• Causes of mortality in anuran amphibians from an ex-situ survival assurance colony in Panama

      Pessier, Allan P.; Baitchman, E.J.; Crump, P.; Wilson, B.; Griffith, E.; Ross, H. (2014)
      …This study reviewed postmortem findings in 167 frogs from 13 species that died in a large Panamanian rescue and survival assurance population between 2006 and 2011…. Applied research efforts to improve sustainability of survival assurance populations should focus on elucidating optimal husbandry practices for diverse species, improving methods for nutritional supplementation of cultured insects and examination of the role of water composition in disease development.
    • Center for Plant Conservation's Best Practice Guidelines for the reintroduction of rare plants

      Maschinski, Joyce; Albrecht, Matthew A. (2017)
      Recent estimates indicate that one-fifth of botanical species worldwide are considered at risk of becoming extinct in the wild. One available strategy for conserving many rare plant species is reintroduction, which holds much promise especially when carefully planned by following guidelines and when monitored long-term. We review the Center for Plant Conservation Best Reintroduction Practice Guidelines and highlight important components for planning plant reintroductions. Before attempting reintroductions practitioners should justify them, should consider alternative conservation strategies, understand threats, and ensure that these threats are absent from any recipient site. Planning a reintroduction requires considering legal and logistic parameters as well as target species and recipient site attributes. Carefully selecting the genetic composition of founders, founder population size, and recipient site will influence establishment and population growth. Whenever possible practitioners should conduct reintroductions as experiments and publish results. To document whether populations are sustainable will require long-term monitoring for decades, therefore planning an appropriate monitoring technique for the taxon must consider current and future needs. Botanical gardens can play a leading role in developing the science and practice of plant reintroduction.
    • Cerebral Angiostrongylus cantonensis infection in a captive African pygmy falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus) in southern California

      Burns, Rachel E.; Bicknese, Elizabeth; Qvarnstrom, Yvonne; DeLeon-Carnes, Marlene; Drew, Clifton P.; Gardiner, Chris H.; Rideout, Bruce (2014)
      A 10-month-old, female African pygmy falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus) hatched and housed at the San Diego Zoo developed neurologic signs and died from a cerebral infection with the rat lungworm Angiostrongylus cantonensis…. To the authors’ knowledge, this infection has not previously been reported in a bird in the United States and has not been known to be naturally acquired in any species in this region of the world. The source of the infection was not definitively determined but was possibly feeder geckos (Hemidactylus frenatus) imported from Southeast Asia where the parasite is endemic.
    • Challenges in the development of semen cryopreservation protocols for snakes

      Young, Carly; Ravida, Nicole; Durrant, Barbara S. (2019)
    • Challenges of learning to escape evolutionary traps

      Greggor, Alison L.; Trimmer, Pete C.; Barrett, Brendan J.; Sih, Andrew (2019)
      Many animals respond well behaviorally to stimuli associated with human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC), such as novel predators or food sources. Yet others make errors and succumb to evolutionary traps: approaching or even preferring low quality, dangerous or toxic options, avoiding beneficial stimuli, or wasting resources responding to stimuli with neutral payoffs. A common expectation is that learning should help animals adjust to HIREC; however, learning is not always expected or even favored in many scenarios that expose animals to ecological and evolutionary traps. We propose a conceptual framework that aims to explain variation in when learning can help animals avoid and escape traps caused by HIREC. We first clarify why learning to correct two main types of errors (avoiding beneficial options, and not avoiding detrimental options) might be difficult (limited by constraints). We then identify and discuss several key behavioral mechanisms (adaptive sampling, generalization, habituation, reversal learning) that can be targeted to help animals learn to avoid traps. Finally, we discuss how individual differences in neophobia/neophilia and personality relate to learning in the context of HIREC traps, and offer some general guidance for disarming traps. Given how devastating traps can be for animal populations, any breakthrough in mitigating trap outcomes via learning could make the difference in developing effective solutions.
    • Changes in vocal repertoire of the Hawaiian crow, Corvus hawaiiensis, from past wild to current captive populations

      Tanimoto, Ann M.; Hart, Patrick J.; Pack, Adam A.; Switzer, Richard A.; Banko, Paul C.; Ball, Donna L.; Sebastián-González, Esther; Komarczyk, Lisa; Warrington, Miyako H. (2017)
      ...We compared the vocal repertoire of three of the last four wild 'alalā pairs from the early 1990s to three current captive pairs on the Island of Hawai'i to determine how acoustic behaviour has been affected by changes in their social and physical environment. Over 18 h of recordings from wild breeding pairs were analysed and compared with 44 h from captive breeding pairs....
    • Characterization of Prdm9 in equids and sterility in mules

      Steiner, Cynthia C.; Ryder, Oliver A. (2013)
      Prdm9 (Meisetz) is the first speciation gene discovered in vertebrates conferring reproductive isolation. This locus encodes a meiosis-specific histone H3 methyltransferase that specifies meiotic recombination hotspots during gametogenesis. Allelic differences in Prdm9, characterized for a variable number of zinc finger (ZF) domains, have been associated with hybrid sterility in male house mice via spermatogenic failure at the pachytene stage. The mule, a classic example of hybrid sterility in mammals also exhibits a similar spermatogenesis breakdown, making Prdm9 an interesting candidate to evaluate in equine hybrids. In this study, we characterized the Prdm9 gene in all species of equids by analyzing sequence variation of the ZF domains and estimating positive selection. We also evaluated the role of Prdm9 in hybrid sterility by assessing allelic differences of ZF domains in equine hybrids. We found remarkable variation in the sequence and number of ZF domains among equid species, ranging from five domains in the Tibetan kiang and Asiatic wild ass, to 14 in the Grevy’s zebra. Positive selection was detected in all species at amino acid sites known to be associated with DNA-binding specificity of ZF domains in mice and humans. Equine hybrids, in particular a quartet pedigree composed of a fertile mule showed a mosaic of sequences and number of ZF domains suggesting that Prdm9 variation does not seem by itself to contribute to equine hybrid sterility.
    • Characterizing efforts to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products

      Veríssimo, Diogo; Wan, Anita K. Y. (2019)
      The unsustainable trade in wildlife is a key threat to Earth's biodiversity. Efforts to mitigate this threat have traditionally focused on regulation and enforcement, and there is a growing interest in campaigns to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products....
    • Chelonian perivitelline membrane-bound sperm detection: A new breeding management tool

      Croyle, Kaitlin E.; Gibbons, Paul; Light, Christine; Goode, Eric; Durrant, Barbara S.; Jensen, Thomas (2016)
      Perivitelline membrane (PVM)-bound sperm detection has recently been incorporated into avian breeding programs to assess egg fertility, confirm successful copulation, and to evaluate male reproductive status and pair compatibility. Due to the similarities between avian and chelonian egg structure and development, and because fertility determination in chelonian eggs lacking embryonic growth is equally challenging, PVM-bound sperm detection may also be a promising tool for the reproductive management of turtles and tortoises....
    • Chemical signals of age, sex and identity in black rhinoceros

      Linklater, W. L.; Mayer, K.; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2013)
      Olfactory communication may be particularly important to black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis, because they are solitary living and have comparatively poor eyesight but their populations are structured by inter-and intrasexual relationships. Understanding olfactory functions and processes might achieve better conservation management but their study in rhinoceros remains anecdotal or descriptive….
    • Chemical signatures of femoral pore secretions in two syntopic but reproductively isolated species of Galápagos land iguanas (Conolophus marthae and C. subcristatus)

      Colosimo, Giuliano; Di Marco, Gabriele; D’Agostino, Alessia; Gismondi, Angelo; Vera, Carlos A.; Gerber, Glenn P.; Scardi, Michele; Canini, Antonella; Gentile, Gabriele (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020)
      The only known population of Conolophus marthae (Reptilia, Iguanidae) and a population of C. subcristatus are syntopic on Wolf Volcano (Isabela Island, Galápagos). No gene flow occurs suggesting that effective reproductive isolating mechanisms exist between these two species. Chemical signature of femoral pore secretions is important for intra- and inter-specific chemical communication in squamates. As a first step towards testing the hypothesis that chemical signals could mediate reproductive isolation between C. marthae and C. subcristatus, we compared the chemical profiles of femoral gland exudate from adults caught on Wolf Volcano. We compared data from three different years and focused on two years in particular when femoral gland exudate was collected from adults during the reproductive season. Samples were processed using Gas Chromatography coupled with Mass Spectrometry (GC–MS). We identified over 100 different chemical compounds. Non-Metric Multidimensional Scaling (nMDS) was used to graphically represent the similarity among individuals based on their chemical profiles. Results from non-parametric statistical tests indicate that the separation between the two species is significant, suggesting that the chemical profile signatures of the two species may help prevent hybridization between C. marthae and C. subcristatus. Further investigation is needed to better resolve environmental influence and temporal reproductive patterns in determining the variation of biochemical profiles in both species.
    • Chilled frogs are hot: hibernation and reproduction of the Endangered mountain yellow-legged frog Rana muscosa

      Santana, Frank E.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Lemm, Jeffrey M.; Fisher, Robert N.; Clark, Rulon W. (2015)
      In the face of the sixth great extinction crisis, it is imperative to establish effective breeding protocols for amphibian conservation breeding programs. Captive efforts should not proceed by trial and error, nor should they jump prematurely to assisted reproduction techniques, which can be invasive, difficult, costly, and, at times, counterproductive. Instead, conservation practitioners should first look to nature for guidance, and replicate key conditions found in nature in the captive environment, according to the ecological and behavioral requirements of the species. We tested the effect of a natural hibernation regime on reproductive behaviors and body condition in the Endangered mountain yellow-legged frog Rana muscosa. Hibernation had a clear positive effect on reproductive behavior, manifesting in vocal advertisement signaling, female receptivity, amplexus, and oviposition. These behaviors are critical components of courtship that lead to successful reproduction. Our main finding was that captive R. muscosa require a hibernation period for successful reproduction, as only hibernated females produced eggs and only hibernated males successfully fertilized eggs. Although hibernation also resulted in a reduced body condition, the reduction appeared to be minimal with no associated mortality. The importance of hibernation for reproduction is not surprising, since it is a major component of the conditions that R. muscosa experiences in the wild. Other amphibian conservation breeding programs can also benefit from a scientific approach that tests the effect of natural ecological conditions on reproduction. This will ensure that captive colonies maximize their role in providing genetic reservoirs for assurance and reintroduction efforts.
    • Chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing

      Kühl, Hjalmar S.; Kalan, Ammie K.; Arandjelovic, Mimi; Aubert, Floris; D’Auvergne, Lucy; Goedmakers, Annemarie; Jones, Sorrel; Kehoe, Laura; Regnaut, Sebastien; Tickle, Alexander; et al. (2016)
      The study of the archaeological remains of fossil hominins must rely on reconstructions to elucidate the behaviour that may have resulted in particular stone tools and their accumulation. Comparatively, stone tool use among living primates has illuminated behaviours that are also amenable to archaeological examination, permitting direct observations of the behaviour leading to artefacts and their assemblages to be incorporated. Here, we describe newly discovered stone tool-use behaviour and stone accumulation sites in wild chimpanzees reminiscent of human cairns. In addition to data from 17 mid- to long-term chimpanzee research sites, we sampled a further 34 Pan troglodytes communities. We found four populations in West Africa where chimpanzees habitually bang and throw rocks against trees, or toss them into tree cavities, resulting in conspicuous stone accumulations at these sites. This represents the first record of repeated observations of individual chimpanzees exhibiting stone tool use for a purpose other than extractive foraging at what appear to be targeted trees. The ritualized behavioural display and collection of artefacts at particular locations observed in chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing may have implications for the inferences that can be drawn from archaeological stone assemblages and the origins of ritual sites.
    • Chimpanzee population structure in Cameroon and Nigeria is associated with habitat variation that may be lost under climate change

      Sesink Clee, Paul R.; Abwe, Ekwoge E.; Ambahe, Ruffin D.; Anthony, Nicola M.; Fotso, Roger; Locatelli, Sabrina; Maisels, Fiona; Mitchell, Matthew W.; Morgan, Bethan J.; Pokempner, Amy A.; et al. (2015)
      Background: The Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) is found in the Gulf of Guinea biodiversity hotspot located in western equatorial Africa. This subspecies is threatened by habitat fragmentation due to logging and agricultural development, hunting for the bushmeat trade, and possibly climate change. Although P. t. ellioti appears to be geographically separated from the neighboring central chimpanzee (P. t. troglodytes) by the Sanaga River, recent population genetics studies of chimpanzees from across this region suggest that additional factors may also be important in their separation. The main aims of this study were: 1) to model the distribution of suitable habitat for P. t. ellioti across Cameroon and Nigeria, and P. t. troglodytes in southern Cameroon, 2) to determine which environmental factors best predict their optimal habitats, and 3) to compare modeled niches and test for their levels of divergence from one another. A final aim of this study was to examine the ways that climate change might impact suitable chimpanzee habitat across the region under various scenarios. Results: Ecological niche models (ENMs) were created using the software package Maxent for the three populations of chimpanzees that have been inferred to exist in Cameroon and eastern Nigeria: (i) P. t. troglodytes in southern Cameroon, (ii) P. t. ellioti in northwestern Cameroon, and (iii) P. t. ellioti in central Cameroon. ENMs for each population were compared using the niche comparison test in ENMtools, which revealed complete niche divergence with very little geographic overlap of suitable habitat between populations. Conclusions: These findings suggest that a positive relationship may exist between environmental variation and the partitioning of genetic variation found in chimpanzees across this region. ENMs for each population were also projected under three different climate change scenarios for years 2020, 2050, and 2080. Suitable habitat of P. t. ellioti in northwest Cameroon / eastern Nigeria is expected to remain largely unchanged through 2080 in all considered scenarios. In contrast, P. t. ellioti in central Cameroon, which represents half of the population of this subspecies, is expected to experience drastic reductions in its ecotone habitat over the coming century.
    • Chromosomal variation and perinatal mortality in San Diego zoo Soemmerring's gazelles

      Steiner, Cynthia C.; Charter, Suellen J.; Goddard, Natalie; Davis, Heidi; Brandt, Margot; Houck, Marlys L.; Ryder, Oliver A. (2015)
      …For the past 35 years, the San Diego Zoo Global (SDZG) captive population of Soemmerring's gazelles has revealed complex karyotypes resulting from chromosomal translocations with diploid numbers ranging from 34 to 39... Low levels of genetic distance and nucleotide diversity among individuals, in addition to high relatedness values, suggested that outbreeding is less of a concern than inbreeding for maintaining a sustainable captive population….
    • Cleaning, processing, drying, and storing orthodox seeds

      Walters, Christina; Maschinski, Joyce; Havens, Kay; Vitt, Pati; Heineman, Katherine D.; Horn, Christa M.; Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) (Center for Plant ConservationEscondido, California, 2019)
      The old adage “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” applies to seed banking. Divide each accession and store each half at a different safe seed banking facility. Create curation packages to place inside storage packages. Seeds in curation packages can be used for testing initial and long-term viability. Seeds in storage packages are intended to be stored long-term.
    • Climate change and landscape-use patterns influence recent past distribution of giant pandas

      Tang, Junfeng; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Owen, Megan A.; Zhao, Xuzhe; Wei, Wei; Pilfold, Nicholas W.; Wei, Fuwen; Yang, Xuyu; Gu, Xiaodong; Yang, Zhisong; et al. (The Royal Society, 2020)
      Climate change is one of the most pervasive threats to biodiversity globally, yet the influence of climate relative to other drivers of species depletion and range contraction remain difficult to disentangle.... We conclude that the panda's distribution has been influenced by changing climate, but conservation intervention to manage habitat is working to increasingly offset these negative consequences.
    • Climate change and landscape-use patterns influence recent past distribution of giant pandas

      Tang, Junfeng; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Owen, Megan A.; Zhao, Xuzhe; Wei, Wei; Pilfold, Nicholas W.; Wei, Fuwen; Yang, Xuyu; Gu, Xiaodong; Yang, Zhisong; et al. (2020)
      Climate change is one of the most pervasive threats to biodiversity globally, yet the influence of climate relative to other drivers of species depletion and range contraction remain difficult to disentangle. Here, we examine climatic and non-climatic correlates of giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) distribution using a large-scale 30 year dataset to evaluate whether a changing climate has already influenced panda distribution. We document several climatic patterns, including increasing temperatures, and alterations to seasonal temperature and precipitation. We found that while climatic factors were the most influential predictors of panda distribution, their importance diminished over time, while landscape variables have become relatively more influential. We conclude that the panda's distribution has been influenced by changing climate, but conservation intervention to manage habitat is working to increasingly offset these negative consequences.
    • Clinical challenge. Renal adenocarcinoma in a spitting cobra

      Belasco-Zeitz, Marianne; Pye, Geoffrey W.; Burns, Rachel E.; Pessier, Allan P. (2013)
      A 16-yr-old, male red spitting cobra (Naja pallida) (weight, 1.9 kg) presented with caudal coelomic swelling…. Blood from a male sibling (weight, 1.35 kg) was collected for comparison purposes and was reported with WBC < 5,000 × 106 cells/μl; uric acid, 6.4 mg/dl; calcium, 14.8 mg/dl; phosphorous, 6.6 mg/dl; total protein, 6.9 g/dl; and globulins, 4.2 g/dl…
    • Clubs des Amis des Gorilles in the Ebo forest, Cameroon

      Mfossa, Daniel; Abwe, Ekwoge E.; Morgan, Bethan J. (2018)