and morphometric identification of T. obtusus was made by examining male and female specimens in temporary water mounts. Males had ventrally curved spicules with three ventral precloacal papillae, with the posterior papilla just anterior to the head of the retracted spicules, one ventromedian cervical papilla anterior to the excretory pore, and tail with non-thickened terminal cuticle. Females had a deep, barrel-shaped, pore-like vulva, and one or two postadvulvar lateral body pores on each side. Males and females had distinctly offset esophagus. Females (n = 10) were 1,100 to 1,440 (1,250) μm long, body width 40 to 53 (45) μm, onchiostyle 63 to 75 (67) μm, and V 583 to 770 (673) μm. Males (n = 10) were 1,076 to 1,353 (1,222) μm long, body width 33 to 45 (39) μm, onchiostyle 62 to 69 (65) μm, and spicule 55 to 63 (59) μm. From individuals representing the two locations, an 898-bp section of the 18S rDNA region was sequenced using primers 37F (5'-GCCGCGAAAAGCTCATTACAAC-3') and 932R (5'-TATCTGATCGCTGTCGAACC-3') (4). A BLASTn search revealed no similar sequences to those of our two populations (Accessions JX289834 and JX279930). As such, it appears that these are the first sequences of this portion of the 18S rDNA for T. obtusus, although a different, non-overlapping portion of 18S was found in GenBank (AY146460) under the synonym T. proximus. To our knowledge, this is the first report of T. obtusus on zoysiagrass and the first report of the species on bermudagrass in South Carolina. References: (1) W. T. Crow and J. K. Welch. Nematropica 34:31, 2004. (2) W. T. Crow et al. Florida Nematode Management Guide. SP-54. University of Florida, Gainesville, 2003. (3) W. Decraemer. The Family Trichodoridae: Stubby Root and Virus Vector Nematodes. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. Pp. 27-30, 1995. (4) I. Duarte et al. Nematology 12:171, 2010.

RevDate: 2019-02-06

Titah HS, Abdullah SRS, Idris M, et al (2018)

Arsenic Resistance and Biosorption by Isolated Rhizobacteria from the Roots of Ludwigia octovalvis.

International journal of microbiology, 2018:3101498.

Certain rhizobacteria can be applied to remove arsenic in the environment through bioremediation or phytoremediation. This study determines the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of arsenic on identified rhizobacteria that were isolated from the roots of Ludwigia octovalvis (Jacq.) Raven. The arsenic biosorption capability of the was also analyzed. Among the 10 isolated rhizobacteria, five were Gram-positive (Arthrobacter globiformis, Bacillus megaterium, Bacillus cereus, Bacillus pumilus, and Staphylococcus lentus), and five were Gram-negative (Enterobacter asburiae, Sphingomonas paucimobilis, Pantoea spp., Rhizobium rhizogenes, and Rhizobium radiobacter). R. radiobacter showed the highest MIC of >1,500 mg/L of arsenic. All the rhizobacteria were capable of absorbing arsenic, and S. paucimobilis showed the highest arsenic biosorption capability (146.4 ± 23.4 mg/g dry cell weight). Kinetic rate analysis showed that B. cereus followed the pore diffusion model (R2 = 0.86), E. asburiae followed the pseudo-first-order kinetic model (R2 = 0.99), and R. rhizogenes followed the pseudo-second-order kinetic model (R2 = 0.93). The identified rhizobacteria differ in their mechanism of arsenic biosorption, arsenic biosorption capability, and kinetic models in arsenic biosorption.

RevDate: 2019-02-05

Wu CC, Klaesson A, Buskas J, et al (2019)

In situ quantification of individual mRNA transcripts in melanocytes discloses gene regulation of relevance to speciation.

The Journal of experimental biology pii:jeb.194431 [Epub ahead of print].

Functional validation of candidate genes involved in adaptation and speciation remains challenging. We here exemplify the utility of a method quantifying individual mRNA transcripts in revealing the molecular basis of divergence in feather pigment synthesis during early-stage speciation in crows. Using a padlock probe assay combined with rolling circle amplification, we quantified cell type specific gene expression in the histological context of growing feather follicles. Expression of Tyrosinase Related Protein 1 (TYRP1), Solute Carrier Family 45 member 2 (SLC45A2) and Hematopoietic Prostaglandin D Synthase (HPGDS) was melanocyte-limited and significantly reduced in follicles from hooded crow explaining the substantially lower eumelanin content in grey vs. black feathers. The central upstream Melanocyte Inducing Transcription Factor (MITF) only showed differential expression specific to melanocytes - a feature not captured by bulk RNA-seq. Overall, this study provides insight into the molecular basis of an evolutionary young transition in pigment synthesis, and demonstrates the power of histologically explicit, statistically substantiated single-cell gene expression quantification for functional genetic inference in natural populations.

RevDate: 2019-02-03

Asghari A, Sadraei J, Pirestani M, et al (2019)

First molecular identification and subtype distribution of Blastocystis sp. isolated from hooded crows (Corvus cornix) and pigeons (Columba livia) in Tehran Province, Iran.

Comparative immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases, 62:25-30.

Blastocystis is a common intestinal parasite among humans and animals such as non-human primates, pigs, cattle, birds, amphibians, and less frequently, rats, reptiles and insects. Since Blastocystis is a widely transmissible parasite between humans and mammals or birds, it is prominent to determine whether newly secluded non-human isolates are zoonotic. There are no comprehensive studies in Iran assessing the prevalence and molecular identification of Blastocystis infection in birds, especially in pigeons and crows. So, the aim of this study was to identify Blastocystis subtypes (STs) in crows and pigeons in Tehran province, Iran, using Nested PCR-RFLP and sequencing. Overall, 300 Blastocystis isolates from birds (156 pigeons and 144 crows) were subtyped by PCR, and the homology among isolates was then confirmed by RFLP analysis of the 18S rRNA gene. The prevalence of Blastocystis infection was detected 42.9% in pigeons and 44.4% in crows. All positive pigeons were owned by ST13 (100%). Among crows, 46 samples (71.8%) like pigeons were ST13, and 13 samples (20.3%) were ST14. Five samples (7.9%) remained unknown. This study was the first report of ST13 and ST14 of Blastocystis from birds. In the present study, our data revealed a high prevalence of Blastocystis sp. in pigeon's and crow's samples and the isolates from these birds were classified into two genetically distinct STs. Therefore, birds appear to be infected with various STs. It is important to determine the phylogenetic relationships between unknown STs from these birds and the multiple STs of Blastocystis.

RevDate: 2019-02-01

Gryz J, D Krauze-Gryz (2019)

Indirect Influence of African Swine Fever Outbreak on the Raven (Corvus corax) Population.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 9(2): pii:ani9020041.

Carrion plays a crucial role in the raven's diet. In the past, domestic pig carrion was widely available in Poland. This changed with an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak and the introduction of strict procedures aimed at stopping the virus from spreading. We compared data from Central Poland (field and forest mosaic, study area of 105 km²) for two periods, i.e., before (2011⁻2014) and after the ASF outbreak (2015⁻2018). In breeding seasons, nests of ravens were found, juveniles were counted, and the time when juveniles left their nests was recorded. Diet composition data were based on pellet analysis and direct observations of feeding birds. The number of breeding pairs dropped from 12.3 to 7.5 in the second period. Breeding parameters were similar. However, birds in the second period had fewer fledglings per successful pair. Domestic pig carrion was found to be an important food item, and with its limited supply, ravens changed their diet, i.e., they fed on the carrion of dogs and cats or preyed on small vertebrates more often. Overall, our study points to a crucial role of the availability of the carrion of big farm animals (i.e., domestic pig) in maintaining the high density of breeding raven populations.

RevDate: 2019-01-30

Sen S, Parishar P, Pundir AS, et al (2019)

The Expression of Tyrosine Hydroxylase and DARPP-32 in the House Crow (Corvus splendens) brain.

The Journal of comparative neurology [Epub ahead of print].

Birds of the family Corvidae which includes diverse species such as crows, rooks, ravens, magpies, jays and jackdaws are known for their amazing abilities at problem-solving. Since the catecholaminergic system, especially the neurotransmitter dopamine, plays a role in cognition, we decided to study the distribution of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of catecholamines in the brain of house crows (Corvus splendens). We also studied the expression of DARPP-32 (dopamine and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein), which is expressed in dopaminoceptive neurons. Our results demonstrated that as in other avian species, the expression of both TH and DARPP-32 was highest in the house crow striatum. The caudolateral nidopallium (NCL, the avian analogue of the mammalian prefrontal cortex) could be differentiated from the surrounding pallial regions based on a larger number of TH-positive 'baskets' of fibers around neurons in this region and greater intensity of DARPP-32 staining in the neuropil in this region. House crows also possessed distinct nuclei in their brains which corresponded to song control regions in other songbirds. Whereas immunoreactivity for TH was higher in the vocal control region Area X compared to the surrounding MSt (medial striatum) in house crows, staining in RA and HVC was not as prominent. Further, the arcopallial song control regions RA (nucleus robustus arcopallialis) and AId (intermediate arcopallium) were strikingly negative for DARPP-32 staining, in contrast to the surrounding arcopallium. Patterns of immunoreactivity for TH and DARPP-32 in 'limbic' areas such as the hippocampus, septum and extended amygdala have also been described. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-01-29

Ruiz-Ripa L, Gómez P, Alonso CA, et al (2019)

Detection of MRSA of Lineages CC130-mecC and CC398-mecA and Staphylococcus delphini-lnu(A) in Magpies and Cinereous Vultures in Spain.

Microbial ecology pii:10.1007/s00248-019-01328-4 [Epub ahead of print].

The aim of this study was to determine the carriage rate of coagulase-positive staphylococci (CoPS) in wild birds and to characterize recovered isolates. Tracheal samples from 324 wild birds, obtained in different Spanish regions during 2015-2016, were screened for CoPS carriage. The antimicrobial resistance profile and the virulence gene content were investigated. Molecular typing was performed by spa, agr, MLST, SCCmec, and S. delphini group classification. CoPS were recovered from 26 samples of wild birds (8.3%), and 27 isolates were further characterized. Two CoPS species were detected: S. aureus (n = 15; eight cinereous vultures and seven magpies) and S. delphini (n = 12; 11 cinereous vultures and one red kite). Thirteen S. aureus were methicillin-resistant (MRSA) and the remaining two strains were methicillin-susceptible (MSSA). Twelve MRSA were mecC-positive, typed as t843-ST1583/ST1945/ST1581/ST1571 (n = 11) and t1535-ST1945 (n = 1) (all of clonal-complex CC130); they were susceptible to the non-β-lactams tested. The remaining MRSA strain carried the mecA gene, was typed as t011-ST398-CC398-agrI-SCCmec-V, and showed a multiresistance phenotype. MSSA isolates were ascribed to lineages ST97-CC97 and ST425-CC425. All S. aureus lacked the studied virulence genes (lukS/F-PV, tst, eta, etb, and etd), and the IEC type E (with scn and sak genes) was detected in four mecC-positive and one MSSA isolates. S. delphini strains were methicillin-susceptible but showed resistance to at least one of the antimicrobials tested, with high penicillin (75%, with blaZ gene) and tetracycline [58%, with tet(K)± tet(L)] resistance rates. All S. delphini isolates presented the virulence genes lukS-I, siet, and se-int, and four carried the clindamycin-resistance lnu(A) gene.

RevDate: 2019-01-26

Matsui H, EI Izawa (2019)

Rapid adjustment of pecking trajectory to prism-induced visual shifts in crows as compared to pigeons.

The Journal of experimental biology pii:jeb.182345 [Epub ahead of print].

Pecking in birds is analogous to reaching and grasping movements in primates. Earlier studies on visuomotor control in birds, which were conducted mostly in pigeons, suggested that avian pecking is controlled feedforwardly, and is out of the control of visual guidance during movement. However, recent studies using crows suggested a role of vision in pecking control during movement. To unveil what visuomotor mechanisms underlie the flexibility of pecking in crows, the current study examined whether pigeons and crows adjust their pecking to the visual distortion induced by prisms. Because prisms induce visual shifts of object positions, birds were required to adjust their movements. Pecking kinematics were examined before and after attaching prisms in front of the birds' eyes. Analysis of lateral deviation caused by the prisms showed that crows rapidly adjusted their pecking trajectories, but pigeons did slowly. Angular displacement also increased in pigeons after attachment of the prism but decreased in crows. These responses to prisms were consistent among individuals in pigeons but varied in crows, though the adjustment of pecking commonly succeeded in crows. These results suggest that pecking in pigeons predominantly involves feedforward control and that the movement is determined depending on the visual information available before the initiation of pecking. In contrast, the results from crows suggest that their pecking trajectories are corrected during the movement, supporting on-line visual control. Our findings were the first evidence to suggest the on-line visual control of pecking in birds.

RevDate: 2019-01-30

Umbers KDL, White TE, De Bona S, et al (2019)

The protective value of a defensive display varies with the experience of wild predators.

Scientific reports, 9(1):463 pii:10.1038/s41598-018-36995-9.

Predation has driven the evolution of diverse adaptations for defence among prey, and one striking example is the deimatic display. While such displays can resemble, or indeed co-occur with, aposematic 'warning' signals, theory suggests deimatic displays may function independently of predator learning. The survival value of deimatic displays against wild predators has not been tested before. Here we used the mountain katydid Acripeza reticulata to test the efficacy of a putative deimatic display in the wild. Mountain katydids have a complex defence strategy; they are camouflaged at rest, but reveal a striking red-, blue-, and black-banded abdomen when attacked. We presented live katydids to sympatric (experienced) and allopatric (naive) natural predators, the Australian magpie Cracticus tibicen, and observed bird reactions and katydid behaviors and survival during repeated interactions. The efficacy of the katydids' defence differed with predator experience. Their survival was greatest when faced with naïve predators, which provided clear evidence of the protective value of the display. In contrast, katydid survival was consistently less likely when facing experienced predators. Our results suggest that sympatric predators have learned to attack and consume mountain katydids despite their complex defense, and that their post-attack display can be an effective deterrent, particularly against naïve predators. These results suggest that deimatism does not require predator learning to afford protection, but that a predator can learn to expect the display and subsequently avoid it or ignore it. That sympatric predators learn to ignore the defense is a possible explanation for the mountain katydid's counter-intuitive behavior of revealing warning colors only after tactile stimuli from predator attack.

RevDate: 2019-01-25

Dresow M (2019)

Macroevolution evolving: Punctuated equilibria and the roots of Stephen Jay Gould's second macroevolutionary synthesis.

Studies in history and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences pii:S1369-8486(17)30221-2 [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2019-01-25

S P, N KV, S S (2019)

Breast Cancer Detection using Crow Search Optimization based Intuitionistic Fuzzy Clustering with Neighborhood Attraction.

Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention : APJCP, 20(1):157-165.

RevDate: 2019-01-22

Wouters H, Hilmer SN, Gnjidic D, et al (2019)

Long-term exposure to anticholinergic and sedative medications and cognitive and physical function in later life.

The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences pii:5298370 [Epub ahead of print].

Background: Anticholinergic and sedative medications are frequently prescribed to older individuals. These medications are associated with short-term cognitive and physical impairment, but less is known about long-term associations. We therefore examined over twenty years whether cumulative exposure to these medications was related to poorer cognitive and physical functioning.

Methods: Older adult participants of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) were followed from 1992-2012. On 7 measurement occasions, cumulative exposure to anticholinergic and sedative medications was quantified with the Drug Burden Index (DBI), a linear additive pharmacological dose-response model. Cognitive functioning was assessed with the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), Alphabet Coding Task (ACT, 3 trials), Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT, learning and retention condition), and Raven Colored Progressive Matrices (RCPM, 2 trials). Physical functioning was assessed with the Walking Test (WT), Cardigan Test (CT), Chair Stands Test (CST), Balance Test (BT), and self-reported Functional Independence (FI). Data were analyzed with linear mixed models adjusted for age, education, sex, living with a partner, BMI, depressive symptoms, co-morbidities (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, COPD, osteoarthritis, CNS diseases), and prescribed medications.

Results: Longitudinal associations were found of the DBI with poorer cognitive functioning (less items correct on the 3 ACT trials, AVLT learning condition, and the 2 RCPM trials) and with poorer physical functioning (longer completion time on the CT, CST, and lower self-reported FI).

Conclusions: This longitudinal analysis of data collected over 20 years, showed that higher long-term cumulative exposure to anticholinergic and sedative medications was associated with poorer cognitive and physical functioning.

RevDate: 2019-01-22

Kroneman JGH, Faber JW, Schouten JCM, et al (2019)

Comparative analysis of avian hearts provides little evidence for variation among species with acquired endothermy.

Journal of morphology [Epub ahead of print].

Mammals and birds acquired high performance hearts and endothermy during their independent evolution from amniotes with many sauropsid features. A literature review shows that the variation in atrial morphology is greater in mammals than in ectothermic sauropsids. We therefore hypothesized that the transition from ectothermy to endothermy was associated with greater variation in cardiac structure. We tested the hypothesis in 14 orders of birds by assessing the variation in 15 cardiac structures by macroscopic inspection and histology, with an emphasis on the atria as they have multiple features that lend themselves to quantification. We found bird hearts to have multiple features in common with ectothermic sauropsids (synapomorphies), such as the presence of three sinus horns. Convergent features were shared with crocodylians and mammals, such as the cranial offset of the left atrioventricular junction. Other convergent features, like the compact organization of the atrial walls, were shared with mammals only. Pacemaker myocardium, identified by Isl1 expression, was anatomically node-like (Mallard), thickened (Chicken), or indistinct (Lesser redpoll, Jackdaw). Some features were distinctly avian, (autapomorphies) including the presence of a left atrial antechamber and the ventral merger of the left and right atrial auricles, which was found in some species of parrots and passerines. Most features, however, exhibited little variation. For instance, there were always three systemic veins and two pulmonary veins, whereas among mammals there are 2-3 and 1-7, respectively. Our findings suggest that the transition to high cardiac performance does not necessarily lead to a greater variation in cardiac structure.

RevDate: 2019-01-21

Kleider-Offutt HM (2019)

Afraid of one afraid of all: When threat associations spread across face-types.

The Journal of general psychology [Epub ahead of print].

Fear can be acquired for objects not inherently associated with threat (e.g. birds), and this threat may generalize from prototypical to peripheral category members (e.g. crows vs. penguins). When categorizing people, pervasive stereotypes link Black men to assumed violence and criminality. Faces with Afrocentric features (prototypical) are more often associated with threat and criminality than non-Afrocentric (peripheral) faces regardless of whether the individual is Black or White. In this study, using a priming paradigm, threat associations related to negative racial stereotypes were tested as a vehicle for spreading fear across face-type categories. Results showed more negative than positive judgments for White face targets but only when the prime was primarily non-Afrocentric (i.e. Eurocentric). Black face targets were judged more negatively than positively regardless of prime. This suggests some cognitive processes related to threat generalizations of objects extend to complex social categories.

RevDate: 2019-02-05

Rubi TL, Clark DL, Keller JS, et al (2019)

Courtship behavior and coloration influence conspicuousness of wolf spiders (Schizocosa ocreata (Hentz)) to avian predators.

Behavioural processes pii:S0376-6357(18)30142-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Signalers must balance the benefits of detection by intended receivers with the costs of detection by eavesdroppers. This trade-off is exemplified by sexual signaling systems, in which signalers experience sexual selection for conspicuousness to mates as well as natural selection for crypsis to predators. In this study, we examined how courtship behavior and body coloration influenced the conspicuousness of males to avian predators in the well-studied brush-legged wolf spider system (Schizocosa ocreata (Hentz)). We focused on three behaviors (courtship, walking, and freezing) and two coloration schemes (natural coloration and idealized background-matching coloration). We presented captive blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata) with video playbacks of male spiders in a presence-absence detection task and characterized conspicuousness by measuring response latency and detectability. We found that any type of motion significantly increased detectability, and that body coloration and behavior interacted to determine detectability while the spiders were in motion. Among spiders in motion, courting spiders were detected faster than walking spiders. Stationary (frozen) spiders, in contrast, were rarely detected. These results illustrate that male S. ocreata can be both highly conspicuous and highly cryptic to avian predators. Thus, while we find that courtship is conspicuous to avian predators in this system, we suggest that behavioral plasticity may mitigate some of the predation costs of the sexual signal.

RevDate: 2019-01-13

Tian Y, Fang Y, J Li (2018)

The Effect of Metacognitive Knowledge on Mathematics Performance in Self-Regulated Learning Framework-Multiple Mediation of Self-Efficacy and Motivation.

Frontiers in psychology, 9:2518.

Metacognition, self-efficacy, and motivation are important components of interaction in self-regulated learning (SRL). However, the psychological mechanism underlying the association among them in mathematical learning remained ambiguous. The present study investigated whether the relationship between metacognitive knowledge (MK) and mathematics performance can be mediated by self-efficacy and motivation. The sample comprised 569 students (245 male, Mage = 16.39, SD = 0.63) of Grade 10 in China. The MK in mathematics questionnaire, the self-efficacy questionnaire, the academic motivation scale, Raven advanced progressive matrix, and mathematics tests were used for data collection. Our results suggested that the mathematics performance could be predicted by MK, self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation. Moreover, the association between MK and mathematics performance was mediated by self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation, as revealed by a multiple mediation analysis. Additionally, there were sex differences in MK, self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation. The findings highlight the psychological mechanism in the mathematics of Chinese students and will help teachers to improve students' mathematical learning in SRL framework more effectively. Implications for education and further studies are discussed.

RevDate: 2019-01-10

Vazquez A, Gustafson KD, Harmeling B, et al (2019)

GENETIC DIVERSITY OF YELLOW-BILLED MAGPIES (PICA NUTALLI) BEFORE AND AFTER A WEST NILE VIRUS EPIDEMIC.

Journal of wildlife diseases [Epub ahead of print].

The appearance of West Nile virus (WNV) coincided with declines in California bird populations beginning in 2004, and particularly affected corvid populations, including Yellow-billed Magpies (Pica nutalli), an endemic species to California. Our objective was to determine if the timing of the WNV epidemic correlated with changes in the genetic diversity or population structure of magpies. We hypothesized the declines in magpie abundance from WNV would lead to genetic bottlenecks and reduced genetic diversity, but not to changes in population genetic structure. To test these hypotheses, we genetically typed magpie samples collected during the Dead Bird Survey before WNV arrived (2002-2004), immediately after WNV arrived in late 2004 (2006-2008), and several generations after the onset of the epidemic (2009-2011). For each of these three time periods, we tested for genetic bottlenecks, estimated genetic heterozygosity, allelic richness, relatedness, effective population sizes, and genetic structure, with the use of 10 nuclear microsatellite loci. Although there was no evidence for spatial or temporal genetic structure, genetic-diversity estimates were similar or below estimates for endangered corvid species. Measures of genetic diversity were consistent across time periods. In contrast to our expectation, we detected a genetic bottleneck prior to the WNV epidemic, which may have coincided with severe drought conditions in California, increasing human population size in magpie range, and an estimated 33% decrease in population size. We found weak evidence to support a bottleneck after the introduction of WNV in California. Our results suggest the WNV epidemic did not have additional catastrophic effects on the neutral genetic diversity of P. nutalli in the sampled areas. However, because we detected lower heterozygosity in Yellow-billed Magpies than has been reported in closely related endangered species, this species is of conservation concern and should be monitored to detect further population declines or loss of genetic diversity.

RevDate: 2019-01-07

Luo J, Wang Y, Wang Z, et al (2019)

Assessment of Pb and Cd contaminations in the urban waterway sediments of the Nen River (Qiqihar section), Northeastern China, and transfer along the food chain.

Environmental science and pollution research international pii:10.1007/s11356-018-04087-w [Epub ahead of print].

The increasing anthropogenic inputs of Pb and Cd into China's Nen River (Qiqihar section) owing to rapid urbanization in the past 50 years may pose ecological risks to the river's aquatic system. To confirm this hypothesis, we determined the Pb and Cd concentrations in the sediments of the Nen River flowing across Qiqihar City by comparing the control group (samplings in the Nen River branch bypassing the city) and bioaccumulation along the food chain. We found significantly higher Pb concentrations in the sediments than in the control group (39.21 mg kg-1 dry weight [dw] vs. 22.44 mg kg-1 dw; p < 0.05). However, the difference between the Cd contents of the two groups was nonsignificant (0.33 mg kg-1 dw vs. 0.30 mg kg-1 dw) (p = 0.07). Accumulated Pb and Cd in the sediments pose a medium risk to the system of Nen River according to the result of risk assessment code analysis. The increased Pb and Cd levels along the food chain had adverse health effects in the species at the top level of the food chain. For example, the feathers of Corvus frugilegus and Sterna hirundo contained 0.28-2.25 mg kg-1 dw of Cd. These values are considered potentially toxic to common avian species. The bone Pb level of C. frugilegus ranged from 4.82 to 7.41 mg kg-1 dw within the increasing Pb range (2-15 mg kg-1 dw) of common water birds. The inputs of Pb and Cd into the local environment should be reduced for the preservation of aquatic system health.

RevDate: 2019-01-07

Fujii Y, Kanno Y, Koshita S, et al (2019)

Predictive Factors for Inaccurate Diagnosis of Swollen Lymph Nodes in Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration.

Clinical endoscopy pii:ce.2018.125 [Epub ahead of print].

Background/Aims: This study aimed to identify the predictive factors for inaccurate endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) diagnosis of swollen lymph nodes without rapid on-site cytopathological evaluation.

Methods: Eighty-three consecutive patients who underwent EUS-FNA for abdominal or mediastinal lymph nodes from January 2008 to June 2017 were included from a prospectively maintained EUS-FNA database and retrospectively reviewed. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of EUS-FNA for the detection of neoplastic diseases were calculated. Candidate factors for inaccurate diagnosis (lymph node size and location, needle type, puncture route, number of passes, and causative disease) were evaluated by comparison between accurately diagnosed cases and others.

Results: The final diagnosis of the punctured lymph node was classified as neoplastic (65 cases: a metastatic lymph node, malignant lymphoma, or Crow-Fukase syndrome) or non-neoplastic (18 cases: a reactive node or amyloidosis). The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 83%, 94%, and 86%, respectively. On multivariate analyses, small size of the lymph node was the sole predictive factor for inaccurate EUS-FNA diagnosis with a significant difference (odds ratios, 19.8; 95% confidence intervals, 3.15-124; p=0.0015).

Conclusions: The lymph node size of <16 mm was the only independent factor associated with inaccurate EUS-FNA diagnosis of swollen lymph nodes.

RevDate: 2019-02-06

Chen N, Juric I, Cosgrove EJ, et al (2019)

Allele frequency dynamics in a pedigreed natural population.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(6):2158-2164.

A central goal of population genetics is to understand how genetic drift, natural selection, and gene flow shape allele frequencies through time. However, the actual processes underlying these changes-variation in individual survival, reproductive success, and movement-are often difficult to quantify. Fully understanding these processes requires the population pedigree, the set of relationships among all individuals in the population through time. Here, we use extensive pedigree and genomic information from a long-studied natural population of Florida Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens) to directly characterize the relative roles of different evolutionary processes in shaping patterns of genetic variation through time. We performed gene dropping simulations to estimate individual genetic contributions to the population and model drift on the known pedigree. We found that observed allele frequency changes are generally well predicted by accounting for the different genetic contributions of founders. Our results show that the genetic contribution of recent immigrants is substantial, with some large allele frequency shifts that otherwise may have been attributed to selection actually due to gene flow. We identified a few SNPs under directional short-term selection after appropriately accounting for gene flow. Using models that account for changes in population size, we partitioned the proportion of variance in allele frequency change through time. Observed allele frequency changes are primarily due to variation in survival and reproductive success, with gene flow making a smaller contribution. This study provides one of the most complete descriptions of short-term evolutionary change in allele frequencies in a natural population to date.

RevDate: 2019-02-06

Kim EY, Inoue N, Koh DH, et al (2019)

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor 2 potentially mediates cytochrome P450 1A induction in the jungle crow (Corvus macrorhynchos).

Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 171:99-111.

To understand the role of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) isoforms in avian species, we investigated the functional characteristics of two AHR isoforms (designated as jcAHR1 and jcAHR2) of the jungle crow (Corvus macrorhynchos). Two amino acid residues corresponding to Ile324 and Ser380 (high sensitive type) in chicken AHR1 that are known to determine dioxin sensitivity were Ile325 and Ala381 (moderate sensitive type) in jcAHR1 and Val306 and Ala362 (low sensitive type) in jcAHR2. The quantitative comparison of the two jcAHR mRNA expression levels in a Tokyo jungle crow population showed that jcAHR2 accounted for 92.4% in the liver, while jcAHR1 accounted for only 7.6%. Both in vitro-expressed jcAHR1 and jcAHR2 proteins exhibited a specific binding to [3H]-labeled 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). Transactivation potencies for jcAHR1 and jcAHR2 in in vitro reporter gene assays were measured in jcAHR-expressed cells exposed to 16 dioxins and related compounds (DRCs). Both jcAHR1 and jcAHR2 were activated in a congener- and an isoform-specific manner. EC50 value of TCDD for jcAHR2 (0.61 nM) was six-fold higher than that for jcAHR1 (0.098 nM), but jcAHR2 had higher transactivation efficacy than jcAHR1 in terms of the magnitude of response. The high transactivation efficacy of jcAHR2 in DRCs is in contrast to that of AHR2s in other avian species with low transactivation efficacy. Molecular docking simulations of TCDD with in silico jcAHR1 and jcAHR2 homology models showed that the two sensitivity-decisive amino acids indirectly controlled TCDD-binding modes through their surrounding amino acids. Deletion assays of jcAHR2 revealed that 736-805 amino acid residues in the C-terminal region were critical for its transactivation. We suggest that jcAHR2 plays a critical role in regulating the AHR signaling pathway, at least in its highly expressed organs.

RevDate: 2019-02-06

Nishimoto T, Bonkohara Y, Murakami H, et al (2018)

[Video-assisted Thoracoscopic Pericardial Fenestration for Pericardial Effusion in a Patient with Crow-Fukase Syndrome].

Kyobu geka. The Japanese journal of thoracic surgery, 71(13):1092-1095.

A 65-year-old woman was referred to our department with recurrent pericardial effusion. Her serum vascular endothelial growth factor was high, serum M-protein was positive, and nerve conduction velocity of extremities was decreased. Therefore, she was diagnosed with Crow-Fukase (polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, M protein, skin changes:POEMS) syndrome, which is characterized by the presence of plasma cell dyscrasia with them. We performed video-thoracoscopic pericardial fenestration with 4×4 cm window. The postoperative course was uneventful, and the pericardial effusion completely disappeared. Video-assisted thoracoscopic pericardial fenestration was a safe and effective treatment for recurrent pericardial effusion.

RevDate: 2018-12-26

Huerta-Franco MR, Vargas-Luna M, Somoza X, et al (2018)

Gastric responses to acute psychological stress in climacteric women: a pilot study.

Menopause (New York, N.Y.) [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: Women exhibit reduced ovarian sex hormones during the menopausal period that result in well-known physical and psychological symptoms. However, symptoms related to gastric motility (GM) have not been thoroughly investigated. We hypothesized that stress response gastric motility (SRGM) is lower in postmenopausal (PM) and perimenopausal (PERIM) women than in premenopausal (PREM) women. Estrogenic decline leads to neuroendocrine changes in different areas of the brain. These changes can result in hypothalamic vasomotor symptoms, disorders in eating behaviours, and altered blood pressure, in addition to psychological disorders such as stress, anxiety, depression, and irritability related to alterations in the limbic system.

METHODS: In this pilot study, 55 PREM, PERIM, and PM women were clinically evaluated using the Nowack stress profile (SP) and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). GM was assessed via electrical bioimpedance using two psychological stress tests (Stroop and Raven tests).

RESULTS: Basal SP and STAI-anxiety test scores were similar among the three groups of women (P > 0.05). PERIM women had lower GM in the basal state (P < 0.05) than did other women. PREM and PM women had significantly decreased GM during the stress tests (P < 0.05). However, PERIM did not exhibit GM changes during stress tests (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Changes in sex hormones during PERIM may affect GM and SRGM.

RevDate: 2019-01-18

Bessis D, Petit A, Battistella M, et al (2018)

Naevoid acanthosis nigricans or RAVEN (rounded and velvety epidermal naevus) and mosaic FGFR3 and FGFR2 mutations.

RevDate: 2018-12-22

Tsui I, Song BJ, Lin CS, et al (2018)

A Practical Approach to Retinal Dystrophies.

Advances in experimental medicine and biology, 1085:245-259.

Genomic approaches to developing new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in retinal dystrophies are among the most advanced applications of genetics (Tsang SH, Gouras P (1996) Molecular physiology and pathology of the retina. In: Duane TD, Tasman W, Jaeger AE (eds) Duane's clinical opthalmology. Lippincott-Raven, Philadelphia). The notion that "nothing can be done" for patients with retinal dystrophies is no longer true. Electrophysiological testing and autofluorescence imaging help to diagnose and predict the patient's course of disease. Better phenotyping can contribute to better-directed, cost-efficient genotyping. Combining fundoscopy, autofluorescent imaging, and electrophysiological testing is essential in approaching patients with retinal dystrophies. Emerging are new gene-based treatments for these devastating conditions.

RevDate: 2018-12-21

Lind J (2018)

What can associative learning do for planning?.

Royal Society open science, 5(11):180778 pii:rsos180778.

There is a new associative learning paradox. The power of associative learning for producing flexible behaviour in non-human animals is downplayed or ignored by researchers in animal cognition, whereas artificial intelligence research shows that associative learning models can beat humans in chess. One phenomenon in which associative learning often is ruled out as an explanation for animal behaviour is flexible planning. However, planning studies have been criticized and questions have been raised regarding both methodological validity and interpretations of results. Due to the power of associative learning and the uncertainty of what causes planning behaviour in non-human animals, I explored what associative learning can do for planning. A previously published sequence learning model which combines Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning was used to simulate two planning studies, namely Mulcahy & Call 2006 'Apes save tools for future use.' Science312, 1038-1040 and Kabadayi & Osvath 2017 'Ravens parallel great apes in flexible planning for tool-use and bartering.' Science357, 202-204. Simulations show that behaviour matching current definitions of flexible planning can emerge through associative learning. Through conditioned reinforcement, the learning model gives rise to planning behaviour by learning that a behaviour towards a current stimulus will produce high value food at a later stage; it can make decisions about future states not within current sensory scope. The simulations tracked key patterns both between and within studies. It is concluded that one cannot rule out that these studies of flexible planning in apes and corvids can be completely accounted for by associative learning. Future empirical studies of flexible planning in non-human animals can benefit from theoretical developments within artificial intelligence and animal learning.

RevDate: 2019-02-07

Kovanen S, Rossi M, Pohja-Mykrä M, et al (2019)

Population Genetics and Characterization of Campylobacter jejuni Isolates from Western Jackdaws and Game Birds in Finland.

Applied and environmental microbiology, 85(4): pii:AEM.02365-18.

Poultry are considered a major reservoir and source of human campylobacteriosis, but the roles of environmental reservoirs, including wild birds, have not been assessed in depth. In this study, we isolated and characterized Campylobacter jejuni from western jackdaws (n = 91, 43%), mallard ducks (n = 82, 76%), and pheasants (n = 9, 9%). Most of the western jackdaw and mallard duck C. jejuni isolates represented multilocus sequence typing (MLST) sequence types (STs) that diverged from those previously isolated from human patients and various animal species, whereas all pheasant isolates represented ST-19, a common ST among human patients and other hosts worldwide. Whole-genome MLST revealed that mallard duck ST-2314 and pheasant ST-19 isolates represented bacterial clones that were genetically highly similar to human isolates detected previously. Further analyses revealed that in addition to a divergent ClonalFrame genealogy, certain genomic characteristics of the western jackdaw C. jejuni isolates, e.g., a novel cdtABC gene cluster and the type VI secretion system (T6SS), may affect their host specificity and virulence. Game birds may thus pose a risk for acquiring campylobacteriosis; therefore, hygienic measures during slaughter and meat handling warrant special attention.IMPORTANCE The roles of environmental reservoirs, including wild birds, in the molecular epidemiology of Campylobacter jejuni have not been assessed in depth. Our results showed that game birds may pose a risk for acquiring campylobacteriosis, because they had C. jejuni genomotypes highly similar to human isolates detected previously. Therefore, hygienic measures during slaughter and meat handling warrant special attention. On the contrary, a unique phylogeny was revealed for the western jackdaw isolates, and certain genomic characteristics identified among these isolates are hypothesized to affect their host specificity and virulence. Comparative genomics within sequence types (STs), using whole-genome multilocus sequence typing (wgMLST), and phylogenomics are efficient methods to analyze the genomic relationships of C. jejuni isolates.

RevDate: 2018-12-17

Yazdanjooie M, Sadraei J, Dalimi A, et al (2018)

Isolation of Encephalitozoon intestinalis from crows living in urban parks of Tehran, Iran: an investigation with zoonotic aspect.

Journal of parasitic diseases : official organ of the Indian Society for Parasitology, 42(4):494-499.

Microsporidia are eukaryotic, intracellular obligate parasites that widely involve many organisms including insects, fish, birds, and mammals. One of the genera of Microsporidia is Encephalitozoon, which contains several opportunistic pathogens. Since Encephalitozoon spp. are zoonotic and opportunistic pathogens, it is important to find their reservoir hosts; hence, the current study aimed at isolating and identifying Encephalitozoon spp. in the crows by the light microscopy observations and molecular methods. For this purpose, 36 samples were collected by the dropping method; however, due to the low volume of samples, the total samples were collected in a sterile stool container and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed to detect Encephalitozoon spp. Accordingly, 300-bp bands, specific to Encephalitozoon spp., were observed and by sequencing E. intestinalis was identified. Crows can be considered as the hosts of E. intestinalis.

RevDate: 2018-12-11

Ashton BJ, Ridley AR, A Thornton (2018)

Smarter through group living: A response to Smulders.

Learning & behavior pii:10.3758/s13420-018-0366-6 [Epub ahead of print].

We recently identified a strong, positive relationship between group size and individual cognitive performance, and a strong, positive relationship between female cognitive performance and reproductive success (Ashton, Ridley, Edwards, & Thornton in Nature, 554, 364-367, 2018). An opinion piece by Smulders (Learning & Behavior, https://doi.org/10.3758/s13420-018-0335-0 , 2018) raised the interesting notion that these patterns may be underlined by motivational factors. In this commentary, we highlight why none of the available data are consistent with this explanation, but instead support the argument that the demands of group living influence cognitive development, with knock-on consequences for fitness.

RevDate: 2018-12-17

Klump BC, Masuda BM, St Clair JJH, et al (2018)

Preliminary observations of tool-processing behaviour in Hawaiian crows Corvus hawaiiensis.

Communicative & integrative biology, 11(4):e1509637.

Very few animal species habitually make and use foraging tools. We recently discovered that the Hawaiian crow is a highly skilled, natural tool user. Most captive adults in our experiment spontaneously used sticks to access out-of-reach food from a range of extraction tasks, exhibiting a surprising degree of dexterity. Moreover, many birds modified tools before or during deployment, and some even manufactured tools from raw materials. In this invited addendum article, we describe and discuss these observations in more detail. Our preliminary data, and comparisons with the better-studied New Caledonian crow, suggest that the Hawaiian crow has extensive tool-modification and manufacture abilities. To chart the full extent of the species' natural tool-making repertoire, we have started conducting dedicated experiments where subjects are given access to suitable raw materials for tool manufacture, but not ready-to-use tools.

RevDate: 2018-12-17

Walker LE, Marzluff JM, Metz MC, et al (2018)

Population responses of common ravens to reintroduced gray wolves.

Ecology and evolution, 8(22):11158-11168.

Top predators have cascading effects throughout the food web, but their impacts on scavenger abundance are largely unknown. Gray wolves (Canis lupus) provide carrion to a suite of scavenger species, including the common raven (Corvus corax). Ravens are wide-ranging and intelligent omnivores that commonly take advantage of anthropogenic food resources. In areas where they overlap with wolves, however, ravens are numerous and ubiquitous scavengers of wolf-acquired carrion. We aimed to determine whether subsidies provided through wolves are a limiting factor for raven populations in general and how the wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park in 1995-1997 affected raven population abundance and distribution on the Yellowstone's Northern Range specifically. We counted ravens throughout Yellowstone's Northern Range in March from 2009 to 2017 in both human-use areas and wolf habitat. We then used statistics related to the local wolf population and the winter weather conditions to model raven abundance during our study period and predict raven abundance on the Northern Range both before and after the wolf reintroduction. In relatively severe winters with greater snowpack, raven abundance increased in areas of human use and decreased in wolf habitat. When wolves were able to acquire more carrion, however, ravens increased in wolf habitat and decreased in areas with anthropogenic resources. Raven populations prior to the wolf reintroduction were likely more variable and heavily dependent on ungulate winter-kill and hunter-provided carcasses. The wolf recovery in Yellowstone helped stabilize raven populations by providing a regular food supply, regardless of winter severity. This stabilization has important implications for effective land management as wolves recolonize the west and global climate patterns change.

RevDate: 2018-12-25

Kelly DM, Bisbing TA, JF Magnotti (2019)

Use of medial axis for reorientation by the Clark's nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana).

Behavioural processes, 158:192-199.

Many animals are challenged with the task of reorientation. Considerable research over the years has shown a diversity of species extract geometric information (e.g., distance and direction) from continuous surfaces or boundaries to reorient. How this information is extracted from the environment is less understood. Three encoding strategies that have received the most study are the use of principal axes, medial axis or local geometric cues. We used a modeling approach to investigate which of these three general strategies best fit the spatial search data of a highly-spatial corvid, the Clark's nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana). Individual nutcrackers were trained in a rectangular-shaped arena, and once accurately locating a hidden goal, received non-reinforced tests in an L-shaped arena. The specific shape of this arena allowed us to dissociate among the three general encoding strategies. Furthermore, we reanalyzed existing data from chicks, pigeons and humans using our modeling approach. Overall, we found the most support for the use of the medial axis, although we additionally found that pigeons and humans may have engaged in random guessing. As with our previous studies, we find no support for the use of principal axes.

RevDate: 2018-12-05

Bonneris E, Gao Z, Prosser A, et al (2018)

Selecting appropriate focal species for assessing the risk to birds from newly drilled pesticide-treated winter cereal fields in France.

Integrated environmental assessment and management [Epub ahead of print].

Identifying focal bird species appropriate to the situation in which a plant protection product is used is important for refined risk assessment (EFSA, 2009). We analysed the results of extensive field observations of newly-drilled cereal fields in France in autumn over two seasons to determine real bird focal species. In 2011, birds were observed, before and after drilling, on wheat and barley fields drilled with imidacloprid treated seeds (i.e. 'treatment' fields) or seeds treated with other compounds than imidacloprid (i.e. 'alternative treatment' fields). Bird abundance, species richness, and diversity were significantly higher in wheat fields than barley fields leading us to monitor only wheat fields in 2012. Statistical analyses did not show a significant effect of the drilling itself or between the 'treatment' fields and the 'alternative treatment' fields on the number and type of bird species. This led to the pooling of 2011 data on all fields for focal species determination. Similarly, all bird monitoring data generated in 2012 before and after drilling were pooled and analysed. Rules for determination of candidate focal species detailed in the EFSA (2009) guidance were followed. Carrion crow, wood pigeon, grey partridge, skylark, common starling and pied wagtail were the bird species the most frequently observed on wheat fields. This list of candidate species was processed to determine the most relevant focal species according to the method of Dietzen et al. (2014), resulting in the selection of skylark, grey partridge, wood pigeon and pied wagtail as focal species to assess risks to birds for pesticides applied during drilling of winter cereals in France (September- November). This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-01-08

Kaplan G (2018)

Development of Meaningful Vocal Signals in a Juvenile Territorial Songbird (Gymnorhina tibicen) and the Dilemma of Vocal Taboos Concerning Neighbours and Strangers.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 8(12): pii:ani8120228.

Young territorial songbirds have calls to learn, especially calls that may be vital for maintaining territory. Territoriality is largely reinforced and communicated by vocal signals. In their natal territory, juvenile magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) enjoy protection from predators for 8⁻9 months. It is not at all clear, however, when and how a young territorial songbird learns to distinguish the meaning of calls and songs expressed by parents, conspecifics, neighbours, and heterospecifics, or how territorial calls are incorporated into the juvenile's own repertoire. This project investigated acquisition and expression of the vocal repertoire in juvenile magpies and assessed the responses of adults and juveniles to playbacks of neighbour and stranger calls inside their territory. The results reported here identify age of appearance of specific vocalisations and the limits of their expression in juveniles. One new and surprising result was that many types of adult vocalisation were not voiced by juveniles. Playbacks of calls of neighbours and strangers inside the natal territory further established that adults responded strongly but differentially to neighbours versus strangers. By contrast, juveniles needed months before paying any attention to and distinguishing between neighbour and stranger calls and eventually did so only in non-vocal ways (such as referral to adults). These results provide evidence that auditory perception not only includes recognition and memory of neighbour calls but also an assessment of the importance of such calls in the context of territoriality.

RevDate: 2019-01-22

Andreasen AK, Iversen P, Marstrand L, et al (2019)

Structural and cognitive correlates of fatigue in progressive multiple sclerosis.

Neurological research, 41(2):168-176.

BACKGROUND: Fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating symptom and experienced by most patients. In recent studies investigating this phenomenon, the majority of patients had a relapsing-remitting disease course.

METHODS: Patients with progressive MS participating in one of three treatment trials during a period from 2010 to 2014 were included. Fatigue was assessed with the Fatigue Scale for Motor and Cognitive Functions (FSMC) and patients were further examined with a cognitive test battery, including Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), and 3 T MRI with subsequent quantitative analyses of 13 cortical regions of interest, deep grey matter and lesion volume.

RESULTS: Twenty-two patients were enrolled. The thickness of the pre-central gyrus correlated significantly with motor fatigue. We found only a non-significant trend towards a correlation between cognitive fatigue and the thickness of the pre-central gyrus, the parietal inferior supra-marginal gyrus and the opercular part of the inferior frontal gyrus. 36% of participants had impaired processing speed and 9% had normal function on all tests. The scores on the FSMC-cognitive scale were related to performance on SDMT.

CONCLUSION: In this exploratory study of patients with progressive MS, fatigue was related to processing speed. Motor fatigue was also related to the cortical thickness of the primary motor cortex and there was a trend towards a relationship between cognitive fatigue and the thickness of cortical areas involved in attentional processes. Additional studies are needed to further elucidate the relationship between regional cortical atrophy, cognitive functioning and the perception of fatigue.

ABBREVIATIONS: FSMC: Motor and Cognitive Functions; MS: Multiple Sclerosis; SDMT: Symbol Digit Modalities Test; MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging; RRMS: Relapsing-Remitting Disease Course; EDSS: Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale; FLAIR: Fluid Attenuated Inversion Recovery; NAWM: Normal-Appearing White Matter; CGM: Cortical Grey Matter; CTh: Cortical Thickness; ROIs: Regions of Interest; Raven: Raven Progressive Matrices; TM A: Trail Making A; TM B: Trail Making B; Rey: Rey Complex Figure; Similarities: WAIS III Similarities; Stroop: Stroop Colour Naming Test; BDI: Becks Depression Inventory II.

RevDate: 2018-12-17

Cunningham CX, Johnson CN, Barmuta LA, et al (2018)

Top carnivore decline has cascading effects on scavengers and carrion persistence.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 285(1892):.

Top carnivores have suffered widespread global declines, with well-documented effects on mesopredators and herbivores. We know less about how carnivores affect ecosystems through scavenging. Tasmania's top carnivore, the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), has suffered severe disease-induced population declines, providing a natural experiment on the role of scavenging in structuring communities. Using remote cameras and experimentally placed carcasses, we show that mesopredators consume more carrion in areas where devils have declined. Carcass consumption by the two native mesopredators was best predicted by competition for carrion, whereas consumption by the invasive mesopredator, the feral cat (Felis catus), was better predicted by the landscape-level abundance of devils, suggesting a relaxed landscape of fear where devils are suppressed. Reduced discovery of carcasses by devils was balanced by the increased discovery by mesopredators. Nonetheless, carcasses persisted approximately 2.6-fold longer where devils have declined, highlighting their importance for rapid carrion removal. The major beneficiary of increased carrion availability was the forest raven (Corvus tasmanicus). Population trends of ravens increased 2.2-fold from 1998 to 2017, the period of devil decline, but this increase occurred Tasmania-wide, making the cause unclear. This case study provides a little-studied potential mechanism for mesopredator release, with broad relevance to the vast areas of the world that have suffered carnivore declines.

RevDate: 2018-12-22

Kent SJW, R Morrison (2018)

Rural and urban differences in orthognathic surgical patients in the north east of Scotland.

The British journal of oral & maxillofacial surgery, 56(10):931-935.

We have previously identified differences in the presentation and treatment of cancer between patients who live in rural compared with urban areas, but have not yet seen differences in those treated by orthognathic surgery. We hypothesised that patients from areas further away from the hospital face higher costs to attend and may not present with minor problems as often as those who live nearby. We therefore retrospectively reviewed all those (n=216) who had presented for orthognathic surgery over a six-year period (May 2011 to May 2017). The severity of malocclusion and facial asymmetry was established by combining measurements of intraoperative movements. Rurality was measured as the distance from home to the hospital at the time of operation. Those with smaller intraoperative movements (less than 7mm combined movement) lived significantly closer to the hospital as the crow flies (mean difference 15.13 miles, 95% CI 0.20 to 30.48, p=0.05) and could travel there more quickly (mean difference 65minutes 95% CI 9.8 to 121.7, p=0.02) than those with larger movements. Our results suggest that patients with small malocclusions and slight facial asymmetry who live further away from the hospital, may be less likely to present for operation than those who live closer. We explain why socioeconomic class is unlikely to confound our results, and suggest potential ways to minimise the effect observed.

RevDate: 2018-12-21

Nuriddin A (2019)

Psychiatric Jim Crow: Desegregation at the Crownsville State Hospital, 1948-1970.

Journal of the history of medicine and allied sciences, 74(1):85-106.

The Crownsville State Hospital, located in Maryland just outside of Annapolis, provides a thought-provoking example of the impact of desegregation in the space of the mental hospital. Using institutional reports, patient records, and oral histories, this article reconstructs the three phases of desegregation at Crownsville. First, as a result of its poor conditions, lack of qualified staff, and its egregious mistreatment of patients, African American community leaders and organizations such as the NAACP called for the desegregation of the care staff of Crownsville in the late 1940s. Second, the introduction of a skilled African American staff created unprecedented and morally complex issues about access to psychiatric therapeutics. Last, in 1963, Health Commissioner Dr. Isadore Tuerk officially desegregated patients in all Maryland state hospitals. Though desegregation brought much needed improvements to Crownsville, these gains were ultimately swamped by deinstitutionalization and the shift towards outpatient psychiatric care. By the 1970s, Crownsville had returned to the poor conditions that existed during segregation.

RevDate: 2019-01-30

Greggor AL, McIvor GE, Clayton NS, et al (2018)

Wild jackdaws are wary of objects that violate expectations of animacy.

Royal Society open science, 5(10):181070.

Nature is composed of self-propelled, animate agents and inanimate objects. Laboratory studies have shown that human infants and a few species discriminate between animate and inanimate objects. This ability is assumed to have evolved to support social cognition and filial imprinting, but its ecological role for wild animals has never been examined. An alternative, functional explanation is that discriminating stimuli based on their potential for animacy helps animals distinguish between harmless and threatening stimuli. Using remote-controlled experimental stimulus presentations, we tested if wild jackdaws (Corvus monedula) respond fearfully to stimuli that violate expectations for movement. Breeding pairs (N = 27) were presented at their nests with moving and non-moving models of ecologically relevant stimuli (birds, snakes and sticks) that differed in threat level and propensity for independent motion. Jackdaws were startled by movement regardless of stimulus type and produced more alarm calls when faced with animate objects. However, they delayed longest in entering their nest-box after encountering a stimulus that should not move independently, suggesting they recognized the movement as unexpected. How jackdaws develop expectations about object movement is not clear, but our results suggest that discriminating between animate and inanimate stimuli may trigger information gathering about potential threats.

RevDate: 2019-01-15
CmpDate: 2018-11-26

Zhu XY, Gupta SK, Sun XC, et al (2018)

Z2 topological edge state in honeycomb lattice of coupled resonant optical waveguides with a flat band.

Optics express, 26(19):24307-24317.

Two-dimensional (2D) coupled resonant optical waveguide (CROW), exhibiting topological edge states, provides an efficient platform for designing integrated topological photonic devices. In this paper, we propose an experimentally feasible design of 2D honeycomb CROW photonic structure. The characteristic optical system possesses two-fold and three-fold Dirac points at different positions in the Brillouin zone. The effective gauge fields implemented by the intrinsic pseudo-spin-orbit interaction open up topologically nontrivial bandgaps through the Dirac points. Spatial lattice geometries allow destructive wave interference, leading to a dispersionless, near-flat energy band in the vicinity of the three-fold Dirac point in the telecommunication frequency regime. This nontrivial structure with a near-flat band yields topologically protected edge states. These characteristics underpin the fundamental importance as well as the potential applications in various optical devices. Based on the honeycomb CROW lattice, we design the shape-independent topological cavity and the beam splitter, which demonstrate the relevance for a wide range of photonic applications.

RevDate: 2018-11-20

Amici F (2018)

An Evolutionary Approach to the Study of Collaborative Remembering?.

Topics in cognitive science [Epub ahead of print].

Hope and Gabbert (2008) and Jay and colleagues (in press) show us that collaborative remembering, in certain contexts, may result in incomplete and less accurate memories. Here, I will discuss the evolutionary origins of this behavior, linking it to phenomena such as social contagion, conformity, and social learning, which are highly adaptive and widespread across non-human taxa.

RevDate: 2018-11-16

Falcionelli N, Sernani P, Brugués A, et al (2018)

Indexing the Event Calculus: Towards practical human-readable Personal Health Systems.

Artificial intelligence in medicine pii:S0933-3657(17)30594-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Personal Health Systems (PHS) are mobile solutions tailored to monitoring patients affected by chronic non communicable diseases. In general, a patient affected by a chronic disease can generate large amounts of events: for example, in Type 1 Diabetic patients generate several glucose events per day, ranging from at least 6 events per day (under normal monitoring) to 288 per day when wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that samples the blood every 5 minutes for several days. Just by itself, without considering other physiological parameters, it would be impossible for medical doctors to individually and accurately follow every patient, highlighting the need of simple approaches towards querying physiological time series. Achieving this with current technology is not an easy task, as on one hand it cannot be expected that medical doctors have the technical knowledge to query databases and on the other hand these time series include thousands of events, which requires to re-think the way data is indexed. Anyhow, handling data streams efficiently is not enough. Domain experts' knowledge must be explicitly included into PHSs in a way that it can be easily readed and modified by medical staffs. Logic programming represents the perfect programming paradygm to accomplish this task. In this work, an Event Calculus-based reasoning framework to standardize and express domain-knowledge in the form of monitoring rules is suggested, and applied to three different use cases. However, if online monitoring has to be achieved, the reasoning performance must improve dramatically. For this reason, three promising mechanisms to index the Event Calculus Knowledge Base are proposed. All of them are based on different types of tree indexing structures: k-d trees, interval trees and red-black trees. The paper then compares and analyzes the performance of the three indexing techniques, by computing the time needed to check different type of rules (and eventually generating alerts), when the number of recorded events (e.g. values of physiological parameters) increases. The results show that customized jREC performs much better when the event average inter-arrival time is little compared to the checked rule time-window. Instead, where the events are more sparse, the use of k-d trees with standard EC is advisable. Finally, the Multi-Agent paradigm helps to wrap the various components of the system: the reasoning engines represent the agent minds, and the sensors are its body. The said agents have been developed in MAGPIE, a mobile event based Java agent platform.

RevDate: 2018-11-16

Li X, T Kesavadas (2018)

Surgical Robot with Environment Reconstruction and Force Feedback.

Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference, 2018:1861-1866.

We present a new surgical robot hardware-in-the-loop simulator, with 3D surgical field reconstruction in RGB-D sensor range, which allows tool-tissue interactions to be presented as haptic feedback and thus provides the situation awareness of unwanted collision. First, the point cloud of the complete surgical environment is constructed from multiple frames of sensor data to avoid the occlusion issue. Then the user selects a region of interest where the robot's tool must avoid (also called forbidden region). The real-time haptic force rendering algorithm computes the interaction force which is then communicated to a haptic device at 1 kHz, to assist the surgeon to perform safe actions. The robot used is a RAVEN II system, RGB-D sensor is used to scan the environment, and two Omni haptic devices provide the 3-DoF haptic force. A registration pipeline is presented to complete the surgical environment point cloud mapping in preoperative surgery planning phase, which improves quality of haptic rendering in the presence of occlusion. Furthermore, we propose a feasible and fast algorithm which extends the existing work on the proxy-based method for haptic rendering between a Haptic Interaction Point (HIP) and a point cloud. The proposed methodology has the potential of improving the safety of surgical robots.

RevDate: 2018-12-07

Laumer IB, Call J, Bugnyar T, et al (2018)

Spontaneous innovation of hook-bending and unbending in orangutans (Pongo abelii).

Scientific reports, 8(1):16518.

Betty the crow astonished the scientific world as she spontaneously crafted hook-tools from straight wire in order to lift a basket out of vertical tubes. Recently it was suggested that this species' solution was strongly influenced by predispositions from behavioural routines from habitual hook-tool manufacture. Nevertheless, the task became a paradigm to investigate tool innovation. Considering that young humans had surprising difficulties with the task, it was yet unclear whether the innovation of a hooked tool would be feasible to primates that lacked habitual hook making. We thus tested five captive orangutans in a hook bending and unbending task. Orangutans are habitually tool-using primates that have been reported to use but not craft hooked tools for locomotion in the wild. Two orangutans spontaneously innovated hook tools and four unbent the wire from their first trial on. Pre-experience with ready-made hooks had some effect but did not lead to continuous success. Further subjects improved the hook-design feature when the task required the subjects to bent the hook at a steeper angle. Our results indicate that the ability to represent and manufacture tools according to a current need does not require stereotyped behavioural routines, but can indeed arise innovatively. Furthermore, the present study shows that the capacity for hook tool innovation is not limited to large brained birds within non-human animals.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Bobrowicz K, M Osvath (2018)

Cats Parallel Great Apes and Corvids in Motor Self-Regulation - Not Brain but Material Size Matters.

Frontiers in psychology, 9:1995.

The inhibition of unproductive motor movements is regarded as a fundamental cognitive mechanism. Recently it has been shown that species with large absolute brain size or high numbers of pallial neurons, like great apes and corvids, show the highest performance on a task purportedly measuring this mechanism: the cylinder task. In this task the subject must detour a perpendicularly oriented transparent cylinder to reach a reward through a side opening, instead of directly reaching for it and bumping into the front, which is regarded as an inhibitory failure. Here we test domestic cats, for the first time, and show that they can reach the same levels as great apes and corvids on this task, despite having much smaller brains. We tested subjects with apparatuses that varied in size (cylinder length and diameter) and material (glass or plastic), and found that subjects performed best on the large cylinders. As numbers of successes decreased significantly when the cylinders were smaller, we conducted additionally two experiments to discern which properties (length of the transparent surface, goal distance from the surface, size of the side opening) affects performance. We conclude that sensorimotor requirements, which differ between species, may have large impact on the results in such seemingly simple and apparently comparable tests. However, we also conclude that cats have comparably high levels of motor self-regulation, despite the differences between tests.

RevDate: 2019-01-30

Shirley MK, Arthurs OJ, Seunarine KK, et al (2018)

Metabolic rate of major organs and tissues in young adult South Asian women.

European journal of clinical nutrition pii:10.1038/s41430-018-0362-0 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Major organ-specific and tissue-specific metabolic rate (Ki) values were initially estimated using in vivo methods, and values reported by Elia (Energy metabolism: tissue determinants and cellular corollaries, Raven Press, New York, 1992) were subsequently supported by statistical analysis. However, the majority of work to date on this topic has addressed individuals of European descent, whereas population variability in resting energy metabolism has been reported. We aimed to estimate Ki values in South Asian females.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: This cross-sectional study recruited 70 healthy young women of South Asian ancestry. Brain and organs were measured using magnetic resonance imaging, skeletal muscle mass by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, fat mass by the 4-component model, and whole-body resting energy expenditure by indirect calorimetry. Organ and tissue Ki values were estimated indirectly using regression analysis through the origin. Preliminary analysis suggested overestimation of heart mass, hence the modeling was repeated with a literature-based 22.5% heart mass reduction.

RESULTS: The pattern of derived Ki values across organs and tissues matched that previously estimated in vivo, but the values were systematically lower. However, adjusting for the overestimation of heart mass markedly improved the agreement.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results support variability in Ki values among organs and tissues, where some are more metabolically "expensive" than others. Initial findings suggesting lower organ/tissue Ki values in South Asian women were likely influenced by heart mass estimation bias. The question of potential ethnic variability in organ-specific and tissue-specific energy metabolism requires further investigation.

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RJR Experience and Expertise

Researcher

Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.

Educator

Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.

Administrator

Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.

Technologist

Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.

Publisher

While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.

Speaker

Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.

Facilitator

Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.

Designer

Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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This is a must read book for anyone with an interest in invasion biology. The full title of the book lays out the author's premise — The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature's Salvation. Not only is species movement not bad for ecosystems, it is the way that ecosystems respond to perturbation — it is the way ecosystems heal. Even if you are one of those who is absolutely convinced that invasive species are actually "a blight, pollution, an epidemic, or a cancer on nature", you should read this book to clarify your own thinking. True scientific understanding never comes from just interacting with those with whom you already agree. R. Robbins

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

Reprints and preprints of publications, slide presentations, instructional materials, and data compilations written or prepared by Robert Robbins. Most papers deal with computational biology, genome informatics, using information technology to support biomedical research, and related matters.

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