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Sample records for lagopus lagopus scoticus

  1. Ornamental comb colour predicts T-cell-mediated immunity in male red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus.

    PubMed

    Mougeot, Francois

    2008-02-01

    Sexual ornaments might reliably indicate the ability to cope with parasites and diseases, and a better ability to mount a primary inflammatory response to a novel challenge. Carotenoid-based ornaments are amongst the commonest sexual signals of birds and often influence mate choice. Because carotenoids are immuno-stimulants, signallers may trade-off allocating these to ornamental colouration or using them for immune responses, so carotenoid-based ornaments might be particularly useful as honest indicators of immuno-compentence. Tetraonid birds, such as the red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus, exhibit supra-orbital yellow-red combs, a conspicuous ornament which functions in intra- and inter-sexual selection. The colour of combs is due to epidermal pigmentation by carotenoids, while their size is testosterone-dependent. In this study, I investigated whether comb characteristics, and in particular, comb colour, indicated immuno-competence in free-living male red grouse. I assessed T-cell-mediated immunity using a standardised challenge with phytohaemagglutinin. Red grouse combs reflect in the red and in the ultraviolet spectrum of light, which is not visible to humans but that grouse most likely see, so I measured comb colour across the whole bird visible spectrum (300-700 nm) using a reflectance spectrometer. I found that males with bigger and redder combs, but with less ultraviolet reflectance, had greater T-cell-mediated immune response. Comb colour predicted T-cell-mediated immune response better than comb size, indicating that the carotenoid-based colouration of this ornament might reliably signal this aspect of male quality. PMID:17898979

  2. Ornamental comb colour predicts T-cell-mediated immunity in male red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mougeot, Francois

    2008-02-01

    Sexual ornaments might reliably indicate the ability to cope with parasites and diseases, and a better ability to mount a primary inflammatory response to a novel challenge. Carotenoid-based ornaments are amongst the commonest sexual signals of birds and often influence mate choice. Because carotenoids are immuno-stimulants, signallers may trade-off allocating these to ornamental colouration or using them for immune responses, so carotenoid-based ornaments might be particularly useful as honest indicators of immuno-compentence. Tetraonid birds, such as the red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus, exhibit supra-orbital yellow red combs, a conspicuous ornament which functions in intra- and inter-sexual selection. The colour of combs is due to epidermal pigmentation by carotenoids, while their size is testosterone-dependent. In this study, I investigated whether comb characteristics, and in particular, comb colour, indicated immuno-competence in free-living male red grouse. I assessed T-cell-mediated immunity using a standardised challenge with phytohaemagglutinin. Red grouse combs reflect in the red and in the ultraviolet spectrum of light, which is not visible to humans but that grouse most likely see, so I measured comb colour across the whole bird visible spectrum (300 700 nm) using a reflectance spectrometer. I found that males with bigger and redder combs, but with less ultraviolet reflectance, had greater T-cell-mediated immune response. Comb colour predicted T-cell-mediated immune response better than comb size, indicating that the carotenoid-based colouration of this ornament might reliably signal this aspect of male quality.

  3. Spontaneous rickets in the wild arctic fox Alopex lagopus

    SciTech Connect

    Ogden, J.A.; Conlogue, G.J.

    1981-10-01

    Normal and rachitic, skeletally immature arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) were subjected to physical examination, roentgenographic studies, and in some cases histologic studies. The involved animals had active rickets coupled with antecedent normal diaphyseal bone formation. Evaluation of all the long bones showed highly variable manifestations of the disease, which undoubtedly reflect different rates of physeal endochondral transformation and metaphyseal remodeling. Histologic examination showed distinct patterns of widening of the physes and variable osteodystrophy in the trabecular and cortical bone of the metaphyses and epiphyseal ossification centers. These aforementioned factors certainly would necessitate different regional calcium needs and, therefore, different regional responses to an overall calcium deficiency. The physes involved in the most rapid growth rates in this period showed the most widening of the growth plate, and the most dystrophic changes in the metaphysis. Skeletal injuries, including metaphyseal fractures and slow-down of longitudinal growth (particularly in the ulna) were also evident. Because of apparent dietary differences in the affected and normal fox kits, this juvenile-onset disease was presumed due to calcium-deficient intake following weaning. To the best of our knowledge this is the first report of spontaneously occurring rickets in a wild animal in its natural habitat. There are several possible mechanisms for the variable widening of the physis and the loss of bone mineralization in these fox kits: calcium-deficient diet, binding of calcium in the bowel by high phosphorus intake, secondary hyperparathyroidism, and vitamin A toxicity.

  4. First isolate of Toxoplasma gondii from arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) from Svalbard

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Cats are considered essential for the maintenance of Toxoplasma gondii in nature. However, T. gondii infection has been reported in arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) from the Svalbard high arctic archipelago where felids are virtually absent. To identify the potential source of T. gondii, we attempted to ...

  5. The Mitochondrial Genomes of Aquila fasciata and Buteo lagopus (Aves, Accipitriformes): Sequence, Structure and Phylogenetic Analyses

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Lan; Chen, Juan; Wang, Ping; Ren, Qiongqiong; Yuan, Jian; Qian, Chaoju; Hua, Xinghong; Guo, Zhichun; Zhang, Lei; Yang, Jianke; Wang, Ying; Zhang, Qin; Ding, Hengwu; Bi, De; Zhang, Zongmeng; Wang, Qingqing; Chen, Dongsheng; Kan, Xianzhao

    2015-01-01

    The family Accipitridae is one of the largest groups of non-passerine birds, including 68 genera and 243 species globally distributed. In the present study, we determined the complete mitochondrial sequences of two species of accipitrid, namely Aquila fasciata and Buteo lagopus, and conducted a comparative mitogenome analysis across the family. The mitogenome length of A. fasciata and B. lagopus are 18,513 and 18,559 bp with an A + T content of 54.2% and 55.0%, respectively. For both the two accipitrid birds mtDNAs, obvious positive AT-skew and negative GC-skew biases were detected for all 12 PCGs encoded by the H strand, whereas the reverse was found in MT-ND6 encoded by the L strand. One extra nucleotide‘C’is present at the position 174 of MT-ND3 gene of A. fasciata, which is not observed at that of B. lagopus. Six conserved sequence boxes in the Domain II, named boxes F, E, D, C, CSBa, and CSBb, respectively, were recognized in the CRs of A. fasciata and B. lagopus. Rates and patterns of mitochondrial gene evolution within Accipitridae were also estimated. The highest dN/dS was detected for the MT-ATP8 gene (0.32493) among Accipitridae, while the lowest for the MT-CO1 gene (0.01415). Mitophylogenetic analysis supported the robust monophyly of Accipitriformes, and Cathartidae was basal to the balance of the order. Moreover, we performed phylogenetic analyses using two other data sets (two mitochondrial loci, and combined nuclear and mitochondrial loci). Our results indicate that the subfamily Aquilinae and all currently polytypic genera of this subfamily are monophyletic. These two novel mtDNA data will be useful in refining the phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary processes of Accipitriformes. PMID:26295156

  6. MAMMALIAN SPECIES No. 713, pp. 110, 3 figs. Alopex lagopus. By Alexandra M. Audet, C. Brian Robbins, and Serge Larivie`re

    E-print Network

    Hayssen, Virginia

    :40. Type species Canis lagopus. Alopex Kaup, 1829:85. Type species C. lagopus Linnaeus. Vulpes Oken, 1816 been considered a subgenus of Vulpes (Bobrinskii 1965) and a subgenus of Canis (Van Gelder 1978 locality ``Gron- land'' ( Greenland). Vulpes arctica Oken, 1816:1033. Unavailable name (Hemmings 1956

  7. First characterization in China of Encephalitozoon cuniculi in the blue fox (Alopex lagopus).

    PubMed

    Meng, Xiangchun; Zheng, Jun; He, Xijun; Jia, Honglin; Zhang, Yanlong

    2014-01-01

    Encephalitozoon cuniculi is a microsporidian parasite that infects a wide range of vertebrates, including primates. It has recently emerged as an opportunistic parasite of patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus. The blue fox (Alopex lagopus; also known as the arctic fox) is one of the most susceptible species for encephalitozoonosis. Here, we report an outbreak of encephalitozoonosis at a fox farm in China. The isolated parasites displayed the typical morphology of E. cuniculi as assessed by Masson's trichrome staining. Analysis of the internal transcribed spacer sequence indicated that the isolated parasite is a genotype III strain of E. cuniculi. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis of the PTP1 gene verifies classification of this new strain (termed LN-1) with other genotype III E. cuniculi strains, though the PTP3 and SWP1 sequences diverge from the reference strain. This is the first report of encephalitozoonosis in farmed blue foxes in China. PMID:24995428

  8. Vector-borne pathogens in arctic foxes, Vulpes lagopus, from Canada.

    PubMed

    Mascarelli, Patricia E; Elmore, Stacey A; Jenkins, Emily J; Alisauskas, Ray T; Walsh, Mary; Breitschwerdt, Edward B; Maggi, Ricardo G

    2015-04-01

    Because of the relatively low biodiversity within arctic ecosystems, arctic foxes, Vulpes lagopus, could serve as sentinels for the study of changes in the ecology of vector-borne zoonotic pathogens. The objective of this study was to determine the molecular prevalence of 5 different genera of vector borne pathogens (Anaplasma, Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, and Hemotropic Mycoplasma spp.) using blood collected from 28 live-trapped arctic foxes from the region of Karrak Lake, Nunavut, Canada. Bartonella henselae (n?=?3), Mycoplasma haemocanis (n?=?1), Ehrlichia canis (n?=?1), and an Anaplasma sp. (n?=?1) DNA were PCR amplified and subsequently identified by sequencing. This study provides preliminary evidence that vector borne pathogens, not typically associated with the arctic ecosystem, exist at low levels in this arctic fox population, and that vector exposure, pathogen transmission dynamics, and changes in the geographic distribution of pathogens over time should be investigated in future studies. PMID:25596149

  9. Foods of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) during winter and spring in western Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, M.; Barten, N.K.; Seiser, P.E.

    2000-01-01

    During 1986-1991, carcasses of 619 arctic fares (Alopex lagopus) collected from local trappers and at biological field camps on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in western Alaska from November through May were analyzed to determine gastrointestinal contents, age, sex, and body condition. Prey in declining order of importance were small mammals (95% tundra voles, Microtus oeconomus), birds, marine mammals, and fishes. Foxes with small mammal remains in their stomachs were captured farther from the Bering Sea coast ((X) over bar = 5.2 km) than those without small-mammal remains (2.8 km); foxes consuming remains of marine mammals were closer to the coast (1.9 km) than others (4.9 km). Although eggshells had a poor likelihood of occurrence in stomachs, they were found in all months and years. In 1986 and 1987, foxes consumed fewer small mammals than in other years. Mean ages of foxes captured in 1986 (3.7 years) and 1987 (3.2) were greater than in all ether years (1.5). Capture of adults was more common as winter progressed. Indexes of subcutaneous fat decreased annually in April-May and were highest in 1991, when occurrence of carrion of marine mammals was highest.

  10. Relative importance of male and territory quality in pairing success of male rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bart, Jonathan; Earnst, Susan L.

    1999-01-01

    We studied pairing success in male rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) in northern Alaska to learn whether males obtaining more females possessed phenotypic traits that influenced female choice directly, whether these traits permitted males to obtain territories favored by females, or whether both processes occurred. The number of females per male varied from zero to three. Several male and territory traits were significantly correlated with number of females per male. We used multiple regression to obtain a single measure of male quality and a single measure of territory quality. These measures of male and territory quality correlated with each other and with male pairing success. We used path analysis to separate direct effects of male quality on pairing success from indirect effects due to high-quality males obtaining high-quality territories. Both direct and indirect pathways had significant effects on pairing success, and direct and indirect effects of male traits on pairing success were about equal. This study illustrates an analytical approach for estimating the relative importance of direct and indirect causal relationships in natural systems.

  11. Reduced Metabolic Cost of Locomotion in Svalbard Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea) during Winter

    PubMed Central

    Lees, John; Nudds, Robert; Stokkan, Karl-Arne; Folkow, Lars; Codd, Jonathan

    2010-01-01

    The Svalbard rock ptarmigan, Lagopus muta hyperborea experiences extreme photoperiodic and climatic conditions on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. This species, however, is highly adapted to live in this harsh environment. One of the most striking adaptations found in these birds is the deposition, prior to onset of winter, of fat stores which may comprise up to 32% of body mass and are located primarily around the sternum and abdominal region. This fat, while crucial to the birds' survival, also presents a challenge in that the bird must maintain normal physiological function with this additional mass. In particular these stores are likely to constrain the respiratory system, as the sternum and pelvic region must be moved during ventilation and carrying this extra load may also impact upon the energetic cost of locomotion. Here we demonstrate that winter birds have a reduced cost of locomotion when compared to summer birds. A remarkable finding given that during winter these birds have almost twice the body mass of those in summer. These results suggest that Svalbard ptarmigan are able to carry the additional winter fat without incurring any energetic cost. As energy conservation is paramount to these birds, minimising the costs of moving around when resources are limited would appear to be a key adaptation crucial for their survival in the barren Arctic environment. PMID:21125015

  12. Home ranges and movements of arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) in western Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, R.M.

    1997-01-01

    During the period from 1985 to 1990, radio collars were attached to 61 arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) in the coastal region of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in western Alaska. Radio tracking using hand-held receivers from aircraft, and from fixed towers was conducted to determine daily and seasonal movements of foxes. Intensive radio tracking of 18 foxes from May through July indicated that males used larger areas (x=10.22i??6.18 km2) than females (x=4.57i??1.94 km2) regardless of breeding status. Generally foxes were relocated near (x=3.4i??2.4 km) their summer home ranges during other seasons of the year. There were no complex social groups of foxes among the marked population. Foxes did not have a definitive preference for any plant community, probably because of the even distribution and abundance of prey throughout all communities. Thirty foxes were relocated repeatedly during a period of at least 10 months, which included the denning season of one year and the breeding season of the next. Of 24 confirmed deaths of collared foxes, 16 were caused by shooting or trapping by local residents and 8 had unidentified causes. Maximum distance moved between relocations was 48.4 km. Males moved farther from initial capture sites in the winter following capture than did females, largely because of greater than 20 km movements by two foxes. There were no seasonal differences in movements between males and females.

  13. Seasonal differences in jump performance in the Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea)

    PubMed Central

    Lees, John J.; Folkow, Lars P.; Codd, Jonathan R.; Nudds, Robert L.

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT Fat storage is essential to the survival of many bird species, providing energy reserves, but can have an effect on locomotor performance with an associated potential increase in predation risk. In particular, the ability to initiate flight through jumping is critical to predator avoidance and may be influenced by changes in body mass (Mb). Here we investigate seasonal differences in the jump take-off performance of high Arctic Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea) resulting from around a 50% increase in Mb during winter as a result of fat deposition. Using force-plate data and videography, we reveal that, in the absence of alterations to take-off angle, winter Svalbard rock ptarmigan are unable to increase hind-limb power output during jumping to compensate for their increased Mb. As a result, peak take-off velocity is reduced by 42% and jump duration is also extended during winter. The consequences of reduced jumping performance upon Svalbard ptarmigan during winter may be relatively small given their low risk of predation during this season. It may be, however, that the observed reduction in jumping performance when fat may contribute to the sub-maximal pattern of fat acquisition observed in other bird species. PMID:24659246

  14. Development and survival of the free-living stages of Trichostrongylus tenuis, a caecal parasite of red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus.

    PubMed

    Shaw, J L; Moss, R; Pike, A W

    1989-08-01

    In the laboratory, yields of infective 3rd-stage larvae of Trichostrongylus tenuis were determined by temperature when moisture was adequate. On the moor, eggs in caecal faeces did not develop to infective larvae during the winter. In summer, development did occur and yields of infective larvae were related to temperature: greatest yields were obtained when mean monthly soil surface temperatures ranged between 7.6 and 10.3 degrees C. Rainfall was unimportant, as was desiccation. During summer the mean monthly mortality of infective larvae was 44% but over winter survival was negligible. PMID:2797866

  15. Correlates between Feeding Ecology and Mercury Levels in Historical and Modern Arctic Foxes (Vulpes lagopus)

    PubMed Central

    Krone, Oliver; Stefanski, Volker; Wibbelt, Gudrun; Unnsteinsdóttir, Ester Rut; Hersteinsson, Páll; Schares, Gereon; Doronina, Lilia; Goltsman, Mikhail; Greenwood, Alex D.

    2013-01-01

    Changes in concentration of pollutants and pathogen distribution can vary among ecotypes (e.g. marine versus terrestrial food resources). This may have important implications for the animals that reside within them. We examined 1) canid pathogen presence in an endangered arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) population and 2) relative total mercury (THg) level as a function of ecotype (‘coastal’ or ‘inland’) for arctic foxes to test whether the presence of pathogens or heavy metal concentration correlate with population health. The Bering Sea populations on Bering and Mednyi Islands were compared to Icelandic arctic fox populations with respect to inland and coastal ecotypes. Serological and DNA based pathogen screening techniques were used to examine arctic foxes for pathogens. THg was measured by atomic absorption spectrometry from hair samples of historical and modern collected arctic foxes and samples from their prey species (hair and internal organs). Presence of pathogens did not correlate with population decline from Mednyi Island. However, THg concentration correlated strongly with ecotype and was reflected in the THg concentrations detected in available food sources in each ecotype. The highest concentration of THg was found in ecotypes where foxes depended on marine vertebrates for food. Exclusively inland ecotypes had low THg concentrations. The results suggest that absolute exposure to heavy metals may be less important than the feeding ecology and feeding opportunities of top predators such as arctic foxes which may in turn influence population health and stability. A higher risk to wildlife of heavy metal exposure correlates with feeding strategies that rely primarily on a marine based diet. PMID:23671561

  16. Is alloparenting helpful for Mednyi Island arctic foxes, Alopex lagopus semenovi?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kruchenkova, Elena P.; Goltsman, Michael; Sergeev, Sergei; MacDonald, David W.

    2009-04-01

    The Arctic Fox Alopex lagopus semenovi population on Mednyi Island is completely isolated and subsists largely by scavenging on seabird colonies, which have remained abundant and spatio-temporally predictable for many years. We compared population data at the beginning of 1976/1978 and some time after 1994-2005, finding an 85% decline in fox numbers due to disease, to assess the effect of population size on social structure. A total of 81 groups of known size and composition was observed during this 29-year period. Overall, helpers (usually non-lactating yearling females) occurred in 25.7% of groups, and in 32.4% of groups there were two or three lactating females. Female engagement in alloparental behaviour decreased, but not statistically significantly, after the decline in population density. Total food availability was apparently constant throughout the study period, and therefore, the amount available per individual was much higher later in the study. Both communally nursing females and helpers brought food and helped to guard the litter. However, the benefits of communal rearing were unclear. While cubs were left without guards significantly more rarely in the groups with an additional adult, the number of cubs weaned per lactating female was greater in groups with one (3.93 ± 1.60), as opposed to two or three (3.06 ± 0.92), lactating females. Survival of cubs to 1 year of age in the groups with two lactating females and/or with helpers was lower than that in the families with one lactating female without helpers (22.2% vs 32.2%). Fewer second-generation litters were born to foxes produced by composite families than to those produced by pairs. Reproductive adults producing by pairs had, on average, 1.23 (±1.72) second-generation litters. In groups that initially included additional adults, the average number of second-generation litters per reproductive female was 0.21 (±0.49) and 0.46 (±0.81) litters per male. Thus, according to three measures, increased group size had no apparent positive impact on reproductive success. The increased parental investment and enhanced guarding of the cubs in the larger families could be beneficial under conditions of high population density and a saturated biotope to which the island fox population was presumably adapted before the population crash in the late 1970s.

  17. Re-colonization by common eiders Somateria mollissima in the Aleutian Archipelago following removal of introduced arcticfoxes Vulpes lagopus

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Petersen, Margaret R.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Sexson, Matthew G.

    2015-01-01

    Islands provide refuges for populations of many species where they find safety from predators, but the introduction of predators frequently results in elimination or dramatic reductions in island-dwelling organisms. When predators are removed, re-colonization for some species occurs naturally, and inter-island phylogeographic relationships and current movement patterns can illuminate processes of colonization. We studied a case of re-colonization of common eiders Somateria mollissima following removal of introduced arctic foxes Vulpes lagopus in the Aleutian Archipelago, Alaska. We expected common eiders to resume nesting on islands cleared of foxes and to re-colonize from nearby islets, islands, and island groups. We thus expected common eiders to show limited genetic structure indicative of extensive mixing among island populations. Satellite telemetry was used to record current movement patterns of female common eiders from six islands across three island groups. We collected genetic data from these and other nesting common eiders at 14 microsatellite loci and the mitochondrial DNA control region to examine population genetic structure, historical fluctuations in population demography, and gene flow. Our results suggest recent interchange among islands. Analysis of microsatellite data supports satellite telemetry data of increased dispersal of common eiders to nearby areas and little between island groups. Although evidence from mtDNA is suggestive of female dispersal among island groups, gene flow is insufficient to account for recolonization and rapid population growth. Instead, near-by remnant populations of common eiders contributed substantially to population expansion, without which re-colonization would have likely occurred at a much lower rate. Genetic and morphometric data of common eiders within one island group two and three decades after re-colonization suggests reduced movement of eiders among islands and little movement between island groups after populations were re-established. We predict that re-colonization of an island group where all common eiders are extirpated could take decades.

  18. The effects of season and sex upon the morphology and material properties of keratin in the Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea).

    PubMed

    Lees, John J; Folkow, Lars P; Nudds, Robert L; Codd, Jonathan R

    2014-08-01

    The material properties and morphologies of the modified integumentary organs of birds (the keratinous bills, claws and feathers) have evolved to withstand the variety of mechanical stresses imposed by their interaction with the environment. These stresses are likely to vary temporally in seasonal environments and may also differ between the sexes as a result of behavioural dimorphism. Here we investigate the morphology and material properties of the claws of male and female Svalbard ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea) during the summer and winter using nanoindentation. Despite differences in locomotor demands between the sexes and pronounced seasonal differences in environmental conditions, like ground substrate, ambient temperature and day length, there was no significant difference in Young?s modulus or hardness between the seasons for each sex. However, when comparing males and females, female claws were significantly harder than those of males and both sexes had significantly wider claws during winter. We propose that wider claws may follow winter claw moulting as the claws are regrown and form an important part of the ptarmigan?s snowshoe-like foot that is an adaptation to locomotion on snow. Future work focusing on growth rates and more broad measures of material properties in both captive and wild birds is required to determine the extent of seasonal and sex differences in the material properties of their keratinous structures. PMID:25086983

  19. Transport characteristics and morphology of the colon and coprodeum in two wild birds of different habitats, the rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and the common murre (Uria aalge).

    PubMed

    Árnason, Sighvatur S; Elbrønd, Vibeke S; Laverty, Gary

    2015-09-01

    Dietary salt intake in domestic fowl affects epithelial transport and morphology of the lower intestine (colon and coprodeum). This study investigated lower intestinal morphology and transport activity in two wild bird species with natural diets containing either low or high salt. Tissues from rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and common murres (Uria aalge) were sampled for histology and electrophysiological analyses. The ptarmigan exists on a low salt diet, while the murre lives on a high protein and high salt diet. The ptarmigan colon and coprodeum had villi/folds and crypts and the epithelium contained absorptive epithelial cells, mitochondria-rich cells and goblet cells. The colon had significant amiloride-inhibitable Isc, 5-15 ?A/cm(2), with no glucose-stimulated Isc, and no significant phloridzin inhibition. The coprodeum also had high amiloride-inhibitable Isc. This transport pattern corresponded to that of chickens on low-salt diets. However, the ptarmigan colon also had a significant lysine/leucine-stimulated Isc of 3±1.0 ?A/cm(2). The short U. aalge colon was similar to that of ptarmigans, but with no villi. It demonstrated a significant lysine/leucine-stimulated Isc (11±3.5 ?A/cm(2)) with no amiloride-inhibitable Isc, similar to the high-salt chicken colon, but with no Na(+)-glucose cotransport. The murre coprodeum was inert to all substances and showed high resistance (1000 ?·cm(2)), with a multilayered squamous epithelium. Despite some variations possibly associated with dietary protein intake, we conclude that natural high and low salt diets in different avian species are associated with different lower intestinal transport patterns, providing for post-renal adjustments in ion and water excretion. PMID:25937620

  20. Levels and temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) from Svalbard in relation to dietary habits and food availability.

    PubMed

    Andersen, Martin S; Fuglei, Eva; König, Max; Lipasti, Inka; Pedersen, Åshild Ø; Polder, Anuschka; Yoccoz, Nigel G; Routti, Heli

    2015-04-01

    Temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) from Svalbard, Norway, were investigated in relation to feeding habits and seasonal food availability. Arctic foxes from Svalbard forage in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems and the availability of their food items are impacted by climatic variability. Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorinated pesticides (OCPs) and brominated flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers [PBDEs] and hexabromocyclododecane [HBCDD]) were analyzed in the liver of 141 arctic foxes collected between 1997 and 2013. Stable carbon isotope values (?13C) were used as a proxy for feeding on marine versus terrestrial prey. The annual number of recovered reindeer carcasses and sea ice cover were used as proxies for climate influenced food availability (reindeers, seals). Linear models revealed that concentrations of PCBs, chlordanes, p,p'-DDE, mirex and PBDEs decreased 4-11% per year, while no trends were observed for hexachlorobenzene (HCB) or ?-hexachlorocyclohexane (?-HCH). Positive relationships between POP concentrations and ?13C indicate that concentrations of all compounds increase with increasing marine dietary input. Increasing reindeer mortality was related to lower HCB concentrations in the foxes based on the linear models. This suggests that concentrations of HCB in arctic foxes may be influenced by high mortality levels of Svalbard reindeer. Further, ?-HCH concentrations showed a positive association with sea ice cover. These results in addition to the strong effect of ?13C on all POP concentrations suggest that climate-related changes in arctic fox diet are likely to influence contaminant concentrations in arctic foxes from Svalbard. PMID:25536177

  1. Den use by arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) in a subarctic region of western Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, R.M.

    1996-01-01

    Distribution, abundance, and use of arctic fox dens located in coastal tundra communities of the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta were determined in studies from 1985 to 1990. Dens were denser and less complex than those described in studies conducted above the Arctic Circle. Eighty-three dens of varying complexity were found in the 52-km2 study area. Nineteen dens were used by arctic foxes for whelping or rearing pups. Three females relocated litters to multiple dens; a maximum of four dens were used concurrently by pups from one litter. Although red foxes were common in the region, their use of dens in the study area was minimal. Differences in vegetation at den sites and nearby unoccupied sites were minimal. Furthermore, den sites could not be distinguished from non-den sites during aerial surveys.

  2. Genotyping of Enterocytozoon bieneusi in Farmed Blue Foxes (Alopex lagopus) and Raccoon Dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) in China

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Wei; Zhang, Weizhe; Yang, Ziyin; Liu, Aiqin; Zhang, Longxian; Yang, Fengkun; Wang, Rongjun; Ling, Hong

    2015-01-01

    Enterocytozoon bieneusi is the most common species of microsporidia found both in humans and animals. Farmed animals, particularly closely associated to humans, may play an important role of zoonotic reservoir in transmitting this disease to humans. The fur industry is a major economic component in some parts of China. To understand the prevalence, genotype variety and zoonotic risk of E. bieneusi in farmed foxes and raccoon dogs, two species of fur animals, fecal specimens of 110 blue foxes and 49 raccoon dogs from Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces in China were examined by internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-based PCR. E. bieneusi was detected in 16.4% (18/110) blue foxes and 4.1% (2/49) raccoon dogs. Altogether, four genotypes of E. bieneusi were identified, including two known genotypes D (n = 13) and EbpC (n = 5), and two novel genotypes named as CHN-F1 (n = 1) in a fox and CHN-R1 (n = 1) in a raccoon dog. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all the four genotypes were the members of zoonotic group 1. Genotypes D and EbpC were found in humans previously. The findings of zoonotic genotypes of E. bieneusi in the foxes and raccoon dogs suggest these animals infected with E. bieneusi may pose a threat to human health. PMID:26544711

  3. Genotyping of Enterocytozoon bieneusi in Farmed Blue Foxes (Alopex lagopus) and Raccoon Dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) in China.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Wei; Zhang, Weizhe; Yang, Ziyin; Liu, Aiqin; Zhang, Longxian; Yang, Fengkun; Wang, Rongjun; Ling, Hong

    2015-01-01

    Enterocytozoon bieneusi is the most common species of microsporidia found both in humans and animals. Farmed animals, particularly closely associated to humans, may play an important role of zoonotic reservoir in transmitting this disease to humans. The fur industry is a major economic component in some parts of China. To understand the prevalence, genotype variety and zoonotic risk of E. bieneusi in farmed foxes and raccoon dogs, two species of fur animals, fecal specimens of 110 blue foxes and 49 raccoon dogs from Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces in China were examined by internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-based PCR. E. bieneusi was detected in 16.4% (18/110) blue foxes and 4.1% (2/49) raccoon dogs. Altogether, four genotypes of E. bieneusi were identified, including two known genotypes D (n = 13) and EbpC (n = 5), and two novel genotypes named as CHN-F1 (n = 1) in a fox and CHN-R1 (n = 1) in a raccoon dog. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all the four genotypes were the members of zoonotic group 1. Genotypes D and EbpC were found in humans previously. The findings of zoonotic genotypes of E. bieneusi in the foxes and raccoon dogs suggest these animals infected with E. bieneusi may pose a threat to human health. PMID:26544711

  4. Host specificity of Trichostrongylus tenuis from red grouse and northern bobwhites in experimental infections of northern bobwhites.

    PubMed

    Freehling, M; Moore, J

    1993-08-01

    The red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) and northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) are parasitized by the cecal nematode, Trichostrongylus tenuis. Our objective was to determine if T. tenuis from red grouse is infective in bobwhites. We inoculated bobwhites with infective-stage T. tenuis larvae that originated from red grouse in northern England and bobwhites in Florida. We also inoculated domestic chickens with larvae from the same sources. None of the 6 bobwhites inoculated with larvae from red grouse became infected. Five of the 6 bobwhites inoculated with larvae of bobwhite origin became infected. All of the chickens were infected. At necropsy, lesions or inflammation of the ceca were not observed either in chickens or bobwhites. The results suggest that Trichostrongylus in red grouse and northern bobwhite are distinct species. Along with absence of gene flow, differences in transmission conditions and infrapopulation levels may have resulted in differences in host specificity. PMID:8331474

  5. Effects of Dietary Copper and Zinc Supplementation on Growth Performance, Tissue Mineral Retention, Antioxidant Status, and Fur Quality in Growing-Furring Blue Foxes (Alopex lagopus).

    PubMed

    Liu, Zhi; Wu, Xuezhuang; Zhang, Tietao; Guo, Jungang; Gao, Xiuhua; Yang, Fuhe; Xing, Xiumei

    2015-12-01

    A 4?×?2 factorial experiment with four supplemental levels of copper (0, 20, 40, or 60 mg copper per kg dry matter) from copper sulfate and two supplemental levels of zinc (40 or 200 mg zinc per kg dry matter) from zinc sulfate was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary copper and zinc supplementation on growth performance, tissue mineral retention, antioxidant status, and fur quality in growing-furring blue foxes. One hundred and twenty healthy 15-week-old male blue foxes were randomly allocated to eight dietary treatments with 15 replicates per treatment for a 70-day trial from mid-September to pelting in December. The average daily gain and feed conversion ratio were increased with copper supplementation in the first 35 days as well as the overall period (P??0.10) and feed intake (P?>?0.10) but improved feed conversion (P??0.05). However, the level of copper in the liver was increased with copper supplementation (P?

  6. Testing the interactive effects of testosterone and parasites on carotenoid-based ornamentation in a wild bird.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Padilla, J; Mougeot, F; Webster, L M I; Pérez-Rodríguez, L; Piertney, S B

    2010-05-01

    Testosterone underlies the expression of most secondary sexual traits, playing a key role in sexual selection. However, high levels might be associated with physiological costs, such as immunosuppression. Immunostimulant carotenoids underpin the expression of many red-yellow ornaments, but are regulated by testosterone and constrained by parasites. We manipulated testosterone and nematode burdens in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) in two populations to tease apart their effects on carotenoid levels, ornament size and colouration in three time-step periods. We found no evidence for interactive effects of testosterone and parasites on ornament size and colouration. We showed that ornament colouration was testosterone-driven. However, parasites decreased comb size with a time delay and testosterone increased carotenoid levels in one of the populations. This suggests that environmental context plays a key role in determining how individuals resolve the trade-off between allocating carotenoids for ornamental coloration or for self-maintenance needs. Our study advocates that adequately testing the mechanisms behind the production or maintenance of secondary sexual characters has to take into account the dynamics of sexual trait expression and their environmental context. PMID:20536879

  7. Bird Checklist for the East Coast Seen Common Name Latin Name Seen Common Name Latin Name

    E-print Network

    George, Edward I.

    Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax Rough-legged Hawk Buteo lagopus Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos Cattle

  8. Reducing tick burdens on chicks by treating breeding female grouse with permethrin

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ticks are important arthropod vectors of diseases of human, livestock, and wildlife hosts. In the United Kingdom, the sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus) is increasingly recognized as a main limiting factor of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus) populations, a game bird of high economic value. We evaluated the e...

  9. Multilocus DNA fingerprints in gallinaceous birds: general approach and problems.

    PubMed

    Hanotte, O; Bruford, M W; Burke, T

    1992-06-01

    Multilocus profiles were investigated in five different species of Galliformes (ring-necked pheasant Phasianus colchicus, Indian peafowl Pavo cristatus, Japanese quail Coturnix coturnix japonica, domestic chicken Gallus gallus, and red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus) using two human multilocus probes (33.6 and 33.15) in combination with each of four restriction enzymes (AluI, DdeI, HaeIII or HinfI). All the species show a DNA fingerprint-like pattern using at least one restriction enzyme in combination with each multilocus probe. The number of bands detected and the value of the index of similarity for each species differ significantly between the profiles obtained with each multilocus probe. Some enzyme/probe combinations reveal strong cross-hybridization of the multilocus probes with satellite or satellite-like DNA sequences in pheasant, peacock, quail and chicken, which partially or completely prevented scoring of the profile. The choice of restriction enzyme was found to influence the number of bands, the value of the index of similarity and the probability of obtaining an identical fingerprint between unrelated individuals. The Mendelian inheritance and independent segregation of the fragments detected using AluI was investigated in three species (ring-necked pheasant, Indian peafowl and red grouse). Some bands were shown to be tightly linked. An extreme case was encountered in the red grouse, where 12 of the 15 bands scored in one parent represented only two, apparently allelic, haplotypes and so derived from a single locus. However, fingerprint patterns will often be adequate for use in paternity analyses, such as in behavioural studies, despite the occurrence of haplotypic sets of bands. Identical DNA multilocus profiles were sometimes observed between captive-bred siblings in one species. These results emphasize the desirability of determining, in each new species, the optimal experimental conditions as a preliminary to any behavioural or population genetic studies that use the multilocus DNA fingerprinting methodology. PMID:1612925

  10. Mercury in feathers of Swedish gyrfalcons, Falco rusticolus, in relation to diet

    SciTech Connect

    Lindberg, P.

    1984-04-01

    The gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) is mainly a resident bird breeding in mountain areas in Fennoscandia. The population (estimated to 300-500 pairs) probably fluctuates according to the presence of willow grouse (Lagopus lagopus) and ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus). Little is known about pollutant levels in Fennoscandian gyrfalcons. Previous studies found low levels of DDE, PCB and mercury in organs from six Norwegian gyrfalcons. In this paper the author has included additional information on mercury levels, based on feather analyses from a few nests in northern Sweden. The use of feathers is a simple method to monitor mercury levels without sacrificing the birds. Food habits were checked by analyzing food remains at and near the nests.

  11. Offshore marine observation of Willow Ptarmigan, including water landings, Kuskokwim Bay, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zimmerman, C.E.; Hillgruber, N.; Burril, S.E.; St., Peters, M. A.; Wetzel, J.D.

    2005-01-01

    We report an observation of Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) encountered 8 to 17 km from the nearest shoreline on Kuskokwim Bay, Alaska, on 30 August 2003. The ptarmigan were observed flying, landing on our research vessel, and landing and taking off from the water surface. We also report on one other observation of ptarmigan sitting on the water surface and other marine observations of ptarmigan from the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database. These observations provide evidence that Willow Ptarmigan are capable of dispersing across large bodies of water and landing and taking off from the water surface.

  12. Conservation Genetics ISSN 1566-0621

    E-print Network

    Sandercock, Brett K.

    's Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta evermanni) at Agattu Island, in the western Aleutian Archipelago, Alaska'Donnell 2003). Measuring performance based on demographic parameters assesses population dynamics over short regions (Keller and Waller 2002). The degree to which founders are related can impact genetic diversity

  13. Some terms to know Ectotherms Endotherms

    E-print Network

    Mitchell, Randall J.

    from Hill et al. 2010 Animal Physiology Which graph should best describe how Joel's Metabolic rate-Temperature relation for White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus) from Hill et al. 2010 Animal Physiology Endotherms? http://www.sciencepoles.org/pics/scientific_articles/atmostpheric_currents_or.gif http

  14. Functional and numerical responses of four lemming predators in high arctic Greenland

    E-print Network

    Hanski, Ilkka

    -like numerical response. The long-tailed skua (Stercorarius longicaudus) has a type III functional response. The skua surpasses all the other predators in summer by its total response. The type III functional), as the main prey of four predators: Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), stoat (Mustela erminea), long-tailed skua

  15. Kin encounter rate and inbreeding avoidance in canids ELI GEFFEN,* MICHAEL KAM, REUVEN HEFNER, PALL HERSTEINSSON, ANDERS

    E-print Network

    be more developed in species that live in family groups or breed cooperatively. To test this hypothesis in some species is intriguing and may have implications for the management of populations at risk. Keywords: Canis lupus, dispersal, kin recognition, sexual selection, Vulpes lagopus Received 2 June 2011

  16. Elemental characterization of wild edible plants from countryside and urban areas.

    PubMed

    Renna, Massimiliano; Cocozza, Claudio; Gonnella, Maria; Abdelrahman, Hamada; Santamaria, Pietro

    2015-06-15

    Thirteen elements (Na, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Cr, Co, Cd, Ni and Pb) in 11 different wild edible plants (WEP) (Amaranthus retroflexus, Foeniculum vulgare, Cichorium intybus, Glebionis coronaria, Sonchus spp., Borago officinalis, Diplotaxis tenuifolia, Sinapis arvensis, Papaver rhoeas, Plantago lagopus and Portulaca oleracea) collected from countryside and urban areas of Bari (Italy) were determined. B.officinalis and P.rhoeas could represent good nutritional sources of Mn and Fe, respectively, as well as A.retroflexus and S.arvensis for Ca. High intake of Pb and Cd could come from P.lagopus and A.retroflexus (1.40 and 0.13 mg kg(-1) FW, respectively). WEP may give a substantial contribution to the elements intake for consumers, but in some cases they may supply high level of elements potentially toxic for human health. Anyway, both ANOVA and PCA analyses have highlighted the low influence of the harvesting site on the elements content. PMID:25660854

  17. Fatal pox infection in a rough-legged hawk

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pearson, G.L.; Pass, D.A.; Beggs, E.C.

    1975-01-01

    Natural pox infection occurred in a free-living rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus) in northeastern North Dakota. Gross, histological and electron microscopic findings were typical of pox infection, and characteristic lesions developed in red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) but not in great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) following inoculation with case material. Death of the rough-legged hawk was attributed to starvation resulting from inability to capture prey and to blood loss from foot lesions.

  18. Fatal pox infection in a rough-legged hawk.

    PubMed

    Pearson, G L; Pass, D A; Beggs, E C

    1975-04-01

    Natural pox infection occurred in a free-living rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus) in northeastern North Dakota. Gross, histological and electron microscopic findings were typical of pox infection, and characteristic lesions developed in red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) but not in great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) following inoculation with case material. Death of the rough-legged hawk was attributed to starvation rsulting from inability to capture prey and to blood loss from foot lesions. PMID:167207

  19. Mortality of arctic fox pups in northern Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1982-01-01

    Reports of mortality among arctic foxes, Alopex lagopus, generally consist of isolated incidents of predation by bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, snowy owls, Nyctea scandiaca, red foxes, Vulpes vulpes, and dogs, Canis familiaris. This is a report of observations made on mortality of arctic fox pups observed at dens in the Prudhoe Bay and Colville River Delta areas of northern Alaska during summers of 1975 to 1978 and 1976 to 1979, respectively.

  20. Introduced predator removal from islands. Exxon Valdez oil spill restoration project final report

    SciTech Connect

    Byrd, G.V.; Bailey, E.P.; Stahl, W.

    1996-05-01

    In order to restore black oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani) and pigeon guillemots (Cepphus columba), 2 species injured by the T/V Exxon Valdez oil spill, the introduced predator, artic fox (Alopex lagopus), was removed from 2 islands near the western edge of the trajectory of the oil. Surveys indicated that although adequate nesting habitat was available at Simeonof and Chernabura, oystercatcher and guillemot population densities were much lower than at nearby fox-free islands. Elimination of foxes is expected to dramatically increase populations of these injured species as well as other native birds.

  1. Adoption in rock and white-tailed ptarmigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wong, M.M.L.; Fedy, B.C.; Wilson, S.; Martin, K.M.

    2009-01-01

    Reports of adoption in birds are widespread, but few studies report rates of adoption or possible mechanisms for this phenomenon, particularly in the Order Galliformes. We report incidents of adoption in Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) and White-tailed Ptarmigan (L. leucura) from two sites in western Canada. Adoption rates for White-tailed Ptarmigan on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and the Ruby Ranges, Yukon Territory were 13% (n = 16 broods) and 4% (n = 27), respectively, while rates for Rock Ptarmigan were 14% (n = 29) in the Ruby Ranges. Low brood densities may result in lower rates of adoption for ptarmigan. ?? 2009 The Wilson Ornithological Society.

  2. Human-behavioral and paleoecological implications of terminal Pleistocene fox remains at the Marmes Site (45FR50), eastern Washington state, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lyman, R. Lee

    2012-05-01

    Examination of terminal Pleistocene-age fox remains from the Marmes archaeological site in southeastern Washington State (USA) reveals that a previous identification of one specimen as arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) was incorrect. Of nearly four-dozen associated specimens, eleven, including the one originally identified as arctic fox, represent red fox (Vulpes vulpes). Cut-marked fox bones and associated stone artifacts and eyed bone needles suggest several foxes were butchered and perhaps hides sewn together. The modern environmental setting of the Marmes site is too warm for modern red fox; the prehistoric red fox remains suggest (summer) climate was cooler when those remains were deposited.

  3. Gyrfalcon diet in central west Greenland during the nestling period

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Booms, Travis; Fuller, Mark R.

    2003-01-01

    We studied food habits of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) nesting in central west Greenland in 2000 and 2001 using three sources of data: time-lapse video (3 nests), prey remains (22 nests), and regurgitated pellets (19 nests). These sources provided different information describing the diet during the nesting period. Gyrfalcons relied heavily on Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and arctic hares (Lepus arcticus). Combined, these species contributed 79-91% of the total diet, depending on the data used. Passerines were the third most important group. Prey less common in the diet included waterfowl, arctic fox pups (Alopex lagopus), shorebirds, gulls, alcids, and falcons. All Rock Ptarmigan were adults, and all but one arctic hare were young of the year. Most passerines were fledglings. We observed two diet shifts, first from a preponderance of ptarmigan to hares in mid-June, and second to passerines in late June. The video-monitored Gyrfalcons consumed 94-110 kg of food per nest during the nestling period, higher than previously estimated. Using a combination of video, prey remains, and pellets was important to accurately document Gyrfalcon diet, and we strongly recommend using time-lapse video in future diet studies to identify biases in prey remains and pellet data.

  4. Gyrfalcon diet in central west Greenland during the nesting period

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Booms, T.L.; Fuller, M.R.

    2003-01-01

    We studied food habits of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) nesting in central west Greenland in 2000 and 2001 using three sources of data: time-lapse video (3 nests), prey remains (22 nests), and regurgitated pellets (19 nests). These sources provided different information describing the diet during the nesting period. Gyrfalcons relied heavily on Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and arctic hares (Lepus arcticus). Combined, these species contributed 79-91% of the total diet, depending on the data used. Passerines were the third most important group. Prey less common in the diet included waterfowl, arctic fox pups (Alopex lagopus), shorebirds, gulls, alcids, and falcons. All Rock Ptarmigan were adults, and all but one arctic hare were young of the year. Most passerines were fledglings. We observed two diet shifts, first from a preponderance of ptarmigan to hares in mid-June, and second to passerines in late June. The video-monitored Gyrfalcons consumed 94-110 kg of food per nest during the nestling period, higher than previously estimated. Using a combination of video, prey remains, and pellets was important to accurately document Gyrfalcon diet, and we strongly recommend using time-lapse video in future diet studies to identify biases in prey remains and pellet data.

  5. Experimental evidence that ptarmigan regulate willow bud production to their own advantage.

    PubMed

    Christie, Katie S; Ruess, R W

    2015-07-01

    In some ecosystems, vertebrate herbivores increase the nutritional quality and biomass of their food source through repeated grazing, thereby manipulating their environment to support higher densities of animals. We tested whether ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus and L. muta) are capable of regulating the nutritional quality, abundance, and availability of feltleaf willow (Salix alaxensis) buds using a simulated browsing experiment and a feeding preference study with wild birds. Simulated ptarmigan browsing resulted in smaller buds, but greater numbers of buds per shoot. Furthermore, browsing altered the morphology of willow branches such that buds were at higher densities and closer to snow level compared to unbrowsed controls. Browsing increased the number of willows with accessible buds (buds within 50 cm of snow level) from 55 to 89%, and increased total accessible bud biomass from 113 ± 30 to 129 ± 50 mg/ramet. Browsing did not affect bud nitrogen or carbon concentration and slightly reduced protein precipitation capacity (tannins) in buds the following winter, indicating that ptarmigan browsing does not induce a defensive response in this species. When branches of broomed (previously browsed) and unbroomed willows were placed in the snow at equal heights, ptarmigan showed no preference for either type; however, they obtained more buds from broomed willows. Increased accessibility and density of willow buds caused by browsing has the potential to increase habitat carrying capacity, thereby supporting higher densities of ptarmigan. PMID:25698142

  6. From 'third pole' to north pole: a Himalayan origin for the arctic fox.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiaoming; Tseng, Zhijie Jack; Li, Qiang; Takeuchi, Gary T; Xie, Guangpu

    2014-07-22

    The 'third pole' of the world is a fitting metaphor for the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau, in allusion to its vast frozen terrain, rivalling the Arctic and Antarctic, at high altitude but low latitude. Living Tibetan and arctic mammals share adaptations to freezing temperatures such as long and thick winter fur in arctic muskox and Tibetan yak, and for carnivorans, a more predatory niche. Here, we report, to our knowledge, the first evolutionary link between an Early Pliocene (3.60-5.08 Myr ago) fox, Vulpes qiuzhudingi new species, from the Himalaya (Zanda Basin) and Kunlun Mountain (Kunlun Pass Basin) and the modern arctic fox Vulpes lagopus in the polar region. A highly hypercarnivorous dentition of the new fox bears a striking resemblance to that of V. lagopus and substantially predates the previous oldest records of the arctic fox by 3-4 Myr. The low latitude, high-altitude Tibetan Plateau is separated from the nearest modern arctic fox geographical range by at least 2000 km. The apparent connection between an ancestral high-elevation species and its modern polar descendant is consistent with our 'Out-of-Tibet' hypothesis postulating that high-altitude Tibet was a training ground for cold-environment adaptations well before the start of the Ice Age. PMID:24920475

  7. From ‘third pole’ to north pole: a Himalayan origin for the arctic fox

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Xiaoming; Tseng, Zhijie Jack; Li, Qiang; Takeuchi, Gary T.; Xie, Guangpu

    2014-01-01

    The ‘third pole’ of the world is a fitting metaphor for the Himalayan–Tibetan Plateau, in allusion to its vast frozen terrain, rivalling the Arctic and Antarctic, at high altitude but low latitude. Living Tibetan and arctic mammals share adaptations to freezing temperatures such as long and thick winter fur in arctic muskox and Tibetan yak, and for carnivorans, a more predatory niche. Here, we report, to our knowledge, the first evolutionary link between an Early Pliocene (3.60–5.08 Myr ago) fox, Vulpes qiuzhudingi new species, from the Himalaya (Zanda Basin) and Kunlun Mountain (Kunlun Pass Basin) and the modern arctic fox Vulpes lagopus in the polar region. A highly hypercarnivorous dentition of the new fox bears a striking resemblance to that of V. lagopus and substantially predates the previous oldest records of the arctic fox by 3–4 Myr. The low latitude, high-altitude Tibetan Plateau is separated from the nearest modern arctic fox geographical range by at least 2000 km. The apparent connection between an ancestral high-elevation species and its modern polar descendant is consistent with our ‘Out-of-Tibet’ hypothesis postulating that high-altitude Tibet was a training ground for cold-environment adaptations well before the start of the Ice Age. PMID:24920475

  8. Cadmium toxicity among wildlife in the Colorado Rocky Mountains

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Larison, J.R.; Likens, G.E.; Fitzpatrick, J.W.; Crock, J.G.

    2000-01-01

    Cadmium is known to be both extremely toxic and ubiquitous in natural environments. It occurs in almost all soils, surface waters and plants, and it is readily mobilized by human activities such as mining. As a result, cadmium has been named as a potential health threat to wildlife species; however, because it exists most commonly in the environment as a trace constituent, reported incidences of cadmium toxicity are rare. Here we have measured trace metals in the food web and tissues of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus) in Colorado. Our results suggest that cadmium toxicity may be more common among natural populations of vertebrates than has been appreciated to date and that cadmium toxicity may often go undetected or unrecognized. In addition, our research shows that ingestion of even trace quantities of cadmium can influence not only the physiology and health of individual organisms, but also the demographics and the distribution of species.

  9. [Immunodiffusion analysis of plasma proteins in the canine family].

    PubMed

    Baranov, O K; Iurishina, N A; Savina, M A

    1976-01-01

    Immunodiffusion studies have been made on the plasma of 9 species (Vulpes vulpes, V. corsak, Alopex lagopus, Canis aureus, C. lupus, C. familiaris, C. dingo, Nyctereutes procynoides, Fennecus zerde) from the family of Canidae using milk antisera. Unlike rabbit antisera used earlier, milk antisera make it possible to detect more significant antigenic divergency with respect to 5 alpha- and beta-globulins. These globulins seem to have a higher evolution rate of antigenic mosaics as compared to other plasma proteins in the family investigated. The family Canidae serologically may be divided into two main groups: 1) the genus Canis which includes the wolf, domestic dog, dingo, jackal and 2) species which significantly differ from the former (the fox, polar fox, dog fox, fennec). In relation to these two groups, the raccoon dog occupies special position. PMID:62473

  10. Lesions associated with Pasteurella multocida infection in raptors.

    PubMed

    Morishita, T Y; Lowenstine, L J; Hirsh, D C; Brooks, D L

    1997-01-01

    Several case reports attest to the pathogenicity of Pasteurella multocida in raptors; however, the pathologic syndromes have not been fully described. We describe here the lesions encountered in 22 avian cholera cases in raptors. Besides septicemia-related lesions, a unique syndrome of esophageal abscesses was noted in 8 of the 11 (73%) Buteo hawks that succumbed to avian cholera. Esophageal abscesses were not noted in birds belonging to the order Strigiformes (owls) or family Falconidae (falcons and their relatives). Thus, the presence of white plaques in both the oropharynx and esophagus of Buteo hawks may indicate a possible P. multocida infection and should be considered in the differential diagnosis. This study also documents the first cases of avian cholera in a rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus) and a flammulated owl (Otus flammeolus). PMID:9087338

  11. Pronounced variation in tarsal and foot feathering in the upland buzzard (Buteo hemilasius) in Mongolia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ellis, D.H.; Woffinden, N.; Whitlock, P.L.; Tsengeg, P.

    1999-01-01

    During 1994, 1995, 1997, and 1998 expeditions across Mongolia, we located over 250 upland buzzard (Buteo hemilasius) nests. At these, we noted considerable morphological variation in plumage coloration and in leg pterylosis. In 1997 and 1998, we examined 131 nests scattered across eastern and central Mongolia and report here the tarsal condition of 119 nestlings from 59 broods where young were at least 2 weeks of age. Of 119 birds carefully examined, 50 (42%) had less than fully feathered tarsi and 4 of the 69 with fully feathered tarsi had scattered feathers on their toes. Thus, 54 of 119 birds (45%) in some way deviated from the feathered tarsibare toes condition. This extraordinary degree of variability in feather patterns may be best explained as the result of extensive and relatively recent hybridization between the longlegged (Buteo rufinus) and roughlegged (B. lagopus) buzzards and/or between long-legged and upland buzzards.

  12. Mortality of arctic fox pups in northern Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Garrott, R.A.; Eberhardt, L.E.

    1982-01-01

    Reports of mortality among arctic foxes, Alopex lagopus, generally consist of isolated incidents of predation by bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, snowy owls, Nyctea scandiaca, red foxes, Vulpes vulpes, and dogs, Canis familiaris. This is a report of observations made on mortality of arctic fox pups observed at dens in the Prudhoe Bay and Colville River Delta areas of northern Alaska during summers of 1975 to 1978 and 1976 to 1979, respectively. Pup mortality was noted amng 15 (19%) of 79 families whose dens we visited. Evidence of at least 20 dead pups was found with remains ranging from intact carcasses to a few bone fragments and tufts of hair. Undoubtedly, researchers failed to detect some dead pups, as predators sometimes carry small pups away from the den before consuming them and adult foxes were observed to dispose of bodies of dead pups within den burrows.

  13. Kleptoparasitism by bald eagles wintering in south-central Nebraska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jorde, D.G.; Lingle, G.R.

    1988-01-01

    Kleptoparasitism on other raptors was one means by which Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) secured food along the North Platte and Platte rivers during the winters of 1978-1980. Species kelptoparasitized were Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis), Red-tailed Hawk (B. jamaicensis), Rough-legged Hawk (B. lagopus), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), and Bald Eagle. Stealing of prey occurred more often during the severe winter of 1978-1979 when ice cover restricted eagles from feeding on fish than during the milder winter of 1979-1980. Kleptoparasitism occurred principally in agricultural habitats where large numbers of Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) were foraging. Subadults watched adults steal food and participated in food-stealing with adults, which indicated interspecific kleptoparasitism may be a learned behavior. We suggest factors that may favor interspecific kleptoparasitism as a foraging strategy of Bald Eagles in obtaining waterfowl during severe winters.

  14. Capturing migration phenology of terrestrial wildlife using camera traps

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tape, Ken D.; Gustine, David D.

    2014-01-01

    Remote photography, using camera traps, can be an effective and noninvasive tool for capturing the migration phenology of terrestrial wildlife. We deployed 14 digital cameras along a 104-kilometer longitudinal transect to record the spring migrations of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) and ptarmigan (Lagopus spp.) in the Alaskan Arctic. The cameras recorded images at 15-minute intervals, producing approximately 40,000 images, including 6685 caribou observations and 5329 ptarmigan observations. The northward caribou migration was evident because the median caribou observation (i.e., herd median) occurred later with increasing latitude; average caribou migration speed also increased with latitude (r2 = .91). Except at the northernmost latitude, a northward ptarmigan migration was similarly evident (r2 = .93). Future applications of this method could be used to examine the conditions proximate to animal movement, such as habitat or snow cover, that may influence migration phenology.

  15. Genome-wide association and genome partitioning reveal novel genomic regions underlying variation in gastrointestinal nematode burden in a wild bird.

    PubMed

    Wenzel, Marius A; James, Marianne C; Douglas, Alex; Piertney, Stuart B

    2015-08-01

    Identifying the genetic architecture underlying complex phenotypes is a notoriously difficult problem that often impedes progress in understanding adaptive eco-evolutionary processes in natural populations. Host-parasite interactions are fundamentally important drivers of evolutionary processes, but a lack of understanding of the genes involved in the host's response to chronic parasite insult makes it particularly difficult to understand the mechanisms of host life history trade-offs and the adaptive dynamics involved. Here, we examine the genetic basis of gastrointestinal nematode (Trichostrongylus tenuis) burden in 695 red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) individuals genotyped at 384 genome-wide SNPs. We first use genome-wide association to identify individual SNPs associated with nematode burden. We then partition genome-wide heritability to identify chromosomes with greater heritability than expected from gene content, due to harbouring a multitude of additive SNPs with individually undetectable effects. We identified five SNPs on five chromosomes that accounted for differences of up to 556 worms per bird, but together explained at best 4.9% of the phenotypic variance. These SNPs were closely linked to genes representing a range of physiological processes including the immune system, protein degradation and energy metabolism. Genome partitioning indicated genome-wide heritability of up to 29% and three chromosomes with excess heritability of up to 4.3% (total 8.9%). These results implicate SNPs and novel genomic regions underlying nematode burden in this system and suggest that this phenotype is somewhere between being based on few large-effect genes (oligogenic) and based on a large number of genes with small individual but large combined effects (polygenic). PMID:26179597

  16. Herbivores Influence the Growth, Reproduction, and Morphology of a Widespread Arctic Willow

    PubMed Central

    Christie, Katie S.; Ruess, Roger W.; Lindberg, Mark S.; Mulder, Christa P.

    2014-01-01

    Shrubs have expanded in Arctic ecosystems over the past century, resulting in significant changes to albedo, ecosystem function, and plant community composition. Willow and rock ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus, L. muta) and moose (Alces alces) extensively browse Arctic shrubs, and may influence their architecture, growth, and reproduction. Furthermore, these herbivores may alter forage plants in such a way as to increase the quantity and accessibility of their own food source. We estimated the effect of winter browsing by ptarmigan and moose on an abundant, early-successional willow (Salix alaxensis) in northern Alaska by comparing browsed to unbrowsed branches. Ptarmigan browsed 82–89% of willows and removed 30–39% of buds, depending on study area and year. Moose browsed 17–44% of willows and browsed 39–55% of shoots. Browsing inhibited apical dominance and activated axillary and adventitious buds to produce new vegetative shoots. Ptarmigan- and moose-browsed willow branches produced twice the volume of shoot growth but significantly fewer catkins the following summer compared with unbrowsed willow branches. Shoots on browsed willows were larger and produced 40–60% more buds compared to unbrowsed shoots. This process of shoot production at basal parts of the branch is the mechanism by which willows develop a highly complex “broomed” architecture after several years of browsing. Broomed willows were shorter and more likely to be re-browsed by ptarmigan, but not moose. Ptarmigan likely benefit from the greater quantity and accessibility of buds on previously browsed willows and may increase the carrying capacity of their own habitat. Despite the observed tolerance of willows to browsing, their vertical growth and reproduction were strongly inhibited by moose and ptarmigan. Browsing by these herbivores therefore needs to be considered in future models of shrub expansion in the Arctic. PMID:25047582

  17. Inferring the nature of anthropogenic threats from long-term abundance records.

    PubMed

    Shoemaker, Kevin T; Akçakaya, H Resit

    2015-02-01

    Diagnosing the processes that threaten species persistence is critical for recovery planning and risk forecasting. Dominant threats are typically inferred by experts on the basis of a patchwork of informal methods. Transparent, quantitative diagnostic tools would contribute much-needed consistency, objectivity, and rigor to the process of diagnosing anthropogenic threats. Long-term census records, available for an increasingly large and diverse set of taxa, may exhibit characteristic signatures of specific threatening processes and thereby provide information for threat diagnosis. We developed a flexible Bayesian framework for diagnosing threats on the basis of long-term census records and diverse ancillary sources of information. We tested this framework with simulated data from artificial populations subjected to varying degrees of exploitation and habitat loss and several real-world abundance time series for which threatening processes are relatively well understood: bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) (exploitation) and Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) and Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis) (habitat loss). Our method correctly identified the process driving population decline for over 90% of time series simulated under moderate to severe threat scenarios. Successful identification of threats approached 100% for severe exploitation and habitat loss scenarios. Our method identified threats less successfully when threatening processes were weak and when populations were simultaneously affected by multiple threats. Our method selected the presumed true threat model for all real-world case studies, although results were somewhat ambiguous in the case of the Eurasian Skylark. In the latter case, incorporation of an ancillary source of information (records of land-use change) increased the weight assigned to the presumed true model from 70% to 92%, illustrating the value of the proposed framework in bringing diverse sources of information into a common rigorous framework. Ultimately, our framework may greatly assist conservation organizations in documenting threatening processes and planning species recovery. PMID:25065712

  18. Distribution of Ground-Nesting Marine Birds Along Shorelines in Glacier Bay, Southeastern Alaska: An Assessment Related to Potential Disturbance by Back-Country Users

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arimitsu, M.L.; Piatt, J.F.; Romano, Marc D.

    2007-01-01

    With the exception of a few large colonies, the distribution of ground-nesting marine birds in Glacier Bay National Park in southeastern Alaska is largely unknown. As visitor use increases in back-country areas of the park, there is growing concern over the potential impact of human activities on breeding birds. During the 2003i??05 breeding seasons, the shoreline of Glacier Bay was surveyed to locate ground-nesting marine birds and their nesting areas, including wildlife closures and historical sites for egg collection by Alaska Native peoples. The nesting distribution of four common ground-nesting marine bird species was determined: Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea), Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani), Mew Gull (Larus canus), and Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens). Observations of less abundant species also were recorded, including Herring Gull (Larus argentatus), Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata), Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus), Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus), Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia), Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla), Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus), and Aleutian Tern (Sterna aleutica). Nesting distribution for Arctic Terns was largely restricted to the upper arms of the bay and a few treeless islets in the lower bay, whereas Black Oystercatchers were more widely distributed along shorelines in the park. Mew Gulls nested throughout the upper bay in Geikie Inlet and in Fingers and Berg Bays, and most Glaucous-winged Gull nests were found at wildlife closures in the central and lower bays. Several areas were identified where human disturbance could affect breeding birds. This study comprises the first bay-wide survey for the breeding distribution of ground-nesting marine birds in Glacier Bay National Park, providing a minimum estimate of their numbers and distribution within the park. This information can be used to assess future human disturbance and track natural changes in nesting bird distribution over time.

  19. Pyrenean ptarmigans decline under climatic and human influences through the Holocene

    PubMed Central

    Bech, N; Barbu, C M; Quéméré, E; Novoa, C; Allienne, J F; Boissier, J

    2013-01-01

    In Europe, the Quaternary is characterized by climatic fluctuations known to have led to many cycles of contraction and expansion of species geographical ranges. In addition, during the Holocene, historical changes in human occupation such as colonization or abandonment of traditional land uses can also affect habitats. These climatically or anthropically induced geographic range changes are expected to produce considerable effective population size change, measurable in terms of genetic diversity and organization. The rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) is a small-bodied grouse occurring throughout Northern hemispheric arctic and alpine tundra. This species is not considered threatened at a continental scale, but the populations in the Pyrenees are of concern because of their small population size, geographical isolation and low genetic diversity. Here, we used 11 microsatellites to investigate genetic variations and differentiations and infer the overall demographic history of Pyrenean rock ptarmigan populations. The low genetic variability found in these populations has been previously thought to be the result of a bottleneck that occurred following the last glacial maximum (i.e., 10?000 years ago) or more recently (i.e., during the last 200 years). Our results clearly indicate a major bottleneck affecting the populations in the last tenth of the Holocene. We discuss how this decline can be explained by a combination of unfavorable and successive events that increased the degree of habitat fragmentation. PMID:23838689

  20. Serological and parasitological prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in wild birds from Colorado.

    PubMed

    Dubey, J P; Felix, T A; Kwok, O C H

    2010-10-01

    Ground-feeding birds are considered important in the epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii because they serve as indicators of soil contamination by oocysts, and birds of prey are indicators of T. gondii prevalence in rodents and other small mammals. Cats excrete environmentally resistant oocysts after consuming tissues of T. gondii -infected birds. In the present study, sera and tissues from 382 wild birds from Colorado were tested for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 38 birds with the use of the modified agglutination test (MAT, 1?25 titer). Tissues (brains, hearts) of 84 birds were bioassayed in mice. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 1 of 1 barn owl (Tyto alba), 1 of 5 American kestrels (Falco sparverius), 1 of 7 ferruginous hawks (Buteo regalis), 1 of 4 rough-legged hawks (Buteo lagopus), 2 of 13 Swainson's hawks (Buteo swainsoni), and 1 of 25 red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis). This is the first time T. gondii has been isolated from the barn owl, ferruginous hawk, rough-legged hawk, and Swainson's hawk. PMID:20950101

  1. A conceptual model for the impact of climate change on fox rabies in Alaska, 1980-2010.

    PubMed

    Kim, B I; Blanton, J D; Gilbert, A; Castrodale, L; Hueffer, K; Slate, D; Rupprecht, C E

    2014-02-01

    The direct and interactive effects of climate change on host species and infectious disease dynamics are likely to initially manifest\\ at latitudinal extremes. As such, Alaska represents a region in the United States for introspection on climate change and disease. Rabies is enzootic among arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) throughout the northern polar region. In Alaska, arctic and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are reservoirs for rabies, with most domestic animal and wildlife cases reported from northern and western coastal Alaska. Based on passive surveillance, a pronounced seasonal trend in rabid foxes occurs in Alaska, with a peak in winter and spring. This study describes climatic factors that may be associated with reported cyclic rabies occurrence. Based upon probabilistic modelling, a stronger seasonal effect in reported fox rabies cases appears at higher latitudes in Alaska, and rabies in arctic foxes appear disproportionately affected by climatic factors in comparison with red foxes. As temperatures continue a warming trend, a decrease in reported rabid arctic foxes may be expected. The overall epidemiology of rabies in Alaska is likely to shift to increased viral transmission among red foxes as the primary reservoir in the region. Information on fox and lemming demographics, in addition to enhanced rabies surveillance among foxes at finer geographic scales, will be critical to develop more comprehensive models for rabies virus transmission in the region. PMID:23452510

  2. Serum lipid concentrations in six canid and four ursid species in four zoos.

    PubMed

    Crissey, Susan D; Ange, Kimberly D; Slifka, Kerri A; Sadler, William; Kahn, Stephen; Ward, Ann M

    2004-03-01

    Serum lipid levels were measured in healthy captive wild canids and ursids, and the values were compared with previously published data. Serum lipid levels were evaluated in blood samples collected from eight African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), three arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus), nine gray wolves (Canis lupus), four maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus), two Mexican wolves (Canis lupus baleiyi), nine red wolves (Canis rufus), two brown bears (Ursus arctos), six polar bears (Ursus maritimus), six spectacled bears (Tremarctos ornatus), and five sun bears (Ursus malayanus). Samples were analyzed for total cholesterol, triacylglycerides, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol. Although the results showed a great variation among species, circulating lipids appeared especially high, sometimes extremely so, in the spectacled bears, polar bears, sun bears, and maned wolves compared with all other species sampled. The study provides a substantial basis for comparing lipid levels in presumed healthy animals and indicates a need for controlled study of the effects of diet on circulating lipid levels. PMID:15193071

  3. Serum concentrations of vitamin D metabolites, vitamins A and E, and carotenoids in six canid and four ursid species at four zoos.

    PubMed

    Crissey, S; Ange, K; Slifka, K; Bowen, P; Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, M; Langman, C; Sadler, W; Ward, A

    2001-01-01

    Nutritional status for six captive canid species (n=34) and four captive ursid species (n=18) were analyzed. The species analyzed included: African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), gray wolf (Canis lupus), maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baleiyi), red wolf (Canis rufus), brown bear (Ursus arctos), polar bear (Ursus maritimus), spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), and sun bear (Ursus malayanus). Diet information was collected for these animals from each participating zoo (Brookfield Zoo, Fort Worth Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens, and North Carolina Zoological Park). The nutritional composition of the diet for each species at each institution met probable dietary requirements. Blood samples were collected from each animal and analyzed for vitamin D metabolites 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)(2)D, vitamin A (retinol, retinyl stearate, retinyl palmitate), vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol) and selected carotenoids. Family differences were found for 25(OH)D, retinol, retinyl stearate, retinyl palmitate and gamma-tocopherol. Species differences were found for all detectable measurements. Carotenoids were not detected in any species. The large number of animals contributing to these data, provides a substantial base for comparing the nutritional status of healthy animals and the differences among them. PMID:11137448

  4. Winter habitat associations of diurnal raptors in Californias Central Valley

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pandolrno, E.R.; Herzog, M.P.; Hooper, S.L.; Smith, Z.

    2011-01-01

    The wintering raptors of California's Central Valley are abundant and diverse. Despite this, little information exists on the habitats used by these birds in winter. We recorded diurnal raptors along 19 roadside survey routes throughout the Central Valley for three consecutive winters between 2007 and 2010. We obtained data sufficient to determine significant positive and negative habitat associations for the White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus), Bald Eagle {Haliaeetus leucocephalus), Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus), Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis), Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus), American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), and Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus). The Prairie Falcon and Ferruginous and Rough-legged hawks showed expected strong positive associations with grasslands. The Bald Eagle and Northern Harrier were positively associated not only with wetlands but also with rice. The strongest positive association for the White-tailed Kite was with wetlands. The Red-tailed Hawk was positively associated with a variety of habitat types but most strongly with wetlands and rice. The American Kestrel, Northern Harrier, and White-tailed Kite were positively associated with alfalfa. Nearly all species were negatively associated with urbanized landscapes, orchards, and other intensive forms of agriculture. The White-tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Redtailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, and American Kestrel showed significant negative associations with oak savanna. Given the rapid conversion of the Central Valley to urban and intensive agricultural uses over the past few decades, these results have important implications for conservation of these wintering raptors in this region.

  5. Effects of climate change on nutrition and genetics of White-tailed Ptarmigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Stricker, Craig A.; St. John, Judy, Braun, Clait E.; Wann, Gregory T.; O'Donnell, Michael S.; Aldridge, Cameron L.

    2011-01-01

    White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura) are well suited as a focal species for the study of climate change because they are adapted to cool, alpine environments that are expected to undergo unusually rapid climate change. We compared samples collected in the late 1930s, the late 1960s, and the late 2000s using molecular genetic and stable isotope methods in an effort to determine whether White-tailed Ptarmigan on Mt. Evans, Colorado, have experiences recent environmental changes resulting in shifts in genetic diversity, gene frequency, and nutritional ecology. We genotyped 115 individuals spanning the three time periods, using nine polymorphic microsatellite loci in our genetic analysis. These samples were also analyzed for stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition. We found a slight trend of lower heterozygosity through time, and allelic richness values were significantly lower in more recent times, but not significantly using an alpha of 0.05 (P 13C and ?15N values decreased significantly across time periods, whereas the range in isotope values increased consistently from the late 1930s to the late time periods. Inferred changes in the nutritional ecology of White-tailed Ptarmigan on Mt. Evans relate primarily to increased atmospheric deposition of nutrients that likely influenced foraging habits and tundra plant composition and nutritional quality. Future work seeks to integrate genetic and isotopic data with long-term demographics to develop a detailed understanding of the interaction among environmental stressors on the long-term viability of ptarmigan populations.

  6. Behavioral interactions of penned red and arctic foxes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rudzinski, D.R.; Graves, H.B.; Sargeant, A.B.; Storm, G.L.

    1982-01-01

    Expansion of the geographical distribution of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) into the far north tundra region may lead to competition between arctic (Alopex lagopus) and red foxes for space and resources. Behavioral interactions between red and arctic foxes were evaluated during 9 trials conducted in a 4.05-ha enclosure near Woodworth, North Dakota. Each trial consisted of introducing a male-female pair of arctic foxes into the enclosure and allowing them to acclimate for approximately a week before releasing a female red fox into the enclosure, followed by her mate a few days later. In 8 of 9 trials, red foxes were dominant over arctic foxes during encounters. Activity of the arctic foxes decreased upon addition of red foxes. Arctic foxes tried unsuccessfully to defend preferred den, resting, and feeding areas. Even though the outcome of competition between red and arctic foxes in the Arctic is uncertain, the more aggressive red fox can dominate arctic foxes in direct competition for den sites and other limited resources.

  7. Arctic foxes, lemmings, and canada goose nest survival at cape Churchill, Manitoba

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reiter, M.E.; Andersen, D.E.

    2011-01-01

    We examined factors influencing Canada Goose (Branta canadensis interior) annual nest success, including the relative abundance of collared lemmings (Dicrostonyx richardsoni), arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) den occupancy, nest density, and spring phenology using data collected during annual Canada Goose breeding area surveys at Cape Churchill, Manitoba. Nest density and arctic fox den occupancy strongly influenced Canada Goose nest success. High nest density resulted in higher nest success and high den occupancy reduced nest success. Nest success was not influenced by lemming abundance in the current or previous year as predicted by the "bird-lemming" hypothesis. Reducing arctic fox abundance through targeted management increased nest survival of Canada Geese; a result that further emphasizes the importance of arctic fox as nest predators in this system. The spatial distribution of nest predators, at least for dispersed-nesting geese, may be most important for nest survival, regardless of the abundance of small mammals in the local ecosystem. Further understanding of the factors influencing the magnitude and variance in arctic fox abundance in this region, and the spatial scale at which these factors are realized, is necessary to fully explain predator-prey-alternative prey dynamics in this system. ?? 2011 by the Wilson Ornithological Society.

  8. Two missense mutations in melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) are strongly associated with dark ventral coat color in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus).

    PubMed

    Våge, D I; Nieminen, M; Anderson, D G; Røed, K H

    2014-10-01

    The protein-coding region of melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) was sequenced to identify potential variation affecting coat color in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). A T?C sequence variation at nucleotide position 218 (c.218T>C) causing an amino acid (aa) change from methionine to threonine at aa position 73 (p.Met73Thr) was identified. In addition, a T?G sequence variation was found at nucleotide position 839 (c.839T>G), causing phenylalanine to be exchanged by cysteine at aa position 280 (p.Phe280Cys). The two sequence variants (c.218C and c.839G) were found to be closely associated with a darker belly coat compared with animals not having any of these two variants. The aa acid change p.Met73Thr affects the same position as p.Met73Lys previously reported to give constitutive activation of MC1R in black sheep (Ovis aries), whereas p.Phe280Cys is identical to one of two variants previously reported to be associated with dark coat color in Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), supporting that the two variants found in reindeer are functional. The complete absence of Thr73 and Cys280 among the 51 wild reindeer analyzed provides some evidence that these variants are more common in the domestic herds. PMID:25039753

  9. Serosurvey for Toxoplasma gondii in arctic foxes and possible sources of infection in the high Arctic of Svalbard.

    PubMed

    Prestrud, Kristin Wear; Asbakk, Kjetil; Fuglei, Eva; Mørk, Torill; Stien, Audun; Ropstad, Erik; Tryland, Morten; Gabrielsen, Geir Wing; Lydersen, Christian; Kovacs, Kit M; Loonen, Maarten J J E; Sagerup, Kjetil; Oksanen, Antti

    2007-11-30

    Samples (blood or tissue fluid) from 594 arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus), 390 Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus), 361 sibling voles (Microtus rossiaemeridionalis), 17 walruses (Odobenus rosmarus), 149 barnacle geese (Branta leucopsis), 58 kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), and 27 glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) from Svalbard and nearby waters were assayed for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii using a direct agglutination test. The proportion of seropositive animals was 43% in arctic foxes, 7% in barnacle geese, and 6% (1 of 17) in walruses. There were no seropositive Svalbard reindeer, sibling voles, glaucous gulls, or kittiwakes. The prevalence in the arctic fox was relatively high compared to previous reports from canid populations. There are no wild felids in Svalbard and domestic cats are prohibited, and the absence of antibodies against T. gondii among the herbivorous Svalbard reindeer and voles indicates that transmission of the parasite by oocysts is not likely to be an important mechanism in the Svalbard ecosystem. Our results suggest that migratory birds, such as the barnacle goose, may be the most important vectors bringing the parasite to Svalbard. In addition to transmission through infected prey and carrion, the age-seroprevalence profile in the fox population suggests that their infection levels are enhanced by vertical transmission. PMID:17950534

  10. Unexpected diversity of the cestode Echinococcus multilocularis in wildlife in Canada.

    PubMed

    Gesy, Karen M; Schurer, Janna M; Massolo, Alessandro; Liccioli, Stefano; Elkin, Brett T; Alisauskas, Ray; Jenkins, Emily J

    2014-08-01

    Echinococcus multilocularis is a zoonotic cestode with a distribution encompassing the northern hemisphere that causes alveolar hydatid disease in people and other aberrant hosts. E. multilocularis is not genetically uniform across its distribution, which may have implications for zoonotic transmission and pathogenicity. Recent findings of a European-type haplotype of E. multilocularis in wildlife in one location in western Canada motivated a broader survey of the diversity of this parasite in wildlife from northern and western Canada. We obtained intact adult cestodes of E. multilocularis from the intestines of 41 wild canids (wolf - Canis lupus, coyote - Canis latrans, and red fox - Vulpes vulpes), taeniid eggs from 28 fecal samples from Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), and alveolar hydatid cysts from 39 potential rodent intermediate hosts. Upon sequencing a 370-nucelotide region of the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 (nad1) mitochondrial locus, 17 new haplotypes were identified. This constitutes a much higher diversity than expected, as only two genotypes (European and an Asian/North American) had previously been identified using this locus. The European-type strain, recently introduced, may be widespread in wildlife within western Canada, possibly related to the large home ranges and wide dispersal range of wild canids. This study increased understanding of the biogeographic distribution, prevalence and genetic differences of a globally important pathogenic cestode in northern and western Canada. PMID:25161905

  11. Unexpected diversity of the cestode Echinococcus multilocularis in wildlife in Canada

    PubMed Central

    Gesy, Karen M.; Schurer, Janna M.; Massolo, Alessandro; Liccioli, Stefano; Elkin, Brett T.; Alisauskas, Ray; Jenkins, Emily J.

    2014-01-01

    Echinococcus multilocularis is a zoonotic cestode with a distribution encompassing the northern hemisphere that causes alveolar hydatid disease in people and other aberrant hosts. E.multilocularis is not genetically uniform across its distribution, which may have implications for zoonotic transmission and pathogenicity. Recent findings of a European-type haplotype of E. multilocularis in wildlife in one location in western Canada motivated a broader survey of the diversity of this parasite in wildlife from northern and western Canada. We obtained intact adult cestodes of E. multilocularis from the intestines of 41 wild canids (wolf – Canis lupus, coyote – Canis latrans, and red fox – Vulpes vulpes), taeniid eggs from 28 fecal samples from Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), and alveolar hydatid cysts from 39 potential rodent intermediate hosts. Upon sequencing a 370-nucelotide region of the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 (nad1) mitochondrial locus, 17 new haplotypes were identified. This constitutes a much higher diversity than expected, as only two genotypes (European and an Asian/North American) had previously been identified using this locus. The European-type strain, recently introduced, may be widespread in wildlife within western Canada, possibly related to the large home ranges and wide dispersal range of wild canids. This study increased understanding of the biogeographic distribution, prevalence and genetic differences of a globally important pathogenic cestode in northern and western Canada. PMID:25161905

  12. Mechanism of gene amplification via yeast autonomously replicating sequences.

    PubMed

    Sehgal, Shelly; Kaul, Sanjana; Dhar, M K

    2015-01-01

    The present investigation was aimed at understanding the molecular mechanism of gene amplification. Interplay of fragile sites in promoting gene amplification was also elucidated. The amplification promoting sequences were chosen from the Saccharomyces cerevisiae ARS, 5S rRNA regions of Plantago ovata and P. lagopus, proposed sites of replication pausing at Ste20 gene locus of S. cerevisiae, and the bend DNA sequences within fragile site FRA11A in humans. The gene amplification assays showed that plasmid bearing APS from yeast and human beings led to enhanced protein concentration as compared to the wild type. Both the in silico and in vitro analyses were pointed out at the strong bending potential of these APS. In addition, high mitotic stability and presence of TTTT repeats and SAR amongst these sequences encourage gene amplification. Phylogenetic analysis of S. cerevisiae ARS was also conducted. The combinatorial power of different aspects of APS analyzed in the present investigation was harnessed to reach a consensus about the factors which stimulate gene expression, in presence of these sequences. It was concluded that the mechanism of gene amplification was that AT rich tracts present in fragile sites of yeast serve as binding sites for MAR/SAR and DNA unwinding elements. The DNA protein interactions necessary for ORC activation are facilitated by DNA bending. These specific bindings at ORC promote repeated rounds of DNA replication leading to gene amplification. PMID:25685838

  13. Association of wintering raptors with Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program grasslands in Pennsylvania

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilson, A.; Brittingham, M.; Grove, G.

    2010-01-01

    Conservation grasslands can provide valuable habitat resource for breeding songbirds, but their value for wintering raptors has received little attention. We hypothesized that increased availability of grassland habitat through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) has resulted in an increase or redistribution in numbers of four species of raptors in Pennsylvania since 2001. We tested this by analyzing winter raptor counts from volunteer surveys, conducted from 2001 to 2008, for Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus), Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus), and American Kestrels (Falco sparverius). During that period, numbers of wintering Northern Harriers increased by more than 20% per year. Log-linear Poisson regression models show that all four species increased in the region of Pennsylvania that had the most and longest-established conservation grasslands. At the county scale (N= 67), Bayesian spatial models showed that spatial and temporal population trends of all four species were positively correlated with the amount of conservation grassland. This relationship was particularly strong for Northern Harriers, with numbers predicted to increase by 35.7% per year for each additional 1% of farmland enrolled in CREP. Our results suggest that conservation grasslands are likely the primary cause of the increase in numbers of wintering Northern Harriers in Pennsylvania since 2001. ?? 2010 The Authors. Journal of Field Ornithology ?? 2010 Association of Field Ornithologists.

  14. Abundance of diurnal raptors on open space grasslands in an urbanized landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Berry, M.E.; Bock, C.E.; Haire, S.L.

    1998-01-01

    We conducted point counts of diurnal raptors on Boulder, Colorado, grasslands for three winters and summers, and compared results to landscape features of the count areas. Four wintering species were scarce on plots that included significant amounts of urban habitat, with a critical landscape threshold at about 5-7% urbanization: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis), Rough-legged Hawk (B. lagopus), and Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus). Counts of the first three species also were positively correlated with proximity of the count plots to the nearest colony of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Two breeding species, the Red-tailed Hawk (B. jamaicensis) and Swainson's Hawk (B. swainsoni), were more abundant on plots dominated by lowland hayfields and tallgrass prairies, as opposed to upland mixed and shortgrass prairies. They, along with the ubiquitous American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), were not sensitive to the amounts of urbanization (up to 30%) that occurred in the landscapes sampled. Results of this study suggest that urban open space grasslands can support sizable populations of most diurnal raptors, as long as prey populations persist, but that some species are highly sensitive to landscape urbanization.

  15. Depredation of common eider, Somateria mollissima, nests on a central Beaufort Sea barrier island: A case where no one wins

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reed, J.A.; Lacroix, D.L.; Flint, P.L.

    2007-01-01

    Along the central Beaufort Sea, Pacific Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima v-nigra) nest on unvegetated, barrier islands; often near nesting Glaucous Gulls (Larus hyperboreus). Nest-site choice likely reflects a strategy of predator avoidance: nesting on islands to avoid mammalian predators and near territorial gulls to avoid other avian predators. We observed a nesting colony of Common Eiders from first nest initiation through nesting termination on Egg Island near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (2002 - 2003). Resident gulls depredated many eider nests, mostly during initiation. All nests failed when an Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus) visited the island and flushed hens from their nests, exposing the eggs to depredation by the fox and gulls (resident and non-resident). Common Eiders actively defended nests from gulls, but not from foxes. Likely all three species (i.e., eiders, gulls, and foxes) ultimately achieved negligible benefit from their nest-site selection or predatory activity: (a) island nesting provided no safety from mammalian predators for eiders or gulls, (b) for Common Eiders, nesting near gulls increased egg loss, (c) for Glaucous Gulls, nesting near colonial eiders may have reduced nest success by attracting the fox, and (d) for Arctic Foxes, the depredation was of questionable value, as most eggs were cached and probably not recoverable (due to damage from fall storms). Thus, the predator-prey interactions we observed appear to be a case where little or no fitness advantage was realized by any of the species involved.

  16. Phylogenetic comparison of Leucocytozoon spp. from wild birds of Japan.

    PubMed

    Sato, Yukita; Hagihara, Mio; Yamaguchi, Tsuyoshi; Yukawa, Masayoshi; Murata, Koichi

    2007-01-01

    Eight species of Japanese birds were found to be infected with Leucocytozoon species using microscopic analysis. We used PCR and sequence analysis of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (cyt b) to compare the genetic background among these detected protozoa species. In 20 individuals of 22 samples, a single amplified band was detected from 6 of 8 bird species; 9 Japanese rock ptarmigans (Lagopus mutus japonicus), 4 large-billed crows (Corvus macrorhynchos), 2 carrion crows (C. corone), 2 scops owls (Otus scops), 1 Japanese grosbeak (Eophona personata), and 2 brown-eared bulbuls (Hypsipetes amaurotis), respectively. Phylogenetic analysis based on the partial cyt b sequences revealed that all Leucocytozoon isolates in Japan closely grouped with other Leucocytozoon species previously reported in the literature. Among the Japanese isolates, the phylogenetic tree suggested that L. lovati from the Japanese rock ptarmigan may be basal to the parasites found in other bird species. Our study is the first to identify the molecular relationships among Leucocytozoon parasites in the avifauna of Japan. PMID:17283401

  17. Influence of dietary feathers on the fecal microbiota in captive Arctic fox: do dietary hair or feathers play a role in the evolution of carnivorous mammals?

    PubMed

    Zhang, Liang; Yang, Shuhui; Xu, Yanchun; Dahmer, Thomas D

    2014-11-01

    Hair and feathers are composed of keratin and are indigestible, inalimental and unpalatable for carnivores. However, carnivores often ingest hair and feathers during feeding or when grooming. We hypothesized that ingestion of hair and feathers changes species diversity and relative abundance of bacteria in the gut of carnivores. To test this hypothesis, we added disinfected poultry down feathers to the normal diet of captive Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). We then used fluorescently labeled terminal restriction fragments (T-RFs) to examine changes in fecal bacterial diversity and abundance. The results showed that the number of bacterial species increased significantly after feather ingestion, but that total abundance was unchanged. This demonstrated that addition of disinfected feathers to the diet stimulated increased production among less abundant bacteria, resulting in a balancing of relative abundance of different bacterial species, or that some newly-ingested microbial species would colonize the gut because a suitable microhabitat had become available. This implies that the overall production of bacterial metabolites would be made up of a greater range of substances after feather ingestion. On one hand, the host's immune response would be more diverse, increasing the capacity of the immune system to regulate gut microflora. On the other hand, the animal's physiological performance would also be affected. For wild animals, such altered physiological traits would be subjected to natural selection, and, hence, persistent geographic differences in the character of ingested feathers or fur would drive speciation. PMID:25420637

  18. Enhancement of local species richness in tundra by seed dispersal through guts of muskox and barnacle goose.

    PubMed

    Bruun, Hans Henrik; Lundgren, Rebekka; Philipp, Marianne

    2008-02-01

    The potential contribution of vertebrate-mediated seed rain to the maintenance of plant community richness in a High Arctic ecosystem was investigated. We analyzed viable seed content in dung of the four numerically most important terrestrial vertebrates in Northeast Greenland - muskox (Ovibos moschatus), barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis), Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) and Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus). High numbers of plant propagules were found in the dung of muskox and barnacle goose. Seeds of many plant species were found in the faeces of one vertebrate species only. Propagule composition in barnacle goose droppings was relatively uniform over samples, with a high abundance of the nutritious bulbils of Polygonum viviparum (Bistorta vivipara), suggesting that geese have a narrow habitat preference and feed selectively. Propagule composition in muskox dung was diverse and heterogeneous among samples, suggesting a generalist approach in terms of food selection and the haphazard ingestion of plant propagules with foliage. The species composition of plant propagules in dung samples was different from that of the receiving plant communities (in terms of the Sørensen and Czekanowski dissimilarity indices), and dung deposition, especially by muskox, often brought new species to the receiving community. The results suggest that endozoochorous propagule dispersal in the Arctic has a great potential in the generation and maintenance of local species richness, albeit being little specialized. It is further suggested that endozoochory is an important means of long-distance dispersal and, thereby, of plant migration in response to climate change. PMID:17990003

  19. Late Quaternary mammalian zoogeography of eastern Washington

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lyman, R. Lee; Livingston, Stephanie D.

    1983-11-01

    The late Quaternary mammalian zoogeographic history of eastern Washington as revealed by archaeological and paleontological research conforms to a set of past environmental conditions inferred from botanical data. During the relatively cool and moist late Pleistocene and early Holocene, Cervus cf. elaphus, Ovis canadensis, Vulpes vulpes, Martes americana, Alopex lagopus, and perhaps Rangifer sp., taxa with ecological preferences for mesic steppe habitats, were present in the now xeric Columbia Basin. As the climate became progressively warmer and drier during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene, Antilocapra americana, Onychomys leucogaster, Spermophilus townsendii, and Neotoma cinerea, taxa with ecological preferences for xeric steppe habitats, appear in the Columbia Basin. Bison sp. and Taxidea taxus may have been present in eastern Washington for the last 20,000 yr. Middle and late Holocene records for Oreamnos americanus, Spermophilus columbianus, S. townsendii, Lagurus curtatus, and Urocyon cinereoargenteus in central eastern Washington suggest fluctuations in the ranges of these taxa that conform to a middle Holocene period of less effective precipitation and a ca. 3500-yr-old period of more effective precipitation before essentially modern environmental conditions prevailed.

  20. Organophosphorous flame retardants in biota from Svalbard, Norway.

    PubMed

    Hallanger, Ingeborg G; Sagerup, Kjetil; Evenset, Anita; Kovacs, Kit M; Leonards, Pim; Fuglei, Eva; Routti, Heli; Aars, Jon; Strøm, Hallvard; Lydersen, Christian; Gabrielsen, Geir Wing

    2015-12-15

    Eight arctic species, including fish, birds and mammals, from diverse habitats (marine and terrestrial) within the Svalbard Archipelago, Norway, were screened for 14 organophosphorus flame retardant (PFR) compounds. Ten PFRs were detected: tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate (TCEP), tris(2-chloroisopropyl)phosphate (TCIPP), tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCIPP), triphenyl phosphate (TPHP); 2-ethylhexyl diphenyl phosphate (EHDPP); tris(2-butoxyethyl)phosphate (TBOEP); tritolyl phosphate (TCrP); triisobutyl phosphate (TIBP); tris(2-ethylhexyl)phosphate (TEHP); and butyl diphenyl phosphate (DPhBP). The greatest number of different PFR compounds, and the highest detection frequency were measured in capelin (Mallotus villotus), and the lowest in Brünnich's guillemot (Uria lomvia). The highest concentrations of ?PFR, as well as the highest concentration of a single PFR compound, TBOEP, were measured in arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus). The presence of PFR compounds in arctic biota indicates that these compounds can undergo long-range transport and are, to some degree, persistent and bioaccumulated. The potential for biomagnification from fish to higher trophic levels seems to be limited. PMID:26453403

  1. Genetic structure of the Common Eider in the western Aleutian Islands prior to fox eradication

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Wilson, Robert E.; Petersen, Margaret R.; Williams, Jeffrey C.; Byrd, G. Vernon; McCracken, Kevin G.

    2013-01-01

    Since the late 18th century bird populations residing in the Aleutian Archipelago have been greatly reduced by introduced arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). We analyzed data from microsatellite, nuclear intron, and mitochondrial (mtDNA) loci to examine the spatial genetic structure, demography, and gene flow among four Aleutian Island populations of the Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) much reduced by introduced foxes. In mtDNA, we found high levels of genetic structure within and between island groups (?ST = 0.643), but we found no population subdivision in microsatellites or nuclear introns. Differences in genetic structure between the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes are consistent with the Common Eider's breeding and winter biology, as females are highly philopatric and males disperse. Nevertheless, significant differences between islands in the mtDNA of males and marginal significance (P =0.07) in the Z-linked locus Smo 1 suggest that males may also have some level of fidelity to island groups. Severe reduction of populations by the fox, coupled with females' high philopatry, may have left the genetic signature of a bottleneck effect, resulting in the high levels of genetic differentiation observed in mtDNA (?ST = 0.460–0.807) between islands only 440 km apart. Reestablishment of the Common Eider following the fox's eradication was likely through recruitment from within the islands and bolstered by dispersal from neighboring islands, as suggested by the lack of genetic structure and asymmetry in gene flow between Attu and the other Near Islands.

  2. Reproductive characteristics of migratory golden eagles in Denali National Park, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McIntyre, Carol L.; Adams, Layne G.

    1999-01-01

    We describe reproductive characteristics of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) breeding in Denali National Park, Alaska during an entire snowshoe hare( Lepus americanus) cycle, 1988-1997. Data on nesting eagles were collected at 58 to 72 nesting areas annually using two aerial surveys. Surveys were conducted during the incubation period to determine occupancy and nesting activities and late in the nestling period to count nestlings and determine nesting success. Annual occupancy rates of nesting areas did not vary significantly, whereas laying rates, success rates, and mean brood size varied significantly over the study period. Fledgling production for the study population varied sevenfold during the ten-year period. Laying rates, mean brood size, and overall population productivity were significantly correlated with abundance of cyclic snowshoe hare and Willow Ptarmigan (Lugopus lagopus) populations. Reproductive rates of Golden Eagles in Denali were similar to those of Golden Eagles from other high latitude study areas in North America, but lower than for Golden Eagles from temperate zone study areas in North America.

  3. Heptachlor seed treatment contaminates hawks, owls, and eagles of Columbia Basin, Oregon

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Henny, C.J.; Blus, L.J.; Kaiser, T.E.

    1984-01-01

    We evaluated organochlorine residues in 12 species of hawks. owls, and eagles from the Columbia Basin of Oregon between 1978 and 1981. Companion studies showed that heptachlor epoxide (HE) induced adult mortality and reduced productivity of the Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) and American Kestrel (Falco sparverius).ln this study, brain tissue from raptors found dead and sample eggs from 90 nests were analyzed for organochlorines. The primary concern was HE that entered raptor food chains through the ingestion of heptachlor-treated seed by their prey. HE residues were detected in eggs from 9 of 10 species and ranged as high as 4.75 ppm (wet wt), but no definite effects of HE on productivity were readily apparent from the limited series of nests. However, the hazard of heptachlor seed treatments to birds of prey was demonstrated by the occurrence of lethal residues of HE in brain tissue of 3 Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) and 1 Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus). Other organochlorine pesticides were present in the eggs and significant relationships were found between DDE and eggshell thickness for the Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) and Western Screech-Owl (Otus kennicotti), although shell thinning (9.6% and 7.4%) was below the generally accepted range where reproductive problems have been known to occur.

  4. Virological Investigation of Avian Influenza Virus on Postglacial Species of Phasianidae and Tetraonidae in the Italian Alps

    PubMed Central

    Delogu, Mauro; Ghetti, Giulia; Gugiatti, Alessandro; Cotti, Claudia; Piredda, Isabella; Frasnelli, Matteo; De Marco, Maria A.

    2013-01-01

    Land-based birds, belonging to Galliformes order are considered to be potential intermediaries in the emergence of new strains of influenza A viruses (AIVs), but the viral circulation in these birds remains largely unknown. To gain insights into the circulation of AIV in the wild Galliformes populations in Italian Alps, we conducted a virological survey on rock partridge (Alectoris graeca saxatilis) belonging to Phasianidae family and on tetraonids including rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus helveticus) and black grouse (Tetrao tetrix tetrix). In 2003 and 2004, during the hunting seasons, 79 wild Galliformes, categorised into age and sex classes, were hunted in the Sondrio Province (Central Alps). Cloacal swabs were collected from 11 rock partridges and from 68 tetraonids including 23 alpine rock ptarmigans and 45 black grouses. We tested cloacal swabs by a high sensitive reverse transcription- (RT-) PCR detecting the matrix gene of AIV. No AIV was detected in the investigated samples, thus, suggesting the lack of AIV circulation in these relict populations in the study period. In terms of threatened species conservation, during wildlife management activities, it is very important to exclude the introduction of AIV-carrier birds in shared territories, a fact representing a health risk for these populations. PMID:24167732

  5. Estimates of annual survival, growth, and recruitment of a white-tailed ptarmigan population in Colorado over 43 years

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wann, Greg; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Braun, Clait E.

    2014-01-01

    Long-term datasets for high-elevation species are rare, and considerable uncertainty exists in understanding how high-elevation populations have responded to recent climate warming. We present estimates of demographic vital rates from a 43-year population study of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura), a species endemic to alpine habitats in western North America. We used capture-recapture models to estimate annual rates of apparent survival, population growth, and recruitment for breeding-age ptarmigan, and we fit winter weather covariates to models in an attempt to explain annual variation. There were no trends in survival over the study period but there was strong support for age and sex effects. The average rate of annual growth suggests a relatively stable breeding-age population ( ? ¯ = 1.036), but there was considerable variation between years for both population growth and recruitment rates. Winter weather covariates only explained a small amount of variation in female survival and were not an important predictor of male survival. Cumulative winter precipitation was found to have a quadratic effect on female survival, with survival being highest during years of average precipitation. Cumulative winter precipitation was positively correlated with population growth and recruitment rates, although this covariate only explained a small amount of annual variation in these rates and there was considerable uncertainty among the models tested. Our results provide evidence for an alpine-endemic population that has not experienced extirpation or drastic declines. However, more information is needed to understand risks and vulnerabilities of warming effects on juveniles as our analysis was confined to determination of vital rates for breeding-age birds.

  6. High exposure rates of anticoagulant rodenticides in predatory bird species in intensively managed landscapes in Denmark.

    PubMed

    Christensen, Thomas Kjær; Lassen, Pia; Elmeros, Morten

    2012-10-01

    The extensive use of anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) for rodent control has led to widespread secondary exposure in nontarget predatory wildlife species. We investigated exposure rates and concentrations of five ARs in liver samples from five raptors and six owls from Denmark. A total of 430 birds were analysed. ARs were detected in 84-100 % of individual birds within each species. Multiple AR exposure was detected in 73 % of all birds. Average number of substances detected in individual birds was 2.2 with no differences between owls and raptors. Difenacoum, bromadiolone, and brodifacoum were the most prevalent substances and occurred in the highest concentrations. Second-generation ARs made up 96 % of the summed AR burden. Among the six core species (sample size >30), summed AR concentrations were lower in rough-legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus) and long-eared owl (Asio otus) than in barn owl (Tyto alba), buzzard (B. buteo), kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), and tawny owl (Strix aluco). There was a strong tendency for seasonal variations in the summed AR concentration with levels being lowest during autumn, which is probably related to an influx of less-exposed migrating birds from northern Scandinavia during autumn. High hepatic AR residue concentrations (>100 ng/g wet weight), which have been associated with symptoms of rodenticide poisoning and increased mortality, were recorded high frequencies (12.9-37.4 %) in five of the six core species. The results suggest that the present use of ARs in Denmark, at least locally, may have adverse effects on reproduction and, ultimately, population status in some raptors and owls. PMID:22588365

  7. Impact of transient climate change upon Grouse population dynamics in the Italian Alps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pirovano, Andrea; Bocchiola, Daniele

    2010-05-01

    Understanding the effect of short to medium term weather condition, and of transient global warming upon wildlife species life history is essential to predict the demographic consequences therein, and possibly develop adaptation strategies, especially in game species, where hunting mortality may play an important role in population dynamics. We carried out a preliminary investigation of observed impact of weather variables upon population dynamics indexes of three alpine Grouse species (i.e. Rock Ptarmigan, Lagopus Mutus, Black Grouse, Tetrao Tetrix, Rock Partridge, Alectoris Graeca), nested within central Italian Alps, based upon 15 years (1995-2009) of available censuses data, provided by the Sondrio Province authority. We used a set of climate variables already highlighted within recent literature for carrying considerable bearing on Grouse population dynamics, including e.g. temperature at hatching time and during winter, snow cover at nesting, and precipitation during nursing period. We then developed models of Grouses' population dynamics by explicitly driving population change according to their dependence upon the significant weather variables and population density and we evaluated objective indexes to assess the so obtained predictive power. Eventually, we develop projection of future local climate, based upon locally derived trends, and upon projections from GCMs (A2 IPCC storyline) already validated for the area, to project forward in time (until 2100 or so) the significant climatic variables, which we then use to force population dynamics models of the target species. The projected patterns obtained through this exercise are discussed and compared against those expected under stationary climate conditions at present, and preliminary conclusions are drawn.

  8. Effects of Climate Change on Habitat Availability and Configuration for an Endemic Coastal Alpine Bird

    PubMed Central

    Jackson, Michelle M.; Gergel, Sarah E.; Martin, Kathy

    2015-01-01

    North America’s coastal mountains are particularly vulnerable to climate change, yet harbour a number of endemic species. With little room “at the top” to track shifting climate envelopes, alpine species may be especially negatively affected by climate-induced habitat fragmentation. We ask how climate change will affect the total amount, mean patch size, and number of patches of suitable habitat for Vancouver Island White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura saxatilis; VIWTP), a threatened, endemic alpine bird. Using a Random Forest model and a unique dataset consisting of citizen science observations combined with field surveys, we predict the distribution and configuration of potential suitable summer habitat for VIWTP under baseline and future (2020s, 2050s, and 2080s) climates using three general circulation models and two greenhouse gas scenarios. VIWTP summer habitat is predicted to decline by an average of 25%, 44%, and 56% by the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s, respectively, under the low greenhouse gas scenario and 27%, 59%, and 74% under the high scenario. Habitat patches are predicted to become fragmented, with a 52–79% reduction in mean patch size. The average elevation of suitable habitat patches is expected to increase, reflecting a loss of patches at lower elevations. Thus ptarmigan are in danger of being “squeezed off the mountain”, as their remaining suitable habitat will be increasingly confined to mountaintops in the center of the island. The extent to which ptarmigan will be able to persist in increasingly fragmented habitat is unclear. Much will depend on their ability to move throughout a more heterogeneous landscape, utilize smaller breeding areas, and survive increasingly variable climate extremes. Our results emphasize the importance of continued monitoring and protection for high elevation specialist species, and suggest that White-tailed Ptarmigan should be considered an indicator species for alpine ecosystems in the face of climate change. PMID:26529306

  9. Regional Distribution Shifts Help Explain Local Changes in Wintering Raptor Abundance: Implications for Interpreting Population Trends

    PubMed Central

    Paprocki, Neil; Heath, Julie A.; Novak, Stephen J.

    2014-01-01

    Studies of multiple taxa across broad-scales suggest that species distributions are shifting poleward in response to global climate change. Recognizing the influence of distribution shifts on population indices will be an important part of interpreting trends within management units because current practice often assumes that changes in local populations reflect local habitat conditions. However, the individual- and population-level processes that drive distribution shifts may occur across a large, regional scale and have little to do with the habitats within the management unit. We examined the latitudinal center of abundance for the winter distributions of six western North America raptor species using Christmas Bird Counts from 1975–2011. Also, we considered whether population indices within western North America Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) were explained by distribution shifts. All six raptors had significant poleward shifts in their wintering distributions over time. Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus) and Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) showed the fastest rate of change, with 8.41 km yr?1 and 7.74 km yr?1 shifts, respectively. Raptors may be particularly responsive to warming winters because of variable migration tendencies, intraspecific competition for nesting sites that drives males to winter farther north, or both. Overall, 40% of BCR population trend models were improved by incorporating information about wintering distributions; however, support for the effect of distribution on BCR indices varied by species with Rough-legged Hawks showing the most evidence. These results emphasize the importance of understanding how regional distribution shifts influence local-scale population indices. If global climate change is altering distribution patterns, then trends within some management units may not reflect changes in local habitat conditions. The methods used to monitor and manage bird populations within local BCRs will fundamentally change as species experience changes in distribution in response to climate change. PMID:24466253

  10. Detection probability of cliff-nesting raptors during helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft surveys in western Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Booms, T.L.; Schempf, P.F.; McCaffery, B.J.; Lindberg, M.S.; Fuller, M.R.

    2010-01-01

    We conducted repeated aerial surveys for breeding cliff-nesting raptors on the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge (YDNWR) in western Alaska to estimate detection probabilities of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus), Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus), and also Common Ravens (Corvus corax). Using the program PRESENCE, we modeled detection histories of each species based on single species occupancy modeling. We used different observers during four helicopter replicate surveys in the Kilbuck Mountains and five fixed-wing replicate surveys in the Ingakslugwat Hills near Bethel, AK. During helicopter surveys, Gyrfalcons had the highest detection probability estimate (p^;p^ 0.79; SE 0.05), followed by Golden Eagles (p^=0.68; SE 0.05), Common Ravens (p^=0.45; SE 0.17), and Rough-legged Hawks (p^=0.10; SE 0.11). Detection probabilities from fixed-wing aircraft in the Ingakslugwat Hills were similar to those from the helicopter in the Kilbuck Mountains for Gyrfalcons and Golden Eagles, but were higher for Common Ravens (p^=0.85; SE 0.06) and Rough-legged Hawks (p^=0.42; SE 0.07). Fixed-wing aircraft provided detection probability estimates and SEs in the Ingakslugwat Hills similar to or better than those from helicopter surveys in the Kilbucks and should be considered for future cliff-nesting raptor surveys where safe, low-altitude flight is possible. Overall, detection probability varied by observer experience and in some cases, by study area/aircraft type.

  11. Microbial, chemical and physical aspects of citrus waste composting.

    PubMed

    van Heerden, I; Cronjé, C; Swart, S H; Kotzé, J M

    2002-01-01

    Citrus waste supplemented with calcium hydroxide and with a C/N ratio of 24:1, pH of 6.3 and moisture content of 60% was composted by piling under shelter. With regular turning over of the pile and replenishment of moisture, the thermic phase lasted for 65-70 days and composting was completed after 3 months. Compost thus prepared had an air-filled porosity of 14%, water-holding capacity of 590 ml l(-1), bulk density of 1.05 g cm(-3) and conductivity of 480 mS m(-1). Phosphorus content (in mg l(-1)) was 15, potassium 1,170, calcium 362, magnesium 121, sodium 32, chloride 143, boron 0.31, and water-soluble nitrogen and organic matter 126 and 4788, respectively. Total carbon amounted to 8.85% and total nitrogen to 1.26% of the dry weight, giving a C/N ratio of 7. Mature compost showed some, but acceptable, levels of phytotoxicity. Raw citrus waste was predominantly colonised by mesophilic yeasts. Thermophilous microorganisms present during the thermic phase mainly comprised the bacterial species Bacillus licheniformis, B. macerans and B. stearothermophilus and, to a lesser extent, fungi such as Absidia corymbifera, Aspergillus fumigatus, Emericella nidulans, Penicillium diversum, Paecilomyces variotii, Rhizomucor pusillus, Talaromyces thermophilus and Thermomyces lanuginosus. Bacteria prevalent in the final product included B. licheniformis, B. macerans, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, P. fluorescens, P. luteola and Serratia marcescens, whereas fungi isolated most frequently comprised Aspergillus puniceus, A. ustus, E. nidulans. Paecilomyces lilacinus, T lanuginosus, yeasts and a basidiomycetous species, probably Coprinus lagopus. PMID:11708757

  12. Biogeochemistry and nitrogen cycling in an Arctic, volcanic ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fogel, M. L.; Benning, L.; Conrad, P. G.; Eigenbrode, J.; Starke, V.

    2007-12-01

    As part of a study on Mars Analogue environments, the biogeochemistry of Sverrefjellet Volcano, Bocfjorden, Svalbard, was conducted and compared to surrounding glacial, thermal spring, and sedimentary environments. An understanding of how nitrogen might be distributed in a landscape that had extinct or very cold adapted, slow- growing extant organisms should be useful for detecting unknown life forms. From high elevations (900 m) to the base of the volcano (sea level), soil and rock ammonium concentrations were uniformly low, typically less than 1- 3 micrograms per gm of rock or soil. In weathered volcanic soils, reduced nitrogen concentrations were higher, and oxidized nitrogen concentrations lower. The opposite was found in a weathered Devonian sedimentary soil. Plants and lichens growing on volcanic soils have an unusually wide range in N isotopic compositions from -5 to +12‰, a range rarely measured in temperate ecosystems. Nitrogen contents and isotopic compositions of volcanic soils and rocks were strongly influenced by the presence or absence of terrestrial herbivores or marine avifauna with higher concentrations of N and elevated N isotopic compositions occurring as patches in areas immediately influenced by reindeer, Arctic fox ( Alopex lagopus), and marine birds. Because of the extreme conditions in this area, ephemeral deposition of herbivore feces results in a direct and immediate N pulses into the ecosystem. The lateral extent and distribution of marine- derived nitrogen was measured on a landscape scale surrounding an active fox den. Nitrogen was tracked from the bones of marine birds to soil to vegetation. Because of extreme cold, slow biological rates and nitrogen cycling, a mosaic of N patterns develops on the landscape scale.

  13. A hierarchical model combining distance sampling and time removal to estimate detection probability during avian point counts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Amundson, Courtney L.; Royle, J. Andrew; Handel, Colleen M.

    2014-01-01

    Imperfect detection during animal surveys biases estimates of abundance and can lead to improper conclusions regarding distribution and population trends. Farnsworth et al. (2005) developed a combined distance-sampling and time-removal model for point-transect surveys that addresses both availability (the probability that an animal is available for detection; e.g., that a bird sings) and perceptibility (the probability that an observer detects an animal, given that it is available for detection). We developed a hierarchical extension of the combined model that provides an integrated analysis framework for a collection of survey points at which both distance from the observer and time of initial detection are recorded. Implemented in a Bayesian framework, this extension facilitates evaluating covariates on abundance and detection probability, incorporating excess zero counts (i.e. zero-inflation), accounting for spatial autocorrelation, and estimating population density. Species-specific characteristics, such as behavioral displays and territorial dispersion, may lead to different patterns of availability and perceptibility, which may, in turn, influence the performance of such hierarchical models. Therefore, we first test our proposed model using simulated data under different scenarios of availability and perceptibility. We then illustrate its performance with empirical point-transect data for a songbird that consistently produces loud, frequent, primarily auditory signals, the Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla); and for 2 ptarmigan species (Lagopus spp.) that produce more intermittent, subtle, and primarily visual cues. Data were collected by multiple observers along point transects across a broad landscape in southwest Alaska, so we evaluated point-level covariates on perceptibility (observer and habitat), availability (date within season and time of day), and abundance (habitat, elevation, and slope), and included a nested point-within-transect and park-level effect. Our results suggest that this model can provide insight into the detection process during avian surveys and reduce bias in estimates of relative abundance but is best applied to surveys of species with greater availability (e.g., breeding songbirds).

  14. Plants as bioindicators for archaeological prospection: a case of study from Domitian's Stadium in the Palatine (Rome, Italy).

    PubMed

    Ceschin, S; Caneva, G

    2013-06-01

    In this study, we analyzed the relationship between buried archaeological remains (masonries, pavements, and ancient ruins) and spontaneous vegetation growing above them. We carried out several vegetation surveys in the Domitian's Stadium at the archaeological site of the Palatine (Rome). Vegetation data were collected using the Braun-Blanquet approach and elaborated using statistical analyses (cluster analysis) to assess the similarity among surveys. Structural, chorological, and ecological features of the plant communities were analyzed. Results showed that the vegetation responds significantly to the presence of sub-emerging ancient remains. The plant bioindication of this phenomenon occurs through the following floristic-vegetation variations: phenological alterations in single individuals (reduction in height, displacement of flowering/fruiting period), increase of annual species and decrease of perennial ones, decrease of total plant coverage, reduction of maturity level of the vegetation which remains blocked at a pioneer evolutive stage. The presence of sub-surfacing ruins manifests itself through the dominant occurrence of xerophilous and not-nitrophilous species (e.g., Hypochaeris achyrophorus L., Aira elegantissima Schur, Trifolium scabrum L. ssp. scabrum, Trifolium stellatum L., Plantago lagopus L., Medicago minima (L.) L., and Catapodium rigidum (L.) C.E. Hubb. ex Dony ssp. rigidum) and in a rarefaction of more mesophilous and nitrophilous species (e.g., Plantago lanceolata L., Trifolium pratense L. ssp. pratense, Trifolium repens L. ssp. repens, and Poa trivialis L.). Therefore, the vegetation can be used as bioindicator for the detection of buried ruins, contributing in the archaeological prospection for a general, fast, and inexpensive interpretation of the underground. PMID:23114916

  15. Predation pressure by avian predators suggests summer limitation of small-mammal populations in the Canadian Arctic.

    PubMed

    Therrien, J F; Gauthier, G; Korpimäki, E; Bêty, J

    2014-01-01

    Predation has been suggested to be especially important in simple food webs and less productive ecosystems such as the arctic tundra, but very few data are available to evaluate this hypothesis. We examined the hypothesis that avian predators could drive the population dynamics of two cyclic lemming species in the Canadian Arctic. A dense and diverse suite of predatory birds, including the Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus), the Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus), and the Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus), inhabits the arctic tundra and prey on collared (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus) and brown (Lemmus trimucronatus) lemmings during the snow-free period. We evaluated the predation pressure exerted by these predators by combining their numerical (variation in breeding and fledgling numbers) and functional (variation in diet and daily consumption rates) responses to variations in lemming densities over the 2004-2010 period. Breeding density and number of fledglings produced by the three main avian predators increased sharply without delay in response to increasing lemming densities. The proportion of collared lemmings in the diet of those predators was high at low lemming density (both species) but decreased as lemming density increased. However, we found little evidence that their daily consumption rates vary in relation to changes in lemming density. Total consumption rate by avian predators initially increased more rapidly for collared lemming but eventually leveled off at a much higher value for brown lemmings, the most abundant species at our site. The combined daily predation rate of avian predators exceeded the maximum daily potential growth rates of both lemming species except at the highest recorded densities for brown lemmings. We thus show, for the first time, that predation pressure exerted without delay by avian predators can limit populations of coexisting lemming species during the snow-free period, and thus, that predation could play a role in the cyclic dynamic of these species in the tundra. PMID:24649646

  16. Alpine plant community trends on the elk summer range of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: an analysis of existing data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zeigenfuss, Linda C.

    2006-01-01

    The majority of the elk (Cervus elaphus) population of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado summer in the parka??s high elevation alpine and subalpine meadows and willow krummholz. The parka??s population of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus altipetens) depends on both dwarf and krummholz willows for food and cover. Concern about the effects of elk herbivory on these communities prompted the monitoring of 12 vegetation transects in these regions from 1971 to 1996. Over this 25-year period, data were collected on plant species cover and frequency and shrub heights. These data have not been statistically analyzed for trends in measured variable over time to determine changes in species abundance. Krummholz willow species (Salix planifolia, S. brachycarpa) declined 17-20 percent in cover and about 25 centimeters in height over the study period. Graminoids (particularly Deschampsia caespitosa, Carex, and Poa) increased slightly from 1971 to 1996. No significant increases of nonnative plant species were observed. An increase in presence of bare ground over the 25-year period warrants continued measurement of these transects. Lack of good data on elk density, distribution, or sue levels precluded correlating changes in plant species cover, frequency, or heights with elk population trends. I recommend development of a more rigorously designed monitoring program that includes these transects as well as other chosen on a random or stratified design and consistent measurement protocol and sampling intervals. Some method of quantifying elk use, either through measurement of plant utilization, pellet counts, or census-type surveys, would allow correlation of changes in plant species over time with changes in elk distribution and density on the parka??s alpine and subalpine regions.

  17. Oral Rabies Vaccination in North America: Opportunities, Complexities, and Challenges

    PubMed Central

    Slate, Dennis; Algeo, Timothy P.; Nelson, Kathleen M.; Chipman, Richard B.; Donovan, Dennis; Blanton, Jesse D.; Niezgoda, Michael; Rupprecht, Charles E.

    2009-01-01

    Steps to facilitate inter-jurisdictional collaboration nationally and continentally have been critical for implementing and conducting coordinated wildlife rabies management programs that rely heavily on oral rabies vaccination (ORV). Formation of a national rabies management team has been pivotal for coordinated ORV programs in the United States of America. The signing of the North American Rabies Management Plan extended a collaborative framework for coordination of surveillance, control, and research in border areas among Canada, Mexico, and the US. Advances in enhanced surveillance have facilitated sampling of greater scope and intensity near ORV zones for improved rabies management decision-making in real time. The value of enhanced surveillance as a complement to public health surveillance was best illustrated in Ohio during 2007, where 19 rabies cases were detected that were critical for the formulation of focused contingency actions for controlling rabies in this strategically key area. Diverse complexities and challenges are commonplace when applying ORV to control rabies in wild meso-carnivores. Nevertheless, intervention has resulted in notable successes, including the elimination of an arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) rabies virus variant in most of southern Ontario, Canada, with ancillary benefits of elimination extending into Quebec and the northeastern US. Progress continues with ORV toward preventing the spread and working toward elimination of a unique variant of gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) rabies in west central Texas. Elimination of rabies in coyotes (Canis latrans) through ORV contributed to the US being declared free of canine rabies in 2007. Raccoon (Procyon lotor) rabies control continues to present the greatest challenges among meso-carnivore rabies reservoirs, yet to date intervention has prevented this variant from gaining a broad geographic foothold beyond ORV zones designed to prevent its spread from the eastern US. Progress continues toward the development and testing of new bait-vaccine combinations that increase the chance for improved delivery and performance in the diverse meso-carnivore rabies reservoir complex in the US. PMID:20027214

  18. Importance of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska for aquatic birds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bart, Jonathan; Platte, Robert M.; Andres, Brad; Brown, Stephen; Johnson, James A.; Larned, William

    2013-01-01

    We used data from aerial surveys (1992–2010) of >100,000 km2 and ground surveys (1998–2004) of >150 km2 to estimate the density and abundance of birds on the North Slope of Alaska (U.S.A.). In the ground surveys, we used double sampling to estimate detection ratios. We used the aerial survey data to compare densities of birds and Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), the major nest predator of birds, on the North Slope, in Prudhoe Bay, and in nearby areas. We partitioned the Prudhoe Bay oil field into 2 × 2 km plots and determined the relation between density of aquatic birds and density of roads, buildings, and other infrastructure in these plots. Abundance and density (birds per square kilometer) of 3 groups of aquatic birds—waterfowl, loons, and grebes; shorebirds; and gulls, terns, and jaegers—were highest in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska (NPRA) and lowest in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Six other major wetlands occur in the Arctic regions of Canada and Russia, but the largest population of aquatic birds was in the NPRA. Aquatic birds were concentrated in the northern part of the NPRA. For example, an area that covered 18% of the NPRA included 53% of its aquatic birds. The aerial surveys showed that bird density was not lower and fox density was not higher in Prudhoe Bay than in surrounding areas. Density of infrastructure did not significantly affect bird density for any group of species. Our results establish that the NPRA is one of the most important areas for aquatic birds in the Arctic. Our results and those of others also indicate that oil production, as practiced in Prudhoe Bay, does not necessarily lead to substantial declines in bird density or productivity in or near the developed areas.

  19. Bald eagles and sea otters in the Aleutian Archipelago: indirect effects of trophic cascades.

    PubMed

    Anthony, Robert G; Estes, James A; Ricca, Mark A; Miles, A Keith; Forsman, Eric D

    2008-10-01

    Because sea otters (Enhydra lutris) exert a wide array of direct and indirect effects on coastal marine ecosystems throughout their geographic range, we investigated the potential influence of sea otters on the ecology of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA. We studied the diets, productivity, and density of breeding Bald Eagles on four islands during 1993-1994 and 2000-2002, when sea otters were abundant and scarce, respectively. Bald Eagles depend on nearshore marine communities for most of their prey in this ecosystem, so we predicted that the recent decline in otter populations would have an indirect negative effect on diets and demography of Bald Eagles. Contrary to our predictions, we found no effects on density of breeding pairs on four islands from 1993-1994 to 2000-2002. In contrast, diets and diet diversity of Bald Eagles changed considerably between the two time periods, likely reflecting a change in prey availability resulting from the increase and subsequent decline in sea otter populations. The frequency of sea otter pups, rock greenling (Hexagammus lagocephalus), and smooth lumpsuckers (Aptocyclus ventricosus) in the eagle's diet declined with corresponding increases in Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus), Glaucous-winged Gulls (Larus glaucescens), Atka mackerel (Pleurogrammus monopterygius), and various species of seabirds during the period of the recent otter population decline. Breeding success and productivity of Bald Eagles also increased during this time period, which may be due to the higher nutritional quality of avian prey consumed in later years. Our results provide further evidence of the wide-ranging indirect effects of sea otter predation on nearshore marine communities and another apex predator, the Bald Eagle. Although the indirect effects of sea otters are widely known, this example is unique because the food-web pathway transcended five species and several trophic levels in linking one apex predator to another. PMID:18959310

  20. Genetic characterisation of Toxoplasma gondii in wildlife from North America revealed widespread and high prevalence of the fourth clonal type.

    PubMed

    Dubey, J P; Velmurugan, G V; Rajendran, C; Yabsley, M J; Thomas, N J; Beckmen, K B; Sinnett, D; Ruid, D; Hart, J; Fair, P A; McFee, W E; Shearn-Bochsler, V; Kwok, O C H; Ferreira, L R; Choudhary, S; Faria, E B; Zhou, H; Felix, T A; Su, C

    2011-09-01

    Little is known of the genetic diversity of Toxoplasma gondii circulating in wildlife. In the present study wild animals, from the USA were examined for T. gondii infection. Tissues of naturally exposed animals were bioassayed in mice for isolation of viable parasites. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 31 animals including, to our knowledge for the first time, from a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), five gray wolves (Canis lupus), a woodrat (Neotoma micropus), and five Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). Additionally, 66 T. gondii isolates obtained previously, but not genetically characterised, were revived in mice. Toxoplasma gondii DNA isolated from these 97 samples (31+66) was characterised using 11 PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) markers (SAG1, 5'- and 3'-SAG2, alt.SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1 and Apico). A total of 95 isolates were successfully genotyped. In addition to clonal Types II, and III, 12 different genotypes were found. These genotype data were combined with 74 T. gondii isolates previously characterised from wildlife from North America and a composite data set of 169 isolates comprised 22 genotypes, including clonal Types II, III and 20 atypical genotypes. Phylogenetic network analysis showed limited diversity with dominance of a recently designated fourth clonal type (Type 12) in North America, followed by the Type II and III lineages. These three major lineages together accounted for 85% of strains in North America. The Type 12 lineage includes previously identified Type A and X strains from sea otters. This study revealed that the Type 12 lineage accounts for 46.7% (79/169) of isolates and is dominant in wildlife of North America. No clonal Type I strain was identified among these wildlife isolates. These results suggest that T. gondii strains in wildlife from North America have limited diversity, with the occurrence of only a few major clonal types. PMID:21802422

  1. Bald eagles and sea otters in the Aleutian Archipelago: indirect effects of trophic cascades.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, R.G.; Estes, J.A.; Ricca, M.A.; Miles, A.K.; Forsman, E.D.

    2008-01-01

    Because sea otters (Enhydra lutris) exert a wide array of direct and indirect effects on coastal marine ecosystems throughout their geographic range, we investigated the potential influence of sea otters on the ecology of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA. We studied the diets, productivity, and density of breeding Bald Eagles on four islands during 1993-1994 and 2000-2002, when sea otters were abundant and scarce, respectively. Bald Eagles depend on nearshore marine communities for most of their prey in this ecosystem, so we predicted that the recent decline in otter populations would have an indirect negative effect on diets and demography of Bald Eagles. Contrary to our predictions, we found no effects on density of breeding pairs on four islands from 1993-1994 to 2000-2002. In contrast, diets and diet diversity of Bald Eagles changed considerably between the two time periods, likely reflecting a change in prey availability resulting from the increase and subsequent decline in sea otter populations. The frequency of sea otter pups, rock greenling (Hexagammus lagocephalus), and smooth lumpsuckers (Aptocyclus ventricosus) in the eagle's diet declined with corresponding increases in Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus), Glaucous-winged Gulls (Larus glaucescens), Atka mackerel (Pleurogrammus monopterygius), and various species of seabirds during the period of the recent otter population decline. Breeding success and productivity of Bald Eagles also increased during this time period, which may be due to the higher nutritional quality of avian prey consumed in later years. Our results provide further evidence of the wide-ranging indirect effects of sea otter predation on nearshore marine communities and another apex predator, the Bald Eagle. Although the indirect effects of sea otters are widely known, this example is unique because the food-web pathway transcended five species and several trophic levels in linking one apex predator to another.

  2. Falcon versus grouse: flight adaptations of a predator and its prey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pennycuick, C.J.; Fuller, M.R.; Oar, J.J.; Kirkpatrick, S.J.

    1994-01-01

    Several falcons were trained to fly along a 500 m course to a lure. The air speeds of the more consistent performers averaged about 1.5 times their calculated minimum power speeds, and occasionally reached 2.1 times the minimum power speed. Wing beat frequencies of all the falcons were above those estimated from earlier field observations, and the same was true of wild Sage Grouse Centrocercus urophasianus, a regular falconer's quarry in the study area. Measurements of grouse killed by falcons showed that their wings were short, with broad slotted tips, whereas the falcons' wings were longer in relation to their body mass, and tapered. The short wings of grouse result in fast flight, high power requirements, and reduced capacity for aerobic flight. Calculations indicated that the grouse should fly faster than the falcons, and had the large amount of flight muscle needed to do so, but that the falcons would be capable of prolonged aerobic flight, whereas the grouse probably would not. We surmise that Sage Grouse cannot fly continuously without incurring an oxygen debt, and are therefore not long-distance migrants, although this limitation is partly due to their large size, and would not apply to smaller galliform birds such as ptarmigan Lagopus spp. The wing action seen in video recordings of the falcons was not consistent with the maintenance of constant circulation. We call it 'chase mode' because it appears to be associated with a high level of muscular exertion, without special regard to fuel economy. It shows features in common with the 'bounding' flight of passerines.

  3. Importance of the national petroleum reserve-alaska for aquatic birds.

    PubMed

    Bart, Jonathan; Platte, Robert M; Andres, Brad; Brown, Stephen; Johnson, James A; Larned, William

    2013-12-01

    We used data from aerial surveys (1992-2010) of >100,000 km(2) and ground surveys (1998-2004) of >150 km(2) to estimate the density and abundance of birds on the North Slope of Alaska (U.S.A.). In the ground surveys, we used double sampling to estimate detection ratios. We used the aerial survey data to compare densities of birds and Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), the major nest predator of birds, on the North Slope, in Prudhoe Bay, and in nearby areas. We partitioned the Prudhoe Bay oil field into 2 × 2 km plots and determined the relation between density of aquatic birds and density of roads, buildings, and other infrastructure in these plots. Abundance and density (birds per square kilometer) of 3 groups of aquatic birds-waterfowl, loons, and grebes; shorebirds; and gulls, terns, and jaegers-were highest in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA) and lowest in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Six other major wetlands occur in the Arctic regions of Canada and Russia, but the largest population of aquatic birds was in the NPRA. Aquatic birds were concentrated in the northern part of the NPRA. For example, an area that covered 18% of the NPRA included 53% of its aquatic birds. The aerial surveys showed that bird density was not lower and fox density was not higher in Prudhoe Bay than in surrounding areas. Density of infrastructure did not significantly affect bird density for any group of species. Our results establish that the NPRA is one of the most important areas for aquatic birds in the Arctic. Our results and those of others also indicate that oil production, as practiced in Prudhoe Bay, does not necessarily lead to substantial declines in bird density or productivity in or near the developed areas. Prioridades para la Conservación de Aves en el Norte de Alaska. PMID:23937114

  4. Regional distribution shifts help explain local changes in wintering raptor abundance: implications for interpreting population trends.

    PubMed

    Paprocki, Neil; Heath, Julie A; Novak, Stephen J

    2014-01-01

    Studies of multiple taxa across broad-scales suggest that species distributions are shifting poleward in response to global climate change. Recognizing the influence of distribution shifts on population indices will be an important part of interpreting trends within management units because current practice often assumes that changes in local populations reflect local habitat conditions. However, the individual- and population-level processes that drive distribution shifts may occur across a large, regional scale and have little to do with the habitats within the management unit. We examined the latitudinal center of abundance for the winter distributions of six western North America raptor species using Christmas Bird Counts from 1975-2011. Also, we considered whether population indices within western North America Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) were explained by distribution shifts. All six raptors had significant poleward shifts in their wintering distributions over time. Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus) and Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) showed the fastest rate of change, with 8.41 km yr(-1) and 7.74 km yr(-1) shifts, respectively. Raptors may be particularly responsive to warming winters because of variable migration tendencies, intraspecific competition for nesting sites that drives males to winter farther north, or both. Overall, 40% of BCR population trend models were improved by incorporating information about wintering distributions; however, support for the effect of distribution on BCR indices varied by species with Rough-legged Hawks showing the most evidence. These results emphasize the importance of understanding how regional distribution shifts influence local-scale population indices. If global climate change is altering distribution patterns, then trends within some management units may not reflect changes in local habitat conditions. The methods used to monitor and manage bird populations within local BCRs will fundamentally change as species experience changes in distribution in response to climate change. PMID:24466253

  5. Characterization of a New Epidemic Necrotic Pyoderma in Fur Animals and Its Association with Arcanobacterium phocae Infection

    PubMed Central

    Nordgren, Heli; Aaltonen, Kirsi; Sironen, Tarja; Kinnunen, Paula M.; Kivistö, Ilkka; Raunio-Saarnisto, Mirja; Moisander-Jylhä, Anna-Maria; Korpela, Johanna; Kokkonen, Ulla-Maija; Hetzel, Udo; Sukura, Antti; Vapalahti, Olli

    2014-01-01

    A new type of pyoderma was detected in Finnish fur animals in 2007. The disease continues to spread within and between farms, with severe and potentially fatal symptoms. It compromises animal welfare and causes considerable economic losses to farmers. A case-control study was performed in 2010–2011 to describe the entity and to identify the causative agent. Altogether 99 fur animals were necropsied followed by pathological and microbiological examination. The data indicated that the disease clinically manifests in mink (Neovison vison) by necrotic dermatitis of the feet and facial skin. In finnraccoons (Nyctereutes procyonoides), it causes painful abscesses in the paws. Foxes (Vulpes lagopus) are affected by severe conjunctivitis and the infection rapidly spreads to the eyelids and facial skin. A common finding at necropsy was necrotic pyoderma. Microbiological analysis revealed the presence of a number of potential causative agents, including a novel Streptococcus sp. The common finding from all diseased animals of all species was Arcanobacterium phocae. This bacterium has previously been isolated from marine mammals with skin lesions but this is the first report of A. phocae isolated in fur animals with pyoderma. The results obtained from this study implicate A. phocae as a potential causative pathogen of fur animal epidemic necrotic pyoderma (FENP) and support observations that the epidemic may have originated in a species -shift of the causative agent from marine mammals. The variable disease pattern and the presence of other infectious agents (in particular the novel Streptococcus sp.) suggest a multifactorial etiology for FENP, and further studies are needed to determine the environmental, immunological and infectious factors contributing to the disease. PMID:25302603

  6. Genetic characterisation of Toxoplasma gondii in wildlife from North America revealed widespread and high prevalence of the fourth clonal type

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dubey, J.P.; Velmurugan, G.V.; Ragendran, C.; Yabsley, M.J.; Thomas, N.J.; Beckmen, K.B.; Sinnett, D.; Ruid, D.; Hart, J.; Fair, P.A.; McFee, W.E.; Shearn-Bochsler, V.; Kwok, O.C.H.; Ferreira, L.R.; Choudhary, S.; Faria, E.B.; Zhou, H.; Felix, T.A.; Su, C.

    2011-01-01

    Little is known of the genetic diversity of Toxoplasma gondii circulating in wildlife. In the present study wild animals, from the USA were examined for T. gondii infection. Tissues of naturally exposed animals were bioassayed in mice for isolation of viable parasites. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 31 animals including, to our knowledge for the first time, from a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), five gray wolves (Canis lupus), a woodrat (Neotoma micropus), and five Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). Additionally, 66 T. gondii isolates obtained previously, but not genetically characterised, were revived in mice. Toxoplasma gondii DNA isolated from these 97 samples (31+66) was characterised using 11 PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) markers (SAG1, 5'- and 3'-SAG2, alt.SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1 and Apico). A total of 95 isolates were successfully genotyped. In addition to clonal Types II, and III, 12 different genotypes were found. These genotype data were combined with 74 T. gondii isolates previously characterised from wildlife from North America and a composite data set of 169 isolates comprised 22 genotypes, including clonal Types II, III and 20 atypical genotypes. Phylogenetic network analysis showed limited diversity with dominance of a recently designated fourth clonal type (Type 12) in North America, followed by the Type II and III lineages. These three major lineages together accounted for 85% of strains in North America. The Type 12 lineage includes previously identified Type A and X strains from sea otters. This study revealed that the Type 12 lineage accounts for 46.7% (79/169) of isolates and is dominant in wildlife of North America. No clonal Type I strain was identified among these wildlife isolates. These results suggest that T. gondii strains in wildlife from North America have limited diversity, with the occurrence of only a few major clonal types.

  7. Sarcocystis caninum and Sarcocystis svanai n. spp. (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) Associated with Severe Myositis and Hepatitis in the Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris).

    PubMed

    Dubey, Jitender P; Sykes, Jane E; Shelton, G Diane; Sharp, Nick; Verma, Shiv K; Calero-Bernal, Rafael; Viviano, Jenifer; Sundar, Natarajan; Khan, Asis; Grigg, Michael E

    2015-01-01

    There are several reports of Sarcocystis sarcocysts in muscles of dogs, but these species have not been named. Additionally, there are two reports of Sarcocystis neurona in dogs. Here, we propose two new names, Sarcocystis caninum, and Sarcocystis svanai for sarcocysts associated with clinical muscular sarcocystosis in four domestic dogs (Canis familiaris), one each from Montana and Colorado in the USA, and two from British Columbia, Canada. Only the sarcocyst stage was identified. Most of the sarcocysts identified were S. caninum. Sarcocysts were studied using light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and polymerase chain reaction. Based on collective results two new species, S. caninum and S. svanai were designated. Sarcocystis caninum and S. svanai were structurally distinct. Sarcocystis caninum sarcocysts were up to 1.2 mm long and up to 75 ?m wide. By light microscopy, the sarcocyst wall was relatively thin and smooth. By TEM, the sarcocyst wall was "type 9", 1-2 ?m thick, and contained villar protrusions that lacked microtubules. Bradyzoites in sections were 7-9 ?m long. Sarcocysts of S. svanai were few and were identified by TEM. Sarcocystis svanai sarcocysts were "type 1", thin walled (< 0.5 ?m), and the wall lacked villar protrusions but had tiny blebs that did not invaginate. DNA was extracted either from infected frozen muscle biopsies or formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sections. Dogs were either singly infected with S. caninum or multiply co-infected with S. caninum and S. svanai (the result of a mixed infection) based on multilocus DNA sequencing and morphology. BLASTn analysis established that the sarcocysts identified in these dogs were similar to, but not identical to Sarcocystis canis or Sarcocystis arctosi, parasites found to infect polar bears (Ursus maritimus) or brown bears (Ursus arctosi), respectively. However, the S. caninum sequence showed 100% identify over the 18S rRNA region sequenced to that of S. arctica, a parasite known to infect Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus). PMID:25256157

  8. Ratite and ungulate preferences for woody New Zealand plants: influence of chemical and physical traits 

    E-print Network

    Pollock, Meg L; Lee, William G; Walker, Susan; Forrester, Guy

    2007-01-01

    Ratites (ostriches Struthio camelus) and ungulates (red deer Cervus elaphus scoticus and goats Capra hircus) were presented with 14 indigenous shrubs in cafeteria style trials. The shrubs represented the spectrum of woody ...

  9. Intrapopulation Variability Shaping Isotope Discrimination and Turnover: Experimental Evidence in Arctic Foxes

    PubMed Central

    Lecomte, Nicolas; Ahlstrøm, Øystein; Ehrich, Dorothée; Fuglei, Eva; Ims, Rolf A.; Yoccoz, Nigel G.

    2011-01-01

    Background Tissue-specific stable isotope signatures can provide insights into the trophic ecology of consumers and their roles in food webs. Two parameters are central for making valid inferences based on stable isotopes, isotopic discrimination (difference in isotopic ratio between consumer and its diet) and turnover time (renewal process of molecules in a given tissue usually measured when half of the tissue composition has changed). We investigated simultaneously the effects of age, sex, and diet types on the variation of discrimination and half-life in nitrogen and carbon stable isotopes (?15N and ?13C, respectively) in five tissues (blood cells, plasma, muscle, liver, nail, and hair) of a top predator, the arctic fox Vulpes lagopus. Methodology/Principal Findings We fed 40 farmed foxes (equal numbers of adults and yearlings of both sexes) with diet capturing the range of resources used by their wild counterparts. We found that, for a single species, six tissues, and three diet types, the range of discrimination values can be almost as large as what is known at the scale of the whole mammalian or avian class. Discrimination varied depending on sex, age, tissue, and diet types, ranging from 0.3‰ to 5.3‰ (mean ?=?2.6‰) for ?15N and from 0.2‰ to 2.9‰ (mean ?=?0.9‰) for ?13C. We also found an impact of population structure on ?15N half-life in blood cells. Varying across individuals, ?15N half-life in plasma (6 to 10 days) was also shorter than for ?13C (14 to 22 days), though ?15N and ?13C half-lives are usually considered as equal. Conclusion/Significance Overall, our multi-factorial experiment revealed that at least six levels of isotopic variations could co-occur in the same population. Our experimental analysis provides a framework for quantifying multiple sources of variation in isotopic discrimination and half-life that needs to be taken into account when designing and analysing ecological field studies. PMID:21731715

  10. Effects of space allowance and earthen floor on welfare-related physiological and behavioural responses in male blue foxes.

    PubMed

    Korhonen, H; Niemelä, P; Jauhiainen, L; Tupasela, T

    Welfare-related physiological and behavioural responses were studied in farm-bred male blue foxes (Alopex lagopus). Three different-sized cages (80-cm long [CL80], 120-cm long [CL120], and 240-cm long [CL240]; each 105-cm wide x 70-cm high) with wire-mesh floors and one enlarged cage (CL240E) with both wire-mesh floor (240-cm long x 105-cm wide x 70-cm high) and earthen floor (80-cm long x 105-cm wide x 70-cm high) were compared. N = 30 males for each group. The experiments lasted from weaning in July to pelting in December. Statistical analyses were based on the models accounting for litter as a block effect. Breaking strength of tibia was highest for foxes having access to both wire-mesh and ground floors (CL240E). Stress-induced hyperthermia was evident during capture and immobilisation. The highest rectal temperature (mean +/- SEM) was found in CL240E (capture: 39.6 +/- 0.09 degrees C, restraint:40.0 +/- 0.09 degrees C) and the lowest in CL80 (capture: 39.1 +/- 0.09 degrees C, restraint: 39.7 +/- 0.09 degrees C). Likewise, capture time (median; interquartile range) in the home cage was highest in CL240E (29; 18 to 44) and lowest in CL80 (12; 9 to 14). During capture, foxes tended to withdraw to the farthest site within the cage. CL240E foxes typically showed the most fear towards human. The most confident animals were found in CL80. The cortisol:creatinine ratio (median; interquartile range) obtained from circadian urine did not reveal statistically significant differences among CL80 (3. 5; 2.6 to 4.1), CL120 (2.3; 1.5 to 3.8) and CL240 (2.3, 1.5 to 3.7). The earthen flooring complicated the urine sampling and conclusions for CL240E (1.7; 1.2 to 2.2). CL240E foxes were the most active and explorative on both wire-mesh- and ground-floored open-field arenas. Altogether, 53% of furs from CL240E were classified as very dirty. Dirtiness of furs in other test groups was slight. In conclusion, the present results did not reveal an unambiguous superiority of any of the studied cage options for well-being of farmed blue foxes. PMID:10913798

  11. Predator behaviour and predation risk in the heterogeneous Arctic environment.

    PubMed

    Lecomte, Nicolas; Careau, Vincent; Gauthier, Gilles; Giroux, Jean-François

    2008-05-01

    1. Habitat heterogeneity and predator behaviour can strongly affect predator-prey interactions but these factors are rarely considered simultaneously, especially when systems encompass multiple predators and prey. 2. In the Arctic, greater snow geese Anser caerulescens atlanticus L. nest in two structurally different habitats: wetlands that form intricate networks of water channels, and mesic tundra where such obstacles are absent. In this heterogeneous environment, goose eggs are exposed to two types of predators: the arctic fox Vulpes lagopus L. and a diversity of avian predators. We hypothesized that, contrary to birds, the hunting ability of foxes would be impaired by the structurally complex wetland habitat, resulting in a lower predation risk for goose eggs. 3. In addition, lemmings, the main prey of foxes, show strong population cycles. We thus further examined how their fluctuations influenced the interaction between habitat heterogeneity and fox predation on goose eggs. 4. An experimental approach with artificial nests suggested that foxes were faster than avian predators to find unattended goose nests in mesic tundra whereas the reverse was true in wetlands. Foxes spent 3.5 times more time between consecutive attacks on real goose nests in wetlands than in mesic tundra. Their attacks on goose nests were also half as successful in wetlands than in mesic tundra whereas no difference was found for avian predators. 5. Nesting success in wetlands (65%) was higher than in mesic tundra (56%) but the difference between habitats increased during lemming crashes (15%) compared to other phases of the cycle (5%). Nests located at the edge of wetland patches were also less successful than central ones, suggesting a gradient in accessibility of goose nests in wetlands for foxes. 6. Our study shows that the structural complexity of wetlands decreases predation risk from foxes but not avian predators in arctic-nesting birds. Our results also demonstrate that cyclic lemming populations indirectly alter the spatial distribution of productive nests due to a complex interaction between habitat structure, prey-switching and foraging success of foxes. PMID:18248387

  12. Some autecological characteristics of early to late successional tree species in Venezuela

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kammesheidt, Ludwig

    2000-01-01

    The breadth of the continuum concept of strategy with respect to succession was tested on 21 tree and shrub species common in either unlogged or logged stands, respectively, in the Forest Reserve of Caparo, Venezuela, by examining morphological, physiological and population characteristics. Based on a preliminary abundance analysis, `early', `mid' and `late' successional species as well as `generalists' were distinguished. Early successional species, i.e. Ochroma lagopus, Heliocarpus popayanensis and Cecropia peltata were similar in many autecological aspects, e.g. monolayered leaf arrangement, orthotropic architectural models, no adaptive reiteration, clumped distribution, but differed in gap association and distribution along a drainage gradient. Mid-successional species established themselves both in large and small gaps (> 300 m[sup2 ]; 80-300 m[sup2 ]) and showed a clumped to regular distribution pattern in logged areas; they exhibited more diverse crown and leaf characteristics than early successional species. Late successional species established themselves only in small gaps and understorey, and showed a regular spatial pattern in undisturbed areas. All late successional species displayed architectural models with plagiotropic lateral axes and showed a multilayered leaf arrangement. Adaptive reiteration was a common feature of late successional species which could be further subdivided into large, medium-sized and small trees, indicating different light requirements at maturity. Generalists were common treelet and shrub species in both disturbed and undisturbed sites where they are also capable of completing their life cycle. The light compensation point (LCP) of an individual plant was strongly influenced by its crown illuminance. Large late successional species showed the widest range of LCP values, reflecting the increasing light availability with increasing height in mature forest. On the basis of many autecological characteristics, it was found (i) that there is in fact a continuum of species strategies with respect to succession even among early and mid-successional species and (ii) that the latter group of species showed the widest breadth of autecological traits, reflecting the heterogeneous environment in which they establish and mature.

  13. Detection probability of gyrfalcons and other cliff-nesting raptors during aerial surveys in Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Booms, Travis L.; Fuller, Mark R.; Schempf, Philip F.; McCaffery, Brian J.; Lindberg, Mark S.

    2011-01-01

    Assessing the status of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) and other cliffnesting raptors as the Arctic climate changes often requires aerial surveys of their breeding habitats. Because traditional, count-based surveys that do not adjust for differing detection probabilities can provide faulty inference about population status (Link and Sauer 1998, Thompson 2002), it will be important to incorporate measures of detection probability into survey methods whenever possible. To evaluate the feasibility of this, we conducted repeated aerial surveys for breeding cliff-nesting raptors on the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge (YDNWR) in western Alaska to estimate detection probabilities of Gyrfalcons, Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus), and also Common Ravens (Corvus corax). Using the program PRESENCE, we modeled detection histories of each species based on single species occupancy modeling following MacKenzie et al. (2002, 2006). We used different observers during four helicopter replicate surveys in the Kilbuck Mountains and five fixed-wing replicate surveys in the Ingakslugwat Hills (hereafter called Volcanoes) near Bethel, Alaska. We used the following terms and definitions throughout: Survey Site: site of a nest used previously by a raptor and marked with a GPS-obtained latitude and longitude accurate to within 20 m. All GPS locations were obtained in prior years from a helicopter hovering approximately 10?20 m from a nest. The site was considered occupied if a bird or an egg was detected within approximately 500 m of the nest and this area served as our sampling unit. When multiple historical nests were located on a single cliff, we used only one GPS location to locate the survey site. Detection probability (p): the probability of a species being detected at a site given the site is occupied. Occupancy (?): the probability that the species of interest is present at a site during the survey period. A site was considered occupied if the species was detected there during any of the surveys; confirming breeding status was not necessary for us to consider a site occupied. Here we show that during helicopter surveys, Gyrfalcons had the highest detection probability estimate ( p^; p^ =0.79; SE 0.05), followed by Golden Eagles (p^=0.68; SE 0.05), Common Ravens ( p^ =0.45; SE 0.17), and Rough-legged Hawks ( p^ =0.10; SE 0.11) (Table 1). Detection probabilities from fixed-wing aircraft in the Volcanoes were similar to those from the helicopter in the Kilbuck Mountains for Gyrfalcons and Golden Eagles, but were higher for Common Ravens ( p^ =0.85; SE 0.06) and Rough-legged Hawks ( p^=0.42; SE 0.07). Fixed-wing aircraft provided detection probability estimates and SEs in the Volcanoes similar to or better than those from helicopter surveys in the Kilbucks and should be considered for future cliff-nesting raptor surveys where safe, low-altitude flight is possible. Overall, detection probability varied by observer experience and in some cases, by study area/aircraft type. These results demonstrate that estimating and accounting for detection probability during cliff-nesting raptor surveys is possible, though doing so may require additional effort or shifting priorities in survey protocols.

  14. Exposure and effects assessment of persistent organohalogen contaminants in arctic wildlife and fish.

    PubMed

    Letcher, Robert J; Bustnes, Jan Ove; Dietz, Rune; Jenssen, Bjørn M; Jørgensen, Even H; Sonne, Christian; Verreault, Jonathan; Vijayan, Mathilakath M; Gabrielsen, Geir W

    2010-07-01

    Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) encompass an array of anthropogenic organic and elemental substances and their degradation and metabolic byproducts that have been found in the tissues of exposed animals, especially POPs categorized as organohalogen contaminants (OHCs). OHCs have been of concern in the circumpolar arctic for decades. For example, as a consequence of bioaccumulation and in some cases biomagnification of legacy (e.g., chlorinated PCBs, DDTs and CHLs) and emerging (e.g., brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and in particular polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA) found in Arctic biota and humans. Of high concern are the potential biological effects of these contaminants in exposed Arctic wildlife and fish. As concluded in the last review in 2004 for the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) on the effects of POPs in Arctic wildlife, prior to 1997, biological effects data were minimal and insufficient at any level of biological organization. The present review summarizes recent studies on biological effects in relation to OHC exposure, and attempts to assess known tissue/body compartment concentration data in the context of possible threshold levels of effects to evaluate the risks. This review concentrates mainly on post-2002, new OHC effects data in Arctic wildlife and fish, and is largely based on recently available effects data for populations of several top trophic level species, including seabirds (e.g., glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus)), polar bears (Ursus maritimus), polar (Arctic) fox (Vulpes lagopus), and Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus), as well as semi-captive studies on sled dogs (Canis familiaris). Regardless, there remains a dearth of data on true contaminant exposure, cause-effect relationships with respect to these contaminant exposures in Arctic wildlife and fish. Indications of exposure effects are largely based on correlations between biomarker endpoints (e.g., biochemical processes related to the immune and endocrine system, pathological changes in tissues and reproduction and development) and tissue residue levels of OHCs (e.g., PCBs, DDTs, CHLs, PBDEs and in a few cases perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs) and perfluorinated sulfonates (PFSAs)). Some exceptions include semi-field studies on comparative contaminant effects of control and exposed cohorts of captive Greenland sled dogs, and performance studies mimicking environmentally relevant PCB concentrations in Arctic charr. Recent tissue concentrations in several arctic marine mammal species and populations exceed a general threshold level of concern of 1 part-per-million (ppm), but a clear evidence of a POP/OHC-related stress in these populations remains to be confirmed. There remains minimal evidence that OHCs are having widespread effects on the health of Arctic organisms, with the possible exception of East Greenland and Svalbard polar bears and Svalbard glaucous gulls. However, the true (if any real) effects of POPs in Arctic wildlife have to be put into the context of other environmental, ecological and physiological stressors (both anthropogenic and natural) that render an overall complex picture. For instance, seasonal changes in food intake and corresponding cycles of fattening and emaciation seen in Arctic animals can modify contaminant tissue distribution and toxicokinetics (contaminant deposition, metabolism and depuration). Also, other factors, including impact of climate change (seasonal ice and temperature changes, and connection to food web changes, nutrition, etc. in exposed biota), disease, species invasion and the connection to disease resistance will impact toxicant exposure. Overall, further research and better understanding of POP/OHC impact on animal performance in Arctic biota are recommended. Regardless, it could be argued that Arctic wildlife and fish at the highest potential risk of POP/OHC exposure and mediated effects are East Greenland, Svalbard and (West and South) Hudson Bay

  15. First Report of 13 Species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in Mainland Portugal and Azores by Morphological and Molecular Characterization

    PubMed Central

    Pereira da Fonseca, Isabel; Delécolle, Jean-Claude; Wilson, Anthony; Meireles, José; Lucientes, Javier; Ribeiro, Rita; Boinas, Fernando

    2012-01-01

    The genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) contains important vectors of animal and human diseases, including bluetongue, African horse sickness and filariosis. A major outbreak of bluetongue occurred in mainland Portugal in 2004, forty eight years after the last recorded case. A national Entomological Surveillance Plan was initiated in mainland Portugal, Azores and the Madeira archipelagos in 2005 in order to better understand the disease and facilitate policy decisions. During the survey, the most prevalent Culicoides species in mainland Portugal was C. imicola (75.3%) and species belonging to the Obsoletus group (6.5%). The latter were the most prevalent in Azores archipelago, accounting for 96.7% of the total species identified. The Obsoletus group was further characterized by multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction to species level showing that only two species of this group were present: C. obsoletus sensu strictu (69.6%) and C. scoticus (30.4%). Nine species of Culicoides were detected for the first time in mainland Portugal: C. alazanicus, C. bahrainensis, C. deltus, C. lupicaris, C. picturatus, C. santonicus, C. semimaculatus, C. simulator and C. subfagineus. In the Azores, C. newsteadi and C. circumscriptus were identified for the first time from some islands, and bluetongue vectors belonging to the Obsoletus group (C. obsoletus and C. scoticus) were found to be widespread. PMID:22536340

  16. Does covering of farm-associated Culicoides larval habitat reduce adult populations in the United Kingdom??

    PubMed Central

    Harrup, L.E.; Gubbins, S.; Barber, J.; Denison, E.; Mellor, P.S.; Purse, B.V.; Carpenter, S.

    2014-01-01

    Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are the biological vectors of a range of internationally important arboviruses of livestock, including bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently emerging Schmallenberg virus (SBV). Culicoides species in the subgenus Avaritia (in the UK: Culicoides obsoletus Meigen, Culicoides scoticus Downes & Kettle, Culicoides dewulfi Goetghebuer and Culicoides chiopterus Meigen) have been implicated in BTV transmission in northern Europe and to a varying degree utilise cattle dung as a larval development substrate. The collection of cattle dung into heaps on farms provides a localised source of Culicoides emergence in close proximity to livestock. This study assesses the impact of covering dung heaps prior to the onset of adult Culicoides activity with the aim of reducing recruitment to the local adult populations at four livestock farms in England. Light suction trap catches of adult Culicoides from these farms were compared with those from four untreated control farms from a wide geographic range across the UK. It was demonstrated that implementing control of emergence from dung heaps did not have a significant impact upon the local adult subgenus Avaritia abundance at the treated farm holdings and that the onset of Culicoides activity was similarly unaffected. Use of this method in isolation is unlikely to have an effect in reducing the risk of BTV and SBV transmission. The implications of these results for control of farm-associated Culicoides in Europe are discussed. PMID:24472769

  17. Importance and mitigation of the risk of spillback transmission of Mycobacterium bovis infection for eradication of bovine tuberculosis from wildlife in New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Barron, M C; Nugent, G; Cross, M L

    2013-07-01

    Introduced brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) are wildlife maintenance hosts for Mycobacterium bovis in New Zealand, often living sympatrically with other potential hosts, including wild red deer (Cervus elaphus scoticus). Population control of possums has been predicted to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) from New Zealand wildlife ; however, there is concern that long-lived M. bovis-infected deer could represent a ‘ spillback’ risk for TB re-establishment (particularly when possum populations recover after cessation of intensive control). We constructed a time-, age- and sex-structured, deer/TB population generic model and simulated the outcomes of deer control on this potential spillback risk. Maintaining intensive possum control on a 5-year cycle, the predicted spillback risk period after TB eradication from possums is ~7 years, while the probability of TB re-establishing in possums over that period is ~6%. Additional targeted control of deer would reduce the risk period and probability of spillback; however, even with high population reductions (up to 80%) only modest decreases in risk and risk period would be achieved. We conclude that possum control alone remains the best strategy for achieving TB eradication from New Zealand habitats in which possums and wild deer are the main M. bovis hosts. PMID:23211646

  18. Are Bogs Reservoirs for Emerging Disease Vectors? Evaluation of Culicoides Populations in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium)

    PubMed Central

    Zimmer, Jean-Yves; Smeets, François; Simonon, Grégory; Fagot, Jean; Haubruge, Eric; Francis, Frédéric; Losson, Bertrand

    2013-01-01

    Several species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) biting midges serve as biological vectors for the bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently described Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in northern Europe. Since their recent emergence in this part of the continent, these diseases have caused considerable economic losses to the sheep and cattle industries. Much data is now available that describe the distribution, population dynamics, and feeding habits of these insects. However, little is known regarding the presence of Culicoides in unusual habitats such as peaty marshes, nor their potential vector capacity. This study evaluated Culicoides biting midges present in the bogs of a Belgian nature reserve compared to those residing at a nearby cattle farm. Culicoides were trapped in 2011 at four different sites (broadleaved and coniferous forested areas, open environments, and at a scientific station) located in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium). An additional light trap was operated on a nearby cattle farm. Very high numbers of biting midges were captured in the marshy area and most of them (70 to 95%) were Culicoides impunctatus, a potential vector of BTV and other pathogens. In addition, fewer numbers of C. obsoletus/C. scoticus species, C. chiopterus, and C. dewulfi were observed in the bogs compared to the farm. The wet environment and oligotrophic nature of the soil were probably responsible for these changes in the respective populations. A total of 297,808 Culicoides midges belonging to 27 species were identified during this study and 3 of these species (C. sphagnumensis, C. clintoni and C. comosioculatus) were described in Belgium for the first time. PMID:23799137

  19. Are bogs reservoirs for emerging disease vectors? Evaluation of culicoides populations in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium).

    PubMed

    Zimmer, Jean-Yves; Smeets, François; Simonon, Grégory; Fagot, Jean; Haubruge, Eric; Francis, Frédéric; Losson, Bertrand

    2013-01-01

    Several species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) biting midges serve as biological vectors for the bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently described Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in northern Europe. Since their recent emergence in this part of the continent, these diseases have caused considerable economic losses to the sheep and cattle industries. Much data is now available that describe the distribution, population dynamics, and feeding habits of these insects. However, little is known regarding the presence of Culicoides in unusual habitats such as peaty marshes, nor their potential vector capacity. This study evaluated Culicoides biting midges present in the bogs of a Belgian nature reserve compared to those residing at a nearby cattle farm. Culicoides were trapped in 2011 at four different sites (broadleaved and coniferous forested areas, open environments, and at a scientific station) located in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium). An additional light trap was operated on a nearby cattle farm. Very high numbers of biting midges were captured in the marshy area and most of them (70 to 95%) were Culicoides impunctatus, a potential vector of BTV and other pathogens. In addition, fewer numbers of C. obsoletus/C. scoticus species, C. chiopterus, and C. dewulfi were observed in the bogs compared to the farm. The wet environment and oligotrophic nature of the soil were probably responsible for these changes in the respective populations. A total of 297,808 Culicoides midges belonging to 27 species were identified during this study and 3 of these species (C. sphagnumensis, C. clintoni and C. comosioculatus) were described in Belgium for the first time. PMID:23799137

  20. An investigation on the Culicoides species composition at seven sites in southern Switzerland.

    PubMed

    Casati, S; Racloz, V; Delécolle, J C; Kuhn, M; Mathis, A; Griot, C; Stärk, K D C; Vanzetti, T

    2009-06-01

    In the past decade, there have been regular outbreaks of bluetongue (BT) in many parts of Europe. Owing to the presence of BT disease and its vectors in countries adjacent to Switzerland, an initial entomological survey was conducted in 2003, which established the presence of several midges of the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). Subsequently, a sentinel herd monitoring system was established with the primary entomological aim being the determination and further study of Culicoides population compositions. Insects were collected in 2005 and 2006 at seven sentinel herd sites in the south of Switzerland (canton of Ticino) near the border of Italy, using Onderstepoort-type light traps. This region is botanically and zoologically similar to the Mediterranean and is one of the warmest and most humid areas of the country, hence it is considered a potential access path for BT disease into Switzerland. Collections were made at four cattle farms, two equestrian centres and one goat farm. Sites were sampled four times per month from June to October. Traps were operated from dusk until dawn and samples were collected monthly for analysis through microscopy as well as a Culicoides imicola-specific PCR. Results confirmed the absence of C. imicola (Kieffer) and demonstrated that the potential BT virus vectors are highly abundant, notably: Culicoides obsoletus (Meigen), Culicoides scoticus (Downes & Kettle) and Culicoides dewulfi (Goetghebuer) subgenus Avaritia and Culicoides pulicaris (Linnaeus) subgenus Culicoides. These findings expand the current knowledge of Culicoides population composition in the southern part of the Switzerland. Culicoides cataneii (Clastrier), Culicoides flavipulicaris (Dzhafarov), Culicoides indistinctus (Khalaf), Culicoides nubeculosus (Meigen) and species of the Grisescens complex were reported for the first time in Switzerland. PMID:19493190

  1. Comparison of Vertebrate Cytochrome b and Prepronociceptin for Blood Meal Analyses in Culicoides

    PubMed Central

    Hadj-Henni, Leila; De Meulemeester, Thibaut; Depaquit, Jérôme; Noël, Philippe; Germain, Adeline; Helder, Remi; Augot, Denis

    2015-01-01

    To date, studies on host preferences and blood meal identification have been conducted for Culicoides species using molecular-based methods such as PCR techniques to amplify only a fragment from universal vertebrate mitochondrial genes such as cytochrome c oxidase subunit I or cytochrome b (Cyt b). The vertebrate prepronociceptin gene (PNOC) was also tested in this field. However, the choice of molecular marker to identify blood meal is critical. The objective of our study is to compare the ability of Cyt b and PNOC as molecular markers for blood meal identification depending on the stage of blood meal digestion. In order to determine whether these Cyt b and PNOC could provide a positive result, 565 blood-fed females of Culicoides spp were collected and morphologically identified. The samples were collected between 2012 and 2014, in two localities in France. The collection localities were near either livestock or a forest. To catch the specimens, we used UV CDC miniature light traps. PNOC sequence of donkeys (Equus asinus) was sequenced and submitted because it was missing in GenBank. Our findings emphasize that the PNOC marker is not suitable to separate closely related Equid species such as horses and donkeys. The Cyt b marker was able to identify 204 more samples when compared to PNOC (99.55% of specimens). Cyt b appears to be better able to detect the origin of blood meals from females with digested blood in their abdomens. We conclude that Cyt b is a good marker as it increases the accuracy of blood meal identification of engorged females containing digested blood in their abdomens. The host opportunist behavior of Culicoides, especially that of C. obsoletus and C. scoticus, the main vectors of BTV in Europe was also highlighted. PMID:26664944

  2. Environmental Drivers of Culicoides Phenology: How Important Is Species-Specific Variation When Determining Disease Policy?

    PubMed Central

    Searle, Kate R.; Barber, James; Stubbins, Francesca; Labuschagne, Karien; Carpenter, Simon; Butler, Adam; Denison, Eric; Sanders, Christopher; Mellor, Philip S.; Wilson, Anthony; Nelson, Noel; Gubbins, Simon; Purse, Bethan V.

    2014-01-01

    Since 2006, arboviruses transmitted by Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) have caused significant disruption to ruminant production in northern Europe. The most serious incursions involved strains of bluetongue virus (BTV), which cause bluetongue (BT) disease. To control spread of BTV, movement of susceptible livestock is restricted with economic and animal welfare impacts. The timing of BTV transmission in temperate regions is partly determined by the seasonal presence of adult Culicoides females. Legislative measures therefore allow for the relaxation of ruminant movement restrictions during winter, when nightly light-suction trap catches of Culicoides fall below a threshold (the ‘seasonally vector free period’: SVFP). We analysed five years of time-series surveillance data from light-suction trapping in the UK to investigate whether significant inter-specific and yearly variation in adult phenology exists, and whether the SVFP is predictable from environmental factors. Because female vector Culicoides are not easily morphologically separated, inter-specific comparisons in phenology were drawn from male populations. We demonstrate significant inter-specific differences in Culicoides adult phenology with the season of Culicoides scoticus approximately eight weeks shorter than Culicoides obsoletus. Species-specific differences in the length of the SVFP were related to host density and local variation in landscape habitat. When the Avaritia Culicoides females were modelled as a group (as utilised in the SFVP), we were unable to detect links between environmental drivers and phenological metrics. We conclude that the current treatment of Avaritia Culicoides as a single group inhibits understanding of environmentally-driven spatial variation in species phenology and hinders the development of models for predicting the SVFP from environmental factors. Culicoides surveillance methods should be adapted to focus on concentrated assessments of species-specific abundance during the start and end of seasonal activity in temperate regions to facilitate refinement of ruminant movement restrictions thereby reducing the impact of Culicoides-borne arboviruses. PMID:25386940

  3. Environmental drivers of Culicoides phenology: how important is species-specific variation when determining disease policy?

    PubMed

    Searle, Kate R; Barber, James; Stubbins, Francesca; Labuschagne, Karien; Carpenter, Simon; Butler, Adam; Denison, Eric; Sanders, Christopher; Mellor, Philip S; Wilson, Anthony; Nelson, Noel; Gubbins, Simon; Purse, Bethan V

    2014-01-01

    Since 2006, arboviruses transmitted by Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) have caused significant disruption to ruminant production in northern Europe. The most serious incursions involved strains of bluetongue virus (BTV), which cause bluetongue (BT) disease. To control spread of BTV, movement of susceptible livestock is restricted with economic and animal welfare impacts. The timing of BTV transmission in temperate regions is partly determined by the seasonal presence of adult Culicoides females. Legislative measures therefore allow for the relaxation of ruminant movement restrictions during winter, when nightly light-suction trap catches of Culicoides fall below a threshold (the 'seasonally vector free period': SVFP). We analysed five years of time-series surveillance data from light-suction trapping in the UK to investigate whether significant inter-specific and yearly variation in adult phenology exists, and whether the SVFP is predictable from environmental factors. Because female vector Culicoides are not easily morphologically separated, inter-specific comparisons in phenology were drawn from male populations. We demonstrate significant inter-specific differences in Culicoides adult phenology with the season of Culicoides scoticus approximately eight weeks shorter than Culicoides obsoletus. Species-specific differences in the length of the SVFP were related to host density and local variation in landscape habitat. When the Avaritia Culicoides females were modelled as a group (as utilised in the SFVP), we were unable to detect links between environmental drivers and phenological metrics. We conclude that the current treatment of Avaritia Culicoides as a single group inhibits understanding of environmentally-driven spatial variation in species phenology and hinders the development of models for predicting the SVFP from environmental factors. Culicoides surveillance methods should be adapted to focus on concentrated assessments of species-specific abundance during the start and end of seasonal activity in temperate regions to facilitate refinement of ruminant movement restrictions thereby reducing the impact of Culicoides-borne arboviruses. PMID:25386940

  4. Towards the PCR-based identification of Palaearctic Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae): results from an international ring trial targeting four species of the subgenus Avaritia

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Biting midges of the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are biological vectors of internationally important arboviruses. To understand the role of Culicoides in the transmission of these viruses, it is essential to correctly identify the species involved. Within the western Palaearctic region, the main suspected vector species, C. obsoletus, C. scoticus, C. dewulfi and C. chiopterus, have similar wing patterns, which makes it difficult to separate and identify them correctly. Methods In this study, designed as an inter-laboratory ring trial with twelve partners from Europe and North Africa, we assess four PCR-based assays which are used routinely to differentiate the four species of Culicoides listed above. The assays based on mitochondrial or ribosomal DNA or microarray hybridisation were tested using aliquots of Culicoides DNA (extracted using commercial kits), crude lysates of ground specimens and whole Culicoides (265 individuals), and non-Culicoides Ceratopogonidae (13 individuals) collected from across Europe. Results A total of 800 molecular assays were implemented. The in-house assays functioned effectively, although specificity and sensitivity varied according to the molecular marker and DNA extraction method used. The Obsoletus group specificity was overall high (95-99%) while the sensitivity varied greatly (59.6-100%). DNA extraction methods impacted the sensitivity of the assays as well as the type of sample used as template for the DNA extraction. Conclusions The results are discussed in terms of current use of species diagnostic assays and the future development of molecular tools for the rapid differentiation of cryptic Culicoides species. PMID:24884950

  5. A Cervid Vocal Fold Model Suggests Greater Glottal Efficiency in Calling at High Frequencies

    PubMed Central

    Titze, Ingo R.; Riede, Tobias

    2010-01-01

    Male Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) produce loud and high fundamental frequency bugles during the mating season, in contrast to the male European Red Deer (Cervus elaphus scoticus) who produces loud and low fundamental frequency roaring calls. A critical step in understanding vocal communication is to relate sound complexity to anatomy and physiology in a causal manner. Experimentation at the sound source, often difficult in vivo in mammals, is simulated here by a finite element model of the larynx and a wave propagation model of the vocal tract, both based on the morphology and biomechanics of the elk. The model can produce a wide range of fundamental frequencies. Low fundamental frequencies require low vocal fold strain, but large lung pressure and large glottal flow if sound intensity level is to exceed 70 dB at 10 m distance. A high-frequency bugle requires both large muscular effort (to strain the vocal ligament) and high lung pressure (to overcome phonation threshold pressure), but at least 10 dB more intensity level can be achieved. Glottal efficiency, the ration of radiated sound power to aerodynamic power at the glottis, is higher in elk, suggesting an advantage of high-pitched signaling. This advantage is based on two aspects; first, the lower airflow required for aerodynamic power and, second, an acoustic radiation advantage at higher frequencies. Both signal types are used by the respective males during the mating season and probably serve as honest signals. The two signal types relate differently to physical qualities of the sender. The low-frequency sound (Red Deer call) relates to overall body size via a strong relationship between acoustic parameters and the size of vocal organs and body size. The high-frequency bugle may signal muscular strength and endurance, via a ‘vocalizing at the edge’ mechanism, for which efficiency is critical. PMID:20808882

  6. Solar Radiation Determines Site Occupancy of Coexisting Tropical and Temperate Deer Species Introduced to New Zealand Forests

    PubMed Central

    Allen, Robert B.; Forsyth, David M.; Allen, Roy K. J.; Affeld, Kathrin; MacKenzie, Darryl I.

    2015-01-01

    Assemblages of introduced taxa provide an opportunity to understand how abiotic and biotic factors shape habitat use by coexisting species. We tested hypotheses about habitat selection by two deer species recently introduced to New Zealand’s temperate rainforests. We hypothesised that, due to different thermoregulatory abilities, rusa deer (Cervus timorensis; a tropical species) would prefer warmer locations in winter than red deer (Cervus elaphus scoticus; a temperate species). Since adult male rusa deer are aggressive in winter (the rut), we also hypothesised that rusa deer and red deer would not use the same winter locations. Finally, we hypothesised that in summer both species would prefer locations with fertile soils that supported more plant species preferred as food. We used a 250 × 250 m grid of 25 remote cameras to collect images in a 100-ha montane study area over two winters and summers. Plant composition, solar radiation, and soil fertility were also determined for each camera location. Multiseason occupancy models revealed that direct solar radiation was the best predictor of occupancy and detection probabilities for rusa deer in winter. Multistate, multiseason occupancy models provided strong evidence that the detection probability of adult male rusa deer was greater in winter and when other rusa deer were present at a location. Red deer mostly vacated the study area in winter. For the one season that had sufficient camera images of both species (summer 2011) to allow two-species occupancy models to be fitted, the detection probability of rusa deer also increased with solar radiation. Detection probability also varied with plant composition for both deer species. We conclude that habitat use by coexisting tropical and temperate deer species in New Zealand likely depends on the interplay between the thermoregulatory and behavioural traits of the deer and the abiotic and biotic features of the habitat. PMID:26061426

  7. Solar Radiation Determines Site Occupancy of Coexisting Tropical and Temperate Deer Species Introduced to New Zealand Forests.

    PubMed

    Allen, Robert B; Forsyth, David M; Allen, Roy K J; Affeld, Kathrin; MacKenzie, Darryl I

    2015-01-01

    Assemblages of introduced taxa provide an opportunity to understand how abiotic and biotic factors shape habitat use by coexisting species. We tested hypotheses about habitat selection by two deer species recently introduced to New Zealand's temperate rainforests. We hypothesised that, due to different thermoregulatory abilities, rusa deer (Cervus timorensis; a tropical species) would prefer warmer locations in winter than red deer (Cervus elaphus scoticus; a temperate species). Since adult male rusa deer are aggressive in winter (the rut), we also hypothesised that rusa deer and red deer would not use the same winter locations. Finally, we hypothesised that in summer both species would prefer locations with fertile soils that supported more plant species preferred as food. We used a 250 × 250 m grid of 25 remote cameras to collect images in a 100-ha montane study area over two winters and summers. Plant composition, solar radiation, and soil fertility were also determined for each camera location. Multiseason occupancy models revealed that direct solar radiation was the best predictor of occupancy and detection probabilities for rusa deer in winter. Multistate, multiseason occupancy models provided strong evidence that the detection probability of adult male rusa deer was greater in winter and when other rusa deer were present at a location. Red deer mostly vacated the study area in winter. For the one season that had sufficient camera images of both species (summer 2011) to allow two-species occupancy models to be fitted, the detection probability of rusa deer also increased with solar radiation. Detection probability also varied with plant composition for both deer species. We conclude that habitat use by coexisting tropical and temperate deer species in New Zealand likely depends on the interplay between the thermoregulatory and behavioural traits of the deer and the abiotic and biotic features of the habitat. PMID:26061426

  8. Wear Fast, Die Young: More Worn Teeth and Shorter Lives in Iberian Compared to Scottish Red Deer

    PubMed Central

    Pérez-Barbería, F. J.; Carranza, J.; Sánchez-Prieto, C.

    2015-01-01

    Teeth in Cervidae are permanent structures that are not replaceable or repairable; consequently their rate of wear, due to the grinding effect of food and dental attrition, affects their duration and can determine an animal's lifespan. Tooth wear is also a useful indicator of accumulative life energy investment in intake and mastication and their interactions with diet. Little is known regarding how natural and sexual selection operate on dental structures within a species in contrasting environments and how these relate to life history traits to explain differences in population rates of tooth wear and longevity. We hypothesised that populations under harsh environmental conditions should be selected for more hypsodont teeth while sexual selection may maintain similar sex differences within different populations. We investigated the patterns of tooth wear in males and females of Iberian red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) in Southern Spain and Scottish red deer (C. e. scoticus) across Scotland, that occur in very different environments, using 10343 samples from legal hunting activities. We found higher rates of both incisor and molar wear in the Spanish compared to Scottish populations. However, Scottish red deer had larger incisors at emergence than Iberian red deer, whilst molars emerged at a similar size in both populations and sexes. Iberian and Scottish males had earlier tooth depletion than females, in support of a similar sexual selection process in both populations. However, whilst average lifespan for Iberian males was 4 years shorter than that for Iberian females and Scottish males, Scottish males only showed a reduction of 1 year in average lifespan with respect to Scottish females. More worn molars were associated with larger mandibles in both populations, suggesting that higher intake and/or greater investment in food comminution may have favoured increased body growth, before later loss of tooth efficiency due to severe wear. These results illustrate how independent selection in both subspecies, that diverged 11,700 years BP, has resulted in the evolution of different longevity, although sexual selection has maintained a similar pattern of relative sex differences in tooth depletion. This study opens interesting questions on optimal allocation in life history trade-offs and the independent evolution of allopatric populations. PMID:26252380

  9. PCR identification of culicoid biting midges (Diptera, Ceratopogonidae) of the Obsoletus complex including putative vectors of bluetongue and Schmallenberg viruses

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Biting midges of the Obsoletus species complex of the ceratopogonid genus Culicoides were assumed to be the major vectors of bluetongue virus (BTV) in northern and central Europe during the 2006 outbreak of bluetongue disease (BT). Most recently, field specimens of the same group of species have also been shown to be infected with the newly emerged Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in Europe. A reliable identification of the cryptic species of this group is fundamental for both understanding the epidemiology of the diseases and for targeted vector control. In the absence of classical morphological characters unambiguously identifying the species, DNA sequence-based tests have been established for the distinction of selected species in some parts of Europe. Since specificity and sensitivity of these tests have been shown to be in need of improvement, an alternative PCR assay targeting the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene was developed for the identification of the three Obsoletus complex species endemic to Germany (C. obsoletus, C. scoticus, C. chiopterus) plus the isomorphic species C. dewulfi. Methods Biting midges of the genus Culicoides caught by UV light traps all over Germany were morphologically pre-identified to species or complex level. The COI region was amplified from their extracted DNA and sequenced. Final species assignment was done by sequence comparison to GenBank entries and to morphologically identified males. Species-specific consensus sequences were aligned and polymorphisms were utilized to design species-specific primers to PCR-identify specimens when combined with a universal primer. Results The newly developed multiplex PCR assay was successfully tested on genetically defined Obsoletus complex material as well as on morphologically pre-identified field material. The intended major advantage of the assay as compared to other PCR approaches, namely the production of only one single characteristic band for each species, could be realized with high specificity and sensitivity. Conclusion To elucidate the biological characteristics of potential vectors of disease agents, such as ecology, behaviour and vector competence, and the role of these haematophagous arthropods in the epidemiology of the diseases, simple, cost-effective and, most importantly, reliable identification techniques are necessary. The PCR assay presented will help to identify culicoid vector species and therefore add to bluetongue and Schmallenberg disease research including vector control and monitoring. PMID:23013614