• Panda downlisted but not out of the woods

      Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Wang, Dajun; Wei, Fuwen (2018)
      The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is no longer Endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) storied Red List. The decision to downlist the panda to Vulnerable has its foundation in a systematic assessment of population parameters as determined by China State Forestry Administration's circa decadal national survey and other scientific outputs, compared to standardized criteria used by IUCN to determine the status of all species. This decision has not been without controversy and disagreement, perhaps reflecting disparities between how people view the term “Endangered” and the criteria established by the IUCN. Here, we explore the architecture of recovery of this iconic “Endangered” species, make transparent the process of the IUCN downlisting decision, evaluate emerging threats to pandas on the horizon, and contemplate the meaning of this milestone for endangered species conservation. Through this revelation, we find profound reasons for hope for species conservation everywhere, and a useful example of success in the making. However, this positive message comes with measured caution. The Chinese government and conservation community must maintain its focus and investment on panda conservation, and contend with strategies to address new threats. If they do not, the panda will return to “Endangered” status once again.
    • Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus in 3 wildlife species, San Diego, California, USA

      Schrenzel, Mark D.; Tucker, Tammy A.; Stalis, Ilse H.; Kagan, Rebecca A.; Burns, Russell P.; Denison, Amy M.; Drew, Clifton P.; Paddock, Christopher D.; Rideout, Bruce (2011)
      The influenza A pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus rapidly created a global pandemic among humans and also appears to have strong infectivity for a broad range of animal species (1–3). The virus has been found repeatedly in swine and has been detected in a dog, cats, turkeys, and domestic ferrets and in nondomestic animals, including skunks, cheetahs, and giant anteaters (2–4). In some cases, animal-to-animal transmission may have occurred, raising concern about the development of new wildlife reservoirs. In 2009, the first recognized occurrence of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in southern California in April was followed by a surge of cases during October through November (4). During this time, respiratory illness developed in a 12-year-old male American badger (Taxidea taxus taxus), a 19-year-old female Bornean binturong (Arctictis binturong penicillatus), and a 7-year-old black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) housed in a San Diego zoological garden....
    • Past experiences and future expectations generate context-dependent costs of foraging

      Berger-Tal, Oded; Embar, Keren; Kotler, Burt P.; Saltz, David (2014)
      We released Allenby’s gerbils (Gerbillus andersoni allenbyi) into an enclosure containing rich patches with equal amounts of food and manipulated the quality of the environment over time by reducing the amount of food in most (but not all) food patches and then increasing it again…. Specifically, in the second rich period, the gerbils spent more time foraging and harvested more food from the patches. Thus, seemingly identical environments can be treated as strikingly different by foragers as a function of their past experiences and future expectations.
    • Pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of amphibian chytridiomycosis

      Baitchman, Eric J.; Pessier, Allan P. (2013)
      Amphibian chytridiomycosis, caused by the chytridiomycete fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is responsible for a global pandemic that has dramatically reduced global amphibian populations and diversity. Species declines, extirpations, and extinctions attributed to chytridiomycosis have occurred in Australia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States….
    • Pathologic changes associated with suspected hypovitaminosis A in amphibians under managed care

      Rodríguez, Carlos E.; Pessier, Allan P. (2014)
      Vitamin A deficiency is a recently recognized nutritional disease in amphibians fed insect-based diets…. This review highlights the need to establish standardized guidelines for optimal postmortem tissue sampling of amphibians in order to maximize the accurate diagnosis of pathologic lesions that may be associated with hypovitaminosis A.
    • Patterns of genetic partitioning and gene flow in the endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami parvus) and implications for conservation management

      Hendricks, Sarah; Navarro, Asako Y.; Wang, Thea B.; Wilder, Aryn P.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Shier, Debra M. (2020)
      ...We examined the genetic diversity, population structure, and phylogeography of this subspecies using partial mitochrondrial DNA sequencing and microsatellite genotyping. Our study indicates that currently, the three remaining populations seem to be highly fragmented....
    • Patterns of mortality in free-ranging California condors (Gymnogyps californianus)

      Rideout, Bruce; Stalis, Ilse H.; Papendick, Rebecca; Pessier, Alan P.; Puschner, B.; Finkelstien, M.E.; Smith, D.R.; Johnson, M.; Mace, Michael E.; Stroud, R.; et al. (2012)
      We document causes of death in free-ranging California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus) from the inception of the reintroduction program in 1992 through December 2009 to identify current and historic mortality factors that might interfere with establishment of self-sustaining populations in the wild. A total of 135 deaths occurred from October 1992 (the first post-release death) through December 2009, from a maximum population-at-risk of 352 birds, for a cumulative crude mortality rate of 38%. A definitive cause of death was determined for 76 of the 98 submitted cases, 70%(53/76) of which were attributed to anthropogenic causes. Trash ingestion was the most important mortality factor in nestlings (proportional mortality rate [PMR] 73%; 8/11), while lead toxicosis was the most important factor in juveniles (PMR 26%; 13/50) and adults (PMR 67%; 10/15). These results demonstrate that the leading causes of death at all California Condor release sites are anthropogenic. The mortality factors thought to be important in the decline of the historic California Condor population, particularly lead poisoning, remain the most important documented mortality factors today. Without effective mitigation, these factors can be expected to have the same effects on the sustainability of the wild populations as they have in the past.
    • Peatlands of the Madre de Dios River of Peru: Distribution, geomorphology, and habitat diversity

      Householder, J. Ethan; Janovec, John P.; Tobler, Mathias W.; Page, Susan; Lähteenoja, Outi (2012)
      We present results of research concerning the distribution, depth, volume, geomorphology, and habitat diversity of peatlands in the southern Peruvian Amazon. We identified 295 peatlands covering 294 km2 and ranging in size from 10 to 3,500 ha….
    • Pedigree analysis reveals a generational decline in reproductive success of captive Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii): implications for captive management of threatened species

      Farquharson, Katherine A.; Hogg, Carolyn J.; Grueber, Catherine E. (2017)
      Captive breeding programs are an increasingly popular tool to augment the conservation of threatened wild populations. Many programs keep detailed pedigrees, which are used to prescribe breeding targets to meet demographic and genetic goals....
    • Pedigree reconstruction using molecular data reveals an early warning sign of gene diversity loss in an island population of Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii)

      McLennan, Elspeth A.; Gooley, Rebecca M.; Wise, Phil; Belov, Katherine; Hogg, Carolyn J.; Grueber, Catherine E. (2018)
      Tasmanian devils have experienced an 85% population decline since the emergence of an infectious cancer. In response, a captive insurance population was established in 2006 with a subpopulation later introduced onto Maria Island, Tasmania. We aimed to (1) examine the genetic parameters of the Maria Island population as a stand-alone site and within its broader metapopulation context, (2) assess the efficacy of assisted colonisations, and (3) inform future translocations. This study reconstructs the pedigree of 86 island-born devils using 31 polymorphic microsatellite loci. Combined molecular and pedigree analysis was used to monitor change in population genetic parameters in 4 years since colonisation. Molecular analysis alone revealed no significant change in genetic diversity, while DNA-reconstructed pedigree analysis revealed a statistically significant increase in inbreeding due to skewed founder representation. Pedigree modelling predicted that gene diversity would only be maintained above the threshold of 95% for a further 2 years, dropping to 77.1% after 40 years. Modelling alternative supplementation strategies revealed introducing eight new founders every 3 years will enable the population to retain 95% gene diversity until 2056, provided the translocated animals breed; to ensure this we recommend introducing ten new females every 3 years. We highlight the value of combining pedigree analyses with molecular data, from both a single-site and metapopulation viewpoint, for analysing changes in genetic parameters within populations of conservation concern. The importance of post-release genetic monitoring in an established population is emphasised, given how quickly inbreeding can accumulate and gene diversity be lost.
    • Personality assessment in African elephants (Loxodonta africana): Comparing the temporal stability of ethological coding versus trait rating

      Horback, Kristina M.; Miller, Lance J.; Kuczaj, Stan A. (2013)
      The consistency of personality assessment was addressed in this study of 12 zoological African elephants living at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, CA, USA during the 2010 and 2011 summer seasons. Using 480 h of observational behavior data, three personality traits were determined based on behavior events, with the most significant correlations (two-tailed rs > 0.77, P < 0.005) being playful, curious, and sociable….
    • Peters anomaly in a red kangaroo (macropus rufus)

      Suedmeyer, Wm. Kirk; Pearce, Jacqueline; Persky, Meredith; Houck, Marlys L. (2014)
      A 10-mo-old female red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) presented with a unilateral congenital corneal opacity OD…. The maternal and paternal adult pairing has been discontinued in an effort to prevent future offspring anomalies.
    • Peyrieras' woolly lemur (Avahi peyrierasi). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Eppley, Timothy M.; Patel, E. (2020)
      A population reduction of greater than or equal to 30% is predicted to occur over a three-generation time period (30 years) in the future, based on continuing and projected decline in area, extent and quality of habitat, in addition to ongoing and projected exploitation through unsustainable hunting pressure. The extent of occurrence (EOO) of this species is 6,991 km2 and extremely fragmented. Based on these premises, the species is listed as Vulnerable.
    • Phenotypic plasticity in the timing of reproduction in Andean bears

      Appleton, R. D.; Van Horn, Russell C.; Noyce, K. V.; Spady, T. J.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Arcese, P. (2018)
      Many factors influence whether mammals reproduce seasonally or continuously but disentangling them can be challenging in free‐living species that are hard to observe. We described the seasonality of reproduction in Andean bears (Tremarctos ornatus) in NW Peru (6°26′S, 79°33′W) to test for phenotypic plasticity in response to extrinsic cues.
    • Phenotypic variability along a climatic gradient in a perennial afrotropical rainforest understorey herb

      Ley, Alexandra C.; Herzog, Patrick; Lachmuth, Susanne; Abwe, Abwe E.; Christian, Mbella F.; Sesink Clee, Paul R.; Abwe, Ekwoge E.; Morgan, Bethan J.; Gonder, Mary K. (2018)
      Plants evolved in response to climatic conditions, which shaped their geographic distribution, functional traits and genetic composition. In the face of climatic changes, plants have to react by either genetic adaptation, phenotypic plasticity or geographic range shift....
    • Photos provide information on age, but not kinship, of Andean bear

      Van Horn, Russell C.; Zug, Becky; Appleton, Robyn D.; Velez-Liendo, Ximena; Paisley, Susanna; LaCombe, Corrin (2015)
      Using photos of captive Andean bears of known age and pedigree, and photos of wild Andean bear cubs <6 months old, we evaluated the degree to which visual information may be used to estimate bears’ ages and assess their kinship. We demonstrate that the ages of Andean bear cubs ≤6 months old may be estimated from their size relative to their mothers with an average error of <0.01 ± 13.2 days (SD; n = 14), and that ages of adults ≥10 years old may be estimated from the proportion of their nose that is pink with an average error of <0.01 ± 3.5 years (n = 41). We also show that similarity among the bears’ natural markings, as perceived by humans, is not associated with pedigree kinship among the bears (R2 < 0.001, N = 1,043, p = 0.499). Thus, researchers may use photos of wild Andean bears to estimate the ages of young cubs and older adults, but not to infer their kinship. Given that camera trap photos are one of the most readily available sources of information on large cryptic mammals, we suggest that similar methods be tested for use in other poorly understood species.
    • Phylogenetic utility of nuclear introns in interfamilial relationships of Caniformia (Order Carnivora)

      Yu, L.; Luan, P.-T.; Jin, W.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Chemnick, Leona G.; Davis, Heidi A.; Zhang, Y.-P. (2011)
      The monophyletic group Caniformia (dog-like carnivores) in the order Carnivora comprises 9 families. Except for the general consensus for the earliest divergence of Canidae and the grouping of Procyonidae and Mustelidae, conflicting phylogenetic hypotheses exist for the other caniformian families. In the present study, a data set comprising > 22 kb of 22 nuclear intron loci from 16 caniformian species is used to investigate the phylogenetic utility of nuclear introns in resolving the interfamilial relationships of Caniformia. Our phylogenetic analyses support Ailuridae as the sister taxon to a clade containing Procyonidae and Mustelidae, with Mephitinae being the sister taxon to all of them. The unresolved placements of Ursidae and Pinnipeds here emphasize a need to add more data and include more taxa to resolve this problem. The present study not only resolves some of the ambiguous relationships in Caniformia phylogeny but also shows that the noncoding nuclear markers can offer powerful complementary data for estimating the species tree. None of the newly developed introns here have previously been used for phylogeny reconstruction, thus increasing the spectrum of molecular markers available to mammalian systematics. Interestingly, all the newly developed intron data partitions exhibit intraindividual allele heterozygotes (IIAHs). There are 115 cases of IIAHs in total. The incorporation of IIAHs into phylogenetic analysis not only provides insights into the interfamilial relationships of Caniformia but also identifies two potential hybridization events occurred within Ursidae and Otariidae, respectively. Finally, the powers and pitfalls of phylogenetics using nuclear introns as markers are discussed in the context of Caniformia phylogeny.
    • Phylogeography of the endangered Lesser Antillean iguana, Iguana delicatissima: a recent diaspora in an archipelago known for ancient herpetological endemism

      Martin, Jessica L.; Knapp, Charles R.; Gerber, Glenn P.; Thorpe, Roger S; Welch, Mark E. (2015)
      Iguana delicatissima is an endangered endemic of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. Phylogeographic analyses for many terrestrial vertebrate species in the Caribbean, particularly lizards, suggest ancient divergence times. Often, the closest relatives of species are found on the same island, indicating that colonization rates are so low that speciation on islands is often more likely to generate biodiversity than subsequent colonization events…. Despite the great distances between islands and habitat heterogeneity within islands, this species is characterized by low haplotype diversity.
    • Physiological consequences of Arctic sea ice loss on large marine carnivores: Unique responses by polar bears and narwhals

      Pagano, Anthony M.; Williams, Terrie M. (2021)
      Rapid environmental changes in the Arctic are threatening the survival of marine species that rely on the predictable presence of the sea ice. Two Arctic marine mammal specialists, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and narwhal (Monodon monoceros), appear especially vulnerable to the speed and capriciousness of sea ice deterioration as a consequence of their unique hunting behaviors and diet, as well as their physiological adaptations for slow-aerobic exercise….
    • Pitheciins: Use of time and space

      Setz, E.Z.F.; Pinto, L.P.; Bowler, Mark; Barnett, A.A.; Vie, J.C.; Barnett, A.A.; Veiga, L.M.; Ferrari, S.F.; Norconk, M.A. (Cambridge University PressCambridge, 2013)