• Co-infection by alveolate parasites and frog virus 3-like ranavirus during an amphibian larval mortality event in Florida, USA

      Landsberg, J.H.; Kiryu, Y.; Tabuchi, M.; Preston, Asa; Pessier, Allan P. (2013)
      A multispecies amphibian larval mortality event, primarily affecting American bullfrogs Lithobates catesbeianus, was investigated during April 2011 at the Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park, Clay County, Florida, USA. Freshly dead and moribund tadpoles had hemorrhagic lesions around the vent and on the ventral body surface, with some exhibiting a swollen abdomen. Bullfrogs (100%), southern leopard frogs L. sphenocephalus (33.3%), and gopher frogs L. capito (100%) were infected by alveolate parasites. The intensity of infection in bullfrog livers was high. Tadpoles were evaluated for frog virus 3 (FV3) by histology and PCR. For those southern leopard frog tadpoles (n = 2) whose livers had not been obscured by alveolate spore infection, neither a pathologic response nor intracytoplasmic inclusions typically associated with clinical infections of FV3-like ranavirus were noted. Sequencing of a portion (496 bp) of the viral major capsid protein gene confirmed FV3-like virus in bullfrogs (n = 1, plus n = 6 pooled) and southern leopard frogs (n = 1, plus n = 4 pooled). In July 2011, young-of-the-year bullfrog tadpoles (n = 7) were negative for alveolate parasites, but 1 gopher frog tadpole was positive. To our knowledge, this is the first confirmed mortality event for amphibians in Florida associated with FV3-like virus, but the extent to which the virus played a primary role is uncertain. Larval mortality was most likely caused by a combination of alveolate parasite infections, FV3-like ranavirus, and undetermined etiological factors.
    • Cocha Cashu Biological Station

      Groenendijk, Jessica; Swamy, Varun; Aliaga, Roxana P. Arauco; Ortiz, Verónica Chávez (2019)
    • Coevolution of vocal signal characteristics and hearing sensitivity in forest mammals

      Charlton, Benjamin D.; Owen, Megan A.; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2019)
      Although signal characteristics and sensory systems are predicted to co-evolve according to environmental constraints, this hypothesis has not been tested for acoustic signalling across a wide range of species, or any mammal sensory modality. Here we use phylogenetic comparative techniques to show that mammal vocal characteristics and hearing sensitivity have co-evolved to utilise higher frequencies in forest environments – opposite to the general prediction that lower frequencies should be favoured in acoustically cluttered habitats. We also reveal an evolutionary trade-off between high frequency hearing sensitivity and the production of calls with high frequency acoustic energy that suggests forest mammals further optimise vocal communication according to their high frequency hearing sensitivity. Our results provide clear evidence of adaptive signal and sensory system coevolution. They also emphasize how constraints imposed by the signalling environment can jointly shape vocal signal structure and auditory systems, potentially driving acoustic diversity and reproductive isolation.
    • Cognition in a changing world: Red-headed gouldian finches enter spatially unfamiliar habitats more readily than do black-headed birds

      Mettke-Hofmann, Claudia; Eccles, Georgina R.; Greggor, Alison L.; Bethell, Emily J. (Frontiers Media SA, 2020)
      Human activities are increasingly confronting animals with unfamiliar environmental conditions. For example, habitat change and loss often lead to habitat fragmentation, which can create barriers of unsuitable and unfamiliar habitat affecting animal movements and survival. When confronted with habitat changes, animals’ cognitive abilities play an important, but often neglected part in dealing with such change. Animals must decide whether to approach and investigate novel habitats (spatial neophilia) or whether to avoid them (spatial neophobia) due to potential danger. For species with strict habitat preferences, such as the Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae), which is an open habitat specialist, understanding these novelty responses may be especially important for predicting responses to habitat changes. The Gouldian finch is a polymorphic species, with primarily red or black head colors, which are linked to differing behavioral phenotypes, including novelty reactions. Here we investigate responses to novel habitats (open, dense) in the Gouldian finch, manipulating the color composition of same-sex pairs. Two experiments, each consisting of novel open and novel dense habitat, tested birds in opposite head color combinations in the two experiments. We measured the number of approaches birds made (demonstrating conflict between approach and avoidance), and their entry latency to novel habitats. Gouldian finches showed more approach attempts (stronger approach-avoidance conflict) towards the dense as compared to the open habitat, confirming their open habitat preferences. Black-headed birds also hesitated longer to enter the dense habitat as compared to the open habitat, particularly in experiment 1, appearing less neophilic than red-headed birds, which showed similar entry latencies into both habitat types. This is surprising as black-headed birds were more neophilic in other contexts. Moreover, there was some indication that pairings including at least one black-headed bird had a stronger approach-avoidance conflict than pairings of pure red-headed birds. Results suggest that the black-headed birds use a cognitive strategy typical for residents, whereas red-headed birds use a cognitive strategy known for migrants/nomads, which may cognitively complement each other. However, as 70% of the population in the wild are black-headed, the spatial wariness we document could be widespread, which may negatively affect population persistence as habitats change.
    • Collecting and maintaining exceptional species in tissue culture and cryopreservation

      Pence, Valerie; Westwood, Murphy; Maschinski, Joyce; Powell, Christy; Sugii, Nellie; Fish, Diana; McGuinness, Julianne; Raven, Pat; Duval, Julian; Herrera-Mishler, Tomas; et al. (Center for Plant ConservationEscondido, California, 2019)
      Tissue culture and cryopreservation are alternative storage methods for exceptional species that produce few seeds or seed that are intolerant to drying or freezing. Adequately storing exceptional species requires specialized expertise, infrastructure, and greater resources than conventional seed storage....
    • Collecting seeds from wild rare plant populations

      Maschinski, Joyce; Walters, Christina; Guerrant, Ed; Murray, Sheila; Kunz, Michael; Schneider, Heather; Affolter, Jim; Gurnoe, Tony; Fraga, Naomi; Havens, Kay; et al. (Center for Plant ConservationEscondido, California, 2019)
      Species characteristics, legal parameters, and the purpose of the collection influence decisions about timing, locations, and numbers of seeds (or other tissues) that will need to be collected. Ethics of doing no harm to the wild rare plant population guide actions in the field....
    • Come on baby, let's do the twist: the kinematics of killing in loggerhead shrikes

      Sustaita, Diego; Rubega, Margaret A.; Farabaugh, Susan M. (2018)
      Shrikes use their beaks for procuring, dispatching and processing their arthropod and vertebrate prey. However, it is not clear how the raptor-like bill of this predatory songbird functions to kill vertebrate prey that may weigh more than the shrike itself....
    • Communal roosting sites are potential ecological traps: experimental evidence in a Neotropical harvestman

      Grether, Gregory F.; Levi, Abrahm; Antaky, Carmen; Shier, Debra M. (2014)
      Situations in which animals preferentially settle in low-quality habitat are referred to as ecological traps, and species that aggregate in response to conspecific cues, such as scent marks, that persist after the animals leave the area may be especially vulnerable. We tested this hypothesis on harvestmen (Prionostemma sp.) that roost communally in the rainforest understory….
    • Communities and uacaris: conservation initiatives in Brazil and Peru

      Bowler, Mark; Valsecchi, João; Queiroz, Helder L.; Bodmer, Richard; Puertas, Pablo; Veiga, Liza M.; Barnett, Adrian A.; Ferrari, Stephen F.; Norconk, Marilyn A. (Cambridge University PressCambridge, 2013)
    • Community-led conservation action in the Ebo forest, Cameroon.

      Abwe, Ekwoge E.; Mfossa, DM; Morgan, Bethan J. (2015)
      The Ebo forest in Littoral Region, Cameroon harbours a rich biodiversity of primates, including gorillas and chimpanzees. The government of Cameroon launched the gazettement of the Ebo forest into a national park in 2006. However, the decree creating the park is still awaited and there is little or no wildlife law enforcement on the ground (Morgan et al. 2011). The proximity of Ebo to major urban centres like Douala, Edea and Yaoundé is a major incentive to the hunting and bushmeat trade, especially as growing agricultural products is not commercially viable given the poor state of the roads around the forest. The forest is thus a main source of livelihood to adjacent communities that depend on unsustainable hunting and the bushmeat trade for protein and income (Morgan 2004). In addition to running two biological research stations in the west and east of the forest, the Ebo Forest Research Project (EFRP) has been working with local communities, traditional and administrative authorities around the forest to conserve its rich biodiversity and habitats while waiting for the official protection of the forest (Abwe and Morgan 2012). This article is aimed at providing a summary of the community-led conservation initiatives by traditional authorities and communities around the Ebo forest since 2012.
    • Comparative genomics reveals insights into avian genome evolution and adaptation

      Zhang, Guojie; Li, Cai; Li, Qiye; Li, Bo; Larkin, Denis M.; Lee, Chul; Storz, Jay F.; Antunes, Agostinho; Greenwold, Matthew J.; Meredith, Robert W.; et al. (2014)
      Birds are the most species-rich class of tetrapod vertebrates and have wide relevance across many research fields. We explored bird macroevolution using full genomes from 48 avian species representing all major extant clades....
    • Comparative pathology of ranaviruses and diagnostic techniques

      Miller, D.L.; Pessier, Allan P.; Hick, P.; Whittington, R.J.; Gray M.; Chinchar V. (SpringerNew York, 2015)
      Recognizing the pathological changes caused by ranaviruses, understanding how to properly collect test samples, and knowing what diagnostic tools to choose are key to detecting ranaviruses and in determining whether they are a factor in morbidity and mortality events. Whether infection occurs in fish, reptiles, or amphibians, clinical disease is typically acute and can affect a high proportion of the population. Among ectothermic vertebrates, affected individuals can present with hemorrhages, edema, and necrosis. Generally, microscopic examination reveals intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies and necrosis of hematopoietic tissues, vascular endothelium, and epithelial cells. Ultimately, the type and severity of the lesions that develop vary depending upon the host species, type of ranavirus, or environmental factors. Our ability to identify lesions caused by ranaviruses is improving because of the knowledge gained from laboratory experiments and the improvement of existing, or development of new diagnostic tests. There is no single Gold Standard test for ranavirus detection, rather the diagnostic test chosen depends on the question asked. For example, a surveillance study may use quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) to detect ranaviruses, but an investigation of a mortality event may use virus isolation, qPCR, histopathology, electron microscopy, and bioassay. To date, a treatment for ranavirus infections has not been found; however, vaccine development against iridoviruses is showing promise for both DNA and live vaccines within the aquaculture industry.
    • Comprehensive breeding techniques for the giant panda

      Martin-Wintle, Meghan S.; Kersey, David C.; Wintle, Nathan J. P.; Aitken-Palmer, Copper; Owen, Megan A.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Comizzoli, Pierre; Brown, Janine L.; Holt, William V. (Springer International PublishingCham, 2019)
      The dramatic growth of the captive giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) population exemplifies how the application of scientific findings to animal care and reproductive management can improve conservation breeding outcomes. Detailed behavioral studies of giant panda estrus, pregnancy and cub rearing have demonstrated the importance of husbandry management that supports natural reproductive behavior to enhance breeding success....
    • Conditional female strategies influence hatching success in a communally nesting iguana

      Moss, Jeanette B.; Gerber, Glenn P.; Laaser, Tanja; Goetz, Matthias; Oyog, TayVanis; Welch, Mark E. (2020)
      The decision of females to nest communally has important consequences for reproductive success. While often associated with reduced energetic expenditure, conspecific aggregations also expose females and offspring to conspecific aggression, exploitation, and infanticide. Intrasexual competition pressures are expected to favor the evolution of conditional strategies, which could be based on simple decision rules (i.e., availability of nesting sites and synchronicity with conspecifics) or on a focal individual's condition or status (i.e., body size). Oviparous reptiles that reproduce seasonally and provide limited to no postnatal care provide ideal systems for disentangling social factors that influence different female reproductive tactics from those present in offspring‐rearing environments. In this study, we investigated whether nesting strategies in a West Indian rock iguana, Cyclura nubila caymanensis, vary conditionally with reproductive timing or body size, and evaluated consequences for nesting success. Nesting surveys were conducted on Little Cayman, Cayman Islands, British West Indies for four consecutive years. Use of high‐density nesting sites was increasingly favored up to seasonal nesting activity peaks, after which nesting was generally restricted to low‐density nesting areas. Although larger females were not more likely than smaller females to nest in high‐density areas, larger females nested earlier and gained access to priority oviposition sites. Smaller females constructed nests later in the season, apparently foregoing investment in extended nest defense. Late‐season nests were also constructed at shallower depths and exhibited shorter incubation periods. While nest depth and incubation length had significant effects on reproductive outcomes, so did local nest densities. Higher densities were associated with significant declines in hatching success, with up to 20% of egg‐filled nests experiencing later intrusion by a conspecific. Despite these risks, nests in high‐density areas were significantly more successful than elsewhere due to the benefits of greater chamber depths and longer incubation times. These results imply that communal nest sites convey honest signals of habitat quality, but that gaining and defending priority oviposition sites requires competitive ability.
    • Confirmation of black leopard (Panthera pardus pardus) living in Laikipia County, Kenya

      Pilfold, Nicholas W.; Letoluai, Ambrose; Ruppert, Kirstie; Glikman, Jenny A.; Stacy-Dawes, Jenna; O'Connor, David; Owen, Megan A. (2019)
    • Congenital cleft palate and cardiac septal defects in a neonatal southern black rhinoceros (diceros bicornis minor)

      Lewis, Stephany; Duncan, Mary; Houck, Marlys L.; Bloch, Rebecca; Haefele, Holly (2016)
      A female Southern black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis minor) calf died unexpectedly at less than 12 hr of age, after an uncomplicated birth and uneventful early postpartum period. Gross necropsy revealed a 15-cm full thickness cleft palate, a patent foramen ovale, and four septal defects ranging from 0.3 to 1 cm in diameter. Histologic findings did not reveal any significant abnormalities. Karyotyping did not indicate any significant numerical or structural chromosomal abnormalities.
    • Conolophus pallidus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Gentile, G.; Grant, Tandora D. (2020)
      The Barrington Land Iguana is only found on Santa Fé (Barrington) Island, Galápagos Archipelago, Ecuador, and has an estimated area of occupancy and extent of occurrence of 40 km2 . Based on the denuded landscape caused by non-native goats, historic human consumption, and low numbers of iguanas observed in the 1960s–1970s, it is estimated that the iguana population had been reduced by at least 50% up to a point three generations in the past (52 years) and probably continued until after the goats were eradicated in 1972. The most recent survey in 2005 estimated their population to be 3,500–4,000 mature adults and potentially stable, although it was unknown if they had neared carrying capacity. Molecular analysis also shows extremely low genetic variation and richness compared to sampled populations of the Common Land Iguana (Conolophus subcristatus). Heavy predation pressure on this congregatory nesting iguana by Galápagos Hawks may have affected the rate of population recovery since goats were eradicated (1972). The recent introduction to the island of >500 juvenile Española Tortoises that compete with iguanas for scarce food resources may have an impact on the future stability of the iguana population.
    • Conolophus subcristatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Kumar, K.; Gentile, G.; Grant, Tandora D. (2020)
      The Galápagos Land Iguana has a mostly outdated population size estimate of ca 10,000 mature individuals, in 13 subpopulations that are fragmented from each other by vast lava flows or are on isolated islands. With the exception of Baltra where the subpopulation had been extirpated, subpopulations were considered healthy three generations ago in the 1950s. Since that time, iguanas have been nearly extirpated from most of southern Isabela and Santa Cruz, and have declined in northern Isabela. Juveniles are rarely observed in these remaining nine locations due to continued predation by feral cats. Iguanas are small in number but relatively stable on Fernandina and Plaza Sur. They have increased again on the small islands of Baltra and Seymour Norte (likely to carrying capacity on the latter), due to conservation efforts. Overall, considering the assumed population (current andformer) sizes on the larger islands, it is estimated the population has declined by at least 30% over the last three generations. A minimum estimate of 10–15% decline is projected during the future three generations, based on the presence of invasive alien predators in some subpopulations and impacting juvenile recruitment. The estimated extent of occurrence meets the Vulnerable threshold at 9,524 km2 and the area of occupancy is crudely estimated to be 540 km2 . Further research on fine-scale distribution is needed to clarify an accurate occupancy status of the subpopulations.
    • Consequences of maternal effects on offspring size, growth and survival in the desert tortoise

      Nafus, Melia G.; Todd, B. D.; Buhlmann, K. A.; Tuberville, T. D. (2015)
      Here, we examined the relationship between hatchling and maternal body size in the Mojave Desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii. Our results suggest that, in desert tortoises, maternal body size may indirectly influence offspring fitness via growth and survival for at least the first year of life….
    • Conservation genetics of Roatán Spiny-tailed Iguanas, Ctenosaura oedirhina.

      Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Hudman, S.; Iverson, John B.; Grant, Tandora D.; Knapp, Charles R.; Pasachnik, Stesha A. (2016)
      Roatán Spiny-tailed Iguanas, Ctenosaura oedirhina, are assessed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Occurring in less than 1% of the available habitat on Roatán, due primarily to hunting... pressure, this species faces severe fragmentation.