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23 Mar 2019 at 01:35
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Bibliography on: Corvids (crows, jays, etc)


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 23 Mar 2019 at 01:35 Created: 

Corvids (crows, jays, etc)

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

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

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)

RevDate: 2019-03-20

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

Vocal recognition of a nest-predator in black grouse.

PeerJ, 7:e6533 pii:6533.

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

RevDate: 2019-03-19

Bugnyar T (2019)

Tool Use: New Caledonian Crows Engage in Mental Planning.

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

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

RevDate: 2019-03-16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-03-14

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-03-09

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

Cholecystokinin induces crowing in chickens.

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

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

RevDate: 2019-03-08

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-03-07

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-03-05

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

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

Genes, 10(3): pii:genes10030187.

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

RevDate: 2019-02-25

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-02-25

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-02-20

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

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

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

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

DESIGN: Secondary analysis of a clinical trial.

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

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

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

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

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ANZCTR12611000862943; Pre-results.

RevDate: 2019-02-18

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

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

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

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

DESIGN: Prospective, cross-sectional study.

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-02-14

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

Epigenetic inheritance of telomere length in wild birds.

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

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

RevDate: 2019-02-12

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

New Caledonian Crows Use Mental Representations to Solve Metatool Problems.

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

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

RevDate: 2019-02-08

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

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


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

RevDate: 2019-02-07

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-02-06

Shaver JB, Agudelo P, SB Martin (2013)

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

Plant disease, 97(6):852.

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

RevDate: 2019-02-06

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

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

International journal of microbiology, 2018:3101498.

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

RevDate: 2019-02-05

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-02-03

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-02-01

Gryz J, D Krauze-Gryz (2019)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-30

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-29

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-26

Matsui H, EI Izawa (2019)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-30

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-25

Dresow M (2019)

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-25

S P, N KV, S S (2019)

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-22

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

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

Journal of morphology [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2019-01-21

Kleider-Offutt HM (2019)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-02-05

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-13

Tian Y, Fang Y, J Li (2018)

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

Frontiers in psychology, 9:2518.

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

RevDate: 2019-01-10

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


Journal of wildlife diseases [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2019-01-07

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-07

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-02-06

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

Allele frequency dynamics in a pedigreed natural population.

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

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

RevDate: 2019-02-06

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

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

Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 171:99-111.

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

RevDate: 2019-02-06

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2018-12-26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-18

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

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

RevDate: 2018-12-22

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

A Practical Approach to Retinal Dystrophies.

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

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

RevDate: 2018-12-21

Lind J (2018)

What can associative learning do for planning?.

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

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

RevDate: 2019-02-07

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2018-12-17

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2018-12-11

Ashton BJ, Ridley AR, A Thornton (2018)

Smarter through group living: A response to Smulders.

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

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

RevDate: 2018-12-17

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2018-12-17

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

Population responses of common ravens to reintroduced gray wolves.

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

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

RevDate: 2018-12-25

Kelly DM, Bisbing TA, JF Magnotti (2019)

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

Behavioural processes, 158:192-199.

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

RevDate: 2018-12-05

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-08

Kaplan G (2018)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-22

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

Structural and cognitive correlates of fatigue in progressive multiple sclerosis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2018-12-17

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

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

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 285(1892):.

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

RevDate: 2018-12-22

Kent SJW, R Morrison (2018)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2018-12-21

Nuriddin A (2019)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2018-11-20

Amici F (2018)

An Evolutionary Approach to the Study of Collaborative Remembering?.

Topics in cognitive science [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2018-11-16

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2018-11-16

Li X, T Kesavadas (2018)

Surgical Robot with Environment Reconstruction and Force Feedback.

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

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

RevDate: 2018-12-07

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

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

Scientific reports, 8(1):16518.

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

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Bobrowicz K, M Osvath (2018)

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

Frontiers in psychology, 9:1995.

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

RevDate: 2019-01-30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-01-31

Sepkoski D (2018)

The Unfinished Synthesis?: Paleontology and Evolutionary Biology in the 20th Century.

Journal of the history of biology pii:10.1007/s10739-018-9537-8 [Epub ahead of print].

In the received view of the history of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, paleontology was given a prominent role in evolutionary biology thanks to the significant influence of paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson on both the institutional and conceptual development of the Synthesis. Simpson's 1944 Tempo and Mode in Evolution is considered a classic of Synthesis-era biology, and Simpson often remarked on the influence of other major Synthesis figures-such as Ernst Mayr and Theodosius Dobzhansky-on his developing thought. Why, then, did paleontologists of the 1970s and 1980s-Stephen Jay Gould, Niles Eldredge, David M. Raup, Steven Stanley, and others-so frequently complain that paleontology remained marginalized within evolutionary biology? This essay considers three linked questions: first, were paleontologists genuinely welcomed into the Synthetic project during its initial stages? Second, was the initial promise of the role for paleontology realized during the decades between 1950 and 1980, when the Synthesis supposedly "hardened" to an "orthodoxy"? And third, did the period of organized dissent and opposition to this orthodoxy by paleontologists during the 1970s and 1980s bring about a long-delayed completion to the Modern Synthesis, or rather does it highlight the wider failure of any such unified Darwinian evolutionary consensus?

RevDate: 2018-11-07

Kumar SN, Fred AL, PS Varghese (2018)

Suspicious Lesion Segmentation on Brain, Mammograms and Breast MR Images Using New Optimized Spatial Feature Based Super-Pixel Fuzzy C-Means Clustering.

Journal of digital imaging pii:10.1007/s10278-018-0149-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Suspicious lesion or organ segmentation is a challenging task to be solved in most of the medical image analyses, medical diagnoses and computer diagnosis systems. Nevertheless, various image segmentation methods were proposed in the previous studies with varying success levels. But, the image segmentation problems such as lack of versatility, low robustness, high complexity and low accuracy in up-to-date image segmentation practices still remain unsolved. Fuzzy c-means clustering (FCM) methods are very well suited for segmenting the regions. The noise-free images are effectively segmented using the traditional FCM method. However, the segmentation result generated is highly sensitive to noise due to the negligence of spatial information. To solve this issue, super-pixel-based FCM (SPOFCM) is implemented in this paper, in which the influence of spatially neighbouring and similar super-pixels is incorporated. Also, a crow search algorithm is adopted for optimizing the influential degree; thereby, the segmentation performance is improved. In clinical applications, the SPOFCM feasibility is verified using the multi-spectral MRIs, mammograms and actual single spectrum on performing tumour segmentation tests for SPOFCM. Ultimately, the competitive, renowned segmentation techniques such as k-means, entropy thresholding (ET), FCM, FCM with spatial constraints (FCM_S) and kernel FCM (KFCM) are used to compare the results of proposed SPOFCM. Experimental results on multi-spectral MRIs and actual single-spectrum mammograms indicate that the proposed algorithm can provide a better performance for suspicious lesion or organ segmentation in computer-assisted clinical applications.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Rodríguez B, Rodríguez A, Siverio F, et al (2018)

Factors affecting the spatial distribution and breeding habitat of an insular cliff-nesting raptor community.

Current zoology, 64(2):173-181.

The specific spatial distribution and habitat association-strongly influenced by environmental factors or competitive interactions-are major issues in ecology and conservation. We located and georeferenced nesting sites of five cliff-nesting raptors (Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus [a locally extinct species], common buzzard Buteo buteo, osprey Pandion haliaetus, common kestrel Falco tinnunculus, Barbary falcon Falco peregrinus pelegrinoides), and common raven Corvus corax on one of the most biodiverse hotspot within the Canary Islands (Teno, Tenerife). We used generalized linear models to evaluate the factors affecting abundance, richness, and intra- and interspecific interactions. Raptor abundance increased with slope, shrub-covered area, and habitat diversity, and decreased with altitude, and forested and grassed areas. Richness increased with slope and decreased with altitude. Threatened species (osprey, Barbary falcon, and raven) occupied cliffs farther away from houses and roads, and more rugged areas than the non-threatened species. The models suggested that the probability of cliff occupation by buzzards, falcons, and ravens depended only on inter-specific interactions. Buzzard occupation increased with the distance to the nearest raven and kestrel nests, whereas falcons and ravens seek proximity to each other. Teno holds between 75% and 100% of the insular breeding populations of the most endangered species (osprey and raven), indicating the high conservation value of this area. Our study suggests that the preservation of rugged terrains and areas of low human pressure are key factors for raptor conservation and provide basic knowledge on the community structure and habitat associations to develop appropriated management actions for these fragile island populations.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Bache WK, LE DeLisi (2018)

The Sex Chromosome Hypothesis of Schizophrenia: Alive, Dead, or Forgotten? A Commentary and Review.

Molecular neuropsychiatry, 4(2):83-89.

The X chromosome has long been an intriguing site for harboring genes that have importance in brain development and function. It has received the most attention for having specific genes underlying the X-linked inherited intellectual disabilities, but has also been associated with schizophrenia in a number of early studies. An X chromosome hypothesis for a genetic predisposition for schizophrenia initially came from the X chromosome anomaly population data showing an excess of schizophrenia in Klinefelter's (XXY) males and triple X (XXX) females. Crow and colleagues later expanded the X chromosome hypothesis to include the possibility of a locus on the Y chromosome and, specifically, genes on X that escaped inactivation and are X-Y homologous loci. Some new information about possible risk loci on these chromosomes has come from the current large genetic consortia genome-wide association studies, suggesting that perhaps this hypothesis needs to be revisited for some schizophrenias. The following commentary reviews the early and more recent literature supporting or refuting this dormant hypothesis and emphasizes the possible candidate genes still of interest that could be explored in further studies.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Yamasaki T, Aoki S, M Tokita (2018)

Allometry and integration do not strongly constrain beak shape evolution in large-billed (Corvus macrorhynchos) and carrion crows (Corvus corone).

Ecology and evolution, 8(20):10057-10066.

A recent geometric morphometric study on certain landbird lineages revealed that a major part of the variation in beak shape is accounted for by skull size and cranial shape. The study interpreted this result as evidence for the presence of strong evolutionary constraints that severely prevented beak shape from evolving substantially away from predictions of allometry and morphological integration. However, there is another overlooked but similarly plausible explanation for this result: The reason why beak shape does not depart much from predictions might simply be that selection pressures favoring such changes in shape are themselves rare. Here, to evaluate the intensity of evolutionary constraints on avian beak shape more appropriately, we selected large-billed (Corvus macrorhynchos) and carrion crows (Corvus corone) as study objects. These landbird species seem to experience selection pressures favoring a departure from an allometric trajectory. A landmark-based geometric morphometric approach using three-dimensional reconstructions of CT scan images revealed that only 45.4% of the total shape variation was explained by allometry and beak-braincase integration. This suggests that when a selection pressure acts in a different direction to allometry and integration, avian beak shape can react to it and evolve flexibly. As traditionally considered, evolutionary constraints on avian beak shape might not be all that strong.

RevDate: 2019-02-04

Nishisaka-Nonaka R, Mawatari K, Yamamoto T, et al (2018)

Irradiation by ultraviolet light-emitting diodes inactivates influenza a viruses by inhibiting replication and transcription of viral RNA in host cells.

Journal of photochemistry and photobiology. B, Biology, 189:193-200.

Influenza A viruses (IAVs) pose a serious global threat to humans and their livestock, especially poultry and pigs. This study aimed to investigate how to inactivate IAVs by using different ultraviolet-light-emitting diodes (UV-LEDs). We developed sterilization equipment with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) those peak wavelengths were 365 nm (UVA-LED), 310 nm (UVB-LED), and 280 nm (UVC-LED). These UV-LED irradiations decreased dose fluence-dependent plaque-forming units of IAV H1N1 subtype (A/Puerto Rico/8/1934) infected Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, but the inactivation efficiency of UVA-LED was significantly lower than UVB- and UVC-LED. UV-LED irradiations did not alter hemagglutination titer, but decreased accumulation of intracellular total viral RNA in infected MDCK cells was observed. Additionally, UV-LED irradiations suppressed the accumulation of intracellular mRNA (messenger RNA), vRNA (viral RNA), and cRNA (complementary RNA), as measured by strand-specific RT-PCR. These results suggest that UV-LEDs inhibit host cell replication and transcription of viral RNA. Both UVB- and UVC-LED irradiation decreased focus-forming unit (FFU) of H5N1 subtype (A/Crow/Kyoto/53/2004), a highly pathogenic avian IAV (HPAI), in infected MDCK cells, and the amount of FFU were lower than the H1N1 subtype. From these results, it appears that IAVs may have different sensitivity among the subtypes, and UVB- and UVC-LED may be suitable for HPAI virus inactivation.

RevDate: 2019-01-11
CmpDate: 2019-01-11

López-Perea JJ, Camarero PR, Sánchez-Barbudo IS, et al (2019)

Urbanization and cattle density are determinants in the exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides of non-target wildlife.

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 244:801-808.

The persistence and toxicity of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) in animal tissues make these compounds dangerous by biomagnification in predatory species. Here we studied the levels of SGARs in non-target species of wildlife and the environmental factors that influence such exposure. Liver samples of terrestrial vertebrates (n = 244) found dead between 2007 and 2016 in the region of Aragón (NE Spain) were analysed. The presence of SGARs was statistically analysed with binary or ordinal logistic models to study the effect of habitat characteristics including human population density, percentage of urban surface, livestock densities and surface of different types of crops. SGARs residues were detected in 83 (34%) of the animals and levels >200 ng/g were found in common raven (67%), red fox (50%), red kite (38%), Eurasian eagle-owl (25%), stone marten (23%), Eurasian buzzard (17%), northern marsh harrier (17%), and Eurasian badger (14%). The spatial analysis revealed that the presence of SGARs residues in wildlife was more associated with the use of these products as biocides in urban areas and cattle farms rather than as plant protection products in agricultural fields. This information permits to identify potential habitats where SGARs may pose a risk for predatory birds and mammals.

RevDate: 2018-12-17

Ruiz-Rodríguez M, Martín-Vivaldi M, Martínez-Bueno M, et al (2018)

Correction: Ruiz-Rodríguez et al. Gut Microbiota of Great Spotted Cuckoo Nestlings Is a Mixture of Those of Their Foster Magpie Siblings and of Cuckoo Adults. Genes 2018, 9, 381.

Genes, 9(11):.

The authors wish to make the following changes in their paper [...].

RevDate: 2019-01-09
CmpDate: 2019-01-09

Prochazkova L, Lippelt DP, Colzato LS, et al (2018)

Exploring the effect of microdosing psychedelics on creativity in an open-label natural setting.

Psychopharmacology, 235(12):3401-3413.

INTRODUCTION: Taking microdoses (a mere fraction of normal doses) of psychedelic substances, such as truffles, recently gained popularity, as it allegedly has multiple beneficial effects including creativity and problem-solving performance, potentially through targeting serotonergic 5-HT2A receptors and promoting cognitive flexibility, crucial to creative thinking. Nevertheless, enhancing effects of microdosing remain anecdotal, and in the absence of quantitative research on microdosing psychedelics, it is impossible to draw definitive conclusions on that matter. Here, our main aim was to quantitatively explore the cognitive-enhancing potential of microdosing psychedelics in healthy adults.

METHODS: During a microdosing event organized by the Dutch Psychedelic Society, we examined the effects of psychedelic truffles (which were later analyzed to quantify active psychedelic alkaloids) on two creativity-related problem-solving tasks: the Picture Concept Task assessing convergent thinking and the Alternative Uses Task assessing divergent thinking. A short version of the Ravens Progressive Matrices task assessed potential changes in fluid intelligence. We tested once before taking a microdose and once while the effects were expected to be manifested.

RESULTS: We found that both convergent and divergent thinking performance was improved after a non-blinded microdose, whereas fluid intelligence was unaffected.

CONCLUSION: While this study provides quantitative support for the cognitive-enhancing properties of microdosing psychedelics, future research has to confirm these preliminary findings in more rigorous placebo-controlled study designs. Based on these preliminary results, we speculate that psychedelics might affect cognitive metacontrol policies by optimizing the balance between cognitive persistence and flexibility. We hope this study will motivate future microdosing studies with more controlled designs to test this hypothesis.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Bayern AMPV, Danel S, Auersperg AMI, et al (2018)

Compound tool construction by New Caledonian crows.

Scientific reports, 8(1):15676.

The construction of novel compound tools through assemblage of otherwise non-functional elements involves anticipation of the affordances of the tools to be built. Except for few observations in captive great apes, compound tool construction is unknown outside humans, and tool innovation appears late in human ontogeny. We report that habitually tool-using New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides) can combine objects to construct novel compound tools. We presented 8 naïve crows with combinable elements too short to retrieve food targets. Four crows spontaneously combined elements to make functional tools, and did so conditionally on the position of food. One of them made 3- and 4-piece tools when required. In humans, individual innovation in compound tool construction is often claimed to be evolutionarily and mechanistically related to planning, complex task coordination, executive control, and even language. Our results are not accountable by direct reinforcement learning but corroborate that these crows possess highly flexible abilities that allow them to solve novel problems rapidly. The underlying cognitive processes however remain opaque for now. They probably include the species' typical propensity to use tools, their ability to judge affordances that make some objects usable as tools, and an ability to innovate perhaps through virtual, cognitive simulations.

RevDate: 2018-12-20

Ling H, Mclvor GE, Nagy G, et al (2018)

Simultaneous measurements of three-dimensional trajectories and wingbeat frequencies of birds in the field.

Journal of the Royal Society, Interface, 15(147):.

Tracking the movements of birds in three dimensions is integral to a wide range of problems in animal ecology, behaviour and cognition. Multi-camera stereo-imaging has been used to track the three-dimensional (3D) motion of birds in dense flocks, but precise localization of birds remains a challenge due to imaging resolution in the depth direction and optical occlusion. This paper introduces a portable stereo-imaging system with improved accuracy and a simple stereo-matching algorithm that can resolve optical occlusion. This system allows us to decouple body and wing motion, and thus measure not only velocities and accelerations but also wingbeat frequencies along the 3D trajectories of birds. We demonstrate these new methods by analysing six flocking events consisting of 50 to 360 jackdaws (Corvus monedula) and rooks (Corvus frugilegus) as well as 32 jackdaws and 6 rooks flying in isolated pairs or alone. Our method allows us to (i) measure flight speed and wingbeat frequency in different flying modes; (ii) characterize the U-shaped flight performance curve of birds in the wild, showing that wingbeat frequency reaches its minimum at moderate flight speeds; (iii) examine group effects on individual flight performance, showing that birds have a higher wingbeat frequency when flying in a group than when flying alone and when flying in dense regions than when flying in sparse regions; and (iv) provide a potential avenue for automated discrimination of bird species. We argue that the experimental method developed in this paper opens new opportunities for understanding flight kinematics and collective behaviour in natural environments.

RevDate: 2019-01-28
CmpDate: 2019-01-28

Wang H, Marcišauskas S, Sánchez BJ, et al (2018)

RAVEN 2.0: A versatile toolbox for metabolic network reconstruction and a case study on Streptomyces coelicolor.

PLoS computational biology, 14(10):e1006541.

RAVEN is a commonly used MATLAB toolbox for genome-scale metabolic model (GEM) reconstruction, curation and constraint-based modelling and simulation. Here we present RAVEN Toolbox 2.0 with major enhancements, including: (i) de novo reconstruction of GEMs based on the MetaCyc pathway database; (ii) a redesigned KEGG-based reconstruction pipeline; (iii) convergence of reconstructions from various sources; (iv) improved performance, usability, and compatibility with the COBRA Toolbox. Capabilities of RAVEN 2.0 are here illustrated through de novo reconstruction of GEMs for the antibiotic-producing bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor. Comparison of the automated de novo reconstructions with the iMK1208 model, a previously published high-quality S. coelicolor GEM, exemplifies that RAVEN 2.0 can capture most of the manually curated model. The generated de novo reconstruction is subsequently used to curate iMK1208 resulting in Sco4, the most comprehensive GEM of S. coelicolor, with increased coverage of both primary and secondary metabolism. This increased coverage allows the use of Sco4 to predict novel genome editing targets for optimized secondary metabolites production. As such, we demonstrate that RAVEN 2.0 can be used not only for de novo GEM reconstruction, but also for curating existing models based on up-to-date databases. Both RAVEN 2.0 and Sco4 are distributed through GitHub to facilitate usage and further development by the community (https://github.com/SysBioChalmers/RAVEN and https://github.com/SysBioChalmers/Streptomyces_coelicolor-GEM).

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Freeman NE, AEM Newman (2018)

Quantifying corticosterone in feathers: validations for an emerging technique.

Conservation physiology, 6(1):coy051.

Feather corticosterone measurement is becoming a widespread tool for assessing avian physiology. Corticosterone is deposited into feathers during growth and provides integrative and retrospective measures of an individual's hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function. Although researchers across disciplines have been measuring feather corticosterone for the past decade, there are still many issues with the extraction and measurement of corticosterone from feathers. In this paper, we provide several directives for refining the methodology for feather hormone analysis. We compare parallelism between the standard curve and serially diluted feather tissue from wild turkeys, Canada jays, and black-capped chickadees to demonstrate the wide applicability across species. Through a series of validations, we compare methods for feather preparation, sample filtration and extract reconstitution prior to corticosterone quantification using a radioimmunoassay. Higher corticosterone yields were achieved following pulverization of the feather however, more variation between replicates was observed. Removal of the rachis also increased the amount of corticosterone detected per unit mass while glass versus paper filters had no effect, and using ethanol in the reconstution buffer decreased intra-assay variation. With these findings and continued methodological refinement, feather corticosterone has the potential to be a powerful tool for both ecologists and physiologists working with historical and contemporary specimens.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Norwood CR (2018)

Mapping the Intersections of Violence on Black Women's Sexual Health within the Jim Crow Geographies of Cincinnati Neighborhoods.

Frontiers, 39(2):97-135.

Who will revere the Black woman? Who will keep our neighborhoods safe for Black innocent womanhood? Black womanhood is outraged and humiliated. Black womanhood cries for dignity and restitution and salvation. Black womanhood wants and needs protection, and keeping, and holding. Who will assuage her indignation? Who will keep her precious and pure? Who will glorify and proclaim her beautiful image? To whom will she cry rape? Abbey Lincoln, 1970.

RevDate: 2018-12-17
CmpDate: 2018-12-17

Passanha V, AD Brescovit (2018)

On the Neotropical spider Subfamily Masteriinae (Araneae, Dipluridae).

Zootaxa, 4463(1):1-73 pii:zootaxa.4463.1.1.

The Neotropical species of the diplurid subfamily Masteriinae are revised and redefined. Masteriinae now comprises four genera, Masteria L. Koch, 1893, Striamea Raven, 1981, a new genus, Siremata n. gen. and Edwa Raven, 2015, a fossil genus. The type species, Masteria hirsuta L. Koch, 1893, was used as basis for comparison and the knowledge of the genus has increased. Twelve species of Masteria are redescribed and eight new species are described: M. amarumayu n. sp. and M. mutum n. sp., from Brazil; M. yacambu n. sp., from Venezuela; M. sabrinae n. sp., from Martinique; M. tayrona n. sp., from Colombia; M. aguaruna n. sp., from Peru, M. soucouyant n. sp., from Trinidad and Tobago; and M. galipote n. sp., from the Dominican Republic. Females of Masteria aimeae (Alayón, 1995) and M. golovatchi Alayón, 1995 are described for the first time. Females of M. spinosa (Petrunkevitch, 1925), M. petrunkevitchi (Chickering, 1964), M. lewisi (Chickering, 1964), M. barona (Chickering, 1966), M. downeyi (Chickering, 1966), M. simla (Chickering, 1966), M. colombiensis Raven, 1981 and M. pecki Gertsch, 1982 are illustrated for the first time and rediagnosed. Masteria tovarensis (Simon, 1889) and M. cyclops (Simon, 1889) are synonymized with M. lucifuga (Simon, 1889). Masteria modesta (Simon, 1892) is considered as species inquirendae and M. emboaba Pedroso, Baptista Bertani, 2015 is considered as incertae sedis, as the type is lost. Both species of Striamea are revised and redescribed. A new genus, Siremata n. gen., is described and includes three Amazonian species: S. valteri n. sp., S. juruti n. sp., S. lucasae n. sp. Knowledge of the distribution ranges of the Neotropical Masteriinae are increased.

RevDate: 2018-12-21
CmpDate: 2018-12-21

Almeida MQ, Salvatierra L, JW De Morais (2018)

A new species of Masteria L. Koch, 1873 (Dipluridae: Masteriinae) from Guyana.

Zootaxa, 4434(2):366-368 pii:zootaxa.4434.2.6.

Mygalomorphs are a diverse spider group with primitive characteristics composed of the largest spider species in the world, however some species may be very small (Bond et al. 2012; Rogerio et al. 2013). The small spiders of the subfamily Masteriinae (Dipluridae, Mygalomorphae) can be found in Asia and South America (Raven 1981; Pedroso et al. 2015; WSC 2017). The subfamily is represented by two genera: Masteria L. Koch, 1873 and Striamea Raven, 1981. Masteria species can be identified by the following combination of characters: absence of cuspules in endites and labium; zero, two, six or eight eyes; and with or without paraembolic apophysis on the male palpal bulb (Raven 1981, 1985, 1991; Alayón 1995; Bertani et al. 2013; Pedroso et al. 2015). Currently, 24 species of Masteria are described, with 6 species found in South America: Masteria colombiensis, Raven, 1981 from Colombia; M. manauara Bertani, Cruz Oliveira 2013 and M. emboaba Pedroso, Baptista Bertani, 2015 from Brazil; M. cyclops (Simon 1889), M. tovarensis (Simon, 1889) and M. lucifuga (Simon, 1889) from Venezuela (WSC 2017). We document herein the first record and description of a new species of the genus Masteria from Guyana.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Hausberger M, Boigné A, Lesimple C, et al (2018)

Wide-eyed glare scares raptors: From laboratory evidence to applied management.

PloS one, 13(10):e0204802.

Raptors are one of the most important causes of fatalities due to their collisions with aircrafts as well as being the main victims of collisions with constructions. They are difficult to deter because they are not influenced by other airspace users or ground predators. Because vision is the primary sensory mode of many diurnal raptors, we evaluated the reactions of captive raptors to a "superstimulus" (a "paradoxical effect whereby animals show greater responsiveness to an exaggerated stimulus than to the natural stimulus") that combined an "eye shape" stimulus (as many species have an aversion for this type of stimulus) and a looming movement (LE). This looming stimulus mimics an impending collision and induces avoidance in a wide range of species. In captivity, raptors showed a clear aversion for this LE stimulus. We then tested it in a real life setting: at an airport where raptors are abundant. This study is the first to show the efficiency of a visual non-invasive repellent system developed on the basis of both captive and field studies. This system deterred birds of prey and corvids through aversion, and did not induce habituation. These findings suggest applications for human security as well as bird conservation, and further research on avian visual perception and sensitivity to signals.

RevDate: 2019-02-04

Taufique ST, Prabhat A, V Kumar (2019)

Light at night affects hippocampal and nidopallial cytoarchitecture: Implication for impairment of brain function in diurnal corvids.

Journal of experimental zoology. Part A, Ecological and integrative physiology, 331(2):149-156.

Our previous studies have shown that light at night (LAN) impaired cognitive performance and affected neurogenesis and neurochemistry in the cognition-associated brain regions, particularly the hippocampus (HP) and lateral caudal nidopallium (NCL) of Indian house crows (Corvus splendens). Here, we examined the cytoarchitecture and mapped out the morphology of neurons and glia-neuron density in HP and NCL regions of crows that were first entrained to 12-hr light (LL): 12-hr darkness (LD) and then exposed to the light regime in which 12-hr darkness was either replaced by daytime light (i.e., constant light, LL) or by dim light (i.e., dim light at night, dLAN), with controls continued on LD 12:12. Compared with LD, there was a significant decrease in the soma size, suggesting reduced neuronal plasticity without affecting the neuronal density of both HP and NCL of crows under LL and dLAN conditions. In parallel, we found a reduced number of glia cells and, hence, decreased glia-neuron ratio positively correlated with soma size in both, HP and NCL regions. These results for the first time demonstrate LAN-induced negative effects on the brain cytoarchitecture of a diurnal species and give insight for possible influence on the brain health and functions in animals including humans that might be inadvertently exposed to LAN in an emerging night-illuminated urban environment.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Mitchell PW (2018)

The fault in his seeds: Lost notes to the case of bias in Samuel George Morton's cranial race science.

PLoS biology, 16(10):e2007008.

The discovery of nearly 180-year-old cranial measurements in the archives of 19th century American physician and naturalist Samuel George Morton can address a lingering debate, begun in the late 20th century by paleontologist and historian of science Stephen Jay Gould, about the unconscious bias alleged in Morton's comparative data of brain size in human racial groups. Analysis of Morton's lost data and the records of his studies does not support Gould's arguments about Morton's biased data collection. However, historical contextualization of Morton with his scientific peers, especially German anatomist Friedrich Tiedemann, suggests that, while Morton's data may have been unbiased, his cranial race science was not. Tiedemann and Morton independently produced similar data about human brain size in different racial groups but analyzed and interpreted their nearly equivalent results in dramatically different ways: Tiedemann using them to argue for equality and the abolition of slavery, and Morton using them to entrench racial divisions and hierarchy. These differences draw attention to the epistemic limitations of data and the pervasive role of bias within the broader historical, social, and cultural context of science.

RevDate: 2018-12-05

Rogers KH, Ley DH, LW Woods (2018)

Mycoplasmosis of House Finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) and California Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma californica) in a Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility with Probable Nosocomial Transmission.

Journal of wildlife diseases [Epub ahead of print].

We describe an investigation of an outbreak of conjunctivitis in juvenile House Finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) and California Scrub-jays (Aphelocoma californica) at a central California wildlife rehabilitation facility. In late May 2015, the facility began admitting juvenile finches, the majority with normal eyes at intake. In June, with juvenile finches already present, the facility admitted additional juvenile scrub-jays, again all with normal eyes at intake. In July, after conjunctivitis was observed in increasing numbers of juvenile finches and scrub-jays, carcasses were submitted for postmortem examination. Histopathology of five finches and three scrub-jays identified lymphocytic infiltrates in the ocular tissues. Conjunctival swabs from 87% (13/15) finches and 33% (4/12) scrub-jays were PCR-positive for Mycoplasma gallisepticum. One finch and two scrub-jays were PCR-positive for Mycoplasma synoviae. Additionally, gene sequencing (16S rRNA and 16S-23S intergenic spacer region) identified Mycoplasma sturni from 33% (3/9) scrub-jays. This outbreak of conjunctivitis suggested that M. gallisepticum-infected juvenile finches admitted to and maintained in a multispecies nursery likely resulted in transmission within the facility to healthy juvenile finches and scrub-jays. Evidence of other Mycoplasma spp. in finches and scrub-jays indicates that these species are susceptible to infection and may act as carriers. This outbreak highlighted the need for effective triage and biosecurity measures within wildlife rehabilitation facilities.

RevDate: 2019-01-30

Shin DA, Kim C, Yudoyono F, et al (2018)

Feasibility of Percutaneous Robot-Assisted Epiduroscopic System.

Pain physician, 21(5):E565-E571.

BACKGROUND: Endoscopy has replaced open surgery, especially in spinal surgery. Among them, image-guided epiduroscopy allows pain generators to be identified, including epidural adhesion, fibrotic tissues, root compression, and spinal stenosis. However, the heavy lead apron worn by pain physicians to avoid exposure to radiation can induce occupational hazards, such as orthopedic complications and radiation-induced cancer. Hence, we developed a robotic system to address these problems.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to evaluate the feasibility of a robot-controlled epiduroscopic system.

STUDY DESIGN: In vivo animal experiment.

SETTING: University in Republic of Korea.

METHODS: The robot-controlled epiduroscopic system was developed using the open architecture robot system (The Raven Surgical Robotic System, CITRIS, Berkley, CA, USA). The robotic system consists of a lab-made epiduroscope, steering section, robotic arm, and manipulator. For the in vivo study, 2 Yorkshire pigs were used to simulate an epiduroscopic procedure with the robotic system.

RESULTS: The insertion and steering of the catheter was performed safely, and epiduroscopic visualization was obtained without side effects. There were no device-related complications. Radiation exposure for the primary operator was 80% lower than the levels found during conventional epiduroscopic procedures. All live pigs showed normal behavior without any signs of pain. The mean time to reach the target region was less than 8 minutes.

LIMITATIONS: The epiduroscopic procedure was performed on pigs and not on humans. The dimensions of the spinal canal of pigs cannot compare to those of humans.

CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated the feasibility of the robot-assisted epiduroscopic system.

KEY WORDS: Epiduroscopy, robotic system, spine, pig, animal model.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Townsend AK, Wheeler SS, Freund D, et al (2018)

Links between blood parasites, blood chemistry, and the survival of nestling American crows.

Ecology and evolution, 8(17):8779-8790.

Many studies have used the avian hemosporidians (Leucocytozoon, Plasmodium, and Hemoproteus) to test hypotheses of host-parasite co-evolution, yet documented health and survival consequences of these blood parasites vary among studies and generalizations about their pathogenicity are debatable. In general, the negative effects of the hemosporidians are likely to be greatest during acute infections of young birds, yet most previous studies in wild passerines have examined chronic effects in adults. Here, we evaluated responses of nestling American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) to acute infection (prevalence and burden), as well as its short- and long-term survival consequences. We used panel of nine hematological and biochemical parameters that are regularly used to evaluate the health of domestic animals, including leukocyte profiles, hematocrit, and plasma proteins. We assessed the effects of infection on survival in a mark-recapture framework. Overall, 56% of crows (n = 321 samples) were infected by at least one of the three genera. Infections by all genera were associated with elevated plasma proteins and globulins, which could indicate an adaptive immune response. However, only Plasmodium infections were associated with low hematocrit (anemia) and lower fledging success, possibly mediated by the negative effect of low hematocrit values on body condition. Moreover, early Plasmodium infection (<40 days of age) had long-term survival implications: it was associated with lower apparent survival probability within 3 years after fledging. These results suggest that young crows mounted an adaptive immune response to all three genera. Short- and long-term pathological effects, however, were only apparent with Plasmodium infections.

RevDate: 2018-10-01

Prussien KV, Salihu A, Abdullahi SU, et al (2018)

Associations of transcranial doppler velocity, age, and gender with cognitive function in children with sickle cell anemia in Nigeria.

Child neuropsychology : a journal on normal and abnormal development in childhood and adolescence [Epub ahead of print].

Children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) have elevated cerebral blood velocity relative to healthy peers. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the association between cerebral blood velocity, measured by transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound, age, and gender with cognitive function in children with SCA in Nigeria. Eighty-three children (Mage = 9.10, SD = 1.90 years; 55% female) with SCA in Nigeria completed cognitive assessments and a TCD ultrasound. The association between TCD velocity and measures of perceptual reasoning (Raven's Progressive Matrices), working memory (WISC-IV Digit Span), and executive planning (Tower of London, TOL) were assessed. Results showed that elevated TCD velocity significantly predicted lower scores on TOL Time Violations and Total Problem-Solving Time when controlling for BMI, hemoglobin level, and parent education, suggesting that TCD velocity is related to the efficiency of executive function. Further, age was negatively related to children's performance on the Ravens Matrices and TOL Total Correct, and boys showed greater deficits on the TOL Total Correct relative to girls. Moderation analyses for gender showed that there was a conditional negative association between TCD velocity and Digit Span for boys, but not for girls. Findings suggest that children with SCA in Nigeria with elevated TCD velocity are at risk for deficits in efficiency of executive planning, and boys with elevated TCD velocity are particularly at increased risk for deficits in auditory working memory. Implications of this study are important for interventions to reduce cerebral blood velocity and the use of TCD in this population.

RevDate: 2018-11-24

Naumczyk P, Sawicka AK, Brzeska B, et al (2018)

Cognitive Predictors of Cortical Thickness in Healthy Aging.

Advances in experimental medicine and biology, 1116:51-62.

This study seeks to define the role of predictive values of the motor speed, inhibition control, and fluid and crystallized intelligence in estimating the cortical thickness in healthy elderly. Forty-six older healthy subjects (37 women, 9 men) over 60 years of age were included in the study. The participants were examined on 3.0 T MRI scanners. The protocol included standard anatomical sequences, to exclude brain pathology, and a high-resolution T1-weighted sequence used to estimate the cortical thickness. The neuropsychological protocol included fluid intelligence assessment (Raven Progressive Matrices), crystalized intelligence assessment (information or vocabulary subtest of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R)), and executive functioning (Color Traits Test). The findings unraveled several interdependencies. The higher the intelligence, the thicker was the grey matter in nine regions of both hemispheres, but also some paradoxical reversed associations were found in four areas; all of them were localized along different sections of the cingulate gyrus in both hemispheres. An inverse association was found between crystallized intelligence and the thickness of the pars opecularis of the right hemisphere. The better the executive functioning, the thicker was the grey matter of a given region. The better the motor performance, the thicker was the grey matter of the rostral middle frontal area of the left hemisphere and the lingual gyrus of both hemispheres. In conclusion, the associations unraveled demonstrate that the neural mechanisms underlying healthy aging are complex and heterogenic across different cognitive domains and neuroanatomical regions. No brain aging theory seems to provide a suitable interpretative framework for all the results. A novel, more integrative approach to the brain aging should be considered.

RevDate: 2019-01-02
CmpDate: 2019-01-02

Elderbrock EK, Small TW, SJ Schoech (2018)

Adult Provisioning Influences Nestling Corticosterone Levels in Florida Scrub Jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens).

Physiological and biochemical zoology : PBZ, 91(6):1083-1090.

We studied Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) nestlings to examine the relationship between parental feeding rates and levels of corticosterone (CORT), a metabolic and stress-related steroid hormone hypothesized to play a role in mediating begging behavior. It has been documented that nutritional deficiency results in increased glucocorticoid levels in nestling birds. Further, previous studies have found that CORT levels of Florida scrub jay nestlings are negatively correlated with parental nest attendance and provisioning rates; however, the behavioral observations were made several days before the collection of samples to assess CORT levels. Few studies have investigated whether experience immediately before sampling impacts nestling glucocorticoid levels, especially in a free-living species. By monitoring parental activity at the nest before sample collection, we found that nestling CORT levels varied as a function of parental provisioning rate and the time since their last feed. However, counter to our predictions, higher provisioning rates and more recent feedings were associated with higher CORT levels in nestlings rather than lower CORT levels. These results suggest that some aspect of parental provisioning results in increased CORT levels in nestling Florida scrub jays.

RevDate: 2018-09-25

Rutz C, Hunt GR, JJH St Clair (2018)

Corvid Technologies: How Do New Caledonian Crows Get Their Tool Designs?.

Current biology : CB, 28(18):R1109-R1111.

Recent research shows that New Caledonian crows can incorporate information from researcher-made objects into objects they subsequently manufacture. This 'mental template matching' is one of several possible - mutually compatible - mechanisms for the cultural transmission of tool designs among wild crows.

RevDate: 2018-12-11
CmpDate: 2018-12-11

Ganz K, Jenni L, Madry MM, et al (2018)

Acute and Chronic Lead Exposure in Four Avian Scavenger Species in Switzerland.

Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology, 75(4):566-575.

Despite irrefutable evidence of its negative impact on animal behaviour and physiology, lethal and sublethal lead poisoning of wildlife is still persistent and widespread. For scavenging birds, ingestion of ammunition, or fragments thereof, is the major exposure route. In this study, we examined the occurrence of lead in four avian scavengers of Switzerland and how it differs between species, regions, and age of the bird. We measured lead concentration in liver and bone of the two main alpine avian scavengers (golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos and bearded vulture Gypaetus barbatus) over the entire area of the Swiss Alps and two of the main avian scavengers occurring in the lowlands of Switzerland (red kite Milvus milvus and common raven Corvus corax). Of those four species, only the bearded vulture is an obligate scavenger. We found that lead burdens in the two alpine avian scavengers were higher than those found for the same species elsewhere in Europe or North America and reached levels compatible with acute poisoning, whereas lead burdens of the two lowland avian scavengers seemed to be lower. Several golden eagles, but only one red kite with abnormally high bone lead concentrations were found. In all four species, a substantial proportion of birds had elevated levels which presumably represent recent (liver lead levels) or past (bone lead levels) uptake of sublethal doses of lead.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Baldauf MC, Gerke JS, Kirschner A, et al (2018)

Systematic identification of cancer-specific MHC-binding peptides with RAVEN.

Oncoimmunology, 7(9):e1481558.

Immunotherapy can revolutionize anti-cancer therapy if specific targets are available. Immunogenic peptides encoded by cancer-specific genes (CSGs) may enable targeted immunotherapy, even of oligo-mutated cancers, which lack neo-antigens generated by protein-coding missense mutations. Here, we describe an algorithm and user-friendly software named RAVEN (Rich Analysis of Variable gene Expressions in Numerous tissues) that automatizes the systematic and fast identification of CSG-encoded peptides highly affine to Major Histocompatibility Complexes (MHC) starting from transcriptome data. We applied RAVEN to a dataset assembled from 2,678 simultaneously normalized gene expression microarrays comprising 50 tumor entities, with a focus on oligo-mutated pediatric cancers, and 71 normal tissue types. RAVEN performed a transcriptome-wide scan in each cancer entity for gender-specific CSGs, and identified several established CSGs, but also many novel candidates potentially suitable for targeting multiple cancer types. The specific expression of the most promising CSGs was validated in cancer cell lines and in a comprehensive tissue-microarray. Subsequently, RAVEN identified likely immunogenic CSG-encoded peptides by predicting their affinity to MHCs and excluded sequence identity to abundantly expressed proteins by interrogating the UniProt protein-database. The predicted affinity of selected peptides was validated in T2-cell peptide-binding assays in which many showed binding-kinetics like a very immunogenic influenza control peptide. Collectively, we provide an exquisitely curated catalogue of cancer-specific and highly MHC-affine peptides across 50 cancer types, and a freely available software (https://github.com/JSGerke/RAVENsoftware) to easily apply our algorithm to any gene expression dataset. We anticipate that our peptide libraries and software constitute a rich resource to advance anti-cancer immunotherapy.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Cucco M, R Bowman (2018)

Mass fluctuation in breeding females, males, and helpers of the Florida scrub-jay Aphelocoma coerulescens.

PeerJ, 6:e5607.

Much evidence suggests that birds actively regulate their body mass reserves relative to their energy needs. Energy requirements during reproduction may differ in relation to sex-specific behavioural roles or, in the case of cooperative breeders, breeders relative to helpers. We measured body mass of free-living Florida scrub-jays throughout the nesting season by training them to land on an electronic balance. Jays exhibited a pattern of diurnal linear mass gain, from morning to afternoon. Day-to-day mass fluctuations, defined as the difference between mass on two consecutive days, were small (>80% were within 2 g, less than 3% of the mass of an adult bird) for all classes of jays: female breeders, male breeders and prebreeding helpers. The jays, which live in subtropical south-central Florida, did not exhibit changes in day-to-day mass fluctuation relative to weather or climate variables or calendar date. Day-to-day mass fluctuations influenced mass fluctuation between the following third and fourth days. These changes were usually compensatory, indicating that jays are able to regulate their body mass on a short-term basis, despite strong differences in their roles in reproduction. During reproduction, jays have a relatively predictable and abundant food supply, thus the appropriate strategy may be to maintain a stable body mass that balances some energy reserves against maintaining a low body mass for efficient flight, as required during reproduction.

RevDate: 2019-02-05

Townsend AK, Taff CC, Jones ML, et al (2018)

Apparent inbreeding preference despite inbreeding depression in the American crow.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Although matings between relatives can have negative effects on offspring fitness, apparent inbreeding preference has been reported in a growing number of systems, including those with documented inbreeding depression. Here, we examined evidence for inbreeding depression and inbreeding preference in two populations (Clinton, New York, and Davis, California, USA) of the cooperatively breeding American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos). We then compared observed inbreeding strategies with theoretical expectations for optimal, adaptive levels of inbreeding, given the inclusive fitness benefits and population-specific magnitude of inbreeding depression. We found that low heterozygosity at a panel of 33 microsatellite markers was associated with low survival probability (fledging success) and low white blood cell counts among offspring in both populations. Despite these costs, our data were more consistent with inbreeding preference than avoidance: The observed heterozygosity among 396 sampled crow offspring was significantly lower than expected if local adults were mating by random chance. This pattern was consistent across a range of spatial scales in both populations. Adaptive levels of inbreeding, given the magnitude of inbreeding depression, were predicted to be very low in the California population, whereas complete disassortative mating was predicted in the New York population. Sexual conflict might have contributed to the apparent absence of inbreeding avoidance in crows. These data add to an increasing number of examples of an "inbreeding paradox," where inbreeding appears to be preferred despite inbreeding depression.

RevDate: 2018-12-11
CmpDate: 2018-12-11

Herring G, Eagles-Smith CA, DE Varland (2018)

Mercury and lead exposure in avian scavengers from the Pacific Northwest suggest risks to California condors: Implications for reintroduction and recovery.

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 243(Pt A):610-619.

Mercury (Hg) and lead (Pb) are widespread contaminants that pose risks to avian scavengers. In fact, Pb exposure is the primary factor limiting population recovery in the endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) and Hg can impair avian reproduction at environmentally relevant exposures. The Pacific Northwest region of the US was historically part of the condor's native range, and efforts are underway to expand recovery into this area. To identify potential threats to reintroduced condors we assessed foraging habitats, Hg and Pb exposure, and physiological responses in two surrogate avian scavenger species (common ravens [Corvus corax] and turkey vultures [Cathartes aura] across the region between 2012 and 2016. Mercury exposure near the Pacific coast was 17-27-fold higher than in inland areas, and stable carbon and sulfur isotopes ratios indicated that coastal scavengers were highly reliant on marine prey. In contrast, Pb concentrations were uniformly elevated across the region, with 18% of the birds exposed to subclinical poisoning levels. Elevated Pb concentrations were associated with lower delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (δ-ALAD) activity, and in ravens there was an interactive effect between Hg and Pb on fecal corticosterone concentrations. This interaction indicated that the effects of Hg and Pb exposure on the stress axis are bidirectional, and depend on the magnitude of simultaneous exposure to the other contaminant. Our results suggest that condors released to the Pacific Northwest may be exposed to both elevated Hg and Pb, posing challenges to management of future condor populations in the Pacific Northwest. Developing a robust monitoring program for reintroduced condors and surrogate scavengers will help both better understand the drivers of exposure and predict the likelihood of impaired health. These findings provide a strong foundation for such an effort, providing resource managers with valuable information to help mitigate potential risks.

RevDate: 2018-11-13

Taufique SKT, Prabhat A, V Kumar (2018)

Illuminated night alters hippocampal gene expressions and induces depressive-like responses in diurnal corvids.

The European journal of neuroscience, 48(9):3005-3018.

Artificial light at night induces circadian disruptions and causes cognitive impairment and mood disorders; yet very little is known about the neural and molecular correlates of these effects in diurnal animals. We manipulated the night environment and examined cellular and molecular changes in hippocampus, the brain region involved in cognition and mood, of Indian house crows (Corvus splendens) exposed to 12 hr light (150 lux): 12 hr darkness (0 lux). Diurnal corvids are an ideal model species with cognitive abilities at par with mammals. Dim light (6 lux) at night (dLAN) altered daily activity:rest pattern, reduced sleep, and induced depressive-like responses (decreased eating and self-grooming, self-mutilation, and reduced novel object exploration); return to an absolute dark night reversed these negative effects. dLAN suppressed nocturnal melatonin levels; however, diurnal corticosterone levels were unaffected. Concomitant reduction of immunoreactivity for DCX and BDNF suggested dLAN-induced suppression of hippocampal neurogenesis and compromised neuronal health. dLAN also negatively influenced hippocampal expression of genes associated with depressive-like responses (bdnf, il-1β, tnfr1, nr4a2), but not of those associated with neuronal plasticity (egr1, creb, syngap, syn2, grin2a, grin2b), cellular oxidative stress (gst, sod3, cat1) and neuronal death (caspase2, caspase3, foxo3). Furthermore, we envisaged the role of BDNF and showed epigenetic modification of bdnf gene by decreased histone H3 acetylation and increased hdac4 expression under dLAN. These results demonstrate transcriptional and epigenetic bases of dLAN-induced negative effects in diurnal crows, and provide insights into the risks of exposure to illuminated nights to animals including humans in an urban setting.

RevDate: 2018-09-25

Simonds VW, Kim FL, LaVeaux D, et al (2018)

Guardians of the Living Water: Using a Health Literacy Framework to Evaluate a Child as Change Agent Intervention.

Health education & behavior : the official publication of the Society for Public Health Education [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: American Indian communities in the United States experience considerable health inequities, including increased exposure to environmental contaminants. Consequently, community members of the Apsáalooke (Crow) Nation identified the lack of water-related environmental knowledge among children as an area of concern.

AIM: The purpose of this study was to provide a feasibility evaluation of an increasingly sophisticated environmental health literacy program for children.

METHOD: A community-academic partnership developed and piloted the Guardians of the Living Water program to increase environmental health literacy among children and their families on the Crow reservation. Nutbeam's framework for health literacy, a schema based on functional, interactive, and critical literacy, shaped the program evaluation. We used a within-subjects, quasi-experimental design without a control group. Interviews with children and parents were used to assess the feasibility of the program, while pre-/posttests assessed changes in knowledge, skills, and behavior.

RESULTS: Compared with preintervention responses, those from postintervention indicated significant increases for selected knowledge and attitude components. Based on qualitative interviews with children and caregivers, the camp was a valuable experience and increased knowledge of water quality science and reinforced cultural knowledge.

DISCUSSION: This success of our program stems from the trust initially built between partners and then expanded throughout the community. The program and the evaluation benefited from both the health literacy framework and from our integration of Apsáalooke values.

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that a community-based intervention designed to increase environmental health literacy among youth and their social networks is feasible and acceptable to this American Indian community.

RevDate: 2018-09-11

Wheatcroft D, TD Price (2018)

Collective Action Promoted by Key Individuals.

The American naturalist, 192(4):401-414.

Explaining why individuals participate in risky group behaviors has been a long-term challenge. We experimentally studied the formation of groups of birds (mobs) that aggressively confront predators and avian nest parasites and developed a theoretical model to evaluate the conditions under which mobs arise. We presented taxidermied mounts of predators on adult birds (hawks and owls) and of nest threats (crows and cuckoos) at different distances to nests of Phylloscopus warblers. Even when alone, birds are aggressive toward predators of adult birds, both at and away from their nests. By contrast, birds aggressively confront nest threats alone only when they have a nest nearby. However, strong initial responses by nest owners lead individuals without nearby nests to increase their responses, thereby generating a mob. Building on these findings, we derive the conditions in which individuals are incentivized to invest more when joining a high-gain individual compared to when acting alone. Strong responses of high-gain individuals acting alone tend to reduce the investments of other high-gain individuals that subsequently join. However, individuals that benefit sufficiently little from acting alone increase their investments when joining a high-gain individual and can even be sufficiently incentivized to join in when they would otherwise not act alone. Together, these results suggest an important role for key individuals in the generation of some group behaviors.

RevDate: 2018-10-05

Ţălu Ş, Morozov IA, Sobola D, et al (2018)

Multifractal Characterization of Butterfly Wings Scales.

Bulletin of mathematical biology, 80(11):2856-2870.

A lot of insect families have physical structures created by evolution for coloration. These structures are a source of ideas for new bio-inspired materials. The aim of this study was to quantitatively characterize the micromorphology of butterfly wings scales using atomic force microscopy and multifractal analysis. Two types of butterflies, Euploea mulciber ("striped blue crow") and Morpho didius ("giant blue morpho"), were studied. The three-dimensional (3D) surface texture of the butterfly wings scales was investigated focusing on two areas: where the perceived colors strongly depend on and where they do not depend on the viewing angle. The results highlight a correlation between the surface coloration and 3D surface microtexture of butterfly wings scales.

RevDate: 2018-11-09

Seppänen MRJ (2018)

Novel cytoskeletal mutations with immunodeficiency: Why is the raven like a writing desk?.

The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 142(5):1444-1446.

RevDate: 2019-01-01
CmpDate: 2018-11-27

Aharoni T, A Goldbourt (2018)

Rapid automated determination of chemical shift anisotropy values in the carbonyl and carboxyl groups of fd-y21m bacteriophage using solid state NMR.

Journal of biomolecular NMR, 72(1-2):55-67.

Determination of chemical shift anisotropy (CSA) in immobilized proteins and protein assemblies is one of several tools to determine protein dynamics on the timescales of microseconds and faster. The large CSA values of C=O groups in the rigid limit makes them in particular attractive for measurements of large amplitude motions, or their absence. In this study, we implement a 3D R-symmetry-based sequence that recouples the second spatial component of the 13C CSA with the corresponding isotropic 13C'-13C cross-peaks in order to probe backbone and sidechain dynamics in an intact fd-y21m filamentous phage viral capsid. The assignment of the isotropic cross-peaks and the analysis were conducted automatically using a new software named 'Raven'. The software can be utilized to auto-assign any 2D 13C-13C or 15N-13C spectrum given a previously-determined assignment table and generates simultaneously all intensity curves acquired in the third dimension. Here, all CSA spectra were automatically generated, and subsequently matched against a simulated set of CSA curves to yield their values. For the multi-copy, 50-residue-long protein capsid of fd-y21m, the backbone of the helical region is rigid, with reduced CSA values of ~ 12.5 kHz (~ 83 ppm). The N-terminus shows motionally-averaged CSA lineshapes and the carboxylic sidechain groups of four residues indicate large amplitude motions for D4, D5, D12 and E20. The current results further strengthen our previous studies of 15N CSA values and are in agreement with qualitative analysis of 13C-13C dipolar build-up curves, which were automatically obtained using our software. Our automated analysis technique is general and can be applied to study protein structure and dynamics, with data resulting from experiments that probe different variables such as relaxation rates and scaled anisotropic interactions.

RevDate: 2018-09-21

Jamborova I, Janecko N, Halova D, et al (2018)

Molecular characterization of plasmid-mediated AmpC beta-lactamase- and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae among corvids (Corvus brachyrhynchos and Corvus corax) roosting in Canada.

FEMS microbiology ecology, 94(11):.

This study evaluated the carriage of AmpC and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) genes and associated plasmids in faecal bacteria of Canadian corvids. Faecal samples from 449 birds in five roosting sites across Canada were analyzed using selective media, screening for AmpC and ESBL genes by PCR, and sequencing. Genomic relatedness was determined by PFGE and MLST. Plasmid mobility was studied by conjugation and transformation experiments, followed by plasmid typing. In total, 96 (21%, n = 449) cefotaxime-resistant Escherichia coli and three (0.7%) Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates were identified. ESBL genes blaCTX-M-1 (n = 3), blaCTX-M-14 (n = 2), blaCTX-M-32 (n = 2) and blaCTX-M-124 (n = 1) were detected in eight E. coli isolates, whereas blaSHV-2 (2) was found in two K. pneumoniae. E. coli isolates contained blaCMY-2 (n = 83) and blaCMY-42 (n = 1). The high genetic diversity of the isolates and presence of clinically important E. coli ST69 (n = 1), ST117 (n = 7) and ST131 (n = 1) was revealed. AmpC genes were predominantly carried by plasmids of incompatibility groups I1 (45 plasmids), A/C (10) and K (7). The plasmid IncI1/ST12 was most common and found in diverse E. coli STs in all sites. Highly diverse E. coli isolates containing AmpC and ESBL genes, including clinically important clones and emerging plasmids, are in circulation throughout Canadian wildlife.


RJR Experience and Expertise


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

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

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. According to a study by Nature and an article in Times Higher Education , it is the largest academic social network in terms of active users.

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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