• Hunters versus hunted: New perspectives on the energetic costs of survival at the top of the food chain

      Williams, Terrie M.; Jørgensen, Mads Peter-Heide; Pagano, Anthony M.; Bryce, Caleb M. (2020)
      Global biotic and abiotic threats, particularly from pervasive human activities, are progressively pushing large, apex carnivorous mammals into the functional role of mesopredator. Hunters are now becoming the hunted….
    • Impacts of natural history and exhibit factors on carnivore welfare

      Miller, Lance J.; Ivy, Jamie A.; Vicino, Greg A.; Schork, Ivana G. (2019)
      To improve the welfare of nonhuman animals under professional care, zoological institutions are continuously utilizing new methods to identify factors that lead to optimal welfare. Comparative methods have historically been used in the field of evolutionary biology but are increasingly being applied in the field of animal welfare....
    • Phylogenetic utility of nuclear introns in interfamilial relationships of Caniformia (Order Carnivora)

      Yu, L.; Luan, P.-T.; Jin, W.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Chemnick, Leona G.; Davis, Heidi A.; Zhang, Y.-P. (2011)
      The monophyletic group Caniformia (dog-like carnivores) in the order Carnivora comprises 9 families. Except for the general consensus for the earliest divergence of Canidae and the grouping of Procyonidae and Mustelidae, conflicting phylogenetic hypotheses exist for the other caniformian families. In the present study, a data set comprising > 22 kb of 22 nuclear intron loci from 16 caniformian species is used to investigate the phylogenetic utility of nuclear introns in resolving the interfamilial relationships of Caniformia. Our phylogenetic analyses support Ailuridae as the sister taxon to a clade containing Procyonidae and Mustelidae, with Mephitinae being the sister taxon to all of them. The unresolved placements of Ursidae and Pinnipeds here emphasize a need to add more data and include more taxa to resolve this problem. The present study not only resolves some of the ambiguous relationships in Caniformia phylogeny but also shows that the noncoding nuclear markers can offer powerful complementary data for estimating the species tree. None of the newly developed introns here have previously been used for phylogeny reconstruction, thus increasing the spectrum of molecular markers available to mammalian systematics. Interestingly, all the newly developed intron data partitions exhibit intraindividual allele heterozygotes (IIAHs). There are 115 cases of IIAHs in total. The incorporation of IIAHs into phylogenetic analysis not only provides insights into the interfamilial relationships of Caniformia but also identifies two potential hybridization events occurred within Ursidae and Otariidae, respectively. Finally, the powers and pitfalls of phylogenetics using nuclear introns as markers are discussed in the context of Caniformia phylogeny.
    • Physiological consequences of Arctic sea ice loss on large marine carnivores: Unique responses by polar bears and narwhals

      Pagano, Anthony M.; Williams, Terrie M. (2021)
      Rapid environmental changes in the Arctic are threatening the survival of marine species that rely on the predictable presence of the sea ice. Two Arctic marine mammal specialists, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and narwhal (Monodon monoceros), appear especially vulnerable to the speed and capriciousness of sea ice deterioration as a consequence of their unique hunting behaviors and diet, as well as their physiological adaptations for slow-aerobic exercise….
    • Sociality and signaling activity modulate information flow in river otter communication networks

      Barocas, Adi; Golden, Howard N; Dudenhoeffer, Megan; Ben-David, Merav (2020)
      …In concert, our results suggest that in river otters, scent-marking decisions minimize signal dilution by being performed in small groups and maximize the receivers through preferential signaling at latrines with higher, more recent activity. Because signaling decisions in social animals are linked to key life-history events such as mating and group membership shifts, understanding their individual and population-level drivers can be crucial.
    • The sequence and de novo assembly of the giant panda genome

      Li, Ruiqiang; Fan, Wei; Tian, Geng; Zhu, Hongmei; He, Lin; Cai, Jing; Huang, Quanfei; Cai, Qingle; Li, Bo; Bai, Yinqi; et al. (2010)
      ...Here, using only Illumina Genome Analyser sequencing technology, we have generated and assembled a draft genome sequence for the giant panda with an assembled N50 contig size (defined in Table 1) reaching 40 kilobases (kb), and an N50 scaffold size of 1.3 megabases (Mb). This represents the first, to our knowledge, fully sequenced genome of the family Ursidae and the second of the order Carnivora....