• Terrestrial locomotion and other adaptive behaviors in howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra) living in forest fragments

      Serio-Silva, J. C.; Ramirez-Julian, R.; Eppley, Timothy M.; Chapman, C. A.; Reyna, R.; Chapman, C. A. (Springer NatureNew York, 2019)
      Howler monkeys (Alouatta spp.) are arguably one of the most successful primates in coping with highly fragmented habitats because of their flexible, yet mainly folivorous, diet. While they are able to survive, many other arboreal primate species appear to gradually disappear from these anthropogenic landscapes....
    • Testicular seminomas in two giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

      Molter, Christine M. (Disney’s Animals, Science, and EnvironmentOrlando, Florida, 2014)
    • The acoustic structure of male giant panda bleats varies according to intersexual context

      Charlton, Benjamin D.; Keating, Jennifer L.; Rengui, Li; Huang, Yan; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2015)
      ...These results show that acoustic features of male giant panda bleats have the potential to signal the caller's motivational state, and suggest that males increase the rate of fundamental frequency modulation in bleats when they are alone to maximally broadcast their quality and promote close-range contact with receptive females during the breeding season...
    • The acute phase protein ceruloplasmin as a non-invasive marker of pseudopregnancy, pregnancy, and pregnancy loss in the giant panda

      Willis, Erin L.; Kersey, David C.; Durrant, Barbara S.; Kouba, Andrew J. (2011)
      After ovulation, non-pregnant female giant pandas experience pseudopregnancy. During pseudopregnancy, non-pregnant females exhibit physiological and behavioral changes similar to pregnancy. Monitoring hormonal patterns that are usually different in pregnant mammals are not effective at determining pregnancy status in many animals that undergo pseudopregnancy, including the giant panda. Therefore, a physiological test to distinguish between pregnancy and pseudopregnancy in pandas has eluded scientists for decades. We examined other potential markers of pregnancy and found that activity of the acute phase protein ceruloplasmin increases in urine of giant pandas in response to pregnancy. Results indicate that in term pregnancies, levels of active urinary ceruloplasmin were elevated the first week of pregnancy and remain elevated until 20–24 days prior to parturition, while no increase was observed during the luteal phase in known pseudopregnancies. Active ceruloplasmin also increased during ultrasound-confirmed lost pregnancies; however, the pattern was different compared to term pregnancies, particularly during the late luteal phase. In four out of the five additional reproductive cycles included in the current study where females were bred but no birth occurred, active ceruloplasmin in urine increased during the luteal phase. Similar to the known lost pregnancies, the temporal pattern of change in urinary ceruloplasmin during the luteal phase deviated from the term pregnancies suggesting that these cycles may have also been lost pregnancies. Among giant pandas in captivity, it has been presumed that there is a high rate of pregnancy loss and our results are the first to provide evidence supporting this notion.
    • The Andean bear alopecia syndrome may be caused by social housing

      Van Horn, Russell C.; Sutherland-Smith, Meg; Sarcos, Andrés E. Bracho; Thomas, Gaylene; Shanks, Jacob A.; Owen, Megan A. (2019)
      The Andean bear alopecia syndrome is a progressive and chronic condition documented in ex situ populations. Recent advances focus on treating symptoms, not preventing future cases. We therefore explored the epidemiology of this syndrome through an analysis of husbandry and veterinary conditions of 63 Andean bears (26M:37F) housed in North and South American zoos and other ex situ circumstances. We had the most complete information for the North American population and found that 29% of females (n = 24) were affected. No males (n = 26) were affected. An analysis of generalized linear models indicated that three models were competitive in describing the occurrence of the condition (i.e., ?AICc ? 2): the model including only the individual's sex (?2 = 13.41, df = 1, p < .001), the model including both individual sex and social housing status (?2 = 1.36, df = 2, p < .001), and the model including both individual sex and the expression of stereotypical behaviors (?2 = 13.82, df = 2, p = .001). Stereotypical behaviors were common among both males (50%, n = 26) and females (51.9%, n = 27) whether or not they were affected, but the syndrome was seen only in females who had been socially housed. Therefore, we suggest that the Andean bear alopecia syndrome is a symptomatic response to the long-term social housing of bears that would otherwise not live socially. To prevent new cases, we recommend that female Andean bears be housed with adult conspecifics only when females choose to cohabitate.
    • The birds of Genome10K

      OBrien, Stephen J.; Haussler, David; Ryder, Oliver A. (2014)
      Everyone loves the birds of the world. From their haunting songs and majesty of flight to dazzling plumage and mating rituals, bird watchers – both amateurs and professionals - have marveled for centuries at their considerable adaptations. Now, we are offered a special treat with the publication of a series of papers in dedicated issues of Science, Genome Biology and GigaScience (which also included pre-publication data release). These present the successful beginnings of an international interdisciplinary venture, the Avian Phylogenomics Project that lets us view, through a genomics lens, modern bird species and the evolutionary events that produced them.
    • The case of X and Y localization of Nucleolus Organizer Regions (NORs) in Tragulus javanicus (Cetartiodactyla, Mammalia)

      Proskuryakova, Anastasia A.; Kulemzina, Anastasia I.; Perelman, Polina L.; Serdukova, Natalia A.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Graphodatsky, Alexander S. (2018)
      There are differences in number and localization of nucleolus organizer regions (NORs) in genomes. In mammalian genomes, NORs are located on autosomes, which are often situated on short arms of acrocentric chromosomes and more rarely in telomeric, pericentromeric, or interstitial regions. In this work, we report the unique case of active NORs located on gonоsomes of a eutherian mammal, the Javan mouse-deer (Tragulus javanicus). We have investigated the position of NORs by FISH experiments with ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences (18S, 5.8S, and 28S) and show the presence of a single NOR site on the X and Y chromosomes. The NOR is localized interstitially on the p-arm of the X chromosome in close proximity with prominent C-positive heterochromatin blocks and in the pericentromeric area of mostly heterochromatic Y. The NOR sites are active on both the X and Y chromosomes in the studied individual and surrounded by GC enriched heterochromatin. We hypothesize that the surrounding heterochromatin might have played a role in the transfer of NORs from autosomes to sex chromosomes during the karyotype evolution of the Javan mouse-deer
    • The conservation status of the world’s reptiles

      Böhm, Monika; Collen, Ben; Baillie, Jonathan E.M.; Bowles, Philip; Chanson, Janice; Cox, Neil; Hammerson, Geoffrey; Hoffmann, Michael; Livingstone, Suzanne R.; Ram, Mala; et al. (2013)
      …We present the first ever global analysis of extinction risk in reptiles, based on a random representative sample of 1500 species (16% of all currently known species). To our knowledge, our results provide the first analysis of the global conservation status and distribution patterns of reptiles and the threats affecting them, highlighting conservation priorities and knowledge gaps which need to be addressed urgently to ensure the continued survival of the world’s reptiles….
    • The cryptic genetic structure of the North American captive gorilla population

      Nsubuga, A.M.; Holzman, J.; Chemnick, Leona G.; Ryder, Oliver A.; (2010)
      Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) were imported from across their geographical range to North American zoos from the late 1800s through 1974.... Here, we analyze 32 microsatellite loci in 144 individuals using a Bayesian clustering method to delineate clusters of individuals among a sample of founders of the captive North American zoo gorilla collection....
    • The distribution, status, and conservation outlook of the drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus) in Cameroon

      Morgan, Bethan J.; Abwe, E.A.; Dixson, A.F.; Astaras, C. (2013)
      The populations of many endangered species are becoming increasingly fragmented, and accurate, current information on the status of these subpopulations is essential for the design of effective conservation strategies within a human-dominated landscape. The drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus) is one of the most spectacular and endangered primates in Africa, yet up-to-date information on its distribution, population status, and conservation outlook is lacking. Cameroon has been estimated to encompass 80 % of the species’ range.…
    • The effects of education programs on Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) behavior

      Miller, Lance J.; Mellen, J.; Greer, T.; Kuczaj, S.A. (2011)
      ...The present study examined the short-term effects of dolphin shows and interaction programmes on the behaviour of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at six facilities. Rates of affiliative behaviour, aggressive behaviour, repetitive behaviour and percentage of time spent socialising were found to be unrelated to dolphin shows or interaction programmes....
    • The effects of GPS collars on African elephant (Loxodonta africana) behavior at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

      Horback, Kristina Marie; Miller, Lance J.; Andrews, Jeffrey; Kuczaj, Stanley Abraham; Anderson, Matthew J. (2012)
      The use of tracking devices (e.g., VHF radio collars, GPS collars, ear transmitters) enables researchers to assess activity budgets, species-specific movement patterns, effects of environmental enrichment, and exercise levels in zoo animals….The present study examined solitary and social behavior rates, as well as overall activity budgets, in eight African elephants living at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Escondido, CA, USA....
    • The effects of group versus intensive housing on the retention of genetic diversity in insurance populations

      Gooley, Rebecca M.; Hogg, Carolyn J.; Belov, Katherine; Grueber, Catherine E. (2018)
      Retention of genetic diversity and demographic sustainability are the cornerstones of conservation breeding success. In theory, monogamous breeding with equal reproductive output will retain genetic diversity in insurance populations more effectively than group housing which allows mate choice or intrasexual competition. However, the ecological relevance of group housing to a species can outweigh the theoretical benefits of forced monogamy. Here we investigated the influence of different types of captive housing (group (mate choice) versus intensive (forced monogamy)) on reproductive success, litter size and genetic diversity in the endangered Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii).
    • The Elephant Welfare Initiative: a model for advancing evidence-based zoo animal welfare monitoring, assessment and enhancement

      Meehan, C.; Greco, B.; Lynn, B.; Morfeld, K.; Vicino, Greg A.; Orban, D.; Gorsuch, C.; Quick, M.; Ripple, L.; Fournier, K.; et al. (2019)
      The Elephant Welfare Initiative (EWI) is an effort supported by a community of member zoos with the common goal of advancing evidence-based elephant-care practices that enhance welfare. The idea for the EWI came about following the completion of a large-scale North American elephant welfare study, which demonstrated that daily practices, such as social management, enrichment and exercise, play a critical role in improving the welfare of elephants in zoos....
    • The ethnoprimatology of the Maijuna of the Peruvian Amazon and implications for primate conservation

      Mere Roncal, Carla; Bowler, Mark; Gilmore, Michael P. (2018)
      Background: In Amazonia, primates are not only an important food source but they also hold significant cultural and symbolic value for many indigenous groups. We document the relationship between primates and community members of the Maijuna indigenous community of Sucusari in the Peruvian Amazon and describe how ethnoprimatological studies provide a better understanding of the significance of primates in people's lives. Additionally, we explore how ethnoprimatological studies can help inform and enhance primate conservation initiatives.; Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 50 residents of the community of Sucusari to assess the classification, cultural significance and traditional uses, beliefs, ceremonies and stories of primates within the Sucusari River basin.; Results: Primates play an important role in the lives of individuals in the Sucusari community. They are distinguished by their arboreal lifestyle, and among the 11 species reported in the area, seven (Lagothrix lagotricha, Alouatta seniculus, Pithecia monachus, Callicebus spp., Saimiri sciureus, Leontocebus nigricollis) are highly recognized and culturally salient. Primates are used as food, medicine, pets, domestic tools and in the production of handicrafts. They are primarily hunted for local consumption, with larger primates such as L. lagotricha being preferred. Lagothrix lagotricha was also the most commonly reported pet species and the only observed pet primate in the community during surveys. Maijuna traditional beliefs include ancestral dietary taboos for A. seniculus, which are referred to as sorcerer monkeys, but this taboo is no longer fully adhered to. Maijuna traditional stories associated with primates describe the origin of primates found in Sucusari.; Conclusion: Primates are embedded in the intricate sociocultural system of the community of Sucusari. Better understanding the relationship between primates and people can help to focus conservation efforts on primate species of particularly high sociocultural importance as well as ecological value, such as L. lagotricha. We highly recommend the inclusion of ethnoprimatological studies into primate conservation initiatives to accomplish more effective conservation planning, ultimately integrating the goals of biodiversity conservation with the cultural and economic needs of indigenous and local communities.;
    • The evolution of two homologues of the core protein VP6 of epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV), which correspond to the geographical origin of the virus

      Anthony, S. J.; Darpel, K. E.; Maan, S.; Sutton, G.; Attoui, H.; Mertens, P. P. C.; (2010)
      Epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus is a 10-segmented, double-stranded RNA virus. When these ten segments of dsRNA are run on 1% agarose, eastern (Australia, Japan) and western (North America, Africa, Middle-East) strains of the virus can be separated phenotypically based on the migration of genome segments 7–9....
    • The expectations and challenges of wildlife disease research in the era of genomics: forecasting with a horizon scan-like exercise

      Fitak, Robert R.; Antonides, Jennifer D.; Baitchman, Eric J.; Bonaccorso, Elisa; Braun, Josephine; Kubiski, Steven V.; Chiu, Elliott; Fagre, Anna C.; Gagne, Roderick B.; Lee, Justin S.; et al. (2019)
      The outbreak and transmission of disease-causing pathogens are contributing to the unprecedented rate of biodiversity decline....
    • The exploration-exploitation dilemma: A Multidisciplinary framework

      Berger-Tal, Oded; Nathan, Jonathan; Meron, Ehud; Saltz, David (2014)
      The trade-off between the need to obtain new knowledge and the need to use that knowledge to improve performance is one of the most basic trade-offs in nature, and optimal performance usually requires some balance between exploratory and exploitative behaviors. Researchers in many disciplines have been searching for the optimal solution to this dilemma. Here we present a novel model in which the exploration strategy itself is dynamic and varies with time in order to optimize a definite goal, such as the acquisition of energy, money, or prestige. Our model produced four very distinct phases: Knowledge establishment, Knowledge accumulation, Knowledge maintenance, and Knowledge exploitation, giving rise to a multidisciplinary framework that applies equally to humans, animals, and organizations. The framework can be used to explain a multitude of phenomena in various disciplines, such as the movement of animals in novel landscapes, the most efficient resource allocation for a start-up company, or the effects of old age on knowledge acquisition in humans.
    • The face of conservation responding to a dynamically changing world

      Wiederholt, Ruscena; Trainor, Anne M.; Michel, Nicole; Shirey, Patrick D.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Tallamy, Doug; Cook-Patton, Susan C. (2015)
      …Here, we highlight contemporary and emerging trends and innovations in conservation science that we believe represent the most effective responses to biodiversity threats. We focus on specific areas where conservation science has had to adjust its approach to address emerging threats to biodiversity, including habitat destruction and degradation, climate change, declining populations and invasive species….
    • The first reptilian circovirus identified infects gut and liver tissues of black-headed pythons

      Altan, Eda; Kubiski, Steven V.; Burchell, Jennifer; Bicknese, Elizabeth; Deng, Xutao; Delwart, Eric (2019)
      Viral metagenomic analysis of the liver of a black headed python (Aspidites melanocephalus) euthanized for a proliferative spinal lesion of unknown etiology yielded the first characterized genome of a reptile-infecting circovirus (black-headed python circovirus or BhPyCV). BhPyCV-specific in situ hybridization (ISH) showed that viral nucleic acids were strongly expressed in the intestinal lining and mucosa and multifocally in the liver. To investigate the presence of this virus in other snakes and its possible pathogenicity, 17 snakes in the python family with spinal disease were screened with ISH yielding a second BhP positive in intestinal tissue, and a Boelen’s python (Morelia boeleni) positive in the liver. BhPyCV specific PCR was used to screen available frozen tissues from 13 of these pythons, four additional deceased pythons with and without spinal disease, and fecal samples from 37 live snakes of multiple species with unknown disease status. PCR detected multiple positive tissues in both of the ISH positive BhP and in the feces of another two live BhP and two live annulated tree boas (Corallus annulatus). Preliminary analysis indicates this circovirus can infect BhPs where it was found in 4/5 BhPs tested (2/2 with spinal disease, 2/3 live with unknown status), Boelen’s python (1/2 with spinal disease), and annulated tree boa (2/6 live with unknown status) but was not detected in other python species with the same spinal lesions. This circovirus’ causal or contributory role in spinal disease remains speculative and not well supported by these initial data.