• 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)
    • 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....