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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 31 Jul 2021 at 01:37 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®)

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RevDate: 2021-07-29

Schelly D (2021)

Life in the Time of COVID-19: a Case Study of Community Health.

Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities [Epub ahead of print].

INTRODUCTION: This report uses a present day global pandemic as a case study of health inequities that are best understood by considering the role of time and place.

METHOD: I provide a historical overview of Milwaukee, Wisconsin-one of the most segregated cities in the U.S.-to consider prior health disparities and social conditions. I then focus on COVID-19, tracking the monthly census tract distribution of cases for 6 months, including case and mortality data by race and class.

RESULTS: As expected, Black and Hispanic majority census tracts are the most affected by COVID-19, with some communities experiencing nearly 1 positive case per 10 residents. In previous years, Blacks and Hispanics provided approximately 27% and 3% of the shares of "natural" deaths, respectively; their shares of COVID-19 deaths in the first 6 months of the pandemic were approximately 35% and 13%. On the contrary, the share of natural deaths for whites was approximately 65% in previous years and dropped to 47% for COVID-19 deaths. The average ages of COVID-19 deaths were 72.5 for Blacks, 61.3 for Hispanics, and 79.9 for whites.

CONCLUSION: The disparities in COVID-19 outcomes in Milwaukee cannot be separated from historical forces, including race-based politics that intensified during the Great Migration of African Americans from the Jim Crow South. The paper concludes by returning to the turn of the 19th century with a historical snapshot of Jane Addams, who lived a short distance south, in a time with conspicuous parallels to the COVID-19 crisis.

RevDate: 2021-07-27

Sarker S, Bowden TR, DB Boyle (2021)

Genomic characterisation of a novel avipoxvirus, magpiepox virus 2, from an Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen terraereginae).

Virology, 562:121-127 pii:S0042-6822(21)00157-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Avipoxviruses are large, double-stranded DNA viruses and are considered significant pathogens that may impact on the conservation of numerous bird species. The vast majority of avipoxviruses in wild birds remain uncharacterised and their genetic variability is unclear. Here, we fully sequenced a novel avipoxvirus, magpiepox virus 2 (MPPV2), which was isolated 62 years ago (in 1956) from an Australian black-backed magpie. The MPPV2 genome was 298,392 bp in length and contained 419 predicted open-reading frames (ORFs). While 43 ORFs were novel, a further 24 ORFs were absent compared with another magpiepox virus (MPPV) characterised in 2018. The MPPV2 genome contained an additional ten genes that were homologs to shearwaterpox virus 2 (SWPV2). Subsequent phylogenetic analyses showed that the novel MPPV2 was most closely related to other avipoxviruses isolated from passerine and shearwater bird species, and demonstrated a high degree of sequence similarity (95.0%) with MPPV.

RevDate: 2021-07-27

Khosravi M, Seifi S, Z Tazeh (2021)

Molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis of VIIl sub-genotype of avian orthoavulavirus 1 isolated from Eurasian magpie (Pica pica).

Iranian journal of veterinary research, 22(2):155-160.

Background: Newcastle disease (ND) has been categorized as a highly contagious viral disease, remaining as a constant threat to both wild birds and commercial chickens.

Aims: In this study, we recovered and characterized the avian orthoavulavirus 1 (AOaV-1) strain, nominated as EM1, from the Eurasian magpie (Pica pica).

Methods: The nucleotide and amino acid sequence of the fusion protein (F protein) of EM1 were determined and its phylogenetic relationship was investigated with well-characterized AOaV-1 genotypes, which originated from wild bird species and chickens around the world.

Results: Phylogenetic analysis and deduced amino acid sequences of the F gene revealed that EM1 virus belonged to VIIl sub-genotype viruses with the characteristic multibasic amino acid sequences associated with the velogenic motif as 112RRQKRF117 at the cleavage site of its precursor fusion protein. EM1 shared a high level of similarity to the other virus sub-genotypes in nucleotide and amino acid sequences of F protein. Furthermore, the evolutionary difference between the studied virus and viruses belonging to the VIIl sub-genotype indicated that a close relatedness and the possibility of a common origin.

Conclusion: These results show that the virulent AOaV-1 of sub-genotype VIIl is circulating continuously in Iran, and is disseminating among wild and domestic bird species that can cause bidirectional spillover infection. Therefore, further epidemiological studies can be beneficial in the assessment of the evolution of AOaV-1 in its hosts and will help us to be well-equipped in facing the emergence of new sub-genotypes of this virus.

RevDate: 2021-07-22

Li Y, Miyasaka M, Haghighipanah M, et al (2016)

Dynamic Modeling of Cable Driven Elongated Surgical Instruments for Sensorless Grip Force Estimation.

IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation : ICRA : [proceedings]. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2016:4128-4134.

Haptic feedback plays a key role in surgeries, but it is still a missing component in robotic Minimally Invasive Surgeries. This paper proposes a dynamic model-based sensorless grip force estimation method to address the haptic perception problem for commonly used elongated cable-driven surgical instruments. Cable and cable-pulley properties are studied for dynamic modeling; grip forces, along with driven motor and gripper jaw positions and velocities are jointly estimated with Unscented Kalman Filter and only motor encoder readings and motor output torques are assumed to be known. A bounding filter is used to compensate for model inaccuracy and to improve method robustness. The proposed method was validated on a 10mm gripper which is driven by a Raven-II surgical robot. The gripper was equipped with 1-dimensional force sensors which served as ground truth data. The experimental results showed that the proposed method provides sufficiently good grip force estimation, while only motor encoder and the motor torques are used as observations.

RevDate: 2021-07-21

Roberts WA (2021)

An operant analog of food caching in the pigeon (Columba livia).

Learning & behavior [Epub ahead of print].

Although pigeons do not naturally cache and recover food items as found in members of the corvid and parid families, an operant analog of food caching and recovery in pigeons was studied in four experiments. Pigeons were trained to peck a caching key that added a fixed increment of time to the final duration of reinforcement obtained by pecking a payoff key. The same key served as the caching and payoff keys in Experiment 1, but separate caching and payoff keys were used in Experiments 2-4. In Experiments 2-3, each peck on a left red caching key added 0.5 s of reinforcement earned by pecking a right white payoff key. In Experiment 4, red or green caching keys appeared on different trials, with 0.5 s of reinforcement earned for pecking the red key and 1.0 s of reinforcement earned for pecking the green key. Pigeons showed an increased number of pecks on the caching key over ten sessions in Experiments 1-3 and more pecks on the green caching key than on the red caching key in Experiment 4.

RevDate: 2021-07-16

Meilak EA, Gostling NJ, Palmer C, et al (2021)

On the 3D Nature of the Magpie (Aves: Pica pica) Functional Hindlimb Anatomy During the Take-Off Jump.

Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology, 9:676894.

Take-off is a critical phase of flight, and many birds jump to take to the air. Although the actuation of the hindlimb in terrestrial birds is not limited to the sagittal plane, and considerable non-sagittal plane motion has been observed during take-off jumps, how the spatial arrangement of hindlimb muscles in flying birds facilitates such jumps has received little attention. This study aims to ascertain the 3D hip muscle function in the magpie (Pica pica), a bird known to jump to take-off. A musculoskeletal model of the magpie hindlimb was developed using μCT scans (isotropic resolution of 18.2 μm) to derive bone surfaces, while the 3D muscle path definition was further informed by the literature. Function was robustly characterized by determining the 3D moment-generating capacity of 14 hip muscles over the functional joint range of motion during a take-off leap considering variations across the attachment areas and uncertainty in dynamic muscle geometry. Ratios of peak flexion-extension (FE) to internal-external rotation (IER) and abduction-adduction (ABD) moment-generating capacity were indicators of muscle function. Analyses of 972 variations of the 3D muscle paths showed that 11 of 14 muscles can act as either flexor or extensor, while all 14 muscles demonstrated the capacity to act as internal or external rotators of the hip with the mean ratios of peak FE to IER and ABD moment-generating capacity were 0.89 and 0.31, respectively. Moment-generating capacity in IER approaching levels in the FE moment-generating capacity determined here underline that the avian hip muscle function is not limited to the sagittal plane. Together with previous findings on the 3D nature of hindlimb kinematics, our results suggest that musculoskeletal models to develop a more detailed understanding of how birds orchestrate the use of muscles during a take-off jump cannot be restricted to the sagittal plane.

RevDate: 2021-07-14

Sen K, Berglund T, Patel N, et al (2021)

Genotypic analyses and antimicrobial resistance profiles of Campylobacter jejuni from crows (Corvidae) of US and India reflect their respective local antibiotic burdens of the areas.

Journal of applied microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

AIM: The study examined the hypothesis that crow-borne Campylobacter can function as environmental reservoirs and indicators of antibiotic resistance (AR) determinants circulating in a human population.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Two species of crows from Washington (WA), US, and Kolkata, India, respectively, were examined for their ability to carry antibiotic resistant Campylobacter. C. jejuni was the only species isolated by selective agar plating from crow fecal samples. Disk diffusion method used to compare the AR profile of the isolates showed tetracycline (TET) resistance to be the most prevalent (27%) among WA isolates, followed by Ciprofloxacin (CIP) (24%). Among Kolkata isolates, Nalidixic Acid (NAL) resistance was most common (36%), followed by CIP (27%). The AR profile demonstrated by crow isolates of WA reflects those reported by US National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System for human isolates (2007-2011), where resistance to TET was most prevalent (≈45%), followed by quinolones (≈24%). The Kolkata crow isolates reflected the AR profile of human clinical isolates from India, where 97% resistance was shown to quinolones, followed by TET (18%). Multi Locus Sequence Typing (MLST) of 37 isolates, including 11 water isolates from the crow roost area, showed 24 different STs. Seventeen of these were previously found in wild birds, 2 in human diarrhea, 4 in poultry, and 8 in environmental water. One isolate was found in both water and feces, though from different sites within WA.

CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate crows most likely acquire the AR from anthropogenic sources. Although they are colonized by specific STs, rarely isolated from humans, they can facilitate the spread of AR SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF STUDY: By studying two areas in different continents, this research demonstrates Campylobacter borne by crows can function as environmental reservoirs and indicators of AR determinants that circulate in a human population. This information will be of importance to scientists from the medical and poultry industry.

RevDate: 2021-07-14

Breen AJ (2021)

Animal culture research should include avian nest construction.

Biology letters, 17(7):20210327.

Material culture-that is, group-shared and socially learned object-related behaviour(s)-is a widespread and diverse phenomenon in humans. For decades, researchers have sought to confirm the existence of material culture in non-human animals; however, the main study systems of interest-namely, tool making and/or using non-human primates and corvids-cannot provide such confirmatory evidence: because long-standing ethical and logistical constraints handicap the collection of necessary experimental data. Synthesizing evidence across decades and disciplines, here, I present a novel framework for (mechanistic, developmental, behavioural, and comparative) study on animal material culture: avian nest construction.

RevDate: 2021-07-13

Steele MP, Neaves LE, Klump BC, et al (2021)

DNA barcoding identifies cryptic animal tool materials.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(29):.

Some animals fashion tools or constructions out of plant materials to aid foraging, reproduction, self-maintenance, or protection. Their choice of raw materials can affect the structure and properties of the resulting artifacts, with considerable fitness consequences. Documenting animals' material preferences is challenging, however, as manufacture behavior is often difficult to observe directly, and materials may be processed so heavily that they lack identifying features. Here, we use DNA barcoding to identify, from just a few recovered tool specimens, the plant species New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides) use for crafting elaborate hooked stick tools in one of our long-term study populations. The method succeeded where extensive fieldwork using an array of conventional approaches-including targeted observations, camera traps, radio-tracking, bird-mounted video cameras, and behavioral experiments with wild and temporarily captive subjects-had failed. We believe that DNA barcoding will prove useful for investigating many other tool and construction behaviors, helping to unlock significant research potential across a wide range of study systems.

RevDate: 2021-07-10

Jalaludin B, Garden FL, Chrzanowska A, et al (2021)

Associations Between Ambient Particulate Air Pollution and Cognitive Function in Indonesian Children Living in Forest Fire-Prone Provinces.

Asia-Pacific journal of public health [Epub ahead of print].

Smoke from forest fires can reach hazardous levels for extended periods of time. We aimed to determine if there is an association between particulate matter ≤2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) and living in a forest fire-prone province and cognitive function. We used data from the Indonesian Family and Life Survey. Cognitive function was assessed by the Ravens Colored Progressive Matrices (RCPM). We used regression models to estimate associations between PM2.5 and living in a forest fire-prone province and cognitive function. In multivariable models, we found very small positive relationships between PM2.5 levels and RCPM scores (PM2.5 level at year of survey: β = 0.1%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.01% to 0.19%). There were no differences in RCPM scores for children living in forest fire-prone provinces compared with children living in non-forest fire-prone provinces (mean difference = -1.16%, 95% CI = -2.53% to 0.21%). RCPM scores were lower for children who had lived in a forest fire-prone province all their lives compared with children who lived in a non-forest fire-prone province all their life (β = -1.50%; 95% CI = -2.94% to -0.07%). Living in a forest fire-prone province for a prolonged period of time negatively affected cognitive scores after adjusting for individual factors.

RevDate: 2021-07-09

Nahid MI, Fossøy F, Stokke BG, et al (2021)

No evidence of host-specific egg mimicry in Asian koels.

PloS one, 16(7):e0253985 pii:PONE-D-21-04869.

Avian brood parasitism is costly for the host, in many cases leading to the evolution of defenses like discrimination of parasitic eggs. The parasite, in turn, may evolve mimetic eggs as a counter-adaptation to host egg rejection. Some generalist parasites have evolved host-specific races (gentes) that may mimic the eggs of their main hosts, while others have evolved 'jack-of-all-trades' egg phenotypes that mimic key features of the eggs of several different host species. The Asian koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) is a widely distributed generalist brood parasite that exploits a wide range of host species. Based on human vision, previous studies have described Asian koel eggs as resembling those of its main host, the house crow (Corvus splendens). Using measurements of egg length and breadth, digital image analysis, reflectance spectrophotometry and avian visual modelling, we examined Asian koel egg variation and potential mimicry in egg size and shape, and eggshell pattern and color in three sympatrically occurring host species in Bangladesh: the common myna (Acridotheres tristis), house crow, and long-tailed shrike (Lanius schach). We found some differences among Asian koel eggs laid in different host nests: a) Asian koel eggs in long-tailed shrike nests were larger than those laid in common myna and house crow nests, and b) Asian koel eggs in house crow nests were less elongated than those in common myna nests. However, these changes in Asian koel egg volume and shape were in the opposite direction with respect to their corresponding host egg characteristics. Thus, our study found no evidence for Asian koel host-specific egg mimicry in three sympatrically occurring host species.

RevDate: 2021-07-09

Wang F, Mao T, Tang T, et al (2021)

First Report of Blight on Pinellia ternata (Banxia) Caused by Choanephora cucurbitarum in China.

Plant disease [Epub ahead of print].

Pinellia ternata (Thunb.) Makino ex Briet. (banxia, crow-dipper) is a perennial herbaceous plant native to China, Japan, and Korea. A member of the family Araceae, it is considered an invasive weed in parts of Europe and North America. In August 2020, P. ternata plants showing blight symptoms (8% incidence in a 30-ha field) were observed, near Qianjiang City (30°50'N, 112°92'E), Hubei Province, China. Brown water-soaked lesions first appeared on flowers followed by flower blight and leaf and stem rot during periods of more than 80% humidity (Supplementary figure 1). White, cottony mycelia grew from rotted tissues and produced sporangiophores with brown to black sporangiola. To identify the causal agent, 12 diseased samples were surface disinfested with 0.5% sodium hypochlorite and 75% ethyl alcohol, then plated on potato dextrose agar (PDA) maintained at 25°C. Ten fungal isolates were selected by hyphal tip isolation and placed on fresh PDA. White fungal colonies grew rapidly that later turned pale yellow and produced abundant sporangiola in 13 days. Sporangiophores were smooth, hyaline, aseptate, and produced monosporous sporangiola. Sporangiola were ellipsoid, indehiscent, pediculate, brown to dark brown, 8 to 16 × 14 to 21 μm (n = 50) in size, with visible longitudinal striations . Sporangia with a few or many sporangiospores were subglobose, pale brown to brown, and 55 to 165 μm (n = 40) in diameter. Sporangiospores were broadly ellipsoid, brown to pale brown, striate, 8 to 12 × 15 to 25 μm (n=30) in size, with hyaline polar appendages. Based on these morphological characteristics, the fungus was identified as Choanephora cucurbitarum (Berk. & Ravenel) Thaxt. (Kirk 1984). To confirm the identification, the strain QJFY1 was chosen for DNA sequencing. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA and large subunit (LSU) region of ribosomal RNA were amplified with primers ITS1/ITS4 and NL1/LR3 (Walther et al. 2013) and the amplicons were sequenced. BLAST analysis of the 593bp sequences (accession no. MW295532) and the 699bp sequence(accession no. MW341527)showed ≥99.5% identity with C. cucurbitarum strains CBS 674.93 (GenBank accession no. JN943006.1 and JN939195.1; Supplementary figure 2). Based on morphological and molecular characteristics, the fungus was identified as C. cucurbitarum. Koch's postulates were fulfilled by inoculating flowers of three healthy 30-day-old P. ternata plants with 50 μL of inoculum suspension (1 x 104 conidia/ml) obtained from 13-day old cultures of C. cucurbitarum isolate QJFY1. Another three plants treated with sterile distilled water served as controls. All plants were placed in a greenhouse with relative humidity of 90% for 2 days and thereafter placed in the glasshouse at 25 ± 1°C. After three days, symptoms similar to those seen under field conditions, were observed on inoculated plants and non-inoculated plants remained healthy. C. cucurbitarum was reisolated and identified by molecular characteristics (ITS and LSU) from inoculated plants. The experiment was repeated thrice with similar results. To our knowledge, this is the first report of Choanephora blight caused by C. cucurbitarum on P. ternata in China and worldwide. Hubei Province is one of the most important banxia producing areas in China and C. cucurbitarum can pose a new threat to banxia production. Our results provide a basis to develop effective measures to manage this disease. References: Kirk, P. M. 1984. Mycol. Pap. 152:1. Walther, G., et al. 2013. Persoonia 30:11. http://dx.doi.org/10.3767/003158513X665070 Acknowledgements Science Funds for Young Scholar of Institute of Chinese Herbal Medicines, Hubei Academy of Agricultural Sciences (grant no. 2019ZYCJJ01), Key Research and Development Program of Hubei Province (grant no. 2020BCA059), Support Plan of Hubei Academy of Agricultural Sciences (grant no. 2019fcxjh09), Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Crops of Central China, Ministry of Agriculture, P. R.China / Hubei Key Laboratory of Crop Disease, Insect Pests and Weeds Control (grant no. 2019ZTSJJ6), Hubei Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Center Project (grant no.2019-620-003-001).

RevDate: 2021-07-09

Nourani L, Baghkheirati AA, Zargar M, et al (2021)

Haemoproteosis and avian malaria in Columbidae and Corvidae from Iran.

Veterinary medicine and science [Epub ahead of print].

Avian malaria (Plasmodium) and related genera (Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon) are diverse and widespread parasites. Despite the extent of knowledge on avian haemosporidian parasites, information about domestic and wild bird's blood parasites is overall insufficient in Iran. Prevalence of the haemosporidian parasites' and phylogenetic relationship of lineages are studied by using molecular and morphological results of 152 examined hosts belonging to 17 species. Molecular analysis for haemosporidian detections demonstrated overall prevalence 22.36%. Inspected hosts mostly belonging to Common Pigeons (Columba livia) parasitized by Haemoproteus spp., and Hooded Crows (Corvus cornix) and Carrion Crow (C. corone) were identified as hosting Plasmodium spp. Detected lineages COLIV03, COQUI05, LINN01, ROFI04 and SGS01 are identified as new reports from Iran. We detected no evidence of Leucocytozoon lineages, while the high prevalence of H. columbae was found in Common Pigeons. Such investigation on avian blood parasites contributes to providing new information on the prevalence, epidemiology and geographical distribution of haemosporidian parasites circulating in domestic, pets and wild birds.

RevDate: 2021-07-08

Hooper R, Meekins E, McIvor GE, et al (2021)

Wild jackdaws respond to their partner's distress, but not with consolation.

Royal Society open science, 8(6):210253 pii:rsos210253.

Individuals are expected to manage their social relationships to maximize fitness returns. For example, reports of some mammals and birds offering unsolicited affiliation to distressed social partners (commonly termed 'consolation') are argued to illustrate convergent evolution of prosocial traits across divergent taxa. However, most studies cannot discriminate between consolation and alternative explanations such as self-soothing. Crucially, no study that controls for key confounds has examined consolation in the wild, where individuals face more complex and dangerous environments than in captivity. Controlling for common confounds, we find that male jackdaws (Corvus monedula) respond to their mate's stress-states, but not with consolation. Instead, they tended to decrease affiliation and partner visit rate in both experimental and natural contexts. This is striking because jackdaws have long-term monogamous relationships with highly interdependent fitness outcomes, which is precisely where theory predicts consolation should occur. Our findings challenge common conceptions about where consolation should evolve, and chime with concerns that current theory may be influenced by anthropomorphic expectations of how social relationships should be managed. To further our understanding of the evolution of such traits, we highlight the need for our current predictive frameworks to incorporate the behavioural trade-offs inherent to life in the wild.

RevDate: 2021-07-05

Varghese JS, Patel SA, Martorell R, et al (2021)

Relative and absolute wealth mobility since birth in relation to health and human capital in middle adulthood: An analysis of a Guatemalan birth cohort.

SSM - population health, 15:100852 pii:S2352-8273(21)00127-0.

Background: Wealth mobility, as both relative (positional) and absolute (material) wealth acquisition, may counteract negative consequences of early life adversities on adult health.

Methods: We use longitudinal data (1967-2018) from the INCAP birth cohort, Guatemala (n = 1386). Using wealth as a measure of socio-economic position, we assess the association of life course relative mobility using latent class analysis and absolute material gains using conditional wealth measures. We estimate associations of wealth mobility with indicators of human capital, specifically height, weight status (BMI in kg/m2), psychological distress (WHO SRQ-20 score) and fluid intelligence (Ravens Progressive Matrices score; RPM) in middle adulthood.

Results: We identified four latent classes of relative mobility - Stable Low (n = 498), Stable High (n = 223), Downwardly Mobile (n = 201) and Upwardly Mobile (n = 464). Attained schooling (years) was positively associated with membership in Upwardly Mobile (odds ratio; 1.50, 95%CI: 1.31, 1.71) vs Stable Low, and inversely with membership in Downwardly Mobile (0.65, 95%CI: 0.54, 0.79) vs Stable High. Being Upwardly Mobile (vs Stable Low) was positively associated with height (1.88 cm, 95%CI: 1.04, 2.72), relative weight (1.32 kg/m2, 95%CI: 0.57, 2.07), lower psychological distress (-0.82 units, 95%CI: 1.34, -0.29) and fluid intelligence (0.94 units, 95%CI: 0.28, 1.59). Being Downwardly Mobile (vs Stable High) was associated with lower fluid intelligence (-2.69 units, 95%CI: 3.69, -1.68), and higher psychological distress (1.15 units, 95%CI: 0.34, 1.95). Absolute wealth gains (z-scores) from early to middle adulthood were positively associated with relative weight (0.62 kg/m2, 95%CI: 0.28, 0.96), lower psychological distress (-0.37 units, 95%CI: 0.60, -0.14) and fluid intelligence (0.50 units, 95%CI: 0.21, 0.79).

Conclusions: Higher attained schooling provided a pathway for upward relative mobility and higher absolute wealth gains as well as protection against downward relative mobility. Upward mobility was associated with lower psychological distress and higher fluid intelligence but also higher weight status.

RevDate: 2021-07-05

Bhargava A, Bhargava M, A Meher (2020)

Universal health coverage and tuberculosis care in India in the times of Covid-19: Aligning Ayushman Bharat (National Health Assurance Scheme) to improve case detection, reduce deaths and catastrophic health expenditure.

The National medical journal of India, 33(5):298-301.

India has the largest global burden of new cases of tuberculosis (TB) and deaths due to TB. These occur predominantly in the poor who suffer catastrophic costs during diagnosis and treatment. The National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme has ambitious goals of 80% reduction of incidence of TB, 90% reduction in mortality due to TB by 2025 and 0% occurrence of catastrophic costs to households affected by TB by 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting disruption to TB services are expected to worsen the situation. There are gaps in case finding at the peripheral level and access to care at the higher level for patients with TB. An estimated 32% patients with active TB do not access diagnostic services, while catastrophic costs associated with hospitalization are a barrier to access for seriously ill patients. Deaths due to TB in India occur largely at home and not in medical facilities, and are preventable with appropriate inpatient care. The Ayushman Bharat scheme with its Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) and coverage for inpatient care under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) can facilitate, the achievement of the goals of TB elimination. The HWCs provide an opportunity to close the case-finding gap as first point of contact by enabling sputum transport services to the designated microscopy centres. This will facilitate case detection, reduce diagnostic delays, and decrease community transmission and the incidence of TB. The benefit package of PM-JAY can cover patients with pulmonary TB, inpatient evaluation for other forms of TB, enhance the allocation for treatment and cover management of comorbid conditions such as severe undernutrition, anaemia, HIV and diabetes.

RevDate: 2021-07-02

Amor N, Noman MT, Petru M, et al (2021)

Neural network-crow search model for the prediction of functional properties of nano TiO2 coated cotton composites.

Scientific reports, 11(1):13649.

This paper presents a new hybrid approach for the prediction of functional properties i.e., self-cleaning efficiency, antimicrobial efficiency and ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), of titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2 NPs) coated cotton fabric. The proposed approach is based on feedforward artificial neural network (ANN) model called a multilayer perceptron (MLP), trained by an optimized algorithm known as crow search algorithm (CSA). ANN is an effective and widely used approach for the prediction of extremely complex problems. Various studies have been proposed to improve the weight training of ANN using metaheuristic algorithms. CSA is a latest and an effective metaheuristic method relies on the intelligent behavior of crows. CSA has been never proposed to improve the weight training of ANN. Therefore, CSA is adopted to optimize the initial weights and thresholds of the ANN model, in order to improve the training accuracy and prediction performance of functional properties of TiO2 NPs coated cotton composites. Furthermore, our proposed algorithm i.e., multilayer perceptron with crow search algorithm (MLP-CSA) was applied to map out the complex input-output conditions to predict the optimal results. The amount of chemicals and reaction time were selected as input variables and the amount of titanium dioxide coated on cotton, self-cleaning efficiency, antimicrobial efficiency and UPF were evaluated as output results. A sensitivity analysis was carried out to assess the performance of CSA in prediction process. MLP-CSA provided excellent result that were statistically significant and highly accurate as compared to standard MLP model and other metaheuristic algorithms used in the training of ANN reported in the literature.

RevDate: 2021-07-05

Ciebiera O, Czechowski P, Morelli F, et al (2021)

Selection of Urbanized Areas by Magpie Pica pica in a Medium Size City in Poland.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 11(6):.

The Magpie Pica pica occurs all over open agricultural areas in Poland, especially near human settlements (particularly in western Poland). The aim of this study was to estimate the size of the local Magpie population and characterize, in detail, nest site selection in a medium size city Górzów Wlkp. in the XXI century. For this study, the whole city was divided into a total of 114 squares of 1 × 1 km. Data were collected in spring 2014. A total of 474 Magpie pairs were recorded. The average density was 5.5 pairs/km2 (min = 0, max = 22 nests/square), in the non-urbanized habitat type-3.7 p/km2, and in the urbanized habitat type-13.5 p/km2. Magpie nests were found most often on Spruces Picea sp. and Poplars Populus sp. The mean height of the nest site was 11.5 m, while the mean height of trees used for nesting was 13.4 m. The type of tree arrangement most frequently used for nesting was tree rows (26.3%), followed by single trees (24.6%) and clusters of 4-10 trees (20.1%). The results for the Magpie's environmental preferences do not differ from the general patterns described earlier. The study shows that magpies can adapt to changing urbanization factors, and changes in the choice of conifers help the species to adapt to highly anthropogenic habitats.

RevDate: 2021-07-01

Makhni E, Lizzio V, P Chalmers (2021)

The Effect of the Crow Hop on Elbow Stress During an Interval Throwing Program: Response.

The American journal of sports medicine, 49(8):NP32-NP33.

RevDate: 2021-07-01

Wong R, Laudner K, Evans D, et al (2021)

The Effect of the Crow Hop on Elbow Stress During an Interval Throwing Program: Letter to the Editor.

The American journal of sports medicine, 49(8):NP31-NP32.

RevDate: 2021-06-29

Laumer IB, Massen JJM, Boehm PM, et al (2021)

Individual Goffin´s cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana) show flexible targeted helping in a tool transfer task.

PloS one, 16(6):e0253416 pii:PONE-D-20-38887.

Flexible targeted helping is considered an advanced form of prosocial behavior in hominoids, as it requires the actor to assess different situations that a conspecific may be in, and to subsequently flexibly satisfy different needs of that partner depending on the nature of those situations. So far, apart from humans such behaviour has only been experimentally shown in chimpanzees and in Eurasian jays. Recent studies highlight the prosocial tendencies of several bird species, yet flexible targeted helping remained untested, largely due to methodological issues as such tasks are generally designed around tool-use, and very few bird species are capable of tool-use. Here, we tested Goffin's cockatoos, which proved to be skilled tool innovators in captivity, in a tool transfer task in which an actor had access to four different objects/tools and a partner to one of two different apparatuses that each required one of these tools to retrieve a reward. As expected from this species, we recorded playful object transfers across all conditions. Yet, importantly and similar to apes, three out of eight birds transferred the correct tool more often in the test condition than in a condition that also featured an apparatus but no partner. Furthermore, one of these birds transferred that correct tool first more often before transferring any other object in the test condition than in the no-partner condition, while the other two cockatoos were marginally non-significantly more likely to do so. Additionally, there was no difference in the likelihood of the correct tool being transferred first for either of the two apparatuses, suggesting that these birds flexibly adjusted what to transfer based on their partner´s need. Future studies should focus on explanations for the intra-specific variation of this behaviour, and should test other parrots and other large-brained birds to see how this can be generalized across the class and to investigate the evolutionary history of this trait.

RevDate: 2021-06-26

Pardal R, R Heidstra (2021)

Root Stem Cell Niche networks: It's complexed! A review on gene networks regulating the Arabidopsis root stem cell niche.

Journal of experimental botany pii:6309857 [Epub ahead of print].

The presence of two meristematic cell populations in the root and shoot apex allow plants to grow indefinitely. Due to its simple and predictable tissue organisation, the Arabidopsis root apical meristem remains an ideal model to study mechanisms such as stem cell specification, asymmetric cell division and differentiation in plants. The root stem cell niche consists of a quiescent organizing center surrounded by mitotically active stem cells, that originate all root tissues. The transcription factors PLETHORA, SCARECROW and WOX5 form the signaling hubs that integrate multiple inputs from an increasing number of proteins implicated in the regulation of the stem cell niche function. Recently, locally produced auxin was added to the list of important mobile factors in stem cell niche. In addition, protein-protein interaction data elegantly demonstrated how parallel pathways can meet into a common objective. Here we discuss in a comprehensive way how multiple networks converge to specify and maintain the root stem cell niche.

RevDate: 2021-06-29
CmpDate: 2021-06-29

Kim S, Maleki N, Rezaie-Balf M, et al (2021)

Assessment of the total organic carbon employing the different nature-inspired approaches in the Nakdong River, South Korea.

Environmental monitoring and assessment, 193(7):445.

Total organic carbon (TOC) has vital significance for measuring water quality in river streamflow. The detection of TOC can be considered as an important evaluation because of issues on human health and environmental indicators. This research utilized the novel hybrid models to improve the predictive accuracy of TOC at Andong and Changnyeong stations in the Nakdong River, South Korea. A data pre-processing approach (i.e., complete ensemble empirical mode decomposition with adaptive noise (CEEMDAN)) and evolutionary optimization algorithm (i.e., crow search algorithm (CSA)) were implemented for enhancing the accuracy and robustness of standalone models (i.e., multivariate adaptive regression spline (MARS) and M5Tree). Various water quality indicators (i.e., TOC, potential of Hydrogen (pH), electrical conductivity (EC), dissolved oxygen (DO), water temperature (WT), chemical oxygen demand (COD), and suspended solids (SS)) were utilized for developing the standalone and hybrid models based on three input combinations (i.e., categories 1~3). The developed models were evaluated utilizing the correlation coefficient (CC), root-mean-square error (RMSE), and Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE). The CEEMDAN-MARS-CSA based on category 2 (C-M-CSA2) model (CC = 0.762, RMSE = 0.570 mg/L, and NSE = 0.520) was the most accurate for predicting TOC at Andong station, whereas the CEEMDAN-MARS-CSA based on category 3 (C-M-CSA3) model (CC = 0.900, RMSE = 0.675 mg/L, and NSE = 0.680) was the best at Changnyeong station.

RevDate: 2021-06-30

Park K, Barghi M, Lim JE, et al (2021)

Assessment of regional and temporal trends in per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances using the Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) in Korea.

The Science of the total environment, 793:148513 pii:S0048-9697(21)03585-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are used in industrial and commercial products due to their amphiphilic properties. Birds have been utilized as biomonitoring species due to their environmental pollutant vulnerability and wide distribution. The Oriental Magpie (Pica serica) is a representative residential species inhabiting terrestrial environments. In this study, we measured PFAS concentrations in Magpie liver tissue (n = 253) collected from 12 Korean regions in 2004 and 2017. The predominant compounds were perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS; mean: 23.8 ng/g wet weight), perfluorotridecanoic acid (PFTrDA; 2.79 ng/g), and perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA: 2.11 ng/g). We observed significant correlations between Magpie PFAS measurements, indicating similar sources and bioaccumulation processes. Adult females showed significantly lower PFOS concentrations than adult males and young males and females, indicating that avian sex is a crucial physiological factor of PFAS accumulation. PFOS, perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), and perfluorotetradecanoic acid (PFTeDA) concentrations in urban regions were significantly higher than rural regions. PFOS concentrations in Magpie livers increased significantly between sampling years, whereas C11-C13 carboxylic acids (PFCAs) decreased. This suggests that urbanization and population are major factors in Magpie PFAS accumulation. Almost all hepatic PFOS concentrations were below the threshold values proposed by previous studies, implying limited risks. Our findings suggest that the Oriental Magpies are PFAS sentinel in residential environments. This is the first comprehensive report on biomonitoring of PFASs using the Oriental Magpie.

RevDate: 2021-06-24

Agrawal AA, X Zhang (2021)

The evolution of coevolution in the study of species interactions.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution [Epub ahead of print].

The study of reciprocal adaptation in interacting species has been an active and inspiring area of evolutionary research for nearly 60 years. Perhaps owing to its great natural history and potential consequences spanning population divergence to species diversification, coevolution continues to capture the imagination of biologists. Here we trace developments following Ehrlich and Raven's classic paper, with a particular focus on the modern influence of two studies by Dr. May Berenbaum in the 1980s. This series of classic work presented a compelling example exhibiting the macroevolutionary patterns predicted by Ehrlich and Raven and also formalized a microevolutionary approach to measuring selection, functional traits, and understanding reciprocal adaptation between plants and their herbivores. Following this breakthrough was a wave of research focusing on diversifying macroevolutionary patterns, mechanistic chemical ecology, and natural selection on populations within and across community types. Accordingly, we breakdown coevolutionary theory into specific hypotheses at different scales: reciprocal adaptation between populations within a community, differential coevolution among communities, lineage divergence, and phylogenetic patterns. We highlight progress as well as persistent gaps, especially the link between reciprocal adaptation and diversification. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2021-06-23

Kelly D, Leonard K, B Gibson (2021)

Adaptive specialization for spatial memory does not improve route efficiency: Comparing the ability of Clark's nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbiana) and pigeons (Columba livia) to solve traveling salesperson problems.

Psychonomic bulletin & review [Epub ahead of print].

An important question in comparative cognition is whether animals are capable of planning ahead. Todd and Hills (Current Directions in Psychological Science, 29(3), 309-315, 2020) recently suggested that the ability to plan and choose internally may have scaffolded upon the cognitive mechanisms required by animals to search among patchy resources in their external environment. The traveling salesperson problem (TSP) is a spatial optimization problem in which a traveler is faced with the task of finding the best route from a start location to two or more destinations or targets. The Clark's nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) is a food-storing corvid with a highly specialized spatial memory. Spatial memory would appear to be deeply rooted in the cognitive mechanisms required for choosing efficiently among multiple alternative routes during a TSP. If so, then species like nutcrackers that are more dependent upon spatial memory for survival may have a greater ability to plan ahead or choose more efficiently among different route options than species that have less selective pressure for remembering the location of food, like pigeons. We examined the ability of nutcrackers to solve TSPs using the same procedures and target configurations as in our past research (Gibson, Wilkerson, & Kelly, Animal Cognition, 15, 379-391, 2012) to explore if nutcrackers can efficiently solve TSPs and how their route solutions compare with those of pigeons. Nutcrackers did not display an advantage in route efficiency and performed comparably to pigeons. Both species tended to prefer a nearest-neighbor strategy to more globally efficient routes. Having a more robust spatial memory may not improve the ability of animals to determine routes to multiple locations.

RevDate: 2021-06-26

Wheeler SS, Taff CC, Reisen WK, et al (2021)

Mosquito blood-feeding patterns and nesting behavior of American crows, an amplifying host of West Nile virus.

Parasites & vectors, 14(1):331.

BACKGROUND: Although American crows are a key indicator species for West Nile virus (WNV) and mount among the highest viremias reported for any host, the importance of crows in the WNV transmission cycle has been called into question because of their consistent underrepresentation in studies of Culex blood meal sources. Here, we test the hypothesis that this apparent underrepresentation could be due, in part, to underrepresentation of crow nesting habitat from mosquito sampling designs. Specifically, we examine how the likelihood of a crow blood meal changes with distance to and timing of active crow nests in a Davis, California, population.

METHODS: Sixty artificial mosquito resting sites were deployed from May to September 2014 in varying proximity to known crow nesting sites, and Culex blood meal hosts were identified by DNA barcoding. Genotypes from crow blood meals and local crows (72 nestlings from 30 broods and 389 local breeders and helpers) were used to match mosquito blood meals to specific local crows.

RESULTS: Among the 297 identified Culex blood meals, 20 (6.7%) were attributable to crows. The mean percentage of blood meals of crow origin was 19% in the nesting period (1 May-18 June 2014), but 0% in the weeks after fledging (19 June-1 September 2014), and the likelihood of a crow blood meal increased with proximity to an active nest: the odds that crows hosted a Culex blood meal were 38.07 times greater within 10 m of an active nest than > 10 m from an active nest. Nine of ten crow blood meals that could be matched to a genotype of a specific crow belonged to either nestlings in these nests or their mothers. Six of the seven genotypes that could not be attributed to sampled birds belonged to females, a sex bias likely due to mosquitoes targeting incubating or brooding females.

CONCLUSION: Data herein indicate that breeding crows serve as hosts for Culex in the initial stages of the WNV spring enzootic cycle. Given their high viremia, infected crows could thereby contribute to the re-initiation and early amplification of the virus, increasing its availability as mosquitoes shift to other moderately competent later-breeding avian hosts.

RevDate: 2021-07-05

Stocker M, Prosl J, Vanhooland LC, et al (2021)

Measuring salivary mesotocin in birds - Seasonal differences in ravens' peripheral mesotocin levels.

Hormones and behavior, 134:105015 pii:S0018-506X(21)00094-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Oxytocin is involved in a broad array of social behaviours. While saliva has been used regularly to investigate the role of oxytocin in social behaviour of mammal species, so far, to our knowledge, no-one has tried to measure its homolog, mesotocin, in birds' saliva. Therefore, in this study we measured salivary mesotocin in common ravens (Corvus corax), and subsequently explored its link to three aspects of raven sociality. We trained ravens (n = 13) to voluntarily provide saliva samples and analysed salivary mesotocin with a commercial oxytocin enzyme-immunoassay kit, also suitable for mesotocin. After testing parallelism and recovery, we investigated the effect of bonding status, sex and season on mesotocin levels. We found that mesotocin was significantly more likely to be detected in samples taken during the breeding season (spring) than during the mating season (winter). In those samples in which mesotocin was detected, concentrations were also significantly higher during the breeding than during the mating season. In contrast, bonding status and sex were not found to relate to mesotocin detectability and concentrations. The seasonal differences in mesotocin correspond to behavioral patterns known to be associated with mesotocin/oxytocin, with ravens showing much more aggression during the mating season while being more tolerant of conspecifics in the breeding season. We show for the first time that saliva samples can be useful for the non-invasive determination of hormone levels in birds. However, the rate of successfully analysed samples was very low, and collection and analysis methods will benefit from further improvements.

RevDate: 2021-06-19

Ormrod AEC, Doyle FI, Lawson KJ, et al (2021)

Niche partitioning of avian predators in northern grasslands amended by biosolids.

Ecology and evolution, 11(11):6248-6259.

Many food webs are affected by bottom-up nutrient addition, as additional biomass or productivity at a given trophic level can support more consumers. In turn, when prey are abundant, predators may converge on the same diets rather than partitioning food resources. Here, we examine the diets and habitat use of predatory and omnivorous birds in response to biosolids amendment of northern grasslands used as grazing range for cattle in British Columbia, Canada. From an ecosystem management perspective, we test whether dietary convergence occurred and whether birds preferentially used the pastures with biosolids. Biosolids treatments increased Orthoptera densities and our work occurred during a vole (Microtus spp.) population peak, so both types of prey were abundant. American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) consumed both small mammals and Orthoptera. Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus) and Long-eared owls (Asio otus) primarily ate voles (>97% of biomass consumed) as did Northern Harriers (Circus hudsonius, 88% vole biomass). Despite high dietary overlap, these species had minimal spatial overlap, and Short-eared Owls strongly preferred pastures amended with biosolids. Common Ravens (Corvus corax), Black-billed Magpies (Pica hudsonia), and American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) consumed Orthoptera, Coleoptera, vegetation, and only a few small mammals; crows avoided pastures with biosolids. Thus, when both insect and mammalian prey were abundant, corvids maintained omnivorous diets, whereas owls and Harriers specialized on voles. Spatial patterns were more complex, as birds were likely responding to prey abundance, vegetation structure, and other birds in this consumer guild.

RevDate: 2021-06-18

Sarker S, Nath BK, Talukder S, et al (2021)

Complete Mitochondrial Genome Sequence of the Magpie-Lark (Grallina cyanoleuca).

Microbiology resource announcements, 10(24):e0034221.

Here, we report the complete mitochondrial genome sequence of an Australian passerine bird, magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca). The circular genome has a size of 16,933 bp and contains 13 protein-coding genes, 22 tRNA genes, and 2 rRNA genes. This study provides a reference mitochondrial genome of magpie-lark for further molecular studies.

RevDate: 2021-06-16

Kwon JH, Lee DH, Criado MF, et al (2020)

Genetic evolution and transmission dynamics of clade 2.3.2.1a highly pathogenic avian influenza A/H5N1 viruses in Bangladesh.

Virus evolution, 6(2):veaa046.

Asian lineage A/H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) have been responsible for continuous outbreaks in Bangladesh since 2007. Although clades 2.2.2 and 2.3.4.2 HPAIVs have disappeared since poultry vaccination was introduced in 2012, clade 2.3.2.1a viruses have continued to be detected in Bangladesh. In this study, we identified A/H9N2 (n = 15), A/H5N1 (n = 19), and A/H5N1-A/H9N2 (n = 18) mixed viruses from live bird markets, chicken farms, and wild house crows (Corvus splendens) in Bangladesh from 2016 to 2018. We analyzed the genetic sequences of the H5 HPAIVs, to better understand the evolutionary history of clade 2.3.2.1a viruses in Bangladesh. Although seven HA genetic subgroups (B1-B7) and six genotypes (G1, G1.1, G1.2, G2, G2.1, and G2.2) have been identified in Bangladesh, only subgroup B7 and genotypes G2, G2.1, and G2.2 were detected after 2016. The replacement of G1 genotype by G2 in Bangladesh was possibly due to vaccination and viral competition in duck populations. Initially, genetic diversity decreased after introduction of vaccination in 2012, but in 2015, genetic diversity increased and was associated with the emergence of genotype G2. Our phylodynamic analysis suggests that domestic Anseriformes, including ducks and geese, may have played a major role in persistence, spread, evolution, and genotype replacement of clade 2.3.2.1a HPAIVs in Bangladesh. Thus, improvements in biosecurity and monitoring of domestic Anseriformes are needed for more effective control of HPAI in Bangladesh.

RevDate: 2021-06-15
CmpDate: 2021-06-15

King DI, Jeffery M, BA Bailey (2021)

Generating indicator species for bird monitoring within the humid forests of northeast Central America.

Environmental monitoring and assessment, 193(7):413.

The use of indicator species can simplify bird monitoring by reducing the level of specialized skills needed, which increases the potential pool of participants and reduces training costs and complexity. To facilitate monitoring in the humid forests of northeast Central America, we conducted point count surveys for birds across gradients of disturbance in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize, and analyzed the association of bird species with remotely sensed metrics of forest condition and anthropogenic disturbance using indicator species analysis. Twenty species exhibited significant associations with one or more of these metrics. We propose six species as indicators for anthropogenic disturbance based on our criteria of being associated with anthropogenically disturbed sites, or anthropogenically disturbed and riparian sites with no explicit mention in the literature of an obligate association with riparian habitats, or association of remotely sensed metrics that appeared to reflect disturbance: yellow-olive flycatcher, red-legged honeycreeper, dusky antbird, blue ground dove, buff-throated saltator, and brown jay. We propose the keel-billed motmot as an indicator of undisturbed forest based on its association with forested sites in our analyses. Green shrike vireo, collard trogon, rufous-tailed jacamar, and rufous piha were associated with a specific elevational range but not associated with disturbance, so upward shifts in elevation that might indicate response to climate change would not be confounded with habitat disturbance or degradation. This exercise yielded a much-reduced list of monitoring targets, which will greatly reduce the cost and complexity of forest bird monitoring in the region, as well as reducing barriers to participation.

RevDate: 2021-06-11

Burfurd I, T Wilkening (2021)

Cognitive heterogeneity and complex belief elicitation.

Experimental economics [Epub ahead of print].

The Stochastic Becker-DeGroot-Marschak (SBDM) mechanism is a theoretically elegant way of eliciting incentive-compatible beliefs under a variety of risk preferences. However, the mechanism is complex and there is concern that some participants may misunderstand its incentive properties. We use a two-part design to evaluate the relationship between participants' probabilistic reasoning skills, task complexity, and belief elicitation. We first identify participants whose decision-making is consistent and inconsistent with probabilistic reasoning using a task in which non-Bayesian modes of decision-making lead to violations of stochastic dominance. We then elicit participants' beliefs in both easy and hard decision problems. Relative to Introspection, there is less variation in belief errors between easy and hard problems in the SBDM mechanism. However, there is a greater difference in belief errors between consistent and inconsistent participants. These results suggest that while the SBDM mechanism encourages individuals to think more carefully about beliefs, it is more sensitive to heterogeneity in probabilistic reasoning. In a follow-up experiment, we also identify participants with high and low fluid intelligence with a Raven task, and high and low proclivities for cognitive effort using an extended Cognitive Reflection Test. Although performance on these tasks strongly predict errors in both the SBDM mechanism and Introspection, there is no significant interaction effect between the elicitation mechanism and either ability or effort. Our results suggest that mechanism complexity is an important consideration when using elicitation mechanisms, and that participants' probabilistic reasoning is an important consideration when interpreting elicited beliefs.

RevDate: 2021-06-08

Jia YH, Qiu J, Ma ZZ, et al (2021)

A Novel Crow Swarm Optimization Algorithm (CSO) Coupling Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) and Crow Search Algorithm (CSA).

Computational intelligence and neuroscience, 2021:6686826.

The balance between exploitation and exploration essentially determines the performance of a population-based optimization algorithm, which is also a big challenge in algorithm design. Particle swarm optimization (PSO) has strong ability in exploitation, but is relatively weak in exploration, while crow search algorithm (CSA) is characterized by simplicity and more randomness. This study proposes a new crow swarm optimization algorithm coupling PSO and CSA, which provides the individuals the possibility of exploring the unknown regions under the guidance of another random individual. The proposed CSO algorithm is tested on several benchmark functions, including both unimodal and multimodal problems with different variable dimensions. The performance of the proposed CSO is evaluated by the optimization efficiency, the global search ability, and the robustness to parameter settings, all of which are improved to a great extent compared with either PSO and CSA, as the proposed CSO combines the advantages of PSO in exploitation and that of CSA in exploration, especially for complex high-dimensional problems.

RevDate: 2021-06-10
CmpDate: 2021-06-08

Guiglielmoni N, Houtain A, Derzelle A, et al (2021)

Overcoming uncollapsed haplotypes in long-read assemblies of non-model organisms.

BMC bioinformatics, 22(1):303.

BACKGROUND: Long-read sequencing is revolutionizing genome assembly: as PacBio and Nanopore technologies become more accessible in technicity and in cost, long-read assemblers flourish and are starting to deliver chromosome-level assemblies. However, these long reads are usually error-prone, making the generation of a haploid reference out of a diploid genome a difficult enterprise. Failure to properly collapse haplotypes results in fragmented and structurally incorrect assemblies and wreaks havoc on orthology inference pipelines, yet this serious issue is rarely acknowledged and dealt with in genomic projects, and an independent, comparative benchmark of the capacity of assemblers and post-processing tools to properly collapse or purge haplotypes is still lacking.

RESULTS: We tested different assembly strategies on the genome of the rotifer Adineta vaga, a non-model organism for which high coverages of both PacBio and Nanopore reads were available. The assemblers we tested (Canu, Flye, NextDenovo, Ra, Raven, Shasta and wtdbg2) exhibited strikingly different behaviors when dealing with highly heterozygous regions, resulting in variable amounts of uncollapsed haplotypes. Filtering reads generally improved haploid assemblies, and we also benchmarked three post-processing tools aimed at detecting and purging uncollapsed haplotypes in long-read assemblies: HaploMerger2, purge_haplotigs and purge_dups.

CONCLUSIONS: We provide a thorough evaluation of popular assemblers on a non-model eukaryote genome with variable levels of heterozygosity. Our study highlights several strategies using pre and post-processing approaches to generate haploid assemblies with high continuity and completeness. This benchmark will help users to improve haploid assemblies of non-model organisms, and evaluate the quality of their own assemblies.

RevDate: 2021-06-04

Freeman NE, Norris DR, Sutton AO, et al (2021)

Early-Life Corticosterone Body Condition Influence Social Status and Survival in a Food-Caching Passerine.

Integrative and comparative biology pii:6255751 [Epub ahead of print].

Individuals undergo profound changes throughout their early life as they grow and transition between life-history stages. As a result, the conditions that individuals experience during development can have both immediate and lasting effects on their physiology, behavior, and, ultimately, fitness. In a population of Canada jays in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, we characterized the diet composition and physiological profile of young jays at three key time points during development (nestling, pre-fledge, and pre-dispersal) by quantifying stable-carbon (δ13C) and -nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes and corticosterone concentrations in feathers. We then investigated the downstream effects of early-life diet composition, feather corticosterone, and environmental conditions on a juvenile's social status, body condition, and probability of being observed in the fall following hatch. Across the three time points, the diet of Canada jay young was composed primarily of vertebrate tissue and human food with the proportion of these food items increasing as the jays neared dispersal. Feather corticosterone concentrations also shifted across the three time points, decreasing from nestling to pre-dispersal. Dominant juveniles had elevated corticosterone concentrations in their feathers grown pre-dispersal compared with subordinates. High body condition as nestlings was associated with high body condition as juveniles and an increased probability of being observed in the fall. Together, our results demonstrate that nestling physiology and body condition influence the social status and body condition once individuals are independent, with potential long-term consequences on survival and fitness.

RevDate: 2021-06-04

Kovalev SY, VV Yakimenko (2021)

Kama virus (KAMV) is an atypical representative of the seabird tick-borne flaviviruses.

Virus genes [Epub ahead of print].

According to modern classification, tick-borne flaviviruses have been divided into a mammalian tick-borne virus group and a seabird tick-borne virus group (STBVG). The STBVG includes the Tyuleniy virus, Meaban virus, Saumarez Reef virus, and the recently discovered Kama virus (KAMV). The latter was isolated from Ixodes lividus, an obligate parasitic tick of the sand martin (Riparia riparia), in 1989 in the central part of the Russian Plain. In 2014, based on molecular genetic analysis, it was shown that KAMV is a new virus belonging to STBVG, genus Flavivirus, fam. Flaviviridae. Very little is known about the Kama virus concerning its range, vectors, and reservoir hosts. GenBank contains a single sequence of the complete genome of this virus. In the present study, the complete genome sequences of two strains, isolated in 1983 in the Omsk region (Western Siberia) from gamasid mites in the nests of rooks (Corvus frugilegus), have been determined. Phylogenetic analyses of their genomes showed a close relationship both with each other (approx. 98.9% nucleotide identity) and with KAMV isolated in European Russia (approx. 98.4% nucleotide identity). The ecological features of KAMV that are due to the species of the vector (gamasid mites) and its hosts (colonial birds of the mainland of Eurasia) indicate that KAMV is an atypical representative STBVG.

RevDate: 2021-06-07

Chakarov N, Veiga J, Ruiz-Arrondo I, et al (2021)

Atypical behavior of a black fly species connects cavity-nesting birds with generalist blood parasites in an arid area of Spain.

Parasites & vectors, 14(1):298.

BACKGROUND: The feeding behavior of bloodsucking insects determines the transmission, distribution, host spectrum and evolution of blood parasites in the wild. Conventional wisdom suggests that some vector groups (e.g. black flies, family Simuliidae) are consistently exophagous daytime biters. We aimed to understand more about the exceptions to this pattern by combining targeted trapping and molecular identification of parasites in vectors.

METHODS: In this study, we collected black flies in nest boxes used by European rollers Coracias garrulus in southeastern Spain. We molecularly analyzed 434 individual insects, identifying the black fly species caught in the nest boxes, their potential vertebrate blood meals, and the haemosporidian parasite lineages that they carried.

RESULTS: Only one black fly species, Simulium rubzovianum, appeared to enter the nest boxes of rollers. Among the trapped specimens, 15% contained vertebrate DNA, which always belonged to rollers, even though only half of those specimens were visibly engorged. Furthermore, 15% of all black flies contained Leucocytozoon lineages, indicating previous feeding on avian hosts but probably not on infected adult rollers. The known vertebrate hosts of the recorded Leucocytozoon lineages suggested that large and/or abundant birds are their hosts. Particularly represented were cavity-nesting species breeding in the vicinity, such as pigeons, corvids and owls. Open-nesting species such as thrushes and birds of prey were also represented.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data strongly suggest that S. rubzovianum bites uninfected roller nestlings and infected individuals of other species, potentially incubating adults, inside nest boxes and natural cavities. This simuliid does not appear to have a strong preference for specific host clades. Contrary to the general pattern for the group, and possibly enhanced by the harsh environmental conditions in the study area, this black fly appeared to intensively use and may even have a preference for confined spaces such as cavities for feeding and resting. Preferences of vectors for atypical microhabitat niches where hosts are less mobile may enable social and within-family transmission and parasite speciation in the long term. At the same time, a lack of host preference in concentrated multispecies communities can lead to host switches. Both processes may be underappreciated driving forces in the evolution of avian blood parasites.

RevDate: 2021-06-03

Vernouillet A, Leonard K, Katz JS, et al (2021)

Abstract-concept learning in two species of new world corvids, pinyon jays (Gymnorhinus Cyanocephalus) and California scrub jays (Aphelocoma Californica).

Journal of experimental psychology. Animal learning and cognition pii:2021-47507-001 [Epub ahead of print].

concepts require individuals to identify relationships between novel stimuli. Previous studies have reported that the ability to learn abstract concepts is found in a wide range of species. In regard to a same/different concept, Clark's nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbiana) and black-billed magpies (Pica hudsonia), two corvid species, were shown to outperform other avian and primate species (Wright et al., 2017). Two additional corvid species, pinyon jays (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) and California scrub jays (Aphelocoma californica) chosen as they belong to a different clade than nutcrackers and magpies, were examined using the same set-size expansion procedure of the same/different task (the task used with nutcrackers and magpies) to evaluate whether this trait is common across the Corvidae lineage. During this task, concept learning is assessed with novel images after training. Results from the current study showed that when presented with novel stimuli after training with an 8-image set, discrimination accuracy did not differ significantly from chance for pinyon jays and California scrub jays, unlike the magpies and nutcrackers from previous studies that showed partial transfer at that stage. However, concept learning improved with each set-size expansion, and the jays reached full concept learning with a 128-image set. This performance is similar to the other corvids and monkeys tested, all of which outperform pigeons. Results from the current study show a qualitative similarity in full abstract-concept learning in all species tested with a quantitative difference in the set-size functions, highlighting the shared survival importance of mechanisms supporting abstract-concept learning for corvids and primates. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2021-06-03

Saleh G, Ahmed A, Hassanain O, et al (2021)

Nutrition in Cancer Patients Positive for COVID-19; Case Series and a Systematic Review of Literature.

Nutrition and cancer [Epub ahead of print].

Cancer is making patients vulnerable to diseases by impairing immunity directly or by anticancer therapy. In COVID-19 era, it is mandatory to face cancer with more organized & prompter response. Nutrition plays an important role in prevention & management of cancer patients. The objective of this study is to understand the role of nutrition in cancer patients during Corvid 19 era. We conducted literature searches till May 2020, electronic databases, evidence-based collections, relevant websites and trial registries about SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 and nutrition in cancer patients. Search generated 836 sources; 83/836 sources were relevant. This review summarized role of nutrition in predisposition, prevention and management of COVID-19 in cancer patient and role of vitamins, mineral supplements and microbiota in era of COVID-19. In this review, implementing appropriate nutritional care with vitamins or mineral supplementation & their effect on outcome remain largely unknown. COVID co-infection with cancer whether under chemotherapy or not have worse outcome especially in male adults. Findings may help in creating recommendations on nutritional protocol of management & prevention of complications during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic for all cancer patients.

RevDate: 2021-06-02

Walker MA, Uribasterra M, Asher V, et al (2021)

Anthrax Surveillance and the Limited Overlap Between Obligate Scavengers and Endemic Anthrax Zones in the United States.

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

Anthrax is a zoonosis caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis, with potential for high fatality rate, especially in herbivores. Upon host death, spores can enter the soil surrounding the carcass and be ingested by other animals feeding in the same location. Accordingly, surveillance to quickly identify and decontaminate anthrax carcasses is crucial to outbreak prevention. In endemic anthrax areas such as Texas and Africa, vultures are used as a surveillance tool for identifying presence and location of dead animals. However, many anthrax outbreaks in the United States have occurred in areas outside the ranges of both black and turkey vultures. Here, we used a longitudinal camera trap survey at carcass sites in southwestern Montana to investigate the utility of facultative avian scavengers on disease and carcass surveillance in a reemerging anthrax risk zone. From August 2016 to September 2018, camera traps at 11 carcass sites were triggered 1996 times by avian scavengers. While the majority were facultative avian scavengers such as corvids and eagles, our results suggest that facultative scavengers cannot replace vultures as a surveillance tool in this ecosystem due to their absence during the anthrax risk period (June to August), reduced search efficiency, or low flight patterns. We found that the conditions in Montana likely parallel systems elsewhere in the continental United States. Using ecological niche models of B. anthracis distribution overlaid with relative abundance maps of turkey vultures, we found that much of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Iowa have areas of anthrax risk, but low or absent turkey vulture populations. Without vultures in these areas, surveillance capacity is reduced, and it becomes more difficult to identify anthrax cases, meaning fewer carcasses are decontaminated, and consequently, outbreaks could become more frequent or severe.

RevDate: 2021-06-26

Garcia-Pelegrin E, Schnell AK, Wilkins C, et al (2021)

Exploring the perceptual inabilities of Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius) using magic effects.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(24):.

In recent years, scientists have begun to use magic effects to investigate the blind spots in our attention and perception [G. Kuhn, Experiencing the Impossible: The Science of Magic (2019); S. Macknik, S. Martinez-Conde, S. Blakeslee, Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions (2010)]. Recently, we suggested that similar techniques could be transferred to nonhuman animal observers and that such an endeavor would provide insight into the inherent commonalities and discrepancies in attention and perception in human and nonhuman animals [E. Garcia-Pelegrin, A. K. Schnell, C. Wilkins, N. S. Clayton, Science 369, 1424-1426 (2020)]. Here, we performed three different magic effects (palming, French drop, and fast pass) to a sample of six Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius). These magic effects were specifically chosen as they utilize different cues and expectations that mislead the spectator into thinking one object has or has not been transferred from one hand to the other. Results from palming and French drop experiments suggest that Eurasian jays have different expectations from humans when observing some of these effects. Specifically, Eurasian jays were not deceived by effects that required them to expect an object to move between hands when observing human hand manipulations. However, similar to humans, Eurasian jays were misled by magic effects that utilize fast movements as a deceptive action. This study investigates how another taxon perceives the magician's techniques of deception that commonly deceive humans.

RevDate: 2021-06-26

Horn L, Zewald JS, Bugnyar T, et al (2021)

Carrion Crows and Azure-Winged Magpies Show No Prosocial Tendencies When Tested in a Token Transfer Paradigm.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 11(6):.

To study the evolution of humans' cooperative nature, researchers have recently sought comparisons with other species. Studies investigating corvids, for example, showed that carrion crows and azure-winged magpies delivered food to group members when tested in naturalistic or simple experimental paradigms. Here, we investigated whether we could replicate these positive findings when testing the same two species in a token transfer paradigm. After training the birds to exchange tokens with an experimenter for food rewards, we tested whether they would also transfer tokens to other birds, when they did not have the opportunity to exchange the tokens themselves. To control for the effects of motivation, and of social or stimulus enhancement, we tested each individual in three additional control conditions. We witnessed very few attempts and/or successful token transfers, and those few instances did not occur more frequently in the test condition than in the controls, which would suggest that the birds lack prosocial tendencies. Alternatively, we propose that this absence of prosociality may stem from the artificial nature and cognitive complexity of the token transfer task. Consequently, our findings highlight the strong impact of methodology on animals' capability to exhibit prosocial tendencies and stress the importance of comparing multiple experimental paradigms.

RevDate: 2021-06-01

Jasim M, T Brindha (2021)

Spinal cord segmentation and injury detection using a Crow Search-Rider optimization algorithm.

Biomedizinische Technik. Biomedical engineering, 66(3):293-304 pii:bmt-2019-0180.

The damage in the spinal cord due to vertebral fractures may result in loss of sensation and muscle function either permanently or temporarily. The neurological condition of the patient can be improved only with the early detection and the treatment of the injury in the spinal cord. This paper proposes a spinal cord segmentation and injury detection system based on the proposed Crow search-Rider Optimization-based DCNN (CS-ROA DCNN) method, which can detect the injury in the spinal cord in an effective manner. Initially, the segmentation of the CT image of the spinal cord is performed using the adaptive thresholding method, followed by which the localization of the disc is performed using the Sparse FCM clustering algorithm (Sparse-FCM). The localized discs are subjected to a feature extraction process, where the features necessary for the classification process are extracted. The classification process is done using DCNN trained using the proposed CS-ROA, which is the integration of the Crow Search Algorithm (CSA) and Rider Optimization Algorithm (ROA). The experimentation is performed using the evaluation metrics, such as accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity. The proposed method achieved the high accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of 0.874, 0.8961, and 0.8828, respectively that shows the effectiveness of the proposed CS-ROA DCNN method in spinal cord injury detection.

RevDate: 2021-07-01
CmpDate: 2021-07-01

Layton-Matthews K, Griesser M, Coste CFD, et al (2021)

Forest management affects seasonal source-sink dynamics in a territorial, group-living bird.

Oecologia, 196(2):399-412.

The persistence of wildlife populations is under threat as a consequence of human activities, which are degrading natural ecosystems. Commercial forestry is the greatest threat to biodiversity in boreal forests. Forestry practices have degraded most available habitat, threatening the persistence of natural populations. Understanding population responses is, therefore, critical for their conservation. Population viability analyses are effective tools to predict population persistence under forestry management. However, quantifying the mechanisms driving population responses is complex as population dynamics vary temporally and spatially. Metapopulation dynamics are governed by local dynamics and spatial factors, potentially mediating the impacts of forestry e.g., through dispersal. Here, we performed a seasonal, spatially explicit population viability analysis, using long-term data from a group-living territorial bird (Siberian jay, Perisoreus infaustus). We quantified the effects of forest management on metapopulation dynamics, via forest type-specific demography and spatially explicit dispersal, and how forestry impacted the stability of metapopulation dynamics. Forestry reduced metapopulation growth and stability, through negative effects on reproduction and survival. Territories in higher quality natural forest contributed more to metapopulation dynamics than managed forests, largely through demographic processes rather than dispersal. Metapopulation dynamics in managed forest were also less resilient to disturbances and consequently, may be more vulnerable to environmental change. Seasonal differences in source-sink dynamics observed in managed forest, but not natural forests, were caused by associated seasonal differences in dispersal. As shown here, capturing seasonal source-sink dynamics allows us to predict population persistence under human disturbance and to provide targeted conservation recommendations.

RevDate: 2021-06-08

Cunha FCR, M Griesser (2021)

Who do you trust? Wild birds use social knowledge to avoid being deceived.

Science advances, 7(22):.

Many species give deceptive warning calls, enabled by the high risk of ignoring them. In Siberian jays, a territorial, group-living bird, individuals give warning calls toward perched predators and mob them. However, intruding neighbors can emit these warning calls in the absence of predators to access food, but breeders often ignore these calls. Playback field experiments show that breeders flee sooner and return later after warning calls of former group members than those of neighbors or unknown individuals. Thus, breeders respond appropriately only to warning calls of previous cooperation partners. This mechanism facilitates the evolution and maintenance of communication vulnerable to deceptive signaling. This conclusion also applies to human language because of its cooperative nature and thus, its vulnerability to deception.

RevDate: 2021-06-12

Joseph J, Sankar D H, D Nambiar (2021)

Empanelment of health care facilities under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) in India.

PloS one, 16(5):e0251814.

INTRODUCTION: India's Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) is the world's largest health assurance scheme providing health cover of 500,000 INR (about USD 6,800) per family per year. It provides financial support for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization expenses to about 500 million of India's poorest households through various insurance models with care delivered by public and private empanelled providers. This study undertook to describe the provider empanelment of PM-JAY, a key element of its functioning and determinant of its impact.

METHODS: We carried out secondary analysis of cross-sectional administrative program data publicly available in PM-JAY portal for 30 Indian states and 06 UTs. We analysed the state wise distribution, type and sector of empanelled hospitals and services offered through PM-JAY scheme across all the states and UTs.

RESULTS: We found that out of the total facilities empanelled (N = 20,257) under the scheme in 2020, more than half (N = 11,367, 56%) were in the public sector, while 8,157 (40%) facilities were private for profit, and 733 (4%) were private not for profit entities. State wise distribution of hospitals showed that five states (Karnataka (N = 2,996, 14.9%), Gujarat (N = 2,672, 13.3%), Uttar Pradesh (N = 2,627, 13%), Tamil Nadu (N = 2315, 11.5%) and Rajasthan (N = 2,093 facilities, 10.4%) contributed to more than 60% of empanelled PMJAY facilities: We also observed that 40% of facilities were offering between two and five specialties while 14% of empanelled hospitals provided 21-24 specialties.

CONCLUSION: A majority of the hospital empanelled under the scheme are in states with previous experience of implementing publicly funded health insurance schemes, with the exception of Uttar Pradesh. Reasons underlying these patterns of empanelment as well as the impact of empanelment on service access, utilisation, population health and financial risk protection warrant further study. While the inclusion and regulation of the private sector is a goal that may be served by empanelment, the role of public sector remains critical, particularly in underserved areas of India.

RevDate: 2021-06-07

Fielding MW, Buettel JC, Brook BW, et al (2021)

Roadkill islands: Carnivore extinction shifts seasonal use of roadside carrion by generalist avian scavenger.

The Journal of animal ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Global road networks facilitate habitat modification and are integral to human expansion. Many animals, particularly scavengers, use roads as they provide a reliable source of food, such as carrion left after vehicle collisions. Tasmania is often cited as the 'roadkill capital of Australia', with the isolated offshore islands in the Bass Strait experiencing similar, if not higher, levels of roadkill. However, native mammalian predators on the islands are extirpated, meaning the remaining scavengers are likely to experience lower interference competition. In this study, we used a naturally occurring experiment to examine how the loss of mammalian carnivores within a community impacts roadside foraging behaviour by avian scavengers. We monitored the locations of roadkill and forest ravens Corvus tasmanicus, an abundant scavenger species, on eight road transects across the Tasmanian mainland (high scavenging competition) and the Bass Strait islands (low scavenging competition). We represented raven observations as one-dimensional point patterns, using hierarchical Bayesian models to investigate the dependence of raven spatial intensity on habitat, season, distance to roadkill and route location. We found that roadkill carcasses were a strong predictor of raven presence along road networks. The effect of roadkill was amplified on roads on the Bass Strait islands, where roadside carrion was a predictor of raven presence across the entire year. In contrast, ravens were more often associated with roadkill on Tasmanian mainland roads in the autumn, when other resources were low. This suggests that in the absence of competing mammalian scavengers, ravens choose to feed on roadside carrion throughout the year, even in seasons when other resources are available. This lack of competition could be disproportionately benefiting forest ravens, leading to augmented raven populations and changes to the vertebrate community structure. Our study provides evidence that scavengers modify their behaviour in response to reduced scavenger species diversity, potentially triggering trophic shifts and highlighting the importance of conserving or reintroducing carnivores within ecosystems.

RevDate: 2021-05-28

Mantey AA, Annan RA, Lutterodt HE, et al (2021)

Iron status predicts cognitive test performance of primary school children from Kumasi, Ghana.

PloS one, 16(5):e0251335.

BACKGROUND: Good nutritional status of school-aged children is crucial in achieving improved cognition. The objective of this study was to assess the relationship between nutritional status and cognition of school-aged children in the Kumasi metropolis, Ghana.

METHODS: 389 children were selected from ten government-owned schools. Socio-demographic and anthropometric data were collected. Blood samples were collected and analyzed for nutrients levels. Dietary intakes were assessed using food frequency questionnaire and previous day's nutrients intake. Cognition test was performed using the Ravens Colored Progressive Matrix (RCPM).

RESULTS: Mean age of participants was 8.9±1.4 years, mean RCPM score was 17.9±5.4. More girls scored RCPM below the 40th percentile (45.5%) than boys (33.7%), while mother's level of education significantly associated with RCPM percentiles of the children (p = 0.037). Four dietary patterns were generated from food frequency data, and scores of the second pattern, depicting vegetables, non-fruits, bread and cereals, showed a weak negative correlation (r = -0.132, p = 0.026) with previous day's dietary zinc intake. Cognitive status did not vary by anthropometric and dietary patterns. More anemic (54.4%) than non-anemic (33.3%) children were below the 40th RCPM percentile. Mean previous day's intake for folate (p<0.001), vitamin B6 (p = 0.018), iron (p<0.001), and zinc (p = 0.001) differed significantly between the cognitive test score percentiles of the children. Spearman rank correlation showed weak positive associations between RCPM score and hemoglobin (r = 0.246, p = 0.003) and serum ferritin (r = 0.176, p = 0.036). Binary regression analysis showed anemic children (aOR = 0.4; 95%CI = 0.2-0.8, p = 0.014), compared with non-anemic had decreased odds, while boys, compared with girls had increased odds (aOR = 2.0 95%CI = 1.0-4.0, p = 0.035) for scoring above the 50th RCPM percentile.

CONCLUSIONS: Iron status, especially hemoglobin levels, correlated with the cognitive performance of school-aged children in the metropolis. Thus nutritional strategies aimed at reducing iron deficiency anemia are needed.

RevDate: 2021-05-28

Bladon AJ, Donald PF, Collar NJ, et al (2021)

Climatic change and extinction risk of two globally threatened Ethiopian endemic bird species.

PloS one, 16(5):e0249633.

Climate change is having profound effects on the distributions of species globally. Trait-based assessments predict that specialist and range-restricted species are among those most likely to be at risk of extinction from such changes. Understanding individual species' responses to climate change is therefore critical for informing conservation planning. We use an established Species Distribution Modelling (SDM) protocol to describe the curious range-restriction of the globally threatened White-tailed Swallow (Hirundo megaensis) to a small area in southern Ethiopia. We find that, across a range of modelling approaches, the distribution of this species is well described by two climatic variables, maximum temperature and dry season precipitation. These same two variables have been previously found to limit the distribution of the unrelated but closely sympatric Ethiopian Bush-crow (Zavattariornis stresemanni). We project the future climatic suitability for both species under a range of climate scenarios and modelling approaches. Both species are at severe risk of extinction within the next half century, as the climate in 68-84% (for the swallow) and 90-100% (for the bush-crow) of their current ranges is predicted to become unsuitable. Intensive conservation measures, such as assisted migration and captive-breeding, may be the only options available to safeguard these two species. Their projected disappearance in the wild offers an opportunity to test the reliability of SDMs for predicting the fate of wild species. Monitoring future changes in the distribution and abundance of the bush-crow is particularly tractable because its nests are conspicuous and visible over large distances.

RevDate: 2021-06-21

Hancock ZB, Lehmberg ES, GS Bradburd (2021)

Neo-darwinism still haunts evolutionary theory: A modern perspective on Charlesworth, Lande, and Slatkin (1982).

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 75(6):1244-1255.

The Modern Synthesis (or "Neo-Darwinism"), which arose out of the reconciliation of Darwin's theory of natural selection and Mendel's research on genetics, remains the foundation of evolutionary theory. However, since its inception, it has been a lightning rod for criticism, which has ranged from minor quibbles to complete dismissal. Among the most famous of the critics was Stephen Jay Gould, who, in 1980, proclaimed that the Modern Synthesis was "effectively dead." Gould and others claimed that the action of natural selection on random mutations was insufficient on its own to explain patterns of macroevolutionary diversity and divergence, and that new processes were required to explain findings from the fossil record. In 1982, Charlesworth, Lande, and Slatkin published a response to this critique in Evolution, in which they argued that Neo-Darwinism was indeed sufficient to explain macroevolutionary patterns. In this Perspective for the 75th Anniversary of the Society for the Study of Evolution, we review Charlesworth et al. in its historical context and provide modern support for their arguments. We emphasize the importance of microevolutionary processes in the study of macroevolutionary patterns. Ultimately, we conclude that punctuated equilibrium did not represent a major revolution in evolutionary biology - although debate on this point stimulated significant research and furthered the field - and that Neo-Darwinism is alive and well.

RevDate: 2021-05-18

Strößner C (2021)

Default Inheritance in Modified Statements: Bias or Inference?.

Frontiers in psychology, 12:626023.

It is a fact that human subjects rate sentences about typical properties such as "Ravens are black" as very likely to be true. In comparison, modified sentences such as "Feathered ravens are black" receive lower ratings, especially if the modifier is atypical for the noun, as in "Jungle ravens are black". This is called the modifier effect. However, the likelihood of the unmodified statement influences the perceived likelihood of the modified statement: the higher the rated likelihood of the unmodified sentence, the higher the rated likelihood of the modified one. That means the modifier effect does not fully block default inheritance of typical properties from nouns to modified nouns. This paper discusses this inheritance effect. In particular, I ask whether it is the direct result of composing concepts from nouns, that is, a bias toward "black" when processing "raven". I report a series of experiments in which I find no evidence for a direct inheritance from composition. This supports the view that default inheritance is rather an inference than a bias.

RevDate: 2021-06-24

Sharma S, Singh G, M Sharma (2021)

A comprehensive review and analysis of supervised-learning and soft computing techniques for stress diagnosis in humans.

Computers in biology and medicine, 134:104450 pii:S0010-4825(21)00244-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Stress is the most prevailing and global psychological condition that inevitably disrupts the mood and behavior of individuals. Chronic stress may gravely affect the physical, mental, and social behavior of victims and consequently induce myriad critical human disorders. Herein, a review has been presented where supervised learning (SL) and soft computing (SC) techniques used in stress diagnosis have been meticulously investigated to highlight the contributions, strengths, and challenges faced in the implementation of these methods in stress diagnostic models. A three-tier review strategy comprising of manuscript selection, data synthesis, and data analysis was adopted. The issues in SL strategies and the potential possibility of using hybrid techniques in stress diagnosis have been intensively investigated. The strengths and weaknesses of different SL (Bayesian classifier, random forest, support vector machine, and nearest neighbours) and SC (fuzzy logic, nature-inspired, and deep learning) techniques have been presented to obtain clear insights into these optimization strategies. The effects of social, behavioral, and biological stresses have been highlighted. The psychological, biological, and behavioral responses to stress have also been briefly elucidated. The findings of the study confirmed that different types of data/signals (related to skin temperature, electro-dermal activity, blood circulation, heart rate, facial expressions, etc.) have been used in stress diagnosis. Moreover, there is a potential scope for using distinct nature-inspired computing techniques (Genetic Algorithm, Particle Swarm Optimization, Ant Colony Optimization, Whale Optimization Algorithm, Butterfly Optimization, Harris Hawks Optimizer, and Crow Search Algorithm) and deep learning techniques (Deep-Belief Network, Convolutional-Neural Network, and Recurrent-Neural Network) on multimodal data compiled using behavioral testing, electroencephalogram signals, finger temperature, respiration rate, pupil diameter, galvanic-skin-response, and blood pressure. Likewise, there is a wider scope to investigate the use of SL and SC techniques in stress diagnosis using distinct dimensions such as sentiment analysis, speech recognition, handwriting recognition, and facial expressions. Finally, a hybrid model based on distinct computational methods influenced by both SL and SC techniques, adaption, parameter tuning, and the use of chaos, levy, and Gaussian distribution may address exploration and exploitation issues. However, factors such as real-time data collection, bias, integrity, multi-dimensional data, and data privacy make it challenging to design precise and innovative stress diagnostic systems based on artificial intelligence.

RevDate: 2021-06-15

Garcia-Barrios J, Drysdale M, Ratelle M, et al (2021)

Biomarkers of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Sub-Arctic and Arctic communities in Canada.

International journal of hygiene and environmental health, 235:113754.

Polyfluoroalkyl substances and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of anthropogenic chemicals that are used in food packaging, waterproof clothing, and firefighting foams for their water and oil resistant properties. Though levels of some PFAS appear to be decreasing in Canada's south, environmental levels have been increasing in the Arctic due to long-range transport. However, the implications of this on human exposures in sub-Arctic and Arctic populations in Canada have yet to be established. To address this data gap, human biomonitoring research was completed in Old Crow, Yukon, and the Dehcho region, Northwest Territories. Blood samples were collected from adults residing in seven northern First Nations and were analyzed by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. A total of nine PFAS were quantified: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulphonic acid (PFOS), perfluorohexane sulphonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), and perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUdA), perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA), perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA), and perfluorobutane sulphonic acid (PFBS). In the Dehcho (n = 124), five PFAS had a detection rate greater than 50% including PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS, PFNA, and PFDA. In addition to these PFAS, PFUdA was also detected in at least half of the samples collected in Old Crow (n = 54). Generally, male participants had higher concentrations of PFAS compared to female participants, and PFAS concentrations tended to increase with age. For most PFAS, Old Crow and Dehcho levels were similar or lower to those measured in the general Canadian population (as measured through the Canadian Health Measures Survey or CHMS) and other First Nations populations in Canada (as measured through the First Nations Biomonitoring Initiative or FNBI). The key exception to this was for PFNA which, relative to the CHMS (0.51 μg/L), was approximately 1.8 times higher in Old Crow (0.94 μg/L) and 2.8 times higher in Dehcho (1.42 μg/L) than observed in the general Canadian population. This project provides baseline PFAS levels for participating communities, improving understanding of human exposures to PFAS in Canada. Future research should investigate site-specific PFNA exposure sources and monitor temporal trends in these regions.

RevDate: 2021-06-21
CmpDate: 2021-06-21

Rassi MS, O Al-Mefty (2021)

Surgical Treatment of Bilateral Optic Nerve Sheath Meningioma: 2-Dimensional Operative Video.

Operative neurosurgery (Hagerstown, Md.), 20(6):E418-E419.

Even though intracranial meningiomas commonly invade the optic canals, true optic nerve sheath meningiomas are extremely rare. They are insidious lesions that frequently grow in 4 stages, leading to progressive visual loss.1-4 Frequently, management includes observation for asymptomatic patients, and fractioned stereotactic radiotherapy with progressive visual loss.1,3 However, surgery is avoided due to the risk of perioperative visual loss.2-4 However, many of these cases present in the early stage of tumor growth, where an arachnoidal plane is still present, and vision can be saved by microsurgical tumor resection.2 Here we present the case of a 33-yr-old female presenting with a 3-wk history of blurred vision. Neuroimaging depicted an enhancing lesion along both optic nerves consistent with bilateral optic nerve sheath meningioma. Neuroophthalmological examination showed inferior cut of visual field bilaterally, more extensive on the left eye. Acuity was 20/20 on both eyes. Microsurgical resection of the tumor was performed through left supraorbital craniotomy, with the goal of eliminating intracranial extension and stabilizing visual function.5 The optic canal was unroofed with diamond bit drill under copious irrigation. A remarkable improvement of her visual field was observed with maintenance of acuity at 20/20 on follow-up. As the patient is attempting pregnancy, she is closely monitored without radiation. Surgery can be offered as a primary treatment of optic nerve sheath meningiomas, especially in early stages, with likely preservation and, in some cases, improvement of visual function.6 The patient consented to the procedure and the use of image. Images at 1:46 and 3:48 reprinted from Al-Mefty O, Operative Atlas of Meningiomas. 1998: Raven Press; Philadelphia, PA, with permission from LWW. Image at 2:57 reprinted from Rassi et al2; © Anil Can, 2018, used with permission. Image at 9:27 in public domain/age.

RevDate: 2021-05-04

Parishar P, Mohapatra AN, S Iyengar (2021)

Investigating Behavioral Responses to Mirrors and the Mark Test in Adult Male Zebra Finches and House Crows.

Frontiers in psychology, 12:637850.

Earlier evidence suggests that besides humans, some species of mammals and birds demonstrate visual self-recognition, assessed by the controversial "mark" test. Whereas, there are high levels of inter-individual differences amongst a single species, some species such as macaques and pigeons which do not spontaneously demonstrate mirror self-recognition (MSR) can be trained to do so. We were surprised to discover that despite being widely used as a model system for avian research, the performance of zebra finches (Taenopygia guttata) on the mark test had not been studied earlier. Additionally, we studied the behavioral responses of another species of passerine songbirds (Indian house crows; Corvus splendens) to a mirror and the MSR mark test. Although a small number of adult male zebra finches appeared to display heightened responses toward the mark while observing their reflections, we could not rule out the possibility that these were a part of general grooming rather than specific to the mark. Furthermore, none of the house crows demonstrated mark-directed behavior or increased self-exploratory behaviors when facing mirrors. Our study suggests that self-directed behaviors need to be tested more rigorously in adult male zebra finches while facing their reflections and these findings need to be replicated in a larger population, given the high degree of variability in mirror-directed behaviors.

RevDate: 2021-05-04

Galal TM, Abu Alhmad MF, HM Al-Yasi (2021)

Nutrient sequestration potential of water primrose Ludwigia stolinefera (Guill. & Perr.) P.H. Raven: A strategy for restoring wetland eutrophication.

Saudi journal of biological sciences, 28(4):2438-2446.

The current work investigates the capacity of the water primrose (Ludwigia stolinefera) to sequester inorganic and organic nutrients in its biomass to restore eutrophic wetlands, besides its nutritive quality as fodder for animals. The nutrient elements and nutritive value of the water primrose were assessed seasonally in polluted and unpolluted watercourses. The water primrose plants' highest biomass was attained during summer; then, it was significantly reduced till it reached its lowest value during winter. In the polluted canal, the plant root and shoot accumulated higher contents of all nutrient elements (except Na and Mg) rather than in the unpolluted Nile. They accumulated most investigated nutrients in the growing season during summer. The shoots accumulated higher contents of N, P, Ca, and Mg than the root, which accumulated higher concentrations of Na and K. Therefore, summer season is the ideal time to harvest water primrose for removing the maximum nutrients for restoring eutrophic watercourses. The aboveground tissues had the highest values of ether extract (EE) during spring and the highest crude fibers (CF) and total proteins (TP) during summer. In contrast, the belowground tissues had the lowest EE, CF, and TP during winter. In spring, autumn, and winter seasons, the protein content in the grazeable parts (shoots) of the water primrose was within the range, while in summer, it was higher than the minimum requirement for the maintenance of animals. There was a decrease in crude fibers and total proteins, while an increase in soluble carbohydrates content in the below- and above-ground tissues of water primrose under pollution stress. The total protein, lipids, and crude fibers of the aboveground parts of water primrose support this plant as a rough forage.

RevDate: 2021-07-02
CmpDate: 2021-07-02

Nieder A (2021)

The Evolutionary History of Brains for Numbers.

Trends in cognitive sciences, 25(7):608-621.

Humans and other animals share a number sense', an intuitive understanding of countable quantities. Having evolved independent from one another for hundreds of millions of years, the brains of these diverse species, including monkeys, crows, zebrafishes, bees, and squids, differ radically. However, in all vertebrates investigated, the pallium of the telencephalon has been implicated in number processing. This suggests that properties of the telencephalon make it ideally suited to host number representations that evolved by convergent evolution as a result of common selection pressures. In addition, promising candidate regions in the brains of invertebrates, such as insects, spiders, and cephalopods, can be identified, opening the possibility of even deeper commonalities for number sense.

RevDate: 2021-05-04

Kvapil P, Račnik J, Kastelic M, et al (2021)

A Sentinel Serological Study in Selected Zoo Animals to Assess Early Detection of West Nile and Usutu Virus Circulation in Slovenia.

Viruses, 13(4):.

Monitoring infectious diseases is a crucial part of preventive veterinary medicine in zoological collections. This zoo environment contains a great variety of animal species that are in contact with wildlife species as a potential source of infectious diseases. Wild birds may be a source of West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu (USUV) virus, which are both emerging pathogens of rising concern. The aim of this study was to use zoo animals as sentinels for the early detection of WNV and USUV in Slovenia. In total, 501 sera from 261 animals of 84 animal species (including birds, rodents, lagomorphs, carnivores, ungulates, reptiles, equids, and primates) collected for 17 years (2002-2018) were tested for antibodies to WNV and USUV. Antibodies to WNV were detected by indirect immunofluorescence tests in 16 (6.1%) of 261 animals representing 10 species, which were sampled prior to the first active cases of WNV described in 2018 in Slovenia in humans, a horse, and a hooded crow (Corvus cornix). Antibodies to USUV were detected in 14 out of 261 animals tested (5.4%) that were positive prior to the first positive cases of USUV infection in common blackbirds (Turdus merula) in Slovenia. The study illustrates the value of zoological collections as a predictor of future emerging diseases.

RevDate: 2021-05-24
CmpDate: 2021-05-24

Shrader-Frechette K, AM Biondo (2021)

Health Misinformation about Toxic-Site Harm: The Case for Independent-Party Testing to Confirm Safety.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(8):.

Health misinformation can cause harm if regulators or private remediators falsely claim that a hazardous facility is safe. This misinformation especially threatens the health of children, minorities, and poor people, disproportionate numbers of whom live near toxic facilities. Yet, perhaps because of financial incentives, private remediators may use safety misinformation to justify reduced cleanup. Such incentives exist in nations like the United States, where most toxic-site testing/remediation is semi-privatized or voluntary, conducted by private parties, commercial redevelopers, who can increase profits by underestimating health harm, thus decreasing required testing/remediation. Our objective is to begin to determine whether or not interested parties misrepresent health harm (at hazardous facilities that they test/remediate/redevelop) when they use traditional and social media to claim that these sites are safe. Our hypothesis is that, contrary to the safety claims of the world's largest commercial developer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate/Trammell Crow (CBRE/TCC), the authors' screening assessment, especially its lab-certified, toxic-site, indoor-air tests, show violations of all three prominent government, cancer-safety benchmarks. If so, these facilities require additional testing/remediation, likely put site renters at risk, and may reveal problems with privatized hazardous cleanup. To our knowledge, we provide the first independent tests of privatized, toxic-site assessments before cancer reports occur. Our screening assessment of this hypothesis tests indoor air in rental units on a prominent former weapons-testing site (the US Naval Ordnance Testing Station, Pasadena, California (NOTSPA) that is subject to carcinogenic vapor intrusion by volatile organic compounds, VOCs), then compares test results to the redeveloper's site-safety claims, made to government officials and citizens through traditional and social media. Although NOTSPA toxic soil-gas concentrations are up to nearly a million times above allowed levels, and indoor air was never tested until now, both the regulator and the remediator (CBRE/TCC) have repeatedly claimed on social media that "the site is safe at this time." We used mainly Method TO-17 and two-week sampling with passive, sorbent tubes to assess indoor-air VOCs. Our results show that VOC levels at every location sampled-all in occupied site-rental units-violate all three government-mandated safety benchmarks: environmental screening levels (ESLs), No Significant Risk Levels (NSRLs), and inhalation risks based on the Inhalation Unit Risk (IUR); some violations are two orders of magnitude above multiple safety benchmarks. These results support our hypothesis and suggest a need for independent assessment of privatized cleanups and media-enhanced safety claims about them. If our results can be replicated at other sites, then preventing health misinformation and toxic-facility safety threats may require new strategies, one of which we outline.

RevDate: 2021-05-02

Athanasakopoulou Z, Reinicke M, Diezel C, et al (2021)

Antimicrobial Resistance Genes in ESBL-Producing Escherichia coli Isolates from Animals in Greece.

Antibiotics (Basel, Switzerland), 10(4):.

The prevalence of multidrug resistant, extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae is increasing worldwide. The present study aimed to provide an overview of the multidrug resistance phenotype and genotype of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) isolates of livestock and wild bird origin in Greece. Nineteen phenotypically confirmed ESBL-producing E. coli strains isolated from fecal samples of cattle (n = 7), pigs (n = 11) and a Eurasian magpie that presented resistance to at least one class of non β-lactam antibiotics, were selected and genotypically characterized. A DNA-microarray based assay was used, which allows the detection of various genes associated with antimicrobial resistance. All isolates harbored blaCTX-M-1/15, while blaTEM was co-detected in 13 of them. The AmpC gene blaMIR was additionally detected in one strain. Resistance genes were also reported for aminoglycosides in all 19 isolates, for quinolones in 6, for sulfonamides in 17, for trimethoprim in 14, and for macrolides in 8. The intI1 and/or tnpISEcp1 genes, associated with mobile genetic elements, were identified in all but two isolates. This report describes the first detection of multidrug resistance genes among ESBL-producing E. coli strains retrieved from feces of cattle, pigs, and a wild bird in Greece, underlining their dissemination in diverse ecosystems and emphasizing the need for a One-Health approach when addressing the issue of antimicrobial resistance.

RevDate: 2021-05-24
CmpDate: 2021-05-24

Kwon JH, Criado MF, Killmaster L, et al (2021)

Efficacy of two vaccines against recent emergent antigenic variants of clade 2.3.2.1a highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in Bangladesh.

Vaccine, 39(21):2824-2832.

H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) have caused outbreaks in poultry in Bangladesh since 2007. While clade 2.2.2 and 2.3.4.2 HPAIVs have not been detected since 2012, clade 2.3.2.1a viruses have caused continuous outbreaks since 2012 despite the use of vaccines. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy of two H5 vaccines licensed in Bangladesh, RE-6 inactivated vaccine, and a recombinant herpesvirus of turkeys vaccine with an H5 insert (rHVT-H5), for protection against recent field viruses in chickens. We selected three viruses for efficacy tests (A/chicken/Bangladesh/NRL-AI-3237/2017, A/crow/Bangladesh/NRL-AI-8471/2017 and A/chicken/Bangladesh/NRL-AI-8323/2017) from 36 H5 viruses isolated from Bangladesh between 2016 and 2018 by comparing the amino acid sequences at five antigenic sites (A-E) and analyzing hemagglutination inhibition (HI) titers with reference antisera. The RE-6 and rHVT-H5 vaccines both conferred 80-100% clinical protection (i.e. reduced morbidity and mortality) against the three challenge viruses with no significant differences in protection. In addition, both vaccines significantly decreased viral shedding from infected chickens as compared to challenge control chickens. Based on these metrics, the current licensed H5 vaccines protected chickens against the recent field viruses. However, the A/crow/Bangladesh/NRL-AI-8471/2017 virus exhibited antigenic divergence including: several unique amino acid changes in antigenic epitope sites A and B and was a serological outlier in cross HI tests as visualized on the antigenic map. The continuing emergence of such antigenic variants which could alter the dominant antigenicity of field viruses should be continuously monitored and vaccines should be updated if field efficacy declines.

RevDate: 2021-04-26

Iemmi T, Menozzi A, Basini G, et al (2021)

Evaluation of Oxidative Stress in Blood of Domestic Chickens and Eurasian Magpies (Pica pica).

Journal of avian medicine and surgery, 35(1):28-36.

A physiological equilibrium exists between pro- and antioxidant factors. When the oxidant factors exceed the capacity of their removal or inactivation, oxidative stress (OS) occurs. The OS levels were assayed in plasma obtained from 2 bird species. Blood samples were collected from 20 healthy domestic chicken hens, 10 living in an intensive farming environment and 10 free-range, and from 18 healthy Eurasian magpies (Pica pica; 7 females and 11 males, with an estimated age of >1 year of age). For OS biomarker assessment, the determinable reactive oxygen metabolites (d-ROMs) were measured, and the plasmatic antioxidant test (PAT) was performed; the OS index (OSI) was then calculated (d-ROMs/PAT × 1000) as a parameter of overall oxidative stress. Moreover, lipid peroxidation was assessed by measuring plasmatic malondialdehyde (MDA) levels. A hematological evaluation was also performed on each bird with a hemocytometer, on which a blood sample was placed to obtain both a total and differential white blood cell (WBC) count. In hens, OSI and MDA levels were significantly higher (P = .04, and P = .004) in subjects from intensive farming (14.7 ± 7.1 and 27.2 ± 10.4 nmol/mL) than in those bred in rural conditions (5.6 ± 10.3 and 8.2 ± 13.3 nmol/mL). In magpies, a positive correlation between the total WBC count and OS was found, and both d-ROMs and OSI were significantly higher (P = .03) in subjects with a total WBC count greater than the median value (20.4 × 103 cells/µL) with respect to those with a total WBC count less than the median value. The results generated from this study indicate that higher OS levels occurred in hens bred in an intensive indoor farm environment compared with outdoor free-range conditions. Possibly the higher OS levels could be related to the higher stocking density and dust levels found in the indoor facility. Additionally, the correlation between OS biomarker levels in magpies and total WBC count suggests that OS level is influenced by immune response, in agreement with previous studies. Collectively, present data seem to be promising for the application of OS measurement in avian medicine for health and animal welfare monitoring.

RevDate: 2021-04-21

Choksey L (2021)

Environmental racialisation and poetics of influence in the postgenomic era: fire, soil, spirit.

Medical humanities pii:medhum-2020-012061 [Epub ahead of print].

This article considers processes of environmental racialisation in the postgenomic era through their politics of difference and poetics of influence. Subfields like epigenetics promise to account for a plurality of possible influences on health outcomes. While this appears to present possibilities for historical reparation to communities whose epigenomes may have been chronically altered by histories of violence and trauma, the prevailing trend has been to compound processes of racialisation in the reproduction of good/bad environments. The postgenomic era has promised an epistemological transformation of ideas and values of human life, but its practices, technologies and ideology have so far prevented this. Epigenetics, rather, reproduces biomedical exclusions through imaginaries of embodied contexts, methods of occlusion and hypervisibility, and assignations of delay and deviance. This is more complex than both genetic reductionism and environmental racism: studies on epigenetics reveal a poetics of influence at work under liberal humanism complicit in the creation of death-worlds for racialised populations. Other experiments with life are possible and unfolding: Jay Bernard's poem 'Chemical', set in the aftermath of London's Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, unmoors its bodies from material environment, offering a spectral configuration of collective life. This configuration involves negotiating with the fixing of time and space on which genomic imaginaries depend.

RevDate: 2021-05-28

Sharma MS (2021)

Commentary: The Crow and the Pitcher - Necessity is the Mother of Invention for Right Ventricular Outflow Tract Reconstruction.

RevDate: 2021-06-03

Kirschhock ME, Ditz HM, A Nieder (2021)

Behavioral and Neuronal Representation of Numerosity Zero in the Crow.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 41(22):4889-4896.

Different species of animals can discriminate numerosity, the countable number of objects in a set. The representations of countable numerosities have been deciphered down to the level of single neurons. However, despite its importance for human number theory, a special numerical quantity, the empty set (numerosity zero), has remained largely unexplored. We explored the behavioral and neuronal representation of the empty set in carrion crows. Crows were trained to discriminate small numerosities including the empty set. Performance data showed a numerical distance effect for the empty set in one crow, suggesting that the empty set and countable numerosities are represented along the crows' "mental number line." Single-cell recordings in the endbrain region nidopallium caudolaterale (NCL) showed a considerable proportion of NCL neurons tuned to the preferred numerosity zero. As evidenced by neuronal distance and size effects, NCL neurons integrated the empty set in the neural number line. A subsequent neuronal population analysis using a statistical classifier approach showed that the neuronal numerical representations were predictive of the crows' success in the task. These behavioral and neuronal data suggests that the conception of the empty set as a cognitive precursor of a zero-like number concept is not an exclusive property of the cerebral cortex of primates. Zero as a quantitative category cannot only be implemented in the layered neocortex of primates, but also in the anatomically distinct endbrain circuitries of birds that evolved based on convergent evolution.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The conception of "nothing" as number "zero" is celebrated as one of the greatest achievements in mathematics. To explore whether precursors of zero-like concepts can be found in vertebrates with a cerebrum that anatomically differs starkly from our primate brain, we investigated this in carrion crows. We show that crows can grasp the empty set as a null numerical quantity that is mentally represented next to number one. Moreover, we show that single neurons in an associative avian cerebral region specifically respond to the empty set and show the same physiological characteristics as for countable quantities. This suggests that zero as a quantitative category can also be implemented in the anatomically distinct endbrain circuitries of birds that evolved based on convergent evolution.

RevDate: 2021-05-31

Yang R, Brice B, Berto BP, et al (2021)

Morphological and molecular description of a new species of Isospora (Apicomplexa) from a New Holland honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae).

Parasitology international, 83:102348.

A new Isospora species is described from New Holland honeyeaters (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae). Sporulated oocysts (n = 25) were characterised as subspheroidal, 29-32 × 28-31 (29.8 × 29.4); length/width (L/W) ratio 1.01-1.02 (1.01). Wall bi-layered, 1.3-1.6 (1.5) thick, outer layer smooth, c.2/3 of total thickness. Micropyle and oocyst residuum absent, but usually two polar granules are present. Sporocysts (n = 25) ovoidal, 18-19 × 12-14 (18.4 × 12.3); L/W ratio 1.42-1.53 (1.50). Stieda body present, flattened, c.0.5 deep × 2.5 wide; sub-Stieda present, rounded, c.2.5 deep × 3.5 wide; para-Stieda body absent; sporocyst residuum present, usually a distinctly irregular body consisting of numerous small granules that appear to be membrane-bound. Sporozoites vermiform, with robust anterior and posterior refractile bodies. Molecular characterization was conducted at the 18S and 28S ribosomal RNA and the mitochondrial (mt) cytochrome oxidase (COI) loci. Phylogenetic analysis of genomic 18S and mt COI sequences indicated that Isospora phylidonyrisae n. sp. was genetically similar to Isospora coronoideae, isolated from an Australian raven (Corvus coronoides) in Western Australia, with a 99.3% and 98.4% homology, respectively. The 28S rRNA sequence was most similar to Isospora anthochaerae (KF766053) and Isospora manorinae (KT224381), both with a 98.2% genetic similarity. Based on morphological and genetic data, this isolate is a new species of Isospora, which is named Isospora phylidonyrisae n. sp. after its host.

RevDate: 2021-05-02

Zaręba-Marchewka K, Szymańska-Czerwińska M, K Niemczuk (2021)

Draft Genome Sequences of Avian Chlamydia abortus Genotype G2 Strain 15-49d3, Isolated from Mallard, and Genotype 1V Strain 15-58d44, Isolated from Magpie in Poland.

Microbiology resource announcements, 10(14):.

Here, we report the draft genome sequences of avian Chlamydia abortus genotype G2 strain 15-49d3, isolated from mallard, and genotype 1V strain 15-58d44, isolated from magpie in Poland. The total genome assembly lengths are 1,140,139 bp and 1,158,207 bp, respectively.

RevDate: 2021-06-29
CmpDate: 2021-06-29

Seilern-Moy K, Heaver JP, Fernandez JR, et al (2021)

Atypical Knemidokoptosis in Two Dunnocks (Prunella modularis) in Southern England.

Journal of wildlife diseases, 57(2):467-470.

Avian knemidokoptosis, caused by knemidokoptid mites (Knemidokoptinae: Epidermoptidae), has been reported in wild and domestic birds globally. We report two cases of severe knemidokoptosis in Dunnocks (Prunella modularis) from separate sites in Great Britain, where the disease has previously been reported predominantly in finches and, less frequently, in corvids.

RevDate: 2021-06-29
CmpDate: 2021-06-29

Zylberberg M, Van Hemert C, Handel CM, et al (2021)

POECIVIRUS IS PRESENT IN INDIVIDUALS WITH BEAK DEFORMITIES IN SEVEN SPECIES OF NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS.

Journal of wildlife diseases, 57(2):273-281.

Avian keratin disorder (AKD), a disease of unknown etiology characterized by debilitating beak overgrowth, has increasingly affected wild bird populations since the 1990s. A novel picornavirus, poecivirus, is closely correlated with disease status in Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) in Alaska, US. However, our knowledge of the relationship between poecivirus and beak deformities in other species and other geographic areas remains limited. The growing geographic scope and number of species affected by AKD-like beak deformities require a better understanding of the causative agent to evaluate the population-level impacts of this epizootic. Here, we tested eight individuals from six avian species with AKD-consistent deformities for the presence of poecivirus: Mew Gull (Larus canus), Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus), Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia), American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis), and Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata). The birds were sampled in Alaska and Maine (1999-2016). We used targeted PCR followed by Sanger sequencing to test for the presence of poecivirus in each specimen and to obtain viral genome sequence from virus-positive host individuals. We detected poecivirus in all individuals tested, but not in negative controls (water and tissue samples). Furthermore, we used unbiased metagenomic sequencing to test for the presence of other pathogens in six of these specimens (Hairy Woodpecker, two American Crows, two Red-breasted Nuthatches, Blackpoll Warbler). This analysis yielded additional viral sequences from several specimens, including the complete coding region of poecivirus from one Red-breasted Nuthatch, which we confirmed via targeted PCR followed by Sanger sequencing. This study demonstrates that poecivirus is present in individuals with AKD-consistent deformities from six avian species other than Black-capped Chickadee. While further investigation will be required to explore whether there exists a causal link between this virus and AKD, this study demonstrates that poecivirus is not geographically restricted to Alaska, but rather occurs elsewhere in North America.

RevDate: 2021-04-06

Suttle LG, Hare JD, Halliday JWD, et al (2021)

Collective optical Thomson scattering in pulsed-power driven high energy density physics experiments (invited).

The Review of scientific instruments, 92(3):033542.

Optical collective Thomson scattering (TS) is used to diagnose magnetized high energy density physics experiments at the Magpie pulsed-power generator at Imperial College London. The system uses an amplified pulse from the second harmonic of a Nd:YAG laser (3 J, 8 ns, 532 nm) to probe a wide diversity of high-temperature plasma objects, with densities in the range of 1017-1019 cm-3 and temperatures between 10 eV and a few keV. The scattered light is collected from 100 μm-scale volumes within the plasmas, which are imaged onto optical fiber arrays. Multiple collection systems observe these volumes from different directions, providing simultaneous probing with different scattering K-vectors (and different associated α-parameters, typically in the range of 0.5-3), allowing independent measurements of separate velocity components of the bulk plasma flow. The fiber arrays are coupled to an imaging spectrometer with a gated intensified charge coupled device. The spectrometer is configured to view the ion-acoustic waves of the collective Thomson scattered spectrum. Fits to the spectra with the theoretical spectral density function S(K, ω) yield measurements of the local plasma temperatures and velocities. Fitting is constrained by independent measurements of the electron density from laser interferometry and the corresponding spectra for different scattering vectors. This TS diagnostic has been successfully implemented on a wide range of experiments, revealing temperature and flow velocity transitions across magnetized shocks, inside rotating plasma jets and imploding wire arrays, as well as providing direct measurements of drift velocities inside a magnetic reconnection current sheet.

RevDate: 2021-04-26
CmpDate: 2021-04-26

Iemmi T, Menozzi A, Pérez-López M, et al (2021)

Heavy Metal Assessment in Feathers of Eurasian Magpies (Pica pica): A Possible Strategy for Monitoring Environmental Contamination?.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(6):.

In the present study, the Eurasian magpie (Pica pica), was evaluated as a possible bioindicator of environmental pollution by heavy metals (HMs). Levels of Ni, Pb, Cd, and Hg in feathers of 64 magpies (31 males and 33 females) were measured by ICP-MS technique. Plasmatic biomarkers of oxidative stress (OS) were also assessed. The birds were captured in the province of Parma (Italy), in different capture sites within 1 km from urban area (UZ), and farther than 5 km from urban area (RZ). Median HM levels were 0.68 mg/kg (0.18-2.27), 2.80 mg/kg (0.41-17.7),

RevDate: 2021-05-11

Shapiro SD, Boehme AK, Chang BP, et al (2021)

Safety and Hospital Costs Averted Using a Rapid Outpatient Management Strategy for Transient Ischemic Attack and Minor Strokes: The RAVEN Clinic.

The Neurohospitalist, 11(2):107-113.

Study Objective: Patients presenting to emergency departments (ED) with transient ischemic attack and minor strokes (TIAMS) are often admitted for evaluation, though experience in other countries have suggested that an expedited outpatient care models may be a safe alternative. We hypothesized that a rapid access clinic for select TIAMS was feasible and would avert hospitalization costs.

Methods: This retrospective analysis included patients presenting to our institution's ED with TIAMS and NIHSS ≤5 in calendar year 2017. We referred low-risk patients with TIAMS to a Rapid Access Vascular Evaluation-Neurology (RAVEN) clinic within 24 hours of ED discharge. We identified admitted patients who met RAVEN criteria at ED presentation. Rates of follow-up to the RAVEN clinic were recorded. Financial data collected included total hospital costs and time spent in the ED, as well hospital length of stay for admitted patients with low-risk TIAMS.

Results: In 2017, 149 patients were referred to RAVEN clinic and 50 patients were admitted. Of the RAVEN patients 99 (94%) appeared as scheduled. None had clinical changes between ED discharge and clinical evaluation. One patient required hospitalization at the RAVEN evaluation. When compared to RAVEN patients, admitted patients had significantly higher $7,719 (SD 354) total hospital costs and were hospitalized for 2 days on average. Overall, the RAVEN strategy averted approximately $764,000 in hospitalization costs and 208 hospital bed-days in accounting year 2017.

Conclusions: For select patients presenting with TIAMS without disabling deficits, a rapid outpatient evaluation may be feasible while averting significant total hospital costs and preserving inpatient hospital beds.

RevDate: 2021-03-30

Malekian M, Shagholian J, Z Hosseinpour (2021)

Pathogen Presence in Wild Birds Inhabiting Landfills in Central Iran.

EcoHealth [Epub ahead of print].

Wild birds are important in the transmission of many zoonotic pathogens such as salmonella and avian influenza virus (AIV). The current study investigated the presence of bacterial and viral pathogens in birds foraging at an open landfill located in Central Iran. We collected blood and intestinal samples from five abundant species, including rook (Corvus frugilegus), European starling (Sturnus vulgaris), house sparrow (Passer domesticus), black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) and slender-billed gull Chroicocephalus genei for bacteriological and serological examinations. Escherichia coli was present in all of the five species, while Salmonella spp. was found in four species. Campylobacter jejuni, Yersinia spp., Cytrobacter spp., and Klebsiella spp. were other bacteria isolated from all of the five species. Competitive ELISA showed that 19 samples (32%) from the two gull species were positive for AIV. There was no detection of West Nile virus, or Newcastle disease virus in the 150 birds sampled. The prevalence of these pathogens in landfill birds indicated that a potential risk is posed to landfill workers and the surrounding community, adding to our limited knowledge of the potential for landfills to support disease vectors.

RevDate: 2021-04-02
CmpDate: 2021-04-02

Iqbal F, Ayub Q, Wilson R, et al (2021)

Monitoring of heavy metal pollution in urban and rural environments across Pakistan using House crows (Corvus splendens) as bioindicator.

Environmental monitoring and assessment, 193(4):237.

A widely distributed urban bird, the house crow (Corvus splendens), was used to assess bioavailable heavy metals in urban and rural environments across Pakistan. Bioaccumulation of arsenic (As), zinc (Zn), lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), nickel (Ni), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), chromium (Cr), and copper (Cu) was investigated in wing feathers of 96 crows collected from eight locations and categorized into four groups pertaining to their geographical and environmental similarities. Results revealed that the concentrations of Pb, Ni, Mn, Cu, and Cr were positively correlated and varied significantly among the four groups. Zn, Fe, Cr, and Cu regarded as industrial outputs, were observed in birds both in industrialized cities and in adjoining rural agricultural areas irrigated through the Indus Basin Irrigation System. Birds in both urban regions accrued Pb more than the metal toxicity thresholds for birds. The house crow was ranked in the middle on the metal accumulation levels in feathers between highly accumulating raptor and piscivore and less contaminated insectivore and granivore species in the studied areas,. This study suggests that the house crow is an efficient bioindicator and supports the feasibility of using feathers to discriminate the local pollution differences among terrestrial environments having different levels and kinds of anthropogenic activities.

RevDate: 2021-03-30

Guha D, Roy PK, S Banerjee (2021)

Performance evolution of different controllers for frequency regulation of a hybrid energy power system employing chaotic crow search algorithm.

ISA transactions pii:S0019-0578(21)00158-0 [Epub ahead of print].

The work described herein compares the performance of different optimized controllers, viz. proportional-integral, proportional-integral-derivative (PID) with filter, two-degree-of-freedom (2DOF)-PID, 3DOF-PID, fractional-order-PID, cascade PI-PID, tilt-integral-derivative (TID), and cascade-TID (CC-TID) controllers in frequency regulation of a hybrid energy distributed power system (HEDPS). The HEDPS is integrated with a multi-unit hydrothermal power plant for ensuring stable power supply. Crow search algorithm has been adopted with chaotic mapping (CCSA) for fine-tuning of the controller settings mentioned above. Extensive analysis has been presented to confirm the superiority of the CC-TID controller compared to other prevalent controllers of state-of-art in terms of different performance specifications. The tuning competence of the CCSA has been demonstrated over conventional CSA and other available optimization techniques. To enhance the mastery of the controller, disturbance-observer (Dob) is developed to estimate fast-changing disturbance profiles and subsequently refines the control law. The controller's robustness is affirmed under random perturbations, presence of nonlinearities, and variation of parameters. The effect of integration of a geothermal power plant on the system performance has also been outlined. The efficacy of Dob-aided CC-TID controller in frequency regulation is validated thereof.

RevDate: 2021-05-11

Pendergraft LT, Lehnert AL, JM Marzluff (2020)

Individual and social factors affecting the ability of American crows to solve and master a string pulling task.

Ethology : formerly Zeitschrift fur Tierpsychologie, 126(2):229-245.

Crows and other birds in the family Corvidae regularly share information to learn the identity and whereabouts of dangerous predators, but can they use social learning to solve a novel task for a food reward? Here we examined the factors affecting the ability of 27 wild-caught American crows to solve a common string-pulling task in a laboratory setting. We split crows into two groups; one group was given the task after repeatedly observing a conspecific model the solution, the other solved in the absence of conspecific models. We recorded the crows' estimated age, sex, size, body condition, level of nervousness, and brain volume using DICOM images from a CT scan. Although none of these variables were statistically significant, crows without a conspecific model and large brain volumes consistently mastered the task in the minimum number of days, whereas those with conspecific models and smaller brain volumes required varying and sometimes a substantial number of days to master the task. We found indirect evidence that body condition might also be important for motivating crows to solve the task. Crows with conspecific models were no more likely to initially solve the task than those working the puzzle without social information, but those that mastered the task usually copied the method most frequently demonstrated by their knowledgeable neighbors. These findings suggest that brain volume and possibly body condition may be factors in learning new tasks, and that crows can use social learning to refine their ability to obtain a novel food source, although they must initially learn to access it themselves.

RevDate: 2021-03-25

Nikel W (2021)

My dreams have been weird since the magpies arrived.

RevDate: 2021-03-23

Hasenäcker J, Solaja O, D Crepaldi (2021)

Does morphological structure modulate access to embedded word meaning in child readers?.

Memory & cognition [Epub ahead of print].

Beginning readers have been shown to be sensitive to the meaning of embedded neighbors (e.g., CROW in CROWN). Moreover, developing readers are sensitive to the morphological structure of words (TEACH-ER). However, the interaction between orthographic and morphological processes in meaning activation during reading is not well established. What determines semantic access to orthographically embedded words? What is the role of suffixes in this process? And how does this change throughout development? To address these questions, we asked 80 Italian elementary school children (third, fourth, and fifth grade) to make category decisions on words (e.g., is CARROT a type of food?). Critically, some target words for no-answers (e.g., is CORNER a type of food?) contained category-congruent embedded stems (i.e., CORN). To gauge the role of morphology in this process, half of the embedded stems were accompanied by a pseudosuffix (CORN-ER) and half by a non-morphological ending (PEA-CE). Results revealed that words were harder to reject as members of a category when the embedded stem was category-congruent. This effect held both with and without a pseudosuffix, but was larger for pseudosuffixed words in the error rates. These results suggest that orthographic stems are activated and activation is fed forward to the semantic level regardless of morphological structure, followed by a decision-making process that might strategically use suffix-like endings.

RevDate: 2021-06-28
CmpDate: 2021-04-19

Aziz B, Zubair M, Irshad N, et al (2021)

Biomonitoring of Toxic Metals in Feathers of Birds from North-Eastern Pakistan.

Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology, 106(5):805-811.

The current study was designed to determine the concentrations of toxic metals (Ni, Pb and Cr) in feathers of birds collected from four regions of NE Pakistan. Feather samples of birds (House Crow, Common Myna and House Sparrow) were collected from different areas. Atomic absorption spectrophotometer was used to determine the concentration of metals in feathers. Analysis of the data revealed that concentrations of Pb and Cr were significantly different (p < 0.05) among bird species, whereas no difference (p > 0.05) was detected among bird species (house crow, common myna and house sparrow) for Ni. A significant difference was found for the concentration of Pb and Ni in all the four studied regions. Whereas, non-significant difference was found in all the studied regions for the concentrating of Cr. It was revealed that there is significant rising concentration of metals (Pb, Cr) in feathers of birds in Azad Kashmir.

RevDate: 2021-04-12
CmpDate: 2021-04-12

Wright AA, Kelly DM, JS Katz (2021)

Same/different concept learning by primates and birds.

Learning & behavior, 49(1):76-84.

Same/different abstract-concept learning experiments were conducted with two primate species and three avian species by progressively increasing the size of the training stimulus set of distinctly different pictures from eight to 1,024 pictures. These same/different learning experiments were trained with two pictures presented simultaneously. Transfer tests of same and different learning employed interspersed trials of novel pictures to assess the level of correct performance on the very first time of subjects had seen those pictures. All of the species eventually performed these tests with high accuracy, contradicting the long-accepted notion that nonhuman animals are unable to learn the concept of same/different. Capuchin and rhesus monkeys learned the concept more readily than did pigeons. Clark's nutcrackers and black-billed magpies learned as readily as monkeys, and even showed a slight advantage with the smallest training stimulus sets. Those tests of same/different learning were followed by delay procedures, such that a delay was introduced after the subjects responded to the sample picture and before the test picture. In the sequential same/different task, accuracy was shown to diminish when the stimulus on a previous trial matched the test picture previously shown on a different trial. This effect is known as proactive interference. The pigeons' proactive interference was greater at 10-s delays than 1-s delays, revealing time-based interference. By contrast, time delays had little or no effect on rhesus monkeys' proactive interference, suggesting that rhesus monkeys have better explicit memory of where and when they saw the potential interfering picture, revealing better event-based memory.

RevDate: 2021-03-18

Johnston S, Tutticci N, Theobald K, et al (2021)

Comparison of simulation observer tools on engagement and maximising learning: a pilot study.

International journal of nursing education scholarship, 18(1): pii:ijnes-2019-0110.

OBJECTIVES: This pilot study examined if the Clinical Reasoning Observer Worksheet (CROW) compared to a standard observer worksheet used during simulation, would enhance nursing students active learning behaviours and perceptions of clinical reasoning ability.

METHODS: This pilot study was undertaken to test the design and processes for a future larger study and reports on preliminary evidence of efficacy of recruitment procedures and instrumentation in addition to student's learning outcomes.

RESULTS: There was little overall difference in outcomes between groups who used either simulation observer worksheet. Overall, participants who used either worksheet perceived their ability to apply clinical reasoning to an episode of patient care increased.

CONCLUSIONS: Modifications were identified as necessary for a larger study including changes to instrumentation, method of survey delivery and training of simulation facilitators. A more definitive evaluation will be achievable with a larger group of students in a main study with the suggested modifications.

RevDate: 2021-03-16

Bah HAF, Dos Anjos ALS, Gomes-Júnior EA, et al (2021)

Delta-Aminolevulinic Acid Dehydratase, Low Blood Lead Levels, Social Factors, and Intellectual Function in an Afro-Brazilian Children Community.

Biological trace element research [Epub ahead of print].

Delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) enzyme catalyzes the second phase of the heme biosynthesis and is involved in lead toxicokinetics. This research aimed to evaluate its influence on the relationship between blood lead (PbB) levels and intellectual performance in Afro-Brazilian children. PbB, hemoglobin concentration, ALAD activity, and polymorphism were determined in whole blood. Anthropometric, socioeconomic, and family environment stimuli data were collected with appropriate instruments. The non-verbal intelligence of children and their mothers or guardians was assessed using the correspondent Raven's Progressive Matrix versions. The medians (range) of PbB levels and ALAD activity were 1.0 μg/dL (0.1-21.3) and, 71 U/L (31-113), respectively. ALAD G177C was distributed as follows: 97.9% for ALAD1/1 and 2.1% for ALAD1/2 genotypes. The mean of Raven raw score was 19.3 (± 5.6) points and there were no differences according to sex or environmental Pb exposure. No statistically significant association was observed between PbB level and children's IQ. However, ALAD activity presented an inverse significant association with PbB levels, children's percentile IQ, and children's IQ/Age ratio, suggesting a neuroprotective role of ALAD1 genotype in those with low PbB level.

RevDate: 2021-03-16

Nieder A (2021)

Neuroethology of number sense across the animal kingdom.

The Journal of experimental biology, 224(Pt 6): pii:224/6/jeb218289.

Many species from diverse and often distantly related animal groups (e.g. monkeys, crows, fish and bees) have a sense of number. This means that they can assess the number of items in a set - its 'numerosity'. The brains of these phylogenetically distant species are markedly diverse. This Review examines the fundamentally different types of brains and neural mechanisms that give rise to numerical competence across the animal tree of life. Neural correlates of the number sense so far exist only for specific vertebrate species: the richest data concerning explicit and abstract number representations have been collected from the cerebral cortex of mammals, most notably human and nonhuman primates, but also from the pallium of corvid songbirds, which evolved independently of the mammalian cortex. In contrast, the neural data relating to implicit and reflexive numerical representations in amphibians and fish is limited. The neural basis of a number sense has not been explored in any protostome so far. However, promising candidate regions in the brains of insects, spiders and cephalopods - all of which are known to have number skills - are identified in this Review. A comparative neuroscientific approach will be indispensable for identifying evolutionarily stable neuronal circuits and deciphering codes that give rise to a sense of number across phylogeny.

RevDate: 2021-06-02

Dholakia S (2020)

An Ethical Analysis of the 'Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PM-JAY)' Scheme using the Stakeholder Approach to Universal Health Care in India.

Asian bioethics review, 12(2):195-203.

This paper analyses the ethical considerations using the stakeholder theory on two specific domains of the newly implemented 'Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PM-JAY)' scheme by the Government of India. The paper recommends a solidarity-based approach over an entitlement based one that focuses on out-of-pocket expenses for the most vulnerable and a stewardship role from the private sector to ensure equity, accountability, and sustainability of PM-JAY scheme.

RevDate: 2021-04-02

Anonymous (2021)

Tribute to Jay S. Skyler, MD, MACP.

Diabetes technology & therapeutics, 23(4):235-244.

RevDate: 2021-03-08

Ghaemi A, Zhian T, Pirzadeh B, et al (2021)

Reliability-based design and implementation of crow search algorithm for longitudinal dispersion coefficient estimation in rivers.

Environmental science and pollution research international [Epub ahead of print].

The longitudinal dispersion coefficient (LDC) of river pollutants is considered as one of the prominent water quality parameters. In this regard, numerous research studies have been conducted in recent years, and various equations have been extracted based on hydrodynamic and geometric elements. LDC's estimated values obtained using different equations reveal a significant uncertainty due to this phenomenon's complexity. In the present study, the crow search algorithm (CSA) is applied to increase the equation's precision by employing evolutionary polynomial regression (EPR) to model an extensive amount of geometrical and hydraulic data. The results indicate that the CSA improves the performance of EPR in terms of R2 (0.8), Willmott's index of agreement (0.93), Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (0.77), and overall index (0.84). In addition, the reliability analysis of the proposed equation (i.e., CSA) reduced the failure probability (Pf) when the value of the failure state containing 50 to 600 m2/s is increasing for the Pf determination using the Monte Carlo simulation. The best-fitted function for correct failure probability prediction was the power with R2 = 0.98 compared with linear and exponential functions.

RevDate: 2021-03-16

Farris P, Draelos ZD, L Felipe de Oliveira Stehling (2021)

Novel Facial Treatment Regimen Improves Aging Skin Appearance.

Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD, 20(3):274-278.

BACKGROUND: Skin care regimens with multiple active ingredients offer a multimodal approach to anti-aging treatments.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this research was to investigate the efficacy of a multimodal skincare regimen on facial skin appearance after 12 weeks of twice daily use as compared to baseline.

METHOD: 35 healthy female subjects 35&ndash;65 years of age of Fitzpatrick skin types I&ndash;III with mild to moderate facial photoaging characterized by hyperpigmentation were enrolled. Subjects were seen at baseline, week 6, and week 12, and underwent subject and investigator assessments along with noninvasive evaluations (elasticity, corneometry, dermaspectrophotometer) and photography.

RESULTS: Most notable at week 12 was a 60% improvement in smoothness, 82% improvement in dryness, 30% improvement in fine lines, and 24% improvement in crow&rsquo;s feet. There was an 8% reduction in macule hyperpigmentation (P<0.001) at week 12, supporting excellent pigment lightening qualities for the regimen. There was a statistically significant increase in skin firmness (decrease in elasticity) as early as week 6 of 6% with further improvement observed at week 12 of 16% (P=0.002).

SUMMARY: A multimodal skincare regimen with antioxidants, retinol, hydrolyzed pearl, caviar extract, peptides, and growth factors including EGF and TGF-&beta; results in an improvement in the appearance of photoaged skin after 12 weeks of twice daily use. J Drugs Dermatol. 2021;20(3):274-278. doi:10.36849/JDD.5791.

RevDate: 2021-04-26
CmpDate: 2021-04-26

Shrader-Frechette K, AM Biondo (2021)

Data-Quality Assessment Signals Toxic-Site Safety Threats and Environmental Injustices.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(4):.

Most hazardous-waste sites are located in urban areas populated by disproportionate numbers of children, minorities, and poor people who, as a result, face more severe pollution threats and environmental-health inequalities. Partly to address this harm, in 2017 the United Nations unanimously endorsed the New Urban Agenda, which includes redeveloping urban-infill-toxic-waste sites. However, no systematic, independent analyses assess the public-health adequacy of such hazardous-facility redevelopments. Our objective is to provide a preliminary data-quality assessment (PDQA) of urban-infill-toxic-site testing, conducted by private redevelopers, including whether it adequately addresses pollution threats. To this end, we used two qualitative, weight-of-evidence methods. Method 1 employs nine criteria to select assessments for PDQA and help control for confounders. To conduct PDQA, Method 2 uses three US Environmental Protection Agency standards-the temporal, geographical, and technological representativeness of sampling. Our Method 1 results reveal four current toxic-site assessments (by CBRE/Trammell Crow, the world's largest commercial developer); at all of these sites the main risk drivers are solvents, volatile organic compounds, including trichloroethylene. Our Method 2 results indicate that all four assessments violate most PDQA standards and systematically underestimate health risk. These results reveal environmental injustice, disproportionate health threats to children/minorities/poor people at all four sites. Although preliminary, our conclusion is that alleviating harm and environmental-health inequalities posed by urban-infill-toxic-site pollution may require improving both the testing/cleanup/redevelopment requirements of the New Urban Agenda and the regulatory oversight of assessment and remediation performed by private redevelopers.

RevDate: 2021-03-20

Kolkert HL, Smith R, Rader R, et al (2021)

Prey removal in cotton crops next to woodland reveals periodic diurnal and nocturnal invertebrate predation gradients from the crop edge by birds and bats.

Scientific reports, 11(1):5256.

Factors influencing the efficacy of insectivorous vertebrates in providing natural pest control services inside crops at increasing distances from the crop edge are poorly understood. We investigated the identity of vertebrate predators (birds and bats) and removal of sentinel prey (mealworms and beetles) from experimental feeding trays in cotton crops using prey removal trials, camera traps and observations. More prey was removed during the day than at night, but prey removal was variable at the crop edge and dependent on the month (reflecting crop growth and cover) and time of day. Overall, the predation of mealworms and beetles was 1-times and 13-times greater during the day than night, respectively, with predation on mealworms 3-5 times greater during the day than night at the crop edge compared to 95 m inside the crop. Camera traps identified many insectivorous birds and bats over crops near the feeding trays, but there was no evidence of bats or small passerines removing experimental prey. A predation gradient from the crop edge was evident, but only in some months. This corresponded to the foraging preferences of open-space generalist predators (magpies) in low crop cover versus the shrubby habitat preferred by small passerines, likely facilitating foraging away from the crop edge later in the season. Our results are in line with Optimal Foraging Theory and suggest that predators trade-off foraging behaviour with predation risk at different distances from the crop edge and levels of crop cover. Understanding the optimal farm configuration to support insectivorous bird and bat populations can assist farmers to make informed decisions regarding in-crop natural pest control and maximise the predation services provided by farm biodiversity.

RevDate: 2021-07-05

Eggers T, Kilgore J, Green D, et al (2021)

Combining direct current and kilohertz frequency alternating current to mitigate onset activity during electrical nerve block.

Journal of neural engineering, 18(4):.

Objective.Electrical nerve block offers the ability to immediately and reversibly block peripheral nerve conduction and would have applications in the emerging field of bioelectronics. Two modalities of electrical nerve block have been investigated-kilohertz frequency alternating current (KHFAC) and direct current (DC). KHFAC can be safely delivered with conventional electrodes, but has the disadvantage of having an onset response, which is a period of increased neural activation before block is established and currently limits clinical translation. DC has long been known to block neural conduction without an onset response but creates damaging reactive species. Typical electrodes can safely deliver DC for less than one second, but advances in high capacitance electrodes allow DC delivery up to 10 s without damage. The present work aimed to combine DC and KHFAC into a single waveform, named the combined reduced onset waveform (CROW), which can initiate block without an onset response while also maintaining safe block for long durations. This waveform consists of a short, DC pre-pulse before initiating KHFAC.Approach.Simulations of this novel waveform were carried out in the axonal simulation environment NEURON to test feasibility and gain insight into the mechanisms of action. Two sets of acute experiments were then conducted in adult Sprague-Dawley rats to determine the effectiveness of the waveform in mitigating the onset response.Main results.The CROW reduced the onset response bothin silicoandin vivo. The onset area was reduced by over 90% with the tested parameters in the acute experiments. The amplitude of the DC pulse was shown to be particularly important for effective onset mitigation, requiring amplitudes 6-8 times the DC block threshold.Significance.This waveform can reliably reduce the onset response due to KHFAC and could allow for wider clinical implementation of electrical nerve block.

RevDate: 2021-03-05

Gao LF, Zhang HY, Zhang W, et al (2021)

Fitness consequences of divorce in the azure-winged magpie depends on the breeding experience of a new mate.

Current zoology, 67(1):17-25.

Sexual conflict in producing and raising offspring is a critical issue in evolutionary ecology research. Individual experience affects their breeding performance, as measured by such traits of provisioning of offspring and engagement in extra-pair copulations, and may cause an imbalance in sexual conflict. Thus, divorce is hypothesized to occur within aged social pairs, irrespective of current reproductive success. This concept was explored in the azure-winged magpie Cyanopica cyanus by investigating the divorce of a social pair and its relationship to their changes in breeding performance with prior experience. Females engaging in extra-pair copulation may intensify sexual conflicts and may be the main reason for divorce. Once divorced, females repairing with an inexperienced male realized higher reproductive success than that repairing with an experienced male; males repairing with an experienced female realized higher reproductive success than that repairing with an inexperienced female. This finding indicates that the fitness consequence of divorce depends on the breeding experience of new mates. Divorced females can obtain more extra-pair copulations, whereas divorced males cannot, when they repair with inexperienced breeders. Divorced females provisioned a brood at lower rates than inexperienced females whereas divorced males had no such difference. It appears that divorced females can obtain an advantage in sexual conflicts with inexperienced mates in future reproduction. Consequently, females are probably more active than males in divorcing their aged mates so as to select an inexperienced male as a new mate. Azure-winged magpies thus provide novel insights into the implications of sexual conflict in birds.

RevDate: 2021-04-13

Athanasakopoulou Z, Tsilipounidaki K, Sofia M, et al (2021)

Poultry and Wild Birds as a Reservoir of CMY-2 Producing Escherichia coli: The First Large-Scale Study in Greece.

Antibiotics (Basel, Switzerland), 10(3):.

Resistance mediated by β-lactamases is a globally spread menace. The aim of the present study was to determine the occurrence of Escherichia coli producing plasmid-encoded AmpC β-lactamases (pAmpC) in animals. Fecal samples from chickens (n = 159), cattle (n = 104), pigs (n = 214), and various wild bird species (n = 168), collected from different Greek regions during 2018-2020, were screened for the presence of pAmpC-encoding genes. Thirteen E. coli displaying resistance to third-generation cephalosporins and a positive AmpC confirmation test were detected. blaCMY-2 was the sole pAmpC gene identified in 12 chickens' and 1 wild bird (Eurasian magpie) isolates and was in all cases linked to an upstream ISEcp1-like element. The isolates were classified into five different sequence types: ST131, ST117, ST155, ST429, and ST1415. Four chickens' stains were assigned to ST131, while five chickens' strains and the one from the Eurasian magpie belonged to ST117. Seven pAmpC isolates co-harbored genes conferring resistance to tetracyclines (tetM, tetB, tetC, tetD), 3 carried sulfonamide resistance genes (sulI and sulII), and 10 displayed mutations in the quinolone resistance-determining regions of gyrA (S83L+D87N) and parC (S80I+E84V). This report provides evidence of pAmpC dissemination, describing for the first time the presence of CMY-2 in chickens and wild birds from Greece.

RevDate: 2021-06-22
CmpDate: 2021-06-22

Dezfuli BS, Manera M, S Rubini (2021)

Intestinal Histopathology due to an Acanthocephalan in Two Corvid Species from Northern Italy.

Journal of wildlife diseases, 57(1):215-219.

Carnivorous birds maintain parasites in the sylvatic cycle and have a role in their diffusion. The histopathology and ultrastructure of the intestine of 29 Hooded Crows (Corvus corone cornix) and 51 Eurasian Magpies (Pica pica), from the Province of Ferrara (Northern Italy), naturally infected with Sphaerirostris picae (Acanthocephala), were investigated. In both bird species, the prevalence of infection was around 10%, and the intensity of the infection in the Hooded Crows ranged from two to 12 acanthocephalans per host, whereas in the Eurasian Magpies it ranged from one to nine worms per bird. Previous records on the histopathology of acanthocephalans in birds do not provide information on the type of cells involved in the host's reaction. We aimed to gain information on the effects of acanthocephalans on the structural integrity of the birds' intestine and to describe the type of immune cells in the hosts against the parasite. Our results showed that S. picae disrupted the intestinal wall at the site of attachment by means of its neck and proboscis, and three main types of bird intestinal reactions were noticed. The most severe response of the hosts was against the proboscis because of the action of its hooks with recruitment of macrophages, giant cells, eosinophils, and heterophils. Sphaerirostris picae perforated the birds' entire intestinal wall, reaching the peritoneal visceral serosa, but it did not provoke a diffuse peritonitis.

RevDate: 2021-03-05

Brooks J, Onishi E, Clark IR, et al (2021)

Uniting against a common enemy: Perceived outgroup threat elicits ingroup cohesion in chimpanzees.

PloS one, 16(2):e0246869.

Outgroup threat has been identified as an important driver of ingroup cohesion in humans, but the evolutionary origin of such a relationship is unclear. Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in the wild are notably aggressive towards outgroup members but coordinate complex behaviors with many individuals in group hunting and border patrols. One hypothesis claims that these behaviors evolve alongside one another, where outgroup threat selects for ingroup cohesion and group coordination. To test this hypothesis, 5 groups of chimpanzees (N = 29 individuals) were observed after hearing either pant-hoots of unfamiliar wild chimpanzees or control crow vocalizations both in their typical daily environment and in a context of induced feeding competition. We observed a behavioral pattern that was consistent both with increased stress and vigilance (self-directed behaviors increased, play decreased, rest decreased) and increased ingroup cohesion (interindividual proximity decreased, aggression over food decreased, and play during feeding competition increased). These results support the hypothesis that outgroup threat elicits ingroup tolerance in chimpanzees. This suggests that in chimpanzees, like humans, competition between groups fosters group cohesion.

RevDate: 2021-02-26

Walker MA, Uribasterra M, Asher V, et al (2021)

Factors influencing scavenger guilds and scavenging efficiency in Southwestern Montana.

Scientific reports, 11(1):4254.

Scavenging of carrion shapes ecological landscapes by influencing scavenger population demography, increasing inter- and intra-specific interactions, and generating ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling and disease moderation. Previous research found the cues promoting, or the constraints limiting, an individual's propensity or ability to scavenge vary widely, depending on anthropogenic and environmental factors. Here we investigated differences in scavenging patterns in a complex scavenger guild in Southwestern Montana. We used camera traps established at 13 carcass sites to monitor carcass detection, visitation, and consumption times, during 2016-2018 and generalized linear models to explore the influence of carcass characteristics, habitat features, and seasonality, on carcass selection and scavenging efficiency. We found that scavenger species diversity was higher at higher elevations and in grassland habitats. Scavenging efficiency was influenced inter alia by seasonality, distance to water, and elevation. We found that most carcass consumption was via facultative scavengers (bears, wolves, magpies, Corvus spp.) rather than turkey vultures, the only obligate scavengers in the study area. However, growing populations of turkey vultures may lead to increased competition with facultative scavengers over carrion, and could have cascading effects on food webs in this ecosystem.

RevDate: 2021-06-08

Rinnert P, A Nieder (2021)

Neural Code of Motor Planning and Execution during Goal-Directed Movements in Crows.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 41(18):4060-4072.

The planning and execution of head-beak movements are vital components of bird behavior. They require integration of sensory input and internal processes with goal-directed motor output. Despite its relevance, the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying action planning and execution outside of the song system are largely unknown. We recorded single-neuron activity from the associative endbrain area nidopallium caudolaterale (NCL) of two male carrion crows (Corvus corone) trained to plan and execute head-beak movements in a spatial delayed response task. The crows were instructed to plan an impending movement toward one of eight possible targets on the left or right side of a touchscreen. In a fraction of trials, the crows were prompted to plan a movement toward a self-chosen target. NCL neurons signaled the impending motion direction in instructed trials. Tuned neuronal activity during motor planning categorically represented the target side, but also specific target locations. As a marker of intentional movement preparation, neuronal activity reliably predicted both target side and specific target location when the crows were free to select a target. In addition, NCL neurons were tuned to specific target locations during movement execution. A subset of neurons was tuned during both planning and execution period; these neurons experienced a sharpening of spatial tuning with the transition from planning to execution. These results show that the avian NCL not only represents high-level sensory and cognitive task components, but also transforms behaviorally-relevant information into dynamic action plans and motor execution during the volitional perception-action cycle of birds.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Corvid songbirds have become exciting new models for understanding complex cognitive behavior. As a key neural underpinning, the endbrain area nidopallium caudolaterale (NCL) represents sensory and memory-related task components. How such representations are converted into goal-directed motor output remained unknown. In crows, we report that NCL neurons are involved in the planning and execution of goal-directed movements. NCL neurons prospectively signaled motion directions in instructed trials, but also when the crows were free to choose a target. NCL neurons showed a target-specific sharpening of tuning with the transition from the planning to the execution period. Thus, the avian NCL not only represents high-level sensory and cognitive task components, but also transforms relevant information into action plans and motor execution.

RevDate: 2021-02-19

Torell EJ, Pistone TS, AP Gard (2021)

The history of neurosurgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Journal of neurosurgery pii:2020.8.JNS20634 [Epub ahead of print].

The Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center has grown considerably from one neurosurgeon in 1923 into a first-class department with diverse subspecialty care and innovative faculty. Founding neurosurgeon Dr. J. Jay Keegan, a student of Harvey Cushing, instituted a legacy of clinical and research excellence that he passed on to his successors. The department created a lecture series to honor Keegan's pioneering techniques and impact in the field, featuring prominent neurosurgeons from across the country. Keegan's successors, such as Dr. Lyal Leibrock, grew the department through a unique partnership with private practice. The current faculty has continued the tradition of exceptional resident training and innovative patient care.

RevDate: 2021-02-19

Lozano-Ruiz A, Fasfous AF, Ibanez-Casas I, et al (2021)

Cultural Bias in Intelligence Assessment Using a Culture-Free Test in Moroccan Children.

Archives of clinical neuropsychology : the official journal of the National Academy of Neuropsychologists pii:6144703 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: Previous research has shown that cognitive tests can lead to misclassification when applying non-representative norms to measure cognitive performance. The objective of this study was to investigate whether this misclassification also occurs with a non-verbal so-called "culture-free" intelligence test administered to different age groups.

METHOD: The intelligence of a sample of healthy Moroccan children (N = 147) ages 7, 9, and 11 was assessed using the Coloured Raven's Progressive Matrices (CPM). Raw scores were used to study age differences, as well as misclassifications when applying the norms of three countries culturally different from Morocco (United Kingdom, Spain, and Oman).

RESULTS: Intelligence performance was not within the normal range when non-representative norms were applied to the Moroccan raw scores. Misclassifications accounted for a large percentage of the participants that supposedly displayed intelligence deficits, especially when applying the British norms. Up to 15.68% of the healthy children fell within the "intellectually impaired" range, and up to 62.5% fell "below average," with these percentages especially higher at older ages.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings confirm that "culture-free" tests should be adapted to each culture and applied together with their culture's specific norms to prevent misclassification and allow for a better, unbiased neuropsychological assessment.

RevDate: 2021-04-12
CmpDate: 2021-04-12

Güntürkün O (2021)

The conscious crow.

Learning & behavior, 49(1):3-4.

Nieder, Wagener, & Rinnert (Science, 369(6511), 1626-1629, 2020) demonstrated that some neurons in a prefrontal-like brain area of carrion crows signal neither the physical stimulus nor the intended action but the upcoming choice. This pattern of results implies that neural computations for consciousness can be generated by nonmammalian brains in similar ways as in primates.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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