• High-energy, high-fat lifestyle challenges an Arctic apex predator, the polar bear

      Pagano, Anthony M.; Durner, G. M.; Rode, K. D.; Atwood, T. C.; Atkinson, S. N.; Peacock, E.; Costa, D. P.; Owen, Megan A.; Williams, T. M. (2018)
      A demanding lifestyle Polar bears appear to be well adapted to the extreme conditions of their Arctic habitat. Pagano et al., however, show that the energy balance in this harsh environment is narrower than we might expect (see the Perspective by Whiteman). They monitored the behavior and metabolic rates of nine free-ranging polar bears over 2 years....
    • Highly polymorphic colour vision in a New World monkey with red facial skin, the bald uakari Cacajao calvus

      Corso, Josmael; Bowler, Mark; Heymann, Eckhard W.; Roos, Christian; Mundy, Nicholas I. (2016)
      Colour vision is highly variable in New World monkeys (NWMs). Evidence for the adaptive basis of colour vision in this group has largely centred on environmental features such as foraging benefits for differently coloured foods or predator detection, whereas selection on colour vision for sociosexual communication is an alternative hypothesis that has received little attention. The colour vision of uakaris (Cacajao) is of particular interest because these monkeys have the most dramatic red facial skin of any primate, as well as a unique fission/fusion social system and a specialist diet of seeds. Here, we investigate colour vision in a wild population of the bald uakari, C. calvus, by genotyping the X-linked opsin locus. We document the presence of a polymorphic colour vision system with an unprecedented number of functional alleles (six), including a novel allele with a predicted maximum spectral sensitivity of 555 nm. This supports the presence of strong balancing selection on different alleles at this locus. We consider different hypotheses to explain this selection. One possibility is that trichromacy functions in sexual selection, enabling females to choose high-quality males on the basis of red facial coloration. In support of this, there is some evidence that health affects facial coloration in uakaris, as well as a high prevalence of blood-borne parasitism in wild uakari populations. Alternatively, the low proportion of heterozygous female trichromats in the population may indicate selection on different dichromatic phenotypes, which might be related to cryptic food coloration. We have uncovered unexpected diversity in the last major lineage of NWMs to be assayed for colour vision, which will provide an interesting system to dissect adaptation of polymorphic trichromacy.
    • Histopathologic findings in free-ranging California hummingbirds, 1996–2017

      Magagna, Michelle; Noland, Erica; Tell, Lisa A.; Purdin, Guthrum; Rideout, Bruce; Lipman, Max W.; Agnew, Dalen (2018)
      A histopathologic study of free-ranging hummingbirds in California was performed to identify mortality trends. Tissues from 61 wild hummingbirds representing five native California species collected by the San Diego Zoo from 1996 to 2016 or the Lindsay Wildlife Experience from 2015 to 2017 were histologically examined....
    • Historical and geographical patterns in Knemidocoptes mite infestations in Southern California birds

      Clark, Kevin B.; Rideout, Bruce; Garrett, Kimball L.; Unitt, Philip; O’Connor, Barry (2019)
      We investigated the causes of toe and foot loss and other deformities long observed in urban Brewer’s Blackbirds (Euphagus cyanocephalus) in southern California. Histopathologic evaluation showed that afflicted individuals suffered from infestations of mites compatible with Knemidokoptes spp. (scaly-leg mites). We developed a case definition based on gross lesions in confirmed cases and the scientific literature to search two large ornithological collections for specimens exhibiting these lesions. In evaluating specimens among seven species of the family Icteridae, we found 34 specimens in the two collections with lesions consistent with Knemidokoptes spp. Species afflicted included the Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus; 12 of 978 specimens), Brewer’s Blackbird (10/337 specimens), Tricolored Blackbird (A. tricolor; 4/101 specimens), Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater; 4/828 specimens), and Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus; 4/224 specimens). The earliest cluster of California specimens dated to 1962. Fourteen of the 34 specimens exhibiting the condition were collected since 1999. No specimens of the Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus; 0 of 214 specimens) or Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta; 0/278) were found with the condition.
    • Hologenomic adaptations underlying the evolution of sanguivory in the common vampire bat

      Mendoza, M. Lisandra Zepeda; Xiong, Zijun; Escalera-Zamudio, Marina; Runge, Anne Kathrine; Thézé, Julien; Streicker, Daniel; Frank, Hannah K.; Loza-Rubio, Elizabeth; Liu, Shengmao; Ryder, Oliver A.; et al. (2018)
      The common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) is one of only three obligate blood-feeding mammals. By sequencing both its genome and gut metagenome, the authors provide a holistic view of the evolutionary adaptations that underlie this unusual diet.
    • Hopping over red leg: The metamorphosis of amphibian pathology

      Pessier, Allan P. (2017)
      It wasn’t very long ago that the only disease of amphibians that students might hear about in veterinary school was “red leg syndrome,” attributed to infections with the bacterium Aeromonas hydrophila.... This would begin to change with recognition of the “Amphibian Extinction Crisis.” ....
    • Hot monkey, cold reality: surveying rainforest canopy mammals using drone-mounted thermal infrared sensors

      Kays, Roland; Sheppard, James; Mclean, Kevin; Welch, Charlie; Paunescu, Cris; Wang, Victor; Kravit, Greg; Crofoot, Meg (2018)
      Animals of the rainforest canopies are often endangered by deforestation or hunting but are difficult to survey and study because of the inaccessibility of the treetops, combined with the visual camouflage of many species. Drone-based thermal sensors have the potential to overcome these hurdles by rapidly scanning large forested areas from above, detecting and mapping wildlife based on the contrast between their warm body temperatures and the cool tree canopies....
    • Human impact erodes chimpanzee behavioral diversity

      Kühl, Hjalmar S.; Boesch, Christophe; Kulik, Lars; Haas, Fabian; Arandjelovic, Mimi; Dieguez, Paula; Bocksberger, Gaëlle; McElreath, Mary Brooke; Agbor, Anthony; Angedakin, Samuel; et al. (2019)
      Chimpanzees possess a large number of behavioral and cultural traits among non-human species. The ‘disturbance hypothesis’ predicts that human impact depletes resources and disrupts social learning processes necessary for behavioral and cultural transmission....
    • Human visual identification of individual Andean bears Tremarctos ornatus

      Van Horn, Russell C.; Zug, Becky; LaCombe, Corrin; Velez-Liendo, Ximena; Paisley, Susanna (2014)
      It is often challenging to use invasive methods of individual animal identification for population estimation, demographic analyses, and other ecological and behavioral analyses focused on individual-level processes. Recent improvements in camera traps make it possible to collect many photographic samples yet most investigators either leap from photographic sampling to assignment of individual identity without considering identification errors, or else to avoid those errors they develop computerized methods that produce accurate data with the unintended cost of excluding participation by local citizens. To assess human ability to visually identify Andean bears Tremarctos ornatus from their pelage markings we used surveys and experimental testing of 381 observers viewing photographs of 70 Andean bears of known identity. Neither observer experience nor confidence predicted their initial success rate at identifying individuals. However, after gaining experience observers were able to achieve an average success at identifying adult bears of 73.2%, and brief simple training further improved the ability of observers such that 24.8% of them achieved 100% success. Interestingly, observers who were initially more likely to falsely identify two photos of the same bear as two different bears than vice versa were likely to continue making errors and their bias became stronger, not weaker. Such biases would lead to inaccurate population estimates, invalid assessments of the bears involved in conflict situations, and underestimates of bear movements. We thus illustrate that in some systems accurate data on individual identity can be generated without the use of computerized algorithms, allowing for community engagement and citizen science. In addition, we show that when using observers to collect data on animal identity it is important to consider not only the overall frequency of observer error, but also observer biases and error types, which are rarely reported in field studies.
    • Human-Giraffe Interactions: Characterizing Poaching and Use of Parts as a Threat to Giraffe in Northern Kenya

      Ruppert, Kirstie (The University of Maine, 2020)
      Giraffe (Giraffe spp.) are iconic wildlife species to Africa, yet relatively little conservation funding and research have been directed at protection of giraffe in the wild. A growing number of national governments and conservation organizations are implementing management strategies to address the threats that giraffe face. To inform these plans, there is a need for social science that examines the human pressures associated with decline of giraffe populations, including poaching and the use of giraffe parts. As the large majority of reticulated giraffe (Giraffa reticulata) range occurs outside formally protected areas, conservation plans must be made with pastoralist communities and other actors in northern Kenya where the land is shared between people, their livestock, and wildlife. The research presented in this dissertation was conducted as part of a community-based program focused on reticulated giraffe, called the Twiga Walinzi Initiative (“Giraffe Guards” in Swahili), and represents the first quantitative study on the human dimensions of giraffe conservation. Goals of the research project were to examine key cognitions to human-giraffe interactions (i.e. attitudes, beliefs, perceptions), assess relationships between certain cognitions within areas that adopt a community-based conservation approach, and understand the extent and drivers of giraffe meat and part usage. Face-to-face interviews were conducted at two study sites over survey periods in 2016/17 (n=579) and 2019 (n=680). Results from these studies provide insights to how pastoralist communities view and act toward local giraffe. Factors that significantly influenced support for giraffe conservation differed between study sites, suggesting that local context is important to shaping human-giraffe interactions (Chapter 2). For instance, perceived benefits had stronger influence on normative belief in communities more recently connected with wildlife-based tourism. The linkages between perceived benefits, attitudes, and behaviors were further explored by assessing the relationships between these concepts within a community-based conservation setting (Chapter 3). Findings suggest a positive association between perceived benefits and attitudes toward giraffe, but there was less evidence that perceptions of wildlife-related benefits influenced use of giraffe meat/parts. As human behavior is of central interest to conservation, we also assessed levels of giraffe meat consumption (Chapter 4) and determinants of intention to consume giraffe meat (Chapter 5). Specialized questioning techniques were utilized to estimate prevalence of giraffe meat consumption preceding the two surveys. Estimated prevalence of giraffe meat consumption declined after establishment of the Twiga Walinzi. Perceived behavioral control had stronger relative influence than attitudes and subjective norms on future intention to consume
    • Human–wildlife conflicts and the need to include coexistence

      Frank, Beatrice; Glikman, Jenny A.; Frank, Beatrice; Glikman, Jenny A.; Marchini, Silvio (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
    • Human–wildlife interactions: Multifaceted approaches for turning conflict into coexistence

      Glikman, Jenny A.; Frank, Beatrice; Marchini, Silvio; Frank, Beatrice; Glikman, Jenny A.; Marchini, Silvio (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
    • Human–Wildlife Interactions: Turning Conflict into Coexistence

      Frank, Beatrice; Glikman, Jenny A.; Marchini, Silvio; Frank, Beatrice; Glikman, Jenny A.; Marchini, Silvio (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
    • Identification of California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) estrogen receptor variants and their activation by xenoestrogens

      Felton, Rachel G.; Owen, Corie M.; Cossaboon, Jennifer M.; Steiner, Cynthia C.; Tubbs, Christopher W. (2020)
      California condors released in costal sites are exposed to high levels of xenoestrogens, particularly p,p'-DDE, through scavenging of marine mammal carcasses. As a result, coastal condors carry a higher contaminant loads and experience eggshell thinning when compared to their inland counterparts....
    • Identification of California condor estrogen receptors 1 and 2 and their activation by endocrine disrupting chemicals

      Felton, Rachel G.; Steiner, Cynthia C.; Durrant, Barbara S.; Keisler, Duane H.; Milnes, Matthew R.; Tubbs, Christopher W. (2015)
      ...There is evidence that coastal-dwelling condors experience reproductive issues, such as eggshell thinning, likely resulting from exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). To address this problem, we have identified and cloned condor estrogen receptors (ESRs) 1 and 2 and characterized their activation by EDCs present in the coastal habitats where condors reside....
    • Identifying priority conservation landscapes and actions for the Critically Endangered Javan leopard in Indonesia: Conserving the last large carnivore in Java Island

      Wibisono, Hariyo Tabah; Wahyudi, Hariyawan Agung; Wilianto, Erwin; Pinondang, Irene Margareth Romaria; Primajati, Mahendra; Liswanto, Darmawan; Linkie, Matthew (2018)
      With the extirpation of tigers from the Indonesian island of Java in the 1980s, the endemic and Critically Endangered Javan leopard is the island’s last remaining large carnivore. Yet despite this, it has received little conservation attention and its population status and distribution remains poorly known. Using Maxent modeling, we predicted the locations of suitable leopard landscapes throughout the island of Java based on 228 verified Javan leopard samples and as a function of seven environmental variables. The identified landscapes covered over 1 million hectares, representing less than 9% of the island. Direct evidence of Javan leopard was confirmed from 22 of the 29 identified landscapes and included all national parks, which our analysis revealed as the single most important land type. Our study also emphasized the importance of maintaining connectivity between protected areas and human-modified landscapes because adjacent production forests and secondary forests were found to provide vital extensions for several Javan leopard subpopulations. Our predictive map greatly improves those previously produced by the Government of Indonesia’s Javan Leopard Action Plan and the IUCN global leopard distribution assessment. It shares only a 32% overlap with the IUCN range predictions, adds six new priority landscapes, all with confirmed presence of Javan leopard, and reveals an island-wide leopard population that occurs in several highly fragmented landscapes, which are far more isolated than previously thought. Our study provides reliable information on where conservation efforts must be prioritized both inside and outside of the protected area network to safeguard Java’s last remaining large carnivore.
    • Iguanas: Biology, Systematics, and Conservation

      Editors; Iverson, John B.; Grant, Tandora D.; Knapp, Charles R.; Pasachnik, Stesha A. (2016)
    • Illegal wildlife trade: Scale, processes, and governance

      Sas-Rolfes, Michael T.; Hinsley, Amy; Veríssimo, Diogo; Milner-Gulland, E. J.; Challender, Daniel W. S. (2019)
      Illegal wildlife trade (IWT) has increased in profile in recent years as a global policy issue, largely because of its association with declines in prominent internationally trafficked species. In this review, we explore the scale of IWT, associated threats to biodiversity, and appropriate responses to these threats. We discuss the historical development of IWT research and highlight the uncertainties that plague the evidence base, emphasizing the need for more systematic approaches to addressing evidence gaps in a way that minimizes the risk of unethical or counterproductive outcomes for wildlife and people. We highlight the need for evaluating interventions in order to learn, and the importance of sharing datasets and lessons learned. A more collaborative approach to linking IWT research, practice, and policy would better align public policy discourse and action with research evidence. This in turn would enable more effective policy making that contributes to reducing the threat to biodiversity that IWT represents.
    • Impact of ungulate exclusion on understorey succession in relation to forest management in the Intermountain Western United States

      Pekin, Burak K.; Endress, Bryan A.; Wisdom, Michael J.; Naylor, Bridgett J.; Parks, Catherine G. (2015)
      ...The strength and direction of specific vegetation and diversity responses to ungulate exclusion vary with forest management, and the influence of ungulate exclusion on plant succession is more pronounced in recently thinned and burned sites. Management of wild and domestic ungulates thus needs to account for forest management activities that alter vegetation seral stage and increase the sensitivity of vegetation to the ungulate grazing regime....
    • Impacts of upper respiratory tract disease on olfactory behavior of the Mojave desert tortoise

      Germano, Jennifer M.; Van Zerr, Vanessa E.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Ken E.; Lamberski, Nadine (2014)
      Upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) caused by Mycoplasma agassizii is considered a threat to desert tortoise populations that should be addressed as part of the recovery of the species. Clinical signs can be intermittent and include serous or mucoid nasal discharge and respiratory difficulty when nares are occluded. This nasal congestion may result in a loss of the olfactory sense....