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Sample records for 1-260 finch pruyn

  1. 20. Photographic copy of photograph (at the offices of Finch, ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    20. Photographic copy of photograph (at the offices of Finch, Pruyn & Company, Glen Street, Glens Falls, New York), Beach?, Photographer, November 25, 1913. View southwest to northwest of the Glens Falls Dam before activation. Intake structures for International Paper Company and Finch, Pruyn & Company are on the left and right, respectively. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  2. 18. Photographic copy of photograph (at teh offices of Finch, ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    18. Photographic copy of photograph (at teh offices of Finch, Pruyn & Company, Glen Street, Glens Falls, New York), Beach?, Photographer, June 31, 1913. Panoramic view east to southwest of the Glens Falls Dam after the 1913 flood taken from the west end of the Finch, Pruyn & Company intake structure. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  3. Finch, Pruyn cleans air and water while increasing steam production

    SciTech Connect

    Reason, J.; Bauer, P.; Makansi, J.

    1981-11-01

    It is shown how a paper manufacturing company in Glens Falls, NY, employs primary and secondary water-treatment plants, chemical recovery from SO/sub 2/ -laden flue gas, a bark boiler, and waste-liquor boilers to balance the conflicting demands of a changing market, increasing power needs, stringent, pollution regulations, higher fuel costs, and limited production space.

  4. 17. Photographic copy of photograph (at the offices of Finch, ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    17. Photographic copy of photograph (at the offices of Finch, Pruyn & Company, Glen Street, Glens Falls, New York), Beach?, Photographer, March 28, 1913. Panoramic view of the Hudson River at Glens Falls during the March 1913 flood showing overtopped Glens Falls Dam and washed out bridge. Facing southwest. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  5. Observing the Zebra Finch.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Waters, Charles

    1979-01-01

    Presents natural history information on the zebra finch (Taeniopygia castanotis) for the biology teacher. Includes a section on care of the birds in the classroom and a method for constructing an inexpensive cage. (SA)

  6. 24. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    24. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the archives of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, 300 Eric Boulevard West, Syracuse, New York 13202), Strand, Draftsman, July 3, 1913. Sheet 1-260, Finch, Pruyn & Company and International Paper Company. Detail of concrete dam and headgate wall. Detail showing plan view of place of joining of the dam and headgate wall. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  7. 25. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    25. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the archives of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, 300 Eric Boulevard West, Syracuse, New York 13202), Strand, Draftsman, July 3, 1913. Sheet 1-260, Finch, Pruyn & Company and International Paper Company. Detail of concrete dam and headgate wall. Detail showing profile of the north end of headgate wall. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  8. 23. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    23. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the archives of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, 300 Eric Boulevard West, Syracuse, New York 13202), Strand, Draftsman, July 3, 1913. Sheet 1-260, Finch, Pruyn & Company and International Paper Company. Detail of concrete dam and headgate wall. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  9. 27. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    27. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the archives of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, 300 Eric Boulevard West, Syracuse, New York 13202), Strand, Draftsman, July 3, 1913. Sheet 1-260, Finch, Pruyn & Company and International Paper Company. Detail of concrete dam and headgate wall. Detail showing typical cross section through the dam. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  10. Zebra finch as a developmental model.

    PubMed

    Mak, Siu-Shan; Wrabel, Anna; Nagai, Hiroki; Ladher, Raj K; Sheng, Guojun

    2015-11-01

    The domesticated zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is a well-established animal model for studying vocal learning. It is also a tractable model for developmental analyses. The finch genome has been sequenced and methods for its transgenesis have been reported. Hatching and sexual maturation in this species takes only two weeks and three months, respectively. Finch colonies can be established relatively easily and its eggs are laid at a stage earlier than in other common avian experimental models, facilitating the analysis of very early avian development. Representing the Neoaves to which 95% of all bird species belong, the finch can potentially complement two existing, Galloanserae developmental models, the chick, and quail. Here, we provide a step-by-step guide for how to set up a finch colony in a conventional laboratory environment. Technical tips are offered to optimize hens' productivity and ensure a constant supply of fertilized finch eggs. Methods of handling finch eggs and embryos for subsequent embryological, cellular, or molecular analyses are also discussed. We conclude by emphasizing scientific values and cost effectiveness of maintaining a finch colony for avian developmental studies. genesis 53:669-677, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:26385755

  11. Sisyphean evolution in Darwin's finches.

    PubMed

    McKay, Bailey D; Zink, Robert M

    2014-07-01

    The trajectory of speciation involves geographic isolation of ancestral populations followed by divergence by natural selection, genetic drift or sexual selection. Once started, the process may experience fits and starts, as sometimes diverging populations intermittently reconnect. In theory populations might cycle between stages of differentiation and never attain species status, a process we refer to as Sisyphean evolution. We argue that the six putative ground finch species (genus Geospiza) of the Galápagos Islands represent a dramatic example of Sisyphean evolution that has been confused with the standard model of speciation. The dynamic environment of the Galápagos, closely spaced islands, and frequent dispersal and introgression have prevented the completion of the speciation process. We suggest that morphological clusters represent locally adapted ecomorphs, which might mimic, and have been confused with, species, but these ecomorphs do not form separate gene pools and are ephemeral in space and time. Thus the pattern of morphological, behavioural and genetic variation supports recognition of a single species of Geospiza, which we suggest should be recognized as Darwin's ground finch (Geospiza magnirostris). We argue that instead of providing an icon of insular speciation and adaptive radiation, which is featured in nearly every textbook on evolutionary biology, Darwin's ground finch represents a potentially more interesting phenomenon, one of transient morphs trapped in an unpredictable cycle of Sisyphean evolution. Instead of revealing details of the origin of species, the mechanisms underlying the transient occurrence of ecomorphs provide one of the best illustrations of the antagonistic effects of natural selection and introgression. PMID:25040800

  12. Presumed Mycobacteriosis in Laboratory Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Asfaw, Yohannes G; Sun, Francis J

    2010-01-01

    Husbandry staff noticed a research-naïve, young-adult, female finch tossing its head back intermittently. A second finch exhibiting similar signs was reported a few days later. Postmortem necropsy and histopathology with hematoxylin and eosin and acid-fast staining on the first finch revealed the presence of acid-fast organisms in several organs. After presumptive diagnosis of mycobacteriosis, all remaining finches housed in the same room as the first underwent necropsy and histology. Three additional finches were positive for Mycobacterium-like acid-fast organisms. Incidental findings of megabacteriosis were noted histopathologically on 2 other finches. PMID:20858369

  13. The fast Ice Nucleus chamber FINCH

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bundke, U.; Nillius, B.; Jaenicke, R.; Wetter, T.; Klein, H.; Bingemer, H.

    2008-11-01

    We present first results of our new developed Ice Nucleus (IN) counter FINCH from the sixth Cloud and Aerosol Characterization Experiment (CLACE 6) campaign at Jungfraujoch station, 3571 m asl. Measurements were made at the total and the ICE CVI inlet. Laboratory measurements of ice onset temperatures by FINCH are compared to those of the static diffusion chamber FRIDGE (FRankfurt Ice Deposition Freezing Experiment). Within the errors of both new instruments the results compare well to published data.

  14. Darwin's Galapagos finches in modern biology.

    PubMed

    Abzhanov, Arhat

    2010-04-12

    One of the classic examples of adaptive radiation under natural selection is the evolution of 15 closely related species of Darwin's finches (Passeriformes), whose primary diversity lies in the size and shape of their beaks. Since Charles Darwin and other members of the Beagle expedition collected these birds on the Galápagos Islands in 1835 and introduced them to science, they have been the subjects of intense research. Many biology textbooks use Darwin's finches to illustrate a variety of topics of evolutionary theory, such as speciation, natural selection and niche partitioning. Today, as this Theme Issue illustrates, Darwin's finches continue to be a very valuable source of biological discovery. Certain advantages of studying this group allow further breakthroughs in our understanding of changes in recent island biodiversity, mechanisms of speciation and hybridization, evolution of cognitive behaviours, principles of beak/jaw biomechanics as well as the underlying developmental genetic mechanisms in generating morphological diversity. Our objective was to bring together some of the key workers in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology who study Darwin's finches or whose studies were inspired by research on Darwin's finches. Insights provided by papers collected in this Theme Issue will be of interest to a wide audience. PMID:20194163

  15. Dynamics of zebra finch and mockingbird vocalizations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cimenser, Aylin

    Along with humans, whales, and bats, three groups of birds which include songbirds (oscines) such as the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) and Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) are the only creatures known to learn sounds by imitation. Numerous similarities between human and songbird vocalizations exist and, recently, it has been shown that Zebra Finch in particular possesses a gene, FoxP2, known to be involved in human language. This thesis investigates song development in Zebra Finches, as well as the temporal dynamics of song in Mockingbirds. Zebra Finches have long been the system of choice for studying vocal development, ontogeny, and complexity in birdsong. Physicists find them intriguing because the spectrally complex vocalizations of the Zebra Finch can exhibit sudden transitions to chaotic dynamics, period doubling & mode-locking phenomena. Mockingbirds, by contrast, provide an ideal system to examine the richness of an avian repertoire, since these musically versatile songbirds typically know upwards of 200 songs. To analyse birdsong data, we have developed a novel clustering algorithm that can be applied to the bird's syllables, tracing their dynamics back to the earliest stages of vocal development. To characterize birdsong we have used Fourier techniques, based upon multitaper spectral analysis, to optimally work around the constraints imposed by (Heisenberg's) time-frequency uncertainty principle. Furthermore, estimates that provide optimal compromise between frequency and temporal resolution have beautiful connections with solutions to the Helmholtz wave equation in prolate spheroidal coordinates. We have used this connection to provide firm foundation for certain heuristics used in the literature to compute associated spectral derivatives and supply a pedagogical account here in this thesis. They are of interest because spectral derivatives emphasize sudden changes in the dynamics of the underlying phenomenon, and often provide a nice way to visualize

  16. 26. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    26. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the archives of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, 300 Eric Boulevard West, Syracuse, New York 13202), Strand, Draftsman, July 3, 1913. Sheet 1-260, Finch, Pruyn & Company and International Paper Company. Detail of concrete dam and headgate wall. Detail showing the profile of the end of the headgate wall and south end of the Glens Falls Dam. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  17. Epigenetics and the evolution of Darwin's Finches.

    PubMed

    Skinner, Michael K; Gurerrero-Bosagna, Carlos; Haque, M Muksitul; Nilsson, Eric E; Koop, Jennifer A H; Knutie, Sarah A; Clayton, Dale H

    2014-08-01

    The prevailing theory for the molecular basis of evolution involves genetic mutations that ultimately generate the heritable phenotypic variation on which natural selection acts. However, epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of phenotypic variation may also play an important role in evolutionary change. A growing number of studies have demonstrated the presence of epigenetic inheritance in a variety of different organisms that can persist for hundreds of generations. The possibility that epigenetic changes can accumulate over longer periods of evolutionary time has seldom been tested empirically. This study was designed to compare epigenetic changes among several closely related species of Darwin's finches, a well-known example of adaptive radiation. Erythrocyte DNA was obtained from five species of sympatric Darwin's finches that vary in phylogenetic relatedness. Genome-wide alterations in genetic mutations using copy number variation (CNV) were compared with epigenetic alterations associated with differential DNA methylation regions (epimutations). Epimutations were more common than genetic CNV mutations among the five species; furthermore, the number of epimutations increased monotonically with phylogenetic distance. Interestingly, the number of genetic CNV mutations did not consistently increase with phylogenetic distance. The number, chromosomal locations, regional clustering, and lack of overlap of epimutations and genetic mutations suggest that epigenetic changes are distinct and that they correlate with the evolutionary history of Darwin's finches. The potential functional significance of the epimutations was explored by comparing their locations on the genome to the location of evolutionarily important genes and cellular pathways in birds. Specific epimutations were associated with genes related to the bone morphogenic protein, toll receptor, and melanogenesis signaling pathways. Species-specific epimutations were significantly overrepresented in these

  18. Female Zebra Finches Smell Their Eggs.

    PubMed

    Golüke, Sarah; Dörrenberg, Sebastian; Krause, E Tobias; Caspers, Barbara A

    2016-01-01

    Parental investment in unrelated offspring seems maladaptive from an evolutionary perspective, due to the costs of energy and resources that cannot be invested in related offspring at the same time. Therefore selection should favour mechanisms to discriminate between own and foreign offspring. In birds, much emphasis has been placed on understanding the visual mechanisms underlying egg recognition. However, olfactory egg recognition has almost been completely ignored. Here, we investigated whether female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are able to discriminate between their own and a conspecific egg based on olfactory cues alone. Zebra finches are colonial-breeding songbirds. Eggs are monomorphic, i.e. without any spotting pattern, and intraspecific brood parasitism frequently occurs. In a binary choice experiment, female zebra finches were given the choice between the scent of their own and a conspecific egg. After the onset of incubation, females chose randomly and showed no sign of discrimination. However, shortly before hatching, females preferred significantly the odour of their own egg. The finding that females are capable to smell their own egg may inspire more research on the potential of olfaction involved in egg recognition, especially in cases where visual cues might be limited. PMID:27192061

  19. Female Zebra Finches Smell Their Eggs

    PubMed Central

    Golüke, Sarah; Dörrenberg, Sebastian; Krause, E. Tobias; Caspers, Barbara A.

    2016-01-01

    Parental investment in unrelated offspring seems maladaptive from an evolutionary perspective, due to the costs of energy and resources that cannot be invested in related offspring at the same time. Therefore selection should favour mechanisms to discriminate between own and foreign offspring. In birds, much emphasis has been placed on understanding the visual mechanisms underlying egg recognition. However, olfactory egg recognition has almost been completely ignored. Here, we investigated whether female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are able to discriminate between their own and a conspecific egg based on olfactory cues alone. Zebra finches are colonial—breeding songbirds. Eggs are monomorphic, i.e. without any spotting pattern, and intraspecific brood parasitism frequently occurs. In a binary choice experiment, female zebra finches were given the choice between the scent of their own and a conspecific egg. After the onset of incubation, females chose randomly and showed no sign of discrimination. However, shortly before hatching, females preferred significantly the odour of their own egg. The finding that females are capable to smell their own egg may inspire more research on the potential of olfaction involved in egg recognition, especially in cases where visual cues might be limited. PMID:27192061

  20. How to save the rarest Darwin's finch from extinction: the mangrove finch on Isabela Island.

    PubMed

    Fessl, Birgit; Young, Glyn H; Young, Richard P; Rodríguez-Matamoros, Jorge; Dvorak, Michael; Tebbich, Sabine; Fa, John E

    2010-04-12

    Habitat destruction and predation by invasive alien species has led to the disappearance of several island populations of Darwin's finches but to date none of the 13 recognized species have gone extinct. However, driven by rapid economic growth in the Galápagos, the effects of introduced species have accelerated and severely threatened these iconic birds. The critically endangered mangrove finch (Camarhynchus heliobates) is now confined to three small mangroves on Isabela Island. During 2006-2009, we assessed its population status and monitored nesting success, both before and after rat poisoning. Population size was estimated at around only 100 birds for the two main breeding sites, with possibly 5-10 birds surviving at a third mangrove. Before rat control, 54 per cent of nests during incubation phase were predated with only 18 per cent of nests producing fledglings. Post-rat control, nest predation during the incubation phase fell to 30 per cent with 37 per cent of nests producing fledglings. During the nestling phase, infestation by larvae of the introduced parasitic fly (Philornis downsi) caused 14 per cent additional mortality. Using population viability analysis, we simulated the probability of population persistence under various scenarios of control and showed that with effective management of these invasive species, mangrove finch populations should start to recover. PMID:20194165

  1. Embryological Staging of the Zebra Finch, Taeniopygia guttata

    PubMed Central

    Murray, Jessica R; Varian-Ramos, Claire W; Welch, Zoe S; Saha, Margaret S

    2013-01-01

    Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are the most commonly used laboratory songbird species, yet their embryological development has been poorly characterized. Most studies to date apply Hamburger and Hamilton stages derived from chicken development; however, significant differences in development between precocial and altricial species suggest that they may not be directly comparable. We provide the first detailed description of embryological development in the Zebra Finch under standard artificial incubation. These descriptions confirm that some of the features used to classify chicken embryos into stages are not applicable in an altricial bird such as the Zebra Finch. This staging protocol will help to standardize future studies of embryological development in the Zebra Finch. J. Morphol. 274:1090–1110, 2013. © 2013 The Authors. Journal of Morphology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:23813920

  2. Finch: A System for Evolving Java (Bytecode)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Orlov, Michael; Sipper, Moshe

    The established approach in genetic programming (GP) involves the definition of functions and terminals appropriate to the problem at hand, after which evolution of expressions using these definitions takes place. We have recently developed a system, dubbed FINCH (Fertile Darwinian Bytecode Harvester), to evolutionarily improve actual, extant software, which was not intentionally written for the purpose of serving as a GP representation in particular, nor for evolution in general. This is in contrast to existing work that uses restricted subsets of the Java bytecode instruction set as a representation language for individuals in genetic programming. The ability to evolve Java programs will hopefully lead to a valuable new tool in the software engineer's toolkit.

  3. Evolution of character displacement in Darwin's finches.

    PubMed

    Grant, Peter R; Grant, B Rosemary

    2006-07-14

    Competitor species can have evolutionary effects on each other that result in ecological character displacement; that is, divergence in resource-exploiting traits such as jaws and beaks. Nevertheless, the process of character displacement occurring in nature, from the initial encounter of competitors to the evolutionary change in one or more of them, has not previously been investigated. Here we report that a Darwin's finch species (Geospiza fortis) on an undisturbed Galápagos island diverged in beak size from a competitor species (G. magnirostris) 22 years after the competitor's arrival, when they jointly and severely depleted the food supply. The observed evolutionary response to natural selection was the strongest recorded in 33 years of study, and close to the value predicted from the high heritability of beak size. These findings support the role of competition in models of community assembly, speciation, and adaptive radiations. PMID:16840700

  4. Song Recognition in Zebra Finches: Are There Sensitive Periods for Song Memorization?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Braaten, Richard F.

    2010-01-01

    Male zebra finches learn to sing songs that they hear between 25 and 65 days of age, the sensitive period for song learning. In this experiment, male and female zebra finches were exposed to zebra finch songs either before (n = 9) or during (n = 4) the sensitive period. Following song exposure, recognition memory for the songs was assessed with an…

  5. Mechanisms of copying behaviour in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Guillette, Lauren M; Healy, Susan D

    2014-10-01

    When an individual is faced with choosing between unfamiliar food options, it may benefit initially by choosing the option chosen by other animals so avoiding potentially poisonous food. It is not clear which cues the naïve forager learns from the demonstrator for choosing between food options. To determine firstly which birds (zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata) would copy a demonstrator's choice, in Experiment 1 we presented each observer with a demonstrator feeding from one of two differently coloured feeders and then tested the observer's feeder colour preference. Of the same-sex/mixed-sex demonstrator-observer pairs tested only females copied male demonstrators. In Experiment 2, birds did not prefer either feeder colour in the absence of demonstrators confirming the social learning effect observed in Experiment 1. In Experiment 3, copying females fed significantly more at the feeder of the demonstrated colour, rather than at the location of the demonstrated feeder. These data point not just to the identity of the individual to be copied but also to the kind of information learned. PMID:25444776

  6. Vocal Tract Articulation in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Ohms, Verena R.; Snelderwaard, Peter Ch.; ten Cate, Carel; Beckers, Gabriël J. L.

    2010-01-01

    Background Birdsong and human vocal communication are both complex behaviours which show striking similarities mainly thought to be present in the area of development and learning. Recent studies, however, suggest that there are also parallels in vocal production mechanisms. While it has been long thought that vocal tract filtering, as it occurs in human speech, only plays a minor role in birdsong there is an increasing number of studies indicating the presence of sound filtering mechanisms in bird vocalizations as well. Methodology/Principal Findings Correlating high-speed X-ray cinematographic imaging of singing zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) to song structures we identified beak gape and the expansion of the oropharyngeal-esophageal cavity (OEC) as potential articulators. We subsequently manipulated both structures in an experiment in which we played sound through the vocal tract of dead birds. Comparing acoustic input with acoustic output showed that OEC expansion causes an energy shift towards lower frequencies and an amplitude increase whereas a wide beak gape emphasizes frequencies around 5 kilohertz and above. Conclusion These findings confirm that birds can modulate their song by using vocal tract filtering and demonstrate how OEC and beak gape contribute to this modulation. PMID:20689831

  7. The tale of the finch: adaptive radiation and behavioural flexibility

    PubMed Central

    Tebbich, Sabine; Sterelny, Kim; Teschke, Irmgard

    2010-01-01

    Darwin's finches are a classic example of adaptive radiation. The ecological diversity of the Galápagos in part explains that radiation, but the fact that other founder species did not radiate suggests that other factors are also important. One hypothesis attempting to identify the extra factor is the flexible stem hypothesis, connecting individual adaptability to species richness. According to this hypothesis, the ancestral finches were flexible and therefore able to adapt to the new and harsh environment they encountered by exploiting new food types and developing new foraging techniques. Phenotypic variation was initially mediated by learning, but genetic accommodation entrenched differences and supplemented them with morphological adaptations. This process subsequently led to diversification and speciation of the Darwin's finches. Their current behaviour is consistent with this hypothesis as these birds use unusual resources by extraordinary means. In this paper, we identify cognitive capacities on which flexibility and innovation depend. The flexible stem hypothesis predicts that we will find high levels of these capacities in all species of Darwin's finches (not just those using innovative techniques). Here, we test that prediction, and find that while most of our data are in line with the flexible stem hypothesis, some are in tension with it. PMID:20194172

  8. A retrospective study of disease and mortality in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Prattis, S M; Cioffee, C J; Reinhard, G; Zaoutis, T E

    1990-07-01

    Few published reports exist describing morbidity and mortality in domestic zebra finch colonies maintained in a laboratory animal setting. A retrospective study of clinical disease and mortality in quarantined adult zebra finches was performed. Animals were observed during the 2 week quarantine period and for at least 1 month afterwards (42 days). Signs of disease, including feather and beak abnormalities, oculonasal discharge, increased respiratory rate or stridor, abdominal enlargement, pasty vent, diarrhea, lameness and pectoral muscle loss, were evaluated in our colony during this time. History, physical examination, laboratory testing and postmortem evaluation were used to determine causes of clinical disease. Common clinical findings in sick finches included sudden death, ruffled feathers, increased respiratory rate or gape mouthed breathing, pasty vent or frank diarrhea, and beak discoloration. Organisms frequently isolated were Staphylococcus spp., E. coli, Enterobacter spp., and Coccidia spp. Of the finches that died while in the colony (29.5%), 23.0% died in the first week after arrival. Pathogens frequently isolated from tissues cultured at necropsy included: E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter spp., and Candida albicans. When observed, pathological lesions consisted of air sacculitis, fibrinopurulent polyserositis and ventriculitis. PMID:2166869

  9. EFFECTS OF EXTROGENOUS ESTROGEN ON MATE SELECTION OF HOUSE FINCHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Effects of exogenous estrogen on mate selection of house finches. Clark, J., Fairbrother, A*. Parametrix, Inc., Corvallis, OR; Brewer, L., EBA, Inc., Sisters, OR; Bennett, R.S., USEPA, Mid-Continent Ecology Division, Duluth, MN.

    Concern about the potential for endocrine...

  10. EFFECTS OF EXOGENOUS ESTROGEN ON MATE SELECTION OF HOUSE FINCHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Concern about the potential for endocrine disrupting chemicals to interfere with normal breeding behaviors of wildlife has prompted this study of effects of exogenous estrogen on mate selection in songbirds. The house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) was selected as a model as it is ...

  11. Drinking Songs: Alcohol Effects on Learned Song of Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Olson, Christopher R.; Owen, Devin C.; Ryabinin, Andrey E.; Mello, Claudio V.

    2014-01-01

    Speech impairment is one of the most intriguing and least understood effects of alcohol on cognitive function, largely due to the lack of data on alcohol effects on vocalizations in the context of an appropriate experimental model organism. Zebra finches, a representative songbird and a premier model for understanding the neurobiology of vocal production and learning, learn song in a manner analogous to how humans learn speech. Here we show that when allowed access, finches readily drink alcohol, increase their blood ethanol concentrations (BEC) significantly, and sing a song with altered acoustic structure. The most pronounced effects were decreased amplitude and increased entropy, the latter likely reflecting a disruption in the birds’ ability to maintain the spectral structure of song under alcohol. Furthermore, specific syllables, which have distinct acoustic structures, were differentially influenced by alcohol, likely reflecting a diversity in the neural mechanisms required for their production. Remarkably, these effects on vocalizations occurred without overt effects on general behavioral measures, and importantly, they occurred within a range of BEC that can be considered risky for humans. Our results suggest that the variable effects of alcohol on finch song reflect differential alcohol sensitivity of the brain circuitry elements that control different aspects of song production. They also point to finches as an informative model for understanding how alcohol affects the neuronal circuits that control the production of learned motor behaviors. PMID:25536524

  12. Complete genome sequence of a novel circovirus from zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Rinder, Monika; Schmitz, Anna; Peschel, Andrea; Korbel, Rüdiger

    2015-01-01

    A novel circovirus was identified in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). The genome of the circovirus strain, designated 8454V25-1, comprised 1,982 nucleotides with two major open reading frames encoding a replication-associated protein and a viral capsid protein. PMID:26021933

  13. The head of the finch: the anatomy of the feeding system in two species of finches (Geospiza fortis and Padda oryzivora)

    PubMed Central

    Genbrugge, Annelies; Herrel, Anthony; Boone, Matthieu; Van Hoorebeke, Luc; Podos, Jeffrey; Dirckx, Joris; Aerts, Peter; Dominique, Adriaens

    2011-01-01

    Despite the large number of studies devoted to the evolution of beak shape in Darwin's finches, surprisingly little is known about the morphology of the skull and jaw musculature in these birds. Moreover, it remains currently unclear whether Darwin's finches are unusual in their cranial morphology compared with other seed-cracking birds. Here, we provide a detailed description of the morphology of the cranial system in the medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis) and compare it with that of another seed-cracking bird of similar overall size and appearance, the Java finch (Padda oryzivora). Our data show an overall similarity in beak size and cranial morphology. Yet, differences in the jaw adductor size and corresponding attachments to the cranium and mandible are prominent, with the medium ground finch having much more robust jaw-closing muscles. This is reflected in differences in bite forces, with the medium ground finch biting much harder than the Java finch. These data suggest similarities in the evolution of the feeding system in birds specializing in the cracking of hard seeds, but also show the uniqueness of the cranial morphology and bite force of the medium ground finch compared with other seed-cracking birds. PMID:21999913

  14. A beak size locus in Darwin's finches facilitated character displacement during a drought.

    PubMed

    Lamichhaney, Sangeet; Han, Fan; Berglund, Jonas; Wang, Chao; Almén, Markus Sällman; Webster, Matthew T; Grant, B Rosemary; Grant, Peter R; Andersson, Leif

    2016-04-22

    Ecological character displacement is a process of morphological divergence that reduces competition for limited resources. We used genomic analysis to investigate the genetic basis of a documented character displacement event in Darwin's finches on Daphne Major in the Galápagos Islands: The medium ground finch diverged from its competitor, the large ground finch, during a severe drought. We discovered a genomic region containing the HMGA2 gene that varies systematically among Darwin's finch species with different beak sizes. Two haplotypes that diverged early in the radiation were involved in the character displacement event: Genotypes associated with large beak size were at a strong selective disadvantage in medium ground finches (selection coefficient s = 0.59). Thus, a major locus has apparently facilitated a rapid ecological diversification in the adaptive radiation of Darwin's finches. PMID:27102486

  15. Factors limiting song acquisition in adult zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Funabiki, Yasuko; Funabiki, Kazuo

    2009-09-15

    Song learning takes place in two separate or partially overlapping periods, a sensory phase in which a tutor song is memorized and a sensorimotor phase in which a copy of the model is produced. The stage of song development where song becomes stable and stereotyped is called crystallization. Adult birds usually do not learn new song in many species including the zebra finch. However, it is not known whether song crystallization as such or aging impedes adult learning. Exposure to loud noises prevents birds from developing and crystallizing their song, because they cannot control their voice by auditory feedback. Zebra finches even without previous experience of hearing or singing a song failed to learn a song model provided in adulthood. Thus, neither the absence of a tutor song nor the lack of song crystallization enables new song learning in adulthood, but age per se limits the ability or motivation to learn song. PMID:19623623

  16. Syllable chunking in zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) song.

    PubMed

    Williams, H; Staples, K

    1992-09-01

    We examined how 61 young zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) males copied song from 5 adult tutors. Zebra finch song consists of a string of 5-15 distinct syllables, and these syllables were copied as chunks, or strings of consecutive syllables (modal length = 3). The silent interval between 2 syllables was copied as part of the syllable after the silence. Copied chunks had boundaries that fell at consistent locations within the tutor's song, marked by a relatively long intersyllable silent period, a transition between call-like and noncall-like syllables, and a tendency for the tutor male to stop his song short. Young males also tended to break their songs off at the boundaries of the chunks they had copied. Chunks appear to be an intermediate level of hierarchy in song organization and to have both perceptual (syllables were learned as part of a chunk) and motor (song delivery was broken almost exclusively at chunk boundaries) aspects. PMID:1395497

  17. Heterospecific discrimination of Poecile vocalizations by zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Guillette, Lauren M; Hoeschele, Marisa; Hahn, Allison H; Sturdy, Christopher B

    2013-08-01

    Previous perceptual research with black-capped and mountain chickadees has demonstrated that the D note of the namesake chick-a-dee call controlled species-based discrimination compared to other note types in this call. In the current experiment, we sought to determine whether discrimination performance of the chickadees was controlled by stimulus-specific properties or due to learning through experience. To accomplish this, we tested zebra finches, a songbird species that is distantly related to chickadees, and also unfamiliar with black-capped and mountain chickadee vocalizations, on the same species-based discrimination on which black-capped and mountain chickadees were previously trained. We found that zebra finches learned the discrimination in the fewest number of trials with the D note, compared to other note types (i.e., the A, B, and C notes). In addition, we compared the current results to earlier work and found that zebra finches learned the discrimination in fewer trials compared to black-capped chickadees, and, across all species, males learned the discrimination in fewer trials than females. We discuss the roles that acoustic complexity and learning play in classification of the three species of songbirds tested. More generally, these results point to the benefits derived from testing members of each sex in species that vary in their natural history, vocal output, and phylogenetic relatedness as a means to uncover the mechanisms underlying acoustic communication. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved). PMID:23106805

  18. Do Zebra Finch Parents Fail to Recognise Their Own Offspring?

    PubMed Central

    Reers, Hendrik; Jacot, Alain; Forstmeier, Wolfgang

    2011-01-01

    Individual recognition systems require the sender to be individually distinctive and the receiver to be able to perceive differences between individuals and react accordingly. Many studies have demonstrated that acoustic signals of almost any species contain individualized information. However, fewer studies have tested experimentally if those signals are used for individual recognition by potential receivers. While laboratory studies using zebra finches have shown that fledglings recognize their parents by their “distance call”, mutual recognition using the same call type has not been demonstrated yet. In a laboratory study with zebra finches, we first quantified between-individual acoustic variation in distance calls of fledglings. In a second step, we tested recognition of fledgling calls by parents using playback experiments. With a discriminant function analysis, we show that individuals are highly distinctive and most measured parameters show very high potential to encode for individuality. The response pattern of zebra finch parents shows that they do react to calls of fledglings, however they do not distinguish between own and unfamiliar offspring, despite individual distinctiveness. This finding is interesting in light of the observation of a high percentage of misdirected feedings in our communal breeding aviaries. Our results demonstrate the importance of adopting a receiver's perspective and suggest that variation in fledgling contact calls might not be used in individual recognition of offspring. PMID:21533233

  19. Linda Finch speaks to children during World Flight in New Orleans, La.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    Linda Finch, who re-created the flight of Amelia Earhardt's flight around the world 60 years ago, landed at New Orleans Lakefront Airport to speak to groups of inner-city school children during World Flight 1997. Stennis Space Center's Educator Resource Center played a role in the event by providing SSC-developed Geomap software to aid students in tracking Finch's flight.

  20. George Ingle Finch and the Mount Everest expedition of 1922: breaching the 8000-m barrier.

    PubMed

    Rodway, George W

    2007-01-01

    Alpinist and scientist George Ingle Finch was invited on the 1921 British Mount Everest Reconnaissance, but events conspired to keep him away from Everest until the 1922 British expedition to the mountain. Very little is known in the English-speaking world about the 1925 German language book Der Kampf um den Everest, written by Finch and covering the Everest attempts of the 1920s, as it was never published in English. Additionally, very little has been published from Finch's personal diaries of the 1922 Everest climb. The object of this work is to utilize translated sections of Der Kampf um den Everest and passages from Finch's 1922 Everest diaries to create some sense of George Finch's personal perspective of the 1922 Everest attempt. This historic climb was the first mountaineering expedition to breach the 8000-m barrier when two separate parties, one climbing with supplementary oxygen and the other without, established new terrestrial altitude records. PMID:17394420

  1. Evolution of Darwin's finches and their beaks revealed by genome sequencing.

    PubMed

    Lamichhaney, Sangeet; Berglund, Jonas; Almén, Markus Sällman; Maqbool, Khurram; Grabherr, Manfred; Martinez-Barrio, Alvaro; Promerová, Marta; Rubin, Carl-Johan; Wang, Chao; Zamani, Neda; Grant, B Rosemary; Grant, Peter R; Webster, Matthew T; Andersson, Leif

    2015-02-19

    Darwin's finches, inhabiting the Galápagos archipelago and Cocos Island, constitute an iconic model for studies of speciation and adaptive evolution. Here we report the results of whole-genome re-sequencing of 120 individuals representing all of the Darwin's finch species and two close relatives. Phylogenetic analysis reveals important discrepancies with the phenotype-based taxonomy. We find extensive evidence for interspecific gene flow throughout the radiation. Hybridization has given rise to species of mixed ancestry. A 240 kilobase haplotype encompassing the ALX1 gene that encodes a transcription factor affecting craniofacial development is strongly associated with beak shape diversity across Darwin's finch species as well as within the medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis), a species that has undergone rapid evolution of beak shape in response to environmental changes. The ALX1 haplotype has contributed to diversification of beak shapes among the Darwin's finches and, thereby, to an expanded utilization of food resources. PMID:25686609

  2. Comparative landscape genetics and the adaptive radiation of Darwin's finches: the role of peripheral isolation.

    PubMed

    Petren, K; Grant, P R; Grant, B R; Keller, L F

    2005-09-01

    We use genetic divergence at 16 microsatellite loci to investigate how geographical features of the Galápagos landscape structure island populations of Darwin's finches. We compare the three most genetically divergent groups of Darwin's finches comprising morphologically and ecologically similar allopatric populations: the cactus finches (Geospiza scandens and Geospiza conirostris), the sharp-beaked ground finches (Geospiza difficilis) and the warbler finches (Certhidea olivacea and Certhidea fusca). Evidence of reduced genetic diversity due to drift was limited to warbler finches on small, peripheral islands. Evidence of low levels of recent interisland migration was widespread throughout all three groups. The hypothesis of distance-limited dispersal received the strongest support in cactus and sharp-beaked ground finches as evidenced by patterns of isolation by distance, while warbler finches showed a weaker relationship. Support for the hypothesis that gene flow constrains morphological divergence was only found in one of eight comparisons within these groups. Among warbler finches, genetic divergence was relatively high while phenotypic divergence was low, implicating stabilizing selection rather than constraint due to gene flow. We conclude that the adaptive radiation of Darwin's finches has occurred in the presence of ongoing but low levels of gene flow caused by distance-dependent interisland dispersal. Gene flow does not constrain phenotypic divergence, but may augment genetic variation and facilitate evolution due to natural selection. Both microsatellites and mtDNA agree in that subsets of peripheral populations of two older groups are genetically more similar to other species that underwent dramatic morphological change. The apparent decoupling of morphological and molecular evolution may be accounted for by a modification of Lack's two-stage model of speciation: relative ecological stasis in allopatry followed by secondary contact, ecological

  3. Condition index monitoring supports conservation priorities for the protection of threatened grass-finch populations

    PubMed Central

    Maute, Kimberly; French, Kristine; Legge, Sarah; Astheimer, Lee; Garnett, Stephen

    2015-01-01

    Conservation agencies are often faced with the difficult task of prioritizing what recovery actions receive support. With the number of species under threat of decline growing globally, research that informs conservation priorities is greatly needed. The relative vulnerability of cryptic or nomadic species is often uncertain, because populations are difficult to monitor and local populations often seem stable in the short term. This uncertainty can lead to inaction when populations are in need of protection. We tested the feasibility of using differences in condition indices as an indication of population vulnerability to decline for related threatened Australian finch sub-species. The Gouldian finch represents a relatively well-studied endangered species, which has a seasonal and site-specific pattern of condition index variation that differs from the closely related non-declining long-tailed finch. We used Gouldian and long-tailed finch condition variation as a model to compare with lesser studied, threatened star and black-throated finches. We compared body condition (fat and muscle scores), haematocrit and stress levels (corticosterone) among populations, seasons and years to determine whether lesser studied finch populations matched the model of an endangered species or a non-declining species. While vulnerable finch populations often had lower muscle and higher fat and corticosterone concentrations during moult (seasonal pattern similar to Gouldian finches), haematocrit values did not differ among populations in a predictable way. Star and black-throated finch populations, which were predicted to be vulnerable to decline, showed evidence of poor condition during moult, supporting their status as vulnerable. Our findings highlight how measures of condition can provide insight into the relative vulnerability of animal and plant populations to decline and will allow the prioritization of efforts towards the populations most likely to be in jeopardy of extinction

  4. Galápagos mockingbirds tolerate introduced parasites that affect Darwin's finches.

    PubMed

    Knutie, Sarah A; Owen, Jeb P; McNew, Sabrina M; Bartlow, Andrew W; Arriero, Elena; Herman, Jordan M; DiBlasi, Emily; Thompson, Michael; Koop, Jennifer A H; Clayton, Dale H

    2016-04-01

    Introduced parasites threaten native host species that lack effective defenses. Such parasites increase the risk of extinction, particularly in small host populations like those on islands. If some host species are tolerant to introduced parasites, this could amplify the risk of the parasite to vulnerable host species. Recently, the introduced parasitic nest fly Philornis downsi has been implicated in the decline of Darwin's finch populations in the Galápagos Islands. In some years, 100% of finch nests fail due to P. downsi; however, other common host species nesting near Darwin's finches, such as the endemic Galápagos mockingbird (Mimus parvulus), appear to be less affected by P. downsi. We compared effects of P. downsi on mockingbirds and medium ground finches (Geospiza fortis) on Santa Cruz Island in the Galápagos. We experimentally manipulated the abundance of P. downsi in nests of mockingbirds and finches to measure the direct effect of the parasite on the reproductive success of each species of host. We also compared immunological and behavioral responses by each species of host to the fly. Although nests of the two host species had similar parasite densities, flies decreased the fitness of finches but not mockingbirds. Neither host species had a significant antibody-mediated immune response to P. downsi. Moreover, finches showed no significant increase in begging, parental provisioning, or plasma glucose levels in response to the flies. In contrast, parasitized mockingbird nestlings begged more than nonparasitized mockingbird nestlings. Greater begging was correlated with increased parental provisioning behavior, which appeared to compensate for parasite damage. The results of our study suggest that finches are negatively affected by P. downsi because they do not have such behavioral mechanisms for energy compensation. In contrast, mockingbirds are capable of compensation, making them tolerant hosts, and a possible indirect threat to Darwin's finches

  5. Invasive parasites, habitat change and heavy rainfall reduce breeding success in Darwin's finches.

    PubMed

    Cimadom, Arno; Ulloa, Angel; Meidl, Patrick; Zöttl, Markus; Zöttl, Elisabet; Fessl, Birgit; Nemeth, Erwin; Dvorak, Michael; Cunninghame, Francesca; Tebbich, Sabine

    2014-01-01

    Invasive alien parasites and pathogens are a growing threat to biodiversity worldwide, which can contribute to the extinction of endemic species. On the Galápagos Islands, the invasive parasitic fly Philornis downsi poses a major threat to the endemic avifauna. Here, we investigated the influence of this parasite on the breeding success of two Darwin's finch species, the warbler finch (Certhidea olivacea) and the sympatric small tree finch (Camarhynchus parvulus), on Santa Cruz Island in 2010 and 2012. While the population of the small tree finch appeared to be stable, the warbler finch has experienced a dramatic decline in population size on Santa Cruz Island since 1997. We aimed to identify whether warbler finches are particularly vulnerable during different stages of the breeding cycle. Contrary to our prediction, breeding success was lower in the small tree finch than in the warbler finch. In both species P. downsi had a strong negative impact on breeding success and our data suggest that heavy rain events also lowered the fledging success. On the one hand parents might be less efficient in compensating their chicks' energy loss due to parasitism as they might be less efficient in foraging on days of heavy rain. On the other hand, intense rainfalls might lead to increased humidity and more rapid cooling of the nests. In the case of the warbler finch we found that the control of invasive plant species with herbicides had a significant additive negative impact on the breeding success. It is very likely that the availability of insects (i.e. food abundance)is lower in such controlled areas, as herbicide usage led to the removal of the entire understory. Predation seems to be a minor factor in brood loss. PMID:25248092

  6. Condition index monitoring supports conservation priorities for the protection of threatened grass-finch populations.

    PubMed

    Maute, Kimberly; French, Kristine; Legge, Sarah; Astheimer, Lee; Garnett, Stephen

    2015-01-01

    Conservation agencies are often faced with the difficult task of prioritizing what recovery actions receive support. With the number of species under threat of decline growing globally, research that informs conservation priorities is greatly needed. The relative vulnerability of cryptic or nomadic species is often uncertain, because populations are difficult to monitor and local populations often seem stable in the short term. This uncertainty can lead to inaction when populations are in need of protection. We tested the feasibility of using differences in condition indices as an indication of population vulnerability to decline for related threatened Australian finch sub-species. The Gouldian finch represents a relatively well-studied endangered species, which has a seasonal and site-specific pattern of condition index variation that differs from the closely related non-declining long-tailed finch. We used Gouldian and long-tailed finch condition variation as a model to compare with lesser studied, threatened star and black-throated finches. We compared body condition (fat and muscle scores), haematocrit and stress levels (corticosterone) among populations, seasons and years to determine whether lesser studied finch populations matched the model of an endangered species or a non-declining species. While vulnerable finch populations often had lower muscle and higher fat and corticosterone concentrations during moult (seasonal pattern similar to Gouldian finches), haematocrit values did not differ among populations in a predictable way. Star and black-throated finch populations, which were predicted to be vulnerable to decline, showed evidence of poor condition during moult, supporting their status as vulnerable. Our findings highlight how measures of condition can provide insight into the relative vulnerability of animal and plant populations to decline and will allow the prioritization of efforts towards the populations most likely to be in jeopardy of extinction

  7. Invasive Parasites, Habitat Change and Heavy Rainfall Reduce Breeding Success in Darwin's Finches

    PubMed Central

    Cimadom, Arno; Ulloa, Angel; Meidl, Patrick; Zöttl, Markus; Zöttl, Elisabet; Fessl, Birgit; Nemeth, Erwin; Dvorak, Michael; Cunninghame, Francesca; Tebbich, Sabine

    2014-01-01

    Invasive alien parasites and pathogens are a growing threat to biodiversity worldwide, which can contribute to the extinction of endemic species. On the Galápagos Islands, the invasive parasitic fly Philornis downsi poses a major threat to the endemic avifauna. Here, we investigated the influence of this parasite on the breeding success of two Darwin's finch species, the warbler finch (Certhidea olivacea) and the sympatric small tree finch (Camarhynchus parvulus), on Santa Cruz Island in 2010 and 2012. While the population of the small tree finch appeared to be stable, the warbler finch has experienced a dramatic decline in population size on Santa Cruz Island since 1997. We aimed to identify whether warbler finches are particularly vulnerable during different stages of the breeding cycle. Contrary to our prediction, breeding success was lower in the small tree finch than in the warbler finch. In both species P. downsi had a strong negative impact on breeding success and our data suggest that heavy rain events also lowered the fledging success. On the one hand parents might be less efficient in compensating their chicks' energy loss due to parasitism as they might be less efficient in foraging on days of heavy rain. On the other hand, intense rainfalls might lead to increased humidity and more rapid cooling of the nests. In the case of the warbler finch we found that the control of invasive plant species with herbicides had a significant additive negative impact on the breeding success. It is very likely that the availability of insects (i.e. food abundance)is lower in such controlled areas, as herbicide usage led to the removal of the entire understory. Predation seems to be a minor factor in brood loss. PMID:25248092

  8. Extra-pair paternity in the long-tailed finch Poephila acuticauda

    PubMed Central

    van Rooij, Erica P.; Rollins, Lee A.; Holleley, Clare E.

    2016-01-01

    Although the majority of passerine birds are socially monogamous, true genetic monogamy is rare, with extra-pair paternity (EPP) occurring in almost 90% of surveyed socially monogamous species. We present the first molecular data on the genetic breeding system of the long-tailed finch, Poephila acuticauda, a grass finch endemic to the tropical northern savannah of Australia. Although the species forms socially monogamous pair bonds during the breeding season, we found that extra-pair males sired 12.8% of 391 offspring, in 25.7% of 101 broods. Our findings provide only the second estimate of extra-pair paternity in the estrildid finch family. PMID:26788429

  9. Extra-pair paternity in the long-tailed finch Poephila acuticauda.

    PubMed

    van Rooij, Erica P; Rollins, Lee A; Holleley, Clare E; Griffith, Simon C

    2016-01-01

    Although the majority of passerine birds are socially monogamous, true genetic monogamy is rare, with extra-pair paternity (EPP) occurring in almost 90% of surveyed socially monogamous species. We present the first molecular data on the genetic breeding system of the long-tailed finch, Poephila acuticauda, a grass finch endemic to the tropical northern savannah of Australia. Although the species forms socially monogamous pair bonds during the breeding season, we found that extra-pair males sired 12.8% of 391 offspring, in 25.7% of 101 broods. Our findings provide only the second estimate of extra-pair paternity in the estrildid finch family. PMID:26788429

  10. Zebra finches are able to learn affixation-like patterns.

    PubMed

    Chen, Jiani; Jansen, Naomi; ten Cate, Carel

    2016-01-01

    Adding an affix to transform a word is common across the world languages, with the edges of words more likely to carry out such a function. However, detecting affixation patterns is also observed in learning tasks outside the domain of language, suggesting that the underlying mechanism from which affixation patterns have arisen may not be language or even human specific. We addressed whether a songbird, the zebra finch, is able to discriminate between, and generalize, affixation-like patterns. Zebra finches were trained and tested in a Go/Nogo paradigm to discriminate artificial song element sequences resembling prefixed and suffixed 'words.' The 'stems' of the 'words,' consisted of different combinations of a triplet of song elements, to which a fourth element was added as either a 'prefix' or a 'suffix.' After training, the birds were tested with novel stems, consisting of either rearranged familiar element types or novel element types. The birds were able to generalize the affixation patterns to novel stems with both familiar and novel element types. Hence, the discrimination resulting from the training was not based on memorization of individual stimuli, but on a shared property among Go or Nogo stimuli, i.e., affixation patterns. Remarkably, birds trained with suffixation as Go pattern showed clear evidence of using both prefix and suffix, while those trained with the prefix as the Go stimulus used primarily the prefix. This finding illustrates that an asymmetry in attending to different affixations is not restricted to human languages. PMID:26297477

  11. The acoustic effect of vocal tract adjustments in zebra finches

    PubMed Central

    Riede, Tobias; Schilling, Nadja; Goller, Franz

    2012-01-01

    Vocal production in songbirds requires the control of the respiratory system, the syrinx as sound source and the vocal tract as acoustic filter. Vocal tract movements consist of beak, tongue and hyoid movements which change the volume of the oropharyngeal-esophageal cavity (OEC), glottal movements and tracheal length changes. The respective contributions of each movement to filter properties are not completely understood, but the effects of this filtering are thought to be very important for acoustic communication in birds. One of the most striking movements of the upper vocal tract during vocal behavior in songbirds involves the OEC. This study measured the acoustic effect of OEC adjustments in zebra finches by comparing resonance acoustics between an utterance with OEC expansion (calls) and a similar utterance without OEC expansion (respiratory sounds induced by a bilateral syringeal denervation). X-ray cineradiography confirmed the presence of an OEC motor pattern during song and call production, and a custom-built Hall-effect collar system confirmed that OEC expansion movements were not present during respiratory sounds. The spectral emphasis during zebra finch call production ranging between 2.5 and 5 kHz was not present during respiratory sounds, indicating strongly that it can be attributed to the OEC expansion. PMID:23085986

  12. The acoustic effect of vocal tract adjustments in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Riede, Tobias; Schilling, Nadja; Goller, Franz

    2013-01-01

    Vocal production in songbirds requires the control of the respiratory system, the syrinx as sound source and the vocal tract as acoustic filter. Vocal tract movements consist of beak, tongue and hyoid movements, which change the volume of the oropharyngeal-esophageal cavity (OEC), glottal movements and tracheal length changes. The respective contributions of each movement to filter properties are not completely understood, but the effects of this filtering are thought to be very important for acoustic communication in birds. One of the most striking movements of the upper vocal tract during vocal behavior in songbirds involves the OEC. This study measured the acoustic effect of OEC adjustments in zebra finches by comparing resonance acoustics between an utterance with OEC expansion (calls) and a similar utterance without OEC expansion (respiratory sounds induced by a bilateral syringeal denervation). X-ray cineradiography confirmed the presence of an OEC motor pattern during song and call production, and a custom-built Hall-effect collar system confirmed that OEC expansion movements were not present during respiratory sounds. The spectral emphasis during zebra finch call production ranging between 2.5 and 5 kHz was not present during respiratory sounds, indicating strongly that it can be attributed to the OEC expansion. PMID:23085986

  13. "Bird Song Metronomics": Isochronous Organization of Zebra Finch Song Rhythm.

    PubMed

    Norton, Philipp; Scharff, Constance

    2016-01-01

    The human capacity for speech and vocal music depends on vocal imitation. Songbirds, in contrast to non-human primates, share this vocal production learning with humans. The process through which birds and humans learn many of their vocalizations as well as the underlying neural system exhibit a number of striking parallels and have been widely researched. In contrast, rhythm, a key feature of language, and music, has received surprisingly little attention in songbirds. Investigating temporal periodicity in bird song has the potential to inform the relationship between neural mechanisms and behavioral output and can also provide insight into the biology and evolution of musicality. Here we present a method to analyze birdsong for an underlying rhythmic regularity. Using the intervals from one note onset to the next as input, we found for each bird an isochronous sequence of time stamps, a "signal-derived pulse," or pulse(S), of which a subset aligned with all note onsets of the bird's song. Fourier analysis corroborated these results. To determine whether this finding was just a byproduct of the duration of notes and intervals typical for zebra finches but not dependent on the individual duration of elements and the sequence in which they are sung, we compared natural songs to models of artificial songs. Note onsets of natural song deviated from the pulse(S) significantly less than those of artificial songs with randomized note and gap durations. Thus, male zebra finch song has the regularity required for a listener to extract a perceived pulse (pulse(P)), as yet untested. Strikingly, in our study, pulses(S) that best fit note onsets often also coincided with the transitions between sub-note elements within complex notes, corresponding to neuromuscular gestures. Gesture durations often equaled one or more pulse(S) periods. This suggests that gesture duration constitutes the basic element of the temporal hierarchy of zebra finch song rhythm, an interesting parallel

  14. The evolutionary history of Darwin's finches: speciation, gene flow, and introgression in a fragmented landscape.

    PubMed

    Farrington, Heather L; Lawson, Lucinda P; Clark, Courtney M; Petren, Kenneth

    2014-10-01

    Many classic examples of adaptive radiations take place within fragmented systems such as islands or mountains, but the roles of mosaic landscapes and variable gene flow in facilitating species diversification is poorly understood. Here we combine phylogenetic and landscape genetic approaches to understand diversification in Darwin's finches, a model adaptive radiation. We combined sequence data from 14 nuclear introns, mitochondrial markers, and microsatellite variation from 51 populations of all 15 recognized species. Phylogenetic species-trees recovered seven major finch clades: ground, tree, vegetarian, Cocos Island, grey and green warbler finches, and a distinct clade of sharp-beaked ground finches (Geospiza cf. difficilis) basal to all ground and tree finches. The ground and tree finch clades lack species-level phylogenetic structure. Interisland gene flow and interspecies introgression vary geographically in predictable ways. First, several species exhibit concordant patterns of population divergence across the channel separating the Galápagos platform islands from the separate volcanic province of northern islands. Second, peripheral islands have more admixed populations while central islands maintain more distinct species boundaries. This landscape perspective highlights a likely role for isolation of peripheral populations in initial divergence, and demonstrates that peripheral populations may maintain genetic diversity through outbreeding during the initial stages of speciation. PMID:24976076

  15. Modified Finch and Skea stellar model compatible with observational data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pandya, D. M.; Thomas, V. O.; Sharma, R.

    2015-04-01

    We present a new class of solutions to the Einstein's field equations corresponding to a static spherically symmetric anisotropic system by generalizing the ansatz of Finch and Skea [Class. Quantum Grav. 6:467, 1989] for the gravitational potential g rr . The anisotropic stellar model previously studied by Sharma and Ratanpal [Int. J. Mod. Phys. D 13:1350074, 2013] is a sub-class of the solutions provided here. Based on physical requirements, regularity conditions and stability, we prescribe bounds on the model parameters. By systematically fixing values of the model parameters within the prescribed bound, we demonstrate that our model is compatible with the observed masses and radii of a wide variety of compact stars like 4U 1820-30, PSR J1903+327, 4U 1608-52, Vela X-1, PSR J1614-2230, SAX J1808.4-3658 and Her X-1.

  16. Microsporidiosis in a flock of tricolor parrot finches (Erythrura tricolor).

    PubMed

    Gelis, Stacey; Raidal, Shane R

    2006-09-01

    The lesions caused by a microsporidian infection in a flock of tricolor parrot finches (Erythrura tricolor) are described. Affected birds had a widespread nodular to diffuse granulomatous inflammation of the serosal surfaces of the gastrointestinal tract, peritoneum, perirenal airsacs and connective tissue, bone marrow, dura, and conjunctiva. This was composed predominantly of foamy macrophages containing numerous intracytoplasmic microsporidia measuring 1 to 2 microm. Ultrastructural features consistent with microsporidia were the presence of a coiled polar filament and an electrode-dense outer surface and thick electron-lucent capsule. Differential diagnoses included infection with intracellular organisms, including coccidian and other apicomplexan parasites, such as lsospora, Eimeria, and blood parasites; Chlamydophilosis; disseminated mycobacteriosis; and other bacterial and fungal species. PMID:16931363

  17. Anatomical plasticity in the adult Zebra Finch song system

    PubMed Central

    McDonald, Kathryn S.; Kirn, John R.

    2012-01-01

    In many songbirds, vocal learning-related cellular plasticity was thought to end following a developmental critical period. However, mounting evidence in one such species, the zebra finch, suggests that forms of plasticity common during song learning continue well into adulthood, including a reliance on auditory feedback for song maintenance. This reliance wanes with increasing age, in tandem with age-related increases in fine motor control. We investigated age-related morphological changes in the adult zebra finch song system by focusing on two cortical projection neuron types that a) share a common efferent target, b) are known to exhibit morphological and functional change during song learning, and c) exert opposing influences on song acoustic structure. Neurons in HVC (proper name) and the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (LMAN) both project to the robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA). During juvenile song learning and adult song maintenance, HVC promotes song syllable stereotypy while LMAN promotes learning and acoustic variability. Following retrograde labeling of these two cell types in adults, there were age-related increases in dendritic arbor in HVC-RA but not LMAN-RA neurons, resulting in an increase in the ratio of HVC-RA:LMAN-RA dendritic arbor. Differential growth of HVC relative to LMAN dendrites may relate to increases in song motor refinement, decreases in the reliance of song on auditory feedback, or both. Despite this differential growth with age, we also show that both cell types retain the capacity for experience-dependent growth. These results may provide insights on mechanisms that promote and constrain adult vocal plasticity. PMID:22473463

  18. Neuroendocrine regulation of long-term pair maintenance in the monogamous zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Prior, Nora H; Soma, Kiran K

    2015-11-01

    This article is part of a Special Issue "SBN 2014". Understanding affiliative behavior is critical to understanding social organisms. While affiliative behaviors are present across a wide range of taxa and contexts, much of what is known about the neuroendocrine regulation of affiliation comes from studies of pair-bond formation in prairie voles. This leaves at least three gaps in our current knowledge. First, little is known about long-term pair-bond maintenance. Second, few studies have examined non-mammalian systems, even though monogamy is much more common in birds than in mammals. Third, the influence of breeding condition on affiliation is largely unknown. The zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is an excellent model system for examining the neuroendocrine regulation of affiliative behaviors, including the formation and maintenance of a long-term pair bond. Zebra finches form genetically monogamous pair bonds, which they actively maintain throughout the year. The genomic and neuroanatomical resources, combined with the wealth of knowledge on the ecology and ethology of wild zebra finches, give this model system unique advantages to study the neuroendocrine regulation of pair bonding. Here, we review the endocrinology of opportunistic breeding in zebra finches, the sex steroid profiles of breeding and non-breeding zebra finches (domesticated and wild), and the roles of sex steroids and other signaling molecules in pair-maintenance behaviors in the zebra finch and other monogamous species. Studies of zebra finches and other songbirds will be useful for broadly understanding the neuroendocrine regulation of affiliative behaviors, including pair bonding and monogamy. PMID:25935729

  19. Prevalence of blood parasites in eastern versus Western house finches: are eastern birds resistant to infection?

    PubMed

    Davis, Andrew K; Hood, Wendy R; Hill, Geoffrey E

    2013-09-01

    The rapid spread of the bacterial disease, Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), throughout the introduced range of house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) in eastern North America, compared to its slower spread through the native western range, has puzzled researchers and highlights the need to understand the relative differences in health state of finches from both populations. We conducted a light-microscope survey of hemoparasites in populations of finches from Arizona (within the western range) and from Alabama (within the eastern range), and compared our estimates of prevalence to published reports from house finches sampled in both ranges. Of the 33 Arizona birds examined, we recorded hematozoan infections in 16 (48.5%) individuals, compared to 1 infected Alabama bird out of 30 birds examined (3.3%). Based on independent surveys of seven western North American and five eastern North American populations of house finches the average prevalence of blood parasites in western populations is 38.8% (±17.9 SD), while the average prevalence within the eastern range is only 5.9% (±6.1 SD). The average rate of infection among all songbirds sampled in the east is 34.2% (±4.8 SD). Thus, our surveys of wild birds as well as previously published observations point to eastern house finches having a much lower prevalence of blood parasite infections than their western counterparts. Combined with the fact that eastern finches also tend to have lower rates of avian pox infections than do western birds (based on a literature review), these observations suggest that eastern birds have either strong resistance to these infections or high susceptibility and associated mortality. PMID:23807632

  20. Infestation of research zebra finch colony with 2 novel mite species.

    PubMed

    Siddalls, Monica; Currier, Timothy A; Pang, Jassia; Lertpiriyapong, Kvin; Patterson, Mary M

    2015-02-01

    A zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) housed in a neuroscience laboratory was observed to have numerous feather mites. Subsequently, similar mites were found on other birds in the animal facility and research space. The most abundant mite was a novel, undescribed species in the genus Neocheyletiella. Whereas known Neocheyletiella mites have previously been characterized as skin parasites of various birds worldwide, the species on the zebra finches is unique because it lives and builds nests in the feathers. Infrequent specimens of a 'true' feather mite, a new species of Megninialges, were present also. Although multiple treatments using a pyrethrin spray were effective in eradicating the mites, topical ivermectin later was found to be more efficacious, better tolerated by the birds, and less labor intensive. This case highlights the general dearth of information regarding ectoparasites in zebra finches, even though these are the most frequently used songbirds in biomedical research. The mite epizootic also underscores the diverse pathogens possible in zebra finches that arrive from outside sources and why ongoing health monitoring of finch colonies is warranted. PMID:25730757

  1. Development of temporal structure in zebra finch song

    PubMed Central

    Troyer, Todd W.

    2013-01-01

    Zebra finch song has provided an excellent case study in the neural basis of sequence learning, with a high degree of temporal precision and tight links with precisely timed bursting in forebrain neurons. To examine the development of song timing, we measured the following four aspects of song temporal structure at four age ranges between 65 and 375 days posthatch: the mean durations of song syllables and the silent gaps between them, timing variability linked to song tempo, timing variability expressed independently across syllables and gaps, and transition probabilities between consecutive syllable pairs. We found substantial increases in song tempo between 65 and 85 days posthatch, due almost entirely to a shortening of gaps. We also found a decrease in tempo variability, also specific to gaps. Both the magnitude of the increase in tempo and the decrease in tempo variability were correlated on gap-by-gap basis with increases in the reliability of corresponding syllable transitions. Syllables had no systematic increase in tempo or decrease in tempo variability. In contrast to tempo parameters, both syllables and gaps showed an early sharp reduction in independent variability followed by continued reductions over the first year. The data suggest that links between syllable-based representations are strengthened during the later parts of the traditional period of song learning and that song rhythm continues to become more regular throughout the first year of life. Similar learning patterns have been identified in human sequence learning, suggesting a potentially rich area of comparative research. PMID:23175805

  2. Food preference and copying behaviour in zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata.

    PubMed

    Guillette, Lauren M; Morgan, Kate V; Hall, Zachary J; Bailey, Ida E; Healy, Susan D

    2014-11-01

    As a social species zebra finches might be expected to copy the food choices of more experienced conspecifics. This prediction has been tested previously by presenting observers with two demonstrator birds that differ in some way (e.g., sex, familiarity), each feeding on a different colour food source. However, if the observer subsequently exhibits a preference, it is unclear whether it has copied the choice of one demonstrator or avoided the choice of the other. Furthermore, this choice may actually be influenced by pre-existing preferences, a potential bias that is rarely tested. Here we examine whether apparent copying or avoidance can be explained by pre-existing preferences. In Experiment 1, observers had the opportunity to watch a conspecific forage from one of the two differently coloured food hoppers. In Experiment 2, the observers did not have this opportunity. In both experiments observers were subsequently tested for their food hopper preference and all but one preferred one colour over the other. In Experiment 1 some observers showed evidence for copying, while others seemed to avoid the colour preferred by the demonstrator. In Experiment 2 females generally preferred the white hopper. Pre-existing colour preferences could, therefore, explain the apparent copying/avoidance we observed. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Cognition in the wild. PMID:24797456

  3. Disruptive selection in a bimodal population of Darwin's finches

    PubMed Central

    Hendry, Andrew P.; Huber, Sarah K.; De León, Luis F.; Herrel, Anthony; Podos, Jeffrey

    2008-01-01

    A key part of the ecological theory of adaptive radiation is disruptive selection during periods of sympatry. Some insight into this process might be gained by studying populations that are bimodal for dual-context traits, i.e. those showing adaptive divergence and also contributing to reproductive isolation. A population meeting these criteria is the medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis) of El Garrapatero, Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos. We examined patterns of selection in this population by relating individual beak sizes to interannual recaptures during a prolonged drought. Supporting the theory, disruptive selection was strong between the two beak size modes. We also found some evidence of selection against individuals with the largest and smallest beak sizes, perhaps owing to competition with other species or to gaps in the underlying resource distribution. Selection may thus simultaneously maintain the current bimodality while also constraining further divergence. Spatial and temporal variation in G. fortis bimodality suggests a dynamic tug of war among factors such as selection and assortative mating, which may alternatively promote or constrain divergence during adaptive radiation. PMID:18986971

  4. Chronic Mycoplasma conjunctivitis in house finches: host antibody response and M. gallisepticum VlhA expression.

    PubMed

    Grodio, Jessica L; Ley, David H; Schat, Karel A; Hawley, Dana M

    2013-08-15

    Previous studies have shown that house finch field isolates of Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) vary in virulence and ability to induce an antibody response. After experimental inoculation, MG causes persistent, severe disease in a subset of individuals. In this study, we further characterized MG infection using five field isolates, with an emphasis on chronically diseased birds. After experimental inoculation of house finches, MG load was measured by quantitative PCR and anti-MG antibody responses were measured by ELISAs. Birds with chronic disease had significantly higher pathogen loads and antibody responses than did birds without chronic disease. Using a monoclonal antibody (MAb86) specific for a variant of the MG VlhA adhesin and immunodominant surface protein, we show that VlhA expression differs among MG isolates in this study, and that in vivo VlhA changes occur in house finches infected with MG. Overall, our results suggest that chronic MG disease has a strong pathogen-mediated component. PMID:23764469

  5. Late-Postnatal Cannabinoid Exposure Persistently Increases FoxP2 Expression within Zebra Finch Striatum

    PubMed Central

    Soderstrom, Ken; Luo, Bin

    2010-01-01

    Prior work has shown that cannabinoid exposure of zebra finches during sensorimotor stages of vocal development alters song patterns produced in adulthood. We are currently working to identify physiological substrates for this altered song learning. FoxP2 is a transcription factor associated with altered vocal development in both zebra finches and humans. This protein shows a distinct pattern of expression within Area X of striatum that coincides with peak expression of CB1 cannabinoid receptors during sensorimotor learning. Coincident expression in a brain region essential for song learning led us to test for a potential signaling interaction. We have found that cannabinoid agonists acutely increase expression of FoxP2 throughout striatum. When administered during sensorimotor song learning, cannabinoids increase basal levels of striatal FoxP2 expression in adulthood. Thus, song-altering cannabinoid treatments are associated with persistent increases in basal expression of FoxP2 in zebra finch striatum. PMID:20017118

  6. The perception of regularity in an isochronous stimulus in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) and humans.

    PubMed

    van der Aa, Jeroen; Honing, Henkjan; ten Cate, Carel

    2015-06-01

    Perceiving temporal regularity in an auditory stimulus is considered one of the basic features of musicality. Here we examine whether zebra finches can detect regularity in an isochronous stimulus. Using a go/no go paradigm we show that zebra finches are able to distinguish between an isochronous and an irregular stimulus. However, when the tempo of the isochronous stimulus is changed, it is no longer treated as similar to the training stimulus. Training with three isochronous and three irregular stimuli did not result in improvement of the generalization. In contrast, humans, exposed to the same stimuli, readily generalized across tempo changes. Our results suggest that zebra finches distinguish the different stimuli by learning specific local temporal features of each individual stimulus rather than attending to the global structure of the stimuli, i.e., to the temporal regularity. PMID:25725348

  7. Proper Care, Husbandry, and Breeding Guidelines for the Zebra Finch, Taeniopygia guttata

    PubMed Central

    Olson, Christopher R.; Wirthlin, Morgan; Lovell, Peter V.; Mello, Claudio V.

    2015-01-01

    The zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata castanotis is a songbird commonly used in the laboratory, particularly for studies of vocal learning, neurobiology, and physiology. Within the laboratory, it is important to adopt careful husbandry practices that allow for normal development of the birds. For example, their song is a learned trait, passed culturally from adult males to juveniles, and thus its learning can be influenced by the health and social conditions of the birds present in the laboratory. Here we present guidelines for the successful maintenance and breeding of captive zebra finches. PMID:25342067

  8. Proper care, husbandry, and breeding guidelines for the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata.

    PubMed

    Olson, Christopher R; Wirthlin, Morgan; Lovell, Peter V; Mello, Claudio V

    2014-12-01

    The zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata castanotis is a songbird commonly used in the laboratory, particularly for studies of vocal learning, neurobiology, and physiology. Within the laboratory, it is important to adopt careful husbandry practices that allow for normal development of the birds. For example, their song is a learned trait, passed culturally from adult males to juveniles, and thus its learning can be influenced by the health and social conditions of the birds present in the laboratory. Here we present guidelines for the successful maintenance and breeding of captive zebra finches. PMID:25342067

  9. Every inch a finch: a commentary on Grant (1993) ‘Hybridization of Darwin's finches on Isla Daphne Major, Galapagos’

    PubMed Central

    Bell, Graham

    2015-01-01

    One of the most familiar features of the natural world is that most animals and plants fall into distinct categories known as species. The attempt to understand the nature of species and the origin of new species was the enterprise that drove the early development of evolutionary biology and has continued to be a major focus of research. Individuals belonging to the same species usually share a distinctive appearance and way of life, and they can mate together successfully and produce viable offspring. New species may evolve, therefore, either through ecological divergence or through sexual isolation. The balance between these processes will depend on the extent of hybridization, especially in the early stages of divergence. Detecting and measuring hybridization in natural populations, however, requires intensive, long-term field programmes that are seldom undertaken, leaving a gap in our understanding of species formation. The finch community of a small, isolated island in the Galapagos provided an opportunity to discover how frequently hybridization takes place between closely related species in a pristine location, and Peter Grant's paper, published in Philosophical Transactions B in 1993, reports the observations that he and his collaborators made during the first 20 years of what is now one of the classical studies of evolution in action. This commentary was written to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. PMID:25750230

  10. Every inch a finch: a commentary on Grant (1993) 'Hybridization of Darwin's finches on Isla Daphne Major, Galapagos'.

    PubMed

    Bell, Graham

    2015-04-19

    One of the most familiar features of the natural world is that most animals and plants fall into distinct categories known as species. The attempt to understand the nature of species and the origin of new species was the enterprise that drove the early development of evolutionary biology and has continued to be a major focus of research. Individuals belonging to the same species usually share a distinctive appearance and way of life, and they can mate together successfully and produce viable offspring. New species may evolve, therefore, either through ecological divergence or through sexual isolation. The balance between these processes will depend on the extent of hybridization, especially in the early stages of divergence. Detecting and measuring hybridization in natural populations, however, requires intensive, long-term field programmes that are seldom undertaken, leaving a gap in our understanding of species formation. The finch community of a small, isolated island in the Galapagos provided an opportunity to discover how frequently hybridization takes place between closely related species in a pristine location, and Peter Grant's paper, published in Philosophical Transactions B in 1993, reports the observations that he and his collaborators made during the first 20 years of what is now one of the classical studies of evolution in action. This commentary was written to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. PMID:25750230

  11. Developmental stress increases reproductive success in male zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Crino, Ondi L; Prather, Colin T; Driscoll, Stephanie C; Good, Jeffrey M; Breuner, Creagh W

    2014-11-22

    There is increasing evidence that exposure to stress during development can have sustained effects on animal phenotype and performance across life-history stages. For example, developmental stress has been shown to decrease the quality of sexually selected traits (e.g. bird song), and therefore is thought to decrease reproductive success. However, animals exposed to developmental stress may compensate for poor quality sexually selected traits by pursuing alternative reproductive tactics. Here, we examine the effects of developmental stress on adult male reproductive investment and success in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). We tested the hypothesis that males exposed to developmental stress sire fewer offspring through extra-pair copulations (EPCs), but invest more in parental care. To test this hypothesis, we fed nestlings corticosterone (CORT; the dominant avian stress hormone) during the nestling period and measured their adult reproductive success using common garden breeding experiments. We found that nestlings reared by CORT-fed fathers received more parental care compared with nestlings reared by control fathers. Consequently, males fed CORT during development reared nestlings in better condition compared with control males. Contrary to the prediction that developmental stress decreases male reproductive success, we found that CORT-fed males also sired more offspring and were less likely to rear non-genetic offspring compared with control males, and thus had greater overall reproductive success. These data are the first to demonstrate that developmental stress can have a positive effect on fitness via changes in reproductive success and provide support for an adaptive role of developmental stress in shaping animal phenotype. PMID:25297860

  12. Behavioral relevance of species-specific vasotocin anatomy in gregarious finches

    PubMed Central

    Kelly, Aubrey M.; Goodson, James L.

    2013-01-01

    Despite substantial species differences in the vasotocin/vasopressin (VT/VP) circuitry of the medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTm) and lateral septum (LS; a primary projection target of BSTm VT/VP cells), functional consequences of this variation are poorly known. Previous experiments in the highly gregarious zebra finch (Estrildidae: Taeniopygia guttata) demonstrate that BSTm VT neurons promote gregariousness in a male-specific manner and reduce anxiety in both sexes. However, in contrast to the zebra finch, the less gregarious Angolan blue waxbill (Estrildidae: Uraeginthus angolensis) exhibits fewer VT-immunoreactive cells in the BSTm as well as differences in receptor distribution across the LS subnuclei, suggesting that knockdown of VT production in the BSTm would produce behavioral effects in Angolan blue waxbills that are distinct from zebra finches. Thus, we here quantified social contact, gregariousness (i.e., preference for the larger of two groups), and anxiety-like behavior following bilateral antisense knockdown of VT production in the BSTm of male and female Angolan blue waxbills. We find that BSTm VT neurons promote social contact, but not gregariousness (as in male zebra finches), and that antisense effects on social contact are significantly stronger in male waxbills than in females. Knockdown of BSTm VT production has no effect on anxiety-like behavior. These data provide novel evidence that species differences in the VT/VP circuitry arising in the BSTm are accompanied by species-specific effects on affiliation behaviors. PMID:24381536

  13. A Generalizability Analysis of Subjective Personality Assessments in the Stumptail Macaque and the Zebra Finch.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Figueredo, Aurelio Jose; And Others

    1995-01-01

    Two longitudinal studies involving 29 raters concerning the construct validity, temporal stability, and interrater reliability of the latent common factors underlying subjective assessments by human raters of personality traits in the stumptail macaque and the zebra finch illustrate the use of generalizability analysis to test prespecified…

  14. The Quantitative Ethology of the Zebra Finch: A Study in Comparative Psychometrics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Figueredo, Aurelio Jose; And Others

    1992-01-01

    A quantitative ethogram was developed for the zebra finch, using one-zero focal animal sampling on an ethologically comprehensive checklist of 52 behavioral items, and it was assessed for interobserver reliability and construct validity. Applying the quantitative methods of psychometrics allows verification of ethological theory and testing of…

  15. Characterization of the finch embryo supports evolutionary conservation of the naive stage of development in amniotes

    PubMed Central

    Mak, Siu-Shan; Alev, Cantas; Nagai, Hiroki; Wrabel, Anna; Matsuoka, Yoko; Honda, Akira; Sheng, Guojun; Ladher, Raj K

    2015-01-01

    Innate pluripotency of mouse embryos transits from naive to primed state as the inner cell mass differentiates into epiblast. In vitro, their counterparts are embryonic (ESCs) and epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs), respectively. Activation of the FGF signaling cascade results in mouse ESCs differentiating into mEpiSCs, indicative of its requirement in the shift between these states. However, only mouse ESCs correspond to the naive state; ESCs from other mammals and from chick show primed state characteristics. Thus, the significance of the naive state is unclear. In this study, we use zebra finch as a model for comparative ESC studies. The finch blastoderm has mESC-like properties, while chick blastoderm exhibits EpiSC features. In the absence of FGF signaling, finch cells retained expression of pluripotent markers, which were lost in cells from chick or aged finch epiblasts. Our data suggest that the naive state of pluripotency is evolutionarily conserved among amniotes. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.07178.001 PMID:26359635

  16. Mechanical stress, fracture risk and beak evolution in Darwin's ground finches (Geospiza)

    PubMed Central

    Soons, Joris; Herrel, Anthony; Genbrugge, Annelies; Aerts, Peter; Podos, Jeffrey; Adriaens, Dominique; de Witte, Yoni; Jacobs, Patric; Dirckx, Joris

    2010-01-01

    Darwin's finches have radiated from a common ancestor into 14 descendent species, each specializing on distinct food resources and evolving divergent beak forms. Beak morphology in the ground finches (Geospiza) has been shown to evolve via natural selection in response to variation in food type, food availability and interspecific competition for food. From a mechanical perspective, however, beak size and shape are only indirectly related to birds' abilities to crack seeds, and beak form is hypothesized to evolve mainly under selection for fracture avoidance. Here, we test the fracture-avoidance hypothesis using finite-element modelling. We find that across species, mechanical loading is similar and approaches reported values of bone strength, thus suggesting pervasive selection on fracture avoidance. Additionally, deep and wide beaks are better suited for dissipating stress than are more elongate beaks when scaled to common sizes and loadings. Our results illustrate that deep and wide beaks in ground finches enable reduction of areas with high stress and peak stress magnitudes, allowing birds to crack hard seeds while limiting the risk of beak failure. These results may explain strong selection on beak depth and width in natural populations of Darwin's finches. PMID:20194171

  17. The emergence and spread of finch trichomonosis in the British Isles

    PubMed Central

    Lawson, Becki; Robinson, Robert A.; Colvile, Katie M.; Peck, Kirsi M.; Chantrey, Julian; Pennycott, Tom W.; Simpson, Victor R.; Toms, Mike P.; Cunningham, Andrew A.

    2012-01-01

    Finch trichomonosis, caused by the protozoal parasite Trichomonas gallinae, was first recognized as an emerging infectious disease of British passerines in 2005. The first year of seasonal epidemic mortality occurred in 2006 with significant declines of greenfinch Carduelis chloris and chaffinch Fringilla coelebs populations. Here, we demonstrate that large-scale mortality, principally of greenfinch, continued in subsequent years, 2007–2009, with a shifting geographical distribution across the British Isles over time. Consequent to the emergence of finch trichomonosis, the breeding greenfinch population in Great Britain has declined from ca 4.3 million to ca 2.8 million birds and the maximum mean number of greenfinches (a proxy for flock size) visiting gardens has declined by 50 per cent. The annual rate of decline of the breeding greenfinch population within England has exceeded 7 per cent since the initial epidemic. Although initially chaffinch populations were regionally diminished by the disease, this has not continued. Retrospective analyses of disease surveillance data showed a rapid, widespread emergence of finch trichomonosis across Great Britain in 2005 and we hypothesize that the disease emerged by T. gallinae jumping from columbiforms to passeriforms. Further investigation is required to determine the continuing impact of finch trichomonosis and to develop our understanding of how protozoal diseases jump host species. PMID:22966140

  18. Parental influence on begging call structure in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata): evidence of early vocal plasticity.

    PubMed

    Villain, Avelyne S; Boucaud, Ingrid C A; Bouchut, Colette; Vignal, Clémentine

    2015-11-01

    Begging calls are signals of need used by young birds to elicit care from adults. Different theoretical frameworks have been proposed to understand this parent-offspring communication. But relationships between parental response and begging intensity, or between begging characteristics and proxies of a young's need remain puzzling. Few studies have considered the adjustment of nestling begging features to previous experience as a possible explanation of these discrepancies. In this study, we tested the effect of a heterospecific rearing environment on individual developmental trajectories of the acoustic structure of nestling begging calls. Fifty-two zebra finch chicks were fostered either to Bengalese finch or to zebra finch parents, and begging calls were recorded at several stages of nestling development. Acoustic analyses revealed that the development of the spectral features of the begging calls differed between experimental conditions: chicks reared by Bengalese finches produced higher pitched and less broadband begging calls than chicks reared by conspecific parents. Differences were stronger in males than females and were not explained by differences in growth rate. We conclude that nestling begging calls can be plastic in response to social interactions with parents. PMID:26716009

  19. Influenza A(H7N9) Virus Transmission between Finches and Poultry

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Jeremy C.; Sonnberg, Stephanie; Webby, Richard J.

    2015-01-01

    Low pathogenicity avian influenza A(H7N9) virus has been detected in poultry since 2013, and the virus has caused >450 infections in humans. The mode of subtype H7N9 virus transmission between avian species remains largely unknown, but various wild birds have been implicated as a source of transmission. H7N9 virus was recently detected in a wild sparrow in Shanghai, China, and passerine birds, such as finches, which share space and resources with wild migratory birds, poultry, and humans, can be productively infected with the virus. We demonstrate that interspecies transmission of H7N9 virus occurs readily between society finches and bobwhite quail but only sporadically between finches and chickens. Inoculated finches are better able to infect naive poultry than the reverse. Transmission occurs through shared water but not through the airborne route. It is therefore conceivable that passerine birds may serve as vectors for dissemination of H7N9 virus to domestic poultry. PMID:25811839

  20. On the Hypothetico-Deductive Nature of Science--Darwin's Finches

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lawson, Anton E.

    2009-01-01

    Allchin (2006) has misinterpreted a classic case of hypothetico-deductive (HD) science in terms of his preferred "let's-gather-some-data-and-see-what-emerges" view. The misrepresentation concerns the research program of Peter and Rosemary Grant on Darwin's finches. The present essay argues that the Grants' research is HD in nature and includes a…

  1. Do apprehended saffron finches know how to survive predators? A careful look at reintroduction candidates.

    PubMed

    Dutra, Luisa Mascarenhas Ladeia; Young, Robert John; Galdino, Conrado Aleksander Barbosa; Vasconcellos, Angélica da Silva

    2016-04-01

    Wildlife trafficking is a major factor contributing to the reduction of biological diversity. In Brazil, trafficked animals are apprehended by environmental agencies and released in the wild. The maintenance of wild animals in captivity may jeopardize their survival in the wild, for example, by reducing their ability to recognize a predator. Saffron finches (Sicalis flaveola) are among the most trafficked Brazilian birds. Twenty-eight apprehended saffron finches were submitted to Temperament and Predator-recognition tests, with presentation of predator and non-predator models: a live and a taxidermised hawk, a taxidermised armadillo and a Lego cube. The captive saffron finches have retained general anti-predator responses, such as increasing alertness, avoiding back-facing and keeping distance when presented with potential predators. The birds responded more strongly to the live hawk than to the cube. Although some responses to the other stimuli were not statistically different from each other, a decrease in intensity of response with the decrease in threat level was remarkable. We found no relationship between temperament traits and responses to predators: a possible consequence of husbandry practices in captivity. Our results indicate saffron finches may retain basic anti-predator responses in captivity, which favours release and reintroduction programmes: information relevant for conservation management. PMID:26827615

  2. Parental influence on begging call structure in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata): evidence of early vocal plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Villain, Avelyne S.; Boucaud, Ingrid C. A.; Bouchut, Colette; Vignal, Clémentine

    2015-01-01

    Begging calls are signals of need used by young birds to elicit care from adults. Different theoretical frameworks have been proposed to understand this parent–offspring communication. But relationships between parental response and begging intensity, or between begging characteristics and proxies of a young’s need remain puzzling. Few studies have considered the adjustment of nestling begging features to previous experience as a possible explanation of these discrepancies. In this study, we tested the effect of a heterospecific rearing environment on individual developmental trajectories of the acoustic structure of nestling begging calls. Fifty-two zebra finch chicks were fostered either to Bengalese finch or to zebra finch parents, and begging calls were recorded at several stages of nestling development. Acoustic analyses revealed that the development of the spectral features of the begging calls differed between experimental conditions: chicks reared by Bengalese finches produced higher pitched and less broadband begging calls than chicks reared by conspecific parents. Differences were stronger in males than females and were not explained by differences in growth rate. We conclude that nestling begging calls can be plastic in response to social interactions with parents. PMID:26716009

  3. Dissection and Downstream Analysis of Zebra Finch Embryos at Early Stages of Development

    PubMed Central

    Murray, Jessica R.; Stanciauskas, Monika E.; Aralere, Tejas S.; Saha, Margaret S.

    2014-01-01

    The zebra finch (Taeniopygiaguttata) has become an increasingly important model organism in many areas of research including toxicology1,2, behavior3, and memory and learning4,5,6. As the only songbird with a sequenced genome, the zebra finch has great potential for use in developmental studies; however, the early stages of zebra finch development have not been well studied. Lack of research in zebra finch development can be attributed to the difficulty of dissecting the small egg and embryo. The following dissection method minimizes embryonic tissue damage, which allows for investigation of morphology and gene expression at all stages of embryonic development. This permits both bright field and fluorescence quality imaging of embryos, use in molecular procedures such as in situ hybridization (ISH), cell proliferation assays, and RNA extraction for quantitative assays such as quantitative real-time PCR (qtRT-PCR). This technique allows investigators to study early stages of development that were previously difficult to access. PMID:24999108

  4. Genetic diversity predicts pathogen resistance and cell-mediated immunocompetence in house finches

    PubMed Central

    Hawley, Dana M; Sydenstricker, Keila V; Kollias, George V; Dhondt, André A

    2005-01-01

    Evidence is accumulating that genetic variation within individual hosts can influence their susceptibility to pathogens. However, there have been few opportunities to experimentally test this relationship, particularly within outbred populations of non-domestic vertebrates. We performed a standardized pathogen challenge in house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) to test whether multilocus heterozygosity across 12 microsatellite loci predicts resistance to a recently emerged strain of the bacterial pathogen, Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG). We simultaneously tested whether the relationship between heterozygosity and pathogen susceptibility is mediated by differences in cell-mediated or humoral immunocompetence. We inoculated 40 house finches with MG under identical conditions and assayed both humoral and cell-mediated components of the immune response. Heterozygous house finches developed less severe disease when infected with MG, and they mounted stronger cell-mediated immune responses to phytohaemagglutinin. Differences in cell-mediated immunocompetence may, therefore, partly explain why more heterozygous house finches show greater resistance to MG. Overall, our results underscore the importance of multilocus heterozygosity for individual pathogen resistance and immunity. PMID:17148199

  5. Regulatory Differences in Natal Down Development between Altricial Zebra Finch and Precocial Chicken.

    PubMed

    Chen, Chih-Kuan; Ng, Chen Siang; Wu, Siao-Man; Chen, Jiun-Jie; Cheng, Po-Liang; Wu, Ping; Lu, Mei-Yeh Jade; Chen, Di-Rong; Chuong, Cheng-Ming; Cheng, Hsu-Chen; Ting, Chau-Ti; Li, Wen-Hsiung

    2016-08-01

    Birds can be classified into altricial and precocial. The hatchlings of altricial birds are almost naked, whereas those of precocial birds are covered with natal down. This regulatory divergence is thought to reflect environmental adaptation, but the molecular basis of the divergence is unclear. To address this issue, we chose the altricial zebra finch and the precocial chicken as the model animals. We noted that zebra finch hatchlings show natal down growth suppressed anterior dorsal (AD) skin but partially down-covered posterior dorsal (PD) skin. Comparing the transcriptomes of AD and PD skins, we found that the feather growth promoter SHH (sonic hedgehog) was expressed higher in PD skin than in AD skin. Moreover, the data suggested that the FGF (fibroblast growth factor)/Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway is involved in natal down growth suppression and that FGF16 is a candidate upstream signaling suppressor. Ectopic expression of FGF16 on chicken leg skin showed downregulation of SHH, upregulation of the feather growth suppressor FGF10, and suppression of feather bud elongation, similar to the phenotype found in zebra finch embryonic AD skin. Therefore, we propose that FGF16-related signals suppress natal down elongation and cause the naked AD skin in zebra finch. Our study provides insights into the regulatory divergence in natal down formation between precocial and altricial birds. PMID:27189543

  6. Zebra Finch Song Phonology and Syntactical Structure across Populations and Continents-A Computational Comparison.

    PubMed

    Lachlan, Robert F; van Heijningen, Caroline A A; Ter Haar, Sita M; Ten Cate, Carel

    2016-01-01

    Learned bird songs are often characterized by a high degree of variation between individuals and sometimes between populations, while at the same time maintaining species specificity. The evolution of such songs depends on the balance between plasticity and constraints. Captive populations provide an opportunity to examine signal variation and differentiation in detail, so we analyzed adult male zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) songs recorded from 13 populations across the world, including one sample of songs from wild-caught males in their native Australia. Cluster analysis suggested some, albeit limited, evidence that zebra finch song units belonged to universal, species-wide categories, linked to restrictions in vocal production and non-song parts of the vocal repertoire. Across populations, songs also showed some syntactical structure, although any song unit could be placed anywhere within the song. On the other hand, there was a statistically significant differentiation between populations, but the effect size was very small, and its communicative significance dubious. Our results suggest that variation in zebra finch songs within a population is largely determined by species-wide constraints rather than population-specific features. Although captive zebra finch populations have been sufficiently isolated to allow them to genetically diverge, there does not appear to have been any divergence in the genetically determined constraints that underlie song learning. Perhaps more surprising is the lack of locally diverged cultural traditions. Zebra finches serve as an example of a system where frequent learning errors may rapidly create within-population diversity, within broad phonological and syntactical constraints, and prevent the formation of long-term cultural traditions that allow populations to diverge. PMID:27458396

  7. Ontogeny of Adaptive Antibody Response to a Model Antigen in Captive Altricial Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Killpack, Tess L.; Karasov, William H.

    2012-01-01

    Based on studies from the poultry literature, all birds are hypothesized to require at least 4 weeks to develop circulating mature B-cell lineages that express functionally different immunoglobulin specificities. However, many altricial passerines fledge at adult size less than four weeks after the start of embryonic development, and therefore may experience a period of susceptibility during the nestling and post-fledging periods. We present the first study, to our knowledge, to detail the age-related changes in adaptive antibody response in an altricial passerine. Using repeated vaccinations with non-infectious keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) antigen, we studied the ontogeny of specific adaptive immune response in altricial zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata. Nestling zebra finches were first injected at 7 days (7d), 14 days (14d), or 21 days post-hatch (21d) with KLH-adjuvant emulsions, and boosted 7 days later. Adults were vaccinated in the same manner. Induced KLH-specific IgY antibodies were measured using ELISA. Comparisons within age groups revealed no significant increase in KLH-specific antibody levels between vaccination and boost in 7d birds, yet significant increases between vaccination and boost were observed in 14d, 21d, and adult groups. There was no significant difference among age groups in KLH antibody response to priming vaccination, yet KLH antibody response post-boost significantly increased with age among groups. Post-boost antibody response in all nestling age groups was significantly lower than in adults, indicating that mature adult secondary antibody response level was not achieved in zebra finches prior to fledging (21 days post-hatch in zebra finches). Findings from this study contribute fundamental knowledge to the fields of developmental immunology and ecological immunology and strengthen the utility of zebra finches as a model organism for future studies of immune ontogeny. PMID:23056621

  8. Response of Black-Capped Chickadees to House Finch Mycoplasma gallisepticum

    PubMed Central

    Dhondt, André A.; Dhondt, Keila V.; Hochachka, Wesley M.

    2015-01-01

    Tests for the presence of pathogen DNA or antibodies are routinely used to survey for current or past infections. In diseases that emerge following a host jump estimates of infection rate might be under- or overestimated. We here examine whether observed rates of infection are biased for a non-focal host species in a model system. The bacterium Mycoplasma gallisepticum is a widespread pathogen in house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus), a fringillid finch, but an unknown proportion of individuals of other songbird species are also infected. Our goal is to determine the extent to which detection of M. gallisepticum DNA or antibodies against the bacteria in a non-fringillid bird species is over- or underestimated using black-capped chickadees Poecile atricapillus, a species in which antibodies against M. gallisepticum are frequently detected in free-living individuals. After keeping black-capped chickadees in captivity for 12 weeks, during which period the birds remained negative for M. gallisepticum, four were inoculated with M. gallisepticum and four were sham inoculated in both eyes to serve as negative controls. Simultaneously we inoculated six house finches with the same isolate of M. gallisepticum as a positive control. All inoculated birds of both species developed infections detectable by qPCR in the conjunctiva. For the 6 weeks following inoculation we detected antibodies in all M. gallisepticum-inoculated house finches but in only three of the four M. gallisepticum-inoculated black-capped chickadees. All house finches developed severe eye lesions but none of the black-capped chickadees did. Modeling the Rapid Plate Agglutination test results of black-capped chickadees shows that the rate of false-positive tests would be not more than 3.2%, while the estimated rate of false negatives is 55%. We conclude that the proportion of wild-caught individuals in which we detect M. gallisepticum-specific antibodies using Rapid Plate Agglutination is, if anything

  9. Response of black-capped chickadees to house finch Mycoplasma gallisepticum.

    PubMed

    Dhondt, André A; Dhondt, Keila V; Hochachka, Wesley M

    2015-01-01

    Tests for the presence of pathogen DNA or antibodies are routinely used to survey for current or past infections. In diseases that emerge following a host jump estimates of infection rate might be under- or overestimated. We here examine whether observed rates of infection are biased for a non-focal host species in a model system. The bacterium Mycoplasma gallisepticum is a widespread pathogen in house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus), a fringillid finch, but an unknown proportion of individuals of other songbird species are also infected. Our goal is to determine the extent to which detection of M. gallisepticum DNA or antibodies against the bacteria in a non-fringillid bird species is over- or underestimated using black-capped chickadees Poecile atricapillus, a species in which antibodies against M. gallisepticum are frequently detected in free-living individuals. After keeping black-capped chickadees in captivity for 12 weeks, during which period the birds remained negative for M. gallisepticum, four were inoculated with M. gallisepticum and four were sham inoculated in both eyes to serve as negative controls. Simultaneously we inoculated six house finches with the same isolate of M. gallisepticum as a positive control. All inoculated birds of both species developed infections detectable by qPCR in the conjunctiva. For the 6 weeks following inoculation we detected antibodies in all M. gallisepticum-inoculated house finches but in only three of the four M. gallisepticum-inoculated black-capped chickadees. All house finches developed severe eye lesions but none of the black-capped chickadees did. Modeling the Rapid Plate Agglutination test results of black-capped chickadees shows that the rate of false-positive tests would be not more than 3.2%, while the estimated rate of false negatives is 55%. We conclude that the proportion of wild-caught individuals in which we detect M. gallisepticum-specific antibodies using Rapid Plate Agglutination is, if anything

  10. Zebra Finch Song Phonology and Syntactical Structure across Populations and Continents—A Computational Comparison

    PubMed Central

    Lachlan, Robert F.; van Heijningen, Caroline A. A.; ter Haar, Sita M.; ten Cate, Carel

    2016-01-01

    Learned bird songs are often characterized by a high degree of variation between individuals and sometimes between populations, while at the same time maintaining species specificity. The evolution of such songs depends on the balance between plasticity and constraints. Captive populations provide an opportunity to examine signal variation and differentiation in detail, so we analyzed adult male zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) songs recorded from 13 populations across the world, including one sample of songs from wild-caught males in their native Australia. Cluster analysis suggested some, albeit limited, evidence that zebra finch song units belonged to universal, species-wide categories, linked to restrictions in vocal production and non-song parts of the vocal repertoire. Across populations, songs also showed some syntactical structure, although any song unit could be placed anywhere within the song. On the other hand, there was a statistically significant differentiation between populations, but the effect size was very small, and its communicative significance dubious. Our results suggest that variation in zebra finch songs within a population is largely determined by species-wide constraints rather than population-specific features. Although captive zebra finch populations have been sufficiently isolated to allow them to genetically diverge, there does not appear to have been any divergence in the genetically determined constraints that underlie song learning. Perhaps more surprising is the lack of locally diverged cultural traditions. Zebra finches serve as an example of a system where frequent learning errors may rapidly create within-population diversity, within broad phonological and syntactical constraints, and prevent the formation of long-term cultural traditions that allow populations to diverge. PMID:27458396

  11. Changes in corticosterone concentrations and behavior during Mycoplasma gallisepticum infection in house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus).

    PubMed

    Love, Ashley C; Foltz, Sarah L; Adelman, James S; Moore, Ignacio T; Hawley, Dana M

    2016-09-01

    Glucocorticoid stress hormones are important for energy mobilization as well as regulation of the immune system, and thus these hormones are particularly likely to both influence and respond to pathogen infection in vertebrates. In this study, we examined how the glucocorticoid stress response in house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) interacts with experimental infection of the naturally-occurring bacterial pathogen, Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG). We also investigated whether infection-induced concentrations of corticosterone (CORT), the primary glucocorticoid in birds, were associated with the expression of sickness behavior, the lethargy typically observed in vertebrates early in infection. We found that experimental infection with MG resulted in significantly higher CORT levels on day 5 post-infection, but this effect appeared to be limited to female house finches only. Regardless of sex, infected individuals with greater disease severity had the highest CORT concentrations on day 5 post-infection. House finches exposed to MG exhibited behavioral changes, with infected birds having significantly lower activity levels than sham-inoculated individuals. However, CORT concentrations and the extent of sickness behaviors exhibited among infected birds were not associated. Finally, pre-infection CORT concentrations were associated with reduced inflammation and pathogen load in inoculated males, but not females. Our results suggest that the house finch glucocorticoid stress response may both influence and respond to MG infection in sex-specific ways, but because we had a relatively low sample size of males, future work should confirm these patterns. Finally, manipulative experiments should be performed to test whether the glucocorticoid stress response acts as a brake on the inflammatory response associated with MG infection in house finches. PMID:27288634

  12. Breeding Experience, Alternative Reproductive Strategies and Reproductive Success in a Captive Colony of Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Baran, Nicole M.; Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth

    2014-01-01

    Birds exhibit a remarkable diversity of different reproductive strategies both between and within species. Species such as the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) may evolve the flexible use of alternative reproductive strategies, as well as benefit from prior breeding experience, which allows them to adaptively respond to unpredictable environments. In birds, the flexible use of alternative reproductive strategies, such as extra-pair mating, has been reported to be associated with fast reproduction, high mortality and environmental variability. However, little is known about the role of previous breeding experience in the adaptive use of alternative reproductive strategies. Here we performed an in-depth study of reproductive outcomes in a population of domesticated zebra finches, testing the impact of prior breeding experience on the use of alternative reproductive strategies and reproductive success. We provide evidence that older females with prior breeding experience are quicker to initiate a clutch with a new partner and have increased success in chick rearing, even in a captive colony of zebra finches with minimal foraging demands. We also find evidence that the breeding experience of other females in the same social group influences reproductive investment by female zebra finches. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the use of alternative reproductive strategies in female zebra finches is associated with previous failed breeding attempts with the same pair partner. The results provide evidence that age and breeding experience play important roles in the flexible use of both facultative and adaptive reproductive strategies in female zebra finches. PMID:24587051

  13. Peregrine falcon predation of endangered Laysan teal and Laysan Finches on remote Hawaiian atolls

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reynolds, Michelle H.; Nash, Sarah A.B.; Courtot, Karen

    2015-01-01

    We report the first records of Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) predation on endangered Laysan teal (or duck; Anas laysanensis) and predation on endangered Laysan finches (Telespiza cantans). At Midway Atoll, vagrant Peregrine falcons killed ≥4% of a newly translocated Laysan teal population in 2006 and ≥2% in 2008. On Laysan Island during 2008–2009, remains of >76 Laysan finches (<1% of the population) were found at peregrine perches. On Midway Atoll, all depredated Laysan teal and other seabirds were recovered at kill sites on tarmac (runways). If the frequency or duration of vagrant raptors visitation increases at small atolls, this could pose a mortality risk to consider, especially during proposed translocations of endangered species. Vegetation restoration of abandoned runways near wetlands at Midway Atoll would provide cover and may help reduce mortality of endangered species due to vagrant raptors.

  14. Carotenoid-based plumage coloration predicts resistance to a novel parasite in the house finch.

    PubMed

    Hill, Geoffrey E; Farmer, Kristy L

    2005-01-01

    The Hamilton-Zuk hypothesis proposes that the bright colours displayed by many species of birds serve as signals of individual resistance to parasites. Despite the popularity of this hypothesis, only one previous study has tested whether plumage coloration predicts how individuals respond to a disease challenge. We inoculated 24 male house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) of variable plumage hue with a novel bacterial pathogen, Mycoplasma gallicepticum (MG). We found no relationship between plumage hue and time to first symptoms following inoculation, but we found a significant negative relationship between plumage hue and clearance of disease: males with redder plumage cleared MG infection significantly better than did males with yellower plumage. The hue of carotenoid-based plumage coloration has been shown to be a primary criterion in female mate choice in the house finch. These observations suggest that one benefit to females for choosing redder males is obtaining mates with better resistance to parasites. PMID:15558224

  15. Carotenoid-based plumage coloration predicts resistance to a novel parasite in the house finch

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hill, Geoffrey E.; Farmer, Kristy L.

    2005-01-01

    The Hamilton-Zuk hypothesis proposes that the bright colours displayed by many species of birds serve as signals of individual resistance to parasites. Despite the popularity of this hypothesis, only one previous study has tested whether plumage coloration predicts how individuals respond to a disease challenge. We inoculated 24 male house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) of variable plumage hue with a novel bacterial pathogen, Mycoplasma gallicepticum (MG). We found no relationship between plumage hue and time to first symptoms following inoculation, but we found a significant negative relationship between plumage hue and clearance of disease: males with redder plumage cleared MG infection significantly better than did males with yellower plumage. The hue of carotenoid-based plumage coloration has been shown to be a primary criterion in female mate choice in the house finch. These observations suggest that one benefit to females for choosing redder males is obtaining mates with better resistance to parasites.

  16. Psittacine beak and feather disease-like illness in Gouldian finches (Chloebia gouldiae).

    PubMed

    Circella, Elena; Legretto, Marilisa; Pugliese, Nicola; Caroli, Anna; Bozzo, Giancarlo; Accogli, Gianluca; Lavazza, Antonio; Camarda, Antonio

    2014-09-01

    Beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) is a member of the genus Circovirus and causes psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) in Psittaciformes. PBFD is a severe disease generally characterized by immunodeficiency and beak and feather disorders. Although Circovirus spp. have been detected in several nonpsittacine species, little is known about the symptoms and the disease associated with this infection in birds other than Psittaciformes. In this study, we report the identification of Circovirus infection in a flock of Gouldian finches showing beak and feather disorders. Sequence analyses on the rep gene of the virus highlighted a strong similarity at nucleotide and amino acid levels with the corresponding regions of BFDV from psittacine species. By contrast, it was more distant to circoviruses identified in finch and canary. PMID:25518446

  17. RNA-seq transcriptome analysis of male and female zebra finch cell lines.

    PubMed Central

    Balakrishnan, Christopher N.; Lin, Ya-Chi; London, Sarah E.; Clayton, David F.

    2012-01-01

    The derivation of stably cultured cell lines has been critical to the advance of molecular biology. We profiled gene expression in the first two generally available cell lines derived from zebra finch. Using Illumina RNA-seq, we generated ~93 million reads and mapped the majority to the recently assembled zebra finch genome. Expression of most Ensembl-annotated genes was detected, but over half of the mapped reads aligned outside annotated genes. The male-derived G266 line expressed Z-linked genes at a higher level than did the female-derived ZFTMA line, indicating persistence in culture of the distinctive lack of avian sex chromosome dosage compensation. Although these cell lines were not derived from neural tissue, many neurobiologically relevant genes were expressed, although typically at lower levels than in a reference sample from auditory forebrain. These cell lines recapitulate fundamental songbird biology and will be useful for future studies of songbird gene regulation and function. PMID:22922019

  18. CINCH (confocal incoherent correlation holography) super resolution fluorescence microscopy based upon FINCH (Fresnel incoherent correlation holography)

    PubMed Central

    Siegel, Nisan; Storrie, Brian; Bruce, Marc

    2016-01-01

    FINCH holographic fluorescence microscopy creates high resolution super-resolved images with enhanced depth of focus. The simple addition of a real-time Nipkow disk confocal image scanner in a conjugate plane of this incoherent holographic system is shown to reduce the depth of focus, and the combination of both techniques provides a simple way to enhance the axial resolution of FINCH in a combined method called “CINCH”. An important feature of the combined system allows for the simultaneous real-time image capture of widefield and holographic images or confocal and confocal holographic images for ready comparison of each method on the exact same field of view. Additional GPU based complex deconvolution processing of the images further enhances resolution. PMID:26839443

  19. Flavoprotein Autofluorescence Imaging of Visual System Activity in Zebra Finches and Mice

    PubMed Central

    Michael, Neethu; Bischof, Hans-Joachim; Löwel, Siegrid

    2014-01-01

    Large-scale brain activity patterns can be visualized by optical imaging of intrinsic signals (OIS) based on activity-dependent changes in the blood oxygenation level. Another method, flavoprotein autofluorescence imaging (AFI), exploits the mitochondrial flavoprotein autofluorescence, which is enhanced during neuronal activity. In birds, topographic mapping of visual space has been shown in the visual wulst, the avian homologue of the mammalian visual cortex by using OIS. We here applied the AFI method to visualize topographic maps in the visual wulst because with OIS, which depends on blood flow changes, blood vessel artifacts often obscure brain activity maps. We then compared both techniques quantitatively in zebra finches and in C57Bl/6J mice using the same setup and stimulation conditions. In addition to experiments with craniotomized animals, we also examined mice with intact skull (in zebra finches, intact skull imaging is not feasible probably due to the skull construction). In craniotomized animals, retinotopic maps were obtained by both methods in both species. Using AFI, artifacts caused by blood vessels were generally reduced, the magnitude of neuronal activity significantly higher and the retinotopic map quality better than that obtained by OIS in both zebra finches and mice. In contrast, our measurements in non-craniotomized mice did not reveal any quantitative differences between the two methods. Our results thus suggest that AFI is the method of choice for investigations of visual processing in zebra finches. In mice, however, if researchers decide to use the advantages of imaging through the intact skull, they will not be able to exploit the higher signals obtainable by the AFI-method. PMID:24400130

  20. On the Hypothetico-Deductive Nature of Science—Darwin's Finches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lawson, Anton E.

    2009-01-01

    Allchin (2006) has misinterpreted a classic case of hypothetico-deductive (HD) science in terms of his preferred ‘let’s-gather-some-data-and-see-what-emerges’ view. The misrepresentation concerns the research program of Peter and Rosemary Grant on Darwin’s finches. The present essay argues that the Grants’ research is HD in nature and includes a statement by Peter Grant to that effect.

  1. Same-sex partner preference in zebra finches: pairing flexibility and choice.

    PubMed

    Tomaszycki, Michelle L; Zatirka, Brendon P

    2014-11-01

    This study examined flexibility and choice in same-sex pair-bonding behavior in adult zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Zebra finches form life-long monogamous relationships and extra pair behavior is very low, making them an ideal species in which to study same-sex pairing. We examined same-sex behaviors using both semi-naturalistic choice paradigms and skewed sex ratios. In the first experiment, we allowed zebra finches to pair in aviaries with equal sex ratios as part of multiple experiments. On average, 6.4% (N = 78) of unmanipulated pairs were same-sex: all but one was female-female. In a second experiment, we identified pairs from same-sex cages and selected 20 total same-sex pairs (10 of each sex). We then gave pairs a chance to court and pair with members of the opposite sex and observed their behavior for three days. Females did not retain their partner, but most paired with males. In contrast, some males did retain their partner. Similarly, females were more likely to engage in pairing behaviors with males than with their partners or other females whereas males were equally likely to engage in same-sex and opposite-sex pairing behaviors. These findings suggest that same-sex partnerships in zebra finches can be facultative, based on the sex ratio of the group in which they live, but can also be a choice, when opportunities to pair with opposite-sex individuals are possible. Furthermore, it is possible that females are more flexible in this choice of same-sex partnerships than are males. PMID:25190500

  2. Noninvasive diffusive optical imaging of the auditory response to birdsong in the zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Lee, James V; Maclin, Edward L; Low, Kathy A; Gratton, Gabriele; Fabiani, Monica; Clayton, David F

    2013-03-01

    Songbirds communicate by learned vocalizations with concomitant changes in neurophysiological and genomic activities in discrete parts of the brain. Here, we tested a novel implementation of diffusive optical imaging (also known as diffuse optical imaging, DOI) for monitoring brain physiology associated with vocal signal perception. DOI noninvasively measures brain activity using red and near-infrared light delivered through optic fibers (optodes) resting on the scalp. DOI does not harm subjects, so it raises the possibility of repeatedly measuring brain activity and the effects of accumulated experience in the same subject over an entire life span, all while leaving tissue intact for further study. We developed a custom-made apparatus for interfacing optodes to the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) head using 3D modeling software and rapid prototyping technology, and applied it to record responses to presentations of birdsong in isoflurane-anesthetized zebra finches. We discovered a subtle but significant difference between the hemoglobin spectra of zebra finches and mammals which has a major impact in how hemodynamic responses are interpreted in the zebra finch. Our measured responses to birdsong playback were robust, highly repeatable, and readily observed in single trials. Responses were complex in shape and closely paralleled responses described in mammals. They were localized to the caudal medial portion of the brain, consistent with response localization from prior gene expression, electrophysiological, and functional magnetic resonance imaging studies. These results define an approach for collecting neurophysiological data from songbirds that should be applicable to diverse species and adaptable for studies in awake behaving animals. PMID:23322445

  3. [Long-term plasticity of HVC-RA synapses in adult male zebra finches].

    PubMed

    Li, Feng-Ling; Li, Dong-Feng

    2013-12-25

    Long-term synaptic plasticity is considered as a key part of the neural mechanism of learning and memory. The production of learned vocalization of male zebra finches is closely related to high vocal center (HVC)-robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA) pathway. However, the long-term plasticity of HVC-RA synapses is unclear. This study investigated the long-term plasticity of HVC-RA synapses in adult male zebra finches through in vivo field potential recording. The results showed that physiologic stimulation, i.e., δ rhythmic stimulation and low frequency stimulation could not effectively induce long-term synaptic plasticity. The former leaded to no change of the amplitudes of evoked population spikes, and the latter induced short-term depression (STD) of the amplitudes of the second evoked population spikes caused by paired pulses. But high frequency stimulation induced long-term depression (LTD) of the amplitudes of evoked population spikes to show out long-term synaptic plasticity. These results suggest that LTD represents the long-term plasticity of HVC-RA synapses in adult male zebra finches, which may be a key part of the neural mechanism of vocal learning and memory and can explain the plasticity of adult song to some degree. PMID:24343715

  4. DIVERSITY OF FEATHER MITES (ACARI: ASTIGMATA) ON DARWIN’S FINCHES

    PubMed Central

    Villa, Scott M.; Le Bohec, Céline; Koop, Jennifer A. H.; Proctor, Heather C.; Clayton, Dale H.

    2014-01-01

    Feather mites are a diverse group of ectosymbionts that occur on most species of birds. Although Darwin’s finches are a well-studied group of birds, relatively little is known about their feather mites. Nearly 200 birds across 9 finch species, and from 2 locations on Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos, were dust-ruffled during the 2009 breeding season. We found 8 genera of feather mites; the most prevalent genus was Mesalgoides (53–55%), followed by Trouessartia (40–45%), Amerodectes and Proctophyllodes (26–33%), Xolalgoides (21–27%), Analges and Strelkoviacarus (0–6%), and Dermoglyphus (2–4%). There was no evidence for microclimatic effects (ambient temperature and relative humidity) on mite diversity. Host body mass was significantly correlated with mean feather mite abundance across 7 of 8 well-sampled species of finches. Certhidea olivacea, the smallest species, did not fit this pattern and had a disproportionately high number of mites for its body mass. PMID:23691947

  5. A Daily Oscillation in the Fundamental Frequency and Amplitude of Harmonic Syllables of Zebra Finch Song

    PubMed Central

    Wood, William E.; Osseward, Peter J.; Roseberry, Thomas K.; Perkel, David J.

    2013-01-01

    Complex motor skills are more difficult to perform at certain points in the day (for example, shortly after waking), but the daily trajectory of motor-skill error is more difficult to predict. By undertaking a quantitative analysis of the fundamental frequency (FF) and amplitude of hundreds of zebra finch syllables per animal per day, we find that zebra finch song follows a previously undescribed daily oscillation. The FF and amplitude of harmonic syllables rises across the morning, reaching a peak near mid-day, and then falls again in the late afternoon until sleep. This oscillation, although somewhat variable, is consistent across days and across animals and does not require serotonin, as animals with serotonergic lesions maintained daily oscillations. We hypothesize that this oscillation is driven by underlying physiological factors which could be shared with other taxa. Song production in zebra finches is a model system for studying complex learned behavior because of the ease of gathering comprehensive behavioral data and the tractability of the underlying neural circuitry. The daily oscillation that we describe promises to reveal new insights into how time of day affects the ability to accomplish a variety of complex learned motor skills. PMID:24312654

  6. Zebra Finch Mates Use Their Forebrain Song System in Unlearned Call Communication

    PubMed Central

    Ter Maat, Andries; Trost, Lisa; Sagunsky, Hannes; Seltmann, Susanne; Gahr, Manfred

    2014-01-01

    Unlearned calls are produced by all birds whereas learned songs are only found in three avian taxa, most notably in songbirds. The neural basis for song learning and production is formed by interconnected song nuclei: the song control system. In addition to song, zebra finches produce large numbers of soft, unlearned calls, among which “stack” calls are uttered frequently. To determine unequivocally the calls produced by each member of a group, we mounted miniature wireless microphones on each zebra finch. We find that group living paired males and females communicate using bilateral stack calling. To investigate the role of the song control system in call-based male female communication, we recorded the electrical activity in a premotor nucleus of the song control system in freely behaving male birds. The unique combination of acoustic monitoring together with wireless brain recording of individual zebra finches in groups shows that the neuronal activity of the song system correlates with the production of unlearned stack calls. The results suggest that the song system evolved from a brain circuit controlling simple unlearned calls to a system capable of producing acoustically rich, learned vocalizations. PMID:25313846

  7. Ontogeny of the cranial skeleton in a Darwin's finch (Geospiza fortis)

    PubMed Central

    Genbrugge, Annelies; Heyde, Anne-Sophie; Adriaens, Dominique; Boone, Matthieu; Van Hoorebeke, Luc; Dirckx, Joris; Aerts, Peter; Podos, Jeffrey; Herrel, Anthony

    2011-01-01

    Darwin's finches are a model system in ecological and evolutionary research, but surprisingly little is known about their skull morphology and development. Indeed, only the early beak development and external variation in adult beak shape has been studied. Understanding the development of the skull from embryo up to the adult is important to gain insights into how selection acts upon, and drives, variation in beak shape. Here, we provide a detailed description of the skeletal development of the skull in the medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis). Although the ossification sequence of the cranial elements is broadly similar to that observed for other birds, some differences can be observed. Unexpectedly, our data show that large changes in skull shape take place between the nestling and the juvenile phases. The reorientation of the beak, the orbit and the formation of well-developed processes and cristae suggest that these changes are likely related to the use of the beak after leaving the nest. This suggests that the active use of the jaw muscles during seed cracking plays an important role in shaping the adult skull morphology and may be driving some of the intra-specific variation observed in species such as G. fortis. Investigating the development of the jaw muscles and their interaction with the observed ossification and formation of the skull and lower jaw would allow further insights into the ecology and evolution of beak morphology in Darwin's finches. PMID:21599660

  8. Structural tissue organization in the beak of Java and Darwin's finches

    PubMed Central

    Genbrugge, Annelies; Adriaens, Dominique; Kegel, Barbara; Brabant, Loes; Hoorebeke, Luc; Podos, Jeffrey; Dirckx, Joris; Aerts, Peter; Herrel, Anthony

    2012-01-01

    Birds are well known for occupying diverse feeding niches, and for having evolved diverse beak morphologies associated with dietary specialization. Birds that feed on hard seeds typically possess beaks that are both deep and wide, presumably because of selection for fracture avoidance, as suggested by prior studies. It follows then that birds that eat seeds of different size and hardness should vary in one or more aspects of beak morphology, including the histological organization of the rhamphotheca, the cellular interface that binds the rhamphotheca to the bone, and the organization of trabeculae in the beak. To explore this expectation we here investigate tissue organization in the rhamphotheca of the Java finch, a large granivorous bird, and describe interspecific differences in the trabecular organization of the beak across 11 species of Darwin's finches. We identify specializations in multiple layers of the horny beak, with the dermis anchored to the bone by Sharpey's fibers in those regions that are subjected to high stresses during biting. Moreover, the rhamphotheca is characterized by a tight dermo-epidermal junction through interdigitations of these two tissues. Herbst corpuscles are observed in high density in the dermis of the lateral aspect of the beak as observed in other birds. Finally, the trabecular organization of the beak in Darwin's finches appears most variable in regions involved most in food manipulation, with the density of trabeculae in the beak generally mirroring loading regimes imposed by different feeding habits and beak use in this clade. PMID:22938039

  9. Bill Redness Is Positively Associated with Reproduction and Survival in Male and Female Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Simons, Mirre J. P.; Briga, Michael; Koetsier, Egbert; Folkertsma, Remco; Wubs, Matthias D.; Dijkstra, Cor; Verhulst, Simon

    2012-01-01

    Sexual traits can serve as honest indicators of phenotypic quality when they are costly. Brightly coloured yellow to red traits, which are pigmented by carotenoids, are relatively common in birds, and feature in sexual selection. Carotenoids have been linked to immune and antioxidant function, and the trade-off between ornamentation and these physiological functions provides a potential mechanism rendering carotenoid based signals costly. Mutual ornamentation is also common in birds and can be maintained by mutual mate choice for this ornament or by a correlated response in one sex to selection on the other sex. When selection pressures differ between the sexes this can cause intralocus sexual conflict. Sexually antagonistic selection pressures have been demonstrated for few sexual traits, and for carotenoid-dependent traits there is a single example: bill redness was found to be positively associated with survival and reproductive output in male zebra finches, but negatively so in females. We retested these associations in our captive zebra finch population without two possible limitations of this earlier study. Contrary to the earlier findings, we found no evidence for sexually antagonistic selection. In both sexes, individuals with redder bills showed higher survival. This association disappeared among the females with the reddest bills. Furthermore, females with redder bills achieved higher reproductive output. We conclude that bill redness of male and female zebra finches honestly signals phenotypic quality, and discuss the possible causes of the differences between our results and earlier findings. PMID:22808243

  10. Discovery of a new avian bornavirus genotype in estrildid finches (Estrildidae) in Germany.

    PubMed

    Rubbenstroth, Dennis; Schmidt, Volker; Rinder, Monika; Legler, Marko; Corman, Victor Max; Staeheli, Peter

    2014-01-31

    Avian bornaviruses (ABV) are known to be the causative agent of proventricular dilatation disease (PDD) in parrots and their relatives (Psittaciformes). A broad range of ABV genotypes has been detected not only in psittacine birds, but also in other avian species including canary birds (Serinus canaria forma domestica) and Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata f. dom.), which are both members of the order songbirds (Passeriformes). During this study 286 samples collected from captive and wild birds of various passerine species in different parts of Germany were screened for the presence of ABV. Interestingly, only three ABV-positive samples were identified by RT-PCR. They originated from one yellow-winged pytilia (Pytilia hypogrammica) and two black-rumped waxbills (Estrilda troglodytes) from a flock of captive estrildid finches in Saxony. The ABV isolates detected here were only distantly related to ABV isolates found in passerine species in Germany and Japan and form a new genotype tentatively called ABV-EF (for "estrildid finches"). PMID:24389254

  11. The finch epidemic strain of Trichomonas gallinae is predominant in British non-passerines.

    PubMed

    Chi, Jean F; Lawson, Becki; Durrant, Chris; Beckmann, Katie; John, Shinto; Alrefaei, Abdulwahed F; Kirkbride, Kim; Bell, Diana J; Cunningham, Andrew A; Tyler, Kevin M

    2013-09-01

    Avian trichomonosis, caused by the flagellated protozoan Trichomonas gallinae, is a recently emerged infectious disease of British passerines. The aetiological agent, a clonal epidemic strain of the parasite, has caused unprecedented finch mortality and population-level declines in Britain and has since spread to continental Europe. To better understand the potential origin of this epidemic and to further investigate its host range, T. gallinae DNA extracts were collected from parasite culture and tissue samples from a range of avian species in Britain. Sequence typing at the ITS1/5.8S rRNA/ITS2 region resolved three distinct ITS region types circulating in free-ranging British birds. Subtyping by sequence analyses at the Fe-hydrogenase gene demonstrated further strain variation within these ITS region types. The UK finch epidemic strain was preponderant amongst columbids sampled, however, wide strain diversity was encountered in isolates from a relatively small number of pigeons, suggesting further strains present in columbid populations across the UK are yet to be identified. Fe-hydrogenase gene sequence data in isolates from birds of prey with disease were predominantly identical to the UK finch epidemic strain, demonstrating its presence as a virulent strain in UK birds of prey since at least 2009. PMID:23920088

  12. Insights into the evolution of Darwin’s finches from comparative analysis of the Geospiza magnirostris genome sequence

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background A classical example of repeated speciation coupled with ecological diversification is the evolution of 14 closely related species of Darwin’s (Galápagos) finches (Thraupidae, Passeriformes). Their adaptive radiation in the Galápagos archipelago took place in the last 2–3 million years and some of the molecular mechanisms that led to their diversification are now being elucidated. Here we report evolutionary analyses of genome of the large ground finch, Geospiza magnirostris. Results 13,291 protein-coding genes were predicted from a 991.0 Mb G. magnirostris genome assembly. We then defined gene orthology relationships and constructed whole genome alignments between the G. magnirostris and other vertebrate genomes. We estimate that 15% of genomic sequence is functionally constrained between G. magnirostris and zebra finch. Genic evolutionary rate comparisons indicate that similar selective pressures acted along the G. magnirostris and zebra finch lineages suggesting that historical effective population size values have been similar in both lineages. 21 otherwise highly conserved genes were identified that each show evidence for positive selection on amino acid changes in the Darwin's finch lineage. Two of these genes (Igf2r and Pou1f1) have been implicated in beak morphology changes in Darwin’s finches. Five of 47 genes showing evidence of positive selection in early passerine evolution have cilia related functions, and may be examples of adaptively evolving reproductive proteins. Conclusions These results provide insights into past evolutionary processes that have shaped G. magnirostris genes and its genome, and provide the necessary foundation upon which to build population genomics resources that will shed light on more contemporaneous adaptive and non-adaptive processes that have contributed to the evolution of the Darwin’s finches. PMID:23402223

  13. Gene duplication and fragmentation in the zebra finch major histocompatibility complex

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Due to its high polymorphism and importance for disease resistance, the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) has been an important focus of many vertebrate genome projects. Avian MHC organization is of particular interest because the chicken Gallus gallus, the avian species with the best characterized MHC, possesses a highly streamlined minimal essential MHC, which is linked to resistance against specific pathogens. It remains unclear the extent to which this organization describes the situation in other birds and whether it represents a derived or ancestral condition. The sequencing of the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata genome, in combination with targeted bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) sequencing, has allowed us to characterize an MHC from a highly divergent and diverse avian lineage, the passerines. Results The zebra finch MHC exhibits a complex structure and history involving gene duplication and fragmentation. The zebra finch MHC includes multiple Class I and Class II genes, some of which appear to be pseudogenes, and spans a much more extensive genomic region than the chicken MHC, as evidenced by the presence of MHC genes on each of seven BACs spanning 739 kb. Cytogenetic (FISH) evidence and the genome assembly itself place core MHC genes on as many as four chromosomes with TAP and Class I genes mapping to different chromosomes. MHC Class II regions are further characterized by high endogenous retroviral content. Lastly, we find strong evidence of selection acting on sites within passerine MHC Class I and Class II genes. Conclusion The zebra finch MHC differs markedly from that of the chicken, the only other bird species with a complete genome sequence. The apparent lack of synteny between TAP and the expressed MHC Class I locus is in fact reminiscent of a pattern seen in some mammalian lineages and may represent convergent evolution. Our analyses of the zebra finch MHC suggest a complex history involving chromosomal fission, gene

  14. Using Digital Images of the Zebra Finch Song System as a Tool to Teach Organizational Effects of Steroid Hormones: A Free Downloadable Module

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Grisham, William; Schottler, Natalie A.; Beck McCauley, Lisa M.; Pham, Anh P.; Ruiz, Maureen L.; Fong, Michelle C.; Cui, Xinran

    2011-01-01

    Zebra finch song behavior is sexually dimorphic: males sing and females do not. The neural system underlying this behavior is sexually dimorphic, and this sex difference is easy to quantify. During development, the zebra finch song system can be altered by steroid hormones, specifically estradiol, which actually masculinizes it. Because of the…

  15. House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) Conjunctivitis, and Mycoplasma spp. Isolated from North American Wild Birds, 1994-2015.

    PubMed

    Ley, David H; Hawley, Dana M; Geary, Steven J; Dhondt, André A

    2016-07-01

    Sampling wild birds for mycoplasma culture has been key to the study of House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) conjunctivitis, yielding isolates of Mycoplasma gallisepticum spanning the temporal and geographic ranges of disease from emergence to endemicity. Faced with the challenges and costs of sample collection over time and from remote locations for submission to our laboratory for mycoplasma culture, protocols evolved to achieve a practical optimum. Herein we report making M. gallisepticum isolates from House Finches almost every year since the disease emerged in 1994, and we now have 227 isolates from 17 states. Our wild bird host range for M. gallisepticum isolates includes Blue Jay ( Cyanocitta cristata ), American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis), Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria), Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus), Evening Grosbeak ( Coccothraustes vespertinus ), and herein first reports for Western Scrub-jay ( Aphelocoma californica ), and American Crow ( Corvus brachyrhynchos ). By collecting and identifying isolates from birds with clinical signs similar to those of House Finch conjunctivitis, we also expanded the known host range of Mycoplasma sturni and obtained isolates from additional wild bird species. Accumulating evidence shows that a diverse range of wild bird species may carry or have been exposed to M. gallisepticum in the US, as in Europe and Asia. Therefore, the emergence of a pathogenic M. gallisepticum strain in House Finches may actually be the exception that has allowed us to identify the broader epidemiologic picture. PMID:27285414

  16. Expression of fragile X mental retardation protein within the vocal control system of developing and adult male zebra finches

    PubMed Central

    Winograd, Claudia; Clayton, David; Ceman, Stephanie

    2008-01-01

    Individuals with fragile X syndrome (FXS) are cognitively impaired and have marked speech delays and deficits. Our goal was to characterize expression of FMRP, the fragile X mental retardation protein, encoded by the gene FMR1, in an animal model that learns to vocalize, namely the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata (Tgu). We cloned and sequenced the zebra finch ortholog of FMR1 (TguFmr1) and developed an antibody that recognizes TguFmrp specifically. TguFmrp has structural features similar to its human ortholog FMRP. Because FXS patients exhibit sensorimotor deficits, we examined TguFmrp expression prior to, during, and after sensorimotor song learning in zebra finches. We found that TguFmrp is expressed throughout the brain and in four major song nuclei of the male zebra finch brain, primarily in neurons. Additionally, prior to sensorimotor learning, we observed elevated TguFmrp expression in the RA of post-hatch day 30 males, compared to the surrounding telencephalon, suggesting a preparation for this stage of song learning. Finally, we observed variable TguFmrp expression in the RA of adolescent and adult males: in some males it was elevated and in others it was comparable to the surrounding telencephalon. In summary, we have characterized the zebra finch ortholog of FMRP and found elevated levels in the premotor nucleus RA at a key developmental stage for vocal learning. PMID:18835331

  17. Habitat selection and ecological speciation in Galápagos warbler finches (Certhidea olivacea and Certhidea fusca).

    PubMed

    Tonnis, Brandon; Grant, Peter R; Grant, B Rosemary; Petren, Kenneth

    2005-04-22

    We investigated phylogeographic divergence among populations of Galápagos warble finches. Their broad distribution, lack of phenotypic differentiation and low levels of genetic divergence make warbler finches an appropriate model to study speciation in allopatry. A positive relationship between genetic and geographical distance is expected for island taxa. Warbler finches actually showed a negative isolation by distance relationship, causing us to reject the hypothesis of distance-limited dispersal. An alternative hypothesis, that dispersal is limited by habitat similarity, was supported. We found a positive correlation between genetic distances and differences in maximum elevation among islands, which is an indicator of ecological similarity. MtDNA sequence variation revealed monophyletic support for two distinct species. Certhidea olivacea have recently dispersed among larger central islands, while some Certhidea fusca have recently dispersed to small islands at opposite ends of the archipelago. We conclude that females have chosen to breed on islands with habitats similar to their natal environment. Habitat selection is implicated as an important component of speciation of warbler finches, which is the earliest known divergence of the adaptive radiation of Darwin's finches. These results suggest that small populations can harbour cryptic but biologically meaningful variation that may affect longer term evolutionary processes. PMID:15940826

  18. Exploring the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata as a novel animal model for the speech-language deficit of fragile X syndrome

    PubMed Central

    Winograd, C; Ceman, S

    2015-01-01

    Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability and presents with markedly atypical speech-language, likely due to impaired vocal learning. Although current models have been useful for studies of some aspects of FXS, zebra finch is the only tractable lab model for vocal learning. The neural circuits for vocal learning in the zebra finch have clear relationships to the pathways in the human brain that may be affected in FXS. Further, finch vocal learning may be quantified using software designed specifically for this purpose. Knockdown of the zebra finch FMR1 gene may ultimately enable novel tests of therapies that are modality-specific, using drugs or even social strategies, to ameliorate deficits in vocal development and function. In this chapter, we describe the utility of the zebra finch model and present a hypothesis for the role of FMRP in the developing neural circuitry for vocalization. PMID:22009353

  19. Mate call as reward: Acoustic communication signals can acquire positive reinforcing values during adulthood in female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Hernandez, Alexandra M; Perez, Emilie C; Mulard, Hervé; Mathevon, Nicolas; Vignal, Clémentine

    2016-02-01

    Social stimuli can have rewarding properties and promote learning. In birds, conspecific vocalizations like song can act as a reinforcer, and specific song variants can acquire particular rewarding values during early life exposure. Here we ask if, during adulthood, an acoustic signal simpler and shorter than song can become a reward for a female songbird because of its particular social value. Using an operant choice apparatus, we showed that female zebra finches display a preferential response toward their mate's calls. This reinforcing value of mate's calls could be involved in the maintenance of the monogamous pair-bond of the zebra finch. PMID:26881942

  20. Development of a Bioaerosol single particle detector (BIO IN) for the Fast Ice Nucleus CHamber FINCH

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bundke, U.; Reimann, B.; Nillius, B.; Jaenicke, R.; Bingemer, H.

    2010-02-01

    In this work we present the setup and first tests of our new BIO IN detector. This detector was constructed to classify atmospheric ice nuclei (IN) for their biological content. It is designed to be coupled to the Fast Ice Nucleus CHamber FINCH. If one particle acts as an ice nucleus, it will be at least partly covered with ice at the end of the development section of the FINCH chamber. The device combines an auto-fluorescence detector and a circular depolarization detector for simultaneous detection of biological material and discrimination between water droplets, ice crystals and non activated large aerosol particles. The excitation of biological material with UV light and analysis of auto-fluorescence is a common principle used for flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy, spectroscopy and imaging. The detection of auto-fluorescence of airborne single particles demands some more experimental effort. However, expensive commercial sensors are available for special purposes, e.g. size distribution measurements. But these sensors will not fit the specifications needed for the FINCH IN counter (e.g. high sample flow of up 10 LPM). The newly developed -low cost- BIO IN sensor uses a single high-power UV LED for the electronic excitation instead of much more expensive UV lasers. Other key advantages of the new sensor are the low weight, compact size, and the little effect on the aerosol sample, which allows it to be coupled with other instruments for further analysis. The instrument will be flown on one of the first missions of the new German research aircraft "HALO" (High Altitude and LOng range).

  1. An aggression-specific cell type in the anterior hypothalamus of finches

    PubMed Central

    Goodson, James L.; Kelly, Aubrey M.; Kingsbury, Marcy A.; Thompson, Richmond R.

    2012-01-01

    The anterior hypothalamus (AH) is a major integrator of neural processes related to aggression and defense, but cell types in the AH that selectively promote aggression are unknown. We here show that aggression is promoted in a very selective and potent manner by dorsal AH neurons that produce vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP). Fos activity in a territorial finch, the violet-eared waxbill (Estrildidae: Uraeginthus granatina) is positively related to aggression in the dorsal AH, overlapping a population of VIP-producing neurons. VIP is known to promote territorial aggression in songbirds, and thus we used antisense oligonucleotides to selectively block AH VIP production in male and female waxbills. This manipulation virtually abolishes aggression, reducing the median number of displacements in a 3-min resident–intruder test from 38 in control subjects to 0 in antisense subjects. Notably, most antisense and control waxbills exhibit an agonistic response such as a threat or agonistic call within 2 s of intrusion. Thus, antisense subjects clearly classify intruders as offensive, but fail to attack. Other social and anxiety-like behaviors are not affected and VIP cell numbers correlate positively with aggression, suggesting that these cells selectively titrate aggression. Additional experiments in the gregarious zebra finch (Estrildidae: Taeniopygia guttata) underscore this functional specificity. Colony-housed finches exhibit significant reductions in aggression (primarily nest defense) following AH VIP knockdown, but no effects are observed for social preferences, pair bonding, courtship, maintenance behaviors, or anxiety-like behaviors. To our knowledge, these findings represent a unique identification of an aggression-specific cell type in the brain. PMID:22872869

  2. Genetic variation and differentiation in captive and wild zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Forstmeier, Wolfgang; Segelbacher, Gernot; Mueller, Jakob C; Kempenaers, Bart

    2007-10-01

    The zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is a small Australian grassland songbird that has been domesticated over the past two centuries. Because it is easy to breed in captivity, it has become a widely used study organism, especially in behavioural research. Most work has been conducted on domesticated populations maintained at numerous laboratories in Europe and North America. However, little is known about the extent to which, during the process of domestication, captive populations have gone through bottlenecks in population size, leading to inbred and potentially genetically differentiated study populations. This is an important issue, because (i) behavioural studies on captive populations might suffer from artefacts arising from high levels of inbreeding or lack of genetic variation in such populations, and (ii) it may hamper the comparability of research findings. To address this issue, we genotyped 1000 zebra finches from 18 captive and two wild populations at 10 highly variable microsatellite loci. We found that all captive populations have lost some of the genetic variability present in the wild, but there is no evidence that they have gone through a severe bottleneck, as the average captive population still showed a mean of 11.7 alleles per locus, compared to a mean of 19.3 alleles/locus for wild zebra finches. We found significant differentiation between the captive populations (F(ST) = 0.062). Patterns of genetic similarity closely match geographical relationships, so the most pronounced differences occur between the three continents: Australia, North America, and Europe. By providing a tree of the genetic similarity of the different captive populations, we hope to contribute to a better understanding of variation in research findings obtained by different laboratories. PMID:17894758

  3. An aggression-specific cell type in the anterior hypothalamus of finches.

    PubMed

    Goodson, James L; Kelly, Aubrey M; Kingsbury, Marcy A; Thompson, Richmond R

    2012-08-21

    The anterior hypothalamus (AH) is a major integrator of neural processes related to aggression and defense, but cell types in the AH that selectively promote aggression are unknown. We here show that aggression is promoted in a very selective and potent manner by dorsal AH neurons that produce vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP). Fos activity in a territorial finch, the violet-eared waxbill (Estrildidae: Uraeginthus granatina) is positively related to aggression in the dorsal AH, overlapping a population of VIP-producing neurons. VIP is known to promote territorial aggression in songbirds, and thus we used antisense oligonucleotides to selectively block AH VIP production in male and female waxbills. This manipulation virtually abolishes aggression, reducing the median number of displacements in a 3-min resident-intruder test from 38 in control subjects to 0 in antisense subjects. Notably, most antisense and control waxbills exhibit an agonistic response such as a threat or agonistic call within 2 s of intrusion. Thus, antisense subjects clearly classify intruders as offensive, but fail to attack. Other social and anxiety-like behaviors are not affected and VIP cell numbers correlate positively with aggression, suggesting that these cells selectively titrate aggression. Additional experiments in the gregarious zebra finch (Estrildidae: Taeniopygia guttata) underscore this functional specificity. Colony-housed finches exhibit significant reductions in aggression (primarily nest defense) following AH VIP knockdown, but no effects are observed for social preferences, pair bonding, courtship, maintenance behaviors, or anxiety-like behaviors. To our knowledge, these findings represent a unique identification of an aggression-specific cell type in the brain. PMID:22872869

  4. Red Carotenoid Coloration in the Zebra Finch Is Controlled by a Cytochrome P450 Gene Cluster.

    PubMed

    Mundy, Nicholas I; Stapley, Jessica; Bennison, Clair; Tucker, Rachel; Twyman, Hanlu; Kim, Kang-Wook; Burke, Terry; Birkhead, Tim R; Andersson, Staffan; Slate, Jon

    2016-06-01

    Bright-red colors in vertebrates are commonly involved in sexual, social, and interspecific signaling [1-8] and are largely produced by ketocarotenoid pigments. In land birds, ketocarotenoids such as astaxanthin are usually metabolically derived via ketolation of dietary yellow carotenoids [9, 10]. However, the molecular basis of this gene-environment mechanism has remained obscure. Here we use the yellowbeak mutation in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) to investigate the genetic basis of red coloration. Wild-type ketocarotenoids were absent in the beak and tarsus of yellowbeak birds. The yellowbeak mutation mapped to chromosome 8, close to a cluster of cytochrome P450 loci (CYP2J2-like) that are candidates for carotenoid ketolases. The wild-type zebra finch genome was found to have three intact genes in this cluster: CYP2J19A, CYP2J19B, and CYP2J40. In yellowbeak, there are multiple mutations: loss of a complete CYP2J19 gene, a modified remaining CYP2J19 gene (CYP2J19(yb)), and a non-synonymous SNP in CYP2J40. In wild-type birds, CYP2J19 loci are expressed in ketocarotenoid-containing tissues: CYP2J19A only in the retina and CYP2J19B in the beak and tarsus and to a variable extent in the retina. In contrast, expression of CYP2J19(yb) is barely detectable in the beak of yellowbeak birds. CYP2J40 has broad tissue expression and shows no differences between wild-type and yellowbeak. Our results indicate that CYP2J19 genes are strong candidates for the carotenoid ketolase and imply that ketolation occurs in the integument in zebra finches. Since cytochrome P450 enzymes include key detoxification enzymes, our results raise the intriguing possibility that red coloration may be an honest signal of detoxification ability. PMID:27212402

  5. The zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata: an avian model for investigating the neurobiological basis of vocal learning.

    PubMed

    Mello, Claudio V

    2014-12-01

    Songbirds are capable of learning their vocalizations by copying a singing adult. This vocal learning ability requires juveniles to hear and memorize the sound of the adult song, and later to imitate it through a process involving sensorimotor integration. Vocal learning is a trait that songbirds share with humans, where it forms the basis of spoken language acquisition, with other avian groups (parrots and hummingbirds), and with a few other mammals (cetaceans, bats). It is however absent in traditional model organisms such as rodents and nonhuman primates. Zebra finches, a songbird species from Australia, are popular pets and are easy to breed. They also sing a relatively simple and stereotyped song that is amenable to quantitative analysis. Zebra finches have thus emerged as a choice model organism for investigating the neurobiological basis of vocal learning. A number of tools and methodologies have been developed to characterize the bioacoustics properties of their song, analyze the degree of accurate copying during vocal learning, map the brain circuits that control singing and song learning, and investigate the physiology of these circuits. Such studies have led to a large base of knowledge on song production and learning, and their underlying neural substrate. Several molecular resources have recently become available, including brain cDNA/EST databases, microarrays, BAC libraries, a molecular brain atlas, a complete genome assembly, and the ability to perform transgenesis. The recent availability of many other avian genomes provides unique opportunities for comparative analysis in the search for features unique to vocal learning organisms. PMID:25342070

  6. Zebra finches can use positional and transitional cues to distinguish vocal element strings.

    PubMed

    Chen, Jiani; Ten Cate, Carel

    2015-08-01

    Learning sequences is of great importance to humans and non-human animals. Many motor and mental actions, such as singing in birds and speech processing in humans, rely on sequential learning. At least two mechanisms are considered to be involved in such learning. The chaining theory proposes that learning of sequences relies on memorizing the transitions between adjacent items, while the positional theory suggests that learners encode the items according to their ordinal position in the sequence. Positional learning is assumed to dominate sequential learning. However, human infants exposed to a string of speech sounds can learn transitional (chaining) cues. So far, it is not clear whether birds, an increasingly important model for examining vocal processing, can do this. In this study we use a Go-Nogo design to examine whether zebra finches can use transitional cues to distinguish artificially constructed strings of song elements. Zebra finches were trained with sequences differing in transitional and positional information and next tested with novel strings sharing positional and transitional similarities with the training strings. The results show that they can attend to both transitional and positional cues and that their sequential coding strategies can be biased toward transitional cues depending on the learning context. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: In Honor of Jerry Hogan. PMID:25217867

  7. Signaling individual identity versus quality: a model and case studies with ruffs, queleas, and house finches.

    PubMed

    Dale, J; Lank, D B; Reeve, H K

    2001-07-01

    We develop an evolutionary model that predicts that characters selected to signal individual identity will have properties differing from those expected for indicator signals of quality. Traits signaling identity should be highly variable, often display polymodal distributions, not be condition dependent (i.e., be cheap to produce and/or maintain), not be associated with fitness differences, exhibit independent assortment of component characters, and often occur as fixed phenotypes with a high degree of genetic determination. We illustrate the existence of traits with precisely these attributes in the ornamental, conspicuously variable, and sexually dimorphic breeding plumages of ruff sandpipers Philomachus pugnax and red-billed queleas Quelea quelea. Although ruffs lek and queleas are monogamous, both species breed in high-density aggregations with high rates of social interactions (e.g., aggression and territory defense). Under these socioecological conditions, individual recognition based on visual cues may be unusually important. In contrast to these species, we also review plumage characteristics in house finches Carpodacus mexicanus, a nonterritorial, dispersed-breeding species in which plumage ornamentation is thought to signal quality. In keeping with expectations for quality signals, house finch plumage is relatively less variable, unimodally distributed, condition dependent, correlated with fitness measures, has positively correlated component characters, and is a plastic, environmentally determined trait. We briefly discuss signals of identity in other animals. PMID:18707316

  8. The effects of delayed auditory feedback revealed by bone conduction microphone in adult zebra finches

    PubMed Central

    Fukushima, Makoto; Margoliash, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    Vocal control and learning are critically dependent on auditory feedback in songbirds and humans. Continuous delayed auditory feedback (cDAF) robustly disrupts speech fluency in normal humans and has ameliorative effects in some stutterers; however, evaluations of the effects of cDAF on songbirds are rare. We exposed singing young (141–151 days old) adult zebra finch males to high-amplitude cDAF. cDAF exposure was achieved by the recording of bone-conducted sounds using a piezoelectric accelerometer, which resulted in high-quality song recordings that were relatively uncontaminated by airborne sounds. Under this condition of cDAF, birds rapidly (2–6 days) changed their song syllable timing. The one bird for which we were able to maintain the accelerometer recordings over a long period of time recovered slowly over more than a month after cDAF was discontinued. These results demonstrate that cDAF can cause substantial changes in the motor program for syllable timing generation over short intervals of time in adult zebra finches. PMID:25739659

  9. Digital Atlas of the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Brain: a High Resolution Photo Atlas

    PubMed Central

    Karten, Harvey J.; Brzozowska-Prechtl, Agnieszka; Lovell, Peter V.; Tang, Daniel D.; Mello, Claudio V.; Wang, Haibin; Mitra, Partha P.

    2014-01-01

    We describe a set of new comprehensive, high-quality, high-resolution digital images of histological sections from the brain of male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), and make them publicly available through an interactive website (http://zebrafinch.brainarchitecture.org/). These images provide a basis for the production of a dimensionally accurate and detailed digital non-stereotaxic atlas. Nissl- and myelin-stained brain sections are provided in the transverse, sagittal, and horizontal planes, with the transverse plane approximating the more traditional Frankfurt Plane. In addition, a separate set of brain sections in this same plane is stained for tyrosine hydroxylase, revealing the distribution of catecholaminergic neurons (dopaminergic, noradrenergic, and adrenergic) in the songbird brain. For a subset of sagittal sections we have also prepared a corresponding set of drawings, defining and annotating various nuclei, fields, and fiber tracts that are visible under Nissl and myelin staining. This atlas of the zebra finch brain is expected to become an important tool for birdsong research and comparative studies of brain organization and evolution. PMID:23896990

  10. Pair Bond Formation is Impaired by VPAC Receptor Antagonism in the Socially Monogamous Zebra Finch

    PubMed Central

    Kingsbury, Marcy A.; Goodson, James L.

    2014-01-01

    A variety of recent data demonstrate that vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) and VPAC receptors (which bind VIP, and to a lesser extent, pituitary adenylatecyclase activating peptide) are important for numerous social behaviors in songbirds, including grouping and aggression, although VIP relates to these behaviors in a site-specific manner. In order to determine the global effects of central VPAC receptor activation on social behavior, we here infused a VPAC receptor antagonist or vehicle twice daily into the lateral ventricle of colony-housed male and female zebra finches and quantified a wide range of behaviors. Aggressive behaviors were not altered by ventricular infusions, consistent with known opposing, site-specific relationships of VIP innervation to aggression. Courtship and self-maintenance behaviors were likewise not altered. However, VPAC antagonism produced significant deficits in pair bonding. Antagonist subjects took longer to form a pair bond and were paired for significantly fewer observation sessions relative to control subjects (median 1.5 of 6 observation sessions for antagonist subjects versus 4 for control subjects). Antagonist subjects were also significantly less likely to be paired in the final observation session. Based on the known distribution of VPAC receptors in finches and other vertebrates, we propose that VPAC receptors may mediate pair bonding via a variety of brain areas that are known to be important for the establishment of partner preferences in voles, including the lateral septum, ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens and ventral pallidum. PMID:25014003

  11. Juvenile zebra finches learn the underlying structural regularities of their fathers’ song

    PubMed Central

    Menyhart, Otília; Kolodny, Oren; Goldstein, Michael H.; DeVoogd, Timothy J.; Edelman, Shimon

    2015-01-01

    Natural behaviors, such as foraging, tool use, social interaction, birdsong, and language, exhibit branching sequential structure. Such structure should be learnable if it can be inferred from the statistics of early experience. We report that juvenile zebra finches learn such sequential structure in song. Song learning in finches has been extensively studied, and it is generally believed that young males acquire song by imitating tutors (Zann, 1996). Variability in the order of elements in an individual’s mature song occurs, but the degree to which variation in a zebra finch’s song follows statistical regularities has not been quantified, as it has typically been dismissed as production error (Sturdy et al., 1999). Allowing for the possibility that such variation in song is non-random and learnable, we applied a novel analytical approach, based on graph-structured finite-state grammars, to each individual’s full corpus of renditions of songs. This method does not assume syllable-level correspondence between individuals. We find that song variation can be described by probabilistic finite-state graph grammars that are individually distinct, and that the graphs of juveniles are more similar to those of their fathers than to those of other adult males. This grammatical learning is a new parallel between birdsong and language. Our method can be applied across species and contexts to analyze complex variable learned behaviors, as distinct as foraging, tool use, and language. PMID:26005428

  12. In Vivo Recording of Single-Unit Activity during Singing in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Okubo, Tatsuo S.; Mackevicius, Emily L.; Fee, Michale S.

    2015-01-01

    The zebra finch is an important model for investigating the neural mechanisms that underlie vocal production and learning. Previous anatomical and gene expression studies have identified an interconnected set of brain areas in this organism that are important for singing. To advance our understanding of how these various brain areas act together to learn and produce a highly stereotyped song, it is necessary to record the activity of individual neurons during singing. Here, we present a protocol for recording single-unit activity in freely moving zebra finches during singing using a miniature, motorized microdrive. It includes procedures for both the microdrive implant surgery and the electrophysiological recordings. There are several advantages of this technique: (1) high-impedance electrodes can be used in the microdrive to obtain well-isolated single units; (2) a motorized microdrive is used to remotely control the electrode position, allowing neurons to be isolated without handling the bird, and (3) a lateral positioner is used to move electrodes into fresh tissue before each penetration, allowing recordings from well-isolated neurons over the course of several weeks. We also describe the application of the antidromic stimulation and the spike collision test to identify neurons based on the axonal projection patterns. PMID:25342072

  13. Dopamine physiology in the basal ganglia of male zebra finches during social stimulation

    PubMed Central

    Ihle, Eva C; van der Hart, Marieke; Jongsma, Minke; Tecott, Larry H; Doupe, Allison J

    2015-01-01

    Accumulating evidence suggests that dopamine (DA) is involved in altering neural activity and gene expression in a zebra finch cortical–basal ganglia circuit specialized for singing, upon the shift between solitary singing and singing as a part of courtship. Our objective here was to sample changes in the extracellular concentrations of DA in Area X of adult and juvenile birds, to test the hypothesis that DA levels would change similarly during presentation of a socially salient stimulus in both age groups. We used microdialysis to sample the extracellular milieu of Area X in awake, behaving adult and juvenile male zebra finches, and analysed the dialysate using high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with electrochemical detection. The extracellular levels of DA in Area X increased significantly during both female presentation to adult males and tutor presentation to juvenile males. DA levels were not correlated with the time spent singing. We also reverse-dialysed Area X with pharmacologic agents that act either on DA systems directly or on norepinephrine, and found that all of these agents significantly increased DA levels (3- to 10-fold) in Area X. These findings suggest that changes in extracellular DA levels can be stimulated similarly by very different social contexts (courtship and interaction with tutor), and influenced potently by dopaminergic and noradrenergic drugs. These results raise the possibility that the arousal level or attentional state of the subject (rather than singing behavior) is the common feature eliciting changes in extracellular DA concentration. PMID:25872575

  14. Functional interactions of dopamine cell groups reflect personality, sex, and social context in highly social finches.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Aubrey M; Goodson, James L

    2015-03-01

    Dopamine (DA) is well known for its involvement in novelty-seeking, learning, and goal-oriented behaviors such as social behavior. However, little is known about how DA modulates social processes differentially in relation to sex and behavioral phenotype (e.g., personality). Importantly, the major DA cell groups (A8-A15) are conserved across all amniote vertebrates, and thus broadly relevant insights may be obtained through investigations of avian species such as zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), which express a human-like social organization based on biparental nuclear families that are embedded within larger social groups. We here build upon a previous study that quantified multidimensional personality structures in male and female zebra finches using principal components analysis (PCA) of extensive behavioral measures in social and nonsocial contexts. These complex dimensions of behavioral phenotype can be characterized as Social competence/dominance, Gregariousness, and Anxiety. Here we analyze Fos protein expression in DA neuronal populations in response to social novelty and demonstrate that the Fos content of multiple dopamine cell groups is significantly predicted by sex, personality, social context, and their interactions. In order to further investigate coordinated neuromodulation of behavior across multiple DA cell groups, we also conducted a PCA of neural variables (DA cell numbers and their phasic Fos responses) and show that behavioral PCs are associated with unique suites of neural PCs. These findings demonstrate that personality and sex are reflected in DA neuron activity and coordinated patterns of neuromodulation arising from multiple DA cell groups. PMID:25496780

  15. Discrimination of dynamic moving ripples in the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Osmanski, Michael S.; Dooling, Robert J.; Depireux, Didier A.

    2002-05-01

    Auditory processing of complex broadband sounds known as moving ripples has been studied both physiologically at the cortical level in mammals and psychophysically in humans [Depireux et al. (2001); Chi et al. (1999)]. These stimuli share spectro-temporal properties with many natural sounds, including species-specific vocalizations and the formant transitions of human speech [Versnel and Shamma (1998)]. One test of the generality of ripple processing beyond mammals would be to examine a non-mammalian species. Zebra finches may be excellent subjects for such a study because they produce complex broadband harmonic songs and neuronal responses in their auditory forebrain may be exquisitely tuned to the specific spectro-temporal patterns of their songs [Theunnissen and Doupe (1998)]. We trained these birds to discriminate between flat-spectrum broadband noise and moving ripples of different densities that move up or down in frequency at various rates. Results show that discrimination in zebra finches is better at those ripple densities and velocities which are prominent in their species-specific harmonic vocalizations. [Work supported by NIH Grant No. DC-00198 to RJD and NIDCD Training Grant No. DC-00046.

  16. Increased activity correlates with reduced ability to mount immune defenses to endotoxin in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Lopes, Patricia C; Springthorpe, Dwight; Bentley, George E

    2014-10-01

    When suffering from infection, animals experience behavioral and physiological alterations that potentiate the immune system's ability to fight pathogens. The behavioral component of this response, termed "sickness behavior," is characterized by an overall reduction in physical activity. A growing number of reports demonstrate substantial flexibility in these sickness behaviors, which can be partially overcome in response to mates, intruders and parental duties. Since it is hypothesized that adopting sickness behaviors frees energetic resources for mounting an immune response, we tested whether diminished immune responses coincided with reduced sickness behaviors by housing male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) in social conditions that alter their behavioral response to an endotoxin. To facilitate our data collection, we developed and built a miniaturized sensor capable of detecting changes in dorsoventral acceleration and categorizing them as different behaviors when attached to the finches. We found that the immune defenses (quantified as haptoglobin-like activity, ability to change body temperature and bacterial killing capacity) increased as a function of increased time spent resting. The findings indicate that when animals are sick attenuation of sickness behaviors may exact costs, such as reduced immune function. The extent of these costs depends on how relevant the affected components of immunity are for fighting a specific infection. PMID:24888267

  17. Budgerigars and zebra finches differ in how they generalize in an artificial grammar learning experiment

    PubMed Central

    Spierings, Michelle J.; ten Cate, Carel

    2016-01-01

    The ability to abstract a regularity that underlies strings of sounds is a core mechanism of the language faculty but might not be specific to language learning or even to humans. It is unclear whether and to what extent nonhuman animals possess the ability to abstract regularities defining the relation among arbitrary auditory items in a string and to generalize this abstraction to strings of acoustically novel items. In this study we tested these abilities in a songbird (zebra finch) and a parrot species (budgerigar). Subjects were trained in a go/no-go design to discriminate between two sets of sound strings arranged in an XYX or an XXY structure. After this discrimination was acquired, each subject was tested with test strings that were structurally identical to the training strings but consisted of either new combinations of known elements or of novel elements belonging to other element categories. Both species learned to discriminate between the two stimulus sets. However, their responses to the test strings were strikingly different. Zebra finches categorized test stimuli with previously heard elements by the ordinal position that these elements occupied in the training strings, independent of string structure. In contrast, the budgerigars categorized both novel combinations of familiar elements as well as strings consisting of novel element types by their underlying structure. They thus abstracted the relation among items in the XYX and XXY structures, an ability similar to that shown by human infants and indicating a level of abstraction comparable to analogical reasoning. PMID:27325756

  18. Multi-locus sequence typing confirms the clonality of Trichomonas gallinae isolates circulating in European finches.

    PubMed

    Ganas, Petra; Jaskulska, Barbara; Lawson, Becki; Zadravec, Marko; Hess, Michael; Bilic, Ivana

    2014-04-01

    In recent years, Trichomonas gallinae emerged as the causative agent of an infectious disease of passerine birds in Europe leading to epidemic mortality of especially greenfinches Chloris chloris and chaffinches Fringilla coelebs. After the appearance of finch trichomonosis in the UK and Fennoscandia, the disease spread to Central Europe. Finch trichomonosis first reached Austria and Slovenia in 2012. In the present study the genetic heterogeneity of T. gallinae isolates from incidents in Austria and Slovenia were investigated and compared with British isolates. For this purpose comparative sequence analyses of the four genomic loci ITS1-5.8S-ITS2, 18S rRNA, rpb1 and Fe-hydrogenase were performed. The results corroborate that one clonal T. gallinae strain caused the emerging infectious disease within passerine birds and that the disease is continuing to spread in Europe. The same clonal strain was also found in a columbid bird from Austria. Additionally, the present study demonstrates clearly the importance of multi-locus sequence typing for discrimination of circulating T. gallinae strains. PMID:24476813

  19. Budgerigars and zebra finches differ in how they generalize in an artificial grammar learning experiment.

    PubMed

    Spierings, Michelle J; Ten Cate, Carel

    2016-07-01

    The ability to abstract a regularity that underlies strings of sounds is a core mechanism of the language faculty but might not be specific to language learning or even to humans. It is unclear whether and to what extent nonhuman animals possess the ability to abstract regularities defining the relation among arbitrary auditory items in a string and to generalize this abstraction to strings of acoustically novel items. In this study we tested these abilities in a songbird (zebra finch) and a parrot species (budgerigar). Subjects were trained in a go/no-go design to discriminate between two sets of sound strings arranged in an XYX or an XXY structure. After this discrimination was acquired, each subject was tested with test strings that were structurally identical to the training strings but consisted of either new combinations of known elements or of novel elements belonging to other element categories. Both species learned to discriminate between the two stimulus sets. However, their responses to the test strings were strikingly different. Zebra finches categorized test stimuli with previously heard elements by the ordinal position that these elements occupied in the training strings, independent of string structure. In contrast, the budgerigars categorized both novel combinations of familiar elements as well as strings consisting of novel element types by their underlying structure. They thus abstracted the relation among items in the XYX and XXY structures, an ability similar to that shown by human infants and indicating a level of abstraction comparable to analogical reasoning. PMID:27325756

  20. Estradiol and song affect female zebra finch behavior independent of dopamine in the striatum

    PubMed Central

    Svec, Lace A.; Lookingland, Keith J.; Wade, Juli

    2009-01-01

    Female songbirds display preferences for certain song characteristics, but the neural and hormonal mechanisms mediating these preferences are not fully clear. The present study sought to further explore the role of estradiol, as well as assess potential roles of dopaminergic systems, on behavioral responses to song. Adult female zebra finches were treated with estradiol and exposed to tutored or untutored song or silence. Behavior was quantified and neurochemistry of the nucleus accumbens and striatum was examined with high performance liquid chromatography. As a control, the responses of these two systems to treatment with raclopride, a specific D2 receptor antagonist, were also evaluated. This manipulation did not affect dopamine (DA), but did increase DOPAC and the DOPAC/DA ratio. Estradiol reduced the display of two behaviors, distance calls and visual scanning, but had no effect on dopaminergic responses. Auditory stimulus exposure affected other vocalizations, but song presentation did not modulate the levels of DA or its metabolite, DOPAC in the nucleus accumbens or striatum. Collectively, the results suggest that both estradiol and auditory stimuli can modify the behavioral responses of adult zebra finches, but they may not change DA concentration or turnover in striatal dopamine neurons. PMID:19615392

  1. Lipid imaging in the zebra finch brain with secondary ion mass spectrometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amaya, Kensey R.; Monroe, Eric B.; Sweedler, Jonathan V.; Clayton, David F.

    2007-02-01

    Lipids have diverse functions in the nervous system, but the study of their anatomical distributions in the intact brain is rather difficult using conventional methodologies. Here we demonstrate the application of high resolution time-of-flight (ToF) secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) to image various lipid components and cholesterol across an entire brain section prepared from an adult zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), with a spatial resolution of 2.3 [mu]m, resulting in the formation of 11.5 megapixel chemical images. The zebra finch is a songbird in which specific neural and developmental functions have been ascribed to discrete "song control nuclei" of the forebrain. We have observed a relative increase of palmitic acid C16:0 and oleic acid C18:1 in song control nuclei versus the surrounding tissue, while phosphate (PO3-), representative of phospholipids, was lower in these regions. Cholesterol was present at a high level only in the white matter of the optic tectum. More diffuse distributions were observed for stearic, arachidonic, linolenic, and palmitoleic acids. The presented results illustrate that SIMS imaging is a useful approach for assessing changes in lipid content during song circuit development and song learning.

  2. Autoradiographic localization of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the brain of the zebra finch (Poephila guttata)

    SciTech Connect

    Watson, J.T.; Adkins-Regan, E.; Whiting, P.; Lindstrom, J.M.; Podleski, T.R.

    1988-08-08

    We have localized nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the zebra finch brain by using three 125I-labelled ligands: alpha bungarotoxin and two monoclonal antibodies to neuronal nicotinic receptors. Unfixed brains from intact adult male and female zebra finches were prepared for in vitro autoradiography. Low-resolution film autoradiograms and high-resolution emulsion autoradiograms were prepared for each of the three ligands. The major brain structures that bind all three of the ligands are hippocampus; hyperstriatum dorsalis; hyperstriatum ventralis; nucleus lentiformis mesencephali; nucleus pretectalis, some layers of the optic tectum; nucleus mesencephalicus lateralis; pars dorsalis; locus ceruleus; and all cranial motor nuclei except nucleus nervi hypoglossi. The major structures labelled only by (125I)-alpha bungarotoxin binding included hyperstriatum accessorium and the nuclei: preopticus medialis, medialis hypothalami posterioris, semilunaris, olivarius inferior, and the periventricular organ. Of the song control nuclei, nucleus magnocellularis of the anterior neostriatum; hyperstriatum ventralis, pars caudalis; nucleus intercollicularis; and nucleus hypoglossus were labelled. The binding patterns of the two antibodies were similar to one another but not identical. Both labelled nucleus spiriformis lateralis and nucleus geniculatus lateralis, pars ventralis especially heavily and also labelled the nucleus habenula medialis; nucleus subpretectalis; nucleus isthmi, pars magnocellularis; nucleus reticularis gigantocellularis; nucleus reticularis lateralis; nucleus tractus solitarii; nucleus vestibularis dorsolateralis; nucleus vestibularis lateralis; nucleus descendens nervi trigemini; and the deep cerebellar nuclei.

  3. Sex steroid profiles and pair-maintenance behavior of captive wild-caught zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Prior, Nora H; Yap, Kang Nian; Adomat, Hans H; Mainwaring, Mark C; Fokidis, H Bobby; Guns, Emma S; Buchanan, Katherine L; Griffith, Simon C; Soma, Kiran K

    2016-01-01

    Here, we studied the life-long monogamous zebra finch, to examine the relationship between circulating sex steroid profiles and pair-maintenance behavior in pairs of wild-caught zebra finches (paired in the laboratory for >1 month). We used liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to examine a total of eight androgens and progestins [pregnenolone, progesterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), androstenediol, pregnan-3,17-diol-20-one, androsterone, androstanediol, and testosterone]. In the plasma, only pregnenolone, progesterone, DHEA, and testosterone were above the limit of quantification. Sex steroid profiles were similar between males and females, with only circulating progesterone levels significantly different between the sexes (female > male). Circulating pregnenolone levels were high in both sexes, suggesting that pregnenolone might serve as a circulating prohormone for local steroid synthesis in zebra finches. Furthermore, circulating testosterone levels were extremely low in both sexes. Additionally, we found no correlations between circulating steroid levels and pair-maintenance behavior. Taken together, our data raise several interesting questions about the neuroendocrinology of zebra finches. PMID:26610331

  4. 21. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    21. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the archives of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, 300 Eric Boulevard West, Syracuse, New York 13202), Strand, Draftsman, September 23, 1913. Sheet 1-258, International Paper Company and Finch, Pruyn & Company. Concrete dam. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  5. 14. Cooper's cave as viewed from the bank of the ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    14. Cooper's cave as viewed from the bank of the Hudson River below the Finch, Pruyn & Company Powerhouse. Facing south-southwest. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  6. 1. Wideangle view of the Glens Falls Dam with the ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    1. Wide-angle view of the Glens Falls Dam with the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation intakes structure on the left and the Finch, Pruyn & Company intake structure and power canal on the right. Facing south to southwest. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  7. 3. View of the northern twothirds of the dam showing ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    3. View of the northern two-thirds of the dam showing the Finch, Pruyn & Company intake structure and forebay canal on the right and the ice-covered log chute along the dam. Facing south-southwest. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  8. “Bird Song Metronomics”: Isochronous Organization of Zebra Finch Song Rhythm

    PubMed Central

    Norton, Philipp; Scharff, Constance

    2016-01-01

    The human capacity for speech and vocal music depends on vocal imitation. Songbirds, in contrast to non-human primates, share this vocal production learning with humans. The process through which birds and humans learn many of their vocalizations as well as the underlying neural system exhibit a number of striking parallels and have been widely researched. In contrast, rhythm, a key feature of language, and music, has received surprisingly little attention in songbirds. Investigating temporal periodicity in bird song has the potential to inform the relationship between neural mechanisms and behavioral output and can also provide insight into the biology and evolution of musicality. Here we present a method to analyze birdsong for an underlying rhythmic regularity. Using the intervals from one note onset to the next as input, we found for each bird an isochronous sequence of time stamps, a “signal-derived pulse,” or pulseS, of which a subset aligned with all note onsets of the bird's song. Fourier analysis corroborated these results. To determine whether this finding was just a byproduct of the duration of notes and intervals typical for zebra finches but not dependent on the individual duration of elements and the sequence in which they are sung, we compared natural songs to models of artificial songs. Note onsets of natural song deviated from the pulseS significantly less than those of artificial songs with randomized note and gap durations. Thus, male zebra finch song has the regularity required for a listener to extract a perceived pulse (pulseP), as yet untested. Strikingly, in our study, pulsesS that best fit note onsets often also coincided with the transitions between sub-note elements within complex notes, corresponding to neuromuscular gestures. Gesture durations often equaled one or more pulseS periods. This suggests that gesture duration constitutes the basic element of the temporal hierarchy of zebra finch song rhythm, an interesting parallel to the

  9. Patterns of call communication between group-housed zebra finches change during the breeding cycle.

    PubMed

    Gill, Lisa F; Goymann, Wolfgang; Ter Maat, Andries; Gahr, Manfred

    2015-01-01

    Vocal signals such as calls play a crucial role for survival and successful reproduction, especially in group-living animals. However, call interactions and call dynamics within groups remain largely unexplored because their relation to relevant contexts or life-history stages could not be studied with individual-level resolution. Using on-bird microphone transmitters, we recorded the vocalisations of individual zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) behaving freely in social groups, while females and males previously unknown to each other passed through different stages of the breeding cycle. As birds formed pairs and shifted their reproductive status, their call repertoire composition changed. The recordings revealed that calls occurred non-randomly in fine-tuned vocal interactions and decreased within groups while pair-specific patterns emerged. Call-type combinations of vocal interactions changed within pairs and were associated with successful egg-laying, highlighting a potential fitness relevance of calling dynamics in communication systems. PMID:26441403

  10. BDNF increases BrdU-IR cells in the injured adult zebra finch hippocampus.

    PubMed

    Lucas, Nikola N; Lee, Diane W

    2009-08-01

    Steroid-mediated cell proliferation, differentiation, and survival can be triggered by learning, experience, and brain injury. In the uninjured canary song system, testosterone induces cell proliferation that is blocked by an antibody to brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, little is known with regard to the effects of neurotrophic factors on injury-induced cell proliferation and incorporation. To address this, adult male zebra finches received bilateral hippocampal lesions by infusing saline into one hemisphere and BDNF into the other. BrdU (2-bromo-5-deoxyuridine) was then injected to label mitotic cells. A greater number of BrdU-immunoreactive (BrdU-IR) cells were observed in the BDNF-treated hemisphere in the hippocampus, but not in the septum or stem cell-rich subventricular zone, indicating that BDNF promoted localized cell proliferation and incorporation at the injury site only. PMID:19512953

  11. Neural circuits. Inhibition protects acquired song segments during vocal learning in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Vallentin, Daniela; Kosche, Georg; Lipkind, Dina; Long, Michael A

    2016-01-15

    Vocal imitation involves incorporating instructive auditory information into relevant motor circuits through processes that are poorly understood. In zebra finches, we found that exposure to a tutor's song drives spiking activity within premotor neurons in the juvenile, whereas inhibition suppresses such responses upon learning in adulthood. We measured inhibitory currents evoked by the tutor song throughout development while simultaneously quantifying each bird's learning trajectory. Surprisingly, we found that the maturation of synaptic inhibition onto premotor neurons is correlated with learning but not age. We used synthetic tutoring to demonstrate that inhibition is selective for specific song elements that have already been learned and not those still in refinement. Our results suggest that structured inhibition plays a crucial role during song acquisition, enabling a piece-by-piece mastery of complex tasks. PMID:26816377

  12. Kinematics of flap-bounding flight in the zebra finch over a wide range of speeds

    PubMed

    Tobalske; Peacock; Dial

    1999-07-01

    It has been proposed elsewhere that flap-bounding, an intermittent flight style consisting of flapping phases interspersed with flexed-wing bounds, should offer no savings in average mechanical power relative to continuous flapping unless a bird flies 1.2 times faster than its maximum range speed (Vmr). Why do some species use intermittent bounds at speeds slower than 1.2Vmr? The 'fixed-gear hypothesis' suggests that flap-bounding is used to vary mean power output in small birds that are otherwise constrained by muscle physiology and wing anatomy to use a fixed muscle shortening velocity and pattern of wing motion at all flight speeds; the 'body-lift hypothesis' suggests that some weight support during bounds could make flap-bounding flight aerodynamically advantageous in comparison with continuous flapping over most forward flight speeds. To test these predictions, we studied high-speed film recordings (300 Hz) of wing and body motion in zebra finches (Taenopygia guttata, mean mass 13.2 g, N=4) taken as the birds flew in a variable-speed wind tunnel (0-14 m s-1). The zebra finches used flap-bounding flight at all speeds, so their flight style was unique compared with that of birds that facultatively shift from continuous flapping or flap-gliding at slow speeds to flap-bounding at fast speeds. There was a significant effect of flight speed on all measured aspects of wing motion except percentage of the wingbeat spent in downstroke. Changes in angular velocity of the wing indicated that contractile velocity in the pectoralis muscle changed with flight speed, which is not consistent with the fixed-gear hypothesis. Although variation in stroke-plane angle relative to the body, pronation angle of the wing and wing span at mid-upstroke showed that the zebra finch changed within-wingbeat geometries according to speed, a vortex-ring gait with a feathered upstroke appeared to be the only gait used during flapping. In contrast, two small species that use continuous flapping

  13. Effects of immunosuppression on encephalitis virus infection in the house finch, Carpodacus mexicanus.

    PubMed

    Reisen, William K; Chiles, Robert E; Green, Emily N; Fang, Ying; Mahmood, Farida; Martinez, Vincent M; Laver, Thomas

    2003-03-01

    Immunosuppression of house finches was attempted by blood feeding Culex tarsalis Coquillett mosquitoes or by injecting birds with the corticosteroid dexamethasone or the immunosuppressant drug cyclophosphamide before and after inoculation with western equine encephalomyelitis or St. Louis encephalitis viruses. Mosquito bites (8-37 females blood feeding on each bird over a 3-d period) did not enhance the viremia response or increase the frequency of chronic infection. In contrast, dexamethasone and cyclophosphamide enhanced the amplitude and duration of the viremia response, but had no consistent effect on the antibody responses as measured by enzyme immunoassay or plaque reduction neutralization assay. Elevated viremias were followed by increases in the frequency of chronic infections with St. Louis encephalitis, but not western equine encephalomyelitis. Immunosuppression may provide a useful tool to study the chronic infection process of flaviviruses in vertebrates. PMID:12693850

  14. Personality over ontogeny in zebra finches: long-term repeatable traits but unstable behavioural syndromes

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    A crucial assumption of animal personality research is that behaviour is consistent over time, showing a high repeatability within individuals. This assumption is often made, sometimes tested using short time intervals between behavioural tests, but rarely thoroughly investigated across long time intervals crossing different stages of ontogeny. We performed such a longitudinal test across three life stages in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), representing about 15-20% of their life span in captivity, and found repeatabilities ranging from 0.03 to 0.67. Fearlessness and exploration were the most repeatable traits both within and across life stages. Activity and aggression were repeatable across, but not or only partly within life stages. Boldness was not repeatable. Furthermore, we found no evidence for a consistent behavioural syndrome structure across ontogeny. Our results indicate that the consistency of behavioural traits and their correlations might be overestimated and suggest that life-long stability of animal personality should not simply be assumed. PMID:26813709

  15. Sex-dependent effects of nutrition on telomere dynamics in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Noguera, Jose C; Metcalfe, Neil B; Boner, Winnie; Monaghan, Pat

    2015-02-01

    At a cellular level, oxidative stress is known to increase telomere attrition, and hence cellular senescence and risk of disease. It has been proposed that dietary micronutrients play an important role in telomere protection due to their antioxidant properties. We experimentally manipulated dietary micronutrients during early life in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). We found no effects of micronutrient intake on telomere loss during chick growth. However, females given a diet high in micronutrients during sexual maturation showed reduced telomere loss; there was no such effect in males. These results suggest that micronutrients may influence rates of cellular senescence, but differences in micronutrient requirement and allocation strategies, probably linked to the development of sexual coloration, may underlie sex differences in response. PMID:25716087

  16. Personality over ontogeny in zebra finches: long-term repeatable traits but unstable behavioural syndromes.

    PubMed

    Wuerz, Yvonne; Krüger, Oliver

    2015-01-01

    A crucial assumption of animal personality research is that behaviour is consistent over time, showing a high repeatability within individuals. This assumption is often made, sometimes tested using short time intervals between behavioural tests, but rarely thoroughly investigated across long time intervals crossing different stages of ontogeny. We performed such a longitudinal test across three life stages in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), representing about 15-20% of their life span in captivity, and found repeatabilities ranging from 0.03 to 0.67. Fearlessness and exploration were the most repeatable traits both within and across life stages. Activity and aggression were repeatable across, but not or only partly within life stages. Boldness was not repeatable. Furthermore, we found no evidence for a consistent behavioural syndrome structure across ontogeny. Our results indicate that the consistency of behavioural traits and their correlations might be overestimated and suggest that life-long stability of animal personality should not simply be assumed. PMID:26813709

  17. Population-Level Representation of a Temporal Sequence Underlying Song Production in the Zebra Finch.

    PubMed

    Picardo, Michel A; Merel, Josh; Katlowitz, Kalman A; Vallentin, Daniela; Okobi, Daniel E; Benezra, Sam E; Clary, Rachel C; Pnevmatikakis, Eftychios A; Paninski, Liam; Long, Michael A

    2016-05-18

    The zebra finch brain features a set of clearly defined and hierarchically arranged motor nuclei that are selectively responsible for producing singing behavior. One of these regions, a critical forebrain structure called HVC, contains premotor neurons that are active at precise time points during song production. However, the neural representation of this behavior at a population level remains elusive. We used two-photon microscopy to monitor ensemble activity during singing, integrating across multiple trials by adopting a Bayesian inference approach to more precisely estimate burst timing. Additionally, we examined spiking and motor-related synaptic inputs using intracellular recordings during singing. With both experimental approaches, we find that premotor events do not occur preferentially at the onsets or offsets of song syllables or at specific subsyllabic motor landmarks. These results strongly support the notion that HVC projection neurons collectively exhibit a temporal sequence during singing that is uncoupled from ongoing movements. PMID:27196976

  18. Inhibition protects acquired song segments during vocal learning in zebra finches

    PubMed Central

    Vallentin, Daniela; Kosche, Georg; Lipkind, Dina; Long, Michael A.

    2016-01-01

    Vocal imitation involves incorporating instructive auditory information into relevant motor circuits through processes that are poorly understood. In zebra finches, we find that exposure to a tutor’s song drives spiking activity within premotor neurons in the juvenile but that inhibition suppresses such responses upon learning in adulthood. We measure inhibitory currents evoked by the tutor song throughout development while simultaneously quantifying each bird’s learning trajectory. Surprisingly, we find that the maturation of synaptic inhibition onto premotor neurons is correlated with learning but not age. We used synthetic tutoring to demonstrate that inhibition is selective for specific song elements that have already been learned and not those still in refinement. Our results suggest that structured inhibition is playing a crucial role during song acquisition, enabling a piece-by-piece mastery of complex tasks. PMID:26816377

  19. Natural melatonin fluctuation and its minimally invasive simulation in the zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Seltmann, Susanne; Trost, Lisa; Ter Maat, Andries; Gahr, Manfred

    2016-01-01

    Melatonin is a key hormone in the regulation of circadian rhythms of vertebrates, including songbirds. Understanding diurnal melatonin fluctuations and being able to reverse or simulate natural melatonin levels are critical to investigating the influence of melatonin on various behaviors such as singing in birds. Here we give a detailed overview of natural fluctuations in plasma melatonin concentration throughout the night in the zebra finch. As shown in previous studies, we confirm that "lights off" initiates melatonin production at night in a natural situation. Notably, we find that melatonin levels return to daytime levels as early as two hours prior to the end of the dark-phase in some individuals and 30 min before "lights on" in all animals, suggesting that the presence of light in the morning is not essential for cessation of melatonin production in zebra finches. Thus, the duration of melatonin production seems not to be specified by the length of night and might therefore be less likely to directly couple circadian and annual rhythms. Additionally, we show that natural melatonin levels can be successfully simulated through a combination of light-treatment (daytime levels during subjective night) and the application of melatonin containing skin-cream (nighttime levels during subjective day). Moreover, natural levels and their fluctuation in the transition from day to night can be imitated, enabling the decoupling of the effects of melatonin, for example on neuronal activity, from sleep and circadian rhythmicity. Taken together, our high-resolution profile of natural melatonin levels and manipulation techniques open up new possibilities to answer various melatonin related questions in songbirds. PMID:27123378

  20. Midbrain dopamine neurons reflect affiliation phenotypes in finches and are tightly coupled to courtship.

    PubMed

    Goodson, James L; Kabelik, David; Kelly, Aubrey M; Rinaldi, Jacob; Klatt, James D

    2009-05-26

    Mesolimbic dopamine (DA) circuits mediate a wide range of goal-oriented behavioral processes, and DA strongly influences appetitive and consummatory aspects of male sexual behavior. In both birds and mammals, mesolimbic projections arise primarily from the ventral tegmental area (VTA), with a smaller contribution from the midbrain central gray (CG). Despite the well known importance of the VTA cell group for incentive motivation functions, relationships of VTA subpopulations to specific aspects of social phenotype remain wholly undescribed. We now show that in male zebra finches (Estrildidae: Taeniopygia guttata), Fos activity within a subpopulation of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-ir; presumably dopaminergic) neurons in the caudal VTA is significantly correlated with courtship singing and coupled to gonadal state. In addition, the number of TH-ir neurons in this caudal subpopulation dichotomously differentiates courting from non-courting male phenotypes, and evolves in relation to sociality (flocking vs. territorial) across several related finch species. Combined, these findings for the VTA suggest that divergent social phenotypes may arise due to the differential assignment of "incentive value" to conspecific stimuli. TH-ir neurons of the CG (a population of unknown function in mammals) exhibit properties that are even more selectively and tightly coupled to the expression of courtship phenotypes (and appetitive courtship singing), both in terms of TH-ir cell number, which correlates significantly with constitutive levels of courtship motivation, and with TH-Fos colocalization, which increases in direct proportion to the phasic expression of song. We propose that these neurons may be core components of social communication circuits across diverse vertebrate taxa. PMID:19439662

  1. Sex-Specific Audience Effect in the Context of Mate Choice in Zebra Finches.

    PubMed

    Kniel, Nina; Bender, Stefanie; Witte, Klaudia

    2016-01-01

    Animals observing conspecifics during mate choice can gain additional information about potential mates. However, the presence of an observer, if detected by the observed individuals, can influence the nature of the behavior of the observed individuals, called audience effect. In zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis), domesticated males show an audience effect during mate choice. However, whether male and female descendants of the wild form show an audience effect during mate choice is unknown. Therefore, we conducted an experiment where male and female focal birds could choose between two distinctive phenotypes of the opposite sex, an artificially adorned stimulus bird with a red feather on the forehead and an unadorned stimulus bird, two times consecutively, once without an audience and once with an audience bird (same sex as test bird). Males showed an audience effect when an audience male was present and spent more time with adorned and less time with unadorned females compared to when there was no audience present. The change in time spent with the respective stimulus females was positively correlated with the time that the audience male spent in front of its cage close to the focal male. Females showed no change in mate choice when an audience female was present, but their motivation to associate with both stimulus males decreased. In a control for mate-choice consistency there was no audience in either test. Here, both focal females and focal males chose consistently without a change in choosing motivation. Our results showed that there is an audience effect on mate choice in zebra finches and that the response to a same-sex audience was sex-specific. PMID:26839957

  2. Yolk antioxidants vary with male attractiveness and female condition in the house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus).

    PubMed

    Navara, Kristen J; Badyaev, Alexander V; Mendonça, Mary T; Hill, Geoffrey E

    2006-01-01

    The manipulation of egg content is one of the few ways by which female birds can alter offspring quality before hatch. Lipid-soluble vitamins and carotenoids are potent antioxidants. Female birds deposit these antioxidants into eggs in variable amounts according to environmental and social conditions, and the quantities deposited into eggs can have effects on offspring health and immunological condition. Allocation theory posits that females will alter the distribution of resources according to mate quality, sometimes allocating resources according to the differential allocation hypothesis (DAH), investing more in offspring sired by better-quality males, and other times allocating resources according to a compensatory strategy, enhancing the quality of offspring sired by lower-quality males. It is unknown, however, whether antioxidants are deposited into eggs according to the DAH or a compensatory strategy. We examined deposition patterns of yolk antioxidants (including vitamin E and three carotenoids) in relation to laying order, mate attractiveness, female condition, and yolk androgen content in the house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus). Female house finches deposited significantly more total antioxidants into eggs sired by less attractive males. Additionally, yolk antioxidant content was significantly positively correlated with female condition, which suggests a cost associated with the deposition of antioxidants into eggs. Finally, concentrations of antioxidants in egg yolks were positively correlated with total yolk androgen content. We suggest that yolk antioxidants are deposited according to a compensatory deposition strategy, enabling females to improve the quality of young produced with less attractive males. Additionally, yolk antioxidants may act to counter some of the detrimental effects associated with high levels of yolk androgens in eggs and, thus, may exert a complementary effect to yolk androgens. PMID:17041875

  3. House finch responses to Mycoplasma gallisepticum infection do not vary with experimentally increased aggression.

    PubMed

    Adelman, James Stephen; Moore, Ignacio Tomás; Hawley, Dana Michelle

    2015-01-01

    Aggression can alter infectious disease dynamics through two, non-exclusive mechanisms: 1) increasing direct contact among hosts and 2) altering hosts' physiological response to pathogens. Here we examined the latter mechanism in a social songbird by manipulating intraspecific aggression in the absence of direct physical contact. We asked whether the extent of aggression an individual experiences alters glucocorticoid levels, androgen levels, and individual responses to infection in an ecologically relevant disease model: house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) infected with Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG). Wild-caught male finches were housed in one of three settings, designed to produce increasing levels of aggression: 1) alone, with no neighbor ("no neighbor"), 2) next to a sham-implanted stimulus male ("sham neighbor"), or 3) next to a testosterone-implanted stimulus male ("testosterone neighbor"). Following one week of social treatment, focal males were experimentally infected with MG, which causes severe conjunctivitis and induces sickness behaviors such as lethargy and anorexia. While social treatment increased aggression as predicted, there were no differences among groups in baseline corticosterone levels, total circulating androgens, or responses to infection. Across all focal individuals regardless of social treatment, pre-infection baseline corticosterone levels were negatively associated with the severity of conjunctivitis and sickness behaviors, suggesting that corticosterone may dampen inflammatory responses in this host-pathogen system. However, because corticosterone levels differed based upon population of origin, caution must be taken in interpreting this result. Taken together, these results suggest that in captivity, although aggression does not alter individual responses to MG, corticosterone may play a role in this disease. PMID:25387693

  4. Natural melatonin fluctuation and its minimally invasive simulation in the zebra finch

    PubMed Central

    Trost, Lisa; Ter Maat, Andries; Gahr, Manfred

    2016-01-01

    Melatonin is a key hormone in the regulation of circadian rhythms of vertebrates, including songbirds. Understanding diurnal melatonin fluctuations and being able to reverse or simulate natural melatonin levels are critical to investigating the influence of melatonin on various behaviors such as singing in birds. Here we give a detailed overview of natural fluctuations in plasma melatonin concentration throughout the night in the zebra finch. As shown in previous studies, we confirm that “lights off” initiates melatonin production at night in a natural situation. Notably, we find that melatonin levels return to daytime levels as early as two hours prior to the end of the dark-phase in some individuals and 30 min before “lights on” in all animals, suggesting that the presence of light in the morning is not essential for cessation of melatonin production in zebra finches. Thus, the duration of melatonin production seems not to be specified by the length of night and might therefore be less likely to directly couple circadian and annual rhythms. Additionally, we show that natural melatonin levels can be successfully simulated through a combination of light-treatment (daytime levels during subjective night) and the application of melatonin containing skin-cream (nighttime levels during subjective day). Moreover, natural levels and their fluctuation in the transition from day to night can be imitated, enabling the decoupling of the effects of melatonin, for example on neuronal activity, from sleep and circadian rhythmicity. Taken together, our high-resolution profile of natural melatonin levels and manipulation techniques open up new possibilities to answer various melatonin related questions in songbirds. PMID:27123378

  5. An experimental test of condition-dependent male and female mate choice in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Holveck, Marie-Jeanne; Geberzahn, Nicole; Riebel, Katharina

    2011-01-01

    In mating systems with social monogamy and obligatory bi-parental care, such as found in many songbird species, male and female fitness depends on the combined parental investment. Hence, both sexes should gain from choosing mates in high rather than low condition. However, theory also predicts that an individual's phenotypic quality can constrain choice, if low condition individuals cannot afford prolonged search efforts and/or face higher risk of rejection. In systems with mutual mate choice, the interaction between male and female condition should thus be a better predictor of choice than either factor in isolation. To address this prediction experimentally, we manipulated male and female condition and subsequently tested male and female mating preferences in zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata, a songbird species with mutual mate choice and obligatory bi-parental care. We experimentally altered phenotypic quality by manipulating the brood size in which the birds were reared. Patterns of association for high- or low-condition individuals of the opposite sex differed for male and female focal birds when tested in an 8-way choice arena. Females showed repeatable condition-assortative preferences for males matching their own rearing background. Male preferences were also repeatable, but not predicted by their own or females' rearing background. In combination with a brief review of the literature on condition-dependent mate choice in the zebra finch we discuss whether the observed sex differences and between-studies differences arise because males and females differ in context sensitivity (e.g. male-male competition suppressing male mating preferences), sampling strategies or susceptibility to rearing conditions (e.g. sex-specific effect on physiology). While a picture emerges that juvenile and current state indeed affect preferences, the development and context-dependency of mutual state-dependent mate choice warrants further study. PMID:21901147

  6. An Experimental Test of Condition-Dependent Male and Female Mate Choice in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Holveck, Marie-Jeanne; Geberzahn, Nicole; Riebel, Katharina

    2011-01-01

    In mating systems with social monogamy and obligatory bi-parental care, such as found in many songbird species, male and female fitness depends on the combined parental investment. Hence, both sexes should gain from choosing mates in high rather than low condition. However, theory also predicts that an individual's phenotypic quality can constrain choice, if low condition individuals cannot afford prolonged search efforts and/or face higher risk of rejection. In systems with mutual mate choice, the interaction between male and female condition should thus be a better predictor of choice than either factor in isolation. To address this prediction experimentally, we manipulated male and female condition and subsequently tested male and female mating preferences in zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata, a songbird species with mutual mate choice and obligatory bi-parental care. We experimentally altered phenotypic quality by manipulating the brood size in which the birds were reared. Patterns of association for high- or low-condition individuals of the opposite sex differed for male and female focal birds when tested in an 8-way choice arena. Females showed repeatable condition-assortative preferences for males matching their own rearing background. Male preferences were also repeatable, but not predicted by their own or females' rearing background. In combination with a brief review of the literature on condition-dependent mate choice in the zebra finch we discuss whether the observed sex differences and between-studies differences arise because males and females differ in context sensitivity (e.g. male-male competition suppressing male mating preferences), sampling strategies or susceptibility to rearing conditions (e.g. sex-specific effect on physiology). While a picture emerges that juvenile and current state indeed affect preferences, the development and context-dependency of mutual state-dependent mate choice warrants further study. PMID:21901147

  7. The Zebra Finch, Taeniopygia guttata: An Avian Model for Investigating the Neurobiological Basis of Vocal Learning

    PubMed Central

    Mello, Claudio V.

    2015-01-01

    Songbirds are capable of learning their vocalizations by copying a singing adult. This vocal learning ability requires juveniles to hear and memorize the sound of the adult song, and later to imitate that song through a process involving sensorimotor integration. Vocal learning is a trait that songbirds share with humans, where it forms the basis of spoken language acquisition, with other avian groups (parrots and hummingbirds), and with a few other mammals (cetaceans, bats). It is however absent in traditional model organisms like rodents and non-human primates. Zebra finches, a songbird species from Australia, are popular pets, as they have attractive plumage and social behaviors and are easy to breed. They also sing a relatively simple and stereotyped song that is very amenable to quantitative analysis. Zebra finches have thus emerged as a choice model organism for investigating the neurobiological basis of vocal learning. A number of tools and methodologies have been developed to characterize the bioacoustics properties of their song, analyze the degree of accurate copying during vocal learning, map the brain circuits that control singing and song learning, and investigate the physiology of these circuits. Such studies have led to a large base of knowledge on song production and learning, and their underlying neural substrate. Several molecular resources have recently become available, including brain cDNA/EST databases, microarrays, BAC libraries, a molecular brain atlas, a complete genome assembly, and the ability to perform transgenesis. The recent availability of many other avian genomes provides unique opportunities for comparative analysis in the search of features unique to vocal learning organisms. PMID:25342070

  8. Sex-Specific Audience Effect in the Context of Mate Choice in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Kniel, Nina; Bender, Stefanie; Witte, Klaudia

    2016-01-01

    Animals observing conspecifics during mate choice can gain additional information about potential mates. However, the presence of an observer, if detected by the observed individuals, can influence the nature of the behavior of the observed individuals, called audience effect. In zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis), domesticated males show an audience effect during mate choice. However, whether male and female descendants of the wild form show an audience effect during mate choice is unknown. Therefore, we conducted an experiment where male and female focal birds could choose between two distinctive phenotypes of the opposite sex, an artificially adorned stimulus bird with a red feather on the forehead and an unadorned stimulus bird, two times consecutively, once without an audience and once with an audience bird (same sex as test bird). Males showed an audience effect when an audience male was present and spent more time with adorned and less time with unadorned females compared to when there was no audience present. The change in time spent with the respective stimulus females was positively correlated with the time that the audience male spent in front of its cage close to the focal male. Females showed no change in mate choice when an audience female was present, but their motivation to associate with both stimulus males decreased. In a control for mate-choice consistency there was no audience in either test. Here, both focal females and focal males chose consistently without a change in choosing motivation. Our results showed that there is an audience effect on mate choice in zebra finches and that the response to a same-sex audience was sex-specific. PMID:26839957

  9. Variation with land use of immune function and prevalence of avian pox in Galapagos finches.

    PubMed

    Zylberberg, Maxine; Lee, Kelly A; Klasing, Kirk C; Wikelski, Martin

    2013-02-01

    Introduced disease has been implicated in recent wildlife extinctions and population declines worldwide. Both anthropogenic-induced change and natural environmental features can affect pathogen spread. Furthermore, environmental disturbance can result in changes in stress physiology, nutrition, and social structure, which in turn can suppress immune system function. However, it remains unknown whether landscape variation results in heterogeneity in host resistance to pathogens. Avian pox virus, a pathogen implicated in avian declines and extinctions in Hawaii, was introduced to the Galapagos in the 1890 s, and prevalence (total number of current infections) has increased recently in finches. We tested whether prevalence and recovery trends in 7 species of Galapagos finches varied by elevation or human land use. To do so, we used infection data obtained from 545 wild-caught birds. In addition, we determined whether annual changes in 4 aspects of innate immune function (complement protein activity, natural antibody activity, concentration of PIT54 protein, and heterophil:lymphocyte ratio) varied by elevation or land use. Prevalence and recovery rates did not vary by elevation from 2008 to 2009. Avian pox prevalence and proportion of recovered individuals in undeveloped and urban areas did not change from 2008 to 2009. In agricultural areas, avian pox prevalence increased 8-fold (from 2% to 17% of 234 individuals sampled) and proportion of recovered individuals increased (11% to 19%) from 2008 to 2009. These results suggest high disease-related mortality. Variation in immune function across human land-use types correlated with variation in both increased prevalence and susceptibility, which indicates changes in innate immune function may underlie changes in disease susceptibility. Our results suggest anthropogenic disturbance, in particular agricultural practices, may underlie immunological changes in host species that themselves contribute to pathogen emergence. PMID

  10. Myosin heavy-chain isoforms in the flight and leg muscles of hummingbirds and zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Velten, Brandy P; Welch, Kenneth C

    2014-06-01

    Myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoform complement is intimately related to a muscle's contractile properties, yet relatively little is known about avian MHC isoforms or how they may vary with fiber type and/or the contractile properties of a muscle. The rapid shortening of muscles necessary to power flight at the high wingbeat frequencies of ruby-throated hummingbirds and zebra finches (25-60 Hz), along with the varied morphology and use of the hummingbird hindlimb, provides a unique opportunity to understand how contractile and morphological properties of avian muscle may be reflected in MHC expression. Isoforms of the hummingbird and zebra finch flight and hindlimb muscles were electrophoretically separated and compared with those of other avian species representing different contractile properties and fiber types. The flight muscles of the study species operate at drastically different contraction rates and are composed of different histochemically defined fiber types, yet each exhibited the same, single MHC isoform corresponding to the chicken adult fast isoform. Thus, despite quantitative differences in the contractile demands of flight muscles across species, this isoform appears necessary for meeting the performance demands of avian powered flight. Variation in flight muscle contractile performance across species may be due to differences in the structural composition of this conserved isoform and/or variation within other mechanically linked proteins. The leg muscles were more varied in their MHC isoform composition across both muscles and species. The disparity in hindlimb MHC expression between hummingbirds and the other species highlights previously observed differences in fiber type composition and thrust production during take-off. PMID:24671242

  11. Darwin's finches and their diet niches: the sympatric coexistence of imperfect generalists.

    PubMed

    De León, L F; Podos, J; Gardezi, T; Herrel, A; Hendry, A P

    2014-06-01

    Adaptive radiation can be strongly influenced by interspecific competition for resources, which can lead to diverse outcomes ranging from competitive exclusion to character displacement. In each case, sympatric species are expected to evolve into distinct ecological niches, such as different food types, yet this expectation is not always met when such species are examined in nature. The most common hypotheses to account for the coexistence of species with substantial diet overlap rest on temporal variation in niches (often diets). Yet spatial variation in niche overlap might also be important, pointing to the need for spatiotemporal analyses of diet and diet overlap between closely related species persisting in sympatry. We here perform such an analysis by characterizing the diets of, and diet overlap among, four sympatric Darwin's ground finch species at three sites and over 5 years on a single Galápagos island (Santa Cruz). We find that the different species have broadly similar and overlapping diets - they are to some extent generalists and opportunists - yet we also find that each species retains some 'private' resources for which their morphologies are best suited. Importantly, use of these private resources increased considerably, and diet overlap decreased accordingly, when the availability of preferred shared foods, such as arthropods, was reduced during drought conditions. Spatial variation in food resources was also important. These results together suggest that the ground finches are 'imperfect generalists' that use overlapping resources under benign conditions (in space or time), but then retreat to resources for which they are best adapted during periods of food limitation. These conditions likely promote local and regional coexistence. PMID:24750315

  12. Molecular characterization of Trichomonas gallinae isolates recovered from the Canadian Maritime provinces' wild avifauna reveals the presence of the genotype responsible for the European finch trichomonosis epidemic and additional strains.

    PubMed

    McBurney, Scott; Kelly-Clark, Whitney K; Forzán, María J; Lawson, Becki; Tyler, Kevin M; Greenwood, Spencer J

    2015-07-01

    Finch trichomonosis, caused by Trichomonas gallinae, emerged in the Canadian Maritime provinces in 2007 and has since caused ongoing mortality in regional purple finch (Carpodacus purpureus) and American goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) populations. Trichomonas gallinae was isolated from (1) finches and rock pigeons (Columbia livia) submitted for post-mortem or live-captured at bird feeding sites experiencing trichomonosis mortality; (2) bird seed at these same sites; and (3) rock pigeons live-captured at known roosts or humanely killed. Isolates were characterized using internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region and iron hydrogenase (Fe-hyd) gene sequences. Two distinct ITS types were found. Type A was identical to the UK finch epidemic strain and was isolated from finches and a rock pigeon with trichomonosis; apparently healthy rock pigeons and finches; and bird seed at an outbreak site. Type B was obtained from apparently healthy rock pigeons. Fe-hyd sequencing revealed six distinct subtypes. The predominant subtype in both finches and the rock pigeon with trichomonosis was identical to the UK finch epidemic strain A1. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in Fe-hyd sequences suggest there is fine-scale variation amongst isolates and that finch trichomonosis emergence in this region may not have been caused by a single spill-over event. PMID:25804862

  13. PHA-stimulated immune-responsiveness in mercury-dosed zebra finches does not match results from environmentally exposed songbirds.

    PubMed

    Caudill, Mitchell T; Spear, Eliza L; Varian-Ramos, Claire W; Cristol, Daniel A

    2015-04-01

    Dietary mercury exposure is associated with suppressed immune responsiveness in birds. This study examined the immune-responsiveness of domestic zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) experimentally exposed to mercury through their diet. We used the phytohemagglutinin (PHA) skin-swelling test to assay the effect of two modes of mercury exposure. Some finches received exposure to mercury only after reaching sexual maturity, while others were maintained on a mercury-dosed diet throughout life, including development. Each bird received one of five dietary concentrations of methylmercury cysteine (0.0, 0.3, 0.6, 1.2 or 2.4 ppm). In contrast to a study on wild songbirds at a mercury-contaminated site, we detected no relationship between mercury level and immunological response to PHA, regardless of mode of exposure. This result represents the first major difference found by our laboratory between wild birds exposed to environmental mercury and captive birds experimentally exposed to mercury. PMID:25638440

  14. Locally elevated cortisol in lymphoid organs of the developing zebra finch but not Japanese quail or chicken.

    PubMed

    Taves, Matthew D; Losie, Jennifer A; Rahim, Titissa; Schmidt, Kim L; Sandkam, Benjamin A; Ma, Chunqi; Silversides, Frederick G; Soma, Kiran K

    2016-01-01

    Glucocorticoids are important for production of functional lymphocytes and immunity. In altricial neonates, adrenal glands are unresponsive and local glucocorticoid synthesis in lymphoid organs may be necessary to support lymphocyte development. Precocial neonates, in contrast, have fully responsive adrenal glucocorticoid production, and lymphoid glucocorticoid synthesis may not be necessary. Here, we found that in altricial zebra finch hatchlings, lymphoid organs had dramatically elevated endogenous glucocorticoid (and precursor) levels compared to levels in circulating blood. Furthermore, while avian adrenals produce corticosterone, finch lymphoid organs had much higher levels of cortisol, an unexpected glucocorticoid in birds. In contrast, precocial Japanese quail and chicken offspring did not have locally elevated lymphoid glucocorticoid levels, nor did their lymphoid organs contain high proportions of cortisol. These results show that lymphoid glucocorticoids differ in identity, concentration, and possibly source, in hatchlings of three different bird species. Locally-regulated glucocorticoids might have species-specific roles in immune development. PMID:26366679

  15. Hypothalamic oxytocin and vasopressin neurons exert sex-specific effects on pair bonding, gregariousness, and aggression in finches.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Aubrey M; Goodson, James L

    2014-04-22

    Antagonism of oxytocin (OT) receptors (OTRs) impairs the formation of pair bonds in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) and zebra finches (Taenioypygia guttata), and also reduces the preference for the larger of two groups ("gregariousness") in finches. These effects tend to be stronger in females. The contributions of specific peptide cell groups to these processes remain unknown, however. This issue is complicated by the fact that OTRs in finches and voles bind not only forms of OT, but also vasopressin (VP), and >10 cell groups produce each peptide in any given species. Using RNA interference, we found that knockdown of VP and OT production in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus exerts diverse behavioral effects in zebra finches, most of which are sexually differentiated. Our data show that knockdown of VP production significantly reduces gregariousness in both sexes and exerts sex-specific effects on aggression directed toward opposite-sex birds (increases in males; decreases in females), whereas OT knockdown produces female-specific deficits in gregariousness, pair bonding, and nest cup ownership; reduces side-by-side perching in both sexes; modulates stress coping; and induces hyperphagia in males. These findings demonstrate that paraventricular neurons are major contributors to the effects of VP-OT peptides on pair bonding and gregariousness; reveal previously unknown effects of sex-specific peptide on opposite-sex aggression; and demonstrate a surprising lack of effects on same-sex aggression. Finally, the observed effects of OT knockdown on feeding and stress coping parallel findings in mammals, suggesting that OT modulation of these processes is evolutionarily conserved across the amniote vertebrate classes. PMID:24711411

  16. Housing conditions and sacrifice protocol affect neural activity and vocal behavior in a songbird species, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Elie, Julie Estelle; Soula, Hédi Antoine; Trouvé, Colette; Mathevon, Nicolas; Vignal, Clémentine

    2015-12-01

    Individual cages represent a widely used housing condition in laboratories. This isolation represents an impoverished physical and social environment in gregarious animals. It prevents animals from socializing, even when auditory and visual contact is maintained. Zebra finches are colonial songbirds that are widely used as laboratory animals for the study of vocal communication from brain to behavior. In this study, we investigated the effect of single housing on the vocal behavior and the brain activity of male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata): male birds housed in individual cages were compared to freely interacting male birds housed as a social group in a communal cage. We focused on the activity of septo-hypothalamic regions of the "social behavior network" (SBN), a set of limbic regions involved in several social behaviors in vertebrates. The activity of four structures of the SBN (BSTm, medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis; POM, medial preoptic area; lateral septum; ventromedial hypothalamus) and one associated region (paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus) was assessed using immunoreactive nuclei density of the immediate early gene Zenk (egr-1). We further assessed the identity of active cell populations by labeling vasotocin (VT). Brain activity was related to behavioral activities of birds like physical and vocal interactions. We showed that individual housing modifies vocal exchanges between birds compared to communal housing. This is of particular importance in the zebra finch, a model species for the study of vocal communication. In addition, a protocol that daily removes one or two birds from the group affects differently male zebra finches depending of their housing conditions: while communally-housed males changed their vocal output, brains of individually housed males show increased Zenk labeling in non-VT cells of the BSTm and enhanced correlation of Zenk-revealed activity between the studied structures. These results show that

  17. Structural conservation and variation in the mitochondrial control region of fringilline finches (Fringilla spp.) and the greenfinch (Carduelis chloris).

    PubMed

    Marshall, H D; Baker, A J

    1997-02-01

    We sequenced the entire control region and portions of flanking genes (tRNA(Phe), tRNA(Glu), and ND6) in the common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), blue chaffinch (F. teydea), brambling (F. montifringilla), and greenfinch (Carduelis chloris). In these finches the control region is similar in length (1,223-1,237 bp) and has the same flanking gene order as in other birds, and contains a putative TAS element and the highly conserved CSB-1 and F, D, and C boxes recognizable in most vertebrates. Cloverleaf-like structures associated with the TAS element at the 5' end and CSB-1 at the 3' end of the control region may be involved with the stop and start of D-loop synthesis, respectively. The pattern of nucleotide and substitution bias is similar to that in other vertebrates, and consequently the finch control region can be subdivided into a central, conserved G-rich domain (domain II) flanked by hypervariable 5'-C-rich (domain I) and 3'-AT-rich (domain III) segments. In pairwise comparisons among finch species, the central domain has unusually low transition/transversion ratios, which suggests that increased G + T content is a functional constraint, possibly for DNA primase efficiency. In finches the relative rates of evolution vary among domains according to a ratio of 4.2 (domain III) to 2.2 (domain I) to 1 (domain II), and extensively among sites within domains I and II. Domain I and III sequences are extremely useful in recovering intraspecific phylogeographic splits between populations in Africa and Europe, Madeira, and a basal lineage in Nefza, Tunisia. Domain II sequences are highly conserved, and are therefore only useful in conjunction with sequences from domains I and III in phylogenetic studies of closely related species. PMID:9029795

  18. Within-year differences in reproductive investment in laboratory zebra finches ( Taeniopygia guttata), an opportunistically breeding bird

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williamson, Kathryn; Gilbert, Lucy; Rutstein, Alison N.; Pariser, Emma C.; Graves, Jeff A.

    2008-12-01

    Reproduction in opportunistically breeding bird species has traditionally been considered non-seasonal with individuals taking advantage of favourable environmental conditions as they arise. However, some studies imply that this opportunistic breeding may be superimposed on an underlying seasonality, which has effects on the readiness to breed when conditions are favourable. The zebra finch ( Taeniopygia guttata) is the classic opportunistic breeder and widely used as such in studies. In a series of laboratory-based breeding experiments, we found evidence to suggest that there are seasonal differences in maternal reproductive investment in the zebra finch even when photoperiod, temperature, relative humidity and diet were held constant. Females showed highly significant seasonal differences in clutch size and egg mass with laying order. Clutch size showed a spring/summer peak typical of multi-brooded species in the wild. There was also a significant increase in egg mass with laying order in all seasons except winter. This variation in breeding parameters with season may allow females to adjust investment depending on the potential fitness returns from a given reproductive attempt. These findings also raise a warning about interpreting results of multiple zebra finch breeding experiments that have been carried out in different seasons.

  19. Parvalbumin-positive projection neurons characterise the vocal premotor pathway in male, but not female, zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Wild, J M; Williams, M N; Suthers, R A

    2001-11-01

    Parvalbumin (PV) and calbindin (CB) immunoreactivities were assessed in nucleus robustus archistriatalis (RA) of male and female zebra finches, together with retrograde labelling of RA neurons. The results of double and triple labelling experiments suggested that, in males, moderately and faintly PV-positive neurons were projection neurons, but that all intensely PV-positive cells were not. The latter, which are presumably interneurons, were also intensely CB-positive, and may correspond to the GABAergic inhibitory interneurons identified by others. In addition, the complete RA pathway and its terminal fields in the respiratory-vocal nuclei of the brainstem were strongly PV-positive. In female zebra finches, which do not sing, no evidence was found that PV-positive RA cells were projection neurons, yet the pattern of projections of RA neurons, as determined by anterograde transport of biotinylated dextran amine, was very similar to that of RA in males. Moreover, in females, RA neurons retrogradely labelled from injections of cholera toxin B-chain into the tracheosyringeal nucleus (XIIts) were abundant and included, in the lateral part of the nucleus, a population of cells that were as large as those in the male RA. Parvalbumin immunoreactivity was also present in RA and its projections in males of several other songbird species (northern cardinal, brown headed cowbird, canary) and in the female cardinal, which sings to some extent, but the labelling was not as intense as that in male zebra finches. PMID:11640910

  20. The Relationship between Plants Used to Sustain Finches (Fringillidae) and Uses for Human Medicine in Southeast Spain

    PubMed Central

    Belda, Antonio; Peiró, Victoriano; Seva, Eduardo

    2012-01-01

    We analyzed plants that are traditionally used by wild bird hunters and breeders to capture and promote captive breeding of Fringillidae (finches or songbirds) in the province of Alicante, Spain. The majority of plants used in songbird breeding have medicinal properties in traditional human medicine (48 different uses); thus, another main goal was to show their relationships with human medical uses. We compiled a list of 97 plant species from 31 botanical families that are used to attract finches and identified 11 different use categories for these plants in finch keeping. The most common uses were for trapping birds and as a source of food for birds in captivity. Cannabis sativa has the greatest cultural importance index (CI = 1.158), and Phalaris canariensis (annual canary grass or alpist) was the most common species used to attract Fringillidae and was used by all informants (n = 158). Most of the 97 species are wild plants and mainly belong to the families Compositae, Gramineae, Cruciferae, and Rosaceae and also have medicinal properties for humans. In the study area, the intensification of agriculture and abandonment of traditional management practices have caused the population of many songbirds to decline, as well as the loss of popular ethnographic knowledge. PMID:22611428

  1. The Relationship between Plants Used to Sustain Finches (Fringillidae) and Uses for Human Medicine in Southeast Spain.

    PubMed

    Belda, Antonio; Peiró, Victoriano; Seva, Eduardo

    2012-01-01

    We analyzed plants that are traditionally used by wild bird hunters and breeders to capture and promote captive breeding of Fringillidae (finches or songbirds) in the province of Alicante, Spain. The majority of plants used in songbird breeding have medicinal properties in traditional human medicine (48 different uses); thus, another main goal was to show their relationships with human medical uses. We compiled a list of 97 plant species from 31 botanical families that are used to attract finches and identified 11 different use categories for these plants in finch keeping. The most common uses were for trapping birds and as a source of food for birds in captivity. Cannabis sativa has the greatest cultural importance index (CI = 1.158), and Phalaris canariensis (annual canary grass or alpist) was the most common species used to attract Fringillidae and was used by all informants (n = 158). Most of the 97 species are wild plants and mainly belong to the families Compositae, Gramineae, Cruciferae, and Rosaceae and also have medicinal properties for humans. In the study area, the intensification of agriculture and abandonment of traditional management practices have caused the population of many songbirds to decline, as well as the loss of popular ethnographic knowledge. PMID:22611428

  2. Cues for auditory stream segregation of birdsong in budgerigars and zebra finches: Effects of location, timing, amplitude, and frequency.

    PubMed

    Dent, Micheal L; Martin, Amanda K; Flaherty, Mary M; Neilans, Erikson G

    2016-02-01

    Deciphering the auditory scene is a problem faced by many organisms. However, when faced with numerous overlapping sounds from multiple locations, listeners are still able to attribute the individual sound objects to their individual sound-producing sources. Here, the characteristics of sounds important for integrating versus segregating in birds were determined. Budgerigars and zebra finches were trained using operant conditioning procedures on an identification task to peck one key when they heard a whole zebra finch song and to peck another when they heard a zebra finch song missing a middle syllable. Once the birds were trained to a criterion performance level on those stimuli, probe trials were introduced on a small proportion of trials. The probe songs contained modifications of the incomplete training song's missing syllable. When the bird responded as if the probe was a whole song, it suggests they streamed together the altered syllable and the rest of the song. When the bird responded as if the probe was a non-whole song, it suggests they segregated the altered probe from the rest of the song. Results show that some features, such as location and intensity, are more important for segregating than other features, such as timing and frequency. PMID:26936551

  3. Cannabinoid exposure during zebra finch sensorimotor vocal learning persistently alters expression of endocannabinoid signaling elements and acute agonist responsiveness

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Previously we have found that cannabinoid treatment of zebra finches during sensorimotor stages of vocal development alters song patterns produced in adulthood. Such persistently altered behavior must be attributable to changes in physiological substrates responsible for song. We are currently working to identify the nature of such physiological changes, and to understand how they contribute to altered vocal learning. One possibility is that developmental agonist exposure results in altered expression of elements of endocannabinoid signaling systems. To test this hypothesis we have studied effects of the potent cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN55212-2 (WIN) on endocannabinoid levels and densities of CB1 immunostaining in zebra finch brain. Results We found that late postnatal WIN treatment caused a long-term global disregulation of both levels of the endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG) and densities of CB1 immunostaining across brain regions, while repeated cannabinoid treatment in adults produced few long-term changes in the endogenous cannabinoid system. Conclusions Our findings indicate that the zebra finch endocannabinoid system is particularly sensitive to exogenous agonist exposure during the critical period of song learning and provide insight into susceptible brain areas. PMID:21211022

  4. Using Digital Images of the Zebra Finch Song System as a Tool to Teach Organizational Effects of Steroid Hormones: A Free Downloadable Module

    PubMed Central

    Grisham, William; Schottler, Natalie A.; McCauley, Lisa M. Beck; Pham, Anh P.; Ruiz, Maureen L.; Fong, Michelle C.; Cui, Xinran

    2011-01-01

    Zebra finch song behavior is sexually dimorphic: males sing and females do not. The neural system underlying this behavior is sexually dimorphic, and this sex difference is easy to quantify. During development, the zebra finch song system can be altered by steroid hormones, specifically estradiol, which actually masculinizes it. Because of the ease of quantification and experimental manipulation, the zebra finch song system has great potential for use in undergraduate labs. Unfortunately, the underlying costs prohibit use of this system in undergraduate labs. Further, the time required to perform a developmental study renders such undertakings unrealistic within a single academic term. We have overcome these barriers by creating digital tools, including an image library of song nuclei from zebra finch brains. Students using this library replicate and extend a published experiment examining the dose of estradiol required to masculinize the female zebra finch brain. We have used this library for several terms, and students not only obtain significant experimental results but also make gains in understanding content, experimental controls, and inferential statistics (analysis of variance and post hoc tests). We have provided free access to these digital tools at the following website: http://mdcune.psych.ucla.edu/modules/birdsong. PMID:21633071

  5. Personality is tightly coupled to vasopressin-oxytocin neuron activity in a gregarious finch

    PubMed Central

    Kelly, Aubrey M.; Goodson, James L.

    2014-01-01

    Nonapeptides of the vasopressin-oxytocin family modulate social processes differentially in relation to sex, species, behavioral phenotype, and human personality. However, the mechanistic bases for these differences are not well understood, in part because multidimensional personality structures remain to be described for common laboratory animals. Based upon principal components (PC) analysis of extensive behavioral measures in social and nonsocial contexts, we now describe three complex dimensions of phenotype (“personality”) for the zebra finch, a species that exhibits a human-like social organization that is based upon biparental nuclear families embedded within larger social groups. These dimensions can be characterized as Social competence/dominance, Gregariousness, and Anxiety. We further demonstrate that the phasic Fos responses of nonapeptide neurons in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis are significantly predicted by personality, sex, social context, and their interactions. Furthermore, the behavioral PCs are each associated with a distinct suite of neural PCs that incorporate both peptide cell numbers and their phasic Fos responses, indicating that personality is reflected in complex patterns of neuromodulation arising from multiple peptide cell groups. These findings provide novel insights into the mechanisms underlying sex- and phenotype-specific modulation of behavior, and should be broadly relevant, given that vasopressin-oxytocin systems are strongly conserved across vertebrates. PMID:24611041

  6. HVC contributes toward conspecific contact call responding in male Bengalese finches.

    PubMed

    Urbano, Catherine M; Aston, Avery E; Cooper, Brenton G

    2016-05-01

    The processes of producing and acquiring birdsong, like human speech, utilize interdependent neural systems for vocal learning and production. In addition to song, these brain areas are undoubtedly used for other affiliative behaviors. Oscine sound production is lateralized because their vocal organ contains two independently controlled sound sources. Therefore, songbirds offer a unique opportunity to study the biological relevance of lateralized behavioral control. Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata domestica) produce different types of sound with each sound source: the left sound generator produces tonal frequencies from 1 to 4 kHz and the right sound source produces the lower frequency (<2 kHz) tonal and broadband sounds. We sought to investigate whether the premotor nucleus HVC contributes toward lateralized auditory processing of conspecific vocalizations. We ablated either the left or the right HVC and tested birds with the callback paradigm using female contact calls that were filtered to accentuate particular frequency ranges. The results show that (a) the acoustic frequency of call stimuli drives different patterns of calling behavior and that (b) both HVC nuclei contribute toward contact call production, but HVC ablation does not alter the number of short calls produced upon hearing a female contact call. These data are consistent with the emerging view that the motor production and auditory processing are linked and suggest that HVC may contribute toward affiliative behaviors by promoting the production of contact call responses. PMID:27014861

  7. VizieR Online Data Catalog: URAT Parallax Catalog (UPC) (Finch+, 2016)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finch, C. T.; Zacharias, N.

    2016-04-01

    The URAT Parallax Catalog (UPC) consists of 112177 parallaxes. The catalog utilizes all Northern Hemisphere epoch data from the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) Robotic Astrometric Telescope (URAT). This data includes all individual exposures from April 2012 to June 2015 giving a larger epoch baseline for determining parallaxes over the 2-year span of the First USNO Robotic Astrometric Telescope Catalog (URAT1) (Zacharias et al., 2015, Cat. I/329) published data. The URAT parallax pipeline is custom code that utilizes routines from (Jao, C.-W., 2004, PhD thesis Georgia Stat), the JPL DE405 ephemeris and Green's parallax factor (Green, R.M., 1985, Spherical Astronomy) for determining parallaxes from a weighted least-squares reduction. The relative parallaxes have been corrected to absolute by using the distance color relation described in (Finch et. al, 2014, Cat. J/AJ/148/119) to determine a mean distance of all UCAC4 reference stars (R=8-16 mag) used in the astrometric reductions. Presented here are all significant parallaxes from the URAT Northern Hemisphere epoch data comprising of 2 groups: a) URAT parallax results for stars with prior published parallax, and b) first time trigonometric parallaxes as obtained from URAT data of stars without prior published parallax. Note, more stringent selection criteria have been applied to the second group than the first in order to keep the rate of false detections low. For specific information about the astrometric reductions please see 'The First U.S. Naval Observatory Robotic Astrometric Telescope Catalog' published paper (Zacharias et al., 2015AJ....150..101Z, Cat. I/329). For complete details regarding the parallax pipeline please see 'Parallax Results From URAT Epoch Data' (Finch and Zacharias, 2016, AJ, in press). This catalog gives all positions on the ICRS at Epoch J2014.0; it covers the magnitude range 6.56 to 16.93 in the URAT band-pass, with an average parallax precision of 4.3mas for stars having no known

  8. Increased fat catabolism sustains water balance during fasting in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Rutkowska, Joanna; Sadowska, Edyta T; Cichoń, Mariusz; Bauchinger, Ulf

    2016-09-01

    Patterns of physiological flexibility in response to fasting are well established, but much less is known about the contribution of water deprivation to the observed effects. We investigated body composition and energy and water budget in three groups of zebra finches: birds with access to food and water, food-deprived birds having access to drinking water and food-and-water-deprived birds. Animals were not stimulated by elevated energy expenditure and they were in thermoneutral conditions; thus, based on previous studies, water balance of fasting birds was expected to be maintained by increased catabolism of proteins. In contrast to this expectation, we found that access to water did not prevent reduction of proteinaceous tissue, but it saved fat reserves of the fasting birds. Thus, water balance of birds fasting without access to water seemed to be maintained by elevated fat catabolism, which generated 6 times more metabolic water compared with that in birds that had access to water. Therefore, we revise currently established views and propose fat to serve as the primary source for metabolic water production. Previously assumed increased protein breakdown for maintenance of water budget would occur if fat stores were depleted or if fat catabolism reached its upper limits due to high energy demands. PMID:27582561

  9. The Forebrain Song System Mediates Predictive Call Timing in Female and Male Zebra Finches.

    PubMed

    Benichov, Jonathan I; Benezra, Sam E; Vallentin, Daniela; Globerson, Eitan; Long, Michael A; Tchernichovski, Ofer

    2016-02-01

    The dichotomy between vocal learners and non-learners is a fundamental distinction in the study of animal communication. Male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are vocal learners that acquire a song resembling their tutors', whereas females can only produce innate calls. The acoustic structure of short calls, produced by both males and females, is not learned. However, these calls can be precisely coordinated across individuals. To examine how birds learn to synchronize their calls, we developed a vocal robot that exchanges calls with a partner bird. Because birds answer the robot with stereotyped latencies, we could program it to disrupt each bird's responses by producing calls that are likely to coincide with the bird's. Within minutes, the birds learned to avoid this disruptive masking (jamming) by adjusting the timing of their responses. Notably, females exhibited greater adaptive timing plasticity than males. Further, when challenged with complex rhythms containing jamming elements, birds dynamically adjusted the timing of their calls in anticipation of jamming. Blocking the song system cortical output dramatically reduced the precision of birds' response timing and abolished their ability to avoid jamming. Surprisingly, we observed this effect in both males and females, indicating that the female song system is functional rather than vestigial. We suggest that descending forebrain projections, including the song-production pathway, function as a general-purpose sensorimotor communication system. In the case of calls, it enables plasticity in vocal timing to facilitate social interactions, whereas in the case of songs, plasticity extends to developmental changes in vocal structure. PMID:26774786

  10. Red dominates black: agonistic signalling among head morphs in the colour polymorphic Gouldian finch

    PubMed Central

    Pryke, Sarah R; Griffith, Simon C

    2005-01-01

    Recent sexual selection studies on the evolution of bird colouration have mainly focused on signals with a high level of condition-dependent variation, with much less attention given to colour traits whose expression is genetically controlled. Here, we experimentally tested the relative importance of a genetic colour polymorphism in determining male dominance in the Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae), a species displaying three completely discrete but naturally co-occurring genetically inherited phenotypes; yellow-, red- (carotenoid) and black-headed (melanin) morphs. First, in staged dominance contests between unfamiliar birds of different head morphs, red-headed males dominated black-headed males, both of which dominated the yellow-headed birds. Second, within morphs, the intensity and size of the strongly ultraviolet-blue collar determined the outcome of these contests, and among the red-headed males, redder males dominated less chromatic birds. Lastly, when the dominance signal of red-headed birds was experimentally destabilized (i.e. blackened or reddened), naturally red-headed morphs continued to dominate both the black-and yellow-headed morphs. Together, these results suggest that intrinsic dominance-related behavioural differences between the three colour morphs, which are likely to influence the relative fitness of each morph, contribute to the complex selective patterns maintaining these three discrete phenotypes in relatively stable frequencies in wild populations. PMID:16627280

  11. Dynamic role of postsynaptic caspase-3 and BIRC4 in zebra finch song-response habituation.

    PubMed

    Huesmann, Graham R; Clayton, David F

    2006-12-21

    Activation of the protease caspase-3 is commonly thought to cause apoptotic cell death. Here, we show that caspase-3 activity is regulated at postsynaptic sites in brain following stimuli associated with memory (neural activation and subsequent response habituation) instead of cell death. In the zebra finch auditory forebrain, the concentration of caspase-3 active sites increases briefly within minutes after exposure to tape-recorded birdsong. With confocal and immunoelectron microscopy, we localize the activated enzyme to dendritic spines. The activated caspase-3 protein is present even in unstimulated brain but bound to an endogenous inhibitor, BIRC4 (xIAP), suggesting a mechanism for rapid release and sequestering at specific synaptic sites. Caspase-3 activity is necessary to consolidate a persistent physiological trace of the song stimulus, as demonstrated using pharmacological interference and the zenk gene habituation assay. Thus, the brain appears to have adapted a core component of cell death machinery to serve a unique role in learning and memory. PMID:17178408

  12. Evidence of spread of the emerging infectious disease, finch trichomonosis, by migrating birds.

    PubMed

    Lawson, Becki; Robinson, Robert A; Neimanis, Aleksija; Handeland, Kjell; Isomursu, Marja; Agren, Erik O; Hamnes, Inger S; Tyler, Kevin M; Chantrey, Julian; Hughes, Laura A; Pennycott, Tom W; Simpson, Vic R; John, Shinto K; Peck, Kirsi M; Toms, Mike P; Bennett, Malcolm; Kirkwood, James K; Cunningham, Andrew A

    2011-06-01

    Finch trichomonosis emerged in Great Britain in 2005 and led to epidemic mortality and a significant population decline of greenfinches, Carduelis chloris and chaffinches, Fringilla coelebs, in the central and western counties of England and Wales in the autumn of 2006. In this article, we show continued epidemic spread of the disease with a pronounced shift in geographical distribution towards eastern England in 2007. This was followed by international spread to southern Fennoscandia where cases were confirmed at multiple sites in the summer of 2008. Sequence data of the ITS1/5.8S/ITS2 ribosomal region and part of the small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene showed no variation between the British and Fennoscandian parasite strains of Trichomonas gallinae. Epidemiological and historical ring return data support bird migration as a plausible mechanism for the observed pattern of disease spread, and suggest the chaffinch as the most likely primary vector. This finding is novel since, although intuitive, confirmed disease spread by migratory birds is very rare and, when it has been recognised, this has generally been for diseases caused by viral pathogens. We believe this to be the first documented case of the spread of a protozoal emerging infectious disease by migrating birds. PMID:21935745

  13. Is Beak Morphology in Darwin’s Finches Tuned to Loading Demands?

    PubMed Central

    Soons, Joris; Genbrugge, Annelies; Podos, Jeffrey; Adriaens, Dominique; Aerts, Peter; Dirckx, Joris; Herrel, Anthony

    2015-01-01

    One of nature's premier illustrations of adaptive evolution concerns the tight correspondence in birds between beak morphology and feeding behavior. In seed-crushing birds, beaks have been suggested to evolve at least in part to avoid fracture. Yet, we know little about mechanical relationships between beak shape, stress dissipation, and fracture avoidance. This study tests these relationships for Darwin's finches, a clade of birds renowned for their diversity in beak form and function. We obtained anatomical data from micro-CT scans and dissections, which in turn informed the construction of finite element models of the bony beak and rhamphotheca. Our models offer two new insights. First, engineering safety factors are found to range between 1 and 2.5 under natural loading conditions, with the lowest safety factors being observed in species with the highest bite forces. Second, size-scaled finite element (FE) models reveal a correspondence between inferred beak loading profiles and observed feeding strategies (e.g. edge-crushing versus tip-biting), with safety factors decreasing for base-crushers biting at the beak tip. Additionally, we identify significant correlations between safety factors, keratin thickness at bite locations, and beak aspect ratio (depth versus length). These lines of evidence together suggest that beak shape indeed evolves to resist feeding forces. PMID:26068929

  14. Variability in the temporal parameters in the song of the Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica).

    PubMed

    Tachibana, Ryosuke O; Koumura, Takuya; Okanoya, Kazuo

    2015-12-01

    Birdsong provides a unique model for studying the control mechanisms of complex sequential behaviors. The present study aimed to demonstrate that multiple factors affect temporal control in the song production. We analyzed the song of Bengalese finches in various time ranges to address factors that affected the duration of acoustic elements (notes) and silent intervals (gaps). The gaps showed more jitter across song renditions than did notes. Gaps had longer duration in branching points of song sequence than in stereotypic transitions, and the duration of a gap was correlated with the duration of the note that preceded the gap. When looking at the variation among song renditions, we found notable factors in three time ranges: within-day drift, within-bout changes, and local jitter. Note durations shortened over time from morning to evening. Within each song bout note durations lengthened as singing progressed, while gap durations lengthened only during the late part of song bout. Further analysis after removing these drift factors confirmed that the jitter remained in local song sequences. These results suggest distinct sources of temporal variability exist at multiple levels on the basis of this note-gap relationship, and that song comprised a mixture of these sources. PMID:26512015

  15. Patterns of call communication between group-housed zebra finches change during the breeding cycle

    PubMed Central

    Gill, Lisa F; Goymann, Wolfgang; Ter Maat, Andries; Gahr, Manfred

    2015-01-01

    Vocal signals such as calls play a crucial role for survival and successful reproduction, especially in group-living animals. However, call interactions and call dynamics within groups remain largely unexplored because their relation to relevant contexts or life-history stages could not be studied with individual-level resolution. Using on-bird microphone transmitters, we recorded the vocalisations of individual zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) behaving freely in social groups, while females and males previously unknown to each other passed through different stages of the breeding cycle. As birds formed pairs and shifted their reproductive status, their call repertoire composition changed. The recordings revealed that calls occurred non-randomly in fine-tuned vocal interactions and decreased within groups while pair-specific patterns emerged. Call-type combinations of vocal interactions changed within pairs and were associated with successful egg-laying, highlighting a potential fitness relevance of calling dynamics in communication systems. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.07770.001 PMID:26441403

  16. Early-Life Stress Triggers Juvenile Zebra Finches to Switch Social Learning Strategies

    PubMed Central

    Farine, Damien R.; Spencer, Karen A.; Boogert, Neeltje J.

    2015-01-01

    Summary Stress during early life can cause disease and cognitive impairment in humans and non-humans alike [1]. However, stress and other environmental factors can also program developmental pathways [2, 3]. We investigate whether differential exposure to developmental stress can drive divergent social learning strategies [4, 5] between siblings. In many species, juveniles acquire essential foraging skills by copying others: they can copy peers (horizontal social learning), learn from their parents (vertical social learning), or learn from other adults (oblique social learning) [6]. However, whether juveniles’ learning strategies are condition dependent largely remains a mystery. We found that juvenile zebra finches living in flocks socially learned novel foraging skills exclusively from adults. By experimentally manipulating developmental stress, we further show that social learning targets are phenotypically plastic. While control juveniles learned foraging skills from their parents, their siblings, exposed as nestlings to experimentally elevated stress hormone levels, learned exclusively from unrelated adults. Thus, early-life conditions triggered individuals to switch strategies from vertical to oblique social learning. This switch could arise from stress-induced differences in developmental rate, cognitive and physical state, or the use of stress as an environmental cue. Acquisition of alternative social learning strategies may impact juveniles’ fit to their environment and ultimately change their developmental trajectories. PMID:26212879

  17. Social experience affects neuronal responses to male calls in adult female zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Menardy, F; Touiki, K; Dutrieux, G; Bozon, B; Vignal, C; Mathevon, N; Del Negro, C

    2012-04-01

    Plasticity studies have consistently shown that behavioural relevance can change the neural representation of sounds in the auditory system, but what occurs in the context of natural acoustic communication where significance could be acquired through social interaction remains to be explored. The zebra finch, a highly social songbird species that forms lifelong pair bonds and uses a vocalization, the distance call, to identify its mate, offers an opportunity to address this issue. Here, we recorded spiking activity in females while presenting distance calls that differed in their degree of familiarity: calls produced by the mate, by a familiar male, or by an unfamiliar male. We focused on the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM), a secondary auditory forebrain region. Both the mate's call and the familiar call evoked responses that differed in magnitude from responses to the unfamiliar call. This distinction between responses was seen both in single unit recordings from anesthetized females and in multiunit recordings from awake freely moving females. In contrast, control females that had not heard them previously displayed responses of similar magnitudes to all three calls. In addition, more cells showed highly selective responses in mated than in control females, suggesting that experience-dependent plasticity in call-evoked responses resulted in enhanced discrimination of auditory stimuli. Our results as a whole demonstrate major changes in the representation of natural vocalizations in the NCM within the context of individual recognition. The functional properties of NCM neurons may thus change continuously to adapt to the social environment. PMID:22512260

  18. Long-term effects of manipulated natal brood size on metabolic rate in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Verhulst, Simon; Holveck, Marie-Jeanne; Riebel, Katharina

    2006-09-22

    Long-term effects of developmental conditions on health, longevity and other fitness components in humans are drawing increasing attention. In evolutionary ecology, such effects are of similar importance because of their role in the trade-off between quantity and quality of offspring. The central role of energy consumption is well documented for some long-term health effects in humans (e.g. obesity), but little is known of the long-term effects of rearing conditions on energy requirements later in life. We manipulated the rearing conditions in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) using brood size manipulation and cross-fostering. It has previously been shown in this species that being reared in a large brood has negative fitness consequences, and that such effects are stronger in daughters than in sons. We show that, independent of mass, standard metabolic rate of 1-year-old birds was higher when they had been reared in a large brood, and this is to our knowledge the first demonstration of such an effect. Furthermore, the brood size effect was stronger in daughters than in sons. This suggests that metabolic efficiency may play a role in mediating the long-term fitness consequences of rearing conditions. PMID:17148435

  19. Long-term effects of manipulated natal brood size on metabolic rate in zebra finches

    PubMed Central

    Verhulst, Simon; Holveck, Marie-Jeanne; Riebel, Katharina

    2006-01-01

    Long-term effects of developmental conditions on health, longevity and other fitness components in humans are drawing increasing attention. In evolutionary ecology, such effects are of similar importance because of their role in the trade-off between quantity and quality of offspring. The central role of energy consumption is well documented for some long-term health effects in humans (e.g. obesity), but little is known of the long-term effects of rearing conditions on energy requirements later in life. We manipulated the rearing conditions in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) using brood size manipulation and cross-fostering. It has previously been shown in this species that being reared in a large brood has negative fitness consequences, and that such effects are stronger in daughters than in sons. We show that, independent of mass, standard metabolic rate of 1-year-old birds was higher when they had been reared in a large brood, and this is to our knowledge the first demonstration of such an effect. Furthermore, the brood size effect was stronger in daughters than in sons. This suggests that metabolic efficiency may play a role in mediating the long-term fitness consequences of rearing conditions. PMID:17148435

  20. Inbreeding depression of sperm traits in the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata.

    PubMed

    Opatová, Pavlína; Ihle, Malika; Albrechtová, Jana; Tomášek, Oldřich; Kempenaers, Bart; Forstmeier, Wolfgang; Albrecht, Tomáš

    2016-01-01

    Inbreeding depression, or the reduction in fitness due to mating between close relatives, is a key issue in biology today. Inbreeding negatively affects many fitness-related traits, including survival and reproductive success. Despite this, very few studies have quantified the effects of inbreeding on vertebrate gamete traits under controlled breeding conditions using a full-sib mating approach. Here, we provide comprehensive evidence for the negative effect of inbreeding on sperm traits in a bird, the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata. We compared sperm characteristics of both inbred (pedigree F = 0.25) and outbred (pedigree F = 0) individuals from two captive populations, one domesticated and one recently wild-derived, raised under standardized conditions. As normal spermatozoa morphology did not differ consistently between inbred and outbred individuals, our study confirms the hypothesis that sperm morphology is not particularly susceptible to inbreeding depression. Inbreeding did, however, lead to significantly lower sperm motility and a substantially higher percentage of abnormal spermatozoa in ejaculate. These results were consistent across both study populations, confirming the generality and reliability of our findings. PMID:26811793

  1. Behavior-Linked FoxP2 Regulation Enables Zebra Finch Vocal Learning

    PubMed Central

    Heston, Jonathan B.

    2015-01-01

    Mutations in the FOXP2 transcription factor cause an inherited speech and language disorder, but how FoxP2 contributes to learning of these vocal communication signals remains unclear. FoxP2 is enriched in corticostriatal circuits of both human and songbird brains. Experimental knockdown of this enrichment in song control neurons of the zebra finch basal ganglia impairs tutor song imitation, indicating that adequate FoxP2 levels are necessary for normal vocal learning. In unmanipulated birds, vocal practice acutely downregulates FoxP2, leading to increased vocal variability and dynamic regulation of FoxP2 target genes. To determine whether this behavioral regulation is important for song learning, here, we used viral-driven overexpression of FoxP2 to counteract its downregulation. This manipulation disrupted the acute effects of song practice on vocal variability and caused inaccurate song imitation. Together, these findings indicate that dynamic behavior-linked regulation of FoxP2, rather than absolute levels, is critical for vocal learning. PMID:25698728

  2. Carbachol-Induced Reduction in the Activity of Adult Male Zebra Finch RA Projection Neurons

    PubMed Central

    Meng, Wei; Wang, Song-Hua; Li, Dong-Feng

    2016-01-01

    Cholinergic mechanism is involved in motor behavior. In songbirds, the robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA) is a song premotor nucleus in the pallium and receives cholinergic inputs from the basal forebrain. The activity of projection neurons in RA determines song motor behavior. Although many evidences suggest that cholinergic system is implicated in song production, the cholinergic modulation of RA is not clear until now. In the present study, the electrophysiological effects of carbachol, a nonselective cholinergic receptor agonist, were investigated on the RA projection neurons of adult male zebra finches through whole-cell patch-clamp techniques in vitro. Our results show that carbachol produced a significant decrease in the spontaneous and evoked action potential (AP) firing frequency of RA projection neurons, accompanying a hyperpolarization of the membrane potential, an increase in the evoked AP latency, afterhyperpolarization (AHP) peak amplitude, and AHP time to peak, and a decrease in the membrane input resistance, membrane time constant, and membrane capacitance. These results indicate that carbachol reduces the activity of RA projection neurons by hyperpolarizing the resting membrane potential and increasing the AHP and the membrane conductance, suggesting that the cholinergic modulation of RA may play an important role in song production. PMID:26904300

  3. Auditory synapses to song premotor neurons are gated off during vocalization in zebra finches

    PubMed Central

    Hamaguchi, Kosuke; Tschida, Katherine A; Yoon, Inho; Donald, Bruce R; Mooney, Richard

    2014-01-01

    Songbirds use auditory feedback to learn and maintain their songs, but how feedback interacts with vocal motor circuitry remains unclear. A potential site for this interaction is the song premotor nucleus HVC, which receives auditory input and contains neurons (HVCX cells) that innervate an anterior forebrain pathway (AFP) important to feedback-dependent vocal plasticity. Although the singing-related output of HVCX cells is unaltered by distorted auditory feedback (DAF), deafening gradually weakens synapses on HVCX cells, raising the possibility that they integrate feedback only at subthreshold levels during singing. Using intracellular recordings in singing zebra finches, we found that DAF failed to perturb singing-related synaptic activity of HVCX cells, although many of these cells responded to auditory stimuli in non-singing states. Moreover, in vivo multiphoton imaging revealed that deafening-induced changes to HVCX synapses require intact AFP output. These findings support a model in which the AFP accesses feedback independent of HVC. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01833.001 PMID:24550254

  4. VizieR Online Data Catalog: URAT Parallax Catalog (UPC) (Finch+, 2016)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finch, C. T.; Zacharias, N.

    2016-04-01

    The URAT Parallax Catalog (UPC) consists of 112177 parallaxes. The catalog utilizes all Northern Hemisphere epoch data from the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) Robotic Astrometric Telescope (URAT). This data includes all individual exposures from April 2012 to June 2015 giving a larger epoch baseline for determining parallaxes over the 2-year span of the First USNO Robotic Astrometric Telescope Catalog (URAT1) (Zacharias et al., 2015, Cat. I/329) published data. The URAT parallax pipeline is custom code that utilizes routines from (Jao, C.-W., 2004, PhD thesis Georgia Stat), the JPL DE405 ephemeris and Green's parallax factor (Green, R.M., 1985, Spherical Astronomy) for determining parallaxes from a weighted least-squares reduction. The relative parallaxes have been corrected to absolute by using the distance color relation described in (Finch et. al, 2014, Cat. J/AJ/148/119) to determine a mean distance of all UCAC4 reference stars (R=8-16 mag) used in the astrometric reductions. Presented here are all significant parallaxes from the URAT Northern Hemisphere epoch data comprising of 2 groups: a) URAT parallax results for stars with prior published parallax, and b) first time trigonometric parallaxes as obtained from URAT data of stars without prior published parallax. Note, more stringent selection criteria have been applied to the second group than the first in order to keep the rate of false detections low. For specific information about the astrometric reductions please see 'The First U.S. Naval Observatory Robotic Astrometric Telescope Catalog' published paper (Zacharias et al., 2015AJ....150..101Z, Cat. I/329). For complete details regarding the parallax pipeline please see 'Parallax Results From URAT Epoch Data' (Finch and Zacharias, 2016, AJ, in press). This catalog gives all positions on the ICRS at Epoch J2014.0; it covers the magnitude range 6.56 to 16.93 in the URAT band-pass, with an average parallax precision of 4.3mas for stars having no known

  5. Behavior-linked FoxP2 regulation enables zebra finch vocal learning.

    PubMed

    Heston, Jonathan B; White, Stephanie A

    2015-02-18

    Mutations in the FOXP2 transcription factor cause an inherited speech and language disorder, but how FoxP2 contributes to learning of these vocal communication signals remains unclear. FoxP2 is enriched in corticostriatal circuits of both human and songbird brains. Experimental knockdown of this enrichment in song control neurons of the zebra finch basal ganglia impairs tutor song imitation, indicating that adequate FoxP2 levels are necessary for normal vocal learning. In unmanipulated birds, vocal practice acutely downregulates FoxP2, leading to increased vocal variability and dynamic regulation of FoxP2 target genes. To determine whether this behavioral regulation is important for song learning, here, we used viral-driven overexpression of FoxP2 to counteract its downregulation. This manipulation disrupted the acute effects of song practice on vocal variability and caused inaccurate song imitation. Together, these findings indicate that dynamic behavior-linked regulation of FoxP2, rather than absolute levels, is critical for vocal learning. PMID:25698728

  6. Dynamic role of postsynaptic caspase-3 and BIRC4 in zebra finch song response habituation

    PubMed Central

    Huesmann, Graham R.; Clayton, David F.

    2007-01-01

    Summary Activation of the protease caspase-3 is commonly thought to cause apoptotic cell death. Here we show that caspase-3 activity is regulated at postsynaptic sites in brain following stimuli associated with memory (neural activation and subsequent response habituation) instead of cell death. In the zebra finch auditory forebrain, the concentration of caspase-3 active sites increases briefly within minutes after exposure to tape-recorded birdsong. With confocal and immunoelectron microscopy, we localize the activated enzyme to dendritic spines. The activated caspase-3 protein is present even in unstimulated brain but bound to an endogenous inhibitor, BIRC4 (xIAP), suggesting a mechanism for rapid release and sequestering at specific synaptic sites. Caspase-3 activity is necessary to consolidate a persistent physiological trace of the song stimulus, as demonstrated using pharmacological interference and the zenk gene habituation assay. Thus the brain appears to have adapted a core component of cell death machinery to serve a unique role in learning and memory. PMID:17178408

  7. Active immunization against vasoactive intestinal polypeptide decreases neuronal recruitment and inhibits reproduction in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Vistoropsky, Yulia; Heiblum, Rachel; Smorodinsky, Nechama-Ina; Barnea, Anat

    2016-08-15

    Neurogenesis and neuronal recruitment occur in adult brains of many vertebrates, and the hypothesis is that these phenomena contribute to the brain plasticity that enables organisms to adjust to environmental changes. In mammals, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) is known to have many neuroprotective properties, but in the avian brain, although widely distributed, its role in neuronal recruitment is not yet understood. In the present study we actively immunized adult zebra finches against VIP conjugated to KLH and compared neuronal recruitment in their brains, with brains of control birds, which were immunized against KLH. We looked at two forebrain regions: the nidopallium caudale (NC), which plays a role in vocal communication, and the hippocampus (HC), which is involved in the processing of spatial information. Our data demonstrate that active immunization against VIP reduces neuronal recruitment, inhibits reproduction, and induces molting, with no change in plasma prolactin levels. Thus, our observations suggest that VIP has a direct positive role in neuronal recruitment and reproduction in birds. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:2516-2528, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:26801210

  8. Context-Specific Effects of Estradiol on Spatial Learning and Memory in the Zebra Finch

    PubMed Central

    Rensel, M.A.; Salwiczek, L.; Roth, J.; Schlinger, B.A.

    2012-01-01

    Estradiol is known to impact cognitive function including spatial learning and memory, with studies focused largely on rodent models. Estrogens can be produced peripherally or centrally as neuroestrogens, and the specific role for neuroestrogens in memory processes remains unresolved. Many songbirds possess remarkable spatial memory capabilities and also express the estrogen synthetic enzyme aromatase abundantly in the hippocampus, suggesting that locally-produced estrogens may promote the acquisition or retrieval of spatial memories in these birds. We examined the effect of estradiol on spatial memory in three contexts in the zebra finch: retrieval after discrimination training, retrieval after familiarization but without discrimination training, and memory acquisition, using a combination of estradiol implants and oral dosing with the aromatase inhibitor fadrozole (FAD). Retrieval of spatial memory in both contexts was impaired when estradiol production was blocked. However, spatial memory acquisition was enhanced when estradiol production was inhibited whereas estradiol replacement impaired acquisition. These results provide evidence for a context-specific role of estradiol in songbird spatial memory, results that finds accord with some mammalian studies but have not yet been observed in birds. PMID:23257279

  9. A neural circuit mechanism for regulating vocal variability during song learning in zebra finches

    PubMed Central

    Garst-Orozco, Jonathan; Babadi, Baktash; Ölveczky, Bence P

    2014-01-01

    Motor skill learning is characterized by improved performance and reduced motor variability. The neural mechanisms that couple skill level and variability, however, are not known. The zebra finch, a songbird, presents a unique opportunity to address this question because production of learned song and induction of vocal variability are instantiated in distinct circuits that converge on a motor cortex analogue controlling vocal output. To probe the interplay between learning and variability, we made intracellular recordings from neurons in this area, characterizing how their inputs from the functionally distinct pathways change throughout song development. We found that inputs that drive stereotyped song-patterns are strengthened and pruned, while inputs that induce variability remain unchanged. A simple network model showed that strengthening and pruning of action-specific connections reduces the sensitivity of motor control circuits to variable input and neural ‘noise’. This identifies a simple and general mechanism for learning-related regulation of motor variability. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03697.001 PMID:25497835

  10. Timing of Ossification in Duck, Quail, and Zebra Finch: Intraspecific Variation, Heterochronies, and Life History Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Mitgutsch, Christian; Wimmer, Corinne; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R.; Hahnloser, Richard; Schneider, Richard A.

    2011-01-01

    Skeletogenic heterochronies have gained much attention in comparative developmental biology. The temporal appearance of mineralized individual bones in a species – the species ossification sequence – is an excellent marker in this kind of study. Several publications describe interspecific variation, but only very few detail intraspecific variation. In this study, we describe and analyze the temporal order of ossification of skeletal elements in the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, the Japanese quail, Coturnix coturnix japonica, and the White Pekin duck, a domestic race of the mallard Anas platyrhynchos, and explore patterns of intraspecific variation in these events. The overall sequences were found to be conserved. In the duck, variability is present in the relative timing of ossification in the occipital, the basisphenoid and the otic regions of the skull and the phalanges in the postcranium. This variation appears generally in close temporal proximity. Comparison with previously published data shows differences in ossification sequence in the skull, the feet, and the pelvis in the duck, and especially the pelvis in the quail. This clearly documents variability among different breeds. PMID:21728797

  11. Metabolic and Respiratory Costs of Increasing Song Amplitude in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Zollinger, Sue Anne; Goller, Franz; Brumm, Henrik

    2011-01-01

    Bird song is a widely used model in the study of animal communication and sexual selection, and several song features have been shown to reflect the quality of the singer. Recent studies have demonstrated that song amplitude may be an honest signal of current condition in males and that females prefer high amplitude songs. In addition, birds raise the amplitude of their songs to communicate in noisy environments. Although it is generally assumed that louder song should be more costly to produce, there has been little empirical evidence to support this assumption. We tested the assumption by measuring oxygen consumption and respiratory patterns in adult male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) singing at different amplitudes in different background noise conditions. As background noise levels increased, birds significantly increased the sound pressure level of their songs. We found that louder songs required significantly greater subsyringeal air sac pressure than quieter songs. Though increased pressure is probably achieved by increasing respiratory muscle activity, these increases did not correlate with measurable increases in oxygen consumption. In addition, we found that oxygen consumption increased in higher background noise, independent of singing behaviour. This observation supports previous research in mammals showing that high levels of environmental noise can induce physiological stress responses. While our study did not find that increasing vocal amplitude increased metabolic costs, further research is needed to determine whether there are other non-metabolic costs of singing louder or costs associated with chronic noise exposure. PMID:21915258

  12. Effect of lesion of nucleus robustus archistriatalis on call in bramble finch (Fringilla montifringilla).

    PubMed

    Jiang, J; Li, D; Li, J; Yang, X

    2001-10-01

    The lesion of nucleus robustus archistriatalis (RA) has no effect on normal short calls in the bramble finch, but affects significantly the temporal and acoustic features of learned long calls. It causes the principal frequency of basic sound in monotone long calls to increase 500 cents, and to lose two upper partials. The lesion of RA not only results in the increased sound length of loud-sound and shortened coda of variable-tone long calls by 13.4%-22.1% and 21.2%-24.2% on average, respectively, but also makes the frequency rising coefficient (FRC) of even order partial tone in loud-sound drop 18.5%-25.8% on an average, and the step-up rate decrease 22.7% -24.0% on an average with the increase of frequencies. These results show that the control of temporal and frequency features of learned calls by RA matches to each other. Moreover, the lesion of bilateral RA can confuse the vocal pattern, and the produced long call has the character of both the mono- and variable-tone long calls. The prelude shows rising frequency, and the loud sound is monotone sound. PMID:18726393

  13. Time-dependent localization of high- and low-sulfated keratan sulfates in the song nuclei of developing zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Fujimoto, Hisataka; Ohgomori, Tomohiro; Abe, Kentaro; Uchimura, Kenji; Kadomatsu, Kenji; Jinno, Shozo

    2015-11-01

    Keratan sulfate proteoglycans (KSPGs) and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) consist of a protein core with covalently attached glycosaminoglycan side chain. Although CSPGs are known to regulate the end of the critical period, the role of KSPGs in brain development remains unclear. Young male zebra finches memorise song templates during development. The brain regions that are responsible for song learning, known as song nuclei, are recognized as a suitable model for the study of brain development. To understand the potential role of KSPGs, here we examined the localization of KSs with different degrees of sulfation in the brain of developing male zebra finches. Exclusively in the song nuclei, an increase in expression of 5-D-4-positive (5-D-4(+)) high-sulfated KS started after hatching, and reached a plateau at the end of the sensory period, during which the young bird listens to and memorises the song of an adult tutor. By contrast, weak and ubiquitous expression of BCD-4(+) low-sulfated KS remained unchanged until the end of the sensory period, and first increased in the song nuclei at the end of the sensorimotor period, during which the young bird produces plastic songs. Immunoblot analysis showed that phosphacan was a common core protein of 5-D-4(+) KS and BCD-4(+) KS. Finally, we confirmed that the sulfotransferase responsible for the synthesis of high-sulfated KS was exclusively localised in the song nuclei. Our observations suggest that time-dependent localization of KSPGs with different sulfation patterns in the song nuclei may underlie song learning in developing male zebra finches. PMID:26369722

  14. Relationship between prolactin, reproductive experience, and parental care in a biparental songbird, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Smiley, Kristina O; Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth

    2016-06-01

    Hormonal systems have long been thought to play an important role in stimulating the onset of parental behavior, a critical component of reproductive success in a variety of taxa. Elevations in the peptide hormone prolactin (PRL) have been repeatedly positively correlated with the onset and maintenance of parental care across vertebrate species. A causal role for PRL in parental care has been established in several mammalian species, but less evidence for a causal role of PRL and parental care exists in birds. The zebra finch, a socially monogamous, biparental songbird, is an exceptionally useful animal model to study parental care and other close social relationships. Both sexes share parental care equally, exhibit the same parental behaviors, and show a marked improvement in breeding success with experience. We hypothesize that PRL is critically involved in the expression of zebra finch parental care and predict that circulating PRL levels will increase with breeding experience. To begin testing this, we measured plasma PRL concentrations in 14 male-female zebra finch pairs (N=28) across two breeding cycles, using a repeated measures design. PRL was measured in the birds' first, reproductively inexperienced, breeding cycle beginning at courtship and extending through chick fledging. PRL was measured again during the birds' second, reproductively experienced, breeding cycle, beginning with egg laying until chick fledging. We found that plasma PRL is significantly elevated from non-breeding concentrations during late incubation and early post-hatch care and that this elevation is greater in the reproductively experienced cycle compared to the inexperienced cycle. Findings of this study will be used to inform hypotheses and predictions for future experimental manipulations of PRL during parental care. PMID:26602378

  15. Cyclic AMP phosphodiesterases in the zebra finch: distribution, cloning and characterization of a PDE4B homolog.

    PubMed

    Thompson, B E; Freking, F; Pho, V; Schlinger, B A; Cherry, J A

    2000-11-10

    Songbirds are important animal models for studying neural mechanisms underlying learning and memory. While evidence has emerged that cAMP plays a significant role in invertebrate and mammalian learning, little is known about the role of cAMP pathways in regulating neuronal function in birds. With the goal of identifying important components of this pathway, we report the first cloning of a cAMP-specific, Type IV phosphodiesterase (PDE4) in a non-mammalian vertebrate. A combination of PCR analysis and cDNA library screening was used to show that homologs of the four known mammalian PDE4 genes also exist in zebra finch. A full-length cDNA representing the zebra finch homolog of PDE4B1 was isolated from a telencephalic library. Expression of this cDNA in human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK) cells yielded an enzyme that hydrolyzed cAMP with a low K(m) and was inhibited by micromolar concentrations of rolipram; these properties are typical of all known mammalian PDE4s. In brain, northern blots revealed transcripts of 3.6 and 4.4 kb in adults, but only the 3.6 kb transcript in juveniles, suggesting that PDE4 expression is developmentally regulated. In situ hybridization of tissue sections demonstrated that PDE4 message was distributed widely throughout the adult zebra finch brain, including regions controlling the learning of songs and the acquisition of spatial memories. These data suggest that PDE4 enzymes may influence a variety of brain functions in these birds and play a role in learning. PMID:11072099

  16. Mitochondrial uncoupling as a regulator of life-history trajectories in birds: an experimental study in the zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Stier, Antoine; Bize, Pierre; Roussel, Damien; Schull, Quentin; Massemin, Sylvie; Criscuolo, François

    2014-10-01

    Mitochondria have a fundamental role in the transduction of energy from food into ATP. The coupling between food oxidation and ATP production is never perfect, but may nevertheless be of evolutionary significance. The 'uncoupling to survive' hypothesis suggests that 'mild' mitochondrial uncoupling evolved as a protective mechanism against the excessive production of damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS). Because resource allocation and ROS production are thought to shape animal life histories, alternative life-history trajectories might be driven by individual variation in the degree of mitochondrial uncoupling. We tested this hypothesis in a small bird species, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), by treating adults with the artificial mitochondrial uncoupler 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) over a 32-month period. In agreement with our expectations, the uncoupling treatment increased metabolic rate. However, we found no evidence that treated birds enjoyed lower oxidative stress levels or greater survival rates, in contrast to previous results in other taxa. In vitro experiments revealed lower sensitivity of ROS production to DNP in mitochondria isolated from skeletal muscles of zebra finch than mouse. In addition, we found significant reductions in the number of eggs laid and in the inflammatory immune response in treated birds. Altogether, our data suggest that the 'uncoupling to survive' hypothesis may not be applicable for zebra finches, presumably because of lower effects of mitochondrial uncoupling on mitochondrial ROS production in birds than in mammals. Nevertheless, mitochondrial uncoupling appeared to be a potential life-history regulator of traits such as fecundity and immunity at adulthood, even with food supplied ad libitum. PMID:25063856

  17. Avian evolution: from Darwin's finches to a new way of thinking about avian forebrain organization and behavioural capabilities

    PubMed Central

    Reiner, Anton

    2008-01-01

    The study of birds, especially the Galapagos finches, was important to Darwin in the development of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Birds have also been at the centre of a recent reformulation in understanding cerebral evolution and the substrates for higher cognition. While it was once thought that birds possess a simple cerebrum and were thus limited to instinctive behaviours, it is now clear that birds possess a well-developed cerebrum that looks very different from the mammalian cerebrum but can support a cognitive ability that for some avian species rivals that in primates. PMID:18854290

  18. Experimental demonstration of a parasite-induced immune response in wild birds: Darwin's finches and introduced nest flies

    PubMed Central

    Koop, Jennifer A H; Owen, Jeb P; Knutie, Sarah A; Aguilar, Maria A; Clayton, Dale H

    2013-01-01

    Abstract Ecological immunology aims to explain variation among hosts in the strength and efficacy of immunological defenses. However, a shortcoming has been the failure to link host immune responses to actual parasites under natural conditions. Here, we present one of the first experimental demonstrations of a parasite-induced immune response in a wild bird population. The recently introduced ectoparasitic nest fly Philornis downsi severely impacts the fitness of Darwin's finches and other land birds in the Galápagos Islands. An earlier study showed that female medium ground finches (Geospiza fortis) had P. downsi-binding antibodies correlating with presumed variation in fly exposure over time. In the current study, we experimentally manipulated fly abundance to test whether the fly does, in fact, cause changes in antibody levels. We manipulated P. downsi abundance in nests and quantified P. downsi-binding antibody levels of medium ground finch mothers, fathers, and nestlings. We also quantified host behaviors, such as preening, which can integrate with antibody-mediated defenses against ectoparasites. Philornis downsi-binding antibody levels were significantly higher among mothers at parasitized nests, compared to mothers at (fumigated) nonparasitized nests. Mothers with higher antibody levels tended to have fewer parasites in their nests, suggesting that antibodies play a role in defense against parasites. Mothers showed no behavioral changes that would enhance the effectiveness of the immune response. Neither adult males, nor nestlings, had P. downsi-induced immunological or behavioral responses that would enhance defense against flies. None of the parasitized nests fledged any offspring, despite the immune response by mothers. Thus, this study shows that, while the immune response of mothers appeared to be defensive, it was not sufficient to rescue current reproductive fitness. This study further shows the importance of testing the fitness consequences of

  19. Audience Effect Alters Male Mating Preferences in Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Dubois, Frédérique; Belzile, Alexandra

    2012-01-01

    The social environment of animals strongly influences the mating preferences of both the choosing and the observing individuals. Notably, there is recent evidence that polygamous males decrease their selectivity when being observed by competitors in order to direct their rivals’ attention away from their true interest and, consequently, reduce sperm competition risk. Yet, other mechanisms, whose importance remains unexplored, could induce similar effects. In monogamous species with mutual choice, particularly, if males adjust their selectivity according to the risk of being rejected by their preferred mate, they should as well become less selective when potential rivals are present. Here, we investigated whether the presence of bystanders modifies male mating preferences when the risk of sperm competition is low, by carrying out mate-choice experiments with male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) whose preferences for two females were measured twice: with and without an audience. We found that the presence of potential rivals had no effect on the males’ choosiness. However, with an audience, they spent more time with the female that was considered as the less attractive one in the control condition. These findings support the hypothesis that monogamous males alter their mate choice decisions in the presence of a male audience to reduce the risk of remaining unpaired. Thus, our results indicate that several explanations can account for the changes in male preferences due to the presence of competitors and highlight the importance of assessing the relative role of each mechanism potentially involved, to be able to make conclusions about the effect of an audience on signal evolution. PMID:22916298

  20. De novo establishment of wild-type song culture in the zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Fehér, Olga; Wang, Haibin; Saar, Sigal; Mitra, Partha P; Tchernichovski, Ofer

    2009-05-28

    Culture is typically viewed as consisting of traits inherited epigenetically, through social learning. However, cultural diversity has species-typical constraints, presumably of genetic origin. A celebrated, if contentious, example is whether a universal grammar constrains syntactic diversity in human languages. Oscine songbirds exhibit song learning and provide biologically tractable models of culture: members of a species show individual variation in song and geographically separated groups have local song dialects. Different species exhibit distinct song cultures, suggestive of genetic constraints. Without such constraints, innovations and copying errors should cause unbounded variation over multiple generations or geographical distance, contrary to observations. Here we report an experiment designed to determine whether wild-type song culture might emerge over multiple generations in an isolated colony founded by isolates, and, if so, how this might happen and what type of social environment is required. Zebra finch isolates, unexposed to singing males during development, produce song with characteristics that differ from the wild-type song found in laboratory or natural colonies. In tutoring lineages starting from isolate founders, we quantified alterations in song across tutoring generations in two social environments: tutor-pupil pairs in sound-isolated chambers and an isolated semi-natural colony. In both settings, juveniles imitated the isolate tutors but changed certain characteristics of the songs. These alterations accumulated over learning generations. Consequently, songs evolved towards the wild-type in three to four generations. Thus, species-typical song culture can appear de novo. Our study has parallels with language change and evolution. In analogy to models in quantitative genetics, we model song culture as a multigenerational phenotype partly encoded genetically in an isolate founding population, influenced by environmental variables and taking

  1. BRAIN EXPRESSION AND SONG REGULATION OF THE CHOLECYSTOKININ GENE IN THE ZEBRA FINCH (TAENIOPYGIA GUTTATA)

    PubMed Central

    Lovell, Peter V.; Mello, Claudio V.

    2010-01-01

    The gene encoding cholecystokinin (Cck) is abundantly expressed in the mammalian brain and has been associated with such functions as feeding termination and satiety, locomotion and self-stimulation, the modulation of anxiety-like behaviors, and learning and memory. Here we describe the brain expression and song regulation of Cck in the brain of the adult male zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), a songbird species. Using in situ hybridization, we demonstrate that Cck is highly expressed in several discrete brain regions, most prominently the caudal-most portion of the hippocampal formation, the caudodorsal nidopallial shelf and the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM), the core or shell regions of dorsal thalamic nuclei, dopaminergic cell groups in the mesencephalon and pons, the principal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve, and the dorsal raphe. Cck was largely absent in song control system, a group of nuclei required for vocal learning and song production in songbirds, though sparse labeling was detected throughout the striatum, including song nucleus area X. We also show that levels of Cck mRNA and the number of labeled cells increase in the NCM of males and females following auditory stimulation with conspecific song. Double labeling further reveals that the majority of Cck cells, excluding those in the reticular nucleus of the thalamus, are non-GABAergic. Together, these data provide the first comprehensive characterization of Cck expression in a songbird, and suggest a possible involvement of Cck regulation in important aspects of birdsong biology, such as perceptual processing, auditory memorization and/or vocal-motor control of song production. PMID:21165972

  2. An aquatic toxicological evaluation of fenthion in the context of finch control in South Africa.

    PubMed

    Roux, D; Jooste, S; Truter, E; Kempster, P

    1995-07-01

    Queletox, containing fenthion as active ingredient, is the avicide formulation used in South Africa to control red-billed finches (Quelea quelea). Control measures involve night spraying of roosting areas with a light aircraft. Since roosting areas often include reedbeds along riversides and on islands, proper control is difficult without exposing the aquatic environment to some risk of contamination. This study tested the acute effects of fenthion, in association with the queletox formulation, on the cladocerans Daphnia pulex and Ceriodaphnia dubia and the fish species Poecilia reticulata, Tilapia rendalli, Cyprinus carpio, and Oreochromis mossambicus. The chronic effects of fenthion on D. pulex were evaluated in a 14-day reproduction test. Mean 48-hr LC50 values estimated for D. pulex and C. dubia were 1.30 and 1.72 micrograms liter-1 respectively. For the fish estimated 96-hr LC50 values were as follows: 2.12 (P. reticulata), 2.53 (C. carpio), 2.92 (T. rendalli) and 1.71 micrograms liter-1 (O. mossambicus). In the chronic test reproduction of the exposed population was stimulated at the lowest two fenthion concentrations (0.1 and 0.6 ng liter-1), while a reproductive impairment was recorded at concentrations varying from 1 to 10 ng liter-1. Concentrations of fenthion measured in dams after spraying are given to indicate the levels of contamination that may occur. QSAR was used to estimate the toxicity of some fenthion metabolites. The results of this study reveal that fenthion, at the concentrations occurring in the environment after aerial spraying, can have marked effects on the survival and reproduction of D. pulex for long periods after spraying. PMID:8521783

  3. Effect of laying sequence on egg mercury in captive zebra finches: an interpretation considering individual variation.

    PubMed

    Ou, Langbo; Varian-Ramos, Claire W; Cristol, Daniel A

    2015-08-01

    Bird eggs are used widely as noninvasive bioindicators for environmental mercury availability. Previous studies, however, have found varying relationships between laying sequence and egg mercury concentrations. Some studies have reported that the mercury concentration was higher in first-laid eggs or declined across the laying sequence, whereas in other studies mercury concentration was not related to egg order. Approximately 300 eggs (61 clutches) were collected from captive zebra finches dosed throughout their reproductive lives with methylmercury (0.3 μg/g, 0.6 μg/g, 1.2 μg/g, or 2.4 μg/g wet wt in diet); the total mercury concentration (mean ± standard deviation [SD] dry wt basis) of their eggs was 7.03 ± 1.38 μg/g, 14.15 ± 2.52 μg/g, 26.85 ± 5.85 μg/g, and 49.76 ± 10.37 μg/g, respectively (equivalent to fresh wt egg mercury concentrations of 1.24 μg/g, 2.50 μg/g, 4.74 μg/g, and 8.79 μg/g). The authors observed a significant decrease in the mercury concentration of successive eggs when compared with the first egg and notable variation between clutches within treatments. The mercury level of individual females within and among treatments did not alter this relationship. Based on the results, sampling of a single egg in each clutch from any position in the laying sequence is sufficient for purposes of population risk assessment, but it is not recommended as a proxy for individual female exposure or as an estimate of average mercury level within the clutch. PMID:25760460

  4. Infection with Mycoplasma gallisepticum buffers the effects of acute stress on innate immunity in house finches.

    PubMed

    Fratto, Melanie; Ezenwa, Vanessa O; Davis, Andrew K

    2014-01-01

    When wild animals become infected, they still must cope with the rigors of daily life, and, thus, they still can be exposed to acute stressors. The suite of physiological responses to acute stress includes modifying the innate immune system, but infections can also cause similar changes. We examined the effects of an acute stressor (capture stress) on leukocyte abundance and bacteria-killing ability (BKA) in wild birds (house finches Haemorhous mexicanus) with and without a naturally occurring infection (Mycoplasma gallisepticum) to determine whether infection alters the typical immune response to stress. Birds were captured and bled within 3 min (baseline sample) and then held in paper bags for 2 h and bled again (stress sample). From blood smears made at both time points, we obtained estimates of total white blood cell (WBC) counts and relative numbers of each cell. We also measured BKA of plasma at both time points. In uninfected birds (n = 26), total WBC count decreased by 30% over time, while in infected birds (n = 9), it decreased by 6%. Relative numbers of heterophils did not change over time in uninfected birds but increased in infected birds. Combined with a reduction in lymphocyte numbers, this led to a threefold increase in heterophil-lymphocyte values in infected birds after the stressor, compared to a twofold increase in uninfected birds. There was a nonsignificant tendency for BKA to decline with stress in uninfected birds but not in diseased birds. Collectively, these results suggest that infections can buffer the negative effects of acute stress on innate immunity. PMID:24642543

  5. A prezygotic transmission distorter acting equally in female and male zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata.

    PubMed

    Knief, Ulrich; Schielzeth, Holger; Ellegren, Hans; Kempenaers, Bart; Forstmeier, Wolfgang

    2015-08-01

    The two parental alleles at a specific locus are usually inherited with equal probability to the offspring. However, at least three processes can lead to an apparent departure from fair segregation: early viability selection, biased gene conversion and various kinds of segregation distortion. Here, we conduct a genome-wide scan for transmission distortion in a captive population of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) using 1302 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) followed by confirmatory analyses on independent samples from the same population. In the initial genome-wide scan, we found significant distortion at three linked loci on chromosome Tgu2 and we were able to replicate this finding in each of two follow-up data sets [overall transmission ratio = 0.567 (95% CI = 0.536-0.600), based on 1101 informative meioses]. Although the driving allele was preferentially transmitted by both heterozygous females [ratio = 0.560 (95% CI = 0.519-0.603)] and heterozygous males [ratio = 0.575 (95% CI = 0.531-0.623)], we could rule out postzygotic viability selection and biased gene conversion as possible mechanisms. Early postzygotic viability selection is unlikely, because it would result in eggs with no visible embryo and hence no opportunity for genotyping, and we confirmed that both females and males heterozygous for the driving allele did not produce a larger proportion of such eggs than homozygous birds. Biased gene conversion is expected to be rather localized, while we could trace transmission distortion in haplotypes of several megabases in a recombination desert. Thus, we here report the rare case of a prezygotically active transmission distorter operating equally effectively in female and male meioses. PMID:26087713

  6. Reduced vocal variability in a zebra finch model of dopamine depletion: implications for Parkinson disease.

    PubMed

    Miller, Julie E; Hafzalla, George W; Burkett, Zachary D; Fox, Cynthia M; White, Stephanie A

    2015-11-01

    Midbrain dopamine (DA) modulates the activity of basal ganglia circuitry important for motor control in a variety of species. In songbirds, DA underlies motivational behavior including reproductive drive and is implicated as a gatekeeper for neural activity governing vocal variability. In the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, DA levels increase in Area X, a song-dedicated subregion of the basal ganglia, when a male bird sings his courtship song to a female (female-directed; FD). Levels remain stable when he sings a less stereotyped version that is not directed toward a conspecific (undirected; UD). Here, we used a mild dose of the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) to reduce presynaptic DA input to Area X and characterized the effects on FD and UD behaviors. Immunoblots were used to quantify levels of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) as a biomarker for DA afferent loss in vehicle- and 6-OHDA-injected birds. Following 6-OHDA administration, TH signals were lower in Area X but not in an adjacent subregion, ventral striatal-pallidum (VSP). A postsynaptic marker of DA signaling was unchanged in both regions. These observations suggest that effects were specific to presynaptic afferents of vocal basal ganglia. Concurrently, vocal variability was reduced during UD but not FD song. Similar decreases in vocal variability are observed in patients with Parkinson disease (PD), but the link to DA loss is not well-understood. The 6-OHDA songbird model offers a unique opportunity to further examine how DA loss in cortico-basal ganglia pathways affects vocal control. PMID:26564062

  7. Molt-breeding overlap alters molt dynamics and behavior in zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata castanotis.

    PubMed

    Echeverry-Galvis, Maria A; Hau, Michaela

    2012-06-01

    Costly events in the life history cycle of organisms such as reproduction, migration and pelage/plumage replacement are typically separated in time to maximize their outcome. Such temporal separation is thought to be necessitated by energetical trade-offs, and mediated through physiological processes. However, certain species, such as tropical birds, are able to overlap two costly life history stages: reproduction and feather replacement. It has remained unclear how both events progress when they co-occur over extended periods of time. Here we determined the consequences and potential costs of such overlap by comparing molt and behavioral patterns in both sexes of captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis) that were solely molting or were overlapping breeding and molt. Individuals overlapping the early stages of breeding with molt showed a roughly 40% decrease in the growth rate of individual feathers compared with birds that were molting but not breeding. Further, individuals that overlapped breeding and molt tended to molt fewer feathers simultaneously and exhibited longer intervals between shedding consecutive feathers on the tail or the same wing as well as delays in shedding corresponding flight feathers on opposite sides. Overlapping individuals also altered their time budgets: they devoted more than twice the time to feeding while halving the time spent for feather care in comparison to molt-only individuals. These data provide experimental support for the previously untested hypothesis that when molt and reproduction overlap in time, feather replacement will occur at a slower and less intense rate. There were no sex differences in any of the variables assessed, except for a tendency in females to decline body condition more strongly over time during the overlap than males. Our data indicate the existence of major consequences of overlapping breeding and molt, manifested in changes in both molt dynamics and time budgets of both sexes. It is

  8. No heightened condition dependence of zebra finch ornaments--a quantitative genetic approach.

    PubMed

    Bolund, E; Schielzeth, H; Forstmeier, W

    2010-03-01

    The developmental stress hypothesis offers a mechanism to maintain honesty of sexually selected ornaments, because only high quality individuals will be able to develop full ornamentation in the face of stress during early development. Experimental tests of this hypothesis have traditionally involved the manipulation of one aspect of the rearing conditions and an examination of effects on adult traits. Here, we instead use a statistically powerful quantitative genetic approach to detect condition dependence. We use animal models to estimate environmental correlations between a measure of early growth and adult traits. This way, we could make use of the sometimes dramatic differences in early growth of more than 800 individually cross-fostered birds and measure the effect on a total of 23 different traits after birds reached maturity. We find strong effects of environmental growth conditions on adult body size, body mass and fat deposition, moderate effects on beak colour in both sexes, but no effect on song and plumage characters. Rather surprisingly, there was no effect on male attractiveness, both measured in mate choice trials and under socially complex conditions in aviaries. There was a trend for a positive effect of good growth conditions on the success at fertilizing eggs in males breeding in aviaries whereas longevity was not affected in either sex. We conclude that zebra finches are remarkably resilient to food shortage during growth and can compensate for poor growth conditions without much apparent life-history trade-offs. Our results do not support the hypothesis that sexually selected traits show heightened condition dependence compared to nonsexually selected traits. PMID:20074304

  9. Reduced vocal variability in a zebra finch model of dopamine depletion: implications for Parkinson disease

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Julie E; Hafzalla, George W; Burkett, Zachary D; Fox, Cynthia M; White, Stephanie A

    2015-01-01

    Midbrain dopamine (DA) modulates the activity of basal ganglia circuitry important for motor control in a variety of species. In songbirds, DA underlies motivational behavior including reproductive drive and is implicated as a gatekeeper for neural activity governing vocal variability. In the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, DA levels increase in Area X, a song-dedicated subregion of the basal ganglia, when a male bird sings his courtship song to a female (female-directed; FD). Levels remain stable when he sings a less stereotyped version that is not directed toward a conspecific (undirected; UD). Here, we used a mild dose of the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) to reduce presynaptic DA input to Area X and characterized the effects on FD and UD behaviors. Immunoblots were used to quantify levels of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) as a biomarker for DA afferent loss in vehicle- and 6-OHDA-injected birds. Following 6-OHDA administration, TH signals were lower in Area X but not in an adjacent subregion, ventral striatal-pallidum (VSP). A postsynaptic marker of DA signaling was unchanged in both regions. These observations suggest that effects were specific to presynaptic afferents of vocal basal ganglia. Concurrently, vocal variability was reduced during UD but not FD song. Similar decreases in vocal variability are observed in patients with Parkinson disease (PD), but the link to DA loss is not well-understood. The 6-OHDA songbird model offers a unique opportunity to further examine how DA loss in cortico-basal ganglia pathways affects vocal control. PMID:26564062

  10. Pauses enhance chunk recognition in song element strings by zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Spierings, Michelle; de Weger, Anouk; Ten Cate, Carel

    2015-07-01

    When learning a language, it is crucial to know which syllables of a continuous sound string belong together as words. Human infants achieve this by attending to pauses between words or to the co-occurrence of syllables. It is not only humans that can segment a continuous string. Songbirds learning their song tend to copy 'chunks' from one or more tutors' songs and combine these into their own song. In the tutor songs, these chunks are often separated by pauses and a high co-occurrence of elements, suggesting that these features affect chunking and song learning. We examined experimentally whether the presence of pauses and element co-occurrence affect the ability of adult zebra finches to discriminate strings of song elements. Using a go/no-go design, two groups of birds were trained to discriminate between two strings. In one group (Pause-group), pauses were inserted between co-occurring element triplets in the strings, and in the other group (No-pause group), both strings were continuous. After making a correct discrimination, an individual proceeded to a reversal training using string segments. Segments were element triplets consistent in co-occurrence, triplets that were partly consistent in composition and triplets consisting of elements that did not co-occur in the strings. The Pause-group was faster in discriminating between the two strings. This group also responded differently to consistent triplets in the reversal training, compared to inconsistent triplets. The No-pause group did not differentiate among the triplet types. These results indicate that pauses in strings of song elements aid song discrimination and memorization of co-occurring element groups. PMID:25771964

  11. Inhibition of TrkB limits development of the zebra finch song system.

    PubMed

    Beach, Linda Qi; Tang, Yu Ping; Kerver, Halie; Wade, Juli

    2016-07-01

    Large sexual dimorphisms exist in the zebra finch song system. Masculinization may be mediated by both estradiol and expression of one or more Z-genes (males: ZZ; females: ZW). Roles of the Z-gene tyrosine kinase B (TrkB) in HVC in masculinizing both HVC and one of its targets the robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA), were tested using siRNA administration in juvenile males at two ages (post-hatching days 15-17 or 25-27). Birds were euthanized 10 days later. Potential interactions or additive effects with estradiol were evaluated by treating males with the estrogen synthesis inhibitor fadrozole. Females treated with estradiol were also exposed to the siRNA at the later age. Local inhibition of TrkB in males of both ages reduced the volume of HVC, an effect due to a change in cell number and not cell size. In the older males, in which the treatment spanned the period when the projection from HVC to RA grows, TrkB inhibition reduced the volume of RA and the relative number of cells within it. TrkB siRNA in HVC decreased the volume of and soma size in the RA of females, and the projection from HVC to RA in both sexes. Estradiol in females masculinized various aspects of the song system, and its effect in masculinizing the volume of RA was decreased by TrkB inhibition. However, effects of fadrozole in males were limited. The data indicate that TrkB is involved in masculinizing the song system, but for most measures it probably does not work in concert with E2. PMID:27086969

  12. Centrally Synthesized Estradiol Is a Potent Anti-Inflammatory in the Injured Zebra Finch Brain.

    PubMed

    Pedersen, Alyssa L; Nelson, Lars H; Saldanha, Colin J

    2016-05-01

    In homeotherms, injury to the brain, such as a penetrating wound, increases microglial cytokine expression and astroglial aromatase (estrogen synthase). In songbirds, injury-induced synthesis of estrogens is neuroprotective as aromatase inhibition and replacement with estradiol (E2) exacerbates and mitigates the extent of damage, respectively. The influence of induced aromatization on inflammation, however, remains unstudied. We hypothesized that injury-induced aromatization, via E2 synthesis, may affect neuroinflammation after a penetrating brain injury. Using adult zebra finches, we first documented an increase in the transcription of cytokines but not aromatase, 2 hours after the injury. Twenty-four hours after the injury, however, aromatase was dramatically elevated and cytokine expression had returned to baseline, suggesting that aromatization may be involved in the decrease of cytokines and neuroinflammation. In two subsequent experiments, we tested the influence of the inhibition of induced aromatization and aromatase inhibition with concomitant central E2 replacement on the transcription of the cytokines TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6, the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (cox-2), and its product prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Administration of fadrozole, an aromatase inhibitor, caused a sustained elevation of IL-1β in females and TNF-α, cox-2, and PGE2 in both sexes. This prolonged neuroinflammation appears to be due to a failure to synthesize E2 locally because intracranial E2 replacement lowered IL-1β in females, TNF-α in males, and cox-2 and PGE2 in both sexes. IL-6 was not affected by injury, aromatase inhibition, or E2 replacement in either sex. These data suggest that E2 synthesis after a penetrating brain injury is a potent and inducible anti-inflammatory signal, with specific modulation of discrete cytokine signaling. PMID:26963472

  13. Developmental effects of vasotocin and nonapeptide receptors on early social attachment and affiliative behavior in the zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Baran, Nicole M; Sklar, Nathan C; Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth

    2016-02-01

    Zebra finches demonstrate selective affiliation between juvenile offspring and parents, which, like affiliation between pair partners, is characterized by proximity, vocal communication and contact behaviors. This experiment tested the hypothesis that the nonapeptide arginine vasotocin (AVT, avian homologue of vasopressin) and nonapeptide receptors play a role prior to fledging in the development of affiliative behavior. Zebra finch hatchlings of both sexes received daily intracranial injections (post-hatch days 2-8) of either AVT, Manning Compound (MC, a potent V1a receptor antagonist) or saline (vehicle control). The social development of both sexes was assessed by measuring responsiveness to isolation from the family and subsequent reunion with the male parent after fledging. In addition, we assessed the changes in affiliation with the parents, unfamiliar males, and unfamiliar females each week throughout juvenile development. Compared to controls, MC subjects showed decreased attachment to the parents and MC males did not show the normal increase in affiliative interest in opposite sex individuals as they reached reproductive maturity. In contrast, AVT subjects showed a sustained affiliative interest in parents throughout development, and males showed increased interest in opposite sex conspecifics as they matured. These results provide the first evidence suggesting that AVT and nonapeptide receptors play organizational roles in social development in a bird. PMID:26476409

  14. Addressing Potential Cumulative Impacts of Development on Threatened Species: The Case of the Endangered Black-Throated Finch

    PubMed Central

    Vanderduys, Eric Peter; Reside, April E.; Grice, Anthony; Rechetelo, Juliana

    2016-01-01

    Where threatened biodiversity is adversely affected by development, policies often state that "no net loss" should be the goal and biodiversity offsetting is one mechanism available to achieve this. However, developments are often approved on an ad hoc basis and cumulative impacts are not sufficiently examined. We demonstrate the potential for serious threat to an endangered subspecies when multiple developments are planned. We modelled the distribution of the black-throated finch (Poephila cincta cincta) using bioclimatic data and Queensland's Regional Ecosystem classification. We overlaid granted, extant extractive and exploratory mining tenures within the known and modelled ranges of black-throated finches to examine the level of incipient threat to this subspecies in central Queensland, Australia. Our models indicate that more than half of the remaining P. cincta cincta habitat is currently under extractive or exploratory tenure. Therefore, insufficient habitat exists to offset all potential development so "no net loss" is not possible. This has implications for future conservation of this and similarly distributed species and for resource development planning, especially the use of legislated offsets for biodiversity protection. PMID:26934622

  15. Sex-biased investment in yolk androgens depends on female quality and laying order in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gilbert, Lucy; Rutstein, Alison N.; Hazon, Neil; Graves, Jefferson A.

    2005-04-01

    The Trivers-Willard hypothesis predicts sex biases in parental investment according to parental condition. In addition, parents may need to sex bias their investment if there is an asymmetry between the sexes in offspring fitness under different conditions. For studying maternal differential investment, egg resources are ideal subjects because they are self contained and allocated unequivocally by the female. Recent studies show that yolk androgens can be beneficial to offspring, so here we test for sex-biased investment with maternal investment of yolk testosterone (T) in zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) eggs. From the Trivers-Willard hypothesis, we predicted females to invest more in male eggs in optimum circumstances (e.g. good-condition mother, early-laid egg), and more in female eggs under suboptimal conditions (e.g. poor-condition mother, late-laid egg). This latter prediction is also because in this species there is a female nestling disadvantage in poor conditions and we expected mothers to help compensate for this in female eggs. Indeed, we found more yolk T in female than male eggs. Moreover, in accordance with our predictions, yolk T in male eggs increased with maternal quality relative to female eggs, and decreased with laying order relative to female eggs. This supports our predictions for the different needs and value of male and female offspring in zebra finches. Our results support the idea that females may use yolk androgens as a tool to adaptively manipulate the inequalities between different nestlings.

  16. Coping with Uncertainty: Woodpecker Finches (Cactospiza pallida) from an Unpredictable Habitat Are More Flexible than Birds from a Stable Habitat

    PubMed Central

    Tebbich, Sabine; Teschke, Irmgard

    2014-01-01

    Behavioural flexibility is thought to be a major factor in evolution. It may facilitate the discovery and exploitation of new resources, which in turn may expose populations to novel selective forces and facilitate adaptive radiation. Darwin's finches are a textbook example of adaptive radiation. They are fast learners and show a range of unusual foraging techniques, probably as a result of their flexibility. In this study we aimed to test whether variability of the environment is correlated with flexibility. We compared woodpecker finches from a dry area (hereafter, Arid Zone), where food availability is variable, with individuals from a cloud forest (hereafter, Scalesia zone) where food abundance is stable. As parameters for flexibility, we measured neophilia and neophobia, which are two aspects of reaction to novelty, reversal learning and problem-solving. We found no differences in performance on a problem-solving task but, in line with our prediction, individuals from the Arid Zone were significantly faster reversal learners and more neophilic than their conspecifics from the Scalesia zone. The latter result supports the notion that environmental variability drives flexibility. In contrast to our prediction, Arid Zone birds were even more neophobic than birds from the Scalesia Zone. The latter result could be the consequence of differences in predation pressure between the two vegetation zones. PMID:24638107

  17. The interplay of within-species perceptual predispositions and experience during song ontogeny in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    ter Haar, Sita M.; Kaemper, Wiebke; Stam, Koen; Levelt, Clara C.; ten Cate, Carel

    2014-01-01

    Vocal acquisition in songbirds and humans shows many similarities, one of which is that both involve a combination of experience and perceptual predispositions. Among languages some speech sounds are shared, while others are not. This could reflect a predisposition in young infants for learning some speech sounds over others, which combines with exposure-based learning. Similarly, in songbirds, some sounds are common across populations, while others are more specific to populations or individuals. We examine whether this is also due to perceptual preferences for certain within-species element types in naive juvenile male birds, and how such preferences interact with exposure to guide subsequent song learning. We show that young zebra finches lacking previous song exposure perceptually prefer songs with more common zebra finch song element types over songs with less common elements. Next, we demonstrate that after subsequent tutoring, birds prefer tutor songs regardless of whether these contain more common or less common elements. In adulthood, birds tutored with more common elements showed a higher song similarity to their tutor song, indicating that the early bias influenced song learning. Our findings help to understand the maintenance of similarities and the presence of differences among birds' songs, their dialects and human languages. PMID:25320162

  18. Acoustic Communication and Sound Degradation: How Do the Individual Signatures of Male and Female Zebra Finch Calls Transmit over Distance?

    PubMed Central

    Mouterde, Solveig C.; Theunissen, Frédéric E.; Elie, Julie E.; Vignal, Clémentine; Mathevon, Nicolas

    2014-01-01

    Background Assessing the active space of the various types of information encoded by songbirds' vocalizations is important to address questions related to species ecology (e.g. spacing of individuals), as well as social behavior (e.g. territorial and/or mating strategies). Up to now, most of the previous studies have investigated the degradation of species-specific related information (species identity), and there is a gap of knowledge of how finer-grained information (e.g. individual identity) can transmit through the environment. Here we studied how the individual signature coded in the zebra finch long distance contact call degrades with propagation. Methodology We performed sound transmission experiments of zebra finches' distance calls at various propagation distances. The propagated calls were analyzed using discriminant function analyses on a set of analytical parameters describing separately the spectral and temporal envelopes, as well as on a complete spectrographic representation of the signals. Results/Conclusion We found that individual signature is remarkably resistant to propagation as caller identity can be recovered even at distances greater than a hundred meters. Male calls show stronger discriminability at long distances than female calls, and this difference can be explained by the more pronounced frequency modulation found in their calls. In both sexes, individual information is carried redundantly using multiple acoustical features. Interestingly, features providing the highest discrimination at short distances are not the same ones that provide the highest discrimination at long distances. PMID:25061795

  19. Addressing Potential Cumulative Impacts of Development on Threatened Species: The Case of the Endangered Black-Throated Finch.

    PubMed

    Vanderduys, Eric Peter; Reside, April E; Grice, Anthony; Rechetelo, Juliana

    2016-01-01

    Where threatened biodiversity is adversely affected by development, policies often state that "no net loss" should be the goal and biodiversity offsetting is one mechanism available to achieve this. However, developments are often approved on an ad hoc basis and cumulative impacts are not sufficiently examined. We demonstrate the potential for serious threat to an endangered subspecies when multiple developments are planned. We modelled the distribution of the black-throated finch (Poephila cincta cincta) using bioclimatic data and Queensland's Regional Ecosystem classification. We overlaid granted, extant extractive and exploratory mining tenures within the known and modelled ranges of black-throated finches to examine the level of incipient threat to this subspecies in central Queensland, Australia. Our models indicate that more than half of the remaining P. cincta cincta habitat is currently under extractive or exploratory tenure. Therefore, insufficient habitat exists to offset all potential development so "no net loss" is not possible. This has implications for future conservation of this and similarly distributed species and for resource development planning, especially the use of legislated offsets for biodiversity protection. PMID:26934622

  20. Subdivisions of the Auditory Midbrain (N. Mesencephalicus Lateralis, pars dorsalis) in Zebra Finches Using Calcium-Binding Protein Immunocytochemistry

    PubMed Central

    Logerot, Priscilla; Krützfeldt, Nils O. E.; Wild, J. Martin; Kubke, M. Fabiana

    2011-01-01

    The midbrain nucleus mesencephalicus lateralis pars dorsalis (MLd) is thought to be the avian homologue of the central nucleus of the mammalian inferior colliculus. As such, it is a major relay in the ascending auditory pathway of all birds and in songbirds mediates the auditory feedback necessary for the learning and maintenance of song. To clarify the organization of MLd, we applied three calcium binding protein antibodies to tissue sections from the brains of adult male and female zebra finches. The staining patterns resulting from the application of parvalbumin, calbindin and calretinin antibodies differed from each other and in different parts of the nucleus. Parvalbumin-like immunoreactivity was distributed throughout the whole nucleus, as defined by the totality of the terminations of brainstem auditory afferents; in other words parvalbumin-like immunoreactivity defines the boundaries of MLd. Staining patterns of parvalbumin, calbindin and calretinin defined two regions of MLd: inner (MLd.I) and outer (MLd.O). MLd.O largely surrounds MLd.I and is distinct from the surrounding intercollicular nucleus. Unlike the case in some non-songbirds, however, the two MLd regions do not correspond to the terminal zones of the projections of the brainstem auditory nuclei angularis and laminaris, which have been found to overlap substantially throughout the nucleus in zebra finches. PMID:21701681

  1. Experimental exposure to urban and pink noise affects brain development and song learning in zebra finches (Taenopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Curcio, Michael T.; Swaddle, John P.; MacDougall-Shackleton, Scott A.

    2016-01-01

    Recently, numerous studies have observed changes in bird vocalizations—especially song—in urban habitats. These changes are often interpreted as adaptive, since they increase the active space of the signal in its environment. However, the proximate mechanisms driving cross-generational changes in song are still unknown. We performed a captive experiment to identify whether noise experienced during development affects song learning and the development of song-control brain regions. Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) were bred while exposed, or not exposed, to recorded traffic urban noise (Study 1) or pink noise (Study 2). We recorded the songs of male offspring and compared these to fathers’ songs. We also measured baseline corticosterone and measured the size of song-control brain regions when the males reached adulthood (Study 1 only). While male zebra finches tended to copy syllables accurately from tutors regardless of noise environment, syntax (the ordering of syllables within songs) was incorrectly copied affected by juveniles exposed to noise. Noise did not affect baseline corticosterone, but did affect the size of brain regions associated with song learning: these regions were smaller in males that had been had been exposed to recorded traffic urban noise in early development. These findings provide a possible mechanism by which noise affects behaviour, leading to potential population differences between wild animals occupying noisier urban environments compared with those in quieter habitats. PMID:27602270

  2. Effects of lethal and sublethal concentrations of the herbicide, triclopyr butoxyethyl ester, in the diet of zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Holmes, S B; Thompson, D G; Wainio-Keizer, K L; Capell, S S; Staznik, B

    1994-07-01

    Lethal and sublethal effects of dietary triclopyr butoxyethyl ester (TBEE) on zebra finches (Poephila guttata Gould) were determined in laboratory experiments conducted between 8 January and 1 May 1991. The 8-day median lethal dietary concentration, LC50 (95% confidence interval), of TBEE to zebra finches was 1,923 (1,627 to 2,277) mg/kg. In the sublethal effects experiment, when birds were exposed to 500 mg/kg TBEE in the diet for 29 days, food consumption and body weight were significantly depressed (P < 0.05). Similar prolonged exposures to 50 and 150 mg/kg TBEE in the diet had no significant effect on food consumption or body weight (P > 0.05). Perch-hopping activity was depressed relative to controls in the 500 mg/kg group, and elevated in the 150 mg/kg group, but neither of these differences was significantly (P > 0.05). Disappearance of TBEE residues from treated seeds over the 29 day experimental period followed an exponential decay model, with half-lives in the order of 15 to 18 days. On the basis of our observation that TBEE had no significant adverse effects at a concentration greater than the maximum expected environmental concentration, we propose that forestry applications of triclopyr at registered dosage rates pose little risk to wild songbirds. PMID:7933272

  3. Short-term exposure to testosterone propionate leads to rapid bill color and dominance changes in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Ardia, Daniel R; Broughton, Deanna R; Gleicher, Michael J

    2010-08-01

    Testosterone (T) can influence both male-male competition and mate choice displays. In zebra finches, female mate choice is based in part on bill color, and bill color has been shown to be enhanced by long-term testosterone supplementation. However, it is not clear whether bill color plays a role in male-male interactions and how bill color responds to shorter-term changes in T. We tested whether a single injection of testosterone propionate (TP) would influence male-male dominance interactions and lead to rapid (over a three-day period) changes in bill color. In addition, we tested whether bill color predicted aggression and dominance. We allowed birds in triads to establish hierarchies and then injected either dominant or subordinate individuals with TP, in addition to establishing sham control triads. We found that red chroma, but not hue, predicted aggressiveness of males. Exposure to TP led both dominant and subordinate birds to increase dominance scores over three days, longer than the <24h period in which injected TP stays active. In addition, exposure to TP increased red chroma and hue in three days showing the dynamic nature of allocation of pigments to the bill. Our results suggest that zebra finches can modulate T and bill color levels over short time periods and these changes may occur through positive feedback between T-levels and dominance. PMID:20406643

  4. The interplay of within-species perceptual predispositions and experience during song ontogeny in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    ter Haar, Sita M; Kaemper, Wiebke; Stam, Koen; Levelt, Clara C; ten Cate, Carel

    2014-12-01

    Vocal acquisition in songbirds and humans shows many similarities, one of which is that both involve a combination of experience and perceptual predispositions. Among languages some speech sounds are shared, while others are not. This could reflect a predisposition in young infants for learning some speech sounds over others, which combines with exposure-based learning. Similarly, in songbirds, some sounds are common across populations, while others are more specific to populations or individuals. We examine whether this is also due to perceptual preferences for certain within-species element types in naive juvenile male birds, and how such preferences interact with exposure to guide subsequent song learning. We show that young zebra finches lacking previous song exposure perceptually prefer songs with more common zebra finch song element types over songs with less common elements. Next, we demonstrate that after subsequent tutoring, birds prefer tutor songs regardless of whether these contain more common or less common elements. In adulthood, birds tutored with more common elements showed a higher song similarity to their tutor song, indicating that the early bias influenced song learning. Our findings help to understand the maintenance of similarities and the presence of differences among birds' songs, their dialects and human languages. PMID:25320162

  5. Experimental exposure to urban and pink noise affects brain development and song learning in zebra finches (Taenopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Potvin, Dominique A; Curcio, Michael T; Swaddle, John P; MacDougall-Shackleton, Scott A

    2016-01-01

    Recently, numerous studies have observed changes in bird vocalizations-especially song-in urban habitats. These changes are often interpreted as adaptive, since they increase the active space of the signal in its environment. However, the proximate mechanisms driving cross-generational changes in song are still unknown. We performed a captive experiment to identify whether noise experienced during development affects song learning and the development of song-control brain regions. Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) were bred while exposed, or not exposed, to recorded traffic urban noise (Study 1) or pink noise (Study 2). We recorded the songs of male offspring and compared these to fathers' songs. We also measured baseline corticosterone and measured the size of song-control brain regions when the males reached adulthood (Study 1 only). While male zebra finches tended to copy syllables accurately from tutors regardless of noise environment, syntax (the ordering of syllables within songs) was incorrectly copied affected by juveniles exposed to noise. Noise did not affect baseline corticosterone, but did affect the size of brain regions associated with song learning: these regions were smaller in males that had been had been exposed to recorded traffic urban noise in early development. These findings provide a possible mechanism by which noise affects behaviour, leading to potential population differences between wild animals occupying noisier urban environments compared with those in quieter habitats. PMID:27602270

  6. HTR2 Receptors in a Songbird Premotor Cortical-Like Area Modulate Spectral Characteristics of Zebra Finch Song

    PubMed Central

    Wood, William E.; Roseberry, Thomas K.; Perkel, David J.

    2013-01-01

    Serotonin [5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)] is involved in modulating an array of complex behaviors including learning, depression, and circadian rhythms. Additionally, HTR2 receptors on layer V pyramidal neurons are thought to mediate the actions of psychedelic drugs; the native function of these receptors at this site, however, remains unknown. Previously, we found that activation of HTR2 receptors in the zebra finch forebrain song premotor structure the robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA) led to increased excitation, and that endogenous 5-HT could roughly double spontaneous firing rate. Here, using in vivo single-unit recordings, we found that direct application of 5-HT to these same RA projection neurons, which are analogous to layer V cortical pyramidal neurons, caused a significant increase in the number of action potentials per song-related burst, and a dramatic decrease in signal-to-noise ratio. Injection of the serotonergic neurotoxin 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine into the third ventricle greatly reduced telencephalic 5-HT and resulted in decreased fundamental frequency of harmonic syllables as well as increased goodness of pitch. Both of these results can be explained by the observed actions of 5-HT on RA projection neurons, and both effects recovered to baseline within 2 weeks following the toxin injection. These results show that 5-HT is involved in modulating spectral properties of song, likely via effects on RA projection neurons, but that adult zebra finches can partially compensate for this deficit within 7 d. PMID:23407949

  7. Detection of the European epidemic strain of Trichomonas gallinae in finches, but not other non-columbiformes, in the absence of macroscopic disease.

    PubMed

    Zu Ermgassen, Erasmus K H J; Durrant, Chris; John, Shinto; Gardiner, Roxanne; Alrefaei, Abdulwahed F; Cunningham, Andrew A; Lawson, Becki

    2016-09-01

    Finch trichomonosis is an emerging infectious disease affecting European passerines caused by a clonal strain of Trichomonas gallinae. Migrating chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) were proposed as the likely vector of parasite spread from Great Britain to Fennoscandia. To test for such parasite carriage, we screened samples of oesophagus/crop from 275 Apodiform, Passeriform and Piciform birds (40 species) which had no macroscopic evidence of trichomonosis (i.e. necrotic ingluvitis). These birds were found dead following the emergence of trichomonosis in Great Britain, 2009-2012, and were examined post-mortem. Polymerase chain reactions were used to detect (ITS1/5·8S rRNA/ITS2 region and single subunit rRNA gene) and to subtype (Fe-hydrogenase gene) T. gallinae. Trichomonas gallinae was detected in six finches [three chaffinches, two greenfinches (Chloris chloris) and a bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)]. Sequence data had 100% identity to the European finch epidemic A1 strain for each species. While these results are consistent with finches being vectors of T. gallinae, alternative explanations include the presence of incubating or resolved T. gallinae infections. The inclusion of histopathological examination would help elucidate the significance of T. gallinae infection in the absence of macroscopic lesions. PMID:27180976

  8. A genome-wide search for eigenetically regulated genes in zebra finch using MethylCap-seq and RNA-seq

    PubMed Central

    Steyaert, Sandra; Diddens, Jolien; Galle, Jeroen; De Meester, Ellen; De Keulenaer, Sarah; Bakker, Antje; Sohnius-Wilhelmi, Nina; Frankl-Vilches, Carolina; Van der Linden, Annemie; Van Criekinge, Wim; Vanden Berghe, Wim; De Meyer, Tim

    2016-01-01

    Learning and memory formation are known to require dynamic CpG (de)methylation and gene expression changes. Here, we aimed at establishing a genome-wide DNA methylation map of the zebra finch genome, a model organism in neuroscience, as well as identifying putatively epigenetically regulated genes. RNA- and MethylCap-seq experiments were performed on two zebra finch cell lines in presence or absence of 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine induced demethylation. First, the MethylCap-seq methodology was validated in zebra finch by comparison with RRBS-generated data. To assess the influence of (variable) methylation on gene expression, RNA-seq experiments were performed as well. Comparison of RNA-seq and MethylCap-seq results showed that at least 357 of the 3,457 AZA-upregulated genes are putatively regulated by methylation in the promoter region, for which a pathway analysis showed remarkable enrichment for neurological networks. A subset of genes was validated using Exon Arrays, quantitative RT-PCR and CpG pyrosequencing on bisulfite-treated samples. To our knowledge, this study provides the first genome-wide DNA methylation map of the zebra finch genome as well as a comprehensive set of genes of which transcription is under putative methylation control. PMID:26864856

  9. A comparison of spontaneous problem-solving abilities in three estrildid finch (Taeniopygia guttata, Lonchura striata var. domestica, Stagonopleura guttata) species.

    PubMed

    Schmelz, Martin; Krüger, Oliver; Call, Josep; Krause, E Tobias

    2015-11-01

    Cognition has been extensively studied in primates while other, more distantly related taxa have been neglected for a long time. More recently, there has been an increased interest in avian cognition, with the focus mostly on big-brained species like parrots and corvids. However, the majority of bird species has never systematically been studied in diverse cognitive tasks other than memory and learning tasks, so not much can yet be concluded about the relevant factors for the evolution of cognition. Here we examined 3 species of the estrildid finch family in problem-solving tasks. These granivorous, non-tool-using birds are distributed across 3 continents and are not known for high levels of innovation or spontaneous problem solving in the wild. In this study, our aim was to find such abilities in these species, assess what role domestication might play with a comparison of 4 genetically separated zebra finch strains, and to look for between-species differences between zebra finches, Bengalese finches, and diamond firetails. Furthermore, we established a 3-step spontaneous problem-solving procedure with increasing levels of complexity. Results showed that some estrildid finches were generally capable of spontaneously solving problems of variable complexity to obtain food. We found striking differences in these abilities between species, but not between strains within species, and offer a discussion of potential reasons. Our established methodology can now be applied to a larger number of bird species for phylogenetic comparisons on the behavioral level to get a deeper understanding of the evolution of cognitive abilities. PMID:26301340

  10. Spectrum of MHC Class II Variability in Darwin’s Finches and Their Close Relatives

    PubMed Central

    Sato, Akie; Tichy, Herbert; Grant, Peter R.; Grant, B. Rosemary; Sato, Tetsuji; O’hUigin, Colm

    2011-01-01

    The study describes >400 major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II B exon 2 and 114 intron 2 sequences of 36 passerine bird species, 13 of which belong to the group of Darwin’s finches (DFs) and the remaining 23 to close or more distant relatives of DFs in Central and South America. The data set is analyzed by a combination of judiciously selected statistical methods. The analysis reveals that reliable information concerning MHC organization, including the assignment of sequences to loci, and evolution, as well as the process of species divergence, can be obtained in the absence of genomic sequence data, if the analysis is taken several steps beyond the standard phylogenetic tree construction approach. The main findings of the present study are these: The MHC class II B region of the passerine birds is as elaborate in its organization, divergence, and genetic diversity as the MHC of the eutherian mammals, specifically the primates. Hence, the reported simplicity of the fowl MHC is an oddity. With the help of appropriate markers, the divergence of the MHC genes can be traced deep in the phylogeny of the bird taxa. Transspecies polymorphism is rampant at many of the bird MHC loci. In this respect, the DFs behave as if they were a single, genetically undifferentiated population. There is thus far no indication of alleles that could be considered species, genus, or even DF group specific. The implication of these findings is that DFs are in the midst of adaptive radiations, in which morphological differentiation into species is running ahead of genetic differentiation in genetic systems such as the MHC or the mitochondrial DNA. The radiations are so young that there has not been enough time to sort out polymorphisms at most of the loci among the morphologically differentiating species. These findings parallel those on Lake Victoria haplochromine fishes. Several of the DF MHC allelic lineages can be traced back to the MHC genes of the species Tiaris obscura

  11. Effects of carotenoid and vitamin E supplementation on oxidative stress and plumage coloration in house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus).

    PubMed

    Giraudeau, Mathieu; Sweazea, Karen; Butler, Michael W; McGraw, Kevin J

    2013-11-01

    There has been much recent interest from both applied and basic scientists in the broad series of benefits that animals reap from acquiring high concentrations of dietary antioxidants, such as carotenoids and vitamins (e.g., vitamin E, or tocopherol). Most attention has been paid to separate effects of these compounds on, for example, coloration, health state, development, and vision, but because of possible interactions between these lipid-soluble molecules, we are in need of more studies that co-manipulate these substances and examine their possible synergistic impacts on animal physiology and phenotype. We capitalized on a model avian system (the house finch, Haemorhous mexicanus), where extensive information is available on the fitness roles of carotenoids, to test how variation in carotenoid and/or vitamin E concentrations in the diet impacts body accumulation of these compounds, factors related to oxidative damage (e.g., breast muscle and plasma oxidative-stress susceptibility, plasma nitric-oxide levels), and plumage color development. As in a previous study of ours on carotenoids and health in finches, we employed a 2×2 factorial experimental design on birds in both molting and non-molting conditions, to understand how seasonal shifts in carotenoid use (i.e., pigment incorporation into plumage) might alter the accumulation and roles of carotenoids and vitamins. As expected, lutein supplementation increased the level of circulating carotenoids in both experiments and the color of newly molted plumage. By contrast, vitamin E provisioning did not significantly affect plasma carotenoid levels or plumage coloration in either experiment. Interestingly, carotenoid provisioning decreased circulating vitamin E levels during molt, which suggests either molecular competition between carotenoids and tocopherol at the absorption/transport stages or that vitamin E serves as an antioxidant to offset harmful actions that carotenoids may have at very high concentrations

  12. The development of stimulus-specific auditory responses requires song exposure in male but not female zebra finches

    PubMed Central

    Maul, Kristen K.; Voss, Henning U.; Parra, Lucas C.; Salgado-Commissariat, Delanthi; Ballon, Douglas; Tchernichovski, Ofer; Helekar, Santosh A.

    2013-01-01

    Juvenile male zebra finches develop their song by imitation. Females do not sing but are attracted to males' songs. With functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Event Related Potentials (ERPs) we tested how early auditory experience shapes responses in the auditory forebrain of the adult bird. Adult male birds kept in isolation over the sensitive period for song learning showed no consistency in auditory responses to conspecific songs, calls, and syllables. Thirty seconds of song playback each day over development, which is sufficient to induce song imitation, was also sufficient to shape stimulus-specific responses. Strikingly, adult females kept in isolation over development showed responses similar to those of males that were exposed to songs. We suggest that early auditory experience with songs may be required to tune perception towards conspecific songs in males, whereas in females song selectivity develops even without prior exposure to song. PMID:19937773

  13. Eimeria pileata n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) from the rufous-capped brush finch Atlapetes pileatus Wagler (Passeriformes: Emberizidae) in Mexico.

    PubMed

    Soriano-Vargas, Edgardo; Medina, Juan Pablo; Salgado-Miranda, Celene; García-Conejo, Michele; Galindo-Sánchez, Karla Patrícia; Janczur, Mariusz Krzysztof; Berto, Bruno Pereira; Lopes, Carlos Wilson Gomes

    2015-11-01

    A new coccidian species (Protista: Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) collected from the rufous-capped brush finch Atlapetes pileatus Wagler in the Nevado de Toluca Natural Protected Area, Mexico. Oöcysts of Eimeria pileata n. sp. are ellipsoidal, measuring on average 16.5 × 14.1 μm, with a smooth, bi-layered wall. Micropyle and oöcyst residuum are absent, but a polar granule is present. Sporocysts are ellipsoidal, measuring on average 9.0 × 5.4 μm. Stieda and sub-Stieda bodies are both present. A sporocyst residuum is present as a compact mass of granules. This is the third description of an eimeriid coccidian infecting passerines. PMID:26446548

  14. A Landscape-Scale, Applied Fire Management Experiment Promotes Recovery of a Population of the Threatened Gouldian Finch, Erythrura gouldiae, in Australia's Tropical Savannas.

    PubMed

    Legge, Sarah; Garnett, Stephen; Maute, Kim; Heathcote, Joanne; Murphy, Steve; Woinarski, John C Z; Astheimer, Lee

    2015-01-01

    Fire is an integral part of savanna ecology and changes in fire patterns are linked to biodiversity loss in savannas worldwide. In Australia, changed fire regimes are implicated in the contemporary declines of small mammals, riparian species, obligate-seeding plants and grass seed-eating birds. Translating this knowledge into management to recover threatened species has proved elusive. We report here on a landscape-scale experiment carried out by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) on Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary in northwest Australia. The experiment was designed to understand the response of a key savanna bird guild to fire, and to use that information to manage fire with the aim of recovering a threatened species population. We compared condition indices among three seed-eating bird species--one endangered (Gouldian finch) and two non-threatened (long-tailed finch and double-barred finch)--from two large areas (> 2,830 km2) with initial contrasting fire regimes ('extreme': frequent, extensive, intense fire; versus 'benign': less frequent, smaller, lower intensity fires). Populations of all three species living with the extreme fire regime had condition indices that differed from their counterparts living with the benign fire regime, including higher haematocrit levels in some seasons (suggesting higher levels of activity required to find food), different seasonal haematocrit profiles, higher fat scores in the early wet season (suggesting greater food uncertainty), and then lower muscle scores later in the wet season (suggesting prolonged food deprivation). Gouldian finches also showed seasonally increasing stress hormone concentrations with the extreme fire regime. Cumulatively, these patterns indicated greater nutritional stress over many months for seed-eating birds exposed to extreme fire regimes. We tested these relationships by monitoring finch condition over the following years, as AWC implemented fire management to produce the 'benign' fire regime

  15. A Landscape-Scale, Applied Fire Management Experiment Promotes Recovery of a Population of the Threatened Gouldian Finch, Erythrura gouldiae, in Australia’s Tropical Savannas

    PubMed Central

    Legge, Sarah; Garnett, Stephen; Maute, Kim; Heathcote, Joanne; Murphy, Steve; Woinarski, John C. Z.; Astheimer, Lee

    2015-01-01

    Fire is an integral part of savanna ecology and changes in fire patterns are linked to biodiversity loss in savannas worldwide. In Australia, changed fire regimes are implicated in the contemporary declines of small mammals, riparian species, obligate-seeding plants and grass seed-eating birds. Translating this knowledge into management to recover threatened species has proved elusive. We report here on a landscape-scale experiment carried out by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) on Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary in northwest Australia. The experiment was designed to understand the response of a key savanna bird guild to fire, and to use that information to manage fire with the aim of recovering a threatened species population. We compared condition indices among three seed-eating bird species–one endangered (Gouldian finch) and two non-threatened (long-tailed finch and double-barred finch)—from two large areas (> 2,830 km2) with initial contrasting fire regimes (‘extreme’: frequent, extensive, intense fire; versus ‘benign’: less frequent, smaller, lower intensity fires). Populations of all three species living with the extreme fire regime had condition indices that differed from their counterparts living with the benign fire regime, including higher haematocrit levels in some seasons (suggesting higher levels of activity required to find food), different seasonal haematocrit profiles, higher fat scores in the early wet season (suggesting greater food uncertainty), and then lower muscle scores later in the wet season (suggesting prolonged food deprivation). Gouldian finches also showed seasonally increasing stress hormone concentrations with the extreme fire regime. Cumulatively, these patterns indicated greater nutritional stress over many months for seed-eating birds exposed to extreme fire regimes. We tested these relationships by monitoring finch condition over the following years, as AWC implemented fire management to produce the

  16. Linkage mapping of a polymorphic plumage locus associated with intermorph incompatibility in the Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae).

    PubMed

    Kim, K-W; Griffith, S C; Burke, T

    2016-04-01

    Colour polymorphism is known to facilitate speciation but the genetic basis of animal pigmentation and how colour polymorphisms contribute to speciation is poorly understood. Restricted recombination may promote linkage disequilibrium between the colour locus and incompatibility genes. Genomic rearrangement and the position of relevant loci within a chromosome are important factors that influence the frequency of recombination. Therefore, it is important to know the position of the colour locus, gene order and recombination landscape of the chromosome to understand the mechanism that generates incompatibilities between morphs. Recent studies showed remarkable pre- and postzygotic incompatibilities between sympatric colour morphs of the Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae), in which head feather colour is genetically determined by a single sex-linked locus, Red. We constructed a genetic map for the Z chromosome of the Gouldian finch (male-specific map distance=131 cM), using 618 captive-bred birds and 34 microsatellite markers, to investigate the extent of inter- and intraspecific genomic rearrangements and variation in recombination rate within the Z chromosome. We refined the location of the Red locus to a ~7.2-cM interval in a region with a moderate recombination rate but outside the least-recombining, putative centromeric region. There was no evidence of chromosome-wide genomic rearrangements between the chromosomes carrying the red or black alleles with the current marker resolution. This work will contribute to identifying the causal gene, which will in turn enable alternative explanations for the association between incompatibility and colouration, such as fine-scale linkage disequilibrium, genomic rearrangements and pleiotropy, to be tested. PMID:26786066

  17. Early Life Manipulations of the Nonapeptide System Alter Pair Maintenance Behaviors and Neural Activity in Adult Male Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Baran, Nicole M.; Tomaszycki, Michelle L.; Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth

    2016-01-01

    Adult zebra finches (T. guttata) form socially monogamous pair bonds characterized by proximity, vocal communication, and contact behaviors. In this experiment, we tested whether manipulations of the nonapeptide hormone arginine vasotocin (AVT, avian homolog of vasopressin) and the V1a receptor (V1aR) early in life altered species-typical pairing behavior in adult zebra finches of both sexes. Although there was no effect of treatment on the tendency to pair in either sex, males in different treatments exhibited profoundly different profiles of pair maintenance behavior. Following a brief separation, AVT-treated males were highly affiliative with their female partner but sang very little compared to Controls. In contrast, males treated with a V1aR antagonist sang significantly less than Controls, but did not differ in affiliation. These effects on behavior in males were also reflected in changes in the expression of V1aR and immediate early gene activity in three brain regions known to be involved in pairing behavior in birds: the medial amygdala, medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, and the lateral septum. AVT males had higher V1aR expression in the medial amygdala than both Control and antagonist-treated males and immediate early gene activity of V1aR neurons in the medial amygdala was positively correlated with affiliation. Antagonist treated males showed decreased activity in the medial amygdala. In addition, there was a negative correlation between the activity of V1aR cells in the medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and singing. Treatment also affected the expression of V1aR and activity in the lateral septum, but this was not correlated with any behaviors measured. These results provide evidence that AVT and V1aR play developmental roles in specific pair maintenance behaviors and the neural substrate underlying these behaviors in a bird. PMID:27065824

  18. Early Life Manipulations of the Nonapeptide System Alter Pair Maintenance Behaviors and Neural Activity in Adult Male Zebra Finches.

    PubMed

    Baran, Nicole M; Tomaszycki, Michelle L; Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth

    2016-01-01

    Adult zebra finches (T. guttata) form socially monogamous pair bonds characterized by proximity, vocal communication, and contact behaviors. In this experiment, we tested whether manipulations of the nonapeptide hormone arginine vasotocin (AVT, avian homolog of vasopressin) and the V1a receptor (V1aR) early in life altered species-typical pairing behavior in adult zebra finches of both sexes. Although there was no effect of treatment on the tendency to pair in either sex, males in different treatments exhibited profoundly different profiles of pair maintenance behavior. Following a brief separation, AVT-treated males were highly affiliative with their female partner but sang very little compared to Controls. In contrast, males treated with a V1aR antagonist sang significantly less than Controls, but did not differ in affiliation. These effects on behavior in males were also reflected in changes in the expression of V1aR and immediate early gene activity in three brain regions known to be involved in pairing behavior in birds: the medial amygdala, medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, and the lateral septum. AVT males had higher V1aR expression in the medial amygdala than both Control and antagonist-treated males and immediate early gene activity of V1aR neurons in the medial amygdala was positively correlated with affiliation. Antagonist treated males showed decreased activity in the medial amygdala. In addition, there was a negative correlation between the activity of V1aR cells in the medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and singing. Treatment also affected the expression of V1aR and activity in the lateral septum, but this was not correlated with any behaviors measured. These results provide evidence that AVT and V1aR play developmental roles in specific pair maintenance behaviors and the neural substrate underlying these behaviors in a bird. PMID:27065824

  19. Effectiveness of the GnRH agonist Deslorelin as a tool to decrease levels of circulating testosterone in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Murphy, Karagh; Wilson, David A; Burton, Mark; Slaugh, Shayla; Dunning, Jeffery L; Prather, Jonathan F

    2015-10-01

    Songbirds are widely used in studies of the neurobiology underlying learning, memory and performance of the sounds used in vocal communication. Development and activity of neurons in many brain sites implicated in those behaviors are closely related to levels of circulating testosterone. Approaches to understand the effects of testosterone in songbirds are presently limited to testosterone implants, which elevate testosterone levels to supraphysiological values, or castration, which eliminates gonadal production of testosterone. Previous studies in mammals indicate that GnRH agonists may be an effective tool to reduce testosterone within that range of extremes and without invasive surgery. To evaluate the effectiveness of the GnRH agonist Deslorelin as a tool to modulate levels of testosterone in songbirds, we recorded the effects of Deslorelin in adult male zebra finches. We recorded songs, body mass and blood testosterone levels pre-treatment, then we gave each bird a small subcutaneous implant of Deslorelin. We measured blood plasma testosterone levels weekly and recorded song behavior and gross morphology of brain, testes and heart at the end of each experiment. Testosterone levels were reduced at the 5mg/kg dose, and the very slight song changes we observed at that dose were like those reported for castrated zebra finches. As expected, there were no changes in the number of cells in androgen-sensitive brain structures. Suppression of testosterone at the 5mg/kg dose was reversible through implant removal. Thus, Deslorelin is a new tool to transiently suppress testosterone levels without the invasiveness and undesirable aftereffects of surgical castration. PMID:26391838

  20. Developing accurate survey methods for estimating population sizes and trends of the critically endangered Nihoa Millerbird and Nihoa Finch.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gorresen, P. Marcos; Camp, Richard J.; Brinck, Kevin W.; Farmer, Chris

    2012-01-01

    Point-transect surveys indicated that millerbirds were more abundant than shown by the striptransect method, and were estimated at 802 birds in 2010 (95%CI = 652 – 964) and 704 birds in 2011 (95%CI = 579 – 837). Point-transect surveys yielded population estimates with improved precision which will permit trends to be detected in shorter time periods and with greater statistical power than is available from strip-transect survey methods. Mean finch population estimates and associated uncertainty were not markedly different among the three survey methods, but the performance of models used to estimate density and population size are expected to improve as the data from additional surveys are incorporated. Using the pointtransect survey, the mean finch population size was estimated at 2,917 birds in 2010 (95%CI = 2,037 – 3,965) and 2,461 birds in 2011 (95%CI = 1,682 – 3,348). Preliminary testing of the line-transect method in 2011 showed that it would not generate sufficient detections to effectively model bird density, and consequently, relatively precise population size estimates. Both species were fairly evenly distributed across Nihoa and appear to occur in all or nearly all available habitat. The time expended and area traversed by observers was similar among survey methods; however, point-transect surveys do not require that observers walk a straight transect line, thereby allowing them to avoid culturally or biologically sensitive areas and minimize the adverse effects of recurrent travel to any particular area. In general, pointtransect surveys detect more birds than strip-survey methods, thereby improving precision and resulting population size and trend estimation. The method is also better suited for the steep and uneven terrain of Nihoa

  1. Features of the retinotopic representation in the visual wulst of a laterally eyed bird, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Michael, Neethu; Löwel, Siegrid; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2015-01-01

    The visual wulst of the zebra finch comprises at least two retinotopic maps of the contralateral eye. As yet, it is not known how much of the visual field is represented in the wulst neuronal maps, how the organization of the maps is related to the retinal architecture, and how information from the ipsilateral eye is involved in the activation of the wulst. Here, we have used autofluorescent flavoprotein imaging and classical anatomical methods to investigate such characteristics of the most posterior map of the multiple retinotopic representations. We found that the visual wulst can be activated by visual stimuli from a large part of the visual field of the contralateral eye. Horizontally, the visual field representation extended from -5° beyond the beak tip up to +125° laterally. Vertically, a small strip from -10° below to about +25° above the horizon activated the visual wulst. Although retinal ganglion cells had a much higher density around the fovea and along a strip extending from the fovea towards the beak tip, these areas were not overrepresented in the wulst map. The wulst area activated from the foveal region of the ipsilateral eye, overlapped substantially with the middle of the three contralaterally activated regions in the visual wulst, and partially with the other two. Visual wulst activity evoked by stimulation of the frontal visual field was stronger with contralateral than with binocular stimulation. This confirms earlier electrophysiological studies indicating an inhibitory influence of the activation of the ipsilateral eye on wulst activity elicited by stimulating the contralateral eye. The lack of a foveal overrepresentation suggests that identification of objects may not be the primary task of the zebra finch visual wulst. Instead, this brain area may be involved in the processing of visual information necessary for spatial orientation. PMID:25853253

  2. Alteration of CaBP Expression Pattern in the Nucleus Magnocellularis following Unilateral Cochlear Ablation in Adult Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Li, Jie; Zhou, Xin; Huang, Li; Fu, Xin; Liu, Jin; Zhang, Xinwen; Sun, Yingyu; Zuo, Mingxue

    2013-01-01

    Songbirds have the rare ability of auditory-vocal learning and maintenance. Up to now, the organization and function of the nucleus magnocellularis (NM), the first relay of the avian ascending auditory pathway is largely based on studies in non-vocal learning species, such as chickens and owls. To investigate whether NM exhibits different histochemical properties associated with auditory processing in songbirds, we examined the expression patterns of three calcium-binding proteins (CaBPs), including calretinin (CR), parvalbumin (PV) and calbindin-D28k (CB), and their relations to auditory inputs in NM in adult zebra finches. We found enriched and co-localized immunostaining of CR, PV and CB in the majority of NM neurons, without neuronal population preference. Furthermore, they were sensitive to adult deafferentation with differential plasticity patterns. After unilateral cochlear removal, CR staining in the ipsilateral NM decreased appreciably at 3 days after surgery, and continued to decline thereafter. PV staining showed down-regulation first at 3 days, but subsequently recovered slightly. CB staining did not significantly decrease until 7 days after surgery. Our findings suggest that the three CaBPs might play distinct roles in association with auditory processing in zebra finches. These results are in contrast to the findings in the NM of chickens where CR is the predominant CaBP and deafferentation had no apparent effect on its expression. Further extended studies in other avian species are required to establish whether the difference in CaBP patterns in NM is functionally related to the different auditory-vocal behaviors. PMID:24244471

  3. Features of the Retinotopic Representation in the Visual Wulst of a Laterally Eyed Bird, the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Michael, Neethu; Löwel, Siegrid; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2015-01-01

    The visual wulst of the zebra finch comprises at least two retinotopic maps of the contralateral eye. As yet, it is not known how much of the visual field is represented in the wulst neuronal maps, how the organization of the maps is related to the retinal architecture, and how information from the ipsilateral eye is involved in the activation of the wulst. Here, we have used autofluorescent flavoprotein imaging and classical anatomical methods to investigate such characteristics of the most posterior map of the multiple retinotopic representations. We found that the visual wulst can be activated by visual stimuli from a large part of the visual field of the contralateral eye. Horizontally, the visual field representation extended from -5° beyond the beak tip up to +125° laterally. Vertically, a small strip from -10° below to about +25° above the horizon activated the visual wulst. Although retinal ganglion cells had a much higher density around the fovea and along a strip extending from the fovea towards the beak tip, these areas were not overrepresented in the wulst map. The wulst area activated from the foveal region of the ipsilateral eye, overlapped substantially with the middle of the three contralaterally activated regions in the visual wulst, and partially with the other two. Visual wulst activity evoked by stimulation of the frontal visual field was stronger with contralateral than with binocular stimulation. This confirms earlier electrophysiological studies indicating an inhibitory influence of the activation of the ipsilateral eye on wulst activity elicited by stimulating the contralateral eye. The lack of a foveal overrepresentation suggests that identification of objects may not be the primary task of the zebra finch visual wulst. Instead, this brain area may be involved in the processing of visual information necessary for spatial orientation. PMID:25853253

  4. Differential coexpression of FoxP1, FoxP2, and FoxP4 in the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) song system.

    PubMed

    Mendoza, Ezequiel; Tokarev, Kirill; Düring, Daniel N; Retamosa, Eva Camarillo; Weiss, Michael; Arpenik, Nshdejan; Scharff, Constance

    2015-06-15

    Heterozygous disruptions of the Forkhead transcription factor FoxP2 impair acquisition of speech and language. Experimental downregulation in brain region Area X of the avian ortholog FoxP2 disrupts song learning in juvenile male zebra finches. In vitro, transcriptional activity of FoxP2 requires dimerization with itself or with paralogs FoxP1 and FoxP4. Whether this is the case in vivo is unknown. To provide the means for future functional studies we cloned FoxP4 from zebra finches and compared regional and cellular coexpression of FoxP1, FoxP2, and FoxP4 mRNA and protein in brains of juvenile and adult male zebra finches. In the telencephalic song nuclei HVC, RA, and Area X, the three investigated FoxPs were either expressed alone or occurred in specific combinations with each other, as shown by double in situ hybridization and triple immunohistochemistry. FoxP1 and FoxP4 but not FoxP2 were expressed in RA and in the HVCRA and HVCX projection neurons. In Area X and the surrounding striatum the density of neurons expressing all three FoxPs together or FoxP1 and FoxP4 together was significantly higher than the density of neurons expressing other combinations. Interestingly, the proportions of Area X neurons expressing particular combinations of FoxPs remained constant at all ages. In addition, FoxP-expressing neurons in adult Area X express dopamine receptors 1A, 1B, and 2. Together, these data provide the first evidence that Area X neurons can coexpress all avian FoxP subfamily members, thus allowing for a variety of regulatory possibilities via heterodimerization that could impact song behavior in zebra finches. PMID:25556631

  5. 29. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    29. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the archives of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, 300 Eric Boulevard West, Syracuse, New York 13202), Strand, Draftsman, October 3, 1923. Sheet 1-473, International Paper Company. Completing crest of dam. Section through the Finch, Pruyn & Company wing dam. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  6. 22. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    22. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the archives of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, 300 Eric Boulevard West, Syracuse, New York 13202), Strand, Draftsman, September 23, 1913. Sheet 1-258, International Paper Company and Finch, Pruyn & Company. Concrete dam. Detail showing cross sections through the dam. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  7. 31. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    31. Photographic copy of ink on linen drawing (at the archives of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, 300 Eric Boulevard West, Syracuse, New York 13202), Strand, Draftsman, October 3, 1923. Sheet 1-473, International Paper Company. Completing crest of dam. Section through the Finch, Pruyn & Company beadgates. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  8. 2. View of the southern twothirds of the dam showing ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    2. View of the southern two-thirds of the dam showing the Glens Falls Bridge over the Hudson River on the left, the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation penstocks and inktake structure at the southeast corner of the dam, and the dam itself. The Finch Pruyn & Company Forebay is the foreground. Facing south. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  9. Arrhythmic Song Exposure Increases ZENK Expression in Auditory Cortical Areas and Nucleus Taeniae of the Adult Zebra Finch

    PubMed Central

    Lampen, Jennifer; Jones, Katherine; McAuley, J. Devin; Chang, Soo-Eun; Wade, Juli

    2014-01-01

    Rhythm is important in the production of motor sequences such as speech and song. Deficits in rhythm processing have been implicated in human disorders that affect speech and language processing, including stuttering, autism, and dyslexia. Songbirds provide a tractable model for studying the neural underpinnings of rhythm processing due to parallels with humans in neural structures and vocal learning patterns. In this study, adult zebra finches were exposed to naturally rhythmic conspecific song or arrhythmic song. Immunohistochemistry for the immediate early gene ZENK was used to detect neural activation in response to these two types of stimuli. ZENK was increased in response to arrhythmic song in the auditory association cortex homologs, caudomedial nidopallium (NCM) and caudomedial mesopallium (CMM), and the avian amygdala, nucleus taeniae (Tn). CMM also had greater ZENK labeling in females than males. The increased neural activity in NCM and CMM during perception of arrhythmic stimuli parallels increased activity in the human auditory cortex following exposure to unexpected, or perturbed, auditory stimuli. These auditory areas may be detecting errors in arrhythmic song when comparing it to a stored template of how conspecific song is expected to sound. CMM may also be important for females in evaluating songs of potential mates. In the context of other research in songbirds, we suggest that the increased activity in Tn may be related to the value of song for assessing mate choice and bonding or it may be related to perception of arrhythmic song as aversive. PMID:25259620

  10. Co-localization of Sorting Nexin 2 and Androgen Receptor in the Song System of Juvenile Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Di; Tang, Yu Ping; Wade, Juli

    2010-01-01

    Mechanisms regulating sexual differentiation of the zebra finch song system appear to include both genetic and hormonal factors. Sorting Nexin 2 (SNX2), which is involved in trafficking proteins between cellular membranes, and androgen receptor (AR) mRNA are both increased in song control nuclei of juvenile males compared to females. Here, in situ hybridization for SNX2 and immunohistochemistry for AR were used to evaluate these sexual dimorphisms in more detail. Estimates of the total number of HVC cells expressing SNX2 and AR, individually as well as together, were greater in 25-day-old males compared to females. The densities of these types of cells were generally also increased in males compared to females in HVC and Area X (or the equivalent portion of the medial striatum in females). On average, more than half of the AR+ cells co-expressed SNX2 in both brain regions. The potential, therefore, exists for both AR and SNX2 to be involved in masculinization of these two brain regions. One possibility is that they, either separately or in conjunction, enhance the action of trophic factors within the brain. PMID:20452330

  11. Multiple Visual Field Representations in the Visual Wulst of a Laterally Eyed Bird, the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    The visual wulst is the telencephalic target of the avian thalamofugal visual system. It contains several retinotopically organised representations of the contralateral visual field. We used optical imaging of intrinsic signals, electrophysiological recordings, and retrograde tracing with two fluorescent tracers to evaluate properties of these representations in the zebra finch, a songbird with laterally placed eyes. Our experiments revealed that there is some variability of the neuronal maps between individuals and also concerning the number of detectable maps. It was nonetheless possible to identify three different maps, a posterolateral, a posteromedial, and an anterior one, which were quite constant in their relation to each other. The posterolateral map was in contrast to the two others constantly visible in each successful experiment. The topography of the two other maps was mirrored against that map. Electrophysiological recordings in the anterior and the posterolateral map revealed that all units responded to flashes and to moving bars. Mean directional preferences as well as latencies were different between neurons of the two maps. Tracing experiments confirmed previous reports on the thalamo-wulst connections and showed that the anterior and the posterolateral map receive projections from separate clusters within the thalamic nuclei. Maps are connected to each other by wulst intrinsic projections. Our experiments confirm that the avian visual wulst contains several separate retinotopic maps with both different physiological properties and different thalamo-wulst afferents. This confirms that the functional organization of the visual wulst is very similar to its mammalian equivalent, the visual cortex. PMID:27139912

  12. Laying-sequence-specific variation in yolk oestrogen levels, and relationship to plasma oestrogen in female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Tony D.; Ames, Caroline E.; Kiparissis, Yiannis; Wynne-Edwards, Katherine E.

    2005-01-01

    We investigated the relationship between plasma and yolk oestrogens in laying female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) by manipulating plasma oestradiol (E2) levels, via injection of oestradiol-17β, in a sequence-specific manner to maintain chronically high plasma levels for later-developing eggs (contrasting with the endogenous pattern of decreasing plasma E2 concentrations during laying). We report systematic variation in yolk oestrogen concentrations, in relation to laying sequence, similar to that widely reported for androgenic steroids. In sham-manipulated females, yolk E2 concentrations decreased with laying sequence. However, in E2-treated females plasma E2 levels were higher during the period of rapid yolk development of later-laid eggs, compared with control females. As a consequence, we reversed the laying-sequence-specific pattern of yolk E2: in E2-treated females, yolk E2 concentrations increased with laying-sequence. In general therefore, yolk E2 levels were a direct reflection of plasma E2 levels. However, in control females there was some inter-individual variability in the endogenous pattern of plasma E2 levels through the laying cycle which could generate variation in sequence-specific patterns of yolk hormone levels even if these primarily reflect circulating steroid levels. PMID:15695208

  13. Short-term and long-term effects of vocal distortion on song maintenance in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Hough, Gerald E; Volman, Susan F

    2002-02-01

    Adult zebra finch song is irreversibly altered when birds are deprived of correct feedback by deafening or denervation of the syrinx. To clarify the role of feedback in song maintenance, we developed a reversible technique to distort vocal output without damaging the auditory or vocal systems. We implanted flexible beads adjacent to the syrinx to alter its biomechanics. Immediate song aberrations included low volume, frequency shifts, missing harmonics, and production of click-like syllables. After a few weeks, seven of nine birds stopped producing some syllables. In six of these birds, the gaps left by the silenced syllables gradually shortened, and the lost syllables did not return when beads were removed 16 weeks after treatment began. The nondeleted syllables of all birds regained their preimplant morphology, insofar as could be detected, within 9 d after bead removal. In four other birds, we removed the beads as soon as syllables were deleted, when the silent intervals were still full length. In these birds, all deleted syllables returned within 1 week. Our results indicate that both silenced syllables and syllable morphology can recover as long as the song's temporal structure is maintained, but once altered, changes in the song sequence can be permanent. A hierarchical organization of the song production system has recently been described (Margoliash, 1997). Reversible disruption of song production by our method appears to permanently alter the higher levels of the system that encode song sequence, but not the lower levels that encode individual syllable structure. PMID:11826147

  14. Dopamine binds to α2-adrenergic receptors in the song control system of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Cornil, Charlotte A.; Castelino, Christina B.; Ball, Gregory F.

    2008-01-01

    A commonly held view is that dopamine exerts its effects via binding to D1- and D2-dopaminergic receptors. However, recent data have emerged supporting the existence of a direct interaction of dopamine with adrenergic receptors. Dopamine may also directly bind adrenergic receptors but this interaction has been poorly investigated. In this study, the pharmacological basis of possible in vivo interactions between dopamine and α2-adrenergic receptors was investigated in zebra finches. A binding competition study showed that dopamine displaces the binding of the selective α2-adrenergic ligand, [3H]RX821002, in the brain. The affinity of dopamine for the adrenergic sites does not differ between the sexes and is 10-28-fold lower than that for norepinephrine. To assess the anatomical distribution of this interaction, binding competitions were performed on brain slices incubated in 5nM [3H]RX821002 in the absence of any competitor or in the presence of norepinephrine or dopamine. Both norepinephrine and dopamine displaced the binding of the radioligand though to a different extent in most of the regions studied (e.g., Area X, the lateral part of the magnocellular nucleus of anterior nidopallium, HVC, arcopallium dorsale, ventral tegmental area and substantia grisea centralis) but not in the robust nucleus of the arcopallium. Together these data provide evidence for a direct interaction between dopamine and adrenergic receptors in songbird brains albeit with regional variation. PMID:18155403

  15. Body condition and immune response in wild zebra finches: effects of capture, confinement and captive-rearing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ewenson, Erynne; Zann, Richard; Flannery, Graham

    2001-08-01

    Behavioural ecologists attempt to predict fitness in birds from estimates of body condition and immune capacity. We investigated how the stresses associated with capture, confinement and captive-rearing of wild zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) affected different elements of the immune system and body condition. Wild birds had higher heterophil:lymphocyte ratios and total leucocyte counts than aviary birds, presumably an outcome of mounting specific resistance to pathogens, but this response diminished significantly within 10 days of confinement. Wild birds had lower phytohaemagglutinin-A (PHA) responses than their aviary-bred counterparts possibly because energetic costs limited a general resistance response. Wild birds were heavier and had higher haematocrits than their aviary counterparts, but had less fat, although just 10 days of captivity significantly increased fat levels. Measures of body condition were of limited use for predicting immune responsiveness. We conclude that the different elements of the immune system and body condition respond independently, and often unpredictably, to many ecological and behavioural stressors.

  16. Multiple Visual Field Representations in the Visual Wulst of a Laterally Eyed Bird, the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Bischof, Hans-Joachim; Eckmeier, Dennis; Keary, Nina; Löwel, Siegrid; Mayer, Uwe; Michael, Neethu

    2016-01-01

    The visual wulst is the telencephalic target of the avian thalamofugal visual system. It contains several retinotopically organised representations of the contralateral visual field. We used optical imaging of intrinsic signals, electrophysiological recordings, and retrograde tracing with two fluorescent tracers to evaluate properties of these representations in the zebra finch, a songbird with laterally placed eyes. Our experiments revealed that there is some variability of the neuronal maps between individuals and also concerning the number of detectable maps. It was nonetheless possible to identify three different maps, a posterolateral, a posteromedial, and an anterior one, which were quite constant in their relation to each other. The posterolateral map was in contrast to the two others constantly visible in each successful experiment. The topography of the two other maps was mirrored against that map. Electrophysiological recordings in the anterior and the posterolateral map revealed that all units responded to flashes and to moving bars. Mean directional preferences as well as latencies were different between neurons of the two maps. Tracing experiments confirmed previous reports on the thalamo-wulst connections and showed that the anterior and the posterolateral map receive projections from separate clusters within the thalamic nuclei. Maps are connected to each other by wulst intrinsic projections. Our experiments confirm that the avian visual wulst contains several separate retinotopic maps with both different physiological properties and different thalamo-wulst afferents. This confirms that the functional organization of the visual wulst is very similar to its mammalian equivalent, the visual cortex. PMID:27139912

  17. Effect of Vocal Nerve Section on Song and ZENK Protein Expression in Area X in Adult Male Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Liao, Congshu; Li, Dongfeng

    2012-01-01

    ZENK expression in vocal nuclei is associated with singing behavior. Area X is an important nucleus for learning and stabilizing birdsong. ZENK expression is higher in Area X compared to that in other vocal nuclei when birds are singing. To reveal the relationship between the ZENK expression in Area X and song crystallization, immunohistochemistry was used to detect ZENK protein expression in Area X after the unilateral vocal nerve (tracheosyringeal nerve) section in adult male zebra finches. Sham operations had no effect on song. In contrast, section of unilateral vocal nerve could induce song decrystallization at the 7th day after the surgery. The spectral and the temporal features of birdsong were distorted more significantly in the right-side vocal nerve section than in the left-side vocal nerve section. In addition, after surgery, ZENK expression was higher in the right-side of Area X than in the left-side. These results indicate that the vocal nerve innervations probably are right-side dominant. ZENK expression in both sides of Area X decreased, as compared to control group after surgery, which suggests that the ZENK expression in Area X is related to birdsong crystallization, and that there is cooperation between the Area X in AFP and syrinx nerve. PMID:23251821

  18. First description of the breeding biology and natural history of the ochre-breasted brush finch atlapetes semirufus in venezuela

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Biancucci, L.; Martin, T.E.

    2008-01-01

    We provide the first description of the eggs, breeding biology, and natural history of the Ochre-breasted Brush Finch (Atlapetes semirufus). We found 37 nests over four breeding seasons (2004-2007) in Yacamb?? National Park, Venezuela. Nesting activity started in late April and continued until early June suggesting single-brooded behavior despite a typical tropical clutch size of two eggs (x?? = 1.89) that were laid on consecutive days. Egg mass averaged 3.38 g and 11.6% of adult female mass. The incubation and nestling periods averaged 14.9 and 10.5 days, respectively. Only females incubated and the percent time they spent incubating did not change between early and late incubation. Females brooded 42.7% of the time when nestlings were 2 days of age and 20.5% when 9 days of age. Both parents provisioned young at a low rate (3.9 trips/hr) and nestling growth rate (k = 0.45) was also slow. Nest predation rates were relatively high with daily mortality rates of 0.058 and 0.067 during incubation and nestling stages, respectively.

  19. Young, active and well-connected: adult-born neurons in the zebra finch are activated during singing.

    PubMed

    Tokarev, Kirill; Boender, Arjen J; Claßen, Gala A E; Scharff, Constance

    2016-05-01

    Neuronal replacement in the pallial song control nucleus HVC of adult zebra finches constitutes an interesting case of homeostatic plasticity; in spite of continuous addition and attrition of neurons in ensembles that code song elements, adult song remains remarkably invariant. New neurons migrate into HVC and later synapse with their target, arcopallial song nucleus RA (HVCRA). New HVCRA neurons respond to auditory stimuli (in anaesthetised animals), but whether and when they become functionally active during singing is unknown. We studied this, using 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine to birth-date neurons, combined with immunohistochemical detection of immediate-early gene (IEG) expression and retrograde tracer injections into RA to track connectivity. Interestingly, singing was followed by IEG expression in a substantial fraction of new neurons that were not retrogradely labelled from RA, suggesting a possible role in HVC-intrinsic network function. As new HVC neurons matured, the proportion of HVCRA neurons that expressed IEGs after singing increased significantly. Since it was previously shown that singing induces IEG expression in HVC also in deaf birds and that hearing song does not induce IEG expression in HVC, our data provide the first direct evidence that new HVC neurons are engaged in song motor behaviour. PMID:25687260

  20. Masculinisation of the Zebra Finch Song System: Roles of Oestradiol and the Z-chromosome Gene Tubulin-Specific Chaperone Protein A

    PubMed Central

    Beach, L. Q.; Wade, J.

    2015-01-01

    Robust sex differences in brain and behaviour exist in zebra finches. Only males sing, and forebrain song control regions are more developed in males. The factors driving these differences are not clear, although numerous experiments have shown that oestradiol (E2) administered to female hatchlings partially masculinises brain and behaviour. Recent studies suggest that an increased expression of Z-chromosome genes in males (ZZ; females: ZW) might also play a role. The Z-gene tubulin-specific chaperone A (TBCA) exhibits increased expression in the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (LMAN) of juvenile males compared to females; TBCA+ cells project to the robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA). In the present study, we investigated the role of TBCA and tested hypotheses with respect to the interactive or additive effects of E2 and TBCA. We first examined whether E2 in hatchling zebra finches modulates TBCA expression in the LMAN. It affected neither the mRNA, nor protein in either sex. We then unilaterally delivered TBCA small interfering (si)RNA to the LMAN of developing females treated with E2 or vehicle and males treated with the aromatase inhibitor, fadrozole, or its control. In both sexes, decreasing TBCA in LMAN reduced RA cell number, cell size and volume. It also decreased LMAN volume in females. Fadrozole in males increased LMAN volume and RA cell size. TBCA siRNA delivered to the LMAN also decreased the projection from this brain region to the RA, as indicated by anterograde tract tracing. The results suggest that TBCA is involved in masculinising the song system. However, because no interactions between the siRNA and hormone manipulations were detected, TBCA does not appear to modulate effects of E2 in the zebra finch song circuit. PMID:25702708

  1. Activation Changes in Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Brain Areas Evoked by Alterations of the Earth Magnetic Field

    PubMed Central

    Keary, Nina; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2012-01-01

    Many animals are able to perceive the earth magnetic field and to use it for orientation and navigation within the environment. The mechanisms underlying the perception and processing of magnetic field information within the brain have been thoroughly studied, especially in birds, but are still obscure. Three hypotheses are currently discussed, dealing with ferromagnetic particles in the beak of birds, with the same sort of particles within the lagena organs, or describing magnetically influenced radical-pair processes within retinal photopigments. Each hypothesis is related to a well-known sensory organ and claims parallel processing of magnetic field information with somatosensory, vestibular and visual input, respectively. Changes in activation within nuclei of the respective sensory systems have been shown previously. Most of these previous experiments employed intensity enhanced magnetic stimuli or lesions. We here exposed unrestrained zebra finches to either a stationary or a rotating magnetic field of the local intensity and inclination. C-Fos was used as an activity marker to examine whether the two treatments led to differences in fourteen brain areas including nuclei of the somatosensory, vestibular and visual system. An ANOVA revealed an overall effect of treatment, indicating that the magnetic field change was perceived by the birds. While the differences were too small to be significant in most areas, a significant enhancement of activation by the rotating stimulus was found in a hippocampal subdivision. Part of the hyperpallium showed a strong, nearly significant, increase. Our results are compatible with previous studies demonstrating an involvement of at least three different sensory systems in earth magnetic field perception and suggest that these systems, probably less elaborated, may also be found in nonmigrating birds. PMID:22679515

  2. Mercury Reduces Avian Reproductive Success and Imposes Selection: An Experimental Study with Adult- or Lifetime-Exposure in Zebra Finch

    PubMed Central

    Varian-Ramos, Claire W.; Swaddle, John P.; Cristol, Daniel A.

    2014-01-01

    Mercury is a global pollutant that biomagnifies in food webs, placing wildlife at risk of reduced reproductive fitness and survival. Songbirds are the most diverse branch of the avian evolutionary tree; many are suffering persistent and serious population declines and we know that songbirds are frequently exposed to mercury pollution. Our objective was to determine the effects of environmentally relevant doses of mercury on reproductive success of songbirds exposed throughout their lives or only as adults. The two modes of exposure simulated philopatric species versus dispersive species, and are particularly relevant because of the heightened mercury-sensitivity of developing nervous systems. We performed a dosing study with dietary methylmercury in a model songbird species, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), at doses from 0.3 – 2.4 parts per million. Birds were exposed to mercury either as adults only or throughout their lives. All doses of mercury reduced reproductive success, with the lowest dose reducing the number of independent offspring produced in one year by 16% and the highest dose, representing approximately half the lethal dose for this species, causing a 50% reduction. While mercury did not affect clutch size or survivorship, it had the most consistent effect on the proportion of chicks that fledged from the nest, regardless of mode of exposure. Among birds exposed as adults, mercury caused a steep increase in the latency to re-nest after loss of a clutch. Birds exposed for their entire lifetimes, which were necessarily the offspring of dosed parents, had up to 50% lower reproductive success than adult-exposed birds at low doses of methylmercury, but increased reproductive success at high doses, suggesting selection for mercury tolerance at the highest level of exposure. Our results indicate that mercury levels in prey items at contaminated sites pose a significant threat to populations of songbirds through reduced reproductive success. PMID

  3. Early Fasting Is Long Lasting: Differences in Early Nutritional Conditions Reappear under Stressful Conditions in Adult Female Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Krause, E. Tobias; Honarmand, Mariam; Wetzel, Jennifer; Naguib, Marc

    2009-01-01

    Conditions experienced during early life can have profound effects on individual development and condition in adulthood. Differences in nutritional provisioning in birds during the first month of life can lead to differences in growth, reproductive success and survival. Yet, under natural conditions shorter periods of nutritional stress will be more prevalent. Individuals may respond differently, depending on the period of development during which nutritional stress was experienced. Such differences may surface specifically when poor environmental conditions challenge individuals again as adults. Here, we investigated long term consequences of differences in nutritional conditions experienced during different periods of early development by female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) on measures of management and acquisition of body reserves. As nestlings or fledglings, subjects were raised under different nutritional conditions, a low or high quality diet. After subjects reached sexual maturity, we measured their sensitivity to periods of food restriction, their exploration and foraging behaviour as well as adult resting metabolic rate (RMR). During a short period of food restriction, subjects from the poor nutritional conditions had a higher body mass loss than those raised under qualitatively superior nutritional conditions. Moreover, subjects that were raised under poor nutritional conditions were faster to engage in exploratory and foraging behaviour. But RMR did not differ among treatments. These results reveal that early nutritional conditions affect adult exploratory behaviour, a representative personality trait, foraging and adult's physiological condition. As early nutritional conditions are reflected in adult phenotypic plasticity specifically when stressful situations reappear, the results suggest that costs for poor developmental conditions are paid when environmental conditions deteriorate. PMID:19325706

  4. Nest of Origin Predicts Adult Neuron Addition Rates in the Vocal Control System of the Zebra Finch

    PubMed Central

    Hurley, Patrick; Pytte, Carolyn; Kirn, John R.

    2008-01-01

    Neurogenesis and neuronal replacement in adulthood represent dramatic forms of plasticity that might serve as a substrate for behavioral flexibility. In songbirds, neurons are continually replaced in HVC (used as a proper name), a pre-motor region necessary for the production of learned vocalizations. There are large individual differences in HVC neuron addition. Some of this variation is probably due to individual differences in adult experience; however, it is also possible that heritability or experience early in development constrains the levels of adult neuron addition. As a step toward addressing the latter two possibilities, we explored the extent to which nest of origin predicts rates of HVC neuron addition in adult male zebra finches. One month after injections of [3H]-thymidine to mark dividing cells, neuron addition in HVC was found to co-vary among birds that had been nest mates, even when they were housed in different cages as adults. We also tested whether nest mate co-variation might be due to shared adult auditory experience by measuring neuron addition in nest mate pairs after one member was deafened. There were significant differences in neuron addition between hearing and deaf birds but nest mate relationships persisted. These results suggest that variation in genotype and/or early pre- or postnatal experience can account for a large fraction of adult variation in rates of neuron addition. These results also suggest that a major constraint on neurogenesis and the capacity to adjust rates of neuron addition in response to adult auditory experience is established early in development. PMID:18431053

  5. Neighbours' breeding success and the sex ratio of their offspring affect the mate preferences of female zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Drullion, Dominique; Dubois, Frédérique

    2011-01-01

    Several hypotheses on divorce predict that monogamous pairs should split up more frequently after a breeding failure. Yet, deviations from the expected pattern "success-stay, failure-leave" have been reported in several species. One possible explanation for these deviations would be that individuals do not use only their own breeding performance (i.e., private information) but also that of others (i.e., public information) to decide whether or not to divorce. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the relative importance of private and public information for mate choice decisions in female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).We manipulated the reproductive performance of breeding pairs and measured females' preferences for their mate and the neighbouring male first following pair formation and then seven weeks later when all females had laid eggs and the young were independent. Although all females reduced their preference for their mate after a breeding failure, the decrease was significant only when the neighbouring pair had reproduced successfully. Furthermore, there was no evidence that females biased the sex ratio of their offspring according to their mate's attractiveness. On the other hand, after reproduction, both successful and unsuccessful females increased their preferences for males who had produced a larger proportion of sons. Despite the fact that other mechanisms may have also contributed to our findings, we suggest that females changed their mate preferences based on the proportion of sons produced by successful males, because offspring sex ratio reflects the male's testosterone level at the moment of fertilization and hence is an indicator of his immune condition. PMID:22216351

  6. Male mate preferences in mutual mate choice: finches modulate their songs across and within male–female interactions

    PubMed Central

    Heinig, Abbie; Pant, Santosh; Dunning, Jeffery; Bass, Aaron; Coburn, Zachary; Prather, Jonathan F.

    2014-01-01

    Male songbirds use song to advertise their attractiveness as potential mates, and the properties of those songs have a powerful influence on female mate preferences. One idea is that males may exert themselves maximally in each song performance, consistent with female evaluation and formation of mate preferences being the primary contributors to mate choice. Alternatively, males may modulate their song behaviour to different degrees in the presence of different females, consistent with both male and female mate preferences contributing to mutual mate choice. Here we consider whether male Bengalese finches, Lonchura striata domestica, express mate preferences at the level of individual females, and whether those preferences are manifest as changes in song behaviour that are sufficient to influence female mate choice. We tested this idea by recording songs performed by individual unmated males during a series of 1 h interactions with each of many unmated females. Across recording sessions, males systematically varied both the quantity and the quality of the songs that they performed to different females. Males also varied their song properties throughout the course of each interaction, and behavioural tests using female birds revealed that songs performed at the onset of each interaction were significantly more attractive than songs performed by the same male later during the same interaction. This demonstration of context-specific variation in the properties of male reproductive signals and a role for that variation in shaping female mate preference reveals that male mate preferences play an important role in mutual mate choice in this species. Because these birds thrive so well in the laboratory and are so amenable to observation and experimentation across generations, these results yield a new model system that may prove especially advantageous in disentangling the role of male and female mate preferences in shaping mutual mate choice and its long-term benefits or

  7. A molecular phylogeny of the Sierra-Finches (Phrygilus, Passeriformes): extreme polyphyly in a group of Andean specialists.

    PubMed

    Campagna, Leonardo; Geale, Kathryn; Handford, Paul; Lijtmaer, Darío A; Tubaro, Pablo L; Lougheed, Stephen C

    2011-11-01

    The unparalleled avian diversity of the Neotropics has long been argued to be in large part the evolutionary consequence of the incredible habitat diversity and rugged topography of the Andes mountains. Various scenarios have been proposed to explain how the Andean context could have generated lineage diversification (e.g. vicariant speciation or parapatric speciation across vertical ecological gradients), yet further study on Andean taxa is needed to reveal the relative importance of the different processes. Here we use mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences to derive the first phylogenetic hypothesis for Phrygilus (Sierra-Finches), one of the most species-rich genera of mainly Andean passerines. We find strong evidence that the genus is polyphyletic, comprising four distantly related clades with at least nine other genera interspersed between them (Acanthidops, Catamenia, Diglossa, Haplospiza, Idiopsar, Melanodera, Rowettia, Sicalis and Xenodacnis). These four Phrygilus clades coincide with groups previously established mainly on the basis of plumage characters, suggesting single evolutionary origins for each of these. We consider the history of diversification of each clade, analyzing the timing of splitting events, ancestral reconstruction of altitudinal ranges and current geographical distributions. Phrygilus species origins date mainly to the Pleistocene, with representatives diversifying within, out of, and into the Andes. Finally, we explored whether Phrygilus species, especially those with broad altitudinal and latitudinal Andean distributions, showed phylogeographic structure. Our best-sampled taxon (Phrygilus fruticeti) exhibited no clear pattern; however, we found deep genetic splits within other surveyed species, with Phrygilus unicolor being the most extreme case and deserving of further research. PMID:21807104

  8. Male foraging efficiency, but not male problem-solving performance, influences female mating preferences in zebra finches

    PubMed Central

    Chantal, Véronique

    2016-01-01

    Experimental evidence suggests that females would prefer males with better cognitive abilities as mates. However, little is known about the traits reflecting enhanced cognitive skills on which females might base their mate-choice decisions. In particular, it has been suggested that male foraging performance could be used as an indicator of cognitive capacity, but convincing evidence for this hypothesis is still lacking. In the present study, we investigated whether female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) modify their mating preferences after having observed the performance of males on a problem-solving task. Specifically, we measured the females’ preferences between two males once before and once after an observation period, during which their initially preferred male was incapable of solving the task contrary to their initially less-preferred male. We also conducted a control treatment to test whether the shift in female preferences was attributable to differences between the two stimulus males in their foraging efficiency. Finally, we assessed each bird’s performance in a color associative task to check whether females can discriminate among males based on their learning speed. We found that females significantly increased their preference toward the most efficient male in both treatments. Yet, there was no difference between the two treatments and we found no evidence that females assess male cognitive ability indirectly via morphological traits. Thus, our results suggest that females would not use the males’ problem-solving performance as an indicator of general cognitive ability to gain indirect fitness benefits (i.e., good genes) but rather to assess their foraging efficiency and gain direct benefits.

  9. Correlates of male fitness in captive zebra finches - a comparison of methods to disentangle genetic and environmental effects

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Backgound It is a common observation in evolutionary studies that larger, more ornamented or earlier breeding individuals have higher fitness, but that body size, ornamentation or breeding time does not change despite of sometimes substantial heritability for these traits. A possible explanation for this is that these traits do not causally affect fitness, but rather happen to be indirectly correlated with fitness via unmeasured non-heritable aspects of condition (e.g. undernourished offspring grow small and have low fitness as adults due to poor health). Whether this explanation applies to a specific case can be examined by decomposing the covariance between trait and fitness into its genetic and environmental components using pedigree-based animal models. We here examine different methods of doing this for a captive zebra finch population where male fitness was measured in communal aviaries in relation to three phenotypic traits (tarsus length, beak colour and song rate). Results Our case study illustrates how methods that regress fitness over breeding values for phenotypic traits yield biased estimates as well as anti-conservative standard errors. Hence, it is necessary to estimate the genetic and environmental covariances between trait and fitness directly from a bivariate model. This method, however, is very demanding in terms of sample sizes. In our study parameter estimates of selection gradients for tarsus were consistent with the hypothesis of environmentally induced bias (βA = 0.035 ± 0.25 (SE), βE = 0.57 ± 0.28 (SE)), yet this differences between genetic and environmental selection gradients falls short of statistical significance. Conclusions To examine the generality of the idea that phenotypic selection gradients for certain traits (like size) are consistently upwardly biased by environmental covariance a meta-analysis across study systems will be needed. PMID:22067225

  10. Neighbours' Breeding Success and the Sex Ratio of Their Offspring Affect the Mate Preferences of Female Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Drullion, Dominique; Dubois, Frédérique

    2011-01-01

    Several hypotheses on divorce predict that monogamous pairs should split up more frequently after a breeding failure. Yet, deviations from the expected pattern “success-stay, failure-leave” have been reported in several species. One possible explanation for these deviations would be that individuals do not use only their own breeding performance (i.e., private information) but also that of others (i.e., public information) to decide whether or not to divorce. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the relative importance of private and public information for mate choice decisions in female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).We manipulated the reproductive performance of breeding pairs and measured females' preferences for their mate and the neighbouring male first following pair formation and then seven weeks later when all females had laid eggs and the young were independent. Although all females reduced their preference for their mate after a breeding failure, the decrease was significant only when the neighbouring pair had reproduced successfully. Furthermore, there was no evidence that females biased the sex ratio of their offspring according to their mate's attractiveness. On the other hand, after reproduction, both successful and unsuccessful females increased their preferences for males who had produced a larger proportion of sons. Despite the fact that other mechanisms may have also contributed to our findings, we suggest that females changed their mate preferences based on the proportion of sons produced by successful males, because offspring sex ratio reflects the male's testosterone level at the moment of fertilization and hence is an indicator of his immune condition. PMID:22216351

  11. Male mate preferences in mutual mate choice: finches modulate their songs across and within male-female interactions.

    PubMed

    Heinig, Abbie; Pant, Santosh; Dunning, Jeffery; Bass, Aaron; Coburn, Zachary; Prather, Jonathan F

    2014-10-01

    Male songbirds use song to advertise their attractiveness as potential mates, and the properties of those songs have a powerful influence on female mate preferences. One idea is that males may exert themselves maximally in each song performance, consistent with female evaluation and formation of mate preferences being the primary contributors to mate choice. Alternatively, males may modulate their song behaviour to different degrees in the presence of different females, consistent with both male and female mate preferences contributing to mutual mate choice. Here we consider whether male Bengalese finches, Lonchura striata domestica, express mate preferences at the level of individual females, and whether those preferences are manifest as changes in song behaviour that are sufficient to influence female mate choice. We tested this idea by recording songs performed by individual unmated males during a series of 1 h interactions with each of many unmated females. Across recording sessions, males systematically varied both the quantity and the quality of the songs that they performed to different females. Males also varied their song properties throughout the course of each interaction, and behavioural tests using female birds revealed that songs performed at the onset of each interaction were significantly more attractive than songs performed by the same male later during the same interaction. This demonstration of context-specific variation in the properties of male reproductive signals and a role for that variation in shaping female mate preference reveals that male mate preferences play an important role in mutual mate choice in this species. Because these birds thrive so well in the laboratory and are so amenable to observation and experimentation across generations, these results yield a new model system that may prove especially advantageous in disentangling the role of male and female mate preferences in shaping mutual mate choice and its long-term benefits or

  12. Variation in body condition indices of crimson finches by sex, breeding stage, age, time of day, and year

    PubMed Central

    Milenkaya, Olga; Weinstein, Nicole; Legge, Sarah; Walters, Jeffrey R.

    2013-01-01

    Body condition indices are increasingly applied in conservation to assess habitat quality, identify stressed populations before they decline, determine effects of disturbances, and understand mechanisms of declines. To employ condition indices in this manner, we need first to understand their baseline variability and sources of variation. Here, we used crimson finches (Neochmia phaeton), a tropical passerine, to describe the variation in seven commonly used condition indices by sex, age, breeding stage, time of day, and year. We found that packed cell volume, haemoglobin, total plasma protein, and scaled mass were all significantly affected by an interaction between sex and breeding stage. Furcular fat varied by sex and breeding stage and also trended by year, scaled mass showed a positive trend with age and varied by time of day, and haemoglobin additionally varied by year. Pectoral muscle scores varied and heterophil to lymphocyte ratio trended only by year. Year effects might reflect a response to annual variation in environmental conditions; therefore, those indices showing year effects may be especially worthy of further investigation of their potential for conservation applications. Pectoral muscle scores and heterophil to lymphocyte ratio may be particularly useful due to the lack of influence of other variables on them. For the other indices, the large variation that can be attributed to individual covariates, such as sex and breeding stage, suggests that one should not interpret the physiological condition of an individual as measured by these indices from their absolute value. Instead, the condition of an individual should be interpreted relative to conspecifics by sex, breeding stage, and possibly age. PMID:27293604

  13. The songbird syrinx morphome: a three-dimensional, high-resolution, interactive morphological map of the zebra finch vocal organ

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Like human infants, songbirds learn their species-specific vocalizations through imitation learning. The birdsong system has emerged as a widely used experimental animal model for understanding the underlying neural mechanisms responsible for vocal production learning. However, how neural impulses are translated into the precise motor behavior of the complex vocal organ (syrinx) to create song is poorly understood. First and foremost, we lack a detailed understanding of syringeal morphology. Results To fill this gap we combined non-invasive (high-field magnetic resonance imaging and micro-computed tomography) and invasive techniques (histology and micro-dissection) to construct the annotated high-resolution three-dimensional dataset, or morphome, of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) syrinx. We identified and annotated syringeal cartilage, bone and musculature in situ in unprecedented detail. We provide interactive three-dimensional models that greatly improve the communication of complex morphological data and our understanding of syringeal function in general. Conclusions Our results show that the syringeal skeleton is optimized for low weight driven by physiological constraints on song production. The present refinement of muscle organization and identity elucidates how apposed muscles actuate different syringeal elements. Our dataset allows for more precise predictions about muscle co-activation and synergies and has important implications for muscle activity and stimulation experiments. We also demonstrate how the syrinx can be stabilized during song to reduce mechanical noise and, as such, enhance repetitive execution of stereotypic motor patterns. In addition, we identify a cartilaginous structure suited to play a crucial role in the uncoupling of sound frequency and amplitude control, which permits a novel explanation of the evolutionary success of songbirds. PMID:23294804

  14. Interactive effects of early and later nutritional conditions on the adult antioxidant defence system in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Noguera, José C; Monaghan, Pat; Metcalfe, Neil B

    2015-07-01

    In vertebrates, antioxidant defences comprise a mixture of endogenously produced components and exogenously obtained antioxidants that are derived mostly from the diet. It has been suggested that early-life micronutritional conditions might influence the way in which the antioxidant defence system operates, which could enable individuals to adjust the activity of the endogenous and exogenous components in line with their expected intake of dietary antioxidants if the future environment resembles the past. We investigated this possibility by experimentally manipulating the micronutrient content of the diet during different periods of postnatal development in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Birds that had a low micronutrient diet during the growth phase initially had a lower total antioxidant capacity (TAC) than those reared under a high micronutrient diet, but then showed a compensatory response, so that by the end of the growth phase, the TAC of the two groups was the same. Interestingly, we found an interactive effect of micronutrient intake early and late in development: only those birds that continued with the same dietary treatment (low or high) throughout development showed a significant increase in their TAC during the period of sexual maturation. A similar effect was also found in the level of enzymatic antioxidant defences (glutathione peroxidase; GPx). No significant effects were found in the level of oxidative damage in lipids [malondialdehyde (MDA) levels]. These findings demonstrate the importance of early and late developmental conditions in shaping multiple aspects of the antioxidant system. Furthermore, they suggest that young birds may adjust their antioxidant defences to enable them to 'thrive' on diets rich or poor in micronutrients later in life. PMID:25987737

  15. Pre and post-natal antigen exposure can program the stress axis of adult zebra finches: evidence for environment matching.

    PubMed

    Merrill, Loren; Grindstaff, Jennifer L

    2015-03-01

    Both maternal exposure to stressors and exposure of offspring to stressors during early life can have lifelong effects on the physiology and behavior of offspring. Stress exposure can permanently shape an individual's phenotype by influencing the development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is responsible for the production and regulation of glucocorticoids such as corticosterone (CORT). In this study we used captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) to examine the effects of matching and mismatching maternal and early post-natal exposure to one of two types of antigens or a control on HPA axis reactivity in adult offspring. Prior to breeding, adult females were injected with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) or a control. Offspring of females in each of the three treatments were themselves exposed to LPS, KLH or a control injection at 5 and 28days post-hatch. When offspring were at least 18months of age, standardized capture and restraint stress tests were conducted to determine the impact of the treatments on adult stress responsiveness. We found significant interaction effects between maternal and offspring treatments on stress-induced CORT levels, and evidence in support of the environment matching hypothesis for KLH-treated birds, not LPS-treated birds. KLH-treated offspring of KLH-treated mothers exhibited reduced stress-induced CORT levels, whereas LPS-treated or control offspring of KLH-treated mothers exhibited elevated stress-induced CORT levels. Although the treatment effects on baseline CORT were non-significant, the overall pattern was similar to the effects observed on stress-induced CORT levels. Our results highlight the complex nature of HPA axis programming, and to our knowledge, provide the first evidence that a match or mismatch between pre and post-natal antigen exposure can have life-long consequences for HPA axis function. PMID:25535860

  16. No Trade-Offs between Lipid Stores and Structural Growth in Juvenile Zebra Finches Undergoing Nutritional Stress during Development.

    PubMed

    Kriengwatana, Buddhamas; MacDougall-Shackleton, Scott A

    2015-01-01

    Nutritional conditions during development can affect both structural growth and body fat deposition. Body size and body fat each have significant consequences for fitness, yet few studies have investigated how young birds balance resource allocation between structural growth and fat reserves. We raised zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) in consistently high- or low-food conditions until posthatch day 35 (PHD 35). From this age until PHD 62, half of the birds in each condition were switched to the other treatment, while the rest were maintained on the same conditions. Body mass, lean mass, body fat, and tarsus length were measured before (PHD 25) and after (PHD 55) nutritional independence. Precise measures of body composition were obtained noninvasively at both ages using quantitative magnetic resonance analysis. At PHD 25, birds in the high treatment had more body mass and lean mass than birds in the low treatment, but nutritional treatments did not affect body fat at this age. Unexpectedly, the strategic response of birds that experienced deteriorating food availability was to maintain body mass by increasing body fat and decreasing lean mass. Birds that experienced an improvement in food availability significantly increased body mass by increasing lean mass and not body fat. Birds maintained on a low diet throughout did not significantly increase body mass, lean mass, or body fat. Tarsus length was not affected by nutritional manipulations. These findings indicate that nutritional stress did not affect the relationship between skeletal growth and body fat deposition because lean mass, body fat, and tarsus length can be independently regulated at different developmental periods depending on nutritional conditions. PMID:25730275

  17. Pre and post-natal antigen exposure can program the stress axis of adult zebra finches: evidence for environment matching

    PubMed Central

    Merrill, Loren; Grindstaff, Jennifer L.

    2014-01-01

    Both maternal exposure to stressors and exposure of offspring to stressors during early life can have lifelong effects on the physiology and behavior of offspring. Stress exposure can permanently shape an individual’s phenotype by influencing the development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is responsible for the production and regulation of glucocorticoids such as corticosterone (CORT). In this study we used captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) to examine the effects of matching and mismatching maternal and early post-natal exposure to one of two types of antigens or a control on HPA axis reactivity in adult offspring. Prior to breeding, adult females were injected with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) or a control. Offspring of females in each of the three treatments were themselves exposed to LPS, KLH or a control injection at 5 and 28 days post-hatch. When offspring were at least 18 months of age, standardized capture and restraint stress tests were conducted to determine the impact of the treatments on adult stress responsiveness. We found significant interaction effects between maternal and offspring treatments on stress-induced CORT levels, and evidence in support of the environment matching hypothesis for KLH-treated birds not LPS-treated birds. KLH-treated offspring of KLH-treated mothers exhibited reduced stress-induced CORT levels, whereas LPS-treated or control offspring of KLH-treated mothers exhibited elevated stress-induced CORT levels. Although the treatment effects on baseline CORT were non-significant, the overall pattern was similar to the effects observed on stress-induced CORT levels. Our results highlight the complex nature of HPA axis programming, and to our knowledge, provide the first evidence that a match or mismatch between pre and post-natal antigen exposure can have life-long consequences for HPA axis function. PMID:25535860

  18. Food for Song: Expression of C-Fos and ZENK in the Zebra Finch Song Nuclei during Food Aversion Learning

    PubMed Central

    Tokarev, Kirill; Tiunova, Anna

    2011-01-01

    Background Specialized neural pathways, the song system, are required for acquiring, producing, and perceiving learned avian vocalizations. Birds that do not learn to produce their vocalizations lack telencephalic song system components. It is not known whether the song system forebrain regions are exclusively evolved for song or whether they also process information not related to song that might reflect their ‘evolutionary history’. Methodology/Principal Findings To address this question we monitored the induction of two immediate-early genes (IEGs) c-Fos and ZENK in various regions of the song system in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) in response to an aversive food learning paradigm; this involves the association of a food item with a noxious stimulus that affects the oropharyngeal-esophageal cavity and tongue, causing subsequent avoidance of that food item. The motor response results in beak and head movements but not vocalizations. IEGs have been extensively used to map neuro-molecular correlates of song motor production and auditory processing. As previously reported, neurons in two pallial vocal motor regions, HVC and RA, expressed IEGs after singing. Surprisingly, c-Fos was induced equivalently also after food aversion learning in the absence of singing. The density of c-Fos positive neurons was significantly higher than that of birds in control conditions. This was not the case in two other pallial song nuclei important for vocal plasticity, LMAN and Area X, although singing did induce IEGs in these structures, as reported previously. Conclusions/Significance Our results are consistent with the possibility that some of the song nuclei may participate in non-vocal learning and the populations of neurons involved in the two tasks show partial overlap. These findings underscore the previously advanced notion that the specialized forebrain pre-motor nuclei controlling song evolved from circuits involved in behaviors related to feeding. PMID:21695176

  19. Parasites in the City: Degree of Urbanization Predicts Poxvirus and Coccidian Infections in House Finches (Haemorhous mexicanus)

    PubMed Central

    Giraudeau, Mathieu; Mousel, Melanie; Earl, Stevan; McGraw, Kevin

    2014-01-01

    Background Urbanization can strongly impact the physiology, behavior, and fitness of animals. Conditions in cities may also promote the transmission and success of animal parasites and pathogens. However, to date, no studies have examined variation in the prevalence or severity of several distinct pathogens/parasites along a gradient of urbanization in animals or if these infections increase physiological stress in urban populations. Methodology/Principal Findings Here, we measured the prevalence and severity of infection with intestinal coccidians (Isospora sp.) and the canarypox virus (Avipoxvirus) along an urban-to-rural gradient in wild male house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus). In addition, we quantified an important stress indicator in animals (oxidative stress) and several axes of urbanization, including human population density and land-use patterns within a 1 km radius of each trapping site. Prevalence of poxvirus infection and severity of coccidial infection were significantly associated with the degree of urbanization, with an increase of infection in more urban areas. The degrees of infection by the two parasites were not correlated along the urban-rural gradient. Finally, levels of oxidative damage in plasma were not associated with infection or with urbanization metrics. Conclusion/Significance These results indicate that the physical presence of humans in cities and the associated altered urban landscape characteristics are associated with increased infections with both a virus and a gastrointestinal parasite in this common songbird resident of North American cities. Though we failed to find elevations in urban- or parasite/pathogen-mediated oxidative stress, humans may facilitate infections in these birds via bird feeders (i.e. horizontal disease transmission due to unsanitary surfaces and/or elevations in host population densities) and/or via elevations in other forms of physiological stress (e.g. corticosterone, nutritional). PMID:24503816

  20. Food, stress, and circulating testosterone: Cue integration by the testes, not the brain, in male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Lynn, Sharon E; Perfito, Nicole; Guardado, Daisy; Bentley, George E

    2015-05-01

    Food abundance is closely associated with reproductive readiness in vertebrates. Food scarcity can activate the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis, decrease sex steroid secretion, and dampen reproductive behavior. However, the mechanisms underlying these transient effects are unclear. Gonadotropin inhibitory hormone (GnIH), a neuropeptide present in the brain and gonads, is also influenced by glucocorticoids and fasting in some species. We investigated whether fasting stress activated the GnIH system in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), with the potential for downstream effects on reproductive physiology and behavior. We fasted or fed males ad libitum for 10h. Fasting increased corticosterone and decreased testosterone in circulation. To assess whether the decrease in testosterone was mediated by changes in the hypothalamus and/or the gonads, we (1) quantified GnRH- and GnIH-positive neurons in the hypothalamus, (2) assessed hypothalamic gene expression for GnRH and GnIH, and (3) examined gene expression for proteins involved in testosterone synthesis in fasted and control birds. No measure of hypothalamic neuropeptides was related to treatment or circulating steroids. However, birds with higher corticosterone had higher testicular GnIH expression and lower testosterone. StAR and LHR expression were lower in the testes of fasted birds than controls. Thus, the decrease in testosterone was not likely mediated by hypothalamic GnIH, but rather by direct actions of fasting and/or corticosterone on the testes, indicating that the testes can integrate and respond to cues of stress directly. Such local inhibition of testosterone synthesis may allow for rapid and reversible changes in physiology and behavior when conditions are inappropriate for breeding. PMID:25849310

  1. Acute embryotoxic effects but no long-term reproductive effects of in ovo methylmercury exposure in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Yu, Maria S; Eng, Margaret L; Williams, Tony D; Basu, Niladri; Elliott, John E

    2016-06-01

    Mercury bioaccumulates in terrestrial ecosystems as methylmercury (MeHg), yet little is known about its effects on terrestrial organisms, including songbirds. The authors used a model songbird species, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), to assess short-term embryotoxic effects of in ovo MeHg exposure on hatching success and posthatching growth and nestling survival, as well as longer-term effects on mating behavior and reproduction. Egg treatment groups included a low-MeHg dose of 0.2 μg Hg g(-1) egg (n = 36), a high-MeHg dose of 3.2 μg Hg g(-1) egg (n = 49), and a control (n = 34). Doses were dissolved in nanopure filtered water and injected into the albumen on the day eggs showed signs of viability (3 d incubation). In ovo exposure to MeHg significantly reduced hatching success (53% in the high-MeHg dose group vs 94% in vehicle controls). Among hatched chicks, however, no effects of MeHg on growth, hematological variables, or nestling survival were detected. While the in ovo injection method resulted in a dose-dependent pattern of MeHg concentrations in blood of surviving chicks at 15 d and 30 d posthatching, there was evidence of rapid excretion of MeHg with nestling age during that growth period. At reproductive maturity (90 d of age), no long-term effects of in ovo exposure to MeHg on female mating behavior, reproductive effort (egg or clutch size), or growth and survivorship of offspring were observed. Environ Toxicol Chem 2016;35:1534-1540. © 2015 SETAC. PMID:26573953

  2. Learning to cope with degraded sounds: female zebra finches can improve their expertise in discriminating between male voices at long distances

    PubMed Central

    Mouterde, Solveig C.; Elie, Julie E.; Theunissen, Frédéric E.; Mathevon, Nicolas

    2014-01-01

    Reliable transmission of acoustic information about individual identity is of critical importance for pair bond maintenance in numerous monogamous songbirds. However, information transfer can be impaired by environmental constraints such as external noise or propagation-induced degradation. Birds have been shown to use several adaptive strategies to deal with difficult signal transmission contexts. Specifically, a number of studies have suggested that vocal plasticity at the emitter's level allows birds to counteract the deleterious effects of sound degradation. Although the communication process involves both the emitter and the receiver, perceptual plasticity at the receiver's level has received little attention. Here, we explored the reliability of individual recognition by female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), testing whether perceptual training can improve discrimination of degraded individual vocal signatures. We found that female zebra finches are proficient in discriminating between calls of individual males at long distances, and even more so when they can train themselves with increasingly degraded signals over time. In this latter context, females succeed in discriminating between males as far as 250 m. This result emphasizes that adaptation to adverse communication conditions may involve not only the emitter's vocal plasticity but also the receptor's decoding process through on-going learning. PMID:24948627

  3. Two-photon deep imaging through skin and skull of Zebra finches: preliminary studies for in-vivo brain metabolism monitoring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abi-Haidar, D.; Olivier, T.; Mottin, S.; Vignal, C.; Mathevon, N.

    2007-02-01

    Zebra Finches are songbirds which constitute a model for neuro-ethologists to study the neuro-mechanisms of vocal recognition. For this purpose, in vivo and non invasive monitoring of brain activity is required during acoustical stimulation. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or NIRS (Near InfraRed Spectroscopy) are suitable methods for these measurements, even though MRI is difficult to link quantitatively with neural activity and NIRS suffers from a poor resolution. In the particular case of songbirds (whose skin is thin and quite transparent and whose skull structure is hollow), two-photon microscopy enables a quite deep penetration in tissues and could be an alternative. We present here preliminary studies on the feasability of two-photon microscopy in these conditions. To do so, we chose to image hollow fibers, filled with Rhodamine B, through the skin of Zebra finches in order to evaluate the spatial resolution we may expect in future in vivo experiments. Moreover, we used the reflectance-mode confocal configuration to evaluate the exponential decrease of backreflected light in skin and in skull samples. Following this procedure recently proposed by S.L. Jacques and co-workers, we planned to determine the scattering coefficient μ s and the anisotropy g of these tissues and make a comparison between fixed and fresh skin and skull samples for future Monte Carlo simulations of the scattering in our particular multi-layered structure.

  4. The vocal repertoire of the domesticated zebra finch: a data-driven approach to decipher the information-bearing acoustic features of communication signals.

    PubMed

    Elie, Julie E; Theunissen, Frédéric E

    2016-03-01

    Although a universal code for the acoustic features of animal vocal communication calls may not exist, the thorough analysis of the distinctive acoustical features of vocalization categories is important not only to decipher the acoustical code for a specific species but also to understand the evolution of communication signals and the mechanisms used to produce and understand them. Here, we recorded more than 8000 examples of almost all the vocalizations of the domesticated zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata: vocalizations produced to establish contact, to form and maintain pair bonds, to sound an alarm, to communicate distress or to advertise hunger or aggressive intents. We characterized each vocalization type using complete representations that avoided any a priori assumptions on the acoustic code, as well as classical bioacoustics measures that could provide more intuitive interpretations. We then used these acoustical features to rigorously determine the potential information-bearing acoustical features for each vocalization type using both a novel regularized classifier and an unsupervised clustering algorithm. Vocalization categories are discriminated by the shape of their frequency spectrum and by their pitch saliency (noisy to tonal vocalizations) but not particularly by their fundamental frequency. Notably, the spectral shape of zebra finch vocalizations contains peaks or formants that vary systematically across categories and that would be generated by active control of both the vocal organ (source) and the upper vocal tract (filter). PMID:26581377

  5. Hippocampal Lesions Impair Spatial Memory Performance, but Not Song-A Developmental Study of Independent Memory Systems in the Zebra Finch

    PubMed Central

    Bailey, David J.; Wade, Juli; Saldanha, Colin J.

    2009-01-01

    Songbirds demonstrate song- and spatial-learning, forms of memory that appear distinct in formal characteristics and fitting the descriptions and criteria of procedural and episodic-like memory function, respectively. As in other vertebrates, the neural pathways underlying these forms of memory may also be dissociable, and include the corresponding song circuit and hippocampus (HP). Whether (or not) these two memory systems interact is unknown. Interestingly, the HP distinguishes itself as a site of immediate early gene expression in response to song and as a site of estrogen synthesis, a steroid involved in song learning. Thus, an interaction between these memory systems and their anatomical substrates appears reasonable to hypothesize, particularly during development. To test this idea, juvenile male or female zebra finches received chemical lesions of the HP at various points during song learning, as did adults. Song structure, singing behavior, song preference, and spatial memory were tested in adulthood. Although lesions of the HP severely compromised HP-dependent spatial memory function across all ages and in both sexes, we were unable to detect any effects of HP lesions on song learning, singing, or song structure in males. Interestingly, females lesioned as adults, but not as juveniles, did lose the characteristic preference for their father's song. Since compromise of the neural circuits that subserve episodic-like memory does very little (if anything) to affect procedural-like (song learning) memory, we conclude that these memory systems and their anatomical substrates are well dissociated in the developing male zebra finch. PMID:19280648

  6. Late-Postnatal Cannabinoid Exposure Persistently Elevates Dendritic Spine Densities in Area X and HVC Song Regions of Zebra Finch Telencephalon

    PubMed Central

    Gilbert, Marcoita T.; Soderstrom, Ken

    2011-01-01

    Centrally acting cannabinoids are well known for their ability to impair functions associated with both learning and memory but appreciation of the physiological mechanisms underlying these actions, particularly those that persist, remains incomplete. Our earlier studies have shown that song stereotypy is persistently reduced in male zebra finches that have been developmentally exposed to cannabinoids. In the present work, we examined the extent to which changes in neuronal morphology (dendritic spine densities and soma size) within brain regions associated with zebra finch vocal learning are affected by late-postnatal cannabinoid agonist exposure. We found that daily treatment with the cannabinoid agonist WIN55212-2 (WIN, 1 mg/kg IM) is associated with 27 % and 31 % elevations in dendritic spine densities in the song regions Area X and HVC, respectively. We also found an overall increase in cell diameter within HVC. Changes in dendritic spine densities were only produced following developmental exposure; treatments given to adults that had completed vocal learning were not effective. These findings have important implications for understanding how repeated cannabinoid exposure can produce significant, lasting alteration of brain morphology, which may contribute to altered development and behavior. PMID:21737064

  7. Estradiol induces region-specific inhibition of ZENK but does not affect the behavioral preference for tutored song in adult female zebra finches

    PubMed Central

    Svec, Lace A.; Wade, Juli

    2009-01-01

    Female zebra finches display a preference for songs of males raised with tutors compared to those from males without tutors. To determine howthis behavioral preference may bemediated by auditory perception sites, the social behavior network, and the dopamine reward system, and whether responses of these regions are affected by estradiol, females were treated with hormone or blank implants.An auditory choice test was conducted followed by exposure to tutored or untutored song or silence to examine induction of the immediate early gene, ZENK. Birds spent significantly more time near tutored than untutored song, regardless of estrogen treatment, and estradiol significantly decreased the density of ZENK immunore-active neurons within the ventromedial hypothalamus. These results suggest that selective neural and behavioral responses can be induced by both high quality vocalizations and estradiol, although they are not necessarily correlated. PMID:19124043

  8. Effects of the bioaccumulative polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardant congener BDE-47 on growth, development, and reproductive success in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Currier, Heidi A; Letcher, Robert J; Williams, Tony D; Elliott, John E

    2015-02-01

    This study investigated the effects of the polybrominated diphenyl ether congener, 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-47) on the growth and development, and subsequent breeding success of exposed zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Using oral dosing procedures and treatments adjusted by weight, we treated newly hatched chicks daily for the first 20-days-post-hatch (dph) with varying treatments of BDE-47 (0, 5, 50, and 500 ng/g bw/day). Weight and tarsal measurements were monitored from hatch to 90 dph, but no differences were observed between treatment groups at any age. Treated females that reached sexual maturity were mated with untreated males; however, again no treatment effects were observed on breeding success. Analysis of tissue samples at 21 dph did indicate that debromination of BDE-47 had occurred resulting in BDE-28 and BDE-17 metabolites. PMID:25283367

  9. Social Memory Formation Rapidly and Differentially Affects the Motivation and Performance of Vocal Communication Signals in the Bengalese Finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica).

    PubMed

    Toccalino, Danielle C; Sun, Herie; Sakata, Jon T

    2016-01-01

    Cognitive processes like the formation of social memories can shape the nature of social interactions between conspecifics. Male songbirds use vocal signals during courtship interactions with females, but the degree to which social memory and familiarity influences the likelihood and structure of male courtship song remains largely unknown. Using a habituation-dishabituation paradigm, we found that a single, brief (<30 s) exposure to a female led to the formation of a short-term memory for that female: adult male Bengalese finches were significantly less likely to produce courtship song to an individual female when re-exposed to her 5 min later (i.e., habituation). Familiarity also rapidly decreased the duration of courtship songs but did not affect other measures of song performance (e.g., song tempo and the stereotypy of syllable structure and sequencing). Consistent with a contribution of social memory to the decrease in courtship song with repeated exposures to the same female, the likelihood that male Bengalese finches produced courtship song increased when they were exposed to a different female (i.e., dishabituation). Three consecutive exposures to individual females also led to the formation of a longer-term memory that persisted over days. Specifically, when courtship song production was assessed 2 days after initial exposures to females, males produced fewer and shorter courtship songs to familiar females than to unfamiliar females. Measures of song performance, however, were not different between courtship songs produced to familiar and unfamiliar females. The formation of a longer-term memory for individual females seemed to require at least three exposures because males did not differentially produce courtship song to unfamiliar females and females that they had been exposed to only once or twice. Taken together, these data indicate that brief exposures to individual females led to the rapid formation and persistence of social memories and support the

  10. Organization and development of zebra finch HVC and paraHVC based on expression of zRalDH, an enzyme associated with retinoic acid production

    PubMed Central

    Olson, Christopher R.; Rodrigues, Paulo Vianney; Jeong, Jin Kwon; Prahl, Daniel J.; Mello, Claudio V.

    2010-01-01

    The zRalDH gene encodes an aldehyde dehydrogenase associated with the conversion of retinaldehyde (the main vitamin A metabolite) into retinoic acid and its expression is highly enriched in the song control system of adult zebra finches (T. gutatta). Within song control nucleus HVC, zRalDH is specifically expressed in the neurons that project to area X of the striatum. It is also expressed in paraHVC, commonly considered a medial extension of HVC that is closely associated with auditory areas in the caudomedial telencephalon. Here we used in situ hybridization to generate a detailed analysis of HVC and paraHVC based on expression of zRalDH for adult zebra finches of both sexes and for males during the song learning period. We demonstrate that the distribution of zRalDH-positive cells can be used for accurate assessments of HVC and paraHVC in adult and juvenile males. We describe marked developmental changes in the numbers of zRalDH-expressing cells in HVC and paraHVC, reaching a peak at day 50 post-hatch, an effect potentially due to dynamic changes in the population of X-projecting cells in HVC. We also show that zRalDH-expressing cells in adult females, although much less numerous than in males, have a surprisingly broad distribution along the medial-to-lateral extent of HVC but are lacking where paraHVC is found in adult males. Our study thus contributes to our understanding of the nuclear organization of the song system and the dynamics of its developmental changes during the song learning period. PMID:21120932

  11. Novel Song-Stimulated Dendritic Spine Formation and Arc/Arg 3.1 Expression in Zebra Finch Auditory Telencephalon are Disrupted by Cannabinoid Agonism

    PubMed Central

    Gilbert, Marcoita T; Soderstrom, Ken

    2013-01-01

    Cannabinoids are well-established to alter processes of sensory perception; however neurophysiological mechanisms responsible remain unclear. Arc, an immediate-early gene (IEG) product involved in dendritic spine dynamics and necessary for plasticity changes such as long-term potentiation, is rapidly induced within zebra finch caudal medial nidopallium (NCM) following novel song exposure, a response that habituates after repeated stimuli. Arc appears unique in its rapid postsynaptic dendritic expression following excitatory input. Previously, we found that vocal development-altering cannabinoid treatments are associated with elevated dendritic spine densities in motor- (HVC) and learning-related (Area X) song regions of zebra finch telencephalon. Given Arc’s dendritic morphological role, we hypothesized that cannabinoid-altered spine densities may involve Arc-related signaling. To test this, we examined the ability of the cannabinoid agonist WIN55212-2 (WIN) to: (1) acutely disrupt song-induced Arc expression; (2) interfere with habituation to auditory stimuli and; (3) alter dendritic spine densities in auditory regions. We found that WIN (3 mg/kg) acutely reduced Arc expression within both NCM and Field L2 in an antagonist-reversible manner. WIN did not alter Arc expression in thalamic auditory relay Nucleus Ovoidalis (Ov), suggesting cannabinoid signaling selectively alters responses to auditory stimulation. Novel song stimulation rapidly increased dendritic spine densities within auditory telencephalon, an effect blocked by WIN pretreatments. Taken together, cannabinoid inhibition of both Arc induction and its habituation to repeated stimuli, combined with prevention of rapid increases in dendritic spine densities, implicates cannabinoid signaling in modulation of physiological processes important to auditory responsiveness and memory. PMID:24134952

  12. Panmixia supports divergence with gene flow in Darwin's small ground finch, Geospiza fuliginosa, on Santa Cruz, Galápagos Islands.

    PubMed

    Galligan, Toby H; Donnellan, Stephen C; Sulloway, Frank J; Fitch, Alison J; Bertozzi, Terry; Kleindorfer, Sonia

    2012-05-01

    The divergence-with-gene-flow model of speciation has a strong theoretical basis with a growing number of plausible examples in nature, but remains hotly debated. Darwin's finches of the Galápagos Archipelago have played an important role in our understanding of speciation processes. Recent studies suggest that this group may also provide insights into speciation via divergence with gene flow. On the island of Santa Cruz, recent studies found evidence for adaptive divergence in Darwin's small ground finch, Geospiza fuliginosa, between ecologically contrasting arid and humid zones. Despite the short geographical distance between these zones, strong disruptive selection during low rainfall periods is expected to generate and maintain adaptive divergence. Conversely, during high rainfall periods, when disruptive selection is predicted to be weakened, population divergence in adaptive traits is expected to break down. Because periods of low and high rainfall irregularly alternate, the geographical pattern of adaptive divergence can be assumed to break down and, importantly, regenerate in situ. Here, we use microsatellite allele frequency data to assess the genetic population structure of G. fuliginosa on Santa Cruz. We sample 21 sites and four ecological zones across the island. We reject hypotheses of population substructure linked to ecological and geographical differences among sites in favour of a single panmictic population. Panmixia implies high levels of gene flow within Santa Cruz, which favours selection over genetic drift as a valid process generating phenotypic divergence in G. fuliginosa on Santa Cruz. We discuss how our findings may support classic adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, matching habitat choice or any combination of these three processes. PMID:22404597

  13. Functional genomic analysis and neuroanatomical localization of miR-2954, a song-responsive sex-linked microRNA in the zebra finch

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Ya-Chi; Balakrishnan, Christopher N.; Clayton, David F.

    2014-01-01

    Natural experience can cause complex changes in gene expression in brain centers for cognition and perception, but the mechanisms that link perceptual experience and neurogenomic regulation are not understood. MicroRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) have the potential to regulate large gene expression networks, and a previous study showed that a natural perceptual stimulus (hearing the sound of birdsong in zebra finches) triggers rapid changes in expression of several miRs in the auditory forebrain. Here we evaluate the functional potential of one of these, miR-2954, which has been found so far only in birds and is encoded on the Z sex chromosome. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, we show that miR-2954 is present in subsets of cells in the sexually dimorphic brain regions involved in song production and perception, with notable enrichment in cell nuclei. We then probe its regulatory function by inhibiting its expression in a zebra finch cell line (G266) and measuring effects on endogenous gene expression using Illumina RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). Approximately 1000 different mRNAs change in expression by 1.5-fold or more (adjusted p < 0.01), with increases in some but not all of the targets that had been predicted by Targetscan. The population of RNAs that increase after miR-2954 inhibition is notably enriched for ones involved in the MAP Kinase (MAPK) pathway, whereas the decreasing population is dominated by genes involved in ribosomes and mitochondrial function. Since song stimulation itself triggers a decrease in miR-2954 expression followed by a delayed decrease in genes encoding ribosomal and mitochondrial functions, we suggest that miR-2954 may mediate some of the neurogenomic effects of song habituation. PMID:25565940

  14. Extensive variation in surface lipoprotein gene content and genomic changes associated with virulence during evolution of a novel North American house finch epizootic strain of Mycoplasma gallisepticum.

    PubMed

    Tulman, E R; Liao, X; Szczepanek, S M; Ley, D H; Kutish, G F; Geary, S J

    2012-08-01

    Mycoplasma gallisepticum, a significant respiratory and reproductive pathogen of domestic poultry, has since 1994 been recognized as an emergent pathogen of the American house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus). Epizootic spread and pathognomonic characteristics of house finch-associated Mycoplasma gallisepticum (HFMG) have been studied as a model of an emergent to endemic pathogen in a novel host. Here we present comparative analysis of eight HFMG genomes, including one from an index isolate and seven isolates separated spatially and temporally (1994-2008) across the epizootic, and notably having differences in virulence. HFMG represented a monophyletic clade relative to sequenced poultry isolates, with genomic changes indicating a novel M. gallisepticum lineage and including unique deletions of coding sequence. Though most of the HFMG genome was highly conserved among isolates, genetic distances correlated with temporal-spatial distance from the index. The most dramatic genomic differences among HFMG involved phase-variable and immunodominant VlhA lipoprotein genes, including those variable in presence and genomic location. Other genomic differences included tandem copy number variation of a 5 kbp repeat, changes in and adjacent to the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, and small-scale changes affecting coding potential and association of genes with virulence. Divergence of monophyletic isolates from similar time/space in the epizootic indicated local diversification of distinct HFMG sublineages. Overall, these data identify candidate virulence genes and reveal the importance of phase-variable lipoproteins during the evolution of M. gallisepticum during its emergence and dissemination in a novel host in nature, likely mediating an important role at the interface between pathogen virulence and host immunity. PMID:22628486

  15. Social Memory Formation Rapidly and Differentially Affects the Motivation and Performance of Vocal Communication Signals in the Bengalese Finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica)

    PubMed Central

    Toccalino, Danielle C.; Sun, Herie; Sakata, Jon T.

    2016-01-01

    Cognitive processes like the formation of social memories can shape the nature of social interactions between conspecifics. Male songbirds use vocal signals during courtship interactions with females, but the degree to which social memory and familiarity influences the likelihood and structure of male courtship song remains largely unknown. Using a habituation-dishabituation paradigm, we found that a single, brief (<30 s) exposure to a female led to the formation of a short-term memory for that female: adult male Bengalese finches were significantly less likely to produce courtship song to an individual female when re-exposed to her 5 min later (i.e., habituation). Familiarity also rapidly decreased the duration of courtship songs but did not affect other measures of song performance (e.g., song tempo and the stereotypy of syllable structure and sequencing). Consistent with a contribution of social memory to the decrease in courtship song with repeated exposures to the same female, the likelihood that male Bengalese finches produced courtship song increased when they were exposed to a different female (i.e., dishabituation). Three consecutive exposures to individual females also led to the formation of a longer-term memory that persisted over days. Specifically, when courtship song production was assessed 2 days after initial exposures to females, males produced fewer and shorter courtship songs to familiar females than to unfamiliar females. Measures of song performance, however, were not different between courtship songs produced to familiar and unfamiliar females. The formation of a longer-term memory for individual females seemed to require at least three exposures because males did not differentially produce courtship song to unfamiliar females and females that they had been exposed to only once or twice. Taken together, these data indicate that brief exposures to individual females led to the rapid formation and persistence of social memories and support the

  16. Comparative analysis of mineralocorticoid receptor expression among vocal learners (Bengalese finch and budgerigar) and non-vocal learners (quail and ring dove) has implications for the evolution of avian vocal learning.

    PubMed

    Matsunaga, Eiji; Suzuki, Kenta; Kobayashi, Tetsuya; Okanoya, Kazuo

    2011-12-01

    Mineralocorticoid receptor is the receptor for corticosteroids such as corticosterone or aldosterone. Previously, we found that mineralocorticoid receptor was highly expressed in song nuclei of a songbird, Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica). Here, to examine the relationship between mineralocorticoid receptor expression and avian vocal learning, we analyzed mineralocorticoid receptor expression in the developing brain of another vocal learner, budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) and non-vocal learners, quail (Coturnix japonica) and ring dove (Streptopelia capicola). Mineralocorticoid receptor showed vocal control area-related expressions in budgerigars as Bengalese finches, whereas no such mineralocorticoid receptor expressions were seen in the telencephalon of non-vocal learners. Thus, these results suggest the possibility that mineralocorticoid receptor plays a role in vocal development of parrots as songbirds and that the acquisition of mineralocorticoid receptor expression is involved in the evolution of avian vocal learning. PMID:22010640

  17. Interspecific effects of 4A-DNT (4-amino-2,6-dinitrotoluene) and RDX (1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine) in Japanese quail, Northern bobwhite, and Zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Quinn, Michael J; Hanna, Terry L; Shiflett, Alicia A; McFarland, Craig A; Cook, Michelle E; Johnson, Mark S; Gust, Kurt A; Perkins, Edward J

    2013-03-01

    The purpose of this study was to assess the toxicological effects of two munition compounds, 4-amino-2,6-dinitrotoluene (4A-DNT) and 1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX), on three different bird species: two common toxicological model species-the Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) and the Japanese Quail (Coturnix japonica), and a representative passerine-the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Bobwhite were exposed to 4A-DNT at 0, 8, 15, 30, 60, or 150 mg/kg body weight (bw) d by oral gavage for seven days; because the high dose of 4A-DNT was lethal to bobwhite, the maximum dose was changed to 100 mg/kg bw d for Japanese quail and finches to ensure tissue could be used for future toxicogenomic work. RDX was similarly administered at 0, 0.5, 1.5, 3, 6, or 12 mg/kg bw d. Blood was drawn prior to euthanasia for blood cellularity and chemistry analyses. Finches were clearly least affected by 4A-DNT as evidenced by a lack of observable effects. Bobwhite appeared to be the most sensitive species to 4A-DNT as observed through changes in blood cellularity and plasma chemistry effects. Bobwhite appeared to be more sensitive to RDX than Japanese Quail due to increased effects on measures of plasma chemistries. Finches exhibited the greatest sensitivity to RDX through increased mortality and seizure activity. This study suggests that sensitivity among species is chemical-specific and provides data that could be used to refine current avian sensitivity models used in ecological risk assessments. PMID:23161369

  18. The influence of wind and locomotor activity on surface temperature and energy expenditure of the Eastern house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) during cold stress.

    PubMed

    Zerba, E; Dana, A N; Lucia, M A

    1999-01-01

    We investigated the extent to which exercise-generated heat compensates for regulatory thermogenesis of Eastern house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus Müller) exposed to ambient temperatures (Ta) and convective conditions typical of that which birds experience in nature while perched in the open or foraging on the ground. We addressed the hypothesis that resting and active birds exposed to similar net convective conditions will exhibit similar surface temperatures (Ts) and metabolic energy expenditures. To test this hypothesis, resting birds were exposed to a wind speed equivalent to the treadmill speed (0.5 m s-1) for a hopping bird (active). Ts of resting birds in no wind, resting birds exposed to wind, and active birds were measured with infrared thermography at Ta between 0 degrees and 25 degrees C. Metabolic heat production was estimated from measures of respiratory gases at Ta between -5 degrees and 25 degrees C. For resting birds in no wind, resting birds in wind, and active birds, Ts decreased with decreasing Ta. The effects of variation in Ta on Ts depended on activity level (F=3.91, df=2,40, P=0.0280). The regression relationship of Ts on Ta, however, did not differ significantly between resting birds exposed to wind and active birds (F=0.12, df=2,40, P=0.8865), whereas the slope was lower and intercept higher for resting birds in no wind compared with those of resting birds exposed to wind and active birds combined (F=20.96, df=2,42, P<0.0001). Metabolic heat production for resting birds exposed to wind and active birds increased with decreasing Ta. Average metabolic heat production of resting (46.01 mW g-1+/-10.60 SD) and active birds (47.63 mW g-1+/-8.76 SD) exposed to similar net convective conditions did not differ significantly (F=3.87, df=1,44, P=0.0556). These results support our hypothesis and provide evidence that exercise generated compensates for thermostatic requirements at Ta just below thermoneutrality, which resembles conditions under which

  19. Morphological and molecular characterization of Isospora neochmiae n. sp. in a captive-bred red-browed finch (Neochmia temporalis) (Latham, 1802).

    PubMed

    Yang, Rongchang; Brice, Belinda; Ryan, Una

    2016-07-01

    A new Isospora (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) species is described from a single red-browed finch (Neochmia temporalis) (subspecies N. temporalis temporalis), that was part of a captive population in Western Australia. Sporulated oocysts of this isolate are spherical, 18.3 (18.2-18.9) × 18.2 (18.2-18.6) μm, with a shape index (length/width) of 1.0; and a smooth and bilayered oocyst wall, 1.2 μm thick (outer layer 0.9 μm, inner 0.3 μm). A polar granule is present, but the oocyst residuum and a micropyle are absent. The sporocysts are ovoid-shaped, 13.3 (9.5-16.4) × 8.6 (6.8-10.0) μm, with a shape index of 1.5. An indistinct Stieda body is present, but the substieda body is absent. A sporocyst residuum is present and composed of numerous granules of different size scattered among the sporozoites. Morphologically, the oocysts from this isolate are different from those of all known valid Isospora spp. Molecular analysis was conducted at 4 loci; the 18S and 28S ribosomal RNA (rRNA), the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase (COI) gene and the heat shock protein 70 (hsp70) gene. At the 18S locus, this new isolate exhibited 99.9%, 99.8%, 99.7%, and 99.5% similarity to I. sp. MAH-2013a from a superb starling (Lamprotornis superbus), I. MS-2003 from a Southern cape sparrow (Passer melanurus), I. sp. Tokyo from a domestic pigeon (Columba livia domestica) and I. MS-2003 from a Surinam crested oropendula (Psarocolius decumanus). At the 28S locus, this new isolate exhibited 99.7% similarity to both an Isospora sp (MS-2003) from a Northern house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and an Isospora sp. (MS-2003) from a Southern cape sparrow. At the COI locus, this new isolate exhibited 98.9% similarity to an Isospora sp. ex Apodemus flavicollis. At the hsp70 locus, this new isolate exhibited 99% similarity to isolate MS-2003 (AY283879) from a wattled starling (Creatophora cinerea). Based on morphological and molecular data, this isolate is a new species of Isospora, which is named

  20. Developmental but not adult cannabinoid treatments persistently alter axonal and dendritic morphology within brain regions important for zebra finch vocal learning

    PubMed Central

    Gilbert, Marcoita T.; Soderstrom, Ken

    2014-01-01

    Prior work shows developmental cannabinoid exposure alters zebra finch vocal development in a manner associated with altered CNS physiology, including changes in patterns of CB1 receptor immunoreactivity, endocannabinoid concentrations and dendritic spine densities. These results raise questions about the selectivity of developmental cannabinoid effects: are they a consequence of a generalized developmental disruption, or are effects produced through more selective and distinct interactions with biochemical pathways that control receptor, endogenous ligand and dendritic spine dynamics? To begin to address this question we have examined effects of developmental cannabinoid exposure on the pattern and density of expression of proteins critical to dendritic (MAP2) and axonal (Nf-200) structure to determine the extent to which dendritic vs. axonal neuronal morphology may be altered. Results demonstrate developmental, but not adult cannabinoid treatments produce generalized changes in expression of both dendritic and axonal cytoskeletal proteins within brain regions and cells known to express CB1 cannabinoid receptors. Results clearly demonstrate that cannabinoid exposure during a period of sensorimotor development, but not adulthood, produce profound effects upon both dendritic and axonal morphology that persist through at least early adulthood. These findings suggest an ability of exogenous cannabinoids to alter general processes responsible for normal brain development. Results also further implicate the importance of endocannabinoid signaling to peri-pubertal periods of adolescence, and underscore potential consequences of cannabinoid abuse during periods of late-postnatal CNS development. PMID:24594017

  1. Living with the Past: Nutritional Stress in Juvenile Males Has Immediate Effects on their Plumage Ornaments and on Adult Attractiveness in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Naguib, Marc; Nemitz, Andrea

    2007-01-01

    The environmental conditions individuals experience during early development are well known to have fundamental effects on a variety of fitness-relevant traits. Although it is evident that the earliest developmental stages have large effects on fitness, other developmental stages, such as the period when secondary sexual characters develop, might also exert a profound effect on fitness components. Here we show experimentally in male zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata, that nutritional conditions during this later period have immediate effects on male plumage ornaments and on their attractiveness as adults. Males that had received high quality food during the second month of life, a period when secondary sexual characteristics develop, were significantly more attractive as adults in mate choice tests than siblings supplied with standard food during this period. Preferred males that had experienced better nutritional conditions had larger orange cheek patches when nutritional treatments ended than did unpreferred males. Sexual plumage ornaments of young males thus are honest indicators of nutritional conditions during this period. The mate choice tests with adult birds indicate that nutritional conditions during the period of song learning, brain and gonad development, and moult into adult plumage have persisting effects on male attractiveness. This suggests that the developmental period following nutritional dependence from the parents is just as important in affecting adult attractiveness as are much earlier developmental periods. These findings thus contribute to understanding the origin and consequences of environmentally determined fitness components. PMID:17878936

  2. New insights on the rarity of the vulnerable Cinereous Warbling-finch (Aves, Emberizidae) based on density, home range, and habitat selection.

    PubMed

    Marques-Santos, F; Wischhoff, U; Rodrigues, M

    2014-11-01

    The Cinereous Warbling-finch Poospiza cinerea (Emberizidae) is a Neotropical grassland bird considered rare, with population declining due to habitat loss and classified as vulnerable. However, the species conspicuously remains in several degraded areas, suggesting that it may be favored by these environments. Studies which focus on this species were inexistent until 2012, making questionable any statement about its threaten status. Here we analyzed population density, home range, and habitat selection of two groups of P. cinerea at independent sites that differ in human impact levels. Density was estimated by counting and mapping birds. Kernel density and minimum convex polygon were used to estimate home ranges. Habitat selection was inferred from use and availability of every habitat identified within the home range boundaries. One group positively selected urban tree vegetation, despite the availability of natural habitats in its home range. Based on a review on the literature and our findings, we assume that it is unlikely that P. cinerea is rare owing to habitat degradation, as previously thought. Nevertheless, this species was always recorded around native Cerrado vegetation and thus habitat modification may still threaten this species at some level. It is suggested that this species might be a woodland edge species, but future studies are necessary to confirm this assumption. PMID:25627588

  3. Activity in a Premotor Cortical Nucleus of Zebra Finches Is Locally Organized and Exhibits Auditory Selectivity in Neurons but Not in Glia

    PubMed Central

    Graber, Michael H.; Helmchen, Fritjof; Hahnloser, Richard H. R.

    2013-01-01

    Motor functions are often guided by sensory experience, most convincingly illustrated by complex learned behaviors. Key to sensory guidance in motor areas may be the structural and functional organization of sensory inputs and their evoked responses. We study sensory responses in large populations of neurons and neuron-assistive cells in the songbird motor area HVC, an auditory-vocal brain area involved in sensory learning and in adult song production. HVC spike responses to auditory stimulation display remarkable preference for the bird's own song (BOS) compared to other stimuli. Using two-photon calcium imaging in anesthetized zebra finches we measure the spatio-temporal structure of baseline activity and of auditory evoked responses in identified populations of HVC cells. We find strong correlations between calcium signal fluctuations in nearby cells of a given type, both in identified neurons and in astroglia. In identified HVC neurons only, auditory stimulation decorrelates ongoing calcium signals, less for BOS than for other sound stimuli. Overall, calcium transients show strong preference for BOS in identified HVC neurons but not in astroglia, showing diversity in local functional organization among identified neuron and astroglia populations. PMID:24312533

  4. Prolactin is related to individual differences in parental behavior and reproductive success in a biparental passerine, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Smiley, Kristina O; Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth

    2016-08-01

    Variation in parental care can lead to important fitness consequences. The endocrine system is known to regulate physiological and behavioral reproductive traits that are important contributors to lifetime reproductive success. However, the hormonal basis of variation in avian parental care is still not well understood. Plasma prolactin (PRL) concentrations are generally high during post-hatch parental care in birds, and may be a candidate mechanism that regulates variation in parental care and other reproductive success outcomes. Here we analyze the relationship between PRL, parental behavior (chick brooding and feeding) and reproductive success outcomes (clutch size, number of chicks hatched, and chick survival) for the first time in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Birds were given cabergoline, a dopamine agonist traditionally used to lower prolactin in mammals, or vehicle in their food. Cabergoline had no effect on prolactin concentrations, but across both groups we found that PRL is positively correlated with parental behavior, number of chicks hatched, and chick survival, but not clutch size. Results from this study will inform hypotheses and predictions for future manipulation studies which test for a causal role for PRL in parental traits. PMID:26965952

  5. Comment: "One kilometre-thick ultramylonite, Sierra de Quilmes, Sierras Pampeanas, NW Argentina" by M.A. Finch, R.F. Weinberg, M.G. Fuentes, P. Haslova, and R. Becchio, Journal of Structural Geology 72 (2015) 33-54

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Büttner, S. H.

    2015-07-01

    In their recent publication Finch et al. (2015) present new information on the El Pichao shear zone and, in the context of an assessment of the formation of ultramylonites, interpret the El Pichao shear zone in its significance within the crustal evolution of the Sierras Pampeanas. They hereby particularly address its age, which they associate with the Ordovician "470 Ma Famatinian orogeny". The contractional character of the amphibolite facies shearing along El Pichao shear zone is extrapolated to higher temperature tectonics and metamorphism in other, particularly the northern, parts of the Sierra de Quilmes.

  6. Mate Choice in Adult Female Bengalese Finches: Females Express Consistent Preferences for Individual Males and Prefer Female-Directed Song Performances

    PubMed Central

    Dunning, Jeffery L.; Pant, Santosh; Bass, Aaron; Coburn, Zachary; Prather, Jonathan F.

    2014-01-01

    In the process of mate selection by female songbirds, male suitors advertise their quality through reproductive displays in which song plays an important role. Females evaluate the quality of each signal and the associated male, and the results of that evaluation guide expression of selective courtship displays. Some studies reveal broad agreement among females in their preferences for specific signal characteristics, indicating that those features are especially salient in female mate choice. Other studies reveal that females differ in their preference for specific characteristics, indicating that in those cases female evaluation of signal quality is influenced by factors other than simply the physical properties of the signal. Thus, both the physical properties of male signals and specific traits of female signal evaluation can impact female mate choice. Here, we characterized the mate preferences of female Bengalese finches. We found that calls and copulation solicitation displays are equally reliable indicators of female preference. In response to songs from an array of males, each female expressed an individual-specific song preference, and those preferences were consistent across tests spanning many months. Across a population of females, songs of some males were more commonly preferred than others, and females preferred female-directed songs more than undirected songs, suggesting that some song features are broadly attractive. Preferences were indistinguishable for females that did or did not have social experience with the singers, indicating that female preference is strongly directed by song features rather than experiences associated with the singer. Analysis of song properties revealed several candidate parameters that may influence female evaluation. In an initial investigation of those parameters, females could be very selective for one song feature yet not selective for another. Therefore, multiple song parameters are evaluated independently

  7. A centroid model of species distribution with applications to the Carolina wren Thryothorus ludovicianus and house finch Haemorhous mexicanus in the United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    2016-01-01

    Drastic shifts in species distributions are a cause of concern for ecologists. Such shifts pose great threat to biodiversity especially under unprecedented anthropogenic and natural disturbances. Many studies have documented recent shifts in species distributions. However, most of these studies are limited to regional scales, and do not consider the abundance structure within species ranges. Developing methods to detect systematic changes in species distributions over their full ranges is critical for understanding the impact of changing environments and for successful conservation planning. Here, we demonstrate a centroid model for range-wide analysis of distribution shifts using the North American Breeding Bird Survey. The centroid model is based on a hierarchical Bayesian framework which models population change within physiographic strata while accounting for several factors affecting species detectability. Yearly abundance-weighted range centroids are estimated. As case studies, we derive annual centroids for the Carolina wren and house finch in their ranges in the U.S. We further evaluate the first-difference correlation between species’ centroid movement and changes in winter severity, total population abundance. We also examined associations of change in centroids from sub-ranges. Change in full-range centroid movements of Carolina wren significantly correlate with snow cover days (r = −0.58). For both species, the full-range centroid shifts also have strong correlation with total abundance (r = 0.65, and 0.51 respectively). The movements of the full-range centroids of the two species are correlated strongly (up to r = 0.76) with that of the sub-ranges with more drastic population changes. Our study demonstrates the usefulness of centroids for analyzing distribution changes in a two-dimensional spatial context. Particularly it highlights applications that associate the centroid with factors such as environmental stressors, population characteristics

  8. Adverse effects of fipronil on avian reproduction and development: maternal transfer of fipronil to eggs in zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata and in ovo exposure in chickens Gallus domesticus.

    PubMed

    Kitulagodage, Malsha; Buttemer, William A; Astheimer, Lee B

    2011-06-01

    Two studies were carried out to examine the impact of maternal fipronil exposure on embryonic and offspring development. In the first study, breeding female zebra finches were orally dosed with single sublethal levels of fipronil (1, 5, and 10 mg/kg body weight) to determine behavioural and developmental consequences on chicks following maternal pesticide exposure. Significant levels of fipronil and fipronil-sulfone residues were detected in eggs laid by females in all dosed groups, however, these were undetectable in eggs laid 13 days after treatment. The level of sulfone detected in eggs was consistently higher than that of the parent fipronil compound. Of the seven eggs laid in the treatment groups, only one (14%) chick hatched and this was from the lowest dose group. This chick was severely underdeveloped at 10 days of age in comparison to control chicks and fiproles were detected in brain, liver, and adipose tissues collected following euthanasia of this individual. In contrast, there was 100% hatchability of control group eggs and all chicks fledged nests on schedule. In the second study, domestic chicken eggs were injected with 5.5, 17.5, and 37.5 mg/kg egg weight of fipronil directly into the yolk sac on day 12 of incubation. Treatment did not affect hatching success, however, behavioural and developmental abnormalities were observed in hatchlings from the highest dose group. These chicks also demonstrated reduced feeding rates, as indicated by reduced body mass at 48 h period post hatch. Both fipronil and fipronil-sulfone residues were detected in brain and liver tissue of hatchlings at all pesticide dose levels tested. PMID:21327488

  9. Mate choice in adult female Bengalese finches: females express consistent preferences for individual males and prefer female-directed song performances.

    PubMed

    Dunning, Jeffery L; Pant, Santosh; Bass, Aaron; Coburn, Zachary; Prather, Jonathan F

    2014-01-01

    In the process of mate selection by female songbirds, male suitors advertise their quality through reproductive displays in which song plays an important role. Females evaluate the quality of each signal and the associated male, and the results of that evaluation guide expression of selective courtship displays. Some studies reveal broad agreement among females in their preferences for specific signal characteristics, indicating that those features are especially salient in female mate choice. Other studies reveal that females differ in their preference for specific characteristics, indicating that in those cases female evaluation of signal quality is influenced by factors other than simply the physical properties of the signal. Thus, both the physical properties of male signals and specific traits of female signal evaluation can impact female mate choice. Here, we characterized the mate preferences of female Bengalese finches. We found that calls and copulation solicitation displays are equally reliable indicators of female preference. In response to songs from an array of males, each female expressed an individual-specific song preference, and those preferences were consistent across tests spanning many months. Across a population of females, songs of some males were more commonly preferred than others, and females preferred female-directed songs more than undirected songs, suggesting that some song features are broadly attractive. Preferences were indistinguishable for females that did or did not have social experience with the singers, indicating that female preference is strongly directed by song features rather than experiences associated with the singer. Analysis of song properties revealed several candidate parameters that may influence female evaluation. In an initial investigation of those parameters, females could be very selective for one song feature yet not selective for another. Therefore, multiple song parameters are evaluated independently

  10. Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide (CART) in the brain of zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata: Organization, interaction with neuropeptide Y, and response to changes in energy status.

    PubMed

    Singh, Omprakash; Kumar, Santosh; Singh, Uday; Kumar, Vinod; Lechan, Ronald M; Singru, Praful S

    2016-10-15

    Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) has emerged as a potent anorectic agent. CART is widely distributed in the brain of mammals, amphibians, and teleosts, but the relevant information in avian brain is not available. In birds, CART inhibits food intake, whereas neuropeptide Y (NPY), a well-known orexigenic peptide, stimulates it. How these neuropeptides interact in the brain to regulate energy balance is not known. We studied the distribution of CART-immunoreactivity in the brain of zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, its interaction with NPY, and their response to dynamic energy states. CART-immunoreactive fibers were found in the subpallium, hypothalamus, midbrain, and brainstem. Conspicuous CART-immunoreactive cells were observed in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, hypothalamic paraventricular, supraoptic, dorsomedial, infundibular (IN), lateral hypothalamic, Edinger-Westphal, and parabrachial nuclei. Hypothalamic sections of fed, fasted, and refed animals were immunostained with cFos, NPY, and CART antisera. Fasting dramatically increased cFos- and NPY-immunoreactivity in the IN, followed by rapid reduction by 2 hours and restoration to normal fed levels 6-10 hours after refeeding. CART-immunoreactive fibers in IN showed a significant reduction during fasting and upregulation with refeeding. Within the IN, double immunofluorescence revealed that 94 ± 2.1% of NPY-immunoreactive neurons were contacted by CART-immunoreactive fibers and 96 ± 2.8% NPY-immunoreactive neurons expressed cFos during fasting. Compared to controls, superfused hypothalamic slices of fasted birds treated with CART-peptide showed a significant reduction (P < 0.001) in NPY-immunoreactivity in the IN. As in other vertebrates, CART in the brain of T. guttata may perform several functions, and has a particularly important role in the hypothalamic regulation of energy homeostasis. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:3014-3041, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27018984

  11. Enriched Expression and Developmental Regulation of the Middle-Weight Neurofilament (NF-M) Gene in Song Control Nuclei of the Zebra Finch

    PubMed Central

    VELHO, TARCISO A.F.; LOVELL, PETER; MELLO, CLAUDIO V.

    2014-01-01

    Songbirds evolved a complex set of dimorphic telencephalic nuclei that are essential for the learning and production of song. These nuclei, which together make up the oscine song control system, present several neurochemical properties that distinguish them from the rest of the telencephalon. Here we show that the expression of the gene encoding the middle-weight neurofilament (NF-M), an important component of the neuronal cytoskeleton and a useful tool for studying the cytarchitectonic organization of mammalian cortical areas, is highly enriched in large neurons within pallial song control nuclei (nucleus HVC, robustus nucleus of the arcopallium, and lateral magnocellular nucleus of the nidopallium) of male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). We also show that this transcript is highly expressed in large neurons in the medulla, pons, midbrain, and thalamus. Moreover, we demonstrate that NF-M expression in song control nuclei changes during postembryonic development, peaking during an early phase of the song-learning period that coincides with the maturation of the song system. We did not observe changes in NF-M expression in auditory areas or in song control nuclei in the contexts of hearing song or singing, although these contexts result in marked induction of the transcription factor ZENK. This observation suggests that NF-M might not be under the regulatory control of ZENK in auditory areas or in song control nuclei. Overall, our data indicate that NF-M is a neurochemical marker for pallial song control nuclei and provide suggestive evidence of an involvement of NF-M in the development and/or maturation of the oscine song control system. PMID:17120287

  12. Sex and age differences in brain-derived neurotrophic factor and vimentin in the zebra finch song system: Relationships to newly generated cells.

    PubMed

    Tang, Yu Ping; Wade, Juli

    2016-04-01

    The neural song circuit is enhanced in male compared with female zebra finches due to differential rates of incorporation and survival of cells between the sexes. Two double-label immunohistochemical experiments were conducted to increase the understanding of relationships between newly generated cells (marked with bromodeoxyuridine [BrdU]) and those expressing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and vimentin, a marker for radial glia. The song systems of males and females were investigated at posthatching day 25 during a heightened period of sexual differentiation (following BrdU injections on days 6-10) and in adulthood (following a parallel injection paradigm). In both HVC (proper name) and the robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA), about half of the BrdU-positive cells expressed BDNF across sexes and ages. Less than 10% of the BDNF-positive cells expressed BrdU, but this percentage was greater in juveniles than adults. Across both brain regions, more BDNF-positive cells were detected in males compared with females. In RA, the number of these cells was also greater in juveniles than adults. In HVC, the average cross-sectional area covered by the vimentin labeling was greater in males than females and in juveniles compared with adults. In RA, more vimentin was detected in juveniles than adults, and within adults it was greater in females. In juveniles only, BrdU-positive cells appeared in contact with vimentin-labeled fibers in HVC, RA, and Area X. Collectively, the results are consistent with roles of BDNF- and vimentin-labeled cells influencing sexually differentiated plasticity of the song circuit. PMID:26355496

  13. Genomic Landscape of Long Terminal Repeat Retrotransposons (LTR-RTs) and Solo LTRs as Shaped by Ectopic Recombination in Chicken and Zebra Finch.

    PubMed

    Ji, Yanzhu; DeWoody, J Andrew

    2016-06-01

    Transposable elements (TEs) are nearly ubiquitous among eukaryotic genomes, but TE contents vary dramatically among phylogenetic lineages. Several mechanisms have been proposed as drivers of TE dynamics in genomes, including the fixation/loss of a particular TE insertion by selection or drift as well as structural changes in the genome due to mutation (e.g., recombination). In particular, recombination can have a significant and directional effect on the genomic TE landscape. For example, ectopic recombination removes internal regions of long terminal repeat retrotransposons (LTR-RTs) as well as one long terminal repeat (LTR), resulting in a solo LTR. In this study, we focus on the intra-species dynamics of LTR-RTs and solo LTRs in bird genomes. The distribution of LTR-RTs and solo LTRs in birds is intriguing because avian recombination rates vary widely within a given genome. We used published linkage maps and whole genome assemblies to study the relationship between recombination rates and LTR-removal events in the chicken and zebra finch. We hypothesized that regions with low recombination rates would harbor more full-length LTR-RTs (and fewer solo LTRs) than regions with high recombination rates. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the ratio of full-length LTR-RTs and solo LTRs across chromosomes, across non-overlapping megabase windows, and across physical features (i.e., centromeres and telomeres). The chicken data statistically supported the hypothesis that recombination rates are inversely correlated with the ratio of full-length to solo LTRs at both the chromosome level and in 1-Mb non-overlapping windows. We also found that the ratio of full-length to solo LTRs near chicken telomeres was significantly lower than those ratios near centromeres. Our results suggest a potential role of ectopic recombination in shaping the chicken LTR-RT genomic landscape. PMID:27154235

  14. Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and gonadotropin inhibitory hormone (GnIH) in the songbird hippocampus: regional and sex differences in adult zebra finches.

    PubMed

    McGuire, Nicolette; Ferris, Jennifer K; Arckens, Lutgarde; Bentley, George E; Soma, Kiran K

    2013-08-01

    Hypothalamic gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and gonadotropin inhibitory hormone (GnIH) are vital to reproduction in all vertebrates. These neuropeptides are also present outside of the hypothalamus, but the roles of extra-hypothalamic GnRH and GnIH remain enigmatic and widely underappreciated. We used immunohistochemistry and PCR to examine whether multiple forms of GnRH (chicken GnRH-I (GnRH1), chicken GnRH-II (GnRH2) and lamprey GnRH-III (GnRH4)) and GnIH are present in the hippocampus (Hp) of adult zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Using immunohistochemistry, we provide evidence that GnRH1, GnRH2 and GnRH4 are present in hippocampal cell bodies and/or fibers and that GnIH is present in hippocampal fibers only. There are regional differences in hippocampal GnRH immunoreactivity, and these vary across the different forms of GnRH. There are also sex differences in hippocampal GnRH immunoreactivity, with generally more GnRH1 and GnRH2 in the female Hp. In addition, we used PCR to examine the presence of GnRH1 mRNA and GnIH mRNA in micropunches of Hp. PCR and subsequent product sequencing demonstrated the presence of GnRH1 mRNA and the absence of GnIH mRNA in the Hp, consistent with the pattern of immunohistochemical results. To our knowledge, this is the first study in any species to systematically examine multiple forms of GnRH in the Hp or to quantify sex or regional differences in hippocampal GnRH. Moreover, this is the first demonstration of GnIH in the avian Hp. These data shed light on an important issue: the sites of action and possible functions of GnRH and GnIH outside of the HPG axis. PMID:23727031

  15. Ambient and laboratory measurements of ice nuclei and their biological faction with the Fast Ice Nuclei CHamber FINCH-HALO using the new 405nm Version of the BIO-IN Sensor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bundke, U.; Nillius, B.; Bingemer, H.; Curtius, J.

    2012-04-01

    We have designed the BIO-IN detector as part of the ice nucleus counter FINCH (Fast Ice Nuclei CHamber counter) to distinguish activated Ice Nuclei (IN) ice crystals from water droplets (CCN) (Bundke et al. 2008) and their fraction of biological origin (Bundke 2010). The modified BIO-IN sensor illuminates an aerosol stream with a 405 nm laser, replacing a 365nm LED of the original BIO IN design. Particles will scatter the light and those of biological origin will show intrinsic fluorescence emissions by excitation of mainly Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2. The incident laser light is circularly polarized by introducing a quarter-wave-plate. The circular depolarization ratio (p44/p11) of the scattering matrix is measured in the backward direction by two photomultipliers at 110° scattering angle using a combination of quarter-wave-plate and a beam splitting cube to analyze the two circular polarization components. The detection limit was lowered towards particle size of about 400nm diameter (non activated particles). It is now possible to calculate the activated fraction of IN of biological origin with respect to all biological particles measured with one detector. The performance of the sensor will be demonstrated showing the circular- depolarization properties of different test aerosol, dust samples, volcanic ashes as well as different biological particles. Measurements on the mountain Puy de Dôme of IN number concentration of ambient air, as well as measurements at the AIDA facility in Karlsruhe of the IN activation curves from different bacteria are shown. Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the German Research Foundation, Grant: BU 1432/3-2 BU 1432/4-1

  16. Decreased fecal corticosterone levels due to domestication: a comparison between the white-backed Munia (Lonchura striata) and its domesticated strain, the Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica) with a suggestion for complex song evolution.

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Kenta; Yamada, Hiroko; Kobayashi, Tetsuya; Okanoya, Kazuo

    2012-11-01

    The Bengalese finch (BF; Lonchura striata var. domestica) is a domesticated strain of the white-backed munia (WBM; Lonchura striata). Environmental stresses activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and release corticosterone (CORT). We hypothesized that domesticated songbirds have reduced CORT levels because of reduced levels of environmental stresses (compared to wild conditions) and reductions in the role of CORT, which is necessary for survival in the wild. However, no study has examined the effects of domestication on songbird CORT levels. To explore the domestication effects, we compared CORT levels between domesticated BFs and their wild ancestors WBMs. We also compared CORT levels between bought and aviary-raised BFs, and between wild-caught and captive-raised WBMs to examine the influence of being raised. However, blood collection causes stress, which affects endocrine dynamics and makes continuous sampling difficult in small birds. Therefore, we used a non-invasive method to measure fecal CORT. Parallelism between diluted fecal extracts and a CORT standard, extraction efficiency, and ACTH challenge demonstrated the effectiveness of this method. This study demonstrates that BFs have lower fecal CORT than do WBMs, regardless of whether the WBMs were wild-caught or captive-raised. In addition, BFs sing more complex songs than WBMs. Considerable evidence suggests that song complexity is related to CORT levels. Previously, we found that the corticosteroid receptors were expressed in song-control areas of the BF brain. Based on these results, we hypothesize that reduced CORT levels through domestication might be one factor allowing for the development of more complex songs in BFs. PMID:22927235

  17. The Finches' Beaks: Introducing Evolutionary Concepts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kampourakis, Kostas

    2006-01-01

    Many secondary students hold misconceptions about evolution, even after instruction, that are often inconsistent with what is accepted by evolutionary biologists. Understanding evolution is difficult due to major conceptual difficulties concerning variation, differential survival, adaptation, and natural selection. In this article, the author…

  18. Intra-ejaculate sperm selection in female zebra finches

    PubMed Central

    Bennison, C.; Birkhead, T. R.

    2016-01-01

    Among internal fertilizers, typically fewer than 1% sperm survive the journey through the oviduct. Several studies suggest that the sperm reaching the ovum—the ‘fertilizing set’—comprise a non-random sub-population, but the characteristics of this group remain unclear. We tested whether oviductal selection in birds results in a morphologically distinct subset of sperm, by exploiting the fact that the fertilizing set are trapped by the perivitelline layer of the ovum. We show that these sperm have remarkably low morphological variation, as well as smaller head size and greater tail length, compared with those inseminated. Our study shows that the morphological composition of sperm—rather than length alone—influences success in reaching the ovum. PMID:27277953

  19. Intra-ejaculate sperm selection in female zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Hemmings, N; Bennison, C; Birkhead, T R

    2016-06-01

    Among internal fertilizers, typically fewer than 1% sperm survive the journey through the oviduct. Several studies suggest that the sperm reaching the ovum-the 'fertilizing set'-comprise a non-random sub-population, but the characteristics of this group remain unclear. We tested whether oviductal selection in birds results in a morphologically distinct subset of sperm, by exploiting the fact that the fertilizing set are trapped by the perivitelline layer of the ovum. We show that these sperm have remarkably low morphological variation, as well as smaller head size and greater tail length, compared with those inseminated. Our study shows that the morphological composition of sperm-rather than length alone-influences success in reaching the ovum. PMID:27277953

  20. The Beaks of Finches & the Tool Analogy: Use with Care

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Milne, Catherine

    2008-01-01

    Analogies are an integral feature of scientific theories, like evolution. They are developed to support explanations, proposed on the basis of evidence collected from experimental studies, field studies, and other observational studies. They map a known source or process to an unknown or target with the goal of helping educators understand the…

  1. Long-Distance Retinoid Signaling in the Zebra Finch Brain

    PubMed Central

    Roeske, Tina C.; Scharff, Constance; Olson, Christopher R.; Nshdejan, Arpik; Mello, Claudio V.

    2014-01-01

    All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), the main active metabolite of vitamin A, is a powerful signaling molecule that regulates large-scale morphogenetic processes during vertebrate embryonic development, but is also involved post-natally in regulating neural plasticity and cognition. In songbirds, it plays an important role in the maturation of learned song. The distribution of the ATRA-synthesizing enzyme, zRalDH, and of ATRA receptors (RARs) have been described, but information on the distribution of other components of the retinoid signaling pathway is still lacking. To address this gap, we have determined the expression patterns of two obligatory RAR co-receptors, the retinoid X receptors (RXR) α and γ, and of the three ATRA-degrading cytochromes CYP26A1, CYP26B1, and CYP26C1. We have also studied the distribution of zRalDH protein using immunohistochemistry, and generated a refined map of ATRA localization, using a modified reporter cell assay to examine entire brain sections. Our results show that (1) ATRA is more broadly distributed in the brain than previously predicted by the spatially restricted distribution of zRalDH transcripts. This could be due to long-range transport of zRalDH enzyme between different nuclei of the song system: Experimental lesions of putative zRalDH peptide source regions diminish ATRA-induced transcription in target regions. (2) Four telencephalic song nuclei express different and specific subsets of retinoid-related receptors and could be targets of retinoid regulation; in the case of the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (lMAN), receptor expression is dynamically regulated in a circadian and age-dependent manner. (3) High-order auditory areas exhibit a complex distribution of transcripts representing ATRA synthesizing and degrading enzymes and could also be a target of retinoid signaling. Together, our survey across multiple connected song nuclei and auditory brain regions underscores the prominent role of retinoid signaling in modulating the circuitry that underlies the acquisition and production of learned vocalizations. PMID:25393898

  2. Chimpanzee handedness revisited: 55 years since Finch (1941).

    PubMed

    Hopkins, W D

    1996-12-01

    Chimpanzees and other great apes have long held the fascination of psychologists because of their morphological and behavioral similarities to humans. This paper describes the historical interest in studies on chimpanzee handedness and reviews current findings. Data are presented which suggest that transient changes in posture result in the transient expression of right-handedness in chimpanzees. The role of tool use as an evolutionary mechanism underlying the expression of right-handedness is challenged. Rather, emphasis is placed on the role of bimanual feeding as a behavioral adaptation for the expression of handedness. Suggestions for further research on the nature of nonhuman primate handedness are made in light of these findings. PMID:24213978

  3. Continuous Time Representations of Song in Zebra Finches.

    PubMed

    Troyer, Todd W

    2016-05-18

    Neurons in the songbird nucleus HVC produce premotor bursts time locked to song with millisecond precision. In this issue of Neuron, Lynch et al. (2016) and Picardo et al. (2016) provide convincing evidence that the population of these bursts contain a continuous representation of time throughout song. PMID:27196971

  4. ORAL ESTROGEN MASCULINIZES FEMALE ZEBRA FINCH SONG SYSTEM. (R825294)

    EPA Science Inventory

    The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Concl...

  5. Development of a bioaerosol single particle detector (BIO IN) for the fast ice nucleus chamber FINCH

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bundke, U.; Reimann, B.; Nillius, B.; Jaenicke, R.; Bingemer, H.

    2009-10-01

    In this work we present the setup and first tests of our new BIO IN detector. This detector is designed to classify atmospheric ice nuclei (IN) for their biological content. Biological material is identified via its auto-fluorescence (intrinsic fluorescence) after irradiation with UV radiation. Ice nuclei are key substances for precipitation development via the Bergeron-Findeisen process. The level of scientific knowledge regarding origin and climatology (temporal and spatial distribution) of IN is very low. Some biological material is known to be active as IN even at relatively high temperatures of up to -2°C (e.g. pseudomonas syringae bacteria). These biological IN could have a strong influence on the formation of clouds and precipitation. We have designed the new BIO IN sensor to analyze the abundance of IN of biological origin. The instrument will be flown on one of the first missions of the new German research aircraft ''HALO'' (High Altitude and LOng Range).

  6. Local differentiation in the presence of gene flow in the citril finch Serinus citrinella.

    PubMed

    Senar, Juan Carlos; Borras, Antoni; Cabrera, Josep; Cabrera, Toni; Björklund, Mats

    2006-03-22

    It is well known theoretically that gene flow can impede genetic differentiation between populations. In this study, we show that in a highly mobile bird species, where dispersal is well documented, there is a strong genetic and morphological differentiation over a very short geographical scale (less than 5 km). Allocation tests revealed that birds caught in one area were assigned genetically to the same area with a very high probability, in spite of current gene flow. Populations were also morphologically differentiated. The results suggest that the relationship between gene flow and differentiation can be rather complicated and non-intuitive. PMID:17148333

  7. Variation in the volume of zebra finch song control nuclei is heritable: developmental and evolutionary implications.

    PubMed Central

    Airey, D C; Castillo-Juarez, H; Casella, G; Pollak, E J; DeVoogd, T J

    2000-01-01

    In many songbird species, females prefer males that sing a larger repertoire of syllables. Males with more elaborate songs have a larger high vocal centre (HVC) nucleus, the highest structure in the song production pathway. HVC size is thus a potential target of sexual selection. Here we provide evidence that the size of the HVC and other song production nuclei are heritable across individual males within a species. In contrast, we find that heritabilities of other nuclei in a song-learning pathway are lower, suggesting that variation in the sizes of these structures is more closely tied to developmental and environmental differences between individuals. We find that evolvability, a statistical measure that predicts response to selection, is higher for the HVC and its target for song production, the robustus archistriatalis (RA), than for all other brain volumes measured. This suggests that selection based on the functions of these two structures would result in rapid major shifts in their anatomy. We also show that the size of each song control nucleus is significantly correlated with the song related nuclei to which it is monosynaptically connected. Finally, we find that the volume of the telencephalon is larger in males than in females. These findings begin to join theoretical analyses of the role of female choice in the evolution of bird song to neurobiological mechanisms by which the evolutionary changes in behaviour are expressed. PMID:11416915

  8. VizieR Online Data Catalog: 1103 parallaxes and proper motions from URAT (Finch+, 2016)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finch, C. T.; Zacharias, N.

    2016-07-01

    We present 1103 trigonometric parallaxes and proper motions from the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) Robotic Astrometric Telescope (URAT) observations taken at the Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station (NOFS). URAT observes through a single filter (part of the dewar window) to provide a fixed bandpass of about 680 to 760nm. The clear aperture of the USNO astrograph is 206mm with a focal length of only 2m. A single exposure covers 28 square degrees with a resolution of 0.9arcsec/pixel. Each of the four large CCDs in the focal plane covers a 2.65 by 2.65 deg area on the sky. Data of all three years of operations (2012 April to 2015 June) at the NOFS are used here for this parallax investigation. For more details about the project, instrument, and observing the reader is referred to the URAT1 paper (Zacharias et al. 2015, cat. I/329). (3 data files).

  9. 75 FR 43853 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Rule to List the Medium Tree-Finch...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-07-27

    ... positive 90-day finding on December 16, 1991 (56 FR 65207), for all 53 species, and announced the initiation of a status review. On March 28, 1994 (59 FR 14496), we published a 12-month finding on the 1991... precluded because of other listing activity. On May 21, 2004 (69 FR 29354), and April 23, 2007 (72 FR...

  10. 50 CFR 21.44 - Depredation order for horned larks, house finches, and white-crowned sparrows in California.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... BIRD PERMITS Control of Depredating and Otherwise Injurious Birds § 21.44 Depredation order for horned... horticultural crops. Take of birds under this order must be done under the supervision of the county agriculture... bird species, or for take of horned larks or white-crowned sparrows from May 1 through October 31....

  11. Outcomes of Brood Parasite–Host Interactions Mediated by Egg Matching: Common Cuckoos Cuculus canorus versus Fringilla Finches

    PubMed Central

    Vikan, Johan Reinert; Fossøy, Frode; Huhta, Esa; Moksnes, Arne; Røskaft, Eivin; Stokke, Bård Gunnar

    2011-01-01

    Background Antagonistic species often interact via matching of phenotypes, and interactions between brood parasitic common cuckoos (Cuculus canorus) and their hosts constitute classic examples. The outcome of a parasitic event is often determined by the match between host and cuckoo eggs, giving rise to potentially strong associations between fitness and egg phenotype. Yet, empirical efforts aiming to document and understand the resulting evolutionary outcomes are in short supply. Methods/Principal Findings We used avian color space models to analyze patterns of egg color variation within and between the cuckoo and two closely related hosts, the nomadic brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) and the site fidelic chaffinch (F. coelebs). We found that there is pronounced opportunity for disruptive selection on brambling egg coloration. The corresponding cuckoo host race has evolved egg colors that maximize fitness in both sympatric and allopatric brambling populations. By contrast, the chaffinch has a more bimodal egg color distribution consistent with the evolutionary direction predicted for the brambling. Whereas the brambling and its cuckoo host race show little geographical variation in their egg color distributions, the chaffinch's distribution becomes increasingly dissimilar to the brambling's distribution towards the core area of the brambling cuckoo host race. Conclusion High rates of brambling gene flow is likely to cool down coevolutionary hot spots by cancelling out the selection imposed by a patchily distributed cuckoo host race, thereby promoting a matching equilibrium. By contrast, the site fidelic chaffinch is more likely to respond to selection from adapting cuckoos, resulting in a markedly more bimodal egg color distribution. The geographic variation in the chaffinch's egg color distribution could reflect a historical gradient in parasitism pressure. Finally, marked cuckoo egg polymorphisms are unlikely to evolve in these systems unless the hosts evolve even more exquisite egg recognition capabilities than currently possessed. PMID:21559400

  12. Sexual differences in cell proliferation in the ventricular zone, cell migration and differentiation in the HVC of juvenile Bengalese finch.

    PubMed

    Chen, Qiong; Zhang, Xuebo; Zhao, Yueliu; Zhou, Xin; Sun, Lina; Zeng, Shaoju; Zuo, Mingxue; Zhang, Xinwen

    2014-01-01

    Song control nuclei have distinct sexual differences and thus are an ideal model to address how brain areas are sexually differentiated. Through a combination of histological analysis and electrical lesions, we first identified the ventricle site for HVC progenitor cells. We then found that there were significant sex differences in the cellular proliferation activity in the ventricular zone of the HVC, the number of migrating cells along the radial cells (positive immunoreactions to vimentin) and differentiation towards neurons. Through co-culturing of male and female slices containing the developing HVC in the same well, we found that the male slices could produce diffusible substances to masculinize the female HVC. By adding estrogen, an estrogen antagonist, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) or its antibody into the culture medium, separately or in combination, we found that these diffusible substances may include estrogen and BDNF. Finally, we found that 1) estrogen-induced BDNF upregulation could be detected 48 hr after estrogen treatment and could not be blocked by a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor inhibitor and 2) the amount of VEGF mRNA expressed in the developing HVC and its adjacent area did not display any significant sex differences, as did the distribution of VEGF and laminin-expressing endothelial cells in the developing HVC. Because these findings are largely different from previous reports on the adult female HVC, it is suggested that our estrogen-induced BDNF up-regulation and the resultant sexual differentiation might not be mediated by VEGF and endothelial cells, but instead, may result from the direct effects of estrogen on BDNF. PMID:24841082

  13. Using David Lack's Observations of Finch Beak Size to Teach Natural Selection & the Nature of Science

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bierema, Andrea M.-K.; Rudge, David W.

    2014-01-01

    One of the key aspects of natural selection is competition, yet the concept of competition is not necessarily emphasized in explanations of natural selection. Because of this, we developed an activity for our class that focuses on competition and provides an example of the effects of competition on natural selection. This hands-on activity models…

  14. Migratory preparation associated alterations in pectoralis muscle biochemistry and proteome in Palearctic-Indian emberizid migratory finch, red-headed bunting, Emberiza bruniceps.

    PubMed

    Banerjee, Somanshu; Chaturvedi, Chandra Mohini

    2016-03-01

    Avian migration is an exceptionally high-energy-demanding process, which is met by the accumulation and utilization of fuel stores as well as the alterations in muscle physiology prior to their flight. Pre-migratory fattening coupled with changes in flight muscle metabolic enzymes and proteome is required to provide the necessary fuel and muscle performance required for migration. We studied how the serum metabolites (urea, uric acid, and creatinine), pectoralis muscle metabolites (glycogen, glucose, and cholesterol), muscle metabolic enzymes (CPT, HOAD, CS, MDH, CCO, CK, LDH, PFK, MLPL, and PK), liver lipogenic enzyme (FAS), and pectoralis muscle proteins get altered in pre-migratory and non-migratory buntings. Significantly increased pectoralis muscle fatty acid oxidation (CPT and HOAD activity), aerobic/anaerobic capacity (CS, CCO, and MDH activity), glycolytic capacity (PFK and PK activity), lipolysis (muscle LPL), and burst power (CK activity) were observed prior to the spring migration in pre-migratory buntings, whereas significantly increased pectoralis muscle anaerobic capacity (LDH activity) was observed in non-migratory buntings. Significant increase in the liver FAS showed profound lipogenesis prior to the spring migration. In this study, we have also investigated whether muscle has differential protein content during the pre-migratory and non-migratory phases of the annual migratory cycle. Twenty-nine proteins are identified and well characterized varying in expression significantly during the pre-migratory and non-migratory phases. These findings indicate that significant pre-migratory fattening and alterations in flight (pectoralis) muscle biochemistry and proteome in between the non- and pre-migratory phases may play a significant role in pre-migratory flight muscle preparation in these long-route migrants. PMID:26656601

  15. Adult neuron addition to the zebra finch song motor pathway correlates with the rate and extent of recovery from botox-induced paralysis of the vocal muscles

    PubMed Central

    Pytte, Carolyn; Yu, Yi-Lo; Wildstein, Sara; George, Shanu; Kirn, John

    2011-01-01

    In adult songbirds, neurons are continually incorporated into the telencephalic nucleus HVC, a pre-motor region necessary for the production of learned vocalizations. Previous studies have demonstrated that neuron addition to HVC is highest when song is most variable: in juveniles during song learning, in seasonally singing adults during peaks in plasticity that precede the production of new song components, or during seasonal re-establishment of a previously learned song. These findings suggest that neuron addition provides motor flexibility for the transition from a variable song to a target song. Here we test the association between the quality of song structure and HVC neuron addition by experimentally manipulating syringeal muscle control with botox, which produces a transient partial paralysis. We show that the quality of song structure co-varies with new neuron addition to HVC. Both the magnitude of song distortion and the rate of song recovery following syringeal botox injections were correlated with the number of new neurons incorporated into HVC. We suggest that the quality of song structure is either a cause or consequence of the number of new neurons added to HVC. Birds with naturally high rates of neuron addition may have had the greatest success in recovering song. Alternatively, or in addition, new neuron survival in the song motor pathway may be regulated by the quality of song-generated feedback as song regains its original stereotyped structure. Present results are the first to show a relationship between peripheral muscle control and adult neuron addition to cortical pre-motor circuits. PMID:22114266

  16. POST-HATCH ORAL ESTROGEN EXPOSURE IMPAIRS ADULT REPRODUCTIVE PERFORMANCE OF ZEBRA FINCH IN A SEX-SPECIFIC MANNER. (R825294)

    EPA Science Inventory

    The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Concl...

  17. Optical sectioning using a digital Fresnel incoherent-holography-based confocal imaging system

    PubMed Central

    Kelner, Roy; Katz, Barak; Rosen, Joseph

    2015-01-01

    We propose a new type of confocal microscope using Fresnel incoherent correlation holography (FINCH). Presented here is a confocal configuration of FINCH using a phase pinhole and point illumination that is able to suppress out-of-focus information from the recorded hologram and hence combine the super-resolution capabilities of FINCH with the sectioning capabilities of confocal microscopy. PMID:26413560

  18. Interspecies avian brain chimeras reveal that large brain size differences are influenced by cell-interdependent processes.

    PubMed

    Chen, Chun-Chun; Balaban, Evan; Jarvis, Erich D

    2012-01-01

    Like humans, birds that exhibit vocal learning have relatively delayed telencephalon maturation, resulting in a disproportionately smaller brain prenatally but enlarged telencephalon in adulthood relative to vocal non-learning birds. To determine if this size difference results from evolutionary changes in cell-autonomous or cell-interdependent developmental processes, we transplanted telencephala from zebra finch donors (a vocal-learning species) into Japanese quail hosts (a vocal non-learning species) during the early neural tube stage (day 2 of incubation), and harvested the chimeras at later embryonic stages (between 9-12 days of incubation). The donor and host tissues fused well with each other, with known major fiber pathways connecting the zebra finch and quail parts of the brain. However, the overall sizes of chimeric finch telencephala were larger than non-transplanted finch telencephala at the same developmental stages, even though the proportional sizes of telencephalic subregions and fiber tracts were similar to normal finches. There were no significant changes in the size of chimeric quail host midbrains, even though they were innervated by the physically smaller zebra finch brain, including the smaller retinae of the finch eyes. Chimeric zebra finch telencephala had a decreased cell density relative to normal finches. However, cell nucleus size differences between each species were maintained as in normal birds. These results suggest that telencephalic size development is partially cell-interdependent, and that the mechanisms controlling the size of different brain regions may be functionally independent. PMID:22860132

  19. 77 FR 49054 - 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Request for Commodity Jurisdiction...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-08-15

    ... Nonprofit Organizations. Estimated Number of Respondents: 1,260. Estimated Number of Responses: 1,260. Average Hours per Response: 10 hours. Total Estimated Burden: 12,600 hours. Frequency: On Occasion... accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the proposed collection, including the validity of...

  20. First-Birth Outcomes and Timing of Second Births: A Statewide Case Management Program for Adolescent Mothers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sangalang, Bernadette B.; Barth, Richard P.; Painter, John S.

    2006-01-01

    This study examines a case management intervention for first-time pregnant and parenting adolescents. It compares a sample of 1,260 first-time adolescent mothers in the Adolescent Parenting Program (APP) in North Carolina with 1,260 first-time adolescent mothers who did not participate in the program (non-APP). Using birth certificate data,…

  1. Enhanced super resolution using Fresnel incoherent correlation holography with structured illumination.

    PubMed

    Kashter, Yuval; Vijayakumar, A; Miyamoto, Yoko; Rosen, Joseph

    2016-04-01

    The structured illumination (SI) technique has already been well established as a resolution enhancer in many studies and well demonstrated in many optical imaging systems during the past decade. The ability to use the SI in incoherent imaging systems was also introduced, especially in fluorescence microscopy. In this Letter, we propose and demonstrate a new approach to combine the SI technique with the recently innovated motionless incoherent holographic system, called Fresnel incoherent correlation holography (FINCH), in order to enhance the resolution beyond the limits achieved in regular imaging with SI. The results obtained by use of SI-FINCH were compared against regular imaging, regular FINCH and SI-imaging. PMID:27192286

  2. Voucher/Choice Battle Heats Up. Pro: Families Should Have Choice; Con: Public School Vouchers Jeopardize Equal Opportunity.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nathan, Joe; Finch, Lew

    1985-01-01

    Joe Nathan, author of "Free to Teach: Achieving Equity and Excellence in Schools," argues in favor of educational vouchers; Lew Finch, superintendent of the Anoka-Hennepin Independent School District, Minnesota, argues against vouchers. (MLF)

  3. The Galapagos.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schiller, Nancy A.; Herreid, Clyde F.

    2000-01-01

    Uses a problem-based teaching approach to teach about the geological origins of the Galapagos Islands, colonization, species formation, and threats to biodiversity. Discusses finches, tortoises, and sea cucumbers and provides instructions for student discussions. (YDS)

  4. FIELD DEPLOYABLE TECHNIQUES TO MONITOR EXPOSURE TO ENVIRONMENTAL ESTROGENS THROUGHOUT THE REPRODUCTIVE CYCLE OF WILD BIRDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Concern about potential for endocrine disrupting chemicals to interfere with normal breeding behaviors of wildlife prompted this study of effects of exposure to environmental estrogens during the breeding cycle of wild birds. The house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) was selected as...

  5. UK to support open access

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banks, Michael

    2012-08-01

    The UK government has "widely accepted" the recommendations of a major report into open-access publishing that was released in June by a 15-strong working group led by the British sociologist Janet Finch.

  6. Ultrafast evolution and loss of CRISPRs following a host shift in a novel wildlife pathogen, Mycoplasma gallisepticum.

    PubMed

    Delaney, Nigel F; Balenger, Susan; Bonneaud, Camille; Marx, Christopher J; Hill, Geoffrey E; Ferguson-Noel, Naola; Tsai, Peter; Rodrigo, Allen; Edwards, Scott V

    2012-02-01

    Measureable rates of genome evolution are well documented in human pathogens but are less well understood in bacterial pathogens in the wild, particularly during and after host switches. Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) is a pathogenic bacterium that has evolved predominantly in poultry and recently jumped to wild house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus), a common North American songbird. For the first time we characterize the genome and measure rates of genome evolution in House Finch isolates of MG, as well as in poultry outgroups. Using whole-genome sequences of 12 House Finch isolates across a 13-year serial sample and an additional four newly sequenced poultry strains, we estimate a nucleotide diversity in House Finch isolates of only ∼2% of ancestral poultry strains and a nucleotide substitution rate of 0.8-1.2×10(-5) per site per year both in poultry and in House Finches, an exceptionally fast rate rivaling some of the highest estimates reported thus far for bacteria. We also found high diversity and complete turnover of CRISPR arrays in poultry MG strains prior to the switch to the House Finch host, but after the invasion of House Finches there is progressive loss of CRISPR repeat diversity, and recruitment of novel CRISPR repeats ceases. Recent (2007) House Finch MG strains retain only ∼50% of the CRISPR repertoire founding (1994-95) strains and have lost the CRISPR-associated genes required for CRISPR function. Our results suggest that genome evolution in bacterial pathogens of wild birds can be extremely rapid and in this case is accompanied by apparent functional loss of CRISPRs. PMID:22346765

  7. Ultrafast Evolution and Loss of CRISPRs Following a Host Shift in a Novel Wildlife Pathogen, Mycoplasma gallisepticum

    PubMed Central

    Delaney, Nigel F.; Balenger, Susan; Bonneaud, Camille; Marx, Christopher J.; Hill, Geoffrey E.; Ferguson-Noel, Naola; Tsai, Peter; Rodrigo, Allen; Edwards, Scott V.

    2012-01-01

    Measureable rates of genome evolution are well documented in human pathogens but are less well understood in bacterial pathogens in the wild, particularly during and after host switches. Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) is a pathogenic bacterium that has evolved predominantly in poultry and recently jumped to wild house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus), a common North American songbird. For the first time we characterize the genome and measure rates of genome evolution in House Finch isolates of MG, as well as in poultry outgroups. Using whole-genome sequences of 12 House Finch isolates across a 13-year serial sample and an additional four newly sequenced poultry strains, we estimate a nucleotide diversity in House Finch isolates of only ∼2% of ancestral poultry strains and a nucleotide substitution rate of 0.8−1.2×10−5 per site per year both in poultry and in House Finches, an exceptionally fast rate rivaling some of the highest estimates reported thus far for bacteria. We also found high diversity and complete turnover of CRISPR arrays in poultry MG strains prior to the switch to the House Finch host, but after the invasion of House Finches there is progressive loss of CRISPR repeat diversity, and recruitment of novel CRISPR repeats ceases. Recent (2007) House Finch MG strains retain only ∼50% of the CRISPR repertoire founding (1994–95) strains and have lost the CRISPR–associated genes required for CRISPR function. Our results suggest that genome evolution in bacterial pathogens of wild birds can be extremely rapid and in this case is accompanied by apparent functional loss of CRISPRs. PMID:22346765

  8. Expression analysis of the speech-related genes FoxP1 and FoxP2 and their relation to singing behavior in two songbird species

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Qianqian; Heston, Jonathan B.; Burkett, Zachary D.; White, Stephanie A.

    2013-01-01

    SUMMARY Humans and songbirds are among the rare animal groups that exhibit socially learned vocalizations: speech and song, respectively. These vocal-learning capacities share a reliance on audition and cortico-basal ganglia circuitry, as well as neurogenetic mechanisms. Notably, the transcription factors Forkhead box proteins 1 and 2 (FoxP1, FoxP2) exhibit similar expression patterns in the cortex and basal ganglia of humans and the zebra finch species of songbird, among other brain regions. Mutations in either gene are associated with language disorders in humans. Experimental knock-down of FoxP2 in the basal ganglia song control region Area X during song development leads to imprecise copying of tutor songs. Moreover, FoxP2 levels decrease naturally within Area X when zebra finches sing. Here, we examined neural expression patterns of FoxP1 and FoxP2 mRNA in adult Bengalese finches, a songbird species whose songs exhibit greater sequence complexity and increased reliance on audition for maintaining their quality. We found that FoxP1 and FoxP2 expression in Bengalese finches is similar to that in zebra finches, including strong mRNA signals for both factors in multiple song control nuclei and enhancement of FoxP1 in these regions relative to surrounding brain tissue. As with zebra finches, when Bengalese finches sing, FoxP2 is behaviorally downregulated within basal ganglia Area X over a similar time course, and expression negatively correlates with the amount of singing. This study confirms that in multiple songbird species, FoxP1 expression highlights song control regions, and regulation of FoxP2 is associated with motor control of song. PMID:24006346

  9. Identification of Avian Corticosteroid-binding Globulin (SerpinA6) Reveals the Molecular Basis of Evolutionary Adaptations in SerpinA6 Structure and Function as a Steroid-binding Protein.

    PubMed

    Vashchenko, Ganna; Das, Samir; Moon, Kyung-Mee; Rogalski, Jason C; Taves, Matthew D; Soma, Kiran K; Van Petegem, Filip; Foster, Leonard J; Hammond, Geoffrey L

    2016-05-20

    Corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG) was isolated from chicken serum and identified by mass spectrometry and genomic analysis. This revealed that the organization and synteny of avian and mammalian SerpinA6 genes are conserved. Recombinant zebra finch CBG steroid-binding properties reflect those of the natural protein in plasma and confirm its identity. Zebra finch and rat CBG crystal structures in complex with cortisol resemble each other, but their primary structures share only ∼40% identity, and their steroid-binding site topographies differ in several unexpected ways. Remarkably, a tryptophan that anchors ligands in mammalian CBG steroid-binding sites is replaced by an asparagine. Phylogenetic comparisons show that reptilian CBG orthologs share this unexpected property. Glycosylation of this asparagine in zebra finch CBG does not influence its steroid-binding affinity, but we present evidence that it may participate in protein folding and steroid-binding site formation. Substitutions of amino acids within zebra finch CBG that are conserved only in birds reveal how they contribute to their distinct steroid-binding properties, including their high (nanomolar) affinities for glucocorticoids, progesterone, and androgens. As in mammals, a protease secreted by Pseudomonas aeruginosa cleaves CBG in zebra finch plasma within its reactive center loop and disrupts steroid binding, suggesting an evolutionarily conserved property of CBGs. Measurements of CBG mRNA in zebra finch tissues indicate that liver is the main site of plasma CBG production, and anti-zebra finch CBG antibodies cross-react with CBGs in other birds, extending opportunities to study how CBG regulates the actions of glucocorticoids and sex steroids in these species. PMID:27026706

  10. Spatial variation in an avian host community: implications for disease dynamics.

    PubMed

    States, Sarah L; Hochachka, Wesley M; Dhondt, André A

    2009-12-01

    Because many pathogens can infect multiple host species within a community, disease dynamics in a focal host species can be affected by the composition of the host community. We examine the extent to which spatial variation in species' abundances in an avian host community may contribute to geographically varying prevalence of a recently emerged wildlife pathogen. Mycoplasma gallisepticum is a pathogen novel to songbirds that has caused substantial mortality in house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) in eastern North America. Though the house finch is the primary host species for M. gallisepticum, the American goldfinch (Spinus tristis) and northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) are alternate hosts, and laboratory experiments have demonstrated M. gallisepticum transmission between house finches and goldfinches. Still unknown is the real world impact on disease dynamics of variation in abundances of the three hosts. We analyzed data from winter-long bird and disease surveys in the northeastern United States. We found that higher disease prevalence in house finches was associated with higher numbers of northern cardinals and American goldfinches, although only the effect of cardinal abundance was statistically significant. Nevertheless, our results indicate that spatial variation in bird communities has the potential to cause geographic variation in disease prevalence in house finches. PMID:20130959

  11. Copy number variation, chromosome rearrangement, and their association with recombination during avian evolution

    PubMed Central

    Völker, Martin; Backström, Niclas; Skinner, Benjamin M.; Langley, Elizabeth J.; Bunzey, Sydney K.; Ellegren, Hans; Griffin, Darren K.

    2010-01-01

    Chromosomal rearrangements and copy number variants (CNVs) play key roles in genome evolution and genetic disease; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying these types of structural genomic variation are not fully understood. The availability of complete genome sequences for two bird species, the chicken and the zebra finch, provides, for the first time, an ideal opportunity to analyze the relationship between structural genomic variation (chromosomal and CNV) and recombination on a genome-wide level. The aims of this study were therefore threefold: (1) to combine bioinformatics, physical mapping to produce comprehensive comparative maps of the genomes of chicken and zebra finch. In so doing, this allowed the identification of evolutionary chromosomal rearrangements distinguishing them. The previously reported interchromosomal conservation of synteny was confirmed, but a larger than expected number of intrachromosomal rearrangements were reported; (2) to hybridize zebra finch genomic DNA to a chicken tiling path microarray and identify CNVs in the zebra finch genome relative to chicken; 32 interspecific CNVs were identified; and (3) to test the hypothesis that there is an association between CNV, chromosomal rearrangements, and recombination by correlating data from (1) and (2) with recombination rate data from a high-resolution genetic linkage map of the zebra finch. We found a highly significant association of both chromosomal rearrangements and CNVs with elevated recombination rates. The results thus provide support for the notion of recombination-based processes playing a major role in avian genome evolution. PMID:20357050

  12. Multiple host transfers, but only one successful lineage in a continent-spanning emergent pathogen.

    PubMed

    Hochachka, Wesley M; Dhondt, André A; Dobson, Andrew; Hawley, Dana M; Ley, David H; Lovette, Irby J

    2013-09-01

    Emergence of a new disease in a novel host is thought to be a rare outcome following frequent pathogen transfers between host species. However, few opportunities exist to examine whether disease emergence stems from a single successful pathogen transfer, and whether this successful lineage represents only one of several pathogen transfers between hosts. We examined the successful host transfer and subsequent evolution of the bacterial pathogen Mycoplasma gallisepticum, an emergent pathogen of house finches (Haemorhous (formerly Carpodacus) mexicanus). Our principal goals were to assess whether host transfer has been a repeated event between the original poultry hosts and house finches, whether only a single host transfer was ultimately responsible for the emergence of M. gallisepticum in these finches, and whether the spread of the pathogen from east to west across North America has resulted in spatial structuring in the pathogen. Using a phylogeny of M. gallisepticum based on 107 isolates from domestic poultry, house finches and other songbirds, we infer that the bacterium has repeatedly jumped between these two groups of hosts but with only a single lineage of M. gallisepticum persisting and evolving in house finches; bacterial evolution has produced monophyletic eastern and western North American subclades. PMID:23843387

  13. Quantitative evaluation of spatial phase light modulator characteristics in Fresnel incoherent correlation holography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Man, Tianlong; Wan, Yuhong; Chen, Hao; Jiang, Zhuqing; Wang, Dayong

    2012-11-01

    Fresnel incoherent correlation holography (FINCH) is one of the methods for recording holograms of 3D samples under incoherent illumination. The FINCH combines the theory of spatial self-coherence and the in-line phase-shift technology together to form a complex hologram. A spatial phase light modulator (SPLM) plays important roles as the dynamic diffraction optical element (DOE) and phase shifter. When the incoherent light generated from each object point of the 3D samples incidents to a SPLM, it can be split into two spatial self-coherent beams with different curvatures. The hologram caused by these two beams can then be captured by an image detector. Three holograms with different phase shift are recorded sequentially for eliminating the zero-order and twin image, and then a complex valued hologram is obtained by superposing the three holograms. In this paper, the modulation characteristics of SPLM and phase shift error in FINCH are investigated. Based on digital holography, phase modulation characteristics of SPLM are measured under coherent and narrow-bandwidth incoherent illumination respectively. Phase shift error due to quasi monochromatic light illumination is then analyzed in FINCH. The effect of phase shift error on the quality of reconstructed image is also investigated. It is demonstrated the FINCH setup has a smaller phase shift error by experiment.

  14. Structural-functional correlations in the kidneys and observations of colon and cloacal morphology in certain Australian birds.

    PubMed

    Johnson, O W; Skadhauge, E

    1975-12-01

    1. Variations in renal microstructure between the zebra finch and Senegal dove were consistent with their relative renal concentrating abilities (urine/plasma ratios of 2-8 and 1-7, respectively). Compared with dove kidneys, those of the finch contained a higher fraction of mammalian-type nephrons (with Henle's loops), and a lower fraction of reptilian-type nephrons (without loops). 2. Singing honeyeaters concentrated their urine almost as well as zebra finches, although honeyeater kidneys were less specialized (fewer mammalian-type nephrons). Such findings emphasize the need to clarify other osmoregulatory parameters. 3. No significant microstructural differences were found in the kidneys of domesticated as compared with those of wild zebra finches. Hence, osmoregulatory differences between tame and wild birds must be related to physiological factors rather than morphological. 4. Thickness of the renal medulla seemed to be directly correlated with urine concentrating ability. However, certain inconsistencies obscure this relationship such that its resolution will require further research. 5. Histological features of the mucosae of the colon and cloaca are described. The galah and kookaburra displayed a mammalian (non-villous) pattern of mucosal organization. Zebra finches, singing honeyeaters, and particularly emus, possessed colonic and cloacal villi and hence an increased surface area per volume in this region of the gut. This raises the possibility that the colon and cloaca are involved in uring concentration and osmoregulatory activities in these species. PMID:1213951

  15. The genome of a songbird

    PubMed Central

    Warren, Wesley C.; Clayton, David F.; Ellegren, Hans; Arnold, Arthur P.; Hillier, LaDeana W.; Künstner, Axel; Searle, Steve; White, Simon; Vilella, Albert J.; Fairley, Susan; Heger, Andreas; Kong, Lesheng; Ponting, Chris P.; Jarvis, Erich D.; Mello, Claudio V.; Minx, Pat; Lovell, Peter; Velho, Tarciso A. F.; Ferris, Margaret; Balakrishnan, Christopher N.; Sinha, Saurabh; Blatti, Charles; London, Sarah E.; Li, Yun; Lin, Ya-Chi; George, Julia; Sweedler, Jonathan; Southey, Bruce; Gunaratne, Preethi; Watson, Michael; Nam, Kiwoong; Backström, Niclas; Smeds, Linnea; Nabholz, Benoit; Itoh, Yuichiro; Whitney, Osceola; Pfenning, Andreas R.; Howard, Jason; Völker, Martin; Skinner, Bejamin M.; Griffin, Darren K.; Ye, Liang; McLaren, William M.; Flicek, Paul; Quesada, Victor; Velasco, Gloria; Lopez-Otin, Carlos; Puente, Xose S.; Olender, Tsviya; Lancet, Doron; Smit, Arian F. A.; Hubley, Robert; Konkel, Miriam K.; Walker, Jerilyn A.; Batzer, Mark A.; Gu, Wanjun; Pollock, David D.; Chen, Lin; Cheng, Ze; Eichler, Evan E.; Stapley, Jessica; Slate, Jon; Ekblom, Robert; Birkhead, Tim; Burke, Terry; Burt, David; Scharff, Constance; Adam, Iris; Richard, Hugues; Sultan, Marc; Soldatov, Alexey; Lehrach, Hans; Edwards, Scott V.; Yang, Shiaw-Pyng; Li, XiaoChing; Graves, Tina; Fulton, Lucinda; Nelson, Joanne; Chinwalla, Asif; Hou, Shunfeng; Mardis, Elaine R.; Wilson, Richard K.

    2010-01-01

    The zebra finch is an important model organism in several fields1,2 with unique relevance to human neuroscience3,4. Like other songbirds, the zebra finch communicates through learned vocalizations, an ability otherwise documented only in humans and a few other animals and lacking in the chicken5—the only bird with a sequenced genome until now6. Here we present a structural, functional and comparative analysis of the genome sequence of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), which is a songbird belonging to the large avian order Passeriformes7. We find that the overall structures of the genomes are similar in zebra finch and chicken, but they differ in many intrachromosomal rearrangements, lineage-specific gene family expansions, the number of long-terminal-repeat-based retrotransposons, and mechanisms of sex chromosome dosage compensation. We show that song behaviour engages gene regulatory networks in the zebra finch brain, altering the expression of long non-coding RNAs, microRNAs, transcription factors and their targets. We also show evidence for rapid molecular evolution in the songbird lineage of genes that are regulated during song experience. These results indicate an active involvement of the genome in neural processes underlying vocal communication and identify potential genetic substrates for the evolution and regulation of this behaviour. PMID:20360741

  16. Structural-functional correlations in the kidneys and observations of colon and cloacal morphology in certain Australian birds.

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, O W; Skadhauge, E

    1975-01-01

    1. Variations in renal microstructure between the zebra finch and Senegal dove were consistent with their relative renal concentrating abilities (urine/plasma ratios of 2-8 and 1-7, respectively). Compared with dove kidneys, those of the finch contained a higher fraction of mammalian-type nephrons (with Henle's loops), and a lower fraction of reptilian-type nephrons (without loops). 2. Singing honeyeaters concentrated their urine almost as well as zebra finches, although honeyeater kidneys were less specialized (fewer mammalian-type nephrons). Such findings emphasize the need to clarify other osmoregulatory parameters. 3. No significant microstructural differences were found in the kidneys of domesticated as compared with those of wild zebra finches. Hence, osmoregulatory differences between tame and wild birds must be related to physiological factors rather than morphological. 4. Thickness of the renal medulla seemed to be directly correlated with urine concentrating ability. However, certain inconsistencies obscure this relationship such that its resolution will require further research. 5. Histological features of the mucosae of the colon and cloaca are described. The galah and kookaburra displayed a mammalian (non-villous) pattern of mucosal organization. Zebra finches, singing honeyeaters, and particularly emus, possessed colonic and cloacal villi and hence an increased surface area per volume in this region of the gut. This raises the possibility that the colon and cloaca are involved in uring concentration and osmoregulatory activities in these species. Images Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4 PMID:1213951

  17. Evidence for aggressive mimicry in an adult brood parasitic bird, and generalized defences in its host.

    PubMed

    Feeney, W E; Troscianko, J; Langmore, N E; Spottiswoode, C N

    2015-07-01

    Mimicry of a harmless model (aggressive mimicry) is used by egg, chick and fledgling brood parasites that resemble the host's own eggs, chicks and fledglings. However, aggressive mimicry may also evolve in adult brood parasites, to avoid attack from hosts and/or manipulate their perception of parasitism risk. We tested the hypothesis that female cuckoo finches (Anomalospiza imberbis) are aggressive mimics of female Euplectes weavers, such as the harmless, abundant and sympatric southern red bishop (Euplectes orix). We show that female cuckoo finch plumage colour and pattern more closely resembled those of Euplectes weavers (putative models) than Vidua finches (closest relatives); that their tawny-flanked prinia (Prinia subflava) hosts were equally aggressive towards female cuckoo finches and southern red bishops, and more aggressive to both than to their male counterparts; and that prinias were equally likely to reject an egg after seeing a female cuckoo finch or bishop, and more likely to do so than after seeing a male bishop near their nest. This is, to our knowledge, the first quantitative evidence for aggressive mimicry in an adult bird, and suggests that host-parasite coevolution can select for aggressive mimicry by avian brood parasites, and counter-defences by hosts, at all stages of the reproductive cycle. PMID:26063850

  18. Evidence for aggressive mimicry in an adult brood parasitic bird, and generalized defences in its host

    PubMed Central

    Feeney, W. E.; Troscianko, J.; Langmore, N. E.; Spottiswoode, C. N.

    2015-01-01

    Mimicry of a harmless model (aggressive mimicry) is used by egg, chick and fledgling brood parasites that resemble the host's own eggs, chicks and fledglings. However, aggressive mimicry may also evolve in adult brood parasites, to avoid attack from hosts and/or manipulate their perception of parasitism risk. We tested the hypothesis that female cuckoo finches (Anomalospiza imberbis) are aggressive mimics of female Euplectes weavers, such as the harmless, abundant and sympatric southern red bishop (Euplectes orix). We show that female cuckoo finch plumage colour and pattern more closely resembled those of Euplectes weavers (putative models) than Vidua finches (closest relatives); that their tawny-flanked prinia (Prinia subflava) hosts were equally aggressive towards female cuckoo finches and southern red bishops, and more aggressive to both than to their male counterparts; and that prinias were equally likely to reject an egg after seeing a female cuckoo finch or bishop, and more likely to do so than after seeing a male bishop near their nest. This is, to our knowledge, the first quantitative evidence for aggressive mimicry in an adult bird, and suggests that host–parasite coevolution can select for aggressive mimicry by avian brood parasites, and counter-defences by hosts, at all stages of the reproductive cycle. PMID:26063850

  19. Mesotocin and nonapeptide receptors promote estrildid flocking behavior.

    PubMed

    Goodson, James L; Schrock, Sara E; Klatt, James D; Kabelik, David; Kingsbury, Marcy A

    2009-08-14

    Proximate neural mechanisms that influence preferences for groups of a given size are almost wholly unknown. In the highly gregarious zebra finch (Estrildidae: Taeniopygia guttata), blockade of nonapeptide receptors by an oxytocin (OT) antagonist significantly reduced time spent with large groups and familiar social partners independent of time spent in social contact. Opposing effects were produced by central infusions of mesotocin (MT, avian homolog of OT). Most drug effects appeared to be female-specific. Across five estrildid finch species, species-typical group size correlates with nonapeptide receptor distributions in the lateral septum, and sociality in female zebra finches was reduced by OT antagonist infusions into the septum but not a control area. We propose that titration of sociality by MT represents a phylogenetically deep framework for the evolution of OT's female-specific roles in pair bonding and maternal functions. PMID:19679811

  20. Detection of Persistent West Nile Virus RNA in Experimentally and Naturally Infected Avian Hosts

    PubMed Central

    Wheeler, Sarah S.; Langevin, Stanley A.; Brault, Aaron C.; Woods, Leslie; Carroll, Brian D.; Reisen, William K.

    2012-01-01

    To determine whether West Nile virus (WNV) persistent infection in avian hosts may potentially serve as an overwintering mechanism, House Sparrows and House Finches, experimentally and naturally infected with several strains of WNV, and two naturally infected Western Scrub-Jays were held in mosquito-proof outdoor aviaries from 2007–March 2008. Overall, 94% (n = 36) of House Sparrows, 100% (n = 14) of House Finches and 2 Western Scrub-Jays remained WNV antibody positive. When combined by species, 37% of the House Sparrows, 50% of the House Finches, and 2 Western Scrub-Jays were WNV RNA positive at necropsy, up to 36 weeks post-infection. Infectious WNV was not detected. Our study supports the hypothesis that some avian hosts support the long-term persistence of WNV RNA, but it remains unresolved whether these infections relapse to restart an avian-arthropod transmission cycle and thereby serve as an overwintering mechanism for WNV. PMID:22826479

  1. Parallel-mode scanning optical sectioning using digital Fresnel holography with three-wave interference phase-shifting.

    PubMed

    Kelner, Roy; Rosen, Joseph

    2016-02-01

    The Fresnel incoherent correlation holography (FINCH) method is applicable to various techniques of imaging, including fluorescence microscopy. Recently, a FINCH configuration capable of optical sectioning, using a scanning phase pinhole, has been suggested [Optica 1, 70 (2014)]. This capability is highly important in situations that demand the suppression of out-of-focus information from the hologram reconstruction of a specific plane of interest, such as the imaging of thick samples in biology. In this study, parallel-mode scanning using multiple phase pinholes is suggested as a means to shorten the acquisition time in an optical sectioning FINCH configuration. The parallel-mode scanning is enabled through a phase-shifting procedure that extracts the mixed term of two out of three interfering beams. PMID:26906796

  2. Nest destruction elicits indiscriminate con- versus heterospecific brood parasitism in a captive bird.

    PubMed

    Shaw, Rachael C; Feeney, William E; Hauber, Mark E

    2014-12-01

    Following nest destruction, the laying of physiologically committed eggs (eggs that are ovulated, yolked, and making their way through the oviduct) in the nests of other birds is considered a viable pathway for the evolution of obligate interspecific brood parasitism. While intraspecific brood parasitism in response to nest predation has been experimentally demonstrated, this pathway has yet to be evaluated in an interspecific context. We studied patterns of egg laying following experimental nest destruction in captive zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata, a frequent intraspecific brood parasite. We found that zebra finches laid physiologically committed eggs indiscriminately between nests containing conspecific eggs and nests containing heterospecific eggs (of Bengalese finches, Lonchura striata vars. domestica), despite the con- and heterospecific eggs differing in both size and coloration. This is the first experimental evidence that nest destruction may provide a pathway for the evolution of interspecific brood parasitism in birds. PMID:25512846

  3. Constructing Confidence Intervals for Reliability Coefficients Using Central and Noncentral Distributions.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Weber, Deborah A.

    Greater understanding and use of confidence intervals is central to changes in statistical practice (G. Cumming and S. Finch, 2001). Reliability coefficients and confidence intervals for reliability coefficients can be computed using a variety of methods. Estimating confidence intervals includes both central and noncentral distribution approaches.…

  4. Science Learning Experience Involving Adults and Their Preadolescent and Adolescent Children.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gennaro, Eugene D.; And Others

    1980-01-01

    Describes a five-week course in animal behavior for parents and their middle-school-aged children offered at the Minnesota Zoological Garden. Course activities included discussions, film viewing, demonstrations, zoo observations, and home studies of gerbils or zebra finches. Results of the course are discussed. (CS)

  5. Principals and Technology: A Case Study of the Use and Perceived Effectiveness of Technology to Communicate with Constituents

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Allman, Bonnie Ann

    2012-01-01

    Among the many qualities or attributes that serve as the framework for school leadership development programs, communication is repeatedly noted as being an important facet of the administrative leader's repertoire (Finch, Gregson & Faulkner, 1992;Gougeon, 1991). It is not enough for a leader to be concerned only about communicating with…

  6. Using Different Examples of Natural Selection When Teaching Biology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Perry, Robert T.

    1993-01-01

    Describes the following examples of natural selection for use in science instruction: sickle-cell anemia and human beings, clogged crabs, the rounding of the human head, shell color in land snails, pollinator behavior and flower color, copper tolerance in a grass, lizards and quick change, and Darwin's finches. (PR)

  7. 76 FR 78227 - Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Emergency Management...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-12-16

    ... Collection; Emergency Management Response System AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA... Emergency Management Response System. DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before... Management Response System, contact Dr. Steven Finch, Senior Staff Veterinarian, Preparedness and...

  8. Variability in seed oil content and farry acid composition, phenotypic traits and self-incompatibility among selected niger germplasm accessions

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Niger (Guizotia abyssinica, L.) is a desirable oilseed crop for birdseed, especially for finches (Spinus spp.) because of its high ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids and relatively high oil content. In 2012, phenotypic traits, seed oil and fatty acid content measurements were made on 14 p...

  9. SWS2 visual pigment evolution as a test of historically contingent patterns of plumage color evolution in warblers.

    PubMed

    Bloch, Natasha I; Morrow, James M; Chang, Belinda S W; Price, Trevor D

    2015-02-01

    Distantly related clades that occupy similar environments may differ due to the lasting imprint of their ancestors-historical contingency. The New World warblers (Parulidae) and Old World warblers (Phylloscopidae) are ecologically similar clades that differ strikingly in plumage coloration. We studied genetic and functional evolution of the short-wavelength-sensitive visual pigments (SWS2 and SWS1) to ask if altered color perception could contribute to the plumage color differences between clades. We show SWS2 is short-wavelength shifted in birds that occupy open environments, such as finches, compared to those in closed environments, including warblers. Phylogenetic reconstructions indicate New World warblers were derived from a finch-like form that colonized from the Old World 15-20 Ma. During this process, the SWS2 gene accumulated six substitutions in branches leading to New World warblers, inviting the hypothesis that passage through a finch-like ancestor resulted in SWS2 evolution. In fact, we show spectral tuning remained similar across warblers as well as the finch ancestor. Results reject the hypothesis of historical contingency based on opsin spectral tuning, but point to evolution of other aspects of visual pigment function. Using the approach outlined here, historical contingency becomes a generally testable theory in systems where genotype and phenotype can be connected. PMID:25496318

  10. Recovery High Schools: Students and Responsive Academic and Therapeutic Services

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Moberg, D. Paul; Finch, Andrew J.; Lindsley, Stephanie M.

    2014-01-01

    This article reviews findings from the authors' studies of recovery high schools (RHS), including a 1995 program evaluation of a school in New Mexico (Moberg & Thaler, 1995), a 2006-09 descriptive study of 17 recovery high schools (Moberg & Finch, 2008), and presents early findings from a current study of the effectiveness of recovery…

  11. A Study of the Correlation between Home Literacy Behaviors for Children Birth to Age 5 and Subsequent Kindergarten Success

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johnson, Robert E., Jr.

    2013-01-01

    This research study investigated the at-home literacy behaviors and experiences of young children before and during their kindergarten year. Research has shown that the frequency and quality of at-home literacy experiences can either hinder or hamper children as their formal schooling begins (Fletcher, Cross, Tanney, Schneider, & Finch, 2008;…

  12. A possible account of synaesthesia dating from the seventeenth century.

    PubMed

    Larner, A J

    2006-09-01

    An account of a blind man able to detect colors by touch, dating from the mid-seventeenth century, is presented. The details come to us through the physician John Finch, the scientist Robert Boyle, and the author Jonathan Swift. The details in the account suggest the possibility that this may be an early report of colored-touch synaesthesia. PMID:16887762

  13. American Vocational Education Research Association Proceedings (Cincinnati, Ohio, December 5-8, 1996).

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Redmann, Donna H., Ed.

    The following papers are included: "Research and Teaching from the Web/Multimedia" (Swan); "Vocational Teachers' Attitude toward, Knowledge of, and Use of National Skill Standards" (Belcher, McCaslin); "Predicting the Leadership Effectiveness of Vocational Education Administrators" (Daughtry, Finch); "Coping Behaviors and Transitions of Managerial…

  14. Programme Development. Paper Presentations: Session F.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    2000

    This document contains 35 papers from the program development section of an international conference on vocational education and training (VET) for lifelong learning in the information era. The following are among the papers included: "Using Quality Indicators to Create World-Class Curricula: From Concept to Application" (Curtis Finch, Timo…

  15. SWS2 visual pigment evolution as a test of historically contingent patterns of plumage color evolution in Warblers

    PubMed Central

    Bloch, Natasha I.; Morrow, James M.; Chang, Belinda S.W.; Price, Trevor D.

    2014-01-01

    Distantly related clades that occupy similar environments may differ due to the lasting imprint of their ancestors – historical contingency. The New World warblers (Parulidae) and Old World warblers (Phylloscopidae) are ecologically similar clades that differ strikingly in plumage coloration. We studied genetic and functional evolution of the short-wavelength sensitive visual pigments (SWS2 and SWS1) to ask if altered color perception could contribute to the plumage color differences between clades. We show SWS2 is short-wavelength shifted in birds that occupy open environments, such as finches, compared to those in closed environments, including warblers. Phylogenetic reconstructions indicate New World warblers were derived from a finch-like form that colonized from the Old World 15-20Ma. During this process the SWS2 gene accumulated 6 substitutions in branches leading to New World warblers, inviting the hypothesis that passage through a finch-like ancestor resulted in SWS2 evolution. In fact, we show spectral tuning remained similar across warblers as well as the finch ancestor. Results reject the hypothesis of historical contingency based on opsin spectral tuning, but point to evolution of other aspects of visual pigment function. Using the approach outlined here, historical contingency becomes a generally testable theory in systems where genotype and phenotype can be connected. PMID:25496318

  16. A role for nonapeptides and dopamine in nest-building behaviour.

    PubMed

    Hall, Z J; Healy, S D; Meddle, S L

    2015-02-01

    During nest building in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), several regions in the social behaviour network and the dopaminergic reward system, which are two neural circuits involved in social behaviour, appear to be active in male and female nest-building finches. Because the nonapeptides, mesotocin and vasotocin and the neurotransmitter, dopamine, play important roles in avian social behaviour, we tested the hypothesis that mesotocinergic-vasotocinergic and dopaminergic neuronal populations in the social behaviour network and dopaminergic reward system, respectively, are active during nest building. We combined immunohistochemistry for Fos (an indirect marker of neuronal activity) and vasotocin, mesotocin or tyrosine hydroxylase on brain tissue from nest-building and non-nest-building male and female zebra finches and compared Fos immunoreactivity in these neuronal populations with the variation in nest-building behaviour. Fos immunoreactivity in all three types of neuronal populations increased with some aspect of nest building: (i) higher immunoreactivity in a mesotocinergic neuronal population of nest-building finches compared to controls; (ii) increased immunoreactivity in the vasotocinergic neuronal populations in relation to the amount of material picked up by nest-building males and the length of time that a male spent in the nest with his mate; and (iii) increased immunoreactivity in a dopaminergic neuronal population in relation to the length of time that a male nest-building finch spent in the nest with his mate. Taken together, these findings provide evidence for a role of the mesotocinergic-vasotocinergic and dopaminergic systems in avian nest building. PMID:25514990

  17. 40 CFR 415.206 - Pretreatment standards for new sources (PSNS).

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... Production Subcategory § 415.206 Pretreatment standards for new sources (PSNS). Except as provided in 40 CFR... treatment works must comply with 40 CFR part 403 and achieve the following pretreatment standards for new... (total) 1.3 0.42 Zinc (total) 3.4 1.2 COD 1,260 630 In cases when POTWs find it necessary to impose...

  18. 40 CFR 415.206 - Pretreatment standards for new sources (PSNS).

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... Production Subcategory § 415.206 Pretreatment standards for new sources (PSNS). Except as provided in 40 CFR... treatment works must comply with 40 CFR part 403 and achieve the following pretreatment standards for new... (total) 1.3 0.42 Zinc (total) 3.4 1.2 COD 1,260 630 In cases when POTWs find it necessary to impose...

  19. 40 CFR 415.206 - Pretreatment standards for new sources (PSNS).

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... Production Subcategory § 415.206 Pretreatment standards for new sources (PSNS). Except as provided in 40 CFR... treatment works must comply with 40 CFR part 403 and achieve the following pretreatment standards for new... (total) 1.3 0.42 Zinc (total) 3.4 1.2 COD 1,260 630 In cases when POTWs find it necessary to impose...

  20. 40 CFR 415.206 - Pretreatment standards for new sources (PSNS).

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... Production Subcategory § 415.206 Pretreatment standards for new sources (PSNS). Except as provided in 40 CFR... treatment works must comply with 40 CFR part 403 and achieve the following pretreatment standards for new... (total) 1.3 0.42 Zinc (total) 3.4 1.2 COD 1,260 630 In cases when POTWs find it necessary to impose...

  1. 40 CFR 415.206 - Pretreatment standards for new sources (PSNS).

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... Production Subcategory § 415.206 Pretreatment standards for new sources (PSNS). Except as provided in 40 CFR... treatment works must comply with 40 CFR part 403 and achieve the following pretreatment standards for new... (total) 1.3 0.42 Zinc (total) 3.4 1.2 COD 1,260 630 In cases when POTWs find it necessary to impose...

  2. Turkish Students' Views on Environmental Challenges with respect to Gender: An Analysis of ROSE Data

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cavas, Bulent; Cavas, Pinar; Tekkaya, Ceren; Cakiroglu, Jale; Kesercioglu, Teoman

    2009-01-01

    This paper examined high school students' attitudes toward the environment and their interest in learning about environmental protection with respect to gender. The questionnaire-based Relevance of Science Education (ROSE) Project data of 9th grade students were collected in Turkey from 1,260 students. Statistical analysis included tabulation of…

  3. Characteristics of American Indian and Alaska Native Education: Results from the 1990-91 Schools and Staffing Survey.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pavel, D. Michael; And Others

    This report summarizes findings of the 1990-91 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) with regard to schools that serve American Indian and Alaska Native students. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and federally recognized tribal organizations under BIA grants and contracts operate 149 elementary and secondary schools. In addition, 1,260 public…

  4. Development and Initial Validation of the NyTid Test: A Movement Assessment Tool for Compulsory School Pupils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tidén, Anna; Lundqvist, Carolina; Nyberg, Marie

    2015-01-01

    This study presents the development process and initial validation of the NyTid test, a process-oriented movement assessment tool for compulsory school pupils. A sample of 1,260 (627 girls and 633 boys; mean age of 14.39) Swedish school children participated in the study. In the first step, exploratory factor analyses (EFAs) were performed in…

  5. Factor Structure of the Primary Scales of the Inventory of Personality Organization in a Nonclinical Sample Using Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ellison, William D.; Levy, Kenneth N.

    2012-01-01

    Using exploratory structural equation modeling and multiple regression, we examined the factor structure and criterion relations of the primary scales of the Inventory of Personality Organization (IPO; Kernberg & Clarkin, 1995) in a nonclinical sample. Participants (N = 1,260) completed the IPO and measures of self-concept clarity, defenses,…

  6. Development and Psychometric Evaluation of a Measure of Intuitive Eating

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tylka, Tracy L.

    2006-01-01

    Intuitive eating is characterized by eating based on physiological hunger and satiety cues rather than situational and emotional cues and is associated with psychological well-being. This study reports on the development and initial psychometric evaluation of the Intuitive Eating Scale (IES) with data collected in 4 studies from 1,260 college…

  7. Natural Changes in Brain Temperature Underlie Variations in Song Tempo during a Mating Behavior

    PubMed Central

    Aronov, Dmitriy; Fee, Michale S.

    2012-01-01

    The song of a male zebra finch is a stereotyped motor sequence whose tempo varies with social context – whether or not the song is directed at a female bird – as well as with the time of day. The neural mechanisms underlying these changes in tempo are unknown. Here we show that brain temperature recorded in freely behaving male finches exhibits a global increase in response to the presentation of a female bird. This increase strongly correlates with, and largely explains, the faster tempo of songs directed at a female compared to songs produced in social isolation. Furthermore, we find that the observed diurnal variations in song tempo are also explained by natural variations in brain temperature. Our findings suggest that brain temperature is an important variable that can influence the dynamics of activity in neural circuits, as well as the temporal features of behaviors that some of these circuits generate. PMID:23112858

  8. An Adapting Auditory-motor Feedback Loop Can Contribute to Generating Vocal Repetition.

    PubMed

    Wittenbach, Jason D; Bouchard, Kristofer E; Brainard, Michael S; Jin, Dezhe Z

    2015-10-01

    Consecutive repetition of actions is common in behavioral sequences. Although integration of sensory feedback with internal motor programs is important for sequence generation, if and how feedback contributes to repetitive actions is poorly understood. Here we study how auditory feedback contributes to generating repetitive syllable sequences in songbirds. We propose that auditory signals provide positive feedback to ongoing motor commands, but this influence decays as feedback weakens from response adaptation during syllable repetitions. Computational models show that this mechanism explains repeat distributions observed in Bengalese finch song. We experimentally confirmed two predictions of this mechanism in Bengalese finches: removal of auditory feedback by deafening reduces syllable repetitions; and neural responses to auditory playback of repeated syllable sequences gradually adapt in sensory-motor nucleus HVC. Together, our results implicate a positive auditory-feedback loop with adaptation in generating repetitive vocalizations, and suggest sensory adaptation is important for feedback control of motor sequences. PMID:26448054

  9. Avian Hosts of West Nile Virus in Arizona

    PubMed Central

    Komar, Nicholas; Panella, Nicholas A.; Young, Ginger R.; Brault, Aaron C.; Levy, Craig E.

    2013-01-01

    West Nile virus (WNV) causes sporadic outbreaks of human encephalitis in Phoenix, Arizona. To identify amplifying hosts of WNV in the Phoenix area, we blood-sampled resident birds and measured antibody prevalence following an outbreak in the East Valley of metropolitan Phoenix during summer, 2010. House sparrow (Passer domesticus), house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus), great-tailed grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus), and mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) accounted for most WNV infections among locally resident birds. These species roost communally after early summer breeding. In September 2010, Culex vector-avian host contact was 3-fold greater at communal bird roosts compared with control sites, as determined by densities of resting mosquitoes with previous vertebrate contact (i.e., blood-engorged or gravid mosquitoes). Because of the low competence of mourning doves, these were considered weak amplifiers but potentially effective free-ranging sentinels. Highly competent sparrows, finches, and grackles were predicted to be key amplifying hosts for WNV in suburban Phoenix. PMID:23857022

  10. Monogamy on the fast track.

    PubMed

    Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth; Tomaszycki, Michelle

    2007-12-22

    Social monogamy has evolved multiple times and is particularly common in birds. It is not well understood why some of these species are continuously and permanently paired while others occasionally 'divorce' (switch partners). Although several hypotheses have been considered, experimental tests are uncommon. Estrildid finches are thought to be permanently paired because being short-lived opportunistic breeders, they cannot afford the time to form a new pair relationship. Here it is shown through a controlled experimental manipulation that zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) allowed to remain with their partners to breed again are faster to initiate a clutch (by approx. 3 days) than birds separated from their mates that have to re-pair, supporting the hypothesis that continuous pairing speeds up initiation of reproduction, a benefit of long-term monogamy in a small, short-lived, gregarious species. PMID:17848359

  11. Possible Role of Songbirds and Parakeets in Transmission of Influenza A(H7N9) Virus to Humans

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Jeremy C.; Sonnberg, Stephanie; Koçer, Zeynep A.; Shanmuganatham, Karthik; Seiler, Patrick; Shu, Yuelong; Zhu, Huachen; Guan, Yi; Peiris, Malik; Webby, Richard J.

    2014-01-01

    Avian-origin influenza A(H7N9) recently emerged in China, causing severe human disease. Several subtype H7N9 isolates contain influenza genes previously identified in viruses from finch-like birds. Because wild and domestic songbirds interact with humans and poultry, we investigated the susceptibility and transmissibility of subtype H7N9 in these species. Finches, sparrows, and parakeets supported replication of a human subtype H7N9 isolate, shed high titers through the oropharyngeal route, and showed few disease signs. Virus was shed into water troughs, and several contact animals seroconverted, although they shed little virus. Our study demonstrates that a human isolate can replicate in and be shed by such songbirds and parakeets into their environment. This finding has implications for these birds’ potential as intermediate hosts with the ability to facilitate transmission and dissemination of A(H7N9) virus. PMID:24572739

  12. Stable recombination hotspots in birds

    PubMed Central

    Singhal, Sonal; Leffler, Ellen M.; Sannareddy, Keerthi; Turner, Isaac; Venn, Oliver; Hooper, Daniel M.; Strand, Alva I.; Li, Qiye; Raney, Brian; Balakrishnan, Christopher N.; Griffith, Simon C.; McVean, Gil; Przeworski, Molly

    2016-01-01

    The DNA-binding protein PRDM9 has a critical role in specifying meiotic recombination hotspots in mice and apes, but appears to be absent from other vertebrate species, including birds. To study the evolution and determinants of recombination in species lacking PRDM9, we inferred fine-scale genetic maps from population resequencing data for two bird species, the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata and the long-tailed finch Poephila acuticauda. We find that both species have hotspots, which are enriched near functional genomic elements. Unlike in mice and apes, the two species share most hotspots, with conservation seemingly extending over tens of millions of years. These observations suggest that in the absence of PRDM9, recombination targets functional features that both enable access to the genome and constrain its evolution. PMID:26586757

  13. Possible role of songbirds and parakeets in transmission of influenza A(H7N9) virus to humans.

    PubMed

    Jones, Jeremy C; Sonnberg, Stephanie; Koçer, Zeynep A; Shanmuganatham, Karthik; Seiler, Patrick; Shu, Yuelong; Zhu, Huachen; Guan, Yi; Peiris, Malik; Webby, Richard J; Webster, Robert G

    2014-03-01

    Avian-origin influenza A(H7N9) recently emerged in China, causing severe human disease. Several subtype H7N9 isolates contain influenza genes previously identified in viruses from finch-like birds. Because wild and domestic songbirds interact with humans and poultry, we investigated the susceptibility and transmissibility of subtype H7N9 in these species. Finches, sparrows, and parakeets supported replication of a human subtype H7N9 isolate, shed high titers through the oropharyngeal route, and showed few disease signs. Virus was shed into water troughs, and several contact animals seroconverted, although they shed little virus. Our study demonstrates that a human isolate can replicate in and be shed by such songbirds and parakeets into their environment. This finding has implications for these birds' potential as intermediate hosts with the ability to facilitate transmission and dissemination of A(H7N9) virus. PMID:24572739

  14. Experimental support for the role of nest predation in the evolution of brood parasitism.

    PubMed

    Shaw, R C; Hauber, M E

    2009-06-01

    In 1965, Hamilton and Orians (HO) hypothesized that the starting point for the evolution of obligate interspecific brood parasitism in birds was the facultative laying of physiologically committed eggs in neighbouring active nests of con- and heterospecifics, following predation of a bird's own nest during the laying stage. We tested this prediction of the HO hypothesis by using captive pairs of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), a species with evidence for intraspecific parasitism both in the wild and in captivity. As predicted, in response to experimental nest removal, subjects laid eggs parasitically in simulated active conspecific nests above chance levels. Across subsequent trials, we detected both repeatability and directional change in laying patterns, with some subjects switching from parasitism to depositing eggs in the empty nest. Taken together, these results support the assumptions and predictions of the HO hypothesis, and indicate that the zebra finch is a potential model species for future behavioural and genetic studies in captive brood parasite research. PMID:19453373

  15. Escherichia albertii in Wild and Domestic Birds

    PubMed Central

    Besser, Thomas E.; Walk, Seth T.; Gordon, David M.; Beckmen, Kimberlee B.; Burek, Kathy A.; Haldorson, Gary J.; Bradway, Dan S.; Ouellette, Lindsey; Rurangirwa, Fred R.; Davis, Margaret A.; Dobbin, Greg; Whittam, Thomas S.

    2010-01-01

    Escherichia albertii has been associated with diarrhea in humans but not with disease or infection in animals. However, in December 2004, E. albertii was found, by biochemical and genetic methods, to be the probable cause of death for redpoll finches (Carduelis flammea) in Alaska. Subsequent investigation found this organism in dead and subclinically infected birds of other species from North America and Australia. Isolates from dead finches in Scotland, previously identified as Escherichia coli O86:K61, also were shown to be E. albertii. Similar to the isolates from humans, E. albertii isolates from birds possessed intimin (eae) and cytolethal distending toxin (cdtB) genes but lacked Shiga toxin (stx) genes. Genetic analysis of eae and cdtB sequences, multilocus sequence typing, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns showed that the E. albertii strains from birds are heterogeneous but similar to isolates that cause disease in humans. PMID:20350378

  16. Stable recombination hotspots in birds.

    PubMed

    Singhal, Sonal; Leffler, Ellen M; Sannareddy, Keerthi; Turner, Isaac; Venn, Oliver; Hooper, Daniel M; Strand, Alva I; Li, Qiye; Raney, Brian; Balakrishnan, Christopher N; Griffith, Simon C; McVean, Gil; Przeworski, Molly

    2015-11-20

    The DNA-binding protein PRDM9 has a critical role in specifying meiotic recombination hotspots in mice and apes, but it appears to be absent from other vertebrate species, including birds. To study the evolution and determinants of recombination in species lacking the gene that encodes PRDM9, we inferred fine-scale genetic maps from population resequencing data for two bird species: the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, and the long-tailed finch, Poephila acuticauda. We found that both species have recombination hotspots, which are enriched near functional genomic elements. Unlike in mice and apes, most hotspots are shared between the two species, and their conservation seems to extend over tens of millions of years. These observations suggest that in the absence of PRDM9, recombination targets functional features that both enable access to the genome and constrain its evolution. PMID:26586757

  17. SINGING UNDER THE INFLUENCE: EXAMINING THE EFFECTS OF NUTRITION AND ADDICTION ON A LEARNED VOCAL BEHAVIOR

    PubMed Central

    Lovell, Peter V.; Olson, Christopher R.; Mello, Claudio V.

    2015-01-01

    The songbird model is widely established in a number of laboratories for the investigation of the neurobiology and development of vocal learning. While vocal learning is rare in the animal kingdom, it is a trait that songbirds share with humans. The neuroanatomical and physiological organization of the brain circuitry that controls learned vocalizations has been extensively characterized, particularly in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Recently, several powerful molecular and genomic tools have become available in this organism, making it an attractive choice for neurobiologists interested in the neural and genetic basis of a complex learned behavior. Here we briefly review some of the main features of vocal learning and associated brain structures in zebra finches and comment on some examples that illustrate how themes related to nutrition and addiction can be explored using this model organism. PMID:21340665

  18. Repeated targeting of the same hosts by a brood parasite compromises host egg rejection

    PubMed Central

    Stevens, Martin; Troscianko, Jolyon; Spottiswoode, Claire N.

    2013-01-01

    Cuckoo eggs famously mimic those of their foster parents to evade rejection from discriminating hosts. Here we test whether parasites benefit by repeatedly parasitizing the same host nest. This should make accurate rejection decisions harder, regardless of the mechanism that hosts use to identify foreign eggs. Here we find strong support for this prediction in the African tawny-flanked prinia (Prinia subflava), the most common host of the cuckoo finch (Anomalospiza imberbis). We show experimentally that hosts reject eggs that differ from an internal template, but crucially, as the proportion of foreign eggs increases, hosts are less likely to reject them and require greater differences in appearance to do so. Repeated parasitism by the same cuckoo finch female is common in host nests and likely to be an adaptation to increase the probability of host acceptance. Thus, repeated parasitism interacts with egg mimicry to exploit cognitive and sensory limitations in host defences. PMID:24064931

  19. Timing and classifying brief acoustic stimuli by songbirds and humans.

    PubMed

    Weisman, R; Brownlie, L; Olthof, A; Njegovan, M; Sturdy, C; Mewhort, D

    1999-04-01

    The durations of animals' brief vocalizations provide conspecifics with important recognition cues. In the present experiments, zebra finches and humans (trained musicians) were rewarded for responding after S+ (standard) auditory signals from 56 to 663 ms and not for responding after shorter or longer S- (comparison) durations from 10 to 3684 ms. With either a single standard (Experiment 1) or multiple standards (Experiment 2), both zebra finches and humans timed brief signals to about the same level of accuracy. The results were in qualitative agreement with predictions from scalar timing theory and its connectionist implementation in both experiments. The connectionist model provides a good quantitative account of temporal gradients with a single standard (Experiment 1) but not with multiple standards (Experiment 2). PMID:10331915

  20. An Adapting Auditory-motor Feedback Loop Can Contribute to Generating Vocal Repetition

    PubMed Central

    Brainard, Michael S.; Jin, Dezhe Z.

    2015-01-01

    Consecutive repetition of actions is common in behavioral sequences. Although integration of sensory feedback with internal motor programs is important for sequence generation, if and how feedback contributes to repetitive actions is poorly understood. Here we study how auditory feedback contributes to generating repetitive syllable sequences in songbirds. We propose that auditory signals provide positive feedback to ongoing motor commands, but this influence decays as feedback weakens from response adaptation during syllable repetitions. Computational models show that this mechanism explains repeat distributions observed in Bengalese finch song. We experimentally confirmed two predictions of this mechanism in Bengalese finches: removal of auditory feedback by deafening reduces syllable repetitions; and neural responses to auditory playback of repeated syllable sequences gradually adapt in sensory-motor nucleus HVC. Together, our results implicate a positive auditory-feedback loop with adaptation in generating repetitive vocalizations, and suggest sensory adaptation is important for feedback control of motor sequences. PMID:26448054

  1. Light scattering measurements supporting helical structures for chromatin in solution.

    PubMed

    Campbell, A M; Cotter, R I; Pardon, J F

    1978-05-01

    Laser light scattering measurements have been made on a series of polynucleosomes containing from 50 to 150 nucleosomes. Radii of gyration have been determined as a function of polynucleosome length for different ionic strength solutions. The results suggest that at low ionic strength the chromatin adopts a loosely helical structure rather than a random coil. The helix becomes more regular on increasing the ionic strength, the dimension resembling those proposed by Finch and Klug for their solenoid model. PMID:662693

  2. Forebrain circuits underlying the social modulation of vocal communication signals.

    PubMed

    Matheson, Laura E; Sun, Herie; Sakata, Jon T

    2016-01-01

    Across vertebrate species, signalers alter the structure of their communication signals based on the social context. For example, male Bengalese finches produce faster and more stereotyped songs when directing song to females (female-directed [FD] song) than when singing in isolation (undirected [UD] song), and such changes have been found to increase the attractiveness of a male's song. Despite the importance of such social influences, little is known about the mechanisms underlying the social modulation of communication signals. To this end, we analyzed differences in immediate early gene (EGR-1) expression when Bengalese finches produced FD or UD song. Relative to silent birds, EGR-1 expression was elevated in birds producing either FD or UD song throughout vocal control circuitry, including the interface nucleus of the nidopallium (NIf), HVC, the robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA), Area X, and the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (LMAN). Moreover, EGR-1 expression was higher in HVC, RA, Area X, and LMAN in males producing UD song than in males producing FD song, indicating that social context modulated EGR-1 expression in these areas. However, EGR-1 expression was not significantly different between males producing FD or UD song in NIf, the primary vocal motor input into HVC, suggesting that context-dependent changes could arise de novo in HVC. The pattern of context-dependent differences in EGR-1 expression in the Bengalese finch was highly similar to that in the zebra finch and suggests that social context affects song structure by modulating activity throughout vocal control nuclei. PMID:25959605

  3. Energetic costs and implications of the intake of plant secondary metabolites on digestive and renal morphology in two austral passerines.

    PubMed

    Barceló, Gonzalo; Ríos, Juan Manuel; Maldonado, Karin; Sabat, Pablo

    2016-07-01

    Seed-eating birds have a diet of high nutritional value; however, they must cope with plant secondary metabolites (PSM). We postulated that the detoxification capacity of birds is associated with a metabolic cost, given that the organs responsible for detoxification significantly contribute to energetic metabolism. We used an experimental approach to assess the effects of phenol-enriched diets on two passerines with different feeding habits: the omnivorous rufous-collared sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis) and the granivorous common diuca-finch (Diuca diuca). The birds were fed with one of three diets: control diet, supplemented with tannic acid, or supplemented with Opuntia ficus-indica phenolic extract (a common food of the sparrow but not the finch). After 5 weeks of exposure to the diets, we measured basal metabolic rates (BMR), energy intake, glucuronic acid output and digestive and kidney structure. In both species, detoxification capacity expressed as glucuronic acid output was higher in individuals consuming phenol-enriched diets compared to the control diet. However, whereas sparrows increase energy intake and intestinal mass when feeding on phenol-enriched diets, finches had lower intestinal mass and energy intake remains stable. Furthermore, sparrows had higher BMR on phenol-enriched diets compared to the control group, whereas in the finches BMR remains unchanged. Interspecific differences in response to phenols intake may be determined by the dietary habits of these species. While both species can feed on moderate phenolic diets for 5 weeks, energy costs may differ due to different responses in food intake and organ structure to counteract the effects of PSM intake. PMID:26931656

  4. Refugia, colonization and diversification of an arid-adapted bird: coincident patterns between genetic data and ecological niche modelling.

    PubMed

    Barrientos, Rafael; Kvist, Laura; Barbosa, Andrés; Valera, Francisco; Khoury, Fares; Varela, Sara; Moreno, Eulalia

    2014-02-01

    Phylogeographical studies are common in boreal and temperate species from the Palaearctic, but scarce in arid-adapted species. We used nuclear and mitochondrial markers to investigate phylogeography and to estimate chronology of colonization events of the trumpeter finch Bucanetes githagineus, an arid-adapted bird. We used 271 samples from 16 populations, most of which were fresh samples but including some museum specimens. Microsatellite data showed no clear grouping according to the sampling locations. Microsatellite and mitochondrial data showed the clearest differentiation between Maghreb and Canary Islands and between Maghreb and Western Sahara. Mitochondrial data suggest differentiation between different Maghreb populations and among Maghreb and Near East populations, between Iberian Peninsula and Canary Islands, as well as between Western Sahara and Maghreb. Our coalescence analyses indicate that the trumpeter finch colonized North Africa during the humid Marine Isotope Stage 5 (MIS5) period of the Sahara region 125 000 years ago. We constructed an ecological niche model (ENM) to estimate the geographical distribution of climatically suitable habitats for the trumpeter finch. We tested whether changes in the species range in relation to glacial-interglacial cycles could be responsible for observed patterns of genetic diversity and structure. Modelling results matched with those from genetic data as the species' potential range increases in interglacial scenarios (in the present climatic scenario and during MIS5) and decreases in glacial climates (during the last glacial maximum, LGM, 21 000 years ago). Our results suggest that the trumpeter finch responded to Pleistocene climatic changes by expanding and contracting its range. PMID:24215522

  5. Androgens Regulate Gene Expression in Avian Skeletal Muscles

    PubMed Central

    Fuxjager, Matthew J.; Barske, Julia; Du, Sienmi; Day, Lainy B.; Schlinger, Barney A.

    2012-01-01

    Circulating androgens in adult reproductively active male vertebrates influence a diversity of organ systems and thus are considered costly. Recently, we obtained evidence that androgen receptors (AR) are expressed in several skeletal muscles of three passeriform birds, the golden-collared manakin (Manacus vitellinus), zebra finch (Taenopygia guttata), and ochre-bellied flycatcher (Mionectes oleagieus). Because skeletal muscles that control wing movement make up the bulk of a bird’s body mass, evidence for widespread effects of androgen action on these muscles would greatly expand the functional impact of androgens beyond their well-characterized effects on relatively discrete targets throughout the avian body. To investigate this issue, we use quantitative PCR (qPCR) to determine if androgens alter gene mRNA expression patterns in wing musculature of wild golden-collared manakins and captive zebra finches. In manakins, the androgen testosterone (T) up-regulated expression of parvalbumin (PV) and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), two genes whose products enhance cellular Ca2+ cycling and hypertrophy of skeletal muscle fibers. In T-treated zebra finches, the anti-androgen flutamide blunted PV and IGF-I expression. These results suggest that certain transcriptional effects of androgen action via AR are conserved in passerine skeletal muscle tissue. When we examined wing muscles of manakins, zebra finches and ochre-bellied flycatchers, we found that expression of PV and IGF-I varied across species and in a manner consistent with a function for AR-dependent gene regulation. Together, these findings imply that androgens have the potential to act on avian muscle in a way that may enhance the physicality required for successful reproduction. PMID:23284699

  6. Key to Species of the Genus Neocheyletiella (Acariformes: Cheyletidae), With Description of a New Species.

    PubMed

    Mertins, James W; Bochkov, Andre V

    2014-11-01

    A new species of the genus Neocheyletiella Baker, 1949 (Acariformes: Cheyletidae) is described from the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata (Viellot, 1817) (Passeriformes: Estrildidae), from a laboratory colony at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. The setal additions in the ontogeny of the new species, Neocheyletiella parvisetosa Mertins & Bochkov, and the main differential characters of all 17 known species of the genus Neocheyletiella are provided in tabular format. Keys to females and males of Neocheyletiella spp. also are given. PMID:26309296

  7. Asynchronous hatching and food limitation: a test of Lack's hypothesis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Skagen, Susan Knight

    1988-01-01

    Lack’s (1954, 1968) hypothesis that asynchronous hatching of altricial birds is an adaptive response to unpredictable food shortages during the breeding season was examined in the highly granivorous Zebra Finch (Poephila guttata). I compared growth and survival of nestlings in asynchronous and artificially created synchronous brood reared under food-limited and food-abundant conditions in an aviary. I also examined the role of parental experience on survival and growth of nestlings. There was no differential mortality of Zebra Finch nestlings due to either asynchrony or food abundance. Young in abundant food treatments grew more rapidly, however, than those in food restricted treatments. Heaviest Zebra Finch nestlings in a brood grew more quickly than their lightest siblings when food was limited, supporting Lack’s hypothesis. Further, differential survival of light and heavy siblings occurred when food was abundant, suggesting that asynchronous hatching can be maladaptive under some ecological conditions. Nestlings reared by inexperienced parents suffered greater mortality and slower growth when food was abundant than nestlings raised by experienced parents. Prefledging mass was correlated with size at adulthood.

  8. Gold or green: the debate on open access policies.

    PubMed

    Abadal, Ernest

    2013-09-01

    The movement for open access to science seeks to achieve unrestricted and free access to academic publications on the Internet. To this end, two mechanisms have been established: the gold road, in which scientific journals are openly accessible, and the green road, in which publications are self-archived in repositories. The publication of the Finch Report in 2012, advocating exclusively the adoption of the gold road, generated a debate as to whether either of the two options should be prioritized. The recommendations of the Finch Report stirred controversy among academicians specialized in open access issues, who felt that the role played by repositories was not adequately considered and because the green road places the burden of publishing costs basically on authors. The Finch Report's conclusions are compatible with the characteristics of science communication in the UK and they could surely also be applied to the (few) countries with a powerful publishing industry and substantial research funding. In Spain, both the current national legislation and the existing rules at universities largely advocate the green road. This is directly related to the structure of scientific communication in Spain, where many journals have little commercial significance, the system of charging a fee to authors has not been adopted, and there is a good repository infrastructure. As for open access policies, the performance of the scientific communication system in each country should be carefully analyzed to determine the most suitable open access strategy. PMID:24568035

  9. Elevated aromatase activity in forebrain synaptic terminals during song

    PubMed Central

    Remage-Healey, Luke; Oyama, Randi K.; Schlinger, Barney A.

    2009-01-01

    The enzyme aromatase (which converts androgens into oestrogens) is expressed throughout the brain in zebra finches. Aromatase is enzymatically active in both cell bodies and synaptic terminals of neurones of the songbird brain, particularly within forebrain motor and auditory networks. Aromatisation within synaptic terminals could thus provide localised and acute modulatory oestrogens within the forebrain during singing and/or audition. In male zebra finches, we tested the hypothesis that forebrain aromatase activity is elevated during singing behaviour and/or hearing male song. This study reports that aromatase activity is elevated in males that were singing for 30 min as compared to non-singing males, and that this elevation occurs only within the cellular compartment that contains synaptic terminals. In a separate experiment, males that heard acoustic playback of song for 30 min exhibited no differences in aromatase activity or in aromatase mRNA levels as revealed by quantitative PCR analysis. Therefore, these results indicate that activation of the motor pathway for song production is linked to local elevations in synaptic aromatase activity within the forebrain of male zebra finches. Future experiments could assess whether elevated synaptic aromatase activity during song is dependent on acute regulation of the aromatase protein. PMID:19207827

  10. Evolution of birdsong syntax by interjection communication.

    PubMed

    Sasahara, Kazutoshi; Ikegami, Takashi

    2007-01-01

    Animals use diverse forms of communication, from sound signals to body postures. Recent ethological studies have reported a unique syntactic communication of a songbird, the Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica). Male Bengalese finches sing complex courtship songs, which can be reconstructed by finite automata, and female Bengalese finches prefer complex songs, as opposed to monotonous or random ones. These facts suggest that the song syntaxes of male birds may have evolved as a result of sexual selection by female birds. Inspired by this hypothesis, we developed a communication model that is a system coupling different types of automaton, one for song production by males and another for song evaluation by females. We applied this model to study the evolution of syntactic animal communication in terms of the self-organization of coevolving automata. Three types of courting strategies as well as a relationship between the song syntax and female preference emerged. We argue that despite the simple communication involved, the complexity and diversity of song syntaxes can evolve via diverse female preferences. PMID:17567245

  11. Perception of warble song in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus): evidence for special processing

    PubMed Central

    Tu, Hsiao-Wei; Dooling, Robert J.

    2012-01-01

    The long, rambling warble song of male budgerigars is composed of a large number of acoustically complex elements uttered in streams lasting minutes a time and accompanied by various courtship behaviors. Warble song has no obvious sequential structure or patterned repetition of elements, raising questions as to which aspects of it are perceptually salient, whether budgerigars can detect changes in natural warble streams, and to what extent these capabilities are species-specific. Using operant conditioning and a psychophysical paradigm, we examined the sensitivity of budgerigars, canaries, and zebra finches to changes in long (>6 min) natural warble sequences of a male budgerigar. All three species could detect a single insertion of pure tones, zebra finch song syllables, budgerigar contact calls, or warble elements from another budgerigar’s warble. In each case, budgerigars were more sensitive to these changes than were canaries or finches. When warble elements from the ongoing warble stream were used as targets and inserted, out of order, into the natural warble stream so that the only cue available was the violation of the natural ordering of warble elements, only budgerigars performed above chance. When the experiment was repeated with all the ongoing warble stream elements presented in random order, the performance of budgerigars fell to chance. These results show species-specific advantages in budgerigars for detecting acoustic changes in natural warble sequences and indicate at least a limited sensitivity to sequential rules governing the structure of their species-specific warble songs. PMID:22890832

  12. Closely related bird species demonstrate flexibility between beak morphology and underlying developmental programs

    PubMed Central

    Mallarino, Ricardo; Campàs, Otger; Fritz, Joerg A.; Burns, Kevin J.; Weeks, Olivia G.; Brenner, Michael P.; Abzhanov, Arhat

    2012-01-01

    The astonishing variation in the shape and size of bird beaks reflects a wide range of dietary specializations that played an important role in avian diversification. Among Darwin’s finches, ground finches (Geospiza spp.) have beaks that represent scaling variations of the same shape, which are generated by alterations in the signaling pathways that regulate growth of the two skeletal components of the beak: the prenasal cartilage (pnc) and the premaxillary bone (pmx). Whether this developmental mechanism is responsible for variation within groups of other closely related bird species, however, has remained unknown. Here, we report that the Caribbean bullfinches (Loxigilla spp.), which are closely related to Darwin’s finches, have independently evolved beaks of a novel shape, different from Geospiza, but also varying from each other only in scaling. However, despite sharing the same beak shape, the signaling pathways and tissues patterning Loxigilla beaks differ among the three species. In Loxigilla noctis, as in Geospiza, the pnc develops first, shaped by Bmp4 and CaM signaling, followed by the development of the pmx, regulated by TGFβIIr, β-catenin, and Dkk3 signaling. In contrast, beak morphogenesis in Loxigilla violacea and Loxigilla portoricensis is generated almost exclusively by the pmx through a mechanism in which Ihh and Bmp4 synergize to promote expansion of bone tissue. Together, our results demonstrate high flexibility in the relationship between morphology and underlying developmental causes, where different developmental programs can generate identical shapes, and similar developmental programs can pattern different shapes. PMID:22988109

  13. Scaffolding Preservice Science Teachers' Evidence-Based Arguments During an Investigation of Natural Selection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zembal-Saul, Carla; Munford, Danusa; Crawford, Barbara; Friedrichsen, Patricia; Land, Susan

    2002-08-01

    In this qualitative case study, preservice science teachers (PSTs) enrolled in their advanced methods course participated in a complex, data-rich investigation based on an adapted version of the Struggle for Survival curriculum. Fundamental to the investigation was the use of the Galapagos Finches software and an emphasis on giving priority to evidence and constructing evidence-based arguments. The questions that guided the research were: (1) What is the nature of the scientific arguments developed by PSTs? (2) How do PSTs go about constructing scientific arguments (emphasis on processes and strategies)? (3) In what ways do the scaffolds embedded in the Galapagos Finches software influence the development of PSTs arguments? Two pairs of PSTs were selected for in-depth examination. The primary sources of data were the electronic artifacts generated in the Galapagos Finches software environment and the videotaped interactions of both pairs as they investigated the data set, constructed and revised their arguments, engaged in peer review sessions, and presented their arguments to the class at the end of the unit. Four major patterns emerged through analysis of the data. First, using the software, PSTs consistently constructed claims that were linked to evidence from the investigation. Second, although PSTs consistently grounded their arguments in evidence, they still exhibited a number of limitations reported in the literature. Third, the software served as a powerful vehicle for revealing PSTs knowledge of evolution and natural selection. Finally, the PSTs approach to the task had a strong influence on the way they used the software.

  14. Perception of warble song in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus): evidence for special processing.

    PubMed

    Tu, Hsiao-Wei; Dooling, Robert J

    2012-11-01

    The long, rambling warble song of male budgerigars is composed of a large number of acoustically complex elements uttered in streams lasting minutes a time and accompanied by various courtship behaviors. Warble song has no obvious sequential structure or patterned repetition of elements, raising questions as to which aspects of it are perceptually salient, whether budgerigars can detect changes in natural warble streams, and to what extent these capabilities are species-specific. Using operant conditioning and a psychophysical paradigm, we examined the sensitivity of budgerigars, canaries, and zebra finches to changes in long (>6 min) natural warble sequences of a male budgerigar. All three species could detect a single insertion of pure tones, zebra finch song syllables, budgerigar contact calls, or warble elements from another budgerigar's warble. In each case, budgerigars were more sensitive to these changes than were canaries or finches. When warble elements from the ongoing warble stream were used as targets and inserted, out of order, into the natural warble stream so that the only cue available was the violation of the natural ordering of warble elements, only budgerigars performed above chance. When the experiment was repeated with all the ongoing warble stream elements presented in random order, the performance of budgerigars fell to chance. These results show species-specific advantages in budgerigars for detecting acoustic changes in natural warble sequences and indicate at least a limited sensitivity to sequential rules governing the structure of their species-specific warble songs. PMID:22890832

  15. Nonautosomal genetic variation in carotenoid coloration.

    PubMed

    Evans, Simon R; Schielzeth, Holger; Forstmeier, Wolfgang; Sheldon, Ben C; Husby, Arild

    2014-09-01

    Carotenoid-based coloration plays an important role in signaling, is often sexually dimorphic, and is potentially subject to directional and/or sex-specific selection. To understand the evolutionary dynamics of such color traits, it is essential to quantify patterns of inheritance, yet nonautosomal sources of genetic variation are easily overlooked by classical heritability analyses. Carotenoid metabolism has recently been linked to mitochondria, highlighting the potential for color variation to be explained by cytoplasmically inherited factors. In this study, we used quantitative genetic animal models to estimate the importance of mitochondrial and sex chromosome-linked sources of genetic variation in coloration in two songbird populations in which dietary carotenoids are either unmodified (great tit plumage) or metabolized into alternative color forms (zebra finch beak). We found no significant Z-linked genetic variance in great tit plumage coloration, while zebra finch beak coloration exhibited significant W linkage and cytoplasmic inheritance. Our results support cytoplasmic inheritance of color in the zebra finch, a trait based on endogenously metabolized carotenoids, and demonstrate the potential for nonautosomal sources to account for a considerable share of genetic variation in coloration. Although often overlooked, such nonautosomal genetic variation exhibits sex-dependent patterns of inheritance and potentially influences the evolution of sexual dichromatism. PMID:25141146

  16. Conservation and expression of IQ-domain-containing calpacitin gene products (Neuromodulin/GAP-43, Neurogranin/RC3) in the adult and developing oscine song control system

    PubMed Central

    Clayton, David F.; George, Julia M.; Mello, Claudio V.; Siepka, Sandra M.

    2009-01-01

    Songbirds are appreciated for the insights they provide into regulated neural plasticity. Here we describe the comparative analysis and brain expression of two gene sequences encoding probable regulators of synaptic plasticity in songbirds: Neuromodulin (GAP-43) and Neurogranin (RC3). Both are members of the calpacitin family and share a distinctive conserved core domain that mediates interactions between calcium, calmodulin and protein kinase C signaling pathways. Comparative sequence analysis is consistent with known phylogenetic relationships, with songbirds most closely related to chicken and progressively more distant from mammals and fish. The C-terminus of Neurogranin is different in birds and mammals, and antibodies to the protein reveal high expression in adult zebra finches in cerebellar Purkinje cells, which has not been observed in other species. RNAs for both proteins are generally abundant in the telencephalon yet markedly reduced in certain nuclei of the song control system in adult canaries and zebra finches: Neuromodulin RNA is very low in RA and HVC (relative to the surrounding pallial areas), whereas Neurogranin RNA is conspicuously low in Area X (relative to surrounding striatum). In both cases, this selective down-regulation develops in the zebra finch during the juvenile song learning period, 25–45 days after hatching. These results suggest molecular parallels to the robust stability of the adult avian song control circuit. PMID:19023859

  17. Shared neural substrates for song discrimination in parental and parasitic songbirds.

    PubMed

    Louder, Matthew I M; Voss, Henning U; Manna, Thomas J; Carryl, Sophia S; London, Sarah E; Balakrishnan, Christopher N; Hauber, Mark E

    2016-05-27

    In many social animals, early exposure to conspecific stimuli is critical for the development of accurate species recognition. Obligate brood parasitic songbirds, however, forego parental care and young are raised by heterospecific hosts in the absence of conspecific stimuli. Having evolved from non-parasitic, parental ancestors, how brood parasites recognize their own species remains unclear. In parental songbirds (e.g. zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata), the primary and secondary auditory forebrain areas are known to be critical in the differential processing of conspecific vs. heterospecific songs. Here we demonstrate that the same auditory brain regions underlie song discrimination in adult brood parasitic pin-tailed whydahs (Vidua macroura), a close relative of the zebra finch lineage. Similar to zebra finches, whydahs showed stronger behavioral responses during conspecific vs. heterospecific song and tone pips as well as increased neural responses within the auditory forebrain, as measured by both functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and immediate early gene (IEG) expression. Given parallel behavioral and neuroanatomical patterns of song discrimination, our results suggest that the evolutionary transition to brood parasitism from parental songbirds likely involved an "evolutionary tinkering" of existing proximate mechanisms, rather than the wholesale reworking of the neural substrates of species recognition. PMID:27095589

  18. Very low force-generating ability and unusually high temperature dependency in hummingbird flight muscle fibers.

    PubMed

    Reiser, Peter J; Welch, Kenneth C; Suarez, Raul K; Altshuler, Douglas L

    2013-06-15

    Hummingbird flight muscle is estimated to have among the highest mass-specific power output among vertebrates, based on aerodynamic models. However, little is known about the fundamental contractile properties of their remarkable flight muscles. We hypothesized that hummingbird pectoralis fibers generate relatively low force when activated in a tradeoff for high shortening speeds associated with the characteristic high wingbeat frequencies that are required for sustained hovering. Our objective was to measure maximal force-generating ability (maximal force/cross-sectional area, Po/CSA) in single, skinned fibers from the pectoralis and supracoracoideus muscles, which power the wing downstroke and upstroke, respectively, in hummingbirds (Calypte anna) and in another similarly sized species, zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), which also has a very high wingbeat frequency during flight but does not perform a sustained hover. Mean Po/CSA in hummingbird pectoralis fibers was very low - 1.6, 6.1 and 12.2 kN m(-2), at 10, 15 and 20°C, respectively. Po/CSA in finch pectoralis fibers was also very low (for both species, ~5% of the reported Po/CSA of chicken pectoralis fast fibers at 15°C). Q10-force (force generated at 20°C/force generated at 10°C) was very high for hummingbird and finch pectoralis fibers (mean=15.3 and 11.5, respectively) compared with rat slow and fast fibers (1.8 and 1.9, respectively). Po/CSA in hummingbird leg fibers was much higher than in pectoralis fibers at each temperature, and the mean Q10-force was much lower. Thus, hummingbird and finch pectoralis fibers have an extremely low force-generating ability compared with other bird and mammalian limb fibers, and an extremely high temperature dependence of force generation. However, the extrapolated maximum force-generating ability of hummingbird pectoralis fibers in vivo (~48 kN m(-2)) is substantially higher than the estimated requirements for hovering flight of C. anna. The unusually low Po

  19. Separation and sampling of ice nucleation chamber generated ice particles by means of the counterflow virtual impactor technique for the characterization of ambient ice nuclei.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schenk, Ludwig; Mertes, Stephan; Kästner, Udo; Schmidt, Susan; Schneider, Johannes; Frank, Fabian; Nillius, Björn; Worringen, Annette; Kandler, Konrad; Ebert, Martin; Stratmann, Frank

    2014-05-01

    In 2011, the German research foundation (DFG) research group called Ice Nuclei Research Unit (INUIT (FOR 1525, project STR 453/7-1) was established with the objective to achieve a better understanding concerning heterogeneous ice formation. The presented work is part of INUIT and aims for a better microphysical and chemical characterization of atmospheric aerosol particles that have the potential to act as ice nuclei (IN). For this purpose a counterflow virtual impactor (Kulkarni et al., 2011) system (IN-PCVI) was developed and characterized in order to separate and collect ice particles generated in the Fast Ice Nucleus Chamber (FINCH; Bundke et al., 2008) and to release their IN for further analysis. Here the IN-PCVI was used for the inertial separation of the IN counter produced ice particles from smaller drops and interstitial particles. This is realized by a counterflow that matches the FINCH output flow inside the IN-PCVI. The choice of these flows determines the aerodynamic cut-off diameter. The collected ice particles are transferred into the IN-PCVI sample flow where they are completely evaporated in a particle-free and dry carrier air. In this way, the aerosol particles detected as IN by the IN counter can be extracted and distributed to several particle sensors. This coupled setup FINCH, IN-PCVI and aerosol instrumentation was deployed during the INUIT-JFJ joint measurement field campaign at the research station Jungfraujoch (3580m asl). Downstream of the IN-PCVI, the Aircraft-based Laser Ablation Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (ALABAMA; Brands et al., 2011) was attached for the chemical analysis of the atmospheric IN. Also, number concentration and size distribution of IN were measured online (TROPOS) and IN impactor samples for electron microscopy (TU Darmstadt) were taken. Therefore the IN-PCVI was operated with different flow settings than known from literature (Kulkarni et al., 2011), which required a further characterisation of its cut

  20. Variation in the Hatteras Front density and velocity structure Part 1: High resolution transects from three seasons in 2004-2005

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Savidge, Dana K.; Austin, Jay A.; Blanton, Brian O.

    2013-02-01

    On the continental shelf near Cape Hatteras, cool fresh Mid-Atlantic Bight and warm salty South Atlantic Bight shelf waters converge alongshelf 90% of the time, causing strong alongshelf gradients in temperature, salinity, and density known as the 'Hatteras Front'. Mechanisms of shoreward transport in this region have long been a topic of interest, since many commercially important species spawn on the outer shelf, but utilize the adjacent Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds for nurseries, requiring some physical transport mechanism to move the eggs and larvae from the outer shelf to these nursery areas. One mechanism providing such shoreward transport is strong shoreward velocity along the cross-shelf oriented 'nose' of the Hatteras Front. The Frontal Interactions near Cape Hatteras (FINCH) project used shipboard ADCP and a towed undulating CTD to examine Hatteras Front property, density and velocity fields in August 2004, January 2005, and July 2005. Strong property gradients were encountered across the nose of the Hatteras Front in all cases, but the density gradient evolved in time, and along with it the dynamic height gradient driving the observed along-front cross-shelf velocities in the nose of the Front. In August and January FINCH data, MAB shelf waters on the north side of the Hatteras Front are less dense than SAB shelf waters, driving shoreward velocities along the Hatteras Front. By July, MAB shelf waters are slightly more dense than SAB shelf waters, with areas of weak seaward and shoreward velocities within the Hatteras Front. As Part 1 of a pair of contributions, this article focuses on FINCH data to illustrate the range of density gradients encountered and resulting cross-shelf velocities. Whether these observations are typical of variability in the Hatteras Front is explored in a second article, Part 2.

  1. Understanding the origin of seasonal epidemics of mycoplasmal conjunctivitis.

    PubMed

    Dhondt, André A; States, Sarah L; Dhondt, Keila V; Schat, Karel A

    2012-09-01

    1. Many host-pathogen systems show regular seasonal oscillations. 2. Seasonal variation in mycoplasmal conjunctivitis prevalence in house finches is an example of such oscillations. 3. An annual pulse of Mycoplasma gallisepticum-naïve juveniles increasing the number of susceptibles, seasonal changes in flocking behaviour increasing transmission rate and a gradual loss of resistance to reinfection with time are sufficient to model the observed seasonal variation in disease prevalence. Nevertheless, experiments are needed to test the underlying mechanisms. 4. We carried out an 18-month experiment with small groups of birds in large aviaries to test two hypotheses. 5. To test the first hypothesis that an influx of naïve juveniles in a group of recovered adults is sufficient to cause an outbreak, we added eight juveniles to a group of 11 adults that had recovered from an earlier infection. In all, three replicates juveniles became infected, but only after some of the adults relapsed. 6. To test the second hypothesis that reintroduction of M. gallisepticum into a multiage group of previously exposed but fully recovered house finches causes a new outbreak, we inoculated two birds in each group in March of the 2nd year. Contrary to what happens in the wild at that time disease prevalence increased rapidly after reintroduction of M. gallisepticum. 7. We conclude that asymptomatic, recovered adults can initiate an epidemic and transmit M. gallisepticum to naïve house finches and that the reintroduction of M. gallisepticum is sufficient to cause a new outbreak, even at a time of the year when mycoplasmal conjunctivitis is low in free-living birds. Date, as such, seems to be less important to explain seasonal variation in conjunctivitis than the presence of naïve juveniles or the introduction on M. gallisepticum. 8. Seasonality in outbreaks is most likely tightly linked to seasonal variation in bird movements and behaviour. PMID:22524311

  2. PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Despite virtually identical DNA sequences between the sexes, sexual dimorphism is a widespread phenomenon in nature. To a large extent the systematic differences between the sexes must therefore arise from processes involving gene regulation. In accordance, sexual dimorphism in gene expression is common and extensive. Genes with sexually dimorphic regulation are known to evolve rapidly, both in DNA sequence and in gene expression profile. Studies of gene expression in related species can shed light on the flexibility, or degree of conservation, of the gene expression profiles underlying sexual dimorphism. Results We have studied the extent of sexual dimorphism in gene expression in the brain of two species of songbirds, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) and the common whitethroat (Sylvia communis), using large-scale microarray technology. Sexual dimorphism in gene expression was extensive in both species, and predominantly sex-linked: most genes identified were male-biased and Z-linked. Interestingly, approximately 50% of the male-biased Z-linked genes were sex-biased only in one of the study species. Conclusion Our results corroborate the results of recent studies in chicken and zebra finch which have been interpreted as caused by a low degree of dosage compensation in female birds (i.e. the heterogametic sex). Moreover, they suggest that zebra finches and common whitethroats dosage compensate partly different sets of genes on the Z chromosome. It is possible that this pattern reflects differences in either the essentiality or the level of sexual antagonism of these genes in the respective species. Such differences might correspond to genes with different rates of evolution related to sexual dimorphism in the avian brain, and might therefore be correlated with differences between the species in sex-specific behaviours. PMID:21235773

  3. The role of spatial frequency in expert object recognition.

    PubMed

    Hagen, Simen; Vuong, Quoc C; Scott, Lisa S; Curran, Tim; Tanaka, James W

    2016-03-01

    Novices recognize objects at the basic-category level (e.g., dog, chair, and bird) at which identification is based on the global form of the objects (Rosch, Mervis, Gray, Johnson, & Boyes-Braem, 1976). In contrast, experts recognize objects within their domain of expertise at the subordinate level (e.g., Sparrow or Finch) for which the internal object information may play an important role in identification (Tanaka & Taylor, 1991). To investigate whether expert recognition relies on internal object information, we band-pass filtered bird images over a range of spatial frequencies (SF) and then masked the filtered image to preserve its global form. In Experiment 1, bird experts categorized common birds at the family level (e.g., Robin or Sparrow) more quickly and more accurately than novices. Both experts and novices were more accurate when bird images contained the internal information represented by a middle range of SFs, and this finding was characterized by a quadratic function in which accuracy decreased toward each end of the SF spectrum. However, the experts, but not the novices, showed a similar quadratic relationship between response times and SF range. In Experiment 2, experts categorized Warblers and Finches at the more specific, species level (e.g., Wilson's Warbler or House Finch). Recognition was again fastest and most accurate for images filtered in the middle range of SFs. Collectively, these results indicate that a midrange of SFs contain crucial information for subordinate recognition, and that extensive perceptual experience can influence the efficiency with which this information is utilized. (PsycINFO Database Record PMID:26480250

  4. Interspecific variation in dietary carotenoid assimilation in birds: links to phylogeny and color ornamentation.

    PubMed

    McGraw, K J

    2005-10-01

    Many birds use carotenoid pigments to acquire rich red, orange, and yellow coloration in feathers and bare parts that is used as a signal of mate quality. Because carotenoids are derived from foods, much attention has been paid to the role of diet in generating color variation both within and among avian species. Less consideration has been given to physiological underpinnings of color variability, especially among species. Here, I surveyed published literature (e.g. captive feeding studies) on carotenoid assimilation in six bird species and completed additional controlled carotenoid-supplementation experiments in two others to consider the ability of different taxa to extract carotenoids from the diet in relation to phylogeny and coloration. I found that, for a given level of carotenoids in the diet, passerine birds (zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata; house finch, Carpodacus mexicanus; American goldfinch, Carduelis tristis; society finch, Lonchura domestica) exhibit higher levels of carotenoids in circulation than non-passerines like gamebirds (domestic chicken, Gallus domesticus; red junglefowl, Gallus gallus; Japanese quail, Coturnix coturnix; red-legged partridge, Alectoris rufa). This difference in carotenoid accumulation is likely due to interspecific variation in micelle, chylomicron, or lipoprotein concentrations or affinities for xanthophyll carotenoids. Passerine birds more commonly develop carotenoid-based colors than do birds from ancient avian lineages such as Galliformes, and the physiological differences I uncover may explain why songbirds especially capitalize on carotenoid pigments for color production. Ultimately, because we can deconstruct color traits into component biochemical, physical, and physiological parts, avian color signals may serve as a valuable model for illuminating the proximate mechanisms behind interspecific variation in signal use in animals. PMID:16129640

  5. Diverse wild bird host range of Mycoplasma gallisepticum in eastern North America.

    PubMed

    Dhondt, André A; DeCoste, Jonathan C; Ley, David H; Hochachka, Wesley M

    2014-01-01

    Emerging infectious diseases often result from pathogens jumping to novel hosts. Identifying possibilities and constraints on host transfer is therefore an important facet of research in disease ecology. Host transfers can be studied for the bacterium Mycoplasma gallisepticum, predominantly a pathogen of poultry until its 1994 appearance and subsequent epidemic spread in a wild songbird, the house finch Haemorhous mexicanus and some other wild birds. We screened a broad range of potential host species for evidence of infection by M. gallisepticum in order to answer 3 questions: (1) is there a host phylogenetic constraint on the likelihood of host infection (house finches compared to other bird species); (2) does opportunity for close proximity (visiting bird feeders) increase the likelihood of a potential host being infected; and (3) is there seasonal variation in opportunity for host jumping (winter resident versus summer resident species). We tested for pathogen exposure both by using PCR to test for the presence of M. gallisepticum DNA and by rapid plate agglutination to test for the presence of antibodies. We examined 1,941 individual birds of 53 species from 19 avian families. In 27 species (15 families) there was evidence for exposure with M. gallisepticum although conjunctivitis was very rare in non-finches. There was no difference in detection rate between summer and winter residents, nor between feeder birds and species that do not come to feeders. Evidence of M. gallisepticum infection was found in all species for which at least 20 individuals had been sampled. Combining the present results with those of previous studies shows that a diverse range of wild bird species may carry or have been exposed to M. gallisepticum in the USA as well as in Europe and Asia. PMID:25061684

  6. A microsatellite-based linkage map for song sparrows (Melospiza melodia).

    PubMed

    Nietlisbach, Pirmin; Camenisch, Glauco; Bucher, Thomas; Slate, Jon; Keller, Lukas F; Postma, Erik

    2015-11-01

    Although linkage maps are important tools in evolutionary biology, their availability for wild populations is limited. The population of song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) on Mandarte Island, Canada, is among the more intensively studied wild animal populations. Its long-term pedigree data, together with extensive genetic sampling, have allowed the study of a range of questions in evolutionary biology and ecology. However, the availability of genetic markers has been limited. We here describe 191 new microsatellite loci, including 160 high-quality polymorphic autosomal, 7 Z-linked and 1 W-linked markers. We used these markers to construct a linkage map for song sparrows with a total sex-averaged map length of 1731 cM and covering 35 linkage groups, and hence, these markers cover most of the 38-40 chromosomes. Female and male map lengths did not differ significantly. We then bioinformatically mapped these loci to the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) genome and found that linkage groups were conserved between song sparrows and zebra finches. Compared to the zebra finch, marker order within small linkage groups was well conserved, whereas the larger linkage groups showed some intrachromosomal rearrangements. Finally, we show that as expected, recombination frequency between linked loci explained the majority of variation in gametic phase disequilibrium. Yet, there was substantial overlap in gametic phase disequilibrium between pairs of linked and unlinked loci. Given that the microsatellites described here lie on 35 of the 38-40 chromosomes, these markers will be useful for studies in this species, as well as for comparative genomics studies with other species. PMID:25865627

  7. Distribution of language-related Cntnap2 protein in neural circuits critical for vocal learning

    PubMed Central

    Condro, Michael C.; White, Stephanie A.

    2013-01-01

    Variants of the contactin associated protein-like 2 (Cntnap2) gene are risk factors for language-related disorders including autism spectrum disorder, specific language impairment, and stuttering. Songbirds are useful models for study of human speech disorders due to their shared capacity for vocal learning, which relies on similar cortico-basal ganglia circuitry and genetic factors. Here, we investigate Cntnap2 protein expression in the brain of the zebra finch, a songbird species in which males, but not females, learn their courtship songs. We hypothesize that Cntnap2 has overlapping functions in vocal learning species, and expect to find protein expression in song-related areas of the zebra finch brain. We further expect that the distribution of this membrane-bound protein may not completely mirror its mRNA distribution due to the distinct subcellular localization of the two molecular species. We find that Cntnap2 protein is enriched in several song control regions relative to surrounding tissues, particularly within the adult male, but not female, robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA), a cortical song control region analogous to human layer 5 primary motor cortex. The onset of this sexually dimorphic expression coincides with the onset of sensorimotor learning in developing males. Enrichment in male RA appears due to expression in projection neurons within the nucleus, as well as to additional expression in nerve terminals of cortical projections to RA from the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the nidopallium. Cntnap2 protein expression in zebra finch brain supports the hypothesis that this molecule affects neural connectivity critical for vocal learning across taxonomic classes. PMID:23818387

  8. Differences in number and distribution of striatal calbindin medium spiny neurons between a vocal-learner (Melopsittacus undulatus) and a non-vocal learner bird (Colinus virginianus)

    PubMed Central

    Garcia-Calero, Elena; Bahamonde, Olga; Martinez, Salvador

    2013-01-01

    Striatal projecting neurons, known as medium spiny neurons (MSNs), segregate into two compartments called matrix and striosome in the mammalian striatum. The matrix domain is characterized by the presence of calbindin immunopositive (CB+) MSNs, not observed in the striosome subdivision. The existence of a similar CB+ MSN population has recently been described in two striatal structures in male zebra finch (a vocal learner bird): the striatal capsule and the Area X, a nucleus implicated in song learning. Female zebra finches show a similar pattern of CB+ MSNs than males in the developing striatum but loose these cells in juveniles and adult stages. In the present work we analyzed the existence and allocation of CB+ MSNs in the striatal domain of the vocal learner bird budgerigar (representative of psittaciformes order) and the non-vocal learner bird quail (representative of galliformes order). We studied the co-localization of CB protein with FoxP1, a transcription factor expressed in vertebrate striatal MSNs. We observed CB+ MSNs in the medial striatal domain of adult male and female budgerigars, although this cell type was missing in the potentially homologous nucleus for Area X in budgerigar. In quail, we observed CB+ cells in the striatal domain at developmental and adult stages but they did not co-localize with the MSN marker FoxP1. We also described the existence of the CB+ striatal capsule in budgerigar and quail and compared these results with the CB+ striatal capsule observed in juvenile zebra finches. Together, these results point out important differences in CB+ MSN distribution between two representative species of vocal learner and non-vocal learner avian orders (respectively the budgerigar and the quail), but also between close vocal learner bird families. PMID:24391552

  9. Dopamine receptors in a songbird brain

    PubMed Central

    Kubikova, Lubica; Wada, Kazuhiro; Jarvis, Erich D

    2010-01-01

    Dopamine is a key neuromodulatory transmitter in the brain. It acts through dopamine receptors to affect changes in neural activity, gene expression, and behavior. In songbirds, dopamine is released into the striatal song nucleus Area X, and the levels depend on social contexts of undirected and directed singing. This differential release is associated with differential expression of activity-dependent genes, such as egr1 (avian zenk), which in mammalian brain are modulated by dopamine receptors. Here we cloned from zebra finch brain cDNAs of all avian dopamine receptors: the D1 (D1A, D1B, D1D) and D2 (D2, D3, D4) families. Comparative sequence analyses of predicted proteins revealed expected phylogenetic relationships, in which the D1 family exists as single exon and the D2 family exists as spliced exon genes. In both zebra finch and chicken, the D1A, D1B, and D2 receptors were highly expressed in the striatum, the D1D and D3 throughout the pallium and within the mesopallium, respectively, and the D4 mainly in the cerebellum. Furthermore, within the zebra finch, all receptors, except for D4, showed differential expression in song nuclei relative to the surrounding regions and developmentally regulated expression that decreased for most receptors during the sensory acquisition and sensorimotor phases of song learning. Within Area X, half of the cells expressed both D1A and D2 receptors, and a higher proportion of the D1A-only-containing neurons expressed egr1 during undirected but not during directed singing. Our findings are consistent with hypotheses that dopamine receptors may be involved in song development and social context-dependent behaviors. J. Comp. Neurol. 518:741–769, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc. PMID:20058221

  10. DNA Editing of LTR Retrotransposons Reveals the Impact of APOBECs on Vertebrate Genomes.

    PubMed

    Knisbacher, Binyamin A; Levanon, Erez Y

    2016-02-01

    Long terminal repeat retrotransposons (LTR) are widespread in vertebrates and their dynamism facilitates genome evolution. However, these endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) must be restricted to maintain genomic stability. The APOBECs, a protein family that can edit C-to-U in DNA, do so by interfering with reverse transcription and hypermutating retrotransposon DNA. In some cases, a retrotransposon may integrate into the genome despite being hypermutated. Such an event introduces a unique sequence into the genome, increasing retrotransposon diversity and the probability of developing new function at the locus of insertion. The prevalence of this phenomenon and its effects on vertebrate genomes are still unclear. In this study, we screened ERV sequences in the genomes of 123 diverse species and identified hundreds of thousands of edited sites in multiple vertebrate lineages, including placental mammals, marsupials, and birds. Numerous edited ERVs carry high mutation loads, some with greater than 350 edited sites, profoundly damaging their open-reading frames. For many of the species studied, this is the first evidence that APOBECs are active players in their innate immune system. Unexpectedly, some birds and especially zebra finch and medium ground-finch (one of Darwin's finches) are exceptionally enriched in DNA editing. We demonstrate that edited retrotransposons may be preferentially retained in active genomic regions, as reflected from their enrichment in genes, exons, promoters, and transcription start sites, thereby raising the probability of their exaptation for novel function. In conclusion, DNA editing of retrotransposons by APOBECs has a substantial role in vertebrate innate immunity and may boost genome evolution. PMID:26541172

  11. Characterization and first results of an ice nucleating particle measurement system based on counterflow virtual impactor technique

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schenk, L. P.; Mertes, S.; Kästner, U.; Frank, F.; Nillius, B.; Bundke, U.; Rose, D.; Schmidt, S.; Schneider, J.; Worringen, A.; Kandler, K.; Bukowiecki, N.; Ebert, M.; Curtius, J.; Stratmann, F.

    2014-10-01

    A specific instrument combination was developed to achieve a better microphysical and chemical characterization of atmospheric aerosol particles that have the potential to act as ice nucleating particles (INP). For this purpose a pumped counterflow virtual impactor system called IN-PCVI was set up and characterized to separate ice particles that had been activated on INP in the Fast Ice Nucleus Chamber (FINCH) from interstitial, non-activated particles. This coupled setup consisting of FINCH (ice particle activation and counting), IN-PCVI (INP separation and preparation), and further aerosol instrumentation (INP characterization) had been developed for the application in field experiments. The separated INP were characterized on-line with regard to their total number concentration, number size distribution and chemical composition, especially with the Aircraft-based Laser Ablation Aerosol Mass Spectrometer ALABAMA. Moreover, impactor samples for electron microscopy were taken. Due to the coupling the IN-PCVI had to be operated with different flow settings than known from literature, which required a further characterization of its cut-off-behavior. Taking the changed cut-off-behavior into account, the INP number concentration measured by the IN-PCVI system was in good agreement with the one detected by the FINCH optics for water saturation ratios up to 1.01 (ice saturation ratios between 1.21-1.34 and temperatures between -18 and -26 °C). First field results of INP properties are presented which were gained during the INUIT-JFJ/CLACE 2013 campaign at the high altitude research station Jungfraujoch in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland (3580 m a.s.l.).

  12. Beeswax corticosterone implants produce long-term elevation of plasma corticosterone and influence condition.

    PubMed

    Beck, Michelle L; Davies, Scott; Moore, Ignacio T; Schoenle, Laura A; Kerman, Kaan; Vernasco, Ben J; Sewall, Kendra B

    2016-07-01

    Glucocorticoids can play a critical role in modulating life-history trade-offs. However, studying the effects of glucocorticoids on life-history often requires experimentally elevating plasma glucocorticoid concentrations for several weeks within normal physiological limits and without repeated handling of the animal. Recently, implants made of beeswax and testosterone (T) were shown to have release dynamics superior to some currently available T implants, and these beeswax implants dissolved, eliminating the need to recapture the animal. We evaluated the utility of beeswax implants containing four different dosages of corticosterone (CORT; the primary glucocorticoid in birds) and their effect on several condition indices in a captive colony of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). The three implants with the greatest CORT doses (0.05, 0.1, and 0.5mg) produced spikes in plasma CORT concentrations 20h after treatment, but were within the limits that zebra finches may normally experience. The 0.5mg CORT implant elevated plasma CORT between typical baseline and restraint stress levels reported in other studies of zebra finches for the entire 35day experiment. Birds in the 0.5mg implant group were heavier, had greater furcular fat scores, and had lower hematocrit than birds in the control and other CORT implant groups. Beeswax CORT implants are a low cost method of elevating plasma CORT for a prolonged time. Furthermore, because there is no need to remove these implants at the end of a study, this method may be amenable to studies of free-ranging animals. PMID:27222349

  13. DNA Editing of LTR Retrotransposons Reveals the Impact of APOBECs on Vertebrate Genomes

    PubMed Central

    Knisbacher, Binyamin A.; Levanon, Erez Y.

    2016-01-01

    Long terminal repeat retrotransposons (LTR) are widespread in vertebrates and their dynamism facilitates genome evolution. However, these endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) must be restricted to maintain genomic stability. The APOBECs, a protein family that can edit C-to-U in DNA, do so by interfering with reverse transcription and hypermutating retrotransposon DNA. In some cases, a retrotransposon may integrate into the genome despite being hypermutated. Such an event introduces a unique sequence into the genome, increasing retrotransposon diversity and the probability of developing new function at the locus of insertion. The prevalence of this phenomenon and its effects on vertebrate genomes are still unclear. In this study, we screened ERV sequences in the genomes of 123 diverse species and identified hundreds of thousands of edited sites in multiple vertebrate lineages, including placental mammals, marsupials, and birds. Numerous edited ERVs carry high mutation loads, some with greater than 350 edited sites, profoundly damaging their open-reading frames. For many of the species studied, this is the first evidence that APOBECs are active players in their innate immune system. Unexpectedly, some birds and especially zebra finch and medium ground-finch (one of Darwin’s finches) are exceptionally enriched in DNA editing. We demonstrate that edited retrotransposons may be preferentially retained in active genomic regions, as reflected from their enrichment in genes, exons, promoters, and transcription start sites, thereby raising the probability of their exaptation for novel function. In conclusion, DNA editing of retrotransposons by APOBECs has a substantial role in vertebrate innate immunity and may boost genome evolution. PMID:26541172

  14. Mycoplasma sturni from blue jays and northern mockingbirds with conjunctivitis in Florida.

    PubMed

    Ley, D H; Geary, S J; Berkhoff, J E; McLaren, J M; Levisohn, S

    1998-04-01

    Northern mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) and blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata) in a Florida (USA) wildlife care facility developed clinical signs and gross lesions suggestive of the ongoing outbreak of Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) conjunctivitis in house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) and American goldfinches (Carduelis tristis). Mycoplasmal organisms were cultured from conjunctival/corneal swabs of birds with sinusitis, conjunctivitis, and/or epiphora. All of the isolates tested were identified as Mycoplasma sturni by indirect immunofluorescence. Mycoplasma sturni as well as MG should be considered in the differential diagnosis of songbirds with conjunctivitis. PMID:9577796

  15. Prenatal acoustic communication programs offspring for high posthatching temperatures in a songbird.

    PubMed

    Mariette, Mylene M; Buchanan, Katherine L

    2016-08-19

    In many species, embryos can perceive and learn external sounds. Yet, the possibility that parents may use these embryonic capacities to alter their offspring's developmental trajectories has not been considered. Here, we demonstrate that zebra finch parents acoustically signal high ambient temperatures (above 26°C) to their embryos. We show that exposure of embryos to these acoustic cues alone adaptively alters subsequent nestling begging and growth in response to nest temperature and influences individuals' reproductive success and thermal preferences as adults. These findings have implications for our understanding of maternal effects, phenotypic plasticity, developmental programming, and the adaptation of endothermic species to a warming world. PMID:27540172

  16. Juvenile i`iwi detected in lower elevations of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gaudioso, Jacqueline M.; Beck, Angela T.

    2013-01-01

    The Hawaiian islands are home to a diverse array of plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. Among the most famous of these are the spectacular Hawaiian honeycreepers, a group that evolved from a single flock of ancestral finches into at least 54 unique species. Unfortunately, the same isolation that fostered such dramatic adaptive radiation left Hawaiian species vulnerable. Under the onslaught of alien species predation and competition, habitat degradation, and introduced infectious diseases and parasites, most of the surviving honeycreepers have become largely confined to higher elevations. Intact habitat exists above the warm-weather range of deadly introduced avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum), and its mosquito vector (Culex quinquefasciatus).

  17. Ultraviolet pigments in birds evolved from violet pigments by a single amino acid change

    PubMed Central

    Yokoyama, Shozo; Radlwimmer, F. Bernhard; Blow, Nathan S.

    2000-01-01

    UV vision has profound effects on the evolution of organisms by affecting such behaviors as mating preference and foraging strategies. Despite its importance, the molecular basis of UV vision is not known. Here, we have transformed the zebra finch UV pigment into a violet pigment by incorporating one amino acid change, C84S. By incorporating the reverse mutations, we have also constructed UV pigments from the orthologous violet pigments of the pigeon and chicken. These results and comparative amino acid sequence analyses of the pigments in vertebrates demonstrate that many avian species have achieved their UV vision by S84C. PMID:10861005

  18. Memoirs of a Geologist: From Poverty Peak to Piggery Gulch

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCoy, Floyd W.

    In the first half of this century, geologists began mapping the islands within the Pacific basin systematically, following the exploratory expeditions launched by major countries in the previous century. Into the remote oceanic expanses went Thomas A. Jaggar, Ruy H. Finch, Howel Williams, Harry S. Ladd, J. Edward Hoffmeister, Gordon A. Macdonald (to name only a few)—and Harold T. Stearns. These were the days of long ship travel without the convenience of airplanes. Cultural mixing had not resulted in the nearly homogenous amorphism that seems to exist now, and communication within and across the basin was slow and tedious.

  19. Ketocarotenoid circulation, but not retinal carotenoid accumulation, is linked to eye disease status in a wild songbird.

    PubMed

    McGraw, Kevin J; Giraudeau, Mathieu; Hill, Geoffrey E; Toomey, Matthew B; Staley, Molly

    2013-11-15

    Pathogenic or parasitic infections pose numerous physiological challenges to organisms. Carotenoid pigments have often been used as biomarkers of disease state and impact because they integrate multiple aspects of an individual's condition and nutritional and health state. Some diseases are known to influence carotenoid uptake from food (e.g. coccidiosis) and carotenoid use (e.g. as antioxidants/immunostimulants in the body, or for sexually attractive coloration), but there is relatively little information in animals about how different types of carotenoids from different tissue sources may be affected by disease. Here we tracked carotenoid accumulation in two body pools (retina and plasma) as a function of disease state in free-ranging house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus). House finches in eastern North America can contract mycoplasmal conjunctivitis (Mycoplasma gallisepticum, or MG), which can progress from eye swelling to eye closure and death. Previous work showed that systemic immune challenges in house finches lower carotenoid levels in retina, where they act as photoprotectors and visual filters. We assessed carotenoid levels during the molt period, a time of year when finches uniquely metabolize ketocarotenoids (e.g. 3-hydroxy-echinenone) for acquisition of sexually selected red plumage coloration, and found that males infected with MG circulated significantly lower levels of 3-hydroxy-echinenone, but no other plasma carotenoid types, than birds exhibiting no MG symptoms. This result uncovers a key biochemical mechanism for the documented detrimental effect of MG on plumage redness in H. mexicanus. In contrast, we failed to find a relationship between MG infection status and retinal carotenoid concentrations. Thus, we reveal differential effects of an infectious eye disease on carotenoid types and tissue pools in a wild songbird. At least compared to retinal sources (which appear somewhat more temporally stable than other body carotenoid pools, even to

  20. Characterization of 38 microsatellite loci in the European blackbird, Turdus merula (Turdidae, AVES).

    PubMed

    Simeoni, Michelle; Dawson, Deborah A; Gentle, Louise K; Coiffait, Lisette; Wolff, Kirsten; Evans, Karl L; Gaston, Kevin J; Hatchwell, Ben J

    2009-11-01

    We characterized 38 microsatellite loci in the European blackbird, Turdus merula. Thirty-seven loci were identified by testing 242 loci that had been originally isolated in other avian species. One additional locus was isolated from a European blackbird genomic library. All loci were characterized in 20-29 blackbirds from a population in the Czech Republic and displayed between two and 16 alleles, with observed heterozygosity ranging from 0.04 to 1.00. Thirty-seven loci could be assigned a chromosome location in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) genome based on sequence homology. PMID:21564948

  1. Recovery High Schools: Students and Responsive Academic and Therapeutic Services

    PubMed Central

    Moberg, D. Paul; Finch, Andrew J.; Lindsley, Stephanie M.

    2014-01-01

    This article reviews findings from the authors’ studies of recovery high schools (RHS), including a 1995 program evaluation of a school in New Mexico (Moberg and Thaler, 1995), a 2006-09 descriptive study of 17 recovery high schools (Moberg and Finch, 2008), and presents early findings from a current study of the effectiveness of recovery high schools. Descriptive and qualitative findings are presented. The focus is on characteristics of RHS students and, in light of those student characteristics, findings regarding academic and recovery support programming in recovery high schools. PMID:24976659

  2. Integrating Genomes, Brain and Behavior in the Study of Songbirds

    PubMed Central

    Clayton, David F.; Balakrishnan, Christopher N.; London, Sarah E.

    2010-01-01

    Songbirds share some essential traits but are extraordinarily diverse, allowing comparative analyses aimed at identifying specific genotype–phenotype associations. This diversity encompasses traits like vocal communication and complex social behaviors that are of great interest to humans, but that are not well represented in other accessible research organisms. Many songbirds are readily observable in nature and thus afford unique insight into the links between environment and organism. The distinctive organization of the songbird brain will facilitate analysis of genomic links to brain and behavior. Access to the zebra finch genome sequence will, therefore, prompt new questions and provide the ability to answer those questions. PMID:19788884

  3. Dr Arthur Wakefield on Mount Everest in 1922: "this has not been by any manner of means a picnic".

    PubMed

    Bayne, Ronald

    2003-08-01

    In 1922 Dr Arthur Wakefield, a general practitioner from Cumbria, reached the North Col of Mt Everest at 23,000 feet as a member of the first British team to attempt the summit. As well as being a climber, he provided medical care to his comrades, who included George Leigh Mallory and George Finch. Yet, in their accounts of the expedition, several climbers portrayed him as a nervous old man and a "complete passenger". However, his letters home and a small daily diary suggest he was a wise and caring physician. His motivation for joining this expedition at the age of 46 was somewhat different from that of his companions. PMID:12870039

  4. Physiological correlates of urbanization in a desert songbird.

    PubMed

    Giraudeau, Mathieu; McGraw, Kevin J

    2014-10-01

    Rapid worldwide urbanization is creating novel environments to which animals must adapt, a topic of growing interest for biologists. Studies of how organisms are affected by cities historically centered on large-scale censusing of populations, but recent investigations have considered finer-scaled, urban-rural differences among individuals and species in their behavior, morphology, and physiology, specifically as they relate to urban stress. A number of factors (e.g., corticosterone (CORT)-related stress response) may contribute to the degree of stress experienced by animals living under urban versus natural conditions, but several physiological variables have yet to be considered together in a large-scale assessment. Here, in a widespread species of desert passerine (the house finch, Haemorhous mexicanus), we quantified variation in plasma oxidative stress, plasma concentrations of vitamins and carotenoids, and body-mass of males in three successive seasons (winter, spring, and late summer/early fall) along an urban-rural gradient in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. We found that degree of urbanization was: (1) negatively related to circulating vitamin A concentrations in winter, (2) positively correlated with body-mass during spring, and (3) negatively associated with plasma concentrations of two carotenoids: zeaxanthin (during breeding) and 3-hydroxy-echinenone (3HE) (during molting). The striking link between 3HE levels and urbanization is consistent with previous research showing that urban songbirds have lower carotenoid levels and faded plumage; our finding is the first to implicate specific effects on a metabolically derived carotenoid for coloration. The fact that we observed only season-specific links between urbanization and indicators of quality in finches suggests that (at least for these metrics) there are no strong, lasting urban pressures imposed on finch physiology over the year. Interestingly, we found that a metric of plasma oxidative stress (lipid

  5. Modified Lagrange invariants and their role in determining transverse and axial imaging resolutions of self-interference incoherent holographic systems

    PubMed Central

    Rosen, Joseph; Kelner, Roy

    2014-01-01

    The Lagrange invariant is a well-known law for optical imaging systems formulated in the frame of ray optics. In this study, we reformulate this law in terms of wave optics and relate it to the resolution limits of various imaging systems. Furthermore, this modified Lagrange invariant is generalized for imaging along the z axis, resulting with the axial Lagrange invariant which can be used to analyze the axial resolution of various imaging systems. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the theory, analysis of the lateral and the axial imaging resolutions is provided for Fresnel incoherent correlation holography (FINCH) systems. PMID:25402144

  6. Catalog of known hot springs and thermal place names for Honduras

    SciTech Connect

    Finch, R.C.

    1986-08-01

    Thermal place names were compiled from all 1:50,000 topographic quadrangle maps for the Republic of Honduras as of July 1986, from other published maps, and from several sources of unpublished data. Known hot spring sites include those visited by Empresa Nacional de Energia Electrica (Honduras) geologists, sites visited by Los Alamos geologists in 1985, and other sites known to R.C. Finch. The number of known hot spring sites in Honduras with temperatures >30/sup 0/C is 125. In addition, 56 thermal sites are suspected on the basis of thermal place names. The total number of geothermal sites, known and suspected, is 181.

  7. A comparison of reptilian and avian olfactory receptor gene repertoires: Species-specific expansion of group γ genes in birds

    PubMed Central

    Steiger, Silke S; Kuryshev, Vladimir Y; Stensmyr, Marcus C; Kempenaers, Bart; Mueller, Jakob C

    2009-01-01

    Background The detection of odorants is mediated by olfactory receptors (ORs). ORs are G-protein coupled receptors that form a remarkably large protein superfamily in vertebrate genomes. We used data that became available through recent sequencing efforts of reptilian and avian genomes to identify the complete OR gene repertoires in a lizard, the green anole (Anolis carolinensis), and in two birds, the chicken (Gallus gallus) and the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Results We identified 156 green anole OR genes, including 42 pseudogenes. The OR gene repertoire of the two bird species was substantially larger with 479 and 553 OR gene homologs in the chicken and zebra finch, respectively (including 111 and 221 pseudogenes, respectively). We show that the green anole has a higher fraction of intact OR genes (~72%) compared with the chicken (~66%) and the zebra finch (~38%). We identified a larger number and a substantially higher proportion of intact OR gene homologs in the chicken genome than previously reported (214 versus 82 genes and 66% versus 15%, respectively). Phylogenetic analysis showed that lizard and bird OR gene repertoires consist of group α, θ and γ genes. Interestingly, the vast majority of the avian OR genes are confined to a large expansion of a single branch (the so called γ-c clade). An analysis of the selective pressure on the paralogous genes of each γ-c clade revealed that they have been subjected to adaptive evolution. This expansion appears to be bird-specific and not sauropsid-specific, as it is lacking from the lizard genome. The γ-c expansions of the two birds do not intermix, i.e., they are lineage-specific. Almost all (group γ-c) OR genes mapped to the unknown chromosome. The remaining OR genes mapped to six homologous chromosomes plus three to four additional chromosomes in the zebra finch and chicken. Conclusion We identified a surprisingly large number of potentially functional avian OR genes. Our data supports recent

  8. Two-step phase-shifting fluorescence incoherent holographic microscopy

    PubMed Central

    Qin, Wan; Yang, Xiaoqi; Li, Yingying; Peng, Xiang; Yao, Hai; Qu, Xinghua; Gao, Bruce Z.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract. Fluorescence holographic microscope (FINCHSCOPE) is a motionless fluorescence holographic imaging technique based on Fresnel incoherent correlation holography (FINCH) that shows promise in reconstructing three-dimensional fluorescence images of biological specimens with three holograms. We report a developing two-step phase-shifting method that reduces the required number of holograms from three to two. Using this method, we resolved microscopic fluorescent beads that were three-dimensionally distributed at different depths with two interferograms captured by a CCD camera. The method enables the FINCHSCOPE to work in conjunction with the frame-straddling technique and significantly enhance imaging speed. PMID:24972355

  9. Search for universal extra dimensions in pp collisions.

    PubMed

    Abazov, V M; Abbott, B; Acharya, B S; Adams, M; Adams, T; Alexeev, G D; Alkhazov, G; Alton, A; Alverson, G; Aoki, M; Askew, A; Åsman, B; Atkins, S; Atramentov, O; Augsten, K; Avila, C; BackusMayes, J; Badaud, F; Bagby, L; Baldin, B; Bandurin, D V; Banerjee, S; Barberis, E; Baringer, P; Barreto, J; Bartlett, J F; Bassler, U; Bazterra, V; Bean, A; Begalli, M; Belanger-Champagne, C; Bellantoni, L; Beri, S B; Bernardi, G; Bernhard, R; Bertram, I; Besançon, M; Beuselinck, R; Bezzubov, V A; Bhat, P C; Bhatia, S; Bhatnagar, V; Blazey, G; Blessing, S; Bloom, K; Boehnlein, A; Boline, D; Boos, E E; Borissov, G; Bose, T; Brandt, A; Brandt, O; Brock, R; Brooijmans, G; Bross, A; Brown, D; Brown, J; Bu, X B; Buehler, M; Buescher, V; Bunichev, V; Burdin, S; Burnett, T H; Buszello, C P; Calpas, B; Camacho-Pérez, E; Carrasco-Lizarraga, M A; Casey, B C K; Castilla-Valdez, H; Chakrabarti, S; Chakraborty, D; Chan, K M; Chandra, A; Chapon, E; Chen, G; Chevalier-Théry, S; Cho, D K; Cho, S W; Choi, S; Choudhary, B; Cihangir, S; Claes, D; Clutter, J; Cooke, M; Cooper, W E; Corcoran, M; Couderc, F; Cousinou, M-C; Croc, A; Cutts, D; Das, A; Davies, G; de Jong, S J; De La Cruz-Burelo, E; Déliot, F; Demina, R; Denisov, D; Denisov, S P; Desai, S; Deterre, C; DeVaughan, K; Diehl, H T; Diesburg, M; Ding, P F; Dominguez, A; Dorland, T; Dubey, A; Dudko, L V; Duggan, D; Duperrin, A; Dutt, S; Dyshkant, A; Eads, M; Edmunds, D; Ellison, J; Elvira, V D; Enari, Y; Evans, H; Evdokimov, A; Evdokimov, V N; Facini, G; Ferbel, T; Fiedler, F; Filthaut, F; Fisher, W; Fisk, H E; Fortner, M; Fox, H; Fuess, S; Garcia-Bellido, A; García-Guerra, G A; Gavrilov, V; Gay, P; Geng, W; Gerbaudo, D; Gerber, C E; Gershtein, Y; Ginther, G; Golovanov, G; Goryachev, V N; Goussiou, A; Grannis, P D; Greder, S; Greenlee, H; Greenwood, Z D; Gregores, E M; Grenier, G; Gris, Ph; Grivaz, J-F; Grohsjean, A; Grünendahl, S; Grünewald, M W; Guillemin, T; Gutierrez, G; Gutierrez, P; Haas, A; Hagopian, S; Haley, J; Han, L; Harder, K; Harel, A; Hauptman, J M; Hays, J; Head, T; Hebbeker, T; Hedin, D; Hegab, H; Heinson, A P; Heintz, U; Hensel, C; Heredia-De La Cruz, I; Herner, K; Hesketh, G; Hildreth, M D; Hirosky, R; Hoang, T; Hobbs, J D; Hoeneisen, B; Hohlfeld, M; Hubacek, Z; Hynek, V; Iashvili, I; Ilchenko, Y; Illingworth, R; Ito, A S; Jabeen, S; Jaffré, M; Jamin, D; Jayasinghe, A; Jesik, R; Johns, K; Johnson, M; Jonckheere, A; Jonsson, P; Joshi, J; Jung, A W; Juste, A; Kaadze, K; Kajfasz, E; Karmanov, D; Kasper, P A; Katsanos, I; Kehoe, R; Kermiche, S; Khalatyan, N; Khanov, A; Kharchilava, A; Kharzheev, Y N; Kohli, J M; Kozelov, A V; Kraus, J; Kulikov, S; Kumar, A; Kupco, A; Kurča, T; Kuzmin, V A; Lammers, S; Landsberg, G; Lebrun, P; Lee, H S; Lee, S W; Lee, W M; Lellouch, J; Li, H; Li, L; Li, Q Z; Lietti, S M; Lim, J K; Lincoln, D; Linnemann, J; Lipaev, V V; Lipton, R; Liu, Y; Lobodenko, A; Lokajicek, M; Lopes de Sa, R; Lubatti, H J; Luna-Garcia, R; Lyon, A L; Maciel, A K A; Mackin, D; Madar, R; Magaña-Villalba, R; Malik, S; Malyshev, V L; Mansour, J; Maravin, Y; Martínez-Ortega, J; McCarthy, R; McGivern, C L; Meijer, M M; Melnitchouk, A; Menezes, D; Mercadante, P G; Merkin, M; Meyer, A; Meyer, J; Miconi, F; Mondal, N K; Muanza, G S; Mulhearn, M; Nagy, E; Naimuddin, M; Narain, M; Nayyar, R; Neal, H A; Negret, J P; Neustroev, P; Novaes, S F; Nunnemann, T; Obrant, G; Orduna, J; Osman, N; Osta, J; Otero y Garzón, G J; Padilla, M; Pal, A; Parashar, N; Parihar, V; Park, S K; Partridge, R; Parua, N; Patwa, A; Penning, B; Perfilov, M; Peters, Y; Petridis, K; Petrillo, G; Pétroff, P; Piegaia, R; Pleier, M-A; Podesta-Lerma, P L M; Podstavkov, V M; Polozov, P; Popov, A V; Prewitt, M; Price, D; Prokopenko, N; Qian, J; Quadt, A; Quinn, B; Rangel, M S; Ranjan, K; Ratoff, P N; Razumov, I; Renkel, P; Rijssenbeek, M; Ripp-Baudot, I; Rizatdinova, F; Rominsky, M; Ross, A; Royon, C; Rubinov, P; Ruchti, R; Safronov, G; Sajot, G; Salcido, P; Sánchez-Hernández, A; Sanders, M P; Sanghi, B; Santos, A S; Savage, G; Sawyer, L; Scanlon, T; Schamberger, R D; Scheglov, Y; Schellman, H; Schliephake, T; Schlobohm, S; Schwanenberger, C; Schwienhorst, R; Sekaric, J; Severini, H; Shabalina, E; Shary, V; Shchukin, A A; Shivpuri, R K; Simak, V; Sirotenko, V; Skubic, P; Slattery, P; Smirnov, D; Smith, K J; Snow, G R; Snow, J; Snyder, S; Söldner-Rembold, S; Sonnenschein, L; Soustruznik, K; Stark, J; Stolin, V; Stoyanova, D A; Strauss, M; Strom, D; Stutte, L; Suter, L; Svoisky, P; Takahashi, M; Tanasijczuk, A; Titov, M; Tokmenin, V V; Tsai, Y-T; Tschann-Grimm, K; Tsybychev, D; Tuchming, B; Tully, C; Uvarov, L; Uvarov, S; Uzunyan, S; Van Kooten, R; van Leeuwen, W M; Varelas, N; Varnes, E W; Vasilyev, I A; Verdier, P; Vertogradov, L S; Verzocchi, M; Vesterinen, M; Vilanova, D; Vokac, P; Wahl, H D; Wang, M H L S; Warchol, J; Watts, G; Wayne, M; Weber, M; Weichert, J; Welty-Rieger, L; White, A; Wicke, D; Williams, M R J; Wilson, G W; Wobisch, M; Wood, D R; Wyatt, T R; Xie, Y; Yamada, R; Yang, W-C; Yasuda, T; Yatsunenko, Y A; Ye, W; Ye, Z; Yin, H; Yip, K; Youn, S W; Zhao, T; Zhou, B; Zhu, J; Zielinski, M; Zieminska, D; Zivkovic, L

    2012-03-30

    We present a search for Kaluza-Klein (KK) particles predicted by models with universal extra dimensions (UED) using a data set corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 7.3 fb(-1), collected by the D0 detector at a pp center-of-mass energy of 1.96 TeV. The decay chain of KK particles can lead to a final state with two muons of the same charge. This signature is used to set a lower limit on the compactification scale of R(-1)>260 GeV in a minimal UED model. PMID:22540694

  10. Catalysts of Cu(II) and Co(II) ions adsorbed in chitosan used in transesterification of soy bean and babassu oils - a new route for biodiesel syntheses.

    PubMed

    da Silva, Rondinelly Brandão; Lima Neto, Alcides Fernandes; Soares Dos Santos, Lucas Samuel; de Oliveira Lima, José Renato; Chaves, Mariana Helena; Dos Santos, José Ribeiro; de Lima, Geraldo Magela; de Moura, Edmilson Miranda; de Moura, Carla Verônica Rodarte

    2008-10-01

    Catalysts of Cu(II) and Co(II) adsorbed in chitosan was used in transesterification of soy bean and babassu oils. The catalysts were characterized by infrared, atomic absorption and TG, and biodiesels was characterized by infrared, NMR, CG, TG, physic chemistry analysis. The maximum adsorption values found for copper and cobalt cations were 1.584 and 1.260mgg(-1), respectively, in 180min. However, conversion of oils in biodiesel was better when used Co(II) adsorbed in chitosan. PMID:18440802

  11. Search for universal extra dimensions in ppbar collisions

    SciTech Connect

    Abazov, Victor Mukhamedovich; Abbott, Braden Keim; Acharya, Bannanje Sripath; Adams, Mark Raymond; Adams, Todd; Alexeev, Guennadi D.; Alkhazov, Georgiy D.; Alton, Andrew K.; Alverson, George O.; Aoki, Masato; Askew, Andrew Warren; /Florida State U. /Stockholm U.

    2011-12-01

    We present a search for Kaluza-Klein (KK) particles predicted by models with universal extra dimensions (UED) using a data set corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 7.3 fb{sup -1}, collected by the D0 detector at a p{bar p} center of mass energy of 1.96 TeV. The decay chain of KK particles can lead to a final state with two muons of the same charge. This signature is used to set a lower limit on the compactification scale of R{sup -1} > 260 GeV in a minimal UED model.

  12. Search for Universal Extra Dimensions in p(p)over-bar Collisions

    SciTech Connect

    Abazov V. M.; Abbott B.; Acharya B. S.; Adams M.; Adams T.; Alexeev G. D.; Alkhazov G.; Alton A.; Alverson G.; Aoki M.; Askew A.; Asman B.; Atkins S.; Atramentov O.; Augsten K.; Avila C.; BackusMayes J.; Badaud F.; Bagby L.; Baldin B.; Bandurin D. V.; Banerjee S.; Barberis E.; Baringer P.; Barreto J.; Bartlett J. F.; Bassler U.; Bazterra V.; Bean A.; Begalli M.; Belanger-Champagne C.; Bellantoni L.; Beri S. B.; Bernardi G.; Bernhard R.; Bertram I.; Besancon M.; Beuselinck R.; Bezzubov V. A.; Bhat P. C.; Bhatia S.; Bhatnagar V.; Blazey G.; Blessing S.; Bloom K.; Boehnlein A.; Boline D.; Boos E. E.; Borissov G.; Bose T.; Brandt A.; Brandt O.; Brock R.; Brooijmans G.; Bross A.; Brown D.; Brown J.; Bu X. B.; Buehler M.; Buescher V.; Bunichev V.; Burdin S.; Burnett T. H.; Buszello C. P.; Calpas B.; Camacho-Perez E.; Carrasco-Lizarraga M. A.; Casey B. C. K.; Castilla-Valdez H.; Chakrabarti S.; Chakraborty D.; Chan K. M.; Chandra A.; Chapon E.; Chen G.; Chevalier-Thery S.; Cho D. K.; Cho S. W.; Choi S.; Choudhary B.; Cihangir S.; Claes D.; Clutter J.; Cooke M.; Cooper W. E.; Corcoran M.; Couderc F.; Cousinou M-C; Croc A.; Cutts D.; Das A.; Davies G.; de Jong S. J.; De La Cruz-Burelo E.; Deliot F.; Demina R.; Denisov D.; Denisov S. P.; Desai S.; Deterre C.; DeVaughan K.; Diehl H. T.; Diesburg M.; Ding P. F.; Dominguez A.; Dorland T.; Dubey A.; Dudko L. V.; Duggan D.; Duperrin A.; Dutt S.; Dyshkant A.; Eads M.; Edmunds D.; Ellison J.; Elvira V. D.; Enari Y.; Evans H.; Evdokimov A.; Evdokimov V. N.; Facini G.; Ferbel T.; Fiedler F.; Filthaut F.; Fisher W.; Fisk H. E.; Fortner M.; Fox H.; Fuess S.; Garcia-Bellido A.; Garcia-Guerra G. A.; Gavrilov V.; Gay P.; Geng W.; Gerbaudo D.; Gerber C. E.; Gershtein Y.; Ginther G.; Golovanov G.; Goryachev V. N.; Goussiou A.; Grannis P. D.; Greder S.; Greenlee H.; Greenwood Z. D.; Gregores E. M.; Grenier G.; Gris Ph; Grivaz J-F; Grohsjean A.; Gruenendahl S.; Gruenewald M. W.; Guillemin T.; Gutierrez G.; Gutierrez P.; Haas A.; Hagopian S.; Haley J.; Han L.; Harder K.; Harel A.; Hauptman J. M.; Hays J.; Head T.; Hebbeker T.; Hedin D.; Hegab H.; Heinson A. P.; Heintz U.; Hensel C.; Heredia-De La Cruz I.; Herner K.; Hesketh G.; Hildreth M. D.; Hirosky R.; Hoang T.; Hobbs J. D.; Hoeneisen B.; Hohlfeld M.; Hubacek Z.; Hynek V.; Iashvili I.; Ilchenko Y.; Illingworth R.; Ito A. S.; Jabeen S.; Jaffre M.; Jamin D.; Jayasinghe A.; Jesik R.; Johns K.; Johnson M.; Jonckheere A.; Jonsson P.; Joshi J.; Jung A. W.; Juste A.; Kaadze K.; Kajfasz E.; Karmanov D.; Kasper P. A.; Katsanos I.; Kehoe R.; Kermiche S.; Khalatyan N.; Khanov A.; Kharchilava A.; Kharzheev Y. N.; Kohli J. M.; Kozelov A. V.; Kraus J.; Kulikov S.; Kumar A.; Kupco A.; Kurca T.; Kuzmin V. A.; Lammers S.; Landsberg G.; Lebrun P.; Lee H. S.; Lee S. W.; Lee W. M.; Lellouch J.; Li H.; Li L.; Li Q. Z.; Lietti S. M.; Lim J. K.; Lincoln D.; Linnemann J.; Lipaev V. V.; Lipton R.; Liu Y.; Lobodenko A.; Lokajicek M.; de Sa R. Lopes; Lubatti H. J.; Luna-Garcia R.; Lyon A. L.; Maciel A. K. A.; Mackin D.; Madar R.; Magana-Villalba R.; Malik S.; Malyshev V. L.; Mansour J.; Maravin Y.; Martinez-Ortega J.; McCarthy R.; McGivern C. L.; Meijer M. M.; Melnitchouk A.; Menezes D.; Mercadante P. G.; Merkin M.; Meyer A.; Meyer J.; et al.

    2012-03-30

    We present a search for Kaluza-Klein (KK) particles predicted by models with universal extra dimensions (UED) using a data set corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 7.3 fb{sup -1}, collected by the D0 detector at a p{bar p} center-of-mass energy of 1.96 TeV. The decay chain of KK particles can lead to a final state with two muons of the same charge. This signature is used to set a lower limit on the compactification scale of R{sup -1} > 260 GeV in a minimal UED model.

  13. Exact reconstruction formula for the spherical mean Radon transform on ellipsoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haltmeier, Markus

    2014-10-01

    Many modern imaging and remote sensing applications require reconstructing a function from spherical averages (mean values). Examples include photoacoustic tomography, ultrasound imaging or SONAR. Several formulas of the back-projection type for recovering a function in n spatial dimensions from mean values over spheres centered on a sphere have been derived by D Finch, S K Patch and Rakesh (2004 SIAM J. Math. Anal. 35 1213-1240) for odd spatial dimension and by D Finch, M Haltmeier and Rakesh (2007 SIAM J. Appl. Math. 68 392-412) for even spatial dimension. In this paper we generalize some of these formulas to the case where the centers of integration lie on the boundary of an arbitrary ellipsoid. For the special cases n = 2 and n = 3 our results have recently been established by Y Salman (2014 J. Math. Anal. Appl. 420 612-20). For the higher dimensional case n\\gt 3 we establish proof techniques extending the ones in the above references. Back-projection type inversion formulas for recovering a function from spherical means with centers on an ellipsoid have first been derived by F Natterer (2012 Inverse Problems Imaging 6 315-20) for n = 3 and by V Palamodov (2012 Inverse Problems 28 065014) for arbitrary dimension. The results of Natterer have later been generalized to arbitrary dimension by M Haltmeier (2014 SIAM J. Math. Anal. 46 214-32). Note that these formulas are different from the ones derived in the present paper.

  14. Vasotocin neurons and septal V1a-like receptors potently modulate songbird flocking and responses to novelty.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Aubrey M; Kingsbury, Marcy A; Hoffbuhr, Kristin; Schrock, Sara E; Waxman, Brandon; Kabelik, David; Thompson, Richmond R; Goodson, James L

    2011-06-01

    Previous comparisons of territorial and gregarious finches (family Estrildidae) suggest the hypothesis that arginine vasotocin (VT) neurons in the medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTm) and V(1a)-like receptors in the lateral septum (LS) promote flocking behavior. Consistent with this hypothesis, we now show that intraseptal infusions of a V(1a) antagonist in male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) reduce gregariousness (preference for a group of 10 versus 2 conspecific males), but have no effect on the amount of time that subjects spend in close proximity to other birds ("contact time"). The antagonist also produces a profound increase in anxiety-like behavior, as exhibited by an increased latency to feed in a novelty-suppressed feeding test. Bilateral knockdown of VT production in the BSTm using LNA-modified antisense oligonucleotides likewise produces increases in anxiety-like behavior and a potent reduction in gregariousness, relative to subjects receiving scrambled oligonucleotides. The antisense oligonucleotides also produced a modest increase in contact time, irrespective of group size. Together, these combined experiments provide clear evidence that endogenous VT promotes preferences for larger flock sizes, and does so in a manner that is coupled to general anxiolysis. Given that homologous peptide circuitry of the BSTm-LS is found across all tetrapod vertebrate classes, these findings may be predictive for other highly gregarious species. PMID:21295577

  15. Feather mites, pectoral muscle condition, wing length and plumage coloration of passerines.

    PubMed

    Harper

    1999-09-01

    I compared the feather mite (Acari, Proctophyllodidae) loads of moulting birds with features of the new plumage that they were growing. I examined 21 samples, each sample containing individuals of the same species, sex and age class (juvenile, yearling or adult). I used nine species: wren, Troglodytes troglodytes; dunnock, Prunella modularis; robin, Erithacus rubecula; blue tit, Parus caeruleus; great tit, P. major; chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs; greenfinch, Carduelis chloris; linnet, C. cannabina; and yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella. As previously reported for the house finch, Carpodacus mexicanus, birds with more feather mites grew duller plumage and relatively shorter wings than less infested individuals of the same sex and age class. They also had lower protein reserves judged by the shape of their pectoral muscle. Mite load was usually a better predictor of coloration than pectoral muscle score, but the opposite was true for changes in wing length. In contrast to house finches, birds whose plumage was dull before moult had higher mite loads while moulting. Even if feather mites do not cause dull plumage or short wings, they appear to be a good indicator of birds in poor physiological condition. Copyright 1999 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. PMID:10479371

  16. Molecular epidemiologic investigations of Mycoplasma gallisepticum conjunctivitis in songbirds by random amplified polymorphic DNA analyses.

    PubMed

    Ley, D H; Berkhoff, J E; Levisohn, S

    1997-01-01

    An ongoing outbreak of conjunctivitis in free-ranging house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) began in 1994 in the eastern United States. Bacterial organisms identified as Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) were isolated from lesions of infected birds. MG was also isolated from a blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) that contracted conjunctivitis after being housed in a cage previously occupied by house finches with conjunctivitis, and from free-ranging American goldfinches (Carduelis tristis) in North Carolina in 1996. To investigate the molecular epidemiology of this outbreak, we produced DNA fingerprints of MG isolates by random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD). We compared MG isolates from songbirds examined from 1994 through 1996 in 11 states, representing three host species, with vaccine and reference strains and with contemporary MG isolates from commercial poultry. All MG isolates from songbirds had RAPD banding patterns identical to each other but different from other strains and isolates tested. These results indicate that the outbreak of MG in songbirds is caused by the same strain, which suggests a single source; the outbreak is not caused by the vaccine or reference strains analyzed; and MG infection has not been shared between songbirds and commercial poultry. PMID:9284386

  17. Testosterone and oxidative stress: the oxidation handicap hypothesis

    PubMed Central

    Alonso-Alvarez, Carlos; Bertrand, Sophie; Faivre, Bruno; Chastel, Olivier; Sorci, Gabriele

    2006-01-01

    Secondary sexual traits (SST) are usually thought to have evolved as honest signals of individual quality during mate choice. Honesty of SST is guaranteed by the cost of producing/maintaining them. In males, the expression of many SST is testosterone-dependent. The immunocompetence handicap hypothesis has been proposed as a possible mechanism ensuring honesty of SST on the basis that testosterone, in addition to its effect on sexual signals, also has an immunosuppressive effect. The immunocompetence handicap hypothesis has received mixed support. However, the cost of testosterone-based signalling is not limited to immunosuppression and might involve other physiological functions such as the antioxidant machinery. Here, we tested the hypothesis that testosterone depresses resistance to oxidative stress in a species with a testosterone-dependent sexual signal, the zebra finch. Male zebra finches received subcutaneous implants filled with flutamide (an anti-androgen) or testosterone, or kept empty (control). In agreement with the prediction, we found that red blood cell resistance to a free radical attack was the highest in males implanted with flutamide and the lowest in males implanted with testosterone. We also found that cell-mediated immune response was depressed in testosterone-treated birds, supporting the immunocompetence handicap hypothesis. The recent finding that red blood cell resistance to free radicals is negatively associated with mortality in this species suggests that benefits of sexual signalling might trade against the costs derived from oxidation. PMID:17251089

  18. Seed dispersal networks in the Galápagos and the consequences of alien plant invasions

    PubMed Central

    Heleno, Ruben H.; Olesen, Jens M.; Nogales, Manuel; Vargas, Pablo; Traveset, Anna

    2013-01-01

    Alien plants are a growing threat to the Galápagos unique biota. We evaluated the impact of alien plants on eight seed dispersal networks from two islands of the archipelago. Nearly 10 000 intact seeds from 58 species were recovered from the droppings of 18 bird and reptile dispersers. The most dispersed invaders were Lantana camara, Rubus niveus and Psidium guajava, the latter two likely benefiting from an asynchronous fruit production with most native plants, which facilitate their consumption and spread. Lava lizards dispersed the seeds of 27 species, being the most important dispersers, followed by small ground finch, two mockingbirds, the giant tortoise and two insectivorous birds. Most animals dispersed alien seeds, but these formed a relatively small proportion of the interactions. Nevertheless, the integration of aliens was higher in the island that has been invaded for longest, suggesting a time-lag between alien plant introductions and their impacts on seed dispersal networks. Alien plants become more specialized with advancing invasion, favouring more simplified plant and disperser communities. However, only habitat type significantly affected the overall network structure. Alien plants were dispersed via two pathways: dry-fruited plants were preferentially dispersed by finches, while fleshy fruited species were mostly dispersed by other birds and reptiles. PMID:23173203

  19. Melanin-based color of plumage: role of condition and of feathers' microstructure

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    D'Alba, Liliana; Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Spencer, Karen A.; Heidinger, Britt J.; Gill, Lisa; Evans, Neil P.; Monaghan, Pat; Handel, Colleen M.; Shawkey, Matthew D.

    2014-01-01

    Whether melanin-based colors honestly signal a bird's condition during the growth of feathers is controversial, and it is unclear if or how the physiological processes underlying melanogenesis or color-imparting structural feather microstructure may be adversely affected by condition. Here we report results from two experiments designed to measure the effect of condition on expression of eumelanic and pheomelanic coloration in black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) and zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), respectively. In chickadees, we compared feathers of birds affected and unaffected by avian keratin disorder, while in zebra finches we compared feathers of controls with feathers of those subjected to an unpredictable food supply during development. In both cases we found that control birds had brighter feathers (higher total reflectance) and more barbules, but similar densities of melanosomes. In addition, the microstructure of the feathers explained variation in color more strongly than did melanosome density. Together, these results suggest that melanin-based coloration may in part be condition-dependent, but that this may be driven by changes in keratin and feather development, rather than melanogenesis itself. Researchers should be cautious when assigning variation in melanin-based color to melanin alone and microstructure of the feather should be taken into account.

  20. Complete mitochondrial genome of White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata swinhoei (Passeriformes: Estrildidae).

    PubMed

    Yang, Fan; Zhao, Guanghong; Zhou, Lizhi; Li, Bo

    2016-07-01

    White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata is a small passerine bird from the family of waxbill "finches" (Estrildidae), which are close relatives of the true finches (Fringillidae) and true sparrows (Passeridae). In this study, we determined the mitogenome of Lonchura striata swinhoei by the PCR-based method. The mitogenome (16 813 bp) comprises 13 protein-coding genes, 22 tRNA, two rRNA genes, and a control region. Gene order is identical to most of the other passerine birds. The DNA base composition is A, 31.70%; C, 13.70%; T, 31.40%, and G, 23.20%. All protein-coding genes start with a typical ATN codon except for the gene COI that uses GTG as the start codon. Conventional stop codon (TAA) has been assigned to seven of the PCGs, COIII, and ND4 terminate with T-. Both neighbor-joining and Bayesian analyses support that Lonchura striata swinhoei has close relative with Taeniopygia guttata. PMID:26190080

  1. Sex chromosome linked genetic variance and the evolution of sexual dimorphism of quantitative traits.

    PubMed

    Husby, Arild; Schielzeth, Holger; Forstmeier, Wolfgang; Gustafsson, Lars; Qvarnström, Anna

    2013-03-01

    Theory predicts that sex chromsome linkage should reduce intersexual genetic correlations thereby allowing the evolution of sexual dimorphism. Empirical evidence for sex linkage has come largely from crosses and few studies have examined how sexual dimorphism and sex linkage are related within outbred populations. Here, we use data on an array of different traits measured on over 10,000 individuals from two pedigreed populations of birds (collared flycatcher and zebra finch) to estimate the amount of sex-linked genetic variance (h(2)z ). Of 17 traits examined, eight showed a nonzero h(2)Z estimate but only four were significantly different from zero (wing patch size and tarsus length in collared flycatchers, wing length and beak color in zebra finches). We further tested how sexual dimorphism and the mode of selection operating on the trait relate to the proportion of sex-linked genetic variance. Sexually selected traits did not show higher h(2)Z than morphological traits and there was only a weak positive relationship between h(2)Z and sexual dimorphism. However, given the relative scarcity of empirical studies, it is premature to make conclusions about the role of sex chromosome linkage in the evolution of sexual dimorphism. PMID:23461313

  2. A chicken consultation with ramifications.

    PubMed

    Opitz, John M

    2005-04-15

    In Madison I once worked with two postdoctoral fellows who had spent their youth in New York City and who, when asked what birds they knew both responded "why, pigeons and LBJ's!" (little brown jobbies). Despite their undoubted brilliance, they clearly had an educational deficiency not fixed by buying eggs and poultry at a grocery store. Though of enormous economic and nutritional importance to humans, turkeys and chickens constitute only a minute fraction of the disappearing avian life in our ecology. One could easily teach an entire middle or high school biology course around the reproduction, embryology, evolution, genetics, anatomy, special adaptations, virology, bacteriology, taxonomy, behavior, and extinctions of birds, as paradigmatic of all of life. Where would developmental or evolutionary biology be without the Galapagos finches, chick embryo, or neurobiology without the Zebra Finch? The modifications of the original red jungle fowl of India and South East Asia into hundreds of races through artificial selection and breeding practices provide as beautiful an example of developmental plasticity, well-known to Darwin, as the domestic dog, cat, laboratory mice, and guinea pigs. In what follows I have begun to repay my indebtedness to my mentor Emil Witschi who introduced me to developmental biology, physiology, and genetics and its historical study on the basis of birds (and amphibians); and to Mark Leppert, Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Utah for collaborative support, and bird-watching fieldtrips. PMID:15666310

  3. Impact of nest sanitation on the immune system of parents and nestlings in a passerine bird.

    PubMed

    Evans, Jessica K; Griffith, Simon C; Klasing, Kirk C; Buchanan, Katherine L

    2016-07-01

    Bacterial communities are thought to have fundamental effects on the growth and development of nestling birds. The antigen exposure hypothesis suggests that, for both nestlings and adult birds, exposure to a diverse range of bacteria would select for stronger immune defences. However, there are relatively few studies that have tested the immune/bacterial relationships outside of domestic poultry. We therefore sought to examine indices of immunity (microbial killing ability in naive birds, which is a measure of innate immunity, and the antibody response to sheep red blood cells, which measures adaptive immunity) in both adult and nestling zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). We did this throughout breeding and between reproductive attempts in nests that were experimentally manipulated to change the intensity of bacterial exposure. Our results suggest that nest sanitation and bacterial load affected measures of the adaptive immune system, but not the innate immune parameters tested. Adult finches breeding in clean nests had a lower primary antibody response to sheep red blood cells, particularly males, and a greater difference between primary and secondary responses. Adult microbial killing of Escherichia coli decreased as parents moved from incubation to nestling rearing for both nest treatments; however, killing of Candida albicans remained consistent throughout. In nestlings, both innate microbial killing and the adaptive antibody response did not differ between nest environments. Together, these results suggest that exposure to microorganisms in the environment affects the adaptive immune system in nesting birds, with exposure upregulating the antibody response in adult birds. PMID:27143751

  4. Multi-layered bird beaks: a finite-element approach towards the role of keratin in stress dissipation

    PubMed Central

    Soons, Joris; Herrel, Anthony; Genbrugge, Annelies; Adriaens, Dominique; Aerts, Peter; Dirckx, Joris

    2012-01-01

    Bird beaks are layered structures, which contain a bony core and an outer keratin layer. The elastic moduli of this bone and keratin were obtained in a previous study. However, the mechanical role and interaction of both materials in stress dissipation during seed crushing remain unknown. In this paper, a multi-layered finite-element (FE) model of the Java finch's upper beak (Padda oryzivora) is established. Validation measurements are conducted using in vivo bite forces and by comparing the displacements with those obtained by digital speckle pattern interferometry. Next, the Young modulus of bone and keratin in this FE model was optimized in order to obtain the smallest peak von Mises stress in the upper beak. To do so, we created a surrogate model, which also allows us to study the impact of changing material properties of both tissues on the peak stresses. The theoretically best values for both moduli in the Java finch are retrieved and correspond well with previous experimentally obtained values, suggesting that material properties are tuned to the mechanical demands imposed during seed crushing. PMID:22337628

  5. Measuring oxidative stress: the confounding effect of lipid concentration in measures of lipid peroxidation.

    PubMed

    Pérez-Rodríguez, Lorenzo; Romero-Haro, Ana A; Sternalski, Audrey; Muriel, Jaime; Mougeot, Francois; Gil, Diego; Alonso-Alvarez, Carlos

    2015-01-01

    Lipid peroxidation products are widely used as markers of oxidative damage in the organism. To properly interpret the information provided by these markers, it is necessary to know potential sources of bias and control confounding factors. Here, we investigated the relationship between two indicators of lipid mobilization (circulating levels of triglycerides and cholesterol) and two common markers of oxidative damage (plasma levels of malondialdehyde and hydroperoxides; the latter estimated from the d-ROMs assay kit). The following five avian species were studied: red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa), zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), spotless starling (Sturnus unicolor), marsh harrier (Circus aeroginosus), and Montagu's harrier (Circus pygargus). In all cases, plasma triglyceride levels positively and significantly correlated with lipid peroxidation markers, explaining between 8% and 34% of their variability. Plasma cholesterol, in contrast, showed a significant positive relationship only among spotless starling nestlings and a marginally significant association in zebra finches. These results indicate that lipid peroxidation marker levels covary with circulating lipid levels. We discuss the potential causes and implications of this covariation and recommend that future studies that measure oxidative damage using lipid peroxidation markers report both raw and relative levels (i.e., corrected for circulating triglycerides). Whether the observed pattern also holds for other tissues and in other taxa would deserve further research. PMID:25860832

  6. Deposition of pathogenic Mycoplasma gallisepticum onto bird feeders: host pathology is more important than temperature-driven increases in food intake.

    PubMed

    Adelman, James S; Carter, Amanda W; Hopkins, William A; Hawley, Dana M

    2013-10-23

    Although ambient temperature has diverse effects on disease dynamics, few studies have examined how temperature alters pathogen transmission by changing host physiology or behaviour. Here, we test whether reducing ambient temperature alters host foraging, pathology and the potential for fomite transmission of the bacterial pathogen Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), which causes seasonal outbreaks of severe conjunctivitis in house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus). We housed finches at temperatures within or below the thermoneutral zone to manipulate food intake by altering energetic requirements of thermoregulation. We predicted that pathogen deposition on bird feeders would increase with temperature-driven increases in food intake and with conjunctival pathology. As expected, housing birds below the thermoneutral zone increased food consumption. Despite this difference, pathogen deposition on feeders did not vary across temperature treatments. However, pathogen deposition increased with conjunctival pathology, independently of temperature and pathogen load, suggesting that MG could enhance its transmission by increasing virulence. Our results suggest that in this system, host physiological responses are more important for transmission potential than temperature-dependent alterations in feeding. Understanding such behavioural and physiological contributions to disease transmission is critical to linking individual responses to climate with population-level disease dynamics. PMID:23966599

  7. Maternal and developmental immune challenges alter behavior and learning ability of offspring

    PubMed Central

    Grindstaff, Jennifer L.; Hunsaker, Veronica R.; Cox, Shelby N.

    2012-01-01

    Stimulation of the offspring immune response during development is known to influence growth and behavioral phenotype. However, the potential for maternal antibodies to block the behavioral effects of immune activation during the neonatal period has not been assessed. We challenged female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) prior to egg laying and then challenged offspring during the nestling and juvenile periods with one of two antigens (keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) or lipopolysaccharide (LPS)). We then tested the effects of maternal and neonatal immune challenges on offspring growth rates and neophobia and learning ability of offspring during adulthood. Neonatal immune challenge depressed growth rates. Neophobia of adult offspring was influenced by a combination of maternal treatment, offspring treatment, and offspring sex. Males challenged with LPS during the nestling and juvenile periods had reduced learning performance in a novel foraging task; however, female learning was not impacted. Offspring challenged with the same antigen as mothers exhibited similar growth suppression and behavioral changes as offspring challenged with a novel antigen. Thus, developmental immune challenges have long-term effects on the growth and behavioral phenotype of offspring. We found limited evidence that matching of maternal and offspring challenges reduces the effects of immune challenge in the altricial zebra finch. This may be a result of rapid catabolism of maternal antibodies in altricial birds. Our results emphasize the need to address sex differences in the long-term effects of developmental immune challenge and suggest neonatal immune activation may be one proximate mechanism underlying differences in adult behavior. PMID:22522078

  8. Oxidative stress in songbirds exposed to dietary methylmercury.

    PubMed

    Henry, Katie A; Cristol, Daniel A; Varian-Ramos, Claire W; Bradley, Eric L

    2015-04-01

    Long-term, sublethal methylmercury exposure can cause reproductive depression, immune suppression, endocrine disruption and other problems in birds. We used two biomarkers to detect oxidative stress in livers of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) developmentally exposed to sublethal levels of dietary methylmercury (0.0, 0.3, 0.6, 1.2, or 2.4 μg/g wet weight in diet). Our findings indicate that young adult finches exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of mercury in ovo and through their diets, exhibited oxidative stress in their livers. We measured the ratio of the antioxidant glutathione in its reduced form (GSH) versus its oxidized form (GSSG) and the activity of the superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzyme suite. Blood total mercury served as a proxy for liver mercury concentration, and was on average 8.4 times the dietary dose (e.g., birds consuming 0.6 μg/g had blood mercury levels of ~5 μg/g on a wet weight basis). Consistent with what is known from large, aquatic bird species, there was a significant, negative relationship between GSH/GSSG ratios and tissue mercury concentrations, which is indicative of oxidative stress. This relationship was driven by a significant increase in the oxidized glutathione in the livers of birds with higher blood mercury levels. SOD activity was also found to have a significant, negative relationship with blood mercury. PMID:25519780

  9. Melanin-based color of plumage: role of condition and of feathers' microstructure.

    PubMed

    D'Alba, Liliana; Van Hemert, Caroline; Spencer, Karen A; Heidinger, Britt J; Gill, Lisa; Evans, Neil P; Monaghan, Pat; Handel, Colleen M; Shawkey, Matthew D

    2014-10-01

    Whether melanin-based colors honestly signal a bird's condition during the growth of feathers is controversial, and it is unclear if, or how, the physiological processes underlying melanogenesis or the role of the microstructure of feathers in imparting structural color to feathers may be adversely affected by condition. Here, we report results from two experiments designed to measure the effect of condition on expression of eumelanic and pheomelanic coloration in black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) and zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), respectively. In chickadees, we compared feathers of birds affected and unaffected by avian keratin disorder, whereas in zebra finches we compared feathers of controls with feathers of those subjected to an unpredictable food supply during development. In both cases, we found that control birds had brighter feathers (higher total reflectance) and more barbules, but similar densities of melanosomes. In addition, the microstructure of the feathers explained variation in color more strongly than did melanosome density. Together, these results suggest that melanin-based coloration may in part be condition-dependent, but that this may be driven by changes in keratin and feather development, rather than melanogenesis itself. Researchers should be cautious when assigning variation in melanin-based color to melanin alone and microstructure of the feather should be taken into account. PMID:24987010

  10. Seed dispersal networks in the Galápagos and the consequences of alien plant invasions.

    PubMed

    Heleno, Ruben H; Olesen, Jens M; Nogales, Manuel; Vargas, Pablo; Traveset, Anna

    2013-01-01

    Alien plants are a growing threat to the Galápagos unique biota. We evaluated the impact of alien plants on eight seed dispersal networks from two islands of the archipelago. Nearly 10 000 intact seeds from 58 species were recovered from the droppings of 18 bird and reptile dispersers. The most dispersed invaders were Lantana camara, Rubus niveus and Psidium guajava, the latter two likely benefiting from an asynchronous fruit production with most native plants, which facilitate their consumption and spread. Lava lizards dispersed the seeds of 27 species, being the most important dispersers, followed by small ground finch, two mockingbirds, the giant tortoise and two insectivorous birds. Most animals dispersed alien seeds, but these formed a relatively small proportion of the interactions. Nevertheless, the integration of aliens was higher in the island that has been invaded for longest, suggesting a time-lag between alien plant introductions and their impacts on seed dispersal networks. Alien plants become more specialized with advancing invasion, favouring more simplified plant and disperser communities. However, only habitat type significantly affected the overall network structure. Alien plants were dispersed via two pathways: dry-fruited plants were preferentially dispersed by finches, while fleshy fruited species were mostly dispersed by other birds and reptiles. PMID:23173203

  11. Evolving Nonapeptide Mechanisms of Gregariousness and Social Diversity in Birds

    PubMed Central

    Goodson, James L.; Kelly, Aubrey M.; Kingsbury, Marcy A.

    2012-01-01

    Of the major vertebrate taxa, Class Aves is the most extensively studied in relation to the evolution of social systems and behavior, largely because birds exhibit an incomparable balance of tractability, diversity, and cognitive complexity. In addition, like humans, most bird species are socially monogamous, exhibit biparental care, and conduct most of their social interactions through auditory and visual modalities. These qualities make birds attractive as research subjects, and also make them valuable for comparative studies of neuroendocrine mechanisms. This value has become increasingly apparent as more and more evidence shows that social behavior circuits of the basal forebrain and midbrain are deeply conserved (from an evolutionary perspective), and particularly similar in birds and mammals. Among the strongest similarities are the basic structures and functions of avian and mammalian nonapeptide systems, which include mesotocin (MT) and arginine vasotocin (VT) systems in birds, and the homologous oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (VP) systems, respectively, in mammals. We here summarize these basic properties, and then describe a research program that has leveraged the social diversity of estrildid finches to gain insights into the nonapeptide mechanisms of grouping, a behavioral dimension that is not experimentally tractable in most other taxa. These studies have used five monogamous, biparental finch species that exhibit group sizes ranging from territorial male-female pairs to large flocks containing hundreds or thousands of birds. The results provide novel insights into the history of nonapeptide functions in amniote vertebrates, and yield remarkable clarity on the nonapeptide biology of dinosaurs and ancient mammals. PMID:22269661

  12. Transgenic songbirds offer an opportunity to develop a genetic model for vocal learning

    PubMed Central

    Agate, R. J.; Scott, B. B.; Haripal, B.; Lois, C.; Nottebohm, F.

    2009-01-01

    Zebra finches are widely used for studying the basic biology of vocal learning. The inability to introduce genetic modifications in these animals has substantially limited studies on the molecular biology of this behavior, however. We used an HIV-based lentivirus to produce germline transgenic zebra finches. The lentivirus encoded the GFP regulated by the human ubiquitin-C promoter [Lois C, Hong EJ, Pease S, Brown EJ, Baltimore D (2002) Science 295:868–872], which is active in a wide variety of cells. The virus was injected into the very early embryo (blastodisc stage) to target the primordial germline cells that later give rise to sperm and eggs. A total of 265 fertile eggs were injected with virus, and 35 hatched (13%); 23 of these potential founders (F0) were bred, and three (13%) produced germline transgenic hatchlings that expressed the GFP protein (F1). Two of these three founders (F0) have produced transgenic young at a rate of 12% and the third at a rate of 6%. Furthermore, two of the F1 generation transgenics have since reproduced, one having five offspring (all GFP positive) and the other four offsping (one GFP positive). PMID:19815496

  13. Birdsong memory and the brain: in search of the template.

    PubMed

    Bolhuis, Johan J; Moorman, Sanne

    2015-03-01

    In his pioneering research on the neural mechanisms of filial imprinting, Gabriel Horn has gone a long way to fulfilling Karl Lashley's dream of finding the 'engram' or memory trace in the brain. Here we review recent research into the engram(s) of song learning in songbirds, particularly zebra finches. When juvenile songbirds learn their songs from a tutor, they form and alter a central representation of the tutor song, known as the 'template'. Secondary auditory regions in the caudal medial pallium are likely to contain the neural substrate for the representation of tutor song, but the roles of the different regions remain to be elucidated. Female zebra finches do not sing, but nevertheless form an auditory memory of their father's song, for which the neural substrate is located in the caudomedial pallium. In males that are learning their songs, there is continual interaction between the secondary auditory regions and sensorimotor regions, similar to the interaction between Broca's and Wernicke's areas in human infants acquiring speech and language. PMID:25459663

  14. Hormone-independent pathways of sexual differentiation.

    PubMed

    Renfree, Marilyn B; Chew, Keng Yih; Shaw, Geoffrey

    2014-01-01

    New observations over the last 25 years of hormone-independent sexual dimorphisms have gradually and unequivocally overturned the dogma, arising from Jost's elegant experiments in the mid-1900s, that all somatic sex dimorphisms in vertebrates arise from the action of gonadal hormones. Although we know that Sry, a Y-linked gene, is the primary gonadal sex determinant in mammals, more recent analysis in marsupials, mice, and finches has highlighted numerous sexual dimorphisms that are evident well before the differentiation of the testis and which cannot be explained by a sexually dimorphic hormonal environment. In marsupials, scrotal bulges and mammary primordia are visible before the testis has differentiated due to the expression of a gene(s) on the X chromosome. ZZ and ZW gynandromorph finches have brains that develop in a sexually dimorphic way dependent on their sex chromosome content. In genetically manipulated mice, it is the X chromosomes, not the gonads, that determine many characters including rate of early development, adiposity, and neural circuits. Even spotted hyenas have sexual dimorphisms that cannot be simply explained by hormonal exposure. This review discusses the recent findings that confirm that there are hormone-independent sexual dimorphisms well before the gonads begin to produce their hormones. PMID:24577198

  15. High Concentrations of Ketocarotenoids in Hepatic Mitochondria of Haemorhous mexicanus.

    PubMed

    Ge, Zhiyuan; Johnson, James D; Cobine, Paul A; McGraw, Kevin J; Garcia, Rosana; Hill, Geoffrey E

    2015-01-01

    Vertebrates cannot synthesize carotenoid pigments de novo, so to produce carotenoid-based coloration they must ingest carotenoids. Most songbirds that deposit red carotenoids in feathers, bills, eyes, or skin ingest only yellow or orange dietary pigments, which they oxidize to red pigments via a ketolation reaction. It has been hypothesized that carotenoid ketolation occurs in the liver of vertebrates, but this hypothesis remains to be confirmed. To better understand the role of hepatocytes in the production of ketolated carotenoids in songbirds, we measured the carotenoid content of subcellular components of hepatocytes from wild male house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) that were molting red, ketocarotenoid-containing feathers (e.g., 3-hydroxy-echinenone). We homogenized freshly collected livers of house finches and isolated subcellular fractions, including mitochondria. We found the highest concentration of ketocarotenoids in the mitochondrial fraction. These observations are consistent with the hypothesis that carotenoid pigments are oxidized on or within hepatic mitochondria, esterified, and then transported to the Golgi apparatus for secretory processing. PMID:26052641

  16. Gene Regulatory Evolution During Speciation in a Songbird

    PubMed Central

    Davidson, John H.; Balakrishnan, Christopher N.

    2016-01-01

    Over the last decade, tremendous progress has been made toward a comparative understanding of gene regulatory evolution. However, we know little about how gene regulation evolves in birds, and how divergent genomes interact in their hybrids. Because of the unique features of birds – female heterogamety, a highly conserved karyotype, and the slow evolution of reproductive incompatibilities – an understanding of regulatory evolution in birds is critical to a comprehensive understanding of regulatory evolution and its implications for speciation. Using a novel complement of analyses of replicated RNA-seq libraries, we demonstrate abundant divergence in brain gene expression between zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) subspecies. By comparing parental populations and their F1 hybrids, we also show that gene misexpression is relatively rare among brain-expressed transcripts in male birds. If this pattern is consistent across tissues and sexes, it may partially explain the slow buildup of postzygotic reproductive isolation observed in birds relative to other taxa. Although we expected that the action of genetic drift on the island-dwelling zebra finch subspecies would be manifested in a higher rate of trans regulatory divergence, we found that most divergence was in cis regulation, following a pattern commonly observed in other taxa. Thus, our study highlights both unique and shared features of avian regulatory evolution. PMID:26976438