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Sample records for european starling sturnus

  1. Effects of auditory recognition learning on the perception of vocal features in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Daniel Meliza, C.

    2011-01-01

    Learning to recognize complex sensory signals can change the way they are perceived. European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) recognize other starlings by their song, which consists of a series of complex, stereotyped motifs. Song recognition learning is accompanied by plasticity in secondary auditory areas, suggesting that perceptual learning is involved. Here, to investigate whether perceptual learning can be observed behaviorally, a same–different operant task was used to measure how starlings perceived small differences in motif structure. Birds trained to recognize conspecific songs were better at detecting variations in motifs from the songs they learned, even though this variation was not directly necessary to learn the associative task. Discrimination also improved as the reference stimulus was repeated multiple times. Perception of the much larger differences between different motifs was unaffected by training. These results indicate that sensory representations of motifs are enhanced when starlings learn to recognize songs. PMID:22087940

  2. Specific floater home ranges and prospective behaviour in the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tobler, Michael; Smith, Henrik G.

    In many bird species, floaters are present on the breeding grounds in one or more years before they breed. There is increasing evidence that they have specific home ranges in which they search for information about current and future breeding opportunities. We investigated the role of prospecting in a migratory European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) population. Radio-tracking showed that male starling floaters use specific home range areas during the breeding period. Nest-box observations demonstrated that non-parental nest intrusion is common in the starling and that it is significantly more frequent during the nestling than during the incubation period. In addition, small groups of nest boxes were more likely to be occupied by starlings if they had been put up during the preceding breeding season. The results suggest that floaters try to acquire information about local breeding communities. One specific type of information may be the location of potential breeding sites.

  3. Effects of dietary quality on basal metabolic rate and internal morphology of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Geluso, K.; Hayes, J.P.

    1999-01-01

    European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were fed either a low- or high-quality diet to test the effects of dietary quality on basal metabolic rate (BMR) and internal morphology. Basal metabolic rate did not differ significantly between the two dietary groups, but internal morphology differed greatly. Starlings fed the low-quality diet had heavier gastrointestinal tracts, gizzards, and livers. Starlings fed the high-quality diet had heavier breast muscles. Starlings on the low-quality diet maintained mass, while starlings on the high-quality diet gained mass. Dry matter digestibility and energy digestibility were lower for starlings fed the low-quality diet, and their food and water intake were greater than starlings on the high-quality diet. The lack of dietary effect on BMR may be the result of increased energy expenditure of digestive organs paralleling a reduction of energy expenditure of organs and tissues not related to digestion (i.e., skeletal muscle). This trade-off in energy allocation among organs suggests a mechanism by which organisms may alter BMR in response to a change in seasonal variation in food availability.

  4. Mid-winter temperatures, not spring temperatures, predict breeding phenology in the European starling Sturnus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Williams, Tony D; Bourgeon, Sophie; Cornell, Allison; Ferguson, Laramie; Fowler, Melinda; Fronstin, Raime B; Love, Oliver P

    2015-01-01

    In many species, empirical data suggest that temperatures less than 1 month before breeding strongly influence laying date, consistent with predictions that short lag times between cue and response are more reliable, decreasing the chance of mismatch with prey. Here we show in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) that mid-winter temperature ca 50-90 days before laying (8 January-22 February) strongly (r (2) = 0.89) predicts annual variation in laying date. Mid-winter temperature also correlated highly with relative clutch size: birds laid later, but laid larger clutches, in years when mid-winter temperatures were lower. Despite a high degree of breeding synchrony (mean laying date 5-13 April = ±4 days; 80% of nests laid within 4.8 days within year), European starlings show strong date-dependent variation in clutch size and productivity, but this appears to be mediated by a different temporal mechanism for integration of supplemental cue (temperature) information. We suggest the relationship between mid-winter temperature and breeding phenology might be indirect with both components correlating with a third factor: temperature-dependent development of the starling's insect (tipulid) prey. Mid-winter temperatures might set the trajectory of growth and final biomass of tipulid larvae, with this temperature cue providing starlings with information on breeding season prey availability (though exactly how remains unknown). PMID:26064582

  5. Mid-winter temperatures, not spring temperatures, predict breeding phenology in the European starling Sturnus vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Tony D.; Bourgeon, Sophie; Cornell, Allison; Ferguson, Laramie; Fowler, Melinda; Fronstin, Raime B.; Love, Oliver P.

    2015-01-01

    In many species, empirical data suggest that temperatures less than 1 month before breeding strongly influence laying date, consistent with predictions that short lag times between cue and response are more reliable, decreasing the chance of mismatch with prey. Here we show in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) that mid-winter temperature ca 50–90 days before laying (8 January–22 February) strongly (r2 = 0.89) predicts annual variation in laying date. Mid-winter temperature also correlated highly with relative clutch size: birds laid later, but laid larger clutches, in years when mid-winter temperatures were lower. Despite a high degree of breeding synchrony (mean laying date 5–13 April = ±4 days; 80% of nests laid within 4.8 days within year), European starlings show strong date-dependent variation in clutch size and productivity, but this appears to be mediated by a different temporal mechanism for integration of supplemental cue (temperature) information. We suggest the relationship between mid-winter temperature and breeding phenology might be indirect with both components correlating with a third factor: temperature-dependent development of the starling's insect (tipulid) prey. Mid-winter temperatures might set the trajectory of growth and final biomass of tipulid larvae, with this temperature cue providing starlings with information on breeding season prey availability (though exactly how remains unknown). PMID:26064582

  6. Captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in breeding condition show an increased cardiovascular stress response to intruders.

    PubMed

    Dickens, Molly J; Nephew, Benjamin C; Romero, L Michael

    2006-01-01

    European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) alter their physiology and behavior between seasons, becoming territorial during the spring/summer and flocking during the fall/winter. We used captive male starlings in breeding (photostimulated to 18L : 6D) and nonbreeding (11L : 13D) conditions to determine whether changing physiology and behavior alters their reaction to crowding. One or five intruders entered a resident's cage without human disturbance. A subcutaneous heart rate transmitter recorded cardiovascular output in residents. Corticosterone and testosterone were measured in plasma samples taken before and after the intrusion. While corticosterone concentrations did not change, heart rate changed significantly, indicating that these responses can be regulated independently. Long-day birds showed a significantly elevated heart rate response to the single-bird intrusion compared to short-day birds. Whereas five intruders elicited an identical peak response in both groups, long-day birds also demonstrated an equivalent response to one intruder. In addition, one intruder induced longer elevation in heart rate for long-day birds. Male starlings in breeding condition, therefore, demonstrate an increased sensitivity to additional conspecifics. This seasonal shift in response suggests that a higher tolerance for intrusion (i.e., considering a nearby starling as less stressful) may facilitate flocking behavior, while a lower tolerance may aid in territoriality. PMID:16927240

  7. Lead concentrations and reproductive success in European starlings Sturnus vulgaris nesting within highway roadside verges

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grue, C.E.; Hoffman, D.J.; Beyer, W.N.; Franson, L.P.

    1986-01-01

    In 1981, the authors studied lead concentrations and reproductive success in free-living European starlings Sturnus vulgaris nesting within the verges of two Maryland highways with different traffic volumes, Route 197(average daily traffic volume[ADT] = 10,800 vehicles) and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (ADT=52,500 vehicles) and a nearby control area. Concentrations (mg kg-1 dry weight) of lead in the ingesta (84-94 mg kg-1), carcasses (4.0-9.6 mg kg-1)and feathers (6.8-52 mg kg-1) of Parkway nestlings and adults were 3 to 13 times those found in starlings from the control area, whereas lead concentrations in the ingesta and tissues of starlings from the verge of Route 197 were similar to those of controls. Activity of delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) in red blood cells (RBCs) of adult and nestling starlings from the Parkway was depressed from 43 to 60% compared to controls. RBC ALAD activity in adults from nests along Route 197 was similar to that of adult starlings from the control area, but that of their young was depressed 17%. Haemoglobin concentrations (-16%) and haematocrits (-10%) in Parkway nestlings were depressed compared with those of nestlings from the other two study areas, whereas those of adults were not affected. Clutch size, number of young hatched and the number of young in nests 1 to 3 days before fledging were similar among sites, as were body weights of adults and prefledging weights of their young. However, brain weights of Parkway nestlings were lower (P < 0.05) than those of nestlings from the other study areas. Results suggests that lead within verges of major highways probably does not pose a serious hazard to adult ground-foraging songbirds. However, the effects of lead-induced reductions in haemoglobin concentration, haematocrit, RBC ALAD activity and brain weight on the postfledging survival of their young are not known.

  8. Helminth parasites of the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) (Aves, Sturnidae), an invasive bird in Argentina.

    PubMed

    Valente, Romina; Ibañez, Lucía Mariel; Lorenti, Eliana; Fiorini, Vanina Dafne; Montalti, Diego; Diaz, Julia Inés

    2014-07-01

    The aim of this work is to contribute to the knowledge of gastrointestinal parasites of the European starling Sturnus vulgaris, an invasive bird from Argentina. Seventy-six birds were collected during the spring of 2007 and were examined for helminths. Six parasite species were found: one trematoda of the Echinostoma revolutum "group," four nematodes (Synhimantus nasuta, Microtetrameres sp., Pterothominx exilis, and Ornithocapillaria ovopunctata), and one acanthocephalan (Plagiorhynchus cylindraceus). All species found have been recorded in Eurasia and/or North America previously, although present reports enlarge their geographical distribution. As expected in an invasive host, the parasite community shows much lower species richness (n = 6) than those observed in their native area (79 and 35 in the Eurasia and North America, respectively). PMID:24804922

  9. Reproductive state modulates testosterone-induced singing in adult female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Stevenson, Tyler J.; Fortune, Eric S.; Ball, Gregory F.

    2015-01-01

    European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) exhibit seasonal changes in singing and in the volumes of the neural substrate. Increases in song nuclei volume are mediated at least in part by increases in day length, which is also associated with increases in plasma testosterone (T), reproductive activity, and singing behavior in males. The correlations between photoperiod (i.e. daylength), T, reproductive state and singing hamper our ability to disentangle causal relationships. We investigated how photoperiodic-induced variation in reproductive state modulates the effects of T on singing behavior and song nuclei volumes in adult female starlings. Female Starlings do not naturally produce measureable levels of circulating T but nevertheless respond to exogenous T, which induces male-like singing. We manipulated photoperiod by placing birds in a photosensitive or photorefractory state and then treated them with T-filled or empty silastic implants. We recorded morning singing behavior for three weeks, after which we assessed reproductive condition and measured song nuclei volumes. We found that T-treated photosensitive birds sang significantly more than all other groups including T-treated photorefractory birds. All T-treated birds had larger song nuclei volumes than with blank-treated birds (despite photorefractory T-treated birds not increasing song-rate). There was no effect of photoperiod on the song nuclei volumes of T-treated birds. These data show that the behavioral effects of exogenous T can be modulated by reproductive state in adult female songbirds. Furthermore, these data are consistent with other observations that increases in singing rate in response to T are not necessarily due to the direct effects of T on song nuclei volume. PMID:25989596

  10. Reproductive state modulates testosterone-induced singing in adult female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Rouse, Melvin L; Stevenson, Tyler J; Fortune, Eric S; Ball, Gregory F

    2015-06-01

    European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) exhibit seasonal changes in singing and in the volumes of the neural substrate. Increases in song nuclei volume are mediated at least in part by increases in day length, which is also associated with increases in plasma testosterone (T), reproductive activity, and singing behavior in males. The correlations between photoperiod (i.e. daylength), T, reproductive state and singing hamper our ability to disentangle causal relationships. We investigated how photoperiodic-induced variation in reproductive state modulates the effects of T on singing behavior and song nuclei volumes in adult female starlings. Female starlings do not naturally produce measureable levels of circulating T but nevertheless respond to exogenous T, which induces male-like singing. We manipulated photoperiod by placing birds in a photosensitive or photorefractory state and then treated them with T-filled or empty silastic implants. We recorded morning singing behavior for 3 weeks, after which we assessed reproductive condition and measured song nuclei volumes. We found that T-treated photosensitive birds sang significantly more than all other groups including T-treated photorefractory birds. All T-treated birds had larger song nuclei volumes than with blank-treated birds (despite photorefractory T-treated birds not increasing song-rate). There was no effect of photoperiod on the song nuclei volumes of T-treated birds. These data show that the behavioral effects of exogenous T can be modulated by reproductive state in adult female songbirds. Furthermore, these data are consistent with other observations that increases in singing rate in response to T are not necessarily due to the direct effects of T on song nuclei volume. PMID:25989596

  11. Developmental Exposure to Aroclor 1254 Alters Migratory Behavior in Juvenile European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Flahr, Leanne M; Michel, Nicole L; Zahara, Alexander R D; Jones, Paul D; Morrissey, Christy A

    2015-05-19

    Birds exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals during development could be susceptible to neurological and other physiological changes affecting migratory behaviors. We investigated the effects of ecologically relevant levels of Aroclor 1254, a polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) mixture, on moult, fattening, migratory activity, and orientation in juvenile European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Birds were orally administered 0 (control), 0.35 (low), 0.70 (intermediate), or 1.05 (high) μg Aroclor 1254/g-body weight by gavage from 1 through 18 days posthatch and later exposed in captivity to a photoperiod shift simulating an autumn migration. Migratory activity and orientation were examined using Emlen funnel trials. Across treatments, we found significant increases in mass, fat, and moulting and decreasing plasma thyroid hormones over time. We observed a significant increase in activity as photoperiod was shifted from 13L:11D (light:dark) to 12L:12D, demonstrating that migratory condition was induced in captivity. At 12L:12D, control birds oriented to 155.95° (South-Southeast), while high-dosed birds did not. High-dosed birds showed a delayed orientation to 197.48° (South-Southwest) under 10L:14D, concomitant with apparent delays in moult. These findings demonstrate how subtle contaminant-induced alterations during development could lead to longer-scale effects, including changes in migratory activity and orientation, which could potentially result in deleterious effects on fitness and survival. PMID:25893686

  12. Heritability of Nestling Growth in Cross-Fostered European Starlings Sturnus Vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    Smith, H. G.; Wettermark, K. J.

    1995-01-01

    In altricial birds, growth rates and nestling morphology vary between broods. For natural selection to produce evolutionary change in these variables, there must exist heritable variation. Since nestling traits are not any longer present in parents, traditional offspring-parent regressions cannot estimate heritabilities of these. In this study, a partial cross-fostering experiment was performed, where nestlings of the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) were reciprocally exchanged between nests. The experiment demonstrated a significant heritability of nestling tarsus length and body mass, but not of the growth trajectories followed by individual nestlings. The heritability estimate for tarsus length obtained in the cross-fostering experiment using full-sib analysis was lower than those obtained by offspring-parent regressions. This is likely due to a genotype-by-environment effect on tarsus length, with nestlings destined to become large but in poor condition having a low probability of appearing as parents. The main reason for the low heritability of growth was probably the large within-brood variation in growth pattern due to the initial size hierarchy of nestlings. Nestlings demonstrated targeted growth, where small-sized nestlings that initially grew slower than their siblings, managed to catch up. PMID:8647400

  13. PCB and heavy metal contamination and effects in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) at a superfund site

    SciTech Connect

    Arenal, C.A.; Halbrook, R.S.

    1997-02-01

    From 1946-1967 industrial activities at the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (CONWR) included the construction of landfills and dumps for disposal of hazardous waste. Heavy metals such as cadmium, chromium, mercury, and lead and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a special concern because of transport to biotic communities. During routine monitoring, Hite and King found elevated concentrations of mercury in fish from Crab Orchard Lake, and Kohler et al. reported PCB concentrations greater than FDA safety limits (2 ppm) in 38% of the fish collected in the eastern portion of Crab Orchard Lake. Additionally, livers from hunter harvested white-tailed deer killed on CONWR contained significantly greater concentrations of nickel and lead compared to deer collected off CONWR. In 1984, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added 7 sites within CONWR to the National Priorities List under the Comprehensive Environmental Recovery, Compensation and Liabilities Act. These site contained varying concentrations of PCBs (Aroclor 1254) and heavy metals that were assessed as posing risk to wildlife. Because few studies have been completed on the effects of PCB and heavy metal concentrations on avian species among sites on the refuge, and preliminary studies by McKee indicated possible avian reproductive impairment due to contaminant exposure, additional study to evaluate adverse effects in avian species was initiated. Using the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) as an avian model, this project provided biological and contaminant baseline data for evaluating avian exposure and effects, and provides a benchmark for determining the effectiveness of proposed remedial actions on CONWR. 18 refs., 5 figs., 2 tabs.

  14. Latent cognitive effects from low-level polychlorinated biphenyl exposure in juvenile European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Zahara, Alexander R D; Michel, Nicole L; Flahr, Leanne M; Ejack, Leanne E; Morrissey, Christy A

    2015-11-01

    Ecotoxicology research on polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) mixtures has focused principally on short-term effects on reproduction, growth, and other physiological endpoints. Latent cognitive effects from early life exposure to low-level PCBs were examined in an avian model, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Thirty-six birds, divided equally among 4 treatment groups (control = 0 µg, low = 0.35 µg, intermediate = 0.70 µg, and high = 1.05 µg Aroclor 1254/g body weight), were dosed 1 d through 18 d posthatch, then tested 8 mo to 9 mo later in captivity in an analog to an open radial arm maze. Birds were subject to 4 sequential experiments: habituation, learning, cue selection, and memory. One-half of the birds did not habituate to the test cage; however, this was not linked to a treatment group. Although 11 of the remaining 18 birds successfully learned, only 1 was from the high-dosed group. Control and low-dosed birds were among the only treatment groups to improve trial times throughout the learning experiment. High-dosed birds were slower and more error-prone than controls. Cue selection (spatial or color cues) and memory retention were not affected by prior PCB exposure. The results indicate that a reduction in spatial learning ability persists among birds exposed to Aroclor 1254 during development. This may have implications for migration ability, resource acquisition, and other behaviors relevant for fitness. PMID:26033510

  15. Artificial rain and cold wind act as stressors to captive molting and non-molting European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    de Bruijn, Robert; Romero, L Michael

    2013-03-01

    Free-roaming animals continually cope with changes in their environment. One of the most unpredictable environmental phenomena is weather. Being able to respond to weather appropriately is crucial as it can be a threat to survival. The stress response, consisting of increases in heart rate and release of glucocorticoids, is an important mechanism by which animals cope with stressors. This study examined behavioral, heart rate, and corticosterone responses of captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to two aspects of weather mimicked under controlled conditions, a subtle (3 °C) decrease in temperature and a short, mild bout of rain. Both decreased temperature and exposure to rain elicited increases in heart rate and corticosterone in non-molting starlings. Molt is an important life history stage in birds that affects feather cover and may require a different response to weather-related stressors. We repeated the experiment in molting starlings and found increases in heart rate in response to rain and cold wind. However, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis was suppressed during molt, as molting starlings did not increase corticosterone release in response to either stimulus. These data suggest these stimuli induce increased allostatic load in starlings, and that animals may adjust their response depending on the life-history stage. PMID:23277223

  16. Experimental analysis of perching in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris: Passeriformes; Passeres), and the automatic perching mechanism of birds.

    PubMed

    Galton, Peter M; Shepherd, Jeffrey D

    2012-04-01

    The avian automatic perching mechanism (APM) involves the automatic digital flexor mechanism (ADFM) and the digital tendon-locking mechanism (DTLM). When birds squat on a perch to sleep, the increased tendon travel distance due to flexion of the knee and ankle supposedly causes the toes to grip the perch (ADFM) and engage the DTLM so perching while sleeping involves no muscular effort. However, the knees and ankles of sleeping European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are only slightly flexed and, except for occasional balancing adjustments, the distal two-thirds of the toes are not flexed to grip a 6-mm-diameter perch. The cranial ankle angle (CAA) is ∼120° and the foot forms an inverted "U" that, with the mostly unflexed toes, provides a saddle-like structure so the bird balances its weight over the central pad of the foot (during day weight further back and digits actively grasp perch). In the region of the pad, the tendon sheath of many birds is unribbed, or only very slightly so, and it is always separated from the tendon of the M. flexor digitorum longus by tendons of the other toe flexor muscles. Passive leg flexion produces no toe flexion in anesthetized Starlings and only after 15-20 min, at the onset of rigor mortis, in freshly sacrificed Starlings. Anesthetized Starlings could not remain perched upon becoming unconscious (ADFM, DTLM intact). Birds whose digital flexor tendons were severed or the locking mechanism eliminated surgically (no ADFM or DTLM), so without ability to flex their toes, slept on the perch in a manner similar to unoperated Starlings (except CAA ∼90°-110°). Consequently, there is no APM or ADFM and the DTLM, although involved in lots of other activities, only acts in perching with active contraction of the digital flexor muscles. PMID:22539208

  17. Behavioural and hormonal effects of social isolation and neophobia in a gregarious bird species, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Apfelbeck, Beate; Raess, Michael

    2008-08-01

    Separating gregarious individuals from their group members often results in behavioural and physiological changes, like increased levels of corticosterone. Testosterone and corticosterone, in particular, have been implicated in the response of mammals to novelty. Data in birds are, however, rare. The presence or absence of group members may also influence an individual's response to novel stimuli. We assessed the behaviour and hormonal response of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to a novel object in two different situations and seasons: each starling was tested when separated and when in contact with its group members in May/June (breeding season) and again in September/October (non-breeding season). Starlings are gregarious throughout the year, but as foraging flocks are small during the breeding season and large during the non-breeding season, we assumed that non-breeding starlings would be more affected by social isolation. Overall, starlings had higher levels of corticosterone, lost more body mass, and were more active when they were separated from their group. Isolated individuals, however, did not show a greater neophobic response than individuals in the presence of their group members in either season. Circulating levels of testosterone and corticosterone were higher after a test with novel object than after a test with only the familiar feeding dish in both sexes and seasons. However, control tests for handling effects confirmed only the increase in testosterone. Our study shows that social isolation is stressful for unrelated and unpaired members of a wild flocking bird species and demonstrates that novelty can lead to a rise in testosterone in birds. PMID:18514197

  18. Metabolic power, mechanical power and efficiency during wind tunnel flight by the European starling Sturnus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Ward, S; Möller, U; Rayner, J M; Jackson, D M; Bilo, D; Nachtigall, W; Speakman, J R

    2001-10-01

    We trained two starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to fly in a wind tunnel whilst wearing respirometry masks. We measured the metabolic power (P(met)) from the rates of oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production and calculated the mechanical power (P(mech)) from two aerodynamic models using wingbeat kinematics measured by high-speed cinematography. P(met) increased from 10.4 to 14.9 W as flight speed was increased from 6.3 to 14.4 m s(-1) and was compatible with the U-shaped power/speed curve predicted by the aerodynamic models. Flight muscle efficiency varied between 0.13 and 0.23 depending upon the bird, the flight speed and the aerodynamic model used to calculate P(mech). P(met) during flight is often estimated by extrapolation from the mechanical power predicted by aerodynamic models by dividing P(mech) by a flight muscle efficiency of 0.23 and adding the costs of basal metabolism, circulation and respiration. This method would underestimate measured P(met) by 15-25 % in our birds. The mean discrepancy between measured and predicted P(met) could be reduced to 0.1+/-1.5 % if flight muscle efficiency was altered to a value of 0.18. A flight muscle efficiency of 0.18 rather than 0.23 should be used to calculate the flight costs of birds in the size range of starlings (approximately 0.1 kg) if P(met) is calculated from P(mech) derived from aerodynamic models. PMID:11606605

  19. European starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris ) suggest that landfills are an important source of bioaccumulative flame retardants to Canadian terrestrial ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Chen, Da; Martin, Pamela; Burgess, Neil M; Champoux, Louise; Elliott, John E; Forsyth, Douglas J; Idrissi, Abde; Letcher, Robert J

    2013-01-01

    Landfills are used as the primary means for the disposal of municipal solid waste in Canada. In the present study, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and other flame retardants (FRs) were determined in fresh European starling ( Sturnus vulgaris ) eggs collected in 2009, 2010, and 2011 from nest boxes established within, adjacent to, and 10 and 40 km distant to five major urban centers across Canada, i.e., Vancouver, British Columbia (BC); Calgary, Alberta (AB); Hamilton, Ontario (ON); Montréal, Québec (QC); and Halifax, Nova Scotia (NS). Nest boxes were located in several land use types: urban industrial areas (districts of industrial activity within city limits), landfill sites (adjacent to cities), and rural (agricultural) sites located 10 and 40 km distant from the major urban centers, as well as a national reference site. Of the 14 PBDE congeners and 16 non-PBDE FR substances determined in the starling eggs, BDE-17, -28, -47, -49, -66, -85, -99, -100, -138, -153, -154, -183, and -209, Dechlorane Plus isomers (anti and syn), and bis(2-ethylhexyl)-3,4,5,6-tetrabromophthalate (BEHTBP) were most frequently quantifiable. The data revealed orders of magnitude greater PBDE concentrations in eggs from starlings nesting in landfill sites (median: 28-280 ng/g wet weight) relative to those from urban industrial and rural environments. However, the percent fractional composition of the PBDE congener patterns did not vary significantly between the types of land uses or between years. Additionally, the median ∑PBDE concentration in eggs from landfill sites and the human population density of the metropolitan region that the landfill serves were highly correlated (r(2) = 0.998, p < 0.001). As the first transcontinental effort in assessing FR contamination in Canadian terrestrial ecosystems, the present study strongly suggest that landfills are an important FR source to starlings nesting nearby and that other terrestrial organisms could also be similarly exposed. PMID

  20. Behavioral and physiological responses of wild-caught European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to a minor, rapid change in ambient temperature.

    PubMed

    de Bruijn, Robert; Romero, L Michael

    2011-10-01

    Free-ranging animals continuously adjust to changes in their environment. The stress response, typified by increases in heart rate and glucocorticoids, is an important physiological response regulating these changes. This study investigated heart rate, corticosterone and behavioral responses of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to a rapid 30min decrease in temperature using an air-conditioning unit. Ten wild-caught birds were divided into pairs and exposed to four different trials. Three trials were controls: undisturbed birds; exposing birds to only the noise of the air-conditioning unit; and exposing the birds to 20°C airflow. For the experimental trial birds were exposed to 12°C air, leading to a rapid but modest 3°C drop in ambient temperature inside the birdcages. Heart rate and behavior were recorded before and during trials, while blood samples were collected before and after each trial for corticosterone measurements. Cooling, but none of the control conditions, induced an increase in heart rate and corticosterone. Additionally, cooling led to an increase in perch hopping and feather ruffling. We conclude that minor changes in temperature can elicit a stress response in European starlings, which suggests that this may be an important mechanism by which animals cope with minor rapid environmental changes. PMID:21723407

  1. Chronic stress alters glucocorticoid receptor and mineralocorticoid receptor mRNA expression in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) brain.

    PubMed

    Dickens, M; Romero, L M; Cyr, N E; Dunn, I C; Meddle, S L

    2009-10-01

    Although the glucocorticoid response to acute short-term stress is an adaptive physiological mechanism that aids in the response to and survival of noxious stimuli, chronic stress is associated with a negative impact on health. In wild-caught European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), chronic stress alters the responsiveness of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis as measured by the acute corticosterone response. In the present study, we investigated potential underlying neuroendocrine mechanisms by comparing glucocorticoid receptor and mineralocorticoid receptor mRNA expression in the brains of chronically and nonchronically-stressed starlings. Hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, but not hippocampal, glucocorticoid receptor mRNA expression in chronically-stressed birds was significantly lower compared to controls, suggesting changes in the efficacy of corticosterone negative feedback. In addition, chronically-stressed birds showed a significant decrease in hippocampal MR mRNA expression. Together, these results suggest that chronic stress changes the brain physiology of wild birds and provides important information for the understanding of the underlying mechanisms that result in dysregulation of the HPA axis in wild animals by chronic stress. PMID:19686439

  2. Estradiol differentially affects auditory recognition and learning according to photoperiodic state in the adult male songbird, European starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Knudsen, Daniel P.; Krause, Jesse S.; Wingfield, John C.; Gentner, Timothy Q.

    2013-01-01

    Changes in hormones can affect many types of learning in vertebrates. Adults experience fluctuations in a multitude of hormones over a temporal scale, from local, rapid action to more long-term, seasonal changes. Endocrine changes during development can affect behavioral outcomes in adulthood, but how learning is affected in adults by hormone fluctuations experienced during adulthood is less understood. Previous reports have implicated the sex steroid hormone estradiol (E2) in both male and female vertebrate cognitive functioning. Here, we examined the effects of E2 on auditory recognition and learning in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). European starlings are photoperiodic, seasonally breeding songbirds that undergo different periods of reproductive activity according to annual changes in day length. We simulated these reproductive periods, specifically 1. photosensitivity, 2. photostimulation, and 3. photorefractoriness in captive birds by altering day length. During each period, we manipulated circulating E2 and examined multiple measures of learning. To manipulate circulating E2, we used subcutaneous implants containing either 17-β E2 and/or fadrozole (FAD), a highly specific aromatase inhibitor that suppresses E2 production in the body and the brain, and measured the latency for birds to learn and respond to short, male conspecific song segments (motifs). We report that photostimulated birds given E2 had higher response rates and responded with better accuracy than those given saline controls or FAD. Conversely, photosensitive, animals treated with E2 responded with less accuracy than those given FAD. These results demonstrate how circulating E2 and photoperiod can interact to shape auditory recognition and learning in adults, driving it in opposite directions in different states. PMID:24058881

  3. Constitutive immune function in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, is decreased immediately after an endurance flight in a wind tunnel.

    PubMed

    Nebel, Silke; Bauchinger, Ulf; Buehler, Deborah M; Langlois, Lillie A; Boyles, Michelle; Gerson, Alexander R; Price, Edwin R; McWilliams, Scott R; Guglielmo, Christopher G

    2012-01-15

    Life-history theory predicts that animals face a trade-off in energy allocation between performing strenuous exercise, such as migratory flight, and mounting an immune response. We experimentally tested this prediction by studying immune function in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, flown in a wind tunnel. Specifically, we predicted that constitutive immune function decreases in response to training and, additionally, in response to immediate exercise. We compared constitutive immune function among three groups: (1) 'untrained' birds that were kept in cages and were not flown; (2) 'trained' birds that received flight training over a 15 day period and performed a 1-4 h continuous flight, after which they rested for 48 h before being sampled; and (3) 'post-flight' birds that differed from the 'trained' group only in being sampled immediately after the final flight. A bird in our trained group represents an individual during migration that has been resting between migratory flights for at least 2 days. A bird in our post-flight group represents an individual that has just completed a migratory flight and has not yet had time to recover. Three of our four indicators (haptoglobin, agglutination and lysis) showed the predicted decrease in immune function in the post-flight group, and two indicators (haptoglobin, agglutination) showed the predicted decreasing trend from the untrained to trained to post-flight group. Haptoglobin levels were negatively correlated with flight duration. No effect of training or flight was detected on leukocyte profiles. Our results suggest that in European starlings, constitutive immune function is decreased more as a result of immediate exercise than of exercise training. Because of the recent emergence of avian-borne diseases, understanding the trade-offs and challenges faced by long-distance migrants has gained a new level of relevance and urgency. PMID:22189771

  4. Eastern equine encephalitis virus in birds: relative competence of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Komar, N; Dohm, D J; Turell, M J; Spielman, A

    1999-03-01

    To determine whether eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus infection in starlings may be more fulminant than in various native candidate reservoir birds, we compared their respective intensities and durations of viremia. Viremias are more intense and longer lasting in starlings than in robins and other birds. Starlings frequently die as their viremia begins to wane; other birds generally survive. Various Aedes as well as Culiseta melanura mosquitoes can acquire EEE viral infection from infected starlings under laboratory conditions. The reservoir competence of a bird is described as the product of infectiousness (proportion of feeding mosquitoes that become infected) and the duration of infectious viremia. Although starlings are not originally native where EEE is enzootic, a starling can infect about three times as many mosquitoes as can a robin. PMID:10466964

  5. Influence of Testosterone Metabolites on Song-Control System Neuroplasticity during Photostimulation in Adult European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Hall, Zachary J.; MacDougall-Shackleton, Scott A.

    2012-01-01

    The song-control system is a network of discrete nuclei in the songbird brain that controls the production and learning of birdsong and exhibits some of the best-studied neuroplasticity found in the adult brain. Photoperiodic growth of the song-control system during the breeding season is driven, at least in part, by the gonadal steroid testosterone. When acting on neural tissue, however, testosterone can be metabolized into 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or 17β-estradiol (E2), which activate different hormonal signaling pathways. By treating adult starlings with both testosterone metabolites and metabolite antagonists, we attempted to isolate the effects of androgen and estrogen treatment on neuroplasticity during photostimulation in male and female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Photostimulation resulted in a large HVC volume typical of the breeding season in all treatments independent of hormone treatment. E2 had additional effects on HVC growth by reducing neuron density and enhancing early survival of new neurons recruited to HVC in females but did not significantly affect HVC volume. Conversely, DHT reduced the migration of new neurons, assessed by the expression of doublecortin, to HVC. DHT also increased syrinx mass and maintained RA (robust nucleus of the arcopallium) cytoarchitecture in the presence of aromatase inhibitors. In addition, we document the first evidence of sex-specific neuroplastic responses of the song-control system to androgens and estrogens. These findings suggest that the contributions of DHT and E2 signaling in songbird neuroplasticity may be regulated by photoperiod and that future studies should account for species and sex differences in the brain. PMID:22792214

  6. Dietary mercury exposure causes decreased escape takeoff flight performance and increased molt rate in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Carlson, Jenna R; Cristol, Daniel; Swaddle, John P

    2014-10-01

    Mercury is a widespread and persistent environmental contaminant that occurs in aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Recently, songbirds that forage from primarily terrestrial sources have shown evidence of bioaccumulation of mercury, but little research has assessed the effects of mercury on their health and fitness. There are many indications that mercury negatively affects neurological functioning, bioenergetics, and behavior through a variety of mechanisms and in a wide array of avian taxa. Effective flight is crucial to avian fitness and feather molt is an energetically expensive life history trait. Therefore, we investigated whether mercury exposure influenced flight performance and molt in a common songbird, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Specifically, we dosed the diet of captive starlings with methylmercury cysteine at 0.0, 0.75, or 1.5 μg/g wet weight and recorded changes in flight performance after 1 year of dietary mercury exposure. We also recorded the annual molt of wing feathers. We found that individuals dosed with mercury exhibited decreased escape takeoff flight performance compared with controls and blood mercury was also correlated with an increased rate of molt, which can reduce flight performance and thermoregulatory ability. This study reveals two novel endpoints, flight performance and molt, that may be affected by dietary mercury exposure. These findings suggest a potential impact on wild songbirds exposed to mercury levels comparable to the high dosage levels in the present study. Any decrease in flight efficiency could reduce fitness due to a direct impact on survival during predation events or by decreased efficiency in other critical activities (such as foraging or migration) that require efficient flight. PMID:25030113

  7. Status-appropriate singing behavior, testosterone and androgen receptor immunolabeling in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Cordes, M A; Stevenson, S A; Riters, L V

    2014-04-01

    Vocalizations convey information about an individual's motivational, internal, and social status. As circumstances change, individuals respond by adjusting vocal behavior accordingly. In European starlings, a male that acquires a nest site socially dominates other males and dramatically increases courtship song. Although circulating testosterone is associated with social status and vocal production it is possible that steroid receptors fine-tune status-appropriate changes in behavior. Here we explored a possible role for androgen receptors. Male starlings that acquired nest sites produced high rates of courtship song. For a subset of males this occurred even in the absence of elevated circulating testosterone. Immunolabeling for androgen receptors (ARir) was highest in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) in males with both a nest site and elevated testosterone. For HVC, ARir was higher in dominant males with high testosterone (males that sang longer songs) than dominant males with low testosterone (males that sang shorter songs). ARir in the dorsal medial portion of the nucleus intercollicularis (DM) was elevated in males with high testosterone irrespective of dominance status. Song bout length related positively to ARir in POM, HVC and DM, and testosterone concentrations related positively to ARir in POM and DM. Results suggest that the role of testosterone in vocal behavior differs across brain regions and support the hypothesis that testosterone in POM underlies motivation, testosterone in HVC relates to song quality, and testosterone in DM stimulates vocalizations. Our data also suggest that singing may influence AR independent of testosterone and that alternative androgen-independent pathways regulate status-appropriate singing behavior. PMID:24594286

  8. Status-appropriate singing behavior, testosterone and androgen receptor immunolabeling in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Cordes, M.A.; Stevenson, S.A.; Riters, L.V.

    2014-01-01

    Vocalizations convey information about an individual’s motivational, internal, and social status. As circumstances change, individuals respond by adjusting vocal behavior accordingly. In European starlings, a male that acquires a nest site socially dominates other males and dramatically increases courtship song. Although circulating testosterone is associated with social status and vocal production it is possible that steroid receptors fine-tune status-appropriate changes in behavior. Here we explored a possible role for androgen receptors. Male starlings that acquired nest sites produced high rates of courtship song. For a subset of males this occurred even in the absence of elevated circulating testosterone. Immunolabeling for androgen receptors (ARir) was highest in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) in males with both a nest site and elevated testosterone. For HVC, ARir was higher in dominant males with high testosterone (males that sang longer songs) than dominant males with low testosterone (males that sang shorter songs). ARir in the dorsal medial portion of the nucleus intercollicularis (DM) was elevated in males with high testosterone irrespective of dominance status. Song bout length related positively to ARir in POM, HVC and DM, and testosterone concentrations related positively to ARir in POM and DM. Results suggest the role of testosterone in vocal behavior differs across brain regions and support the hypothesis that testosterone in POM underlies motivation, testosterone in HVC relates to song quality, and testosterone in DM stimulates vocalizations. Our data also suggest that singing may influence AR independent of testosterone and that alternative androgen-independent pathways regulate status-appropriate singing behavior. PMID:24594286

  9. Estimation of Unsteady Aerodynamics in the Wake of a Freely Flying European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Ben-Gida, Hadar; Kirchhefer, Adam; Taylor, Zachary J.; Bezner-Kerr, Wayne; Guglielmo, Christopher G.; Kopp, Gregory A.; Gurka, Roi

    2013-01-01

    Wing flapping is one of the most widespread propulsion methods found in nature; however, the current understanding of the aerodynamics in bird wakes is incomplete. The role of the unsteady motion in the flow and its contribution to the aerodynamics is still an open question. In the current study, the wake of a freely flying European starling has been investigated using long-duration high-speed Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) in the near wake. Kinematic analysis of the wings and body of the bird has been performed using additional high-speed cameras that recorded the bird movement simultaneously with the PIV measurements. The wake evolution of four complete wingbeats has been characterized through reconstruction of the time-resolved data, and the aerodynamics in the wake have been analyzed in terms of the streamwise forces acting on the bird. The profile drag from classical aerodynamics was found to be positive during most of the wingbeat cycle, yet kinematic images show that the bird does not decelerate. It is shown that unsteady aerodynamics are necessary to satisfy the drag/thrust balance by approximating the unsteady drag term. These findings may shed light on the flight efficiency of birds by providing a partial answer to how they minimize drag during flapping flight. PMID:24278243

  10. Early life disadvantage strengthens flight performance trade-offs in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    O'Hagan, Daniel; Andrews, Clare P.; Bedford, Thomas; Bateson, Melissa; Nettle, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    Developmental stress has been shown to affect adult flight performance in birds, with both negative and positive effects reported in the literature. Previous studies have used developmental manipulations that had substantial effects on patterns of growth. They have also examined mean levels of flight performance per individual, rather than investigating how developmental stress might alter trade-offs between different components of flight performance. We recorded multiple components of escape flight performance in 20 adult European starlings previously subjected to a manipulation likely to have altered levels of developmental stress. Siblings had been cross-fostered to nests where they were either slightly larger (advantaged treatment) or slightly smaller (disadvantaged treatment) than their competitors. The manipulation had no detectable effect on growth. However, developmental treatment affected performance in escape flights a year later by strengthening the trade-offs between different flight parameters. Disadvantaged birds faced a steeper trade-off between take-off speed and take-off angle, and a steeper trade-off between take-off angle and total time in flight, than advantaged birds. The results suggest that even subtle early life adversity that has no obvious effect on growth or size can leave a lasting legacy in the form of constraints on locomotor performance later in life. PMID:25843958

  11. Spatial epidemiology of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in dairy cattle in relation to night roosts Of Sturnus vulgaris (European Starling) in Ohio, USA (2007-2009).

    PubMed

    Swirski, A L; Pearl, D L; Williams, M L; Homan, H J; Linz, G M; Cernicchiaro, N; LeJeune, J T

    2014-09-01

    The goal of our study was to use spatial scan statics to determine whether the night roosts of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) act as point sources for the dissemination of Escherichia coli O157:H7 among dairy farms. From 2007 to 2009, we collected bovine faecal samples (n = 9000) and starling gastrointestinal contents (n = 430) from 150 dairy farms in northeastern Ohio, USA. Isolates of E. coli O157:H7 recovered from these samples were subtyped using multilocus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA). Generated MLVA types were used to construct a dendrogram based on a categorical multistate coefficient and unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA). Using a focused spatial scan statistic, we identified statistically significant spatial clusters among dairy farms surrounding starling night roosts, with an increased prevalence of E. coli O157:H7-positive bovine faecal pats, increased diversity of distinguishable MLVA types and a greater number of isolates with MLVA types from bovine-starling clades versus bovine-only clades. Thus, our findings are compatible with the hypothesis that starlings have a role in the dissemination of E. coli O157:H7 among dairy farms, and further research into starling management is warranted. PMID:24279810

  12. Early life adversity increases foraging and information gathering in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    Andrews, Clare; Viviani, Jérémie; Egan, Emily; Bedford, Thomas; Brilot, Ben; Nettle, Daniel; Bateson, Melissa

    2015-01-01

    Animals can insure themselves against the risk of starvation associated with unpredictable food availability by storing energy reserves or gathering information about alternative food sources. The former strategy carries costs in terms of mass-dependent predation risk, while the latter trades off against foraging for food; both trade-offs may be influenced by an individual's developmental history. Here, we consider a possible role of early developmental experience in inducing different mass regulation and foraging strategies in European starlings. We measured the body mass, body condition, foraging effort, food consumption and contrafreeloading (foraging for food hidden in sand when equivalent food is freely available) of adult birds (≥10 months old) that had previously undergone a subtle early life manipulation of food competition (cross-fostering into the highest or lowest ranks in the brood size hierarchy when 2–12 days of age). We found that developmentally disadvantaged birds were fatter in adulthood and differed in foraging behaviour compared with their advantaged siblings. Disadvantaged birds were hyperphagic compared with advantaged birds, but only following a period of food deprivation, and also spent more time contrafreeloading. Advantaged birds experienced a trade-off between foraging success and time spent contrafreeloading, whereas disadvantaged birds faced no such trade-off, owing to their greater foraging efficiency. Thus, developmentally disadvantaged birds appeared to retain a phenotypic memory of increased nestling food competition, employing both energy storage and information-gathering insurance strategies to a greater extent than their advantaged siblings. Our results suggest that subtle early life disadvantage in the form of psychosocial stress and/or food insecurity can leave a lasting legacy on foraging behaviour and mass regulation even in the absence of food insufficiency during development or adulthood. PMID:26566292

  13. Hand-Rearing Reduces Fear of Humans in European Starlings, Sturnus vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    Feenders, Gesa; Bateson, Melissa

    2011-01-01

    Pending changes in European legislation ban the use of wild-caught animals in research. This change is partly justified on the assumption that captive-breeding (or hand-rearing) increases welfare of captive animals because these practices result in animals with reduced fear of humans. However, there are few actual data on the long-term behavioural effects of captive-breeding in non-domestic species, and these are urgently needed in order to understand the welfare and scientific consequences of adopting this practice. We compared the response of hand-reared and wild-caught starlings to the presence of a human in the laboratory. During human presence, all birds increased their general locomotor activity but the wild-caught birds moved away from the human and were less active than the hand-reared birds. After the human departed, the wild-caught birds were slower to decrease their activity back towards baseline levels, and showed a dramatic increase in time at the periphery of the cage compared with the hand-reared birds. We interpret these data as showing evidence of a greater fear response in wild-caught birds with initial withdrawal followed by a subsequent rebound of prolonged attempts to escape the cage. We found no effects of environmental enrichment. However, birds in cages on low shelves were less active than birds on upper shelves, and showed a greater increase in the time spent at the periphery of their cages after the human departed, perhaps indicating that the lower cages were more stressful. In demonstrating reduced fear of humans in hand-reared birds, our results support one of the proposed welfare benefits of this practice, but without further data on the possible welfare costs of hand-rearing, it is not yet possible to reach a general conclusion about its net welfare impact. However, our results confirm a clear scientific impact of both hand-rearing and cage position at the behavioural level. PMID:21364770

  14. Neurotensin immunolabeling relates to sexually-motivated song and other social behaviors in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Merullo, Devin P.; Cordes, Melissa A.; Stevenson, Sharon A.; Riters, Lauren V.

    2015-01-01

    The brain regions involved in vocal communication are well described for some species, including songbirds, but less is known about the neural mechanisms underlying motivational aspects of communication. Mesolimbic dopaminergic projections from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are central to mediating motivated behaviors. In songbirds, VTA provides dopaminergic innervation to brain regions associated with motivation and social behavior that are also involved in sexually-motivated song production. Neurotensin (NT) is a neuropeptide that strongly modulates dopamine activity, co-localizes with dopamine in VTA, and is found in regions where dopaminergic cells project from VTA. Yet, little is known about how NT contributes to vocal communication or other motivated behaviors. We examined the relationships between sexually-motivated song produced by male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and NT immunolabeling in brain regions involved in social behavior and motivation. Additionally, we observed relationships between NT labeling, non-vocal courtship behaviors (another measure of sexual motivation), and agonistic behavior to begin to understand NT’s role in socially-motivated behaviors. NT labeling in VTA, lateral septum, and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis correlated with sexually-motivated singing and non-vocal courtship behaviors. NT labeling in VTA, lateral septum, medial preoptic nucleus, and periaqueductal gray was associated with agonistic behavior. This study is the first to suggest NT’s involvement in song, and one of the few to implicate NT in social behaviors more generally. Additionally, our results are consistent with the idea that distinct patterns of neuropeptide activity in brain areas involved in social behavior and motivation underlie differentially motivated behaviors. PMID:25595421

  15. Bottom of the Heap: Having Heavier Competitors Accelerates Early-Life Telomere Loss in the European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    Nettle, Daniel; Monaghan, Pat; Boner, Winnie; Gillespie, Robert; Bateson, Melissa

    2013-01-01

    Early-life adversity is associated with poorer health and survival in adulthood in humans and other animals. One pathway by which early-life environmental stressors could affect the adult phenotype is via effects on telomere dynamics. Several studies have shown that early-life adversity is associated with relatively short telomeres, but these are often cross-sectional and usually correlational in design. Here, we present a novel experimental system for studying the relationship between early-life adversity and telomere dynamics using a wild bird, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). We used cross-fostering to experimentally assign sibling chicks to either small or large broods for twelve days of the growth period. We measured telomere length in red blood cells using quantitative PCR near the beginning of the experimental manipulation (4 days old), at the end of the experimental manipulation (15 days old), and once the birds were independent (55 days old). Being in a larger brood slowed growth and retarded wing development and the timing of fledging. We found no evidence that overall brood size affected telomere dynamics. However, the greater the number of competitors above the focal bird in the within-brood size hierarchy, the greater was the telomere loss during the period of the experimental manipulation. The number of competitors below the focal in the hierarchy had no effect. The effect of heavier competitors was still evident when we controlled for the weight of the focal bird at the end of the manipulation, suggesting it was not due to retarded growth per se. Moreover, the impact of early competition on telomeres was still evident at independence, suggesting persistence beyond early life. Our study provides experimental support for the hypothesis that social stress, in this case induced by the presence of a greater number of dominant competitors, accelerates the rate of telomere loss. PMID:24386235

  16. Neurotensin immunolabeling relates to sexually-motivated song and other social behaviors in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Merullo, Devin P; Cordes, Melissa A; Stevenson, Sharon A; Riters, Lauren V

    2015-04-01

    The brain regions involved in vocal communication are well described for some species, including songbirds, but less is known about the neural mechanisms underlying motivational aspects of communication. Mesolimbic dopaminergic projections from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are central to mediating motivated behaviors. In songbirds, VTA provides dopaminergic innervation to brain regions associated with motivation and social behavior that are also involved in sexually-motivated song production. Neurotensin (NT) is a neuropeptide that strongly modulates dopamine activity, co-localizes with dopamine in VTA, and is found in regions where dopaminergic cells project from VTA. Yet, little is known about how NT contributes to vocal communication or other motivated behaviors. We examined the relationships between sexually-motivated song produced by male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and NT immunolabeling in brain regions involved in social behavior and motivation. Additionally, we observed relationships between NT labeling, non-vocal courtship behaviors (another measure of sexual motivation), and agonistic behavior to begin to understand NT's role in socially-motivated behaviors. NT labeling in VTA, lateral septum, and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis correlated with sexually-motivated singing and non-vocal courtship behaviors. NT labeling in VTA, lateral septum, medial preoptic nucleus, and periaqueductal gray was associated with agonistic behavior. This study is the first to suggest NT's involvement in song, and one of the few to implicate NT in social behaviors more generally. Additionally, our results are consistent with the idea that distinct patterns of neuropeptide activity in brain areas involved in social behavior and motivation underlie differentially motivated behaviors. PMID:25595421

  17. The memory of hunger: developmental plasticity of dietary selectivity in the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Bloxham, Louise; Bateson, Melissa; Bedford, Thomas; Brilot, Ben; Nettle, Daniel

    2014-05-01

    The decision to consume toxic prey is a trade-off between the benefits of obtaining nutrients and the costs of ingesting toxins. This trade-off is affected by current state: animals will consume more toxic prey if they are food deprived. However, whether the trade-off is affected by developmental history is currently unknown. We studied the decision to eat quinine-injected mealworms in adult starling siblings that had been exposed to either high or low levels of food competition as chicks, via a brood size manipulation. At the time of our experiments, the two groups of birds did not differ in size, body weight or current environment. Each bird was presented with the toxic prey while living on a high-quality diet and a low-quality diet. We found an effect of diet, with birds consuming more toxic prey while on the low-quality diet, and also of developmental history, with birds from the high-competition brood size treatment eating more toxic prey than their low-competition siblings. The effects of brood size treatment were not completely mediated by early growth, although we did find evidence that early growth affected toxic prey consumption independently of brood size treatment. We discuss our results in relation to adaptive developmental plasticity and the developmental origins of behavioural variation. PMID:24910465

  18. The memory of hunger: developmental plasticity of dietary selectivity in the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    Bloxham, Louise; Bateson, Melissa; Bedford, Thomas; Brilot, Ben; Nettle, Daniel

    2014-01-01

    The decision to consume toxic prey is a trade-off between the benefits of obtaining nutrients and the costs of ingesting toxins. This trade-off is affected by current state: animals will consume more toxic prey if they are food deprived. However, whether the trade-off is affected by developmental history is currently unknown. We studied the decision to eat quinine-injected mealworms in adult starling siblings that had been exposed to either high or low levels of food competition as chicks, via a brood size manipulation. At the time of our experiments, the two groups of birds did not differ in size, body weight or current environment. Each bird was presented with the toxic prey while living on a high-quality diet and a low-quality diet. We found an effect of diet, with birds consuming more toxic prey while on the low-quality diet, and also of developmental history, with birds from the high-competition brood size treatment eating more toxic prey than their low-competition siblings. The effects of brood size treatment were not completely mediated by early growth, although we did find evidence that early growth affected toxic prey consumption independently of brood size treatment. We discuss our results in relation to adaptive developmental plasticity and the developmental origins of behavioural variation. PMID:24910465

  19. Experimental Challenge of a Peridomestic Avian Species, European Starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris ), with Novel Influenza A H7N9 Virus from China.

    PubMed

    Hall, Jeffrey S; Ip, Hon S; TeSlaa, Joshua L; Nashold, Sean W; Dusek, Robert J

    2016-07-01

    In 2013 a novel avian influenza H7N9 virus was isolated from several critically ill patients in China, and infection with this virus has since caused more than 200 human deaths. Live poultry markets are the likely locations of virus exposure to humans. Peridomestic avian species also may play important roles in the transmission and maintenance of H7N9 at live poultry markets. We experimentally challenged wild European Starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris ) with the novel H7N9 virus and measured virus excretion, clinical signs, and infectious dose. We found that European Starlings can be infected with this virus when inoculated with relatively high doses, and we predict that infected birds excrete sufficient amounts of virus to transmit to other birds, including domestic chickens. Infected European Starlings showed no clinical signs or mortality after infection with H7N9. This abundant peridomestic bird may be a source of the novel H7N9 virus in live poultry markets and may have roles in virus transmission to poultry and humans. PMID:27285413

  20. Fear and Exploration in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris): A Comparison of Hand-Reared and Wild-Caught Birds

    PubMed Central

    Feenders, Gesa; Klaus, Kristel; Bateson, Melissa

    2011-01-01

    The revision of EU legislation will ban the use of wild-caught animals in scientific procedures. This change is partially predicated on the assumption that captive-rearing produces animals with reduced fearfulness. Previously, we have shown that hand-reared starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) indeed exhibit reduced fear of humans compared to wild-caught conspecifics. Here, we asked whether this reduction in fear in hand-reared birds is limited to fear of humans or extends more generally to fear of novel environments and novel objects. Comparing 6–8 month old birds hand-reared in the lab with age-matched birds caught from the wild as fledged juveniles a minimum of 1 month previously, we examined the birds' initial reactions in a novel environment (a small cage) and found that wild-caught starlings were faster to initiate movement compared to the hand-reared birds. We interpret this difference as evidence for greater escape motivation in the wild-caught birds. In contrast, we found no differences between hand-reared and wild-caught birds when tested in novel object tests assumed to measure neophobia and exploratory behaviour. Moreover, we found no correlations between individual bird's responses in the different tests, supporting the idea that these measure different traits (e.g. fear and exploration). In summary, our data show that developmental origin affects one measure of response to novelty in young starlings, indicative of a difference in either fear or coping style in a stressful situation. Our data contribute to a growing literature demonstrating effects of early-life experience on later behaviour in a range of species. However, since we did not find consistent evidence for reduced fearfulness in hand-reared birds, we remain agnostic about the welfare benefits of hand-rearing as a method for sourcing wild birds for behavioural and physiological research. PMID:21526000

  1. Wild European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) adjust to captivity with sustained sympathetic nervous system drive and a reduced fight-or-flight response.

    PubMed

    Dickens, Molly J; Romero, L Michael

    2009-01-01

    Although research on wild species typically involves capture, handling, and some degree of captivity, few studies examine how these actions affect and/or alter the animal's underlying stress physiology. Furthermore, we poorly understand the immediate changes that occur as wild animals adjust to captive conditions. Most studies to date have investigated relatively long-term changes in the glucocorticoid response to an acute stressor, but immediate changes in the fight-or-flight response are relatively understudied in wild-caught species. In this study, we investigated changes to the cardiovascular stress response during the first 10 d of captivity of freshly captured wild European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). We demonstrated that (1) baseline heart rate (HR) remains elevated for several days following transport into captivity, (2) the normal balance between sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and parasympathetic nervous system regulation of HR is disrupted, with the SNS exerting relatively greater control over baseline HR for the first days of captivity, and (3) the HR response to startle, a mild stressor, becomes significantly reduced compared to that of starlings maintained in captivity for several months and remains below the control response for at least 10 d. These data are the first to show that successive acute stressors and introduction to a captive setting significantly alter the physiology and responsiveness of the cardiovascular stress response system. PMID:19642947

  2. Two seconds is all it takes: European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) increase levels of circulating glucocorticoids after witnessing a brief raptor attack.

    PubMed

    Jones, Blake C; Smith, Adam D; Bebus, Sara E; Schoech, Stephan J

    2016-02-01

    Researchers typically study "acute" activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis by measuring levels of circulating glucocorticoids in animals that have been exposed to a predator or a cue from a predator (e.g., odor), or have experienced a standardized capture-and-restraint protocol, all of which are many minutes in duration. However, exposure to predators in the "wild", either as the subject of an attack or as a witness to an attack, is generally much shorter as most depredation attempts upon free-living animals last <5s. Yet, whether a stimulus lasting only seconds can activate the HPA axis is unknown. To determine if a stimulus of a few seconds triggers a glucocorticoid response, we measured levels of corticosterone (CORT; the primary avian glucocorticoid) in wild-caught European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) after they witnessed a brief (<2-8s) raptor attack upon a conspecific, a human "attack" (i.e., a researcher handling a conspecific), and an undisturbed control. Witnesses of a raptor attack responded with CORT levels comparable to that induced by a standardized capture-and-restraint protocol. Glucocorticoid levels of individuals following the control treatment were similar to baseline levels, and those that witnessed a human "attack" had intermediate levels. Our results demonstrate that witnessing a predator attack of very brief duration triggers a profound adrenocortical stress response. Given the considerable evidence of a role for glucocorticoids in learning and memory, such a response may affect how individuals learn to recognize and appropriately react to predators. PMID:26522494

  3. Metabolic power of European starlings Sturnus vulgaris during flight in a wind tunnel, estimated from heat transfer modelling, doubly labelled water and mask respirometry.

    PubMed

    Ward, S; Möller, U; Rayner, J M V; Jackson, D M; Nachtigall, W; Speakman, J R

    2004-11-01

    It is technically demanding to measure the energetic cost of animal flight. Each of the previously available techniques has some disadvantage as well advantages. We compared measurements of the energetic cost of flight in a wind tunnel by four European starlings Sturnus vulgaris made using three independent techniques: heat transfer modelling, doubly labelled water (DLW) and mask respirometry. We based our heat transfer model on thermal images of the surface temperature of the birds and air flow past the body and wings calculated from wing beat kinematics. Metabolic power was not sensitive to uncertainty in the value of efficiency when estimated from heat transfer modelling. A change in the assumed value of whole animal efficiency from 0.19 to 0.07 (the range of estimates in previous studies) only altered metabolic power predicted from heat transfer modelling by 13%. The same change in the assumed value of efficiency would cause a 2.7-fold change in metabolic power if it were predicted from mechanical power. Metabolic power did not differ significantly between measurements made using the three techniques when we assumed an efficiency in the range 0.11-0.19, although the DLW results appeared to form a U-shaped power-speed curve while the heat transfer model and respirometry results increased linearly with speed. This is the first time that techniques for determining metabolic power have been compared using data from the same birds flying under the same conditions. Our data provide reassurance that all the techniques produce similar results and suggest that heat transfer modelling may be a useful method for estimating metabolic rate. PMID:15531650

  4. Shape from Shading in Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Qadri, Muhammad A.; Romero, L. Michael; Cook, Robert G.

    2014-01-01

    Birds behave as if they quickly and accurately perceive an object-filled visual world. Beyond the extensive research with pigeons, however, there is a large and important gap in our knowledge about the mechanisms of object perception and recognition in other avian visual systems. The pattern of shading reflected from object surfaces is one important optical feature providing fundamental information about shape. To better understand how surface and object shading is processed by a passerine species, five starlings were tested with differentially illuminated convex and concave curved surfaces in three experiments using a simultaneous visual discrimination procedure. Starlings rapidly learned this shape-from-shading discrimination independent of varied lighting direction, surface color, and camera perspective. Variations in the pattern of lighting through experimental manipulations of camera perspective, surface height, contrast, material specularity, and surface shape were consistent with the hypothesis that the starlings perceived these illuminated surfaces as having three-dimensional shape, similar to results previously collected with pigeons. These similarities across different orders of birds indicate that the relative shading for objects in a visual scene is a highly salient feature for shape processing in birds and is likely a highly conserved visual process that is widely distributed within this class of animal. PMID:25111630

  5. Shape from shading in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Qadri, Muhammad A J; Romero, L Michael; Cook, Robert G

    2014-11-01

    Birds behave as if they quickly and accurately perceive an object-filled visual world. Beyond the extensive research with pigeons, however, there is a large and important gap in our knowledge about the mechanisms of object perception and recognition in other avian visual systems. The pattern of shading reflected from the surfaces of objects is one important optical feature that provides fundamental information about shape. To better understand how surface and object shading is processed by a passerine species, 5 starlings were tested with differentially illuminated convex and concave curved surfaces in 3 experiments using a simultaneous visual discrimination procedure. Starlings rapidly learned this shape-from-shading discrimination independent of varied lighting direction, surface color, and camera perspective. Variations in the pattern of lighting through experimental manipulations of camera perspective, surface height, contrast, material specularity, and surface shape were consistent with the hypothesis that the starlings perceived these illuminated surfaces as having 3-dimensional shape, similar to results previously collected with pigeons. These similarities across different orders of birds indicate that the relative shading of objects in a visual scene is a highly salient feature for shape processing in birds and is likely a highly conserved visual process that is widely distributed within this class of animal. PMID:25111630

  6. Context-Dependent Links between Song Production and Opioid-Mediated Analgesia in Male European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Kelm-Nelson, Cynthia A.; Stevenson, Sharon A.; Riters, Lauren V.

    2012-01-01

    Little is known about the neural mechanisms that ensure appropriate vocal behaviors within specific social contexts. Male songbirds produce spontaneous (undirected) songs as well as female-directed courtship songs. Opioid neuropeptide activity in specific brain regions is rewarding, at least in mammals, and past studies suggest that the opioid met-enkephalin in such areas is more tightly linked to undirected than female-directed song. Recent data using a song-associated place preference paradigm further suggest that production of undirected but not directed song is tightly linked to intrinsic reward. Opioids have analgesic properties. Therefore, if production of undirected song is closely linked to opioid-mediated reward, the production of undirected but not directed song should be associated with analgesia. Consistent with this prediction, in male starlings we identified a positive correlation between analgesia (decreased reactivity to a hot water bath) and undirected song (in non-breeding season condition males in affiliative flocks) but not female-directed song (in breeding season condition males presented with females). When breeding condition males were divided according to social status, a negative correlation was found in subordinate males (i.e. males that failed to acquire a nest box). These data are consistent with the hypotheses 1) that the production of undirected song is facilitated or maintained by opioids (and/or other neuromodulators that also induce analgesia) and 2) that production of female-directed song is not linked in the same way to release of the same neuromodulators. Results also demonstrate a link between analgesia and song in subordinate individuals lacking a nesting territory within the breeding season. Overall, the findings indicate that distinct neural mechanisms regulate communication in different social contexts and support the working hypothesis that undirected but not directed song is tightly linked to opioid release. PMID:23056422

  7. Context-dependent links between song production and opioid-mediated analgesia in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Kelm-Nelson, Cynthia A; Stevenson, Sharon A; Riters, Lauren V

    2012-01-01

    Little is known about the neural mechanisms that ensure appropriate vocal behaviors within specific social contexts. Male songbirds produce spontaneous (undirected) songs as well as female-directed courtship songs. Opioid neuropeptide activity in specific brain regions is rewarding, at least in mammals, and past studies suggest that the opioid met-enkephalin in such areas is more tightly linked to undirected than female-directed song. Recent data using a song-associated place preference paradigm further suggest that production of undirected but not directed song is tightly linked to intrinsic reward. Opioids have analgesic properties. Therefore, if production of undirected song is closely linked to opioid-mediated reward, the production of undirected but not directed song should be associated with analgesia. Consistent with this prediction, in male starlings we identified a positive correlation between analgesia (decreased reactivity to a hot water bath) and undirected song (in non-breeding season condition males in affiliative flocks) but not female-directed song (in breeding season condition males presented with females). When breeding condition males were divided according to social status, a negative correlation was found in subordinate males (i.e. males that failed to acquire a nest box). These data are consistent with the hypotheses 1) that the production of undirected song is facilitated or maintained by opioids (and/or other neuromodulators that also induce analgesia) and 2) that production of female-directed song is not linked in the same way to release of the same neuromodulators. Results also demonstrate a link between analgesia and song in subordinate individuals lacking a nesting territory within the breeding season. Overall, the findings indicate that distinct neural mechanisms regulate communication in different social contexts and support the working hypothesis that undirected but not directed song is tightly linked to opioid release. PMID:23056422

  8. The perception of Glass patterns by starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Qadri, Muhammad A J; Cook, Robert G

    2015-06-01

    Glass patterns are structured dot stimuli used to investigate the visual perception of global form. Studies have demonstrated that humans and pigeons differ in their processing of circular versus linearly organized Glass patterns. To test whether this comparative difference is characteristic of birds as a phylogenetic class, we investigated for the first time how a passerine (starlings, Sturnus vulgaris) discriminated multiple Glass patterns from random-dot stimuli in a simultaneous discrimination. By examining acquisition, steady-state performance, and the effects of diminishing global coherence, it was found that the perception of Glass patterns by 5 starlings differed from human perception and corresponded to that established with pigeons. This suggests an important difference in how birds and primates are specialized in their processing of circular visual patterns, perhaps related to face perception, or in how these highly visual animals direct attention to the global and local components of spatially separated form stimuli. PMID:25117091

  9. The Perception of Glass Patterns by Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Qadri, Muhammad A. J.; Cook, Robert G.

    2014-01-01

    Glass patterns are structured dot stimuli used to investigate the visual perception of global form. Studies have demonstrated that humans and pigeons differ in their processing of circular versus linearly organized Glass patterns. To test whether this comparative difference is characteristic of birds as a phylogenetic class, we investigated for the first time how a passerine (starlings, Sturnus vulgaris) discriminated multiple Glass patterns from random dot stimuli in a simultaneous discrimination. Examining acquisition, steady-state performance, and the effects of diminishing global coherence, it was found that the perception of Glass patterns by five starlings differed from human perception and corresponded to that established with pigeons. This suggests an important difference in how birds and primates are specialized in their processing of circular visual patterns, perhaps related to face perception, or in how these highly visual animals direct attention to the global and local components of spatially separated form stimuli. PMID:25117091

  10. Postfledging survival of European starlings

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krementz, D.G.; Nichols, J.D.; Hines, J.E.

    1989-01-01

    We tested the hypotheses that mass at fledging and fledge date within the breeding season affect postfledging survival in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Nestlings were weighed on day 18 after hatch and tagged with individually identifiable patagial tags. Fledge date was recorded. Marked fledglings were resighted during weekly two-day intensive observation periods for 9 weeks postfledging. Post-fledging survival and sighting probabilities were estimated for each of four groups (early or late fledging by heavy or light fledging mass). Body mass was related to post-fledging survival for birds that fledged early. Results were not clear-cut for relative fledge date, although there was weak evidence that this also influenced survival. Highest survival probability estimates occurred in the EARLY-HEAVY group, while the lowest survival estimate occurred in the LATE-LIGHT group. Sighting probabilities differed significantly among groups, emphasizing the need to estimate and compare survival using models which explicitly incorporate sighting probabilities.

  11. Synchronization by low-amplitude light-dark cycles of 24-hour pineal and plasma melatonin rhythms of hatchling European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Gwinner, E; Zeman, M; Klaassen, M

    1997-11-01

    In young European starlings, as in other avian species, high-amplitude 24-hr rhythms in plasma and pineal melatonin are already present around the time of hatching. In chickens this rhythmicity results at least partly from the light sensitivity of the melatonin-producing and -secreting system. In contrast to the chicken, the starling is a hole-nesting bird, and it seemed questionable whether the low light intensities in the nest are sufficient to synchronize perinatal melatonin rhythms. We therefore exposed starling eggs to light cycles roughly simulating those measured in nest-boxes, i.e., an 11-hr phase of complete darkness and a 13-hr phase consisting of 15 min of dim light (10 lux) alternating with 30 min of darkness. For one group the photophase lasted from 0600 to 1900 hr; for the other group the photophase lasted from 1800 to 0700 hr. In approximately 10-hr-old hatchlings of both groups, plasma and pineal melatonin concentrations were high during the dark phase and low during the light phase. We conclude that perinatal low-amplitude light intensity changes of the kind experienced by hatching starlings in the field are sufficient for synchronizing the melatonin-producing and -secreting system in the pineal and possibly other organs. PMID:9462849

  12. Differential relationships between D1 and D2 dopamine receptor expression in the medial preoptic nucleus and sexually-motivated song in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    DeVries, M S; Cordes, M A; Stevenson, S A; Riters, L V

    2015-08-20

    Converging data in songbirds support a central role for the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) in motivational aspects of vocal production. Recent data suggest that dopamine in the POM plays a complex modulatory role in the production of sexually-motivated song and that an optimal level of dopamine D1 receptor stimulation is required to facilitate singing behavior. To further explore this possibility, we used quantitative real-time PCR to examine relationships between mRNA expression of D1 as well as D2 receptors in the POM (and also the lateral septum and Area X) and sexually-motivated singing behavior in male European starlings. Results showed that both males with the highest and lowest D1 expression in the POM sang significantly less than males with intermediate levels of expression. Furthermore, singing behavior rose linearly in association with increasing levels of D1 expression in POM but dropped abruptly, such that individuals with D1 expression values higher than the mean sang very little. Analysis of birds with low and intermediate levels of D1 expression in POM revealed strong positive correlations between D1 expression and song but negative relationships between D2 receptor expression and song. These findings support prior work suggesting an optimal level of POM D1 receptor stimulation best facilitates sexually-motivated singing behavior. Results also suggest that D2 receptors may work in opposition to D1 receptors in POM to modify vocal production. PMID:26079111

  13. Sexually-motivated song is predicted by androgen-and opioid-related gene expression in the medial preoptic nucleus of male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Cordes, M.A.; Stevenson, S.A.; Driessen, T.M.; Eisinger, B.E.; Riters, L.V.

    2015-01-01

    Across vertebrates, communication conveys information about an individual’s motivational state, yet little is known about the neuroendocrine regulation of motivational aspects of communication. For seasonally breeding songbirds, increases in testosterone in spring stimulate high rates of sexually-motivated courtship song, though not all birds sing at high rates. It is generally assumed that testosterone or its metabolites act within the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) to stimulate the motivation to sing. In addition to androgen receptors (ARs) and testosterone, opioid neuropeptides in the POM influence sexually-motivated song production, and it has been proposed that testosterone may in part regulate song by modifying opioid systems. To gain insight into a possible role for androgen-opioid interactions in the regulation of communication we examined associations between sexually-motivated song and relative expression of ARs, mu opioid receptors (muORs), and preproenkephalin (PENK) in the POM (and other regions) of male European starlings using qPCR. Both AR and PENK expression in POM correlated positively with singing behavior, whereas muOR in POM correlated negatively with song. Furthermore, the ratio of PENK/muOR expression correlated negatively with AR expression in POM. Finally, in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), PENK expression correlated negatively with singing behavior. Results support the hypothesis that ARs may alter opioid gene expression in POM to fine-tune singing to reflect a male’s motivational state. Data also suggest that bidirectional relationships may exist between opioids and ARs in POM and song, and additionally support a role for opioids in the VTA, independent of AR activity in this region. PMID:25264575

  14. Sexually-motivated song is predicted by androgen-and opioid-related gene expression in the medial preoptic nucleus of male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Cordes, M A; Stevenson, S A; Driessen, T M; Eisinger, B E; Riters, L V

    2015-02-01

    Across vertebrates, communication conveys information about an individual's motivational state, yet little is known about the neuroendocrine regulation of motivational aspects of communication. For seasonally breeding songbirds, increases in testosterone in spring stimulate high rates of sexually-motivated courtship song, though not all birds sing at high rates. It is generally assumed that testosterone or its metabolites act within the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) to stimulate the motivation to sing. In addition to androgen receptors (ARs) and testosterone, opioid neuropeptides in the POM influence sexually-motivated song production, and it has been proposed that testosterone may in part regulate song by modifying opioid systems. To gain insight into a possible role for androgen-opioid interactions in the regulation of communication we examined associations between sexually-motivated song and relative expression of ARs, mu opioid receptors (muORs), and preproenkephalin (PENK) in the POM (and other regions) of male European starlings using qPCR. Both AR and PENK expression in POM correlated positively with singing behavior, whereas muOR in POM correlated negatively with song. Furthermore, the ratio of PENK/muOR expression correlated negatively with AR expression in POM. Finally, in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), PENK expression correlated negatively with singing behavior. Results support the hypothesis that ARs may alter opioid gene expression in POM to fine-tune singing to reflect a male's motivational state. Data also suggest that bidirectional relationships may exist between opioids and ARs in POM and song, and additionally support a role for opioids in the VTA, independent of AR activity in this region. PMID:25264575

  15. COMPARATIVE RESPONSE OF NESTLING EUROPEAN STARLINGS AND RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS TO AN ORAL ADMINISTRATION OF EITHER DIMETHOATE OR CHLORPYRIFOS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus: ed-wings) and European starling (Sturnus vulgaris: Starling) nestlings were dosed with either 2.0 mg/kg body weight chlorpyrifos, 50.0 mg/kg body weight dimethoate, or a propylene glycol carrier in situ. he sensitivity to these compounds...

  16. Nationwide residues of organochlorine compounds in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), 1976

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    White, D.H.

    1979-01-01

    Organochlorine pesticide and PCB residues in starlings from 126 sites within the contiguous 48 states were monitored during fall 1976. The average nationwide level of DDE and PCBs has increased significantly since 1974, but the number of sites reporting PCB residues has decreased fivefold. Dieldrin residues have remained unchanged since 1974. Highest DDE levels occurred in samples from parts of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Louisiana, and New Mexico.

  17. Nationwide residues of organochlorine compounds in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), 1976.

    PubMed

    White, D H

    1979-03-01

    Organochlorine pesticide and PCB residues in starlings from 126 sites within the contiguous 48 states were monitored during fall 1976. The average nationwide level of DDE and PCBs has increased significantly since 1974, but the number of sites reporting PCB residues has decreased fivefold. Dieldrin residues have remained unchanged since 1974. Highest DDE levels occurred in samples from parts of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Louisiana, and New Mexico. PMID:111216

  18. Short photoperiod increases energy intake, metabolic thermogenesis and organ mass in silky starlings Sturnus sericeus

    PubMed Central

    WANG, Jia-Qi; WANG, Jia-Jia; WU, Xu-Jian; ZHENG, Wei-Hong; LIU, Jin-Song

    2016-01-01

    Environmental cues play important roles in the regulation of an animal’s physiology and behavior. One such cue, photoperiod, plays an important role in the seasonal acclimatization of birds. It has been demonstrated that an animal’s body mass, basal metabolic rate (BMR), and energy intake, are all affected by photoperiod. The present study was designed to examine photoperiod induced changes in the body mass, metabolism and metabolic organs of the silky starling, Sturnus sericeus. Captive silky starlings increased their body mass and BMR during four weeks of acclimation to a short photoperiod. Birds acclimated to a short photoperiod also increased the mass of certain organs (liver, gizzard and small intestine), and both gross energy intake (GEI) and digestible energy intake (DEI), relative to those acclimated to a long photoperiod. Furthermore, BMR was positively correlated with body mass, liver mass, GEI and DEI. These results suggest that silky starlings increase metabolic thermogenesis when exposed to a short photoperiod by increasing their body and metabolic organ mass, and their GEI and DEI. These findings support the hypothesis that bird species from temperate climates typically display high phenotypic flexibility in thermogenic capacity. PMID:27029864

  19. Drowning is an apparent and unexpected recurrent cause of mass mortality of Common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Lawson, Becki; Duff, J. Paul; Beckmann, Katie M.; Chantrey, Julian; Peck, Kirsi M.; Irvine, Richard M.; Robinson, Robert A.; Cunningham, Andrew A.

    2015-01-01

    Drowning is infrequently reported as a cause of death of wild birds and such incidents typically involve individual, rather than multiple, birds. Over a 21-year period (1993 to 2013 inclusive), we investigated 12 incidents of mortality of multiple (2 − 80+) Common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in Great Britain that appeared to be due to drowning. More than ten birds were affected in ten of these reported incidents. These incidents always occurred during the spring and early summer months and usually involved juvenile birds. In all cases, circumstantial evidence and post-mortem examinations indicated drowning to be the most likely cause of death with no underlying disease found. A behavioural explanation seems likely, possibly related to the gregarious nature of this species combined with juvenile inexperience in identifying water hazards. A review of data from the ringed bird recovery scheme across Great Britain (1909–2013 inclusive) of both starlings and Common blackbirds (Turdus merula), also a common garden visitor, identified additional suspected drowning incidents, which were significantly more common in the former species, supporting a species predisposition to drowning. For each species there was a marked seasonal peak from April to August. Drowning should be included as a differential diagnosis when investigating incidents of multiple starling mortality, especially of juveniles. PMID:26601771

  20. Short photoperiod increases energy intake, metabolic thermogenesis and organ mass in silky starlings Sturnus sericeus.

    PubMed

    Wang, Jia-Qi; Wang, Jia-Jia; Wu, Xu-Jian; Zheng, Wei-Hong; Liu, Jin-Song

    2016-03-18

    Environmental cues play important roles in the regulation of an animal's physiology and behavior. One such cue, photoperiod, plays an important role in the seasonal acclimatization of birds. It has been demonstrated that an animal's body mass, basal metabolic rate (BMR), and energy intake, are all affected by photoperiod. The present study was designed to examine photoperiod induced changes in the body mass, metabolism and metabolic organs of the silky starling, Sturnus sericeus. Captive silky starlings increased their body mass and BMR during four weeks of acclimation to a short photoperiod. Birds acclimated to a short photoperiod also increased the mass of certain organs (liver, gizzard and small intestine), and both gross energy intake (GEI) and digestible energy intake (DEI), relative to those acclimated to a long photoperiod. Furthermore, BMR was positively correlated with body mass, liver mass, GEI and DEI. These results suggest that silky starlings increase metabolic thermogenesis when exposed to a short photoperiod by increasing their body and metabolic organ mass, and their GEI and DEI. These findings support the hypothesis that bird species from temperate climates typically display high phenotypic flexibility in thermogenic capacity. PMID:27029864

  1. Drowning is an apparent and unexpected recurrent cause of mass mortality of Common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Lawson, Becki; Duff, J Paul; Beckmann, Katie M; Chantrey, Julian; Peck, Kirsi M; Irvine, Richard M; Robinson, Robert A; Cunningham, Andrew A

    2015-01-01

    Drowning is infrequently reported as a cause of death of wild birds and such incidents typically involve individual, rather than multiple, birds. Over a 21-year period (1993 to 2013 inclusive), we investigated 12 incidents of mortality of multiple (2 - 80+) Common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in Great Britain that appeared to be due to drowning. More than ten birds were affected in ten of these reported incidents. These incidents always occurred during the spring and early summer months and usually involved juvenile birds. In all cases, circumstantial evidence and post-mortem examinations indicated drowning to be the most likely cause of death with no underlying disease found. A behavioural explanation seems likely, possibly related to the gregarious nature of this species combined with juvenile inexperience in identifying water hazards. A review of data from the ringed bird recovery scheme across Great Britain (1909-2013 inclusive) of both starlings and Common blackbirds (Turdus merula), also a common garden visitor, identified additional suspected drowning incidents, which were significantly more common in the former species, supporting a species predisposition to drowning. For each species there was a marked seasonal peak from April to August. Drowning should be included as a differential diagnosis when investigating incidents of multiple starling mortality, especially of juveniles. PMID:26601771

  2. Use of dairies by postreproductive flocks of European starlings.

    PubMed

    Homan, H J; LeJeune, J T; Pearl, D L; Seamans, T W; Slowik, A A; Morasch, Mark R; Linz, G M

    2013-07-01

    Knowledge of the behavior and movement patterns of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris L.) is important to wildlife managers that seek to resolve conflicts at livestock facilities. We captured and radio tagged 10 starlings at each of 5 dairies in northeastern Ohio. From September 19 to October 31, 2007, we obtained sufficient data from 40 birds to study their behavior and movements. The birds visited the dairies where they were initially captured (home sites) on 85% of the days, spending 58% of each day at the dairies. Onsite arrival and departure times were 2.5h after sunrise and 3.1h before sunset. Daily visits by radio-tagged cohorts from the other dairies were greatest for the 2 most proximate dairies (1.3 km apart), with number of visits between this pairing >7× that of the 9 other pairings combined (4.1-6.5 km apart). Two birds used their home sites intermittently as roosts, arriving 3.8h before sunset and departing 0.2h after sunrise. In addition to using home-site roosts, these birds also used a distant roost (22km) that was used by 36 of the 40 birds. The efficacy of starling management programs, especially lethal management, depends on degree of site fidelity, use of other facilities, and roosting behavior. For example, starlings that use dairies as roosting sites may require a different management strategy than required at dairies used as daytime sites because of differences in arrival and departure behavior. Our research will help resource managers evaluate current management strategies already in place and change them, if needed, to fit the behavior profile of starlings using dairies and other types of livestock facilities. PMID:23684017

  3. Pathogen Presence in European Starlings Inhabiting Commercial Piggeries in South Australia.

    PubMed

    Pearson, Hayley E; Lapidge, Steven J; Hernández-Jover, Marta; Toribio, Jenny-Ann L M L

    2016-06-01

    The majority of bacterial diarrhea-causing illnesses in domestic pigs result from infection with Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., or Campylobacter spp. These bacterial enteropathogens also correspond with the most-common bacteria isolated from wild birds. Additionally, viral pathogens such as avian influenza virus (AIV), West Nile virus (WNV, including Kunjin disease), and Newcastle disease virus (NDV) may also be carried and transmitted by birds in Australia. Introduced European starlings (Sturnus vulgarus) are one of the most-frequently reported birds on piggeries in Australia. The presence of the three bacterial pathogens, Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., and Escherichia coli , as well as the three viral pathogens AIV, WNV, and NDV, were evaluated in starlings captured on four commercial piggeries in South Australia. A total of 473 starlings were captured on the four piggeries in 2008 and 2009. A cloacal swab was taken from each bird and cultured for bacterial identification, with follow-up serotyping of any positives, whilst fifty samples were analyzed by PCR for the three target viral pathogens. There was no AIV, WNV, or NDV detected in the 50 starlings sampled. Escherichia coli was found to be present in the starling populations on all four piggeries whilst Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter jejuni were found to be present only in the starling population sampled on one piggery. Serotyping identified pig-pathogenic strains of the bacteria. The prevalence of these production-limiting bacterial pathogens in starlings, coupled with the large starling populations often found inside piggeries during daylight hours in the summer months, presents a disease transmission risk and jeopardizes piggery disease management. Removal of starlings from agricultural enterprises (as shown by international studies), or prevention of starling access to animal feed and water, could substantially reduce the risk of transmission of enterobacterial pathogens from starlings to

  4. Dairy cattle management factors that influence on-farm density of European starlings in Ohio, 2007-2009.

    PubMed

    Medhanie, Genet A; Pearl, David L; McEwen, Scott A; Guerin, Michele T; Jardine, Claire M; LeJeune, Jeffrey T

    2015-06-15

    Potential dairy farm management and environmental factors that attract European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to dairy farms were explored. During the period from 2007 to 2009, 150 dairy farms were each visited twice (once during the summer and again in the fall) and the number of starlings was recorded. Risk factors were assessed for possible association with the number of starlings per milking cow (starling density), using a zero-inflated negative binomial model. Starling density was higher on farms visited in 2007 compared to those visited in 2008 or 2009. The interaction term between feeding method and feeding site was significantly associated with starling density on farm; generally, feeding outdoors was associated with increased starling density. The odds of a zero starling count (compared to a count greater than zero) was higher on farms that removed manure from barns weekly or less frequently than weekly compared to those that removed manure daily or after every milking. The odds of a zero starling count decreased with increasing distance of a farm from the closest night roost. Identifying on farm risk factors that expose farms to starlings will help farmers develop strategies that minimize the number of birds on their farms and thereby reduce physical damage to the farms as well as the potential for pathogen transmission from birds to cattle and humans. PMID:25940010

  5. Efficacy of European starling control to reduce Salmonella enterica contamination in a concentrated animal feeding operation in the Texas panhandle

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are an invasive bird species known to cause damage to plant and animal agriculture. New evidence suggests starlings may also contribute to the maintenance and spread of diseases within livestock facilities. Identifying and mitigating the risk pathways that contribute to disease in livestock is necessary to reduce production losses and contamination of human food products. To better understand the impact starlings have on disease transmission to cattle we assessed the efficacy of starling control as a tool to reduce Salmonella enterica within a concentrated animal feeding operation. We matched a large facility, slated for operational control using DRC-1339 (3-chloro-4-methylaniline hydrochloride, also 3-chloro p-toluidine hydrochloride, 3-chloro-4-methylaniline), with a comparable reference facility that was not controlling birds. In both facilities, we sampled cattle feed, cattle water and cattle feces for S. enterica before and after starling control operations. Results Within the starling-controlled CAFO, detections of S. enterica contamination disappeared from feed bunks and substantially declined within water troughs following starling control operations. Within the reference facility, detections of S. enterica contamination increased substantially within feed bunks and water troughs. Starling control was not observed to reduce prevalence of S. enterica in the cattle herd. Following starling control operations, herd prevalence of S. enterica increased on the reference facility but herd prevalence of S. enterica on the starling-controlled CAFO stayed at pretreatment levels. Conclusions Within the starling-controlled facility detections of S. enterica disappeared from feed bunks and substantially declined within water troughs following control operations. Since cattle feed and water are obvious routes for the ingestion of S. enterica, starling control shows promise as a tool to help livestock producers manage

  6. Ectoparasitism and the role of green nesting material in the European starling

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fauth, P.T.; Krementz, D.G.; Hines, J.E.

    1991-01-01

    The use of green nesting material is wide-spread among birds. Recent evidence suggests that birds use secondary chemicals contained in green plants to control ectoparasites. We manipulated green nesting material and ectoparasites of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris ) to test two hypotheses: (1) ectoparasites adversely affect prefledging survival and morphometrics or postfledging survival, and (2) green nesting material ameliorates the effects of ectoparasites. We recorded fat score, number of scabs, tarsal length, body mass, and hematocrit level on each nestling 17 days after hatching. We also fitted each nestling with unique patagial tags and resighted the starlings for 6-8 weeks after fledging to estimate survival and sighting rates. Nests devoid of green nesting material and dusted with the insecticide, carbaryl, had fewer high ectoparasite infestations, and nestlings had significantly lower scab scores, and significantly higher body masses than nestlings in undusted boxes. However, there was no difference in postfledging survival between birds from carbaryl-treated and undusted nests.

  7. Brood size modifications affect plumage bacterial assemblages of European starlings.

    PubMed

    Lucas, Françoise S; Moureau, Benoit; Jourdie, Violaine; Heeb, Philipp

    2005-02-01

    During reproduction, birds face trade-offs between time and energy devoted to parental effort and traits associated with self-maintenance. We manipulated brood sizes to investigate the effects of such trade-offs on feather bacterial densities and the structure of bacterial assemblages on feathers in adult European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, and in vitro feather degradation. As predicted by a trade-off between parental effort and self-maintenance, we found that birds with enlarged broods had more free-living bacteria on their feathers than birds with reduced broods. Furthermore, we found a significant interaction between brood manipulation and original brood size on free-living bacterial densities suggesting that the trade-off is mediated by the adults' initial reproductive investment. In contrast, brood size manipulations had no significant effect on densities of attached bacteria. Using ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (RISA), we demonstrated that brood manipulations significantly modified the structure (band pattern) of feather-degrading bacterial assemblages, but had no significant effect on their richness (number of bands) or the in vitro feather degradation. In vitro feather degradation varied in relation to the premanipulation brood size and positively with the richness of the feather degrading bacterial community. Besides brood manipulation effect, we found that ecological factors and individual traits, such as the age, the nest location or the capture date, shaped bacterial assemblages and feather degradation capacities. PMID:15660952

  8. The non-photic induction of spermatogenic development in European starlings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rutledge, J. T.

    1980-03-01

    Detailed studies of the photosexual biology of male European starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris) document a non-obligatory involvement of photoperiod in the induction of testicular metamorphosis. Although post-winter solstice increases in daily photophase duration are responsible for the ecologically correct chronology of the annual reproductive cycle, starlings maintained in the absence of daily photostimulation under go testicular metamorphosis with complete spermatogenic development. Present experiments reveal that the rate of testicular growth in starlings held in constant darkness (DD) is affected by previous photoperiodic experience. Birds held under a natural northtemperate zone photoperiod and transferred to DD on 13 September require significantly fewer days to achieve spermatogenic testes than birds pretreated under 12-and 14-h photoperiods or in constant light (LL). Complete spermatogenesis in the 14-h group is achieved only after a greater duration of DD exposure than in all other birds. Variations in the extent of the 12-h pretreatment period do not alter the testis growth rate in starlings subsequently transferred to DD. It is suggested that photoperiodic conditions applied prior to the initiation of DD treatment may affect the characteristics of circadian oscillations that occur in the absence of a photoperiodic zeitgeber, and thus change the reproductive response rate through alterations of hormonal secretions from the hypothalamo-hypophyseal axis.

  9. Plasma leptin during reproduction in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Leptin, a systemic hormone produced by adipocytes or fat cells, has been widely studied in mammals, and is known to play diverse roles in body mass regulation, immune function, reproduction, etc. However we know very little about avian leptin, especially in free-living birds; indeed, this remains a ...

  10. Metabolic costs of avian flight in relation to flight velocity: a study in Rose Coloured Starlings (Sturnus roseus, Linnaeus).

    PubMed

    Engel, Sophia; Biebach, Herbert; Visser, G Henk

    2006-06-01

    The metabolic costs of flight at a natural range of speeds were investigated in Rose Coloured Starlings (Sturnus roseus, Linnaeus) using doubly labelled water. Eight birds flew repeatedly and unrestrained for bouts of 6 h at speeds from 9 to 14 m s(-1) in a low-turbulence wind tunnel, corresponding to travel distances between 200 and 300 km, respectively. This represents the widest speed range where we could obtain voluntarily sustained flights. From a subset of these flights, data on the wing beat frequency (WBF) and intermittent flight behaviour were obtained. Over the range of speeds that were tested, flight costs did not change with velocity and were on an average 8.17+/-0.64 W or 114 W kg(-1). Body mass was the only parameter with a significant (positive) effect on flight costs, which can be described as EE(f)=0.741 M(0.554). WBF changed slightly with speed, but correlated better with body mass. Birds showed both types of intermittent flight, undulating and bounding, but their frequencies did not systematically change with flight speed. PMID:16425018

  11. THE USE OF STARLING NEST BOXES FOR FIELD REPRODUCTION STUDIES: PROVISIONAL GUIDANCE DOCUMENT AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT DOCUMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    The purpose of this report is to propose nest box field testing guidelines for determining reproductive effects of agricultural pesticides on European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), and provide background information and justification for the procedures and methodology described. ...

  12. Water and heat balance during flight in the rose-colored starling (Sturnus roseus).

    PubMed

    Engel, Sophia; Biebach, Herbert; Visser, G Henk

    2006-01-01

    Water imbalance during flight is considered to be a potentially limiting factor for flight ranges in migrating birds, but empirical data are scarce. We studied flights under controlled ambient conditions with rose-colored starlings in a wind tunnel. In one experiment, we measured water fluxes with stable isotopes at a range of flight speeds (9-14 m s(-1)) at constant temperature (15 degrees C). In a second experiment, we measured evaporation rates at variable ambient temperatures (Ta = 5 deg -27 deg C) but constant speed (12 m s(-1)). During all flights, the birds experienced a net water loss. On average, water influx was 0.98 g h(-1) (SD = 0.16; n = 8), and water efflux was 1.29 g h(-1) (SD = 0.14; n = 8), irrespective of flight speed. Evaporation was related to temperature in a biphasic pattern. At temperatures below 18.2 degrees C, net evaporation was constant at 0.36 g h(-1) (SD = 0.18; n = 10), rising at higher temperatures with a slope of 0.11 per degree to about 1.5 g h(-1) at 27 degrees C. We calculated the relative proportion of dry and evaporative heat loss during flight. Evaporative heat loss at Ta < 18.2 deg C was 14% of total heat production during flight, and dry heat loss accounted for 84%. At higher temperatures, evaporative heat loss increased linearly with T(a) to about 25% at 27 degrees C. Our data suggest that for prolonged flights, rose-colored starlings should adopt behavioral water-saving strategies and that they cannot complete their annual migration without stopovers to replenish their water reserves. PMID:16826502

  13. European starlings recognize the location of robotic conspecific attention.

    PubMed

    Butler, Shannon R; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban

    2014-10-01

    Looking where others are allocating attention can facilitate social interactions by providing information about objects or locations of interest. We asked whether European starlings follow the orientation behaviour of conspecifics owing to their highly gregarious behaviour. Starlings reoriented their attention to follow that of a robot around a barrier more often than when the robot's attention was directed elsewhere. This is the first empirical evidence of reorienting in response to conspecific attention in a songbird. Starlings may use this behaviour to obtain fine-tuned spatial information from conspecifics (e.g. direction of predator approach, spatial location of food patches), enhancing group cohesion. PMID:25319821

  14. European starlings recognize the location of robotic conspecific attention

    PubMed Central

    Butler, Shannon R.; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban

    2014-01-01

    Looking where others are allocating attention can facilitate social interactions by providing information about objects or locations of interest. We asked whether European starlings follow the orientation behaviour of conspecifics owing to their highly gregarious behaviour. Starlings reoriented their attention to follow that of a robot around a barrier more often than when the robot's attention was directed elsewhere. This is the first empirical evidence of reorienting in response to conspecific attention in a songbird. Starlings may use this behaviour to obtain fine-tuned spatial information from conspecifics (e.g. direction of predator approach, spatial location of food patches), enhancing group cohesion. PMID:25319821

  15. Identification of European starling GnRH-I precursor mRNA and its seasonal regulation.

    PubMed

    Ubuka, Takayoshi; Cadigan, Penelope A; Wang, Ariel; Liu, Jennifer; Bentley, George E

    2009-07-01

    Songbirds show dynamic seasonal changes in their reproductive activities during the year. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone-I (GnRH-I) is critical for the control of reproduction in vertebrates. The molecular mechanisms controlling reproduction are not well understood in songbirds, largely because the GnRH-I precursor polypeptide gene was unknown until now. Here, we report the complete sequence and seasonal regulation of GnRH-I precursor polypeptide mRNA in a songbird, European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). The translated starling GnRH-I precursor polypeptide contained an amino acid sequence that can be processed into chicken GnRH-I peptide (pEHWSYGLQPG-NH(2)). However, the overall homology of GnRH-I precursor polypeptide (including a 23 amino acid signal peptide, the decapeptide hormone and Gly-Lys-Arg cleavage site followed by 55 amino acid GnRH-associated peptide sequences) between starling and chicken was only 58%. GnRH-I mRNA and GnRH-I peptide were observed to be co-localized in the preoptic area of sexually mature birds using in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry. GnRH-I mRNA exhibited large variance in photosensitive birds, and converged to a high level in photostimulated birds. Subsequently, GnRH-I mRNA decreased to below detectability in most of the photorefractory birds. Changes were also observed in GnRH-I peptide levels, although changes in GnRH-I peptide were not as marked. Our data indicate that GnRH-I mRNA synthesis commences but is variable in photosensitive birds, stabilizes in photostimulated birds, then ceases when birds become photorefractory. Finer-scale investigation into temporal regulation of GnRH-I precursor polypeptide mRNA will provide insight into its regulation by environmental, social and physiological cues. PMID:19362556

  16. Distributed Recognition of Natural Songs by European Starlings

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Knudsen, Daniel; Thompson, Jason V.; Gentner, Timothy Q.

    2010-01-01

    Individual vocal recognition behaviors in songbirds provide an excellent framework for the investigation of comparative psychological and neurobiological mechanisms that support the perception and cognition of complex acoustic communication signals. To this end, the complex songs of European starlings have been studied extensively. Yet, several…

  17. Assessment of concentrations and effects of organohalogen contaminants in a terrestrial passerine, the European starling.

    PubMed

    Eng, Margaret L; Williams, Tony D; Letcher, Robert J; Elliott, John E

    2014-03-01

    European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are a valuable model species for the assessment of concentrations and effects of environmental contaminants in terrestrial birds. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are found in birds throughout the world, but relatively little is known of their concentrations or effects in free-living terrestrial passerines. We used a nest box population of European starlings to 1) measure the variation in egg concentrations of persistent organohalogen contaminants at an agricultural site, and 2) assess whether individual variation in PBDE concentrations in eggs was related to reproductive parameters, as well as maternal or nestling characteristics including body condition, thyroid hormones, oxidative stress, and hematocrit. As PBDEs were the main contaminant class of interest, we only assessed a subset of eggs for other organohalogen contaminants to establish background concentrations. Exposure to organohalogen contaminants was extremely variable over this relatively small study area. Geometric mean wet weight concentrations (range in brackets) of the major contaminants were 36.5 (12-174) ng/g ΣDDT (n=6 eggs) and 10.9 (2-307) ng/g ΣPBDEs (n=14). ΣPCBs at 3.58 (1.5-6.4) ng/g (n=6) were lower and less variable. There were low levels of other organochlorine (OC) pesticides such as dieldrin (2.02 ng/g), chlordanes (1.11 ng/g) and chlorobenzenes (0.23 ng/g). The only form of DDT detected was p,p'-DDE. The congener profiles of PBDEs and PCBs reflect those of industrial mixtures (i.e. DE-71, Aroclors 1254, 1260 and 1262). For all of the contaminant classes, concentrations detected in eggs at our study site were below levels previously reported to cause effects. Due to small sample sizes, we did not assess the relationship between ΣPCBs or ΣOCs and adult or chick condition. We observed no correlative relationships between individual variation in PBDE concentrations in starling eggs and reproductive success, maternal condition, or nestling

  18. Postfledging survival of European starlings exposed as nestlings to an organophosphorus insecticide

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stromborg, K.L.; Grue, C.E.; Nichols, J.D.; Hepp, G.R.; Hines, J.E.; Bourne, H.C.

    1988-01-01

    To test the hypothesis that exposure to organophosphorus (OP) insecticides reduces postfledging survival of altricial birds, 16-d-old European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were weighed and orally dosed with corn oil containing 6.0 mg of dicrotophos per kilogram of body mass or an equivalent exposure of pure corn oil (controls). Two days later, each survivor was weighed again and patagially tagged for identification after fledging. Resightings of marked fledglings were made during weekly 2-d intensive observations yielding four estimates of postfledging survival. Before fledging, only OP-dosed birds died (18.5%), and OP-dosed survivors lost more mass (5.2%, P = .001) than controls (1.4%) but their masses on day 18 were only slightly lower (2% of control mean, P = .10). Brain cholinesterase activity, a sensitive indicator of OP exposure in birds, was depressed and average of 93% in OP-dosed nestlings that died compared to controls, and an average of 46% in OP-dosed nestlings alive on day 18. Age at fledging, postfledging survival, flocking behavior, and habitat use, however, did not differ between OP-dosed and control birds. The effects of the OP on the nestlings appeared to be rapid, to be reversible in survivors, and did not extend into the postfledging period. In addition, we found no relationship between body mass at fledging and postfledging survival.

  19. Female aggression and the maintenance of monogamy: female behaviour predicts male mating status in European starlings

    PubMed Central

    Sandell, M. I.

    1998-01-01

    Any reduction in the fitness of a breeding female induced by the settlement of additional females with her mate creates a conflict between the sexes over mating system. In birds, females are often aggressive towards other females but few studies have been able to quantify the importance of female-female aggression for the maintenance of monogamy. This study of the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris, quantifies male and female behaviour towards a potential prospecting female, presented in a cage during the pre-laying period, and relates it to the subsequent mating status of the male. A solitary breeding male was given the opportunity to attract an additional mate, which almost half of the males did. No biometric characters of the male or female were related to the subsequent mating status. Males demonstrated mate-attraction behaviour towards the caged female but the behaviour of the male did not predict the likelihood to attract an additional female. However, the proportion of time that the female spent near the potential settler was related to mating status, indicating that females that reacted more strongly towards a potential female competitor maintained their monogamous status. These results suggest that female behaviour may play an important role in shaping the mating system of facultatively polygynous species.

  20. Fibre architecture and song activation rates of syringeal muscles are not lateralized in the European starling

    PubMed Central

    Uchida, A. M.; Meyers, R. A.; Cooper, B. G.; Goller, F.

    2010-01-01

    The songbird vocal organ, the syrinx, is composed of two sound generators, which are independently controlled by sets of two extrinsic and four intrinsic muscles. These muscles rank among the fastest vertebrate muscles, but the molecular and morphological foundations of this rapid physiological performance are unknown. Here we show that the four intrinsic muscles in the syrinx of male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are composed of fast oxidative and superfast fibres. Dorsal and ventral tracheobronchialis muscles contain slightly more superfast fibres relative to the number of fast oxidative fibres than dorsal and ventral syringealis muscles. This morphological difference is not reflected in the highest, burst-like activation rate of the two muscle groups during song as assessed with electromyographic recordings. No difference in fibre type ratio was found between the corresponding muscles of the left and right sound generators. Airflow and electromyographic measurements during song indicate that maximal activation rate and speed of airflow regulation do not differ between the two sound sources. Whereas the potential for high-speed muscular control exists on both sides, the two sound generators are used differentially for modulation of acoustic parameters. These results show that large numbers of superfast fibre types are present in intrinsic syringeal muscles of a songbird, providing further confirmation of rapid contraction kinetics. However, syringeal muscles are composed of two fibre types which raises questions about the neuromuscular control of this heterogeneous muscle architecture. PMID:20228343

  1. Residues of organochlorine pesticides and polychloribiphenyls [sic] in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), from the continental United States, 1982

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bunck, C.M.; Prouty, R.M.; Krynitsky, A.J.

    1987-01-01

    Starlings were collected from 129 sites throughout the contiguous United States in the fall of 1982 and analyzed for organochlorine compounds as part of a nationwide monitoring program. Residues of 14 organochlorine compounds were found. Only DDE, polychlorobiphenyls (PCB), dieldrin, and heptachlor epoxide occurred in more than 50% of the lO-starling pools. Geographical variation in the occurrence of seven organochlorine compounds was noted. Mean DDE levels were higher in the southwestern United States. Mean PCB levels were higher in the eastern United States. The occurrence frequency of most organochlorines in 1982 was similar to that which was reported in the previous nationwide study in 1979. A slight increase in occurrence was noted for trans-nonachlor. Mean DDE level I in 1982 was similar to that of 1979. Mean PCB level in 1982 was lower than the 1979 mean, but this change may not reflect a decrease in environmental PCB levels.

  2. An assessment of the developmental toxicity of BDE-99 in the European starling using an integrated laboratory and field approach.

    PubMed

    Eng, Margaret L; Elliott, John E; Williams, Tony D

    2014-10-01

    Developmental exposure of wildlife to anthropogenic contaminants can have long-term effects that are difficult to assess in field monitoring studies, and may not be evident in laboratory studies that lack ecological components. The objective of this study was to assess the long-term effects of early exposure to contaminants under ecological conditions in a model passerine species, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). We selected 2,2',4,4',5-pentabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-99) as a representative contaminant, as it is one of the major constituents of the commercial penta-BDE flame retardant mixture, and has been reported in avian egg and tissue samples worldwide. We developed a novel approach to assess the developmental toxicity of BDE-99 in starlings by combining aspects of laboratory and field studies. We dosed free-living nestlings living in natural broods in the field with environmentally relevant concentrations of BDE-99 (0-173.8 ng/g bw/day) for the duration of the nesting cycle. To simulate monitoring of long-term effects we brought birds into captivity just prior to fledging and used photoperiod manipulations to induce reproductive development. We assessed a range of physiological and development measures such as hematocrit, oxidative stress, thyroid hormones, neuroanatomy, growth, molt rate, bill color, and testes development. We found some evidence of thyroid hormone disruption, but there were no effects on any other measures of physiology or development. The European starling could serve as a valuable model species for assessing early exposure and long-term effects of anthropogenic contaminants in terrestrial wildlife using this combined field/laboratory approach. PMID:25081382

  3. Recent experience modulates forebrain gene-expression in response to mate-choice cues in European starlings.

    PubMed Central

    Sockman, Keith W; Gentner, Timothy Q; Ball, Gregory F

    2002-01-01

    Mate-choice decisions can be experience dependent, but we know little about how the brain processes stimuli that release such decisions. Female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) prefer males with long-bout songs over males with short-bout songs, and show higher expression of the immediate early gene (IEG) ZENK in the auditory forebrain when exposed to long-bout songs than when exposed to short-bout songs. We exposed female starlings to a short-day photoperiod for one of three durations and then, on an increased photophase, exposed them to one week of long-bout or short-bout song experience. We then examined their IEG response to novel long-bout versus novel short-bout songs by quantifying ZENK protein in two song-processing areas: the caudo-medial hyperstriatum ventrale and the caudo-medial neostriatum. ZENK expression in both areas increased with tenure on short-day photoperiods, suggesting that short days sensitize females to song. The ZENK response bias toward long-bout songs was greater in females with long-bout experience than in females with short-bout experience, indicating that the forebrain response bias toward a preferred trait depends on recent experience with that category of trait. This surprising level of neuroplasticity is immediately relevant to the natural history and fitness of the organism, and may underlie a mechanism for optimizing mate-choice criteria amidst locally variable distributions of secondary sexual characteristics. PMID:12495492

  4. Recent experience modulates forebrain gene-expression in response to mate-choice cues in European starlings.

    PubMed

    Sockman, Keith W; Gentner, Timothy Q; Ball, Gregory F

    2002-12-01

    Mate-choice decisions can be experience dependent, but we know little about how the brain processes stimuli that release such decisions. Female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) prefer males with long-bout songs over males with short-bout songs, and show higher expression of the immediate early gene (IEG) ZENK in the auditory forebrain when exposed to long-bout songs than when exposed to short-bout songs. We exposed female starlings to a short-day photoperiod for one of three durations and then, on an increased photophase, exposed them to one week of long-bout or short-bout song experience. We then examined their IEG response to novel long-bout versus novel short-bout songs by quantifying ZENK protein in two song-processing areas: the caudo-medial hyperstriatum ventrale and the caudo-medial neostriatum. ZENK expression in both areas increased with tenure on short-day photoperiods, suggesting that short days sensitize females to song. The ZENK response bias toward long-bout songs was greater in females with long-bout experience than in females with short-bout experience, indicating that the forebrain response bias toward a preferred trait depends on recent experience with that category of trait. This surprising level of neuroplasticity is immediately relevant to the natural history and fitness of the organism, and may underlie a mechanism for optimizing mate-choice criteria amidst locally variable distributions of secondary sexual characteristics. PMID:12495492

  5. Songs of two starling species: common traits versus adaptations to the social environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Houdelier, C.; Hausberger, M.; Craig, A. J. F. K.

    2012-12-01

    We analysed, for the first time, songs of the African Red-winged Starling Onychognathus morio and compared their general characteristics with those of the European Starling Sturnus vulgaris. Both species are gregarious during the non-breeding season, but European Starlings tend to nest in colonies, form unstable pair-bonds and are occasionally polygynous, whereas Red-winged Starlings form long-term pair-bonds and occupy exclusive nesting territories. Red-winged Starlings produced the same basic song categories as European Starlings: warbles and whistles. These two categories appeared to be involved in similar social interactions in the two species. However, several aspects of song behaviour differed between the two species: Red-winged Starlings, breeding in isolated nests, preferentially used whistles for long-distance communication and showed a simpler organization of warbling song. Whistles in the Red-winged Starling were mostly shared between birds and, in contrast to the European Starling, were not indicators of individual identity. Also in contrast to the European Starling, female song in Red-winged Starlings appeared very important throughout the breeding period. Our results suggest that some song characteristics in the two species are phylogenetically conserved whereas others are affected by the distinct social systems of the two species.

  6. Photoperiodic Condition Is Associated with Region-Specific Expression of GNRH1 mRNA in the Preoptic Area of the Male Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)1

    PubMed Central

    Stevenson, Tyler J.; Bernard, Daniel J.; Ball, Gregory F.

    2009-01-01

    Many seasonally breeding avian species exhibit marked changes in hypothalamic content of gonadotropin-releasing vhormone 1 (GNRH1) protein that are reflective of breeding condition. We recently cloned the GNRH1 cDNA in European starlings and demonstrated that changes in GNRH1 mRNA levels occur with a time course similar to what has been observed with GNRH1 protein. However, we did not previously resolve whether these differences were attributable to changes in the number of cells expressing the gene. Herein, we investigated photoperiod-induced changes in the number and distribution of GNRH1 mRNA-expressing cells in the preoptic area of male starlings. GNRH1 mRNA-expressing cell number was significantly greater in breeding birds than in nonbreeding birds. Starlings maintained in short nonstimulatory day length (i.e., prebreeding) showed intermediate cell numbers. Detailed analysis of the rostrocaudal and mediolateral distribution revealed that breeding birds had greater numbers of cells expressing GNRH1 mRNA in the medial intermediate, mediocaudal, and lateral intermediate preoptic area compared with prebreeding and nonbreeding birds. These data demonstrate that photoperiodic changes in reproductive state in starlings are associated with region-specific alterations in the number of cells expressing the GNRH1 gene. It remains to be determined whether these changes reflect quantitative differences in gene expression among an otherwise stable population of cells or a phenotypic switch in which cells gain or lose the ability to make GNRH1 mRNA in response to environmental cues. PMID:19516022

  7. Developmental and familial predictors of adult cognitive traits in the European starling

    PubMed Central

    Nettle, Daniel; Andrews, Clare P.; Monaghan, Pat; Brilot, Ben O.; Bedford, Thomas; Gillespie, Robert; Bateson, Melissa

    2015-01-01

    In birds, there is evidence that adult cognitive traits can both run in families and be affected by early developmental influences. However, different studies use different cognitive tasks, which may not be measuring the same traits, and also focus on different developmental factors. We report results from a study in which we administered multiple cognitive tasks (autoshaping, discrimination learning, reversal learning, progressive ratio schedule, extinction learning and impulsivity) to a cohort of 34 European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, for which several early developmental measures were available. The cohort consisted of siblings raised either apart or together, whose position in the size hierarchy of the rearing brood had been experimentally manipulated. We examined how the different cognitive measures covaried, the extent to which they ran in families, and which of the developmental factors predicted which of the cognitive outcomes. We found that discrimination and reversal learning speeds were positively correlated, as were breakpoint on the progressive ratio schedule and resistance to extinction. Otherwise, the cognitive measures were uncorrelated, suggesting that they reflected different underlying traits. All traits except discrimination and reversal learning speed ran in families to a substantial extent. Using a model selection approach, we found evidence that natal brood size and developmental telomere attrition (the extent to which the birds' erythrocyte telomeres shortened in early life, an integrative measure of developmental stress) were related to several adult cognitive measures. Results are discussed with respect to the best way of measuring avian cognitive abilities, and the utility of developmental telomere attrition as a predictor of adult outcomes. PMID:26405302

  8. Hand rearing affects emotional responses but not basic cognitive performance in European starlings.

    PubMed

    Feenders, Gesa; Bateson, Melissa

    2013-07-01

    Hand rearing is a common procedure in behavioural research on birds. While likely to produce tamer experimental animals, there is a risk that it could induce pathological changes in brain and behaviour similar to those seen in mammals that have experienced maternal separation. We explored the effects of hand rearing on the cognitive and behavioural development of European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, to assess the generality of results obtained from hand-reared animals. Two groups of age-matched birds were created from the same wild population: one hand-reared from 10 days posthatch and one brought into the laboratory as independent juveniles. These groups were compared on a battery of neuropsychological tasks designed to probe different aspects of cognitive function including learning, perseverative cognition, interval timing, neophobia and impulsivity. There was no evidence for cognitive impairment in the hand-reared birds. They did not have reduced learning speed, impairments in accuracy or precision of interval timing or pathological perseverative cognition compared to the wild-caught birds. Additionally, there was no evidence that birds that developed stereotypies in laboratory cages (predominantly the wild-caught birds) had any cognitive impairments, although this may be because no birds had severe, crystallized stereotypies. There was some evidence that hand-reared birds were less neophobic and less impulsive than wild-caught birds, suggesting that hand rearing might alter emotionally mediated decision making in a direction usually associated with reduced developmental stress in mammals. This study therefore supports the use of hand rearing as an experimental procedure in behavioural research on passerine birds. PMID:23888084

  9. Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in wild European starlings at a Kansas cattle feedlot.

    PubMed

    Gaukler, Shannon M; Linz, George M; Sherwood, Julie S; Dyer, Neil W; Bleier, William J; Wannemuehler, Yvonne M; Nolan, Lisa K; Logue, Catherine M

    2009-12-01

    The prevalence of Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., and Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolated from the feces of wild European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) humanely trapped at a feedlot in central Kansas was assessed. All E. coli and Salmonella isolates recovered were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility using National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System panels and the E. coli isolates were classified as to their content of genes associated with pathogenic E. coli of birds and cattle, including cvaC, iroN2, ompTp, hlyF2, eitC, iss, iutA, ireA, papC, stxI, stxII, sta, K99, F41, and eae. Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis were not detected and Salmonella was isolated from only three samples, two of which displayed antimicrobial resistance. Approximately half of the E. coli isolates were resistant to antimicrobial agents with 96% showing resistance to tetracycline. Only one isolate was positive for a single gene associated with bovine pathogenic E. coli. An interesting finding of this study was that 5% of the E. coli isolates tested met the criteria established for identification as avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC). Thus these findings suggest that starlings are not a significant source of Salmonella spp., Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, E. coli O157, or other shiga toxin-producing E. coli in this feedlot. However, they may have the potential to spread APEC, an important pathogen of poultry and a potential pathogen to human beings. PMID:20095155

  10. Near wake features of a flying European Starling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirchhefer, Adam; Kopp, Gregory; Gurka, Roi

    2013-11-01

    A great deal of research focusing on flapping wings has been motivated by their high performance capabilities, especially in low Reynolds number configurations where static wing performance typically suffers. The approaches to studying flapping wings have taken different forms. One form has been the systematic investigation of the parameters that influence the relationship between flapping wings and their wake. The other form, and the approach used in the present work, is the investigation of flapping wings in nature. While the earliest work on the flapping wings of animals consists of observations of bird flight by Leonardo DaVinci, advances in technology have allowed for quantitative measurements of the wake. The near wake of a freely flying European starling has been measured using high speed, time-resolved, particle image velocimetry, simultaneously with high speed cameras which imaged the bird. These have been used to measure the near wake two-dimensional velocity field that can be associated with the bird's location and wing configuration in an avian wind tunnel. Time series of the velocities have been expressed as composite wake plots, which depict segments of the wing beat cycle for various spanwise locations in the wake. Measurements indicate that downwash is not produced during the upstroke, suggesting that the upstroke does not generate lift. As well, the wake velocities imply the presence of streamwise vortical structures, in addition to tip vortices. These two characteristics indicate similarities between the wake of a bird and the wake of a bat.

  11. Site-specific regulation of adult neurogenesis by dietary fatty acid content, vitamin E and flight exercise in European starlings.

    PubMed

    Hall, Zachary J; Bauchinger, Ulf; Gerson, Alexander R; Price, Edwin R; Langlois, Lillie A; Boyles, Michelle; Pierce, Barbara; McWilliams, Scott R; Sherry, David F; Macdougall-Shackleton, Scott A

    2014-03-01

    Exercise is known to have a strong effect on neuroproliferation in mammals ranging from rodents to humans. Recent studies have also shown that fatty acids and other dietary supplements can cause an upregulation of neurogenesis. It is not known, however, how exercise and diet interact in their effects on adult neurogenesis. We examined neuronal recruitment in multiple telencephalic sites in adult male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) exposed to a factorial combination of flight exercise, dietary fatty acids and antioxidants. Experimental birds were flown in a wind tunnel following a training regime that mimicked the bird's natural flight behaviour. In addition to flight exercise, we manipulated the composition of dietary fatty acids and the level of enrichment with vitamin E, an antioxidant reported to enhance neuronal recruitment. We found that all three factors - flight exercise, fatty acid composition and vitamin E enrichment - regulate neuronal recruitment in a site-specific manner. We also found a robust interaction between flight training and vitamin E enrichment at multiple sites of neuronal recruitment. Specifically, flight training was found to enhance neuronal recruitment across the telencephalon, but only in birds fed a diet with a low level of vitamin E. Conversely, dietary enrichment with vitamin E upregulated neuronal recruitment, but only in birds not flown in the wind tunnel. These findings indicate conserved modulation of adult neurogenesis by exercise and diet across vertebrate taxa and indicate possible therapeutic interventions in disorders characterized by reduced adult neurogenesis. PMID:24372878

  12. Levels of PBDEs in plasma of juvenile starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) from British Columbia, Canada and assessment of PBDE metabolism by avian liver microsomes.

    PubMed

    Erratico, Claudio; Currier, Heidi; Szeitz, András; Bandiera, Stelvio; Covaci, Adrian; Elliott, John

    2015-06-15

    In this study, the levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), HO-PBDEs, and bromophenols were monitored in starling chick plasma samples collected in Delta (British Columbia, Canada) close to the Vancouver municipal landfill and in Glen Valley, a rural area in British Columbia. The in vitro formation of hydroxylated metabolites of 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-47) and 2,2',4,4',5-pentabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-99) was also investigated using starling chick liver microsomes. Total PBDE plasma levels were approximately 60 times higher in starling chicks from Delta than from Glen Valley, suggesting that the Delta site is a major source of PBDEs for the local population of starlings and that PBDEs previously measured in starling eggs are bioavailable to chicks. In both locations, BDE-47 and BDE-99 were the two major congeners present at similar concentrations, suggesting contamination with the Penta-BDE mixture. Among the several possible hydroxylated metabolites of PBDEs monitored in starling plasma, only 2,4,5-tribromophenol was detected and its levels did not exceed 18±7 pg/mL. Also, several hydroxylated metabolites of BDE-47 and BDE-99 were formed by starling chick liver microsomes, but in low amounts. Therefore, our data consistently suggest that oxidative metabolism of PBDEs in starling chicks proceeds at low rate in vivo and in vitro. In conclusion, the landfill located in Delta is a relevant source of bioavailable PBDEs for the local starling population. Because of the limited ability of starling chicks to metabolize PBDEs, these compounds are likely to bioaccumulate in starlings over time. The possible toxicological implications of PBDEs bioaccumulation in starlings are currently unknown and require further research. PMID:25747361

  13. Opposite Effects of Early-Life Competition and Developmental Telomere Attrition on Cognitive Biases in Juvenile European Starlings.

    PubMed

    Bateson, Melissa; Emmerson, Michael; Ergün, Gökçe; Monaghan, Pat; Nettle, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    Moods are enduring affective states that we hypothesise should be affected by an individual's developmental experience and its current somatic state. We tested whether early-life adversity, induced by manipulating brood size, subsequently altered juvenile European starlings' (Sturnus vulgaris) decisions in a judgment bias task designed to provide a cognitive measure of mood. We predicted that starlings from larger broods, specifically those that had experienced more nest competitors larger than themselves would exhibit reduced expectation of reward, indicative of a 'pessimistic', depression-like mood. We used a go/no-go task, in which 30 starlings were trained to probe a grey card disc associated with a palatable mealworm hidden underneath and avoid a different shade of grey card disc associated with a noxious quinine-injected mealworm hidden underneath. Birds' response latencies to the trained stimuli and also to novel, ambiguous stimuli intermediate between these were subsequently tested. Birds that had experienced greater competition in the nest were faster to probe trained stimuli, and it was therefore necessary to control statistically for this difference in subsequent analyses of the birds' responses to the ambiguous stimuli. As predicted, birds with more, larger nest competitors showed relatively longer latencies to probe ambiguous stimuli, suggesting reduced expectation of reward and a 'pessimistic', depression-like mood. However, birds with greater developmental telomere attrition--a measure of cellular aging associated with increased morbidity and reduced life-expectancy that we argue could be used as a measure of somatic state--showed shorter latencies to probe ambiguous stimuli. This would usually be interpreted as evidence for a more positive or 'optimistic' affective state. Thus, increased competition in the nest and poor current somatic state appear to have opposite effects on cognitive biases. Our results lead us to question whether increased

  14. Mechanisms of antimicrobial resistant Salmonella enterica transmission associated with starling-livestock interactions.

    PubMed

    Carlson, James C; Hyatt, Doreene R; Ellis, Jeremy W; Pipkin, David R; Mangan, Anna M; Russell, Michael; Bolte, Denise S; Engeman, Richard M; DeLiberto, Thomas J; Linz, George M

    2015-08-31

    Bird-livestock interactions have been implicated as potential sources for bacteria within concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO). European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in particular are known to contaminate cattle feed and water with Salmonella enterica through their fecal waste. We propose that fecal waste is not the only mechanisms through which starlings introduce S. enterica to CAFO. The goal of this study was to assess if starlings can mechanically move S. enterica. We define mechanical movement as the transportation of media containing S. enterica, on the exterior of starlings within CAFO. We collected 100 starlings and obtained external wash and gastrointestinal tract (GI) samples. We also collected 100 samples from animal pens. Within each pen we collected one cattle fecal, feed, and water trough sample. Isolates from all S. enterica positive samples were subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing. All sample types, including 17% of external starling wash samples, contained S. enterica. All sample types had at least one antimicrobial resistant (AMR) isolate and starling GI samples harbored multidrug resistant S. enterica. The serotypes isolated from the starling external wash samples were all found in the farm environment and 11.8% (2/17) of isolates from positive starling external wash samples were resistant to at least one class of antibiotics. This study provides evidence of a potential mechanism of wildlife introduced microbial contamination in CAFO. Mechanical movement of microbiological hazards, by starlings, should be considered a potential source of bacteria that is of concern to veterinary, environmental and public health. PMID:25960334

  15. Amino acid sequence of the AhR1 ligand-binding domain predicts avian sensitivity to dioxin like compounds: in vivo verification in European starlings.

    PubMed

    Eng, Margaret L; Elliott, John E; Jones, Stephanie P; Williams, Tony D; Drouillard, Ken G; Kennedy, Sean W

    2014-12-01

    Research has demonstrated that the sensitivity of avian species to the embyrotoxic effects of dioxin-like compounds can be predicted by the amino acid identities at two key sites within the ligand-binding domain of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor 1 (AhR1). The domestic chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) has been established as a highly sensitive species to the toxic effects of dioxin-like compounds. Results from genotyping and in vitro assays predict that the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is also highly sensitive to dioxin-like compound toxicity. The objective of the present study was to test that prediction in vivo. To do this, we used egg injections in field nesting starlings with 3,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB-126), a dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyl. Eggs were dosed with either the vehicle control or 1 of 5 doses (1.4, 7.1, 15.9, 32.1, and 52.9 ng PCB-126/g egg). A dose-dependent increase in embryo mortality occurred, and the median lethal dose (LD50; 95% confidence interval [CI]) was 5.61 (2.33-9.08) ng/g. Hepatic CYP1A4/5 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in hatchlings also increased in a dose-dependent manner, with CYP1A4 being more induced than CYP1A5. No effect of dose on morphological measures was seen, and we did not observe any overt malformations. These results indicate that, other than the chicken, the European starling is the most sensitive species to the effects of PCB-126 on avian embryo mortality reported to date, which supports the prediction of relative sensitivity to dioxin-like compounds based on amino acid sequence of the AhR1. PMID:25209921

  16. On the Estimation of Time Dependent Lift of a European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) during Flapping Flight.

    PubMed

    Stalnov, Oksana; Ben-Gida, Hadar; Kirchhefer, Adam J; Guglielmo, Christopher G; Kopp, Gregory A; Liberzon, Alexander; Gurka, Roi

    2015-01-01

    We study the role of unsteady lift in the context of flapping wing bird flight. Both aerodynamicists and biologists have attempted to address this subject, yet it seems that the contribution of unsteady lift still holds many open questions. The current study deals with the estimation of unsteady aerodynamic forces on a freely flying bird through analysis of wingbeat kinematics and near wake flow measurements using time resolved particle image velocimetry. The aerodynamic forces are obtained through two approaches, the unsteady thin airfoil theory and using the momentum equation for viscous flows. The unsteady lift is comprised of circulatory and non-circulatory components. Both approaches are presented over the duration of wingbeat cycles. Using long-time sampling data, several wingbeat cycles have been analyzed in order to cover both the downstroke and upstroke phases. It appears that the unsteady lift varies over the wingbeat cycle emphasizing its contribution to the total lift and its role in power estimations. It is suggested that the circulatory lift component cannot assumed to be negligible and should be considered when estimating lift or power of birds in flapping motion. PMID:26394213

  17. Variation in plasma leptin-like immunoreactivity in free-living European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Leptin, a protein hormone secreted by fat cells, is best known for its role as an adiposity signal; however, leptin has diverse physiological roles ranging from regulation of feeding behavior and body weight, to effects on reproduction and immune function. Although leptin has been extensively studi...

  18. On the Estimation of Time Dependent Lift of a European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) during Flapping Flight

    PubMed Central

    Stalnov, Oksana; Ben-Gida, Hadar; Kirchhefer, Adam J.; Guglielmo, Christopher G.; Kopp, Gregory A.; Liberzon, Alexander; Gurka, Roi

    2015-01-01

    We study the role of unsteady lift in the context of flapping wing bird flight. Both aerodynamicists and biologists have attempted to address this subject, yet it seems that the contribution of unsteady lift still holds many open questions. The current study deals with the estimation of unsteady aerodynamic forces on a freely flying bird through analysis of wingbeat kinematics and near wake flow measurements using time resolved particle image velocimetry. The aerodynamic forces are obtained through two approaches, the unsteady thin airfoil theory and using the momentum equation for viscous flows. The unsteady lift is comprised of circulatory and non-circulatory components. Both approaches are presented over the duration of wingbeat cycles. Using long-time sampling data, several wingbeat cycles have been analyzed in order to cover both the downstroke and upstroke phases. It appears that the unsteady lift varies over the wingbeat cycle emphasizing its contribution to the total lift and its role in power estimations. It is suggested that the circulatory lift component cannot assumed to be negligible and should be considered when estimating lift or power of birds in flapping motion. PMID:26394213

  19. CYCLOPHOSPHAMIDE EFFECTS ON IMMUNE FUNCTION OF EUROPEAN STARLINGS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Cyclophosphamide (CY) is a widely used immunosuppressive and chemotherapeutic agent. t is a potent immunotoxicant that suppresses some aspects of immune function in most animals in which it has been researched. n this study, CY suppressed immunological endpoints measured in starl...

  20. Individual variation in parental workload and breeding productivity in female European starlings: is the effort worth it?

    PubMed

    Fowler, Melinda A; Williams, Tony D

    2015-09-01

    We analyzed individual variation in work load (nest visit rate) during chick-rearing, and the consequences of this variation in terms of breeding productivity, in a highly synchronous breeder, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) focusing on female birds. There was marked (10- to 16-fold) variation in total, female and male nest visit rates, among individuals, but individual variation in female nest visit rate was independent of environment (rainfall, temperature) and metrics of individual quality (laying date, clutch size, amount of male provisioning help), and was only weakly associated with chick demand (i.e., day 6 brood size). Female nest visit rate was independent of date and experimentally delayed birds provisioned at the same rate as peak-nesting birds; supporting a lack of effect of date per se. Brood size at fledging was positively but weakly related to total nest visit rate (male + female), with >fivefold variation in nest visit rate for any given brood size, and in females brood size at fledging and chick mass at fledging were independent of female nest visit rate, that is, individual variation in workload was not associated with higher productivity. Nevertheless, nest visit rate in females was repeatable among consecutive days (6-8 posthatching), and between peak (first) and second broods, but not among years. Our data suggest that individual females behave as if committed to a certain level of parental care at the outset of their annual breeding attempt, but this varies among years, that is, behavior is not fixed throughout an individual's life but represents an annually variable decision. We suggest females are making predictable decisions about their workload during provisioning that maximizes their overall fitness based on an integration of information on their current environment (although these cues currently remain unidentified). PMID:26380688

  1. Individual variation in parental workload and breeding productivity in female European starlings: is the effort worth it?

    PubMed Central

    Fowler, Melinda A; Williams, Tony D

    2015-01-01

    We analyzed individual variation in work load (nest visit rate) during chick-rearing, and the consequences of this variation in terms of breeding productivity, in a highly synchronous breeder, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) focusing on female birds. There was marked (10- to 16-fold) variation in total, female and male nest visit rates, among individuals, but individual variation in female nest visit rate was independent of environment (rainfall, temperature) and metrics of individual quality (laying date, clutch size, amount of male provisioning help), and was only weakly associated with chick demand (i.e., day 6 brood size). Female nest visit rate was independent of date and experimentally delayed birds provisioned at the same rate as peak-nesting birds; supporting a lack of effect of date per se. Brood size at fledging was positively but weakly related to total nest visit rate (male + female), with >fivefold variation in nest visit rate for any given brood size, and in females brood size at fledging and chick mass at fledging were independent of female nest visit rate, that is, individual variation in workload was not associated with higher productivity. Nevertheless, nest visit rate in females was repeatable among consecutive days (6–8 posthatching), and between peak (first) and second broods, but not among years. Our data suggest that individual females behave as if committed to a certain level of parental care at the outset of their annual breeding attempt, but this varies among years, that is, behavior is not fixed throughout an individual's life but represents an annually variable decision. We suggest females are making predictable decisions about their workload during provisioning that maximizes their overall fitness based on an integration of information on their current environment (although these cues currently remain unidentified). PMID:26380688

  2. Individual differences in the motivation to communicate relate to levels of midbrain and striatal catecholamine markers in male European starlings

    PubMed Central

    Heimovics, Sarah A; Salvante, Katrina G; Sockman, Keith W; Riters, Lauren V

    2013-01-01

    Individuals display dramatic differences in social communication even within similar social contexts. Across vertebrates dopaminergic projections from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and midbrain central gray (GCt) strongly influence motivated, reward-directed behaviors. Norepinephrine is also rich in these areas and may alter dopamine neuronal activity. The present study was designed to provide insight into the roles of dopamine and norepinephrine in VTA and GCt and their efferent striatal target, song control region area X, in the regulation of individual differences in the motivation to sing. We used high pressure liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection to measure dopamine, norepinephrine and their metabolites in micropunched samples from VTA, GCt, and area X in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). We categorized males as sexually motivated or non-sexually motivated based on individual differences in song produced in response to a female. Dopamine markers and norepinephrine in VTA and dopamine in area X correlated positively with sexually-motivated song. Norepinephrine in area X correlated negatively with non-sexually-motivated song. Dopamine in GCt correlated negatively with sexually-motivated song, and the metabolite DOPAC correlated positively with non-sexually-motivated song. Results highlight a role for evolutionarily conserved dopaminergic projections from VTA to striatum in the motivation to communicate and highlight novel patterns of catecholamine activity in area X, VTA, and GCt associated with individual differences in sexually-motivated and non-sexually-motivated communication. Correlations between dopamine and norepinephrine markers also suggest that norepinephrine may contribute to individual differences in communication by modifying dopamine neuronal activity in VTA and GCt. PMID:21907203

  3. Opposite Effects of Early-Life Competition and Developmental Telomere Attrition on Cognitive Biases in Juvenile European Starlings

    PubMed Central

    Bateson, Melissa; Emmerson, Michael; Ergün, Gökçe; Monaghan, Pat; Nettle, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    Moods are enduring affective states that we hypothesise should be affected by an individual’s developmental experience and its current somatic state. We tested whether early-life adversity, induced by manipulating brood size, subsequently altered juvenile European starlings’ (Sturnus vulgaris) decisions in a judgment bias task designed to provide a cognitive measure of mood. We predicted that starlings from larger broods, specifically those that had experienced more nest competitors larger than themselves would exhibit reduced expectation of reward, indicative of a ‘pessimistic’, depression-like mood. We used a go/no-go task, in which 30 starlings were trained to probe a grey card disc associated with a palatable mealworm hidden underneath and avoid a different shade of grey card disc associated with a noxious quinine-injected mealworm hidden underneath. Birds’ response latencies to the trained stimuli and also to novel, ambiguous stimuli intermediate between these were subsequently tested. Birds that had experienced greater competition in the nest were faster to probe trained stimuli, and it was therefore necessary to control statistically for this difference in subsequent analyses of the birds’ responses to the ambiguous stimuli. As predicted, birds with more, larger nest competitors showed relatively longer latencies to probe ambiguous stimuli, suggesting reduced expectation of reward and a ‘pessimistic’, depression-like mood. However, birds with greater developmental telomere attrition—a measure of cellular aging associated with increased morbidity and reduced life-expectancy that we argue could be used as a measure of somatic state—showed shorter latencies to probe ambiguous stimuli. This would usually be interpreted as evidence for a more positive or ‘optimistic’ affective state. Thus, increased competition in the nest and poor current somatic state appear to have opposite effects on cognitive biases. Our results lead us to question

  4. Nationwide residues of organochlorines in starlings, 1974

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    White, D.H.

    1976-01-01

    Organochlorine residues in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) from 126 collection sites were monitored during the fall of 1974. DDE, DDT, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's), and benzene hexachloride were present in all samples. Dieldrin, heptachlor expoxide, hexachlorobenzene, and oxychlordane were present in approximately 97% of the samples. DDE, dieldrin, and PCB residues in starlings were significantly lower than they had been in 1972.

  5. Nationwide residues of organochlorines in starlings, 1974.

    PubMed

    White, D H

    1976-06-01

    Organochlorine residues in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) from 126 collection sites were monitored during the fall of 1974. DDE, DDT, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's), and benzene hexachloride were present in all samples. Dieldrin, heptachlor expoxide, hexachlorobenzene, and oxychlordane were present in approximately 97% of the samples. DDE, dieldrin, and PCB residues in starlings were significantly lower than they had been in 1972. PMID:940731

  6. Flame retardants in eggs of American kestrels and European starlings from southern Lake Ontario region (North America).

    PubMed

    Chen, Da; Letcher, Robert J; Martin, Pamela

    2012-11-01

    While a number of studies have extensively investigated flame retardant (FR) contamination in aquatic ecosystems from the Laurentian Great Lakes basin, there remains a dearth of information for terrestrial ecosystems. In the current study, American kestrels (Falco sparverius) (AMKE) and European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) (EUST) that are terrestrial ecosystem consumers, and from the southern Lake Ontario regions, were investigated as potential terrestrial bio-monitoring species. Egg homogenates were screened for sixteen PBDE congeners and nineteen non-PBDE FRs of established or emerging environmental importance. PBDE congeners dominated the FR burdens in eggs of AMKE and EUST, with total concentrations ranging from 3.4 to 39.8 (median: 13.5) and 1.5 to 117 (median: 4.9) ng g(-1) wet weight (ww), respectively. Although the production and application of the Firemaster FF-1 (a commercial hexabromobiphenyl PBB mixture) has been discontinued for over four decades, its major component, 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexabromobiphenyl (BB-153), was still frequently detected in AMKE and EUST eggs. Two isomers of the chlorinated FR Dechlorane plus (DP) were mostly detected in eggs collected from Niagara-on-the-Lake in the western portion of Lake Ontario, approximately 15 km from the only North American DP manufacturing site, clearly reflecting point source influences. FR comparisons in eggs from AMKE, EUST and Great Lakes herring gulls revealed species-specific contamination burdens and PBDE congener profiles, likely due to influences from trophic levels and PBDE congener-specific bioaccumulation and biomagnification capacities in terrestrial versus aquatic food chains. Insectivorous birds (e.g. great tit) and relatives of AMKE have also been used as bio-monitoring tools in European and Asian regions, allowing investigation of spatial distribution patterns on a more international scale. AMKE and EUST have also been used as model species for laboratory evaluation of FR toxic effects in

  7. Molecular characterization of Salmonella enterica isolates associated with starling-livestock interactions.

    PubMed

    Carlson, James C; Hyatt, Doreene R; Bentler, Kevin; Mangan, Anna M; Russell, Michael; Piaggio, Antoinette J; Linz, George M

    2015-08-31

    Bird-livestock interactions have been implicated as potential sources for bacteria within concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO). In this study we characterized XbaI-digested genomic DNA from Salmonella enterica using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The PFGE analysis was conducted using 182 S. enterica isolates collected from a single CAFO between 2009 and 2012. Samples collected in 2012 were subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing. The analysis was limited to S. enterica serotypes, with at least 10 isolates, known to occur in both European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and cattle (Bos taurus) within this CAFO. A total of five different serotypes were screened; S. Anatum, S. Kentucky, S. Meleagridis, S. Montevideo, S. Muenchen. These samples were recovered from five different sample types; starling gastrointestinal tracts (GI), starling external wash, cattle feces, cattle feed and cattle water troughs. Indistinguishable S. enterica PFGE profiles were recovered from isolates originating in all sample types. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was also associated with indistinguishable S. enterica isolates recovered from all samples types. These data suggests that AMR S. enterica is transmitted between cattle and starlings and that shared feed sources are likely contributing to infections within both species. Moreover we isolated indistinguishable PFGE profiles across all years of data collection, suggesting long-term environmental persistence may be mediated by starling visits to CAFO. PMID:25866128

  8. Stereotyping starlings are more 'pessimistic'.

    PubMed

    Brilot, Ben O; Asher, Lucy; Bateson, Melissa

    2010-09-01

    Negative affect in humans and animals is known to cause individuals to interpret ambiguous stimuli pessimistically, a phenomenon termed 'cognitive bias'. Here, we used captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to test the hypothesis that a reduction in environmental conditions, from enriched to non-enriched cages, would engender negative affect, and hence 'pessimistic' biases. We also explored whether individual differences in stereotypic behaviour (repetitive somersaulting) predicted 'pessimism'. Eight birds were trained on a novel conditional discrimination task with differential rewards, in which background shade (light or dark) determined which of two covered dishes contained a food reward. The reward was small when the background was light, but large when the background was dark. We then presented background shades intermediate between those trained to assess the birds' bias to choose the dish associated with the smaller food reward (a 'pessimistic' judgement) when the discriminative stimulus was ambiguous. Contrary to predictions, changes in the level of cage enrichment had no effect on 'pessimism'. However, changes in the latency to choose and probability of expressing a choice suggested that birds learnt rapidly that trials with ambiguous stimuli were unreinforced. Individual differences in performance of stereotypies did predict 'pessimism'. Specifically, birds that somersaulted were more likely to choose the dish associated with the smaller food reward in the presence of the most ambiguous discriminative stimulus. We propose that somersaulting is part of a wider suite of behavioural traits indicative of a stress response to captive conditions that is symptomatic of a negative affective state. PMID:20464439

  9. Force estimation and turbulence in the wake of a freely flying European Starling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ben-Gida, Hadar; Kirchhefer, Adam; Kopp, Gregory; Gurka, Roi

    2011-11-01

    Flapping wings are one of the most complex yet widespread propulsion method found in nature. Although aeronautical technology has advanced rapidly over the past 100 years, natural flyers, which have evolved over millions of years, still feature higher efficiency and represent one of nature's finest locomotion methods. One of the key questions is the role of the unsteady motion in the flow due to the wing flapping and its contribution to the forces acting on a bird during downstroke and upstroke. The wake of a freely flying European Starling is investigated as a case study of unsteady wing aerodynamics. Measurements of the near wake have been taken using long duration high-speed PIV in the wake behind a freely flying bird in a specially designed avian wind tunnel. The wake has been characterized by means of velocity and vorticity fields. The measured flow field is decomposed based on the wing position phases. Drag and lift have been estimated using the mean velocity deficit and the circulation at the wake region. In addition, kinematic analysis of the wing motion and the body has been performed using additional high-speed cameras that recorded the bird movement simultaneously with the PIV. Correlations between the wing kinematics and the flow field characteristics are presented as well as the time evolution of the velocity, vorticity and additional turbulence parameters.

  10. Behavioural response of European starlings exposed to video playback of conspecific flocks: effect of social context and predator threat.

    PubMed

    Zoratto, Francesca; Manzari, Leonardo; Oddi, Ludovica; Pinxten, Rianne; Eens, Marcel; Santucci, Daniela; Alleva, Enrico; Carere, Claudio

    2014-03-01

    We studied the behavioural response of European starlings to a socially mediated predation event. Adult starlings were exposed to either a video of a flock attacked by a peregrine falcon or a video of a flock not under attack. We investigated whether the social condition affected the anti-predator response under the hypothesis that in such a gregarious species singletons would increase their anti-predator behaviour more than individuals in groups, to compensate for potential increased risk. The video of the flock under attack caused an increase in immobility and vigilance, more marked in singletons, both during and after the exposure. The video of the non-threatened flock caused an increase in activity levels, especially during the exposure. Furthermore, we observed a marked increase in comfort activities in singletons as well as in social interactions and vocalizations in mini-flocks. Only birds in mini-flocks vocalized, which may be explained by an audience effect, a process of social cognition mediated by the social context, and not only by the stimulus. The results are in line with previous field studies, which showed that isolated starlings are exposed to a higher risk of predation compared to individuals in flocks. PMID:24468212

  11. Spatio-temporal variation in European starling reproductive success at multiple small spatial scales

    PubMed Central

    Brickhill, Daisy; Evans, Peter GH; Reid, Jane M

    2015-01-01

    Understanding population dynamics requires spatio-temporal variation in demography to be measured across appropriate spatial and temporal scales. However, the most appropriate spatial scale(s) may not be obvious, few datasets cover sufficient time periods, and key demographic rates are often incompletely measured. Consequently, it is often assumed that demography will be spatially homogeneous within populations that lack obvious subdivision. Here, we quantify small-scale spatial and temporal variation in a key demographic rate, reproductive success (RS), within an apparently contiguous population of European starlings. We used hierarchical cluster analysis to define spatial clusters of nest sites at multiple small spatial scales and long-term data to test the hypothesis that small-scale spatio-temporal variation in RS occurred. RS was measured as the number of chicks alive ca. 12 days posthatch either per first brood or per nest site per breeding season (thereby incorporating multiple breeding attempts). First brood RS varied substantially among spatial clusters and years. Furthermore, the pattern of spatial variation was stable across years; some nest clusters consistently produced more chicks than others. Total seasonal RS also varied substantially among spatial clusters and years. However, the magnitude of variation was much larger and the pattern of spatial variation was no longer temporally consistent. Furthermore, the estimated magnitude of spatial variation in RS was greater at smaller spatial scales. We thereby demonstrate substantial spatial, temporal, and spatio-temporal variation in RS occurring at very small spatial scales. We show that the estimated magnitude of this variation depended on spatial scale and that spatio-temporal variation would not have been detected if season-long RS had not been measured. Such small-scale spatio-temporal variation should be incorporated into empirical and theoretical treatments of population dynamics. PMID:26380670

  12. Flying starlings, PET and the evolution of volant dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Gold, Maria Eugenia Leone; Schulz, Daniela; Budassi, Michael; Gignac, Paul M; Vaska, Paul; Norell, Mark A

    2016-04-01

    Birds have evolved behavioral and morphological adaptations for powered flight. Many aspects of this transition are unknown, including the neuroanatomical changes that made flight possible [1]. To understand how the avian brain drives this complex behavior, we utilized positron emission tomography (PET) scanning and the tracer (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) to document regional metabolic activity in the brain associated with a variety of locomotor behaviors. FDG studies are typically employed in rats [2] though the technology has been applied to birds [3]. We examined whole-brain function in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), trained to fly in a wind tunnel while metabolizing the tracer. Drawing on predictions from early anatomical studies [4], we hypothesized increased metabolic activity in the Wulst and functionally related visual brain regions during flight. We found that flight behaviors correlated positively with entopallia and Wulst activity, but negatively with thalamic activity. PMID:27046806

  13. Effects of dietary aluminum, calcium, and phosphorus on egg and bone of European starlings

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miles, A.K.; Grue, C.E.; Pendleton, G.W.; Soares, J.H., Jr.

    1993-01-01

    Egg and bone of passerine birds nesting in acidified habitats may be affected by high levels of Al or P, or low levels of Ca. Nine treatments of three levels of dietary Al (target levels of 200, 1,000, and 5,000 ?g/g) and three levels of Ca:P (target levels of NN = 1.3% Ca: 0.9% P; LL = 0.19 Ca:0.45 P; LH = 0.19 Ca:1.65 P) were fed to 16-17 starling pairs during two breeding seasons. Eggs of starlings fed the LH diet were smaller and weighed less than eggs from the NN and LL treatments. Treatment effects on thickness, strength, and weight of eggshells were not consistent between seasons, probably because of differences in actual dietary levels of AI, Ca, and P or in incubation intervals. In one season, birds fed the highest Al diet had thicker eggshells than those from the other Al treatments (no effect from Ca:P); the following season, eggshells from the NN and LH treatments were thicker and stronger than those from the LL treatment. Eggshells from the NN treatment weighed more than those from the other Ca:P treatments. Starlings on the LH diet had the strongest femurs, but the effect was interactive with different levels of dietary AI. Effects of Ca:P on egg and bone were more evident than Al effects.

  14. A starling-deterrent wood duck nest box

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McGilvrey, F.B.; Uhler, F.M.

    1971-01-01

    In many parts of the United States, the starling (Sturnus vulgaris) has I become a serious competitor for nest boxes erected for wood ducks (Aix sponsa). Research at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge near Rock Hall, Maryland, demonstrated that horizontal nest structures with semicircular entrance holes 11 inches in diameter were acceptable to nesting wood ducks but discouraged nesting by starlings. Starlings seemed to prefer boxes in open impoundments to those in wooded impoundments, whereas wood ducks seemed to show no preference.

  15. Neural endocannabinoid CB1 receptor expression, social status, and behavior in male European starlings.

    PubMed

    DeVries, M Susan; Cordes, Melissa A; Rodriguez, Jonathan D; Stevenson, Sharon A; Riters, Lauren V

    2016-08-01

    Many species modify behavior in response to changes in resource availability or social status; however, the neural mechanisms underlying these modifications are not well understood. Prior work in male starlings demonstrates that status-appropriate changes in behavior involve brain regions that regulate social behavior and vocal production. Endocannabinoids are ubiquitously distributed neuromodulators that are proposed to play a role in adjusting behavior to match social status. As an initial step to provide insight into this hypothesis we observed flocks of male starlings in outdoor aviaries during the breeding season. We used quantitative real-time PCR to measure expression of endocannabinoid CB1 receptors in brain regions involved in social behavior and motivation (lateral septum [LS], ventral tegmental area [VTA], medial preoptic nucleus [POM]) and vocal behavior (Area X and robust nucleus of the arcopallium; RA). Males with nesting sites sang to females and displaced other males more than males without nesting sites. They also had higher levels of CB1 receptor expression in LS and RA. CB1 expression in LS correlated positively with agonistic behaviors. CB1 expression in RA correlated positively with singing behavior. CB1 in VTA also correlated positively with singing when only singing birds were considered. These correlations nicely map onto the well-established role of LS in agonistic behavior and the known role of RA in song production and VTA in motivation and song production. Studies are now needed to precisely characterize the role of CB1 receptors in these regions in the production of status-appropriate social behaviors. PMID:27206544

  16. Molecular epidemiology and public health relevance of Campylobacter isolated from dairy cattle and European starlings in Ohio, USA.

    PubMed

    Sanad, Yasser M; Closs, Gary; Kumar, Anand; LeJeune, Jeffrey T; Rajashekara, Gireesh

    2013-03-01

    Dairy cattle serve as a potential source for Campylobacter infection in humans. Outbreaks associated with consumption of either Campylobacter contaminated raw milk or contaminated milk after treatment were previously recorded in the United States. Further, starlings have been implicated in the spread of bacterial pathogens among livestock. Here, we determined the prevalence, genotypic, and phenotypic properties of Campylobacter isolated from fecal samples of dairy cattle and starlings found on the same establishment in northeastern Ohio. Campylobacter were detected in 83 (36.6%) and 57 (50.4%) out of 227 dairy and 113 starling fecal samples, respectively. Specifically, 79 C. jejuni, five C. coli, and two other Campylobacter spp. were isolated from dairy feces, while all isolates from starlings (n=57) were C. jejuni. Our results showed that the prevalence of C. jejuni in birds was significantly (p<0.01) higher than that in dairy cattle. The pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis showed that C. jejuni were genotypically diverse and host restricted; however, there were several shared genotypes between dairy cattle and starling isolates. Likewise, many shared clonal complexes (CC) between dairy cattle and starlings were observed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) analysis. As in humans, both in cattle and starlings, the CC 45 and CC 21 were the most frequently represented CCs. As previously reported, CC 177 and CC 682 were restricted to the bird isolates, while CC 42 was restricted to dairy cattle isolates. Further, two new sequence types (STs) were detected in C. jejuni from dairy cattle. Interestingly, cattle and starling C. jejuni showed high resistance to multiple antimicrobials, including ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, and gentamicin. In conclusion, our results highlight starlings as potential reservoirs for C. jejuni, and they may play an important role in the epidemiology of clinically important C. jejuni in dairy population. PMID:23259503

  17. Transmission of avian pox from starlings to Rothchild's mynahs.

    PubMed

    Landolt, M; Kocan, R M

    1976-07-01

    Several wild species of birds, including starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), house sparrows (Passer domesticus) and pigeons (Columba livia) gained access to an aviary housing Rothchild's mynahs (Leucospar rothchildii) and over 100 additional birds representing a variety of species. Six of approximately 15 mynahs became infected with avian pox and all of them died. None of the other birds in the aviary developed lesions. Pox virus was isolated from mynah facial lesions on chicken chorioallantoic membrane and in duck embryo fibroblast cell culture. It did not produce lesions in white Leghorn chickens, but did produce lesions in 4 of 11 wild starlings captured outside the aviary. Results indicated the agent was an indigenous starling pox capable of infecting and producing disease in mynah birds. Destruction of the captive starlings and isolation of the remaining mynahs immediately stopped the mortality. PMID:16498876

  18. Social cues regulate reciprocal switching of hypothalamic Dio2/Dio3 and the transition into final follicle maturation in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Perfito, Nicole; Guardado, Daisy; Williams, Tony D; Bentley, George E

    2015-02-01

    With final maturation of ovarian follicles, birds are committed to a major energetic investment: egg laying. Follicles develop in a 2-step process: 1) initial development of regressed follicles stimulated by long days and 2) yolk incorporation into hierarchical follicles, ovulation, and oviposition. We know little about how females transduce environmental cues into neuroendocrine signals regulating the second step. The present study measures gene expression in tissues within the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis. Females were housed in seminatural enclosures experiencing natural changes in photoperiod and environmental cues (eg, temperature, rainfall, etc), without males or with constant access to males (January to April). By April, females with males had begun to lay eggs, whereas those without males had not. In a second study, females without males for 3.5 months were then given access to males for 7 days. Restricting male access completely inhibited final follicle maturation, whereas 7-day male access stimulated full vitellogenesis and follicle maturation. Few gene expression changes were attributable to constant male access (January to March), but naïve females given 7-day male access had increased type 2 deiodinase (DIO2) and decreased DIO3 synthesis in the hypothalamus, potentially influencing local thyroid hormone metabolism, increased expression of LH receptor and aromatase in follicles and vitellogenin in liver. Our data suggest that initial follicle development may be more heavily influenced by photoperiod, but the second step (final maturation) is sensitive to other cues such as social interactions. This is the first demonstration of a social effect on the Dio2/Dio3 system, previously thought only responsive to photoperiod cues. PMID:25490148

  19. Reward associated with singing behavior correlates with opioid-related gene expression in the medial preoptic nucleus in male European starlings.

    PubMed

    Riters, Lauren V; Stevenson, Sharon A; DeVries, M Susan; Cordes, Melissa A

    2014-01-01

    Birdsong consists of species-specific learned vocal sequences that are used primarily to attract mates and to repel competitors during the breeding season. However, many birds continue to sing at times when vocal production has no immediate or obvious impact on conspecific behavior. The mechanisms that ensure that animals produce important behaviors in contexts in which the function of these behaviors is not immediate or obvious are not known. One possibility is that animals engage in such behaviors because they are associated with pleasure. Here we examined the hypothesis that male European starlings sing outside of the breeding season in part because the act of singing in this context is facilitated and/or maintained by opioid-mediated reward. We measured song-associated reward using a conditioned place preference (CPP) test in male starlings producing fall, non-breeding season-typical song. We used quantitative real time PCR to measure expression of the enkephalin opioid precursor preproenkephalin (PENK) and mu opioid receptors (MOR) in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM; a region in which opioids are implicated in both reward and starling fall song) and additionally the song control region HVC as a control. Starlings developed a strong preference for a place that had been paired previously with the act of producing fall-typical song, indicating that fall song production was associated with a positive affective state. Both PENK and MOR mRNA expression in the POM, but not HVC, correlated positively with both individual reward state (as reflected in CPP) and undirected singing behavior. These results suggest that singing induces opioid receptor and enkephalin expression in the POM and consequent reward, and/or that opioid release in the POM induced by individual or environmental factors (e.g., the presence of food, safety of a flock or the absence of predators) induces a positive affective state which then facilitates singing behavior. PMID:25521590

  20. Reward Associated with Singing Behavior Correlates with Opioid-Related Gene Expression in the Medial Preoptic Nucleus in Male European Starlings

    PubMed Central

    Riters, Lauren V.; Stevenson, Sharon A.; DeVries, M. Susan; Cordes, Melissa A.

    2014-01-01

    Birdsong consists of species-specific learned vocal sequences that are used primarily to attract mates and to repel competitors during the breeding season. However, many birds continue to sing at times when vocal production has no immediate or obvious impact on conspecific behavior. The mechanisms that ensure that animals produce important behaviors in contexts in which the function of these behaviors is not immediate or obvious are not known. One possibility is that animals engage in such behaviors because they are associated with pleasure. Here we examined the hypothesis that male European starlings sing outside of the breeding season in part because the act of singing in this context is facilitated and/or maintained by opioid-mediated reward. We measured song-associated reward using a conditioned place preference (CPP) test in male starlings producing fall, non-breeding season-typical song. We used quantitative real time PCR to measure expression of the enkephalin opioid precursor preproenkephalin (PENK) and mu opioid receptors (MOR) in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM; a region in which opioids are implicated in both reward and starling fall song) and additionally the song control region HVC as a control. Starlings developed a strong preference for a place that had been paired previously with the act of producing fall-typical song, indicating that fall song production was associated with a positive affective state. Both PENK and MOR mRNA expression in the POM, but not HVC, correlated positively with both individual reward state (as reflected in CPP) and undirected singing behavior. These results suggest that singing induces opioid receptor and enkephalin expression in the POM and consequent reward, and/or that opioid release in the POM induced by individual or environmental factors (e.g., the presence of food, safety of a flock or the absence of predators) induces a positive affective state which then facilitates singing behavior. PMID:25521590

  1. Absence of circannual toxicity of parathion to starlings

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rattner, B.A.; Grue, C.E.

    1990-01-01

    Ambient temperature and season have been observed to influence the toxicity of several environmental pollutants in homeotherms. The circannual toxicity of ethyl parathion (EP) was examined in adult European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Groups of birds housed in outdoor pens received oral doses of EP (20-150 mg/kg body weight) in fall, winter, spring and summer (temperature range -3.3 to 36.7?C). The median lethal dosage (LD50), and brain and plasma cholinesterase inhibition, were found to be quite similar among seasons. There was some suggestion that EP may have been more toxic during hot weather (winter versus summer LD50 estimate [95% confidence interval]:160 [114-225] vs. 118 [102-136] mg/kg; P<0.10). In view of previous reports in which ambient temperature extremes and harsh weather have enhanced organophosphorus insecticide toxicity to birds, it is concluded that circannual toxicity studies should include measures of sensitivity (acute oral exposure) and vulnerability (dietary exposure) to better predict responses of free-ranging birds

  2. Extrapolating laboratory avian toxicity data to free-living birds: Comparison of the toxicity of parathion to captive and free-living European starlings

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grue, C.E.; Rattner, B.A.; Bunck, C.M.

    1993-01-01

    In 1985 and 1986, we captured nesting wild female European starlings with young 8-10 days of age. Birds were weighted, banded, and given one of four dosages of the OP insecticide parathion (50, 72, 104 or 150 mg/kg dissolved in corn oil) or pure corn-oil (control). and their young weighed. Nest boxes (7- 12/treatment) were observed and young re-weighed 2-3 days postdose to determine presence/absence of the females. If necessary, males were captured and fate of young used to confirm female response. Brain ChE inhibition in dosed birds (based on a pilot study) was 55-74%. EC50's (failure to return to nest box) for the females was 74 mg/kg in 1985 and 92 mg/kg in 1986. Confidence limit (95%) for these estimates overlapped LD50's for captive female starlings dosed with the OP in spring and early summer 1987 (136, 128 mg/kg, respectively). Results suggest that responses of captive and free-living birds to potentially lethal concentrations of OP's are similar, despite the additional stresses in the wild.

  3. A longitudinal study of feed contamination by European starling excreta in Ohio dairy farms (2007-2008).

    PubMed

    Medhanie, G A; Pearl, D L; McEwen, S A; Guerin, M T; Jardine, C M; Schrock, J; LeJeune, J T

    2014-01-01

    The objectives of this study were to understand the temporal pattern of contamination of cattle feed by starling excrement on dairy farms and to evaluate the temporal pattern in recovering Escherichia coli O157:H7 or Salmonella in relation to the absolute mass of excrement recovered. A longitudinal study was conducted on 15 dairy farms in Ohio from July 2007 to October 2008. One open-topped tray filled with bird feed was placed near a cattle feeding site; bird excrement from the tray was weighed monthly for 12 consecutive months. Linear regression models with a random intercept for farm were computed to examine the association between the absolute weight of excrement recovered each month or the farm-specific standard score for weight of excrement, and month or season. Exact logistic regression was used to determine whether an association between recovering E. coli O157:H7 or Salmonella was present and the amount of excrement recovered and season. A spatial scan statistic was used to test for evidence of space-time clustering of excrement, based on the standard score for the weight of the excrement, among our study farms. A total of 5 of 179 excrement samples (2.79%) were positive for E. coli O157:H7 and 2 (1.12%) were positive for Salmonella. A significantly higher level of contamination with excrement was observed during the winter. The odds of recovering a pathogen increased with the amount of excrement recovered and decreased if the excrement was collected in the winter. A spatio-temporal cluster of contamination with excrement was detected. These findings provide basic information for future quantitative microbial risk assessments concerning the role of starlings in spreading enteric pathogens on dairy farms. PMID:24881798

  4. EFFECTS OF 7,12-DIMETHYLBENZ[A]ANTHRACENE ON IMMUNE FUNCTION AND MIXED-FUNCTION OXYGENASE ACTIVITY IN THE EUROPEAN STARLING

    EPA Science Inventory

    Immune function and hepatic mixed-function oxygenase (MFO) activity were xamined in adult and nestling starlings administered a synthetic PAH, 7,12dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA). ethods used to examine the starling immune system included immunopathology, macrophage phagocytosis...

  5. Effects of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene on immune function and mixed-function oxygenase activity in the European starling

    SciTech Connect

    Trust, K.A.; Hooper, M.J. . Inst. of Wildlife and Environmental Toxicology); Fairbrother, A. . Environmental Research Lab.)

    1994-05-01

    Immune function and hepatic MFO activity were examined in adult and nestling starlings administered a synthetic PAH, 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA). Methods used to examine the starling immune system included immunopathology, macrophage phagocytosis, lymphocyte blastogenesis to concanavalin A, and hemagglutination of sheep erythrocytes (SRBC). Concomitant investigations of MFO activity were conducted in starlings exposed to DMBA. Ethoxyresorufin O-dealkylase (EROD) and pentoxyresorufin O-depentylase (PROD) were used as indicators of hepatic MFO activity. Changes in MFO activity were compared to chemically altered immune responses following DMBA exposure. Subcutaneous exposure of adult starlings to 125 mg/kg DMBA resulted in suppression of lymphocyte blastogenesis and antibody production to SRBC. EROD and PROD activity were increased 2.8- and 3.4-fold, respectively. Lymphocyte blastogenesis was impaired in adult starlings orally exposed to 125 mg/kg DMBA. The immune system of nestling starlings exposed orally to 100 mg/kg DMBA was altered, as evidenced by decreased phagocytic ability of macrophages and inhibition of lymphocyte blastogenesis. Oral exposure to DMBA did not induce MFO activity in starlings of either age class. Effects of DMBA on immune function and MFO activity in starlings varied with the age of birds and route and length of chemical exposure.

  6. Developmental telomere attrition predicts impulsive decision-making in adult starlings.

    PubMed

    Bateson, Melissa; Brilot, Ben O; Gillespie, Robert; Monaghan, Pat; Nettle, Daniel

    2015-01-22

    Animals in a poor biological state face reduced life expectancy, and as a consequence should make decisions that prioritize immediate survival and reproduction over long-term benefits. We tested the prediction that if, as has been suggested, developmental telomere attrition is a biomarker of state and future life expectancy, then individuals who have undergone greater developmental telomere attrition should display greater choice impulsivity as adults. We measured impulsive decision-making in a cohort of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in which we had previously manipulated developmental telomere attrition by cross-fostering sibling chicks into broods of different sizes. We show that as predicted by state-dependent optimality models, individuals who had sustained greater developmental telomere attrition and who had shorter current telomeres made more impulsive foraging decisions as adults, valuing smaller, sooner food rewards more highly than birds with less attrition and longer telomeres. Our findings shed light on the biological embedding of early adversity and support a functional explanation for its consequences that could be applicable to other species, including humans. PMID:25473012

  7. Winter habitat associations of blackbirds and starlings wintering in the south-central United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Matthew Strassburg; Crimmins, Shawn M.; George M. Linz; McKann, Patrick C.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.

    2015-01-01

    Birds can cause extensive crop damage in the United States. In some regions, depredating species comprise a substantial portion of the total avian population, emphasizing their importance both economically and ecologically. We used the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count data from the south-central United States and mixed-effects models to identify habitat factors associated with population trend and abundance for 5 species: red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula), rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus), Brewer’s blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus), and European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Overall, we found positive associations between bird abundance and agricultural land-cover for all species. Relationships between abundance and other land-cover types were species-specific, often with contrasting relationships among species. Likewise, we found no consistent patterns among abundance and climate. Of the 5 species, only red-winged blackbirds had a significant population trend in our study area, increasing annually by 2.4%. There was marginal evidence to suggest population increases for rusty blackbirds, whereas all other species showed no trend in population size within our study area. Our study provides managers who are interested in limiting crop damage in the south-central United States with novel information on habitat associations in the region that could be used to improve management and control actions.

  8. Nationwide residues of mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and selenium in starlings, 1973

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    White, D.H.; Bean, J.R.; Longcore, J.R.

    1977-01-01

    Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) collected in 1973 at 51 sites throughout the continental United States were analyzed for mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and selenium. All samples contained detectable levels of these elements. In general, residues were low: mercury residues ranged from <0.01 to 0.20 ppm: lead, from <0.10 10 3.20 ppm: cadmium, from <0.05 to 0.20 ppm: arsenic, from <0.05 to 1.40 ppm: and selenium, from 0.10 to 1.10 ppm. There was a significant overall decline in mercury and lead residues in starlings since 1971, and a significant increase in arsenic residues. Lead residues were significantly higher in starlings from urban areas than from rural areas.

  9. Inverted-U shaped effects of D1 dopamine receptor stimulation in the medial preoptic nucleus on sexually motivated song in male European starlings.

    PubMed

    Riters, Lauren V; Pawlisch, Benjamin A; Kelm-Nelson, Cynthia A; Stevenson, Sharon A

    2014-02-01

    Past studies in songbirds have highlighted a central role for the medial preoptic nucleus (mPOA) in context-appropriate vocal communication. During the breeding season, male songbirds sing primarily to attract females (sexually motivated song) and to repel competitors (agonistically motivated song). Past data have linked dopamine and D1 dopamine receptors in the mPOA to sexually motivated but not agonistically motivated song; however, direct effects of dopamine receptor manipulations in the mPOA on song have not been experimentally tested. Here, we tested the hypothesis that D1 receptor stimulation in the mPOA selectively influences sexually motivated male song, and the possibility that the effects of D1 receptor agonism differ at low and high doses. In a first study, breeding-condition male European starlings received infusions of saline or a single dose of the D1 receptor agonist SKF 38393 on separate test days into the mPOA or hypothalamic control areas. Stimulation of D1 receptors in the mPOA triggered sexually motivated but not agonistically motivated song. A second study showed inverted-U shaped dose-response effects of the agonist, such that low levels of sexually motivated song were observed at low and high levels of D1 receptor activation. A third study showed that the effects of the D1 receptor agonist were blocked by the D1 receptor antagonist SCH 23390. These findings suggest that an optimal level of D1 receptor stimulation in the mPOA is needed to facilitate sexually motivated vocal production. The results support a central, context-specific role for the mPOA in vocal communication, and more broadly demonstrate a complex, modulatory influence of D1 receptors in the mPOA on sexually motivated behavior. PMID:24528137

  10. Do spotless starlings place feathers at their nests by ultraviolet color?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Avilés, Jesús M.; Parejo, Deseada; Pérez-Contreras, Tomás; Navarro, Carlos; Soler, Juan J.

    2010-02-01

    A considerable number of bird species carry feathers to their nests. Feathers’ presence in the nests has traditionally been explained by their insulating properties. Recently, however, it has been suggested that feathers carried to the nests by females of the spotted starling ( Sturnus unicolor L.) could have an ornamental function based on their ultraviolet (300-400 nm) and human-visible longer wavelength (400-700 nm) coloration. In our population, 95.7% of feathers found inside next-boxes occupied by nesting starlings were rock dove fly feathers. Of these feathers, 82.7% were naturally positioned with their reverse side oriented toward the entrance hole and 42.4% of all found feathers were situated within the nest-cup. Here we experimentally assess the signaling function of ultraviolet coloration of feathers in nests of spotless starlings by providing nests with a number of pigeon flight feathers that were respectively treated on their obverse, reverse, both, or neither side with a UV blocker. Starlings placed 42.5% of the experimental feathers in the nest-cup irrespective of the UV block treatment. Orientation of feathers toward the entrance hole was not related with their ultraviolet radiation. However, feathers placed within the nest-cup were more likely found with their reverse side oriented toward the entrance hole confirming our correlative findings. These results suggest a minor role of ultraviolet coloration on feather location by spotless starlings.

  11. Diffusion of individual birds in starling flocks.

    PubMed

    Cavagna, A; Duarte Queirós, S M; Giardina, I; Stefanini, F; Viale, M

    2013-04-01

    Flocking is a paradigmatic example of collective animal behaviour, where global order emerges out of self-organization. Each individual has a tendency to align its flight direction with those of neighbours, and such a simple form of interaction produces a state of collective motion of the group. When compared with other cases of collective ordering, a crucial feature of animal groups is that the interaction network is not fixed in time, as each individual moves and continuously changes its neighbours. The possibility to exchange neighbours strongly enhances the stability of global ordering and the way information is propagated through the group. Here, we assess the relevance of this mechanism in large flocks of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). We find that birds move faster than Brownian walkers both with respect to the centre of mass of the flock, and with respect to each other. Moreover, this behaviour is strongly anisotropic with respect to the direction of motion of the flock. We also measure the amount of neighbours reshuffling and find that neighbours change in time exclusively as a consequence of the random fluctuations in the individual motion, so that no specific mechanism to keep one's neighbours seems to be enforced. On the contrary, our findings suggest that a more complex dynamical process occurs at the border of the flock. PMID:23407827

  12. Recursion, Language, and Starlings

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Corballis, Michael C.

    2007-01-01

    It has been claimed that recursion is one of the properties that distinguishes human language from any other form of animal communication. Contrary to this claim, a recent study purports to demonstrate center-embedded recursion in starlings. I show that the performance of the birds in this study can be explained by a counting strategy, without any…

  13. Are Female Starlings Able to Recognize the Scent of Their Offspring?

    PubMed Central

    Amo, Luisa; Tomás, Gustavo; Parejo, Deseada; Avilés, Jesús Miguel

    2014-01-01

    Background Although there is growing evidence that birds may have individual chemical profiles that can function in several social contexts, offspring recognition based on olfactory cues has never been explored. This ability should be more likely evolved in colonial birds and/or species suffering brood parasitism, in which the risk of being engaged in costly misdirected parental care is high. Methodology/Principal Findings We performed a choice experiment to examine whether females of the spotless starling, Sturnus unicolor, a species that is colonial, and where a fraction of the population is exposed to intraspecific brood parasitism, can discriminate between the scent of their offspring and that of unrelated nestlings. We also explored whether the development of the uropygial gland secretion may play a role in such olfactory discrimination by performing the choice experiments to females rearing nestlings of two different ages, that is, without and with developed uropygial glands. Results showed that female starlings did not preferentially choose the scent of their offspring, independently of whether the gland of nestlings was developed or not. Conclusions/Significance Our results suggest that female starlings do not have or do not show the ability to distinguish their offspring based on olfaction, at least up to 12–14 days of nestling age. Further research is needed to examine whether odour-based discrimination may function when fledgling starlings leave the nest and the risk of costly misidentification is likely to increase. PMID:25299305

  14. DDT residues in starlings, 1974.

    PubMed

    Nickerson, P R; Barbehenn, K R

    1975-06-01

    In the preceding issue of this journal, the authors suggested that the mean level of DDT plus metabolites in starlings should drop below 0.1 ppm for the 1974 collection. They based their prediction on an analysis of the relationship between mean levels of DDT and its metabolites in starlings and estimates of domestic disappearance of DDT. The present brief summarizes initial findings from the 1974 starling collection. Authors indicate that their eariler estimates for disappearance of total DDT were optimistic: the geometric mean for 1974 was 0.282, a 36 percent reduction from the 1972 mean of 0.442. PMID:1181546

  15. Campylobacter jejuni colonization and population structure in urban populations of ducks and starlings in New Zealand

    PubMed Central

    Mohan, Vathsala; Stevenson, Mark; Marshall, Jonathan; Fearnhead, Paul; Holland, Barbara R; Hotter, Grant; French, Nigel P

    2013-01-01

    Abstract A repeated cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. and the population structure of C. jejuni in European starlings and ducks cohabiting multiple public access sites in an urban area of New Zealand. The country's geographical isolation and relatively recent history of introduction of wild bird species, including the European starling and mallard duck, create an ideal setting to explore the impact of geographical separation on the population biology of C. jejuni, as well as potential public health implications. A total of 716 starling and 720 duck fecal samples were collected and screened for C. jejuni over a 12 month period. This study combined molecular genotyping, population genetics and epidemiological modeling and revealed: (i) higher Campylobacter spp. isolation in starlings (46%) compared with ducks (30%), but similar isolation of C. jejuni in ducks (23%) and starlings (21%), (ii) significant associations between the isolation of Campylobacter spp. and host species, sampling location and time of year using logistic regression, (iii) evidence of population differentiation, as indicated by FST, and host-genotype association with clonal complexes CC ST-177 and CC ST-682 associated with starlings, and clonal complexes CC ST-1034, CC ST-692, and CC ST-1332 associated with ducks, and (iv) greater genetic diversity and genotype richness in ducks compared with starlings. These findings provide evidence that host-associated genotypes, such as the starling-associated ST-177 and ST-682, represent lineages that were introduced with the host species in the 19th century. The isolation of sequence types associated with human disease in New Zealand indicate that wild ducks and starlings need to be considered as a potential public health risk, particularly in urban areas. We applied molecular epidemiology and population genetics to obtain insights in to the population structure, host-species relationships, gene flow and

  16. Diffusion and Topological Neighbours in Flocks of Starlings: Relating a Model to Empirical Data

    PubMed Central

    Hemelrijk, Charlotte K.; Hildenbrandt, Hanno

    2015-01-01

    Moving in a group while avoiding collisions with group members causes internal dynamics in the group. Although these dynamics have recently been measured quantitatively in starling flocks (Sturnus vulgaris), it is unknown what causes them. Computational models have shown that collective motion in groups is likely due to attraction, avoidance and, possibly, alignment among group members. Empirical studies show that starlings adjust their movement to a fixed number of closest neighbours or topological range, namely 6 or 7 and assume that each of the three activities is done with the same number of neighbours (topological range). Here, we start from the hypothesis that escape behavior is more effective at preventing collisions in a flock when avoiding the single closest neighbor than compromising by avoiding 6 or 7 of them. For alignment and attraction, we keep to the empirical topological range. We investigate how avoiding one or several neighbours affects the internal dynamics of flocks of starlings in our computational model StarDisplay. By comparing to empirical data, we confirm that internal dynamics resemble empirical data more closely if flock members avoid merely their single, closest neighbor. Our model shows that considering a different number of interaction partners per activity represents a useful perspective and that changing a single parameter, namely the number of interaction partners that are avoided, has several effects through selforganisation. PMID:25993474

  17. Diffusion and topological neighbours in flocks of starlings: relating a model to empirical data.

    PubMed

    Hemelrijk, Charlotte K; Hildenbrandt, Hanno

    2015-01-01

    Moving in a group while avoiding collisions with group members causes internal dynamics in the group. Although these dynamics have recently been measured quantitatively in starling flocks (Sturnus vulgaris), it is unknown what causes them. Computational models have shown that collective motion in groups is likely due to attraction, avoidance and, possibly, alignment among group members. Empirical studies show that starlings adjust their movement to a fixed number of closest neighbours or topological range, namely 6 or 7 and assume that each of the three activities is done with the same number of neighbours (topological range). Here, we start from the hypothesis that escape behavior is more effective at preventing collisions in a flock when avoiding the single closest neighbor than compromising by avoiding 6 or 7 of them. For alignment and attraction, we keep to the empirical topological range. We investigate how avoiding one or several neighbours affects the internal dynamics of flocks of starlings in our computational model StarDisplay. By comparing to empirical data, we confirm that internal dynamics resemble empirical data more closely if flock members avoid merely their single, closest neighbor. Our model shows that considering a different number of interaction partners per activity represents a useful perspective and that changing a single parameter, namely the number of interaction partners that are avoided, has several effects through selforganisation. PMID:25993474

  18. Campylobacter jejuni colonization and population structure in urban populations of ducks and starlings in New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Mohan, Vathsala; Stevenson, Mark; Marshall, Jonathan; Fearnhead, Paul; Holland, Barbara R; Hotter, Grant; French, Nigel P

    2013-08-01

    A repeated cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. and the population structure of C. jejuni in European starlings and ducks cohabiting multiple public access sites in an urban area of New Zealand. The country's geographical isolation and relatively recent history of introduction of wild bird species, including the European starling and mallard duck, create an ideal setting to explore the impact of geographical separation on the population biology of C. jejuni, as well as potential public health implications. A total of 716 starling and 720 duck fecal samples were collected and screened for C. jejuni over a 12 month period. This study combined molecular genotyping, population genetics and epidemiological modeling and revealed: (i) higher Campylobacter spp. isolation in starlings (46%) compared with ducks (30%), but similar isolation of C. jejuni in ducks (23%) and starlings (21%), (ii) significant associations between the isolation of Campylobacter spp. and host species, sampling location and time of year using logistic regression, (iii) evidence of population differentiation, as indicated by FST , and host-genotype association with clonal complexes CC ST-177 and CC ST-682 associated with starlings, and clonal complexes CC ST-1034, CC ST-692, and CC ST-1332 associated with ducks, and (iv) greater genetic diversity and genotype richness in ducks compared with starlings. These findings provide evidence that host-associated genotypes, such as the starling-associated ST-177 and ST-682, represent lineages that were introduced with the host species in the 19th century. The isolation of sequence types associated with human disease in New Zealand indicate that wild ducks and starlings need to be considered as a potential public health risk, particularly in urban areas. PMID:23873654

  19. Organochlorine residues in starlings, 1972.

    PubMed

    Nickerson, P R; Barbehenn, K R

    1975-03-01

    During the fall of 1972 starlings were collected from 130 sites in conjunction with the National Pesticide Monitoring Program. They were analyzed for DDT and its metabolites, dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, benzene hexachloride, polychlorinated biphenyls and, for the first time in the series, oxychlordane and HCB. Mean DDT and dieldrin residue levels have declined significantly since 1967 and a regression analysis suggests that levels of DDT and its metabolites should fall below a mean of 0.1 ppm for the 1974 starling collection. PMID:1161450

  20. Feathers at nests are potential female signals in the spotless starling

    PubMed Central

    Veiga, José P; Polo, Vicente

    2005-01-01

    Although the presence of feathers in the nest is widespread among birds, it has not been previously suggested that feathers can be used as sexual signals. Females of the spotless starling (Sturnus unicolor) regularly carry feathers to their nest, mostly during laying and incubation. We show that the arrangement of these feathers was non-random with respect to the side (obverse or reverse) placed upwards (which can be viewed from the nest entrance). Feathers of the wood pigeon (Columba palumbus) and the spotless starling, which exhibit higher ultraviolet and visible reflectance on their reverse side, were predominantly placed with this side upwards. On the contrary, feathers of the jay (Garrulus glandarius) were predominantly found exhibiting the obverse side, which possesses higher reflectance in this species. Feathers of the azure-winged magpie (Cyanopica cyana), with similar reflectance values on either side, were placed indiscriminately in obverse and reverse positions. The results suggest that feathers are arranged to maximize their conspicuousness within the nest and hence that they might be potentially used as intraspecific signals. PMID:17148200

  1. Starlings uphold principles of economic rationality for delay and probability of reward.

    PubMed

    Monteiro, Tiago; Vasconcelos, Marco; Kacelnik, Alex

    2013-04-01

    Rationality principles are the bedrock of normative theories of decision-making in biology and microeconomics, but whereas in microeconomics, consistent choice underlies the notion of utility; in biology, the assumption of consistent selective pressures justifies modelling decision mechanisms as if they were designed to maximize fitness. In either case, violations of consistency contradict expectations and attract theoretical interest. Reported violations of rationality in non-humans include intransitivity (i.e. circular preferences) and lack of independence of irrelevant alternatives (changes in relative preference between options when embedded in different choice sets), but the extent to which these observations truly represent breaches of rationality is debatable. We tested both principles with starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), training subjects either with five options differing in food delay (exp. 1) or with six options differing in reward probability (exp. 2), before letting them choose repeatedly one option out of several binary and trinary sets of options. The starlings conformed to economic rationality on both tests, showing strong stochastic transitivity and no violation of the independence principle. These results endorse the rational choice and optimality approaches used in behavioural ecology, and highlight the need for functional and mechanistic enquiring when apparent violations of such principles are observed. PMID:23390098

  2. Starlings uphold principles of economic rationality for delay and probability of reward

    PubMed Central

    Monteiro, Tiago; Vasconcelos, Marco; Kacelnik, Alex

    2013-01-01

    Rationality principles are the bedrock of normative theories of decision-making in biology and microeconomics, but whereas in microeconomics, consistent choice underlies the notion of utility; in biology, the assumption of consistent selective pressures justifies modelling decision mechanisms as if they were designed to maximize fitness. In either case, violations of consistency contradict expectations and attract theoretical interest. Reported violations of rationality in non-humans include intransitivity (i.e. circular preferences) and lack of independence of irrelevant alternatives (changes in relative preference between options when embedded in different choice sets), but the extent to which these observations truly represent breaches of rationality is debatable. We tested both principles with starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), training subjects either with five options differing in food delay (exp. 1) or with six options differing in reward probability (exp. 2), before letting them choose repeatedly one option out of several binary and trinary sets of options. The starlings conformed to economic rationality on both tests, showing strong stochastic transitivity and no violation of the independence principle. These results endorse the rational choice and optimality approaches used in behavioural ecology, and highlight the need for functional and mechanistic enquiring when apparent violations of such principles are observed. PMID:23390098

  3. Can starling eggs be useful as a biomonitoring tool to study organohalogenated contaminants on a worldwide scale?

    PubMed

    Eens, Marcel; Jaspers, Veerle L B; Van den Steen, Evi; Bateson, Melissa; Carere, Claudio; Clergeau, Philippe; Costantini, David; Dolenec, Zdravko; Elliott, John E; Flux, John; Gwinner, Helga; Halbrook, Richard S; Heeb, Philipp; Mazgajski, Tomasz D; Moksnes, Arne; Polo, Vicente; Soler, Juan José; Sinclair, Ron; Veiga, José P; Williams, Tony D; Covaci, Adrian; Pinxten, Rianne

    2013-01-01

    Large-scale international monitoring studies are important to assess emission patterns and environmental distributions of organohalogenated contaminants (OHCs) on a worldwide scale. In this study, the presence of OHCs was investigated on three continents (Europe, North America and Australasia), using eggs of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris and Sturnus unicolor) to assess their suitability for large-scale monitoring studies. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study using bird eggs of the same species as a biomonitor for OHCs on an intercontinental scale. We found significant differences in OHC concentrations of the eggs among sampling locations, except for hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs). Mean concentrations of sum polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in eggs ranged from 78±26 ng/glipid weight (lw) in Australia to 2900±1300 ng/g lw in the United States. The PCB profile was dominated by CB 153 and CB 138 in all locations, except for New Zealand, where the contribution of CB 95, CB 101 and CB 149 was also high. The highest mean sum polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) concentrations were found in Canada (4400±830 ng/g lw), while the lowest mean PBDE concentrations were measured in Spain (3.7±0.1 ng/g lw). The PBDE profile in starling eggs was dominated by BDE 47 and BDE 99 in all countries, but in Belgium, the higher brominated PBDEs had a higher contribution compared to other countries. For the organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs) ranged from 110±16 ng/g lw in France to 17,000±3400 ng/g lw in New Zealand, while HCHs and hexachlorobenzene were generally in low concentrations in all sampling locations. Chlordanes were remarkably high in eggs from the United States (2500±1300 ng/g lw). The OCP profile in all countries was largely dominated by p,p'-DDE. In general, the worldwide trends we observed in starling eggs were in accordance with the literature on human and environmental OHC data, which suggests that there is

  4. Further studies on the use of enzyme profiles to monitor residue accumulation in wildlife: Plasma enzymes in starlings fed graded concentrations of morsodren, DDE, Aroclor 1254, and malathion

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dieter, M.P.

    1975-01-01

    Wild-trapped starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were fed concentrations of Morsodren (2, 4, and 8 ppm), DDE or Aroclor 1254 (5, 25, and 100 ppm), or malathion (8, 35, and 160 ppm) that were found to be sublethal in pen-reared Coturnix quail fed these amounts for 12 weeks. Plasma enzymes had to be measured earlier than planned in starlings fed Morsodren (at three weeks) or the organochlorine compounds (at seven weeks) because of unexpected, subsequent mortality. Variations in enzyme response were greater in wild than in pen-reared birds, but not enough to mask the toxicant-induced changes in enzyme activity. Cholinesterase activities decreased in birds fed Morsodren or malathion, and increased in those fed the organochlorine compounds. Lactate dehydrogenase activities increased two-fold in starlings fed Morsodren and two- to four-fold in those fed the organochlorine compounds, but only 50% in those fed malathion. Further examination of enzyme profiles showed that creatine kinase and aspartate aminotransferase activities increased two-to four-fold in birds fed Morsodren or the organochlorine compounds but not at all in those fed malathion. Thus the classes of environmental contaminants fed to starlings could be easily distinguished by these enzymatic parameters. Evaluation of enzymatic profiles appears to be a potentially valuable technique to monitor the presence of toxicants in wild populations, especially if used to complement standard chemical residue analyses. Here the residue analyses showed, after three weeks feeding, that mercury in the carcasses reflected the concentrations fed daily, whereas accumulation in the livers was two- to four-fold greater. After seven weeks feeding, liver residues of either organochlorine compound were about three-fold higher than the concentrations fed daily. However, four times as much DDE as Aroclor 1254 had accumulated in the carcasses.

  5. A three-dimensional digital atlas of the starling brain.

    PubMed

    De Groof, Geert; George, Isabelle; Touj, Sara; Stacho, Martin; Jonckers, Elisabeth; Cousillas, Hugo; Hausberger, Martine; Güntürkün, Onur; Van der Linden, Annemie

    2016-05-01

    Because of their sophisticated vocal behaviour, their social nature, their high plasticity and their robustness, starlings have become an important model species that is widely used in studies of neuroethology of song production and perception. Since magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) represents an increasingly relevant tool for comparative neuroscience, a 3D MRI-based atlas of the starling brain becomes essential. Using multiple imaging protocols we delineated several sensory systems as well as the song control system. This starling brain atlas can easily be used to determine the stereotactic location of identified neural structures at any angle of the head. Additionally, the atlas is useful to find the optimal angle of sectioning for slice experiments, stereotactic injections and electrophysiological recordings. The starling brain atlas is freely available for the scientific community. PMID:25690327

  6. Effect of urbanisation on habitat generalists: starlings not so flexible?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mennechez, Gwénaëlle; Clergeau, Philippe

    2006-09-01

    The small variability of habitat generalist abundances in relation to landscape changes has been related to their behavioural flexibility. We hypothesise that successful generalists, such as the starling, compensate for feeding resource difficulties (poor quality of food, accessibility) in habitats such as urban ecosystems and that its behavioural flexibility allows for similar breeding performance in rural and urban areas. Along an urbanisation gradient we compared simultaneously (1) success factors such as the abundance of breeding starlings, their breeding performance and the fitness of nestlings, and (2) possible flexibility quantified through the rate of parental food-provisioning, and the composition and the amount of food delivered to nestlings. Abundance of breeding starlings are similar throughout the urbanisation gradient, but urbanisation profoundly and negatively affects reproductive parameters of starlings. Differences in the amount of food delivered to nestlings by parents (less food in town centre), and the small masses of nestlings reared in the urban sectors support the idea that urban nestlings received insufficient food loads. Despite modifications to their diurnal food-provisioning rhythm and the incorporation of some human food refuse into their diet, starling parents have a significantly reduced production of young in the urban centre sector. We rebut the idea that the "generalist" starling is able to breed successfully anywhere: other more "specialist" species succeed in producing their young by innovating more in terms of diet resources. We suggest defining successful birds with respect to colonisation or invasion process through behavioural innovation rather than an ambiguous habitat generalist definition.

  7. Hand rearing affects emotional responses but not basic cognitive performance in European starlings☆

    PubMed Central

    Feenders, Gesa; Bateson, Melissa

    2013-01-01

    Hand rearing is a common procedure in behavioural research on birds. While likely to produce tamer experimental animals, there is a risk that it could induce pathological changes in brain and behaviour similar to those seen in mammals that have experienced maternal separation. We explored the effects of hand rearing on the cognitive and behavioural development of European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, to assess the generality of results obtained from hand-reared animals. Two groups of age-matched birds were created from the same wild population: one hand-reared from 10 days posthatch and one brought into the laboratory as independent juveniles. These groups were compared on a battery of neuropsychological tasks designed to probe different aspects of cognitive function including learning, perseverative cognition, interval timing, neophobia and impulsivity. There was no evidence for cognitive impairment in the hand-reared birds. They did not have reduced learning speed, impairments in accuracy or precision of interval timing or pathological perseverative cognition compared to the wild-caught birds. Additionally, there was no evidence that birds that developed stereotypies in laboratory cages (predominantly the wild-caught birds) had any cognitive impairments, although this may be because no birds had severe, crystallized stereotypies. There was some evidence that hand-reared birds were less neophobic and less impulsive than wild-caught birds, suggesting that hand rearing might alter emotionally mediated decision making in a direction usually associated with reduced developmental stress in mammals. This study therefore supports the use of hand rearing as an experimental procedure in behavioural research on passerine birds. PMID:23888084

  8. Patterns of phosphorylated tyrosine hydroxylase vary with song production in female starlings

    PubMed Central

    Ellis, Jesse M. S.; Riters, Lauren V.

    2013-01-01

    Vocal signal production in male songbirds is well studied, but the neural correlates of female song production are poorly understood. In European starlings, females sing to defend nesting resources, and song can be considered agonistically motivated. Across vertebrates catecholamines strongly influence motivated, agonistic social behaviors. The present study was designed to provide insight into a possible role for catecholamine activity in territorial song in female starlings. We presented females that were defending nest-cavities with an unfamiliar female and assessed song production. We then measured immunolabeling for phosphorylated tyrosine hydroxylase (pTH-ir), a rate-limiting enzyme for catecholamine synthesis, in brain regions in which catecholamines stimulate agonistic behavior. Females that sang had higher pTH-ir in the caudomedial ventral tegmental area and the lateral septum than females that did not sing. Furthermore, the number of songs produced correlated positively with pTH-ir in the medial preoptic nucleus. Phosphorylation of TH is thought to occur after catecholamine release, so these results link increased catecholamine activity in several brain regions governing agonistic behavior to territorial song production in females. PMID:23270608

  9. Care of nestlings by wild female starlings exposed to an organophosphate pesticide

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grue, C.E.; Powell, G.V.N.; McChesney, M.J.

    1982-01-01

    (1) Our objective was to determine the effect of exposure to an organophosphate pesticide (OP), dicrotophos (3-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyl-cis-scrotonamide dimethyl phosphate), on care of nestlings by wild female starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)....(2) We selected twelve pairs of active nests based on synchrony in the reproductive cycle. When nestlings were 10 days old (day 10), adult males were captured and killed and brood size was adjusted to four. The frequency and temporal distribution of sorties made by each pair of females to feed their young were recorded for 2 h at 18.00 hours on day 11 and 06.00 hours on day 12. One female from each pair was given a single oral dose of dicrotophos (2.5 mg/kg of body weight) dissolved in corn oil; the second female received an equivalent exposure of pure corn oil. Birds were released and their nestlings weighed. Parental care was again monitored between 18.00 and 20.00 hours on day 12 and 06.00 and 08.00 hours on day 13. Females were then captured and they with their young were weighed and killed. Changes in parental care in OP-dosed and control females were compared using paired t-tests. ....(3) The OP-dosed females made significantly (P < 0.5) fewer sorties to feed their young and remained away from their boxes for longer periods of time than controls. Nestlings of OP-treated females lost significantly more weight (X = 9.3%) than nestlings of controls (X = 3.2%). Brain ChE activity in OP-treated females was inhibited an average of 50.7% compared with controls. Weight changes in OP-dosed (X = -8.9%) and control females (X = -8.3%) were similar.....(4) Results indicate that parental care may be significantly reduced in songbirds receiving severe but sublethal exposure to organophosphate pesticides. The potential for a reduction or modification in parental care to alter reproductive success in passerines is discussed..... (5) Techniques utilized, or modifications thereof, may be useful in collecting the additional data needed to

  10. Cardiac thin filament regulation and the Frank-Starling mechanism.

    PubMed

    Kobirumaki-Shimozawa, Fuyu; Inoue, Takahiro; Shintani, Seine A; Oyama, Kotaro; Terui, Takako; Minamisawa, Susumu; Ishiwata, Shin'ichi; Fukuda, Norio

    2014-07-01

    The heart has an intrinsic ability to increase systolic force in response to a rise in ventricular filling (the Frank-Starling law of the heart). It is widely accepted that the length dependence of myocardial activation underlies the Frank-Starling law of the heart. Recent advances in muscle physiology have enabled the identification of the factors involved in length-dependent activation, viz., titin (connectin)-based interfilament lattice spacing reduction and thin filament "on-off" regulation, with the former triggering length-dependent activation and the latter determining the number of myosin molecules recruited to thin filaments. Patients with a failing heart have demonstrated reduced exercise tolerance at least in part via depression of the Frank-Starling mechanism. Recent studies revealed that various mutations occur in the thin filament regulatory proteins, such as troponin, in the ventricular muscle of failing hearts, which consequently alter the Frank-Starling mechanism. In this article, we review the molecular mechanisms of length-dependent activation, and the influence of troponin mutations on the phenomenon. PMID:24788476

  11. Starling flock networks manage uncertainty in consensus at low cost.

    PubMed

    Young, George F; Scardovi, Luca; Cavagna, Andrea; Giardina, Irene; Leonard, Naomi E

    2013-01-01

    Flocks of starlings exhibit a remarkable ability to maintain cohesion as a group in highly uncertain environments and with limited, noisy information. Recent work demonstrated that individual starlings within large flocks respond to a fixed number of nearest neighbors, but until now it was not understood why this number is seven. We analyze robustness to uncertainty of consensus in empirical data from multiple starling flocks and show that the flock interaction networks with six or seven neighbors optimize the trade-off between group cohesion and individual effort. We can distinguish these numbers of neighbors from fewer or greater numbers using our systems-theoretic approach to measuring robustness of interaction networks as a function of the network structure, i.e., who is sensing whom. The metric quantifies the disagreement within the network due to disturbances and noise during consensus behavior and can be evaluated over a parameterized family of hypothesized sensing strategies (here the parameter is number of neighbors). We use this approach to further show that for the range of flocks studied the optimal number of neighbors does not depend on the number of birds within a flock; rather, it depends on the shape, notably the thickness, of the flock. The results suggest that robustness to uncertainty may have been a factor in the evolution of flocking for starlings. More generally, our results elucidate the role of the interaction network on uncertainty management in collective behavior, and motivate the application of our approach to other biological networks. PMID:23382667

  12. Social coordination in animal vocal interactions. Is there any evidence of turn-taking? The starling as an animal model

    PubMed Central

    Henry, Laurence; Craig, Adrian J. F. K.; Lemasson, Alban; Hausberger, Martine

    2015-01-01

    Turn-taking in conversation appears to be a common feature in various human cultures and this universality raises questions about its biological basis and evolutionary trajectory. Functional convergence is a widespread phenomenon in evolution, revealing sometimes striking functional similarities between very distant species even though the mechanisms involved may be different. Studies on mammals (including non-human primates) and bird species with different levels of social coordination reveal that temporal and structural regularities in vocal interactions may depend on the species' social structure. Here we test the hypothesis that turn-taking and associated rules of conversations may be an adaptive response to the requirements of social life, by testing the applicability of turn-taking rules to an animal model, the European starling. Birdsong has for many decades been considered as one of the best models of human language and starling songs have been well described in terms of vocal production and perception. Starlings do have vocal interactions where alternating patterns predominate. Observational and experimental data on vocal interactions reveal that (1) there are indeed clear temporal and structural regularities, (2) the temporal and structural patterning is influenced by the immediate social context, the general social situation, the individual history, and the internal state of the emitter. Comparison of phylogenetically close species of Sturnids reveals that the alternating pattern of vocal interactions varies greatly according to the species' social structure, suggesting that interactional regularities may have evolved together with social systems. These findings lead to solid bases of discussion on the evolution of communication rules in relation to social evolution. They will be discussed also in terms of processes, at the light of recent neurobiological findings. PMID:26441787

  13. Energy expenditure during flight in relation to body mass: effects of natural increases in mass and artificial load in Rose Coloured Starlings

    PubMed Central

    Engel, Sophia; Visser, G. Henk

    2008-01-01

    Rose Coloured Starlings (Sturnus roseus) flew repeatedly for several hours in a wind tunnel while undergoing spontaneous variation in body mass. The treatments were as follows: flying unrestrained (U), with a control harness of 1.2% of their body mass (C), or with a harness of 7.4% of their body mass, which was either applied immediately before the flight (LS) or at least 9 days in advance (LL). Energy expenditure during flight (ef in W) was measured with the Doubly Labelled Water method. Flight costs in LS and LL were not significantly different and therefore were pooled (L). The harness itself did not affect ef, i.e. U and C flights were not different. ef was allometrically related with body mass m (in g). The slopes were not significantly different between the treatments, but ef was increased by 5.4% in L compared to C flights (log10(ef) = 0.050 + 0.47 × log10(m) for C, and log10(ef) = 0.073 + 0.47 × log10(m) for L). The difference in ef between C, LS and LL was best explained by taking the transported mass mtransp (in g) instead of m into account (log10(ef) = −0.08 + 0.54 × log10(mtransp)). Flight costs increased to a lesser extent than expected from interspecific allometric comparison or aerodynamic theory, regardless of whether the increase in mass occurred naturally or artificially. We did not observe an effect of treatment on breast muscle size and wingbeat frequency. We propose that the relatively low costs at a high mass are rather a consequence of immediate adjustments in physiology and/or flight behaviour than of long-term adaptations. PMID:18481070

  14. Microvascular fluid exchange and the revised Starling principle.

    PubMed

    Levick, J Rodney; Michel, C Charles

    2010-07-15

    Microvascular fluid exchange (flow J(v)) underlies plasma/interstitial fluid (ISF) balance and oedematous swelling. The traditional form of Starling's principle has to be modified in light of insights into the role of ISF pressures and the recognition of the glycocalyx as the semipermeable layer of endothelium. Sum-of-forces evidence and direct observations show that microvascular absorption is transient in most tissues; slight filtration prevails in the steady state, even in venules. This is due in part to the inverse relation between filtration rate and ISF plasma protein concentration; ISF colloid osmotic pressure (COP) rises as J(v) falls. In some specialized regions (e.g. kidney, intestinal mucosa), fluid absorption is sustained by local epithelial secretions, which flush interstitial plasma proteins into the lymphatic system. The low rate of filtration and lymph formation in most tissues can be explained by standing plasma protein gradients within the intercellular cleft of continuous capillaries (glycocalyx model) and around fenestrations. Narrow breaks in the junctional strands of the cleft create high local outward fluid velocities, which cause a disequilibrium between the subglycocalyx space COP and ISF COP. Recent experiments confirm that the effect of ISF COP on J(v) is much less than predicted by the conventional Starling principle, in agreement with modern models. Using a two-pore system model, we also explore how relatively small increases in large pore numbers dramatically increase J(v) during acute inflammation. PMID:20200043

  15. Test of the Starling resistor model in the human upper airway during sleep

    PubMed Central

    Genta, Pedro R.; Owens, Robert L.; Edwards, Bradley A.; Sands, Scott A.; Loring, Stephen H.; White, David P.; Jackson, Andrew C.; Pedersen, Ole F.; Butler, James P.

    2014-01-01

    The human pharyngeal airway during sleep is conventionally modeled as a Starling resistor. However, inspiratory flow often decreases with increasing effort (negative effort dependence, NED) rather than remaining fixed as predicted by the Starling resistor model. In this study, we tested a major prediction of the Starling resistor model—that the resistance of the airway upstream from the site of collapse remains fixed during flow limitation. During flow limitation in 24 patients with sleep apnea, resistance at several points along the pharyngeal airway was measured using a pressure catheter with multiple sensors. Resistance between the nose and the site of collapse (the upstream segment) was measured before and after the onset of flow limitation to determine whether the upstream dimensions remained fixed (as predicted by the Starling resistor model) or narrowed (a violation of the Starling resistor model). The upstream resistance from early to mid inspiration increased considerably during flow limitation (by 35 ± 41 cmH2O·liter−1·s−1, P < 0.001). However, there was a wide range of variability between patients, and the increase in upstream resistance was strongly correlated with the amount of NED (r = 0.75, P < 0.001). Therefore, patients with little NED exhibited little upstream narrowing (consistent with the Starling model), and patients with large NED exhibited large upstream narrowing (inconsistent with the Starling model). These findings support the idea that there is not a single model of pharyngeal collapse, but rather that different mechanisms may dominate in different patients. These differences could potentially be exploited for treatment selection. PMID:25324514

  16. Selection, constraint, and the evolution of coloration in African starlings.

    PubMed

    Maia, Rafael; Rubenstein, Dustin R; Shawkey, Matthew D

    2016-05-01

    Colorful plumage plays a prominent role in the evolution of birds, influencing communication (sexual/social selection), and crypsis (natural selection). Comparative studies have focused primarily on these selective pressures, but the mechanisms underlying color production can also be important by constraining the color gamut upon which selection acts. Iridescence is particularly interesting to study the interaction between selection and color-producing mechanisms because a broad range of colors can be produced with a shared template, and innovations to this template further expand this by increasing the parameters interacting to produce colors. We examine the patterns of ornamentation and dichromatism evolution in African starlings, a group remarkably diverse in color production mechanisms, social systems, and ecologies. We find that the presence of iridescence is ancestral to the group, being predominantly lost in females and cooperative breeders, as well as species with less labile templates. Color-producing mechanisms interact and are the main predictors of plumage ornamentation and elaboration, with little influence of selective pressures in their evolution. Dichromatism, however is influenced by social system and the loss of iridescence. Our results show the importance of considering both selection and constraints, and the different roles that they may have, in the evolution of ornamentation and dimorphism. PMID:27071847

  17. Nationwide residues of mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and selenium in starlings, 1973.

    PubMed

    White, D H; Bean, J R; Longcore, J R

    1977-06-01

    Starlings (Sturnum vulgaris) collected in 1973 at 51 sites throughout the continental United States were analyzed for mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and selenium. All samples contained detectable levels of these elements. In general, residues were low: mercury residues ranged from less than 0.01 to 0.20 ppm; lead, from less than 0.10 to 3.20 ppm; cadmium, from less than 0.05 to 0.20 ppm; arsenic, from less than 0.05 to 1.40 ppm; and selenium, from 0.10 to 1.10 ppm. There was a significant overall decline in mercury and lead residues in starlings since 1971, and a significant increase in arsenic residues. Lead residues were significantly higher in starlings from urban areas than from rural areas. PMID:887380

  18. Identification of Starling Circovirus in an Estuarine Mollusc (Amphibola crenata) in New Zealand Using Metagenomic Approaches

    PubMed Central

    Dayaram, Anisha; Goldstien, Sharyn; Zawar-Reza, Peyman; Gomez, Christopher; Harding, Jon S.

    2013-01-01

    Two complete genomes of starling circovirus (StCV) were recovered from Amphibola crenata, an estuarine New Zealand mollusc. This is the first report of StCV outside Europe. The viral genomes were recovered from rolling circle-amplified enriched circular DNA followed by back-to-back primers and specific primer PCR amplification. PMID:23723397

  19. Effect of thermal stress on Frank-Starling relations in humans.

    PubMed

    Wilson, T E; Brothers, R M; Tollund, C; Dawson, E A; Nissen, P; Yoshiga, C C; Jons, C; Secher, N H; Crandall, C G

    2009-07-01

    The Frank-Starling 'law of the heart' is implicated in certain types of orthostatic intolerance in humans. Environmental conditions have the capacity to modulate orthostatic tolerance, where heat stress decreases and cooling increases orthostatic tolerance. The objective of this project was to test the hypothesis that heat stress augments and cooling attenuates orthostatic-induced decreases in stroke volume (SV) via altering the operating position on a Frank-Starling curve. Pulmonary artery catheters were placed in 11 subjects for measures of pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) and SV (thermodilution derived cardiac output/heart rate). Subjects experienced lower-body negative-pressure (LBNP) of 0, 15 and 30 mmHg during normothermia, skin-surface cooling (decrease in mean skin temperature of 4.3 +/- 0.4 degrees C (mean +/- s.e.m.) via perfusing 16 degrees C water through a tubed-lined suit), and whole-body heating (increase in blood temperature of 1.0 +/- 0.1 degrees C via perfusing 46 degrees C water through the suit). SV was 123 +/- 8, 121 +/- 10, 131 +/- 7 ml prior to LBNP, during normothermia, skin-surface cooling, and whole-body heating, respectfully (P = 0.20). LBNP of 30 mmHg induced greater decreases in SV during heating (-48.7 +/- 6.7 ml) compared to normothermia (-33.2 +/- 7.4 ml) and to cooling (-10.3 +/- 2.9 ml; all P < 0.05). Relating PCWP to SV indicated that cooling values were located on the flatter portion of a Frank-Starling curve because of attenuated decreases in SV per decrease in PCWP. In contrast, heating values were located on the steeper portion of a Frank-Starling curve because of augmented decreases in SV per decrease in PCWP. These data suggest that a Frank-Starling mechanism may contribute to improvements in orthostatic tolerance during cold stress and orthostatic intolerance during heat stress. PMID:19417092

  20. European Starlings Are Capable of Discriminating Subtle Size Asymmetries in Paired Stimuli

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Swaddle, John P.; Johnson, Charles W.

    2007-01-01

    Small deviations from bilateral symmetry (fluctuating asymmetries) are cues to fitness differences in some animals. Therefore, researchers have considered whether animals use these small asymmetries as visual cues to determine appropriate behavioral responses (e.g., mate preferences). However, there have been few systematic studies of animals'…

  1. Thyroidectomy prevents the development of photorefractoriness and the associated rise in plasma prolactin in starlings

    SciTech Connect

    Goldsmith, A.R.; Nicholls, T.J.

    1984-05-01

    Intact and radiothyroidectomized male starlings were transferred from short (8-hr) to long (16-hr) day lengths and measurements made of testicular development and of plasma prolactin concentrations. In intact birds the testes reached full maturity within 3 weeks and regressed after 6 weeks of photostimulation, indicative of the development of photorefractoriness . Prolactin levels increased gradually, reaching maximal values at the time of testicular regression. Testicular growth was normal in the thyroidectomized birds. Removal of the testes from thyroidectomized birds after 1 year on long days resulted in a marked rise in plasma FSH, indicating that these birds were indeed not photorefractory ; FSH levels in the refractory-intact starlings remained low after castration. These results confirm that the presence of an intact thyroid gland is essential for the development of photorefractoriness and for the release of prolactin which normally follows photostimulation.

  2. Improving propulsive efficiency through passive mechanisms using a Starling vortex generator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whittlesey, Robert; Dabiri, John

    2011-11-01

    Ruiz et al. (2011) demonstrated that pulsed propulsion with vortex rings, much like those seen in the wake of jellyfish and squid, can greatly enhance the overall efficiency of submersible vehicles. The objective of the present research is to achieve pulsed propulsion passively using a Starling vortex generator which consists of a collapsible tube within an airtight box. Recent work has shown that a Starling vortex generator is able to generate vortex rings, which indicates enhanced propulsion, while requiring less energy to generate pulsatility than the system by Ruiz et al. (2011). Current work is focused on conducting an experimental parameter study to determine an empirical scaling law suitable for design purposes, with the aim to integrate the device into a full-scale unmanned undersea vehicle. Support is greatly appreciated from ONR Awards N000140810918 and N000141010137.

  3. Extent of utilization of the Frank-Starling mechanism in conscious dogs. [preload effects on myocardial regulation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Boettcher, D. H.; Vatner, S. F.; Heyndrickx, G. R.; Braunwald, E.

    1978-01-01

    The left ventricular end-diastolic pressure-dimension relationships in conscious dogs were studied; the ventricle was stressed to its limit in terms of myocardial preload in order to assess the extent of use of the Frank-Starling mechanism under these conditions. The preload was increased through volume loading with saline infusions, the provocation of global myocardial ischemia by constriction of the left main coronary artery, and infusion of methoxamine. While left ventricular end-diastolic pressure increased substantially in the reclining conscious animals, the left ventricular end-diastolic diameter did not increase, suggesting a minimum role for the Frank-Starling mechanism in this case.

  4. Empirical evidence of cold stress induced cell mediated and humoral immune response in common myna ( Sturnus tristis)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sandhu, Mansur A.; Zaib, Anila; Anjum, Muhammad S.; Qayyum, Mazhar

    2015-11-01

    Common myna ( Sturnus tristis) is a bird indigenous to the Indian subcontinent that has invaded many parts of the world. At the onset of our investigation, we hypothesized that the immunological profile of myna makes it resistant to harsh/new environmental conditions. In order to test this hypothesis, a number of 40 mynas were caught and divided into two groups, i.e., 7 and 25 °C for 14 days. To determine the effect of cold stress, cell mediated and humoral immune responses were assessed. The macrophage engulfment percentage was significantly ( P < 0.05) higher at 25 °C rather than 7 °C either co-incubated with opsonized or unopsonized sheep red blood cells (SRBC). Macrophage engulfment/cell and nitric oxide production behaved in a similar manner. However, splenic cells plaque formation, heterophil to lymphocyte (H/L) ratio, and serum IgM or IgG production remained non-significant. There was a significant increase of IgG antibody production after a second immunization by SRBC. To the best of our knowledge, these findings have never been reported in the progression of this bird's invasion in frosty areas of the world. The results revealed a strengthened humoral immune response of myna and made this bird suitable for invasion in the areas of harsh conditions.

  5. Prolactin is associated with the development of photorefractoriness in intact, castrated, and testosterone-implanted starlings

    SciTech Connect

    Goldsmith, A.R.; Nicholls, T.J.

    1984-05-01

    Using radioimmunoassays, prolactin, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) were measured in the plasma of intact, castrated, and testosterone-implanted male starlings. Two groups of birds (intact and castrated males) were transferred when photosensitive from short (8-hr) to long (16-hr) day lengths; in both cases plasma prolactin levels increased steadily reaching a peak after 5 weeks of photostimulation, at the time of the onset of photorefractoriness. Three groups (intacts, castrates, and castrates implanted with Silastic capsules containing testosterone) were exposed to day lengths increasing by 30 min per week from 8 to 16 hr. Again, prolactin levels increased in a similar fashion in all three groups at the time of refractoriness, which occurred when the day length reached 15-16 hr. Thus the timing of photorefractoriness and the associated rise in prolactin secretion which occur in response to photostimulation do not depend upon the presence of the gonads and are not affected when testosterone is maintained at a constant high level. Nor is the increase in prolactin altered when the cycle of gonadotrophin secretion which normally precedes it is completely suppressed by the implantation of a testosterone capsule. It would seem that prolactin secretion in the starling is stimulated by transfer from short to long day lengths, but not as a consequence of high gonadotrophin or androgen secretion rates.

  6. Assessing Video Presentations as Environmental Enrichment for Laboratory Birds

    PubMed Central

    Coulon, Marion; Henry, Laurence; Perret, Audrey; Cousillas, Hugo; Hausberger, Martine; George, Isabelle

    2014-01-01

    The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of video presentations of natural landscapes on European starlings' (Sturnus vulgaris) stereotypic behaviours (SBs) and other abnormal repetitive behaviours (ARBs) and to evaluate the impact of past experience by comparing wild-caught and hand-reared starlings' reactions. Ten wild-caught and five hand-reared starlings were presented 1-hour videos of landscapes twice a day for five successive days, while a control group of eight wild-caught and four hand-reared starlings was presented a grey screen for the same amount of time. The analysis of the starlings' behaviour revealed that the video presentations of landscapes appeared to have a positive but limited and experience-dependent effect on starlings' SBs and other ARBs compared to the controls. Indeed, whereas video presentations seemed to modulate high rates of SBs and ARBs, they did not appear to be enriching enough to prevent the emergence or the development of SBs and ARBs in an impoverished environment. They even appeared to promote a particular type of SB (somersaulting) that is thought to be linked to escape motivation. The fact that this effect was observed in hand-reared starlings suggests that videos of landscapes could elicit motivation to escape even in birds that never experienced outdoor life. These results highlight the importance of investigating stereotypic behaviour both quantitatively and qualitatively in order to provide crucial clues on animal welfare. PMID:24827457

  7. Congestive heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is associated with severely impaired dynamic Starling mechanism

    PubMed Central

    Shibata, Shigeki; Hastings, Jeff L.; Prasad, Anand; Fu, Qi; Bhella, Paul S.; Pacini, Eric; Krainski, Felix; Palmer, M. Dean; Zhang, Rong

    2011-01-01

    Sedentary aging leads to increased cardiovascular stiffening, which can be ameliorated by sufficient amounts of lifelong exercise training. An even more extreme form of cardiovascular stiffening can be seen in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), which comprises ∼40∼50% of elderly patients diagnosed with congestive heart failure. There are two major interrelated hypotheses proposed to explain heart failure in these patients: 1) increased left ventricular (LV) diastolic stiffness and 2) increased arterial stiffening. The beat-to-beat dynamic Starling mechanism, which is impaired with healthy human aging, reflects the interaction between ventricular and arterial stiffness and thus may provide a link between these two mechanisms underlying HFpEF. Spectral transfer function analysis was applied between beat-to-beat changes in LV end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP; estimated from pulmonary artery diastolic pressure with a right heart catheter) and stroke volume (SV) index. The dynamic Starling mechanism (transfer function gain between LVEDP and the SV index) was impaired in HFpEF patients (n = 10) compared with healthy age-matched controls (n = 12) (HFpEF: 0.23 ± 0.10 ml·m−2·mmHg−1 and control: 0.37 ± 0.11 ml·m−2·mmHg−1, means ± SD, P = 0.008). There was also a markedly increased (3-fold) fluctuation of LV filling pressures (power spectral density of LVEDP) in HFpEF patients, which may predispose to pulmonary edema due to intermittent exposure to higher pulmonary capillary pressure (HFpEF: 12.2 ± 10.4 mmHg2 and control: 3.8 ± 2.9 mmHg2, P = 0.014). An impaired dynamic Starling mechanism, even more extreme than that observed with healthy aging, is associated with marked breath-by-breath LVEDP variability and may reflect advanced ventricular and arterial stiffness in HFpEF, possibly contributing to reduced forward output and pulmonary congestion. PMID:21310890

  8. Sexing Adult Pale-Winged Starlings Using Morphometric and Discriminant Function Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Henry, Laurence; Biquand, Véronique; Craig, Adrian J. F. K.; Hausberger, Martine

    2015-01-01

    Accurate sexing of birds is vital for behavioral studies but can be a real problem in the field, especially for monomorphic species. Our goal here was to characterize the morphology of male and female monomorphic pale-winged starlings (Onychognathus nabouroup), a South African sturnid whose plumage is sexually monomorphic. Morphological measurements of genetically sexed animals indicated that males were statistically larger than females for five measurements: Mass, tail length, tarsus length and wing length. By using a Discriminant Function Analysis based on the measurements taken by one ringer, we were able to predict correctly the sex of 81.10% of the birds of data collected in the field and 77.9% of museum skins independently of year of capture and ringer. The model developed here should be useful for further field studies of this species. PMID:26367269

  9. Chemical trends in Finnish wildlife: a study on time trends in starling during 1967-1983

    SciTech Connect

    Paasivirta, J.; Paukku, R.; Surma-Aho, K.; Welling, L.

    1985-01-01

    The OECD monitoring programs 1966-71 and 1972-75 have been extended at national level in Finland to 1983 by analyzing chlorinated hydrocarbons, mercury and chlorophenols in starlings (terrestrial environment). At the end of the study period levels in fresh muscles were for DDE 10, PCB 30, HCB 1, Lindan 8 and mercury 50 ppb. Of chlordane residues only traces of oxychlordane were found. Ten different chlorophenol compounds were detected at ppb levels, but most of them in only few samples. Pentachlorophenol was most frequently found. Statistical treatment of the analysis results gave some decreasing trends which were very significant for DDE, DDT and PCB 1967-83, significant for mercury 1967-83 and somewhat significant for lindane 1978-83.

  10. Sexing Adult Pale-Winged Starlings Using Morphometric and Discriminant Function Analysis.

    PubMed

    Henry, Laurence; Biquand, Véronique; Craig, Adrian J F K; Hausberger, Martine

    2015-01-01

    Accurate sexing of birds is vital for behavioral studies but can be a real problem in the field, especially for monomorphic species. Our goal here was to characterize the morphology of male and female monomorphic pale-winged starlings (Onychognathus nabouroup), a South African sturnid whose plumage is sexually monomorphic. Morphological measurements of genetically sexed animals indicated that males were statistically larger than females for five measurements: Mass, tail length, tarsus length and wing length. By using a Discriminant Function Analysis based on the measurements taken by one ringer, we were able to predict correctly the sex of 81.10% of the birds of data collected in the field and 77.9% of museum skins independently of year of capture and ringer. The model developed here should be useful for further field studies of this species. PMID:26367269

  11. [Interpretation of the epizootic outbreak among wild and domestic birds in the south of the European part of Russia in December 2007].

    PubMed

    L'vov, D K; Shchelkanov, M Iu; Prilipov, A G; Deriabin, P G; Fediakina, I T; Galkina, I V; Kireev, D E; Frolov, A V; Akanina, D S; Usacheva, O V; Shliapnikova, O V; Poglazov, A B; Morozova, T N; Proshina, E S; Grebennikova, T V; Zaberezhnyĭ, A D; Iakovlev, S S; Shcherbakova, L O; Shapovalov, A B; Zhalin, M V; Rudenko, V P; Pichuev, A E; Litvin, K N; Varkentin, A V; Steshenko, V V; Kharitonov, S P; Proshina, E S; Samokhvalov, E I; Al'khovskiĭ, S V; Aliper, T I; Martynovchenko, V V; Lysenko, S N; Vlasov, N A; Nepoklonov, E A

    2008-01-01

    The paper presents the results of interpreting the epizootic outbreak etiologically associated with high-virulent influenza virus A/H5N1 among domestic and wild birds in the Zernogradsky and Tselinsky districts of the Rostov Region. Epizooty was characterized by a high infection rate in the synanthropic birds of a ground-based complex. RT-PCT revealed influenza virus A/H5 in 60% of pigeons and crows and in around 20% of starlings, and in 10% of tree sparrows. Fifteen viral strains from chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus), Indian ducks (Cairina moschata), rooks (Corvus frugilegus), rock pigeons (Columba livia), tree sparrows (Passer montanus), common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), and great white herons (Egretta alba) were isolated and deposited in the State Collection of Viruses of the Russian Federation. Full-sized genomes of 5 strains were sequenced and deposited in the international database GenBank. The isolated strains belong to the Quinhai-Siberian (2.2) genotype, an Iranian-Northern Caucasian subgroup, they are phylogenetically closest to the strain A/chicken/Moscow/2/2007 (inducing epizooty among poultry in the near-Moscow Region in February 2007) and have 13 unique amino acid replacements as the consensus of the Quinhai-Siberian genotypes in the proteins PB2, PA, HA, NP, NA, and M2, by preserving thereby 4 unique replacements first describes for the strain A/chicken/Moscow/2/2007. The findings are indicative of a different mechanism that is responsible for bringing the virus into the northeastern part of the Azov Sea area in September 2007 (during the fall migration of wild birds) and in December 2007 in the south-western Rostov Region where a human factor cannot be excluded. Mass infection of synanthropic birds endangers the further spread of epizooty, including that in the central regions of the Russian Federation in spring after near migrants return after wintering. PMID:18756811

  12. Systematics, morphology, and ecological history of the Mascarene starlings (Aves: Sturnidae) with the description of a new genus and species from Mauritius.

    PubMed

    Hume, Julian Pender

    2014-01-01

    Two endemic starlings, both extinct, have been described from the Mascarene Islands of Réunion and Rodrigues: the Hoopoe Starling, Huppe or Réunion Crested Starling Fregilupus varius, which is known from 19 skins and a single Holocene proximal end of a fossil femur, and the Rodrigues Starling Necropsar rodericanus, which is known as specimens only from fossils of most skeletal elements. Both were recorded alive in early accounts of Mascarene faunas. A third species of starling Cryptopsar ischyrhynchus gen. nov. sp. nov. is described herein from fossils from Mauritius, but was never reported in the early literature. This paper provides an analysis of the Sturnidae of the Mascarene Islands based on newly discovered fossil remains, and details historical reports and accounts. Their ecology and extinction are interpreted from historical evidence. Necropsar, Cryptopsar and Fregilupus clearly form part of the same clade, but morphological analysis shows that Necropsar and Cryptopsar are more closely related to each other than to Fregilupus and may have been part of a different colonisation event. All three genera appear to have their origins in SE Asia and have morphological similarities with the SE Asian sturnid genera, Sturnia and Gracupica, so they presumably colonised the islands via island-hopping during lower sea level stands.  PMID:25112426

  13. Emergence of collective changes in travel direction of starling flocks from individual birds' fluctuations.

    PubMed

    Attanasi, Alessandro; Cavagna, Andrea; Del Castello, Lorenzo; Giardina, Irene; Jelic, Asja; Melillo, Stefania; Parisi, Leonardo; Pohl, Oliver; Shen, Edward; Viale, Massimiliano

    2015-07-01

    One of the most impressive features of moving animal groups is their ability to perform sudden coherent changes in travel direction. While this collective decision can be a response to an external alarm cue, directional switching can also emerge from the intrinsic fluctuations in individual behaviour. However, the cause and the mechanism by which such collective changes of direction occur are not fully understood yet. Here, we present an experimental study of spontaneous collective turns in natural flocks of starlings. We employ a recently developed tracking algorithm to reconstruct three-dimensional trajectories of each individual bird in the flock for the whole duration of a turning event. Our approach enables us to analyse changes in the individual behaviour of every group member and reveal the emergent dynamics of turning. We show that spontaneous turns start from individuals located at the elongated tips of the flocks, and then propagate through the group. We find that birds on the tips deviate from the mean direction of motion much more frequently than other individuals, indicating that persistent localized fluctuations are the crucial ingredient for triggering a collective directional change. Finally, we quantitatively verify that birds follow equal-radius paths during turning, the effects of which are a change of the flock's orientation and a redistribution of individual locations in the group. PMID:26236825

  14. Perching but not foraging networks predict the spread of novel foraging skills in starlings.

    PubMed

    Boogert, Neeltje J; Nightingale, Glenna F; Hoppitt, William; Laland, Kevin N

    2014-11-01

    The directed social learning hypothesis suggests that information does not spread evenly through animal groups, but rather individual characteristics and patterns of physical proximity guide the social transmission of information along specific pathways. Network-based diffusion analysis (NBDA) allows researchers to test whether information spreads following a social network. However, the explanatory power of different social networks has rarely been compared, and current models do not easily accommodate random effects (e.g. allowing for individuals within groups to correlate in their asocial solving rates). We tested whether the spread of two novel foraging skills through captive starling groups was affected by individual- and group-level random and fixed effects (i.e. sex, age, body condition, dominance rank and demonstrator status) and perching or foraging networks. We extended NBDA to include random effects and conducted model discrimination in a Bayesian context. We found that social learning increased the rate at which birds acquired the novel foraging task solutions by 6.67 times, and acquiring one of the two novel foraging task solutions facilitated the asocial acquisition of the other. Surprisingly, the spread of task solutions followed the perching rather than the foraging social network. Upon acquiring a task solution, foraging performance was facilitated by the presence of group mates. Our results highlight the importance of considering more than one social network when predicting the spread of information through animal groups. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Cognition in the wild. PMID:25178191

  15. Ernest Henry Starling (1866-1927) on the glomerular and tubular functions of the kidney.

    PubMed

    Fine, Leon G

    2014-01-01

    Around the turn of the 20th century, Ernest Henry Starling (1866-1927) made many fundamental contributions to the understanding of human physiology. With a deep interest in how fluid balance is regulated, he naturally turned to explore the intricacies of kidney function. Early in his career he focused upon the process of glomerular filtration and was able to substantiate the view of Carl Ludwig that this process can be explained entirely upon the basis of hydrostatic and oncotic pressure gradients across the glomerular capillary wall and that the process can be regulated by alterations in the tone of the afferent and efferent arterioles. To explore renal tubular function he employed a heart-lung-kidney model in the dog and was able to infer that certain substances are reabsorbed by the tubules (e.g. sodium chloride) and certain by tubular secretion (e.g. uric acid, indigo carmine dye). By temporarily blocking tubular function using hydrocyanic acid he was able to conclude that secreted substances must be taken up on the peritubular side of the cell and concentrated within the cell to drive the secretory process. Finally, he was able to appreciate that the kidney is an organ which is regulated according to the needs of the organism and that the processes of glomerular filtration, tubular secretion and reabsorption are all subject to regulatory influences, which have evolved to conserve the normal chemical composition of the cells and fluids of the body. PMID:24970544

  16. Myosin head orientation: a structural determinant for the Frank-Starling relationship

    SciTech Connect

    Farman, Gerrie P.; Gore, David; Allen, Edward; Schoenfelt, Kelly; Irving, Thomas C.; de Tombe, Pieter P.

    2011-09-06

    The cellular mechanism underlying the Frank-Starling law of the heart is myofilament length-dependent activation. The mechanism(s) whereby sarcomeres detect changes in length and translate this into increased sensitivity to activating calcium has been elusive. Small-angle X-ray diffraction studies have revealed that the intact myofilament lattice undergoes numerous structural changes upon an increase in sarcomere length (SL): lattice spacing and the I{sub 1,1}/I{sub 1,0} intensity ratio decreases, whereas the M3 meridional reflection intensity (I{sub M3}) increases, concomitant with increases in diastolic and systolic force. Using a short ({approx}10 ms) X-ray exposure just before electrical stimulation, we were able to obtain detailed structural information regarding the effects of external osmotic compression (with mannitol) and obtain SL on thin intact electrically stimulated isolated rat right ventricular trabeculae. We show that over the same incremental increases in SL, the relative changes in systolic force track more closely to the relative changes in myosin head orientation (as reported by IM3) than to the relative changes in lattice spacing. We conclude that myosin head orientation before activation determines myocardial sarcomere activation levels and that this may be the dominant mechanism for length-dependent activation.

  17. Emergence of collective changes in travel direction of starling flocks from individual birds' fluctuations

    PubMed Central

    Attanasi, Alessandro; Cavagna, Andrea; Del Castello, Lorenzo; Giardina, Irene; Jelic, Asja; Melillo, Stefania; Parisi, Leonardo; Pohl, Oliver; Shen, Edward; Viale, Massimiliano

    2015-01-01

    One of the most impressive features of moving animal groups is their ability to perform sudden coherent changes in travel direction. While this collective decision can be a response to an external alarm cue, directional switching can also emerge from the intrinsic fluctuations in individual behaviour. However, the cause and the mechanism by which such collective changes of direction occur are not fully understood yet. Here, we present an experimental study of spontaneous collective turns in natural flocks of starlings. We employ a recently developed tracking algorithm to reconstruct three-dimensional trajectories of each individual bird in the flock for the whole duration of a turning event. Our approach enables us to analyse changes in the individual behaviour of every group member and reveal the emergent dynamics of turning. We show that spontaneous turns start from individuals located at the elongated tips of the flocks, and then propagate through the group. We find that birds on the tips deviate from the mean direction of motion much more frequently than other individuals, indicating that persistent localized fluctuations are the crucial ingredient for triggering a collective directional change. Finally, we quantitatively verify that birds follow equal-radius paths during turning, the effects of which are a change of the flock's orientation and a redistribution of individual locations in the group. PMID:26236825

  18. The classical Starling resistor model often does not predict inspiratory airflow patterns in the human upper airway

    PubMed Central

    Edwards, Bradley A.; Sands, Scott A.; Butler, James P.; Eckert, Danny J.; White, David P.; Malhotra, Atul; Wellman, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    The upper airway is often modeled as a classical Starling resistor, featuring a constant inspiratory airflow, or plateau, over a range of downstream pressures. However, airflow tracings from clinical sleep studies often show an initial peak before the plateau. To conform to the Starling model, the initial peak must be of small magnitude or dismissed as a transient. We developed a method to simulate fast or slow inspirations through the human upper airway, to test the hypothesis that this initial peak is a transient. Eight subjects [4 obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), 4 controls] slept in an “iron lung” and wore a nasal mask connected to a continuous/bilevel positive airway pressure machine. Downstream pressure was measured using an epiglottic catheter. During non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, subjects were hyperventilated to produce a central apnea, then extrathoracic pressure was decreased slowly (∼2–4 s) or abruptly (<0.5 s) to lower downstream pressure and create inspiratory airflow. Pressure-flow curves were constructed for flow-limited breaths, and slow vs. fast reductions in downstream pressure were compared. All subjects exhibited an initial peak and then a decrease in flow with more negative pressures, demonstrating negative effort dependence (NED). The rate of change in downstream pressure did not affect the peak to plateau airflow ratio: %NED 22 ± 13% (slow) vs. 20 ± 5% (fast), P = not significant. We conclude that the initial peak in inspiratory airflow is not a transient but rather a distinct mechanical property of the upper airway. In contrast to the classical Starling resistor model, the upper airway exhibits marked NED in some subjects. PMID:24458746

  19. Modulation of the Cardiomyocyte Contraction inside a Hydrostatic Pressure Bioreactor: In Vitro Verification of the Frank-Starling Law

    PubMed Central

    Fassina, Lorenzo; Magenes, Giovanni; Gimmelli, Roberto; Naro, Fabio

    2015-01-01

    We have studied beating mouse cardiac syncytia in vitro in order to assess the inotropic, ergotropic, and chronotropic effects of both increasing and decreasing hydrostatic pressures. In particular, we have performed an image processing analysis to evaluate the kinematics and the dynamics of those pressure-loaded beating syncytia starting from the video registration of their contraction movement. By this analysis, we have verified the Frank-Starling law of the heart in in vitro beating cardiac syncytia and we have obtained their geometrical-functional classification. PMID:25667923

  20. A computational model of cerebrospinal fluid production and reabsorption driven by Starling forces.

    PubMed

    Buishas, Joel; Gould, Ian G; Linninger, Andreas A

    2014-10-01

    Experimental evidence has cast doubt on the classical model of river-like cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow from the choroid plexus to the arachnoid granulations. We propose a novel model of water transport through the parenchyma from the microcirculation as driven by Starling forces. This model investigates the effect of osmotic pressure on water transport between the cerebral vasculature, the extracellular space (ECS), the perivascular space (PVS), and the CSF. A rigorous literature search was conducted focusing on experiments which alter the osmolarity of blood or ventricles and measure the rate of CSF production. Investigations into the effect of osmotic pressure on the volume of ventricles and the flux of ions in the blood, choroid plexus epithelium, and CSF are reviewed. Increasing the osmolarity of the serum via a bolus injection completely inhibits nascent fluid flow production in the ventricles. A continuous injection of a hyperosmolar solution into the ventricles can increase the volume of the ventricle by up to 125%. CSF production is altered by 0.231 μL per mOsm in the ventricle and by 0.835 μL per mOsm in the serum. Water flux from the ECS to the CSF is identified as a key feature of intracranial dynamics. A complete mathematical model with all equations and scenarios is fully described, as well as a guide to constructing a computational model of intracranial water balance dynamics. The model proposed in this article predicts the effects the osmolarity of ECS, blood, and CSF on water flux in the brain, establishing a link between osmotic imbalances and pathological conditions such as hydrocephalus and edema. PMID:25358881

  1. Cooperative cross-bridge activation of thin filaments contributes to the Frank-Starling mechanism in cardiac muscle.

    PubMed

    Smith, L; Tainter, C; Regnier, M; Martyn, D A

    2009-05-01

    Myosin cross-bridges play an important role in the regulation of thin-filament activation in cardiac muscle. To test the hypothesis that sarcomere length (SL) modulation of thin-filament activation by strong-binding cross-bridges underlies the Frank-Starling mechanism, we inhibited force and strong cross-bridge binding to intermediate levels with sodium vanadate (Vi). Force and stiffness varied proportionately with [Ca(2+)] and [Vi]. Increasing [Vi] (decreased force) reduced the pCa(50) of force-[Ca(2+)] relations at 2.3 and 2.0 microm SL, with little effect on slope (n(H)). When maximum force was inhibited to approximately 40%, the effects of SL on force were diminished at lower [Ca(2+)], whereas at higher [Ca(2+)] (pCa < 5.6) the relative influence of SL on force increased. In contrast, force inhibition to approximately 20% significantly reduced the sensitivity of force-[Ca(2+)] relations to changes in both SL and myofilament lattice spacing. Strong cross-bridge binding cooperatively induced changes in cardiac troponin C structure, as measured by dichroism of 5' iodoacetamido-tetramethylrhodamine-labeled cardiac troponin C. This apparent cooperativity was reduced at shorter SL. These data emphasize that SL and/or myofilament lattice spacing modulation of the cross-bridge component of cardiac thin-filament activation contributes to the Frank-Starling mechanism. PMID:19413974

  2. Sexual and natural selection in the evolution of extended phenotypes: the use of green nesting material in starlings.

    PubMed

    Rubalcaba, J G; Polo, V; Maia, R; Rubenstein, D R; Veiga, J P

    2016-08-01

    Although sexual selection is typically considered the predominant force driving the evolution of ritualized sexual behaviours, natural selection may also play an important and often underappreciated role. The use of green aromatic plants among nesting birds has been interpreted as a component of extended phenotype that evolved either via natural selection due to potential sanitary functions or via sexual selection as a signal of male attractiveness. Here, we compared both hypotheses using comparative methods in starlings, a group where this behaviour is widespread. We found that the use of green plants was positively related to male-biased size dimorphism and that it was most likely to occur among cavity-nesting species. These results suggest that this behaviour is likely favoured by sexual selection, but also related to its sanitary use in response to higher parasite loads in cavities. We speculate that the use of green plants in starlings may be facilitated by cavity nesting and was subsequently co-opted as a sexual signal by males. Our results represent an example of how an extended phenotypic component of males becomes sexually selected by females. Thus, both natural selection and sexual selection are necessary to fully understand the evolution of ritualized behaviours involved in courtship. PMID:27168035

  3. Association of wild bird density and farm management factors with the prevalence of E. coli O157 in dairy herds in Ohio (2007-2009).

    PubMed

    Cernicchiaro, N; Pearl, D L; McEwen, S A; Harpster, L; Homan, H J; Linz, G M; Lejeune, J T

    2012-08-01

    Our objective was to determine the role that European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) play in the epidemiology of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in dairy cattle. We visited 150 dairy farms in Ohio twice during summer and fall months from 2007 to 2009. Fresh faecal pats from 30 lactating cows were collected during each visit. Information on farm management and environmental variables was gathered through a questionnaire administered to the farm owner. The number of starlings observed on the farm was also recorded. Approximately 1% of dairy cattle and 24% of farms were positive for E. coli O157. Risk factors associated with the presence of E. coli O157 in faecal pats included contact between adult cattle and calves, types or number of ventilation and manure management systems and number of birds per milking cow. PMID:22333436

  4. Description of two new Isospora species causing visceral coccidiosis in captive superb glossy starlings, Lamprotornis superbus (Aves: Sturnidae).

    PubMed

    Hafeez, Mian A; Stasiak, Iga; Delnatte, Pauline; El-Sherry, Shiem; Smith, Dale A; Barta, John R

    2014-09-01

    Isospora greineri sp. n. and Isospora superbusi sp. n. are described from captive superb glossy starlings, Lamprotornis superbus, from the Toronto Zoo succumbing to visceral coccidiosis. Sequence data from nuclear 18S recombinant DNA (rDNA) and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) loci from sporulated oocysts and infected tissues (liver, lung, or spleen) demonstrated two distinct Isospora sp. genotypes that varied in their relative abundance. In the tissues of one affected bird, as well as its associated fecal sample, two distinct COI sequences (1.7% divergence) and two distinct 18S rDNA sequences (0.6% divergence) were found at almost the same abundance; in other specimens, one of the 18S and one of the COI sequences were less abundant than the other. In the tissues of some birds, only a single COI and single 18S sequence were present. In all cases, the same pair of 18S rDNA and COI sequences fluctuated in abundance in parallel, indicating that there were two distinct species present rather than one species with more than one COI or 18S locus. The oocysts of these new species cannot be differentiated morphologically. Sporulated oocysts of both were spherical to subspherical measuring 17.7 ± 0.22 μm by 17.1 ± 0.20 μm with a mean L/W ratio of 1.03 ± 0.004. Sporocysts were ovoid measuring 13.5 ± 0.17 μm by 9.3 ± 0.15 μm with a mean L/W ratio of 1.4 ± 0.02. Sporocysts had a small Stieda body with indistinct sub-Stieda body; each sporocyst had a compact residuum. Two morphologically similar but genetically divergent Isospora species were shown to cause simultaneous enteric and extraintestinal infections in captive superb glossy starlings. PMID:24948107

  5. Mycoplasmosis in captive crows and robins from Minnesota.

    PubMed

    Wellehan, J F; Calsamiglia, M; Ley, D H; Zens, M S; Amonsin, A; Kapur, V

    2001-07-01

    Mycoplasma sturni is a recently described organism previously associated with conjunctivitis in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), northern mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) and blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata). Herein we describe the isolation of M. sturni from an American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) presenting with conjunctivitis. A nested-PCR was designed for identification of M. sturni in clinical specimens and the sensitivity of the reaction was found to be 10 colony-changing units. The organism was found in asymptomatic American crows caged with a nestmate of the crow with conjunctivitis. Mycoplasma sturni also was found in asymptomatic American robins (Turdus migratorius) and in a European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) housed at the same facility as the crows. Heterogenity of M. sturni isolates from different host species was found by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analyses. Heterogeneity also was found among M. sturni isolates recovered from American crows. We suggest that M. sturni can successfully infect American crows and American robins with or without the presence of clinical disease. Furthermore, we demonstrate that nested-PCR is an effective method for the detection of M. sturni and that substantial genetic heterogeneity exists among natural isolates of this bacterial pathogen. PMID:11504228

  6. Oculomotor strategy of an avian ground forager: tilted and weakly yoked eye saccades.

    PubMed

    Tyrrell, Luke P; Butler, Shannon R; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban

    2015-08-01

    Many bird species are capable of large saccadic eye movements that can result in substantial shifts in gaze direction and complex changes to their visual field orientation. In the absence of visual stimuli, birds make spontaneous saccades that follow an endogenous oculomotor strategy. We used new eye-tracking technology specialized for small birds to study the oculomotor behavior of an open-habitat, ground-foraging songbird, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). We found that starlings primarily move their eyes along a tilted axis 13.46 deg downwards anteriorly and upwards posteriorly, which differs from the axis parallel to the horizon employed by other species. This tilted axis could enhance foraging and anti-predator strategies while starlings are head-down looking for food, allowing them to direct vision between the open mandibles to visually inspect food items, and above and behind the head to scan areas where predators are more likely to attack. We also found that starlings have neither fully conjugate saccades (as in humans, for example) nor independent saccades (as in chameleons, for example). Rather, they exhibit weakly yoked saccades where the left and right eyes move at the same time but not at the same magnitude. Functionally, weakly yoked saccades may be similar to independent saccades in that they allow the two eyes to concomitantly perform different tasks. The differences between the oculomotor strategies of studied species suggest eye movements play variable but important roles across bird species with different ecological niches. PMID:26139661

  7. Possible environmental contaminant effects in neotropical migrants nesting at a Superfund site

    SciTech Connect

    Arenal, C.; Halbrook, R.

    1995-12-31

    Forest fragmentation, insularization, and tropical deforestation have been named as significant factors in the decline of many neotropical migrant bird species, however, contamination of breeding grounds also may be of concern. Additionally, neotropical migrants may serve as a route of transport of contaminants from breeding grounds in North America to wintering grounds in the tropics. Accumulation and effects of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and heavy metal concentrations in avian species were evaluated at a Superfund site (Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois) using the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) as a model. Starlings were monitored at 12 nest boxes constructed at each of 3 study and 2 reference sites. Behavior of adult starlings was observed in the field to assess possible contaminant effects on nest attentiveness and reproductive success was recorded as the number of chicks surviving to 15 days post-hatch. Effects included a significant reduction in nest attentiveness behavior and increased chick mortality between PCB and reference sites. There were no significant differences among study and reference sites in number of eggs laid and percent of eggs hatched. Because Crab Orchard NWR serves as breeding ground for approximately 80 neotropical migrant species, the results suggest that species with feeding habits similar to starlings also may have greater body burdens of metals and PCBs and may suffer similar reductions in nesting success. The potential exists for transport and incorporation of environmental contaminants into the food chain at sites along the migration route.

  8. Interpreting population estimates of birds following pesticide applications--behavior of male starlings exposed to an organophosphate pesticide

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grue, C.E.; Shipley, B.J.

    1981-01-01

    We determined activity budgets for 10 pairs of captive male Starlings between 7 May and 18 July 1980. Our objective was to quantify changes in behavior after exposure to an organophosphate (OP) pesticide and to assess the impact of changes in behavior on the interpretation of population estimates of birds following pesticide applications. We observed each pair of males for an hour at 07:30 and 09:30 for four days and classified their behavior into one of four categories: flying, perching, foraging, or singing and displaying. At 06:30 on day 2, one male received a single oral dose of 2.5 mg dicrotophos (3-hydroxy-N, N-dimethyl-cis-crotonamide dimethyl phosphate) per kg of body weight; the other male received an equivalent exposure of corn oil. Changes in the activity budgets of OP-dosed and control males were compared using t-tests. Activity of OP-dosed males was significantly (P _ 0.05) reduced within the 2-4 h following exposure. OP-dosed males spent more time perching (46.1%) than controls and less time flying (-96.6%), foraging (-28.5%), and singing and displaying (-49.5%). The frequency of perching (-75.3%), flying (-83.8%), foraging (-54.1%), and singing and displaying (- 59.2%) was significantly reduced. Activity in OP-dosed males returned to normal by 26-28 h posttreatment. Results suggest that movement and vocalization may be significantly reduced in birds exposed to organophosphate and carbamate pesticides. Conventional censusing techniques and population estimating procedures may, therefore, be inadequate to assess changes in bird populations after pesticide applications because of the difficulty in separating decreases in density due to mortality or emigration from reductions in activity.

  9. European Mistletoe

    MedlinePlus

    ... gov Key References American mistletoe. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Accessed at www.naturaldatabase.com on July 7, 2009. European mistletoe. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Accessed at www.naturaldatabase.com on July ...

  10. European Community.

    PubMed

    1987-05-01

    The European Community was established in 1951 to reconcile France and Germany after World War II and to make possible the eventual federation of Europe. By 1986, there were 12 member countries: France, Italy, Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Greece, Spain, and Portugal. Principal areas of concern are internal and external trade, agriculture, monetary coordination, fisheries, common industrial and commercial policies, assistance, science and research, and common social and regional policies. The European Community has a budget of US$34.035 billion/year, funded by customs duties and 1.4% of each member's value-added tax. The treaties establishing the European Community call for members to form a common market, a common customs tariff, and common agricultural, transport, economic, and nuclear policies. Major European Community institutions include the Commission, Council of Ministers, European Parliament, Court of Justice, and Economic and Social Committee. The Community is the world's largest trading unit, accounting for 15% of world trade. The 2 main goals of the Community's industrial policy are to create an open internal market and to promote technological innovation in order to improve international competitiveness. The European Community aims to contribute to the economic and social development of Third World countries as well. PMID:12177941

  11. The Role of the Frank–Starling Law in the Transduction of Cellular Work to Whole Organ Pump Function: A Computational Modeling Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Niederer, Steven A.; Smith, Nicolas P.

    2009-01-01

    We have developed a multi-scale biophysical electromechanics model of the rat left ventricle at room temperature. This model has been applied to investigate the relative roles of cellular scale length dependent regulators of tension generation on the transduction of work from the cell to whole organ pump function. Specifically, the role of the length dependent Ca2+ sensitivity of tension (Ca50), filament overlap tension dependence, velocity dependence of tension, and tension dependent binding of Ca2+ to Troponin C on metrics of efficient transduction of work and stress and strain homogeneity were predicted by performing simulations in the absence of each of these feedback mechanisms. The length dependent Ca50 and the filament overlap, which make up the Frank-Starling Law, were found to be the two dominant regulators of the efficient transduction of work. Analyzing the fiber velocity field in the absence of the Frank-Starling mechanisms showed that the decreased efficiency in the transduction of work in the absence of filament overlap effects was caused by increased post systolic shortening, whereas the decreased efficiency in the absence of length dependent Ca50 was caused by an inversion in the regional distribution of strain. PMID:19390615

  12. Titin strain contributes to the Frank–Starling law of the heart by structural rearrangements of both thin- and thick-filament proteins

    PubMed Central

    Ait-Mou, Younss; Hsu, Karen; Farman, Gerrie P.; Kumar, Mohit; Greaser, Marion L.; Irving, Thomas C.; de Tombe, Pieter P.

    2016-01-01

    The Frank–Starling mechanism of the heart is due, in part, to modulation of myofilament Ca2+ sensitivity by sarcomere length (SL) [length-dependent activation (LDA)]. The molecular mechanism(s) that underlie LDA are unknown. Recent evidence has implicated the giant protein titin in this cellular process, possibly by positioning the myosin head closer to actin. To clarify the role of titin strain in LDA, we isolated myocardium from either WT or homozygous mutant (HM) rats that express a giant splice isoform of titin, and subjected the muscles to stretch from 2.0 to 2.4 μm of SL. Upon stretch, HM compared with WT muscles displayed reduced passive force, twitch force, and myofilament LDA. Time-resolved small-angle X-ray diffraction measurements of WT twitching muscles during diastole revealed stretch-induced increases in the intensity of myosin (M2 and M6) and troponin (Tn3) reflections, as well as a reduction in cross-bridge radial spacing. Independent fluorescent probe analyses in relaxed permeabilized myocytes corroborated these findings. X-ray electron density reconstruction revealed increased mass/ordering in both thick and thin filaments. The SL-dependent changes in structure observed in WT myocardium were absent in HM myocardium. Overall, our results reveal a correlation between titin strain and the Frank–Starling mechanism. The molecular basis underlying this phenomenon appears not to involve interfilament spacing or movement of myosin toward actin but, rather, sarcomere stretch-induced simultaneous structural rearrangements within both thin and thick filaments that correlate with titin strain and myofilament LDA. PMID:26858417

  13. Heart rate and heart-rate variability responses to acute and chronic stress in a wild-caught passerine bird.

    PubMed

    Cyr, Nicole E; Dickens, Molly J; Romero, L Michael

    2009-01-01

    The cardiovascular-stress response has been studied extensively in laboratory animals but has been poorly studied in naturally selected species. We determined the relative roles of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) in regulating stress-induced changes in heart rate (HR) in wild-caught European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). In both heart-rate variability (HRV) analysis and receptor blockade (atropine and propranolol) experiments, baseline HR was controlled predominantly by the PNS, whereas the increase in HR resulting from acute restraint stress was controlled predominantly by the SNS. These results indicate similar cardiac control of baseline and acute-stress-induced HR in wild-caught starlings and mammals. We further investigated HR responses during chronic stress. Driven primarily by changes in PNS regulation, baseline HR increased during the day but decreased at night. In addition, elevated HRs during acute restraint stress were attenuated throughout chronic stress and were accompanied by decreased HRV. This suggested that increased SNS drive elevated HR, but the attenuated HR response combined with resistance to the SNS blocker propranolol suggested that the sympathetic signal was less effective during chronic stress. Overall, chronic stress in wild-caught starlings elicited profound changes in cardiac function that were primarily regulated by changes in the PNS. PMID:19115847

  14. Brain cholinesterase activity of nestling great egrets, snowy egrets and black-crowned night-herons.

    PubMed

    Custer, T W; Ohlendorf, H M

    1989-07-01

    inhibition of brain cholinesterase (ChE) activity in birds is often used to diagnose exposure or death from organophosphorus or carbamate pesticides. Brain ChE activity in the young of altricial species increases with age; however, this relationship has only been demonstrated in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Brain ChE activity of nestling great egrets (Casmerodius albus) collected from a colony in Texas (USA) increased significantly with age and did not differ among individuals from different nests. Brain ChE activity of nestling snowy egrets (Egretta thula) and black-crowned night-herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) collected in one colony each from Rhode Island, Texas and California (USA) also increased significantly with age and did not differ among individuals from different nests or colonies. This study further demonstrates that age must be considered when evaluating exposure of nestling altricial birds to ChE inhibitors. PMID:2761008

  15. Brain cholinesterase activity of nestling great egrets snowy egrets and black-crowned night-herons

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Custer, T.W.; Ohlendorf, H.M.

    1989-01-01

    Inhibition of brain cholinesterase (ChE) activity in birds is often used to diagnose exposure or death from organophosphorus or carbamate pesticides. Brain ChE activity in the young of altricial species increases with age; however, this relationship has only been demonstrated in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Brain ChE activity of nestling great egrets (Casmerodius albus) collected from a colony in Texas (USA) increased significantly with age and did not differ among individuals from different nests. Brain ChE activity of nestling snowy egrets (Egretta thula) and black-crowned night-herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) collected in one colony each from Rhode Island, Texas and California (USA) also increased significantly with age and did not differ among individuals from different nests or colonies. This study further demonstrates that age must be considered when evaluating exposure of nestling altricial birds to ChE inhibitors.

  16. Brain cholinesterase activity of nestling great egrets, snowy egrets, and black-crowned night-herons

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Custer, T.W.; Ohlendorf, H.M.

    1989-01-01

    Inhibition of brain cholinesterase (ChE) activity in birds is often used to diagnose exposure or death from organophosphorus or carbmate pesticides. Brain ChE activity in the young of altricial species increase with age; however, this relationship has only been demonstrated in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Brain ChE activity of nestling great egrets (Casmerodius albus) collected from a colony in Texas increased significantly with age and did not differ among individuals from different nests. Brain ChE activity of nestling snowy egrets (Egretta thula) and black-crowned night -herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) collected in one colony each from Rhode Island, Texas, and California also increased significantly with age and did not differ among individuals from different nests or colonies. This study further demonstrates that age must be considered when evaluating exposure of nestling altricial birds to ChE inhibitors.

  17. Investigation of nitrogen transformations in a southern California constructed wastewater treatment wetland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sartoris, J.J.; Thullen, J.S.; Barber, L.B.; Salas, D.E.

    2000-01-01

    We tested the hypotheses that mass at fledging and fledge date within the breeding season affect postfledging survival in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Nestlings were weighed on day 18 after hatch and tagged with individually identifiable patagial tags. Fledge date was recorded. Marked fledglings were resighted during weekly two-day intensive observation periods for 9 weeks postfledging. Post-fledging survival and sighting probabilities were estimated for each of four groups (early or late fledging by heavy or light fledging mass). Body mass was related to post-fledging survival for birds that fledged early. Results were not clear-cut for relative fledge date, although there was weak evidence that this also influenced survival. Highest survival probability estimates occurred in the EARLY-HEAVY group, while the lowest survival estimate occurred in the LATE-LIGHT group. Sighting probabilities differed significantly among groups, emphasizing the need to estimate and compare survival using models which explicitly incorporate sighting probabilities.

  18. The seroprevalence of avipoxvirus and its association with avian malaria (Plasmodium spp.) infection in introduced passerine birds in the southern regions of the North Island of New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Ha, H J; Banda, M; Alley, M R; Howe, L; Gartrell, B D

    2013-03-01

    Blood samples were collected from 65 free-ranging birds from six species in the southern North Island of New Zealand. Sera from the birds were tested for the presence of avipoxvirus (APV) antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and blood cells from 55 birds were also tested for Plasmodium spp. by PCR. Forty-five birds (69.2%) tested seropositive to APV. Song thrushes (Turdus philomelos) presented the highest seroprevalence at 100% (4/4), followed by Eurasian blackbirds (Turdus merula) (96.86%, 31/32), chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) (54.55%, 6/11), starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) (25%, 3/12), greenfinches (Carduelis chloris) (25%, 1/4), and European goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis) (0%, 0/2). Plasmodium spp. DNA was detected in 15/55 birds (27.3%), including 11 Eurasian blackbirds, one song thrush, and three starlings. Eight Eurasian blackbird isolates (73%) grouped within the subgenus Novyella. Two Eurasian blackbird isolates and the song thrush isolate clustered within a different group with previously reported lineages LINN1 and AFTRU5. In addition, all three starling isolates clustered within the well-characterized lineage Plasmodium (Huffia) elongatum GRW06. All Plasmodium-positive Eurasian blackbirds and the song thrush were seropositive to APV, whereas only 67% of Plasmodium-positive starlings showed evidence of previous exposure to APV. A significant relationship between birds seropositive to APV and birds infected by Plasmodium spp. was observed (chi2 = 5.69, df = 1, P = 0.0086). To the authors' knowledge this is the first report describing the seroprevalence of APV and its association with Plasmodium spp. infection in introduced bird species in New Zealand. PMID:23678738

  19. Abnormal splicing in the N‐terminal variable region of cardiac troponin T impairs systolic function of the heart with preserved Frank‐Starling compensation

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Han‐Zhong; Chen, Guozhen; Nan, Changlong; Huang, Xupei; Jin, Jian‐Ping

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Abnormal splice‐out of the exon 7‐encoded segment in the N‐terminal variable region of cardiac troponin T (cTnT‐ΔE7) was found in turkeys and, together with the inclusion of embryonic exon (eTnT), in adult dogs with a correlation with dilated cardiomyopathy. Overexpression of these cTnT variants in transgenic mouse hearts significantly decreased cardiac function. To further investigate the functional effect of cTnT‐ΔE7 or ΔE7+eTnT in vivo under systemic regulation, echocardiography was carried out in single and double‐transgenic mice. No atrial enlargement, ventricular hypertrophy or dilation was detected in the hearts of 2‐month‐old cTnT‐ΔE7 and ΔE7+eTnT mice in comparison to wild‐type controls, indicating a compensated state. However, left ventricular fractional shortening and ejection fraction were decreased in ΔE7 and ΔE7+eTnT mice, and the response to isoproterenol was lower in ΔE7+eTnT mice. Left ventricular outflow tract velocity and gradient were decreased in the transgenic mouse hearts, indicating decreased systolic function. Ex vivo working heart function showed that high afterload or low preload resulted in more severe decreases in the systolic function and energetic efficiency of cTnT‐ΔE7 and ΔE7+eTnT hearts. On the other hand, increases in preload demonstrated preserved Frank‐Starling responses and minimized the loss of cardiac function and efficiency. The data demonstrate that the N‐terminal variable region of cardiac TnT regulates systolic function of the heart. PMID:25194024

  20. Experimentally Increasing TITIN Compliance in a Novel Mouse Model Attenuates the Frank-Starling Mechanism but has a Beneficial Effect on Diastole

    PubMed Central

    Methawasin, Mei; Hutchinson, Kirk R; Lee, Eun-Jeong; Smith, John E; Saripalli, Chandra; Hidalgo, Carlos G; Ottenheijm, Coen AC; Granzier, Henk

    2014-01-01

    Background Experimentally upregulating compliant titins has been suggested as a therapeutic for lowering pathological diastolic stiffness levels. However, how increasing titin compliance impacts global cardiac function requires in-depth study. We investigate the effect of upregulating compliant titins in a novel mouse model with a genetically altered titin splicing factor; integrative approaches were used from intact cardiomyocyte mechanics to pressure(P)-volume(V) analysis and Doppler echocardiography. Methods and Results Compliant titins were upregulated through deletion of the RNA Recognition Motif of the splicing factor RBM20 (Rbm20ΔRRM mice). A genome-wide exon expression analysis and a candidate approach revealed that the phenotype is likely to be dominated by greatly increased lengths of titin’s spring-elements. At both cardiomyocyte and left ventricular (LV)chamber levels diastolic stiffness was reduced in heterozygous (+/−) Rbm20ΔRRM mice with a further reduction in homozygous (−/−) mice at only the intact myocyte level. Fibrosis was present in only −/− Rbm20ΔRRM hearts. The Frank-Starling Mechanism was reduced in a graded fashion in Rbm20ΔRRM mice, at both the cardiomyocyte and LV chamber levels. Exercise tests revealed an increase in exercise capacity in +/− mice. Conclusions Titin is not only important in diastolic but also in systolic cardiac function. Upregulating compliant titins reduces diastolic chamber stiffness due to increased compliance of myocytes but depresses end-systolic elastance; under conditions of exercise the beneficial effects on diastolic function dominate. Therapeutic manipulation of the RBM20-based splicing system might be able to minimize effects on fibrosis and systolic function while improving diastolic function of heart failure patients. PMID:24599837

  1. Acute oral toxicity of sodium cyanide in birds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wiemeyer, Stanley N.; Hill, E.F.; Carpenter, J.W.; Krynitsky, A.J.

    1986-01-01

    Sensitivities of six avian species, black vulture (Coragyps atratus), American kestrel (Falco sparverius), Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica), domestic chicken (Gallus domesticus), eastern screech-owl (Otus asio), and European starling (Sturnus vulgaris), to acute poisoning by sodium cyanide (NaCN) were compared by single dose LD50's. Three species, domestic chickens, black vultures, and turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), were dosed with NaCN to determine cyanide residues in those that died and also in survivors, in addition to postmortem fate. Three flesh-eating species (black vulture, American kestrel, and eastern screech-owl; LD50's 4.0-8.6 mg/kg) were more sensitive to NaCN than three species (Japanese quail, domestic chicken, and European starling; LD50's 9.4-21 mg/kg) that fed predominantly on plant material. Elevated concentrations of cyanide were found in the blood of birds that died of cyanide poisoning; however, concentrations in birds that died overlapped those in survivors. Blood was superior to liver as the tissue of choice for detecting cyanide exposure. No gross pathological changes related to dosing were observed at necropsy.

  2. Seasonal variation in diagnostic enzymes and biochemical constituents of captive northern bobwhites and passerines

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hill, E.F.; Murray, H.C.

    1987-01-01

    1. A variety of biochemical measurements were taken periodically in captive northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus L.), European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris L.), red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus L.) and common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula L.) to determine whether baseline values remain sufficiently stable throughout the year for general clinical use in the absence of concurrent control specimens. 2. Variables included whole blood hematocrit and hemoglobin, plasma lactate dehydrogenase, alpha-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, creatine kinase, butyrylcholinesterase, alkaline phosphatase, glucose, albumin, total protein, creatinine, urea nitrogen, uric acid, cholesterol, and triglycerides, and brain acetylcholinesterase. Butyryl- and acetylcholinesterase were included because of their specific uses in toxicology. 3. Significant seasonal differences were detected for each of the variables except brain acetylcholinesterase in at least one of the species. Significant species differences were detected during at least one season for all of the variables measured. 4. All species were maintained outdoors, but only northern bobwhites came into reproductive condition and showed sex-differences in the clinical variables during their normal breeding season. 5. It was concluded that reference values for the 18 clinical variables measured could be calculated from our data for adult specimens of the species studied, and that results for one species cannot be extrapolated with certainty to any other species. 6. Estimated normal bounds for each of the 18 variables measured by commonly used clinical procedures are presented for reproductively quiescent northern bobwhites, European starlings, red-winged blackbirds, and common grackles.

  3. Digestive efficiencies of Cape white-eyes (Zosterops virens), red-winged starlings (Onychognathus morio) and speckled mousebirds (Colius striatus) fed varying concentrations of equicaloric glucose or sucrose artificial fruit diets.

    PubMed

    Zungu, Manqoba M; Downs, Colleen T

    2016-09-01

    Digestive physiology is important for understanding the feeding behaviour of organisms. Specifically, studies on the digestive physiology of frugivorous and nectarivorous birds are important for elucidating their preference patterns in the wild and the selective pressures they exert on fruit pulp and nectar. In this study, digesta transit times and digestive efficiencies of three species of birds, the Cape white-eyes (Zosterops virens), red-winged starlings (Onychognathus morio) and speckled mousebirds (Colius striatus) were investigated on equicaloric glucose or sucrose artificial fruit diets. Three concentrations, approximating the natural range of sugar concentrations in sugary, bird-dispersed fruits were used: low (6.6%), medium (12.4%) and high (22%). Digesta transit times of birds increased with an increase in concentration for all diets but were generally higher on glucose diets. Intake rates, on the other hand, decreased with an increase in sugar concentration. All species of birds failed to maintain a constant assimilated energy intake on glucose diets but mousebirds and white-eyes maintained it on sucrose diets. Apparent assimilation efficiencies of glucose diets for all species were comparable and typical of those found in other frugivorous birds. However, assimilation efficiencies for sucrose diets differed widely with red-winged starlings displaying very low assimilation efficiencies and as a consequence; they lost significant body mass on all sucrose diets. These results demonstrate the importance of digestive physiology in explaining fruit selection patterns in frugivorous birds and how a seemingly trivial physiological trait can have dire ecological consequences. PMID:27174647

  4. Evaluation of two methods for quantifying passeriform lice

    PubMed Central

    Koop, Jennifer A. H.; Clayton, Dale H.

    2013-01-01

    Two methods commonly used to quantify ectoparasites on live birds are visual examination and dust-ruffling. Visual examination provides an estimate of ectoparasite abundance based on an observer’s timed inspection of various body regions on a bird. Dust-ruffling involves application of insecticidal powder to feathers that are then ruffled to dislodge ectoparasites onto a collection surface where they can then be counted. Despite the common use of these methods in the field, the proportion of actual ectoparasites they account for has only been tested with Rock Pigeons (Columba livia), a relatively large-bodied species (238–302 g) with dense plumage. We tested the accuracy of the two methods using European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris; ~75 g). We first quantified the number of lice (Brueelia nebulosa) on starlings using visual examination, followed immediately by dust-ruffling. Birds were then euthanized and the proportion of lice accounted for by each method was compared to the total number of lice on each bird as determined with a body-washing method. Visual examination and dust-ruffling each accounted for a relatively small proportion of total lice (14% and 16%, respectively), but both were still significant predictors of abundance. The number of lice observed by visual examination accounted for 68% of the variation in total abundance. Similarly, the number of lice recovered by dust-ruffling accounted for 72% of the variation in total abundance. Our results show that both methods can be used to reliably quantify the abundance of lice on European Starlings and other similar-sized passerines. PMID:24039328

  5. Functional changes between seasons in the male songbird auditory forebrain

    PubMed Central

    De Groof, Geert; Poirier, Colline; George, Isabelle; Hausberger, Martine; Van der Linden, Annemie

    2013-01-01

    Songbirds are an excellent model for investigating the perception of learned complex acoustic communication signals. Male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) sing throughout the year distinct types of song that bear either social or individual information. Although the relative importance of social and individual information changes seasonally, evidence of functional seasonal changes in neural response to these songs remains elusive. We thus decided to use in vivo functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine auditory responses of male starlings that were exposed to songs that convey different levels of information (species-specific and group identity or individual identity), both during (when mate recognition is particularly important) and outside the breeding season (when group recognition is particularly important). We report three main findings: (1) the auditory area caudomedial nidopallium (NCM), an auditory region that is analogous to the mammalian auditory cortex, is clearly involved in the processing/categorization of conspecific songs; (2) season-related change in differential song processing is limited to a caudal part of NCM; in the more rostral parts, songs bearing individual information induce higher BOLD responses than songs bearing species and group information, regardless of the season; (3) the differentiation between songs bearing species and group information and songs bearing individual information seems to be biased toward the right hemisphere. This study provides evidence that auditory processing of behaviorally-relevant (conspecific) communication signals changes seasonally, even when the spectro-temporal properties of these signals do not change. PMID:24391561

  6. Social visual contact, a primary "drive" for social animals?

    PubMed

    Perret, Audrey; Henry, Laurence; Coulon, Marion; Caudal, Jean-Pierre; Richard, Jean-Pierre; Cousillas, Hugo; Hausberger, Martine; George, Isabelle

    2015-05-01

    Social animals are always searching for conspecifics, thereby expressing a genuine "social need". This need is illustrated by the fact that social isolation can induce isolation syndromes that can be attenuated by devices such as mirrors. Social contacts appear to be so vital for social animals that they may be ready to work to obtain social stimulations. We used operant conditioning to investigate the possibility to use visual contact (through pictures of conspecifics) as a primary reinforcer. Isolated European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were offered the choice of seeing either social images (i.e. pictures of conspecifics) or non-social images (i.e. pictures of landscapes or pictures of monkeys) by triggering sensors. In contrast with most studies, our subjects were presented still pictures of conspecifics and not videos. Moreover, these pictures were used as primary reinforcers and thus were not paired with food. Our data show that starlings were ready to work and to use the apparatus (i.e. sensors) to see pictures in the absence of any other reward. Moreover, they actively and significantly preferred pictures of conspecifics to pictures of inanimate objects (landscapes) or of heterospecifics (monkeys). This suggests that 2D pictures with a social overtone can be used as primary reinforcers for isolated social birds. PMID:25604422

  7. [Biobanks European infrastructure].

    PubMed

    Kinkorová, Judita; Topolčan, Ondřej

    2016-01-01

    Biobanks are structured repositories of human tissue samples connected with specific information. They became an integral part of personalized medicine in the new millennium. At the European research area biobanks are isolated not well coordinated and connected to the network. European commission supports European infrastructure BBMRI-ERIC (Biobanks and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure European Research Infrastructure Consortium), consortium of 54 members with more than 225 associated organizations, largely biobanks from over 30 countries. The aim is to support biomedical research using stored samples. Czech Republic is a member of the consortium as a national node BBMRI_CZ, consisting of five partners. PMID:27256149

  8. European auxiliary propulsion, 1972

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Holcomb, L. B.

    1972-01-01

    The chemical and electric auxiliary propulsion technology of the United Kingdom, France, and West Germany is discussed in detail, and the propulsion technology achievements of Italy, India, Japan, and Russia are reviewed. A comparison is presented of Shell 405 catalyst and a European spontaneous hydrazine catalyst called CNESRO I. Finally, conclusions are drawn regarding future trends in European auxiliary propulsion technology development.

  9. The European Spallation Source

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lindroos, M.; Bousson, S.; Calaga, R.; Danared, H.; Devanz, G.; Duperrier, R.; Eguia, J.; Eshraqi, M.; Gammino, S.; Hahn, H.; Jansson, A.; Oyon, C.; Pape-Møller, S.; Peggs, S.; Ponton, A.; Rathsman, K.; Ruber, R.; Satogata, T.; Trahern, G.

    2011-12-01

    In 2003 the joint European effort to design a European Spallation Source (ESS) resulted in a set of reports, and in May 2009 Lund was agreed to be the ESS site. The ESS Scandinavia office has since then worked on setting all the necessary legal and organizational matters in place so that the Design Update and construction can be started in January 2011, in collaboration with European partners. The Design Update phase is expected to end in 2012, to be followed by a construction phase, with first neutrons expected in 2018-2019.

  10. Evaluating the risk of pathogen transmission from wild animals to domestic pigs in Australia.

    PubMed

    Pearson, Hayley E; Toribio, Jenny-Ann L M L; Lapidge, Steven J; Hernández-Jover, Marta

    2016-01-01

    Wild animals contribute to endemic infection in livestock as well as the introduction, reintroduction and maintenance of pathogens. The source of introduction of endemic diseases to a piggery is often unknown and the extent of wildlife contribution to such local spread is largely unexplored. The aim of the current study was to quantitatively assess the probability of domestic pigs being exposed to different pathogens from wild animals commonly found around commercial piggeries in Australia. Specifically, this study aims to quantify the probability of exposure to the pathogens Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. from European starlings (Sturnus vulgarus); Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, Lawsonia intracellularis and Salmonella spp. from rats (Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus); and Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, Leptospira spp., Brucella suis and L. intracellularis from feral pigs (Sus scrofa). Exposure assessments, using scenario trees and Monte Carlo stochastic simulation modelling, were conducted to identify potential pathways of introduction and calculate the probabilities of these pathways occurring. Input parameters were estimated from a national postal survey of commercial pork producers and from disease detection studies conducted for European starlings, rats and feral pigs in close proximity to commercial piggeries in Australia. Based on the results of the exposure assessments, rats presented the highest probability of exposure of pathogens to domestic pigs at any point in time, and L. intracellularis (median 0.13, 5% and 95%, 0.05-0.23) and B. hyodysenteriae (median 0.10, 0.05-0.19) were the most likely pathogens to be transmitted. Regarding European starlings, the median probability of exposure of domestic pigs to pathogenic E. coli at any point in time was estimated to be 0.03 (0.02-0.04). The highest probability of domestic pig exposure to feral pig pathogens at any point in time was found to be for M. hyopneumoniae (median 0.013, 0

  11. European PTTI report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cordara, Franco; Grimaldi, Sabrina; Leschiutta, Sigfrido

    1994-01-01

    Time and frequency metrology in Europe presents some peculiar features in its three main components: research on clocks, comparisons and dissemination methods, and dissemination services. Apart from the usual activities of the national metrological laboratories, an increasing number of cooperation between the European countries are promoted inside some European organizations, such as the ECC, EFTA, EUROMET, and WECC. Cooperation between these organizations is covered. The present, evolving situation will be further influenced by the recent political changes in Eastern Europe.

  12. European Education, European Citizenship? On the Role of Education in Constructing Europeanness.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ollikainen, Aaro

    2000-01-01

    Focuses on the role of the European Union (EU) education programs in fostering a sense of European citizenship. Addresses the five meanings given to the concept of European citizenship: (1) recognition of European heritage; (2) EU loyalty; (3) right of free movement; (4) political participation; and (5) active citizenship. (CMK)

  13. European Universe Awareness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Russo, P.; Miley, G.; Westra van Holthe, F.; Schrier, W.; Reed, S.

    2011-10-01

    The European Universe Awareness (EU-UNAWE) programme uses the beauty and grandeur of the cosmos to encourage young children, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds, to develop an interest in science and technology and to foster a sense of global citizenship. EU-UNAWE is already active in 40 countries and comprises a global network of almost 500 astronomers, teachers and other educators. The programme was recently awarded a grant of 1.9 million euros by the European Union so that it can be further developed in five European countries and South Africa. The grant will be used to organise teacher training workshops and to develop educational materials, such as an astronomy news service for children and games. During this presentation we will outline some of the biggest achievements of EU-UNAWE to date and discuss future plans for the programme.

  14. WFPDB: European Plate Archives

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsvetkov, Milcho

    2007-08-01

    The Wide-Field Plate Database (WFPDB) gives an inventory of all wide-field (>~ 1 sq. deg) photographic observations archived in astronomical institutions over the world. So it facilitates and stimulates their use and preservation as a valuable source of information for future investigations in astronomy. At present WFPDB manages plate-index information for 25% of all existing plates providing on-line access from Sofia (http://www.skyarchive.org/search) and in CDS, Strasbourg. Here we present the new development of WFPDB as an instrument for searching of long term brightness variations of different sky objects stressing on the European photographic plate collections (from existing 2 million wide-field plates more than 55% are in Europe: Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Czech Republic, etc.). We comment examples of digitization (with flatbed scanners) of the European plate archives in Sonneberg, Pulkovo, Asiago, Byurakan, Bamberg, etc. and virtual links of WFPDB with European AVO, ADS, IBVS.

  15. European security and France

    SciTech Connect

    deRose, A.

    1985-01-01

    A French authority on security argues for new European initiatives in the face of the ''danger represented by Soviet military power deployed in support of an imperialistic ideology.'' His proposals, including the strengthening of conventional forces without abandoning the option of the first use of nuclear weapons, are meant to give substance to President Mitterrand's declaration in 1983: ''The European nations now need to realize that their defense is also their responsibility....'' A part of the increasingly important debate in France over defense policy in Europe.

  16. European Civilization. Teacher's Manual.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Leppert, Ella C.; Halac, Dennis

    The instructional materials in this teaching guide for Course II, Unit IV, follow and build upon a previous sequential course described in SO 003 169 offering ninth grade students a study on the development of Western European Civilization. Focus is upon four periods of high development: The High Middle Ages (12th Century), The Renaissance (15th…

  17. Teaching European Identities

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Raento, Pauliina

    2008-01-01

    The political, cultural and social make-up of Europe is changing fast. A new European identity is under construction, but old contradictions and diversity challenge its contents, forms and boundaries. Migration, the changing role of the nation-state and Europe's regions, the reshaping of politico-administrative and perceptional boundaries, the…

  18. The European VLBI network

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schilizzi, R. T.

    1980-01-01

    The capabilities of the European very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) network are summarized. The range of baseline parameters, sensitivities, and recording and other equipment available are included. Plans for upgrading the recording facilities and the use of geostationary satellites for signal transfer and clock synchronization are discussed.

  19. European Music Year 1985.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Alexanderson, Thomas; And Others

    1984-01-01

    Articles concerning music are included in this newsletter dedicated to cultural venture to be jointly carried out by the Council of Europe and the European communities. Many events will mark Music Year 1985, including concerts, dance performances, operas, publications, recordings, festivals, exhibitions, competitions, and conferences on musical…

  20. Multilingualism in European Workplaces

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gunnarsson, Britt-Louise

    2014-01-01

    This state-of-the-art article includes a review of past and recent studies on multilingualism at work in European environments. One aim is to provide the reader with a cross-cultural picture of workplace studies on various languages in Europe, another to discuss both positive and problem-based accounts of multilingualism at work. The overview…

  1. Scientists attack European MRI rules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harris, Margaret

    2010-08-01

    A report by the European Science Foundation (ESF) has sharply criticized a European Union (EU) directive on electromagnetic fields, arguing that limits on workers' exposure will have "potentially disastrous" consequences for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

  2. The European Mobile System (EMS)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jongejans, A.; Rogard, R.; Mistretta, I.; Ananasso, F.

    1993-01-01

    The European Space Agency is presently procuring an L band payload in order to promote a regional European L band system coping with the specific needs of the European market. The payload, and the two communications systems to be supported, are described below. The potential market for EMS in Europe is discussed.

  3. Education and European integration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lowe, John

    1992-11-01

    The main purpose of this article is to discuss the implications for education and training of the movement towards integration in Europe in the historic context of the creation of a single market within the European Community (EC) and the end of the Communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. The experience of the EC is used to illustrate trends and problems in the development of international cooperation in education and training. Common concerns and priorities throughout the new Europe are then identified and discussed. These include the pursuit of quality in schooling, efforts to serve the interests of disadvantaged learners, and the treatment of European Studies in the curriculum, including the improvement of the teaching of foreign languages.

  4. Telemedicine and European law.

    PubMed

    Callens, Stefaan

    2003-01-01

    A Directive of the European Union was first published in 2000, which dealt with telemedicine as part of its provisions. This E-Commerce Directive, as it became known, was subjected to further study which revealed some problems relative to the practice of telemedicine. Among the subjects discussed in this paper are those of privacy, data protection, free movement of services, the impact of electronic communication and ethical issues. PMID:15074761

  5. The European Spallation Source

    SciTech Connect

    Peggs, S; Eshraqi, M; Hahn, H; Jansson, A; Lindroos, M; Ponton, A; Rathsman, K; Trahern, G; Bousso, S; Calaga, R; Devanz, G; Duperrier, R D; Eguia, J; Gammino, S; Moller, S P; Oyon, C; Ruber, R.J.M.Y.; Satogata, T

    2011-03-01

    The European Spallation Source (ESS) is a 5 MW, 2.5 GeV long pulse proton linac, to be built and commissioned in Lund, Sweden. The Accelerator Design Update (ADU) project phase is under way, to be completed at the end of 2012 by the delivery of a Technical Design Report. Improvements to the 2003 ESS design will be summarised, and the latest design activities will be presented.

  6. Eastern European risk management

    SciTech Connect

    Honey, J.A. )

    1992-01-01

    Here the authors assess Eastern European risk management practices through the evaluation of the nuclear power plants in the region. This evaluation is limited to the Soviet-designed and -built VVER-440 pressurized water reactors (PWRs) that are currently operating in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Russia, and the Ukraine and until recently operated at Greifswald in the former East Germany. This evaluation is based on the basic design of the plants, a safety evaluation of the Greifswald facility by representatives from the Federal Republic of Germany and personal visits by the author to Greifswald and Loviisa.

  7. Biophotonics: a European perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robin, Thierry; Cochard, Jacques; Breussin, Frédéric

    2013-03-01

    The objective of the present work is to determine the opportunities and challenges for Biophotonics business development in Europe for the next five years with a focus on sensors and systems: for health diagnostics and monitoring; for air, water and food safety and quality control. The development of this roadmap was initiated and supported by EPIC (The European Photonics Industry Consortium). We summarize the final roadmap data: market application segments and trends, analysis of the market access criteria, analysis of the technology trends and major bottlenecks and challenges per application.

  8. Aroclor 1254 residues in birds: Lethal levels and loss rates

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stickel, W.H.; Stickel, L.F.; Dyrland, R.A.; Hughes, D.L.

    1984-01-01

    Lethal residues of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were determined experimentally in four species of wild birds (male common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula ), immature female red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus ), adult male brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater ) and immature female starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)) given dietary dosage of 1,500 ppm of Aroclor 1254) until one-half had died, sacrificing the survivors, chemically analyzing the tissues, and comparing results in dead birds and survivors. For all species, residues of 310 ppm or higher in the brain showed increasing likelihood of death from PCB poisoning. Residues in dead birds did not differ among species except for starlings (Sturnus vulgaris ), which averaged slightly lower than the others. However, the species differed in the length of time to 50% mortality and in the levels of PCBs in brains at sacrifice.

  9. EAC: The European Astronauts Centre

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ripoll, Andres

    The newly established European Astronauts Centre (EAC) in Cologne represents the European Astronauts Home Base and will become a centre of expertise on European astronauts activities. The paper gives an overview of the European approach to man-in-space, describes the European Astronauts Policy and presents the major EAC roles and responsibilities including the management of selection, recruitment and flight assignment of astronauts; the astronauts support and medical surveillance; the supervision of the astronauts' non-flight assignments; crew safety; the definition of the overall astronauts training programme; the scheduling and supervision of the training facilities; the implementation of Basic Training; the recruitment, training and certification of instructors, and the interface to NASA in the framework of the Space Station Freedom programme. An overview is given on the organisation of EAC, and on the European candidate astronauts selection performed in 1991.

  10. European Conference on Health Economics.

    PubMed

    Malmivaara, Antti

    2010-12-01

    The biennial European Conference on Health Economics was held in Finland this year, at the Finlandia Hall in the centre of Helsinki. The European conferences rotate among European countries and fall between the biennial world congresses organized by the International Health Economics Association (iHEA). A record attendance of approximately 800 delegates from 50 countries around the world were present at the Helsinki conference. The theme of the conference was 'Connecting Health and Economics'. All major topics of health economics were covered in the sessions. For the first time, social care economics was included in the agenda of the European Conference as a session of its own. PMID:21155696

  11. A New Impetus for European Youth. European Commission White Paper.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Commission of the European Communities, Brussels (Belgium).

    Despite their highly divergent situations, young people largely share the same values, ambitions, and difficulties. Despite the more complex social and economic context in which young Europeans are currently living, they are well equipped to adapt. National and European policymakers must facilitate this process of change by making young people…

  12. European Schoolnet: Enabling School Networking

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Scimeca, Santi; Dumitru, Petru; Durando, Marc; Gilleran, Anne; Joyce, Alexa; Vuorikari, Riina

    2009-01-01

    School networking is increasingly important in a globalised world, where schools themselves can be actors on an international stage. This article builds on the activities and experience of the longest established European initiative in this area, European Schoolnet (EUN), a network of 31 Ministries of Education. First, we offer an introduction…

  13. What Audience for European Television?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wendelbo, Harald Arni

    This discussion of the audience for European television argues that satellite television has taken an upside-down approach, i.e., it has begun by focusing on the hardware, and then the software, before checking to see if there would be a user at the end of the line willing to pay for the whole operation. "European television" is then defined as…

  14. The European Dimension in Education.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Council of Europe, Strasbourg (France). Directorate of Education, Culture and Sport, Documentation Section.

    This paper addresses concerns about a European dimension in education that has been created by the enlargement of the European Union (EU) (the inclusion of Austria, Finland, and Sweden) and the gradual transformations of institutions into a future federal state. Sections of the paper include: (1) "Introduction"; (2) "Defining the European…

  15. An American Construction of European Education Space

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Silova, Iveta; Brehm, William C.

    2010-01-01

    The construction of the European education space has typically been attributed to European education policy makers, institutions, and networks. Rarely do scholars consider the role of outside, non-European actors in shaping the terrain of European education thought and practice. This article considers the construction of the European education…

  16. European Citizenship and European Union Expansion: Perspectives on Europeanness and Citizenship Education from Britain and Turkey

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wilkins, Chris; Busher, Hugh; Lawson, Tony; Acun, Ismail; Goz, Nur Leman

    2010-01-01

    This article discusses some perspectives on citizenship education in Turkey and Britain in the context of current contested discourses on the nature of European identity and of the European Union (EU). It is based on data collected during an EU-funded student teacher exchange programme between three universities in Turkey and Leicester University…

  17. Europeans: an endangered species?

    PubMed

    Von Cube, A

    1986-10-01

    Below replacement fertility has become the norm in 21 of Europe's 27 countries. Their average total fertility rate is 1.69. This trend has raised concerns about insufficient numbers in the economically active population and prospective personnel shortages in the military. In the Federal Republic of Germany, fertility has been below replacement for the past 17 years and its 1985 total fertility rate of 1.28 is a record low. Only a few European countries (Bulgaria, France, and Romania) have explicitly pronatalist policies. Other nations (Belgium, Finland, Luxembourg, and the German Democratic Republic) have instituted a progressive system of child allowances, increasing payments with each additional birth. Ironically, policies that seek to promote social opportunities for women, such as participation in the labor force, are likely to reduce fertility even farther. Without increased services such as reasonably priced housing, child care centers, and economic incentives to compensate women for lost opportunity costs in the labor market, policies that seek to increase fertility will not succeed. Policy options that were once available to increase fertility (for example, prohibiting abortion) are no longer socially acceptable. New policies will have to be developed through research on the determinants of fertility behavior in postindustrial societies. PMID:12315251

  18. Relationship between DDE concentrations and laying sequence in eggs of two passerine species.

    PubMed

    Reynolds, K D; Skipper, S L; Cobb, G P; McMurry, S T

    2004-10-01

    Passerine eggs make useful biomonitors of environmental pollutants. Among passerines, it is not known whether organochlorine contaminants in eggs within the same clutch are independent observations or follow a laying order effect. Intraclutch variation of DDE (1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis[(p-chlorophenyl)]ethylene) concentrations was studied in eggs collected from prothonotary warblers (Protonotaria citrea) and European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) nesting on National Priority List sites in lower Alabama and central Colorado, respectively. All 209 eggs collected for this study contained detectable levels of DDE. Mean concentration of DDE across all prothonotary warbler eggs (mean 8.71 microg/g +/- 1.19, n = 20) was almost two orders of magnitude greater than mean concentrations of DDE in all starling eggs (mean 0.70 microg/g +/- 0.06, n = 189). In both species, there was a large amount of variability among individual eggs of the same clutch and no significant relationship between laying order and DDE concentration. Variation among eggs laid in the same sequential order was high and effectively masked any potential trends in laying order effect. We hypothesized that the variability was caused by the spatial heterogeneity of DDE on our study sites, the nature of egg development within a female passerine, or a combination of these factors. Investigators focusing on lipophilic contaminants should exercise caution when making inferences about contaminant concentrations in an entire clutch of passerine eggs after the collection and analysis of a single egg because our data show that DDE levels in a single egg collected for analysis do not consistently reflect DDE levels in the eggs remaining in the nest. PMID:15386134

  19. Adjustable frequency selectivity of auditory forebrain neurons recorded in a freely moving songbird via radiotelemetry.

    PubMed

    Nieder, A; Klump, G M

    1999-01-01

    One of the hearing system's basic properties that determines the detection of signals is its frequency selectivity. In the natural environment, a songbird may achieve an improved detection ability if the neuronal filters of its auditory system could be sharpened to adapt to the spectrum of the background noise. To address this issue, we studied 35 multi-unit clusters in the input layer of the primary auditory forebrain of nine European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Microelectrodes were chronically implanted in this songbird's cortex analogue and the neuronal activity was transmitted from unrestrained birds via a miniature FM transmitter. Frequency tuning curves (FTCs) and inhibitory sidebands were determined by presenting a matrix of frequency-level combinations of pure tones. From each FTC, the characteristic frequency (CF) and several parameters describing the neurons' filter characteristics were derived and compared to the same recording site's filter function while simultaneously stimulating with a continuous CF tone 20 dB above the response threshold. Our results show a significant improvement of frequency selectivity during two-tone stimulation, indicating that spectral filtering in the starling's auditory forebrain depends on the acoustic background in which a signal is presented. Moreover, frequency selectivity was found to be a function of the time over which the stimulus persisted, since FTCs were much sharper and inhibitory sidebands were largely expanded several milliseconds after response onset. Neuronal filter bandwidths during two-tone stimulation in the auditory forebrain are in good agreement with psychoacoustically measured critical bandwidths in the same species. Radiotelemetry proved to be a powerful tool in studying neuronal activity in freely behaving birds. PMID:9925015

  20. Stress, captivity, and reproduction in a wild bird species.

    PubMed

    Dickens, Molly J; Bentley, George E

    2014-09-01

    In seasonal species, glucocorticoid concentrations are often highest during the breeding season. However, the role of increased hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity in the regulation of reproduction remains poorly understood. Our study is the first, to our knowledge, to document reproductive consequences of a non-pharmacological hindrance to seasonal HPA fluctuations. Using wild-caught male and female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) housed in an outdoor, semi-natural environment, we divided birds into two mixed-sex groups. One group remained in the outdoor aviary, where starlings breed at the appropriate time of year. The other group was transferred into an indoor flight aviary, where we predicted reproductive suppression to occur. We measured changes in corticosterone (CORT) at baseline and stress-induced concentrations prior to group separation and at the experiment's conclusion. After ten days, the birds showed remarkable differences in breeding behavior and HPA activity. Outdoor birds exhibited increases in baseline and stress-induced CORT and progressed into active breeding (pairing, nest building, egg laying, etc.). In contrast, indoor birds displayed no change in baseline or stress-induced CORT and few signs of active breeding. We found significant sex and treatment effects on expression of HPA and hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis elements, suggesting sex-specific regulatory mechanisms. Our data suggest a novel, facilitating role for the HPA axis in the transition between early breeding and active breeding in a wild, seasonal avian species. In addition, understanding how changes in housing condition affect seasonal HPA fluctuations may help alleviate barriers to breeding wild animals in captivity. PMID:25257808

  1. European MEMS foundries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salomon, Patric R.

    2003-01-01

    According to the latest release of the NEXUS market study, the market for MEMS or Microsystems Technology (MST) is predicted to grow to $68B by the year 2005, with systems containing these components generating even higher revenues and growth. The latest advances in MST/MEMS technology have enabled the design of a new generation of microsystems that are smaller, cheaper, more reliable, and consume less power. These integrated systems bring together numerous analog/mixed signal microelectronics blocks and MEMS functions on a single chip or on two or more chips assembled within an integrated package. In spite of all these advances in technology and manufacturing, a system manufacturer either faces a substantial up-front R&D investment to create his own infrastructure and expertise, or he can use design and foundry services to get the initial product into the marketplace fast and with an affordable investment. Once he has a viable product, he can still think about his own manufacturing efforts and investments to obtain an optimized high volume manufacturing for the specific product. One of the barriers to successful exploitation of MEMS/MST technology has been the lack of access to industrial foundries capable of producing certified microsystems devices in commercial quantities, including packaging and test. This paper discusses Multi-project wafer (MPW) runs, requirements for foundries and gives some examples of foundry business models. Furthermore, this paper will give an overview on MST/MEMS services that are available in Europe, including pure commercial activities, European project activities (e.g. Europractice), and some academic services.

  2. European Neutron Activation System.

    Energy Science and Technology Software Center (ESTSC)

    2013-01-11

    Version 03 EASY-2010 (European Activation System) consists of a wide range of codes, data and documentation all aimed at satisfying the objective of calculating the response of materials irradiated in a neutron flux. The main difference from the previous version is the upper energy limit, which has increased from 20 to 60 MeV. It is designed to investigate both fusion devices and accelerator based materials test facilities that will act as intense sources of high-energymore » neutrons causing significant activation of the surrounding materials. The very general nature of the calculational method and the data libraries means that it is applicable (with some reservations) to all situations (e.g. fission reactors or neutron sources) where materials are exposed to neutrons below 60 MeV. EASY can be divided into two parts: data and code development tools and user tools and data. The former are required to develop the latter, but EASY users only need to be able to use the inventory code FISPACT and be aware of the contents of the EAF library (the data source). The complete EASY package contains the FISPACT-2007 inventory code, the EAF-2003, EAF-2005, EAF-2007 and EAF-2010 libraries, and the EASY User Interface for the Window version. The activation package EASY-2010 is the result of significant development to extend the upper energy range from 20 to 60 MeV so that it is capable of being used for IFMIF calculations. The EAF-2010 library contains 66,256 reactions, almost five times more than in EAF-2003 (12,617). Deuteron-induced and proton-induced cross section libraries are also included, and can be used with EASY to enable calculations of the activation due to deuterons and proton [2].« less

  3. [French European military haemovigilance guidelines].

    PubMed

    Sailliol, A; Clavier, B; Cap, A; Ausset, S

    2010-12-01

    European military transfusion services follow operational guidelines established by their respective national health systems and conform with European Union directives and NATO standards as applicable to member countries. Certain features are common to all of these standards, especially the pre-selection of volunteer, almost exclusively unpaid donors. NATO requirements are very close to European guidelines, with the exception that NATO permits the use of blood products collected in emergency conditions in theater when circumstances allow no better option. Blood product traceability exists for every country but is not always centralized or computerized. Serious adverse event reporting relies on national haemovigilance networks. Military considerations become important mainly in overseas operations, where the overall policy is to implement the relevant national, European or NATO guidelines with adjustments made for unique wartime circumstances and the risk/benefit ratio for the individual patient needing a transfusion. PMID:21051263

  4. [European general practice research agenda].

    PubMed

    Mäntyselkä, Pekka; Koskela, Tuomas

    2014-01-01

    The EGPRN (European General Practice Research Network) research agenda is a review compiling the strengths and areas of development of European general practice, based on a systematic literature survey and its versatile analysis. The research agenda is a framework paper sharpening the definition and functions of general practice as well as its significance for researchers and decisionmakers. The agenda is useful in structuring the research, evaluation of research needs, strengthening of infrastructure and strategic planning of new research. PMID:24961062

  5. Habitat relationships and nest site characteristics of cavity-nesting birds in cottonwood floodplains

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sedgwick, James A.; Knopf, Fritz L.

    1990-01-01

    We examined habitat relationships and nest site characteristics for 6 species of cavity-nesting birds--American kestrel (Falco sparverius), northern flicker (Colaptes auratus), red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus), black-capped chickadee (Parus atricapillus), house wren (Troglodytes aedon), and European starling (Sturnus vulgaris)--in a mature plains cottonwood (Populus sargentii) bottomland along the South Platte River in northeastern Colorado in 1985 and 1986. We examined characteristics of cavities, nest trees, and the habitat surrounding nest trees. Density of large trees (>69 cm dbh), total length of dead limbs ≥10 cm diameter (TDLL), and cavity density were the most important habitat variables; dead limb length (DLL), dbh, and species were the most important tree variables; and cavity height, cavity entrance diameter, and substrate condition at the cavity (live vs. dead) were the most important cavity variables in segregating cavity nesters along habitat, tree, and cavity dimensions, respectively. Random sites differed most from cavity-nesting bird sites on the basis of dbh, DLL, limb tree density (trees with ≥1 m dead limbs ≥10 cm diameter), and cavity density. Habitats of red-headed woodpeckers and American kestrels were the most unique, differing most from random sites. Based on current trends in cottonwood demography, densities of cavity-nesting birds will probably decline gradually along the South Platte River, paralleling a decline in DLL, limb tree density, snag density, and the concurrent lack of cottonwood regeneration.

  6. Better the devil you know: avian predators find variation in prey toxicity aversive.

    PubMed

    Barnett, Craig A; Bateson, Melissa; Rowe, Candy

    2014-11-01

    Toxic prey that signal their defences to predators using conspicuous warning signals are called 'aposematic'. Predators learn about the toxic content of aposematic prey and reduce their attacks on them. However, through regulating their toxin intake, predators will include aposematic prey in their diets when the benefits of gaining the nutrients they contain outweigh the costs of ingesting the prey's toxins. Predators face a problem when managing their toxin intake: prey sharing the same warning signal often vary in their toxicities. Given that predators should avoid uncertainty when managing their toxin intake, we tested whether European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) preferred to eat fixed-defence prey (where all prey contained a 2% quinine solution) to mixed-defence prey (where half the prey contained a 4% quinine solution and the other half contained only water). Our results support the idea that predators should be more 'risk-averse' when foraging on variably defended prey and suggest that variation in toxicity levels could be a form of defence. PMID:25392317

  7. Juveniles exposed to embryonic corticosterone have enhanced flight performance

    PubMed Central

    Chin, Eunice H.; Love, Oliver P.; Verspoor, Jan J.; Williams, Tony D.; Rowley, Kyle; Burness, Gary

    2008-01-01

    Exposure to maternally derived glucocorticoids during embryonic development impacts offspring phenotype. Although many of these effects appear to be transiently ‘negative’, embryonic exposure to maternally derived stress hormones is hypothesized to induce preparative responses that increase survival prospects for offspring in low-quality environments; however, little is known about how maternal stress influences longer-term survival-related performance traits in free-living individuals. Using an experimental elevation of yolk corticosterone (embryonic signal of low maternal quality), we examined potential impacts of embryonic exposure to maternally derived stress on flight performance, wing loading, muscle morphology and muscle physiology in juvenile European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Here we report that fledglings exposed to experimentally increased corticosterone in ovo performed better during flight performance trials than control fledglings. Consistent with differences in performance, individuals exposed to elevated embryonic corticosterone fledged with lower wing loading and had heavier and more functionally mature flight muscles compared with control fledglings. Our results indicate that the positive effects on a survival-related trait in response to embryonic exposure to maternally derived stress hormones may balance some of the associated negative developmental costs that have recently been reported. Moreover, if embryonic experience is a good predictor of the quality or risk of future environments, a preparative phenotype associated with exposure to apparently negative stimuli during development may be adaptive. PMID:18842541

  8. An experimental demonstration that early-life competitive disadvantage accelerates telomere loss

    PubMed Central

    Nettle, Daniel; Monaghan, Pat; Gillespie, Robert; Brilot, Ben; Bedford, Thomas; Bateson, Melissa

    2015-01-01

    Adverse experiences in early life can exert powerful delayed effects on adult survival and health. Telomere attrition is a potentially important mechanism in such effects. One source of early-life adversity is the stress caused by competitive disadvantage. Although previous avian experiments suggest that competitive disadvantage may accelerate telomere attrition, they do not clearly isolate the effects of competitive disadvantage from other sources of variation. Here, we present data from an experiment in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) that used cross-fostering to expose siblings to divergent early experience. Birds were assigned either to competitive advantage (being larger than their brood competitors) or competitive disadvantage (being smaller than their brood competitors) between days 3 and 12 post-hatching. Disadvantage did not affect weight gain, but it increased telomere attrition, leading to shorter telomere length in disadvantaged birds by day 12. There were no effects of disadvantage on oxidative damage as measured by plasma lipid peroxidation. We thus found strong evidence that early-life competitive disadvantage can accelerate telomere loss. This could lead to faster age-related deterioration and poorer health in later life. PMID:25411450

  9. Body size matters for aposematic prey during predator aversion learning.

    PubMed

    Smith, Karen E; Halpin, Christina G; Rowe, Candy

    2014-11-01

    Aposematic prey advertise their toxicity to predators using conspicuous warning signals, which predators learn to use to reduce their intake of toxic prey. Like other types of prey, aposematic prey often differ in body size, both within and between species. Increasing body size can increase signal size, which make larger aposematic prey more detectable but also gives them a more effective and salient deterrent. However, increasing body size also increases the nutritional value of prey, and larger aposematic prey may make a more profitable meal to predators that are trading off the costs of eating toxins with the benefits of ingesting nutrients. We tested if body size, independent of signal size, affected predation of toxic prey as predators learn to reduce their attacks on them. European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) learned to discriminate between defended (quinine-injected) and undefended (water-injected) mealworm prey (Tenebrio molitor) using visual signals. During this process, we found that birds attacked and ate more defended prey the larger they were. Body size does affect the probability that toxic prey are attacked and eaten, which has implications for the evolutionary dynamics of aposematism and mimicry (where species share the same warning pattern). PMID:25256160

  10. Chemical bird repellents: Possible use in cyanide ponds

    SciTech Connect

    Clark, L. ); Shah, P.S. )

    1993-07-01

    Regulatory agencies are pressuring the mining industry to protect wildlife from mortality associated with the consumption of dump leachate pond water containing cyanide. Using European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) as an avian model, we tested the effectiveness of 5 chemical bird repellents at reducing consumption of pond water containing cyanide. The repellents, which were previously shown to be good bird repellents, were: o-aminoacetophenone (OAP), 2-amino-4,5-dimethoxyacetophenone (2A45DAP), methyl anthranilate (MA), 4-ketobenztriazine (4KBT), and veratryl amine (VA). Despite the high pH (10.6) and presence of chelating metals, conditions which we hypothesized might destroy the activity of repellents, each of the additives reduced pond water intake relative to controls for up to 5 weeks. The rank order (from best to worst) of repellents was: OAP, 2A45DAP, VA, MA and 4KBT, although only OAP and 4KBT differed at the P < 0.05 level. These candidate repellents hold promise as a strategy to reduce bird losses at cyanide ponds and should be tested in the field.