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29 Sep 2020 at 01:36
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Bibliography on: Corvids (crows, jays, etc)


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 29 Sep 2020 at 01:36 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: 2020-09-25

Martínez-de la Puente J, Soriguer R, Senar JC, et al (2020)

Mosquitoes in an Urban Zoo: Identification of Blood Meals, Flight Distances of Engorged Females, and Avian Malaria Infections.

Frontiers in veterinary science, 7:460.

Zoological gardens are home to a large number of vertebrate species and as such are suitable sites for both mosquito breeding and maintenance. They are excellent places for entomological studies of mosquito phenology, diversity, and blood-feeding patterns, as well as for xenomonitoring. During 2016, we sampled mosquitoes in Barcelona Zoo and used molecular methods to determine their blood-feeding patterns and the prevalence and diversity of avian malaria parasites. We also estimated the flight distance of engorged mosquitoes in the area. Overall, 1,384 adult Culex pipiens s.l., Culiseta longiareolata, and Aedes albopictus were captured. Birds dominated the diet of Cx. pipiens s.l. (n = 87) and Cs. longiareolata (n = 6), while humans were the only blood-meal source of Ae. albopictus (n = 3). Mosquitoes had a mean flight distance of 95.67 m after feeding on blood (range 38.71-168.51 m). Blood parasites were detected in the abdomen of 13 engorged Cx. pipiens s.l., eight of which had fed on magpies. Four Plasmodium lineages and a single lineage of the malaria-like parasite Haemoproteus were identified. These results suggest that Cx. pipiens s.l. is involved in the local transmission of avian Plasmodium, which potentially affects the circulation of parasites between and within wildlife and enclosed animals. Vigilance regarding possible mosquito breeding sites in this zoo is thus recommended.

RevDate: 2020-09-25

Nieder A, Wagener L, P Rinnert (2020)

A neural correlate of sensory consciousness in a corvid bird.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 369(6511):1626-1629.

Subjective experiences that can be consciously accessed and reported are associated with the cerebral cortex. Whether sensory consciousness can also arise from differently organized brains that lack a layered cerebral cortex, such as the bird brain, remains unknown. We show that single-neuron responses in the pallial endbrain of crows performing a visual detection task correlate with the birds' perception about stimulus presence or absence and argue that this is an empirical marker of avian consciousness. Neuronal activity follows a temporal two-stage process in which the first activity component mainly reflects physical stimulus intensity, whereas the later component predicts the crows' perceptual reports. These results suggest that the neural foundations that allow sensory consciousness arose either before the emergence of mammals or independently in at least the avian lineage and do not necessarily require a cerebral cortex.

RevDate: 2020-09-24

Sutton AO, Strickland D, Freeman NE, et al (2020)

Environmental conditions modulate compensatory effects of site dependence in a food-caching passerine.

Ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Although density regulates the abundance of most wild animal populations by influencing vital rates, such as fecundity and survival, the mechanisms responsible for generating negative density-dependence are unclear for many species. Site-dependence occurs when there is preferential filling of high-quality territories, which results in higher per capita vital rates at low densities because a larger proportion of occupied territories are of high quality. Using 41 years of territory occupancy and demographic data, we investigated whether site-dependence was a mechanism acting to influence fecundity and, by extension, regulate a population of Canada jays in Algonquin Provincial Park, ON. As predicted by site-dependence, the proportion of occupied territories that were of high quality was negatively correlated with population density and periods of vacancy were shorter for high-quality territories than for low-quality territories. We also found evidence that per capita fecundity was positively related to the proportion of occupied territories that were of high quality, but only when environmental conditions, which influence the entire population, were otherwise poor for breeding. Our results suggest that site-dependence likely plays a role in regulating this population but that environmental conditions can modulate the strength of density-dependence.

RevDate: 2020-09-24

Naggar RFE, Rohaim MA, M Munir (2020)

Potential reverse spillover of infectious bursal disease virus at the interface of commercial poultry and wild birds.

Virus genes pii:10.1007/s11262-020-01793-x [Epub ahead of print].

Recently, multiple spillover events between domesticated poultry and wild birds have been reported for several avian viruses. This phenomenon highlights the importance of the livestock-wildlife interface in the possible emergence of novel viruses. The aim of the current study was to investigate the potential spillover and epidemiological links of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) between wild birds and domestic poultry. To this end, twenty-eight cloacal swabs were collected from four species of free-living Egyptian wild birds (i.e. mallard duck, bean goose, white-fronted goose and black-billed magpie). Genetic and phylogenetic analysis of three positive isolates revealed that the IBDV/USC-1/2019 strain clustered with previously reported very virulent IBDV (vvIBDV) Egyptian isolates. Interestingly, two other wild bird-origin isolates (i.e. IBDV/USC-2/2019 and IBDV/USC-3/2019) grouped with a vaccine strain that is being used in commercial poultry. In conclusion, our results revealed the molecular detection of vaccine and vvIBDV-like strains in Egyptian wild birds and highlighted the potential role of wild birds in IBDV epidemiology in disease-endemic regions.

RevDate: 2020-09-24

Hunt GR (2020)

New Caledonian crows' basic tool procurement is guided by heuristics, not matching or tracking probe site characteristics.

Animal cognition pii:10.1007/s10071-020-01427-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Contrasting findings made it unclear what cognitive processes New Caledonian crows use to procure suitable tools to solve tool tasks. Most previous studies suggested that their tool procurement is achieved by either trial and error or a simple heuristic. The latter provides a fast and cognitively efficient method for stable, routinized behaviour based on past experience with little or no deliberate decision-making. However, early papers by Chappell and Kacelnik reported that two New Caledonian crows procured tools after closely assessing the tool characteristics required for the task, thus using deliberate decision-making, or a 'customized strategy'. Here, I tested eight New Caledonian crows to determine their default behaviour in basic tool procurement tasks as a check on whether or not they use customized strategies. I used two rigorous experiments closely based on Chappell and Kacelnik's experiments. The crows did not use a customized strategy in either experiment, but their behaviour was clearly consistent with tool procurement predominantly guided by a familiarity heuristic. I discuss potential methodological issues that may have led to different conclusions in Chappell and Kacelnik's studies. Heuristic-guided, routinized behaviour in tool procurement has potential implications for understanding how standardization occurs in the early evolution of complex tool manufacture, both in New Caledonian crows and early humans.

RevDate: 2020-09-24

Bakkour S, Deng X, Bacchetti P, et al (2020)

Replicate Aptima assay for quantifying residual plasma viremia in individuals on ART.

Journal of clinical microbiology pii:JCM.01400-20 [Epub ahead of print].

Detection of residual plasma viremia in ART-suppressed HIV-infected individuals is critical for characterizing the latent reservoir and evaluating the impact of cure interventions. Ultracentrifugation-based single-copy assays are sensitive but labor-intensive. Fully automated replicate testing using a standard clinical viral load assay was evaluated as a high-throughput alternative for quantification of low-level viremia. Four plasma samples from blood donors with acute HIV-1 infection and one viral culture supernatant were serially diluted into 25 mL samples to nominal viral loads ranging from 39 to <0.5 copies (cp)/mL. Each dilution was tested with 45 replicates (reps) using 0.5 mL/rep with the Aptima HIV-1 Quant assay. The nominal and estimated viral loads based on the single-hit Poisson model were compared, and a hybrid Poisson digital model for calibrated viral load estimation was derived. Testing performed using 45 reps on longitudinal plasma samples from 50 ART-suppressed individuals in the Reservoir Assay Validation and Evaluation Network (RAVEN) study cohort (range 1-19 years of continuous ART suppression) showed a median viral load of 0.54 cp/mL (IQR 0.22-1.46 cp/mL) and a 14% (95% CI 9-19%) decline in viral load for each additional year in duration suppressed. Within the RAVEN cohort, the expected false negative rate for detection at lower rep numbers using 9 and 18 reps was 26% and 14%, respectively. Residual plasma viremia levels positively correlated with cell-associated HIV RNA and DNA. The performance characteristics of the replicate Aptima assay support its use for quantifying residual plasma viremia to study the latent HIV reservoir and cure interventions.

RevDate: 2020-09-18

Casabona G, Frank K, Moellhoff N, et al (2020)

Full-Face Effects of Temporal Volumizing and Temporal Lifting Techniques.

Journal of cosmetic dermatology [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Most injection techniques utilizing hyaluronic acid based soft tissue fillers have predictable outcomes at the location injected. However, the temporal region has been identified to have the potential to affect panfacial aesthetic improvements depending on the applied injection technique.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The medical records of 9 female and 5 male Caucasian patients with a mean age of 50.9 ± 11.9 years were retrospectively reviewed for the effects of these techniques: supraperiosteal, interfascial, subdermal. Panfacial effects were evaluated by the semiquantitative assessment of aesthetic scores for the temple volume, the temporal crest visibility, the lateral orbital rim visibility, the position of the eyebrows, the severity of lateral canthal lines, the midfacial volume and by the contour of the jawline.

RESULTS: The supraperiosteal injection technique had the greatest influence on improving the temporal volume (25.0%), the temporal crest (33.3%) and the lateral orbital rim visibility (31.0%) scales but had no effects in other facial regions. The interfascial injection technique revealed good effects on improving temporal hollowing (23.3%) but had an even greater effect on the crow's feet (26.8%) and on the position of the eyebrow (33.3%). The subdermal injection technique had its greatest effects in the lower face by improving the contour of the jawline (26.8%) followed by the improvement of the lower cheek fullness scale (14.3%).

CONCLUSION: Future injection algorithms could utilize all three injection techniques together as one multi-layer injection approach with a tailored proportion of each technique based on the aesthetic needs of the patient.

RevDate: 2020-09-18

DeLecce T, Fink B, Shackelford T, et al (2020)

No Evidence for a Relationship between Intelligence and Ejaculate Quality.

Evolutionary psychology : an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior, 18(3):1474704920960450.

Genetic quality may be expressed through many traits simultaneously, and this would suggest a phenotype-wide fitness factor. In humans, intelligence has been positively associated with several potential indicators of genetic quality, including ejaculate quality. We conducted a conceptual replication of one such study by investigating the relationship between intelligence (assessed by the Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices Test-Short Form) and ejaculate quality (indexed by sperm count, sperm concentration, and sperm motility) in a sample of 41 men (ages ranging 18 to 33 years; M = 23.33; SD = 3.60). By self-report, participants had not had a vasectomy, and had never sought infertility treatment. We controlled for several covariates known to affect ejaculate quality (e.g., abstinence duration before providing an ejaculate) and found no statistically significant relationship between intelligence and ejaculate quality; our findings, therefore, do not match those of Arden, Gottfredson, Miller et al. or those of previous studies. We discuss limitations of this study and the general research area and highlight the need for future research in this area, especially the need for larger data sets to address questions around phenotypic quality and ejaculate quality.

RevDate: 2020-09-16

Sultana N, Hossain SMZ, Mohammed ME, et al (2020)

Experimental study and parameters optimization of microalgae based heavy metals removal process using a hybrid response surface methodology-crow search algorithm.

Scientific reports, 10(1):15068 pii:10.1038/s41598-020-72236-8.

This study investigates the use of microalgae as a biosorbent to eliminate heavy metals ions from wastewater. The Chlorella kessleri microalgae species was employed to biosorb heavy metals from synthetic wastewater specimens. FTIR, and SEM/XRD analyses were utilized to characterize the microalgal biomass (the adsorbent). The experiments were conducted with several process parameters, including initial solution pH, temperature, and microalgae biomass dose. In order to secure the best experimental conditions, the optimum parameters were estimated using an integrated response surface methodology (RSM), desirability function (DF), and crow search algorithm (CSA) modeling approach. A maximum lead(II) removal efficiency of 99.54% was identified by the RSM-DF platform with the following optimal set of parameters: pH of 6.34, temperature of 27.71 °C, and biomass dosage of 1.5 g L-1. The hybrid RSM-CSA approach provided a globally optimal solution that was similar to the results obtained by the RSM-DF approach. The consistency of the model-predicted optimum conditions was confirmed by conducting experiments under those conditions. It was found that the experimental removal efficiency (97.1%) under optimum conditions was very close (less than a 5% error) to the model-predicted value. The lead(II) biosorption process was better demonstrated by the pseudo-second order kinetic model. Finally, simultaneous removal of metals from wastewater samples containing a mixture of multiple heavy metals was investigated. The removal efficiency of each heavy metal was found to be in the following order: Pb(II) > Co(II) > Cu(II) > Cd(II) > Cr(II).

RevDate: 2020-09-16

Gharekhani J, Yakhchali M, R Berahmat (2020)

Neospora caninum infection in Iran (2004-2020): A review.

Journal of parasitic diseases : official organ of the Indian Society for Parasitology [Epub ahead of print].

Knowledge on neosporosis and associated risk factors in different species of animals are so important for designing the control programs and reduce the economic losses globally. This literature review targeted for evaluating the infection rate of Neospora caninum in animals in Iran. Until April 2020, all of published documents in the main English and Persian-language databases were searched. A total number of 110 documents (English = 85 and Persian = 25) were extracted. Most of reports were sero-epidemiological studies using ELISA in Iranian cattle population. The range of Neospora infection was 3.8-76.2% in cattle, 0-54.6% in dogs, 0.9-9.9% in sheep, 6.2% in goats, 19.2-55.9% in buffaloes, 20-42.2% in horses, 52% in donkeys, 3.2-27% in camels, 14% and 19% in cats, and 0-20.4% in rodents. This rate in birds was 17.3% in chicken, 9.8% and 30.4% in pigeons, 2.8% and 3.7% in sparrows, and 9.9% in hooded crows. This is a comprehensive literature review on Neospora infection in Iran at the first time. The infection of N. caninum is widespread in Iran especially in dogs and cattle population. This review can provide baseline information for future research. Study on other hosts especially on wild and exotic animals is recommended for exact estimate of neosporosis in Iran. Investigations into molecular diagnosis and genotyping of N. caninum strains are also needed; this will be helpful for developing vaccines and finding the connection among wild and domestic cycles of disease. Education on the risk factors associated with N. caninum infection for is suggested farmers and rural public.

RevDate: 2020-09-15

Dai X, Li X, Huang Y, et al (2020)

The speciation and adaptation of the polyploids: a case study of the Chinese Isoetes L. diploid-polyploid complex.

BMC evolutionary biology, 20(1):118 pii:10.1186/s12862-020-01687-4.

BACKGROUND: The Chinese Isoetes L. are distributed in a stairway pattern: diploids in the high altitude and polyploids in the low altitude. The allopolyploid I. sinensis and its diploid parents I. yunguiensis and I. taiwanensis is an ideal system with which to investigate the relationships between polyploid speciation and the ecological niches preferences.

RESULTS: There were two major clades in the nuclear phylogenetic tree, all of the populations of polyploid were simultaneously located in both clades. The chloroplast phylogenetic tree included two clades with different populations of the polyploid clustered with the diploids separately: I. yunguiensis with partial populations of the I. sinensis and I. taiwanensis with the rest populations of the I. sinensis. The crow node of the I. sinensis allopolyploid system was 4.43 Ma (95% HPD: 2.77-6.97 Ma). The divergence time between I. sinensis and I. taiwanensis was estimated to 0.65 Ma (95% HPD: 0.26-1.91 Ma). The narrower niche breadth in I.sinensis than those of its diploid progenitors and less niche overlap in the pairwise comparisons between the polyploid and its progenitors.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results elucidate that I. yunguinensis and I. taiwanensis contribute to the speciation of I. sinensis, the diploid parents are the female parents of different populations. The change of altitude might have played an important role in allopolyploid speciation and the pattern of distribution of I. sinensis. Additionally, niche novelty of the allopolyploid population of I. sinensis has been detected, in accordance with the hypothesis that niche shift between the polyploids and its diploid progenitors is important for the establishment and persistence of the polyploids.

RevDate: 2020-09-11

Erchul WP (2020)

Bertram H. Raven (1926-2020).

The American psychologist, 75(6):869.

Memorializes Bertram H. Raven (1926-2020). Raven is best known for his theoretical and empirical work, beginning in the 1950s with John (Jack) French, on the bases of social power, a widely recognized framework for studying interpersonal influence. In 1956, Bert joined the UCLA faculty and played a leadership role in developing the social psychology area. Bert also served as president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and editor of the Journal of Social Issues. He was a fellow of five divisions of the American Psychological Association and received many significant recognitions. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2020-09-10

Blazkova B, Pastorkova A, Solansky I, et al (2020)

Effect of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Exposure on Cognitive Development in 5 Years Old Children.

Brain sciences, 10(9): pii:brainsci10090619.

Objectives: To analyze the impact of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in ambient air at the time of delivery and five years of age on cognitive development in five year old children. Materials and Methods: Two cohorts of children born in the years 2013 and 2014 from Karvina (Northern Moravia, n = 70) and Ceske Budejovice (Southern Bohemia, n = 99) were studied at the age of five years for their cognitive development related to the exposure to PAHs, determined in the ambient air as the concentration of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) and OH-PAH (hydroxy-PAH) metabolites in urine of the newborns at the time of delivery. As psychological tests, the Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test (BG test) and the Raven Colored Progressive Matrices (RCPM test) were used. Results: Concentrations of B[a]P in the third trimester of mother's pregnancies were 6.1 ± 4.53 ng/m3 in Karvina, and 1.19 ± 1.28 ng/m3 (p < 0.001) in Ceske Budejovice. Neither the outcome of the RCPM test nor the BG test differed between children in Karvina vs. Ceske Budejovice, or boys vs. girls. Cognitive development in five year old children was affected by the higher exposure to PM2.5 during the third trimester in girls in Karvina. Conclusions: We did not observe any significant effect of prenatal PAH exposure on psychological cognitive tests in five year old children.

RevDate: 2020-09-11

Carr J, Stone R, Tymko C, et al (2020)

Global REACH 2018: The Effect of an Expiratory Resistance Mask with Dead Space on Sleep and Acute Mountain Sickness During Acute Exposure to Hypobaric Hypoxia.

High altitude medicine & biology, 21(3):297-302.

Carr, Jay, Rachel Stone, Courtney Tymko, Kaitlyn Tymko, Geoff B. Coombs, Ryan L. Hoiland, Connor A. Howe, Michael M. Tymko, Philip N. Ainslie, and Alexander Patrician. Global REACH 2018: the effect of an expiratory resistance mask with dead space on sleep and acute mountain sickness during acute exposure to hypobaric hypoxia. High Alt Med Biol. 21:297-302, 2020. We hypothesized that an expiratory resistance and dead space (ER/DS) mask, a version of which was previously shown to partially alleviate sleep-disordered breathing and headache severity during acute normobaric hypoxia (Patrician et al.), would exhibit similar results in conditions of hypobaric hypoxia. In a randomized, single-blinded, sham-controlled, and sex-matched design, 31 healthy lowlanders rapidly (6-8 hours) ascended from sea level to 4300 m (Cerro de Pasco, Peru) and slept with either an ER/DS mask (n = 15) or sham mask (n = 16). Sleep was assessed (via WatchPAT) and questionnaires collected before sleep and upon waking the morning after. There was no difference in apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) between the ER/DS (77 ± 20 events/h) or sham mask (84 ± 27 events/h; p = 0.57). In addition, there was no alleviation of headache scores, improvement in sleep quality, or acute mountain sickness symptom severity. Both the sham and ER/DS masks were poorly tolerated (∼50% subject noncompliance in both groups). These findings highlight the importance and necessity of field-testing and demonstrate that more testing is needed before ER/DS devices, such as these, can be recommended for prophylactic benefits at high altitude.

RevDate: 2020-09-09

Dolean D, A Cãlugãr (2020)

How Reliably Can We Measure a Child's True IQ? Socio-Economic Status Can Explain Most of the Inter-Ethnic Differences in General Non-verbal Abilities.

Frontiers in psychology, 11:2000.

Roma children have been discriminated against for many years as they are denied access to high-quality education based on their scores on general non-verbal IQ tests. Rushton et al. (2007) showed that Roma perform more poorly than non-Roma on one such test (i.e., Raven Progressive Matrices), but suggest that this underperformance could be explained by Roma's low socio-economic status. In this paper, we tested the non-verbal abilities of Roma children and expanded on the research of Rushton et al. (2007) by investigating empirically the potential mediating effects of socio-economic status on children's performance on Raven Progressive Matrices. Results showed that the performance of Roma children was, on average, significantly lower than the performance of their non-Roma peers; however, the effect of ethnicity was partially mediated by the parents' education and living conditions (while the parents' income had no significant effect). As hypothesized by Rushton et al. (2007) some socio-economic factors can explain important variability in the performance of Roma children on general non-verbal tests, and their poor performance on such tests may lead to an underestimation of the true population mean.

RevDate: 2020-09-07

Hswen Y, Qin Q, Williams DR, et al (2020)

The relationship between Jim Crow laws and social capital from 1997-2014: A 3-level multilevel hierarchical analysis across time, county and state.

Social science & medicine (1982) pii:S0277-9536(20)30361-0 [Epub ahead of print].

INTRODUCTION: Jim Crow laws in the United States promoted racial prejudice, which may have reduced social capital. Our study tests the relationship between Jim Crow laws and social capital.

METHODS: We conducted 3-level multilevel hierarchical modeling to study differences in the stock of social capital for 1997, 2005, 2009 in Jim Crow states compared to states without Jim Crow laws. We examined the moderation effects of county level median income, percent Black and percent with high school education and Jim Crow laws on social capital.

RESULTS: Jim Crow laws significantly reduced stock of social capital across 1997, 2005, 2009. The model was robust to the inclusion of random county, states, time and fixed county and state level covariates for median income, percent Black and percent with high school education. The largest percent of between state variations explained for fixed variables was from the addition of Jim Crow laws with 2.86%. These results demonstrate that although Jim Crow laws were abolished in 1965, the effects of racial segregation appear to persist through lower social connectiveness, community and trust. A positive moderation effect was seen for median income and percent Black with Jim Crow laws on social capital.

DISCUSSION: Our study supports a negative association between Jim Crow laws and reduction in the stock of social capital. This may be attributed to the fracturing of trust, reciprocity and collective action produced by legal racial segregation. Findings from this study offer insight on the potential impacts of historical policies on the social structure of a community. Future research is necessary to further identify the mechanistic pathways and develop interventions to improve social capital.

RevDate: 2020-09-03

Connelly F, Johnsson RD, Aulsebrook AE, et al (2020)

Urban noise restricts, fragments, and lightens sleep in Australian magpies.

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 267:115484 pii:S0269-7491(20)36172-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Urban areas are inherently noisy, and this noise can disrupt biological processes as diverse as communication, migration, and reproduction. We investigated how exposure to urban noise affects sleep, a process critical to optimal biological functioning, in Australian magpies (Cracticus tibicen). Eight magpies experimentally exposed to noise in captivity for 24-h spent more time awake, and less time in non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) and REM sleep at night than under quiet conditions. Sleep was also fragmented, with more frequent interruptions by wakefulness, shorter sleep episode durations, and less intense non-REM sleep. REM sleep was particularly sensitive to urban noise. Following exposure to noise, magpies recovered lost sleep by engaging in more, and more intense, non-REM sleep. In contrast, REM sleep showed no rebound. This might indicate a long-term cost to REM sleep loss mediated by noise, or contest hypotheses regarding the functional value of this state. Overall, urban noise has extensive, disruptive impacts on sleep composition, architecture, and intensity in magpies. Future work should consider whether noise-induced sleep restriction and fragmentation have long-term consequences.

RevDate: 2020-09-05

Stalder S, Marti H, Borel N, et al (2020)

Occurrence of Chlamydiaceae in Raptors and Crows in Switzerland.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 9(9): pii:pathogens9090724.

Bacteria of the family Chlamydiaceae are globally disseminated and able to infect many bird species. So far, 11 species of Chlamydia have been detected in wild birds, and several studies found chlamydial strains classified as genetically intermediate between Chlamydia (C.) psittaci and C.abortus. Recently, a group of these intermediate strains was shown to form a separate species, i.e., C.buteonis. In the present study, 1128 samples from 341 raptors of 16 bird species and 253 corvids representing six species were examined using a stepwise diagnostic approach. Chlamydiaceae DNA was detected in 23.7% of the corvids and 5.9% of the raptors. In corvids, the most frequently detected Chlamydia species was C.psittaci of outer membrane protein A (ompA) genotype 1V, which is known to have a host preference for corvids. The most frequently detected ompA genotype in raptors was M56. Furthermore, one of the raptors harbored C.psittaci 1V, and two others carried genotype A. C.buteonis was not detected in the bird population investigated, so it remains unknown whether this species occurs in Switzerland. The infection rate of Chlamydiaceae in corvids was high compared to rates reported in other wild bird species, but neither Chlamydiaceae-positive corvids nor raptors showed overt signs of disease. Since the Chlamydiaceae of both, raptors and crows were identified as C.psittaci and all C.psittaci genotypes are considered to be zoonotic, it can be suggested that raptors and crows pose a potential hazard to the health of their handlers.

RevDate: 2020-09-04

Linnell MA, DB Lesmeister (2020)

Predator-prey interactions in the canopy.

Ecology and evolution, 10(16):8610-8622 pii:ECE36518.

Small mammal abundances are frequently limited by resource availability, but predators can exert strong lethal (mortality) and nonlethal (e.g., nest abandonment) limitations. Artificially increasing resource availability for uncommon small mammals provides a unique opportunity to examine predator-prey interactions. We used remote cameras to monitor 168 nest platforms placed in the live tree canopy (n = 23 young forest stands), primarily for arboreal red tree voles (tree voles; Arborimus longicaudus), over 3 years (n = 15,510 monitoring-weeks). Tree voles frequently built nests and were detected 37% of monitoring-weeks, whereas flying squirrels (Glaucomys oregonensis) built nests infrequently but were detected 45% of monitoring-weeks. Most nest predators were detected infrequently (<1% of monitoring-weeks) and were positively correlated with tree vole presence. Weasels (Mustela spp.) were highly effective predators of tree voles (n = 8 mortalities; 10% of detections) compared to owls (n = 1), flying squirrels (n = 2), and Steller's jays (n = 1). Tree vole activity decreased from 84.1 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 56.2, 111.9) detections/week 1-week prior to a weasel detection to 4.7 detections/week (95% CI: 1.7, 7.8) 1-week postdetection and remained low for at least 12 weeks. Interpretations of predator-prey interactions were highly sensitive to how we binned continuously collected data and model results from our finest bin width were biologically counter-intuitive. Average annual survival of female tree voles was consistent with a previous study (0.14; 95% CI: -0.04 [0.01], 0.32) and high compared to many terrestrial voles. The relative infrequency of weasel detections and inefficiency of other predators did not provide strong support for the hypothesis that predation per se limited populations. Rather, predation pressure, by reducing occupancy of already scarce nest sites through mortality and nest abandonment, may contribute to long-term local instability of tree vole populations in young forests. Additional monitoring would be needed to assess this hypothesis.

RevDate: 2020-08-30

Usher C (2020)

How Did We Get Here?.

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 59(9):1089.

This month, Sarah Nayeem, an academic outpatient child and adolescent psychiatrist, based in Columbus, Ohio, reviews Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Alexander is a lawyer and legal scholar whose research features prominently in Ava DuVernay's documentary 13th. The central thesis of "New Jim Crow," published in a 10th anniversary edition this year, is that Americans must "reckon with the recurring cycles of racial reform, retrenchment and rebirth of caste-like systems that have defined our racial history since slavery."2 From Nayeem's perspective, Alexander's book is a powerful antiamnestic. It is a book with research that not only validates the lived experience of many but that also jars awake those who, like the dissociated driver arriving at a destination reflecting about the journey ("How did I get here?"), may have found themselves arriving at 2020 and the murder of George Floyd wondering, "How did we get here?"

RevDate: 2020-08-27

Akubuilo UC, Iloh KK, Onu JU, et al (2020)

Academic performance and intelligence quotient of primary school children in Enugu.

The Pan African medical journal, 36:129 pii:PAMJ-36-129.

Introduction: intellectual capacity measured as intelligence quotient (IQ) is one of the determinants of school performance of children. It influences academic achievement, future personal health, social well-being and therefore, is of public health significance. The objective of the study was to determine the intelligence quotient (IQ) and academic performance of primary school children in Enugu-East LGA.

Methods: children who met the inclusion criteria were recruited from both public and private primary schools in the Local Government Area (LGA) using a proportionate multistage sampling technique. Academic performance was classified into high, average and low academic using past records of class assessment. Intelligence quotient was assessed using the Raven´s Standard Progressive Matrices (RSPM) and was grouped into optimal and suboptimal. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to obtain data such as-age, gender, socio-economic indices and family size of the study participants. Analysis was done with Statistical Package for Social Sciences (IBM-SPSS).

Results: a total of 1,122 pupils aged 6 to 12 years were recruited. Optimal IQ and high academic performance were found in 54.0% and 58.8% of the study participants. Being from upper social class, in private school, and family size less than 4 were the significant determinants of high IQ and good academic performance (p<0.001).

Conclusion: low socio-economic status, large family size and public school attendance impact negatively on IQ and academic performance. Hence, measures to curb large family sizes (i.e.>4 children) and improve the socio-economic status of families are needed environmental measures to improve intelligence and academic performance.

RevDate: 2020-08-27

Nieder A (2020)

Absolute Numerosity Discrimination as a Case Study in Comparative Vertebrate Intelligence.

Frontiers in psychology, 11:1843.

The question of whether some non-human animal species are more intelligent than others is a reoccurring theme in comparative psychology. To convincingly address this question, exact comparability of behavioral methodology and data across species is required. The current article explores one of the rare cases in which three vertebrate species (humans, macaques, and crows) experienced identical experimental conditions during the investigation of a core cognitive capability - the abstract categorization of absolute numerical quantity. We found that not every vertebrate species studied in numerical cognition were able to flexibly discriminate absolute numerosity, which suggests qualitative differences in numerical intelligence are present between vertebrates. Additionally, systematic differences in numerosity judgment accuracy exist among those species that could master abstract and flexible judgments of absolute numerosity, thus arguing for quantitative differences between vertebrates. These results demonstrate that Macphail's Null Hypotheses - which suggests that all non-human vertebrates are qualitatively and quantitatively of equal intelligence - is untenable.

RevDate: 2020-08-24

Jiguet F (2020)

The Fox and the Crow. A need to update pest control strategies.

Biological conservation, 248:108693.

The recent discovery that cats and mustelids can be infected by SARS-CoV-2 may raise the question of monitoring domestic, feral and wild populations of such animals, as an adjunct to the elimination of COVID-19 in humans. Emergency solutions might consider large scale control of these animals in the wild. However, looking at science recently published on native vertebrate pest control reveals first that usual controls do not succeed in reducing animal numbers and associated damages, second that controlling can be counter-productive in increasing the infectious risks for humans and livestock. The examples of red fox and corvids are detailed in a European context, illustrating the urgent need for an ethical evaluation of ecological and economic costs and benefits of pest control strategies. A complete scientific evaluation process must be implemented and up-dated regularly, to be organized in four major steps, once the aim of the control strategy has been defined: (1) evaluating damages/risks caused by the animals, to be balanced with the ecosystem services they may provide, also in terms of economic costs; (2) unravelling spatial and temporal population dynamics of target animals to identify, if any, optimal control scenarios - which could be done within an adaptive management framework; (3) estimating the economic costs of implementing those optimal control scenarios, to be compared to the economic costs of damages/diseases; (4) finally evaluating how the control strategy reached its aims. A modern fable of the Fox and the Crow should deliver a timely moral for an ethical, ecological and economical appraisal of pest control strategies in Europe.

RevDate: 2020-08-24

Berrington JE, McGuire W, ND Embleton (2020)

ELFIN, the United Kingdom preterm lactoferrin trial: interpretation and future questions.

Biochemistry and cell biology = Biochimie et biologie cellulaire [Epub ahead of print].

Previous studies suggested that supplemental bovine lactoferrin (BLF) given to preterm infants (<32 weeks gestation) may reduce late onset sepsis (LOS) and necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), but have been underpowered. The Enteral Lactoferrin in Neonates (ELFIN) study, performed in the United Kingdom (UK), aimed to further address this issue with a well powered double blinded placebo controlled trial of >2200 preterm infants. ELFIN did not demonstrate a reduction in LOS or NEC, or several other clinically important measures. 316 (29%) of 1093 infants in the intervention group developed late-onset sepsis versus 334 (31%) of 1089 in the control group with an adjusted risk ratio of 0·95 (95% CI 0·86-1·04; p=0· 233). Reasons for the differences in ELFIN trial results and other studies may include population differences, the routine use of antifungals in the UK, timing of administration of the lactoferrin in relation to disease onset, or specific properties of the lactoferrin used in different trials. Further exploration is being undertaken in the UK NIHR funded Mechanisms Affecting the Guts of Preterm Infants in Enteral feeding trials (MAGPIE) study, for which results should be available soon.

RevDate: 2020-08-24

Birch J, Schnell AK, NS Clayton (2020)

Dimensions of Animal Consciousness.

Trends in cognitive sciences pii:S1364-6613(20)30192-3 [Epub ahead of print].

How does consciousness vary across the animal kingdom? Are some animals 'more conscious' than others? This article presents a multidimensional framework for understanding interspecies variation in states of consciousness. The framework distinguishes five key dimensions of variation: perceptual richness, evaluative richness, integration at a time, integration across time, and self-consciousness. For each dimension, existing experiments that bear on it are reviewed and future experiments are suggested. By assessing a given species against each dimension, we can construct a consciousness profile for that species. On this framework, there is no single scale along which species can be ranked as more or less conscious. Rather, each species has its own distinctive consciousness profile.

RevDate: 2020-08-23

Jokel A, Armstrong E, Gabis L, et al (2020)

Associations and Dissociations among Phonological Processing Skills, Language Skills and Nonverbal Cognition in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Folia phoniatrica et logopaedica : official organ of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP) pii:000505744 [Epub ahead of print].

AIMS: The purpose of this study was to examine the nature of phonological processing in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as it pertains to their nonverbal cognitive and linguistic abilities.

METHODS: Twenty-one participants between the ages of 9 and 21 years were administered a nonverbal cognitive assessment (Raven test), a language measure that requires receptive and expressive knowledge of semantics, syntax and morphology, as well as the integration across these language domains (CELF-4), and a measure of phonological processing (CTOPP).

RESULTS: Results show that performance on nonword repetition (NWR) that reflects an aspect of phonological memory was significantly low, whereas performance on phoneme reversal, phoneme elision, blending words and memory for digits was within the normal range. Hierarchical regressions with age, nonverbal intelligence (Raven test) and receptive language (CELF) as predictors showed that for NWR and phoneme elision the receptive part of the CELF was the main significant -predictor, after controlling for age. For phoneme reversal and memory for digits, however, the Raven score was the significant predictor, suggesting that cognitive nonverbal ability is the main factor explaining variability in these tasks.

CONCLUSIONS: A deficit in phonological memory characterizes individuals in the autistic population. This deficit may influence language acquisition in this population consistent with other populations of children with language impairments. Other tasks of phonological awareness, however, might be preserved especially when they do not involve memory for long phonological sequences and when the cognitive abilities are within the norm.

RevDate: 2020-08-19

Feng D, Laurel F, Castille D, et al (2020)

Reliability, construct validity, and measurement invariance of the PROMIS Physical Function 8b-Adult Short Form v2.0.

Quality of life research : an international journal of quality of life aspects of treatment, care and rehabilitation pii:10.1007/s11136-020-02603-5 [Epub ahead of print].

PURPOSE: The National Institutes of Health established the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) to assess health across various chronic illnesses. The standardized PROMIS measures have been used to assess symptoms in studies that included Native American participants, although the psychometric properties of these measures have not been assessed among a solely Native American population. This study aimed to assess the reliability, construct validity, and measurement invariance of a widely used PROMIS Physical Function survey among Native Americans residing on or near the Apsáalooke (Crow) Reservation who were living with chronic illnesses.

METHODS: Participants aged 24 to 82 years and living with at least one chronic illness were recruited for a community-based participatory research project. Baseline data were used for the current study (N = 210). The 8-item PROMIS Physical Function 8b-Adult Short Form v2.0 was used to assess the function of upper and lower extremities, central core regions, and the ability to complete daily activities on a 5-point Likert scale.

RESULTS: Results indicated that the above PROMIS survey had high internal consistency (Cronbach's α = 0.95) and split-half (r = 0.92, p < 0.001) reliabilities. Confirmatory factor analyses supported construct validity among females of the above population and when the two sex groups were combined. Results also indicated that corresponding thresholds and factor loadings were invariant across male and female groups.

CONCLUSIONS: The above PROMIS measure had good psychometric properties in females and when the two sex groups were combined among Native American adults living on or near the Apsáalooke reservation with chronic illnesses. Thresholds and factor loadings appeared to be invariant by sex. Future studies with a larger sample size among males and more studies on the psychometric properties of other PROMIS measures among Native American populations are needed.

RevDate: 2020-08-14

Gewaily MS, MMA Abumandour (2020)

Gross morphological, histological and scanning electron specifications of the oropharyngeal cavity of the hooded crow (Corvus cornix pallescens).

Anatomia, histologia, embryologia [Epub ahead of print].

The present study was carried out on the oropharyngeal cavity of the hooded crow to investigate the gross and microscopic structures via gross anatomy, light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The gross anatomy clarified the elongated triangular shape of the oropharyngeal cavity with a non-protruding tongue with a bifid apex. The lingual body contained median groove rostrally and separated caudally from the root by a transverse papillary crest. The laryngeal mound located posterior to the lingual root, contained midline laryngeal cleft and bounded caudally by a transverse row of pharyngeal papillae. The palate contained choanal cleft rostrally and infundibular slit caudally in addition to five palatine ridges. By light microscopy, the dorsal lingual epithelium was highly keratinised stratified squamous with a lingual nail in the most rostral part of the apex. Then, the thickness of the keratin layer decreased caudally, while in the ventral surface, the lining epithelium became non-keratinised. The entoglossum supported the lingual body and root, but not extended to the apex. The lining epithelium of the palate was also keratinised stratified squamous and became none-keratinised at the oral side of the choanal cleft. There were numerous lobules of polystomatic salivary glands in the lingual root and the palate. SEM revealed the arrangement of different types of papillae covering both the floor and the roof of the oropharynx besides numerous openings of salivary glands in the lingual root, laryngeal mound and the palate. These findings reflect the functional relationship of the oropharyngeal cavity of the hooded crow during feeding.

RevDate: 2020-08-13

Latorre-Pérez A, Villalba-Bermell P, Pascual J, et al (2020)

Assembly methods for nanopore-based metagenomic sequencing: a comparative study.

Scientific reports, 10(1):13588 pii:10.1038/s41598-020-70491-3.

Metagenomic sequencing has allowed for the recovery of previously unexplored microbial genomes. Whereas short-read sequencing platforms often result in highly fragmented metagenomes, nanopore-based sequencers could lead to more contiguous assemblies due to their potential to generate long reads. Nevertheless, there is a lack of updated and systematic studies evaluating the performance of different assembly tools on nanopore data. In this study, we have benchmarked the ability of different assemblers to reconstruct two different commercially-available mock communities that have been sequenced using Oxford Nanopore Technologies platforms. Among the tested tools, only metaFlye, Raven, and Canu performed well in all the datasets. These tools retrieved highly contiguous genomes (or even complete genomes) directly from the metagenomic data. Despite the intrinsic high error of nanopore sequencing, final assemblies reached high accuracy (~ 99.5 to 99.8% of consensus accuracy). Polishing strategies demonstrated to be necessary for reducing the number of indels, and this had an impact on the prediction of biosynthetic gene clusters. Correction with high quality short reads did not always result in higher quality draft assemblies. Overall, nanopore metagenomic sequencing data-adapted to MinION's current output-proved sufficient for assembling and characterizing low-complexity microbial communities.

RevDate: 2020-08-10

Cocca W, Andreone F, Belluardo F, et al (2020)

Resolving a taxonomic and nomenclatural puzzle in mantellid frogs: synonymization of Gephyromantis azzurrae with G. corvus, and description of Gephyromantis kintana sp. nov. from the Isalo Massif, western Madagascar.

ZooKeys, 951:133-157 pii:51129.

The genus Gephyromantis belongs to the species-rich family Mantellidae and is currently divided in six subgenera. Among these is the subgenus Phylacomantis, which currently includes four described species: Gephyromantis pseudoasper, G. corvus, G. azzurrae, and G. atsingy. The latter three species are distributed in western Madagascar, and two of them (G. azzurrae and G. corvus) occur in the Isalo Massif. Based on the analysis of molecular data (a fragment of the 16S rRNA gene), morphological inspection of museum specimens, and photographic comparisons, G. azzurrae is synonymised with G. corvus and the second Phylacomantis lineage of Isalo is described as G. kintanasp. nov. This medium-sized frog species (adult snout-vent length 35-44 mm) is assigned to this subgenus according to genetic and morphological similarities to the other known species of Phylacomantis. Gephyromantis kintanasp. nov. is known only from the Isalo Massif, while new records for G. corvus extend its range to ca. 200 km off its currently known distribution. These two taxa seem to occur in syntopy in at least one locality in Isalo, and the easiest way to distinguish them is the inspection of the ventral colouration, dark in G. corvus and dirty white in G. kintana.

RevDate: 2020-08-10

Taylor AH, S Jelbert (2020)

The crow in the room: New Caledonian crows offer insight into the necessary and sufficient conditions for cumulative cultural evolution.

The Behavioral and brain sciences, 43:e178 pii:S0140525X20000102.

New Caledonian (NC) crow populations have developed complex tools that show suggestive evidence of cumulative change. These tool designs, therefore, appear to be the product of cumulative technological culture (CTC). We suggest that tool-using NC crows offer highly useful data for current debates over the necessary and sufficient conditions for the emergence of CTC.

RevDate: 2020-08-10

Rutz C, GR Hunt (2020)

New Caledonian crows afford invaluable comparative insights into human cumulative technological culture.

The Behavioral and brain sciences, 43:e177 pii:S0140525X20000187.

The New Caledonian crow may be the only non-primate species exhibiting cumulative technological culture. Its foraging tools show clear signs of diversification and progressive refinement, and it seems likely that at least some tool-related information is passed across generations via social learning. Here, we explain how these remarkable birds can help us uncover the basic biological processes driving technological progress.

RevDate: 2020-08-08

Zhao W, Li H, Zhu X, et al (2020)

Effect of Birdsong Soundscape on Perceived Restorativeness in an Urban Park.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(16): pii:ijerph17165659.

Natural soundscapes have beneficial effects on the perceived restorativeness of an environment. This study examines the effect of birdsong, a common natural soundscape, on perceived restorativeness in Harbin Sun Island Park in China. Eight sites were selected and a series of questionnaire surveys on perceived restorativeness soundscape scale (PRSS) of four birdsong types were conducted during summer and winter. Two-hundred and forty respondents participated in this survey. Analysis of the survey results shows that different types of birdsong have different perceived restorativeness effects in different seasons. Crow birdsong has the worst effect on the perceived restorativeness in both summer and winter. Moreover, sound comfort and preference are significantly associated with the perceived restorativeness. The perceived restorativeness soundscape is best when birdsong is at a height of 4 m rather than 0.5 m or 2 m. The demographic/social factors of age, education, and stress level are all correlated with perceived restorativeness. There are suggestions for urban park design, especially with constructed natural elements. Creating a suitable habitat for multiple species of birds will improve perceived restorativeness. Moreover, appropriate activities should be provided in city parks to ensure restorativeness environments, especially for subjects with high levels of education and stress.

RevDate: 2020-08-03

Wang Y (2020)

Predict new cases of the coronavirus 19; in Michigan, U.S.A. or other countries using Crow-AMSAA method.

Infectious Disease Modelling, 5:459-477 pii:S2468-0427(20)30025-7.

Statistical predictions are useful to predict events based on statistical models. The data is useful to determine outcomes based on inputs and calculations. The Crow-AMSAA method will be explored to predict new cases of Coronavirus 19 (COVID19). This method is currently used within engineering reliability design to predict failures and evaluate the reliability growth. The author intents to use this model to predict the COVID19 cases by using daily reported data from Michigan, New York City, U.S.A and other countries. The piece wise Crow-AMSAA (CA) model fits the data very well for the infected cases and deaths at different phases during the start of the COVID19 outbreak. The slope β of the Crow-AMSAA line indicates the speed of the transmission or death rate. The traditional epidemiological model is based on the exponential distribution, but the Crow-AMSAA is the Non Homogeneous Poisson Process (NHPP) which can be used to modeling the complex problem like COVID19, especially when the various mitigation strategies such as social distance, isolation and locking down were implemented by the government at different places.

RevDate: 2020-08-03

Frank SC, Blaalid R, Mayer M, et al (2020)

Fear the reaper: ungulate carcasses may generate an ephemeral landscape of fear for rodents.

Royal Society open science, 7(6):191644 pii:rsos191644.

Animal carcasses provide an ephemeral pulse of nutrients for scavengers that use them. Carcass sites can increase species interactions and/or ephemeral, localized landscapes of fear for prey within the vicinity. Few studies have applied the landscape of fear to carcasses. Here, we use a mass die-off of reindeer caused by lightning in Norway to test whether rodents avoided larger scavengers (e.g. corvids and fox). We used the presence and abundance of faeces as a proxy for carcass use over the course of 2 years and found that rodents showed the strongest avoidance towards changes in raven abundance (β = -0.469, s.e. = 0.231, p-value = 0.0429), but not fox, presumably due to greater predation risk imposed by large droves of raven. Moreover, the emergence of rodent occurrence within the carcass area corresponded well with the disappearance of raven during the second year of the study. We suggest that carcasses have the potential to shape the landscape of fear for prey, but that the overall effects of carcasses on individual fitness and populations of species ultimately depend on the carcass regime, e.g. carcass size, count, and areal extent, frequency and the scavenger guild. We discuss conservation implications and how carcass provisioning and landscapes of fear could be potentially used to manage populations and ecosystems, but that there is a gap in understanding that must first be bridged.

RevDate: 2020-07-30

Wang JV, Saedi N, CB Zachary (2020)

Hyperhidrosis and Aesthetics.

Handbook of experimental pharmacology [Epub ahead of print].

When one considers the avalanche of new indications and uses for botulinum toxins, it is truly surprising that this has all happened in such a short time. And the safety and dependability of these products are profound, when used appropriately. There is still much to be discovered about the potential of this agent when you contemplate the profound non-cosmetic benefits reported by clinicians and scientists from around the world. The mechanism of action has been studied in depth, and yet the benefits appreciated by people with chronic migraine or major depressive disorder, for instance, are unlikely to be explained by our current mechanistic understanding. Given that these toxins control acetylcholine at the motor end plates, and given that acetylcholine is central to practically every cell in the body, it will not be surprising to find that botulinum toxin researchers will be enjoying many decades of fruitful studies. The advent of the non-surgical aesthetic physician has helped push the clinical utilization of botulinum toxins well beyond its original adoption by oculoplastic surgeons in their patients with blepharospasm. We can expect that the next edition of this book to have a dozen or more new indications which will surprise us all.

RevDate: 2020-07-29

Engel N, Végvári Z, Rice R, et al (2020)

Incubating parents serve as visual cues to predators in Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus).

PloS one, 15(7):e0236489 pii:PONE-D-19-31214.

Ground-nesting birds face many challenges to reproduce successfully, with nest predation being the main cause of reproductive failure. Visual predators such as corvids and egg-eating raptors, are among the most common causes of nest failure; thus, parental strategies that reduce the risk of visual nest predation should be favored by selection. To date, most research has focused on egg crypsis without considering adult crypsis, although in natural circumstances the eggs are covered by an incubating parent most of the time. Here we use a ground-nesting shorebird, the Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) as model species to experimentally test whether decoy parents influence nest predation. Using artificial nests with a male decoy, a female decoy or no decoy, we found that the presence of a decoy increased nest predation (N = 107 nests, p < 0.001). However, no difference was found in predation rates between nests with a male versus female decoy (p > 0.05). Additionally, we found that nests in densely vegetated habitats experienced higher survival compared to nests placed in sparsely vegetated habitats. Nest camera images, predator tracks and marks left on eggs identified the brown-necked raven (Corvus ruficollis) as the main visual nest predator. Our study suggests that the presence of incubating parents may enhance nest detectability to visual predators. However, parents may reduce the predation risk by placing a nest in sites where they are covered by vegetation. Our findings highlight the importance of nest site selection not only regarding egg crypsis but also considering incubating adult camouflage.

RevDate: 2020-07-29

Bravo C, Pays O, Sarasa M, et al (2020)

Revisiting an old question: Which predators eat eggs of ground-nesting birds in farmland landscapes?.

The Science of the total environment, 744:140895 pii:S0048-9697(20)34424-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Nest predation is a major cause of reproductive failure in birds, but predator identity often remains unknown. Additionally, although corvids are considered major nest predators in farmland landscapes, whether breeders or floaters are involved remains contentious. In this study, we aimed to identify nest predators using artificial nests, and test whether territorial or non-breeders carrion crow (Corvus corone) and Eurasian magpie (Pica pica) were most likely involved. We set up an experiment with artificial ground nests (n = 1429) in farmland landscapes of western France, and assessed how different combinations of egg size and egg material (small plasticine egg, large plasticine egg, quail and natural hen eggs) might influence predation rates and predator species involved. Nest predators were identified using remotely triggered cameras and marks left in plasticine eggs. Corvids were by far the predators most involved (almost 80% of all predation events), independent of egg type. Carrion crows alone were involved in 60% of cases. Probability of predation increased with egg size, and predation rate was higher for natural than for artificial eggs, suggesting that, in addition to egg size, predators might perceive plasticine and natural eggs differently. Predation rates of artificial nests by corvids were related significantly to corvid abundance, and far more to breeder than floater abundances, for both carrion crows and magpies. This study emphasizes the importance of identifying predators at species level, and considering their social status when assessing corvid abundance impact on prey population dynamics. Combining camera traps and plasticine eggs can achieve this objective. Given the high predation rate by carrion crows, a better understanding of landscape-mediated changes in predator diet seems mandatory to design mitigation schemes able to confront ecological challenges raised by generalist predators.

RevDate: 2020-07-28

Operto FF, Pastorino GMG, Mazza R, et al (2020)

Social cognition and executive functions in children and adolescents with focal epilepsy.

European journal of paediatric neurology : EJPN : official journal of the European Paediatric Neurology Society pii:S1090-3798(20)30127-6 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVES: Deficits in facial emotion recognition and Theory of Mind are frequent in patients with epilepsy. Although this evidence, studies on pediatric age are few and the relation between these abilities and other cognitive domain remains to be better elucidated. The purpose of our study is to evaluate facial emotion recognition and Theory of Mind in children and adolescents with focal epilepsy, and correlate them with intelligence and executive functions.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Our work is a cross-sectional observational study. Sixty-two children and adolescents aged between 7-16 years diagnosed by focal epilepsy and 32 sex/age-matched controls were recruited. All participants were administered a standardized battery tests to assess social cognition (NEPSY-II), executive functions (EpiTrack Junior) and cognitive non-verbal level (Raven Progressive Matrices).

RESULTS: Emotion recognition mean score was significantly lower in the epilepsy group than in the controls to Student's t-test (p<0.05). Epilepsy group showed an impairment in happiness, sadness, anger and fear recognition, compared to controls (p<0.05). Theory of Mind mean score was also significantly lower in epilepsy group than controls (p<0.05). Deficits in emotion recognition seemed to be related to low age at onset of epilepsy, long duration of disease, low executive functions and low non-verbal intelligence. Deficits in Theory of Mind seemed to be related to a high seizure frequency.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that children and adolescents with focal epilepsy had deficit in facial emotion recognition and Theory of Mind, compared to their peer. Both these difficulties seem to be related to some features of epilepsy itself. Our results also suggest that deficits in facial emotion recognition are potentially related to difficulties in executive functions and non-verbal intelligence. More studies are needed to confirm these hypotheses.

RevDate: 2020-07-24

Aulsebrook AE, Connelly F, Johnsson RD, et al (2020)

White and Amber Light at Night Disrupt Sleep Physiology in Birds.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(20)30937-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Artificial light at night can disrupt sleep in humans [1-4] and other animals [5-10]. A key mechanism for light to affect sleep is via non-visual photoreceptors that are most sensitive to short-wavelength (blue) light [11]. To minimize effects of artificial light on sleep, many electronic devices shift from white (blue-rich) to amber (blue-reduced) light in the evening. Switching outdoor lighting from white to amber might also benefit wildlife [12]. However, whether these two colors of light affect sleep similarly in different animals remains poorly understood. Here we show, by measuring brain activity, that both white and amber lighting disrupt sleep in birds but that the magnitude of these effects differs between species. When experimentally exposed to light at night at intensities typical of urban areas, domestic pigeons (Columba livia) and wild-caught Australian magpies (Cracticus tibicen tyrannica) slept less, favored non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep over REM sleep, slept less intensely, and had more fragmented sleep compared to when lights were switched off. In pigeons, these disruptive effects on sleep were similar for white and amber lighting. For magpies, however, amber light had less impact on sleep. Our results demonstrate that amber lighting can minimize sleep disruption in some birds but that this benefit may not be universal.

RevDate: 2020-07-18

Lee CY, Peralta-Sánchez JM, Martínez-Bueno M, et al (2020)

The gut microbiota of brood parasite and host nestlings reared within the same environment: disentangling genetic and environmental effects.

The ISME journal pii:10.1038/s41396-020-0719-y [Epub ahead of print].

Gut microbiota are essential for host health and survival, but we are still far from understanding the processes involved in shaping their composition and evolution. Controlled experimental work under lab conditions as well as human studies pointed at environmental factors (i.e., diet) as the main determinant of the microbiota with little evidence of genetic effects, while comparative interspecific studies detected significant phylogenetic effects. Different species, however, also differ in diet, feeding behavior, and environmental characteristics of habitats, all of which also vary interspecifically, and, therefore, can potentially explain most of the detected phylogenetic patterns. Here, we take advantage of the reproductive strategy of avian brood parasites and investigate gut microbiotas (esophageal (food and saliva) and intestinal) of great spotted cuckoo (Clamator glandarius) and magpie (Pica pica) nestlings that grow in the same nests. We also estimated diet received by each nestling and explored its association with gut microbiota characteristics. Although esophageal microbiota of magpies and great spotted cuckoos raised within the same environment (nest) did not vary, the microbiota of cloacal samples showed clear interspecific differences. Moreover, diet of great spotted cuckoo and magpie nestlings explained the microbiota composition of esophageal samples, but not of cloaca samples. These results strongly suggest a genetic component determining the intestinal microbiota of host and parasitic bird species, indicating that interspecific differences in gut morphology and physiology are responsible for such interspecific differences.

RevDate: 2020-07-18

Wei W, Zhen Q, Tang Z, et al (2020)

Risk assessment in the plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae): intensity of behavioral response differs with predator species.

BMC ecology, 20(1):41 pii:10.1186/s12898-020-00309-3.

BACKGROUND: The ability of a prey species to assess the risk that a predator poses can have important fitness advantages for the prey species. To better understand predator-prey interactions, more species need to be observed to determine how prey behavioral responses differ in intensity when approached by different types of predators. The plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae) is preyed upon by all predators occurring in its distribution area. Therefore, it is an ideal species to study anti-predator behavior. In this study, we investigated the intensity of anti-predator behavior of pikas in response to visual cues by using four predator species models in Maqu County on the eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

RESULTS: The behavioral response metrics, such as Flight Initiation Distance (FID), the hiding time and the percentage of vigilance were significantly different when exposed to a Tibetan fox, a wolf, a Saker falcon and a large-billed crow, respectively. Pikas showed a stronger response to Saker falcons compared to any of the other predators.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results showed that pikas alter their behavioral (such as FID, the hiding time and the vigilance) response intensity to optimally balance the benefits when exposed to different taxidermy predator species models. We conclude that pikas are able to assess their actual risk of predation and show a threat-sensitive behavioral response.

RevDate: 2020-07-17

Benkada AM, Pontier F, V Dufour (2020)

Conflict management in rooks (Corvus frugilegus): Victims do not display post-conflict affiliation but avoid their former aggressor.

Behavioural processes pii:S0376-6357(20)30102-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Many social species use post-conflict behaviors to mitigate the consequences of conflicts. One of these behaviors is the victim's affiliation with its former opponent following conflict in an attempt to restore the damaged relationship. The victim can also affiliate with a third party. Affiliation with former opponents and third parties also alleviates stress. Studies of conflict management strategies in birds mostly concern corvids, and more specifically rooks (Corvus frugilegus). In this colonial pair-bonded species, the most valuable relationship is with the mate. It is rarely conflictual, meaning that there is generally no need for any post-conflict affiliation. However, conflicts occur with other social partners, and victims may primarily use third-party affiliation to avoid renewed aggression after conflicts. Previous studies in rooks failed to show a protective role of third-party affiliations for rook victims. The present study seeks to further investigate the use and efficiency of these conflict management strategies from the victim's perspective. We recorded conflicts and post-conflict behaviors in captive rooks using the standard post-conflict matched control comparison method. Victims did not affiliate with their former opponent or with third parties after conflict, but rather avoided their former aggressor, thus successfully limiting the risk of renewed aggression. Post-conflict affiliations are not observed in all rook colonies, suggesting that avoidance of the former aggressor may be a more commonly used strategy than previously thought.

RevDate: 2020-07-14

Baciadonna L, Cornero FM, Emery NJ, et al (2020)

Convergent evolution of complex cognition: Insights from the field of avian cognition into the study of self-awareness.

Learning & behavior pii:10.3758/s13420-020-00434-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Pioneering research on avian behaviour and cognitive neuroscience have highlighted that avian species, mainly corvids and parrots, have a cognitive tool kit comparable with apes and other large-brained mammals, despite conspicuous differences in their neuroarchitecture. This cognitive tool kit is driven by convergent evolution, and consists of complex processes such as casual reasoning, behavioural flexibility, imagination, and prospection. Here, we review experimental studies in corvids and parrots that tested complex cognitive processes within this tool kit. We then provide experimental examples for the potential involvement of metacognitive skills in the expression of the cognitive tool kit. We further expand the discussion of cognitive and metacognitive abilities in avian species, suggesting that an integrated assessment of these processes, together with revised and multiple tasks of mirror self-recognition, might shed light on one of the most highly debated topics in the literature-self-awareness in animals. Comparing the use of multiple assessments of self-awareness within species and across taxa will provide a more informative, richer picture of the level of consciousness in different organisms.

RevDate: 2020-07-13

Slatin C (2020)

Under the Knee of Jim Crow and Neoliberalism.

New solutions : a journal of environmental and occupational health policy : NS, 30(2):80-82.

RevDate: 2020-07-13

Gillespie A (2020)

The Story of Dr Jay.

RevDate: 2020-07-08

Wang L, Zhang D, J Sui (2020)

Investigation of cognitive mechanisms and strategy on solving multiple string-pulling problems in Azure-winged magpie (Cyanopica cyanus).

Animal cognition pii:10.1007/s10071-020-01413-z [Epub ahead of print].

String-pulling tasks are a widely used paradigm in animal cognition research. The present study tested whether ten azure-winged magpies (Cyanopica cyanus) could solve a series of multiple-strings problems with the aim of systematically investigating which rules this species uses to solve different-patterned string tasks, i.e., tasks in which subjects have to choose between two strings only one of which is connected to bait. When the subjects faced the parallel strings task (T1), five birds (C3, C5, C8, C9, and C10) were able to solve the task and acted in a goal-directed manner. Three birds (C5, C8, and C9) successfully solved the oblique parallel strings task (T3). The azure-winged magpies exhibited proximity selection in the oblique parallel strings task (C1 and C4 in T2), and the task with one string folded at a right angle (C3, C6 and C8 in T5). Several subjects also performed simple strategies in other unresolved tasks, e.g., random selection, trial-and-error learning, and side bias strategies (i.e., a certain degree of "left-handed" tendency). These results demonstrated that the azure-winged magpie possesses the potential to solve simple multiple-string tasks, although when faced with more difficult problems they could not solve them.

RevDate: 2020-07-08

Weissensteiner MH, Bunikis I, Catalán A, et al (2020)

Discovery and population genomics of structural variation in a songbird genus.

Nature communications, 11(1):3403 pii:10.1038/s41467-020-17195-4.

Structural variation (SV) constitutes an important type of genetic mutations providing the raw material for evolution. Here, we uncover the genome-wide spectrum of intra- and interspecific SV segregating in natural populations of seven songbird species in the genus Corvus. Combining short-read (N = 127) and long-read re-sequencing (N = 31), as well as optical mapping (N = 16), we apply both assembly- and read mapping approaches to detect SV and characterize a total of 220,452 insertions, deletions and inversions. We exploit sampling across wide phylogenetic timescales to validate SV genotypes and assess the contribution of SV to evolutionary processes in an avian model of incipient speciation. We reveal an evolutionary young (~530,000 years) cis-acting 2.25-kb LTR retrotransposon insertion reducing expression of the NDP gene with consequences for premating isolation. Our results attest to the wealth and evolutionary significance of SV segregating in natural populations and highlight the need for reliable SV genotyping.

RevDate: 2020-07-07

Walker EV, Yuan Y, Girgis S, et al (2020)

Patterns of fish and whale consumption in relation to methylmercury in hair among residents of Western Canadian Arctic communities.

BMC public health, 20(1):1073 pii:10.1186/s12889-020-09133-2.

BACKGROUND: Methylmercury contamination of the environment represents a substantial environmental health concern. Human exposure to methylmercury occurs primarily through consumption of fish and marine mammals. Heavily exposed subgroups include sport or subsistence fishers residing in Arctic communities. We aimed to estimate the association of fish/whale consumption patterns of Canadian Arctic subsistence fishers with the internal dose of methylmercury as measured in hair.

METHODS: This research was conducted within ongoing community projects led by the CANHelp Working Group in Aklavik and Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories and Old Crow, Yukon. We interviewed each participant using a fish-focused food-frequency questionnaire during September-November 2016 and collected hair samples concurrently. Methylmercury was measured in the full-length of each hair sample using gas chromatography inductively-coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Multivariable linear regression estimated beta-coefficients and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the effect of fish/whale consumption on hair-methylmercury concentrations.

RESULTS: Among 101 participants who provided hair samples and diet data, the mean number of fish/whale species eaten was 3.5 (SD:1.9). The mean hair-methylmercury concentration was 0.60 μg/g (SD:0.47). Fish/whale consumption was positively associated with hair-methylmercury concentration, after adjusting for sex, hair length and use of permanent hair treatments. Hair-methylmercury concentrations among participants who consumed the most fish/whale in each season ranged from 0.30-0.50 μg/g higher than those who consumed < 1 meal/week.

CONCLUSIONS: In this population of Canadian Arctic subsistence fishers, hair-methylmercury concentration increased with fish/whale consumption, but the maximum concentrations were below Health Canada's 6.0 μg/g threshold for safe exposure.

RevDate: 2020-07-02

Boucherie PH, Blum C, T Bugnyar (2020)

Effect of rearing style on the development of social behaviour in young ravens (Corvus corax).

Ethology : formerly Zeitschrift fur Tierpsychologie, 126(6):595-609.

Early social experiences can affect the development and expression of individual social behaviour throughout life. In particular, early-life social deprivations, notably of parental care, can later have deleterious consequences. We can, therefore, expect rearing procedures such as hand-raising-widely used in ethology and socio-cognitive science-to alter the development of individual social behaviour. We investigated how the rearing style later affected (a) variation in relationship strength among peers and (b) individuals' patterns of social interactions, in three captive groups of juvenile non-breeders consisting of either parent-raised or hand-raised birds, or a mix of both rearing styles. In the three groups, irrespectively of rearing style: strongest relationships (i.e., higher rates of association and affiliations) primarily emerged among siblings and familiar partners (i.e., non-relatives encountered in early life), and mixed-sex and male-male partners established relationships of similar strength, indicating that the rearing style does not severely affect the quality and structure of relationships in young ravens. However, compared to parent-raised ravens, hand-raised ravens showed higher connectedness, i.e., number of partners with whom they mainly associated and affiliated, but formed on average relationships of lower strength, indicating that social experience in early life is not without consequences on the development of ravens' patterns of social interaction. The deprivation of parental care associated with the presence of same-age peers during hand-raising seemed to maximize ravens' propensity to interact with others, indicating that besides parents, interactions with same-age peers matter. Opportunities to interact with, and socially learn from peers, might thus be the key to the acquisition of early social competences in ravens.

RevDate: 2020-06-25

Strozier CB (2020)

A Tribute to Robert Jay Lifton.

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2020-06-25

Chang WS, Eden JS, Hall J, et al (2020)

Meta-transcriptomic analysis of virus diversity in urban wild birds with paretic disease.

Journal of virology pii:JVI.00606-20 [Epub ahead of print].

Wild birds are major natural reservoirs and potential dispersers of a variety of infectious diseases. As such, it is important to determine the diversity of viruses they carry and use this information to help understand the potential risks of spill-over to humans, domestic animals, and other wildlife. We investigated the potential viral causes of paresis in long-standing, but undiagnosed, disease syndromes in wild Australian birds. RNA from diseased birds was extracted and pooled based on tissue type, host species and clinical manifestation for metagenomic sequencing. Using a bulk and unbiased meta-transcriptomic approach, combined with clinical investigation and histopathology, we identified a number of novel viruses from the families Astroviridae, Adenoviridae, Picornaviridae, Polyomaviridae, Paramyxoviridae, Parvoviridae, and Circoviridae in common urban wild birds including Australian magpies, magpie larks, pied currawongs, Australian ravens, and rainbow lorikeets. In each case the presence of the virus was confirmed by RT-PCR. These data revealed a number of candidate viral pathogens that may contribute to coronary, skeletal muscle, vascular and neuropathology in birds of the Corvidae and Artamidae families, and neuropathology in members of the Psittaculidae The existence of such a diverse virome in urban avian species highlights the importance and challenges in elucidating the etiology and ecology of wildlife pathogens in urban environments. This information will be increasingly important for managing disease risks and conducting surveillance for potential viral threats to wildlife, livestock and human health.IMPORTANCE Wildlife naturally harbor a diverse array of infectious microorganisms and can be a source of novel diseases in domestic animals and human populations. Using unbiased RNA sequencing we identified highly diverse viruses in native birds from Australian urban environments presenting with paresis. This research included the clinical investigation and description of poorly understood recurring syndromes of unknown etiology: clenched claw syndrome, and black and white bird disease. As well as identifying a range of potentially disease-causing viral pathogens, this study describes methods that can effectively and efficiently characterize emergent disease syndromes in free ranging wildlife, and promotes further surveillance for specific pathogens of potential conservation and zoonotic concern.

RevDate: 2020-06-23

Gil-Espinosa FJ, Chillón P, Fernández-García JC, et al (2020)

Association of Physical Fitness with Intelligence and Academic Achievement in Adolescents.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(12): pii:ijerph17124362.

Physical fitness, intelligence and academic achievement are being studied from a multidisciplinary perspective. In this line, studies to advance our understanding of intelligence and academic achievement could be relevant for designing school-based programs. Our study analyzed the relationship between components of physical fitness including cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and flexibility and general intelligence and academic achievement in adolescents. We recruited 403 adolescents (53.6% boys) with a mean age of 13.7 ± 1.2 years from a secondary school in Spain with a medium socioeconomic status, during the 2015/2016 school year. Cardiorespiratory fitness was assessed by the 20-m shuttle run, muscular strength with the standing long jump test and flexibility with the sit-and-reach test. General intelligence was measured by both the D48 and the Raven tests. School grades were used to determine academic achievement. Linear regression analyses showed that cardiorespiratory fitness was positively associated with intelligence in both the D48 (all β ≥ 0.184, p ≤ 0.016) and the Raven tests (all β ≥ 0.183, p ≤ 0.024). Muscular strength, flexibility and overall fitness were not associated with intelligence (all β ≤ 0.122, p ≥ 0.139). Cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and flexibility were positively associated with academic achievement (all β ≥ 0.089, p ≤ 0.038), except muscular strength, which was not significantly associated with Spanish language or mathematics, (all β ≤ 0.050, p ≥ 0.200). Overall, cardiorespiratory fitness was positively associated with intelligence and academic achievement.

RevDate: 2020-06-19

Chakarov N, Kampen H, Wiegmann A, et al (2020)

Blood parasites in vectors reveal a united blackfly community in the upper canopy.

Parasites & vectors, 13(1):309.

BACKGROUND: The behaviour of blood-sucking arthropods is a crucial determinant of blood protozoan distribution and hence of host-parasite coevolution, but it is very challenging to study in the wild. The molecular identification of parasite lineages in vectors can be a useful key to understand the behaviour and transmission patterns realised by these vectors.

METHODS: In this study, we collected blackflies around nests of three raptor species in the upper forest canopy in central Europe and examined the presence of vertebrate DNA and haemosporidian parasites in them. We molecularly analysed 156 blackfly individuals, their vertebrate blood meals, and the haemosporidian parasite lineages they carried.

RESULTS: We identified nine species of Simulium blackflies, largely belonging to the subgenera Nevermannia and Eusimulium. Only 1% of the collected specimens was visibly engorged, and only 4% contained remains of host DNA. However, in 29% of the blackflies Leucocytozoon lineages were identified, which is evidence of a previous blood meal on an avian host. Based on the known vertebrate hosts of the recorded Leucocytozoon lineages, we can infer that large and/or abundant birds, such as thrushes, crows, pigeons, birds of prey, owls and tits are the main targets of ornithophilic blackflies in the canopy. Blackfly species contained similar proportions of host group-specific parasite lineages and thus do not appear to be associated with particular host groups.

CONCLUSIONS: The Leucocytozoon clade infecting thrushes, crows, and pigeons present in most represented blackfly species suggests a lack of association between hosts and blackflies, which can increase the probability of host switches of blood parasites. However, the composition of the simuliid species differed between nests of common buzzards, goshawks and red kites. This segregation can be explained by coinciding habitat preferences between host and vector, and may lead to the fast speciation of Leucocytozoon parasites. Thus, subtle ecological preferences and lack of host preference of vectors in the canopy may enable both parasite diversification and host switches, and enforce a habitat-dependent evolution of avian malaria parasites and related haemosporidia.

RevDate: 2020-06-26

Bratsberg B, Rogeberg O, V Skirbekk (2020)

Fathers of children conceived using ART have higher cognitive ability scores than fathers of naturally conceived children.

Human reproduction (Oxford, England), 35(6):1461-1468.

STUDY QUESTION: Does paternal cognitive ability differ for children conceived with and without assisted reproductive technology (ART)?

SUMMARY ANSWER: Young fathers of ART conceived children tend to score cognitively below their same-age natural conception (NC) counterparts and older (above 35) fathers of ART conceived children tend to score above.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Cognitive ability is a genetically and socially transmitted trait, and If ART and NC children have parents with different levels of this trait, then this would in itself predict systematic differences in child cognitive outcomes. Research comparing cognitive outcomes of children with different modes of conception finds conflicting results, and studies may be influenced by selection and confounding.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: This is a population-based study based on Norwegian data, combining information from the Medical Birth Registry (births through 2012), military conscription tests (birth cohorts 1955-1977) and the population registry. These data allow us to compare the cognitive ability scores of men registered as the father of an ART-conceived child to the cognitive abilities of other fathers and to average scores in the paternal birth cohorts.

The population level study included 18 566 births after ART (5810 after ICSI, 12 756 after IVF), and 1 048 138 NC births. It included all Norwegian men who received a cognitive ability score after attending military conscription between 1973 and 1995. This constituted 614 827 men (89.4% of the male birth cohorts involved). An additional 77 650 unscored males were included in sensitivity analyses.

Paternal cognitive level was assessed using intelligence quotients (IQ) converted from stanine scores on a three-part cognitive ability test with items measuring numeracy, vocabulary and abstract thought (Raven-like matrices). ART fathers averaged 1.95 IQ points above the average of their own birth cohort (P-value < 0.0005) and 1.83 IQ points above NC fathers in their own birth cohort (P < 0.0005). Comparisons of the IQ of ART fathers to those of NC fathers of similar age and whose children were born in the same year, however, found average scores to be more similar (point estimate 0.24, P = 0.023). These low average differences were found to differ substantially by age of fatherhood, with young ART fathers scoring below their NC counterparts and older ART fathers scoring above their NC counterparts.

We do not have information on maternal cognition. We also lack information on unsuccessful infertility treatments that did not result in a live birth.

Paternal cognitive ability of ART children differs from that of NC children, and this difference varies systematically with paternal age at child birth. Selection effects into ART may help explain differences between ART and NC children and need to be adequately controlled for when assessing causal effects of ART treatment on child outcomes.

This research has also been supported by the Research Council of Norway through its Centres of Excellence funding scheme, project number 262700 (Centre for Fertility and Health). It has also been supported by the Research Council of Norway's Project 236992 (Egalitarianism under pressure? New perspectives on inequality and social cohesion). There are no competing interests.


RevDate: 2020-06-10

Bonsib SM (2020)

Renal Hypoplasia, From Grossly Insufficient to Not Quite Enough: Consideration for Expanded Concepts Based Upon the Author's Perspective With Historical Review.

Advances in anatomic pathology [Epub ahead of print].

Hypoplasia is defined in the Merriman-Webster dictionary as "a condition of arrested development in which an organ, or part, remains below the normal size, or in an immature state." The degree of reduced size is not definitional. Renal hypoplasia, however, has historically been defined as a more marked reduction in renal mass such that presentation in childhood is the norm. There are 3 commonly recognized types of renal hypoplasia, simple hypoplasia, oligomeganephronic hypoplasia (oligomeganephronia) and segmental hypoplasia (Ask-Upmark kidney). They have in common a reduction in the number of renal lobes. A fourth type, not widely recognized, is cortical hypoplasia where nephrogenesis is normal but there is a reduction in the number of nephron generations. Recently there has been great interest in milder degrees of reduced nephron mass, known as oligonephronia because of its association with risk of adult-onset hypertension and chronic kidney disease. Since the last pathology review of this topic was published by Jay Bernstein in 1968, an update of the renal pathology findings in renal hypoplasia is provided with a review of 18 new cases. The renal hypoplasias are then framed within the modern concept of oligonephronia, its diverse causes and prognostic implications.

RevDate: 2020-06-08

Layes S, Lalonde R, M Rebai (2020)

Reading-related abilities underlying phonological awareness: a cross-sectional study in children with and without dyslexia.

Logopedics, phoniatrics, vocology [Epub ahead of print].

Purpose: The present cross-sectional study examined the individual role of rapid automatized naming (RAN), verbal short-term memory (VSTM), and phonological verbal fluency (PVF) along with word reading performance in predicting phonological awareness (PA).Materials and methods: A total of 225 Arabic speaking children from grades 2, 3, 4 and 5 took part in this study, divided into two groups of readers: typical developing readers and dyslexic readers. The participants were tested on word and pseudoword reading, phonological awareness, rapid naming, verbal short-term memory and phonological verbal fluency. Results: There are different predictive patterns between the two groups. Whereas Raven and Grade contributed directly in predicting PA in typical readers, VSTM and PVF directly predicted PA in children with dyslexia. However, word reading played a dual role in the both groups as direct predictors of PA, mediating the predictive relationships between PA and the other variables. Conclusion: The results suggest the potential existence of an underlying phonological representation processing ability shared between PA, phonological access (RAN and PVF), VSTM, and word reading ability.

RevDate: 2020-06-08

Prescod-Weinstein C (2020)

The not-so-blue jays.

New scientist (1971), 246(3283):21.

Watching birds is great entertainment, and there's fascinating physics behind how some get their colours, says Chanda Prescod-Weinstein.

RevDate: 2020-06-09

Hasan H, Deek MP, Phillips R, et al (2020)

A phase II randomized trial of RAdium-223 dichloride and SABR Versus SABR for oligomEtastatic prostate caNcerS (RAVENS).

BMC cancer, 20(1):492.

BACKGROUND: Metastasis directed therapy (MDT) for patients with oligometastatic disease is associated with improvements in progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) compared to systemic therapy alone. Additionally, within a prostate-cancer-specific cohort, MDT is able to forestall initiation of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in men with hormone-sensitive, oligometastatic prostate cancer (HSOPCa) compared to observation. While MDT appears to be safe and effective in HSOPCa, a large percentage of men will eventually have disease recurrence. Patterns of failure in HSOPCa demonstrate patients tend to have recurrence in the bone following MDT, raising the question of sub-clinically-apparent osseous disease. Radium-223 dichloride is a radiopharmaceutical with structural similarity to calcium, allowing it to be taken up by bone where it emits alpha particles, and therefore might have utility in the treatment of micrometastatic osseous disease. Therefore, the primary goal of the phase II RAVENS trial is to evaluate the efficacy of MDT + radium-223 dichloride in prolonging progression free survival in men with HSOPCa.

METHODS: Patients with HSOPCa and 3 or less metastases with at least 1 bone metastasis will be randomized 1:1 to stereotactic ablative radiation (SABR, also known as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)) alone vs SABR + radium-223 dichloride with a minimization algorithm to balance assignment by institution, primary intervention, prior hormonal therapy, and PSA doubling time. SABR is delivered in one to five fractions and patients in the SABR + radium-223 dichloride arm will receive six infusions of radium-223 dichloride at four-week intervals. The primary end point is progression free survival. The secondary clinical endpoints include toxicity and quality of life assessments, local control at 12 months, locoregional progression, time to distant progression, time to new metastasis, and duration of response.

DISCUSSION: The RAVENS trial will be the first described phase II, non-blinded, randomized study to compare SABR +/- radium-223 dichloride in patients with HSOPCa and 3 or less metastases with at least one bone metastasis. The primary hypothesis is that SABR + radium-223 dichloride will increase median progression-free survival from 10 months in the SABR arm to 20 months in the SABR + radium-223 dichloride arm.

TRIAL REGISTRATIONS: Clinicaltrials.gov. Identifier: NCT04037358. Date of Registration: July 30, 2019. Date of First Participant Enrolled: August 9, 2019. Date of Last Approved Amendment: October 16, 2019. Protocol Version: Version 5.

RevDate: 2020-06-12

Wang L, Luo Y, Wang H, et al (2020)

Azure-winged magpies fail to understand the principle of mirror imaging.

Behavioural processes, 177:104155.

Mirror self-recognition (MSR) is considered a crucial step in the emergence of self-cognition. The MSR paradigm has become a standard method for evaluating self-cognition in several species. For example, Eurasian magpies and Indian house crows have passed the mark test for self-cognition, whereas efforts to find MSR in other corvid species have failed. However, no literature has conducted MSR tests on azure-winged magpies, a species of corvids. Therefore, the current research aimed to investigate the MSR behaviours of azure-winged magpies upon looking into a mirror for the first time. The study included four tests: (1) mirror preference and standardised mirror exploration, (2) single vertical mirror test, (3) mark test and (4) mirror-triggered search test. The azure-winged magpies displayed immense curiosity towards the mirror and their images in the mirror in Test 1&2. In the subsequent mark tests, they failed to recognise themselves in the mirror and regarded their images as conspecifics. Behaviour analysis showed no significant difference between marked and unmarked behaviours. Finally they seemed to infer the presence of bait from the image in the mirror, but were found to fail to understand that the location of the bait in the mirror was the same as that in the real world. For a better insight into the MSR behaviour of azure-winged magpies, research studies involving prolonged mirror exposure and training are recommended.

RevDate: 2020-06-04

Wang L, Guo J, Tian HJ, et al (2020)

The ability of oriental magpies (Pica serica) to solve baited multiple-string problems.

PeerJ, 8:e9200.

Background: Baited multiple-string problems are commonly used in avian laboratory studies to evaluate complex cognition. Several bird species possess the ability to use a string pull for obtaining food.

Methods: We initially tested and trained 11 magpies to determine whether the oriental magpie (Pica sericia) possesses the ability to solve baited multiple-string problems. Eight of the birds obtained the bait by pulling, and were selected for formal multiple-string tasks in the second stage. Second stage tests were divided into seven tasks based on string configurations.

Results: Only two magpies were able to solve two tasks: one solved the task of parallel strings, and the other solved the task of slanted strings with the bait farther from the middle point between the two strings and selected the short string in the task of long-short strings. When faced with more difficult tasks (i.e., the task of slanted strings with the bait closer to the middle point between the two strings, the task with two crossing strings, and the task of continuity and discontinuity), the birds initially observed the tasks and chose instead to adopt simpler strategies based on the proximity principle, side bias strategies and trial-and-error learning. Our results indicate that the oriental magpie had a partial understanding of the principle of multiple-string problems but adopted simpler strategies.

RevDate: 2020-06-18
CmpDate: 2020-06-18

Deguines N, Lorrilliere R, Dozières A, et al (2020)

Any despot at my table? Competition among native and introduced bird species at garden birdfeeders in winter.

The Science of the total environment, 734:139263.

Garden bird feeding constitutes a massive provision of food that can support bird communities, but there is a growing concern it might favour the establishment of exotic species that could be detrimental to others. How bird species compete with novel species for this anthropogenic food resources needs to be assessed. Here, we investigated competition in wintering bird communities at garden birdfeeders. We evaluated whether - and how much - bird access to resources is hampered by the presence of putative superior competing species, among which the Rose-ringed parakeet, the most abundant introduced species across Europe. Using the nation-wide citizen science scheme BirdLab, in which volunteers record in real-time bird attendance on a pair of birdfeeders during 5-minute sessions, we tested whether i) cumulative bird presence time and richness at birdfeeders, and ii) species probability of presence at birdfeeders, were influenced by three large species (the Eurasian magpie, the Eurasian collared-dove, and the Rose-ringed parakeet). Additionally, we assessed whether the Rose-ringed parakeet occupied resources significantly more than others. Presence of the Rose-ringed parakeet or the Eurasian collared-dove similarly reduced community cumulative presence time at birdfeeders, but only the dove reduced community richness. Each of the three large species influenced the presence of at least one of the six smaller species that could be separately modelled, but effects varied in strength and direction. The Rose-ringed parakeet and the Eurasian collared-dove were among the three species monopolising birdfeeders the longest, substantially more than the Eurasian magpie. Our findings confirm the competitive abilities of the large species studied, but do not suggest that garden bird feeding may alarmingly favour introduced species with detrimental effects on native species. Given the variability of large species' effects on small passerines, direct and indirect interactions among all species must be examined to fully understand the ecological net effects at stake.

RevDate: 2020-06-16

Uomini N, Fairlie J, Gray RD, et al (2020)

Extended parenting and the evolution of cognition.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 375(1803):20190495.

Traditional attempts to understand the evolution of human cognition compare humans with other primates. This research showed that relative brain size covaries with cognitive skills, while adaptations that buffer the developmental and energetic costs of large brains (e.g. allomaternal care), and ecological or social benefits of cognitive abilities, are critical for their evolution. To understand the drivers of cognitive adaptations, it is profitable to consider distant lineages with convergently evolved cognitions. Here, we examine the facilitators of cognitive evolution in corvid birds, where some species display cultural learning, with an emphasis on family life. We propose that extended parenting (protracted parent-offspring association) is pivotal in the evolution of cognition: it combines critical life-history, social and ecological conditions allowing for the development and maintenance of cognitive skillsets that confer fitness benefits to individuals. This novel hypothesis complements the extended childhood idea by considering the parents' role in juvenile development. Using phylogenetic comparative analyses, we show that corvids have larger body sizes, longer development times, extended parenting and larger relative brain sizes than other passerines. Case studies from two corvid species with different ecologies and social systems highlight the critical role of life-history features on juveniles' cognitive development: extended parenting provides a safe haven, access to tolerant role models, reliable learning opportunities and food, resulting in higher survival. The benefits of extended juvenile learning periods, over evolutionary time, lead to selection for expanded cognitive skillsets. Similarly, in our ancestors, cooperative breeding and increased group sizes facilitated learning and teaching. Our analyses highlight the critical role of life-history, ecological and social factors that underlie both extended parenting and expanded cognitive skillsets. This article is part of the theme issue 'Life history and learning: how childhood, caregiving and old age shape cognition and culture in humans and other animals'.

RevDate: 2020-06-15

Liu J, Xu J, Zou G, et al (2020)

Reliability and Individual Specificity of EEG Microstate Characteristics.

Brain topography, 33(4):438-449.

Electroencephalography (EEG) microstates (MSs) are defined as quasi-stable topographies that represent global coherent activation. Alternations in EEG MSs have been reported in numerous neuropsychiatric disorders. Transferring the results of these studies into clinical practice requires not only high reliability but also sufficient individual specificity. Nevertheless, whether the amount of data used in microstate analysis influences reliability and how much individual information is provided by EEG MSs are unclear. In the current study, we aimed to assess the within-subject consistency and between-subject differences in the characteristics of EEG MSs. Two sets of eyes-closed resting-state EEG recordings were collected from 54 young, healthy participants on two consecutive days. The Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices test was conducted to assess general fluid intelligence (gF). We obtained four MSs (labeled A, B, C and D) through EEG microstate analysis. EEG MS characteristics including traditional features (the global explained variances, mean durations, coverages, occurrences and transition probabilities), the Hurst exponents and temporal dynamic features (the autocorrelation functions and the partial autocorrelation functions) were calculated and evaluated. The data with a duration greater than 2 min showed moderate to high reliability and individual specificity. The mean duration and coverage of MS C were significantly correlated with the gF score. The dynamic features showed a higher identification accuracy and were more significantly correlated with gF than the traditional MS features. These findings reveal that EEG microstate characteristics are reliably unique in single subjects and possess abundant inter-individual variability.

RevDate: 2020-05-28

Brecht KF, Müller J, A Nieder (2020)

Carrion crows (Corvus corone corone) fail the mirror mark test yet again.

Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983) pii:2020-37266-001 [Epub ahead of print].

The mirror mark test is generally considered to be an indicator of an animal's ability to recognize itself in the mirror. For this test, an animal is confronted with a mirror and has a mark placed where it can see the mark only with the help of the mirror. When the animal extensively touches or interacts with the mark, compared with control conditions, the mirror mark test is passed. Many nonhuman animal species have been tested, but few have succeeded. After magpies and Indian house crows passed, there has been a sustained interest to find out whether other corvids would pass the mirror mark test. Here, we presented 12 carrion crows (Corvus corone corone) with the mirror mark test. There was no significant increase of mark-directed behavior in the mirror mark test, compared with control conditions. We find very few occasions of mark-directed behaviors and have to interpret them in the context of self-directed behavior more generally. In addition, we show that our crows were motivated to interact with a mark when it was visible to them without the aid of a mirror. We conclude that our crows fail the test, and thereby replicate previous studies showing a similar failure in corvids, and crows in particular. Because our study adds to the growing literature of corvids failing the mirror mark test, the issue of mirror self-recognition in these birds remains controversial. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2020-06-04

Clarke MJ, Fraser EE, IG Warkentin (2020)

Fine spatial-scale variation in scavenger activity influences avian mortality assessments on a boreal island.

PloS one, 15(5):e0233427.

Bird-window collisions are the second leading cause of human-related avian mortality for songbirds in Canada. Our ability to accurately estimate the number of fatalities caused by window collisions is affected by several biases, including the removal of carcasses by scavengers prior to those carcasses being detected during surveys. We investigated the role of scavenger behavior in modifying perceived carcass removal rate while describing habitat-specific differences for the scavengers present in a relatively scavenger-depauperate island ecosystem. We used motion activated cameras to monitor the fate of hatchling chicken carcasses placed at building (under both windows and windowless walls) and forest (open and closed canopy) sites in western Newfoundland, Canada. We recorded the identity of scavengers, timing of events, and frequency of repeat scavenging at sites. Using 2 treatments, we also assessed how scavenging varied with 2 levels of carcass availability (daily versus every third day). Scavenger activities differed substantially between forest and building sites. Only common ravens (Corvus corax) removed carcasses at building sites, with 25 of 26 removals occurring under windows. Burying beetles (Nicrophorus spp.) dominated scavenging at forest sites (14 of 18 removals), completely removing carcasses from sight in under 24 hours. Availability had no effect on removal rate. These findings suggest that ravens look for carcasses near building windows, where bird-window collision fatalities create predictable food sources, but that this learning preceded the study. Such behavior resulted in highly heterogeneous scavenging rates at fine spatial scales indicating the need for careful consideration of carcass and camera placement when monitoring scavenger activity. Our observations of burying beetle activity indicate that future studies investigating bird collision mortality near forested habitats and with infrequent surveys, should consider local invertebrate community composition during survey design. The high incidence of invertebrate scavenging may compensate for the reduced vertebrate scavenger community of insular Newfoundland.

RevDate: 2020-05-14

Soler M, Colmenero JM, Pérez-Contreras T, et al (2020)

Replication of the mirror mark test experiment in the magpie (Pica pica) does not provide evidence of self-recognition.

Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983) pii:2020-31404-001 [Epub ahead of print].

Self-recognition in animals is demonstrated when individuals pass the mark test. Formerly, it was thought that self-recognition was restricted to humans, great apes, and certain mammals with large brains and highly evolved social cognition. However, 1 study showed that 2 out of 5 magpies (Pica pica) passed the mark test, suggesting that magpies have a similar level of cognitive abilities to great apes. The scientific advancement depends on confidence in published science, and this confidence can be reached only after rigorous replication of published studies. Here, we present a close replication of the magpie study but using a larger sample size while following a very similar experimental protocol. Like the previous study, in our experiment, magpies showed both social and self-directed behavior more frequently in front of the mirror versus a control cardboard stimulus. However, during the mark test, self-directed behavior proved more frequent in front of the cardboard than in the mirror. Thus, our replication failed to confirm the previous results. Close replications, while not disproving an earlier study, identify results that should be considered with caution. Therefore, more replication studies and additional experimental work is needed to unambiguously demonstrate that magpies are consistently able to pass the mark test. The existence of compelling evidence of self-recognition in other corvid species is discussed in depth. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2020-06-15
CmpDate: 2020-06-15

Wick RR, KE Holt (2019)

Benchmarking of long-read assemblers for prokaryote whole genome sequencing.

F1000Research, 8:2138.

Background: Data sets from long-read sequencing platforms (Oxford Nanopore Technologies and Pacific Biosciences) allow for most prokaryote genomes to be completely assembled - one contig per chromosome or plasmid. However, the high per-read error rate of long-read sequencing necessitates different approaches to assembly than those used for short-read sequencing. Multiple assembly tools (assemblers) exist, which use a variety of algorithms for long-read assembly. Methods: We used 500 simulated read sets and 120 real read sets to assess the performance of seven long-read assemblers (Canu, Flye, Miniasm/Minipolish, NECAT, Raven, Redbean and Shasta) across a wide variety of genomes and read parameters. Assemblies were assessed on their structural accuracy/completeness, sequence identity, contig circularisation and computational resources used. Results: Canu v1.9 produced moderately reliable assemblies but had the longest runtimes of all assemblers tested. Flye v2.7 was more reliable and did particularly well with plasmid assembly. Miniasm/Minipolish v0.3 and NECAT v20200119 were the most likely to produce clean contig circularisation. Raven v0.0.8 was the most reliable for chromosome assembly, though it did not perform well on small plasmids and had circularisation issues. Redbean v2.5 and Shasta v0.4.0 were computationally efficient but more likely to produce incomplete assemblies. Conclusions: Of the assemblers tested, Flye, Miniasm/Minipolish and Raven performed best overall. However, no single tool performed well on all metrics, highlighting the need for continued development on long-read assembly algorithms.

RevDate: 2020-05-11

Myszkowski N (2020)

A Mokken Scale Analysis of the Last Series of the Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM-LS).

Journal of Intelligence, 8(2): pii:jintelligence8020022.

Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices Raven (1941) is a widely used 60-item long measure of general mental ability. It was recently suggested that, for situations where taking this test is too time consuming, a shorter version, comprised of only the last series of the Standard Progressive Matrices (the SPM-LS; Myszkowski and Storme (2018)) could be used, while preserving satisfactory psychometric properties Garcia-Garzon et al. (2019); Myszkowski and Storme (2018). In this study, I argue, however, that some psychometric properties have been left aside by previous investigations. As part of this special issue on the reinvestigation of Myszkowski and Storme's dataset, I propose to use the non-parametric Item Response Theory framework of Mokken Scale Analysis Mokken (1971, 1997) and its current developments Sijtsma and van der Ark (2017) to shed new light on the SPM-LS. Extending previous findings, this investigation indicated that the SPM-LS had satisfactory scalability (H = 0 . 469), local independence and reliability (M S = 0 . 841 , L C R C = 0 . 874). Further, all item response functions were monotonically increasing, and there was overall evidence for invariant item ordering (H T = 0 . 475), supporting the Double Monotonicity Model Mokken (1997). Item 1, however, appeared problematic in most analyses. I discuss the implications of these results, notably regarding whether to discard item 1, whether the SPM-LS sum scores can confidently be used to order persons, and whether the invariant item ordering of the SPM-LS allows to use a stopping rule to further shorten test administration.

RevDate: 2020-05-11

Partchev I (2020)

Diagnosing a 12-Item Dataset of Raven Matrices: With Dexter.

Journal of Intelligence, 8(2): pii:jintelligence8020021.

We analyze a 12-item version of Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices test, traditionally scored with the sum score. We discuss some important differences between assessment in practice and psychometric modelling. We demonstrate some advanced diagnostic tools in the freely available R package, dexter. We find that the first item in the test functions badly-at a guess, because the subjects were not given exercise items before the live test.

RevDate: 2020-05-08

Gill LF, van Schaik J, von Bayern AMP, et al (2020)

Genetic monogamy despite frequent extrapair copulations in "strictly monogamous" wild jackdaws.

Behavioral ecology : official journal of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology, 31(1):247-260.

"Monogamy" refers to different components of pair exclusiveness: the social pair, sexual partners, and the genetic outcome of sexual encounters. Avian monogamy is usually defined socially or genetically, whereas quantifications of sexual behavior remain scarce. Jackdaws (Corvus monedula) are considered a rare example of strict monogamy in songbirds, with lifelong pair bonds and little genetic evidence for extrapair (EP) offspring. Yet jackdaw copulations, although accompanied by loud copulation calls, are rarely observed because they occur visually concealed inside nest cavities. Using full-day nest-box video surveillance and on-bird acoustic bio-logging, we directly observed jackdaw sexual behavior and compared it to the corresponding genetic outcome obtained via molecular parentage analysis. In the video-observed nests, we found genetic monogamy but frequently detected forced EP sexual behavior, accompanied by characteristic male copulation calls. We, thus, challenge the long-held notion of strict jackdaw monogamy at the sexual level. Our data suggest that male mate guarding and frequent intrapair copulations during the female fertile phase, as well as the forced nature of the copulations, could explain the absence of EP offspring. Because EP copulation behavior appeared to be costly for both sexes, we suggest that immediate fitness benefits are an unlikely explanation for its prevalence. Instead, sexual conflict and dominance effects could interact to shape the spatiotemporal pattern of EP sexual behavior in this species. Our results call for larger-scale investigations of jackdaw sexual behavior and parentage and highlight the importance of combining social, sexual, and genetic data sets for a more complete understanding of mating systems.

RevDate: 2020-05-06

Huber S, Welham Ruiters M, Syring C, et al (2020)

[Improvement of claw health of cattle in Switzerland].

Schweizer Archiv fur Tierheilkunde, 162(5):285-292.

INTRODUCTION: The modern technique of cattle hoof care was founded by E. Toussaint Raven in 1977. Environmental risk factors on cattle claws altered in the past 43 years. The change from free ranging to indoor housing, the intensified feeding and the breeding towards traits of high performance have significantly increased the mechanical and chemical stress on the claws. In modern free-stalls, dairy cows are required to walk on hard flooring to feed, drink and get milked. Good hoof health is a basic requirement for cattle welfare. Professional and regular hoof trimming is still considered the most effective measure to promote hoof health in dairy cattle. In order to meet today's requirements and to promote claw health, the Swiss Hoof Trimmers Association (SKV), in collaboration with the Vetsuisse faculties, Universities of Berne and Zurich, and the Bovine Health Service (RGD, Bern) developed and described the Swiss technique of functional claw trimming. The aim was to establish a consistent method, which takes into account the size and bodyweight of the modern cow, the anatomical and physiological characteristics of their claws and includes adaptations counteracting very relevant diseases such as digital dermatitis. The result is a workflow described and illustrated with coloured pictures and consisting of five individual steps based on the technique of E. Toussaint Raven, Additionally, the upcoming Swiss national resource project on long-term improvement of claw health is presented in some detail. The key point of this project is the electronic documentation of clinical findings by the trained professional claw trimmers. This data will later (i) be used to assess the foot health of Swiss cows, (ii) allow to determine the prevalence of foot diseases of cattle in Switzerland and (iii) to monitor the effect of the implementation of foot health concepts. The aim of this work is to combine the findings from science and the practical experience of hoof trimmers in one method, to standardize the applied hoof care in Switzerland and to adapt it to today's hoof health requirements.

RevDate: 2020-06-16

Mancianti F, Terracciano G, Sorichetti C, et al (2020)

Epidemiologic Survey on Toxoplasma gondii and Trichinella pseudospiralis Infection in Corvids from Central Italy.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 9(5):.

Free-ranging corvids-678 magpies (Pica pica) and 120 hooded crows (Corvus cornix) from nine protected areas of the Pisa province (central Italy)-were examined for Toxoplasma gondii and Trichinella pseudospiralis. The intracardiac blood clots from 651 magpies and 120 hooded crows were serologically examined for T. gondii. The DNA extracted from the hearts of seropositive birds was then used to perform a nested PCR for the amplification of the T. gondii B1 gene and for genotyping for SAG genetic markers. Breast muscle samples from 678 magpies and 91 hooded crows were tested by an artificial digestion method for Trichinella. Data were statistically analyzed. Forty-five (5.8%-41 magpies and four hooded crows) out of the 771 examined animals scored seropositive for T. gondii, with titers ranging from 1:25 to 1:100. T. gondii DNA was detected in 15 of the 45 positive birds and T. gondii genotypes II and III were identified. No positivity for T. pseudospiralis was found. No significant differences between the two species of corvids and among the different areas of origin were observed for seropositivity to T. gondii. This is the first extensive study on both T. gondii and T. pseudospiralis in magpies and hooded crows, as well as the first detection of T. gondii SAG genotypes in magpies.

RevDate: 2020-05-04

Martínez JG, Molina-Morales M, Precioso M, et al (2020)

Age-Related Brood Parasitism and Egg Rejection in Magpie Hosts.

The American naturalist, 195(5):876-885.

When the strength or nature of a host-parasite interaction changes over the host life cycle, the consequences of parasitism can depend on host population age structure. Avian brood parasites reduce hosts' breeding success, and host age may play a role in this interaction if younger hosts are more likely parasitized and/or less able to defend themselves. We analyzed whether the age of female magpie (Pica pica) hosts is associated with parasite attack or their ability to reject foreign eggs. We recorded parasitism and model egg rejection of known-age individuals over their lifetime and established whether the likelihood of parasitism or egg rejection changed with age or longevity. Parasitism probability did not change with female age, and there was a trend toward longer-lived females being less likely to be parasitized. However, model egg rejection probability increased with age for each individual female, and longer-lived females were more prone to reject model eggs. Most females in the population were young, and the majority of them accepted model eggs, suggesting that brood parasites exploiting younger host individuals are benefitting from a lower defense level of their hosts. Our results stress that the intensity of selection by brood parasites may be mediated by the age structure of host populations, a to-date neglected aspect in brood parasite-host research.

RevDate: 2020-06-11

Ksepka DT, Balanoff AM, Smith NA, et al (2020)

Tempo and Pattern of Avian Brain Size Evolution.

Current biology : CB, 30(11):2026-2036.e3.

Relative brain sizes in birds can rival those of primates, but large-scale patterns and drivers of avian brain evolution remain elusive. Here, we explore the evolution of the fundamental brain-body scaling relationship across the origin and evolution of birds. Using a comprehensive dataset sampling> 2,000 modern birds, fossil birds, and theropod dinosaurs, we infer patterns of brain-body co-variation in deep time. Our study confirms that no significant increase in relative brain size accompanied the trend toward miniaturization or evolution of flight during the theropod-bird transition. Critically, however, theropods and basal birds show weaker integration between brain size and body size, allowing for rapid changes in the brain-body relationship that set the stage for dramatic shifts in early crown birds. We infer that major shifts occurred rapidly in the aftermath of the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction within Neoaves, in which multiple clades achieved higher relative brain sizes because of a reduction in body size. Parrots and corvids achieved the largest brains observed in birds via markedly different patterns. Parrots primarily reduced their body size, whereas corvids increased body and brain size simultaneously (with rates of brain size evolution outpacing rates of body size evolution). Collectively, these patterns suggest that an early adaptive radiation in brain size laid the foundation for subsequent selection and stabilization.

RevDate: 2020-04-27

Hoch PC, K Gandhi (2020)

Nomenclatural changes in Onagraceae.

PhytoKeys, 145:57-62.

A new subspecies and two new combinations are proposed in Onagraceae. Ludwigia glandulosa Walter subsp. brachycarpa C.-I Peng, subsp. nov. is morphologically distinct from the typical subspecies, with smaller capsules and leaves, different seed coat, and a restricted distribution. Epilobium sect. Pachydium (Fischer & C. A. Meyer) Hoch & K. Gandhi, comb. nov. refers to a distinctive group of species formerly known as Boisduvalia Spach and as Epilobium sect. Boisduvalia (Spach) Hoch & P. H. Raven. And Chamaenerion speciosum (Decaisne) Hoch & K. Gandhi, comb. nov. is proposed for a distinctive Himalayan species originally described in Epilobium.

RevDate: 2020-04-08
CmpDate: 2020-04-06

Hernandes FA (2020)

A review of the feather mite family Gabuciniidae Gaud amp; Atyeo (Acariformes: Astigmata: Pterolichoidea) of Brazil, with descriptions of eleven new species.

Zootaxa, 4747(1):zootaxa.4747.1.1 pii:zootaxa.4747.1.1.

The feather mite family Gabuciniidae currently includes 16 genera and approximately 65 described species associated with birds of nine orders, with the greatest diversity on Accipitriformes. In this study, 11 new species are described from the following hosts: Aetacarus accipiter sp. nov. from the Bicolored Hawk Accipiter bicolor (Vieillot, 1817) (Accipitriformes: Accipitridae), Capitolichus campoflicker sp. nov. from the Campo Flicker Colaptes campestris (Vieillot, 1818) (Piciformes: Picidae), Coraciacarus cabure sp. nov. from the Barred Forest-falcon Micrastur ruficollis (Vieillot, 1817) (Falconiformes: Falconidae), Coraciacarus peixefrito sp. nov. from the Pheasant Cuckoo Dromococcyx phasianellus (Spix, 1824) (Cuculiformes: Cuculidae), Gabucinia neotropica sp. nov. from the Curl-crested Jay Cyanocorax cristatellus (Temminck, 1823) (type host) and C. chrysops (Vieillot, 1818) (Passeriformes: Corvidae), Hieracolichus caboclo sp. nov. from the Savanna Hawk Buteogallus meridionalis (Latham, 1790) (Accipitriformes: Accipitridae), Hieracolichus falcon sp. nov. from the Southern Caracara Caracara plancus (Miller, 1777) (Falconiformes: Falconidae), Piciformobia adjuncta sp. nov. from the Guira Cuckoo Guira guira (Gmelin, 1788) (Cuculiformes: Cuculidae), Proaposolenidia bicolor sp. nov. from the Bicolored Hawk Accipiter bicolor (Vieillot, 1817) (Accipitriformes: Accipitridae), Proaposolenidia plumbea sp. nov. from the Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea (Gmelin, 1788) (Accipitriformes: Accipitridae), and Tocolichus toco sp. nov. from the Toco Toucan Ramphastos toco Statius Müller, 1776 (Piciformes: Ramphastidae). In addition, two new combinations are proposed, Proaposolenidia ostoda (Gaud, 1983) comb. nov. and Aetacarus hirundo (Mégnin Trouessart, 1884) comb. nov., both transferred from the genus Hieracolichus. With the addition of these new species, the number of gabuciniids described from the Neotropical region has increased from 14 to 25 species. These findings indicate that Brazil is home to a large diversity of undescribed gabuciniids, which is not surprising considering the vast bird fauna of this country, and especially since most avian species from Brazil have yet to be investigated for their feather mites.

RevDate: 2020-03-29

Souza IR, Pansani TN, Basso FG, et al (2020)

Cytotoxicity of acrylic resin-based materials used to fabricate interim crowns.

The Journal of prosthetic dentistry pii:S0022-3913(20)30100-1 [Epub ahead of print].

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM: If the components in the acrylic resins used to fabricate interim crows are cytotoxic, they can interfere with the integrity of the adjacent periodontal tissue and the dentin-pulp complex.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this in vitro study was to assess the cytotoxicity of resin-based materials used to prepare interim crowns.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The following materials were used in this study: CAR, conventional acrylic resin powder and liquid; BR, bis-acrylic resin; and PAR, pressed acrylic resin of the CAD-CAM type. Glass disks were used as the control (Co). Oral epithelial cells (NOK) were seeded on glass disks and standardized disks prepared with the resins under study. After incubation for 24 hours, the cells were analyzed for viability (Alamar Blue and Live or Dead), adhesion, and morphology (SEM and fluorescence), as well as epidermal growth factor synthesis (EGF-ELISA). The surface roughness (Ra) of test specimens was evaluated under a confocal microscope. The data were submitted to ANOVA and the Tukey HSD statistical tests (α=.05).

RESULTS: The highest Ra value was observed in BR in comparison with CAR, PAR, and Co (P<.05). The highest viability, adhesion, and EGF synthesis values were determined for the cells in contact with PAR (P<.001).

CONCLUSIONS: The computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD-CAM)-type resin favored adhesion, metabolism, and epithelial cell proliferation, and it was therefore considered cytocompatible.

RevDate: 2020-03-31

Wang Y, Shen Y, Liu Z, et al (2019)

Words Can Shift: Dynamically Adjusting Word Representations Using Nonverbal Behaviors.

Proceedings of the ... AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence. AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 33(1):7216-7223.

Humans convey their intentions through the usage of both verbal and nonverbal behaviors during face-to-face communication. Speaker intentions often vary dynamically depending on different nonverbal contexts, such as vocal patterns and facial expressions. As a result, when modeling human language, it is essential to not only consider the literal meaning of the words but also the nonverbal contexts in which these words appear. To better model human language, we first model expressive nonverbal representations by analyzing the fine-grained visual and acoustic patterns that occur during word segments. In addition, we seek to capture the dynamic nature of nonverbal intents by shifting word representations based on the accompanying nonverbal behaviors. To this end, we propose the Recurrent Attended Variation Embedding Network (RAVEN) that models the fine-grained structure of nonverbal subword sequences and dynamically shifts word representations based on nonverbal cues. Our proposed model achieves competitive performance on two publicly available datasets for multimodal sentiment analysis and emotion recognition. We also visualize the shifted word representations in different nonverbal contexts and summarize common patterns regarding multimodal variations of word representations.

RevDate: 2020-06-29

Lambert ML, M Osvath (2020)

Investigating information seeking in ravens (Corvus corax).

Animal cognition, 23(4):671-680.

Measuring the responses of non-human animals to situations of uncertainty is thought to shed light on an animal's metacognitive processes; namely, whether they monitor their own knowledge states. For example, when presented with a foraging task, great apes and macaques selectively seek information about the location of a food item when they have not seen where it was hidden, compared to when they have. We presented this same information seeking task to ravens, in which a food item was hidden in one of three containers, and subjects could either watch where the food was hidden, infer its location through visual or auditory clues, or were given no information. We found that unlike several ape species and macaques, but similar to capuchin monkeys, the ravens looked inside at least one tube on every trial, but typically only once, inside the baited tube, when they had either witnessed it being baited or could visually infer the reward's location. In contrast, subjects looked more often within trials in which they had not witnessed the baiting or were provided with auditory cues about the reward's location. Several potential explanations for these ceiling levels of looking are discussed, including how it may relate to the uncertainty faced by ravens when retrieving food caches.

RevDate: 2020-03-26

Gallego-Abenza M, Loretto MC, T Bugnyar (2020)

Decision time modulates social foraging success in wild common ravens, Corvus corax.

Ethology : formerly Zeitschrift fur Tierpsychologie, 126(4):413-422.

Social foraging provides several benefits for individuals but also bears the potential costs of higher competition. In some species, such competition arises through kleptoparasitism, that is when an animal takes food which was caught or collected by a member of its social group. Except in the context of caching, few studies have investigated how individuals avoid kleptoparasitism, which could be based on physical strength/dominance but also cognitive skills. Here, we investigated the foraging success of wild common ravens, Corvus corax, experiencing high levels of kleptoparasitism from conspecifics when snatching food from the daily feedings of captive wild boars in a game park in the Austrian Alps. Success in keeping the food depended mainly on the individuals' age class and was positively correlated with the time to make a decision in whether to fly off with food or consume it on site. While the effect of age class suggests that dominant and/or experienced individuals are better in avoiding kleptoparasitism, the effect of decision time indicates that individuals benefit from applying cognition to such decision-making, independently of age class. We discuss our findings in the context of the ecological and social intelligence hypotheses referring to the development of cognitive abilities. We conclude that investigating which factors underline kleptoparasitism avoidance is a promising scenario to test specific predictions derived from these hypotheses.

RevDate: 2020-03-19

England ME, Pearce-Kelly P, Brugman VA, et al (2020)

Culicoides species composition and molecular identification of host blood meals at two zoos in the UK.

Parasites & vectors, 13(1):139.

BACKGROUND: Culicoides biting midges are biological vectors of arboviruses including bluetongue virus (BTV), Schmallenberg virus (SBV) and African horse sickness virus (AHSV). Zoos are home to a wide range of 'at risk' exotic and native species of animals. These animals have a high value both in monetary terms, conservation significance and breeding potential. To understand the risk these viruses pose to zoo animals, it is necessary to characterise the Culicoides fauna at zoos and determine which potential vector species are feeding on which hosts.

METHODS: Light-suction traps were used at two UK zoos: the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) London Zoo (LZ) and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (WZ). Traps were run one night each week from June 2014 to June 2015. Culicoides were morphologically identified to the species level and any blood-fed Culicoides were processed for blood-meal analysis. DNA from blood meals was extracted and amplified using previously published primers. Sequencing was then carried out to determine the host species.

RESULTS: A total of 11,648 Culicoides were trapped and identified (n = 5880 from ZSL WZ; n = 5768 from ZSL LZ), constituting 25 different species. The six putative vectors of BTV, SBV and AHSV in northern Europe were found at both zoos and made up the majority of the total catch (n = 10,701). A total of 31 host sequences were obtained from blood-fed Culicoides. Culicoides obsoletus/C. scoticus, Culicoides dewulfi, Culicoides parroti and Culicoides punctatus were found to be biting a wide range of mammals including Bactrian camels, Indian rhinoceros, Asian elephants and humans, with Culicoides obsoletus/C. scoticus also biting Darwin's rhea. The bird-biting species, Culicoides achrayi, was found to be feeding on blackbirds, blue tits, magpies and carrion crows.

CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this is the first study to directly confirm blood-feeding of Culicoides on exotic zoo animals in the UK and shows that they are able to utilise a wide range of exotic as well as native host species. Due to the susceptibility of some zoo animals to Culicoides-borne arboviruses, this study demonstrates that in the event of an outbreak of one of these viruses in the UK, preventative and mitigating measures would need to be taken.

RevDate: 2020-06-11

Hagiwara K, Nakaya T, M Onuma (2020)

Characterization of Myxovirus resistance protein in birds showing different susceptibilities to highly pathogenic influenza virus.

The Journal of veterinary medical science, 82(5):619-625.

We compared the Mx expression and anti-viral function and the 3D structure of Mx protein in four species: chicken (Gallus gallus), whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus), jungle crow (Corvus macrorhynchos), and rock dove (Columba livia). We observed different mortalities associated with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) infection to understand the relationship between Mx function as an immune response factor and HPAIV proliferation in bird cells. Different levels of Mx were observed among the different bird species after virus infection. Strong Mx expression was confirmed in the rock dove and whooper swan 6 hr after viral infection. The lowest virus copy numbers were observed in rock dove. The virus infectivity was significantly reduced in the BALB/3T3 cells expressing rock dove and jungle crow Mx. These results suggested that high Mx expression and significant Mx-induced anti-viral effects might result in the rock dove primary cells having the lowest virus copy number. Comparison of the expected 3D structure of Mx protein in all four bird species demonstrated that the structure of loop L4 varied among the investigated species. It was reported that differences in amino acid sequence in loop L4 affect antiviral activity in human and mouse cells, and a significant anti-viral effect was observed in the rock dove Mx. Thus, the amino acid sequence of loop L4 in rock dove might represent relatively high anti-viral activity.

RevDate: 2020-03-12

Kumar RR, Wu X, HK Tsang (2020)

Compact high-extinction tunable CROW filters for integrated quantum photonic circuits.

Optics letters, 45(6):1289-1292.

We describe the use of cascaded second-order coupled-resonator optical waveguide (CROW) tunable filters to achieve one of the highest reported measured extinction ratios of $ {\gt} {110}\;{\rm dB}$>110dB. The CROW filters were used to remove the pump photons in spontaneous four-wave mixing (SFWM) in a silicon waveguide. The SFWM generated quantum-correlated photons that could be measured after the cascaded CROW filters. The CROW filters offer a compact footprint for use in monolithic quantum photonic circuits.

RevDate: 2020-05-28

Wöhnke E, Vasic A, Raileanu C, et al (2020)

Comparison of vector competence of Aedes vexans Green River and Culex pipiens biotype pipiens for West Nile virus lineages 1 and 2.

Zoonoses and public health, 67(4):416-424.

West Nile virus (WNV), a zoonotic arbovirus, has recently established an autochthonous transmission cycle in Germany. In dead-end hosts like humans and horses the WNV infection may cause severe symptoms in the central nervous system. In nature, WNV is maintained in an enzootic transmission cycle between birds and ornithophilic mosquitoes. Bridge vector species, such as members of the Culex pipiens complex and Aedes spp., also widely distributed in Germany, might transmit WNV to other vertebrate host species. This study determined and compared the vector competence of field-collected northern-German Cx. pipiens biotype pipiens and laboratory-reared Ae. vexans Green River (GR) for WNV lineage 1 (strain: Magpie/Italy/203204) and WNV lineage 2 (strain: "Austria") under temperatures typical for northern Germany in spring/summer and autumn. For assessment of vector competence, 7- to 14-day-old female mosquitoes were offered a WNV containing blood meal via Hemotek membrane feeding system or cotton-stick feeding. After incubation at 18°C respectively 24°C for 14 days engorged female mosquitoes were salivated and dissected for determination of infection, dissemination and transmission rates by reverse transcriptase quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR). Both Ae. vexans GR and Cx. pipiens biotype pipiens were infected with both tested WNV strains and tested 14 days post-inoculation. Disseminated infections were detected only in Ae. vexans GR incubated at 18°C and in Cx. pipiens pipiens incubated at 24°C after infection with WNV lineage 1. Transmission of WNV lineage 1 was detected in Cx. pipiens pipiens incubated at 24°C. These results indicate that Cx. pipiens pipiens from Northern Germany may be involved in the transmission of WNV, also to dead-end hosts like humans and horses.

RevDate: 2020-03-12

Grunberger G (2020)

Continuous glucose monitoring: Musing on our progress in memory of Dr Andrew Jay Drexler.

Journal of diabetes [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2020-05-18
CmpDate: 2020-05-12

Miller R, Gruber R, Frohnwieser A, et al (2020)

Decision-making flexibility in New Caledonian crows, young children and adult humans in a multi-dimensional tool-use task.

PloS one, 15(3):e0219874.

The ability to make profitable decisions in natural foraging contexts may be influenced by an additional requirement of tool-use, due to increased levels of relational complexity and additional work-effort imposed by tool-use, compared with simply choosing between an immediate and delayed food item. We examined the flexibility for making the most profitable decisions in a multi-dimensional tool-use task, involving different apparatuses, tools and rewards of varying quality, in 3-5-year-old children, adult humans and tool-making New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides). We also compared our results to previous studies on habitually tool-making orangutans (Pongo abelii) and non-tool-making Goffin's cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana). Adult humans, cockatoos and crows, but not children and orangutans, did not select a tool when it was not necessary, which was the more profitable choice in this situation. Adult humans, orangutans and cockatoos, but not crows and children, were able to refrain from selecting non-functional tools. By contrast, the birds, but not the primates tested, struggled to attend to multiple variables-where two apparatuses, two tools and two reward qualities were presented simultaneously-without extended experience. These findings indicate: (1) in a similar manner to humans and orangutans, New Caledonian crows and Goffin's cockatoos can flexibly make profitable decisions in some decision-making tool-use tasks, though the birds may struggle when tasks become more complex; (2) children and orangutans may have a bias to use tools in situations where adults and other tool-making species do not.

RevDate: 2020-06-27

Wirth M, KT Bäuml (2020)

Category labels can influence the effects of selective retrieval on nonretrieved items.

Memory & cognition, 48(3):481-493.

Using lists of unrelated items as study material, recent studies have shown that selective retrieval of some studied items can impair or improve recall of the nonretrieved items, depending on whether the lag between study and selective retrieval is short or long. This study examined whether the results generalize when the items are studied together with their category labels (e.g., BIRD-magpie) and the category labels are reexposed as retrieval cues at test (e.g., BIRD-m___), a procedure often used in research on the effects of selective retrieval. Two lag conditions were employed in this study: a short 1-min lag between study and selective retrieval, and a longer 15-min lag that included mental context change tasks to enhance the lag-induced contextual drift. Experiment 1 employed lists of unrelated items in the absence of any category labels and replicated both the detrimental effect (after short lag) and the beneficial effect (after long lag) of selective retrieval. Experiment 1 was identical to Experiment 1 but provided the items' category labels during both study and retrieval, and Experiment 1 was identical to Experiment 1 but employed a categorized list. In both experiments, selective retrieval impaired recall in both lag conditions, indicating a critical role of category labels for the effects of selective retrieval. The results of the three experiments are consistent with a two-factor explanation of selective retrieval and the proposal that reexposure of category labels during retrieval can reinstate study context after longer lag.

RevDate: 2020-05-15

Moradifard S, Saghiri R, Ehsani P, et al (2020)

A preliminary computational outputs versus experimental results: Application of sTRAP, a biophysical tool for the analysis of SNPs of transcription factor-binding sites.

Molecular genetics & genomic medicine, 8(5):e1219.

BACKGROUND: In the human genome, the transcription factors (TFs) and transcription factor-binding sites (TFBSs) network has a great regulatory function in the biological pathways. Such crosstalk might be affected by the single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which could create or disrupt a TFBS, leading to either a disease or a phenotypic defect. Many computational resources have been introduced to predict the TFs binding variations due to SNPs inside TFBSs, sTRAP being one of them.

METHODS: A literature review was performed and the experimental data for 18 TFBSs located in 12 genes was provided. The sequences of TFBS motifs were extracted using two different strategies; in the size similar with synthetic target sites used in the experimental techniques, and with 60 bp upstream and downstream of the SNPs. The sTRAP (http://trap.molgen.mpg.de/cgi-bin/trap_two_seq_form.cgi) was applied to compute the binding affinity scores of their cognate TFs in the context of reference and mutant sequences of TFBSs. The alternative bioinformatics model used in this study was regulatory analysis of variation in enhancers (RAVEN; http://www.cisreg.ca/cgi-bin/RAVEN/a). The bioinformatics outputs of our study were compared with experimental data, electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA).

RESULTS: In 6 out of 18 TFBSs in the following genes COL1A1, Hb ḉᴪ, TF, FIX, MBL2, NOS2A, the outputs of sTRAP were inconsistent with the results of EMSA. Furthermore, no p value of the difference between the two scores of binding affinity under the wild and mutant conditions of TFBSs was presented. Nor, were any criteria for preference or selection of any of the measurements of different matrices used for the same analysis.

CONCLUSION: Our preliminary study indicated some paradoxical results between sTRAP and experimental data. However, to link the data of sTRAP to the biological functions, its optimization via experimental procedures with the integration of expanded data and applying several other bioinformatics tools might be required.

RevDate: 2020-03-06

Klein J, Haverkamp PJ, Lindberg E, et al (2020)

Remotely sensed forest understory density and nest predator occurrence interact to predict suitable breeding habitat and the occurrence of a resident boreal bird species.

Ecology and evolution, 10(4):2238-2252.

Habitat suitability models (HSM) based on remotely sensed data are useful tools in conservation work. However, they typically use species occurrence data rather than robust demographic variables, and their predictive power is rarely evaluated. These shortcomings can result in misleading guidance for conservation. Here, we develop and evaluate a HSM based on correlates of long-term breeding success of an open nest building boreal forest bird, the Siberian jay. In our study site in northern Sweden, nest failure of this permanent resident species is driven mainly by visually hunting corvids that are associated with human settlements. Parents rely on understory nesting cover as protection against these predators. Accordingly, our HSM includes a light detection and ranging (LiDAR) based metric of understory density around the nest and the distance of the nest to the closest human settlement to predict breeding success. It reveals that a high understory density 15-80 m around nests is associated with increased breeding success in territories close to settlements (<1.5 km). Farther away from human settlements breeding success is highest at nest sites with a more open understory providing a favorable warmer microclimate. We validated this HSM by comparing the predicted breeding success with landscape-wide census data on Siberian jay occurrence. The correlation between breeding success and occurrence was strong up to 40 km around the study site. However, the HSM appears to overestimate breeding success in regions with a milder climate and therefore higher corvid numbers. Our findings suggest that maintaining patches of small diameter trees may provide a cost-effective way to restore the breeding habitat for Siberian jays up to 1.5 km from human settlements. This distance is expected to increase in the warmer, southern, and coastal range of the Siberian jay where the presence of other corvids is to a lesser extent restricted to settlements.

RevDate: 2020-03-05

Zhao Y, Cui Y, Xiong Z, et al (2020)

Machine Learning-Based Prediction of Crystal Systems and Space Groups from Inorganic Materials Compositions.

ACS omega, 5(7):3596-3606.

Structural information of materials such as the crystal systems and space groups are highly useful for analyzing their physical properties. However, the enormous composition space of materials makes experimental X-ray diffraction (XRD) or first-principle-based structure determination methods infeasible for large-scale material screening in the composition space. Herein, we propose and evaluate machine-learning algorithms for determining the structure type of materials, given only their compositions. We couple random forest (RF) and multiple layer perceptron (MLP) neural network models with three types of features: Magpie, atom vector, and one-hot encoding (atom frequency) for the crystal system and space group prediction of materials. Four types of models for predicting crystal systems and space groups are proposed, trained, and evaluated including one-versus-all binary classifiers, multiclass classifiers, polymorphism predictors, and multilabel classifiers. The synthetic minority over-sampling technique (SMOTE) is conducted to mitigate the effects of imbalanced data sets. Our results demonstrate that RF with Magpie features generally outperforms other algorithms for binary and multiclass prediction of crystal systems and space groups, while MLP with atom frequency features is the best one for structural polymorphism prediction. For multilabel prediction, MLP with atom frequency and binary relevance with Magpie models are the best for predicting crystal systems and space groups, respectively. Our analysis of the related descriptors identifies a few key contributing features for structural-type prediction such as electronegativity, covalent radius, and Mendeleev number. Our work thus paves a way for fast composition-based structural screening of inorganic materials via predicted material structural properties.

RevDate: 2020-02-27

Tringali A, Sherer DL, Cosgrove J, et al (2020)

Life history stage explains behavior in a social network before and during the early breeding season in a cooperatively breeding bird.

PeerJ, 8:e8302.

In species with stage-structured populations selection pressures may vary between different life history stages and result in stage-specific behaviors. We use life history stage to explain variation in the pre and early breeding season social behavior of a cooperatively breeding bird, the Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) using social network analysis. Life history stage explains much of the variation we observed in social network position. These differences are consistent with nearly 50 years of natural history observations and generally conform to a priori predictions about how individuals in different stages should behave to maximize their individual fitness. Where the results from the social network analysis differ from the a priori predictions suggest that social interactions between members of different groups are more important for breeders than previously thought. Our results emphasize the importance of accounting for life history stage in studies of individual social behavior.

RevDate: 2020-03-01

Fongaro E, J Rose (2020)

Crows control working memory before and after stimulus encoding.

Scientific reports, 10(1):3253.

The capacity of working memory is limited and this limit is comparable in crows and primates. To maximize this resource, humans use attention to select only relevant information for maintenance. Interestingly, attention-cues are effective not only before but also after the presentation of to-be-remembered stimuli, highlighting control mechanisms beyond sensory selection. Here we explore if crows are also capable of these forms of control over working memory. Two crows (Corvus corone) were trained to memorize two, four or six visual stimuli. Comparable to our previous results, the crows showed a decrease in performance with increasing working memory load. Using attention cues, we indicated the critical stimulus on a given trial. These cues were either presented before (pre-cue) or after sample-presentation (retro-cue). On other trials no cue was given as to which stimulus was critical. We found that both pre- and retro-cues enhance the performance of the birds. These results show that crows, like humans, can utilize attention to select relevant stimuli for maintenance in working memory. Importantly, crows can also utilize cues to make the most of their working memory capacity even after the stimuli are already held in working memory. This strongly implies that crows can engage in efficient control over working memory.

RevDate: 2020-04-22

Sekiguchi T, Ishibashi S, Sasame J, et al (2020)

Recurrent stroke due to quasi-moyamoya disease associated with POEMS syndrome: An autopsy case.

Journal of the neurological sciences, 412:116738.

RevDate: 2020-04-13

Silva D, Cardoso S, Guerreiro M, et al (2020)

Neuropsychological Contribution to Predict Conversion to Dementia in Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment Due to Alzheimer's Disease.

Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD, 74(3):785-796.

BACKGROUND: Diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) confirmed by biomarkers allows the patient to make important life decisions. However, doubt about the fleetness of symptoms progression and future cognitive decline remains. Neuropsychological measures were extensively studied in prediction of time to conversion to dementia for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients in the absence of biomarker information. Similar neuropsychological measures might also be useful to predict the progression to dementia in patients with MCI due to AD.

OBJECTIVE: To study the contribution of neuropsychological measures to predict time to conversion to dementia in patients with MCI due to AD.

METHODS: Patients with MCI due to AD were enrolled from a clinical cohort and the effect of neuropsychological performance on time to conversion to dementia was analyzed.

RESULTS: At baseline, converters scored lower than non-converters at measures of verbal initiative, non-verbal reasoning, and episodic memory. The test of non-verbal reasoning was the only statistically significant predictor in a multivariate Cox regression model. A decrease of one standard deviation was associated with 29% of increase in the risk of conversion to dementia. Approximately 50% of patients with more than one standard deviation below the mean in the z score of that test had converted to dementia after 3 years of follow-up.

CONCLUSION: In MCI due to AD, lower performance in a test of non-verbal reasoning was associated with time to conversion to dementia. This test, that reveals little decline in the earlier phases of AD, appears to convey important information concerning conversion to dementia.

RevDate: 2020-02-20

Robertson C, Z Bloomgarden (2020)

Andrew Jay Drexler, in memoriam.

Journal of diabetes [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2020-05-11

Knief U, Bossu CM, JBW Wolf (2020)

Extra-pair paternity as a strategy to reduce the costs of heterospecific reproduction? Insights from the crow hybrid zone.

Journal of evolutionary biology, 33(5):727-733.

Within hybrid zones of socially monogamous species, the number of mating opportunities with a conspecific can be limited. As a consequence, individuals may mate with a heterospecific (social) partner despite possible fitness costs to their hybrid offspring. Extra-pair copulations with a conspecific may thus arise as a possible post hoc strategy to reduce the costs of hybridization. We here assessed the rate of extra-pair paternity in the hybrid zone between all-black carrion crows (Corvus (corone) corone) and grey hooded crows (C. (c.) cornix) and tested whether extra-pair paternity (EPP) was more likely in broods where parents differed in plumage colour. The proportion of broods with at least one extra-pair offspring and the proportion of extra-pair offspring were low overall (6.98% and 2.90%, respectively) with no evidence of hybrid broods having higher EPP rates than purebred nests.

RevDate: 2020-03-20

Tryjanowski P, Hetman M, Czechowski P, et al (2020)

Birds Drinking Alcohol: Species and Relationship with People. A Review of Information from Scientific Literature and Social Media.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 10(2):.

Ethanol is a natural by-product of the fermentation process of fruit sugars and is occasionally consumed by fruit-eating and tree sap drinking birds. Information on this form of alcohol consumption features in the scientific literature. However, as pets or as wild animals living close to humans in urban habitats, birds have increasing possibilities to consume alcohol from beverages, such as beer, wine or spirits. Some observations have been discussed in a light-hearted manner in mass media and social media, but without any generalization of why some bird species drink the beverages intentionally or unintentionally provided by humans. To check which species and in what circumstances birds drink alcohol and how this is evaluated by humans, we reviewed the scientific literature and analysed videos from YouTube. In total we found and analysed 8 scientific papers and 179 YouTube videos, from which we identified at least 55 species (in some cases not all birds were identified to species level), 11 in the scientific literature and 47 in videos. The distribution of these species over the avian phylogenetic tree suggests that the origin of this convergent behaviour is mainly by human influence. The two data sources differed in the species covered. Videos typically presented interactions of birds with human-provided alcoholic beverages, and were dominated by two groups of intelligent birds: parrots and corvids. The popularity of YouTube videos for a particular species was positively correlated with the general popularity of the species as measured by the number of hits (results listed) on Google. Human responses to the videos were generally very positive and we analysed how the responses were influenced by factors derived from viewing the videos. Moreover, YouTube videos also provide information on at least 47 new bird species not previously mentioned as using alcohol, and our results suggest that parrots in particular can be potentially good candidates for future restricted laboratory studies on the effect of ethanol on birds and their relationship with humans.

RevDate: 2020-02-14

Thomas-Bachli AL, Pearl DL, Parmley EJ, et al (2019)

The Influence of Sociodemographic Factors on the Engagement of Citizens in the Detection of Dead Corvids During the Emergence of West Nile Virus in Ontario, Canada.

Frontiers in veterinary science, 6:483.

West Nile virus (WNv) was introduced into North America in 1999, and by 2002 was identified in most regions of Ontario, Canada. Surveillance of WNv included testing of corvids found dead and reported by citizens across Ontario, which at the time was a novel citizen science application for disease surveillance. While this surveillance program was successful for timely identification of WNv as it emerged and spread across the province, it is important to consider the influence of non-disease factors on surveillance data collected by the public. The objective of this study was to examine associations between rates of citizen phone reports of dead corvids and sociodemographic factors within the geographic areas where the reports were obtained. The data were grouped by forward sortation area (FSA), a geographical area based upon postal codes, which was linked with census data. Associations between the weekly rate of citizen reports and FSA-level sociodemographic factors were measured using multilevel negative binomial models. There were 12,295 phone call reports of dead corvids made by citizens in 83.3% of Ontario FSAs. Factors associated with the weekly rate of phone reports included the proportion of high-rise housing, the proportion of households with children, the proportion of seniors in the population, the proportion of citizens with no knowledge of either official language and the latitude of the FSA. There were higher rates of citizen phone reports in FSAs with <80% high-rise housing and greater proportions of households with children. A positive and negative association in the rate of calls with the proportion of seniors and latitude of the FSA, respectively, were moderated by the proportion of the population with knowledge of official language(s). Understanding the sociodemographic characteristics associated with citizen reporting rates of sentinels for disease surveillance can be used to inform advanced cluster detection methods such as applying the spatial scan test with normal distribution on residuals from a regression model to reduce confounding. In citizen-derived data collected for disease surveillance, this type of approach can be helpful to improve the interpretation of cluster detection results beyond what is expected.

RevDate: 2020-06-30

Boonekamp JJ, Bauch C, S Verhulst (2020)

Experimentally increased brood size accelerates actuarial senescence and increases subsequent reproductive effort in a wild bird population.

The Journal of animal ecology, 89(6):1395-1407.

The assumption that reproductive effort decreases somatic state, accelerating ageing, is central to our understanding of life-history variation. Maximal reproductive effort early in life is predicted to be maladaptive by accelerating ageing disproportionally, decreasing fitness. Optimality theory predicts that reproductive effort is restrained early in life to balance the fitness contribution of reproduction against the survival cost induced by the reproductive effort. When adaptive, the level of reproductive restraint is predicted to be inversely linked to the remaining life expectancy, potentially resulting in a terminal effort in the last period of reproduction. Experimental tests of the reproductive restraint hypothesis require manipulation of somatic state and subsequent investigation of reproductive effort and residual life span. To our knowledge the available evidence remains inconclusive, and hence reproductive restraint remains to be demonstrated. We modulated somatic state through a lifelong brood size manipulation in wild jackdaws and measured its consequences for age-dependent mortality and reproductive success. The assumption that lifelong increased brood size reduced somatic state was supported: Birds rearing enlarged broods showed subsequent increased rate of actuarial senescence, resulting in reduced residual life span. The treatment induced a reproductive response in later seasons: Egg volume and nestling survival were higher in subsequent seasons in the increased versus reduced broods' treatment group. We detected these increases in egg volume and nestling survival despite the expectation that in the absence of a change in reproductive effort, the reduced somatic state indicated by the increased mortality rate would result in lower reproductive output. This leads us to conclude that the higher reproductive success we observed was the result of higher reproductive effort. Our findings show that reproductive effort negatively covaries with remaining life expectancy, supporting optimality theory and confirming reproductive restraint as a key factor underpinning life-history variation.


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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RJR Picks from Around the Web (updated 11 MAY 2018 )