Now showing items 1-20 of 662

    • 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.
    • Environmental variability supports chimpanzee behavioural diversity

      Kalan, Ammie K.; Kulik, Lars; Arandjelovic, Mimi; Boesch, Christophe; Haas, Fabian; Dieguez, Paula; Barratt, Christopher D.; Abwe, Ekwoge E.; Agbor, Anthony; Angedakin, Samuel; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020)
      Large brains and behavioural innovation are positively correlated, species-specific traits, associated with the behavioural flexibility animals need for adapting to seasonal and unpredictable habitats. Similar ecological challenges would have been important drivers throughout human evolution. However, studies examining the influence of environmental variability on within-species behavioural diversity are lacking despite the critical assumption that population diversification precedes genetic divergence and speciation. Here, using a dataset of 144 wild chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) communities, we show that chimpanzees exhibit greater behavioural diversity in environments with more variability — in both recent and historical timescales. Notably, distance from Pleistocene forest refugia is associated with the presence of a larger number of behavioural traits, including both tool and non-tool use behaviours. Since more than half of the behaviours investigated are also likely to be cultural, we suggest that environmental variability was a critical evolutionary force promoting the behavioural, as well as cultural diversification of great apes.
    • 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.
    • Devastating decline of forest elephants in Central Africa

      Maisels, F.; Strindberg, S.; Blake, S.; Wittemyer, G.; Hart, J.; Williamson, E. A.; Aba'a, R.; Abitsi, G.; Ambahe, R. D.; Amsini, F.; et al. (2013)
      African forest elephants-taxonomically and functionally unique-are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002-2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped. In addition, the international demand for ivory, which fuels illegal trade, must be dramatically reduced.
    • The i5K Initiative: Advancing arthropod genomics for knowledge, human health, agriculture, and the environment

      Evans, Jay D.; Brown, Susan J.; Hackett, Kevin J.; Robinson, Gene; Richards, Stephen; Lawson, Daniel; Elsik, Christine; Coddington, Jonathan; Edwards, Owain; Emrich, Scott; et al. (2013)
      Insects and their arthropod relatives including mites, spiders, and crustaceans play major roles in the world’s terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems. Arthropods compete with humans for food and transmit devastating diseases. They also comprise the most diverse and successful branch of metazoan evolution, with millions of extant species. Here, we describe an international effort to guide arthropod genomic efforts, from species prioritization to methodology and informatics. The 5000 arthropod genomes initiative (i5K) community met formally in 2012 to discuss a roadmap for sequencing and analyzing 5000 high-priority arthropods and is continuing this effort via pilot projects, the development of standard operating procedures, and training of students and career scientists. With university, governmental, and industry support, the i5K Consortium aspires to deliver sequences and analytical tools for each of the arthropod branches and each of the species having beneficial and negative effects on humankind.
    • 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….
    • Incorporating mortality into habitat selection to identify secure and risky habitats for savannah elephants

      Roever, C. L.; van Aarde, R. J.; Chase, Michael J. (2013)
      Empirical models of habitat selection are increasingly used to guide and inform habitat-based management plans for wildlife species. However, habitat selection does not necessarily equate to habitat quality particularly if selection is maladaptive, so incorporating measures of fitness into estimations of occurrence is necessary to increase model robustness. Here, we incorporated spatially explicit mortality events with the habitat selection of elephants to predict secure and risky habitats in northern Botswana....
    • The importance of behavioral research in zoological institutions: An introduction to the special issue

      Miller, Lance J.; Mellen, Jill D.; Kuczaj, Stan, A.II (2013)
      Behavioral research within zoological institutions (zoos and aquariums) has a long history that has helped to increase basic scientific knowledge and to facilitate the ability of institutions to make informed animal management decisions. Kleiman (1992) stated that "behavior research in zoos has enormous potential to contribute positively to the science of animal management, long-term breeding programs, conservation biology, and the advancement of scientific theory" (p. 309). As evidenced by the papers in this issue, behavioral research in zoos continues to be important. The purpose of this special issue is to highlight some of the behavioral research being conducted within zoos and aquariums and to demonstrate the importance of such work to zoological institutions and the greater scientific community. With a better understanding of the importance of behavioral research, we hope to inspire more zoological facilities to become involved either through funding/conducting research or by actively promoting the use of their animal collections for behavioral research to both the zoological and academic communities....
    • Augmentation of the Puaiohi population through captive propagation and release on the Alakai Plateau, Kauai, Hawaii, USA

      Switzer, Richard A.; Lieberman, Alan A.; Nelson, J.; Crampton, L.; Soorae, P.S. (IUCN Species Survival Commission, Re-introduction Specialist Group and Abu Dhabi, AE : Environment Agency-Abu DhabiGland, Switzerland, 2013)
      The Puaiohi, also known as the small Kauai thrush, is listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN/BirdLife and Endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is one of only two remaining Hawaiian species in the genus Myadestes, formerly comprising six Hawaiian species....
    • Recalibrating Equus evolution using the genome sequence of an early Middle Pleistocene horse

      Orlando, Ludovic; Ginolhac, Aurélien; Zhang, Guojie; Froese, Duane; Albrechtsen, Anders; Stiller, Mathias; Schubert, Mikkel; Cappellini, Enrico; Petersen, Bent; Moltke, Ida; et al. (2013)
      Here we present a 1.12-times coverage draft genome from a horse bone recovered from permafrost dated to approximately 560–780 thousand years before present (kyr BP). Our data represent the oldest full genome sequence determined so far by almost an order of magnitude. For comparison, we sequenced the genome of a Late Pleistocene horse (43 kyr BP), and modern genomes of five domestic horse breeds (Equus ferus caballus), a Przewalski’s horse (E. f. przewalskii) and a donkey (E. asinus)....
    • Development of a case definition for clinical feline herpesvirus infection in cheetahs (acinonyx jubatus) housed in zoos

      Witte, Carmel L.; Lamberski, Nadine; Rideout, Bruce; Fields, Victoria; Teare, Cyd Shields; Barrie, Michael; Haefele, Holly; Junge, Randall; Murray, Suzan; Hungerford, Laura L. (2013)
      The identification of feline herpesvirus (FHV) infected cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and characterization of shedding episodes is difficult due to nonspecific clinical signs and limitations of diagnostic tests. The goals of this study were to develop a case definition for clinical FHV and describe the distribution of signs. Medical records from six different zoologic institutions were reviewed to identify cheetahs with diagnostic test results confirming FHV….
    • Dynamics of male-female multimodal signaling behavior across the estrous cycle in giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

      Owen, Megan A.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; McGeehan, L.; Zhou, X.; Lindburg, Donald G. (2013)
      Giant panda courtship behavior includes multimodal signaling assemblages consisting of olfactory, vocal, and postural elements. While signaling is generally conspicuous, successful copulation is inconsistently achieved in captivity, even when female behavioral and physiological data indicate that ovulation is imminent. We set out to characterize these complex patterns of social behavior by observing interactions between 26 unique pairs of giant pandas housed in adjoining pens throughout the females' reproductive cycle....
    • Low MHC variation in the polar bear: Implications in the face of Arctic warming?

      Weber, D.S.; Van Coeverden de Groot, P.J.; Schrenzel, Mark D.; Perez, D.A.; Thomas, S. (2013)
      Animals in the Arctic have low pathogen diversity but with rapid climate warming, this is expected to change. One insidious consequence of climate change is exposure of Arctic species to new pathogens derived from more southern species expanding their range northward. To assess potential vulnerability of polar bears to disease exposure, we examined genetic variation in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) loci (part of immune system) in Canadian polar bears and found low genetic diversity, consistent with long?standing exposure to low pathogen/parasite loads....
    • Drought reduces chytrid fungus (batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) infection intensity and mortality but not prevalence in adult crawfish frogs (lithobates areolatus)

      Terrell, Vanessa C. K.; Engbrecht, Nathan J.; Pessier, Allan P.; Lannoo, Michael J. (2014)
      To fully understand the impacts of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) on amphibians it is necessary to examine the interactions between populations and their environment. Ecologic variables can exacerbate or ameliorate Bd prevalence and infection intensity, factors that are positively related when Bd is acting on naive amphibian populations as an epidemic disease….
    • Pitheciins: Use of time and space

      Setz, E.Z.F.; Pinto, L.P.; Bowler, Mark; Barnett, A.A.; Vie, J.C.; Barnett, A.A.; Veiga, L.M.; Ferrari, S.F.; Norconk, M.A. (Cambridge University PressCambridge, 2013)
    • Winning the genetic lottery: Biasing birth sex ratio results in more grandchildren

      Thorgerson, C.M.; Brady, C.M.; Howard, H.R.; Mason, G.J.; Vicino, Greg A. (2013)
      Population dynamics predicts that on average parents should invest equally in male and female offspring; similarly, the physiology of mammalian sex determination is supposedly stochastic, producing equal numbers of sons and daughters. However, a high quality parent can maximize fitness by biasing their birth sex ratio (SR) to the sex with the greatest potential to disproportionately outperform peers. All SR manipulation theories share a fundamental prediction: grandparents who bias birth SR should produce more grandoffspring via the favored sex. The celebrated examples of biased birth SRs in nature consistent with SR manipulation theories provide compelling circumstantial evidence. However, this prediction has never been directly tested in mammals, primarily because the complete three-generation pedigrees needed to test whether individual favored offspring produce more grandoffspring for the biasing grandparent are essentially impossible to obtain in nature. Three-generation pedigrees were constructed using 90 years of captive breeding records from 198 mammalian species. Male and female grandparents consistently biased their birth SR toward the sex that maximized second-generation success. The most strongly male-biased granddams and grandsires produced respectively 29% and 25% more grandoffspring than non-skewing conspecifics. The sons of the most male-biasing granddams were 2.7 times as fecund as those of granddams with a 50∶50 bias (similar results are seen in grandsires). Daughters of the strongest female-biasing granddams were 1.2 times as fecund as those of non-biasing females (this effect is not seen in grandsires). To our knowledge, these results are the first formal test of the hypothesis that birth SR manipulation is adaptive in mammals in terms of grandchildren produced, showing that SR manipulation can explain biased birth SR in general across mammalian species. These findings also have practical implications: parental control of birth SR has the potential to accelerate genetic loss and risk of extinction within captive populations of endangered species.
    • Utilizing first occurrence, nursing behavior, and growth data to enhance animal management: An example with African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

      Miller, Lance J.; Andrews, J. (2013)
      One of the many goals of zoological institutions is to actively breed endangered species to enhance conservation efforts. Unfortunately, many of these species are not reproducing at high enough levels to sustain populations within zoos. Low reproductive success and high infant mortality are two areas of concern for some of these species. Collecting behavioral data on developmental milestones following successful births can create a database of information to aide animal management to help make more informed decisions during subsequent births. The current study provides valuable information for African elephant calf developmental norms and demonstrates how data on first occurrences, nursing behavior and growth patterns can aide animal management. Data were collected on eleven African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, CA of which ten have survived. Results show that on average African elephant calves were standing within 40 minutes, attempted to nurse within an hour and a half, and successfully nursed within six hrs. There were no significant differences in nursing rates, growth patterns, or first occurrence behaviors between males and females during the first 75 days of life and elephants gained on average 0.59 kg/day over that same period of time. Results also show a significant change in nursing behavior on day 22 for the elephant calf that died. This information is intended to serve as a resource for elephant managers with newborn African elephants and to serve as a model to develop similar type databases for other species in need within zoological institutions.
    • Seed dynamics of an endemic palm in a Northwestern Mexican tropical dry forest: implications for population spatial structure

      López-Toledo, L.; Portillo-Cruz, Y.; Pulido, M.T.; Endress, Bryan A. (2013)
      Seed dynamics are an important part of the life history of plants and may have strong implications on abundance and spatial distribution of populations. In this study, we explored how seed dynamics (removal, predation, germination) interact with micro-environmental conditions to affect the spatial structure of populations of Brahea aculeata (Arecaceae) in a tropical dry forest. B. aculeata is distributed throughout arroyo basins and attains its highest densities near to arroyos/rivers....
    • Population abundance and habitat utilization of bottlenose dolphins in the Mississippi Sound. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater

      Miller, Lance J.; Mackey, A.D.; Solangi, M.; Kuczaj, S.A. (2013)
      Distance sampling principles were utilized to examine population density and abundance for bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Mississippi Sound. Information was collected during summer and winter to allow for examination of habitat utilization and abundance during two different seasons. Within the study area of the Mississippi Sound there are approximately 2225 bottlenose dolphins. The population was larger during the summer than during the winter months....
    • Dolphin shows and interaction programs: Benefits for conservation education?

      Miller, Lance J.; Zeigler-Hill, V.; Mellen, J.; Koeppel, J.; Greer, T.; Kuczaj, S. (2013)
      Dolphin shows and dolphin interaction programs are two types of education programs within zoological institutions used to educate visitors about dolphins and the marine environment. The current study examined the short‐ and long‐term effects of these programs on visitors' conservation‐related knowledge, attitude, and behavior....