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19 Apr 2021 at 01:32
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Bibliography on: Corvids (crows, jays, etc)


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

RJR: Recommended Bibliography 19 Apr 2021 at 01:32 Created: 

Corvids (crows, jays, etc)

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

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

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2021-04-17

Proctor MCF (2000)

Mosses and alternative adaptation to life on land.

The New phytologist, 148(1):1-3.

It is easy to dismiss bryophytes as 'lower' plants, mere primitive precursors long since left behind in the evolutionary race, and of only rather esoteric and incidental biological interest. But this is to let oneself be led astray by a simplistic image of a tidy evolutionary tree - an image that served Darwin well a century and a half ago (Desmond & Moore, 1992), but which we should now see as an intricately branched evolutionary bush with innumerable shoots reaching out from all depths to the growing apices that represent the present day. The earliest land plants may indeed have been at a bryophyte level of organization, but modern bryophytes, no less than vascular plants, are the product of some 450 million years' evolution since that time (Edwards et al., 1998). Raven (1977, 1984) has emphasized the importance of the evolution of supracellular transport systems in the origin of vascular land plants. Bryophytes, on the other hand, evolved desiccation tolerance and represent an alternative strategy of adaptation to life on land, photosynthesizing and growing when water is available, and suspending metabolism when it is not. They are limited by their mode of life, but also liberated : they are prominent on hard substrates such as rock and bark, which are impenetrable to roots and untenable to vascular plants. Bryophytes (in species numbers the second biggest group of green land plants) may be seen as the mobile phones, notebook computers and diverse other rechargeable battery-powered devices of the plant world - not direct competitors for their mains-based equivalents, but a lively and sophisticated complement to them.

RevDate: 2021-04-09

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

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

Microbiology resource announcements, 10(14):.

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

RevDate: 2021-04-06

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-04-06

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


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

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

RevDate: 2021-04-06

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-04-06

Sharti M, Amouakbari MJ, Pourjabari K, et al (2020)

Detection of West Nile virus by real-time PCR in crows in northern provinces of Iran.

Journal of vector borne diseases, 57(1):37-39.

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: West Nile virus (WNV) is a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virion, that belongs to the Flaviviridae family. This virus is preserved in a bird-mosquito cycle that is capable of inducing diseases as a dead-end or endpoint host in humans as well as horses. In 2016, a suspicious case of crow population death was reported by the Department of Environment, Ministry of Health, Iran. Considering the mass migration of birds together with the WNV-related symptoms, including uncoordinated walking, ataxia, inability to fly, lack of awareness, and abnormal body posture, it was necessary to further investigate the possible causes of this incident. The objective of this study was molecular detection of WNV in crows utilizing the real-time PCR method in the northern provinces of Iran.

METHODS: A total of 12 crows (8 dead, 4 alive) with a possible WNV infection, were collected from the northern provinces of Iran (Golestan, Mazandaran, and Guilan). A tissue sample of the liver, kidney, or lung was collected from all the crows, and RNA was isolated using an RNA extraction kit. A one-step real-time PCR method using a TaqMan probe was used for virus detection.

RESULTS: All the infected crows were positive for WNV. The 132-bp real-time PCR amplicon of the genome was detected in all the samples. Comparative phylogenetic analysis revealed that WNV isolated from Iran clustered with strains from the USA, Hungary, and Culex pipiens.

The WNV genome sequence was detected in all the infected crows. The results confirmed the connection of this isolation with clade1a strains. Hence, determining the epidemiologic and prevalence characteristics of the WNV for transmission control is of critical importance in Iran.

RevDate: 2021-04-05

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

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

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(6): pii:ijerph18062973.

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

RevDate: 2021-04-01

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-03-30

Malekian M, Shagholian J, Z Hosseinpour (2021)

Pathogen Presence in Wild Birds Inhabiting Landfills in Central Iran.

EcoHealth [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2021-03-30

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-03-30

Guha D, Roy PK, S Banerjee (2021)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-03-29

Kumar A, Singh AR, M Jahan (2020)

Application of mindfulness on stress, anxiety, and well-being in an adolescent student: A case study.

Industrial psychiatry journal, 29(1):165-170.

Background: Stress and anxiety are the major problems students face in their lives and specifically in their academic life, which, in turn, has a significant negative impact on their academic performance. There are different approaches to deal with stress and anxiety, for example, cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques.

Objective: The present study was conducted to evaluate the applicability of mindfulness on stress, anxiety, and psychological well-being in an adolescent student.

Methods: In this study, single-case study design was used. The Pediatric Symptoms Checklist, Youth Self-Report, Institute of Personality and Ability Testing Anxiety Scale, and Checklist of Psychological Well-Being were administered on ten adolescent students. After the initial assessment, one participant was selected who was having significant level of stress, anxiety, and poor psychological well-being. Further detailed assessment was done using the Raven Standard Progressive Matrices, Parents' Observation Checklist, Teachers' Observation Checklist, and Students' Self-Observation Checklist. The student underwent 24 sessions of mindfulness training with a frequency of three sessions in a week. After completion of sessions, post assessment was done. He was re-assessed after 3 months.

Results: After completion of mindfulness training, improvement was observed in stress, anxiety, well-being, and other variables, and the improvement was maintained till follow-up.

Conclusion: Mindfulness training has the potential in effectively reducing stress and anxiety and increasing a sense of well-being, but the major barrier is getting fixated with an idea of what's the right way to do mindfulness and feel it.

RevDate: 2021-03-29

Pendergraft LT, Lehnert AL, JM Marzluff (2020)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-03-25

Nikel W (2021)

My dreams have been weird since the magpies arrived.

RevDate: 2021-03-23

Hasenäcker J, Solaja O, D Crepaldi (2021)

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

Memory & cognition [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2021-03-20

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

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

Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2021-03-20

Wright AA, Kelly DM, JS Katz (2021)

Same/different concept learning by primates and birds.

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

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

RevDate: 2021-03-18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-03-16

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

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

Biological trace element research [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2021-03-16

Nieder A (2021)

Neuroethology of number sense across the animal kingdom.

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

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

RevDate: 2021-03-16

Dholakia S (2020)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-03-12

Anonymous (2021)

Tribute to Jay S. Skyler, MD, MACP.

Diabetes technology & therapeutics [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2021-03-08

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-03-16

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

Novel Facial Treatment Regimen Improves Aging Skin Appearance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-03-10

Shrader-Frechette K, AM Biondo (2021)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-03-05

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

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

Scientific reports, 11(1):5256.

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

RevDate: 2021-03-04

Eggers TE, Kilgore JA, Green D, et al (2021)

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

Journal of neural engineering [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: Electrical nerve block offers the ability to immediately and reversibly block peripheral nerve conduction and would have applications in the emerging field of bioelectronics. Two modalities of electrical nerve block have been investigated - kilohertz frequency alternating current (KHFAC) and direct current (DC). KHFAC can be safely delivered with conventional electrodes, but has the disadvantage of having an onset response, which is a period of increased neural activation before block is established and currently limits clinical translation. DC has long been known to block neural conduction without an onset response but creates damaging reactive species. Typical electrodes can safely deliver DC for less than one second, but advances in high capacitance electrodes allow DC delivery up to 10 seconds without damage. The present work aimed to combine DC and KHFAC into a single waveform, named the Combined Reduced Onset Waveform (CROW), which can initiate block without an onset response while also maintaining safe block for long durations. This waveform consists of a short, DC pre-pulse before initiating KHFAC.

APPROACH: Simulations of this novel waveform were carried out in the axonal simulation environment NEURON to test feasibility and gain insight into the mechanisms of action. Two sets of acute experiments were then conducted in adult Sprague-Dawley rats to determine the effectiveness of the waveform in mitigating the onset response.

MAIN RESULTS: The CROW reduced the onset response both in silico and in vivo. The onset area was reduced by over 90% with the tested parameters in the acute experiments. The amplitude of the DC pulse was shown to be particularly important for effective onset mitigation, requiring amplitudes 6 to 8 times the DC block threshold.

SIGNIFICANCE: This waveform can reliably reduce the onset response due to KHFAC and could allow for wider clinical implementation of electrical nerve block.

RevDate: 2021-03-05

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-03-03

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

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

Antibiotics (Basel, Switzerland), 10(3): pii:antibiotics10030235.

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

RevDate: 2021-03-01

Dezfuli BS, Manera M, S Rubini (2021)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-03-05

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

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

PloS one, 16(2):e0246869.

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

RevDate: 2021-02-26

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

Factors influencing scavenger guilds and scavenging efficiency in Southwestern Montana.

Scientific reports, 11(1):4254.

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

RevDate: 2021-02-20

Rinnert P, A Nieder (2021)

Neural code of motor planning and execution during goal-directed movements in crows.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience pii:JNEUROSCI.0739-20.2021 [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2021-02-19

Torell EJ, Pistone TS, AP Gard (2021)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-02-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2021-02-18

Güntürkün O (2021)

The conscious crow.

Learning & behavior [Epub ahead of print].

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

RevDate: 2021-02-17

Zhukovskaya A, Goryachev V, Zakhartsev M, et al (2021)

The role of the cadmium-binding protein response of the digestive gland of the Yesso scallop Mizuhopecten yessoensis (Jay, 1857) for marine environmental assessments.

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

The ability of Pectinidae to accumulate heavy metals and store them in their tissues allows the use of scallops for biomonitoring marine pollution. High molecular weight metallothionein (MT)-like proteins (MTlps) play a central role in this process. Two major MTlps (72 and 43 kDa) have been identified in the digestive glands of Mizuhopecten yessoensis (Yesso scallop). These proteins have a very high affinity for the heavy metals cadmium, cobalt, and caesium. Additionally, these proteins can be deposited in large quantities in the digestive glands of this mollusc. It has been shown that 72 kDa MTlp is the main stress-response protein in areas polluted with cadmium or radioactive metals. Monitoring the amounts of MTlps in the digestive glands of the scallop M. yessoensis in areas with different anthropogenic pollutants has shown that these proteins are reliable biological markers of heavy-metal pollution in the marine environment.

RevDate: 2021-02-27

Gil-Sánchez JM, Aguilera-Alcalá N, Moleón M, et al (2021)

Biases in the Detection of Intentionally Poisoned Animals: Public Health and Conservation Implications from a Field Experiment.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(3):.

Intentional poisoning is a global wildlife problem and an overlooked risk factor for public health. Managing poisoning requires unbiased and high-quality data through wildlife monitoring protocols, which are largely lacking. We herein evaluated the biases associated with current monitoring programmes of wildlife poisoning in Spain. We compared the national poisoning database for the 1990-2015 period with information obtained from a field experiment during which we used camera-traps to detect the species that consumed non-poisoned baits. Our findings suggest that the detection rate of poisoned animals is species-dependent: Several animal groups (e.g., domestic mammalian carnivores and vultures) tended to be over-represented in the poisoning national database, while others (e.g., corvids and small mammals) were underrepresented. As revealed by the GLMM analyses, the probability of a given species being overrepresented was higher for heaviest, aerial, and cryptic species. In conclusion, we found that monitoring poisoned fauna based on heterogeneous sources may produce important biases in detection rates; thus, such information should be used with caution by managers and policy-makers. Our findings may guide to future search efforts aimed to reach a more comprehensive understanding of the intentional wildlife poisoning problem.

RevDate: 2021-02-09

Wang Q, Zhou ZJ, You Z, et al (2021)

Epidemiology and evolution of novel deltacoronaviruses in birds in central China.

Transboundary and emerging diseases [Epub ahead of print].

The variety and widespread of coronavirus in natural reservoir animals is likely to cause epidemics via interspecific transmission, which has attracted much attention due to frequent coronavirus epidemics in recent decades. Birds are natural reservoir of various viruses, but the existence of coronaviruses in wild birds in central China has been barely studied. Some bird coronaviruses belongs to the genus of Deltacoronavirus. To explore the diversity of bird deltacoronaviruses in central China, we tested fecal samples from 415 wild birds in Hunan Province, China. By RT-PCR detection, we identified eight samples positive for deltacoronaviruses which were all from common magpies, and in four of them, we successfully amplified complete deltacoronavirus genomes distinct from currently known deltacoronavirus, indicating four novel deltacoronavirus stains (HNU1-1, HNU1-2, HNU2 and HNU3) . Comparative analysis on the four genomic sequences showed that these novel magpie deltacoronaviruses shared three different S genes among which the S genes of HNU1-1 and HNU1-2 showed 93.8% amino acid (aa) identity to that of thrush coronavirus HKU12, HNU2 S showed 71.9% aa identity to that of White-eye coronavirus HKU16, and HKU3 S showed 72.4% aa identity to that of sparrow coronavirus HKU17. Recombination analysis showed that frequent recombination events of the S genes occurred among these deltacoronavirus strains. Two novel putative cleavage sites separating the nonstructural proteins in the HNU coronaviruses were found. Bayesian phylogeographic analysis showed that the south coast of China might be a potential origin of bird deltacoronaviruses existing in inland China. In summary, these results suggest that common magpie in China carries diverse deltacoronaviruses with novel genomic features, indicating an important source of environmental coronaviruses closed to human communities, which may provide key information for prevention and control of future coronavirus epidemics.

RevDate: 2021-02-09

Yadav J, Menon G, Agarwal A, et al (2021)

Burden of injuries and its associated hospitalization expenditure in India.

International journal of injury control and safety promotion [Epub ahead of print].

Injuries are a major public health concern, affect the most productive age group i.e. (15-60 years) and increases disability adjusted life years (DALYs) and results in a huge financial burden on the household. Disease burden is represented by DALYs and economic burden represents the out of pocket (OOP) and catastrophic health expenditure (CHE). We examined the burden of injury and its impact on household financial burden among the working population (15-60 years) in India. We used data on National and State Level DALYs for Injuries for 2017 from the published National Disease Burden Estimate (NBE, 2019) Study. The cost of treatment was extracted from 75th round of the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO, 2017-18). DALYs is the sum of YLLs and YLDs. OOPEs were estimated as a per episode of hospitalization expenses after reimbursement and CHE was defined as out of pocket expenditure exceeding 10% of household consumption expenditure. Accidental injuries particularly road traffic injuries have higher DALY rates among 15-60 years in India (1288 DALYs per 100,000). However, the mean OOPE was found to be higher due to intentional self-harm. Persons suffering from injury in states like Punjab, Haryana, UP, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh approached private facilities more compared to public facilities. Whereas, people from states like Jammu and Kashmir, Orissa, West Bengal, North East availed public facilities more than private. OOPE was found to be five times more in private facilities than in public. The households who sought treatment in private facilities were faced 3 times more to Catastrophic expenditure than those who took the treatment in public hospital of any injury. The present study indicated high DALYs, OOPE and % CHE for injury in India. Higher proportion of households were pushed to catastrophic expenditure due to high OOPE of injury treatment. Disease and economic burden due to road traffic injury and fall was found to be high as compared to other injuries. Our study strengthens the need for executing effective financial protection approach in India like PM-JAY, to minimize the financial burden incurred due to injuries in India.

RevDate: 2021-02-04

Lütke N, C Lange-Küttner (2021)

The magical number four in children's mental rotation of cube aggregates.

Developmental psychology, 57(2):211-226.

We investigated mental rotation in children by systematically varying the adult cube aggregate's set size, rotation angle, and picture/depth plane rotations in a new test. Eighty 4- to 11-year-old mainly middle-class children (British Indian and British African majority and white minority; 40 girls and 40 boys) were assessed using the new matching-to-sample Colored Mental Rotation Test (CMRT) and, for comparison, the Raven Colored Progressive Matrices Test (RCPM). A high Cronbach's alpha of .94 and the Rasch model demonstrated item homogeneity of the CMRT. As expected, there were main effects of age showing increases in accuracy and of sex as boys outperformed girls. A main effect of set size showed that from age four until age 10 as four-cube aggregates proved to be the most economical three-dimensional (3D) object for mental rotation. Several higher-order interactions all involved four-cube aggregates, for example, 3D cube element protrusions had the largest effect in the four-cube-aggregate. We thus suggest that the magical number four (Cowan, 2001) as an attentional limit may also be valid in mental rotation and linked to the 'Good Gestalt' design of the four-cube aggregate. The cross-validation of CMRT with the RCPM showed high correlations increasing from .69 in 4- to 5-year-olds to .77 in 10- to 11-year-olds. Interestingly, 4- to 5-year-olds girls scored higher in the Raven test of nonverbal reasoning than in the CRMT scores with 3D cube aggregates demonstrating the particular complexity of 3D pictorial space. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2021-03-01

Zappa G, LoMauro A, Baranello G, et al (2021)

Intellectual abilities, language comprehension, speech, and motor function in children with spinal muscular atrophy type 1.

Journal of neurodevelopmental disorders, 13(1):9.

BACKGROUND: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a chronic, neuromuscular disease characterized by degeneration of spinal cord motor neurons, resulting in progressive muscular atrophy and weakness. SMA1 is the most severe form characterized by significant bulbar, respiratory, and motor dysfunction. SMA1 prevents children from speaking a clearly understandable and fluent language, with their communication being mainly characterized by eye movements, guttural sounds, and anarthria (type 1a); severe dysarthria (type 1b); and nasal voice and dyslalia (type 1c). The aim of this study was to analyze for the first time cognitive functions, language comprehension, and speech in natural history SMA1 children according to age and subtypes, to develop cognitive and language benchmarks that provide outcomes for the clinical medication trials that are changing SMA1 course/trajectory.

METHODS: This is a retrospective study including 22 children with SMA1 (10 affected by subtype 1a-1b: AB and 12 by 1c: C) aged 3-11 years in clinical stable condition with a coded way to communicate "yes" and "no". Data from the following assessments have been retrieved from patient charts: one-dimensional Raven test (RCPM), to evaluate cognitive development (IQ); ALS Severity Score (ALSSS) to evaluate speech disturbances; Brown Bellugy modified for Italian standards (TCGB) to evaluate language comprehension; and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Infant Test of Neuromuscular Disorders (CHOP-INTEND) to assess motor functioning.

RESULTS: SMA 1AB and 1C children were similar in age, with the former characterized by lower CHOP-INTEND scores compared to the latter. All 22 children had collaborated to RCPM and their median IQ was 120 with no difference (p = 0.945) between AB and C. Global median score of the speech domain of the ALSSS was 5; however, it was 2 in AB children, being significantly lower than C (6.5, p < 0.001). TCGB test had been completed by 13 children, with morphosyntactic comprehension being in the normal range (50). Although ALSSS did not correlate with both IQ and TCGB, it had a strong (p < 0.001) correlation with CHOP-INTEND described by an exponential rise to maximum.

CONCLUSIONS: Although speech and motor function were severely compromised, children with SMA1 showed general intelligence and language comprehension in the normal range. Speech impairment was strictly related to global motor impairment.

RevDate: 2021-02-03

Ge R, Luo Y, Gao S, et al (2021)

Reconfigurable silicon bandpass filters based on cascaded Sagnac loop mirrors.

Optics letters, 46(3):580-583.

We demonstrate a high-performance reconfigurable bandpass filter implemented by cascaded Sagnac loop mirror (SLM)-based coupled resonator optical waveguides (CROWs) on the silicon-on-insulator platform. By dynamic thermal tuning of the reflectivity in each SLM, the proposed filter can achieve simultaneous 3 dB bandwidth tuning from 8.50 to 20.25 GHz and a central wavelength tuning range of 216.25 GHz. A box-like filtering response with an ultra-high extinction ratio up to 70 dB and an ultra-sharp roll-off of 0.61 are observed in a 6th-order SLM-coupled resonator optical waveguide (SLM-CROW). The proposed reconfigurable SLM-CROW filter can satisfy the demand for next-generation flexible-grid WDM networks.

RevDate: 2021-03-16

Sarker S, Athukorala A, Bowden TR, et al (2021)

Genomic Characterisation of a Novel Avipoxvirus Isolated from an Endangered Yellow-Eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes).

Viruses, 13(2):.

Emerging viral diseases have become a significant concern due to their potential consequences for animal and environmental health. Over the past few decades, it has become clear that viruses emerging in wildlife may pose a major threat to vulnerable or endangered species. Diphtheritic stomatitis, likely to be caused by an avipoxvirus, has been recognised as a significant cause of mortality for the endangered yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) in New Zealand. However, the avipoxvirus that infects yellow-eyed penguins has remained uncharacterised. Here, we report the complete genome of a novel avipoxvirus, penguinpox virus 2 (PEPV2), which was derived from a virus isolate obtained from a skin lesion of a yellow-eyed penguin. The PEPV2 genome is 349.8 kbp in length and contains 327 predicted genes; five of these genes were found to be unique, while a further two genes were absent compared to shearwaterpox virus 2 (SWPV2). In comparison with penguinpox virus (PEPV) isolated from an African penguin, there was a lack of conservation within the central region of the genome. Subsequent phylogenetic analyses of the PEPV2 genome positioned it within a distinct subclade comprising the recently isolated avipoxvirus genome sequences from shearwater, canary, and magpie bird species, and demonstrated a high degree of sequence similarity with SWPV2 (96.27%). This is the first reported genome sequence of PEPV2 from a yellow-eyed penguin and will help to track the evolution of avipoxvirus infections in this rare and endangered species.

RevDate: 2021-02-01

Roelofs A (2021)

How attention controls naming: Lessons from Wundt 2.0.

Journal of experimental psychology. General pii:2021-13056-001 [Epub ahead of print].

When models of the attentional control of vocal naming, applied to color-word Stroop and picture-word interference, were first computationally implemented and examined in 1990, an implementable model proposed by Wundt (1880, 1902) was not considered. Although these modern computer models, and more recent ones, clarify many aspects of the interference, most models fail to explain its time course, as outlined in Roelofs (2003). Wundt's (1902) model assigns a key role to top-down inhibition, which is absent in most of the modern models. Here, an implementation of his model is presented, called Wundt 2.0. The necessity of perceptual inhibition was demonstrated by computer simulations of the interference and its time course, and supported by existing evidence from oscillatory brain activity in the alpha frequency band. Moreover, a new empirical study showed that Raven scores measuring the general intelligence factor g, discovered by Wundt's student Spearman (1904), predict the magnitude of the Stroop effect in fast errors, in line with the model and evidence on alpha band activity. Also, the study provided evidence that response inhibition is absent during vocal naming in the Stroop task. To conclude, Wundt's model has stood the test of time and provides a number of enduring lessons for our understanding of attention and performance. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2021-02-28

Cukor J, Linda R, Andersen O, et al (2021)

Evaluation of Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Predation Risk to Forest Grouse Nests in the Central European Mountain Regions.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 11(2):.

We evaluated the spatiotemporal patterns of predation risk on black grouse nests using artificial nests that were monitored by camera traps in mountain areas with a small extant (Ore Mts.) and already extinct (Jeseníky Mts.) black grouse population. The overall predation rate of artificial nests was 56% and we found significant differences in survival rate courses over time between both study areas (68% Ore Mts. vs. 41%, Jeseníky Mts.). Within the time required for successful egg incubation (25 days), nest survival probability was 0.32 in the Ore Mts. and 0.59 in Jeseníky Mts. The stone marten (Martes foina) was the primary nest predator in both study areas (39% in total), followed by common raven (Corvus corax, 25%) and red fox (Vulpes vulpes, 22%). The proportion of depredated nests did not differ between habitat types (i.e., open forest interior, clearing, forest edge), but we recorded the effect of interaction of study area and habitat. In Ore Mts., the main nest predator was common raven with seven records (37%). The Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius) was responsible for most predation attempts in Jeseníky Mts. (five records, i.e., 83%), while in the Ore Mts., most predation attempts were done by red fox (six records, i.e., 38%).

RevDate: 2021-02-03

Boone JD, Witt C, EM Ammon (2021)

Behavior-specific occurrence patterns of Pinyon Jays (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) in three Great Basin study areas and significance for pinyon-juniper woodland management.

PloS one, 16(1):e0237621.

The Pinyon Jay is a highly social, year-round inhabitant of pinyon-juniper and other coniferous woodlands in the western United States. Range-wide, Pinyon Jays have declined ~ 3-4% per year for at least the last half-century. Occurrence patterns and habitat use of Pinyon Jays have not been well characterized across much of the species' range, and obtaining this information is necessary for better understanding the causes of ongoing declines and determining useful conservation strategies. Additionally, it is important to better understand if and how targeted removal of pinyon-juniper woodland, a common and widespread vegetation management practice, affects Pinyon Jays. The goal of this study was to identify the characteristics of areas used by Pinyon Jays for several critical life history components in the Great Basin, which is home to nearly half of the species' global population, and to thereby facilitate the inclusion of Pinyon Jay conservation measures in the design of vegetation management projects. To accomplish this, we studied Pinyon Jays in three widely separated study areas using radio telemetry and direct observation and measured key attributes of their locations and a separate set of randomly-selected control sites using the U. S. Forest Service's Forest Inventory Analysis protocol. Data visualizations, principle components analysis, and logistic regressions of the resulting data indicated that Pinyon Jays used a distinct subset of available pinyon-juniper woodland habitat, and further suggested that Pinyon Jays used different but overlapping habitats for seed caching, foraging, and nesting. Caching was concentrated in low-elevation, relatively flat areas with low tree cover; foraging occurred at slightly higher elevations with generally moderate but variable tree cover; and nesting was concentrated in slightly higher areas with high tree and vegetation cover. All three of these Pinyon Jay behavior types were highly concentrated within the lower-elevation band of pinyon-juniper woodland close to the woodland-shrubland ecotone. Woodland removal projects in the Great Basin are often concentrated in these same areas, so it is potentially important to incorporate conservation measures informed by Pinyon Jay occurrence patterns into existing woodland management paradigms, protocols, and practices.

RevDate: 2021-01-29

Kersten Y, Friedrich-Müller B, A Nieder (2021)

A histological study of the song system of the carrion crow (Corvus corone).

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

The song system of songbirds (oscines) is one of the best studied neuroethological model systems. So far, it has been treated as a relatively constrained sensorimotor system. Songbirds such as crows, however, are also known for their capability to cognitively control their audio-vocal system. Yet, the neuroanatomy of the corvid song system has never been explored systematically. We aim to close this scientific gap by presenting a stereotactic investigation of the extended song system of the carrion crow (Corvus corone), an oscine songbird of the corvid family that has become an interesting model system for cognitive neuroscience. In order to identify and delineate the song nuclei, the ascending auditory nuclei, and the descending vocal-motor nuclei, four stains were applied. In addition to the classical Nissl-, myelin-, and a combination of Nissl-and-myelin staining, staining for tyrosine hydroxylase was used to reveal the distribution of catecholaminergic neurons (dopaminergic, noradrenergic, and adrenergic) in the song system. We show that the crow brain contains the important song-related nuclei, including auditory input and motor output structures, and map them throughout the brain. Fiber-stained sections reveal putative connection patterns between the crow's song nuclei comparable to other songbirds.

RevDate: 2021-02-19

Worrell SL, Kirschner ML, Shatz RS, et al (2021)

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Survivorship with a Focus on the Low-grade and Benign Brain Tumor Populations.

Current oncology reports, 23(2):19.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: "Brain tumor is a bump in the road." Sheryl Crow a famous singer was quoted talking about her meningioma, a benign brain tumor that caused her to forget her lyrics. In this review, we focus on low-grade gliomas in adults and benign brain tumors, such as meningiomas, vestibular schwannomas, and pituitary tumors, since these individuals survive a long time and morbidity is a major issue.

RECENT FINDINGS: As per the NCI dictionary definition, cancer survivorship focuses on the health and well-being of a person with cancer from the time of diagnosis until the end of life. This includes the physical, mental, emotional, social, and financial effects of cancer that begin at diagnosis and continue through treatment and beyond. The survivorship experience also includes issues related to follow-up care (including regular health and wellness checkups), late effects of treatment, cancer recurrence, second cancers, and quality of life. Family members, friends, and caregivers are also considered part of the survivorship experience (NCI Dictionary: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms).

RevDate: 2021-01-19

Prinja S, Singh MP, Rajsekar K, et al (2021)

Translating Research to Policy: Setting Provider Payment Rates for Strategic Purchasing under India's National Publicly Financed Health Insurance Scheme.

Applied health economics and health policy [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: In 2018, the Government of India launched Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri-Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY), a large tax-funded health insurance scheme. In this paper, we present findings of the Costing of Health Services in India (CHSI) study, describe the process of use of cost evidence for price-setting under AB PM-JAY, and estimate its fiscal impact.

METHODS: Reference costs were generated from the first phase of CHSI study, which sampled 11 tertiary public hospitals from 11 Indian states. Cost for Health Benefit Packages (HBPs) was estimated using mixed (top-down and bottom-up) micro-costing methods. The process adopted for price-setting under AB PM-JAY was observed. The cost of each HBP was compared with AB PM-JAY prices before and after the revision, and the budgetary impact of this revision in prices was estimated.

FINDINGS: Following the CHSI study evidence and price consultations, 61% of AB PM-JAY HBP prices were increased while 18% saw a decline in the prices. In absolute terms, the mean increase in HBP price was ₹14,000 (₹450-₹1,65,000) and a mean decline of ₹6,356 (₹200-₹74,500) was observed. Nearly 42% of the total HBPs, in 2018, had a price that was less than 50% of the true cost, which declined to 20% in 2019. The evidence-informed revision of HBP prices is estimated to have a minimal fiscal impact (0.7%) on the AB PM-JAY claims pay-out.

INTERPRETATION: Evidence-informed price-setting helped to reduce wide disparities in cost and price, as well as aligning incentives towards broader health system goals. Such strategic purchasing and price-setting requires the creation of systems of generating evidence on the cost of health services. Further research is recommended to develop a cost-function to study changes in cost with variations in time, region, prices, skill-mix and other factors.

RevDate: 2021-01-19

Meng D, Zhang Z, Li Z, et al (2020)

Complete mitochondrial genome of the spotted nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes (Passeriformes: Corvidae) from Shan'xi Province, China.

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 5(3):2456-2457.

We determined the whole mtDNA genome of the Spotted Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes) in Tianlong Mountain, Shan'xi Province, China. The complete mitochondrial genome is 16,914 bp in length and consists of 13 protein-coding genes (PCGS), 22 tRNA genes, 2 rRNA genes, and 1 control region (D-loops). The nucleotide composition is 25.08% A, 25.08% T, 24.75% G, and 25.08% C. The result of phylogenetic analysis showed that there was close genetic relationship between N. caryocatactes and N. columbiana. It is expected that the complete mitochondrial genome presented here will contribute to the analysis of species distribution.

RevDate: 2021-01-15

Donzuso G, Monastero R, Cicero CE, et al (2021)

Neuroanatomical changes in early Parkinson's disease with mild cognitive impairment: a VBM study; the Parkinson's Disease Cognitive Impairment Study (PaCoS).

Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology [Epub ahead of print].

INTRODUCTION: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is common in Parkinson's disease (PD), but the underlying pathological mechanism has not been fully understood. Voxel-based morphometry could be used to evaluate regional atrophy and its relationship with cognitive performances in early PD-MCI.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: One hundred and six patients with PD were recruited from a larger cohort of patients, the Parkinson's Disease Cognitive Impairment Study (PaCoS). Subject underwent a T1-3D MRI and a complete clinical and neuropsychological evaluation. Patients were divided into PD with normal cognition (PD-NC) and PD-MCI according to the MDS level II criteria-modified for PD-MCI. A subgroup of early patients with short disease duration (≤ 2 years) was also identified. VBM analysis between PD-NC and PD-MCI and between early PD-NC and PD-MCI was performed using two-sample t tests with whole-brain statistical threshold of p < 0.001 uncorrected in the entire PD group and p < 0.05 FWE inside ROIs, in the early PD.

RESULTS: Forty patients were diagnosed with MCI and 66 were PD-NC. PD-MCI patients showed significant gray matter (GM) reduction in several brain regions, including frontal gyrus, precuneus, angular gyrus, temporal lobe, and cerebellum. Early PD-MCI showed reduction in GM density in superior frontal gyrus and cerebellum. Moreover, correlation analysis between neuropsychological performances and GM volume of early PD-MCI patients showed associations between performances of Raven and superior frontal gyrus volume, Stroop time and inferior frontal gyrus volume, accuracy of Barrage and volume of precuneus.

CONCLUSION: The detection of frontal and cerebellar atrophy, even at an early stage, could be used as an early marker of PD-related cognitive impairment.

RevDate: 2021-03-15

Martin C, Simonds VW, Young SL, et al (2021)

Our Relationship to Water and Experience of Water Insecurity among Apsáalooke (Crow Indian) People, Montana.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(2):.

Affordable access to safe drinking water is essential to community health, yet there is limited understanding of water insecurity among Native Americans. Therefore, the focus of this paper is to describe Apsáalooke (Crow Indian) tribal members' experiences with water insecurity. For Apsáalooke people, local rivers and springs are still vitally important for traditional cultural activities. We interviewed 30 Native American adults living on the Crow Reservation in Southeastern Montana. Participants answered six open-ended interview questions about their water access, costs of obtaining water and changes in their domestic and traditional water uses. Participants emphasized how the use of water has changed over time and described the complex challenges associated with addressing water insecurity in their community, including the importance of considering the spiritual and cultural impacts of water insecurity on health. Water insecurity is a growing global problem and more attention and efforts are needed to find appropriate and affordable solutions.

RevDate: 2021-03-11
CmpDate: 2021-03-11

Rial-Berriel C, Acosta-Dacal A, Cabrera Pérez MÁ, et al (2021)

Intensive livestock farming as a major determinant of the exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides in raptors of the Canary Islands (Spain).

The Science of the total environment, 768:144386.

The Canary Islands (Spain) is a biodiversity hotspot, with more than 4500 registered endemic species. However, it is subject to high anthropogenic pressure that threatens its wildlife in various ways. In the context of forensic toxicological surveys, the presence of anticoagulant rodenticides (AR) has been investigated in the liver of 831 animal carcasses with georeferenced data from 2011 to May 2020. The high concentrations of toxic pesticides in carcasses and in baits found close to the corpses indicated that all the reptiles and most of the mammals tested positive for AR were intentionally poisoned, although mainly by other substances. The frequency of detection of AR in non-raptor birds (n = 343) was only 4.1%, being the Canary raven the most frequently affected species (7/97, 7.2%). On the contrary, in raptors (n = 308) the detection frequency was almost 60%, with an average of more than 2 ARs per animal. The highest concentrations were found in the common kestrel. We present for the first-time results of AR contamination in two species of raptors that are very rare in Europe, Eleonora's falcon (n = 4) and Barbary falcon (n = 13). The temporal trend of positive cases remains stable, but since the entry into force of the restriction to the concentration of the active ingredient in baits (<30 ppm), a decrease in the concentrations of these compounds in the raptors' liver has been detected. Conversely, we registered an increase in the number of ARs per animal. From the study of the geographic information system (GIS) it can be deduced that intensive livestock farms are an important determinant in the exposure of raptors to ARs. Those birds that have their territory near intensive production farms have higher levels of exposure than those of birds that live far from such facilities.

RevDate: 2021-01-14

Tornick J, B Gibson (2021)

Clark's nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbiana) use a visual barrier for cache protection.

Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983) pii:2021-07054-001 [Epub ahead of print].

Previous work with corvids such as scrub jays (Aphelocoma californica) and ravens (Corvus corax) suggests that many social corvids alter their caching behavior when observed by conspecifics to protect their caches. We examined whether the Clark's nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana), an asocial corvid, can utilize a barrier to conceal its caching activities from a conspecific observer. Nutcrackers were allowed to cache nuts in a visible or concealed location in either the presence or absence of an observer. Nutcrackers were also given experience of having their caches pilfered. The nutcrackers cached significantly more nuts in the concealed compared to a visible location when observed. Importantly, nutcrackers also recovered a larger percentage of their nuts 24 hr later from a visible cache location but when the observer was no longer present. The results extend recent work suggesting that relatively nonsocial corvids, similar to their more social relatives, also engage in multiple forms of cache protection. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2021-02-18

Schuster RK, G Wibbelt (2021)

Redescription of Serratospiculum seurati Bain & Mawson, 1981 (Nematoda; Diplotriaenidae) from Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus Tunstall, 1771).

Parasitology research, 120(3):941-948.

Air sac nematodes from birds are known for more than 200 years now and Filaria attenuata was the first described species from falcons, owl and corvid birds. The superficial description and the loss of the original material made F. attenuata a species inquirenda. Seurat (1915) redescribed the species with material from lanner falcon and pallid harrier from Algeria and based on this description Bain and Mawson, Rec S Aust Mus 18:265-28, (1981) created a new species, Serratospiculum seurati, by adding some, slightly divergent, measurements. The current paper is based on light and scanning electron microscopy of five male and 10 female S. seurati specimens from a Peregrine falcon that acquired the infection in Pakistan. The length of the slender male and female nematodes varied between 42-70 and 165-221 mm, respectively, spicules of unequal shape and length measured 292-325 and 638-785 μm. S. seurati was also found in Saker, Barbary and crossbreed falcons.

RevDate: 2021-01-16

Amodio P, Brea J, Farrar BG, et al (2021)

Testing two competing hypotheses for Eurasian jays' caching for the future.

Scientific reports, 11(1):835.

Previous research reported that corvids preferentially cache food in a location where no food will be available or cache more of a specific food in a location where this food will not be available. Here, we consider possible explanations for these prospective caching behaviours and directly compare two competing hypotheses. The Compensatory Caching Hypothesis suggests that birds learn to cache more of a particular food in places where that food was less frequently available in the past. In contrast, the Future Planning Hypothesis suggests that birds recall the 'what-when-where' features of specific past events to predict the future availability of food. We designed a protocol in which the two hypotheses predict different caching patterns across different caching locations such that the two explanations can be disambiguated. We formalised the hypotheses in a Bayesian model comparison and tested this protocol in two experiments with one of the previously tested species, namely Eurasian jays. Consistently across the two experiments, the observed caching pattern did not support either hypothesis; rather it was best explained by a uniform distribution of caches over the different caching locations. Future research is needed to gain more insight into the cognitive mechanism underpinning corvids' caching for the future.

RevDate: 2021-01-16

Zhang Y, Yu C, Chen L, et al (2021)

Performance of Azure-winged magpies in Aesop's fable paradigm.

Scientific reports, 11(1):804.

In this study, the improved Aesop's fable paradigm-a series of experiments originally used to test whether some animals understand the causality associated with water replacement-was used to explore the cognitive ability of Azure-winged magpies (Cyanopica cyanus). Experimental results on causal cue tasks showed that the Azure-winged magpies prefer water-filled tubes over sand-filled tubes, heavy objects over light objects, and solid objects over hollow objects. However, they failed to notice the diameter and water level of the tubes. They also failed to pass the counterintuitive U-shaped tube task in arbitrary cue tasks. Our results demonstrated that Azure-winged magpies have a certain cognitive ability but not an understanding of causality, a characteristic comparable to that of other corvids. Moreover, Azure-winged magpies exhibited the ability of training transfer and analogical problem solving from the perspective of cognitive psychology. We believe that object-bias has little effect on Azure-winged magpies in this study. We can conclude that the Azure-winged magpies partially completed the tasks by trial-and-error learning.

RevDate: 2021-01-11

Mazzia F, M De Armond (2021)

Causality dilemma: creating a twenty-first century university archive.

Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA, 109(1):137-140.

For its fifteenth anniversary, the Jay Sexter Library at Touro University Nevada (TUN) sought ways to capture its institutional history by founding an archive. Among many challenges, the library struggled to convince the administration of the importance of an archive. To generate interest in TUN's history, a task force comprising library, executive administration, and advancement staff hosted and recorded a panel event with some of the university's original faculty, staff, and administration. By having this event, new TUN employees were able to experience the shared knowledge of TUN's early days, and the library was able to create and preserve its own institutional history.

RevDate: 2021-01-12

Sehanovic A, Smajlovic D, Tupkovic E, et al (2020)

Cognitive Disorders in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

Materia socio-medica, 32(3):191-195.

Introduction: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory, (auto) immune disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Cognitive disorders are found in over 50% of patients.

Aim: The aim of the study was to determine the distribution of cognitive disorders in people with MS.

Methods: The prospective study included 135 respondents with MS and 50 healthy respondents. The respondents were divided into three groups: the first group consisted of 85 respondents where the disease lasted longer than one year, the second group consisted of 50 respondents with newly diagnosed MS, the third group consisted of 50 healthy respondents. Clinical assessment instruments were: Extended Disability Score in Multiple Sclerosis Patients, Mini Mental Status, Battery of Tests to Assess Cognitive Functions: Wechsler Intelligence Scale, Revised Beta Test, Raven Colored Progressive Matrices, Wechsler Memory Scale, Rey Audio Verbal Learning Test -Osterriecht's complex character test, verbal fluency test.

Results: Cognitive disorders were present in 40-60% of respondents with MS. Visuospatial, visuoconstructive and visuoperceptive functions are worse in the first group. Mnestic functions (learning process, short-term and long-term memory, recollection, verbal-logical memory) were most affected in both groups of respondents, ranging from 30-60%. Poorer cognitive domains are in the first groups of respondents. Immediate working process memory (current learning), memory, attention, short-term and logical memory is worse in the examinees of the first group. At the beginning of the disease, 16% had verbal fluency difficulties, and as the disease progresses, the difficulties become more pronounced.

Conclusion: Cognitive disorders are heterogeneous, they can be noticed in the early stages of the disease. They refer to impairments of working memory, executive functions and attention, while global intellectual efficiency is later reduced.

RevDate: 2021-01-09

Wenig K, Boucherie PH, T Bugnyar (2021)

Early evidence for emotional play contagion in juvenile ravens.

Animal cognition [Epub ahead of print].

Perceiving, evaluating and reacting towards conspecifics' emotional states are important challenges of social group living. Emotional contagion describes an alignment of emotional states between individuals and is widely believed to be based on behavioral synchronization, i.e., behavioral contagion. As basic empathy-like processes, the occurrence of both forms of contagion seems to underlie early ontogenetic trajectories in humans and non-human species. In the present study, we assessed play as a context for studying the development of emotional contagion and its interlink with behavioral contagion in ten juvenile common ravens. Ravens are exceptional players that engage in all three forms of play: object, locomotion and social play. To assess potential ontogenetic patterns of both behavioral and emotional contagion, we tested juvenile ravens at two different periods of early development, at three- and six-month post-hatching. We elicited object play in one or several ravens (demonstrators) in a standardized experimental environment, using a playground setup. At both test ages, we found evidence for emotional contagion as observer ravens showed an increase of locomotion and social play after we provided the demonstrator(s) with the playground setup, but no significant changes in the amount of object play. Hence, observers did not copy motor patterns from demonstrator(s) but engaged in other forms of play. Our findings speak for a transfer of a general mood state in the context of play in ravens as young as 3 months and against behavioral mimicry as a precondition for emotional contagion.

RevDate: 2021-01-09

Gallego-Abenza M, Blum CR, T Bugnyar (2021)

Who is crying wolf? Seasonal effect on antipredator response to age-specific alarm calls in common ravens, Corvus corax.

Learning & behavior [Epub ahead of print].

Communication about threats including those posed by the presence of predators occurs mainly through acoustic signals called alarm calls. The comprehension of these calls by receivers and their rapid antipredator response are crucial in terms of survival. However, to avoid overreaction, individuals should evaluate whether or not an antipredator response is needed by paying attention to who is calling. For instance, we could expect adults to be more experienced with predator encounters than juveniles and thus elicit stronger antipredator responses in others when alarming. Similarly, we could expect a stronger response to alarm calls when more than one individual is calling. To test these assumptions, we applied a playback experiment to wild ravens, in which we manipulated the age class (adult or juvenile) and the number (one or two) of the callers. Our results revealed a seasonal effect of age class but no effect of number of callers. Specifically, the ravens responded with stronger antipredator behaviour (vigilance posture) towards alarm calls from adults as compared to juveniles in summer and autumn, but not in spring. We discuss alternative interpretations for this unexpected seasonal pattern and argue for more studies on call-based communication in birds to understand what type of information is relevant under which conditions.

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

Kumar RK, Reddy KS, Reddy NV, et al (2020)

Relationship between dental fluorosis and I.Q of school going children aged 10-12 years in and around Nalgonda district-A cross-sectional study.

Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, 38(4):332-337.

Background: The fluoride ion toxicity has been associated with both dental fluorosis and neurotoxicity; dental fluorosis has tended to be considered with respect to tooth appearance and function rather than as a marker for neurotoxicity.

Aims and Objectives: This study assessed the intelligence quotient (IQ) of school-going children aged 10-12 years in villages of Nalgonda district with different fluoride levels.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among the permanent residents of Nalgonda district of Telangana state, India. A total of 480 government schoolchildren aged 10-12 years were selected by stratified random sampling from three different areas with different levels of naturally occurring fluoride in drinking water. Intelligence levels were assessed by conducting the Ravens standard progressive matrices test (1991 edition).

Statistical Analysis: The data were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA), Student's t-test, and Krustal-Wallis ANOVA. A logistic regression model was performed (SPSS version; 21(IBM corporation, Chicago,IL, USA)).

Results: The mean IQ levels were more in the villages with low fluoride concentration in drinking water (15.26) compared to villages with medium fluoride content (12.91) and high fluoride content (9.1). A significant statistical association was found (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: The overall IQ levels in children exposed to high fluoride level significantly lower than the low fluoride areas. Thus, children intelligence can be affected by high water fluoride levels.

RevDate: 2021-01-05

Gao LF, Zhang W, Zhang HY, et al (2020)

Parental dependence on the nest's spatial cues in offspring recognition decreases with nestling growth in the azure-winged magpie.

Current zoology, 66(6):643-648.

In altricial birds, to address which cues are used by parents to recognize their offspring, and when they switch between cues during reproduction, it has not been well determined. In this study, we address this question in a Tibetan population of the azure-winged magpie Cyanopica cyanus, by examining the dependence of parents on a nest's spatial position in offspring recognition. During the egg and nestling phases, azure-winged magpie nests were translocated to new positions across various distances from their original site, and parental responses to the translocated nests were investigated. Our findings show that a nest's spatial position is not connected with the survival of its young, but might be used as a cue in parental offspring recognition. When nests are translocated to a new position within a certain distance, parents could recognize their nests and returned to resume their parenting behaviors. Parental dependence on the nest's spatial position in offspring recognition is higher during the egg phase than during the nestling phase, and it decreases with the growth of nestlings. After nestlings reach a certain age, the nest' s spatial position was no longer used by parents as the single cue for offspring recognition. These findings suggest that azure-winged magpies switch their cues in offspring recognition during the different stages of reproduction. After parent-offspring communication has been established, the offspring's phenotypic traits may become a more reliable cue than the nest's spatial position in offspring recognition.

RevDate: 2021-01-18

Sarker S, Athukorala A, SR Raidal (2021)

Molecular characterisation of a novel pathogenic avipoxvirus from an Australian passerine bird, mudlark (Grallina cyanoleuca).

Virology, 554:66-74.

Avipoxviruses have been recognised as significant pathogens in the conservation of numerous bird species. However, the vast majority of the avipoxviruses that infect wild birds remain uncharacterised. Here, we characterise a novel avipoxvirus, mudlarkpox virus (MLPV) isolated from an Australian passerine bird, mudlark (Grallina cyanoleuca). In this study, tissues with histopathologically confirmed lesions consistent with avian pox were used for transmission electron microscopy, and showed characteristic ovoid to brick-shaped virions, indicative of infectious particles. The MLPV genome was >342.7 Kbp in length and contained six predicted novel genes and a further six genes were missing compared to shearwaterpox virus-2 (SWPV-2). Subsequent phylogenetic analyses of the MLPV genome positioned the virus within a distinct subclade also containing recently characterised avipoxvirus genomes from shearwater, canary and magpie bird species, and demonstrated a high degree of sequence similarity with SWPV-2 (94.92%).

RevDate: 2021-02-10
CmpDate: 2021-02-10

Lizzio VA, Smith DG, Guo EW, et al (2021)

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

The American journal of sports medicine, 49(2):359-363.

BACKGROUND: Postoperative rehabilitation protocols after ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction typically involve a structured interval throwing program. In an effort to minimize torque placed on the UCL, athletes are often instructed to throw with a crow hop, even at short throwing distances. However, the effect of the crow hop on medial elbow stress is unknown.

PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: The purpose was to determine whether elbow stress differs with and without a crow hop across the throwing distances of a typical interval throwing program. We hypothesized that crow hop throws would generate lower torque on the elbow than standing throws at each distance of the interval throwing program.

STUDY DESIGN: Controlled laboratory study.

METHODS: Healthy high school and collegiate pitchers and position players were recruited from the surrounding area. Each player was outfitted with a wearable athletic sleeve and device that recorded elbow torque (Newton-meters), arm slot (degrees), arm speed (revolutions per minute), and shoulder rotation (degrees). Ball velocity (miles per hour) was measured using a radar gun. Players were instructed to perform 3 crow hop throws and 3 standing throws at distances of 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180 feet. A repeated measures analysis of variance was used to compare ball velocity, elbow torque, arm slot, arm speed, and shoulder rotation between crow hop and standing throws at each throwing distance.

RESULTS: Twenty athletes participated in this study (average age, 17.8 years; range, 15-25 years). The average medial elbow torque increased at each distance for both crow hop and standing throws at distances of 30, 45, 60, and 90 feet (P < .05), after which there were no significant increases in elbow torque (P > .05). The average torque was higher for crow hop throws than standing throws at distances of 30 feet (13.9 N·m vs 12.0 N·m; P = .002), 45 feet (21.8 N·m vs 19.3 N·m; P = .005), and 60 feet (28.0 N·m vs 24.5 N·m; P = .02).

CONCLUSION: Crow hop throws generated greater medial elbow torque than standing throws at distances up to 60 feet; however, there were no differences in elbow torque at distances greater than 60 feet between the 2 throw types. For both crow hop and standing throws, elbow stress increased at each distance interval up to 90 feet before plateauing at distances greater than 90 feet. The crow hop throwing technique does not reduce medial elbow stress during a simulated interval throwing program, and it may actually increase torque at shorter throwing distances.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The results of our study indicate that it would be prudent for players to initially perform standing throws at shorter distances and only later be allowed to employ a natural crow hop at greater distances to minimize torque placed on the medial elbow during UCL rehabilitation protocols.

RevDate: 2021-01-25

Blakey ML (2020)

Understanding racism in physical (biological) anthropology.

American journal of physical anthropology [Epub ahead of print].

The mainstream of American physical anthropology began as racist and eugenical science that defended slavery, restricted "non-Nordic" immigration, and justified Jim Crow segregation. After World War II, the field became more anti-racial than anti-racist. It has continued as a study of natural influences on human variation and thus continues to evade the social histories of inequitable biological variation. Also reflecting its occupancy of white space, biological anthropology continues to deny its own racist history and marginalizes the contributions of Blacks. Critical disciplinary history and a shift toward biocultural studies might begin an anti-racist human biology.

RevDate: 2021-01-11

Kryukov AP, Spiridonova LN, Tyunin AP, et al (2020)

Complete mitochondrial genomes of five subspecies of the Eurasian magpie Pica pica, obtained with Oxford Nanopore MinION, and their interpretation regarding intraspecific taxonomy.

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 5(3):3810-3811.

The complete mitochondrial (mt) genomes of five subspecies of the Eurasian (Common) magpie Pica pica were determined for the first time. Lengths of the circular genomes comprise 13 protein-coding genes, two rRNA genes (for 12S rRNA and 16S rRNA), 22 tRNA genes, and the non-coding control region (CR). Gene content and lengths of the genomes (16,936-16,945 bp) are similar to typical vertebrate mt genomes. The subspecies studied differs by several single substitutions and indels, especially in the CR. The phylogenetic tree based on complete mt genomes shows a deep divergence of the two groups of subspecies which supports the proposed division into two distinct species: P. pica and P. serica.

RevDate: 2020-12-31

Zhao C, Dou H, Du P, et al (2020)

The complete mitochondrial genome of Daurian jackdaw (Corvus dauuricus).

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 5(1):400-401.

In this study, the complete mitochondrial genome of Daurian jackdaw (Corvus dauuricus, Pallas, 1776) was sequenced and deposited to GeneBank for the first time using muscle tissue. This mitochondrial genome is a circular molecule of 16921 bp in length and sequence analysis showed it contains 2 rRNA genes, 22 tRNA genes, 13 protein-coding genes and D_loop. The phylogenetic analysis basis of 12 protein-coding genes except for ND6 gene of 13 species shows that most of the genus of Corvus were grouped into two clades, and C. dauuricus was basal to all other Corvus.

RevDate: 2020-12-31

Iqbal F, Ayub Q, Song BK, et al (2019)

Sequence and phylogeny of the complete mitochondrial genome of the Himalayan jungle crow (Corvidae: Corvus macrorhynchos intermedius) from Pakistan.

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 5(1):348-350.

Corvus macrorhynchos formerly referred to as the jungle crow or the large-billed crow is a polytypic species with unresolved taxonomy, comprising various subspecies widespread across South, Southeast, and East Asia. In this study, we report the complete mitogenome of one of these subspecies, Corvus macrorhynchos intermedius (Himalaya crow), from Pakistan. The mitochondrial genome is circular, 16,927 bp and contains typical animal mitochondrial genes (13 protein-coding genes, 2 ribosomal RNA, and 22 transfer RNA) and one non-coding region (D-loop) with a nucleotide content of A (30.6%), T (24.8%), G (14.8%), and C (29.8%). Phylogenetic analysis using the whole mitochondrial genome showed that C. m. intermedius and only reported subspecies Corvus macrorhynchos culminatus (Indian Jungle crow) are genetically distinct and it supports the recognition of the latter as a separate biospecies.

RevDate: 2020-12-29

Kumar RR, HK Tsang (2021)

High-extinction CROW filters for scalable quantum photonics.

Optics letters, 46(1):134-137.

We report an integrated tunable-bandwidth optical filter with a passband to stop-band ratio of over 96 dB using a single silicon chip with an ultra-compact footprint. The integrated filter is used in filtering out the pump photons in non-degenerate spontaneous four-wave mixing (SFWM), which is used for producing correlated photon pairs at different wavelengths. SFWM occurs in a long silicon waveguide, and two cascaded second-order coupled-resonator optical waveguide (CROW) filters were used to spectrally remove the pump photons. The tunable bandwidth of the filter is useful to adjust the coherence time of the quantum correlated photons and may find applications in large-scale integrated quantum photonic circuits.

RevDate: 2021-01-29
CmpDate: 2021-01-29

Zhao L, Yu C, Lv J, et al (2021)

Fluoride exposure, dopamine relative gene polymorphism and intelligence: A cross-sectional study in China.

Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 209:111826.

BACKGROUND: Excessive fluoride exposure is related to adverse health outcomes, but whether dopamine (DA) relative genes are involved in the health effect of low-moderate fluoride exposure on children's intelligence remain unclear.

OBJECTIVES: We conducted a cross-sectional study to explore the role of DA relative genes in the health effect of low-moderate fluoride exposure in drinking water.

METHODS: We recruited 567 resident children, aged 6-11 years old, randomly from endemic and non-endemic fluorosis areas in Tianjin, China. Spot urine samples were tested for urinary fluoride concentration, combined Raven`s test was used for intelligence quotient test. Fasting venous blood were collected to analyze ANKK1 Taq1A (rs1800497), COMT Val158Met (rs4680), DAT1 40 bp VNTR and MAOA uVNTR. Multivariable linear regression models were used to assess associations between fluoride exposure and IQ scores. We applied multiplicative and additive models to appraise single gene-environment interaction. Generalized multifactor dimensionality reduction (GMDR) was used to evaluate high-dimensional interactions of gene-gene and gene-environment.

RESULTS: In adjusted model, fluoride exposure was inversely associated with IQ scores (β = -5.957, 95% CI: -9.712, -2.202). The mean IQ scores of children with high-activity MAOA genotype was significantly lower than IQ scores of those with low-activity (P = 0.006) or female heterozygote (P = 0.016) genotype. We detected effect modification by four DA relative genes (ANKK1, COMT, DAT1 and MAOA) on the association between UF and IQ scores. We also found a high-dimensional gene-environment interaction among UF, ANKK1, COMT and MAOA on the effect of IQ (testing balanced accuracy = 0.5302, CV consistency: 10/10, P = 0.0107).

CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests DA relative genes may modify the association between fluoride and intelligence, and a potential interaction among fluoride exposure and DA relative genes on IQ.

RevDate: 2020-12-21

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

Climate-driven carry-over effects negatively influence population growth rate in a food-caching boreal passerine.

Global change biology [Epub ahead of print].

Understanding how events throughout the annual cycle are linked is important for predicting variation in individual fitness, but whether and how carry-over effects scale up to influence population dynamics is poorly understood. Using 38 years of demographic data from Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, and a full annual cycle integrated population model, we examined the influence of environmental conditions and density on the population growth rate of Canada jays (Perisoreus canadensis), a resident boreal passerine that relies on perishable cached food for over-winter survival and late-winter breeding. Our results demonstrate that fall environmental variables, most notably the number of freeze-thaw events, carried over to influence late-winter fecundity, which, in turn, was the main vital rate driving population growth. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that warmer and more variable fall conditions accelerate the degradation of perishable stored food that is relied upon for successful reproduction. Future warming during the fall and winter may compromise the viability of cached food that requires consistent subzero temperatures for effective preservation, potentially exacerbating climate-driven carry-over effects that impact long-term population dynamics.

RevDate: 2021-01-12
CmpDate: 2021-01-12

Zhao L, Higuchi T, Kanamori M, et al (2021)

Identification of timing of scallop morphological deformity and mortality from shell oxygen isotope records.

Marine environmental research, 163:105149.

The Yesso scallop, Patinopecten yessoensis (Jay), is one of the most important bivalve species in the Japanese and Chinese mariculture industry. In recent years, however, high incidences of scallop shell deformity and mortality have occurred with increasing frequency, but timing of onset and underlying causes are often unclear. Here, we proposed a promising δ18Oshell-based method for constraining the onset of shell deformity and mortality of P. yessoensis. Following six months of intermediate suspension culture in Funka Bay, Northern Japan, shells from healthy, deformed and dead scallops were randomly sampled. High-resolution seawater temperature time-series computed from healthy scallop shell δ18O profiles were precisely and temporally aligned to the instrumental temperature curve, thus allowing δ18Oshell-derived temperature time-series from deformed and dead scallops to be contextualized and allowing timing of scallop deformity and death to be retrieved. Irrespective of scallop shell length, onsets of deformity were anchored in February, and since then deformed scallops grew slowly in comparison to healthy individuals. Without exception, however, dead scallops had already ceased their shell building and died before February, indicating different underlying causes of scallop deformity and mortality. Perhaps most promisingly, considering that shells do not have any isotopic turn-over and once formed, temperature information is locked in. Thus, this approach holds great promise for identifying time anchor points (onsets of deformity and death) in archived scallops collected over different time scales, especially during massive mortality events.

RevDate: 2020-12-29

Kaplan G (2020)

Of Great Apes and Magpies: Initiations into Animal Behaviour.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 10(12):.

This paper presents three case studies of exceptional human encounters with animals. These particular examples were selected because they enabled analysis of the underlying reasons that led the human participants to respond in new ways to their animal counterparts. The question asked here is whether sudden insights into the needs and abilities of an animal arises purely from an anthropocentric position as empathy because of genetic closeness (e.g., chimpanzees) or is something else and whether new insights can be applied to other phylogenetic orders not close to us, e.g., birds, and change research questions and implicit prejudices and stereotypes. Particularly in avian species, phylogenetically distant from humans, the prejudices (anthroprocentric position) and the belief in human uniqueness (human exceptionalism) might be greater than in the reactions to primates. Interestingly, in studies of great apes, contradictory opinions and controversies about cognitive abilities, especially when compared with humans, tend to be pronounced. Species appropriateness in test designs are desirable present and future goals but here it is suggested how different experiences can also lead to different questions that explode the myth of human uniqueness and then arrive at entirely different and new results in cognitive and affective abilities of the species under investigation.

RevDate: 2021-01-20

Aastrup C, A Hegemann (2021)

Jackdaw nestlings rapidly increase innate immune function during the nestling phase but no evidence for a trade-off with growth.

Developmental and comparative immunology, 117:103967.

Although animals are born with a protective immune system, even the innate immune system is under development from birth to adulthood and this development may be affected by sex and growth. However, most knowledge comes from captive animals or long-lived slow growing species. Moreover, little is known about how innate immune function, the important first line of defence, develops during early life in fast-growing animals such as free-living passerines. We studied development of innate baseline immune function in nestlings of free-living jackdaws Corvus monedula. We measured four immune parameters (hemolysis, hemagglutination, bacterial-killing capacity, haptoglobin concentration) and structural body size (body mass, wing length, tarsus length) at day 12 and day 29 post-hatching. We found that three out of four immune parameters (hemolysis, hemagglutination, bacterial-killing capacity) substantially increased with nestling age and had roughly reached adult levels shortly prior to fledging. We found little differences in immune development between males and females despite them differing in structural development. We also found no evidence that the nestlings traded off immune development with growth. That nestlings rapidly increase innate baseline immune function during early life and similarly in males and females indicates the importance of a well-functioning immune system already during the nestling phase.

RevDate: 2020-12-15
CmpDate: 2020-12-15

Mori A, R Bertani (2020)

Revision and cladistic analysis of Psalistops Simon, 1889, Trichopelma Simon, 1888 and Cyrtogrammomma Pocock, 1895 (Araneae: Theraphosidae) based on a cladistic analysis of relationships of Theraphosidae, Barychelidae and Paratropididae.

Zootaxa, 4873(1):zootaxa.4873.1.1 pii:zootaxa.4873.1.1.

The genera Psalistops Simon, 1889, Trichopelma, Simon, 1888 and Cyrtogrammomma Pocock, 1895 are revised and included in cladistics analyses including almost all species of these genera. In order to test previous morphological hypotheses on the relationships of Barychelidae, Paratropididae and Theraphosidae and because of the controversial taxonomic position of Psalistops and Trichopelma, a set of terminal taxa representing all subfamilies of Paratropididae (Paratropidinae, Glabropelmatinae), Barychelidae (Barychelinae, Sasoninae, Trichopelmatinae) and most theraphosid subfamilies were included, as well as a diplurid, a nemesiid, and a pycnothelid, the later used to root the cladogram. The matrix with 66 terminal taxa, 2 continuous and 93 discrete characters was analysed with TNT 1.5. We found that Trichopelmatinae is not a monophyletic group, and Psalistops is transferred to Theraphosidae, as well as the barychelid genus Cyrtogrammomma and the paratropidid genus Melloina Brignoli. Cyrtogrammomma was retrieved as the sister group of Trichopelma, and Melloina as the sister group of Holothele Karsch. Psalistops was retrieved as the sister group of Reichlingia Rudloff, and the clade with these two genera is the most basal in Theraphosidae. Barychelidae was found to be monophyletic and the sister group of Theraphosidae. Paratropididae was retrieved as the sister group of Barychelidae + Theraphosidae. The relationship and possible synapomorphies of the three families are herein discussed. This is the first time since Raven (1985) that representatives of all barychelid (Barychelinae, Sasoninae, Trichopelmatinae), paratropidid (Paratropidinae, Glabropelmatinae) and most theraphosid subfamilies have been included in a morphological cladistic analysis. Psalistops comprises two species, P. melanopygius Simon, 1889 (type species) and P. colombianus sp. nov. Psalistops montigena Simon, 1889, P. tigrinus Simon, 1889 and P. zonatus Simon, 1889 are synonymized with P. melanopygius Simon, 1889. Psalistops fulvus Bryant, 1948, P. hispaniolensis Wunderlich, 1988 (fossil), P. maculosus Bryant, 1948, P. venadensis Valerio, 1986 and P. steini (Simon, 1889) are transferred to Trichopelma. Psalistops gasci Maréchal, 1996 is transferred to Hapalopus Ausserer (Theraphosidae); P. opifex (Simon, 1889) and P. solitarius (Simon, 1889) are transferred to Schismatothele Karsch, 1879 (Theraphosidae). Schismatothele solitarius (Simon, 1889) n. comb. is synonymized with Schismatothele lineata Karsch, 1879, n. syn. Psalistops nigrifemuratus Mello-Leitão, 1939 is probably a nemesiid or pycnothelid, and herein considered as nomen dubium in Pycnothelidae. Trichopelma comprises 22 species: Trichopelma nitidum Simon, 1888 (type species), T. coenobita (Simon, 1889), T. steini (Simon, 1889), T. affine (Simon, 1892), T. cubanum (Simon, 1903), T. maculatum (Banks, 1906), T. zebra (Petrunkevitch, 1925), T. banksia Özdikmen Demir, 2012, T. insulanum (Petrunkevitch, 1926), T. fulvus (Bryant, 1948) n. comb., T. laselva Valerio, 1986, T. venadensis (Valerio, 1986) n. comb., T. huffi sp. nov., T. gabrieli sp. nov., T. tostoi sp. nov., T. goloboffi sp. nov., T. juventud sp. nov., T. laurae sp. nov., T.bimini sp. nov., T. loui sp. nov., T. platnicki sp. nov., and T. hispaniolensis Wunderlich, 1988 n. comb. (fossil). Trichopelma maculosus (Bryant, 1948) n. comb. is synonymized with P. fulvus Bryant, 1948; T. corozalis (Petrunkevitch, 1929) is synonymized with T. insulanum (Petrunkevitch, 1926). Trichopelma astutum Simon, 1889 is transferred to Euthycaelus Simon, 1889, and T. maddeni Esposito Agnarsson, 2014 to Holothele Karsch, 1879 (Theraphosidae). Trichopelma flavicomum Simon, 1891 is transferred to Neodiplothele (Barychelidae, Sasoninae). The species T. illetabile Simon, 1888, T. spinosum (Franganillo, 1926), T. scopulatum (Fischel, 1927) and T. eucubanum Özdikmen Demir, 2012 are considered as nomina dubia. Cyrtogrammomma comprises two species: C. monticola Pocock, 1895 (type species) and C. raveni sp. nov.

RevDate: 2021-02-17

Dussex N, Kutschera VE, Wiberg RAW, et al (2021)

A genome-wide investigation of adaptive signatures in protein-coding genes related to tool behaviour in New Caledonian and Hawaiian crows.

Molecular ecology, 30(4):973-986.

Very few animals habitually manufacture and use tools. It has been suggested that advanced tool behaviour co-evolves with a suite of behavioural, morphological and life history traits. In fact, there are indications for such an adaptive complex in tool-using crows (genus Corvus species). Here, we sequenced the genomes of two habitually tool-using and ten non-tool-using crow species to search for genomic signatures associated with a tool-using lifestyle. Using comparative genomic and population genetic approaches, we screened for signals of selection in protein-coding genes in the tool-using New Caledonian and Hawaiian crows. While we detected signals of recent selection in New Caledonian crows near genes associated with bill morphology, our data indicate that genetic changes in these two lineages are surprisingly subtle, with little evidence at present for convergence. We explore the biological explanations for these findings, such as the relative roles of gene regulation and protein-coding changes, as well as the possibility that statistical power to detect selection in recently diverged lineages may have been insufficient. Our study contributes to a growing body of literature aiming to decipher the genetic basis of recently evolved complex behaviour.

RevDate: 2020-12-12

Gomo G, Rød-Eriksen L, Andreassen HP, et al (2020)

Scavenger community structure along an environmental gradient from boreal forest to alpine tundra in Scandinavia.

Ecology and evolution, 10(23):12860-12869.

Scavengers can have strong impacts on food webs, and awareness of their role in ecosystems has increased during the last decades. In our study, we used baited camera traps to quantify the structure of the winter scavenger community in central Scandinavia across a forest-alpine continuum and assess how climatic conditions affected spatial patterns of species occurrences at baits. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed that the main habitat type (forest or alpine tundra) and snow depth was main determinants of the community structure. According to a joint species distribution model within the HMSC framework, species richness tended to be higher in forest than in alpine tundra habitat, but was only weakly associated with temperature and snow depth. However, we observed stronger and more diverse impacts of these covariates on individual species. Occurrence at baits by habitat generalists (red fox, golden eagle, and common raven) typically increased at low temperatures and high snow depth, probably due to increased energetic demands and lower abundance of natural prey in harsh winter conditions. On the contrary, occurrence at baits by forest specialists (e.g., Eurasian jay) tended to decrease in deep snow, which is possibly a consequence of reduced bait detectability and accessibility. In general, the influence of environmental covariates on species richness and occurrence at baits was lower in alpine tundra than in forests, and habitat generalists dominated the scavenger communities in both forest and alpine tundra. Following forecasted climate change, altered environmental conditions are likely to cause range expansion of boreal species and range contraction of typical alpine species such as the arctic fox. Our results suggest that altered snow conditions will possibly be a main driver of changes in species community structure.

RevDate: 2020-12-21

Pika S, Sima MJ, Blum CR, et al (2020)

Ravens parallel great apes in physical and social cognitive skills.

Scientific reports, 10(1):20617.

Human children show unique cognitive skills for dealing with the social world but their cognitive performance is paralleled by great apes in many tasks dealing with the physical world. Recent studies suggested that members of a songbird family-corvids-also evolved complex cognitive skills but a detailed understanding of the full scope of their cognition was, until now, not existent. Furthermore, relatively little is known about their cognitive development. Here, we conducted the first systematic, quantitative large-scale assessment of physical and social cognitive performance of common ravens with a special focus on development. To do so, we fine-tuned one of the most comprehensive experimental test-batteries, the Primate Cognition Test Battery (PCTB), to raven features enabling also a direct, quantitative comparison with the cognitive performance of two great ape species. Full-blown cognitive skills were already present at the age of four months with subadult ravens' cognitive performance appearing very similar to that of adult apes in tasks of physical (quantities, and causality) and social cognition (social learning, communication, and theory of mind). These unprecedented findings strengthen recent assessments of ravens' general intelligence, and aid to the growing evidence that the lack of a specific cortical architecture does not hinder advanced cognitive skills. Difficulties in certain cognitive scales further emphasize the quest to develop comparative test batteries that tap into true species rather than human specific cognitive skills, and suggest that socialization of test individuals may play a crucial role. We conclude to pay more attention to the impact of personality on cognitive output, and a currently neglected topic in Animal Cognition-the linkage between ontogeny and cognitive performance.

RevDate: 2021-02-12
CmpDate: 2021-02-12

Bohacz J, Możejko M, I Kitowski (2020)

Arthroderma tuberculatum and Arthroderma multifidum Isolated from Soils in Rook (Corvus frugilegus) Colonies as Producers of Keratinolytic Enzymes and Mineral Forms of N and S.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(24):.

Keratinolytic fungi representing the genus Arthroderma that were isolated from the soils of a rook (Corvus frugilegus) colony were used as biological agents for the disposal of waste feathers. The aim of this study was to assess the abilities of Arthroderma tuberculatum and Arthroderma multifidum fungi with a varied inflow of keratin matter to biodegrade waste feathers. The evaluation was based on the determination of feather mass loss, the activity of keratinolytic enzymes, and the content of mineral N and S forms. It was found that the activity of protease released by the fungi contributed to an increase in the level of soluble proteins and peptides and the concentration of ammonium ions, as well as alkalization of the culture medium. Keratinase activity was significantly correlated with sulfate release, especially in A. tuberculatum cultures. The strains of A. tuberculatum fungi isolated from the soil with the highest supply of organic matter, i.e., strains III, IV, and V, had the lowest enzymatic activity, compared to the A. multifidum strains, but they released mineral nitrogen and sulfur forms that are highly important for fertilization, as well as nutritionally important peptides and amino acids. A. tuberculatum strains can be used for the management of waste feathers that can be applied in agricultural practice.

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

Bauer N, Bertram C, Schultes A, et al (2020)

Quantification of an efficiency-sovereignty trade-off in climate policy.

Nature, 588(7837):261-266.

The Paris Agreement calls for a cooperative response with the aim of limiting global warming to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels while reaffirming the principles of equity and common, but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities1. Although the goal is clear, the approach required to achieve it is not. Cap-and-trade policies using uniform carbon prices could produce cost-effective reductions of global carbon emissions, but tend to impose relatively high mitigation costs on developing and emerging economies. Huge international financial transfers are required to complement cap-and-trade to achieve equal sharing of effort, defined as an equal distribution of mitigation costs as a share of income2,3, and therefore the cap-and-trade policy is often perceived as infringing on national sovereignty2-7. Here we show that a strategy of international financial transfers guided by moderate deviations from uniform carbon pricing could achieve the goal without straining either the economies or sovereignty of nations. We use the integrated assessment model REMIND-MAgPIE to analyse alternative policies: financial transfers in uniform carbon pricing systems, differentiated carbon pricing in the absence of financial transfers, or a hybrid combining financial transfers and differentiated carbon prices. Under uniform carbon prices, a present value of international financial transfers of 4.4 trillion US dollars over the next 80 years to 2100 would be required to equalize effort. By contrast, achieving equal effort without financial transfers requires carbon prices in advanced countries to exceed those in developing countries by a factor of more than 100, leading to efficiency losses of 2.6 trillion US dollars. Hybrid solutions reveal a strongly nonlinear trade-off between cost efficiency and sovereignty: moderate deviations from uniform carbon prices strongly reduce financial transfers at relatively small efficiency losses and moderate financial transfers substantially reduce inefficiencies by narrowing the carbon price spread. We also identify risks and adverse consequences of carbon price differentiation due to market distortions that can undermine environmental sustainability targets8,9. Quantifying the advantages and risks of carbon price differentiation provides insight into climate and sector-specific policy mixes.

RevDate: 2021-01-22

Valaparla VL, Nehra R, Mehta UM, et al (2021)

Social cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and their neurocognitive correlates across the different phases of illness.

Asian journal of psychiatry, 55:102501.

AIM: This study aimed to assess the relationship between neurocognition (NC) and social cognition (SC) in patients with schizophrenia during the symptomatic phase and the phase of clinical remission.

METHODOLOGY: Thirty-two patients were assessed on Color trail test (CTT), Hopkins verbal learning test (HVLT), Controlled oral word association (COWA) test, Wisconsin card sorting test (WCST), Ravens standard progressive matrices (SPM) and Social cognition rating tool in Indian setting (SOCRATIS) during symptomatic and remission phases of illness at least 3 months apart.

RESULTS: Compared to baseline assessment, even after controlling for PANSS scores except for social perception index all other domains of SC showed significant improvement at the time of remission. Although there was significant improvement in a few subtests of verbal learning, IQ and number of correct responses of COWA, colour trail test, no significant difference was seen in performance on WCST. Although second order theory of mind task had some association with IQ at the baseline assessment, no association was seen between SC and NC in the remission phase.

CONCLUSIONS: To conclude, present study suggests that impairments in all the domains of SC (except for social perception index) and NC (except for WCST) improve in the remission phase.

RevDate: 2021-01-29
CmpDate: 2021-01-29

Duan Z (2020)

[The exploration of Hujia Pasture wooden slip medicine prescription].

Zhonghua yi shi za zhi (Beijing, China : 1980), 50(5):307-310.

Some features in the medical prescriptions of western Han dynasty on the wooden slips unearthed in Hujia Pasture were interpreted, and the words were annotated and translated. The study found that this recipe with male magpie excrement treatment epileptic disease is the first moxibustion combined with drugs to treat epilepsy. This is the earliest recorded treatment. The drug is still administered to lactate children by applying it to the mother's nipple and making the child to suck, and it is the earliest recorded of its kind.

RevDate: 2020-12-10

Lu C (2020)

Channels' Confirmation and Predictions' Confirmation: From the Medical Test to the Raven Paradox.

Entropy (Basel, Switzerland), 22(4):.

After long arguments between positivism and falsificationism, the verification of universal hypotheses was replaced with the confirmation of uncertain major premises. Unfortunately, Hemple proposed the Raven Paradox. Then, Carnap used the increment of logical probability as the confirmation measure. So far, many confirmation measures have been proposed. Measure F proposed by Kemeny and Oppenheim among them possesses symmetries and asymmetries proposed by Elles and Fitelson, monotonicity proposed by Greco et al., and normalizing property suggested by many researchers. Based on the semantic information theory, a measure b* similar to F is derived from the medical test. Like the likelihood ratio, measures b* and F can only indicate the quality of channels or the testing means instead of the quality of probability predictions. Furthermore, it is still not easy to use b*, F, or another measure to clarify the Raven Paradox. For this reason, measure c* similar to the correct rate is derived. Measure c* supports the Nicod Criterion and undermines the Equivalence Condition, and hence, can be used to eliminate the Raven Paradox. An example indicates that measures F and b* are helpful for diagnosing the infection of Novel Coronavirus, whereas most popular confirmation measures are not. Another example reveals that all popular confirmation measures cannot be used to explain that a black raven can confirm "Ravens are black" more strongly than a piece of chalk. Measures F, b*, and c* indicate that the existence of fewer counterexamples is more important than more positive examples' existence, and hence, are compatible with Popper's falsification thought.

RevDate: 2021-03-09
CmpDate: 2021-03-09

Chen Z, Erickson DL, J Meng (2020)

Benchmarking Long-Read Assemblers for Genomic Analyses of Bacterial Pathogens Using Oxford Nanopore Sequencing.

International journal of molecular sciences, 21(23):.

Oxford Nanopore sequencing can be used to achieve complete bacterial genomes. However, the error rates of Oxford Nanopore long reads are greater compared to Illumina short reads. Long-read assemblers using a variety of assembly algorithms have been developed to overcome this deficiency, which have not been benchmarked for genomic analyses of bacterial pathogens using Oxford Nanopore long reads. In this study, long-read assemblers, namely Canu, Flye, Miniasm/Racon, Raven, Redbean, and Shasta, were thus benchmarked using Oxford Nanopore long reads of bacterial pathogens. Ten species were tested for mediocre- and low-quality simulated reads, and 10 species were tested for real reads. Raven was the most robust assembler, obtaining complete and accurate genomes. All Miniasm/Racon and Raven assemblies of mediocre-quality reads provided accurate antimicrobial resistance (AMR) profiles, while the Raven assembly of Klebsiella variicola with low-quality reads was the only assembly with an accurate AMR profile among all assemblers and species. All assemblers functioned well for predicting virulence genes using mediocre-quality and real reads, whereas only the Raven assemblies of low-quality reads had accurate numbers of virulence genes. Regarding multilocus sequence typing (MLST), Miniasm/Racon was the most effective assembler for mediocre-quality reads, while only the Raven assemblies of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and K. variicola with low-quality reads showed positive MLST results. Miniasm/Racon and Raven were the best performers for MLST using real reads. The Miniasm/Racon and Raven assemblies showed accurate phylogenetic inference. For the pan-genome analyses, Raven was the strongest assembler for simulated reads, whereas Miniasm/Racon and Raven performed the best for real reads. Overall, the most robust and accurate assembler was Raven, closely followed by Miniasm/Racon.

RevDate: 2020-12-03

Vernouillet A, Casidsid HJM, DM Kelly (2020)

Conspecific presence, but not pilferage, influences pinyon jays' (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) caching behavior.

Learning & behavior pii:10.3758/s13420-020-00450-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Caching species store food when plentiful to ensure availability when resources are scarce. These stores may be at risk of pilferage by others present at the time of caching. Cachers may reduce the risk of loss by using information from the social environment to engage in behaviors to secure the resource-cache protection strategies. Here, we examined whether pinyon jays, a highly social corvid, use information from the social environment to modify their caching behavior. Pinyon jays were provided with pine seeds to cache in two visually distinct trays. The cacher could be observed by a non-pilfering conspecific, a pilfering conspecific, or an inanimate heterospecific located in an adjoining cage compartment, or the cacher could be alone. After caching, the pilfered tray was placed in the adjoining compartment where caches were either pilfered (pilfering conspecific and inanimate heterospecific conditions) or remained intact (non-pilfering conspecific and alone conditions). The safe tray was placed in a visible, but inaccessible, location. Overall, pinyon jays reduced the number of pine seeds cached in the pilfered tray when observed, compared with caching alone. However, their caching behavior did not differ between the pilfering conspecific and the non-pilfering conspecific conditions. These results suggest that either pinyon jays were unable to discriminate between the pilfering and non-pilfering conspecifics, or they generalized their experience of risk from the pilfering conspecific to the non-pilfering conspecific. Thus, we report evidence that pinyon jays use cache protection strategies to secure their resources when observed, but respond similarly when observed by pilfering and non-pilfering conspecifics.

RevDate: 2021-01-12

Reha-Krantz LJ, MF Goodman (2020)

John W. (Jan) Drake: A Biochemical View of a Geneticist Par Excellence.

Genetics, 216(4):827-836.

John W. Drake died 02-02-2020, a mathematical palindrome, which he would have enjoyed, given his love of "word play and logic," as stated in his obituary and echoed by his family, friends, students, and colleagues. Many aspects of Jan's career have been reviewed previously, including his early years as a Caltech graduate student, and when he was editor-in-chief, with the devoted assistance of his wife Pam, of this journal for 15 impactful years. During his editorship, he raised the profile of GENETICS as the flagship journal of the Genetics Society of America and inspired and contributed to the creation of the Perspectives column, coedited by Jim Crow and William Dove. At the same time, Jan was building from scratch the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics on the newly established Research Triangle Park campus of the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, which he headed for 30 years. This commentary offers a unique perspective on Jan's legacy; we showcase Jan's 1969 benchmark discovery of antimutagenic T4 DNA polymerases and the research by three generations (and counting) of scientists whose research stems from that groundbreaking discovery. This is followed by a brief discussion of Jan's passion: his overriding interest in analyzing mutation rates across species. Several anecdotal stories are included to bring alive one of Jan's favorite phrases, "to think like a geneticist." We feature Jan's genetical approach to mutation studies, along with the biochemistry of DNA polymerase function, our area of expertise. But in the end, we acknowledge, as Jan did, that genetics, also known as in vivo biochemistry, prevails.

RevDate: 2020-11-27

Adawaren EO, Du Plessis M, Suleman E, et al (2020)

The complete mitochondrial genome of Gyps coprotheres (Aves, Accipitridae, Accipitriformes): phylogenetic analysis of mitogenome among raptors.

PeerJ, 8:e10034.

Three species of Old World vultures on the Asian peninsula are slowly recovering from the lethal consequences of diclofenac. At present the reason for species sensitivity to diclofenac is unknown. Furthermore, it has since been demonstrated that other Old World vultures like the Cape (Gyps coprotheres; CGV) and griffon (G. fulvus) vultures are also susceptible to diclofenac toxicity. Oddly, the New World Turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) and pied crow (Corvus albus) are not susceptible to diclofenac toxicity. As a result of the latter, we postulate an evolutionary link to toxicity. As a first step in understanding the susceptibility to diclofenac toxicity, we use the CGV as a model species for phylogenetic evaluations, by comparing the relatedness of various raptor species known to be susceptible, non-susceptible and suspected by their relationship to the Cape vulture mitogenome. This was achieved by next generation sequencing and assembly. The Cape vulture mitogenome had a genome size of 16,908 bp. The mitogenome phylogenetic analysis indicated a close evolutionary relationship between Old World vultures and other members of the Accipitridae as indicated by bootstrap value of 100% on the phylogenetic trees. Based on this, we postulate that the other species could also be sensitive to the toxic effects of diclofenac. This warrants further investigations.

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

O'Connor PM, Turner AH, Groenke JR, et al (2020)

Late Cretaceous bird from Madagascar reveals unique development of beaks.

Nature, 588(7837):272-276.

Mesozoic birds display considerable diversity in size, flight adaptations and feather organization1-4, but exhibit relatively conserved patterns of beak shape and development5-7. Although Neornithine (that is, crown group) birds also exhibit constraint on facial development8,9, they have comparatively diverse beak morphologies associated with a range of feeding and behavioural ecologies, in contrast to Mesozoic birds. Here we describe a crow-sized stem bird, Falcatakely forsterae gen. et sp. nov., from the Late Cretaceous epoch of Madagascar that possesses a long and deep rostrum, an expression of beak morphology that was previously unknown among Mesozoic birds and is superficially similar to that of a variety of crown-group birds (for example, toucans). The rostrum of Falcatakely is composed of an expansive edentulous maxilla and a small tooth-bearing premaxilla. Morphometric analyses of individual bony elements and three-dimensional rostrum shape reveal the development of a neornithine-like facial anatomy despite the retention of a maxilla-premaxilla organization that is similar to that of nonavialan theropods. The patterning and increased height of the rostrum in Falcatakely reveals a degree of developmental lability and increased morphological disparity that was previously unknown in early branching avialans. Expression of this phenotype (and presumed ecology) in a stem bird underscores that consolidation to the neornithine-like, premaxilla-dominated rostrum was not an evolutionary prerequisite for beak enlargement.

RevDate: 2020-11-24

Wagener L, A Nieder (2020)

Categorical Auditory Working Memory in Crows.

iScience, 23(11):101737.

The ability to group sensory data into behaviorally meaningful classes and to maintain these perceptual categories active in working memory is key to intelligent behavior. Here, we show that carrion crows, highly vocal and cognitively advanced corvid songbirds, possess categorical auditory working memory. The crows were trained in a delayed match-to-category task that required them to flexibly match remembered sounds based on the upward or downward shift of the sounds' frequency modulation. After training, the crows instantaneously classified novel sounds into the correct auditory categories. The crows showed sharp category boundaries as a function of the relative frequency interval of the modulation. In addition, the crows generalized frequency-modulated sounds within a category and correctly classified novel sounds kept in working memory irrespective of other acoustic features of the sound. This suggests that crows can form and actively memorize auditory perceptual categories in the service of cognitive control of their goal-directed behaviors.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Mughal R, Hill CM, Joyce A, et al (2020)

Sleep and Cognition in Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Brain sciences, 10(11):.

Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) experience significantly higher rates of sleep disturbances than their typically developing peers. However, little is known about the association between sleep and the cognitive phenotype in these clinical populations. Structural damage affecting cortical and subcortical connectivity occurs as a result of prenatal alcohol exposure in children with FASD, whilst it is believed an abundance of short-range connectivity explains the phenotypic manifestations of childhood ASD. These underlying neural structural and connectivity differences manifest as cognitive patterns, with some shared and some unique characteristics between FASD and ASD. This is the first study to examine sleep and its association with cognition in individuals with FASD, and to compare sleep in individuals with FASD and ASD. We assessed children aged 6-12 years with a diagnosis of FASD (n = 29), ASD (n = 21), and Typically Developing (TD) children (n = 46) using actigraphy (CamNTech Actiwatch 8), digit span tests of working memory (Weschler Intelligence Scale), tests of nonverbal mental age (MA; Ravens Standard Progressive Matrices), receptive vocabulary (British Picture Vocabulary Scale), and a choice reaction time (CRT) task. Children with FASD and ASD presented with significantly shorter total sleep duration, lower sleep efficiency, and more nocturnal wakings than their TD peers. Sleep was significantly associated with scores on the cognitive tests in all three groups. Our findings support the growing body of work asserting that sleep is significant to cognitive functioning in these neurodevelopmental conditions; however, more research is needed to determine cause and effect.

RevDate: 2021-03-17
CmpDate: 2021-03-17

Snow NP, Wishart JD, Foster JA, et al (2021)

Efficacy and risks from a modified sodium nitrite toxic bait for wild pigs.

Pest management science, 77(4):1616-1625.

BACKGROUND: Wild pigs (Sus scrofa) are a destructive invasive species throughout many regions of the world. In 2018, a field evaluation of an early prototype of a sodium nitrite (SN) toxic bait in the United States revealed wild pigs dropped large amounts of the toxic bait outside the pig-specific bait stations while feeding, and thus subsequent hazards for non-target animals. We modified the SN-toxic bait formulation, the design of the bait station, and the baiting strategy to reduce dropped bait. We tested the modifications in Queensland, Australia (December 2018), Alabama, USA (August 2019), and Texas, USA (March 2020) under differing climatic and seasonal conditions for one night.

RESULTS: Cumulatively we found 161 carcasses of all age classes of wild pigs using systematic transects. Remote camera indices indicated high lethality for wild pigs, achieving population reductions of 76.3 to 90.4%. Wild pigs dropped only small particles of SN-toxic bait (average = 55.5 g per bait site), which represented a 19-fold decrease from the previous trial. Despite this reduction, we found three Australian ravens (Corvus coronoides) in Queensland, two Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) in Alabama, and 35 granivorous-passerine birds (mostly dark-eyed juncos [Junco hyemalis]) in Texas dead from consuming the dropped bait. We did not detect any population-level effects for those species.

CONCLUSION: Our modifications were effective at reducing populations of wild pigs, but the deaths of non-target species require further steps to minimize these hazards. Next steps will include evaluating various deterrent devices for birds the morning after SN-toxic bait has been offered. Published 2020. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Nesbitt SJ, Zawiskie JM, RM Dawley (2020)

The osteology and phylogenetic position of the loricatan (Archosauria: Pseudosuchia) Heptasuchus clarki, from the ?Mid-Upper Triassic, southeastern Big Horn Mountains, Central Wyoming (USA).

PeerJ, 8:e10101.

Loricatan pseudosuchians (known as "rauisuchians") typically consist of poorly understood fragmentary remains known worldwide from the Middle Triassic to the end of the Triassic Period. Renewed interest and the discovery of more complete specimens recently revolutionized our understanding of the relationships of archosaurs, the origin of Crocodylomorpha, and the paleobiology of these animals. However, there are still few loricatans known from the Middle to early portion of the Late Triassic and the forms that occur during this time are largely known from southern Pangea or Europe. Heptasuchus clarki was the first formally recognized North American "rauisuchian" and was collected from a poorly sampled and disparately fossiliferous sequence of Triassic strata in North America. Exposed along the trend of the Casper Arch flanking the southeastern Big Horn Mountains, the type locality of Heptasuchus clarki occurs within a sequence of red beds above the Alcova Limestone and Crow Mountain formations within the Chugwater Group. The age of the type locality is poorly constrained to the Middle-early Late Triassic and is likely similar to or just older than that of the Popo Agie Formation assemblage from the western portion of Wyoming. The holotype consists of associated cranial elements found in situ, and the referred specimens consist of crania and postcrania. Thus, about 30% of the osteology of the taxon is preserved. All of the pseudosuchian elements collected at the locality appear to belong to Heptasuchus clarki and the taxon is not a chimera as previously hypothesized. Heptasuchus clarki is distinct from all other archosaurs by the presence of large, posteriorly directed flanges on the parabasisphenoid and a distinct, orbit-overhanging postfrontal. Our phylogenetic hypothesis posits a sister-taxon relationship between Heptasuchus clarki and the Ladinian-aged Batrachotomus kupferzellensis from current-day Germany within Loricata. These two taxa share a number of apomorphies from across the skull and their phylogenetic position further supports 'rauisuchian' paraphyly. A minimum of three individuals of Heptasuchus are present at the type locality suggesting that a group of individuals died together, similar to other aggregations of loricatans (e.g., Heptasuchus, Batrachotomus, Decuriasuchus, Postosuchus).

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Blum CR, Fitch WT, T Bugnyar (2020)

Rapid Learning and Long-Term Memory for Dangerous Humans in Ravens (Corvus corax).

Frontiers in psychology, 11:581794.

Like many predatory species, humans have pronounced individual differences in their interactions with potential prey: some humans pose a lethal threat while others may provide valuable resources. Recognizing individual humans would thus allow prey species to maximize potential rewards while ensuring survival. Previous studies on corvids showed they can recognize and remember individual humans. For instance, wild American crows produced alarm calls toward specifically masked humans up to 2.7 years after those humans had caught and ringed them while wearing that mask. However, individual behavior of the crows or the impact of social features on their responses, was hardly examined. Here, we studied predator learning and social effects on responses, using a similar method, in captive common ravens (Corvus corax). We investigated learning and the impact of key social components on individual reactions to artificial predators. Human experimenters wore two types of masks while walking past two raven aviaries. In four training trials, the "dangerous" mask was presented while carrying a dead raven, whereas the "neutral" mask was presented empty-handed. Between every training trial and in all following trials, we presented both masks without dead ravens. We assessed the subjects' (i) learning speed, (ii) selective long-term response, and (iii) potential effects of social dynamics on individual alarm calling frequency. Ravens learned quickly (often based on the first trial), and some individuals distinguished the dangerous from the neutral mask for the next 4 years. Despite having received the same amount and quality of exposure to the dangerous mask, we found pronounced individual differences in alarm calling that were fairly consistent across test trials in socially stable situations: dominance, but not sex explained individual differences in alarm responses, indicating the potential use of alarm calls as "status symbols." These findings fit to those in wild bird populations and dominant individuals signaling their quality. Changes in the individuals' participation and intensity of alarm calling coincided with changes in group composition and pair formation, further supporting the role of social context on ravens' alarm calling.

RevDate: 2021-01-19
CmpDate: 2021-01-19

Drysdale M, Ratelle M, Skinner K, et al (2021)

Human biomonitoring results of contaminant and nutrient biomarkers in Old Crow, Yukon, Canada.

The Science of the total environment, 760:143339.

Several large-scale human biomonitoring projects have been conducted in Canada, including the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) and the First Nations Biomonitoring Initiative (FNBI). However, neither of these studies included participants living in the Yukon. To address this data gap, a human biomonitoring project was implemented in Old Crow, a fly-in Gwich'in community in the northern Yukon. The results of this project provide baseline levels of contaminant and nutrient biomarkers from Old Crow in 2019. Samples of hair, blood, and/or urine were collected from approximately 44% of community residents (77 of 175 adults). These samples were analyzed for contaminants (including heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs)), and nutrients (including trace elements and omega-3 fatty acids). Levels of these analytes were compared to health-based guidance values, when available, and results from other human biomonitoring projects in Canada. Levels of lead (GM 0.64 μg/g creatinine in urine/24 μg/L blood), cadmium (GM 0.32 μg/g creatinine in urine/0.85 μg/L blood), and mercury (GM < LOD in urine/0.76 μg/L blood/0.31 μg/g hair) were below select health-based guidance values for more than 95% of participants. However, compared to the general Canadian population, elevated levels of some contaminants, including lead (approximately 2× higher), cobalt (approximately 1.5× higher), manganese (approximately 1.3× higher), and hexachlorobenzene (approximately 1.5× higher) were observed. In contrast, levels of other POPs, including insecticides such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), its metabolite, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were similar to, or lower than, those reported in the general Canadian population. This study can be used along with future biomonitoring programs to evaluate the effectiveness of international initiatives designed to reduce the contaminant burden in the Arctic, including the Stockholm Convention and the Minamata Convention. Regionally, this project complements environmental monitoring being conducted in the region, informing local and regional traditional food consumption advisories.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

Shahhosseini N, Frederick C, Racine T, et al (2021)

Modeling host-feeding preference and molecular systematics of mosquitoes in different ecological niches in Canada.

Acta tropica, 213:105734.

Several mosquito-borne viruses (mobovirus) cause infections in Canada. Ecological data on mosquito species and host range in Canada remains elusive. The main aim of the current study is to determine the host range and molecular systematics of mosquito species in Canada. Mosquitoes were collected using BG-Sentinel traps and aspirators at 10 trapping sites in Canada during 2018 and 2019. Mosquitoes collected were identified via morphology and molecular techniques. Mosquito sequences were aligned by MUSCLE algorithm and evolutionary systematics were drawn using MEGA and SDT software. Moreover, the source of blood meals was identified using a DNA barcoding technique. A total of 5,708 female mosquitoes over 34 different taxa were collected. DNA barcodes and evolutionary tree analysis confirmed the identification of mosquito species in Canada. Of the total collected samples, 201 specimens were blood-fed female mosquitoes in 20 different taxa. Four mosquito species represented about half (51.47%) of all collected blood-fed specimens: Aede cinereus (39 specimens, 19.11%), Aedes triseriatus (23, 11.27%), Culex pipiens (22, 10.78%), and Anopheles punctipennis (21, 10.29%). The most common blood meal sources were humans (49 mosquito specimens, 24% of all blood-fed mosquito specimen), pigs (44, 21.5%), American red squirrels (28, 13.7%), white-tailed deers (28, 13.7%), and American crows (16, 7.8%). Here, we present the first analysis of the host-feeding preference of different mosquito species in Canada via molecular techniques. Our results on mosquito distribution and behavior will aid in the development of effective mitigation and control strategies to prevent or reduce human/animal health issues in regards to moboviruses.

RevDate: 2021-02-18

Heasley LR, Sampaio NMV, JL Argueso (2021)

Systemic and rapid restructuring of the genome: a new perspective on punctuated equilibrium.

Current genetics, 67(1):57-63.

The rates and patterns by which cells acquire mutations profoundly shape their evolutionary trajectories and phenotypic potential. Conventional models maintain that mutations are acquired independently of one another over many successive generations. Yet, recent evidence suggests that cells can also experience mutagenic processes that drive rapid genome evolution. One such process manifests as punctuated bursts of genomic instability, in which multiple new mutations are acquired simultaneously during transient episodes of genomic instability. This mutational mode is reminiscent of the theory of punctuated equilibrium, proposed by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge in 1972 to explain the burst-like appearance of new species in the fossil record. In this review, we survey the dominant and emerging theories of eukaryotic genome evolution with a particular focus on the growing body of work that substantiates the existence and importance of punctuated bursts of genomic instability. In addition, we summarize and discuss two recent studies from our own group, the results of which indicate that punctuated bursts systemic genomic instability (SGI) can rapidly reconfigure the structure of the diploid genome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

RevDate: 2021-02-10

Armenteros JA, Caro J, SÁnchez-GarcÍa C, et al (2021)

Do non-target species visit feeders and water troughs targeting small game? A study from farmland Spain using camera-trapping.

Integrative zoology, 16(2):226-239.

Provision of food and water is a widespread tool implemented around the world for the benefit of game and other wildlife, but factors affecting the use of food and water by non-target species are poorly known. We evaluated visits to feeders and water troughs by non-game species using camera-traps in two separate areas of Spain. Feeders and water troughs were either "protected" (when surrounded by more than 50% of shrubs/forest) or "open" (in the opposite case). A total of 18 948 photos from 5344 camera-trapping days depicted animals, and 75 species were identified. Feeders and water troughs were visited by target species (partridges and lagomorphs, 55.3% of visits) and non-target species (44.7% of visits). Among the latter, corvids were the most common (46.1% of visits), followed by rodents (26.8%), other birds (23.6%, mainly passerines), columbids (1.9%), and other species at minor percentages. The highest proportion of visiting days to feeders and water troughs was from corvids (0.173) followed by other-birds (0.109) and rodents (0.083); the lowest proportion was recorded for columbids (0.016). Use intensity and visit frequency of water troughs tripled that recorded in feeders, and visits to open feeders/troughs were approximately twice those to protected ones. In summary: feeders and water troughs targeting small game species are also used regularly by non-target ones; they should be set close to cover to optimize their use by non-target species that are not competitors of target species (though corvids may visit them); water availability should be prioritized where drought periods are expected.

RevDate: 2021-01-04
CmpDate: 2021-01-04

Boeckle M, Schiestl M, Frohnwieser A, et al (2020)

New Caledonian crows plan for specific future tool use.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 287(1938):20201490.

The ability to plan for future events is one of the defining features of human intelligence. Whether non-human animals can plan for specific future situations remains contentious: despite a sustained research effort over the last two decades, there is still no consensus on this question. Here, we show that New Caledonian crows can use tools to plan for specific future events. Crows learned a temporal sequence where they were (a) shown a baited apparatus, (b) 5 min later given a choice of five objects and (c) 10 min later given access to the apparatus. At test, these crows were presented with one of two tool-apparatus combinations. For each combination, the crows chose the right tool for the right future task, while ignoring previously useful tools and a low-value food item. This study establishes that planning for specific future tool use can evolve via convergent evolution, given that corvids and humans shared a common ancestor over 300 million years ago, and offers a route to mapping the planning capacities of animals.


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.

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