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Sample records for 1-260 finch pruyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  8. Dynamics of zebra finch and mockingbird vocalizations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cimenser, Aylin

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

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

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

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-24

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

  11. Female Zebra Finches Smell Their Eggs

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  13. Embryological Staging of the Zebra Finch, Taeniopygia guttata

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  14. Darwin's finches treat their feathers with a natural repellent.

    PubMed

    Cimadom, Arno; Causton, Charlotte; Cha, Dong H; Damiens, David; Fessl, Birgit; Hood-Nowotny, Rebecca; Lincango, Piedad; Mieles, Alejandro E; Nemeth, Erwin; Semler, Elizabeth M; Teale, Stephen A; Tebbich, Sabine

    2016-10-10

    Darwin's finches are highly innovative. Recently we recorded for the first time a behavioural innovation in Darwin's finches outside the foraging context: individuals of four species rubbed leaves of the endemic tree Psidium galapageium on their feathers. We hypothesised that this behaviour serves to repel ectoparasites and tested the repellency of P. galapageium leaf extracts against parasites that negatively affect the fitness of Darwin's finches, namely mosquitoes and the invasive hematophagous fly Philornis downsi. Mosquitoes transmit pathogens which have recently been introduced by humans and the larvae of the fly suck blood from nestlings and incubating females. Our experimental evidence demonstrates that P. galapageium leaf extracts repel both mosquitoes and adult P. downsi and also inhibit the growth of P. downsi larvae. It is therefore possible that finches use this plant to repel ectopoarasites.

  15. Vocal Tract Articulation in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  16. Eye of the Finch: characterization of the ocular microbiome of house finches in relation to mycoplasmal conjunctivitis.

    PubMed

    Thomason, Courtney A; Leon, Ariel; Kirkpatrick, Laila T; Belden, Lisa K; Hawley, Dana M

    2017-04-01

    Vertebrate ocular microbiomes are poorly characterized and virtually unexplored in wildlife species. Pathogen defense is considered a key function of microbiomes, but determining microbiome stability during disease is critical for understanding the role of resident microbial communities in infectious disease dynamics. Here, we characterize the ocular bacterial microbiome of house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus), prior to and during experimental infection with an inflammatory ocular disease, Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis, caused by Mycoplasma gallisepticum. In ocular tissues of healthy house finches, we identified 526 total bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs, 97% similarity), primarily from Firmicutes (92.6%) and Proteobacteria (6.9%), via 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Resident ocular communities of healthy female finches were characterized by greater evenness and phylogenetic diversity compared to healthy male finches. Regardless of sex, ocular microbiome community structure significantly shifted 11 days after experimental inoculation with M. gallisepticum. A suite of OTUs, including taxa from the genera Methylobacterium, Acinetobacter and Mycoplasma, appear to drive these changes, indicating that the whole finch ocular microbiome responds to infection. Further study is needed to quantify changes in absolute abundance of resident taxa and to elucidate potential functional roles of the resident ocular microbiome in mediating individual responses to this common songbird bacterial pathogen.

  17. A family of Finch and Skea relativistic stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maharaj, S. D.; Kileba Matondo, D.; Mafa Takisa, P.

    Several new families of exact solution to the Einstein-Maxwell system of differential equations are found for anisotropic charged matter. The spacetime geometry is that of Finch and Skea which satisfies all criteria for physical acceptability. The exact solutions can be expressed in terms of elementary functions, Bessel functions and modified Bessel functions. When a parameter is restricted to be an integer then the special functions reduce to simple elementary functions. The uncharged model of Finch and Skea [R. Finch and J. E. F. Skea, Class. Quantum Grav. 6 (1989) 467.] and the charged model of Hansraj and Maharaj [S. Hansraj and S. D. Maharaj, Int. J. Mod. Phys. D 15 (2006) 1311.] are regained as special cases. The solutions found admit a barotropic equation of state. A graphical analysis indicates that the matter and electric quantities are well behaved.

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

    Concern about the potential for endocrine...

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

    PubMed Central

    Tebbich, Sabine; Sterelny, Kim; Teschke, Irmgard

    2010-01-01

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

  1. Complete Genome Sequence of a Novel Circovirus from Zebra Finch

    PubMed Central

    Schmitz, Anna; Peschel, Andrea; Korbel, Rüdiger

    2015-01-01

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

  2. Speciation or Irruption: The Significance of the Darwin Finches.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Harper, G. H.

    1980-01-01

    Uses the irruption theory in explaining the occurrence of the Darwin finches in the Galapagos Islands as an example of how alternative theories can be presented in an educational setting. Advocates the comparison of alternative theories to encourage creative thinking and a critical attitude. (CS)

  3. Zebra finches are sensitive to prosodic features of human speech.

    PubMed

    Spierings, Michelle J; ten Cate, Carel

    2014-07-22

    Variation in pitch, amplitude and rhythm adds crucial paralinguistic information to human speech. Such prosodic cues can reveal information about the meaning or emphasis of a sentence or the emotional state of the speaker. To examine the hypothesis that sensitivity to prosodic cues is language independent and not human specific, we tested prosody perception in a controlled experiment with zebra finches. Using a go/no-go procedure, subjects were trained to discriminate between speech syllables arranged in XYXY patterns with prosodic stress on the first syllable and XXYY patterns with prosodic stress on the final syllable. To systematically determine the salience of the various prosodic cues (pitch, duration and amplitude) to the zebra finches, they were subjected to five tests with different combinations of these cues. The zebra finches generalized the prosodic pattern to sequences that consisted of new syllables and used prosodic features over structural ones to discriminate between stimuli. This strong sensitivity to the prosodic pattern was maintained when only a single prosodic cue was available. The change in pitch was treated as more salient than changes in the other prosodic features. These results show that zebra finches are sensitive to the same prosodic cues known to affect human speech perception.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-12-01

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

  5. Effect of dose on house finch infection with western equine encephalomyelitis and St. Louis encephalitis viruses.

    PubMed

    Reisen, William K; Chiles, Robert; Martinez, Vincent; Fang, Ying; Green, Emily; Clark, Sharon

    2004-09-01

    House finches, Carpodacus mexicanus, were experimentally infected with high and standard doses of western equine encephalomyelitis virus (WEEV) or St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) to determine whether high doses would produce an elevated viremia response and a high frequency of chronic infections. Finches inoculated with approximately100,000 plaque forming units (PFU) of WEEV or SLEV produced viremia and antibody responses similar to those in finches inoculated with approximately 100 PFU of WEEV or 1000 PFU of SLEV, the approximate quantities of virus expectorated by blood-feeding Culex tarsalis Coquillett. Infected finches were held through winter and then necropsied. Only one finch inoculated with the high dose of SLEV developed a chronic infection. Our data indicated that elevated infectious doses of virus may not increase the viremia level or the frequency of chronic infection in house finches.

  6. Colour preferences in nest-building zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Muth, Felicity; Steele, Matthew; Healy, Susan D

    2013-10-01

    Some bird species are selective in the materials they choose for nest building, preferring, for example, materials of one colour to others. However, in many cases the cause of these preferences is not clear. One of those species is the zebra finch, which exhibits strong preferences for particular colours of nest material. In an attempt to determine why these birds strongly prefer one colour of material over another, we compared the preferences of paired male zebra finches for nest material colour with their preferences for food of the same colours. We found that birds did indeed prefer particular colours of nest material (in most cases blue) but that they did not generally prefer food of one colour over the other colours. It appears, then, that a preference for one colour or another of nest material is specific to the nest-building context. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: insert SI title.

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

    PubMed Central

    Reers, Hendrik; Jacot, Alain; Forstmeier, Wolfgang

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-08-01

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

  9. Do woodpecker finches acquire tool-use by social learning?

    PubMed Central

    Tebbich, S.; Taborsky, M.; Fessl, B.; Blomqvist, D.

    2001-01-01

    Tool-use is widespread among animals, but except in primates the development of this behaviour is poorly known. Here, we report on the first experimental study to our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the acquisition of tool-use in a bird species. The woodpecker finch Cactospiza pallida, endemic to the Galápagos Islands, is a famous textbook example of tool-use in animals. This species uses modified twigs or cactus spines to pry arthropods out of tree holes. Using nestlings and adult birds from the field, we tested experimentally whether woodpecker finches learn tool-use socially. We show that social learning is not essential for the development of tool-use: all juveniles developed tool-use regardless of whether or not they had a tool-using model. However, we found that not all adult woodpecker finches used tools in our experiments. These non-tool-using individuals also did not learn this task by observing tool-using conspecifics. Our results suggest that tool-use behaviour depends on a very specific learning disposition that involves trial-and-error learning during a sensitive phase early in ontogeny. PMID:11674865

  10. Improved axial resolution of FINCH fluorescence microscopy when combined with spinning disk confocal microscopy

    PubMed Central

    Siegel, Nisan; Brooker, Gary

    2014-01-01

    FINCH holographic fluorescence microscopy creates super-resolved images with enhanced depth of focus. Addition of a Nipkow disk real-time confocal image scanner is shown to reduce the FINCH depth of focus while improving transverse confocal resolution in a combined method called “CINCH”. PMID:25321701

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

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

  12. Seasonal stress physiology and body condition differ among co-occurring tropical finch species.

    PubMed

    Maute, Kimberly L; French, Kristine; Legge, Sarah; Astheimer, Lee

    2013-12-01

    Seasonal changes in avian hormonal stress responses and condition are well known for common species found at temperate and arctic latitudes, but declining and tropical species are poorly studied. This study compares stress and condition measures of co-occurring declining and non-declining tropical grass finch species in Australia. We monitored declining Gouldian finches (Erythrura gouldiae) and non-declining long-tailed and masked finches (Poepila acuticauda and P. personata) during two seasons that are potentially stressful: peak breeding (early dry season when food is plentiful) and moult (late dry to early wet season when food may be scarce). We measured body condition (muscle and fat), haematocrit, and stress response to capture using plasma corticosterone and binding globulin concentrations. All species had higher muscle and lower fat indices during breeding than moult. Haematocrit did not consistently differ between seasons. Long-tailed finches had higher stress responses during breeding than moult, similar to other passerines studied. Masked finches showed no seasonal changes in stress response. Gouldian finches had stress response patterns opposite to those of long-tailed finches, with higher stress responses during moult. However, seasonal trends in Gouldian and long-tailed finch stress responses sometimes differed between years or sites. The differences in stress response patterns between species suggest that the declining Gouldian finch is more sensitive to recent environmental changes which are thought to further reduce grass seed food resources during the late dry to early wet season. Retention of stress responsiveness during a protracted moult could increase the survival potential of Gouldian finches. This study highlights the utility of stress and condition indices to determine the sensitivity of co-occurring species to environmental conditions.

  13. Auditory scene analysis in estrildid finches (Taeniopygia guttata and Lonchura striata domestica): a species advantage for detection of conspecific song.

    PubMed

    Benney, K S; Braaten, R F

    2000-06-01

    Operant-conditioning techniques were used to investigate the ability of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) and Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata domestica) to detect a zebra finch or a Bengalese finch target song intermixed with other birdsongs. Sixteen birds were trained to respond to the presence of a particular target song, either of their own species (n = 8) or of another species (n = 8). The birds were able to learn a discrimination between song mixtures that contained a target song and song mixtures that did not, and they were able to maintain their response to the target song when it was mixed with novel songs. Zebra finches, but not Bengalese finches, learned the discrimination with a conspecific target more quickly and were worse at detecting a Bengalese finch in the presence of a conspecific song. The results indicate that selective attention to birdsongs within an auditory scene is related to their biological relevance.

  14. Motivation and memory in zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) foraging behavior.

    PubMed

    Sanford, Kirsten; Clayton, Nicola S

    2008-04-01

    Remembering combinations of information such as what resources have been seen in which locations could play an important role in enhancing individual survival through increased foraging success. To date, there have been relatively few investigations of avian memory involving more than one category of information. This study explored zebra finches' (Taeniopygia guttata) capacity to recall two categories in combination, namely food-type and spatial location. Birds were trained to remove variously weighted flaps to find two types of food hidden beneath. Memory for food-types and locations was assessed by pre-feeding the birds to satiety on and devaluing one food-type, and then testing the birds' efficiency at finding the non-devalued food. When allowed one trial to learn locations of two food rewards that were hidden beneath lightly weighted flaps, birds performed better than chance at locating a food reward. However, they did not preferentially search for the non pre-fed food, suggesting that they were unable to recall both food type and location in combination. Zebra finches made fewer errors when tested on the one-trial task using more heavily weighted flaps than with lightly weighted flaps; there was equivocal evidence that they remembered which food type was hidden where on this task. When given repeated exposures to the locations of the two food rewards, finches located a food reward more accurately than on the one-trial tasks, and were also more likely to recall the locations of the different food types. In this foraging paradigm, experience and motivation may have influenced the birds' performance.

  15. Molecular characterization of novel circoviruses from finch and gull.

    PubMed

    Todd, D; Scott, A N J; Fringuelli, E; Shivraprasad, H L; Gavier-Widen, D; Smyth, J A

    2007-02-01

    The purpose of this study was to molecularly characterize circoviruses that infect finches and gulls. Circovirus-specific DNAs were isolated using polymerase chain reaction methods from bursa of Fabricius tissues from a Gouldian finch (Chloebia gouldiae) and a herring gull (Larus argentatus) that were known to be circovirus-infected. Nucleotide sequence determination and analysis of cloned genomic DNAs showed that these circoviruses represented novel members of the genus Circovirus of the family Circoviridae, and have been tentatively named Finch circovirus (FiCV) and Gull Circovirus (GuCV). Both new circoviruses shared genome organizational features with previously characterized circoviruses, such that both contained two major, inversely-arranged open reading frames encoding the putative replication-associated and capsid proteins, and both contained a potential stem-loop and nonanucleotide motif. Phylogenetic analyses based on genome nucleotide sequences and involving the seven additional genus members indicated that FiCV and GuCV were more closely related to canary circovirus, beak and feather disease virus and pigeon circovirus, and that FiCV and canary circovirus were the most closely related avian circoviruses. Pairwise comparisons showed that the capsid proteins of FiCV and GuCV shared highest amino acid identity values with those of canary circovirus (62.0%) and pigeon circovirus (40.6%), respectively. The 5' intergenic region of GuCV was longer (207 nucleotides) and contained more direct and inverse repeated sequences than those of other circoviruses, while the 3' intergenic region of FiCV was notable in being longer (307 nucleotides) than its counterparts in other circoviruses and in containing two long repeats of 77 nucleotides.

  16. Spatial memory and the avian hippocampus: research in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Mayer, Uwe; Watanabe, Shigeru; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2013-01-01

    The aim of the present review is to show that spatial learning and memory is not a specialty of just a few avian species, and to describe the role of the avian hippocampus in spatial learning, memory and orientation. Based on our own research in zebra finches, we try to give an (not complete and probably biased) overview of this topic, and we also discuss the question of functional equivalence of hippocampus in birds and in mammals in that we question how far theories developed for mammalian hippocampus can also be applied to the avian hippocampal formation.

  17. Charged compact stellar model in Finch-Skea spacetime

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ratanpal, B. S.; Pandya, D. M.; Sharma, R.; Das, S.

    2017-04-01

    Making use of the Finch and Skea ansatz (Class. Quantum Gravity 6:467, 1989), we present a new class of solutions for a compact stellar object whose exterior space-time is described by the Riessner-Nordström metric. We generate the solution by assuming a specific charge distribution and show its relevance in the context of relativistic spherical objects possessing a net charge. In particular, we analyze the impact of charge on the mass-radius (M-R) relationship of compact stellar objects.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Riede, Tobias; Schilling, Nadja; Goller, Franz

    2012-01-01

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

  3. The secondary contact phase of allopatric speciation in Darwin's finches

    PubMed Central

    Grant, Peter R.; Grant, B. Rosemary

    2009-01-01

    Speciation, the process by which two species form from one, involves the development of reproductive isolation of two divergent lineages. Here, we report the establishment and persistence of a reproductively isolated population of Darwin's finches on the small Galápagos Island of Daphne Major in the secondary contact phase of speciation. In 1981, an immigrant medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis) arrived on the island. It was unusually large, especially in beak width, sang an unusual song, and carried some Geospiza scandens alleles. We followed the fate of this individual and its descendants for seven generations over a period of 28 years. In the fourth generation, after a severe drought, the lineage was reduced to a single brother and sister, who bred with each other. From then on this lineage, inheriting unusual song, morphology, and a uniquely homozygous marker allele, was reproductively isolated, because their own descendants bred with each other and with no other member of the resident G. fortis population. These observations agree with some expectations of an ecological theory of speciation in that a barrier to interbreeding arises as a correlated effect of adaptive divergence in morphology. However, the important, culturally transmitted, song component of the barrier appears to have arisen by chance through an initial imperfect copying of local song by the immigrant. The study reveals additional stochastic elements of speciation, in which divergence is initiated in allopatry; immigration to a new area of a single male hybrid and initial breeding with a rare hybrid female. PMID:19918081

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  5. n-dimensional isotropic Finch-Skea stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chilambwe, Brian; Hansraj, Sudan

    2015-02-01

    We study the impact of dimension on the physical properties of the Finch-Skea astrophysical model. It is shown that a positive definite, monotonically decreasing pressure and density are evident. A decrease in stellar radius emerges as the order of the dimension increases. This is accompanied by a corresponding increase in energy density. The model continues to display the necessary qualitative features inherent in the 4-dimensional Finch-Skea star and the conformity to the Walecka theory is preserved under dimensional increase. The causality condition is always satisfied for all dimensions considered resulting in the proposed models demonstrating a subluminal sound speed throughout the interior of the distribution. Moreover, the pressure and density decrease monotonically outwards from the centre and a pressure-free hypersurface exists demarcating the boundary of the perfect-fluid sphere. Since the study of the physical conditions is performed graphically, it is necessary to specify certain constants in the model. Reasonable values for such constants are arrived at on examining the behaviour of the model at the centre and demanding the satisfaction of all elementary conditions for physical plausibility. Finally two constants of integration are settled on matching of our solutions with the appropriate Schwarzschild-Tangherlini exterior metrics. Furthermore, the solution admits a barotropic equation of state despite the higher dimension. The compactification parameter as well as the density variation parameter are also computed. The models satisfy the weak, strong and dominant energy conditions in the interior of the stellar configuration.

  6. Sequential learning and rule abstraction in Bengalese finches.

    PubMed

    Yamazaki, Yumiko; Suzuki, Kenta; Inada, Masayuki; Iriki, Atsushi; Okanoya, Kazuo

    2012-05-01

    The Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica) is a species of songbird. Males sing courtship songs with complex note-to-note transition rules, while females discriminate these songs when choosing their mate. The present study uses serial reaction time (RT) to examine the characteristics of the Bengalese finches' sequential behaviours beyond song production. The birds were trained to produce the sequence with an "A-B-A" structure. After the RT to each key position was determined to be stable, we tested the acquisition of the trained sequential response by presenting novel and random three-term sequences (random test). We also examined whether they could abstract the embedded rule in the trained sequence and apply it to the novel test sequence (abstract test). Additionally, we examined rule abstraction through example training by increasing the number of examples in baseline training from 1 to 5. When considered as (gender) groups, training with 5 examples resulted in no statistically significant differences in the abstract tests, while statistically significant differences were observed in the random tests, suggesting that the male birds learned the trained sequences and transferred the abstract structure they had learned during the training trials. Individual data indicated that males, as opposed to females, were likely to learn the motor pattern of the sequence. The results are consistent with observations that males learn to produce songs with complex sequential rules, whereas females do not.

  7. Amyloidosis in a Captive Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Research Colony

    PubMed Central

    Shientag, Lisa J; Garlick, David S; Galati, Erin

    2016-01-01

    Five birds in a captive zebra finch research colony were diagnosed with systemic amyloidosis within a 7-mo period by means of postmortem Congo red staining and green birefringence under polarized light. The liver was the most frequently and usually the most seriously affected organ, followed by the spleen and then the kidney. All 5 birds had been clinically affected with various inflammatory, infectious, and neoplastic conditions associated with amyloid A (AA) amyloidosis in humans and animals. Immunohistochemistry using antisera against duck AA protein revealed that tissues from 2 of the 5 birds were positive for the presence of AA protein and systemic inflammation-associated amyloidosis. Although the development of AA amyloidosis has been associated with chronic inflammation, trauma, and various infectious and neoplastic diseases as well as possible genetic predispositions and stresses linked to overcrowding, the root causes for individual cases of AA amyloidosis are incompletely understood. As far as we know, this report is the first description of AA amyloidosis in captive, research zebra finches. PMID:27298248

  8. Exploring vocal recovery after cranial nerve injury in Bengalese finches.

    PubMed

    Urbano, Catherine M; Peterson, Jennifer R; Cooper, Brenton G

    2013-02-08

    Songbirds and humans use auditory feedback to acquire and maintain their vocalizations. The Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata domestica) is a songbird species that rapidly modifies its vocal output to adhere to an internal song memory. In this species, the left side of the bipartite vocal organ is specialized for producing louder, higher frequencies (≥2.2kHz) and denervation of the left vocal muscles eliminates these notes. Thus, the return of higher frequency notes after cranial nerve injury can be used as a measure of vocal recovery. Either the left or right side of the syrinx was denervated by resection of the tracheosyringeal portion of the hypoglossal nerve. Histologic analyses of syringeal muscle tissue showed significant muscle atrophy in the denervated side. After left nerve resection, songs were mainly composed of lower frequency syllables, but three out of five birds recovered higher frequency syllables. Right nerve resection minimally affected phonology, but it did change song syntax; syllable sequence became abnormally stereotyped after right nerve resection. Therefore, damage to the neuromuscular control of sound production resulted in reduced motor variability, and Bengalese finches are a potential model for functional vocal recovery following cranial nerve injury.

  9. Darwin’s finches treat their feathers with a natural repellent

    PubMed Central

    Cimadom, Arno; Causton, Charlotte; Cha, Dong H.; Damiens, David; Fessl, Birgit; Hood-Nowotny, Rebecca; Lincango, Piedad; Mieles, Alejandro E.; Nemeth, Erwin; Semler, Elizabeth M.; Teale, Stephen A.; Tebbich, Sabine

    2016-01-01

    Darwin’s finches are highly innovative. Recently we recorded for the first time a behavioural innovation in Darwin’s finches outside the foraging context: individuals of four species rubbed leaves of the endemic tree Psidium galapageium on their feathers. We hypothesised that this behaviour serves to repel ectoparasites and tested the repellency of P. galapageium leaf extracts against parasites that negatively affect the fitness of Darwin’s finches, namely mosquitoes and the invasive hematophagous fly Philornis downsi. Mosquitoes transmit pathogens which have recently been introduced by humans and the larvae of the fly suck blood from nestlings and incubating females. Our experimental evidence demonstrates that P. galapageium leaf extracts repel both mosquitoes and adult P. downsi and also inhibit the growth of P. downsi larvae. It is therefore possible that finches use this plant to repel ectopoarasites. PMID:27721475

  10. Susceptibility and antibody response of the laboratory model zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) to West Nile Virus

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hofmeister, Erik K.; Lund, Melissa; Shearn-Bochsler, Valerie I.; Balakrishnan, Christopher N.

    2017-01-01

    Since the introduction of West Nile virus (WNV) into North America in 1999 a number of passerine bird species have been found to play a role in the amplification of the virus. Arbovirus surveillance, observational studies and experimental studies have implicated passerine birds (songbirds, e.g., crows, American robins, house sparrows, and house finches) as significant reservoirs of WNV in North America, yet we lack a tractable passerine animal model for controlled studies of the virus. The zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) serves as a model system across a diversity of fields, and here we develop the zebra finch a songbird model for WNV. Like many natural hosts of WNV, we found that zebra finches developed sufficient viremia to serve as a competent host, yet in general resisted mortality from infection. In the Australian zebra finch (AZF) T. g. castanotis, we detected WNV in the majority of sampled tissues by 4 days post injection (dpi). However, WNV was not detected in tissues of sacrificed birds at 14 dpi, shortly after the development of detectable anti-WNV antibodies in the majority of birds indicating successful viral clearance. We compared susceptibility between the two zebra finch subspecies AZF and Timor zebra finch (TZF) T. g. guttata. Compared to AZF, WNV RNA was detected in a larger proportion of challenged TZF and molecular detection of virus in the serum of TZF was significantly higher than in AZF. Given the observed moderate host competence and disease susceptibility, we suggest that zebra finches are appropriate as models for the study of WNV and although underutilized in this respect, may be ideal models for the study of the many diseases carried and transmitted by songbirds.

  11. Susceptibility and Antibody Response of the Laboratory Model Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) to West Nile Virus

    PubMed Central

    Lund, Melissa; Shearn-Bochsler, Valerie

    2017-01-01

    Since the introduction of West Nile virus (WNV) into North America in 1999 a number of passerine bird species have been found to play a role in the amplification of the virus. Arbovirus surveillance, observational studies and experimental studies have implicated passerine birds (songbirds, e.g., crows, American robins, house sparrows, and house finches) as significant reservoirs of WNV in North America, yet we lack a tractable passerine animal model for controlled studies of the virus. The zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) serves as a model system across a diversity of fields, and here we develop the zebra finch a songbird model for WNV. Like many natural hosts of WNV, we found that zebra finches developed sufficient viremia to serve as a competent host, yet in general resisted mortality from infection. In the Australian zebra finch (AZF) T. g. castanotis, we detected WNV in the majority of sampled tissues by 4 days post injection (dpi). However, WNV was not detected in tissues of sacrificed birds at 14 dpi, shortly after the development of detectable anti-WNV antibodies in the majority of birds indicating successful viral clearance. We compared susceptibility between the two zebra finch subspecies AZF and Timor zebra finch (TZF) T. g. guttata. Compared to AZF, WNV RNA was detected in a larger proportion of challenged TZF and molecular detection of virus in the serum of TZF was significantly higher than in AZF. Given the observed moderate host competence and disease susceptibility, we suggest that zebra finches are appropriate as models for the study of WNV and although underutilized in this respect, may be ideal models for the study of the many diseases carried and transmitted by songbirds. PMID:28045891

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

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

  13. Gaze strategy in the free flying zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Eckmeier, Dennis; Geurten, Bart R H; Kress, Daniel; Mertes, Marcel; Kern, Roland; Egelhaaf, Martin; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2008-01-01

    Fast moving animals depend on cues derived from the optic flow on their retina. Optic flow from translational locomotion includes information about the three-dimensional composition of the environment, while optic flow experienced during a rotational self motion does not. Thus, a saccadic gaze strategy that segregates rotations from translational movements during locomotion will facilitate extraction of spatial information from the visual input. We analysed whether birds use such a strategy by highspeed video recording zebra finches from two directions during an obstacle avoidance task. Each frame of the recording was examined to derive position and orientation of the beak in three-dimensional space. The data show that in all flights the head orientation was shifted in a saccadic fashion and was kept straight between saccades. Therefore, birds use a gaze strategy that actively stabilizes their gaze during translation to simplify optic flow based navigation. This is the first evidence of birds actively optimizing optic flow during flight.

  14. Strategic concealment of sexual identity in an estrilid finch

    PubMed Central

    Langmore, N. E.; Bennett, A. T. D.

    1999-01-01

    One explanation for the evolution of sexual monomorphism is the sexual indistinguishability hypothesis, which argues that in group-living species individuals might benefit by concealing their sex to reduce sexual competition. We tested this hypothesis in long-tailed finches Poephila acuticauda. Males and females could not be reliably distinguished morphologically or by analysis of the reflectance spectra (300 to 700 nm) from the plumage and bill. Males seemed unable to distinguish the sex of an unfamiliar individual in the absence of behavioural cues; they were equally likely to court and copulate with unfamiliar males and females but rarely courted familiar males. Here we report the first experimental evidence that sexual monomorphism enables strategic concealment of sex. Males were more likely to reveal their sex when faced with a solitary unfamiliar individual than a group of unfamiliar individuals. When encountering an unfamiliar male that revealed his sex, subordinate males were more likely to conceal their sex than dominant males.

  15. Transformation of temporal sequences in the zebra finch auditory system

    PubMed Central

    Lim, Yoonseob; Lagoy, Ryan; Shinn-Cunningham, Barbara G; Gardner, Timothy J

    2016-01-01

    This study examines how temporally patterned stimuli are transformed as they propagate from primary to secondary zones in the thalamorecipient auditory pallium in zebra finches. Using a new class of synthetic click stimuli, we find a robust mapping from temporal sequences in the primary zone to distinct population vectors in secondary auditory areas. We tested whether songbirds could discriminate synthetic click sequences in an operant setup and found that a robust behavioral discrimination is present for click sequences composed of intervals ranging from 11 ms to 40 ms, but breaks down for stimuli composed of longer inter-click intervals. This work suggests that the analog of the songbird auditory cortex transforms temporal patterns to sequence-selective population responses or ‘spatial codes', and that these distinct population responses contribute to behavioral discrimination of temporally complex sounds. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.18205.001 PMID:27897971

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-04-01

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

  17. How large was the founding population of Darwin's finches?

    PubMed Central

    Vincek, V.; O'Huigin, C.; Satta, Y.; Takahata, Y.; Boag, P. T.; Grant, P. R.; Grant, B. R.; Klein, J.

    1997-01-01

    A key assumption of many allopatric speciation models is that evolution in peripheral or isolated populations is facilitated by drastic reductions in population size. Population bottlenecks are believed to lead to rapid changes in gene frequencies through genetic drift, to facilitate rapid emergence of novel phenotypes, and to enhance reproductive isolation via genetic revolutions. For such effects to occur, founding populations must be very small, and remain small for some time after founding. This assumption has, however, rarely been tested in nature. One approach is to exploit the polymorphism of the major histocompatibility complex (Mhc) to obtain information about the founding population. Here, we use the Mhc polymorphism to estimate the size of the founding population of Darwin's finches in the Galápagos Archipelago. The results indicate that the population could not have been smaller than 30 individuals.

  18. Infestation of Research Zebra Finch Colony with 2 Novel Mite Species

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  19. Neural correlates of nesting behavior in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Hall, Zachary J.; Bertin, Marion; Bailey, Ida E.; Meddle, Simone L.; Healy, Susan D.

    2014-01-01

    Nest building in birds involves a behavioral sequence (nest material collection and deposition in the nest) that offers a unique model for addressing how the brain sequences motor actions. In this study, we identified brain regions involved in nesting behavior in male and female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). We used Fos immunohistochemistry to quantify production of the immediate early gene protein product Fos (a molecular indicator of neuronal activity) in the brain correlated this expression with the variation in nesting behavior. Using this technique, we found that neural circuitry involved in motor sequencing, social behavior, reward and motivation were active during nesting. Within pairs of nesting birds, the number of times a male picked up or deposited nesting material and the amount of time a female spent in the nest explained the variation in Fos expression in the anterior motor pathway, social behavior network, and reward neural circuits. Identification of the brain regions that are involved in nesting enables us to begin studying the roles of motor sequencing, context, and reward in construction behavior at the neural level. PMID:24508238

  20. Exploring possible human influences on the evolution of Darwin's finches.

    PubMed

    De León, Luis Fernando; Raeymaekers, Joost A M; Bermingham, Eldredge; Podos, Jeffrey; Herrel, Anthony; Hendry, Andrew P

    2011-08-01

    Humans are an increasingly common influence on the evolution of natural populations. Potential arenas of influence include altered evolutionary trajectories within populations and modifications of the process of divergence among populations. We consider this second arena in the medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis) on Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos, Ecuador. Our study compared the G. fortis population at a relatively undisturbed site, El Garrapatero, to the population at a severely disturbed site, Academy Bay, which is immediately adjacent to the town of Puerto Ayora. The El Garrapatero population currently shows beak size bimodality that is tied to assortative mating and disruptive selection, whereas the Academy Bay population was historically bimodal but has lost this property in conjunction with a dramatic increase in local human population density. We here evaluate potential ecological-adaptive drivers of the differences in modality by quantifying relationships between morphology (beak and head dimensions), functional performance (bite force), and environmental characteristics (diet). Our main finding is that associations among these variables are generally weaker at Academy Bay than at El Garrapatero, possibly because novel foods are used at the former site irrespective of individual morphology and performance. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the rugged adaptive landscapes promoting and maintaining diversification in nature can be smoothed by human activities, thus hindering ongoing adaptive radiation.

  1. Development of temporal structure in zebra finch song

    PubMed Central

    Troyer, Todd W.

    2013-01-01

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

  2. A simple explanation for the evolution of complex song syntax in Bengalese finches

    PubMed Central

    Katahira, Kentaro; Suzuki, Kenta; Kagawa, Hiroko; Okanoya, Kazuo

    2013-01-01

    The songs of Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata var. domestica) have complex syntax and provide an opportunity to investigate how complex sequential behaviour emerges via the evolutionary process. In this study, we suggest that a simple mechanism, i.e. many-to-one mapping from internal states onto syllables, may underlie the emergence of apparent complex syllable sequences that have higher order history dependencies. We analysed the songs of Bengalese finches and of their wild ancestor, the white-rumped munia (L. striata), whose songs are more stereotypical and simpler compared with those of Bengalese finches. The many-to-one mapping mechanism sufficiently accounted for the differences in the complexity of song syllable sequences of these two strains. PMID:24284561

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Bell, Graham

    2015-01-01

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

  5. Developmental stress increases reproductive success in male zebra finches

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Figueredo, Aurelio Jose; And Others

    1992-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2005-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

  9. Influenza A(H7N9) virus transmission between finches and poultry.

    PubMed

    Jones, Jeremy C; Sonnberg, Stephanie; Webby, Richard J; Webster, Robert G

    2015-04-01

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

  10. Low plasticity in digestive physiology constrains feeding ecology in diet specialist, zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Brzek, Paweł; Lessner, Krista M; Caviedes-Vidal, Enrique; Karasov, William H

    2010-03-01

    It can be hypothesized that species with a wide or variable food niche are able to adjust their digestive physiology to current food type. In diet specialists, however, the capacity for such presumably costly plasticity is not necessary and flexibility of digestive physiology should be lower. Recently, we found that ontogenetic changes in the activity of digestive enzymes in house sparrow, a species that gradually consumes more carbohydrates during ontogeny, are strongly modified by diet composition. In the present study we examined digestive flexibility of nestling and adult zebra finches, typical diet specialists that consume only seeds after hatching. Both adult and nestling zebra finches could not thrive on a protein-rich and carbohydrate-free diet that supported normal development of young house sparrows. Mass-specific activity of intestinal carbohydrases (maltase and sucrase) was not elevated by higher diet carbohydrate content in both nestling and adult birds. Mass-specific activity of maltase changed less during ontogenetic development in zebra finch than in house sparrow. We conclude that the digestive physiology of zebra finch is adapted to process carbohydrate-rich food after hatching and is much less flexible than in house sparrow. We hypothesize that this difference might reflect the lack of a diet switch during ontogeny or result from high specialization to a narrow diet niche.

  11. Song decrystallization in adult zebra finches does not require the song nucleus NIf.

    PubMed

    Roy, Arani; Mooney, Richard

    2009-08-01

    In adult male zebra finches, transecting the vocal nerve causes previously stable (i.e., crystallized) song to slowly degrade, presumably because of the resulting distortion in auditory feedback. How and where distorted feedback interacts with song motor networks to induce this process of song decrystallization remains unknown. The song premotor nucleus HVC is a potential site where auditory feedback signals could interact with song motor commands. Although the forebrain nucleus interface of the nidopallium (NIf) appears to be the primary auditory input to HVC, NIf lesions made in adult zebra finches do not trigger song decrystallization. One possibility is that NIf lesions do not interfere with song maintenance, but do compromise the adult zebra finch's ability to express renewed vocal plasticity in response to feedback perturbations. To test this idea, we bilaterally lesioned NIf and then transected the vocal nerve in adult male zebra finches. We found that bilateral NIf lesions did not prevent nerve section-induced song decrystallization. To test the extent to which the NIf lesions disrupted auditory processing in the song system, we made in vivo extracellular recordings in HVC and a downstream anterior forebrain pathway (AFP) in NIf-lesioned birds. We found strong and selective auditory responses to the playback of the birds' own song persisted in HVC and the AFP following NIf lesions. These findings suggest that auditory inputs to the song system other than NIf, such as the caudal mesopallium, could act as a source of auditory feedback signals to the song motor network.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lawson, Anton E.

    2009-01-01

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

  16. Three Molecular Markers Show No Evidence of Population Genetic Structure in the Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae)

    PubMed Central

    West, Andrea J.; Cardilini, Adam P. A.; Clark, Jennalee A.; Maute, Kimberley L.; Legge, Sarah; Brazill-Boast, James; Griffith, Simon C.; Rollins, Lee A.

    2016-01-01

    Assessment of genetic diversity and connectivity between regions can inform conservation managers about risk of inbreeding, potential for adaptation and where population boundaries lie. The Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae) is a threatened species in northern Australia, occupying the savannah woodlands of the biogeographically complex monsoon tropics. We present the most comprehensive population genetic analysis of diversity and structure the Gouldian finch using 16 microsatellite markers, mitochondrial control region and 3,389 SNPs from genotyping-by-sequencing. Mitochondrial diversity is compared across three related, co-distributed finches with different conservation threat-statuses. There was no evidence of genetic differentiation across the western part of the range in any of the molecular markers, and haplotype diversity but not richness was lower than a common co-distributed species. Individuals within the panmictic population in the west may be highly dispersive within this wide area, and we urge caution when interpreting anecdotal observations of changes to the distribution and/or flock sizes of Gouldian finch populations as evidence of overall changes to the population size of this species. PMID:27936082

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Figueredo, Aurelio Jose; And Others

    1995-01-01

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

  18. Identification of auditory distance cues by zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) and budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus).

    PubMed

    Radziwon, Kelly E; Welch, Thomas E; Cone, Jarrod P; Dent, Micheal L

    2011-05-01

    The present study examined auditory distance perception cues in a non-territorial songbird, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), and in a non-songbird, the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus). Using operant conditioning procedures, three zebra finches and three budgerigars were trained to identify 1- (Near) and 75-m (Far) recordings of three budgerigar contact calls, one male zebra finch song, and one female zebra finch call. Once the birds were trained on these endpoint stimuli, other stimuli were introduced into the operant task. These stimuli included recordings at intermediate distances and artificially altered stimuli simulating changes in overall amplitude, high-frequency attenuation, reverberation, and all three cues combined. By examining distance cues (amplitude, high-frequency attenuation, and reverberation) separately, this study sought to determine which cue was the most salient for the birds. The results suggest that both species could scale the stimuli on a continuum from Near to Far and that amplitude was the most important cue for these birds in auditory distance perception, as in humans and other animals.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  1. Sexual dimorphism in relation to current selection in the house finch.

    PubMed

    Badyaev, A V; Martin, T E

    2000-06-01

    Sexual dimorphism is thought to have evolved in response to selection pressures that differ between males and females. Our aim in this study was to determine the role of current net selection in shaping and maintaining contemporary sexual dimorphism in a recently established population of the house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) in Montana. We found strong differences between sexes in direction of selection on sexually dimorphic traits, significant heritabilities of these traits, and a close congruence between current selection and observed sexual dimorphism in Montana house finches. Strong directional selection on sexually dimorphic traits and similar intensities of selection in each sex suggested that sexual dimorphism arises from adaptive responses in males and females, with both sexes being far from their local fitness optimum. This pattern is expected when a recently established population experiences continuous immigration from ecologically distinct areas of a species range or as a result of widely fluctuating selection pressures, as found in our study. Strong and sexually dimorphic selection pressures on heritable morphological traits, in combination with low phenotypic and genetic covariation among these traits during growth, may have accounted for close congruence between current selection and observed sexual dimorphism in the house finch. This conclusion is consistent with the profound adaptive population divergence in sexual dimorphism that accompanied very successful colonization of most of the North America by the house finch over the last 50 years.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Killpack, Tess L.; Karasov, William H.

    2012-01-01

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

  4. Divergence and gene flow among Darwin's finches: a genome-wide view of adaptive radiation driven by interspecies allele sharing

    PubMed Central

    Palmer, Daniela H.; Kronforst, Marcus R.

    2015-01-01

    A recent analysis of the genomes of Darwin's finches revealed extensive interspecies allele sharing throughout the history of the radiation and identified a key locus responsible for morphological evolution in this group. The radiation of Darwin's finches on the Galápagos archipelago has long been regarded as an iconic study system for field ecology and evolutionary biology. Coupled with an extensive history of field work, these latest findings affirm the increasing acceptance of introgressive hybridization, or gene flow between species, as a significant contributor to adaptive evolution. Here we review and discuss these findings in relation to both classical work on Darwin's finches and contemporary work showing similar evolutionary signatures in other biological systems. The continued unification of genomic data with field biology promises to further elucidate the molecular basis of adaptation in Darwin's finches and well beyond. PMID:26200327

  5. Susceptibility and antibody response of the laboratory model zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) to West Nile Virus: Data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hofmeister, Erik K.; Lund, Melissa; Shearn-Bochsler, Valerie I.

    2016-01-01

    The data set contains the results of experimental challenge of captive zebra finches with an American crow isolate of West Nile virus (WNV). Data include infectivity, mortality, viremia, oral shedding of virus, and serology for anti- WNV antibodies. Australian and Timor zebra finches were used in this study and both are useful as a laboratory model of an avian species with moderate susceptibility to WNV.

  6. Comparative genomic analysis of the zebra finch degradome provides new insights into evolution of proteases in birds and mammals

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background The degradome -the complete repertoire of proteases in an organism- is involved in multiple key biological and pathological processes. Previous studies in several organisms have yielded sets of curated protease sequences which may be used to characterize the degradome in a novel genome by similarity. Differences between degradomes can then be related to physiological traits of the species under study. Therefore, the sequencing of the zebra finch genome allows the comparison between the degradomes of mammals and birds and may help to understand the biological peculiarities of the zebra finch. Results A set of curated protease sequences from humans and chicken was used to predict the sequences of 460 protease and protease-like genes in the zebra finch genome. This analysis revealed important differences in the evolution of mammalian and bird degradomes, including genomic expansions and deletions of caspases, cytotoxic proteases, kallikreins, matrix metalloproteases, and trypsin-like proteases. Furthermore, we found several zebra finch-specific features, such as duplications in CASP3 and BACE, and a large genomic expansion of acrosin. Conclusions We have compared the degradomes of zebra finch, chicken and several mammalian species, with the finding of multiple differences which illustrate the evolution of the protease complement of these organisms. Detailed analysis of these changes in zebra finch proteases has shown that they are mainly related to immunological, developmental, reproductive and neural functions. PMID:20359326

  7. Breeding experience, alternative reproductive strategies and reproductive success in a captive colony of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Baran, Nicole M; Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hill, Geoffrey E.; Farmer, Kristy L.

    2005-01-01

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

  9. Microlichus americanus acariasis in saffron finches (Sicalis flaveola) with dermatitis and feather loss.

    PubMed

    Rettenmund, Christy L; Ossiboff, Robert J; McAloose, Denise; Knee, Wayne; Wade, Susan E; Paré, Jean A

    2015-05-01

    Over a 5-year period, 13 saffron finches (Sicalis flaveola) housed in mixed aviaries at the Bronx Zoo (Bronx, New York) were examined with feather loss and dermatitis, primarily affecting the nape, neck, and dorsum. Feather loss, hyperkeratosis, epidermal hyperplasia, and mixed granulocytic and mononuclear inflammation were identified in biopsies from live birds and tissue sections from postmortem specimens. In 10 of 13 cases, sections of arthropod parasites were seen histologically within feather follicles and along the surface of affected skin. Based on morphological characteristics, mites recovered from samples of formalin-fixed skin in 4 birds were identified as Microlichus americanus, an epidermoptid mite infrequently reported from wild birds and hippoboscid flies. Gross and histological lesions strongly implicate M. americanus as the cause of dermatitis affecting practically all saffron finches in the collection.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Siegel, Nisan; Storrie, Brian; Bruce, Marc

    2016-01-01

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

  12. Spatial memory and hippocampal function in a non-foodstoring songbird, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Bischof, Hans-Joachim; Lieshoff, Carsten; Watanabe, Shigeru

    2006-01-01

    Spatial memory and hippocampal function have as yet been investigated mainly in pigeons and food storing songbirds. We show here that the zebra finch, a songbird not specialized in food storing and caching, is also able to learn a spatial memory task and uses a spatial map for finding food in a 'dry water maze'. Hippocampal lesions prevent learning and retention of this spatial task. The immediate early gene (IEG) products Zenk and Fos are expressed within the hippocampus when the bird is learning the task. Spatial learning cannot be assigned to any hippocampal subregion; IEG expression within the hippocampus is patchy and seems almost arbitrarily located. The IEG activation pattern in spatial memory experiments is compared with those in other learning experiments with zebra finches.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lawson, Anton E.

    2009-01-01

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

  16. Flavoprotein autofluorescence imaging of visual system activity in zebra finches and mice.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  17. Colour vision and background adaptation in a passerine bird, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Today, there is good knowledge of the physiological basis of bird colour vision and how mathematical models can be used to predict visual thresholds. However, we still know only little about how colour vision changes between different viewing conditions. This limits the understanding of how colour signalling is configured in habitats where the light of the illumination and the background may shift dramatically. I examined how colour discrimination in zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is affected by adaptation to different backgrounds. I trained finches in a two-alternative choice task, to choose between red discs displayed on backgrounds with different colours. I found that discrimination thresholds correlate with stimulus contrast to the background. Thresholds are low, and in agreement with model predictions, for a background with a red colour similar to the discs. For the most contrasting green background, thresholds are about five times higher than this. Subsequently, I trained the finches for the detection of single discs on a grey background. Detection thresholds are about 2.5 to 3 times higher than discrimination thresholds. This study demonstrates close similarities in human and bird colour vision, and the quantitative data offer a new possibility to account for shifting viewing conditions in colour vision models. PMID:27703702

  18. Comparative Cytogenetics between Two Important Songbird, Models: The Zebra Finch and the Canary

    PubMed Central

    dos Santos, Michelly da Silva; Kretschmer, Rafael; Frankl-Vilches, Carolina; Bakker, Antje; Gahr, Manfred; O´Brien, Patricia C. M.; Ferguson-Smith, Malcolm A.

    2017-01-01

    Songbird species (order Passeriformes, suborder Oscines) are important models in various experimental fields spanning behavioural genomics to neurobiology. Although the genomes of some songbird species were sequenced recently, the chromosomal organization of these species is mostly unknown. Here we focused on the two most studied songbird species in neuroscience, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) and the canary (Serinus canaria). In order to clarify these issues and also to integrate chromosome data with their assembled genomes, we used classical and molecular cytogenetics in both zebra finch and canary to define their chromosomal homology, localization of heterochromatic blocks and distribution of rDNA clusters. We confirmed the same diploid number (2n = 80) in both species, as previously reported. FISH experiments confirmed the occurrence of multiple paracentric and pericentric inversions previously found in other species of Passeriformes, providing a cytogenetic signature for this order, and corroborating data from in silico analyses. Additionally, compared to other Passeriformes, we detected differences in the zebra finch karyotype concerning the morphology of some chromosomes, in the distribution of 5S rDNA clusters, and an inversion in chromosome 1. PMID:28129381

  19. Comparative Cytogenetics between Two Important Songbird, Models: The Zebra Finch and the Canary.

    PubMed

    Dos Santos, Michelly da Silva; Kretschmer, Rafael; Frankl-Vilches, Carolina; Bakker, Antje; Gahr, Manfred; O Brien, Patricia C M; Ferguson-Smith, Malcolm A; de Oliveira, Edivaldo H C

    2017-01-01

    Songbird species (order Passeriformes, suborder Oscines) are important models in various experimental fields spanning behavioural genomics to neurobiology. Although the genomes of some songbird species were sequenced recently, the chromosomal organization of these species is mostly unknown. Here we focused on the two most studied songbird species in neuroscience, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) and the canary (Serinus canaria). In order to clarify these issues and also to integrate chromosome data with their assembled genomes, we used classical and molecular cytogenetics in both zebra finch and canary to define their chromosomal homology, localization of heterochromatic blocks and distribution of rDNA clusters. We confirmed the same diploid number (2n = 80) in both species, as previously reported. FISH experiments confirmed the occurrence of multiple paracentric and pericentric inversions previously found in other species of Passeriformes, providing a cytogenetic signature for this order, and corroborating data from in silico analyses. Additionally, compared to other Passeriformes, we detected differences in the zebra finch karyotype concerning the morphology of some chromosomes, in the distribution of 5S rDNA clusters, and an inversion in chromosome 1.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  1. Rates of karyotypic evolution in Estrildid finches differ between island and continental clades.

    PubMed

    Hooper, Daniel M; Price, Trevor D

    2015-04-01

    Reasons why chromosomal rearrangements spread to fixation and frequently distinguish related taxa remain poorly understood. We used cytological descriptions of karyotype to identify large pericentric inversions between species of Estrildid finches (family Estrildidae) and a time-dated phylogeny to assess the genomic, geographic, and phylogenetic context of karyotype evolution in this group. Inversions between finch species fixed at an average rate of one every 2.26 My. Inversions were twice as likely to fix on the sex chromosomes compared to the autosomes. A high repeat density on the sex chromosomes may increase mutation rates, but other explanations via mutagenic input are not supported, as the number of inversions on a chromosome does not correlate with its length or map size. Inversions have fixed 3.3× faster in three continental clades than in two island chain clades, and fixation rate correlates with both range size and the number of sympatric species pairs. These results point to adaptation as the dominant mechanism driving fixation and suggest a role for gene flow in karyotype divergence. A review shows that the rapid karyotype evolution observed in the Estrildid finches appears to be more general across birds, and by implication other understudied taxa.

  2. Zebra finch mates use their forebrain song system in unlearned call communication.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-06

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

  12. Zebra finches have a light-dependent magnetic compass similar to migratory birds.

    PubMed

    Pinzon-Rodriguez, Atticus; Muheim, Rachel

    2017-04-01

    Birds have a light-dependent magnetic compass that provides information about the spatial alignment of the geomagnetic field. It is proposed to be located in the avian retina and mediated by a light-induced, radical-pair mechanism involving cryptochromes as sensory receptor molecules. To investigate how the behavioural responses of birds under different light spectra match with cryptochromes as the primary magnetoreceptor, we examined the spectral properties of the magnetic compass in zebra finches. We trained birds to relocate a food reward in a spatial orientation task using magnetic compass cues. The birds were well oriented along the trained magnetic compass axis when trained and tested under low-irradiance 521 nm green light. In the presence of a 1.4 MHz radio-frequency electromagnetic (RF)-field, the birds were disoriented, which supports the involvement of radical-pair reactions in the primary magnetoreception process. Birds trained and tested under 638 nm red light showed a weak tendency to orient ∼45 deg clockwise of the trained magnetic direction. Under low-irradiance 460 nm blue light, they tended to orient along the trained magnetic compass axis, but were disoriented under higher irradiance light. Zebra finches trained and tested under high-irradiance 430 nm indigo light were well oriented along the trained magnetic compass axis, but disoriented in the presence of a RF-field. We conclude that magnetic compass responses of zebra finches are similar to those observed in nocturnally migrating birds and agree with cryptochromes as the primary magnetoreceptor, suggesting that light-dependent, radical-pair-mediated magnetoreception is a common property for all birds, including non-migratory species.

  13. Differential accumulation and pigmenting ability of dietary carotenoids in colorful finches.

    PubMed

    McGraw, Kevin J; Hill, Geoffrey E; Navara, Kristen J; Parker, Robert S

    2004-01-01

    Many animals develop bright red, orange, or yellow carotenoid pigmentation that they use to attract mates. Colorful carotenoid pigments are acquired from the diet and are either directly incorporated as integumentary colorants or metabolized into other forms before deposition. Because animals often obtain several different carotenoids from plant and animal food sources, it is possible that these pigments are accumulated at different levels in the body and may play unique roles in shaping the ultimate color expression of individuals. We studied patterns of carotenoid accumulation and integumentary pigmentation in two colorful finch species--the American goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) and the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Both species acquire two main hydroxycarotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, from their seed diet but transform these into a series of metabolites that are used as colorful pigments in the plumage (goldfinches only) and beak (both species). We conducted a series of carotenoid-supplementation experiments to investigate the relative extent to which lutein and zeaxanthin are accumulated in blood and increase carotenoid coloration in feathers and bare parts. First, we supplemented the diets of both species with either lutein or zeaxanthin and measured plasma pigment status, feather carotenoid concentration (goldfinches only), and integumentary color. Zeaxanthin-supplemented males grew more colorful feathers and beaks than lutein-supplemented males, and in goldfinches incorporated a different ratio of carotenoids in feathers (favoring the accumulation of canary xanthophyll B). We also fed goldfinches different concentrations of a standard lutein-zeaxanthin mix and found that at physiologically normal and high concentrations, birds circulated proportionally more zeaxanthin over lutein than occurred in the diet. Collectively, these results demonstrate that zeaxanthin is preferentially accumulated in the body and serves as a more potent substrate for

  14. Behavioural and physiological effects of population density on domesticated Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata) held in aviaries.

    PubMed

    Poot, Hanneke; ter Maat, Andries; Trost, Lisa; Schwabl, Ingrid; Jansen, René F; Gahr, Manfred

    2012-02-01

    Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are highly social and monogamous birds that display relatively low levels of aggression and coordinate group life mainly by means of vocal communication. In the wild, small groups may congregate to larger flocks of up to 150-350 birds. Little is known, however, about possible effects of population density on development in captivity. Investigating density effects on physiology and behaviour might be helpful in identifying optimal group size, in order to optimise Zebra Finch wellbeing. A direct effect of population density on development and reproduction was found: birds in lower density conditions produced significantly more and larger (body mass, tarsus length) surviving offspring than birds in high density conditions. Furthermore, offspring in low density aviaries produced slightly longer song motifs and more different syllables than their tutors, whereas offspring in high density aviaries produced shorter motifs and a smaller or similar number of different syllables than their tutors. Aggression levels within the populations were low throughout the experiment, but the number of aggressive interactions was significantly higher in high density aviaries. Baseline corticosterone levels did not differ significantly between high- and low density aviaries for either adult or offspring birds. On day 15 post hatching, brood size and baseline corticosterone levels were positively correlated. On days 60 and 100 post hatching this correlation was no longer present. The results of this study prove that population density affects various aspects of Zebra Finch development, with birds living in low population density conditions having an advantage over those living under higher population density conditions.

  15. Polyomavirus Infection in Gouldian Finches (Erythrura gouldiae) and Other Pet Birds of the Family Estrildidae.

    PubMed

    Circella, E; Caroli, A; Marino, M; Legretto, M; Pugliese, N; Bozzo, G; Cocciolo, G; Dibari, D; Camarda, A

    2017-02-18

    A syndrome characterized by apathy, diarrhoea and high mortality of nestlings was observed in a flock of pet birds of the family Estrildidae. Enlargement of the liver, pulmonary congestion and urate accretions in the kidney were observed. Microscopically, there was glomerular atrophy, oedema and congestion of the lungs and necrosis and fibrosis of the liver. Cowdry type B intranuclear inclusion bodies were detected in the tissues. Polyomavirus was detected by polymerase chain reaction. The entire genome of the virus was amplified and sequenced, revealing 99 % identity to the sequence of finch polyomavirus isolated from the Eurasian bullfinch (family Fringillidae).

  16. Experimental evidence for millisecond activation timescales using the Fast IN Chamber (FINCH) measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-04-01

    Ice formation in clouds is a subject of great practical and fundamental importance since the occurrence of ice particle initializes dramatic changes in the microphysical structure of the cloud, which finally ends in the formation of precipitation. The initially step of ice formation is largely unknown. Homogenous nucleation of ice occurs only below -40 °C. If an ice nucleus (IN) is present, heterogeneous nucleation may occur at higher temperature. Here deposition freezing, condensation and immersion freezing as well as contact freezing are known. Also growth rates of ice particles are known as function of crystal surface properties, temperature and super saturation. Timescales for homogenous freezing activation in the order of 0.01 seconds and nucleation rates have been measured by Anderson et al. (1980) and Hagen et al., (1981) using their expansion cloud chamber. This contribution of deposition mode freezing measurements by the ice nucleus counter FINCH presents evidence that the activation timescale of this freezing mode is in the order of 1E-3 seconds. FINCH is an Ice Nucleus counter which activates IN in a supersaturated environment at freezing temperatures. The activation conditions are actively controlled by mixing three gas flows (aerosol, particle-free cold-dry and warm-humid flows).See Bundke et al. 2008 for details. In a special operation mode of FINCH we are able to produce a controlled peak super saturation in the order of 1 ms duration. For several test aerosols the results observed in this particular mode are comparable to normal mode operations, where the maximum super saturation remains for more than a second, thus leading to the conclusion that the time for activation is in the order of 1ms or less. References: R.J. Anderson et al, "A Study of Homogeneous Condensation Freezing Nucleation of Small Water Droplets in an Expansion Cloud Chamber, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 37, 2508-2520, 1980 U.Bundke et al., "The fast Ice Nucleus

  17. Speciational history of North American Haemorhous finches (Aves: Fringillidae) inferred from multilocus data.

    PubMed

    Smith, Brian Tilston; Bryson, Robert W; Chua, Vivien; Africa, Lia; Klicka, John

    2013-03-01

    We investigated species relationships and timing of speciation in North American Haemorhous finches by using a mitochondrial phylogeographic approach combined with a multilocus species tree reconstruction. Haemorhous purpureus and H. cassinii were strongly supported as sister taxa, and H. mexicanus was sister to H. purpureus+H. cassinii. Our divergence times indicated that diversification within Haemorhous occurred progressively from the Late Miocene into the Pleistocene. Our inferred pattern of speciation demonstrates the complexity of the origins of North American birds, and provides additional evidence that a single cause for speciation in closely related North American birds, such as Late Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles, is unlikely.

  18. Cranial shape evolution in adaptive radiations of birds: comparative morphometrics of Darwin's finches and Hawaiian honeycreepers.

    PubMed

    Tokita, Masayoshi; Yano, Wataru; James, Helen F; Abzhanov, Arhat

    2017-02-05

    Adaptive radiation is the rapid evolution of morphologically and ecologically diverse species from a single ancestor. The two classic examples of adaptive radiation are Darwin's finches and the Hawaiian honeycreepers, which evolved remarkable levels of adaptive cranial morphological variation. To gain new insights into the nature of their diversification, we performed comparative three-dimensional geometric morphometric analyses based on X-ray microcomputed tomography (µCT) scanning of dried cranial skeletons. We show that cranial shapes in both Hawaiian honeycreepers and Coerebinae (Darwin's finches and their close relatives) are much more diverse than in their respective outgroups, but Hawaiian honeycreepers as a group display the highest diversity and disparity of all other bird groups studied. We also report a significant contribution of allometry to skull shape variation, and distinct patterns of evolutionary change in skull morphology in the two lineages of songbirds that underwent adaptive radiation on oceanic islands. These findings help to better understand the nature of adaptive radiations in general and provide a foundation for future investigations on the developmental and molecular mechanisms underlying diversification of these morphologically distinguished groups of birds.This article is part of the themed issue 'Evo-devo in the genomics era, and the origins of morphological diversity'.

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

    PubMed Central

    Spierings, Michelle J.; ten Cate, Carel

    2016-01-01

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

  20. Growing old with the immune system: a study of immunosenescence in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Noreen, Elin; Bourgeon, Sophie; Bech, Claus

    2011-07-01

    Immunosenescence has not received much attention in birds and the few existing studies indicate that the occurrence of immunosenescence and/or its extent may differ between species. In addition, not much information is available on the immunosenescence patterns of different immune parameters assessed simultaneously in both sexes within a single species. The present study reports the results on immunosenescence in innate immunity and both cellular and humoral acquired immunity of both sexes in a captive population of zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) using three age groups (approximately 0.2, 2.5 and 5.1 years). Both male and female finches showed an inverse U-shaped pattern in cellular immune function with age, quantified by a PHA response. Males showed stronger responses than females at all ages. In contrast, an increase with age in humoral immunity, quantified through total plasma immunoglobulin Y levels, was found in both sexes. However, our measurements of innate immunity measured through the bacteria-killing ability against Escherichia coli gave inconclusive results. Still, we conclude that both cellular and humoral acquired immunity are susceptible to immunosenescence, and that the sexes differ in cellular immunity.

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

    PubMed Central

    Fukushima, Makoto; Margoliash, Daniel

    2015-01-01

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

  2. Sex chromosome linkage of mate preference and color signal maintains assortative mating between interbreeding finch morphs.

    PubMed

    Pryke, Sarah R

    2010-05-01

    Assortative mating is a key aspect in the speciation process because it is important for both initial divergence and maintenance of distinct species. However, it remains a challenge to explain how assortative mating evolves when diverging populations are undergoing gene flow (e.g., during hybridization). Here I experimentally test how assortative mating is maintained with frequent gene flow between diverged head-color morphs of the Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae). Contrary to the predominant view on the development of sexual preferences in birds, cross-fostered offspring did not imprint on the phenotype of their conspecific (red or black morphs) or heterospecific (Bengalese finch) foster parents. Instead, the mating preferences of F(1) and F(2) intermorph-hybrids are consistent with inheritance on the Z chromosomes, which are also the location for genes controlling color expression and the genes causing low fitness of intermorph-hybrids. Genetic associations between color signal and preference loci on the sex chromosomes may prevent recombination from breaking down these associations when the morphs interbreed, helping to maintain assortative mating in the face of gene flow. Although sex linkage of reproductively isolating traits is theoretically expected to promote speciation, social and ecological constraints may enforce frequent interbreeding between the morphs, thus preventing complete reproductive isolation.

  3. Sex differences of excitatory synaptic transmission in RA projection neurons of adult zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Wang, Songhua; Meng, Wei; Liu, Shaoyi; Liao, Congshu; Huang, Qingyao; Li, Dongfeng

    2014-10-17

    Zebra finches are ideal animals to investigate sex difference in songbirds. Only males can sing. The brain nuclei controlling song learning and production in males are considerably larger than in females. The robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA) is a premotor nucleus, playing a key role in controlling singing. RA receives denser synapse inputs in males than in females. Sex differences of excitatory synaptic transmission in the RA projection neurons (PNs) have not been reported. In the present study, using whole-cell voltage-clamp recording, spontaneous EPSCs (sEPSCs) and miniature EPSCs (mEPSCs) of RA PNs in the intact males and females were recorded. The average frequency and amplitude of sEPSCs/mEPSCs in the intact males were higher than females. The half-width and decay time of sEPSCs/mEPSCs in the intact males were longer than females. In order to verify whether these sex differences related to sex steroids, males were castrated. The average frequency of sEPSCs/mEPSCs in castrated males was lower than intact males and was similar to in females; the amplitude was not changed after castrating. These results demonstrate the sexually dimorphic of the excitatory synaptic transmission in the RA PNs, the RA PNs in males receive more excitatory synaptic transmission and these sex differences were partly affected by sex hormones. These findings contribute to further illuminate the neural mechanisms under the sexually dimorphism in song production of adult zebra finches.

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

    PubMed

    Chen, Jiani; Ten Cate, Carel

    2015-08-01

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

  5. High-magnification super-resolution FINCH microscopy using birefringent crystal lens interferometers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Siegel, Nisan; Lupashin, Vladimir; Storrie, Brian; Brooker, Gary

    2016-12-01

    Fresnel incoherent correlation holography (FINCH) microscopy is a promising approach for high-resolution biological imaging but has so far been limited to use with low-magnification, low-numerical-aperture configurations. We report the use of in-line incoherent interferometers made from uniaxial birefringent α-barium borate (α-BBO) or calcite crystals that overcome the aberrations and distortions present with previous implementations that employed spatial light modulators or gradient refractive index lenses. FINCH microscopy incorporating these birefringent elements and high-numerical-aperture oil immersion objectives could outperform standard wide-field fluorescence microscopy, with, for example, a 149 nm lateral point spread function at a wavelength of 590 nm. Enhanced resolution was confirmed with sub-resolution fluorescent beads. Taking the Golgi apparatus as a biological example, three different proteins labelled with GFP and two other fluorescent dyes in HeLa cells were resolved with an image quality that is comparable to similar samples captured by structured illumination microscopy.

  6. Trisomy and triploidy are sources of embryo mortality in the zebra finch

    PubMed Central

    Forstmeier, Wolfgang; Ellegren, Hans

    2010-01-01

    Hatching failure is a surprisingly common phenomenon given that natural selection constantly works against it. In birds, an average of about 10 per cent of eggs across species fail to hatch, often owing to the death of embryos. While embryo mortality owing to inbreeding is both well-documented and evolutionarily plausible, this is not true for other sources of mortality. In fact, the basis for hatching failure in natural populations remains largely unexplained. Here, we demonstrate that embryo mortality in captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) follows from chromosomal aneuploidy or polyploidy. As part of microsatellite genotyping of a captive breeding population, we found 12 individuals (3.6%) with three alleles among 331 embryos that had died during development, while there were no such cases observed among 1210 adult birds. Subsequent genotyping of 1920 single nucleotide polymorphism markers distributed across the genome in birds with three alleles at microsatellite loci, and in greater than 1000 normal birds, revealed that the aberrant karyotypes involved cases of both trisomies and triploidy. Cases of both maternally and paternally inherited trisomies resulted from non-disjunction during meiosis. Maternally inherited cases of triploidy were attributable to failure of meiosis leading to diploid eggs, while paternally inherited triploidy could have arisen either from diploid sperm or from dispermy. Our initial microsatellite screening set only had the power to detect less than 10 per cent of trisomies and by extrapolation, our data therefore tentatively suggest that trisomy might be a major cause of embryo mortality in zebra finches. PMID:20444723

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  9. Lifelong consequences of early nutritional conditions on learning performance in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Brust, Vera; Krüger, Oliver; Naguib, Marc; Krause, E Tobias

    2014-03-01

    Long-term effects of early developmental conditions on physiological and behavioural traits are common in animals. Yet, such lifelong effects of early life conditions on learning skills received relatively less attention, even though they are expected to have strong fitness effects. To test the lifelong impact of the early environment on associative and reversal learning performance, we tested zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) in a reversal learning task about five years after they were raised either under low or high quality food treatments in their first month of life. The early nutritional treatment and its respective growth patterns significantly influenced learning performance: Zebra finches who received a high-quality nutrition early in life gained more weight during the treatment period but needed more trials to associate a cue with a reward. The early growth rate during the treatment phase was linked to how fast the birds detected the food at the onset of training in our learning task as well as to their associative learning performance. However, in the reversal learning step of the task testing for behavioural flexibility, no differences with respect to early nutritional treatments or related growth rates were apparent. We show that early life conditions directly affect the approach to our task and learning abilities over an entire lifetime, emphasizing how crucial the early environment is for understanding adult behaviour throughout life.

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

    PubMed

    Mello, Claudio V

    2014-10-23

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

  11. Divergence with gene flow as facilitated by ecological differences: within-island variation in Darwin's finches

    PubMed Central

    de León, Luis Fernando; Bermingham, Eldredge; Podos, Jeffrey; Hendry, Andrew P.

    2010-01-01

    Divergence and speciation can sometimes proceed in the face of, and even be enhanced by, ongoing gene flow. We here study divergence with gene flow in Darwin's finches, focusing on the role of ecological/adaptive differences in maintaining/promoting divergence and reproductive isolation. To this end, we survey allelic variation at 10 microsatellite loci for 989 medium ground finches (Geospiza fortis) on Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos. We find only small genetic differences among G. fortis from different sites. We instead find noteworthy genetic differences associated with beak. Moreover, G. fortis at the site with the greatest divergence in beak size also showed the greatest divergence at neutral markers; i.e. the lowest gene flow. Finally, morphological and genetic differentiation between the G. fortis beak-size morphs was intermediate to that between G. fortis and its smaller (Geospiza fuliginosa) and larger (Geospiza magnirostris) congeners. We conclude that ecological differences associated with beak size (i.e. foraging) influence patterns of gene flow within G. fortis on a single island, providing additional support for ecological speciation in the face of gene flow. Patterns of genetic similarity within and between species also suggest that interspecific hybridization might contribute to the formation of beak-size morphs within G. fortis. PMID:20194167

  12. Sexual differentiation of the zebra finch song system parallels genetic, not gonadal, sex.

    PubMed

    Wade, J; Swender, D A; McElhinny, T L

    1999-10-01

    Mechanisms regulating sexual differentiation of the zebra finch song system present an intriguing puzzle. Masculine development of brain regions and behavior can be induced in genetic females by posthatching estradiol treatment. That result is consistent with the hypothesis that estradiol, converted within the brain from testicular androgen via the aromatase enzyme, masculinizes neural structure and function. In contrast, treatment during specific stages of development with the aromatase inhibitor Fadrozole has not prevented masculine development, and the presence of testicular tissue in genetic females did not induce masculine organization of neuroanatomy or singing behavior. Fadrozole treatments in those previous studies were limited, however, and most genetic females had both ovarian and testicular tissue. The present experiments were designed to provide increased aromatase inhibition and to reliably produce genetic females with only testicular tissue. Eggs received a single injection at a later age or with higher doses of Fadrozole than had been used previously. Some embryos were exposed to Fadrozole more frequently by either injecting eggs on 2 days of development or dipping them for 10-12 days in Fadrozole. Finally, in some individuals from Fadrozole-treated eggs, the left gonad was removed, leaving each genetic male and female with a single right testis. None of these treatments significantly affected development of the song system compared to appropriate control groups. These results suggest that sexual differentiation of the zebra finch song system is not regulated by embryonic aromatase activity or by gonadal secretions and instead involves events that need not be mediated by steroid hormones.

  13. Digital atlas of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) brain: a high-resolution photo atlas.

    PubMed

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

    2013-11-01

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

  14. The roles of vocal and visual interactions in social learning zebra finches: A video playback experiment.

    PubMed

    Guillette, Lauren M; Healy, Susan D

    2016-12-30

    The transmission of information from an experienced demonstrator to a naïve observer often depends on characteristics of the demonstrator, such as familiarity, success or dominance status. Whether or not the demonstrator pays attention to and/or interacts with the observer may also affect social information acquisition or use by the observer. Here we used a video-demonstrator paradigm first to test whether video demonstrators have the same effect as using live demonstrators in zebra finches, and second, to test the importance of visual and vocal interactions between the demonstrator and observer on social information use by the observer. We found that female zebra finches copied novel food choices of male demonstrators they saw via live-streaming video while they did not consistently copy from the demonstrators when they were seen in playbacks of the same videos. Although naive observers copied in the absence of vocalizations by the demonstrator, as they copied from playback of videos with the sound off, females did not copy where there was a mis-match between the visual information provided by the video and vocal information from a live male that was out of sight. Taken together these results suggest that video demonstration is a useful methodology for testing social information transfer, at least in a foraging context, but more importantly, that social information use varies according to the vocal interactions, or lack thereof, between the observer and the demonstrator.

  15. Cranial shape evolution in adaptive radiations of birds: comparative morphometrics of Darwin's finches and Hawaiian honeycreepers

    PubMed Central

    Tokita, Masayoshi; Yano, Wataru; James, Helen F.

    2017-01-01

    Adaptive radiation is the rapid evolution of morphologically and ecologically diverse species from a single ancestor. The two classic examples of adaptive radiation are Darwin's finches and the Hawaiian honeycreepers, which evolved remarkable levels of adaptive cranial morphological variation. To gain new insights into the nature of their diversification, we performed comparative three-dimensional geometric morphometric analyses based on X-ray microcomputed tomography (µCT) scanning of dried cranial skeletons. We show that cranial shapes in both Hawaiian honeycreepers and Coerebinae (Darwin's finches and their close relatives) are much more diverse than in their respective outgroups, but Hawaiian honeycreepers as a group display the highest diversity and disparity of all other bird groups studied. We also report a significant contribution of allometry to skull shape variation, and distinct patterns of evolutionary change in skull morphology in the two lineages of songbirds that underwent adaptive radiation on oceanic islands. These findings help to better understand the nature of adaptive radiations in general and provide a foundation for future investigations on the developmental and molecular mechanisms underlying diversification of these morphologically distinguished groups of birds. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Evo-devo in the genomics era, and the origins of morphological diversity’. PMID:27994122

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

    PubMed

    Kelly, Aubrey M; Goodson, James L

    2015-03-01

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

  17. Handling stress does not reflect personality in female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    David, Morgan; Auclair, Yannick; Dechaume-Moncharmont, François-Xavier; Cézilly, Frank

    2012-02-01

    Although increasing attention is given to both the causes and consequences of variation in animal personality, the measurement of personality in captive or free-ranging individuals remains an issue. In particular, one important question concerns whether personality should be established from the existence of complex behavioral syndromes (a suite of correlated behavioral traits) or could be more easily deduced from a single variable. In that context, it has recently been suggested that handling stress, measured through breathing rate during handling, could be a good descriptor of personality, at least in passerine birds. The authors experimentally investigated to what extent handling stress was correlated with personality in female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), as assessed from a suite of repeatable behavioral traits, including activity, exploratory behavior, neophobia, and reaction to startle. Although breathing rate was repeatable across individuals, it was not related to any behavioral trait, suggesting that it cannot be used to quickly predict personality, at least in zebra finches. Breathing rate during handling, in addition, was related to morphology, questioning the fact that breathing rate during handling reflects personality irrespective of individual state. The authors suggest that inference on global personality from a reduced number of traits should be performed with caution.

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

    PubMed

    Spierings, Michelle J; Ten Cate, Carel

    2016-07-05

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

  19. Zebra finches and Dutch adults exhibit the same cue weighting bias in vowel perception.

    PubMed

    Ohms, Verena R; Escudero, Paola; Lammers, Karin; ten Cate, Carel

    2012-03-01

    Vocal tract resonances, called formants, are the most important parameters in human speech production and perception. They encode linguistic meaning and have been shown to be perceived by a wide range of species. Songbirds are also sensitive to different formant patterns in human speech. They can categorize words differing only in their vowels based on the formant patterns independent of speaker identity in a way comparable to humans. These results indicate that speech perception mechanisms are more similar between songbirds and humans than realized before. One of the major questions regarding formant perception concerns the weighting of different formants in the speech signal ("acoustic cue weighting") and whether this process is unique to humans. Using an operant Go/NoGo design, we trained zebra finches to discriminate syllables, whose vowels differed in their first three formants. When subsequently tested with novel vowels, similar in either their first formant or their second and third formants to the familiar vowels, similarity in the higher formants was weighted much more strongly than similarity in the lower formant. Thus, zebra finches indeed exhibit a cue weighting bias. Interestingly, we also found that Dutch speakers when tested with the same paradigm exhibit the same cue weighting bias. This, together with earlier findings, supports the hypothesis that human speech evolution might have exploited general properties of the vertebrate auditory system.

  20. Female but not male zebra finches adjust heat output in response to increased incubation demand.

    PubMed

    Hill, Davina L; Lindström, Jan; McCafferty, Dominic J; Nager, Ruedi G

    2014-04-15

    In many incubating birds, heat transfer from parent to egg is facilitated by the brood patch, an area of ventral abdominal skin that becomes highly vascularised, swells and loses its down feathers around the time of laying. Only the female develops a brood patch in most passerine species, but males of some species can incubate and maintain the eggs at similar temperatures to females even without a brood patch. Here we used a novel application of infrared thermography to examine sex differences in parental care from a physiological perspective. Using incubating male and female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), a species in which the male lacks a brood patch, we measured the surface temperature of the ventral plumage overlying the abdomen and a reference area that does not contact the eggs (thorax) twice per pair. In half of the pairs, clutch size was experimentally enlarged between the two sets of measurements to increase incubation demand. We found that the temperature differential between abdomen and thorax plumage was greater in females than in males, and that abdomen plumage was warmer after clutch enlargement than before in females but not in males. These findings are consistent with morphological sex differences in brood patch development and suggest that male and female zebra finches differ in the way they regulate abdomen versus general body surface temperature in response to variation in incubation demand.

  1. 75 FR 43853 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Rule to List the Medium Tree-Finch...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-07-27

    ... medium tree- finch's habitat is a lush evergreen cloud forest dominated by Scalesia pedunculata (daisy...: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Final rule. SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife..., Chief, Branch of Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401...

  2. Nucleotide Variation, Linkage Disequilibrium and Founder-Facilitated Speciation in Wild Populations of the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Balakrishnan, Christopher N.; Edwards, Scott V.

    2009-01-01

    The zebra finch has long been an important model system for the study of vocal learning, vocal production, and behavior. With the imminent sequencing of its genome, the zebra finch is now poised to become a model system for population genetics. Using a panel of 30 noncoding loci, we characterized patterns of polymorphism and divergence among wild zebra finch populations. Continental Australian populations displayed little population structure, exceptionally high levels of nucleotide diversity (π = 0.010), a rapid decay of linkage disequilibrium (LD), and a high population recombination rate (ρ ≈ 0.05), all of which suggest an open and fluid genomic background that could facilitate adaptive variation. By contrast, substantial divergence between the Australian and Lesser Sunda Island populations (KST = 0.193), reduced genetic diversity (π = 0.002), and higher levels of LD in the island population suggest a strong but relatively recent founder event, which may have contributed to speciation between these populations as envisioned under founder-effect speciation models. Consistent with this hypothesis, we find that under a simple quantitative genetic model both drift and selection could have contributed to the observed divergence in six quantitative traits. In both Australian and Lesser Sundas populations, diversity in Z-linked loci was significantly lower than in autosomal loci. Our analysis provides a quantitative framework for studying the role of selection and drift in shaping patterns of molecular evolution in the zebra finch genome. PMID:19047416

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Norton, Philipp; Scharff, Constance

    2016-01-01

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

  6. Identification and functional characterization of the house finch interleukin-1β.

    PubMed

    Park, Myeongseon; Kim, Sungwon; Adelman, James S; Leon, Ariel E; Hawley, Dana M; Dalloul, Rami A

    2017-04-01

    Interleukin-1β (IL-1β), an inflammatory cytokine of the IL-1 family, is primarily produced as a precursor protein by monocytes and macrophages, then matures and becomes activated through proteolytic catalysis. Although the biological characteristics of avian IL-1β are well known, little information is available about its biological role in songbird species such as house finches that are vulnerable to naturally-occurring inflammatory diseases. In this study, house finch IL-1β (HfIL-1β) was cloned, expressed, and its biological function examined. Both precursor and mature forms of HfIL-1β consisting of 269 and 162 amino acids, respectively, were amplified from total RNA of spleen and cloned into expression vectors. HfIL-1β showed high sequential and tertiary structural similarity to chicken homologue that allowed detection of the expressed mature recombinant HfIL-1β (rHfIL-1β) with anti-ChIL-1β antibody by immunoblot analysis. For further characterization, we used primary splenocytes and hepatocytes that are predominant sources of IL-1β upon stimulation, as well as suitable targets to stimulation by IL-1β. Isolated house finch splenocytes were stimulated with rHfIL-1β in the presence and absence of concanavalin A (Con A), RNA was extracted and transcript levels of Th1/Th2 cytokines and a chemokine were measured by qRT-PCR. The addition of rHfIL-1β induced significant enhancement of IL-2 transcript, a Th1 cytokine, while transcription of IL-1β and the Th2 cytokine IL-10 was slightly enhanced by rHfIL-1β treatment. rHfIL-1β also led to elevated levels of the chemokine CXCL1 and nitric oxide production regardless of co-stimulation with Con A. In addition, the production of the acute phase protein serum amyloid A and the antimicrobial peptide LEAP2 was observed in HfIL-1β-stimulated hepatocytes. Taken together, these observations revealed the basic functions of HfIL-1β including the stimulatory effect on cell proliferation, production of Th1/Th2

  7. Digit ratio varies with sex, egg order and strength of mate preference in zebra finches.

    PubMed Central

    Burley, Nancy Tyler; Foster, Valerie Suzanne

    2004-01-01

    The steroid environment encountered by developing vertebrates has important organizational effects on physiology and behaviour that persist throughout an organism's lifetime. Optimal allocation of maternal steroids to zygotes may be difficult to achieve because of the sexually antagonistic effects of steroids; thus, for example, a hormone environment beneficial to a developing male may be much less beneficial to a developing female. Research into the important topic of how mothers might adaptively adjust steroid titres experienced by particular young has been constrained by the difficulty of measuring the steroid environment experienced by the embryo at critical times in development. A potential approach to this problem has been suggested by research on variation in digit ratios in humans, where the ratio of the length of the second and fourth digits reflects the steroid environment experienced by the foetus; notably, digit 4 lengthens in response to androgens. In light of the conservative nature of homeobox genes regulating early development in tetrapods, we questioned whether a sex difference in digit ratio exists in a passerine bird, the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata castanotis, and whether observed variation in the ratio is consistent with the previously reported pattern that androgen allocation to zebra finch egg yolk declines across laying order. We established an aviary population of outbred, wild-type zebra finches, and allowed them to breed freely. Hatchlings were marked to correspond to their egg order, and their digit ratios were measured after birds reached adulthood. We found that digit ratio increased across egg order, which is consistent with a pattern of decreasing androgen allocation. Moreover, digit ratios differed between the sexes. We also investigated whether variation in digit ratio among adult females predicted variation in their performance in mate-choice tests. Digit ratio accounted for almost 50% of the variance in strength of female

  8. Muscle activation patterns and motor anatomy of Anna's hummingbirds Calypte anna and zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata.

    PubMed

    Donovan, Edward R; Keeney, Brooke K; Kung, Eric; Makan, Sirish; Wild, J Martin; Altshuler, Douglas L

    2013-01-01

    Flying animals exhibit profound transformations in anatomy, physiology, and neural architecture. Although much is known about adaptations in the avian skeleton and musculature, less is known about neuroanatomy and motor unit integration for bird flight. Hummingbirds are among the most maneuverable and specialized of vertebrate fliers, and two unusual neuromuscular features have been previously reported: (1) the pectoralis major has a unique distribution pattern of motor end plates (MEPs) compared with all other birds and (2) electromyograms (EMGs) from the hummingbird's pectoral muscles, the pectoralis major and the supracoracoideus, show activation bursts composed of one or a few spikes that appear to have a very consistent pattern. Here, we place these findings in a broader context by comparing the MEPs, EMGs, and organization of the spinal motor neuron pools of flight muscles of Anna's hummingbird Calypte anna, zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata, and, for MEPs, several other species. The previously shown MEP pattern of the hummingbird pectoralis major is not shared with its closest taxonomic relative, the swift, and appears to be unique to hummingbirds. MEP arrangements in previously undocumented wing muscles show patterns that differ somewhat from other avian muscles. In the parallel-fibered strap muscles of the shoulder, MEP patterns appear to relate to muscle length, with the smallest muscles having fibers that span the entire muscle. MEP patterns in pennate distal wing muscles were the same regardless of size, with tightly clustered bands in the middle portion of the muscle, not evenly distributed bands over the muscle's entire length. Muscle activations were examined during slow forward flight in both species, during hovering in hummingbirds, and during slow ascents in zebra finches. The EMG bursts of a wing muscle, the pronator superficialis, were highly variable in peak number, size, and distribution across wingbeats for both species. In the pectoralis

  9. Zebra finches exhibit speaker-independent phonetic perception of human speech

    PubMed Central

    Ohms, Verena R.; Gill, Arike; Van Heijningen, Caroline A. A.; Beckers, Gabriel J. L.; ten Cate, Carel

    2010-01-01

    Humans readily distinguish spoken words that closely resemble each other in acoustic structure, irrespective of audible differences between individual voices or sex of the speakers. There is an ongoing debate about whether the ability to form phonetic categories that underlie such distinctions indicates the presence of uniquely evolved, speech-linked perceptual abilities, or is based on more general ones shared with other species. We demonstrate that zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) can discriminate and categorize monosyllabic words that differ in their vowel and transfer this categorization to the same words spoken by novel speakers independent of the sex of the voices. Our analysis indicates that the birds, like humans, use intrinsic and extrinsic speaker normalization to make the categorization. This finding shows that there is no need to invoke special mechanisms, evolved together with language, to explain this feature of speech perception. PMID:19955157

  10. Decoupling morphological development from growth in periodically cooled zebra finch embryos.

    PubMed

    Olson, Christopher R; Vleck, Carol M; Adams, Dean C

    2008-07-01

    Temperature affects growth and development, and morphometry can provide a quantitative description of how temperature changes affect the resulting phenotype. We performed a morphometric analysis on zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) embryos that were either exposed to periodic cooling to 20 or 30 degrees C throughout incubation over a background temperature of 37.5 degrees C, or were incubated at a constant temperature of 37.5 degrees C. Using a principle components analysis, we found that the relationship between the multivariate size (first principle component) and dry embryo mass depended upon the thermal treatment to which the developing embryos were exposed. Periodic cooling resulted in a smaller embryo mass, but had no effect on the multivariate size of the embryo. This suggests that the growth of phenotypic traits such as the length of long bones and the skull are less affected by temperature than is growth of other soft tissues such as muscle and organs that contribute to body mass.

  11. Phylogeography of the Buarremon brush-finch complex (Aves, Emberizidae) in Mesoamerica.

    PubMed

    Navarro-Sigüenza, Adolfo G; Townsend Peterson, A; Nyari, Arpad; García-Deras, Gabriela M; García-Moreno, Jaime

    2008-04-01

    The Buarremon brush-finches represent a complex suite of populations distributed in the montane New World Tropics from Mexico south to South America. Traditional taxonomic arrangements have separated populations of this genus into three species, based on plumage variation, although plumage patterns are well known to exhibit homoplasy. We present a first detailed phylogeographic and phylogenetic study, focused on Mesoamerican populations, and signal the existence of strong differentiation among populations with a clear geographic structure. We find well differentiated clades for (1) the Sierra Madre Oriental and Sierra Madre del Sur in Oaxaca, (2) western Mexican populations, including the B. brunneinucha populations in the Sierra Madre del Sur and B. virenticeps, (3) Sierra Madre Oriental and Sierra de los Tuxtlas, (4) northern Central America, (5) southern Central America, (6) middle Central America, and (7) South America. We demonstrate a lack of concordance with plumage patterns, and argue for several additional species to be recognized in the complex.

  12. A reliable and flexible gene manipulation strategy in posthatch zebra finch brain

    PubMed Central

    Ahmadiantehrani, Somayeh; London, Sarah E.

    2017-01-01

    Songbird models meaningfully contribute to many fields including learned vocal communication, the neurobiology of social interactions, brain development, and ecology. The value of investigating gene-brain-behavior relationships in songbirds is therefore high. Viral infections typically used in other lab animals to deliver gene editing constructs have been less effective in songbirds, likely due to immune system properties. We therefore leveraged the in vivo electroporation strategy used in utero in rodents and in ovo in poultry, and apply it to posthatch zebra finch songbird chicks. We present a series of experiments with a combination of promoters, fluorescent protein genes, and piggyBac transposase vectors to demonstrate that this can be a reliable, efficient, and flexible strategy for genome manipulation. We discuss options for gene delivery experiments to test circuit and behavioral hypotheses using a variety of manipulations, including gene overexpression, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, inducible technologies, optogenetic or DREADD cellular control, and cell type-specific expression. PMID:28233828

  13. Colour bands, dominance, and body mass regulation in male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Cuthill, I. C.; Hunt, S.; Cleary, C.; Clark, C.

    1997-01-01

    The arbitrary assignment of different coloured leg bands to zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) has profound effects on mate preference, reproductive success, mortality rates, parental investment and sex ratio. Choice chamber experiments indicate that the effect is mediated by altered attractiveness to members of the opposite sex. Effects on intrasexual dominance are more equivocal. We present two experiments which demonstrate significant effects of band colour on behavioural dominance (red bands are more dominant than light green bands) and the resulting diurnal pattern of gain in mass, fat, and seeds stored in the crop. Consistent with the literature on dominance and strategic regulation of body mass in other species, subordinate (green-banded) birds maintain higher fat reserves at dawn, but dominant (red-banded) birds show the highest overall daily mass gains. The lack of obvious effects of band colour on dominance in previous studies may lie in the degree to which food can be monopolized by particular individuals.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-06

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

  15. House finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) balance investment in behavioural and immunological defences against pathogens.

    PubMed

    Zylberberg, Maxine; Klasing, Kirk C; Hahn, Thomas P

    2013-02-23

    Infection with parasites and pathogens is costly for hosts, causing loss of nutritional resources, reproductive potential, tissue integrity and even life. In response, animals have evolved behavioural and immunological strategies to avoid infection by pathogens and infestation by parasites. Scientists generally study these strategies in isolation from each other; however, since these defences entail costs, host individuals should benefit from balancing investment in these strategies, and understanding of infectious disease dynamics would benefit from studying the relationship between them. Here, we show that Carpodacus mexicanus (house finches) avoid sick individuals. Moreover, we show that individuals investing less in behavioural defences invest more in immune defences. Such variation has important implications for the dynamics of pathogen spread through populations, and ultimately the course of epidemics. A deeper understanding of individual- and population-level disease defence strategies will improve our ability to understand, model and predict the outcomes of pathogen spread in wildlife.

  16. State-space modeling of population sizes and trends in Nihoa Finch and Millerbird

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gorresen, P. Marcos; Brinck, Kevin W.; Camp, Richard J.; Farmer, Chris; Plentovich, Sheldon M.; Banko, Paul C.

    2016-01-01

    Both of the 2 passerines endemic to Nihoa Island, Hawai‘i, USA—the Nihoa Millerbird (Acrocephalus familiaris kingi) and Nihoa Finch (Telespiza ultima)—are listed as endangered by federal and state agencies. Their abundances have been estimated by irregularly implemented fixed-width strip-transect sampling from 1967 to 2012, from which area-based extrapolation of the raw counts produced highly variable abundance estimates for both species. To evaluate an alternative survey method and improve abundance estimates, we conducted variable-distance point-transect sampling between 2010 and 2014. We compared our results to those obtained from strip-transect samples. In addition, we applied state-space models to derive improved estimates of population size and trends from the legacy time series of strip-transect counts. Both species were fairly evenly distributed across Nihoa and occurred in all or nearly all available habitat. Population trends for Nihoa Millerbird were inconclusive because of high within-year variance. Trends for Nihoa Finch were positive, particularly since the early 1990s. Distance-based analysis of point-transect counts produced mean estimates of abundance similar to those from strip-transects but was generally more precise. However, both survey methods produced biologically unrealistic variability between years. State-space modeling of the long-term time series of abundances obtained from strip-transect counts effectively reduced uncertainty in both within- and between-year estimates of population size, and allowed short-term changes in abundance trajectories to be smoothed into a long-term trend.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  19. Syringeal Specialization of Frequency Control during Song Production in the Bengalese Finch (Lonchura striata domestica)

    PubMed Central

    Secora, Kristen R.; Peterson, Jennifer R.; Urbano, Catherine M.; Chung, Boah; Okanoya, Kazuo; Cooper, Brenton G.

    2012-01-01

    Background Singing in songbirds is a complex, learned behavior which shares many parallels with human speech. The avian vocal organ (syrinx) has two potential sound sources, and each sound generator is under unilateral, ipsilateral neural control. Different songbird species vary in their use of bilateral or unilateral phonation (lateralized sound production) and rapid switching between left and right sound generation (interhemispheric switching of motor control). Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata domestica) have received considerable attention, because they rapidly modify their song in response to manipulations of auditory feedback. However, how the left and right sides of the syrinx contribute to acoustic control of song has not been studied. Methodology Three manipulations of lateralized syringeal control of sound production were conducted. First, unilateral syringeal muscular control was eliminated by resection of the left or right tracheosyringeal portion of the hypoglossal nerve, which provides neuromuscular innervation of the syrinx. Spectral and temporal features of song were compared before and after lateralized nerve injury. In a second experiment, either the left or right sound source was devoiced to confirm the role of each sound generator in the control of acoustic phonology. Third, air pressure was recorded before and after unilateral denervation to enable quantification of acoustic change within individual syllables following lateralized nerve resection. Significance These experiments demonstrate that the left sound source produces louder, higher frequency, lower entropy sounds, and the right sound generator produces lower amplitude, lower frequency, higher entropy sounds. The bilateral division of labor is complex and the frequency specialization is the opposite pattern observed in most songbirds. Further, there is evidence for rapid interhemispheric switching during song production. Lateralized control of song production in Bengalese finches may

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

    PubMed Central

    Mello, Claudio V.

    2015-01-01

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

  1. Dynamic gene expression in the song system of zebra finches during the song learning period.

    PubMed

    Olson, Christopher R; Hodges, Lisa K; Mello, Claudio V

    2015-12-01

    The brain circuitry that controls song learning and production undergoes marked changes in morphology and connectivity during the song learning period in juvenile zebra finches, in parallel to the acquisition, practice and refinement of song. Yet, the genetic programs and timing of regulatory change that establish the neuronal connectivity and plasticity during this critical learning period remain largely undetermined. To address this question, we used in situ hybridization to compare the expression patterns of a set of 30 known robust molecular markers of HVC and/or area X, major telencephalic song nuclei, between adult and juvenile male zebra finches at different ages during development (20, 35, 50 days post-hatch, dph). We found that several of the genes examined undergo substantial changes in expression within HVC or its surrounds, and/or in other song nuclei. They fit into broad patterns of regulation, including those whose expression within HVC during this period increases (COL12A1, COL 21A1, MPZL1, PVALB, and CXCR7) or decreases (e.g., KCNT2, SAP30L), as well as some that show decreased expression in the surrounding tissue with little change within song nuclei (e.g. SV2B, TAC1). These results reveal a broad range of molecular changes that occur in the song system in concert with the song learning period. Some of the genes and pathways identified are potential modulators of the developmental changes associated with the emergence of the adult properties of the song control system, and/or the acquisition of learned vocalizations in songbirds.

  2. Role of a telencephalic nucleus in the delayed song learning of socially isolated zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Morrison, R G; Nottebohm, F

    1993-08-01

    Male zebra finches normally learn their song from adult models during a restricted period of juvenile development. If song models are not available then, juveniles develop an isolate song which can be modified in adulthood. In this report we investigate the features of juvenile experience that underly the timing of song learning. Juvenile males raised in soundproof chambers or in visual isolation from conspecifics developed stable isolate song. However, whereas visual isolate song notes were similar to those of colony-reared males, soundproof chamber isolates included many phonologically abnormal notes in their songs. Despite having stable isolate songs, both groups copied new notes from tutors presented to them in adulthood (2.7 notes per bird for soundproof chamber isolates, 4.4 notes per bird for visual isolates). Old notes were often modified or eliminated. We infer that social interactions with live tutors are normally important for closing the sensitive period for song learning. Lesions of a forebrain nucleus (IMAN) had previously been shown to disrupt juvenile song learning, but not maintenance of adult song for up to 5 weeks after surgery. In this study, colony-reared adult males given bilateral lesions of IMAN retained all their song notes for up to 4-7.5 months after lesioning. However, similar lesions blocked all song note acquisition in adulthood by both visual and soundproof chamber isolates. Other work has shown that intact hearing is necessary for the maintenance of adult zebra finch song. We infer that auditory pathways used for song maintenance and acquisition differ: IMAN is necessary for auditorily guided song acquisition--whether by juveniles or adults--but not for adult auditorily guided song maintenance.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kniel, Nina; Bender, Stefanie; Witte, Klaudia

    2016-01-01

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

  5. Rule learning by zebra finches in an artificial grammar learning task: which rule?

    PubMed

    van Heijningen, Caroline A A; Chen, Jiani; van Laatum, Irene; van der Hulst, Bonnie; ten Cate, Carel

    2013-03-01

    A hallmark of the human language faculty is the use of syntactic rules. The natural vocalizations of animals are syntactically simple, but several studies indicate that animals can detect and discriminate more complex structures in acoustic stimuli. However, how they discriminate such structures is often not clear. Using an artificial grammar learning paradigm, zebra finches were tested in a Go/No-go experiment for their ability to distinguish structurally different three-element sound sequences. In Experiment 1, zebra finches learned to discriminate ABA and BAB from ABB, AAB, BBA, and ABB sequences. Tests with probe sounds consisting of four elements suggested that the discrimination was based on attending to the presence or absence of repeated A- and B-elements. One bird generalized the discrimination to a new element type. In Experiment 2, we continued the training by adding four-element songs following a 'first and last identical versus different' rule that could not be solved by attending to repetitions. Only two out of five birds learned the overall discrimination. Testing with novel probes demonstrated that discrimination was not based on using the 'first and last identical' rule, but on attending to the presence or absence of the individual training stimuli. The two birds differed in the strategies used. Our results thus demonstrate only a limited degree of abstract rule learning but highlight the need for extensive and critical probe testing to examine the rules that animals (and humans) use to solve artificial grammar learning tasks. They also underline that rule learning strategies may differ between individuals.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Kniel, Nina; Bender, Stefanie; Witte, Klaudia

    2016-01-01

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

  8. Diurnal and Reproductive Stage-Dependent Variation of Parental Behaviour in Captive Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Morvai, Boglárka; Nanuru, Sabine; Mul, Douwe; Kusche, Nina; Milne, Gregory; Székely, Tamás; Komdeur, Jan; Miklósi, Ádám

    2016-01-01

    Parental care plays a key role in ontogeny, life-history trade-offs, sexual selection and intra-familial conflict. Studies focusing on understanding causes and consequences of variation in parental effort need to quantify parental behaviour accurately. The applied methods are, however, diverse even for a given species and type of parental effort, and rarely validated for accuracy. Here we focus on variability of parental behaviour from a methodological perspective to investigate the effect of different samplings on various estimates of parental effort. We used nest box cameras in a captive breeding population of zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata, a widely used model system of sexual selection, intra-familial dynamics and parental care. We investigated diurnal and reproductive stage-dependent variation in parental effort (including incubation, brooding, nest attendance and number of feedings) based on 12h and 3h continuous video-recordings taken at various reproductive stages. We then investigated whether shorter (1h) sampling periods provided comparable estimates of overall parental effort and division of labour to those of longer (3h) sampling periods. Our study confirmed female-biased division of labour during incubation, and showed that the difference between female and male effort diminishes with advancing reproductive stage. We found individually consistent parental behaviours within given days of incubation and nestling provisioning. Furthermore, parental behaviour was consistent over the different stages of incubation, however, only female brooding was consistent over nestling provisioning. Parental effort during incubation did not predict parental effort during nestling provisioning. Our analyses revealed that 1h sampling may be influenced heavily by stochastic and diurnal variation. We suggest using a single longer sampling period (3h) may provide a consistent and accurate estimate for overall parental effort during incubation in zebra finches. Due to the

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

  10. Frequency-range discriminations: special and general abilities in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) and humans (Homo sapiens).

    PubMed

    Weisman, R; Njegovan, M; Sturdy, C; Phillmore, L; Coyle, J; Mewhort, D

    1998-09-01

    The acoustic frequency ranges in birdsongs and human speech can provide important pitch cues for recognition. Zebra finches and humans were trained to sort contiguous frequencies into 3 or 8 ranges, based on associations between the ranges and reward. The 3-range task was conducted separately in 3 spectral regions. Zebra finches discriminated 3 ranges in the medium and high spectral regions faster than in the low region and discriminated 8 ranges with precision. Humans discriminated 3 ranges in all 3 spectral regions to the same modest standard and acquired only a crude discrimination of the lowest and highest of 8 ranges. The results indicate that songbirds have a special sensitivity to the pitches in conspecific songs and, relative to humans, have a remarkable general ability to sort pitches into ranges.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

  13. Is the rate of metabolic ageing and survival determined by Basal metabolic rate in the zebra finch?

    PubMed

    Rønning, Bernt; Moe, Børge; Berntsen, Henrik H; Noreen, Elin; Bech, Claus

    2014-01-01

    The relationship between energy metabolism and ageing is of great interest because aerobic metabolism is the primary source of reactive oxygen species which is believed to be of major importance in the ageing process. We conducted a longitudinal study on captive zebra finches where we tested the effect of age on basal metabolic rate (BMR), as well as the effect of BMR on the rate of metabolic ageing (decline in BMR with age) and survival. Basal metabolic rate declined with age in both sexes after controlling for the effect of body mass, indicating a loss of functionality with age. This loss of functionality could be due to accumulated oxidative damage, believed to increase with increasing metabolic rate, c.f. the free radical theory of ageing. If so, we would expect the rate of metabolic ageing to increase and survival to decrease with increasing BMR. However, we found no effect of BMR on the rate of metabolic ageing. Furthermore, survival was not affected by BMR in the males. In female zebra finches there was a tendency for survival to decrease with increasing BMR, but the effect did not reach significance (P<0.1). Thus, the effect of BMR on the rate of functional deterioration with age, if any, was not strong enough to influence neither the rate of metabolic ageing nor survival in the zebra finches.

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

    PubMed

    Belda, Antonio; Peiró, Victoriano; Seva, Eduardo

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Belda, Antonio; Peiró, Victoriano; Seva, Eduardo

    2012-01-01

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

  16. Newly paired zebra finches have higher dopamine levels and immediate early gene Fos expression in dopaminergic neurons.

    PubMed

    Banerjee, Sunayana B; Dias, Brian G; Crews, David; Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth

    2013-12-01

    Most birds are socially monogamous, yet little is known about the neural pathways underlying avian monogamy. Recent studies have implicated dopamine as playing a role in courtship and affiliation in a socially monogamous songbird, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). In the present study, we sought to understand the specific contribution to pair formation in zebra finches of the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway that projects from the midbrain ventral tegmental area to the nucleus accumbens. We observed that paired birds had higher levels of dopamine and its metabolite 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid in the ventral medial striatum, where the nucleus accumbens is situated, than unpaired birds. Additionally, we found that the percentage of dopaminergic neurons expressing immediate early gene Fos, a marker of neuronal activity, was higher in the ventral tegmental area of paired birds than in that of unpaired birds. These data are consistent with a role for the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway in pair formation in zebra finches, suggesting the possibility of a conserved neural mechanism of monogamy in birds and mammals.

  17. Discovery of a novel functional leptin protein (LEP) in zebra finches: evidence for the existence of an authentic avian leptin gene predominantly expressed in the brain and pituitary.

    PubMed

    Huang, Guian; Li, Juan; Wang, Hongning; Lan, Xinyu; Wang, Yajun

    2014-09-01

    Leptin (LEP) is reported to play important roles in controlling energy balance in vertebrates, including birds. However, it remains an open question whether an authentic "LEP gene" exists and functions in birds. Here, we identified and characterized a LEP gene (zebra finch LEP [zbLEP]) encoding a 172-amino acid precursor in zebra finches. Despite zbLEP showing limited amino acid sequence identity (26%-29%) to human and mouse LEPs, synteny analysis proved that zbLEP is orthologous to mammalian LEP. Using a pAH32 luciferase reporter system and Western blot analysis, we demonstrated that the recombinant zbLEP protein could potently activate finch and chicken LEP receptors (zbLEPR; cLEPR) expressed in human embryonic kidney 293 cells and enhance signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 phosphorylation, further indicating that zbLEP is a functional ligand for avian LEPRs. Interestingly, quantitative real-time RT-PCR revealed that zbLEP mRNA is expressed nearly exclusively in the pituitary and various brain regions but undetectable in adipose tissue and liver, whereas zbLEPR mRNA is widely expressed in adult finch tissues examined with abundant expression noted in pituitary, implying that unlike mammalian LEP, finch LEP may not act as an adipocyte-derived signal to control energy balance. As in finches, a LEP highly homologous to zbLEP was also identified in budgerigar genome. Strikingly, finch and budgerigar LEPs show little homology with chicken LEP (cLEP) previously reported, suggesting that the so-called cLEP is incorrect. Collectively, our data provide convincing evidence for the existence of an authentic functional LEP in avian species and suggest an important role of brain- and pituitary-derived LEP played in vertebrates.

  18. Variations: Darwin's finches, sea barnacles and the side effects of antidepressants.

    PubMed

    Lieb, Julian

    2008-01-01

    "It may metaphorically be said," Darwin wrote, "that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, the slightest variations; rejecting those that are bad, preserving and adding up all that are good; silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever opportunity offers..." Variation is a principle of nature, without which natural selection could not operate, and life exist. Darwin believed that natural selection would make nature "more and more diversified." Variation occurs in the clutch sizes of birds, the color of hair and skin, the annual temperature, in language and speech, the direction of local Magnetic North and True North, and the variation of pathogens (antigenic variation). Antidepressants act as probes, burrowing into the deepest recesses of cells, and signaling physiological and pathological information to observers. They have at least forty side effects that are not only variations, but often paradoxes that would have fascinated Charles Darwin, who had the keenest interest in the variation of the beaks of finches and in sea barnacles.

  19. Genomic variation at the tips of the adaptive radiation of Darwin's finches.

    PubMed

    Chaves, Jaime A; Cooper, Elizabeth A; Hendry, Andrew P; Podos, Jeffrey; De León, Luis F; Raeymaekers, Joost A M; MacMillan, W Owen; Uy, J Albert C

    2016-11-01

    Adaptive radiation unfolds as selection acts on the genetic variation underlying functional traits. The nature of this variation can be revealed by studying the tips of an ongoing adaptive radiation. We studied genomic variation at the tips of the Darwin's finch radiation; specifically focusing on polymorphism within, and variation among, three sympatric species of the genus Geospiza. Using restriction site-associated DNA (RAD-seq), we characterized 32 569 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), from which 11 outlier SNPs for beak and body size were uncovered by a genomewide association study (GWAS). Principal component analysis revealed that these 11 SNPs formed four statistically linked groups. Stepwise regression then revealed that the first PC score, which included 6 of the 11 top SNPs, explained over 80% of the variation in beak size, suggesting that selection on these traits influences multiple correlated loci. The two SNPs most strongly associated with beak size were near genes associated with beak morphology across deeper branches of the radiation: delta-like 1 homologue (DLK1) and high-mobility group AT-hook 2 (HMGA2). Our results suggest that (i) key adaptive traits are associated with a small fraction of the genome (11 of 32 569 SNPs), (ii) SNPs linked to the candidate genes are dispersed throughout the genome (on several chromosomes), and (iii) micro- and macro-evolutionary variation (roots and tips of the radiation) involve some shared and some unique genomic regions.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finch, C. T.; Zacharias, N.

    2016-04-01

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

  1. A Compact Statistical Model of the Song Syntax in Bengalese Finch

    PubMed Central

    Jin, Dezhe Z.; Kozhevnikov, Alexay A.

    2011-01-01

    Songs of many songbird species consist of variable sequences of a finite number of syllables. A common approach for characterizing the syntax of these complex syllable sequences is to use transition probabilities between the syllables. This is equivalent to the Markov model, in which each syllable is associated with one state, and the transition probabilities between the states do not depend on the state transition history. Here we analyze the song syntax in Bengalese finch. We show that the Markov model fails to capture the statistical properties of the syllable sequences. Instead, a state transition model that accurately describes the statistics of the syllable sequences includes adaptation of the self-transition probabilities when states are revisited consecutively, and allows associations of more than one state to a given syllable. Such a model does not increase the model complexity significantly. Mathematically, the model is a partially observable Markov model with adaptation (POMMA). The success of the POMMA supports the branching chain network model of how syntax is controlled within the premotor song nucleus HVC, but also suggests that adaptation and many-to-one mapping from the syllable-encoding chain networks in HVC to syllables should be included in the network model. PMID:21445230

  2. Song discrimination learning in zebra finches induces highly divergent responses to novel songs.

    PubMed

    Verzijden, Machteld N; Etman, Eric; van Heijningen, Caroline; van der Linden, Marianne; ten Cate, Carel

    2007-01-22

    Perceptual biases can shape the evolution of signal form. Understanding the origin and direction of such biases is therefore crucial for understanding signal evolution. Many animals learn about species-specific signals. Discrimination learning using simple stimuli varying in one dimension (e.g. amplitude, wavelength) can result in perceptual biases with preferences for specific novel stimuli, depending on the stimulus dimensions. We examine how this translates to discrimination learning involving complex communication signals; birdsongs. Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) were trained to discriminate between two artificial songs, using a Go/No-Go procedure. The training songs in experiment 1 differed in the number of repeats of a particular element. The songs in experiment 2 differed in the position of an odd element in a series of repeated elements. We examined generalization patterns by presenting novel songs with more or fewer repeated elements (experiment 1), or with the odd element earlier or later in the repeated element sequence (experiment 2). Control birds were trained with only one song. The generalization curves obtained from (i) control birds, (ii) experimental birds in experiment 1, and (iii) experimental birds in experiment 2 showed large and systematic differences from each other. Birds in experiment 1, but not 2, responded more strongly to specific novel songs than to training songs, showing 'peak shift'. The outcome indicates that learning about communication signals may give rise to perceptual biases that may drive signal evolution.

  3. Macquarie Island's Finch-Langdon fault: A ridge-transform inside-corner structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wertz, Karah L.; Mosher, Sharon; Daczko, Nathan R.; Coffin, Millard F.

    2003-08-01

    Macquarie Island consists of uplifted oceanic crust, uniquely situated in the ocean basin where it formed, thus allowing onshore structures to be placed into their regional oceanic tectonic context. The Finch-Langdon fault, the most significant spreading-related structure on the island, juxtaposes upper-crust rocks against lower-crust and upper-mantle rocks. It consists of dominantly oblique strike-slip, northwest-, west-northwest , and north-northeast striking fault segments that bear hydrothermal mineralization indicative of faulting during seafloor spreading. Talus breccias and graywackes overlain by volcanic flows proximal to the fault indicate a long-lived submarine fault scarp that exposed diabase dikes and gabbros during volcanism. Swath reflectivity and bathymetry reveal ridge-parallel spreading fabric and perpendicular fracture zones, the closest ˜7 km east of the island. On the basis of field and swath data, we propose that this fault zone formed near the inside corner of a ridge-transform intersection and that structures on the island are conformable with those in the surrounding seafloor.

  4. Blood Mercury Levels of Zebra Finches Are Heritable: Implications for the Evolution of Mercury Resistance

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Mercury is a ubiquitous metal contaminant that negatively impacts reproduction of wildlife and has many other sub-lethal effects. Songbirds are sensitive bioindicators of mercury toxicity and may suffer population declines as a result of mercury pollution. Current predictions of mercury accumulation and biomagnification often overlook possible genetic variation in mercury uptake and elimination within species and the potential for evolution in affected populations. We conducted a study of dietary mercury exposure in a model songbird species, maintaining a breeding population of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) on standardized diets ranging from 0.0–2.4 μg/g methylmercury. We applied a quantitative genetics approach to examine patterns of variation and heritability of mercury accumulation within dietary treatments using a method of mixed effects modeling known as the 'animal model'. Significant variation in blood mercury accumulation existed within each treatment for birds exposed at the same dietary level; moreover, this variation was highly repeatable for individuals. We observed substantial genetic variation in blood mercury accumulation for birds exposed at intermediate dietary concentrations. Taken together, this is evidence that genetic variation for factors affecting blood mercury accumulation could be acted on by selection. If similar heritability for mercury accumulation exists in wild populations, selection could result in genetic differentiation for populations in contaminated locations, with possible consequences for mercury biomagnification in food webs. PMID:27668745

  5. Choreography of song, dance and beak movements in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Williams, H

    2001-10-01

    As do many songbirds, zebra finches sing their learned songs while performing a courtship display that includes movements of the body, head and beak. The coordination of these display components was assessed by analyzing video recordings of courting males. All birds changed beak aperture frequently within a single song, and each individual's pattern of beak movements was consistent from song to song. Birds that copied their father's songs reproduced many of the changes in beak aperture associated with particular syllables. The acoustic consequences of opening the beak were increases in amplitude and peak frequency, but not in fundamental frequency, of song syllables. The change in peak frequency is consistent with the hypothesis that an open beak results in a shortened vocal tract and thus a higher resonance frequency. Dance movements (hops and changes in body or head position) were less frequent, and the distribution of dance movements within the song was not as strongly patterned as were changes in beak aperture, nor were the peaks in the distribution as strongly marked. However, the correlation between the positioning of dance movements within fathers' and sons' songs was striking, suggesting that the choreography of dance patterns is transmitted from tutor to pupil together with the song.

  6. Heterologous Synapsis and Crossover Suppression in Heterozygotes for a Pericentric Inversion in the Zebra Finch.

    PubMed

    del Priore, Lucía; Pigozzi, María I

    2015-01-01

    In the zebra finch, 2 alternative morphs regarding centromere position were described for chromosome 6. This polymorphism was interpreted to be the result of a pericentric inversion, but other causes of the centromere repositioning were not ruled out. We used immunofluorescence localization to examine the distribution of MLH1 foci on synaptonemal complexes to test the prediction that pericentric inversions cause synaptic irregularities and/or crossover suppression in heterozygotes. We found complete suppression of crossing over in the region involved in the rearrangement in male and female heterozygotes. In contrast, the same region showed high levels of crossing over in homozygotes for the acrocentric form of this chromosome. No inversion loops or synaptic irregularities were detected along bivalent 6 in heterozygotes suggesting that heterologous pairing is achieved during zygotene or early pachytene. Altogether these findings strongly indicate that the polymorphic chromosome 6 originated by a pericentric inversion. Since inversions are common rearrangements in karyotypic evolution in birds, it seems likely that early heterologous pairing could help to fix these rearrangements, preventing crossing overs in heterozygotes and their deleterious effects on fertility.

  7. Environmental and genetic control of brain and song structure in the zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Woodgate, Joseph L; Buchanan, Katherine L; Bennett, Andrew T D; Catchpole, Clive K; Brighton, Roswitha; Leitner, Stefan

    2014-01-01

    Birdsong is a classic example of a learned trait with cultural inheritance, with selection acting on trait expression. To understand how song responds to selection, it is vital to determine the extent to which variation in song learning and neuroanatomy is attributable to genetic variation, environmental conditions, or their interactions. Using a partial cross fostering design with an experimental stressor, we quantified the heritability of song structure and key brain nuclei in the song control system of the zebra finch and the genotype-by-environment (G × E) interactions. Neuroanatomy and song structure both showed low levels of heritability and are unlikely to be under selection as indicators of genetic quality. HVC, in particular, was almost entirely under environmental control. G × E interaction was important for brain development and may provide a mechanism by which additive genetic variation is maintained, which in turn may promote sexual selection through female choice. Our study suggests that selection may act on the genes determining vocal learning, rather than directly on the underlying neuroanatomy, and emphasizes the fundamental importance of environmental conditions for vocal learning and neural development in songbirds.

  8. Assessment of neuroanatomical and behavioural effects of in ovo methylmercury exposure in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Yu, Maria S; Eng, Margaret L; Williams, Tony D; Guigueno, Mélanie F; Elliott, John E

    2017-01-07

    Methylmercury (MeHg) readily crosses the blood brain barrier and is a known neuro-toxicant. MeHg accumulation in the brain causes histopathological alterations, neurobehavioral changes, and impairments to cognitive motor functions in mammalian models. However, in birds the neurotoxic effects of MeHg on the developing pre-hatching brain and consequent behavioral alterations in adult birds have not received much attention. Moreover, passerine birds are poorly represented in MeHg neurotoxicology studies in comparison to other avian orders. Hence in this study, we used the egg injection method to investigate the long term effects of in ovo MeHg exposure on brain histopathology and courtship behavior in a model songbird species, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Egg treatment groups included: a low MeHg dose of 0.2μg Hg g(-1) egg, a high MeHg dose of 3.2μg Hg g(-1) egg, and a vehicle control (water). No adverse effects of in ovo MeHg treatment were detected on courtship song quality or on mating behavior in experimental males at sexually maturity which would suggest that observable neurobehavioral effects of MeHg exposure may depend on the timing of exposure during offspring development. However, neuroanatomical analysis indicated an increase in telencephalon volume with increased MeHg concentrations which may suggest a prolonged inflammatory response in this region of the brain.

  9. Maternal antibody transfer can lead to suppression of humoral immunity in developing zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Merrill, Loren; Grindstaff, Jennifer L

    2014-01-01

    Maternally transferred antibodies have been documented in a wide range of taxa and are thought to adaptively provide protection against parasites and pathogens while the offspring immune system is developing. In most birds, transfer occurs when females deposit immunoglobulin Y into the egg yolk, and it is proportional to the amount in the female's plasma. Maternal antibodies can provide short-term passive protection as well as specific and nonspecific immunological priming, but high levels of maternal antibody can result in suppression of the offspring's humoral immune response. We injected adult female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) with one of two antigens (lipopolysaccharide [LPS] or keyhole limpet hemocyanin [KLH]) or a control and then injected offspring with LPS, KLH, or a control on days 5 and 28 posthatch to examine the impact of maternally transferred antibodies on the ontogeny of the offspring's humoral immune system. We found that offspring of females exposed to KLH had elevated levels of KLH-reactive antibody over the first 17-28 days posthatch but reduced KLH-specific antibody production between days 28 and 36. We also found that offspring exposed to either LPS or KLH exhibited reduced total antibody levels, compared to offspring that received a control injection. These results indicate that high levels of maternal antibodies or antigen exposure during development can have negative repercussions on short-term antibody production and may have long-term fitness repercussions for the offspring.

  10. Context-specific effects of estradiol on spatial learning and memory in the zebra finch.

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2001-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  13. Blood Mercury Levels of Zebra Finches Are Heritable: Implications for the Evolution of Mercury Resistance.

    PubMed

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

    Mercury is a ubiquitous metal contaminant that negatively impacts reproduction of wildlife and has many other sub-lethal effects. Songbirds are sensitive bioindicators of mercury toxicity and may suffer population declines as a result of mercury pollution. Current predictions of mercury accumulation and biomagnification often overlook possible genetic variation in mercury uptake and elimination within species and the potential for evolution in affected populations. We conducted a study of dietary mercury exposure in a model songbird species, maintaining a breeding population of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) on standardized diets ranging from 0.0-2.4 μg/g methylmercury. We applied a quantitative genetics approach to examine patterns of variation and heritability of mercury accumulation within dietary treatments using a method of mixed effects modeling known as the 'animal model'. Significant variation in blood mercury accumulation existed within each treatment for birds exposed at the same dietary level; moreover, this variation was highly repeatable for individuals. We observed substantial genetic variation in blood mercury accumulation for birds exposed at intermediate dietary concentrations. Taken together, this is evidence that genetic variation for factors affecting blood mercury accumulation could be acted on by selection. If similar heritability for mercury accumulation exists in wild populations, selection could result in genetic differentiation for populations in contaminated locations, with possible consequences for mercury biomagnification in food webs.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  15. Neurotoxic effects of DSP-4 on the central noradrenergic system in male zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Waterman, Susanna A; Harding, Cheryl F

    2008-04-09

    When administered systemically, the noradrenergic neurotoxin N-(2-chloroethyl)-N-ethyl-2-bromobenzylamine (DSP-4) appears to target the noradrenergic innervation originating in the locus coeruleus causing long-term decrements in noradrenergic function. In songbirds, DSP-4-treatment decreased female-directed singing by males and copulation solicitation responses of females to male songs. However, DSP-4 treatment in songbirds did not lower measures of NE function in the brain to the same extent as it does in mammals. The current study had two goals: determining if two DSP-4 treatments 10 days apart would cause significant decrements in noradrenergic function in male zebra finches and determining if, as in other species, the noradrenergic innervation of midbrain and cortical areas would be profoundly affected while hypothalamic areas were spared. Dopamine-beta-hydroxylase immunoreactivity (DBH-ir) was quantified in thirteen brain regions (five vocal control nuclei, one auditory nucleus, two hypothalamic nuclei, and five additional areas that demonstrated high DBH labeling in controls). Within 20 days, DSP-4 treatment profoundly reduced the number of DBH-ir cells in both the locus coeruleus and ventral subcoeruleus. Unlike a previous study, DBH labeling delineated four out of five vocal control nuclei and an auditory nucleus. As expected, DSP-4 treatment significantly decreased DBH labeling in all areas examined in the mesencephalon and telencephalon without significantly affecting DBH-ir in hypothalamic areas. This double treatment regime appears to be much more effective in decreasing noradrenergic function in songbirds than the single treatment typically used.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-17

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

  17. Two developmental modules establish 3D beak-shape variation in Darwin's finches.

    PubMed

    Mallarino, Ricardo; Grant, Peter R; Grant, B Rosemary; Herrel, Anthony; Kuo, Winston P; Abzhanov, Arhat

    2011-03-08

    Bird beaks display tremendous variation in shape and size, which is closely associated with the exploitation of multiple ecological niches and likely played a key role in the diversification of thousands of avian species. Previous studies have demonstrated some of the molecular mechanisms that regulate morphogenesis of the prenasal cartilage, which forms the initial beak skeleton. However, much of the beak diversity in birds depends on variation in the premaxillary bone. It forms later in development and becomes the most prominent functional and structural component of the adult upper beak/jaw, yet its regulation is unknown. Here, we studied a group of Darwin's finch species with different beak shapes. We found that TGFβIIr, β-catenin, and Dickkopf-3, the top candidate genes from a cDNA microarray screen, are differentially expressed in the developing premaxillary bone of embryos of species with different beak shapes. Furthermore, our functional experiments demonstrate that these molecules form a regulatory network governing the morphology of the premaxillary bone, which differs from the network controlling the prenasal cartilage, but has the same species-specific domains of expression. These results offer potential mechanisms that may explain how the tightly coupled depth and width dimensions can evolve independently. The two-module program of development involving independent regulating molecules offers unique insights into how different developmental pathways may be modified and combined to induce multidimensional shifts in beak morphology. Similar modularity in development may characterize complex traits in other organisms to a greater extent than is currently appreciated.

  18. Molecular characterization of the song control nucleus HVC in Bengalese finch brain.

    PubMed

    Kato, Masaki; Okanoya, Kazuo

    2010-11-11

    Songbirds have a specialized neural substrate for learned vocalization, called the song circuit, which consists of several song nuclei in the brain. The song control nucleus HVC (a letter-based name) is the intersection point of the song learning and vocal motor pathways. Knowledge of the types of genes expressed in the HVC is essential in understanding the molecular aspects of the HVC. Gene expression in the HVC under silent conditions shows the competence necessary for singing. To investigate this, we compared the HVC with its adjacent tissues in searching for the molecular specificities of the song nucleus HVC using an in-house cDNA microarray of the Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica). Our microarray analysis revealed that 70 genes were differentially expressed in the HVC compared with the adjacent tissue. We investigated 27 of the microarray-selected genes that were enriched or repressed in the HVC by in situ hybridization. We found that multiple calcium-binding proteins (e.g., CAPS2, parvalbumin and ATH) were enriched in the HVC. Meanwhile, the adult HVC showed low expression levels of plasticity-related genes (e.g., CAMK2A and MAP2K1) compared with the juvenile HVC. The HVC plays an important role during song learning, but our results suggest that the plasticity of this nucleus may be suppressed during adulthood. Our findings provide new information about the molecular features that characterize the HVC.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-04

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  2. Plasma sex steroids and tissue aromatization in hatchling zebra finches: implications for the sexual differentiation of singing behavior.

    PubMed

    Schlinger, B A; Arnold, A P

    1992-01-01

    One of the best examples for sex hormone regulation of brain development is found in songbirds. In zebra finches, only males sing because of striking sex differences in the neural circuitry that controls songs. Because developing females treated with estradiol (E2) develop a masculine song system, E2 is considered the normal masculinizing hormone. However, questions about the role of E2 in male development persist, because E2 treatments that masculinize song can demasculinize other sexual behaviors, and there exists contradictory evidence for high levels of circulating E2 in developing males. We remeasured plasma steriods in zebra finches during the first 13 days after hatching. E2 circulated at low levels, and there were no sex differences in circulating E2, estrone, testosterone, androstenedione, or dihydrotestosterone. We also measured aromatase activity [( 3H]androstenedione conversion to [3H]estrone and [3H]E2) in gonad, adrenal, brain, and other tissues of hatchlings. Aromatase was abundant in ovary, but was not definitively detected in testes, adrenals, or other nonneural tissues of males. Aromatase was also found in diencephalon and in high amounts in telencephalon, but sex differences were not detected in whole brain or cellular subfractions of telencephalon. Because ovarian steroidogenesis is high, it may be involved in differentiation of the female zebra finch, as in nonpasserine birds. By contrast, the functional estrogen necessary for masculinization of song is most likely derived from brain, supplied with substrate from the adrenals. The puzzle remains why the song system is not masculinized in females, who possess high levels of aromatizable androgens and telencephalic aromatase.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Smiley, Kristina O; Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth

    2016-06-01

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

  5. Influence of food and water availability on undirected singing and energetic status in adult male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Rashotte, M E; Sedunova, E V; Johnson, F; Pastukhov, I F

    2001-01-01

    The songs of adult male zebra finches are termed "directed" and "undirected," depending on the social context in which they occur. Females elicit directed song, whereas undirected song is not addressed to a particular conspecific and even occurs at high levels in social isolation. We tested the hypothesis that the production of undirected song is more sensitive to a brief period of food deprivation than a comparable period of water deprivation. The hypothesis was based on prior findings suggesting that song production is energetically expensive and that food deprivation constitutes a more serious energetic challenge to zebra finches than does water deprivation. Two days of food or water deprivation were imposed on several groups of birds that provided song production data and a variety of energetic measures; normative data obtained in a baseline period when food and water were available ad libitum provided a standard for comparison. Singing, which occurred exclusively in the light phase of the day, was reduced at the onset of food deprivation, ceased completely within 4 h, and did not occur at all on the second day. When water was removed, the birds showed a slower and less substantial reduction in daily song production across the 2 days of deprivation. Energetic measures indicated that food deprivation was a greater energetic challenge than water deprivation. Our results demonstrate that undirected song in zebra finches is sensitive to nonsocial environmental factors that pose an energetic challenge and raise new questions about how birds calibrate their level of song production to the availability of nutrients in the environment.

  6. In-line FINCH super resolution digital holographic fluorescence microscopy using a high efficiency transmission liquid crystal GRIN lens

    PubMed Central

    Brooker, Gary; Siegel, Nisan; Rosen, Joseph; Hashimoto, Nobuyuki; Kurihara, Makoto; Tanabe, Ayano

    2014-01-01

    We report a new optical arrangement that creates high efficiency, high quality Fresnel Incoherent Correlation Holography (FINCH) holograms using polarization sensitive transmission liquid crystal gradient index (TLCGRIN) diffractive lenses. In contrast, current universal practice in the field employs reflective spatial light modulators (SLM) to separate sample and reference beams. Polarization sensitive TLCGRIN lenses enable a straight optical path, have >90% transmission efficiency, are not pixelated and are free of many limitations of reflective SLM devices. For each sample point, two spherical beams created by a glass lens in combination with a polarization sensitive TLCGRIN lens interfere, create a hologram and resultant super resolution image. PMID:24322233

  7. Response to begging calls by Zebra Finch parents: "first come, first served" rule may overcome a parental preference between chicks.

    PubMed

    Levréro, Florence; Blanc, Alain; Mathevon, Nicolas

    2012-02-01

    In birds, parents may provide differential food provisioning among offspring according to their sex. Here, we test the hypothesis that events linked to the fine dynamics of begging behaviour could modulate parental preferences. After evaluating the preference related to chick sex for each parent of six Zebra Finch Taeniopygia guttata pairs, we studied the possible modifications of this preference when offspring begging was asynchronous. Our observations show that male parents follow a "first come, first served" rule, whereas females keep their initial choice. Although this study remains preliminary due to the sample size, it underlines the potential importance of investigating fine temporal features of begging behaviour to fully understand parents' provisioning strategies.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  9. Noradrenergic and GABAB Receptor Activation Differentially Modulate Inputs to the Premotor Nucleus RA in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Sizemore, Max; Perkel, David J.

    2008-01-01

    Neuromodulators can rapidly modify neural circuits, altering behavior. Songbirds provide an excellent system for studying the role of neuromodulation in modifying circuits that underlie behavior because song learning and production are mediated by a discrete set of interconnected nuclei. We examined the neuromodulatory effects of noradrenergic and GABAB receptor activation on synaptic inputs to the premotor robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA) in zebra finches using whole cell voltage-clamp recording in vitro. In adults, norepinephrine strongly reduced input from the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (LMAN) but only slightly reduced the input from nucleus HVC (proper name), the excitatory input from axon collaterals of other RA neurons, and input from GABAergic interneurons. The effect of norepinephrine was mimicked by the α2 adrenoceptor agonist UK14,304 and blocked by the α2 antagonist yohimbine. Conversely, the GABAB receptor agonist baclofen strongly decreased HVC, collateral, and GABAergic inputs to RA neurons while causing little reduction in the LMAN input. In juveniles undergoing song learning, norepinephrine reduced the LMAN input, caused only a small reduction in the HVC input, and greatly reduced the collateral and GABAergic inputs. Baclofen caused similar results in juvenile and adult birds, reducing HVC, collateral, and GABAergic inputs significantly more than the LMAN input. Significant increases in paired-pulse ratio accompanied all reductions in synaptic transmission, suggesting a presynaptic locus. The reduction in the LMAN input by norepinephrine may be important for mediating changes in song elicited by different social contexts and is well-placed to play a role in song learning. PMID:18463188

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

  12. Meiotic silencing and fragmentation of the male germline restricted chromosome in zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Schoenmakers, Sam; Wassenaar, Evelyne; Laven, Joop S E; Grootegoed, J Anton; Baarends, Willy M

    2010-06-01

    During male meiotic prophase in mammals, X and Y are in a largely unsynapsed configuration, which is thought to trigger meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI). In avian species, females are ZW, and males ZZ. Although Z and W in chicken oocytes show complete, largely heterologous synapsis, they too undergo MSCI, albeit only transiently. The W chromosome is already inactive in early meiotic prophase, and inactive chromatin marks may spread on to the Z upon synapsis. Mammalian MSCI is considered as a specialised form of the general meiotic silencing mechanism, named meiotic silencing of unsynapsed chromatin (MSUC). Herein, we studied the avian form of MSUC, by analysing the behaviour of the peculiar germline restricted chromosome (GRC) that is present as a single copy in zebra finch spermatocytes. In the female germline, this chromosome is present in two copies, which normally synapse and recombine. In contrast, during male meiosis, the single GRC is always eliminated. We found that the GRC in the male germline is silenced from early leptotene onwards, similar to the W chromosome in avian oocytes. The GRC remains largely unsynapsed throughout meiotic prophase I, although patches of SYCP1 staining indicate that part of the GRC may self-synapse. In addition, the GRC is largely devoid of meiotic double strand breaks. We observed a lack of the inner centromere protein INCENP on the GRC and elimination of the GRC following metaphase I. Subsequently, the GRC forms a micronucleus in which the DNA is fragmented. We conclude that in contrast to MSUC in mammals, meiotic silencing of this single chromosome in the avian germline occurs prior to, and independent of DNA double strand breaks and chromosome pairing, hence we have named this phenomenon meiotic silencing prior to synapsis (MSPS).

  13. Effects of monocular deprivation in the nucleus rotundus of zebra finches: a Nissl and deoxyglucose study.

    PubMed

    Herrmann, K; Bischof, H J

    1986-01-01

    We evaluated in zebra finches the effects of monocular deprivation on morphological and physiological features of the nucleus rotundus, the thalamic relay station of the tectofugal pathway. In a first series of experiments neuron size and total volume were estimated in animals deprived for 20, 40 and at least 100 days and compared to values obtained from normally reared birds. Monocular closure for more than 40 days causes a marked hypertrophy in cells receiving their main input from the open eye, whereas the deprived cells are normal in size. However, with only 20 days of monocular deprivation both deprived and non-deprived rotundal neurons are larger than normal. This indicates that monocular closure has a biphasic effect: firstly, an unselective hypertrophy of deprived and non-deprived neurons, and secondly, a subsequent period of shrinkage of the deprived cells to normal values, while cells driven by the open eye remain hypertrophied. The total volume of the deprived n. rotundus turns out to be smaller in all age groups. In a second series of experiments the activity of the n. rotundus of animals monocularly deprived from birth for 100 days was investigated with the 2-deoxyglucose-method (Sokoloff et al. 1977). With binocular stimulation the activity of the deprived n. rotundus was reduced by about 40%. Depriving adult animals for 100 days does not result in asymmetric labeling of the n. rotundus. We interpretate the 2-DG data as evidence for the existence of a sensitive period for the effects of monocular deprivation. The anatomical data suggest, however, that the effects of monocular deprivation in birds are different from those observed in mammals.

  14. Dopaminergic modulation of reproductive behavior and activity in male zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Rauceo, Sharon; Harding, Cheryl F; Maldonado, Alexandra; Gaysinkaya, Lina; Tulloch, Ingrid; Rodriguez, Elizabeth

    2008-02-11

    We previously demonstrated that hormone treatments which stimulate female-directed singing increased levels and turnover of dopamine (DA) in brain areas controlling the motor patterning of song. To help determine how DA affects singing, we quantified the effects of treating adult male finches with the D1/D2 receptor antagonist cis-flupenthixol. Adult males were given subcutaneous silastic implants of androgen, in case drug treatment interfered with androgen secretion. One week later, they were tested with females. Males were divided into three groups matched for levels of courtship singing. Males were then subcutaneously implanted with osmotic minipumps containing either saline, a low, or a high dose of cis-flupenthixol. Each male was tested with a different female 5 and 10 days after implantation to determine how this D1/D2 receptor antagonist affected behavior. Both drug doses affected female-directed singing 5 days after initiation of treatment. High-dose males sang to females significantly less often than males in the other two groups. Low-dose males showed fewer high-intensity courtship displays in which males dance towards females as they sing. These effects on courtship singing were not seen at day 10, though other behavioral effects were seen at this time. Male beak wipes, rocks, following females and female withdrawals from males were also affected by drug treatment. General activity in the home cage was decreased by day 11. These data demonstrate that singing and several other female-directed behaviors are sensitive to perturbations in DA receptor function.

  15. Audience effect alters male mating preferences in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Dubois, Frédérique; Belzile, Alexandra

    2012-01-01

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

  16. Playback of colony sound alters the breeding schedule and clutch size in zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) colonies.

    PubMed

    Waas, Joseph R; Colgan, Patrick W; Boag, Peter T

    2005-02-22

    The hypothesis that social stimulation, derived from the presence and activities of conspecifics, can hasten and synchronize breeding in colonies of birds was tested. A modified playback/recorder system was used to continuously exaggerate the amount of colony sound available to zebra finches throughout their courtship period. Males that heard 'sound supplements' generated from their own colony sang more than males in control colonies that did not receive playback; males that heard samples from a different colony, sang at an intermediate level. Females that were exposed to the vocalizations of their mate and playback from a colony other than their own, laid eggs earlier and more synchronously than females in control colonies. Females that heard the vocalizations of their mate along with playback samples generated from their own colony, laid eggs more synchronously but not earlier than control females. Both acoustic treatments caused females to lay larger clutches. Social stimulation influences the breeding schedule and clutch size in zebra finch colonies. If there are advantages associated with these effects, social stimulation may contribute to the maintenance of colonial breeding systems.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  18. Effects of early developmental conditions on innate immunity are only evident under favourable adult conditions in zebra finches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Coster, Greet; Verhulst, Simon; Koetsier, Egbert; de Neve, Liesbeth; Briga, Michael; Lens, Luc

    2011-12-01

    Long-term effects of unfavourable conditions during development can be expected to depend on the quality of the environment experienced by the same individuals during adulthood. Yet, in the majority of studies, long-term effects of early developmental conditions have been assessed under favourable adult conditions only. The immune system might be particularly vulnerable to early environmental conditions as its development, maintenance and use are thought to be energetically costly. Here, we studied the interactive effects of favourable and unfavourable conditions during nestling and adult stages on innate immunity (lysis and agglutination scores) of captive male and female zebra finches ( Taeniopygia guttata). Nestling environmental conditions were manipulated by a brood size experiment, while a foraging cost treatment was imposed on the same individuals during adulthood. This combined treatment showed that innate immunity of adult zebra finches is affected by their early developmental conditions and varies between both sexes. Lysis scores, but not agglutination scores, were higher in individuals raised in small broods and in males. However, these effects were only present in birds that experienced low foraging costs. This study shows that the quality of the adult environment may shape the long-term consequences of early developmental conditions on innate immunity, as long-term effects of nestling environment were only evident under favourable adult conditions.

  19. Smooth Operator: Avoidance of Subharmonic Bifurcations through Mechanical Mechanisms Simplifies Song Motor Control in Adult Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Elemans, Coen P. H.; Laje, Rodrigo; Mindlin, Gabriel B.; Goller, Franz

    2012-01-01

    Like human infants, songbirds acquire their song by imitation and eventually generate sounds that result from complicated neural networks and intrinsically nonlinear physical processes. Signatures of low-dimensional chaos such as subharmonic bifurcations have been reported in adult and developing zebra finch song. Here, we use methods from nonlinear dynamics to test whether adult male zebra finches (Taenopygia guttata) use the intrinsic nonlinear properties of their vocal organ, the syrinx, to insert subharmonic transitions in their song. In contrast to previous data on the basis of spectrographic evidence, we show that subharmonic transitions do not occur in adult song. Subharmonic transitions also do not arise in artificially induced sound in the intact syrinx, but are commonly generated in the excised syrinx. These findings suggest that subharmonic transitions are not used to increase song complexity, and that the brain controls song in a surprisingly smooth control regimen. Fast, smooth changes in acoustic elements can be produced by direct motor control in a stereotyped fashion, which is a more reliable indicator of male fitness than abrupt acoustic changes that do not require similarly precise control. Consistent with this view is the presence of high fidelity at every level of motor control, from telencephalic premotor areas to superfast syringeal muscles. PMID:20926650

  20. Acoustic pattern variations in the female-directed birdsongs of a colony of laboratory-bred zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Helekar; Marsh; Viswanath; Rosenfield

    2000-04-03

    The acoustic profile of the zebra finch song is characterized by a series of identical repeating units, each comprising a distinctive sequence of acoustic elements, called syllables. Here, we perform an analysis of song pattern deviations caused by variabilities in the production of song syllables. Zebra finches produce four different kinds of syllable variabilities-syllable deletions, single or double syllable insertions, syllable alterations, and syllable repetitions. All these variabilities, with the exception of repetitions, are present in songs of more than two-thirds of the normal adult birds; repetitions are present in less than one-fifth of birds. The frequency of occurrence of these variabilities is independent of the amount of singing, suggesting that they are unlikely to result simply from singing-induced physiological changes such as fatigue. Their frequencies in tutor-deprived birds are not significantly different from those in normal birds, indicating that they are unlikely to be acquired due to deficiencies in tutor-dependent learning. The types, patterns of occurrence and relative frequencies of these song syllable variabilities might reveal insights into the functioning of the song motor control pathway.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  3. Growth and atrophy of neurons labeled at their birth in a song nucleus of the zebra finch

    SciTech Connect

    Konishi, M.; Akutagawa, E. )

    1990-05-01

    The robust nucleus of the archistriatum (RA) is one of the forebrain nuclei that control song production in birds. In the zebra finch (Poephila guttata), this nucleus contains more and larger neurons in the male than in the female. A single injection of tritiated thymidine into the egg on the 6th or 7th day of incubation resulted in labeling of many RA neurons with tritium. The size of tritium-labeled neurons and the tissue volume containing them did not differ between the sexes at 15 days after hatching. In the adult brain, tritium-labeled neurons and the tissue volume containing them were much larger in the male than in the female. Also, tritium-labeled RA neurons were large in females which received an implant of estrogen immediately after hatching. The gender differences in the neuron size and nuclear volume of the zebra finch RA are, therefore, due not to the replacement of old neurons by new ones during development but to the growth and atrophy of neurons born before hatching. Similarly, the masculinizing effects of estrogen on the female RA are due not to neuronal replacement but to the prevention of atrophy and promotion of growth in preexisting neurons.

  4. Playback of colony sound alters the breeding schedule and clutch size in zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) colonies

    PubMed Central

    Waas, Joseph R.; Colgan, Patrick W.; Boag, Peter T.

    2005-01-01

    The hypothesis that social stimulation, derived from the presence and activities of conspecifics, can hasten and synchronize breeding in colonies of birds was tested. A modified playback/recorder system was used to continuously exaggerate the amount of colony sound available to zebra finches throughout their courtship period. Males that heard ‘sound supplements’ generated from their own colony sang more than males in control colonies that did not receive playback; males that heard samples from a different colony, sang at an intermediate level. Females that were exposed to the vocalizations of their mate and playback from a colony other than their own, laid eggs earlier and more synchronously than females in control colonies. Females that heard the vocalizations of their mate along with playback samples generated from their own colony, laid eggs more synchronously but not earlier than control females. Both acoustic treatments caused females to lay larger clutches. Social stimulation influences the breeding schedule and clutch size in zebra finch colonies. If there are advantages associated with these effects, social stimulation may contribute to the maintenance of colonial breeding systems. PMID:15734692

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  6. Temporary inactivation of NCM, an auditory region, increases social interaction and decreases song perception in female zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Tomaszycki, Michelle L; Blaine, Sara K

    2014-10-01

    The caudomedial nidopallium (NCM) is an important site for the storage of auditory memories, particularly song, in passerines. In zebra finches, males sing and females do not, but females use song to choose mates. The extent to which the NCM is necessary for female mate choice is not well understood. To investigate the role of NCM in partner preferences, adult female zebra finches were bilaterally implanted with chronic cannulae directed at the NCM. Lidocaine, a sodium channel blocker, or saline (control) was infused into the NCM of females using a repeated measures design. Females were then tested in 3 separate paradigms: song preference, sexual partner preference, and pairing behavior/partner preference. We hypothesized that lidocaine would increase interactions with males by decreasing song discrimination and that this would be further evident in the song discrimination task. Indeed, females, when treated with lidocaine, had no preference for males singing unaltered song over males singing distorted song. These same females, when treated with saline, demonstrated a significant preference for males singing normal song. Furthermore, females affiliated with males more after receiving lidocaine than after receiving saline in the pairing paradigm, although neither treatment led to the formation of a partner preference. Our results support the hypothesis that NCM plays an important role not only in song discrimination, but also affiliation with a male.

  7. Sex Differences in Brain Thyroid Hormone Levels during Early Post-Hatching Development in Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Yamaguchi, Shinji; Hayase, Shin; Aoki, Naoya; Takehara, Akihiko; Ishigohoka, Jun; Matsushima, Toshiya; Wada, Kazuhiro; Homma, Koichi J.

    2017-01-01

    Thyroid hormones are closely linked to the hatching process in precocial birds. Previously, we showed that thyroid hormones in brain had a strong impact on filial imprinting, an early learning behavior in newly hatched chicks; brain 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine (T3) peaks around hatching and imprinting training induces additional T3 release, thus, extending the sensitive period for imprinting and enabling subsequent other learning. On the other hand, blood thyroid hormone levels have been reported to increase gradually after hatching in altricial species, but it remains unknown how the brain thyroid hormone levels change during post-hatching development of altricial birds. Here, we determined the changes in serum and brain thyroid hormone levels of a passerine songbird species, the zebra finch using radioimmunoassay. In the serum, we found a gradual increase in thyroid hormone levels during post-hatching development, as well as differences between male and female finches. In the brain, there was clear surge in the hormone levels during development in males and females coinciding with the time of fledging, but the onset of the surge of thyroxine (T4) in males preceded that of females, whereas the onset of the surge of T3 in males succeeded that of females. These findings provide a basis for understanding the functions of thyroid hormones during early development and learning in altricial birds. PMID:28060907

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

    PubMed

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

    1994-07-01

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

  9. Food, stress, and reproduction: short-term fasting alters endocrine physiology and reproductive behavior in the zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Lynn, Sharon E; Stamplis, Teresa B; Barrington, William T; Weida, Nicholas; Hudak, Casey A

    2010-07-01

    Stress is thought to be a potent suppressor of reproduction. However, the vast majority of studies focus on the relationship between chronic stress and reproductive suppression, despite the fact that chronic stress is rare in the wild. We investigated the role of fasting in altering acute stress physiology, reproductive physiology, and reproductive behavior of male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) with several goals in mind. First, we wanted to determine if acute fasting could stimulate an increase in plasma corticosterone and a decrease in corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG) and testosterone. We then investigated whether fasting could alter expression of undirected song and courtship behavior. After subjecting males to fasting periods ranging from 1 to 10h, we collected plasma to measure corticosterone, CBG, and testosterone. We found that plasma corticosterone was elevated, and testosterone was decreased after 4, 6, and 10h of fasting periods compared with samples collected from the same males during nonfasted (control) periods. CBG was lower than control levels only after 10h of fasting. We also found that, coincident with these endocrine changes, males sang less and courted females less vigorously following short-term fasting relative to control conditions. Our data demonstrate that acute fasting resulted in rapid changes in endocrine physiology consistent with hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis activation and hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis deactivation. Fasting also inhibited reproductive behavior. We suggest that zebra finches exhibit physiological and behavioral flexibility that makes them an excellent model system for studying interactions of acute stress and reproduction.

  10. Predictors of aggressive response towards simulated intruders depend on context and sex in Crimson Finches (Neochmia phaeton).

    PubMed

    Young, Catherine Mary; Cain, Kristal Elaine; Svedin, Nina; Backwell, Patricia Ruth Yvonne; Pryke, Sarah Rosalind

    2017-02-01

    Quantifying differences in aggressive behaviour across contexts can be useful in developing an understanding of life histories and breeding systems, as well as the relative costs and benefits of such behaviour. We investigated whether age, relative body size and colouration, sex, and breeding stage influenced levels of aggressive behaviour in two contexts, towards conspecific and heterospecific intruders (mounts) around active nests of group living Crimson Finches (Neochmia phaeton). We found that when responding to a conspecific mount, relative body size, and age were important in predicting the aggressive response of males toward a conspecific, with older males and those close in size to their opponent showing a higher aggressive response. On the other hand, factors relating to female aggression were not as clear. In contrast, response to a heterospecific mount was unrelated to age, colour or size in either sex. Additionally, although birds were equally aggressive to conspecific and heterospecific mount types, we found no evidence that individuals are consistent in their level of aggression across these contexts. This suggests that aggressive behaviour in Crimson Finches is at least partially plastic and that individuals may be capable of assessing and responding to situations independently.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  14. Developmental pattern of CB1 cannabinoid receptor immunoreactivity in brain regions important to zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) song learning and control.

    PubMed

    Soderstrom, Ken; Tian, Qiyu

    2006-06-10

    Zebra finches learn song during distinct developmental stages, making them an important species for studying mechanisms underlying vocal development. Distinct interconnected forebrain regions have been identified as important to specific features of zebra finch vocal learning and production. Because prior experiments have demonstrated that late postnatal exposure to cannabinoid agonists alters zebra finch song learning, we have sought to identify brain regions likely involved in it. By using an affinity-purified polyclonal antibody directed against the zebra finch CB(1) cannabinoid receptor, we have studied staining patterns in groups of males at 25, 50, 75, and >100 days of age (adults). A general waxing and waning of staining intensity were observed over this developmental period. Distinct staining of song-related brain regions was also noted. Early establishment of staining patterns within rostral telencephalic song regions [area X and lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (lMAN)] suggests a role in auditory learning. Later establishment and maintenance in adulthood of small somata and neuropil staining within regions of rostral telencephalon [HVC and robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA)] are consistent with a vocal motor role for cannabinoid signaling. Our results provide insight into brain regions likely responsible for cannabinoid-altered vocal learning and add to accumulating evidence supporting an important role for cannabinoid signaling in CNS development.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  16. Colour Cues That Are Not Directly Attached to the Body of Males Do Not Influence the Mate Choice of Zebra Finches.

    PubMed

    Krause, E Tobias

    2016-01-01

    Mate choice decisions of female zebra finches are generally thought to rely on the assessment of male quality, which includes the specific ornamentation of males. A commonly used paradigm to experimentally manipulate a male's attractiveness is to add a coloured leg ring to the bird. Some studies have shown that female zebra finches prefer or alter their investment in males that have an additional red leg ring compared with males with green leg rings. Whether the coloured artificial ornaments need to be attached to the male's body or whether environmental colouration could have a similar effect on male attractiveness remains unclear. Here, I investigated this novel context to determine whether female choice between males is affected by environmental colour cues that are not directly attached to the male's body in four experiments involving 220 zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). A first experiment revealed that females chose males with red colour cues in the environmental background over males with green cues in the background. Based on this finding, I conducted follow-up experiments to obtain a deeper understanding of how environmental colour cues affect mate choice. Therefore, I examined whether female choice behaviour or male behaviour was altered in two additional experiments. Both experiments failed to show any effects of environmental colour cues on female choice or on male behaviour. Therefore, I replicated the initial experiment in a fourth experiment. Again replication failed; thus, the initial results indicating that environmental colouration affects mate choice behaviour of female zebra finches were not supported by the three subsequent experiments; thus, the outcome of the first experiment seems to be a false positive. Taking my results together, I found no robust support for the idea that environmental colour cues that are not directly attached to the body of male zebra finches affect female mate choice decisions.

  17. Colour Cues That Are Not Directly Attached to the Body of Males Do Not Influence the Mate Choice of Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Mate choice decisions of female zebra finches are generally thought to rely on the assessment of male quality, which includes the specific ornamentation of males. A commonly used paradigm to experimentally manipulate a male’s attractiveness is to add a coloured leg ring to the bird. Some studies have shown that female zebra finches prefer or alter their investment in males that have an additional red leg ring compared with males with green leg rings. Whether the coloured artificial ornaments need to be attached to the male’s body or whether environmental colouration could have a similar effect on male attractiveness remains unclear. Here, I investigated this novel context to determine whether female choice between males is affected by environmental colour cues that are not directly attached to the male’s body in four experiments involving 220 zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). A first experiment revealed that females chose males with red colour cues in the environmental background over males with green cues in the background. Based on this finding, I conducted follow-up experiments to obtain a deeper understanding of how environmental colour cues affect mate choice. Therefore, I examined whether female choice behaviour or male behaviour was altered in two additional experiments. Both experiments failed to show any effects of environmental colour cues on female choice or on male behaviour. Therefore, I replicated the initial experiment in a fourth experiment. Again replication failed; thus, the initial results indicating that environmental colouration affects mate choice behaviour of female zebra finches were not supported by the three subsequent experiments; thus, the outcome of the first experiment seems to be a false positive. Taking my results together, I found no robust support for the idea that environmental colour cues that are not directly attached to the body of male zebra finches affect female mate choice decisions. PMID:27977719

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  19. Development and adult phase plasticity of syllable repetitions in the birdsong of captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Helekar, S A; Espino, G G; Botas, A; Rosenfield, D B

    2003-10-01

    Oscines learn their birdsongs from tutors. The authors found that a small fraction (approximately 7%) of captive male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) produce variant acoustic birdsong profiles consisting of repetitions of single song syllables at high frequencies. Juvenile offspring of nonrepeaters can selectively learn the syntactic rule or habit of repeating syllables from repeaters. Adult tutored syllable repeaters, unlike spontaneous repeaters, undergo a form of song plasticity involving progressive reduction of the mean number and variance of repeated syllables as a function of long-term exposure to nonrepeater songs without altering the number or sequence of syllables within motifs. These findings suggest that aspects of song syntax or temporal frame can be acquired independently of song syllable or spectral content, and plasticity involving restorative alteration of acquired variant temporal frames can occur after the closure of the critical period for song learning.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

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

  1. Cannabinoid mitigation of neuronal morphological change important to development and learning: insight from a zebra finch model of psychopharmacology.

    PubMed

    Soderstrom, Ken; Gilbert, Marcoita T

    2013-03-19

    Normal CNS development proceeds through late-postnatal stages of adolescent development. The activity-dependence of this development underscores the significance of CNS-active drug exposure prior to completion of brain maturation. Exogenous modulation of signaling important in regulating normal development is of particular concern. This mini-review presents a summary of the accumulated behavioral, physiological and biochemical evidence supporting such a key regulatory role for endocannabinoid signaling during late-postnatal CNS development. Our focus is on the data obtained using a unique zebra finch model of developmental psychopharmacology. This animal has allowed investigation of neuronal morphological effects essential to establishment and maintenance of neural circuitry, including processes related to synaptogenesis and dendritic spine dynamics. Altered neurophysiology that follows exogenous cannabinoid exposure during adolescent development has the potential to persistently alter cognition, learning and memory.

  2. Sex-specific effects of maternal immunization on yolk antibody transfer and offspring performance in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Martyka, Rafał; Rutkowska, Joanna; Cichoń, Mariusz

    2011-02-23

    Trans-generational antibody transfer constitutes an important mechanism by which mothers may enhance offspring resistance to pathogens. Thus, differential antibody deposition may potentially allow a female to differentiate offspring performance. Here, we examined whether maternal immunization with sheep red blood cells (SRBC) prior to egg laying affects sex-specific yolk antibody transfer and sex-specific offspring performance in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). We showed that immunized mothers deposit anti-SRBC antibodies into the eggs depending on embryo sex and laying order, and that maternal exposure to SRBC positively affects the body size of female, but not male offspring. This is the first study reporting sex-specific consequences of maternal immunization on offspring performance, and suggests that antibody transfer may constitute an adaptive mechanism of maternal favouritism.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  5. The Effects of Dietary Carotenoid Supplementation and Retinal Carotenoid Accumulation on Vision-Mediated Foraging in the House Finch

    PubMed Central

    Toomey, Matthew B.; McGraw, Kevin J.

    2011-01-01

    Background For many bird species, vision is the primary sensory modality used to locate and assess food items. The health and spectral sensitivities of the avian visual system are influenced by diet-derived carotenoid pigments that accumulate in the retina. Among wild House Finches (Carpodacus mexicanus), we have found that retinal carotenoid accumulation varies significantly among individuals and is related to dietary carotenoid intake. If diet-induced changes in retinal carotenoid accumulation alter spectral sensitivity, then they have the potential to affect visually mediated foraging performance. Methodology/Principal Findings In two experiments, we measured foraging performance of house finches with dietarily manipulated retinal carotenoid levels. We tested each bird's ability to extract visually contrasting food items from a matrix of inedible distracters under high-contrast (full) and dimmer low-contrast (red-filtered) lighting conditions. In experiment one, zeaxanthin-supplemented birds had significantly increased retinal carotenoid levels, but declined in foraging performance in the high-contrast condition relative to astaxanthin-supplemented birds that showed no change in retinal carotenoid accumulation. In experiments one and two combined, we found that retinal carotenoid concentrations predicted relative foraging performance in the low- vs. high-contrast light conditions in a curvilinear pattern. Performance was positively correlated with retinal carotenoid accumulation among birds with low to medium levels of accumulation (∼0.5–1.5 µg/retina), but declined among birds with very high levels (>2.0 µg/retina). Conclusion/Significance Our results suggest that carotenoid-mediated spectral filtering enhances color discrimination, but that this improvement is traded off against a reduction in sensitivity that can compromise visual discrimination. Thus, retinal carotenoid levels may be optimized to meet the visual demands of specific behavioral tasks and

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  10. Frequency-range discriminations and absolute pitch in black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus), mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli), and zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Lee, Tiffany T Y; Charrier, Isabelle; Bloomfield, Laurie L; Weisman, Ronald G; Sturdy, Christopher B

    2006-08-01

    The acoustic frequency ranges in birdsongs provide important absolute pitch cues for the recognition of conspecifics. Black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus), mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli), and zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) were trained to sort tones contiguous in frequency into 8 ranges on the basis of associations between response to the tones in each range and reward. All 3 species acquired accurate frequency-range discriminations, but zebra finches acquired the discrimination in fewer trials and to a higher standard than black-capped or mountain chickadees, which did not differ appreciably in the discrimination. Chickadees' relatively poorer accuracy was traced to poorer discrimination of tones in the higher frequency ranges. During transfer tests, the discrimination generalized to novel tones when the training tones were included, but not when they were omitted.

  11. Comparative gene expression analysis among vocal learners (bengalese finch and budgerigar) and non-learners (quail and ring dove) reveals variable cadherin expressions in the vocal system.

    PubMed

    Matsunaga, Eiji; Okanoya, Kazuo

    2011-01-01

    Birds use various vocalizations to communicate with one another, and some are acquired through learning. So far, three families of birds (songbirds, parrots, and hummingbirds) have been identified as having vocal learning ability. Previously, we found that cadherins, a large family of cell-adhesion molecules, show vocal control-area-related expression in a songbird, the Bengalese finch. To investigate the molecular basis of evolution in avian species, we conducted comparative analysis of cadherin expressions in the vocal and other neural systems among vocal learners (Bengalese finch and budgerigar) and a non-learner (quail and ring dove). The gene expression analysis revealed that cadherin expressions were more variable in vocal and auditory areas compared to vocally unrelated areas such as the visual areas among these species. Thus, it appears that such diverse cadherin expressions might have been related to generating species diversity in vocal behavior during the evolution of avian vocal learning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  16. Carotenoids in bird testes: links to body carotenoid supplies, plumage coloration, body mass and testes mass in house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus).

    PubMed

    Rowe, Melissah; Tourville, Elizabeth A; McGraw, Kevin J

    2012-01-01

    Carotenoid pigments can be allocated to different parts of the body to serve specific functions. In contrast to other body tissues, studies of carotenoid resources in the testes of animals are relatively scarce. We used high-performance liquid chromatography to determine the types and concentrations of carotenoids in the testes of house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus). Additionally, we examined the relationships between testes carotenoid concentrations and carotenoid pools in other body tissues, as well as body mass, testes mass and plumage coloration. We detected low concentrations of several carotenoids - lutein (the predominant carotenoid), zeaxanthin, anhydrolutein, β-cryptoxanthin, β-carotene and an unknown carotene - in the testes of wild house finches. We also found that testes lutein levels were significantly and positively associated with circulating lutein levels, while the concentration of zeaxanthin in testes was positively associated with zeaxanthin levels in liver, though in this instance the relationship was much weaker and only marginally significant. Furthermore, lutein levels in testes were significantly negatively associated with testes mass. Finally, plumage coloration was not associated with either the concentration of carotenoids in the testes or relative testes mass. These results suggest that testes carotenoids are reflective of the pool of circulating carotenoids in house finches, and that plumage coloration is unlikely to signal either the carotenoid content of testes tissue or a male's capacity for sperm production.

  17. Noradrenergic neurotoxin, N-(2-chloroethyl)-N-ethyl-2-bromobenzylamine hydrochloride (DSP-4), treatment eliminates estrogenic effects on song responsiveness in female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Vyas, Akshat; Harding, Cheryl; McGowan, Joseph; Snare, Randall; Bogdan, Diane

    2008-10-01

    Female songbirds use male songs as an important criterion for mate selection. Several studies have reported that female songbirds prefer complex songs to other song types. In a recent study, the authors found that song responsiveness in female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) is strongly modulated by circulating estrogen levels. The behavioral effects of estrogen are often mediated via norepinephrine (NE). The current study administered the noradrenergic neurotoxin, N-(2-chloroethyl)-N-ethyl-2-bromobenzylamine hydrochloride (DSP-4) to estradiol-treated female zebra finches to investigate if estrogenic effects on song responsiveness are mediated via NE. The authors tested song responsiveness of adult female zebra finches for three acoustically different song types--simple, long-bout, and complex--under three treatment conditions, untreated, estradiol-treated, and estradiol + DSP-4-treated. Females only showed differential song responsiveness when treated with estradiol alone, responding more to complex songs. DSP-4 treatment eliminated this differential responsiveness. The results are discussed in the light of evidence from functional, neurochemical, and neuroanatomical studies that suggest that estrogenic effects on song processing might be mediated by NE.

  18. Variability of IN measured with the Fast Ice Nucleus Chamber (FINCH) at the high altitude research station Jungfraujoch during wintertime 2013

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frank, Fabian; Nillius, Björn; Bundke, Ulrich; Curtius, Joachim

    2014-05-01

    Ice nuclei (IN) are an important component of the atmospheric aerosol. Despite their low concentrations in the atmosphere, they have an influence on the formation of ice crystals in mixed-phase clouds and therefore on precipitation. The Fast Ice Nucleus CHamber (FINCH)1, a counter for ice nucleating particles developed at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main allows long-term measurements of the IN number concentration. In FINCH the ice activation of the aerosol particles is achieved by mixing air flows with different temperature and humidity. The IN number concentration measurements at different meteorological conditions during the INUIT-JFJ campaign at the high altitude research station Jungfraujoch in Switzerland are presented and its variability are discussed. The good operational performance of the instrument allowed up to 10 hours of continuous measurements. Acknowledgment: This work was supported by the German Research Foundation, DFG Grant: BU 1432/3-2 BU 1432/4-1 in the framework of INUIT (FOR 1525) and SPP 1294 HALO. 1- Bundke, U., Nillius, B., Jaenicke, R., Wetter, T., Klein, H., and Bingemer, H. (2008). The fast ice nucleus chamber finch. Atmospheric Research, 90:180-186.

  19. Comparison of learning ability and memory retention in altricial (Bengalese finch, Lonchura striata var. domestica) and precocial (blue-breasted quail, Coturnix chinensis) birds using a color discrimination task.

    PubMed

    Ueno, Aki; Suzuki, Kaoru

    2014-02-01

    The present study sought to assess the potential application of avian models with different developmental modes to studies on cognition and neuroscience. Six altricial Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata var. domestica), and eight precocial blue-breasted quails (Coturnix chinensis) were presented with color discrimination tasks to compare their respective faculties for learning and memory retention within the context of the two developmental modes. Tasks consisted of presenting birds with discriminative cues in the form of colored feeder lids, and birds were considered to have learned a task when 80% of their attempts at selecting the correctly colored lid in two consecutive blocks of 10 trials were successful. All of the finches successfully performed the required experimental tasks, whereas only half of the quails were able to execute the same tasks. In the learning test, finches required significantly fewer trials than quails to learn the task (finches: 13.5 ± 9.14 trials, quails: 45.8 ± 4.35 trials, P < 0.05), with finches scoring significantly more correct responses than quails (finches: 98.3 ± 4.08%, quails: 85.0 ± 5.77% at the peak of the learning curve). In the memory retention tests, which were conducted 45 days after the learning test, finches retained the ability to discriminate between colors correctly (95.0 ± 4.47%), whereas quails did not retain any memory of the experimental procedure and so could not be tested. These results suggested that altricial and precocial birds both possess the faculty for learning and retaining discrimination-type tasks, but that altricial birds perform better than precocial birds in both faculties. The present findings imply that developmental mode is an important consideration for assessing the suitability of bird species for particular experiments.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ewenson, Erynne; Zann, Richard; Flannery, Graham

    2001-08-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Liao, Congshu; Li, Dongfeng

    2012-01-01

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

  2. A Distributed Neural Network Model for the Distinct Roles of Medial and Lateral HVC in Zebra Finch Song Production.

    PubMed

    Galvis, Daniel; Wu, Wei; Hyson, Richard L; Johnson, Frank; Bertram, Richard

    2017-04-05

    Male zebra finches produce a song consisting of a canonical sequence of syllables, learned from a tutor and repeated throughout its adult life. Much of the neural circuitry responsible for this behavior is located in the cortical premotor region HVC (acronym is name). In a recent study from our lab, we found that partial bilateral ablation of the medial portion of HVC has effects on the song that are qualitatively different from those of bilateral ablation of the lateral portion. In this report we describe a neural network organization that can explain these data, and in so doing suggests key roles for other brain nuclei in the production of song. We also suggest that syllables and the gaps between them are each coded separately by neural chains within HVC, and that the timing mechanisms for syllables and gaps are distinct. The design principles underlying this model assign distinct roles for medial and lateral HVC circuitry that explain the data on medial and lateral ablations. In addition, despite the fact that the neural coding of song sequence is distributed among several brain nuclei in our model, it accounts for data showing that cooling of HVC stretches syllables uniformly and to a greater extent than gaps. Finally, the model made unanticipated predictions about details of the effects of medial and lateral HVC ablations that were then confirmed by reanalysis of these previously acquired behavioral data.

  3. Effects of nutritional stress during different developmental periods on song and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Kriengwatana, B; Wada, H; Schmidt, K L; Taves, M D; Soma, K K; MacDougall-Shackleton, S A

    2014-03-01

    In songbirds, developmental stress affects song learning and production. Altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function resulting in elevated corticosterone (CORT) may contribute to this effect. We examined whether developmental conditions affected the association between adult song and HPA axis function, and whether nutritional stress before and after nutritional independence has distinct effects on song learning and/or vocal performance. Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) were raised in consistently high (HH) or low (LL) food conditions until post-hatch day (PHD) 62, or were switched from high to low conditions (HL) or vice versa (LH) at PHD 34. Song was recorded in adulthood. We assessed the response of CORT to handling during development and to dexamethasone (DEX) and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) challenges during adulthood. Song learning and vocal performance were not affected by nutritional stress at either developmental stage. Nutritional stress elevated baseline CORT during development. Nutritional stress also increased rate of CORT secretion in birds that experienced stress only in the juvenile phase (HL group). Birds in the LL group had lower CORT levels after injection of ACTH compared to the other groups, however there was no effect of nutritional stress on the response to DEX. Thus, our findings indicate that developmental stress can affect HPA function without concurrently affecting song.

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

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

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

  5. MC1R genotype and plumage colouration in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata): population structure generates artefactual associations.

    PubMed

    Hoffman, Joseph I; Krause, E Tobias; Lehmann, Katrin; Krüger, Oliver

    2014-01-01

    Polymorphisms at the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene have been linked to coloration in many vertebrate species. However, the potentially confounding influence of population structure has rarely been controlled for. We explored the role of the MC1R in a model avian system by sequencing the coding region in 162 zebra finches comprising 79 wild type and 83 white individuals from five stocks. Allelic counts differed significantly between the two plumage morphs at multiple segregating sites, but these were mostly synonymous. To provide a control, the birds were genotyped at eight microsatellites and subjected to Bayesian cluster analysis, revealing two distinct groups. We therefore crossed wild type with white individuals and backcrossed the F1s with white birds. No significant associations were detected in the resulting offspring, suggesting that our original findings were a byproduct of genome-wide divergence. Our results are consistent with a previous study that found no association between MC1R polymorphism and plumage coloration in leaf warblers. They also contribute towards a growing body of evidence suggesting that care should be taken to quantify, and where necessary control for, population structure in association studies.

  6. Sexual differentiation of brain and behavior in the zebra finch: critical periods for effects of early estrogen treatment.

    PubMed

    Adkins-Regan, E; Mansukhani, V; Seiwert, C; Thompson, R

    1994-07-01

    In order to determine the critical period(s) during which estrogen alters sexually dimorphic behavior and neuroanatomy in zebra finches (Poephila guttata), nestlings were injected daily with 20 micrograms estradiol benzoate (EB) during posthatching week 1, week 2, week 3, or weeks 1, 2, and 3. At 7 months of age, birds were implanted with testosterone propionate and tested with female partners for singing, dancing, and copulatory mounting. Brains were subsequently processed for morphometry, and the volumes of the song system nuclei HVC, area X, and RA and the soma sizes and densities of neurons in RA were determined. Males given EB during week 1 failed to mount. Females given EB during week 1 were fully masculinized with respect to dancing and RA neuron soma size and density, and were partially masculinized with respect to song nuclei volumes and singing. Treatment beginning after week 1 was ineffective or less effective for all measures. Only for RA neuron measures was treatment for all three weeks more effective than week 1 treatment. Thus the first post-hatching week is the most influential period of those tested for effects of exogenous estrogen on sexual differentiation in this species, and is a period during which both masculinization of females and demasculinization of males is possible.

  7. The effect of capture-and-handling stress on carotenoid-based beak coloration in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    McGraw, Kevin J; Lee, Kristen; Lewin, Amir

    2011-06-01

    Stress can have widespread effects on animal behaviors and phenotypes, including sexually selected traits. Ornamental colors have long been studied as honest signals of condition, but few studies have been conducted on how the physiological stress response (i.e., corticosterone (CORT) elevation) impacts color expression. We used a traditional capture-and-restraint technique to examine the effect of repeated handling stress on carotenoid-dependent beak coloration in male and female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Birds subjected to daily, 10-min handling treatments, which elevated circulating CORT levels, for a four-week period displayed deeper orange/red beak coloration than did control animals. Stressed males lost body mass during the experiment and marginally decreased in circulating carotenoid concentrations. Hence, handling stress may have reduced food intake or induced mobilization of body stores (i.e., fat) of carotenoids. In contrast to males, stressed females maintained orange beak color, while control females faded in color. This study highlights sex- and pigment-specific mechanisms by which stress may temporarily enhance the expression of sexual traits, but at the expense of other key fitness traits (e.g., body mass maintenance, reproduction).

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Biancucci, L.; Martin, T.E.

    2008-01-01

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

  9. Singing with reduced air sac volume causes uniform decrease in airflow and sound amplitude in the zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Plummer, Emily Megan; Goller, Franz

    2008-01-01

    Song of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is a complex temporal sequence generated by a drastic change to the regular oscillations of the normal respiratory pattern. It is not known how respiratory functions, such as supply of air volume and gas exchange, are controlled during song. To understand the integration between respiration and song, we manipulated respiration during song by injecting inert dental medium into the air sacs. Increased respiratory rate after injections indicates that the reduction of air affected quiet respiration and that birds compensated for the reduced air volume. During song, air sac pressure, tracheal airflow and sound amplitude decreased substantially with each injection. This decrease was consistently present during each expiratory pulse of the song motif irrespective of the air volume used. Few changes to the temporal pattern of song were noted, such as the increased duration of a minibreath in one bird and the decrease in duration of a long syllable in another bird. Despite the drastic reduction in air sac pressure, airflow and sound amplitude, no increase in abdominal muscle activity was seen. This suggests that during song, birds do not compensate for the reduced physiological or acoustic parameters. Neither somatosensory nor auditory feedback mechanisms appear to effect a correction in expiratory effort to compensate for reduced air sac pressure and sound amplitude.

  10. Feather mites and internal parasites in small ground finches (Geospiza fuliginosa, Emberizidae) from the Galapagos Islands (Equador).

    PubMed

    Lindström, Karin M; Dolnik, Olga; Yabsley, Michael; Hellgren, Olof; O'Connor, Barry; Pärn, Henrik; Foufopoulos, Johannes

    2009-02-01

    During a parasite survey, we collected data on the presence and distribution of feather mites, intestinal parasites, and blood parasites of small ground finches (Geospiza fuliginosa) from 4 islands in the Galapagos. We recorded 4 species of feather mites, with the most common species, Trouessartia geospiza, present on the majority (77% [308/400]) of individuals. Birds with high loads of T. geospiza came from larger islands and had higher body masses. We identified 3 species of intestinal Isospora (Isospora fragmenta, Isospora temeraria, and Isospora exigua) in fecal samples that showed a diurnal pattern of oocyst release. Among samples collected in the afternoon, infection prevalence was 61% (11/18), while only 0.5% (1/192) contained oocysts in the morning. We screened 40 individuals from one island (Isabela) for blood parasites using molecular markers. Although no parasites of Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon, or Plasmodium were detected, a high proportion of birds (80% [32/40]) had systemic Isospora spp. infections. A high infection prevalence (74% [20/27]), but low infection intensity, was confirmed using optical microscopy. This result could either be due to the detection of a previously unidentified systemic Isospora sp. parasite, or a result of the previously described Isospora spp. parasites causing systemic infections.

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

    PubMed Central

    Beach, L. Q.; Wade, J.

    2015-01-01

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

  12. Post-hatch oral estrogen in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata): is infertility due to disrupted testes morphology or reduced copulatory behavior?

    PubMed

    Rochester, Johanna R; Forstmeier, Wolfgang; Millam, James R

    2010-08-04

    Previous studies show that post-hatch oral exposure of zebra finches to estradiol benzoate compromises male fertility, but the basis of the infertility is not clear. In this study, zebra finch nestlings were orally dosed with estradiol benzoate (at 1, 10, or 100 nmol/g BW per day, post-hatch days 5 to 11 [EB1, EB10, and EB100, respectively]). EB10 and EB100 males exhibited no significant differences in the frequency of mounting behavior (compared to canola oil [vehicle]-treated controls), when observed for six weeks as adults in communal breeding cages with similarly treated females; EB1 males showed reduced mounting behavior compared to controls (p<0.05). EB- and control-treated adult pairs were subsequently co-housed in a communal breeding trial to determine the extent of parentage outside the established pair-bond. Microsatellite analysis was consistent with EB-treated males having lower success than controls in obtaining paternity outside the established pair-bond. Histological examination of testes revealed dose-related disruption of normal morphology: disrupted basal-to-lumen laminarity of spermatogenesis stages, increased vacuolization within seminiferous tubules, decreased sperm aggregation and decreased spermatid density. Additionally, EB100 and control males were housed individually, implanted with testosterone propionate (TP) and presented with a female 3, 5, 9, and 11 days post-implantation for assessment of male sexual behavior. EB-treated, TP-implanted birds showed a slight decrease in mounting and singing behavior on day 5 after implantation; other male courtship behaviors (display, solicitation) were unaffected. Taken together, these results suggest that infertility in male zebra finches resulting from early oral estrogen exposure is more likely due to disrupted testicular morphology than altered sexual behavior.

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

    PubMed Central

    Merrill, Loren; Grindstaff, Jennifer L.

    2014-01-01

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

  14. Validation of an egg-injection method for embryotoxicity studies in a small, model songbird, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Winter, V; Elliott, J E; Letcher, R J; Williams, T D

    2013-01-01

    Female birds deposit or 'excrete' lipophilic contaminants to their eggs during egg formation. Concentrations of xenobiotics in bird eggs can therefore accurately indicate levels of contamination in the environment and sampling of bird eggs is commonly used as a bio-monitoring tool. It is widely assumed that maternally transferred contaminants cause adverse effects on embryos but there has been relatively little experimental work confirming direct developmental effects (cf. behaviorally-mediated effects). We validated the use of egg injection for studies of in ovo exposure to xenobiotics for a small songbird model species, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), where egg weight averages only 1 g. We investigated a) the effect of puncturing eggs with or without vehicle (DMSO) injection on egg fate (embryo development), chick hatching success and subsequent growth to 90 days (sexual maturity), and b) effects of two vehicle solutions (DMSO and safflower oil) on embryo and chick growth. PBDE-99 and -47 were measured in in ovo PBDE-treated eggs, chicks and adults to investigate relationships between putative injection amounts and the time course of metabolism (debromination) of PBDE-99 during early development. We successfully injected a small volume (5 μL) of vehicle into eggs, at incubation day 0, with no effects on egg or embryo fate and with hatchability similar to that for non-manipulated eggs in our captive-breeding colony (43% vs. 48%). We did find some evidence for an inhibitory effect of DMSO vehicle on post-hatching chick growth, in male chicks only. This method can be used to treat eggs in a dose-dependent, and ecologically-relevant, manner with PBDE-99, based on chemical analysis of eggs, hatchling and adults.

  15. Sexual Differences in Cell Loss during the Post-Hatch Development of Song Control Nuclei in the Bengalese Finch.

    PubMed

    Chen, XiaoNing; Li, Jia; Zeng, Lei; Zhang, XueBo; Lu, XiaoHua; Zuo, MingXue; Zhang, XinWen; Zeng, ShaoJu

    2015-01-01

    Birdsongs and the regions of their brain that control song exhibit obvious sexual differences. However, the mechanisms underlying these sexual dimorphisms remain unknown. To address this issue, we first examined apoptotic cells labeled with caspase-3 or TUNEL in Bengalese finch song control nuclei - the robust nucleus of the archopallium (RA), the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (LMAN), the high vocal center (HVC) and Area X from post-hatch day (P) 15 to 120. Next, we investigated the expression dynamics of pro-apoptotic (Bid, Bad and Bax) and anti-apoptotic (Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL) genes in the aforementioned nuclei. Our results revealed that the female RA at P45 exhibited marked cell apoptosis, confirmed by low densities of Bcl-xL and Bcl-2. Both the male and female LMAN exhibited apoptotic peaks at P35 and P45, respectively, and the observed cell loss was more extensive in males. A corresponding sharp decrease in the density of Bcl-2 after P35 was observed in both sexes, and a greater density of Bid was noted at P45 in males. In addition, we observed that RA volume and the total number of BDNF-expressing cells decreased significantly after unilateral lesion of the LMAN or HVC (two areas that innervate the RA) and that greater numbers of RA-projecting cells were immunoreactive for BDNF in the LMAN than in the HVC. We reasoned that a decrease in the amount of BDNF transported via HVC afferent fibers might result in an increase in cell apoptosis in the female RA. Our data indicate that cell apoptosis resulting from different pro- and anti-apoptotic agents is involved in generating the differences between male and female song control nuclei.

  16. Sexual Differences in Cell Loss during the Post-Hatch Development of Song Control Nuclei in the Bengalese Finch

    PubMed Central

    Lu, XiaoHua; Zuo, MingXue; Zhang, XinWen; Zeng, ShaoJu

    2015-01-01

    Birdsongs and the regions of their brain that control song exhibit obvious sexual differences. However, the mechanisms underlying these sexual dimorphisms remain unknown. To address this issue, we first examined apoptotic cells labeled with caspase-3 or TUNEL in Bengalese finch song control nuclei - the robust nucleus of the archopallium (RA), the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (LMAN), the high vocal center (HVC) and Area X from post-hatch day (P) 15 to 120. Next, we investigated the expression dynamics of pro-apoptotic (Bid, Bad and Bax) and anti-apoptotic (Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL) genes in the aforementioned nuclei. Our results revealed that the female RA at P45 exhibited marked cell apoptosis, confirmed by low densities of Bcl-xL and Bcl-2. Both the male and female LMAN exhibited apoptotic peaks at P35 and P45, respectively, and the observed cell loss was more extensive in males. A corresponding sharp decrease in the density of Bcl-2 after P35 was observed in both sexes, and a greater density of Bid was noted at P45 in males. In addition, we observed that RA volume and the total number of BDNF-expressing cells decreased significantly after unilateral lesion of the LMAN or HVC (two areas that innervate the RA) and that greater numbers of RA-projecting cells were immunoreactive for BDNF in the LMAN than in the HVC. We reasoned that a decrease in the amount of BDNF transported via HVC afferent fibers might result in an increase in cell apoptosis in the female RA. Our data indicate that cell apoptosis resulting from different pro- and anti-apoptotic agents is involved in generating the differences between male and female song control nuclei. PMID:25938674

  17. Cis-regulatory sequence variation and association with Mycoplasma load in natural populations of the house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)

    PubMed Central

    Backström, Niclas; Shipilina, Daria; Blom, Mozes P K; Edwards, Scott V

    2013-01-01

    Characterization of the genetic basis of fitness traits in natural populations is important for understanding how organisms adapt to the changing environment and to novel events, such as epizootics. However, candidate fitness-influencing loci, such as regulatory regions, are usually unavailable in nonmodel species. Here, we analyze sequence data from targeted resequencing of the cis-regulatory regions of three candidate genes for disease resistance (CD74, HSP90α, and LCP1) in populations of the house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) historically exposed (Alabama) and naïve (Arizona) to Mycoplasma gallisepticum. Our study, the first to quantify variation in regulatory regions in wild birds, reveals that the upstream regions of CD74 and HSP90α are GC-rich, with the former exhibiting unusually low sequence variation for this species. We identified two SNPs, located in a GC-rich region immediately upstream of an inferred promoter site in the gene HSP90α, that were significantly associated with Mycoplasma pathogen load in the two populations. The SNPs are closely linked and situated in potential regulatory sequences: one in a binding site for the transcription factor nuclear NFYα and the other in a dinucleotide microsatellite ((GC)6). The genotype associated with pathogen load in the putative NFYα binding site was significantly overrepresented in the Alabama birds. However, we did not see strong effects of selection at this SNP, perhaps because selection has acted on standing genetic variation over an extremely short time in a highly recombining region. Our study is a useful starting point to explore functional relationships between sequence polymorphisms, gene expression, and phenotypic traits, such as pathogen resistance that affect fitness in the wild. PMID:23532859

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

    PubMed Central

    Chantal, Véronique

    2016-01-01

    Experimental evidence suggests that females would prefer males with better cognitive abilities as mates. However, little is known about the traits reflecting enhanced cognitive skills on which females might base their mate-choice decisions. In particular, it has been suggested that male foraging performance could be used as an indicator of cognitive capacity, but convincing evidence for this hypothesis is still lacking. In the present study, we investigated whether female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) modify their mating preferences after having observed the performance of males on a problem-solving task. Specifically, we measured the females’ preferences between two males once before and once after an observation period, during which their initially preferred male was incapable of solving the task contrary to their initially less-preferred male. We also conducted a control treatment to test whether the shift in female preferences was attributable to differences between the two stimulus males in their foraging efficiency. Finally, we assessed each bird’s performance in a color associative task to check whether females can discriminate among males based on their learning speed. We found that females significantly increased their preference toward the most efficient male in both treatments. Yet, there was no difference between the two treatments and we found no evidence that females assess male cognitive ability indirectly via morphological traits. Thus, our results suggest that females would not use the males’ problem-solving performance as an indicator of general cognitive ability to gain indirect fitness benefits (i.e., good genes) but rather to assess their foraging efficiency and gain direct benefits. PMID:27635358

  19. Evolution of Mhc class II B genes in Darwin's finches and their closest relatives: birth of a new gene.

    PubMed

    Sato, A; Mayer, W E; Tichy, H; Grant, P R; Grant, B R; Klein, J

    2001-12-01

    The 15 extant species of Darwin's finches on the Galápagos and Cocos Islands are the products of an unfinished adaptive radiation from a founder flock of birds related to the South American species Tiaris obscura. Molecular characterization of their major histocompatibility complex ( Mhc) class II B genes has revealed the existence of several related groups of sequences (presumably encoded in distinct loci) from which one (group 5) stands out because of its low divergence over extended time periods. Analysis of group 5 exon 2 and intron 2 sequences has revealed that the encoding locus apparently arose 2-3 million years ago in the Tiaris group of South and Central American Thraupini. The locus shows no evidence of inactivation, but displays a very low degree of polymorphism, both in terms of number of alleles and genetic distances between alleles. Some of the polymorphism, however, appears to be trans-specific. All the observed intergenic differences can be explained by point mutations and most of the exon 2 changes represent non-synonymous substitutions, although the rate of non-synonymous and synonymous substitutions appears to be the same. The origin of the new locus is explained by the birth-and-death model of Mhc evolution with two important extensions. First, the ancestor of the group 5 genes may have arisen without new gene duplication and second, the birth of the new group may have been brought about by a switch from balancing to directional selection. The ancestor of the group 5 genes may have been a classical class II B allele (one of many) which directional selection fixed in the ancestral population and drove into the category of nonclassical genes.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

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

  2. Activities of 3β-HSD and Aromatase in Slices of Developing and Adult Zebra Finch Brain

    PubMed Central

    Tam, Helen; Schlinger, Barney A.

    2009-01-01

    Sex steroids influence the development and function of the songbird brain. Developmentally, the neural circuitry underlying song undergoes masculine differentiation under the influence of estradiol. In adults, estradiol stimulates song behavior and the seasonal growth of song control circuits. There is good reason to believe that these neuroactive estrogens are synthesized in the brain. At all ages, estrogens could act at the lateral ventricle, during migration, or where song nuclei exist or will form. We investigated the activity of two critical steroidogenic enzymes, 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/isomerase (3βHSD) and aromatase, using a slice culture system. Sagittal brain slices were collected from juvenile (posthatch day 20) and adult zebra finches containing either the lateral ventricle, where neurons are born, or the telencephalic song nuclei HVC and RA. The slices were incubated with 3H dehydroepiandrosterone or 3H-androstenedione. Activity was determined by isolating certain products of 3βHSD (5α-androstanedione, 5β-androstanedione, estrone, and estradiol) and aromatase (estrone and estradiol). Activities of both 3βHSD and aromatase were detected in all slices and were confirmed using specific enzyme inhibitors. We found no significant difference in activity between adult males and females in either region for either enzyme. Juvenile female slices containing the lateral ventricle, however, showed greater levels of 3βHSD activity than did similar slices from age-matched males. Determination of the activity of these critical steroidogenic enzymes in slice culture has implications for the role of neurosteroids in brain development. PMID:16919626

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kriengwatana, Buddhamas; MacDougall-Shackleton, Scott A

    2015-01-01

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

  5. Activation changes in zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) brain areas evoked by alterations of the earth magnetic field.

    PubMed

    Keary, Nina; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

  7. Quantifying thinning and extrusion associated with an oblique subduction zone: An example from the Rosy Finch Shear Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mookerjee, Matty; Canada, Andrew; Fortescue, Forest Q.

    2016-12-01

    The Rosy Finch Shear Zone (RFSZ) is a NNW trending transpressional zone along the eastern margin of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and the southernmost shear zone within the Sierra Crest Shear Zone. Dextral shear, resulting from oblique subduction along the western margin of the North American Plate (ca. 90 Ma), combined with subduction zone orthogonal shortening is concentrated within the RFSZ. Highly deformed metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks within the zone have a prominent foliation with a mean dip, dip direction of 79°, 236° and a steeply plunging, penetrative, stretching lineation with a trend, plunge of 178°, 73°. Here, we present both three-dimensional strain analysis and crystallographic texture data in order to determine the mean kinematic vorticity number (Wm) and the relative amounts of pure and simple shear within the RFSZ. These two independent methods, using data collected from samples along two E-W transects, both indicate that there is a significant component of pure shear within the zone, with a mean of approximately 75% pure shear. Using the vorticity data, we calculated the amount of across-the-zone thinning. Samples collected from the 0.65 km zone of interest have yielded a mean shortening of nearly 20.3%, or approximately 166 m. In addition, three-dimensional strain analysis yields a mean Lode's ratio of 0.202, and a mean Flinn's k-value of 0.585, indicate a general flattening deformation, and a mean octahedral shear strain (εs) of 0.407. Assuming no volume change, these data suggest that there was approximately 174 m of vertical extrusion within this segment of the RFSZ in response to this obliquely convergent plate margin.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2007-02-01

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

  9. The vocal repertoire of the domesticated zebra finch: a data-driven approach to decipher the information-bearing acoustic features of communication signals.

    PubMed

    Elie, Julie E; Theunissen, Frédéric E

    2016-03-01

    Although a universal code for the acoustic features of animal vocal communication calls may not exist, the thorough analysis of the distinctive acoustical features of vocalization categories is important not only to decipher the acoustical code for a specific species but also to understand the evolution of communication signals and the mechanisms used to produce and understand them. Here, we recorded more than 8000 examples of almost all the vocalizations of the domesticated zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata: vocalizations produced to establish contact, to form and maintain pair bonds, to sound an alarm, to communicate distress or to advertise hunger or aggressive intents. We characterized each vocalization type using complete representations that avoided any a priori assumptions on the acoustic code, as well as classical bioacoustics measures that could provide more intuitive interpretations. We then used these acoustical features to rigorously determine the potential information-bearing acoustical features for each vocalization type using both a novel regularized classifier and an unsupervised clustering algorithm. Vocalization categories are discriminated by the shape of their frequency spectrum and by their pitch saliency (noisy to tonal vocalizations) but not particularly by their fundamental frequency. Notably, the spectral shape of zebra finch vocalizations contains peaks or formants that vary systematically across categories and that would be generated by active control of both the vocal organ (source) and the upper vocal tract (filter).

  10. Late-Postnatal Cannabinoid Exposure Persistently Elevates Dendritic Spine Densities in Area X and HVC Song Regions of Zebra Finch Telencephalon

    PubMed Central

    Gilbert, Marcoita T.; Soderstrom, Ken

    2011-01-01

    Centrally acting cannabinoids are well known for their ability to impair functions associated with both learning and memory but appreciation of the physiological mechanisms underlying these actions, particularly those that persist, remains incomplete. Our earlier studies have shown that song stereotypy is persistently reduced in male zebra finches that have been developmentally exposed to cannabinoids. In the present work, we examined the extent to which changes in neuronal morphology (dendritic spine densities and soma size) within brain regions associated with zebra finch vocal learning are affected by late-postnatal cannabinoid agonist exposure. We found that daily treatment with the cannabinoid agonist WIN55212-2 (WIN, 1 mg/kg IM) is associated with 27 % and 31 % elevations in dendritic spine densities in the song regions Area X and HVC, respectively. We also found an overall increase in cell diameter within HVC. Changes in dendritic spine densities were only produced following developmental exposure; treatments given to adults that had completed vocal learning were not effective. These findings have important implications for understanding how repeated cannabinoid exposure can produce significant, lasting alteration of brain morphology, which may contribute to altered development and behavior. PMID:21737064

  11. Mass production of SNP markers in a nonmodel passerine bird through RAD sequencing and contig mapping to the zebra finch genome.

    PubMed

    Bourgeois, Yann X C; Lhuillier, Emeline; Cézard, Timothée; Bertrand, Joris A M; Delahaie, Boris; Cornuault, Josselin; Duval, Thomas; Bouchez, Olivier; Milá, Borja; Thébaud, Christophe

    2013-09-01

    Here, we present an adaptation of restriction-site-associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) to the Illumina HiSeq2000 technology that we used to produce SNP markers in very large quantities at low cost per unit in the Réunion grey white-eye (Zosterops borbonicus), a nonmodel passerine bird species with no reference genome. We sequenced a set of six pools of 18-25 individuals using a single sequencing lane. This allowed us to build around 600 000 contigs, among which at least 386 000 could be mapped to the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) genome. This yielded more than 80 000 SNPs that could be mapped unambiguously and are evenly distributed across the genome. Thus, our approach provides a good illustration of the high potential of paired-end RAD sequencing of pooled DNA samples combined with comparative assembly to the zebra finch genome to build large contigs and characterize vast numbers of informative SNPs in nonmodel passerine bird species in a very efficient and cost-effective way.

  12. Organization and development of zebra finch HVC and paraHVC based on expression of zRalDH, an enzyme associated with retinoic acid production

    PubMed Central

    Olson, Christopher R.; Rodrigues, Paulo Vianney; Jeong, Jin Kwon; Prahl, Daniel J.; Mello, Claudio V.

    2010-01-01

    The zRalDH gene encodes an aldehyde dehydrogenase associated with the conversion of retinaldehyde (the main vitamin A metabolite) into retinoic acid and its expression is highly enriched in the song control system of adult zebra finches (T. gutatta). Within song control nucleus HVC, zRalDH is specifically expressed in the neurons that project to area X of the striatum. It is also expressed in paraHVC, commonly considered a medial extension of HVC that is closely associated with auditory areas in the caudomedial telencephalon. Here we used in situ hybridization to generate a detailed analysis of HVC and paraHVC based on expression of zRalDH for adult zebra finches of both sexes and for males during the song learning period. We demonstrate that the distribution of zRalDH-positive cells can be used for accurate assessments of HVC and paraHVC in adult and juvenile males. We describe marked developmental changes in the numbers of zRalDH-expressing cells in HVC and paraHVC, reaching a peak at day 50 post-hatch, an effect potentially due to dynamic changes in the population of X-projecting cells in HVC. We also show that zRalDH-expressing cells in adult females, although much less numerous than in males, have a surprisingly broad distribution along the medial-to-lateral extent of HVC but are lacking where paraHVC is found in adult males. Our study thus contributes to our understanding of the nuclear organization of the song system and the dynamics of its developmental changes during the song learning period. PMID:21120932

  13. Social Memory Formation Rapidly and Differentially Affects the Motivation and Performance of Vocal Communication Signals in the Bengalese Finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica)

    PubMed Central

    Toccalino, Danielle C.; Sun, Herie; Sakata, Jon T.

    2016-01-01

    Cognitive processes like the formation of social memories can shape the nature of social interactions between conspecifics. Male songbirds use vocal signals during courtship interactions with females, but the degree to which social memory and familiarity influences the likelihood and structure of male courtship song remains largely unknown. Using a habituation-dishabituation paradigm, we found that a single, brief (<30 s) exposure to a female led to the formation of a short-term memory for that female: adult male Bengalese finches were significantly less likely to produce courtship song to an individual female when re-exposed to her 5 min later (i.e., habituation). Familiarity also rapidly decreased the duration of courtship songs but did not affect other measures of song performance (e.g., song tempo and the stereotypy of syllable structure and sequencing). Consistent with a contribution of social memory to the decrease in courtship song with repeated exposures to the same female, the likelihood that male Bengalese finches produced courtship song increased when they were exposed to a different female (i.e., dishabituation). Three consecutive exposures to individual females also led to the formation of a longer-term memory that persisted over days. Specifically, when courtship song production was assessed 2 days after initial exposures to females, males produced fewer and shorter courtship songs to familiar females than to unfamiliar females. Measures of song performance, however, were not different between courtship songs produced to familiar and unfamiliar females. The formation of a longer-term memory for individual females seemed to require at least three exposures because males did not differentially produce courtship song to unfamiliar females and females that they had been exposed to only once or twice. Taken together, these data indicate that brief exposures to individual females led to the rapid formation and persistence of social memories and support the

  14. Developmental pattern of diacylglycerol lipase-α (DAGLα) immunoreactivity in brain regions important for song learning and control in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Soderstrom, Ken; Wilson, Ashley R

    2013-11-01

    Zebra finch song is a learned behavior dependent upon successful progress through a sensitive period of late-postnatal development. This learning is associated with maturation of distinct brain nuclei and the fiber tract interconnections between them. We have previously found remarkably distinct and dense CB1 cannabinoid receptor expression within many of these song control brain regions, implying a normal role for endocannabinoid signaling in vocal learning. Activation of CB1 receptors via daily treatments with exogenous agonist during sensorimotor stages of song learning (but not in adulthood) results in persistent alteration of song patterns. Now we are working to understand physiological changes responsible for this cannabinoid-altered vocal learning. We have found that song-altering developmental treatments are associated with changes in expression of endocannabinoid signaling elements, including CB1 receptors and the principal CNS endogenous agonist, 2-AG. Within CNS, 2-AG is produced largely through activity of the α isoform of the enzyme diacylglycerol lipase (DAGLα). To better appreciate the role of 2-AG production in normal vocal development we have determined the spatial distribution of DAGLα expression within zebra finch CNS during vocal development. Early during vocal development at 25 days, DAGLα staining is typically light and of fibroid processes. Staining peaks late in the sensorimotor stage of song learning at 75 days and is characterized by fiber, neuropil and some staining of both small and large cell somata. Results provide insight to the normal role for endocannabinoid signaling in the maturation of brain regions responsible for song learning and vocal-motor output, and suggest mechanisms by which exogenous cannabinoid exposure alters acquisition of this form of vocal communication.

  15. Androgen receptor location in the dark-eyed junco using a probe for in situ hybridization histochemistry generated from zebra finch cDNA.

    PubMed

    Satre, Danielle; Kim, Yong-Hwan; Corbitt, Cynthia

    2011-09-30

    Due to the role of sex steroids, namely testosterone (T), in the development and production of song in songbirds, androgen receptor (AR) densities in the brain regions controlling this behavior (i.e., the song control system) have long been studied. Many methods have been used to determine AR density and location to investigate the functional role of T in song development and production; however, a riboprobe developed from zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) cDNA was shown to be much more sensitive than previous methods. The zebra finch is a common model for song development and is sexually dimorphic, but does not breed seasonally or display seasonal changes in song control region volume. In this study, we used this riboprobe for in situ hybridization histochemistry (ISHH) to describe AR mRNA location in the brain of the dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis), a seasonally breeding model for which T has been shown to be important. Additionally, we provide a detailed comparison of AR mRNA location between these species. We found that this probe is indeed highly sensitive. We detected AR mRNA in four major regions of the song control system (HVC, MAN, RA and Area X). Additionally, we found that the location of AR mRNA in other regions varied only slightly between these two species. These findings suggest that this method is suitable for use across songbirds and it could be useful in the ongoing attempts to elucidate the roles of sex steroid hormones on the development of this and other sex steroid dependent behaviors in songbirds.

  16. Panmixia supports divergence with gene flow in Darwin's small ground finch, Geospiza fuliginosa, on Santa Cruz, Galápagos Islands.

    PubMed

    Galligan, Toby H; Donnellan, Stephen C; Sulloway, Frank J; Fitch, Alison J; Bertozzi, Terry; Kleindorfer, Sonia

    2012-05-01

    The divergence-with-gene-flow model of speciation has a strong theoretical basis with a growing number of plausible examples in nature, but remains hotly debated. Darwin's finches of the Galápagos Archipelago have played an important role in our understanding of speciation processes. Recent studies suggest that this group may also provide insights into speciation via divergence with gene flow. On the island of Santa Cruz, recent studies found evidence for adaptive divergence in Darwin's small ground finch, Geospiza fuliginosa, between ecologically contrasting arid and humid zones. Despite the short geographical distance between these zones, strong disruptive selection during low rainfall periods is expected to generate and maintain adaptive divergence. Conversely, during high rainfall periods, when disruptive selection is predicted to be weakened, population divergence in adaptive traits is expected to break down. Because periods of low and high rainfall irregularly alternate, the geographical pattern of adaptive divergence can be assumed to break down and, importantly, regenerate in situ. Here, we use microsatellite allele frequency data to assess the genetic population structure of G. fuliginosa on Santa Cruz. We sample 21 sites and four ecological zones across the island. We reject hypotheses of population substructure linked to ecological and geographical differences among sites in favour of a single panmictic population. Panmixia implies high levels of gene flow within Santa Cruz, which favours selection over genetic drift as a valid process generating phenotypic divergence in G. fuliginosa on Santa Cruz. We discuss how our findings may support classic adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, matching habitat choice or any combination of these three processes.

  17. Functional genomic analysis and neuroanatomical localization of miR-2954, a song-responsive sex-linked microRNA in the zebra finch

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Natural experience can cause complex changes in gene expression in brain centers for cognition and perception, but the mechanisms that link perceptual experience and neurogenomic regulation are not understood. MicroRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) have the potential to regulate large gene expression networks, and a previous study showed that a natural perceptual stimulus (hearing the sound of birdsong in zebra finches) triggers rapid changes in expression of several miRs in the auditory forebrain. Here we evaluate the functional potential of one of these, miR-2954, which has been found so far only in birds and is encoded on the Z sex chromosome. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, we show that miR-2954 is present in subsets of cells in the sexually dimorphic brain regions involved in song production and perception, with notable enrichment in cell nuclei. We then probe its regulatory function by inhibiting its expression in a zebra finch cell line (G266) and measuring effects on endogenous gene expression using Illumina RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). Approximately 1000 different mRNAs change in expression by 1.5-fold or more (adjusted p < 0.01), with increases in some but not all of the targets that had been predicted by Targetscan. The population of RNAs that increase after miR-2954 inhibition is notably enriched for ones involved in the MAP Kinase (MAPK) pathway, whereas the decreasing population is dominated by genes involved in ribosomes and mitochondrial function. Since song stimulation itself triggers a decrease in miR-2954 expression followed by a delayed decrease in genes encoding ribosomal and mitochondrial functions, we suggest that miR-2954 may mediate some of the neurogenomic effects of song habituation. PMID:25565940

  18. Interspecific effects of 4A-DNT (4-amino-2,6-dinitrotoluene) and RDX (1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine) in Japanese quail, Northern bobwhite, and Zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Quinn, Michael J; Hanna, Terry L; Shiflett, Alicia A; McFarland, Craig A; Cook, Michelle E; Johnson, Mark S; Gust, Kurt A; Perkins, Edward J

    2013-03-01

    The purpose of this study was to assess the toxicological effects of two munition compounds, 4-amino-2,6-dinitrotoluene (4A-DNT) and 1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX), on three different bird species: two common toxicological model species-the Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) and the Japanese Quail (Coturnix japonica), and a representative passerine-the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Bobwhite were exposed to 4A-DNT at 0, 8, 15, 30, 60, or 150 mg/kg body weight (bw) d by oral gavage for seven days; because the high dose of 4A-DNT was lethal to bobwhite, the maximum dose was changed to 100 mg/kg bw d for Japanese quail and finches to ensure tissue could be used for future toxicogenomic work. RDX was similarly administered at 0, 0.5, 1.5, 3, 6, or 12 mg/kg bw d. Blood was drawn prior to euthanasia for blood cellularity and chemistry analyses. Finches were clearly least affected by 4A-DNT as evidenced by a lack of observable effects. Bobwhite appeared to be the most sensitive species to 4A-DNT as observed through changes in blood cellularity and plasma chemistry effects. Bobwhite appeared to be more sensitive to RDX than Japanese Quail due to increased effects on measures of plasma chemistries. Finches exhibited the greatest sensitivity to RDX through increased mortality and seizure activity. This study suggests that sensitivity among species is chemical-specific and provides data that could be used to refine current avian sensitivity models used in ecological risk assessments.

  19. miR-9 and miR-140-5p Target FoxP2 and Are Regulated as a Function of the Social Context of Singing Behavior in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Zhimin; Luo, Guanzheng; Fu, Lijuan; Fang, Zhide; Wang, XiuJie

    2013-01-01

    Mutations in the FOXP2 gene cause speech and language impairments, accompanied by structural and functional abnormalities in brain regions underlying speech-related sensory-motor processing, including the striatum and cerebellum. The sequence and expression patterns of FOXP2 are highly conserved among higher vertebrates. In the zebra finch brain, FoxP2 is expressed in Area X, a striatal nucleus required for vocal learning, and reduced FoxP2 expression impairs dendritic development and vocal learning. The FoxP2 gene encodes a transcription factor that controls the expression of many downstream genes. However, how FOXP2 gene expression is regulated is not clearly understood. miRNAs regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally by targeting the 3′-untranslated regions (UTRs) of mRNAs, leading to translational suppression or mRNA degradation. In this study, we identified miR-9 and miR-140-5p as potential regulators of the FoxP2 gene. We show that both miR-9 and miR-140-5p target specific sequences in the FoxP2 3′-UTR and downregulate FoxP2 protein and mRNA expression in vitro. We also show that the expression of miR-9 and miR-140-5p in Area X of the zebra finch brain is regulated during song development in juvenile zebra finches. We further show that in adult zebra finches the expression of miR-9 and miR-140-5p in Area X is regulated as a function of the social context of song behavior in males singing undirected songs. Our findings reveal a post-transcriptional mechanism that regulates FoxP2 expression and suggest that social vocal behavior can influence the basal ganglia circuit controlling vocal learning via a miRNA-FoxP2 gene regulatory network. PMID:24133256

  20. The influence of wind and locomotor activity on surface temperature and energy expenditure of the Eastern house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) during cold stress.

    PubMed

    Zerba, E; Dana, A N; Lucia, M A

    1999-01-01

    We investigated the extent to which exercise-generated heat compensates for regulatory thermogenesis of Eastern house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus Müller) exposed to ambient temperatures (Ta) and convective conditions typical of that which birds experience in nature while perched in the open or foraging on the ground. We addressed the hypothesis that resting and active birds exposed to similar net convective conditions will exhibit similar surface temperatures (Ts) and metabolic energy expenditures. To test this hypothesis, resting birds were exposed to a wind speed equivalent to the treadmill speed (0.5 m s-1) for a hopping bird (active). Ts of resting birds in no wind, resting birds exposed to wind, and active birds were measured with infrared thermography at Ta between 0 degrees and 25 degrees C. Metabolic heat production was estimated from measures of respiratory gases at Ta between -5 degrees and 25 degrees C. For resting birds in no wind, resting birds in wind, and active birds, Ts decreased with decreasing Ta. The effects of variation in Ta on Ts depended on activity level (F=3.91, df=2,40, P=0.0280). The regression relationship of Ts on Ta, however, did not differ significantly between resting birds exposed to wind and active birds (F=0.12, df=2,40, P=0.8865), whereas the slope was lower and intercept higher for resting birds in no wind compared with those of resting birds exposed to wind and active birds combined (F=20.96, df=2,42, P<0.0001). Metabolic heat production for resting birds exposed to wind and active birds increased with decreasing Ta. Average metabolic heat production of resting (46.01 mW g-1+/-10.60 SD) and active birds (47.63 mW g-1+/-8.76 SD) exposed to similar net convective conditions did not differ significantly (F=3.87, df=1,44, P=0.0556). These results support our hypothesis and provide evidence that exercise generated compensates for thermostatic requirements at Ta just below thermoneutrality, which resembles conditions under which

  1. Activity in a Premotor Cortical Nucleus of Zebra Finches Is Locally Organized and Exhibits Auditory Selectivity in Neurons but Not in Glia

    PubMed Central

    Graber, Michael H.; Helmchen, Fritjof; Hahnloser, Richard H. R.

    2013-01-01

    Motor functions are often guided by sensory experience, most convincingly illustrated by complex learned behaviors. Key to sensory guidance in motor areas may be the structural and functional organization of sensory inputs and their evoked responses. We study sensory responses in large populations of neurons and neuron-assistive cells in the songbird motor area HVC, an auditory-vocal brain area involved in sensory learning and in adult song production. HVC spike responses to auditory stimulation display remarkable preference for the bird's own song (BOS) compared to other stimuli. Using two-photon calcium imaging in anesthetized zebra finches we measure the spatio-temporal structure of baseline activity and of auditory evoked responses in identified populations of HVC cells. We find strong correlations between calcium signal fluctuations in nearby cells of a given type, both in identified neurons and in astroglia. In identified HVC neurons only, auditory stimulation decorrelates ongoing calcium signals, less for BOS than for other sound stimuli. Overall, calcium transients show strong preference for BOS in identified HVC neurons but not in astroglia, showing diversity in local functional organization among identified neuron and astroglia populations. PMID:24312533

  2. Morphological analysis of the tongue and the digestive tube of saffron finch (Sicalis flaveola brasiliensis, LINNAUES 1766) apprehended by CETAS/IBAMA-PB.

    PubMed

    Silva Siqueira, R A; Luna, A C L; Cavalcanti, T A; Rici, R E G; Miglino, M A; Guerra, R R

    2014-02-01

    The saffron finch (Sicalis flaveola brasiliensis) is a Passeriforme of the Brazilian wildlife. There are scarcely any morphological studies on it, although it is frequently trafficked for its birdsong abilities. Its peculiarities, such as territorialism and developed syrinx that provides outstanding song, draw attention towards its domestication. Thus, this study aimed to morphologically describe the tongue and digestive tube organs of this species to furnish subsidies for nutritional, clinical and conservation studies. Forty-one birds from the Wild Animal Screening Center (CETAS)/Brazilian Institute of Environment (IBAMA)/city of Cabedelo, state of Paraíba (PB) were used. Samples were collected, identified and sent to standard light microscopy; samples of proventriculus and gizzard were sent to Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The samples showed stratification similar to that of other domestic and wild birds, confirmed in the scanning electron microscopy; however, they differed in the absence of dermal papillae in the tongue, lack of ingluvial glands and lack of muscular mucosa and sub-mucosa in the large intestine.

  3. New insights on the rarity of the vulnerable Cinereous Warbling-finch (Aves, Emberizidae) based on density, home range, and habitat selection.

    PubMed

    Marques-Santos, F; Wischhoff, U; Rodrigues, M

    2014-11-01

    The Cinereous Warbling-finch Poospiza cinerea (Emberizidae) is a Neotropical grassland bird considered rare, with population declining due to habitat loss and classified as vulnerable. However, the species conspicuously remains in several degraded areas, suggesting that it may be favored by these environments. Studies which focus on this species were inexistent until 2012, making questionable any statement about its threaten status. Here we analyzed population density, home range, and habitat selection of two groups of P. cinerea at independent sites that differ in human impact levels. Density was estimated by counting and mapping birds. Kernel density and minimum convex polygon were used to estimate home ranges. Habitat selection was inferred from use and availability of every habitat identified within the home range boundaries. One group positively selected urban tree vegetation, despite the availability of natural habitats in its home range. Based on a review on the literature and our findings, we assume that it is unlikely that P. cinerea is rare owing to habitat degradation, as previously thought. Nevertheless, this species was always recorded around native Cerrado vegetation and thus habitat modification may still threaten this species at some level. It is suggested that this species might be a woodland edge species, but future studies are necessary to confirm this assumption.

  4. Hippocampal activation of immediate early genes Zenk and c-Fos in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) during learning and recall of a spatial memory task.

    PubMed

    Mayer, Uwe; Watanabe, Shigeru; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2010-03-01

    Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are able to learn the position of food by orienting on spatial cues in a 'dry water maze'. In the course of spatial learning, the hippocampus shows high expression of the immediate early genes (IEGs) Zenk and c-Fos, indicating high activation of this area during learning. In contrast, the IEG activity is nearly absent if the birds do not have to rely on spatial cues. In the present experiment it was investigated whether hippocampal activation can also be observed if the learned spatial task is recalled. For this purpose, the hippocampal Zenk and c-Fos activation of birds in an early learning stage was compared with that of others having well reached their maximal performance. The results show that the avian hippocampus is also active during recall of a learned spatial task, but the activation is significantly lower than in animals learning actually. As in previous experiments, hippocampal IEG expression showed strong variation not only in the position of the active patches of neurons, but also in size and cell density. The observed difference contributes to the view that immediate early genes may not be indicators of activation alone, but may be due to a combination of activation and plastic changes.

  5. Changes in ultra-structures and electrophysiological properties in HVC of untutored and deafened Bengalese finches relation to normally reared birds: implications for song learning.

    PubMed

    Peng, Zhe; Zhang, XueBo; Xi, Chao; Zeng, ShaoJu; Liu, Nan; Zuo, MingXue; Zhang, XinWen

    2012-12-01

    Songbirds are increasingly used as an experimentally tractable system to study the neurobiological underpinnings of vocal learning. To gain additional insights into how birdsongs are learned, we compared the size of HVC, the high vocal center for song production, and its ultrastructural or electrophysiological properties between the normally reared Bengalese finches, and the untutored or deafened ones before the onset of sensory learning (around post-hatching day 20). Our results showed that HVC had more synapses and concave synaptic curvature, but fewer perforated synapse, in the untutored or deafened birds in comparison with those in the normally reared birds. Although there was no significant difference of the ratio of straight or compound synapses, there was an increasing tendency for the untutored and deafened birds to possess more straight and compound synapses. These data revealed that synapses in the isolated or deafened birds had lower synapse activity in relation to those with normal hearing. This was confirmed by our electrophysiological results to show significant decreases in the firing rates of spike or burst in the isolated or deafened birds in the three types of HVC neurons i.e., putative X-projecting neurons, RA-projecting neurons and interneurons. In addition, low firing frequency (<10Hz) occurred much more in the above three types of HVC neurons in the tutored or deafened birds than in the normally reared birds. These data suggest that all the three putative types of neurons in HVC might be involved in the activity of the production of adult normal songs.

  6. The role of the Ord Arid Intrusion in the historical and contemporary genetic division of long-tailed finch subspecies in northern Australia

    PubMed Central

    Rollins, Lee Ann; Svedin, Nina; Pryke, Sarah R; Griffith, Simon C

    2012-01-01

    The effect of separation by biogeographic features followed by secondary contact can blur taxonomic boundaries and produce complex genetic signatures. We analyzed population structure and gene flow across the range of the long-tailed finch (Poephila acuticauda) in northern Australia (1) to test the hypothesis that Ord Arid Intrusion acted as the causative barrier that led to divergence of P. acuticauda subspecies, (2) to determine whether genetic data support the presence of a gradual cline across the range or a sudden shift, both of which have been suggested based on morphological data, and (3) to estimate levels of contemporary gene flow within this species complex. We collected samples from 302 individuals from 10 localities. Analyses of 12 microsatellite loci and sequence data from 333 base pairs of the mitochondrial control region were used to estimate population structure and gene flow, using analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA), haplotype network analysis, frequency statistics, and clustering methods. Mitochondrial sequence data indicated the presence of three genetic groups (regions) across the range of P. acuticauda. Genetic diversity was highest in the east and lowest in the west. The Ord Arid Intrusion appears to have functioned as a biogeographic barrier in the past, according to mtDNA evidence presented here and evidence from previous studies. The absence of isolation by distance between adjacent regions and the lack of population genetic structure of mtDNA within regions indicates that genetic changes across the range of P. acuticauda subspecies are characterized by discrete breaks between regions. While microsatellite data indicate a complete absence of genetic structure across this species’ range, it appears unlikely that this results from high levels of gene flow. Mitochondrial data do not support the presence of contemporary gene flow across the range of this species. PMID:22833795

  7. Muscarinic Receptors Are Responsible for the Cholinergic Modulation of Projection Neurons in the Song Production Brain Nucleus RA of Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Meng, Wei; Wang, Songhua; Yao, Lihua; Zhang, Nan; Li, Dongfeng

    2017-01-01

    Songbirds are a useful model for the study of learned vocal behavior in vertebrates. The robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA) is a premotor nucleus in the vocal motor pathway. It receives excitatory synaptic inputs from the anterior forebrain pathway. RA also receives cholinergic inputs from the ventral paleostriatum of the basal forebrain. Our previous study showed that carbachol, a non-selective cholinergic receptor agonist, modulates the electrophysiology of RA projection neurons (PNs), indicating that cholinergic modulation of RA may play an important role in song production. However, the receptor mechanisms underlying these effects are poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated the electrophysiological properties of two acetylcholine receptors on the RA PNs of adult male zebra finches using in vitro whole-cell current clamp. Our results demonstrate that activation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) simulate the effects of carbachol. Both carbachol and the mAChR agonist muscarine produced a decrease in the excitability of RA PNs and a hyperpolarization of the membrane potential. The mAChR antagonist atropine blocked the effects of carbachol. Activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) with nAChR agonist nicotine or DMPP had no effect on the excitability of RA PNs, and the nAChR antagonist mecamylamine failed to inhibit the effects of carbachol. These results suggest that mAChRs, but not nAChRs, primarily modulate the effects of carbachol on the activity of RA PNs. Collectively, these findings contribute to our understanding of the mechanism of cholinergic modulation in the vocal nuclei of songbirds. PMID:28293176

  8. Plasma reactive oxygen metabolites and non-enzymatic antioxidant capacity are not affected by an acute increase of metabolic rate in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Beamonte-Barrientos, Rene; Verhulst, Simon

    2013-07-01

    Understanding the sources of variation in oxidative stress level is a challenging issue due to the implications of oxidative stress for late age diseases, longevity and life-history trade-offs. Reactive oxygen species that cause oxidative stress are mostly a by-product of energy metabolism and it is therefore often assumed that oxidative stress is proportional to energy consumption. In mammals, an increased metabolic rate induced by cold exposure generally increases oxidative stress. However, compared to mammals, birds generate fewer free radicals per ATP produced and hence it is not obvious that, in birds, a cold-induced increase of metabolic rate increase oxidative stress. We tested whether cold-induced increase in metabolic rate increased oxidative stress in zebra finches by exposing individuals to cold and warm overnight temperatures. We registered metabolic rate and plasma levels of non-enzymatic antioxidants and reactive oxygen metabolites (ROMs), a measure of oxidative damage. Metabolic rate was on average 88 % higher in cold compared to warm temperature, with females being stronger affected than males. However, temperature had no effect on plasma antioxidants or our measure of oxidative damage. Middle-age birds had higher levels of plasma antioxidants than younger and older birds, but age was unrelated to ROMs. Birds showed repeatability of plasma ROMs across temperatures but not of non-enzymatic antioxidants. In contrast to similar studies in mammals, our results do not show evidence of increased oxidative stress in plasma after an acute cold-induced increase of metabolic rate but research in more bird species is needed to assess the generality of this pattern.

  9. Long-term effects of adolescent stress on neophobic behaviors in zebra finches are modulated by social context when in adulthood.

    PubMed

    Emmerson, Michael G; Spencer, Karen A

    2017-02-03

    Experiencing stress during adolescence can increase neophobic behaviors in adulthood, but most tests have been conducted in the absence of conspecifics. Conspecifics can modulate responses to stressors, for example by acting as 'social buffers' to attenuate the aversive appraisal of stressors. Here, we investigate the long-term effects of adolescent stress on the behavioral responses to novel stimuli (a mild stressor) across social contexts in an affiliative passerine bird, the zebra finch. During early (days 40-60) or late (days 65-85) adolescence the birds (n=66) were dosed with either saline or the hormone corticosterone (CORT). CORT was given in order to mimic a physiological stress response and saline was given as a control. In adulthood, the birds' behavioral responses to a novel environment were recorded in both the presence and absence of conspecifics. An acute CORT response was also quantified in adolescence and adulthood. Our findings show clear evidence of social context mediating any long-term effects of adolescent stress. In the presence of familiar conspecifics no treatment effects were detected. Individually, birds dosed with CORT in early adolescence were slower to enter a novel environment, spent more time perching in the same novel environment, and, if female, engaged in more risk assessment. Birds dosed in late adolescence were unaffected. No treatment effects were detected on CORT, but adolescents had a higher CORT concentration than adults. Our results are the first to suggest that familiar conspecifics in adulthood can buffer the long-term effects of stress that occurred during early adolescence.

  10. A centroid model of species distribution with applications to the Carolina wren Thryothorus ludovicianus and house finch Haemorhous mexicanus in the United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Huang, Qiongyu; Sauer, John R.; Swatantran, Anu; Dubayah, Ralph

    2016-01-01

    Drastic shifts in species distributions are a cause of concern for ecologists. Such shifts pose great threat to biodiversity especially under unprecedented anthropogenic and natural disturbances. Many studies have documented recent shifts in species distributions. However, most of these studies are limited to regional scales, and do not consider the abundance structure within species ranges. Developing methods to detect systematic changes in species distributions over their full ranges is critical for understanding the impact of changing environments and for successful conservation planning. Here, we demonstrate a centroid model for range-wide analysis of distribution shifts using the North American Breeding Bird Survey. The centroid model is based on a hierarchical Bayesian framework which models population change within physiographic strata while accounting for several factors affecting species detectability. Yearly abundance-weighted range centroids are estimated. As case studies, we derive annual centroids for the Carolina wren and house finch in their ranges in the U.S. We further evaluate the first-difference correlation between species’ centroid movement and changes in winter severity, total population abundance. We also examined associations of change in centroids from sub-ranges. Change in full-range centroid movements of Carolina wren significantly correlate with snow cover days (r = −0.58). For both species, the full-range centroid shifts also have strong correlation with total abundance (r = 0.65, and 0.51 respectively). The movements of the full-range centroids of the two species are correlated strongly (up to r = 0.76) with that of the sub-ranges with more drastic population changes. Our study demonstrates the usefulness of centroids for analyzing distribution changes in a two-dimensional spatial context. Particularly it highlights applications that associate the centroid with factors such as environmental stressors, population characteristics

  11. A New Semi-automated Method for Assessing Avian Acoustic Networks Reveals that Juvenile and Adult Zebra Finches Have Separate Calling Networks

    PubMed Central

    Fernandez, Marie S. A.; Soula, Hedi A.; Mariette, Mylene M.; Vignal, Clémentine

    2016-01-01

    Social networks are often inferred from spatial associations, but other parameters like acoustic communication are likely to play a central role in within group interactions. However, it is currently difficult to determine which individual initiates vocalizations, or who responds to whom. To this aim, we designed a method that allows analyzing group vocal network while controlling for spatial networks, by positioning each group member in equidistant individual cages and analyzing continuous vocal interactions semi-automatically. We applied this method to two types of zebra finch groups, composed of either two adult females and two juveniles, or four young adults (juveniles from the first groups). Young often co-occur in the same social group as adults but are likely to have a different social role, which may be reflected in their vocal interactions. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that the social structure of the group influences the parameters of the group vocal network. We found that groups including juveniles presented periods with higher level of activity than groups composed of young adults. Using two types of analyses (Markov analysis and cross-correlation), we showed that juveniles as well as adults were more likely to respond to individuals of their own age-class (i.e. to call one after another, in terms of turn-taking, and within a short time-window, in terms of time delay). When juveniles turned into adulthood, they showed adult characteristics of vocal patterns. Together our results suggest that vocal behavior changes during ontogeny, and individuals are more strongly connected with individuals of the same age-class within acoustic networks. PMID:27965602

  12. Testosterone induces testicular development but reduces GnRH-I fiber density in the brain of the House Finch, Carpodacus mexicanus.

    PubMed

    Deviche, Pierre; Martin, Russell K; Small, Thomas; Sharp, Peter J

    2006-06-01

    Testosterone (T) in male birds generally inhibits the activity of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis, but the androgen can also be gonadostimulatory. The mechanisms responsible for this stimulation are unknown. To address this question, adult male House Finches, Carpodacus mexicanus, held on short day length to inhibit reproductive function, received 20-mm long T-filled Silastic capsules either for 74 days (T+; n=5; Day 1-74) or for 66 days followed by eight days without capsules (T-; n=5), or empty capsules for 74 days (controls, C, n=10). At sacrifice on Day 74, plasma T concentrations were elevated in T+ males and low, and similar in T- and C males. Testes were enlarged in T+ males (136.5+/-57.2mg), small in T- males (16.2+/-9.5 mg), and undeveloped in C males (5.4+/-3.6 mg). The three groups had similar numbers and sizes of hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone-I immunoreactive (GnRH-I ir) perikarya, but perikaryon GnRH-I ir labelling was lighter in T+ than C males. T+ males also had lower density of GnRH-immunolabelled fibers in the preoptic area and lower intensity of GnRH immunolabelling in the median eminence than C males, suggesting an inhibition of GnRH-I neuronal activity. Plasma luteinizing hormone in the three experimental groups was uniformly low and did not differ. Thus, T administration-induced testicular development was associated with an inhibition of the reproductive neuroendocrine system, demonstrating a direct stimulatory effect of T on testes. Stimulation of testicular function by endogenous T in seasonal breeders may contribute to the rapid gonadal maturation that takes place in response to photostimulation.

  13. Movement Patterns, Home Range Size and Habitat Selection of an Endangered Resource Tracking Species, the Black-Throated Finch (Poephila cincta cincta).

    PubMed

    Rechetelo, Juliana; Grice, Anthony; Reside, April Elizabeth; Hardesty, Britta Denise; Moloney, James

    2016-01-01

    Understanding movement patterns and home range of species is paramount in ecology; it is particularly important for threatened taxa as it can provide valuable information for conservation management. To address this knowledge gap for a range-restricted endangered bird, we estimated home range size, daily movement patterns and habitat use of a granivorous subspecies in northeast Australia, the black-throated finch (Poephila cincta cincta; BTF) using radio-tracking and re-sighting of colour banded birds. Little is known about basic aspects of its ecology including movement patterns and home range sizes. From 2011-2014 we colour-banded 102 BTF and radio-tracked 15 birds. We generated home ranges (calculated using kernel and Minimum Convex Polygons techniques of the 15 tracked BTF). More than 50% of the re-sightings occurred within 200 m of the banding site (n = 51 out of 93 events) and within 100 days of capture. Mean home-range estimates with kernel (50%, 95% probability) and Minimum Convex Polygons were 10.59 ha, 50.79 ha and 46.27 ha, respectively. Home range size differed between two capture sites but no seasonal differences were observed. BTF home ranges overlapped four habitat types among eight available. Habitat selection was different from random at Site 1 (χ2 = 373.41, df = 42, p<0.001) and Site 2 (χ2 = 1896.1, df = 45, p<0.001); however, the preferred habitats differed between the two sites. BTF moved further than expected on the basis of current knowledge, with three individuals being resighted over 15 km from the banding location. However, BTF maintain small home ranges over short time-frames. Occasional long-distance movements may be related to resource bottleneck periods. Daily movement patterns differed between sites, which is likely linked to the fact that the sites differ in the spatial distribution of resources. The work provides information about home range sizes and local movement of BTF that will be valuable for targeting effective management

  14. Movement Patterns, Home Range Size and Habitat Selection of an Endangered Resource Tracking Species, the Black-Throated Finch (Poephila cincta cincta)

    PubMed Central

    Hardesty, Britta Denise; Moloney, James

    2016-01-01

    Understanding movement patterns and home range of species is paramount in ecology; it is particularly important for threatened taxa as it can provide valuable information for conservation management. To address this knowledge gap for a range-restricted endangered bird, we estimated home range size, daily movement patterns and habitat use of a granivorous subspecies in northeast Australia, the black-throated finch (Poephila cincta cincta; BTF) using radio-tracking and re-sighting of colour banded birds. Little is known about basic aspects of its ecology including movement patterns and home range sizes. From 2011–2014 we colour-banded 102 BTF and radio-tracked 15 birds. We generated home ranges (calculated using kernel and Minimum Convex Polygons techniques of the 15 tracked BTF). More than 50% of the re-sightings occurred within 200 m of the banding site (n = 51 out of 93 events) and within 100 days of capture. Mean home-range estimates with kernel (50%, 95% probability) and Minimum Convex Polygons were 10.59 ha, 50.79 ha and 46.27 ha, respectively. Home range size differed between two capture sites but no seasonal differences were observed. BTF home ranges overlapped four habitat types among eight available. Habitat selection was different from random at Site 1 (χ2 = 373.41, df = 42, p<0.001) and Site 2 (χ2 = 1896.1, df = 45, p<0.001); however, the preferred habitats differed between the two sites. BTF moved further than expected on the basis of current knowledge, with three individuals being resighted over 15 km from the banding location. However, BTF maintain small home ranges over short time-frames. Occasional long-distance movements may be related to resource bottleneck periods. Daily movement patterns differed between sites, which is likely linked to the fact that the sites differ in the spatial distribution of resources. The work provides information about home range sizes and local movement of BTF that will be valuable for targeting effective management

  15. The Homeschooling of Scout Finch

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kelley, James B.

    2012-01-01

    Harper Lee's novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" is one of the most widely taught texts in language arts classrooms through the English-speaking world and is greatly valued by many readers today for its depiction of youth grappling with racism in the American South of the Depression Era. However, the novel's subtle and sustained critique of…

  16. Ambient and laboratory measurements of ice nuclei and their biological faction with the Fast Ice Nuclei CHamber FINCH-HALO using the new 405nm Version of the BIO-IN Sensor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bundke, U.; Nillius, B.; Bingemer, H.; Curtius, J.

    2012-04-01

    We have designed the BIO-IN detector as part of the ice nucleus counter FINCH (Fast Ice Nuclei CHamber counter) to distinguish activated Ice Nuclei (IN) ice crystals from water droplets (CCN) (Bundke et al. 2008) and their fraction of biological origin (Bundke 2010). The modified BIO-IN sensor illuminates an aerosol stream with a 405 nm laser, replacing a 365nm LED of the original BIO IN design. Particles will scatter the light and those of biological origin will show intrinsic fluorescence emissions by excitation of mainly Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2. The incident laser light is circularly polarized by introducing a quarter-wave-plate. The circular depolarization ratio (p44/p11) of the scattering matrix is measured in the backward direction by two photomultipliers at 110° scattering angle using a combination of quarter-wave-plate and a beam splitting cube to analyze the two circular polarization components. The detection limit was lowered towards particle size of about 400nm diameter (non activated particles). It is now possible to calculate the activated fraction of IN of biological origin with respect to all biological particles measured with one detector. The performance of the sensor will be demonstrated showing the circular- depolarization properties of different test aerosol, dust samples, volcanic ashes as well as different biological particles. Measurements on the mountain Puy de Dôme of IN number concentration of ambient air, as well as measurements at the AIDA facility in Karlsruhe of the IN activation curves from different bacteria are shown. Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the German Research Foundation, Grant: BU 1432/3-2 BU 1432/4-1

  17. The Finches' Beaks: Introducing Evolutionary Concepts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kampourakis, Kostas

    2006-01-01

    Many secondary students hold misconceptions about evolution, even after instruction, that are often inconsistent with what is accepted by evolutionary biologists. Understanding evolution is difficult due to major conceptual difficulties concerning variation, differential survival, adaptation, and natural selection. In this article, the author…

  18. The Beaks of Finches & the Tool Analogy: Use with Care

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Milne, Catherine

    2008-01-01

    Analogies are an integral feature of scientific theories, like evolution. They are developed to support explanations, proposed on the basis of evidence collected from experimental studies, field studies, and other observational studies. They map a known source or process to an unknown or target with the goal of helping educators understand the…

  19. The alpha-proteobacteria: the Darwin finches of the bacterial world.

    PubMed

    Ettema, Thijs J G; Andersson, Siv G E

    2009-06-23

    The alpha-proteobacteria represent one of the most diverse bacterial subdivisions, displaying extreme variations in lifestyle, geographical distribution and genome size. Species for which genome data are available have been classified into a species tree based on a conserved set of vertically inherited core genes. By mapping the variation in gene content onto the species tree, genomic changes can be associated with adaptations to specific growth niches. Genes for adaptive traits are mostly located in 'plasticity zones' in the bacterial genome, which also contain mobile elements and are highly variable across strains. By physically separating genes for information processing from genes involved in interactions with the surrounding environment, the rate of evolutionary change can be substantially enhanced for genes underlying adaptation to new growth habitats, possibly explaining the ecological success of the alpha-proteo-bacterial subdivision.

  20. Local differentiation in the presence of gene flow in the citril finch Serinus citrinella

    PubMed Central

    Senar, Juan Carlos; Borras, Antoni; Cabrera, Josep; Cabrera, Toni; Björklund, Mats

    2005-01-01

    It is well known theoretically that gene flow can impede genetic differentiation between populations. In this study, we show that in a highly mobile bird species, where dispersal is well documented, there is a strong genetic and morphological differentiation over a very short geographical scale (less than 5 km). Allocation tests revealed that birds caught in one area were assigned genetically to the same area with a very high probability, in spite of current gene flow. Populations were also morphologically differentiated. The results suggest that the relationship between gene flow and differentiation can be rather complicated and non-intuitive. PMID:17148333

  1. Developmental stress affects song learning but not song complexity and vocal amplitude in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Brumm, Henrik; Zollinger, Sue Anne; Slater, Peter J B

    2009-07-01

    Several recent studies have tested the hypothesis that song quality in adult birds may reflect early developmental conditions, specifically nutritional stress during the nestling period. Whilst all of these earlier studies found apparent links between early nutritional stress and song quality, their results disagree as to which aspects of song learning or production were affected. In this study, we attempted to reconcile these apparently inconsistent results. Our study also provides the first assessment of song amplitude in relation to early developmental stress and as a potential cue to male quality. We used an experimental manipulation in which the seeds on which the birds were reared were mixed with husks, making them more difficult for the parents to obtain. Compared with controls, such chicks were lighter at fledging; they were thereafter placed on a normal diet and had caught up by 100 days. We show that nutritional stress during the first 30 days of life reduced the birds' accuracy of song syntax learning, resulting in poorer copies of tutor songs. Our experimental manipulations did not lead to significant changes in song amplitude, song duration or repertoire size. Thus, individual differences observed in song performance features probably reflect differences in current condition or motivation rather than past condition.

  2. Circadian regulation of bird song, call, and locomotor behavior by pineal melatonin in the zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Wang, Gang; Harpole, Clifford E; Trivedi, Amit K; Cassone, Vincent M

    2012-04-01

    As both a photoreceptor and pacemaker in the avian circadian clock system, the pineal gland is crucial for maintaining and synchronizing overt circadian rhythms in processes such as locomotor activity and body temperature through its circadian secretion of the pineal hormone melatonin. In addition to receptor presence in circadian and visual system structures, high-affinity melatonin binding and receptor mRNA are present in the song control system of male oscine passeriform birds. The present study explores the role of pineal melatonin in circadian organization of singing and calling behavior in comparison to locomotor activity under different lighting conditions. Similar to locomotor activity, both singing and calling behavior were regulated on a circadian basis by the central clock system through pineal melatonin, since these behaviors free-ran with a circadian period and since pinealectomy abolished them in constant environmental conditions. Further, rhythmic melatonin administration restored their rhythmicity. However, the rates by which these behaviors became arrhythmic and the rates of their entrainment to rhythmic melatonin administration differed among locomotor activity, singing and calling under constant dim light and constant bright light. Overall, the study demonstrates a role for pineal melatonin in regulating circadian oscillations of avian vocalizations in addition to locomotor activity. It is suggested that these behaviors might be controlled by separable circadian clockworks and that pineal melatonin entrains them all through a circadian clock.

  3. Using David Lack's Observations of Finch Beak Size to Teach Natural Selection & the Nature of Science

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bierema, Andrea M.-K.; Rudge, David W.

    2014-01-01

    One of the key aspects of natural selection is competition, yet the concept of competition is not necessarily emphasized in explanations of natural selection. Because of this, we developed an activity for our class that focuses on competition and provides an example of the effects of competition on natural selection. This hands-on activity models…

  4. 50 CFR 21.44 - Depredation order for horned larks, house finches, and white-crowned sparrows in California.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... BIRD PERMITS Control of Depredating and Otherwise Injurious Birds § 21.44 Depredation order for horned... horticultural crops. Take of birds under this order must be done under the supervision of the county agriculture... bird species, or for take of horned larks or white-crowned sparrows from May 1 through October 31....

  5. DSP-4, a noradrenergic neurotoxin, produces sex-specific effects on pairing and courtship behavior in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Vahaba, Daniel M; Lacey, William H; Tomaszycki, Michelle L

    2013-09-01

    Norepinephrine (NE) is involved in a variety of behaviors across vertebrate species. In songbirds, NE is involved in singing and auditory perception, fundamental components of pair formation. Mechanisms of pairing remain poorly understood in avian species. NE is likely involved given its role in vocal communication and perception. Here, we tested the hypothesis that DSP-4 treatments (a noradrenergic neurotoxin that decreases NE) decreases singing in males, song perception in females and pairing in both sexes using a naturalistic paradigm. Females were tested for preferences of either control or DSP-4 males in a two-choice paradigm using live males. Both sexes were then tested for courtship and pair formation in aviaries. In the two-choice paradigm, control females showed a significant preference for control males over DSP-4 males, whereas DSP-4 females showed no such preference. In the aviary tests, DSP-4 males engaged in less courtship behavior, showed decreased pairing behaviors and increased pair latencies compared to control males. In females, DSP-4 treatments did not alter courtship or pairing behavior. Lower neural densities of noradrenergic fibers in song, auditory, and affiliative regions were observed in DSP-4 animals of both sexes. Furthermore, DBH-ir densities in these regions explained variations in courtship and pairing behaviors, as well as pairing status. Our results extend previous findings to naturalistic contexts, provide evidence that DBH-ir densities in specific regions correlate with pairing-related behaviors, and inform us of sex differences in the role of NE in pairing.

  6. Adult neuron addition to the zebra finch song motor pathway correlates with the rate and extent of recovery from botox-induced paralysis of the vocal muscles.

    PubMed

    Pytte, Carolyn; Yu, Yi-Lo; Wildstein, Sara; George, Shanu; Kirn, John R

    2011-11-23

    In adult songbirds, neurons are continually incorporated into the telencephalic nucleus HVC (used as a proper name), a premotor region necessary for the production of learned vocalizations. Previous studies have demonstrated that neuron addition to HVC is highest when song is most variable: in juveniles during song learning, in seasonally singing adults during peaks in plasticity that precede the production of new song components, or during seasonal reestablishment of a previously learned song. These findings suggest that neuron addition provides motor flexibility for the transition from a variable song to a target song. Here we test the association between the quality of song structure and HVC neuron addition by experimentally manipulating syringeal muscle control with Botox, which produces a transient partial paralysis. We show that the quality of song structure covaries with new neuron addition to HVC. Both the magnitude of song distortion and the rate of song recovery after syringeal Botox injections were correlated with the number of new neurons incorporated into HVC. We suggest that the quality of song structure is either a cause or consequence of the number of new neurons added to HVC. Birds with naturally high rates of neuron addition may have had the greatest success in recovering song. Alternatively, or in addition, new neuron survival in the song motor pathway may be regulated by the quality of song-generated feedback as song regains its original stereotyped structure. Present results are the first to show a relationship between peripheral muscle control and adult neuron addition to cortical premotor circuits.

  7. Neural representation of spectral and temporal features of song in the auditory forebrain of zebra finches as revealed by functional MRI.

    PubMed

    Boumans, Tiny; Theunissen, Frédéric E; Poirier, Colline; Van Der Linden, Annemie

    2007-11-01

    Song perception in songbirds, just as music and speech perception in humans, requires processing the spectral and temporal structure found in the succession of song-syllables. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging and synthetic songs that preserved exclusively either the temporal or the spectral structure of natural song, we investigated how vocalizations are processed in the avian forebrain. We found bilateral and equal activation of the primary auditory region, field L. The more ventral regions of field L showed depressed responses to the synthetic songs that lacked spectral structure. These ventral regions included subarea L3, medial-ventral subarea L and potentially the secondary auditory region caudal medial nidopallium. In addition, field L as a whole showed unexpected increased responses to the temporally filtered songs and this increase was the largest in the dorsal regions. These dorsal regions included L1 and the dorsal subareas L and L2b. Therefore, the ventral region of field L appears to be more sensitive to the preservation of both spectral and temporal information in the context of song processing. We did not find any differences in responses to playback of the bird's own song vs other familiar conspecific songs. We also investigated the effect of three commonly used anaesthetics on the blood oxygen level-dependent response: medetomidine, urethane and isoflurane. The extent of the area activated and the stimulus selectivity depended on the type of anaesthetic. We discuss these results in the context of what is known about the locus of action of the anaesthetics, and reports of neural activity measured in electrophysiological experiments.

  8. Young and intense: FoxP2 immunoreactivity in Area X varies with age, song stereotypy, and singing in male zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Thompson, Christopher K; Schwabe, Fabian; Schoof, Alexander; Mendoza, Ezequiel; Gampe, Jutta; Rochefort, Christelle; Scharff, Constance

    2013-01-01

    FOXP2 is a transcription factor functionally relevant for learned vocalizations in humans and songbirds. In songbirds, FoxP2 mRNA expression in the medium spiny neurons of the basal ganglia song nucleus Area X is developmentally regulated and varies with singing conditions in different social contexts. How individual neurons in Area X change FoxP2 expression across development and in social contexts is not known, however. Here we address this critical gap in our understanding of FoxP2 as a link between neuronal networks and behavior. We used a statistically unbiased analysis of FoxP2-immunoreactivity (FoxP2-IR) on a neuron-by-neuron basis and found a bimodal distribution of FoxP2-IR neurons in Area X: weakly-stained and intensely-stained. The density of intensely-stained FoxP2-IR neurons was 10 times higher in juveniles than in adults, exponentially decreased with age, and was negatively correlated with adult song stability. Three-week old neurons labeled with BrdU were more than five times as likely to be intensely-stained than weakly-stained. The density of FoxP2-IR putative migratory neurons with fusiform-shaped nuclei substantially decreased as birds aged. The density of intensely-stained FoxP2-IR neurons was not affected by singing whereas the density of weakly-stained FoxP2-IR neurons was. Together, these data indicate that young Area X medium spiny neurons express FoxP2 at high levels and decrease expression as they become integrated into existing neural circuits. Once integrated, levels of FoxP2 expression correlate with singing behavior. Together, these findings raise the possibility that FoxP2 levels may orchestrate song learning and song stereotypy in adults by a common mechanism.

  9. Incoherent digital holography with phase-only spatial light modulators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rosen, Joseph; Kelner, Roy; Kashter, Yuval

    2015-10-01

    Today, spatial light modulators (SLMs) offer the world of digital holography a robust technology that can be incorporated into hologram recorders. This review surveys recent developments related to the role of SLMs in a family of incoherent digital hologram recorders termed Fresnel incoherent correlation holography (FINCH). Two systems branching out from FINCH, and discussed herein, are a confocal version of FINCH and a synthetic aperture FINCH-based system.

  10. Optical sectioning using a digital Fresnel incoherent-holography-based confocal imaging system

    PubMed Central

    Kelner, Roy; Katz, Barak; Rosen, Joseph

    2015-01-01

    We propose a new type of confocal microscope using Fresnel incoherent correlation holography (FINCH). Presented here is a confocal configuration of FINCH using a phase pinhole and point illumination that is able to suppress out-of-focus information from the recorded hologram and hence combine the super-resolution capabilities of FINCH with the sectioning capabilities of confocal microscopy. PMID:26413560

  11. First-Birth Outcomes and Timing of Second Births: A Statewide Case Management Program for Adolescent Mothers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sangalang, Bernadette B.; Barth, Richard P.; Painter, John S.

    2006-01-01

    This study examines a case management intervention for first-time pregnant and parenting adolescents. It compares a sample of 1,260 first-time adolescent mothers in the Adolescent Parenting Program (APP) in North Carolina with 1,260 first-time adolescent mothers who did not participate in the program (non-APP). Using birth certificate data,…

  12. 77 FR 49054 - 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Request for Commodity Jurisdiction...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-08-15

    ... Collection: Request for Commodity Jurisdiction (CJ) Determination. OMB Control Number: 1405-0163. Type of... Nonprofit Organizations. Estimated Number of Respondents: 1,260. Estimated Number of Responses: 1,260... Document Type, entering the Public Notice number as the ``Keyword or ID,'' checking the ``Open for...

  13. Molecular cytogenetics of the california condor: evolutionary and conservation implications.

    PubMed

    Modi, W S; Romanov, M; Green, E D; Ryder, O

    2009-01-01

    Evolutionary cytogenetic comparisons involved 5 species of birds (California condor, chicken, zebra finch, collared flycatcher and black stork) belonging to divergent taxonomic orders. Seventy-four clones from a condor BAC library containing 80 genes were mapped to condor chromosomes using FISH, and 15 clones containing 16 genes were mapped to the stork Z chromosome. Maps for chicken and finch were derived from genome sequence databases, and that for flycatcher from the published literature. Gene content and gene order were highly conserved when individual condor, chicken, and zebra finch autosomes were compared, confirming that these species largely retain karyotypes close to the ancestral condition for neognathous birds. However, several differences were noted: zebra finch chromosomes 1 and 1A are homologous to condor and chicken chromosomes 1, the CHUNK1 gene appears to have transposed on condor chromosome 1, condor chromosomes 4 and 9 and zebra finch chromosomes 4 and 4A are homologous to chicken chromosome arms 4q and 4p, and novel inversions on chromosomes 4, 12 and 13 were found. Condor and stork Z chromosome gene orders are collinear and differentiated by a series of inversions/transpositions when compared to chicken, zebra finch, or flycatcher; phylogenetic analyses suggest independent rearrangement along the chicken, finch, and flycatcher lineages.

  14. UK to support open access

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banks, Michael

    2012-08-01

    The UK government has "widely accepted" the recommendations of a major report into open-access publishing that was released in June by a 15-strong working group led by the British sociologist Janet Finch.

  15. UPS in Atlanta, Ga. Among 16 Organizations Across the Country Recognized for Action on Climate Change

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    · Individual Leadership Award: Mayor Bill Finch, City of Bridgeport, Conn. , is being recognized for demonstrating extraordinary leadership in driving meaningful climate action within the Greater Bridgeport community and throughout t

  16. FIELD DEPLOYABLE TECHNIQUES TO MONITOR EXPOSURE TO ENVIRONMENTAL ESTROGENS THROUGHOUT THE REPRODUCTIVE CYCLE OF WILD BIRDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Concern about potential for endocrine disrupting chemicals to interfere with normal breeding behaviors of wildlife prompted this study of effects of exposure to environmental estrogens during the breeding cycle of wild birds. The house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) was selected as...

  17. The Galapagos.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schiller, Nancy A.; Herreid, Clyde F.

    2000-01-01

    Uses a problem-based teaching approach to teach about the geological origins of the Galapagos Islands, colonization, species formation, and threats to biodiversity. Discusses finches, tortoises, and sea cucumbers and provides instructions for student discussions. (YDS)

  18. 76 FR 36934 - Endangered Species; Marine Mammals; Receipt of Applications for Permit

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-06-23

    .... Louis, MO; PRT--42831A The applicant requests a permit to import biological samples of Galapagos penguin (Spheniscus mediculus), Galapagos hawk (Buteo galapagoensis) and medium tree finch (Camarhynchus pauper)...

  19. Characterization of very-low density lipoprotein particle diameter dynamics in relation to egg production in a passerine bird.

    PubMed

    Salvante, Katrina G; Lin, Gina; Walzem, Rosemary L; Williams, Tony D

    2007-03-01

    During avian egg production, oestrogen mediates marked increases in hepatic lipid production and changes in the diameter of assembled very-low density lipoprotein (VLDL). A nearly complete shift from generic VLDL ( approximately 70 nm in diameter), which transports lipids to peripheral tissues, to yolk-targeted VLDL (VLDLy) ( approximately 30 nm), which supplies the yolk with energy-rich lipid, has been observed in the plasma of laying domestic fowl. We validated an established dynamic laser scattering technique for a passerine songbird Taeniopygia guttata, the zebra finch, to characterize the dynamics of VLDL particle diameter distribution in relation to egg production. We predicted that non-gallinaceous avian species that have not been selected for maximum egg production would exhibit less dramatic shifts in lipid metabolism during egg production. As predicted, there was considerable overlap between the VLDL particle diameter distributions of laying and non-laying zebra finches. But unexpectedly, non-laying zebra finches had VLDL diameter distributions that peaked at small particles and had relatively few large VLDL particles. As a result, laying zebra finches, in comparison, had diameter distributions that were shifted towards larger VLDL particles. Nevertheless, laying zebra finches, like laying chickens, had larger proportions of particles within proposed VLDLy particle diameter ranges than non-laying zebra finches (e.g. sVLDLy: 50% vs 37%). Furthermore, zebra finches and chickens had similar modal (29.7 nm in both species) and median (32.7 nm vs 29.6 nm) VLDL particle diameters during egg production. Therefore, although zebra finches and chickens exhibited opposing directional shifts in VLDL particle diameter distribution during egg production, the modifications to VLDL particle structure in both species resulted in the realization of a common goal, i.e. to produce and maintain a large proportion of small VLDL particles of specific diameters that are capable

  20. Tarawa to Okinawa: The Evolution of Amphibious Operations in the Pacific during World War II

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-04-06

    craft developed by Andrew Jackson Higgins, and a tracked landing craft developed by Donald Roebling. Both of these craft would ultimately be...from Tarawa. Smith, Holland M. and Percy Finch. Coral and Brass. Washington: Zenger Publishing, 19 79. Personal memoirs of Major General Holland M...and Percy Finch, Coral and Brass (Washington: Zenger P ublishing, 1979), 120. 64 73 Smith, 120-121. 74 Smith, 133. 75 Shaw, 109. 76 Isley, 575

  1. Role of Autism Susceptibility Gene, CNTNAP2, in Neural Circuitry for Vocal Communication

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-10-01

    proposal is to develop a novel model of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using the zebra finch songbird. Such a model would be useful in testing thera...to develop a novel model of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using the zebra finch songbird. While no single model can capture all features of ASD...transcription factor that is associated with verbal dyspraxia. Polymorphisms of Cntnap2 are linked to autis m spectrum disorder , specific language

  2. Expression analysis of the speech-related genes FoxP1 and FoxP2 and their relation to singing behavior in two songbird species

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Qianqian; Heston, Jonathan B.; Burkett, Zachary D.; White, Stephanie A.

    2013-01-01

    SUMMARY Humans and songbirds are among the rare animal groups that exhibit socially learned vocalizations: speech and song, respectively. These vocal-learning capacities share a reliance on audition and cortico-basal ganglia circuitry, as well as neurogenetic mechanisms. Notably, the transcription factors Forkhead box proteins 1 and 2 (FoxP1, FoxP2) exhibit similar expression patterns in the cortex and basal ganglia of humans and the zebra finch species of songbird, among other brain regions. Mutations in either gene are associated with language disorders in humans. Experimental knock-down of FoxP2 in the basal ganglia song control region Area X during song development leads to imprecise copying of tutor songs. Moreover, FoxP2 levels decrease naturally within Area X when zebra finches sing. Here, we examined neural expression patterns of FoxP1 and FoxP2 mRNA in adult Bengalese finches, a songbird species whose songs exhibit greater sequence complexity and increased reliance on audition for maintaining their quality. We found that FoxP1 and FoxP2 expression in Bengalese finches is similar to that in zebra finches, including strong mRNA signals for both factors in multiple song control nuclei and enhancement of FoxP1 in these regions relative to surrounding brain tissue. As with zebra finches, when Bengalese finches sing, FoxP2 is behaviorally downregulated within basal ganglia Area X over a similar time course, and expression negatively correlates with the amount of singing. This study confirms that in multiple songbird species, FoxP1 expression highlights song control regions, and regulation of FoxP2 is associated with motor control of song. PMID:24006346

  3. Evidence for aggressive mimicry in an adult brood parasitic bird, and generalized defences in its host.

    PubMed

    Feeney, W E; Troscianko, J; Langmore, N E; Spottiswoode, C N

    2015-07-07

    Mimicry of a harmless model (aggressive mimicry) is used by egg, chick and fledgling brood parasites that resemble the host's own eggs, chicks and fledglings. However, aggressive mimicry may also evolve in adult brood parasites, to avoid attack from hosts and/or manipulate their perception of parasitism risk. We tested the hypothesis that female cuckoo finches (Anomalospiza imberbis) are aggressive mimics of female Euplectes weavers, such as the harmless, abundant and sympatric southern red bishop (Euplectes orix). We show that female cuckoo finch plumage colour and pattern more closely resembled those of Euplectes weavers (putative models) than Vidua finches (closest relatives); that their tawny-flanked prinia (Prinia subflava) hosts were equally aggressive towards female cuckoo finches and southern red bishops, and more aggressive to both than to their male counterparts; and that prinias were equally likely to reject an egg after seeing a female cuckoo finch or bishop, and more likely to do so than after seeing a male bishop near their nest. This is, to our knowledge, the first quantitative evidence for aggressive mimicry in an adult bird, and suggests that host-parasite coevolution can select for aggressive mimicry by avian brood parasites, and counter-defences by hosts, at all stages of the reproductive cycle.

  4. Evidence for aggressive mimicry in an adult brood parasitic bird, and generalized defences in its host

    PubMed Central

    Feeney, W. E.; Troscianko, J.; Langmore, N. E.; Spottiswoode, C. N.

    2015-01-01

    Mimicry of a harmless model (aggressive mimicry) is used by egg, chick and fledgling brood parasites that resemble the host's own eggs, chicks and fledglings. However, aggressive mimicry may also evolve in adult brood parasites, to avoid attack from hosts and/or manipulate their perception of parasitism risk. We tested the hypothesis that female cuckoo finches (Anomalospiza imberbis) are aggressive mimics of female Euplectes weavers, such as the harmless, abundant and sympatric southern red bishop (Euplectes orix). We show that female cuckoo finch plumage colour and pattern more closely resembled those of Euplectes weavers (putative models) than Vidua finches (closest relatives); that their tawny-flanked prinia (Prinia subflava) hosts were equally aggressive towards female cuckoo finches and southern red bishops, and more aggressive to both than to their male counterparts; and that prinias were equally likely to reject an egg after seeing a female cuckoo finch or bishop, and more likely to do so than after seeing a male bishop near their nest. This is, to our knowledge, the first quantitative evidence for aggressive mimicry in an adult bird, and suggests that host–parasite coevolution can select for aggressive mimicry by avian brood parasites, and counter-defences by hosts, at all stages of the reproductive cycle. PMID:26063850

  5. The genome of a songbird

    PubMed Central

    Warren, Wesley C.; Clayton, David F.; Ellegren, Hans; Arnold, Arthur P.; Hillier, LaDeana W.; Künstner, Axel; Searle, Steve; White, Simon; Vilella, Albert J.; Fairley, Susan; Heger, Andreas; Kong, Lesheng; Ponting, Chris P.; Jarvis, Erich D.; Mello, Claudio V.; Minx, Pat; Lovell, Peter; Velho, Tarciso A. F.; Ferris, Margaret; Balakrishnan, Christopher N.; Sinha, Saurabh; Blatti, Charles; London, Sarah E.; Li, Yun; Lin, Ya-Chi; George, Julia; Sweedler, Jonathan; Southey, Bruce; Gunaratne, Preethi; Watson, Michael; Nam, Kiwoong; Backström, Niclas; Smeds, Linnea; Nabholz, Benoit; Itoh, Yuichiro; Whitney, Osceola; Pfenning, Andreas R.; Howard, Jason; Völker, Martin; Skinner, Bejamin M.; Griffin, Darren K.; Ye, Liang; McLaren, William M.; Flicek, Paul; Quesada, Victor; Velasco, Gloria; Lopez-Otin, Carlos; Puente, Xose S.; Olender, Tsviya; Lancet, Doron; Smit, Arian F. A.; Hubley, Robert; Konkel, Miriam K.; Walker, Jerilyn A.; Batzer, Mark A.; Gu, Wanjun; Pollock, David D.; Chen, Lin; Cheng, Ze; Eichler, Evan E.; Stapley, Jessica; Slate, Jon; Ekblom, Robert; Birkhead, Tim; Burke, Terry; Burt, David; Scharff, Constance; Adam, Iris; Richard, Hugues; Sultan, Marc; Soldatov, Alexey; Lehrach, Hans; Edwards, Scott V.; Yang, Shiaw-Pyng; Li, XiaoChing; Graves, Tina; Fulton, Lucinda; Nelson, Joanne; Chinwalla, Asif; Hou, Shunfeng; Mardis, Elaine R.; Wilson, Richard K.

    2010-01-01

    The zebra finch is an important model organism in several fields1,2 with unique relevance to human neuroscience3,4. Like other songbirds, the zebra finch communicates through learned vocalizations, an ability otherwise documented only in humans and a few other animals and lacking in the chicken5—the only bird with a sequenced genome until now6. Here we present a structural, functional and comparative analysis of the genome sequence of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), which is a songbird belonging to the large avian order Passeriformes7. We find that the overall structures of the genomes are similar in zebra finch and chicken, but they differ in many intrachromosomal rearrangements, lineage-specific gene family expansions, the number of long-terminal-repeat-based retrotransposons, and mechanisms of sex chromosome dosage compensation. We show that song behaviour engages gene regulatory networks in the zebra finch brain, altering the expression of long non-coding RNAs, microRNAs, transcription factors and their targets. We also show evidence for rapid molecular evolution in the songbird lineage of genes that are regulated during song experience. These results indicate an active involvement of the genome in neural processes underlying vocal communication and identify potential genetic substrates for the evolution and regulation of this behaviour. PMID:20360741

  6. Structural-functional correlations in the kidneys and observations of colon and cloacal morphology in certain Australian birds.

    PubMed

    Johnson, O W; Skadhauge, E

    1975-12-01

    1. Variations in renal microstructure between the zebra finch and Senegal dove were consistent with their relative renal concentrating abilities (urine/plasma ratios of 2-8 and 1-7, respectively). Compared with dove kidneys, those of the finch contained a higher fraction of mammalian-type nephrons (with Henle's loops), and a lower fraction of reptilian-type nephrons (without loops). 2. Singing honeyeaters concentrated their urine almost as well as zebra finches, although honeyeater kidneys were less specialized (fewer mammalian-type nephrons). Such findings emphasize the need to clarify other osmoregulatory parameters. 3. No significant microstructural differences were found in the kidneys of domesticated as compared with those of wild zebra finches. Hence, osmoregulatory differences between tame and wild birds must be related to physiological factors rather than morphological. 4. Thickness of the renal medulla seemed to be directly correlated with urine concentrating ability. However, certain inconsistencies obscure this relationship such that its resolution will require further research. 5. Histological features of the mucosae of the colon and cloaca are described. The galah and kookaburra displayed a mammalian (non-villous) pattern of mucosal organization. Zebra finches, singing honeyeaters, and particularly emus, possessed colonic and cloacal villi and hence an increased surface area per volume in this region of the gut. This raises the possibility that the colon and cloaca are involved in uring concentration and osmoregulatory activities in these species.

  7. Brain transcriptome of the violet-eared waxbill Uraeginthus granatina and recent evolution in the songbird genome

    PubMed Central

    Balakrishnan, Christopher N.; Chapus, Charles; Brewer, Michael S.; Clayton, David F.

    2013-01-01

    Songbirds are important models for the study of social behaviour and communication. To complement the recent genome sequencing of the domesticated zebra finch, we sequenced the brain transcriptome of a closely related songbird species, the violet-eared waxbill (Uraeginthus granatina). Both the zebra finch and violet-eared waxbill are members of the family Estrildidae, but differ markedly in their social behaviour. Using Roche 454 RNA sequencing, we generated an assembly and annotation of 11 084 waxbill orthologues of 17 475 zebra finch genes (64%), with an average transcript length of 1555 bp. We also identified 5985 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of potential utility for future population genomic studies. Comparing the two species, we found evidence for rapid protein evolution (ω) and low polymorphism of the avian Z sex chromosome, consistent with prior studies of more divergent avian species. An intriguing outlier was putative chromosome 4A, which showed a high density of SNPs and low evolutionary rate relative to other chromosomes. Genome-wide ω was identical in zebra finch and violet-eared waxbill lineages, suggesting a similar demographic history with efficient purifying natural selection. Further comparisons of these and other estrildid finches may provide insights into the evolutionary neurogenomics of social behaviour. PMID:24004662

  8. Song-induced phosphorylation of cAMP response element-binding protein in the songbird brain.

    PubMed

    Sakaguchi, H; Wada, K; Maekawa, M; Watsuji, T; Hagiwara, M

    1999-05-15

    We have investigated the participation of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) in the response of the songbird brain to a natural auditory stimulus, a conspecific song. The cells in the two song control nuclei, the higher vocal center (HVC) and area X of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), were intensely stained with an anti-CREB monoclonal antibody. Double-labeling studies showed that CREB immunoreactivity was detected only in area X-projecting neurons in the HVC. The cloned CREB cDNA from zebra finches (zCREB) is highly homologous to mammalian delta CREB. Phosphorylation of zCREB at Ser119 in area X-projecting HVC neurons was induced by hearing tape-recorded conspecific songs of zebra finches, but not by birdsongs of another species or white noise. These results raise the possibility that zCREB plays a crucial role in the sensory process of song learning.

  9. Parallel-mode scanning optical sectioning using digital Fresnel holography with three-wave interference phase-shifting.

    PubMed

    Kelner, Roy; Rosen, Joseph

    2016-02-08

    The Fresnel incoherent correlation holography (FINCH) method is applicable to various techniques of imaging, including fluorescence microscopy. Recently, a FINCH configuration capable of optical sectioning, using a scanning phase pinhole, has been suggested [Optica 1, 70 (2014)]. This capability is highly important in situations that demand the suppression of out-of-focus information from the hologram reconstruction of a specific plane of interest, such as the imaging of thick samples in biology. In this study, parallel-mode scanning using multiple phase pinholes is suggested as a means to shorten the acquisition time in an optical sectioning FINCH configuration. The parallel-mode scanning is enabled through a phase-shifting procedure that extracts the mixed term of two out of three interfering beams.

  10. Detection of Persistent West Nile Virus RNA in Experimentally and Naturally Infected Avian Hosts

    PubMed Central

    Wheeler, Sarah S.; Langevin, Stanley A.; Brault, Aaron C.; Woods, Leslie; Carroll, Brian D.; Reisen, William K.

    2012-01-01

    To determine whether West Nile virus (WNV) persistent infection in avian hosts may potentially serve as an overwintering mechanism, House Sparrows and House Finches, experimentally and naturally infected with several strains of WNV, and two naturally infected Western Scrub-Jays were held in mosquito-proof outdoor aviaries from 2007–March 2008. Overall, 94% (n = 36) of House Sparrows, 100% (n = 14) of House Finches and 2 Western Scrub-Jays remained WNV antibody positive. When combined by species, 37% of the House Sparrows, 50% of the House Finches, and 2 Western Scrub-Jays were WNV RNA positive at necropsy, up to 36 weeks post-infection. Infectious WNV was not detected. Our study supports the hypothesis that some avian hosts support the long-term persistence of WNV RNA, but it remains unresolved whether these infections relapse to restart an avian-arthropod transmission cycle and thereby serve as an overwintering mechanism for WNV. PMID:22826479

  11. Department of the Navy Justification of Estimates for Fiscal Year 1985. Submitted to Congress February 1984. Operation and Maintenance Navy Reserve.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1984-02-01

    personnel to man them, are a vital part of the Navy’s total force. The cost of operating and maintaining aircraft in the Fourth Marine Air king is...6,034 Reserve Recruiting Activities 0 0 7,138 Reserve Advertising Activities 0 0 1,558 Subtotal 149,483 172,631 197,904 Total Oration and Maintenance...Reserve Fleet Operations Support 1,186 1,260 1,260 1,147 1 248 AVDLR Withdrawal Credits L35__ Total Budget Activity 361,132 396,144 374,643 373,341

  12. Review of External Examining Arrangements in Universities and Colleges in the UK: Final Report and Recommendations

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Universities UK, 2011

    2011-01-01

    This report outlines the final recommendations of the review of external examining arrangements undertaken by UUK and GuildHE and chaired by Professor Dame Janet Finch, former Vice-Chancellor of Keele University. The review found that, on the whole, external examining arrangements in the UK are working well, but the report offers recommendations…

  13. Effect of EEG Biofeedback on Convulsive Response to Monomethylhydrazine in the Rhesus Monkey

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1978-06-01

    responses, AMRL-TR-67-67 (AD 663764), Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Kaplan, Bonnie J., 1975...Acad. of Sci. 157: 723-739. Wyler, A. R., Lockard , J. S., Ward, A. A. and Finch, C. A., 1976, Conditioned EEG desynchronization and seizure

  14. Recovery High Schools: Students and Responsive Academic and Therapeutic Services

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Moberg, D. Paul; Finch, Andrew J.; Lindsley, Stephanie M.

    2014-01-01

    This article reviews findings from the authors' studies of recovery high schools (RHS), including a 1995 program evaluation of a school in New Mexico (Moberg & Thaler, 1995), a 2006-09 descriptive study of 17 recovery high schools (Moberg & Finch, 2008), and presents early findings from a current study of the effectiveness of recovery high…

  15. American Vocational Education Research Association Proceedings (Cincinnati, Ohio, December 5-8, 1996).

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Redmann, Donna H., Ed.

    The following papers are included: "Research and Teaching from the Web/Multimedia" (Swan); "Vocational Teachers' Attitude toward, Knowledge of, and Use of National Skill Standards" (Belcher, McCaslin); "Predicting the Leadership Effectiveness of Vocational Education Administrators" (Daughtry, Finch); "Coping…

  16. A Study of the Correlation between Home Literacy Behaviors for Children Birth to Age 5 and Subsequent Kindergarten Success

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johnson, Robert E., Jr.

    2013-01-01

    This research study investigated the at-home literacy behaviors and experiences of young children before and during their kindergarten year. Research has shown that the frequency and quality of at-home literacy experiences can either hinder or hamper children as their formal schooling begins (Fletcher, Cross, Tanney, Schneider, & Finch, 2008;…

  17. A possible account of synaesthesia dating from the seventeenth century.

    PubMed

    Larner, A J

    2006-09-01

    An account of a blind man able to detect colors by touch, dating from the mid-seventeenth century, is presented. The details come to us through the physician John Finch, the scientist Robert Boyle, and the author Jonathan Swift. The details in the account suggest the possibility that this may be an early report of colored-touch synaesthesia.

  18. Reference values for the production of the aqueous fraction of the tear film measured by the standardized endodontic absorbent paper point test in different exotic and laboratory animal species.

    PubMed

    Lange, Rogério R; Lima, Leandro; Przydzimirski, Andreise C; Montiani-Ferreira, Fabiano

    2014-01-01

    The aqueous fraction of the tear film and the horizontal palpebral fissure length (HPFL) were measured in exotic and laboratory animals, specifically saffron finches (Sicalis flaveola), chestnut-bellied seed-finches (Sporophila angolensis), red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans), rats (Rattus norvegicus) and mice (Mus musculus). These species possess small eyes making it difficult to perform the typical Schirmer tear test. Measurement of the aqueous fraction of the tear was performed using the standardized endodontic absorbent paper point tear test (PPTT), accomplished with manual restraint by a single operator. The following results were obtained: saffron finches (n = 42)-HPFL (4.46 ± 0.09 mm) and PPTT (5.10 ± 0.26 mm); chestnut-bellied seed-finches (n = 38)-HPFL (4.77 ± 0.05 mm) and PPTT (4.11 ± 0.34 mm); red-eared sliders (n = 56)-HPFL (8.59 ± 0.08 mm) and PPTT (8.79 ± 0.38 mm); rats (n = 60)-HPFL (6.45 ± 0.09 mm) and PTT (6.18 ± 2.06 mm); and mice (n = 22)-HPFL (3.59 ± 0.27 mm) and PPTT (4.39 ± 1.45 mm).

  19. SWS2 visual pigment evolution as a test of historically contingent patterns of plumage color evolution in Warblers

    PubMed Central

    Bloch, Natasha I.; Morrow, James M.; Chang, Belinda S.W.; Price, Trevor D.

    2014-01-01

    Distantly related clades that occupy similar environments may differ due to the lasting imprint of their ancestors – historical contingency. The New World warblers (Parulidae) and Old World warblers (Phylloscopidae) are ecologically similar clades that differ strikingly in plumage coloration. We studied genetic and functional evolution of the short-wavelength sensitive visual pigments (SWS2 and SWS1) to ask if altered color perception could contribute to the plumage color differences between clades. We show SWS2 is short-wavelength shifted in birds that occupy open environments, such as finches, compared to those in closed environments, including warblers. Phylogenetic reconstructions indicate New World warblers were derived from a finch-like form that colonized from the Old World 15-20Ma. During this process the SWS2 gene accumulated 6 substitutions in branches leading to New World warblers, inviting the hypothesis that passage through a finch-like ancestor resulted in SWS2 evolution. In fact, we show spectral tuning remained similar across warblers as well as the finch ancestor. Results reject the hypothesis of historical contingency based on opsin spectral tuning, but point to evolution of other aspects of visual pigment function. Using the approach outlined here, historical contingency becomes a generally testable theory in systems where genotype and phenotype can be connected. PMID:25496318

  20. Synergism of natural selection and introgression in the origin of a new species.

    PubMed

    Grant, Peter R; Grant, B Rosemary

    2014-05-01

    This article explores how introgressive hybridization enhances the evolutionary effects of natural selection and how, reciprocally, natural selection can enhance the evolutionary effects of introgression. Both types of interaction were observed during a 40-year study of Darwin's finches (Geospiza) on the small Galápagos island of Daphne Major. Hybrids, produced rarely by Geospiza fortis (medium ground finch) breeding with Geospiza scandens (cactus finch) and Geospiza fuliginosa (small ground finch), survived and bred as well as the parental species in the past 3 decades. By backcrossing, they increased the standing genetic variation and thereby the evolutionary responsiveness of the populations to natural selection. Natural selection occurred in droughts and oscillated in direction as a result of climatically induced fluctuations in food composition. Introgressive hybridization has led to the formation of a new lineage. It was initiated by a large, introgressed, hybrid male with a unique song and genetic marker that immigrated from the nearby island of Santa Cruz and bred with local hybrids and with G. fortis. All members of the lineage died in the 2003-2005 drought except a brother and a sister, who then bred with each other. Subsequent increase in the lineage was facilitated by selective mortality of the largest G. fortis. Breeding endogamously, the lineage is behaving as a biological species.

  1. SWS2 visual pigment evolution as a test of historically contingent patterns of plumage color evolution in warblers.

    PubMed

    Bloch, Natasha I; Morrow, James M; Chang, Belinda S W; Price, Trevor D

    2015-02-01

    Distantly related clades that occupy similar environments may differ due to the lasting imprint of their ancestors-historical contingency. The New World warblers (Parulidae) and Old World warblers (Phylloscopidae) are ecologically similar clades that differ strikingly in plumage coloration. We studied genetic and functional evolution of the short-wavelength-sensitive visual pigments (SWS2 and SWS1) to ask if altered color perception could contribute to the plumage color differences between clades. We show SWS2 is short-wavelength shifted in birds that occupy open environments, such as finches, compared to those in closed environments, including warblers. Phylogenetic reconstructions indicate New World warblers were derived from a finch-like form that colonized from the Old World 15-20 Ma. During this process, the SWS2 gene accumulated six substitutions in branches leading to New World warblers, inviting the hypothesis that passage through a finch-like ancestor resulted in SWS2 evolution. In fact, we show spectral tuning remained similar across warblers as well as the finch ancestor. Results reject the hypothesis of historical contingency based on opsin spectral tuning, but point to evolution of other aspects of visual pigment function. Using the approach outlined here, historical contingency becomes a generally testable theory in systems where genotype and phenotype can be connected.

  2. Radiant solar energy and the function of black homeotherm pigmentation: an hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Hamilton, W J; Heppner, F

    1967-01-13

    White zebra finches exposed to artificial sunlight used an average of 22.9 percent less energy after they were dyed black. The hypothesis that black homeotherm coloration functions primarily to maximize absorption of radiant solar energy is suggested. This hypothesis may explain the dark skin pigmentation of certain human populations.

  3. Principals and Technology: A Case Study of the Use and Perceived Effectiveness of Technology to Communicate with Constituents

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Allman, Bonnie Ann

    2012-01-01

    Among the many qualities or attributes that serve as the framework for school leadership development programs, communication is repeatedly noted as being an important facet of the administrative leader's repertoire (Finch, Gregson & Faulkner, 1992;Gougeon, 1991). It is not enough for a leader to be concerned only about communicating with…

  4. Programme Development. Paper Presentations: Session F.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    2000

    This document contains 35 papers from the program development section of an international conference on vocational education and training (VET) for lifelong learning in the information era. The following are among the papers included: "Using Quality Indicators to Create World-Class Curricula: From Concept to Application" (Curtis Finch,…

  5. Variability in seed oil content and fatty acid composition, phenotypic traits and self-incompatibility among selected niger germplasm accessions

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Niger (Guizotia abyssinica, L.) is a desirable oilseed crop for birdseed, especially for finches (Spinus spp.) because of its high ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids and relatively high oil content. In 2012, phenotypic traits, seed oil and fatty acid content measurements were made on 14 p...

  6. Synthesis of the Results of the Field Verification Program Wetland Disposal Alternative

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1989-02-01

    Phaseolus vulgaris L.)," Environmental ioxicoiogy ana 1-hemistry, Vol 5, pp 659-665. Eisler, R. 1981. Trace Metals in Marine Organisms, Pergamon Press, New...sparrow (weaver finch) Sturnus vulgaris -- Starling Cyanocitta cristata--Bluejay Mimus polyglottos--Mockingbird Corvus brachyrhynchos--Common crow

  7. Using Different Examples of Natural Selection When Teaching Biology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Perry, Robert T.

    1993-01-01

    Describes the following examples of natural selection for use in science instruction: sickle-cell anemia and human beings, clogged crabs, the rounding of the human head, shell color in land snails, pollinator behavior and flower color, copper tolerance in a grass, lizards and quick change, and Darwin's finches. (PR)

  8. Scaffolding Preservice Science Teachers' Evidence-Based Arguments during an Investigation of Natural Selection.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zembal-Saul, Carla; Munford, Danusa; Crawford, Barbara; Friedrichsen, Patricia; Land, Susan

    2002-01-01

    Reports on a qualitative study in which preservice science teachers (PSTs) enrolled in an advanced methods course participated in a complex, data-rich investigation based on an adapted version of the "Struggle for Survival" curriculum. Uses the Galapagos Finches software and emphasizes giving priority to evidence and constructing…

  9. Confronting Prospective Teachers' Ideas of Evolution and Scientific Inquiry Using Technology and Inquiry-Based Tasks

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Crawford, Barbara A.; Zembal-Saul, Carla; Munford, Danusa; Friedrichsen, Patricia

    2005-01-01

    This study addresses the need for research in three areas: (1) teachers' understandings of scientific inquiry; (2) conceptual understandings of evolutionary processes; and (3) technology-enhanced instruction using an inquiry approach. The purpose of this study was to determine in what ways "The Galapagos Finches" software-based materials created a…

  10. 76 FR 78227 - Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Emergency Management...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-12-16

    ... Collection; Emergency Management Response System AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA... Emergency Management Response System. DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before... Management Response System, contact Dr. Steven Finch, Senior Staff Veterinarian, Preparedness and...

  11. Career Education: Papers presented at the 1972 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, Illinois, April 5, 1972).

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC.

    This document is a collection of three papers: (1) "Some Variables Why So Few Black High School Graduates Attend Post-High School Area Vocational Schools," by Max Farning, (2) "The Role of Simulation in Teaching Complex Problem Solving Skills," by Curtis R. Finch and Patrick A. O'Reilly, and (3) "Investigation of the…

  12. Factor Structure of the Primary Scales of the Inventory of Personality Organization in a Nonclinical Sample Using Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ellison, William D.; Levy, Kenneth N.

    2012-01-01

    Using exploratory structural equation modeling and multiple regression, we examined the factor structure and criterion relations of the primary scales of the Inventory of Personality Organization (IPO; Kernberg & Clarkin, 1995) in a nonclinical sample. Participants (N = 1,260) completed the IPO and measures of self-concept clarity, defenses,…

  13. Self-Reported Needs for Help among Homeless Men and Women.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Herman, Daniel B.; And Others

    1994-01-01

    Needs for help reported by 1,260 homeless men and women in New York (New York) were studied through interviews. Fundamental survival demands were most frequently cited by men and women, with gender differences most apparent in areas in which gender differences have been identified in the general population. (SLD)

  14. Development and Initial Validation of the NyTid Test: A Movement Assessment Tool for Compulsory School Pupils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tidén, Anna; Lundqvist, Carolina; Nyberg, Marie

    2015-01-01

    This study presents the development process and initial validation of the NyTid test, a process-oriented movement assessment tool for compulsory school pupils. A sample of 1,260 (627 girls and 633 boys; mean age of 14.39) Swedish school children participated in the study. In the first step, exploratory factor analyses (EFAs) were performed in…

  15. Turkish Students' Views on Environmental Challenges with respect to Gender: An Analysis of ROSE Data

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cavas, Bulent; Cavas, Pinar; Tekkaya, Ceren; Cakiroglu, Jale; Kesercioglu, Teoman

    2009-01-01

    This paper examined high school students' attitudes toward the environment and their interest in learning about environmental protection with respect to gender. The questionnaire-based Relevance of Science Education (ROSE) Project data of 9th grade students were collected in Turkey from 1,260 students. Statistical analysis included tabulation of…

  16. Development and Psychometric Evaluation of a Measure of Intuitive Eating

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tylka, Tracy L.

    2006-01-01

    Intuitive eating is characterized by eating based on physiological hunger and satiety cues rather than situational and emotional cues and is associated with psychological well-being. This study reports on the development and initial psychometric evaluation of the Intuitive Eating Scale (IES) with data collected in 4 studies from 1,260 college…

  17. The Instruments of Dudley Observatory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gino, M. C.

    2002-12-01

    Dudley Observatory, founded in 1852, is the nation's oldest independent organization dedicated to astronomical research and education. While Dudley no longer operates a physical observatory, it is home to a number of historically important scientific instruments and telescopes. Dudley's first operating telescope, a Clark Comet-seeker, remains in Dudley's collection today. This 4-inch refractor provided the first discovery of a comet by a Dudley astronomer in 1857 and is one of only four telescopes of this size produced by Alvan Clark. Also in Dudley's collection is the Olcott Meridian Circle which was the primary working telescope at the observatory for over 75 years. This telescope, made by Pistor & Martins and which operated both at the Dudley Observatory in Albany, NY and the San Luis Observatory in Argentina, was used to conduct all of the observations for the Preliminary General Catalog of 6788 Stars (1908) and the General Catalog of 33,343 Stars (1937). The gem of Dudley's collection is the Pruyn Equatorial Telescope, built by the Warner and Swasey Company and equipped with a 12-inch lens made by John Brashear. It was installed in 1893 to conduct both research observations and public observing sessions. After remaining in storage for many decades, this historic telescope will soon resume its role after being refurbished and installed at the Arunah Hill Natural Science Center in Cummington, MA. While Dudley retains its interest in astronomical instruments it has also moved into the areas of space studies and astronomical education. The key projects in the areas of instrumentation and astronomical outreach, which include the instruments above as well as the Rising Star Internship and Space Campership educational programs, will be detailed in the remainder of this paper.

  18. Natural Changes in Brain Temperature Underlie Variations in Song Tempo during a Mating Behavior

    PubMed Central

    Aronov, Dmitriy; Fee, Michale S.

    2012-01-01

    The song of a male zebra finch is a stereotyped motor sequence whose tempo varies with social context – whether or not the song is directed at a female bird – as well as with the time of day. The neural mechanisms underlying these changes in tempo are unknown. Here we show that brain temperature recorded in freely behaving male finches exhibits a global increase in response to the presentation of a female bird. This increase strongly correlates with, and largely explains, the faster tempo of songs directed at a female compared to songs produced in social isolation. Furthermore, we find that the observed diurnal variations in song tempo are also explained by natural variations in brain temperature. Our findings suggest that brain temperature is an important variable that can influence the dynamics of activity in neural circuits, as well as the temporal features of behaviors that some of these circuits generate. PMID:23112858

  19. Escherichia albertii in Wild and Domestic Birds

    PubMed Central

    Besser, Thomas E.; Walk, Seth T.; Gordon, David M.; Beckmen, Kimberlee B.; Burek, Kathy A.; Haldorson, Gary J.; Bradway, Dan S.; Ouellette, Lindsey; Rurangirwa, Fred R.; Davis, Margaret A.; Dobbin, Greg; Whittam, Thomas S.

    2010-01-01

    Escherichia albertii has been associated with diarrhea in humans but not with disease or infection in animals. However, in December 2004, E. albertii was found, by biochemical and genetic methods, to be the probable cause of death for redpoll finches (Carduelis flammea) in Alaska. Subsequent investigation found this organism in dead and subclinically infected birds of other species from North America and Australia. Isolates from dead finches in Scotland, previously identified as Escherichia coli O86:K61, also were shown to be E. albertii. Similar to the isolates from humans, E. albertii isolates from birds possessed intimin (eae) and cytolethal distending toxin (cdtB) genes but lacked Shiga toxin (stx) genes. Genetic analysis of eae and cdtB sequences, multilocus sequence typing, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns showed that the E. albertii strains from birds are heterogeneous but similar to isolates that cause disease in humans. PMID:20350378

  20. Robust and scalable inference of population history from hundreds of unphased whole genomes.

    PubMed

    Terhorst, Jonathan; Kamm, John A; Song, Yun S

    2017-02-01

    It has recently been demonstrated that inference methods based on genealogical processes with recombination can uncover past population history in unprecedented detail. However, these methods scale poorly with sample size, limiting resolution in the recent past, and they require phased genomes, which contain switch errors that can catastrophically distort the inferred history. Here we present SMC++, a new statistical tool capable of analyzing orders of magnitude more samples than existing methods while requiring only unphased genomes (its results are independent of phasing). SMC++ can jointly infer population size histories and split times in diverged populations, and it employs a novel spline regularization scheme that greatly reduces estimation error. We apply SMC++ to analyze sequence data from over a thousand human genomes in Africa and Eurasia, hundreds of genomes from a Drosophila melanogaster population in Africa, and tens of genomes from zebra finch and long-tailed finch populations in Australia.

  1. An Adapting Auditory-motor Feedback Loop Can Contribute to Generating Vocal Repetition

    PubMed Central

    Brainard, Michael S.; Jin, Dezhe Z.

    2015-01-01

    Consecutive repetition of actions is common in behavioral sequences. Although integration of sensory feedback with internal motor programs is important for sequence generation, if and how feedback contributes to repetitive actions is poorly understood. Here we study how auditory feedback contributes to generating repetitive syllable sequences in songbirds. We propose that auditory signals provide positive feedback to ongoing motor commands, but this influence decays as feedback weakens from response adaptation during syllable repetitions. Computational models show that this mechanism explains repeat distributions observed in Bengalese finch song. We experimentally confirmed two predictions of this mechanism in Bengalese finches: removal of auditory feedback by deafening reduces syllable repetitions; and neural responses to auditory playback of repeated syllable sequences gradually adapt in sensory-motor nucleus HVC. Together, our results implicate a positive auditory-feedback loop with adaptation in generating repetitive vocalizations, and suggest sensory adaptation is important for feedback control of motor sequences. PMID:26448054

  2. Possible role of songbirds and parakeets in transmission of influenza A(H7N9) virus to humans.

    PubMed

    Jones, Jeremy C; Sonnberg, Stephanie; Koçer, Zeynep A; Shanmuganatham, Karthik; Seiler, Patrick; Shu, Yuelong; Zhu, Huachen; Guan, Yi; Peiris, Malik; Webby, Richard J; Webster, Robert G

    2014-03-01

    Avian-origin influenza A(H7N9) recently emerged in China, causing severe human disease. Several subtype H7N9 isolates contain influenza genes previously identified in viruses from finch-like birds. Because wild and domestic songbirds interact with humans and poultry, we investigated the susceptibility and transmissibility of subtype H7N9 in these species. Finches, sparrows, and parakeets supported replication of a human subtype H7N9 isolate, shed high titers through the oropharyngeal route, and showed few disease signs. Virus was shed into water troughs, and several contact animals seroconverted, although they shed little virus. Our study demonstrates that a human isolate can replicate in and be shed by such songbirds and parakeets into their environment. This finding has implications for these birds' potential as intermediate hosts with the ability to facilitate transmission and dissemination of A(H7N9) virus.

  3. Natural changes in brain temperature underlie variations in song tempo during a mating behavior.

    PubMed

    Aronov, Dmitriy; Fee, Michale S

    2012-01-01

    The song of a male zebra finch is a stereotyped motor sequence whose tempo varies with social context--whether or not the song is directed at a female bird--as well as with the time of day. The neural mechanisms underlying these changes in tempo are unknown. Here we show that brain temperature recorded in freely behaving male finches exhibits a global increase in response to the presentation of a female bird. This increase strongly correlates with, and largely explains, the faster tempo of songs directed at a female compared to songs produced in social isolation. Furthermore, we find that the observed diurnal variations in song tempo are also explained by natural variations in brain temperature. Our findings suggest that brain temperature is an important variable that can influence the dynamics of activity in neural circuits, as well as the temporal features of behaviors that some of these circuits generate.

  4. Stable recombination hotspots in birds.

    PubMed

    Singhal, Sonal; Leffler, Ellen M; Sannareddy, Keerthi; Turner, Isaac; Venn, Oliver; Hooper, Daniel M; Strand, Alva I; Li, Qiye; Raney, Brian; Balakrishnan, Christopher N; Griffith, Simon C; McVean, Gil; Przeworski, Molly

    2015-11-20

    The DNA-binding protein PRDM9 has a critical role in specifying meiotic recombination hotspots in mice and apes, but it appears to be absent from other vertebrate species, including birds. To study the evolution and determinants of recombination in species lacking the gene that encodes PRDM9, we inferred fine-scale genetic maps from population resequencing data for two bird species: the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, and the long-tailed finch, Poephila acuticauda. We found that both species have recombination hotspots, which are enriched near functional genomic elements. Unlike in mice and apes, most hotspots are shared between the two species, and their conservation seems to extend over tens of millions of years. These observations suggest that in the absence of PRDM9, recombination targets functional features that both enable access to the genome and constrain its evolution.

  5. Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis in wild songbirds: the spread of a new contagious disease in a mobile host population.

    PubMed Central

    Fischer, J. R.; Stallknecht, D. E.; Luttrell, P.; Dhondt, A. A.; Converse, K. A.

    1997-01-01

    A new mycoplasmal conjunctivitis was first reported in wild house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) in early 1994. The causative agent was identified as Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), a nonzoonotic pathogen of poultry that had not been associated with disease in wild songbirds. Since the initial observations of affected house finches in the mid-Atlantic region, the disease has become widespread and has been reported throughout the eastern United States and Canada. By late 1995, mycoplasmal conjunctivitis had spread to an additional species, the American goldfinch (Carduelis tristis). This new disease exemplifies the rapid spread of a pathogen following introduction into a mobile wildlife population and provides lessons that may apply to emerging human diseases. PMID:9126448

  6. Light scattering measurements supporting helical structures for chromatin in solution.

    PubMed

    Campbell, A M; Cotter, R I; Pardon, J F

    1978-05-01

    Laser light scattering measurements have been made on a series of polynucleosomes containing from 50 to 150 nucleosomes. Radii of gyration have been determined as a function of polynucleosome length for different ionic strength solutions. The results suggest that at low ionic strength the chromatin adopts a loosely helical structure rather than a random coil. The helix becomes more regular on increasing the ionic strength, the dimension resembling those proposed by Finch and Klug for their solenoid model.

  7. Androgens regulate gene expression in avian skeletal muscles.

    PubMed

    Fuxjager, Matthew J; Barske, Julia; Du, Sienmi; Day, Lainy B; Schlinger, Barney A

    2012-01-01

    Circulating androgens in adult reproductively active male vertebrates influence a diversity of organ systems and thus are considered costly. Recently, we obtained evidence that androgen receptors (AR) are expressed in several skeletal muscles of three passeriform birds, the golden-collared manakin (Manacus vitellinus), zebra finch (Taenopygia guttata), and ochre-bellied flycatcher (Mionectes oleagieus). Because skeletal muscles that control wing movement make up the bulk of a bird's body mass, evidence for widespread effects of androgen action on these muscles would greatly expand the functional impact of androgens beyond their well-characterized effects on relatively discrete targets throughout the avian body. To investigate this issue, we use quantitative PCR (qPCR) to determine if androgens alter gene mRNA expression patterns in wing musculature of wild golden-collared manakins and captive zebra finches. In manakins, the androgen testosterone (T) up-regulated expression of parvalbumin (PV) and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), two genes whose products enhance cellular Ca(2+) cycling and hypertrophy of skeletal muscle fibers. In T-treated zebra finches, the anti-androgen flutamide blunted PV and IGF-I expression. These results suggest that certain transcriptional effects of androgen action via AR are conserved in passerine skeletal muscle tissue. When we examined wing muscles of manakins, zebra finches and ochre-bellied flycatchers, we found that expression of PV and IGF-I varied across species and in a manner consistent with a function for AR-dependent gene regulation. Together, these findings imply that androgens have the potential to act on avian muscle in a way that may enhance the physicality required for successful reproduction.

  8. [Natural helminth infection in Sicalis flaveola (Linnaeus, 1766), by Acuaria mayori Lent, Freitas and Proença, 1945 (Nematoda: Acuarioidea) in Brazil].

    PubMed

    Rodrigues, Maria L de A; Muniz-Pereira, Luís C; Pinto, Roberto M; Lins, Fernanda P; Riehl Vaz, Mônica G; de Abreu, Ana Paula M; de Souza, Paulo César A

    2005-01-01

    This is the first report of a natural infection in the saffron finch Sicalis flaveola (Linnaeus, 1766) captured in Brazil, with the establishment of a new host record for the acuarioid nematode Acuaria mayori Lent, Freitas and Proença, 1945, previously referred in Cyanocorax chrysops (Vieillot, 1818) from Paraguay and Sporophila caerulescens caerulescens (Vieillot, 1823) and C. cyanomelas (Wied, 1821) from Brazil and Myarchus nuttingi (Ridgway, 1883) from Costa Rica.

  9. Androgens Regulate Gene Expression in Avian Skeletal Muscles

    PubMed Central

    Fuxjager, Matthew J.; Barske, Julia; Du, Sienmi; Day, Lainy B.; Schlinger, Barney A.

    2012-01-01

    Circulating androgens in adult reproductively active male vertebrates influence a diversity of organ systems and thus are considered costly. Recently, we obtained evidence that androgen receptors (AR) are expressed in several skeletal muscles of three passeriform birds, the golden-collared manakin (Manacus vitellinus), zebra finch (Taenopygia guttata), and ochre-bellied flycatcher (Mionectes oleagieus). Because skeletal muscles that control wing movement make up the bulk of a bird’s body mass, evidence for widespread effects of androgen action on these muscles would greatly expand the functional impact of androgens beyond their well-characterized effects on relatively discrete targets throughout the avian body. To investigate this issue, we use quantitative PCR (qPCR) to determine if androgens alter gene mRNA expression patterns in wing musculature of wild golden-collared manakins and captive zebra finches. In manakins, the androgen testosterone (T) up-regulated expression of parvalbumin (PV) and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), two genes whose products enhance cellular Ca2+ cycling and hypertrophy of skeletal muscle fibers. In T-treated zebra finches, the anti-androgen flutamide blunted PV and IGF-I expression. These results suggest that certain transcriptional effects of androgen action via AR are conserved in passerine skeletal muscle tissue. When we examined wing muscles of manakins, zebra finches and ochre-bellied flycatchers, we found that expression of PV and IGF-I varied across species and in a manner consistent with a function for AR-dependent gene regulation. Together, these findings imply that androgens have the potential to act on avian muscle in a way that may enhance the physicality required for successful reproduction. PMID:23284699

  10. Vibrometric Detection of Beam Damage Due to Inclusions

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2004-03-01

    fatigue cracks, thermal exposure, overstressing, etc. The central focus of SHM is to identify the presence of a change in structural integrity as...vibration monitoring for damage presence began with rotor cracking in machinery and railroad equipment, as presented by Dimaroganas (1970) and Nagy...Dousis, and Finch (1978). The latter work has been noted to explain that “the presence of cracks [in railroad wheels] causes some resonance

  11. Energetic costs and implications of the intake of plant secondary metabolites on digestive and renal morphology in two austral passerines.

    PubMed

    Barceló, Gonzalo; Ríos, Juan Manuel; Maldonado, Karin; Sabat, Pablo

    2016-07-01

    Seed-eating birds have a diet of high nutritional value; however, they must cope with plant secondary metabolites (PSM). We postulated that the detoxification capacity of birds is associated with a metabolic cost, given that the organs responsible for detoxification significantly contribute to energetic metabolism. We used an experimental approach to assess the effects of phenol-enriched diets on two passerines with different feeding habits: the omnivorous rufous-collared sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis) and the granivorous common diuca-finch (Diuca diuca). The birds were fed with one of three diets: control diet, supplemented with tannic acid, or supplemented with Opuntia ficus-indica phenolic extract (a common food of the sparrow but not the finch). After 5 weeks of exposure to the diets, we measured basal metabolic rates (BMR), energy intake, glucuronic acid output and digestive and kidney structure. In both species, detoxification capacity expressed as glucuronic acid output was higher in individuals consuming phenol-enriched diets compared to the control diet. However, whereas sparrows increase energy intake and intestinal mass when feeding on phenol-enriched diets, finches had lower intestinal mass and energy intake remains stable. Furthermore, sparrows had higher BMR on phenol-enriched diets compared to the control group, whereas in the finches BMR remains unchanged. Interspecific differences in response to phenols intake may be determined by the dietary habits of these species. While both species can feed on moderate phenolic diets for 5 weeks, energy costs may differ due to different responses in food intake and organ structure to counteract the effects of PSM intake.

  12. Annual Report of the Inhalation Toxicology Research Institute 1991-1992

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1992-12-01

    EXHAUST B. T Chen, W E. Bechtold, G. L. Finch, J A. Lopez, and J J. Thompson Incineration of hazardous waste can be useful prior to disposal. The goal...of incineration is to convert the objectionable, combustible compounds in the wastes by thermal oxidation to H2 0 and C02, thereby reducing the mass...shown to metabolize p-nitrophenyl butyrate and to be inhibited by malathion , indicating it was a Form B carboxylesterase. Nasal tissue was obtained

  13. Application of an Automated Fish Biomonitoring System at Old O-Field for Continuous Acute Toxicity Effluent Monitoring

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1996-05-01

    Tommy R. Shedd, Henry S. Gardner , Robert A. Finch, and Robert C. Bishoff U.S. Army Biomedical Research and Development Laboratory Fort Detrick...Zeigler Bros., Inc., Gardners , PA) plus frozen brine shrimp (Living World, Virginia Pet Supply, Fairfax VA). Fish were not fed during the 2-week...Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. 3. Diamond , J.M. and T.R.Shedd. 1995. Standard Guide for Ventilatory Behavioral Toxicology Testing

  14. Forebrain circuits underlying the social modulation of vocal communication signals.

    PubMed

    Matheson, Laura E; Sun, Herie; Sakata, Jon T

    2016-01-01

    Across vertebrate species, signalers alter the structure of their communication signals based on the social context. For example, male Bengalese finches produce faster and more stereotyped songs when directing song to females (female-directed [FD] song) than when singing in isolation (undirected [UD] song), and such changes have been found to increase the attractiveness of a male's song. Despite the importance of such social influences, little is known about the mechanisms underlying the social modulation of communication signals. To this end, we analyzed differences in immediate early gene (EGR-1) expression when Bengalese finches produced FD or UD song. Relative to silent birds, EGR-1 expression was elevated in birds producing either FD or UD song throughout vocal control circuitry, including the interface nucleus of the nidopallium (NIf), HVC, the robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA), Area X, and the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (LMAN). Moreover, EGR-1 expression was higher in HVC, RA, Area X, and LMAN in males producing UD song than in males producing FD song, indicating that social context modulated EGR-1 expression in these areas. However, EGR-1 expression was not significantly different between males producing FD or UD song in NIf, the primary vocal motor input into HVC, suggesting that context-dependent changes could arise de novo in HVC. The pattern of context-dependent differences in EGR-1 expression in the Bengalese finch was highly similar to that in the zebra finch and suggests that social context affects song structure by modulating activity throughout vocal control nuclei.

  15. Contribution by vertebrates to seed dispersal effectiveness in the Galápagos Islands: A community-wide approach.

    PubMed

    Nogales, M; González-Castro, A; Rumeu, B; Traveset, A; Vargas, P; Jaramillo, P; Olesen, J M; Heleno, R

    2017-03-17

    Seed dispersal and seedling recruitment are crucial phases in the life cycle of all spermatophyte plants. The net contribution of seed dispersers to plant establishment is known as seed dispersal effectiveness (SDE) and is defined as the product of a quantitative (number of seeds dispersed) and a qualitative (probability of recruitment) component. In Galápagos, we studied the direct contribution to SDE (number of seeds dispersed and effect on seedling emergence) provided by the five island groups of frugivores (giant tortoises, lizards, medium-sized passerine birds, small non-finch passerine birds and finches) in the two main habitats in this archipelago: the lowland and the highland zones, and found 16 vertebrate species dispersing 58 plant species. Data on frequency of occurrence of seeds in droppings and number of seeds dispersed per unit area produced contrasting patterns of seed dispersal. Based on the former, giant tortoises and medium-sized passerines were the most important seed dispersers. However, based on the latter, small non-finch passerines were the most important dispersers, followed by finches and medium-sized passerines. The effect of disperser gut passage on seedling emergence varied greatly depending on both, the disperser and the plant species. Although the contribution to SDE provided by different disperser guilds changed across plant species, medium-sized passerines (e.g. mockingbirds) provided a higher contribution to SDE than lava lizards in ten out of 16 plant species analysed, whereas lava lizards provided a higher contribution to SDE than birds in fiveplant species. While both the quantitative and qualitative components addressed are important, our data suggests that the former is a better predictor of SDE in the Galápagos archipelago. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  16. Metabolite Analysis of Clostridium acetobutylicum: Fermentation in a Microbial Fuel Cell

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-01-01

    Metabolite analysis of Clostridium acetobutylicum : Fermentation in a microbial fuel cell Amethist S. Finch, Timothy D. Mackie, Christian J. Sund...Fermentation products Clostridium acetobutylicum Current generation a b s t r a c t Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) were used to monitor metabolism...changes in Clostridium acetobutylicum fer- mentations. When MFCs were inoculated with C. acetobutylicum , they generated a unique voltage output pattern

  17. Retinal Ganglion Cell Topography of Five Species of Ground-Foraging Birds

    PubMed Central

    Dolan, Tracy; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban

    2010-01-01

    Birds that forage on the ground have been studied extensively in relation to behavioral trade-offs between foraging and scanning for predators; however, we know little about the topography of their retinas, which can influence how they gather visual information. We characterized the density of retinal ganglion cells across the retina and estimated visual acuity of four Passeriformes (European starling Sturnus vulgaris, brown-headed cowbird Molothrus ater, house sparrow Passer domesticus, house finch Carpodacus mexicanus) and one Columbiforme (mourning dove Zenaida macroura) that forage on the ground. We used cresyl violet to stain retinal ganglion cells and estimated visual acuity based on cell density and eye size. All species contained a single area centralis, where cell densities were >20,000 cells/mm2. The proportion of the retina that fell in each of five cell density ranges varied between species. European starlings and house finches had the largest area of high cell density, mourning doves had the smallest. The largest proportion of the retina (>35%) of brown-headed cowbird and house sparrow was in the second-lowest cell density range. Considering the 25th percentile of highest cell densities, house finches and European starlings showed the highest cell densities and mourning doves the lowest. Estimated visual acuity increased from house finch, house sparrow, brown-headed cowbird, European starling to mourning dove, and was associated with both retinal area and cell density. Our findings suggest that these ground foragers do not have highly specialized retinas in relation to other types of foragers (e.g. tree foragers), probably because foraging on seeds and insects from the ground is not as visually demanding; however, the studied species showed variability in retinal topography that may be related to foraging techniques, eye size constraints, and size of the area centralis. PMID:20516656

  18. 77 FR 36951 - Gastroenterology-Urology Devices; Reclassification of Implanted Blood Access Devices

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-06-20

    ... devices by means of premarket notification procedures in section 510(k) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360(k... marketed by means of premarket notification procedures (510(k) process) without submission of a premarket..., Education, and Welfare, 587 F.2d 1173, 1174 n.1 (D.C. Cir. 1978); Upjohn v. Finch, 422 F.2d 944 (6th...

  19. Evolutionary Computation in Polymorphous Computing Architectures: Metaoptimization of the Scale In-Lining Priority Function for Trips

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-07-01

    functions for the TRIPS compiler. The experiments were executed on the Rose- Hulman Institute of Technology Beowulf cluster. The primary metric...parameter for this benchmark • Implemented a parallel version of Finch on a Beowulf cluster using the Message Passing Interface (MPI) • Completed a 17... Beowulf ” Linux cluster (brain.rose-hulman.edu). However, the Beowulf cluster does not provide NFS and PBS, so it was also necessary to modify

  20. Perception of warble song in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus): evidence for special processing.

    PubMed

    Tu, Hsiao-Wei; Dooling, Robert J

    2012-11-01

    The long, rambling warble song of male budgerigars is composed of a large number of acoustically complex elements uttered in streams lasting minutes a time and accompanied by various courtship behaviors. Warble song has no obvious sequential structure or patterned repetition of elements, raising questions as to which aspects of it are perceptually salient, whether budgerigars can detect changes in natural warble streams, and to what extent these capabilities are species-specific. Using operant conditioning and a psychophysical paradigm, we examined the sensitivity of budgerigars, canaries, and zebra finches to changes in long (>6 min) natural warble sequences of a male budgerigar. All three species could detect a single insertion of pure tones, zebra finch song syllables, budgerigar contact calls, or warble elements from another budgerigar's warble. In each case, budgerigars were more sensitive to these changes than were canaries or finches. When warble elements from the ongoing warble stream were used as targets and inserted, out of order, into the natural warble stream so that the only cue available was the violation of the natural ordering of warble elements, only budgerigars performed above chance. When the experiment was repeated with all the ongoing warble stream elements presented in random order, the performance of budgerigars fell to chance. These results show species-specific advantages in budgerigars for detecting acoustic changes in natural warble sequences and indicate at least a limited sensitivity to sequential rules governing the structure of their species-specific warble songs.

  1. Fresnel incoherent correlation holography and its imaging properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Zhipeng; Ma, Haotong; Ren, Ge; Xie, Zongliang; Yu, Huan

    2016-09-01

    The incoherent digital holography makes it possible to record holograms under incoherent illumination, which lowers requirement for the coherence of light sources and results in expanding its application to white-light and fluorescence illuminating circumstances. The Fresnel Incoherent Correlation Holography (FINCH) technology achieves diverging the incident beam and shifting phase by mounting phase masks on the phase modulator. Then it obtains holograms with phase difference and reconstructs the image. In this paper, we explain the principles of the FINCH technology, and introduce the n-step phase-shifting method which is utilized to eliminate the twin image and bias term in holograms. During the research, we studied what impact the term n may have on imaging performance, compared imaging performances when different phase masks are mounted on SLM, and established simulation system on imaging with which imaging performances are deeply inspected. At last, it is shown in the research that the FINCH technology could record holograms of objects, from which clear images could be reconstructed digitally.

  2. A sensorimotor area in the songbird brain is required for production of vocalizations in the song learning period of development.

    PubMed

    Piristine, Hande C; Choetso, Tenzin; Gobes, Sharon M H

    2016-11-01

    Sensory feedback is essential for acquiring and maintaining complex motor behaviors, including birdsong. In zebra finches, auditory feedback reaches the song control circuits primarily through the nucleus interfacialis nidopalii (Nif), which provides excitatory input to HVC (proper name)-a premotor region essential for the production of learned vocalizations. Despite being one of the major inputs to the song control pathway, the role of Nif in generating vocalizations is not well understood. To address this, we transiently inactivated Nif in late juvenile zebra finches. Upon Nif inactivation (in both hemispheres or on one side only), birds went from singing stereotyped zebra finch song to uttering highly variable and unstructured vocalizations resembling sub-song, an early juvenile song form driven by a basal ganglia circuit. Simultaneously inactivating Nif and LMAN (lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium), the output nucleus of a basal ganglia circuit, inhibited song production altogether. These results suggest that Nif is required for generating the premotor drive for song. Permanent Nif lesions, in contrast, have only transient effects on vocal production, with song recovering within a day. The sensorimotor nucleus Nif thus produces a premotor drive to the motor pathway that is acutely required for generating learned vocalizations, but once permanently removed, the song system can compensate for its absence. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 76: 1213-1225, 2016.

  3. Incorporating naturalistic correlation structure improves spectrogram reconstruction from neuronal activity in the songbird auditory midbrain.

    PubMed

    Ramirez, Alexandro D; Ahmadian, Yashar; Schumacher, Joseph; Schneider, David; Woolley, Sarah M N; Paninski, Liam

    2011-03-09

    Birdsong is comprised of rich spectral and temporal organization, which might be used for vocal perception. To quantify how this structure could be used, we have reconstructed birdsong spectrograms by combining the spike trains of zebra finch auditory midbrain neurons with information about the correlations present in song. We calculated maximum a posteriori estimates of song spectrograms using a generalized linear model of neuronal responses and a series of prior distributions, each carrying different amounts of statistical information about zebra finch song. We found that spike trains from a population of mesencephalicus lateral dorsalis (MLd) neurons combined with an uncorrelated Gaussian prior can estimate the amplitude envelope of song spectrograms. The same set of responses can be combined with Gaussian priors that have correlations matched to those found across multiple zebra finch songs to yield song spectrograms similar to those presented to the animal. The fidelity of spectrogram reconstructions from MLd responses relies more heavily on prior knowledge of spectral correlations than temporal correlations. However, the best reconstructions combine MLd responses with both spectral and temporal correlations.

  4. Closely related bird species demonstrate flexibility between beak morphology and underlying developmental programs

    PubMed Central

    Mallarino, Ricardo; Campàs, Otger; Fritz, Joerg A.; Burns, Kevin J.; Weeks, Olivia G.; Brenner, Michael P.; Abzhanov, Arhat

    2012-01-01

    The astonishing variation in the shape and size of bird beaks reflects a wide range of dietary specializations that played an important role in avian diversification. Among Darwin’s finches, ground finches (Geospiza spp.) have beaks that represent scaling variations of the same shape, which are generated by alterations in the signaling pathways that regulate growth of the two skeletal components of the beak: the prenasal cartilage (pnc) and the premaxillary bone (pmx). Whether this developmental mechanism is responsible for variation within groups of other closely related bird species, however, has remained unknown. Here, we report that the Caribbean bullfinches (Loxigilla spp.), which are closely related to Darwin’s finches, have independently evolved beaks of a novel shape, different from Geospiza, but also varying from each other only in scaling. However, despite sharing the same beak shape, the signaling pathways and tissues patterning Loxigilla beaks differ among the three species. In Loxigilla noctis, as in Geospiza, the pnc develops first, shaped by Bmp4 and CaM signaling, followed by the development of the pmx, regulated by TGFβIIr, β-catenin, and Dkk3 signaling. In contrast, beak morphogenesis in Loxigilla violacea and Loxigilla portoricensis is generated almost exclusively by the pmx through a mechanism in which Ihh and Bmp4 synergize to promote expansion of bone tissue. Together, our results demonstrate high flexibility in the relationship between morphology and underlying developmental causes, where different developmental programs can generate identical shapes, and similar developmental programs can pattern different shapes. PMID:22988109

  5. Asynchronous hatching and food limitation: a test of Lack's hypothesis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Skagen, Susan Knight

    1988-01-01

    Lack’s (1954, 1968) hypothesis that asynchronous hatching of altricial birds is an adaptive response to unpredictable food shortages during the breeding season was examined in the highly granivorous Zebra Finch (Poephila guttata). I compared growth and survival of nestlings in asynchronous and artificially created synchronous brood reared under food-limited and food-abundant conditions in an aviary. I also examined the role of parental experience on survival and growth of nestlings. There was no differential mortality of Zebra Finch nestlings due to either asynchrony or food abundance. Young in abundant food treatments grew more rapidly, however, than those in food restricted treatments. Heaviest Zebra Finch nestlings in a brood grew more quickly than their lightest siblings when food was limited, supporting Lack’s hypothesis. Further, differential survival of light and heavy siblings occurred when food was abundant, suggesting that asynchronous hatching can be maladaptive under some ecological conditions. Nestlings reared by inexperienced parents suffered greater mortality and slower growth when food was abundant than nestlings raised by experienced parents. Prefledging mass was correlated with size at adulthood.

  6. Gold or green: the debate on open access policies.

    PubMed

    Abadal, Ernest

    2013-09-01

    The movement for open access to science seeks to achieve unrestricted and free access to academic publications on the Internet. To this end, two mechanisms have been established: the gold road, in which scientific journals are openly accessible, and the green road, in which publications are self-archived in repositories. The publication of the Finch Report in 2012, advocating exclusively the adoption of the gold road, generated a debate as to whether either of the two options should be prioritized. The recommendations of the Finch Report stirred controversy among academicians specialized in open access issues, who felt that the role played by repositories was not adequately considered and because the green road places the burden of publishing costs basically on authors. The Finch Report's conclusions are compatible with the characteristics of science communication in the UK and they could surely also be applied to the (few) countries with a powerful publishing industry and substantial research funding. In Spain, both the current national legislation and the existing rules at universities largely advocate the green road. This is directly related to the structure of scientific communication in Spain, where many journals have little commercial significance, the system of charging a fee to authors has not been adopted, and there is a good repository infrastructure. As for open access policies, the performance of the scientific communication system in each country should be carefully analyzed to determine the most suitable open access strategy.

  7. Very low force-generating ability and unusually high temperature dependency in hummingbird flight muscle fibers.

    PubMed

    Reiser, Peter J; Welch, Kenneth C; Suarez, Raul K; Altshuler, Douglas L

    2013-06-15

    Hummingbird flight muscle is estimated to have among the highest mass-specific power output among vertebrates, based on aerodynamic models. However, little is known about the fundamental contractile properties of their remarkable flight muscles. We hypothesized that hummingbird pectoralis fibers generate relatively low force when activated in a tradeoff for high shortening speeds associated with the characteristic high wingbeat frequencies that are required for sustained hovering. Our objective was to measure maximal force-generating ability (maximal force/cross-sectional area, Po/CSA) in single, skinned fibers from the pectoralis and supracoracoideus muscles, which power the wing downstroke and upstroke, respectively, in hummingbirds (Calypte anna) and in another similarly sized species, zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), which also has a very high wingbeat frequency during flight but does not perform a sustained hover. Mean Po/CSA in hummingbird pectoralis fibers was very low - 1.6, 6.1 and 12.2 kN m(-2), at 10, 15 and 20°C, respectively. Po/CSA in finch pectoralis fibers was also very low (for both species, ~5% of the reported Po/CSA of chicken pectoralis fast fibers at 15°C). Q10-force (force generated at 20°C/force generated at 10°C) was very high for hummingbird and finch pectoralis fibers (mean=15.3 and 11.5, respectively) compared with rat slow and fast fibers (1.8 and 1.9, respectively). Po/CSA in hummingbird leg fibers was much higher than in pectoralis fibers at each temperature, and the mean Q10-force was much lower. Thus, hummingbird and finch pectoralis fibers have an extremely low force-generating ability compared with other bird and mammalian limb fibers, and an extremely high temperature dependence of force generation. However, the extrapolated maximum force-generating ability of hummingbird pectoralis fibers in vivo (~48 kN m(-2)) is substantially higher than the estimated requirements for hovering flight of C. anna. The unusually low Po

  8. Different Approaches to Monitoring Local Demographic Change,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1982-05-01

    1.254 Franklin 1.150 1.131 Schoharie 1.253 1.141 Fulton 1.317 1.260 Schuyler 0.959 0.927 Genesee 1.028 0.990 Seneca 0.978 0.943 Greene 1.574 1.528...Goldsmith, Harold F., and Elizabeth L. Unger. 1973. Social Area Analysis: Procedures and Illustrative Application Based Upon the Mental Health Demographic

  9. Medical Surveillance Monthly Report (MSMR). Volume 7, Number 4, April 2001

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2001-04-01

    Peritonsillar abscess 38 8.4 Complications due to certain procedures 53 5.8 Chronic disease of tonsils and adenoids 38 8.4 Sprains and strains of knee and leg...16,091 (59) 11,635 (56) 431 (71) Kidney stones 12,352 (66) 5,176 (67) 1,260 (42) Nephritis and nephrosis 3,598 (82) 1,263 (90) 446 (69) Benign prostatic

  10. Separation and sampling of ice nucleation chamber generated ice particles by means of the counterflow virtual impactor technique for the characterization of ambient ice nuclei.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schenk, Ludwig; Mertes, Stephan; Kästner, Udo; Schmidt, Susan; Schneider, Johannes; Frank, Fabian; Nillius, Björn; Worringen, Annette; Kandler, Konrad; Ebert, Martin; Stratmann, Frank

    2014-05-01

    In 2011, the German research foundation (DFG) research group called Ice Nuclei Research Unit (INUIT (FOR 1525, project STR 453/7-1) was established with the objective to achieve a better understanding concerning heterogeneous ice formation. The presented work is part of INUIT and aims for a better microphysical and chemical characterization of atmospheric aerosol particles that have the potential to act as ice nuclei (IN). For this purpose a counterflow virtual impactor (Kulkarni et al., 2011) system (IN-PCVI) was developed and characterized in order to separate and collect ice particles generated in the Fast Ice Nucleus Chamber (FINCH; Bundke et al., 2008) and to release their IN for further analysis. Here the IN-PCVI was used for the inertial separation of the IN counter produced ice particles from smaller drops and interstitial particles. This is realized by a counterflow that matches the FINCH output flow inside the IN-PCVI. The choice of these flows determines the aerodynamic cut-off diameter. The collected ice particles are transferred into the IN-PCVI sample flow where they are completely evaporated in a particle-free and dry carrier air. In this way, the aerosol particles detected as IN by the IN counter can be extracted and distributed to several particle sensors. This coupled setup FINCH, IN-PCVI and aerosol instrumentation was deployed during the INUIT-JFJ joint measurement field campaign at the research station Jungfraujoch (3580m asl). Downstream of the IN-PCVI, the Aircraft-based Laser Ablation Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (ALABAMA; Brands et al., 2011) was attached for the chemical analysis of the atmospheric IN. Also, number concentration and size distribution of IN were measured online (TROPOS) and IN impactor samples for electron microscopy (TU Darmstadt) were taken. Therefore the IN-PCVI was operated with different flow settings than known from literature (Kulkarni et al., 2011), which required a further characterisation of its cut

  11. Characterization and first results of an ice nucleating particle measurement system based on counterflow virtual impactor technique

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schenk, L. P.; Mertes, S.; Kästner, U.; Frank, F.; Nillius, B.; Bundke, U.; Rose, D.; Schmidt, S.; Schneider, J.; Worringen, A.; Kandler, K.; Bukowiecki, N.; Ebert, M.; Curtius, J.; Stratmann, F.

    2014-10-01

    A specific instrument combination was developed to achieve a better microphysical and chemical characterization of atmospheric aerosol particles that have the potential to act as ice nucleating particles (INP). For this purpose a pumped counterflow virtual impactor system called IN-PCVI was set up and characterized to separate ice particles that had been activated on INP in the Fast Ice Nucleus Chamber (FINCH) from interstitial, non-activated particles. This coupled setup consisting of FINCH (ice particle activation and counting), IN-PCVI (INP separation and preparation), and further aerosol instrumentation (INP characterization) had been developed for the application in field experiments. The separated INP were characterized on-line with regard to their total number concentration, number size distribution and chemical composition, especially with the Aircraft-based Laser Ablation Aerosol Mass Spectrometer ALABAMA. Moreover, impactor samples for electron microscopy were taken. Due to the coupling the IN-PCVI had to be operated with different flow settings than known from literature, which required a further characterization of its cut-off-behavior. Taking the changed cut-off-behavior into account, the INP number concentration measured by the IN-PCVI system was in good agreement with the one detected by the FINCH optics for water saturation ratios up to 1.01 (ice saturation ratios between 1.21-1.34 and temperatures between -18 and -26 °C). First field results of INP properties are presented which were gained during the INUIT-JFJ/CLACE 2013 campaign at the high altitude research station Jungfraujoch in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland (3580 m a.s.l.).

  12. DNA Editing of LTR Retrotransposons Reveals the Impact of APOBECs on Vertebrate Genomes

    PubMed Central

    Knisbacher, Binyamin A.; Levanon, Erez Y.

    2016-01-01

    Long terminal repeat retrotransposons (LTR) are widespread in vertebrates and their dynamism facilitates genome evolution. However, these endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) must be restricted to maintain genomic stability. The APOBECs, a protein family that can edit C-to-U in DNA, do so by interfering with reverse transcription and hypermutating retrotransposon DNA. In some cases, a retrotransposon may integrate into the genome despite being hypermutated. Such an event introduces a unique sequence into the genome, increasing retrotransposon diversity and the probability of developing new function at the locus of insertion. The prevalence of this phenomenon and its effects on vertebrate genomes are still unclear. In this study, we screened ERV sequences in the genomes of 123 diverse species and identified hundreds of thousands of edited sites in multiple vertebrate lineages, including placental mammals, marsupials, and birds. Numerous edited ERVs carry high mutation loads, some with greater than 350 edited sites, profoundly damaging their open-reading frames. For many of the species studied, this is the first evidence that APOBECs are active players in their innate immune system. Unexpectedly, some birds and especially zebra finch and medium ground-finch (one of Darwin’s finches) are exceptionally enriched in DNA editing. We demonstrate that edited retrotransposons may be preferentially retained in active genomic regions, as reflected from their enrichment in genes, exons, promoters, and transcription start sites, thereby raising the probability of their exaptation for novel function. In conclusion, DNA editing of retrotransposons by APOBECs has a substantial role in vertebrate innate immunity and may boost genome evolution. PMID:26541172

  13. Telencephalic aromatase but not a song circuit in a sub-oscine passerine, the golden collared manakin (Manacus vitellinus).

    PubMed

    Saldanha, C J; Schultz, J D; London, S E; Schlinger, B A

    2000-06-01

    In oscine passerines, the telencephalon expresses high levels of the estrogen synthetic enzyme aromatase. In contrast, forebrain aromatase is limited to low levels at discrete limbic loci in non-passerines. The function of forebrain aromatase in oscines is unknown, however, estrogen-sensitive elements of the telencephalic song circuit (an oscine characteristic) may be influenced by local aromatization. Very few studies have investigated the neuroendocrine characteristics of sub-oscine passerines. Species of this passerine sub-order are taxonomically similar to oscines, but do not appear to learn how to sing as oscines, and show no evidence of a song circuit. The neural expression of aromatase in these birds is unknown. We asked whether the golden-collared manakin, a sub-oscine, (a) showed evidence of a song circuit, and (b) expressed aromatase in the telencephalon at high levels like the zebra finch (oscine passerine) or at low levels like the quail (non-passerine). Nissl stains and immunocytochemistry for microtubule associated proteins showed no evidence of a song circuit in manakins of either sex, whereas both techniques delineate all song nuclei in the zebra finch. However, biochemical and immunocytochemical measures reveal that in the manakin, several telencephalic loci, including the hippocampus, caudomedial neostriatum, nucleus taeniae, and the lateral neostriatum express aromatase. Assays run in parallel show low to undetectable levels of aromatase in the telencephalon of the quail (nonpasserine) and abundant levels in the zebra finch (oscine passerine), suggesting a dissociation between the presence of a song circuit and forebrain aromatase expression in this sub-oscine. These data suggest that forebrain aromatase may have evolved in sub-oscine songbirds before the evolution of a song circuit and singing behavior in oscines. Alternatively, forebrain aromatase may serve functions distinct from singing behavior.

  14. Distribution of language-related Cntnap2 protein in neural circuits critical for vocal learning.

    PubMed

    Condro, Michael C; White, Stephanie A

    2014-01-01

    Variants of the contactin associated protein-like 2 (Cntnap2) gene are risk factors for language-related disorders including autism spectrum disorder, specific language impairment, and stuttering. Songbirds are useful models for study of human speech disorders due to their shared capacity for vocal learning, which relies on similar cortico-basal ganglia circuitry and genetic factors. Here we investigate Cntnap2 protein expression in the brain of the zebra finch, a songbird species in which males, but not females, learn their courtship songs. We hypothesize that Cntnap2 has overlapping functions in vocal learning species, and expect to find protein expression in song-related areas of the zebra finch brain. We further expect that the distribution of this membrane-bound protein may not completely mirror its mRNA distribution due to the distinct subcellular localization of the two molecular species. We find that Cntnap2 protein is enriched in several song control regions relative to surrounding tissues, particularly within the adult male, but not female, robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA), a cortical song control region analogous to human layer 5 primary motor cortex. The onset of this sexually dimorphic expression coincides with the onset of sensorimotor learning in developing males. Enrichment in male RA appears due to expression in projection neurons within the nucleus, as well as to additional expression in nerve terminals of cortical projections to RA from the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the nidopallium. Cntnap2 protein expression in zebra finch brain supports the hypothesis that this molecule affects neural connectivity critical for vocal learning across taxonomic classes.

  15. Nonapeptides and the Evolution of Social Group Sizes in Birds

    PubMed Central

    Goodson, James L.; Kingsbury, Marcy A.

    2010-01-01

    Species-typical patterns of grouping have profound impacts on many aspects of physiology and behavior. However, prior to our recent studies in estrildid finches, neural mechanisms that titrate species-typical group-size preferences, independent of other aspects of social organization (e.g., mating system and parental care), have been wholly unexplored, likely because species-typical group size is typically confounded with other aspects of behavior and biology. An additional complication is that components of social organization are evolutionarily labile and prone to repeated divergence and convergence. Hence, we cannot assume that convergence in social structure has been produced by convergent modifications to the same neural characters, and thus any comparative approach to grouping must include not only species that differ in their species-typical group sizes, but also species that exhibit convergent evolution in this aspect of social organization. Using five estrildid finch species that differ selectively in grouping (all biparental and monogamous) we have demonstrated that neural motivational systems evolve in predictable ways in relation to species-typical group sizes, including convergence in two highly gregarious species and convergence in two relatively asocial, territorial species. These systems include nonapeptide (vasotocin and mesotocin) circuits that encode the valence of social stimuli (positive–negative), titrate group-size preferences, and modulate anxiety-like behaviors. Nonapeptide systems exhibit functional and anatomical properties that are biased toward gregarious species, and experimental reductions of nonapeptide signaling by receptor antagonism and antisense oligonucleotides significantly decrease preferred group sizes in the gregarious zebra finch. Combined, these findings suggest that selection on species-typical group size may reliably target the same neural motivation systems when a given social structure evolves independently. PMID

  16. Dopamine receptors in a songbird brain

    PubMed Central

    Kubikova, Lubica; Wada, Kazuhiro; Jarvis, Erich D

    2010-01-01

    Dopamine is a key neuromodulatory transmitter in the brain. It acts through dopamine receptors to affect changes in neural activity, gene expression, and behavior. In songbirds, dopamine is released into the striatal song nucleus Area X, and the levels depend on social contexts of undirected and directed singing. This differential release is associated with differential expression of activity-dependent genes, such as egr1 (avian zenk), which in mammalian brain are modulated by dopamine receptors. Here we cloned from zebra finch brain cDNAs of all avian dopamine receptors: the D1 (D1A, D1B, D1D) and D2 (D2, D3, D4) families. Comparative sequence analyses of predicted proteins revealed expected phylogenetic relationships, in which the D1 family exists as single exon and the D2 family exists as spliced exon genes. In both zebra finch and chicken, the D1A, D1B, and D2 receptors were highly expressed in the striatum, the D1D and D3 throughout the pallium and within the mesopallium, respectively, and the D4 mainly in the cerebellum. Furthermore, within the zebra finch, all receptors, except for D4, showed differential expression in song nuclei relative to the surrounding regions and developmentally regulated expression that decreased for most receptors during the sensory acquisition and sensorimotor phases of song learning. Within Area X, half of the cells expressed both D1A and D2 receptors, and a higher proportion of the D1A-only-containing neurons expressed egr1 during undirected but not during directed singing. Our findings are consistent with hypotheses that dopamine receptors may be involved in song development and social context-dependent behaviors. J. Comp. Neurol. 518:741–769, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc. PMID:20058221

  17. Beeswax corticosterone implants produce long-term elevation of plasma corticosterone and influence condition.

    PubMed

    Beck, Michelle L; Davies, Scott; Moore, Ignacio T; Schoenle, Laura A; Kerman, Kaan; Vernasco, Ben J; Sewall, Kendra B

    2016-07-01

    Glucocorticoids can play a critical role in modulating life-history trade-offs. However, studying the effects of glucocorticoids on life-history often requires experimentally elevating plasma glucocorticoid concentrations for several weeks within normal physiological limits and without repeated handling of the animal. Recently, implants made of beeswax and testosterone (T) were shown to have release dynamics superior to some currently available T implants, and these beeswax implants dissolved, eliminating the need to recapture the animal. We evaluated the utility of beeswax implants containing four different dosages of corticosterone (CORT; the primary glucocorticoid in birds) and their effect on several condition indices in a captive colony of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). The three implants with the greatest CORT doses (0.05, 0.1, and 0.5mg) produced spikes in plasma CORT concentrations 20h after treatment, but were within the limits that zebra finches may normally experience. The 0.5mg CORT implant elevated plasma CORT between typical baseline and restraint stress levels reported in other studies of zebra finches for the entire 35day experiment. Birds in the 0.5mg implant group were heavier, had greater furcular fat scores, and had lower hematocrit than birds in the control and other CORT implant groups. Beeswax CORT implants are a low cost method of elevating plasma CORT for a prolonged time. Furthermore, because there is no need to remove these implants at the end of a study, this method may be amenable to studies of free-ranging animals.

  18. Juvenile i`iwi detected in lower elevations of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gaudioso, Jacqueline M.; Beck, Angela T.

    2013-01-01

    The Hawaiian islands are home to a diverse array of plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. Among the most famous of these are the spectacular Hawaiian honeycreepers, a group that evolved from a single flock of ancestral finches into at least 54 unique species. Unfortunately, the same isolation that fostered such dramatic adaptive radiation left Hawaiian species vulnerable. Under the onslaught of alien species predation and competition, habitat degradation, and introduced infectious diseases and parasites, most of the surviving honeycreepers have become largely confined to higher elevations. Intact habitat exists above the warm-weather range of deadly introduced avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum), and its mosquito vector (Culex quinquefasciatus).

  19. A Strategic Systems Model for Effective Recruiting

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-11-02

    recruiters do a tour in recruiting, then return to their original career field. As former/then Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Jim Finch believes...and Implications,” 44. 100Paul Boyce and Laura DeFrancisco, “Army Awards Distance Education Contract to PricewaterhouseCoopers to Form Army University...www.ijoa. org/imta96/paper29.html>. Internet. Accessed 28 September 2002. Boyce , Paul, and DeFrancisco, Laura. “Army Awards Distance Education

  20. A class of chaotic bird calls?

    PubMed

    Fletcher, N H

    2000-08-01

    Evidence is presented that the basic vocalized sound produced by some cockatoos, specifically the Australian sulfur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) and the gang-gang cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum), has a chaotic acoustic structure rather than the harmonic structure characteristic of most birdsongs. These findings support those of Fee et al. [Nature (London) 395(3), 67-71 (1999)] on nonlinear period-doubling transitions in the song of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). It is suggested that syllables with chaotic structure may be a feature of the songs of many birds.

  1. Catalog of known hot springs and thermal place names for Honduras

    SciTech Connect

    Finch, R.C.

    1986-08-01

    Thermal place names were compiled from all 1:50,000 topographic quadrangle maps for the Republic of Honduras as of July 1986, from other published maps, and from several sources of unpublished data. Known hot spring sites include those visited by Empresa Nacional de Energia Electrica (Honduras) geologists, sites visited by Los Alamos geologists in 1985, and other sites known to R.C. Finch. The number of known hot spring sites in Honduras with temperatures >30/sup 0/C is 125. In addition, 56 thermal sites are suspected on the basis of thermal place names. The total number of geothermal sites, known and suspected, is 181.

  2. Hemagglutinating activity of serovar reference strains of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale.

    PubMed

    Vega, Vicente; Zepeda, Andrea; Ramírez, Saúl; Morales, Vladimir; Fernández, Pomposo; de Oca, Roberto Montes; Guerra-Infante, Fernando M; de Jesús de Haro-Cruz, María; Blackall, Patrick J; Soriano, Edgardo V

    2008-05-01

    In the present study, the hemagglutinating activity of 9 reference strains (serovars A-I) of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale was investigated by using fresh erythrocytes from 15 different species: chicken (broiler, rooster, hen), turkey, pigeon, quail, duck, Harris hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus), house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus), cow, sheep, horse, dog, rabbit, pig, human (groups A, B, AB, and O), and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). All 9 strains agglutinated rabbit erythrocytes. None of the strains was able to agglutinate hen, cow, horse, or rainbow trout erythrocytes. The number of positive reactions among the remaining species varied. Results indicate that the use of rabbit erythrocytes is better suited for testing the hemagglutinating activity of O. rhinotracheale.

  3. A comparison of reptilian and avian olfactory receptor gene repertoires: Species-specific expansion of group γ genes in birds

    PubMed Central

    Steiger, Silke S; Kuryshev, Vladimir Y; Stensmyr, Marcus C; Kempenaers, Bart; Mueller, Jakob C

    2009-01-01

    Background The detection of odorants is mediated by olfactory receptors (ORs). ORs are G-protein coupled receptors that form a remarkably large protein superfamily in vertebrate genomes. We used data that became available through recent sequencing efforts of reptilian and avian genomes to identify the complete OR gene repertoires in a lizard, the green anole (Anolis carolinensis), and in two birds, the chicken (Gallus gallus) and the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Results We identified 156 green anole OR genes, including 42 pseudogenes. The OR gene repertoire of the two bird species was substantially larger with 479 and 553 OR gene homologs in the chicken and zebra finch, respectively (including 111 and 221 pseudogenes, respectively). We show that the green anole has a higher fraction of intact OR genes (~72%) compared with the chicken (~66%) and the zebra finch (~38%). We identified a larger number and a substantially higher proportion of intact OR gene homologs in the chicken genome than previously reported (214 versus 82 genes and 66% versus 15%, respectively). Phylogenetic analysis showed that lizard and bird OR gene repertoires consist of group α, θ and γ genes. Interestingly, the vast majority of the avian OR genes are confined to a large expansion of a single branch (the so called γ-c clade). An analysis of the selective pressure on the paralogous genes of each γ-c clade revealed that they have been subjected to adaptive evolution. This expansion appears to be bird-specific and not sauropsid-specific, as it is lacking from the lizard genome. The γ-c expansions of the two birds do not intermix, i.e., they are lineage-specific. Almost all (group γ-c) OR genes mapped to the unknown chromosome. The remaining OR genes mapped to six homologous chromosomes plus three to four additional chromosomes in the zebra finch and chicken. Conclusion We identified a surprisingly large number of potentially functional avian OR genes. Our data supports recent

  4. Two-step phase-shifting fluorescence incoherent holographic microscopy.

    PubMed

    Qin, Wan; Yang, Xiaoqi; Li, Yingying; Peng, Xiang; Yao, Hai; Qu, Xinghua; Gao, Bruce Z

    2014-06-01

    Fluorescence holographic microscope (FINCHSCOPE) is a motionless fluorescence holographic imaging technique based on Fresnel incoherent correlation holography (FINCH) that shows promise in reconstructing three-dimensional fluorescence images of biological specimens with three holograms. We report a developing two-step phase-shifting method that reduces the required number of holograms from three to two. Using this method, we resolved microscopic fluorescent beads that were three-dimensionally distributed at different depths with two interferograms captured by a CCD camera. The method enables the FINCHSCOPE to work in conjunction with the frame-straddling technique and significantly enhance imaging speed.

  5. UCAC4 Nearby Star Survey: A Search for Our Stellar Neighbors

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-12-01

    UCAC4 NEARBY STAR SURVEY: A SEARCH FOR OUR STELLAR NEIGHBORS Charlie T. Finch1, Norbert Zacharias1, John P. Subasavage2, Todd J. Henry3, and Adric R...Catalog (UCAC4) in combination with photometry from the AAVSO Photometric All-Sky Survey and Two Micron All-Sky Survey to identify stars within 25 pc of...the Sun. A sample of nearby stars with accurate trigonometric parallaxes from the Research Consortium On Nearby Stars is used to generate a set of 16

  6. Ecological Risk Assessment of Perchlorate in Avian Species, Rodents, Amphibians and Fish: FY2003

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2005-10-01

    REPRODUCTIVE AND MOLECULAR TOXICITY OF TNX IN DEER MICE …………………………………………………………………….. 1 DEVELOPMENTAL RESPONSE OF LARVAL XENOPUS LAEVIS TO TNX ….…. 21... Reproductive and Molecular Toxicity of TNX in Deer Mice. STUDY NUMBER: MRT-03-01 SPONSOR: Strategic Environmental and Research...TIEHH Protocol No. FINCH-04-01 U.S. Air Force Coop. Agreement CU 1235 Page 5 of 225 1.0 DESCRIPTIVE STUDY TITLE: Reproductive and Molecular

  7. Ketocarotenoid circulation, but not retinal carotenoid accumulation, is linked to eye disease status in a wild songbird.

    PubMed

    McGraw, Kevin J; Giraudeau, Mathieu; Hill, Geoffrey E; Toomey, Matthew B; Staley, Molly

    2013-11-15

    Pathogenic or parasitic infections pose numerous physiological challenges to organisms. Carotenoid pigments have often been used as biomarkers of disease state and impact because they integrate multiple aspects of an individual's condition and nutritional and health state. Some diseases are known to influence carotenoid uptake from food (e.g. coccidiosis) and carotenoid use (e.g. as antioxidants/immunostimulants in the body, or for sexually attractive coloration), but there is relatively little information in animals about how different types of carotenoids from different tissue sources may be affected by disease. Here we tracked carotenoid accumulation in two body pools (retina and plasma) as a function of disease state in free-ranging house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus). House finches in eastern North America can contract mycoplasmal conjunctivitis (Mycoplasma gallisepticum, or MG), which can progress from eye swelling to eye closure and death. Previous work showed that systemic immune challenges in house finches lower carotenoid levels in retina, where they act as photoprotectors and visual filters. We assessed carotenoid levels during the molt period, a time of year when finches uniquely metabolize ketocarotenoids (e.g. 3-hydroxy-echinenone) for acquisition of sexually selected red plumage coloration, and found that males infected with MG circulated significantly lower levels of 3-hydroxy-echinenone, but no other plasma carotenoid types, than birds exhibiting no MG symptoms. This result uncovers a key biochemical mechanism for the documented detrimental effect of MG on plumage redness in H. mexicanus. In contrast, we failed to find a relationship between MG infection status and retinal carotenoid concentrations. Thus, we reveal differential effects of an infectious eye disease on carotenoid types and tissue pools in a wild songbird. At least compared to retinal sources (which appear somewhat more temporally stable than other body carotenoid pools, even to

  8. To be or not to be a hamlet pair in sympatry.

    PubMed

    Salzburger, Walter

    2008-03-01

    Recent adaptive radiations, such as the fringillid finches on the Galapagos archipelago or the cichlid fishes in the East African Great Lakes, are invaluable model systems for evolutionary and ecological research. Puebla et al., in this issue of Molecular Ecology, have established a group of colorful coral reef fishes from the Caribbean sea for studying the early phases of species formation in a marine adaptive radiation. It appears that local evolutionary processes are important in this system, which might have even triggered in situ speciation.

  9. Two-step phase-shifting fluorescence incoherent holographic microscopy

    PubMed Central

    Qin, Wan; Yang, Xiaoqi; Li, Yingying; Peng, Xiang; Yao, Hai; Qu, Xinghua; Gao, Bruce Z.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract. Fluorescence holographic microscope (FINCHSCOPE) is a motionless fluorescence holographic imaging technique based on Fresnel incoherent correlation holography (FINCH) that shows promise in reconstructing three-dimensional fluorescence images of biological specimens with three holograms. We report a developing two-step phase-shifting method that reduces the required number of holograms from three to two. Using this method, we resolved microscopic fluorescent beads that were three-dimensionally distributed at different depths with two interferograms captured by a CCD camera. The method enables the FINCHSCOPE to work in conjunction with the frame-straddling technique and significantly enhance imaging speed. PMID:24972355

  10. Modified Lagrange invariants and their role in determining transverse and axial imaging resolutions of self-interference incoherent holographic systems

    PubMed Central

    Rosen, Joseph; Kelner, Roy

    2014-01-01

    The Lagrange invariant is a well-known law for optical imaging systems formulated in the frame of ray optics. In this study, we reformulate this law in terms of wave optics and relate it to the resolution limits of various imaging systems. Furthermore, this modified Lagrange invariant is generalized for imaging along the z axis, resulting with the axial Lagrange invariant which can be used to analyze the axial resolution of various imaging systems. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the theory, analysis of the lateral and the axial imaging resolutions is provided for Fresnel incoherent correlation holography (FINCH) systems. PMID:25402144

  11. Memoirs of a Geologist: From Poverty Peak to Piggery Gulch

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCoy, Floyd W.

    In the first half of this century, geologists began mapping the islands within the Pacific basin systematically, following the exploratory expeditions launched by major countries in the previous century. Into the remote oceanic expanses went Thomas A. Jaggar, Ruy H. Finch, Howel Williams, Harry S. Ladd, J. Edward Hoffmeister, Gordon A. Macdonald (to name only a few)—and Harold T. Stearns. These were the days of long ship travel without the convenience of airplanes. Cultural mixing had not resulted in the nearly homogenous amorphism that seems to exist now, and communication within and across the basin was slow and tedious.

  12. Temperature Manipulation in Songbird Brain Implicates the Premotor Nucleus HVC in Birdsong Syntax.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yisi S; Wittenbach, Jason D; Jin, Dezhe Z; Kozhevnikov, Alexay A

    2017-03-08

    Variable motor sequences of animals are often structured and can be described by probabilistic transition rules between action elements. Examples include the songs of many songbird species such as the Bengalese finch, which consist of stereotypical syllables sequenced according to probabilistic rules (song syntax). The neural mechanisms behind such rules are poorly understood. Here, we investigate where the song syntax is encoded in the brain of the Bengalese finch by rapidly and reversibly manipulating the temperature in the song production pathway. Cooling the premotor nucleus HVC (proper name) slows down the song tempo, consistent with the idea that HVC controls moment-to-moment timings of acoustic features in the syllables. More importantly, cooling HVC alters the transition probabilities between syllables. Cooling HVC reduces the number of repetitions of long-repeated syllables and increases the randomness of syllable sequences. In contrast, cooling the downstream motor area RA (robust nucleus of the acropallium), which is critical for singing, does not affect the song syntax. Unilateral cooling of HVC shows that control of syllables is mostly lateralized to the left HVC, whereas transition probabilities between the syllables can be affected by cooling HVC in either hemisphere to varying degrees. These results show that HVC is a key site for encoding song syntax in the Bengalese finch. HVC is thus involved both in encoding timings within syllables and in sequencing probabilistic transitions between syllables. Our finding suggests that probabilistic selections and fine-grained timings of action elements can be integrated within the same neural circuits.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Many animal behaviors such as birdsong consist of variable sequences of discrete actions. Where and how the probabilistic rules of such sequences are encoded in the brain is poorly understood. We locally and reversibly cooled brain areas in songbirds during singing. Mild cooling of area HVC

  13. The Solar Neighborhood. XXV. Discovery of New Proper Motion Stars with 0.40 sec/yr > mu > or = 0.18 sec/yr Between Declinations -47 deg and 00 deg

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-07-01

    Schilbach, E. 2010, AJ, 139, 2440 Röser, S., Schilbach, E., Schwan, H., Kharchenko, N . V., Piskunov , A. E., & Schloz, R.-D. 2008, A&A, 488, 401...Nemeth, P. 2002, ApJS, 141, 187 Deacon, N . R., & Hambly, N . C. 2007, A&A, 468, 163 Deacon, N . R., Hambly, N . C., & Cooke, J. A. 2005, A&A, 435, 363...Deacon, N . R., et al. 2009, MNRAS, 397, 1685 Finch, C. T., Henry, T. J., Subasavage, J. P., Jao, W. C., & Hambly, N . C. 2007, AJ, 133, 2898 (TSN XVIII

  14. Search for universal extra dimensions in ppbar collisions

    SciTech Connect

    Abazov, Victor Mukhamedovich; Abbott, Braden Keim; Acharya, Bannanje Sripath; Adams, Mark Raymond; Adams, Todd; Alexeev, Guennadi D.; Alkhazov, Georgiy D.; Alton, Andrew K.; Alverson, George O.; Aoki, Masato; Askew, Andrew Warren; /Florida State U. /Stockholm U.

    2011-12-01

    We present a search for Kaluza-Klein (KK) particles predicted by models with universal extra dimensions (UED) using a data set corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 7.3 fb{sup -1}, collected by the D0 detector at a p{bar p} center of mass energy of 1.96 TeV. The decay chain of KK particles can lead to a final state with two muons of the same charge. This signature is used to set a lower limit on the compactification scale of R{sup -1} > 260 GeV in a minimal UED model.

  15. Search for Universal Extra Dimensions in p(p)over-bar Collisions

    SciTech Connect

    Abazov V. M.; Abbott B.; Acharya B. S.; Adams M.; Adams T.; Alexeev G. D.; Alkhazov G.; Alton A.; Alverson G.; Aoki M.; Askew A.; Asman B.; Atkins S.; Atramentov O.; Augsten K.; Avila C.; BackusMayes J.; Badaud F.; Bagby L.; Baldin B.; Bandurin D. V.; Banerjee S.; Barberis E.; Baringer P.; Barreto J.; Bartlett J. F.; Bassler U.; Bazterra V.; Bean A.; Begalli M.; Belanger-Champagne C.; Bellantoni L.; Beri S. B.; Bernardi G.; Bernhard R.; Bertram I.; Besancon M.; Beuselinck R.; Bezzubov V. A.; Bhat P. C.; Bhatia S.; Bhatnagar V.; Blazey G.; Blessing S.; Bloom K.; Boehnlein A.; Boline D.; Boos E. E.; Borissov G.; Bose T.; Brandt A.; Brandt O.; Brock R.; Brooijmans G.; Bross A.; Brown D.; Brown J.; Bu X. B.; Buehler M.; Buescher V.; Bunichev V.; Burdin S.; Burnett T. H.; Buszello C. P.; Calpas B.; Camacho-Perez E.; Carrasco-Lizarraga M. A.; Casey B. C. K.; Castilla-Valdez H.; Chakrabarti S.; Chakraborty D.; Chan K. M.; Chandra A.; Chapon E.; Chen G.; Chevalier-Thery S.; Cho D. K.; Cho S. W.; Choi S.; Choudhary B.; Cihangir S.; Claes D.; Clutter J.; Cooke M.; Cooper W. E.; Corcoran M.; Couderc F.; Cousinou M-C; Croc A.; Cutts D.; Das A.; Davies G.; de Jong S. J.; De La Cruz-Burelo E.; Deliot F.; Demina R.; Denisov D.; Denisov S. P.; Desai S.; Deterre C.; DeVaughan K.; Diehl H. T.; Diesburg M.; Ding P. F.; Dominguez A.; Dorland T.; Dubey A.; Dudko L. V.; Duggan D.; Duperrin A.; Dutt S.; Dyshkant A.; Eads M.; Edmunds D.; Ellison J.; Elvira V. D.; Enari Y.; Evans H.; Evdokimov A.; Evdokimov V. N.; Facini G.; Ferbel T.; Fiedler F.; Filthaut F.; Fisher W.; Fisk H. E.; Fortner M.; Fox H.; Fuess S.; Garcia-Bellido A.; Garcia-Guerra G. A.; Gavrilov V.; Gay P.; Geng W.; Gerbaudo D.; Gerber C. E.; Gershtein Y.; Ginther G.; Golovanov G.; Goryachev V. N.; Goussiou A.; Grannis P. D.; Greder S.; Greenlee H.; Greenwood Z. D.; Gregores E. M.; Grenier G.; Gris Ph; Grivaz J-F; Grohsjean A.; Gruenendahl S.; Gruenewald M. W.; Guillemin T.; Gutierrez G.; Gutierrez P.; Haas A.; Hagopian S.; Haley J.; Han L.; Harder K.; Harel A.; Hauptman J. M.; Hays J.; Head T.; Hebbeker T.; Hedin D.; Hegab H.; Heinson A. P.; Heintz U.; Hensel C.; Heredia-De La Cruz I.; Herner K.; Hesketh G.; Hildreth M. D.; Hirosky R.; Hoang T.; Hobbs J. D.; Hoeneisen B.; Hohlfeld M.; Hubacek Z.; Hynek V.; Iashvili I.; Ilchenko Y.; Illingworth R.; Ito A. S.; Jabeen S.; Jaffre M.; Jamin D.; Jayasinghe A.; Jesik R.; Johns K.; Johnson M.; Jonckheere A.; Jonsson P.; Joshi J.; Jung A. W.; Juste A.; Kaadze K.; Kajfasz E.; Karmanov D.; Kasper P. A.; Katsanos I.; Kehoe R.; Kermiche S.; Khalatyan N.; Khanov A.; Kharchilava A.; Kharzheev Y. N.; Kohli J. M.; Kozelov A. V.; Kraus J.; Kulikov S.; Kumar A.; Kupco A.; Kurca T.; Kuzmin V. A.; Lammers S.; Landsberg G.; Lebrun P.; Lee H. S.; Lee S. W.; Lee W. M.; Lellouch J.; Li H.; Li L.; Li Q. Z.; Lietti S. M.; Lim J. K.; Lincoln D.; Linnemann J.; Lipaev V. V.; Lipton R.; Liu Y.; Lobodenko A.; Lokajicek M.; de Sa R. Lopes; Lubatti H. J.; Luna-Garcia R.; Lyon A. L.; Maciel A. K. A.; Mackin D.; Madar R.; Magana-Villalba R.; Malik S.; Malyshev V. L.; Mansour J.; Maravin Y.; Martinez-Ortega J.; McCarthy R.; McGivern C. L.; Meijer M. M.; Melnitchouk A.; Menezes D.; Mercadante P. G.; Merkin M.; Meyer A.; Meyer J.; et al.

    2012-03-30

    We present a search for Kaluza-Klein (KK) particles predicted by models with universal extra dimensions (UED) using a data set corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 7.3 fb{sup -1}, collected by the D0 detector at a p{bar p} center-of-mass energy of 1.96 TeV. The decay chain of KK particles can lead to a final state with two muons of the same charge. This signature is used to set a lower limit on the compactification scale of R{sup -1} > 260 GeV in a minimal UED model.

  16. Frequency-Dependent Selection Predicts Patterns of Radiations and Biodiversity

    PubMed Central

    Melián, Carlos J.; Alonso, David; Vázquez, Diego P.; Regetz, James; Allesina, Stefano

    2010-01-01

    Most empirical studies support a decline in speciation rates through time, although evidence for constant speciation rates also exists. Declining rates have been explained by invoking pre-existing niches, whereas constant rates have been attributed to non-adaptive processes such as sexual selection and mutation. Trends in speciation rate and the processes underlying it remain unclear, representing a critical information gap in understanding patterns of global diversity. Here we show that the temporal trend in the speciation rate can also be explained by frequency-dependent selection. We construct a frequency-dependent and DNA sequence-based model of speciation. We compare our model to empirical diversity patterns observed for cichlid fish and Darwin's finches, two classic systems for which speciation rates and richness data exist. Negative frequency-dependent selection predicts well both the declining speciation rate found in cichlid fish and explains their species richness. For groups like the Darwin's finches, in which speciation rates are constant and diversity is lower, speciation rate is better explained by a model without frequency-dependent selection. Our analysis shows that differences in diversity may be driven by incipient species abundance with frequency-dependent selection. Our results demonstrate that genetic-distance-based speciation and frequency-dependent selection are sufficient to explain the high diversity observed in natural systems and, importantly, predict decay through time in speciation rate in the absence of pre-existing niches. PMID:20865126

  17. Measuring oxidative stress: the confounding effect of lipid concentration in measures of lipid peroxidation.

    PubMed

    Pérez-Rodríguez, Lorenzo; Romero-Haro, Ana A; Sternalski, Audrey; Muriel, Jaime; Mougeot, Francois; Gil, Diego; Alonso-Alvarez, Carlos

    2015-01-01

    Lipid peroxidation products are widely used as markers of oxidative damage in the organism. To properly interpret the information provided by these markers, it is necessary to know potential sources of bias and control confounding factors. Here, we investigated the relationship between two indicators of lipid mobilization (circulating levels of triglycerides and cholesterol) and two common markers of oxidative damage (plasma levels of malondialdehyde and hydroperoxides; the latter estimated from the d-ROMs assay kit). The following five avian species were studied: red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa), zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), spotless starling (Sturnus unicolor), marsh harrier (Circus aeroginosus), and Montagu's harrier (Circus pygargus). In all cases, plasma triglyceride levels positively and significantly correlated with lipid peroxidation markers, explaining between 8% and 34% of their variability. Plasma cholesterol, in contrast, showed a significant positive relationship only among spotless starling nestlings and a marginally significant association in zebra finches. These results indicate that lipid peroxidation marker levels covary with circulating lipid levels. We discuss the potential causes and implications of this covariation and recommend that future studies that measure oxidative damage using lipid peroxidation markers report both raw and relative levels (i.e., corrected for circulating triglycerides). Whether the observed pattern also holds for other tissues and in other taxa would deserve further research.

  18. Complex Sequencing Rules of Birdsong Can be Explained by Simple Hidden Markov Processes

    PubMed Central

    Katahira, Kentaro; Suzuki, Kenta; Okanoya, Kazuo; Okada, Masato

    2011-01-01

    Complex sequencing rules observed in birdsongs provide an opportunity to investigate the neural mechanism for generating complex sequential behaviors. To relate the findings from studying birdsongs to other sequential behaviors such as human speech and musical performance, it is crucial to characterize the statistical properties of the sequencing rules in birdsongs. However, the properties of the sequencing rules in birdsongs have not yet been fully addressed. In this study, we investigate the statistical properties of the complex birdsong of the Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica). Based on manual-annotated syllable labeles, we first show that there are significant higher-order context dependencies in Bengalese finch songs, that is, which syllable appears next depends on more than one previous syllable. We then analyze acoustic features of the song and show that higher-order context dependencies can be explained using first-order hidden state transition dynamics with redundant hidden states. This model corresponds to hidden Markov models (HMMs), well known statistical models with a large range of application for time series modeling. The song annotation with these models with first-order hidden state dynamics agreed well with manual annotation, the score was comparable to that of a second-order HMM, and surpassed the zeroth-order model (the Gaussian mixture model; GMM), which does not use context information. Our results imply that the hierarchical representation with hidden state dynamics may underlie the neural implementation for generating complex behavioral sequences with higher-order dependencies. PMID:21915345

  19. Domestication changes innate constraints for birdsong learning.

    PubMed

    Kagawa, Hiroko; Suzuki, Kenta; Takahasi, Miki; Okanoya, Kazuo

    2014-07-01

    Birdsongs are acquired by imitating the sounds produced by conspecifics. Within a species, songs diverge by cultural transmission, but the range of species-specific features is restricted by innate constraints. Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata var. domestica) are a domesticated strain of the wild White-rumped munia (Lonchura striata). The songs of the domesticated strain have more tonal sounds and more variable sequences than those of the wild strain. We compared the features of songs that were produced by normal birds, isolation-reared birds, and cross-fostered birds in both White-rumped munias and Bengalese finches to identify differences in the genetic and environmental factors of their songs. Factor analyses were conducted based on 17 song measurements. We found that isolated songs differed from normal and cross-fostered songs, especially in unstable prosodic features. In addition, there were significant differences in sound property of mean frequency between the two strains regardless of the rearing conditions. Thus, innate constraints that partially determine birdsong phenotypes may be altered through domestication.

  20. Complex sequencing rules of birdsong can be explained by simple hidden Markov processes.

    PubMed

    Katahira, Kentaro; Suzuki, Kenta; Okanoya, Kazuo; Okada, Masato

    2011-01-01

    Complex sequencing rules observed in birdsongs provide an opportunity to investigate the neural mechanism for generating complex sequential behaviors. To relate the findings from studying birdsongs to other sequential behaviors such as human speech and musical performance, it is crucial to characterize the statistical properties of the sequencing rules in birdsongs. However, the properties of the sequencing rules in birdsongs have not yet been fully addressed. In this study, we investigate the statistical properties of the complex birdsong of the Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica). Based on manual-annotated syllable labeles, we first show that there are significant higher-order context dependencies in Bengalese finch songs, that is, which syllable appears next depends on more than one previous syllable. We then analyze acoustic features of the song and show that higher-order context dependencies can be explained using first-order hidden state transition dynamics with redundant hidden states. This model corresponds to hidden Markov models (HMMs), well known statistical models with a large range of application for time series modeling. The song annotation with these models with first-order hidden state dynamics agreed well with manual annotation, the score was comparable to that of a second-order HMM, and surpassed the zeroth-order model (the Gaussian mixture model; GMM), which does not use context information. Our results imply that the hierarchical representation with hidden state dynamics may underlie the neural implementation for generating complex behavioral sequences with higher-order dependencies.

  1. Two neural streams, one voice: pathways for theme and variation in the songbird brain.

    PubMed

    Bertram, R; Daou, A; Hyson, R L; Johnson, F; Wu, W

    2014-09-26

    Birdsong offers a unique model system to understand how a developing brain - once given a set of purely acoustic targets - teaches itself the vocal-tract gestures necessary to imitate those sounds. Like human infants, to juvenile male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) falls the burden of initiating the vocal-motor learning of adult sounds. In both species, adult caregivers provide only a set of sounds to be imitated, with little or no information about the vocal-tract gestures used to produce the sounds. Here, we focus on the central control of birdsong and review the recent discovery that zebra finch song is under dual premotor control. Distinct forebrain pathways for structured (theme) and unstructured (variation) singing not only raise new questions about mechanisms of sensory-motor integration, but also provide a fascinating new research opportunity. A cortical locus for a motor memory of the learned song is now firmly established, meaning that anatomical, physiological, and computational approaches are poised to reveal the neural mechanisms used by the brain to compose the songs of birds.

  2. Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium spp. from fecal samples of birds kept in captivity in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Nakamura, Alex Akira; Simões, Daniel Castendo; Antunes, Rômulo Godik; da Silva, Deuvânia Carvalho; Meireles, Marcelo Vasconcelos

    2009-12-03

    The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of Cryptosporidium species and genotypes in birds kept in captivity in Brazil. A total of 966 samples from 18 families of birds was collected and stored in 5% potassium dichromate solution at 4 degrees C until processing. Oocysts were purified in Sheather sugar solution following extraction of genomic DNA. Molecular analyses were performed using nested-PCR for amplification of fragments of the 18S subunit of rRNA gene and of the actin gene. Amplification of Cryptosporidium DNA fragments was obtained in 47 (4.86%) samples. Sequencing of amplified fragments and phylogenetic analyses allowed the identification of Cryptosporidium baileyi in a black vulture (Coragyps atratus), a domestic chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) and a saffron finch (Sicalis flaveola); Cryptosporidium galli in canaries (Serinus canaria), a cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) and lesser seed-finches (Oryzoborus angolensis); Cryptosporidium meleagridis in a domestic chicken (G. g. domesticus); Cryptosporidium parvum in a cockatiel (N. hollandicus); Cryptosporidium avian genotype I in a canary (S. canaria) and an Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus); Cryptosporidium avian genotype II in ostriches (Struthio camelus) and Cryptosporidium avian genotype III in a cockatiel (N. hollandicus) and a peach-faced lovebird (Agapornis roseicolis).

  3. Interacting effects of early dietary conditions and reproductive effort on the oxidative costs of reproduction.

    PubMed

    Noguera, Jose Carlos

    2017-01-01

    The hypothesis that oxidative damage accumulation can mediate the trade-off between reproduction and lifespan has recently been questioned. However, in captive conditions, studies reporting no evidence in support of this hypothesis have usually provided easy access to food which may have mitigated the cost of reproduction. Here, I test the hypothesis that greater investment in reproduction should lead to oxidative damage accumulation and telomere loss in domestic zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata. Moreover, since the change or fluctuation in diet composition between early and late postnatal period can impair the ability to produce antioxidant defences in zebra finches, I also tested if early nutritional conditions (constant vs fluctuating early diet) influenced the magnitude of any subsequent costs of reproduction (e.g., oxidative damage and/or telomere shortening). In comparison to pairs with reduced broods, the birds that had to feed enlarged broods showed a higher level of oxidative DNA damage (8-OHdG), but brood size had no effect on telomeres. Fluctuating early diet composition reduced the capacity to maintain the activity of endogenous antioxidants (GPx), particularly when reproductive costs were increased (enlarged brood). The decline in GPx in birds feeding enlarged broods was accompanied by a change in bill colouration. This suggests that birds with lower endogenous antioxidant defences might have strategically increased the mobilization of antioxidants previously stored in other tissues (i.e., bill and liver) and thus, preventing an excessive accumulation of damage during reproduction.

  4. Does inbreeding affect gene expression in birds?

    PubMed

    Hansson, Bengt; Naurin, Sara; Hasselquist, Dennis

    2014-09-01

    Inbreeding increases homozygosity, exposes genome-wide recessive deleterious alleles and often reduces fitness. The physiological and reproductive consequences of inbreeding may be manifested already during gene regulation, but the degree to which inbreeding influences gene expression is unknown in most organisms, including in birds. To evaluate the pattern of inbreeding-affected gene expression over the genome and in relation to sex, we performed a transcriptome-wide gene expression (10 695 genes) study of brain tissue of 10-day-old inbred and outbred, male and female zebra finches. We found significantly lower gene expression in females compared with males at Z-linked genes, confirming that dosage compensation is incomplete in female birds. However, inbreeding did not affect gene expression at autosomal or sex-linked genes, neither in males nor in females. Analyses of single genes again found a clear sex-biased expression at Z-linked genes, whereas only a single gene was significantly affected by inbreeding. The weak effect of inbreeding on gene expression in zebra finches contrasts to the situation, for example, in Drosophila where inbreeding has been found to influence gene expression more generally and at stress-related genes in particular.

  5. Dopaminergic Contributions to Vocal Learning

    PubMed Central

    Hoffmann, Lukas A.; Saravanan, Varun; Wood, Alynda N.; He, Li

    2016-01-01

    Although the brain relies on auditory information to calibrate vocal behavior, the neural substrates of vocal learning remain unclear. Here we demonstrate that lesions of the dopaminergic inputs to a basal ganglia nucleus in a songbird species (Bengalese finches, Lonchura striata var. domestica) greatly reduced the magnitude of vocal learning driven by disruptive auditory feedback in a negative reinforcement task. These lesions produced no measureable effects on the quality of vocal performance or the amount of song produced. Our results suggest that dopaminergic inputs to the basal ganglia selectively mediate reinforcement-driven vocal plasticity. In contrast, dopaminergic lesions produced no measurable effects on the birds' ability to restore song acoustics to baseline following the cessation of reinforcement training, suggesting that different forms of vocal plasticity may use different neural mechanisms. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT During skill learning, the brain relies on sensory feedback to improve motor performance. However, the neural basis of sensorimotor learning is poorly understood. Here, we investigate the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in regulating vocal learning in the Bengalese finch, a songbird with an extremely precise singing behavior that can nevertheless be reshaped dramatically by auditory feedback. Our findings show that reduction of dopamine inputs to a region of the songbird basal ganglia greatly impairs vocal learning but has no detectable effect on vocal performance. These results suggest a specific role for dopamine in regulating vocal plasticity. PMID:26888928

  6. Maternal and developmental immune challenges alter behavior and learning ability of offspring.

    PubMed

    Grindstaff, Jennifer L; Hunsaker, Veronica R; Cox, Shelby N

    2012-08-01

    Stimulation of the offspring immune response during development is known to influence growth and behavioral phenotype. However, the potential for maternal antibodies to block the behavioral effects of immune activation during the neonatal period has not been assessed. We challenged female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) prior to egg laying and then challenged offspring during the nestling and juvenile periods with one of two antigens (keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) or lipopolysaccharide (LPS)). We then tested the effects of maternal and neonatal immune challenges on offspring growth rates and neophobia and learning ability of offspring during adulthood. Neonatal immune challenge depressed growth rates. Neophobia of adult offspring was influenced by a combination of maternal treatment, offspring treatment, and offspring sex. Males challenged with LPS during the nestling and juvenile periods had reduced learning performance in a novel foraging task; however, female learning was not impacted. Offspring challenged with the same antigen as mothers exhibited similar growth suppression and behavioral changes as offspring challenged with a novel antigen. Thus, developmental immune challenges have long-term effects on the growth and behavioral phenotype of offspring. We found limited evidence that matching of maternal and offspring challenges reduces the effects of immune challenge in the altricial zebra finch. This may be a result of rapid catabolism of maternal antibodies in altricial birds. Our results emphasize the need to address sex differences in the long-term effects of developmental immune challenge and suggest that neonatal immune activation may be one proximate mechanism underlying differences in adult behavior.

  7. Cortisol and corticosterone in the songbird immune and nervous systems: local vs. systemic levels during development.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Kim L; Soma, Kiran K

    2008-07-01

    Glucocorticoids (GCs) have profound effects on the immune and nervous systems during development. However, circulating GC levels are low neonatally and show little response to stressors. This paradox could be resolved if immune and neural tissues locally synthesize GCs. Here, we measured baseline corticosterone and cortisol levels in plasma, immune organs, and brain regions of developing zebra finches. Steroids were extracted using solid phase-extraction and quantified using specific immunoassays. As expected, corticosterone was the predominant GC in plasma and increased with age. In contrast, cortisol was the predominant GC in immune tissues (bursa of Fabricius, thymus, spleen) and decreased with age. Cortisol levels in immune tissues were higher than cortisol levels in plasma. In the brain, corticosterone and cortisol levels were similarly low, providing little evidence for local synthesis of GCs in the brain. This is the first study to measure 1) cortisol in the plasma of songbirds, 2) corticosterone or cortisol in the brain of songbirds, and 3) corticosterone or cortisol in the immune system of any species. Despite the prevailing dogma that corticosterone is the primary GC in birds, these results indicate that cortisol is the predominant GC in the immune system of developing zebra finches. These results raise the hypothesis that cortisol is synthesized de novo from cholesterol in the immune system as an "immunosteroid," analogous to neurosteroids synthesized in the brain. Local production of GCs in immune tissues may allow GCs to regulate lymphocyte selection while avoiding the costs of high systemic GCs during development.

  8. Impact of nest sanitation on the immune system of parents and nestlings in a passerine bird.

    PubMed

    Evans, Jessica K; Griffith, Simon C; Klasing, Kirk C; Buchanan, Katherine L

    2016-07-01

    Bacterial communities are thought to have fundamental effects on the growth and development of nestling birds. The antigen exposure hypothesis suggests that, for both nestlings and adult birds, exposure to a diverse range of bacteria would select for stronger immune defences. However, there are relatively few studies that have tested the immune/bacterial relationships outside of domestic poultry. We therefore sought to examine indices of immunity (microbial killing ability in naive birds, which is a measure of innate immunity, and the antibody response to sheep red blood cells, which measures adaptive immunity) in both adult and nestling zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). We did this throughout breeding and between reproductive attempts in nests that were experimentally manipulated to change the intensity of bacterial exposure. Our results suggest that nest sanitation and bacterial load affected measures of the adaptive immune system, but not the innate immune parameters tested. Adult finches breeding in clean nests had a lower primary antibody response to sheep red blood cells, particularly males, and a greater difference between primary and secondary responses. Adult microbial killing of Escherichia coli decreased as parents moved from incubation to nestling rearing for both nest treatments; however, killing of Candida albicans remained consistent throughout. In nestlings, both innate microbial killing and the adaptive antibody response did not differ between nest environments. Together, these results suggest that exposure to microorganisms in the environment affects the adaptive immune system in nesting birds, with exposure upregulating the antibody response in adult birds.

  9. Vocal control area-related expression of neuropilin-1, plexin-A4, and the ligand semaphorin-3A has implications for the evolution of the avian vocal system.

    PubMed

    Matsunaga, Eiji; Okanoya, Kazuo

    2009-01-01

    The avian vocal system is a good model for exploring the molecular basis of neural circuit evolution related to behavioral diversity. Previously, we conducted a comparative gene expression analysis among two different families of vocal learner, the Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica), a songbird, and the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), a parrot; and a non-learner, the quail (Coturnix coturnix), to identify various axon guidance molecules such as cadherin and neuropilin-1 as vocal control area-related genes. Here, we continue with this study and examine the expression of neuropilin and related genes in these species in more detail. We found that neuropilin-1 and its coreceptor, plexin-A4, were expressed in several vocal control areas in both Bengalese finch and budgerigar brains. In addition, semaphorin-3A, the ligand of neuropilin-1, expression was not detected in vocal control areas in both species. Furthermore, there was some similar gene expression in the quail brain. These results suggest the possibility that a change in the expression of a combination of semaphorin/neuropilin/plexin was involved in the acquisition of vocal learning ability during evolution.

  10. Hemispheric dominance underlying the neural substrate for learned vocalizations develops with experience.

    PubMed

    Chirathivat, Napim; Raja, Sahitya C; Gobes, Sharon M H

    2015-06-22

    Many aspects of song learning in songbirds resemble characteristics of speech acquisition in humans. Genetic, anatomical and behavioural parallels have most recently been extended with demonstrated similarities in hemispheric dominance between humans and songbirds: the avian higher order auditory cortex is left-lateralized for processing song memories in juvenile zebra finches that already have formed a memory of their fathers' song, just like Wernicke's area in the left hemisphere of the human brain is dominant for speech perception. However, it is unclear if hemispheric specialization is due to pre-existing functional asymmetry or the result of learning itself. Here we show that in juvenile male and female zebra finches that had never heard an adult song before, neuronal activation after initial exposure to a conspecific song is bilateral. Thus, like in humans, hemispheric dominance develops with vocal proficiency. A left-lateralized functional system that develops through auditory-vocal learning may be an evolutionary adaptation that could increase the efficiency of transferring information within one hemisphere, benefiting the production and perception of learned communication signals.

  11. Meaning in the avian auditory cortex: Neural representation of communication calls

    PubMed Central

    Elie, Julie E; Theunissen, Frédéric E

    2014-01-01

    Understanding how the brain extracts the behavioral meaning carried by specific vocalization types that can be emitted by various vocalizers and in different conditions is a central question in auditory research. This semantic categorization is a fundamental process required for acoustic communication and presupposes discriminative and invariance properties of the auditory system for conspecific vocalizations. Songbirds have been used extensively to study vocal learning, but the communicative function of all their vocalizations and their neural representation has yet to be examined. In our research, we first generated a library containing almost the entire zebra finch vocal repertoire and organized communication calls along 9 different categories based on their behavioral meaning. We then investigated the neural representations of these semantic categories in the primary and secondary auditory areas of 6 anesthetized zebra finches. To analyze how single units encode these call categories, we described neural responses in terms of their discrimination, selectivity and invariance properties. Quantitative measures for these neural properties were obtained using an optimal decoder based both on spike counts and spike patterns. Information theoretic metrics show that almost half of the single units encode semantic information. Neurons achieve higher discrimination of these semantic categories by being more selective and more invariant. These results demonstrate that computations necessary for semantic categorization of meaningful vocalizations are already present in the auditory cortex and emphasize the value of a neuro-ethological approach to understand vocal communication. PMID:25728175

  12. Social learning in nest-building birds: a role for familiarity

    PubMed Central

    Guillette, Lauren M.; Scott, Alice C. Y.; Healy, Susan D.

    2016-01-01

    It is becoming apparent that birds learn from their own experiences of nest building. What is not clear is whether birds can learn from watching conspecifics build. As social learning allows an animal to gain information without engaging in costly trial-and-error learning, first-time builders should exploit the successful habits of experienced builders. We presented first-time nest-building male zebra finches with either a familiar or an unfamiliar conspecific male building with material of a colour the observer did not like. When given the opportunity to build, males that had watched a familiar male build switched their material preference to that used by the familiar male. Males that observed unfamiliar birds did not. Thus, first-time nest builders use social information and copy the nest material choices when demonstrators are familiar but not when they are strangers. The relationships between individuals therefore influence how nest-building expertise is socially transmitted in zebra finches. PMID:27009230

  13. Melanin-based color of plumage: role of condition and of feathers' microstructure

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    D'Alba, Liliana; Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Spencer, Karen A.; Heidinger, Britt J.; Gill, Lisa; Evans, Neil P.; Monaghan, Pat; Handel, Colleen M.; Shawkey, Matthew D.

    2014-01-01

    Whether melanin-based colors honestly signal a bird's condition during the growth of feathers is controversial, and it is unclear if or how the physiological processes underlying melanogenesis or color-imparting structural feather microstructure may be adversely affected by condition. Here we report results from two experiments designed to measure the effect of condition on expression of eumelanic and pheomelanic coloration in black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) and zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), respectively. In chickadees, we compared feathers of birds affected and unaffected by avian keratin disorder, while in zebra finches we compared feathers of controls with feathers of those subjected to an unpredictable food supply during development. In both cases we found that control birds had brighter feathers (higher total reflectance) and more barbules, but similar densities of melanosomes. In addition, the microstructure of the feathers explained variation in color more strongly than did melanosome density. Together, these results suggest that melanin-based coloration may in part be condition-dependent, but that this may be driven by changes in keratin and feather development, rather than melanogenesis itself. Researchers should be cautious when assigning variation in melanin-based color to melanin alone and microstructure of the feather should be taken into account.

  14. There is no such a thing as a free cigarette; lining nests with discarded butts brings short-term benefits, but causes toxic damage.

    PubMed

    Suárez-Rodríguez, M; Macías Garcia, C

    2014-12-01

    Adaptation to human-modified environments such as cities is poised to be a major component of natural history in the foreseeable future. Birds have been shown to adapt their vocalizations, use of nesting places and activity rhythms to the urban environments, and we have previously reported that some species, including the house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus), use cellulose from smoked cigarette butts as lining material and thus reduce the number of ectoparasites in their nests, probably because the nicotine repels arthropods. Nicotine is only one of hundreds of potentially harmful substances found in cigarette butts. Here, we investigated whether the presence of such chemicals is harmful for house finches adding cigarette butts to their nests. We found that hatching and fledging success and chick immune response were all positively correlated to the proportion of the nest that was made up of butts. However, the signs of genotoxicity in the blood cells also increased with the proportion of butt cellulose in the nests. Although we have not measured the effect of genotoxicity on post-fledging survival and breeding success, it seems that bringing cigarette butts to the nest has negative consequences that may counterbalance the benefits of using them as ectoparasites repellents.

  15. Sex chromosome linked genetic variance and the evolution of sexual dimorphism of quantitative traits.

    PubMed

    Husby, Arild; Schielzeth, Holger; Forstmeier, Wolfgang; Gustafsson, Lars; Qvarnström, Anna

    2013-03-01

    Theory predicts that sex chromsome linkage should reduce intersexual genetic correlations thereby allowing the evolution of sexual dimorphism. Empirical evidence for sex linkage has come largely from crosses and few studies have examined how sexual dimorphism and sex linkage are related within outbred populations. Here, we use data on an array of different traits measured on over 10,000 individuals from two pedigreed populations of birds (collared flycatcher and zebra finch) to estimate the amount of sex-linked genetic variance (h(2)z ). Of 17 traits examined, eight showed a nonzero h(2)Z estimate but only four were significantly different from zero (wing patch size and tarsus length in collared flycatchers, wing length and beak color in zebra finches). We further tested how sexual dimorphism and the mode of selection operating on the trait relate to the proportion of sex-linked genetic variance. Sexually selected traits did not show higher h(2)Z than morphological traits and there was only a weak positive relationship between h(2)Z and sexual dimorphism. However, given the relative scarcity of empirical studies, it is premature to make conclusions about the role of sex chromosome linkage in the evolution of sexual dimorphism.

  16. Hormone-independent pathways of sexual differentiation.

    PubMed

    Renfree, Marilyn B; Chew, Keng Yih; Shaw, Geoffrey

    2014-01-01

    New observations over the last 25 years of hormone-independent sexual dimorphisms have gradually and unequivocally overturned the dogma, arising from Jost's elegant experiments in the mid-1900s, that all somatic sex dimorphisms in vertebrates arise from the action of gonadal hormones. Although we know that Sry, a Y-linked gene, is the primary gonadal sex determinant in mammals, more recent analysis in marsupials, mice, and finches has highlighted numerous sexual dimorphisms that are evident well before the differentiation of the testis and which cannot be explained by a sexually dimorphic hormonal environment. In marsupials, scrotal bulges and mammary primordia are visible before the testis has differentiated due to the expression of a gene(s) on the X chromosome. ZZ and ZW gynandromorph finches have brains that develop in a sexually dimorphic way dependent on their sex chromosome content. In genetically manipulated mice, it is the X chromosomes, not the gonads, that determine many characters including rate of early development, adiposity, and neural circuits. Even spotted hyenas have sexual dimorphisms that cannot be simply explained by hormonal exposure. This review discusses the recent findings that confirm that there are hormone-independent sexual dimorphisms well before the gonads begin to produce their hormones.

  17. Oxidative stress in songbirds exposed to dietary methylmercury.

    PubMed

    Henry, Katie A; Cristol, Daniel A; Varian-Ramos, Claire W; Bradley, Eric L

    2015-04-01

    Long-term, sublethal methylmercury exposure can cause reproductive depression, immune suppression, endocrine disruption and other problems in birds. We used two biomarkers to detect oxidative stress in livers of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) developmentally exposed to sublethal levels of dietary methylmercury (0.0, 0.3, 0.6, 1.2, or 2.4 μg/g wet weight in diet). Our findings indicate that young adult finches exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of mercury in ovo and through their diets, exhibited oxidative stress in their livers. We measured the ratio of the antioxidant glutathione in its reduced form (GSH) versus its oxidized form (GSSG) and the activity of the superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzyme suite. Blood total mercury served as a proxy for liver mercury concentration, and was on average 8.4 times the dietary dose (e.g., birds consuming 0.6 μg/g had blood mercury levels of ~5 μg/g on a wet weight basis). Consistent with what is known from large, aquatic bird species, there was a significant, negative relationship between GSH/GSSG ratios and tissue mercury concentrations, which is indicative of oxidative stress. This relationship was driven by a significant increase in the oxidized glutathione in the livers of birds with higher blood mercury levels. SOD activity was also found to have a significant, negative relationship with blood mercury.

  18. Eimeria atlapetesi nom. nov., a replacement name for Eimeria pileata Soriano-Vargas et al., 2015 (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae), preoccupied by Eimeria pileata Straneva and Kelley, 1979 (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae), with observations on histopathology and phylogenetic analysis.

    PubMed

    Soriano-Vargas, Edgardo; Salgado-Miranda, Celene; Zepeda-Velázquez, Andrea Paloma; Medina, Juan Pablo; Janczur, Mariusz Krzysztof; González-Gómez, Maricruz; Flores-Valle, Izanami Tereira; Berto, Bruno Pereira; Lopes, Carlos Wilson Gomes

    2017-01-31

    Eimeria pileata Soriano-Vargas, Medina, Salgado-Miranda, García-Conejo, Galindo-Sánchez, Janczur, Berto and Lopes, 2015 is a junior homonym of Eimeria pileata Straneva and Kelley, 1979 and needs to be replaced. This coccidium was described from a rufous-capped brush finch Atlapetes pileatus Wagler in the Nevado de Toluca Natural Protected Area, Mexico. Thus, to maintain the original intent of the specific epithet derived from the scientific name of the type-host, the name Eimeria atlapetesi nom. nov. is proposed as a replacement name. Additionally, the current work reports another rufous-capped brush finch A. pileatus parasitized by E. atlapetesi in co-infection with an Isospora sp., providing observations of histopathology and phylogenetic analysis of 18S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene from E. atlapetesi. Endogenous forms of E. atlapetesi and Isospora sp. were observed in intestinal sections. Few oocysts of Isospora sp. were observed; therefore they were not morphologically or molecularly identified. In return, E. atlapetesi was identified and it was phylogenetically close to Eimeria dispersa Tyzzer, 1929 from the domestic turkey Meleagris gallopavo Linnaeus.

  19. Long-term social bonds promote cooperation in the iterated Prisoner's Dilemma.

    PubMed

    St-Pierre, Angèle; Larose, Karine; Dubois, Frédérique

    2009-12-07

    Reciprocal altruism, one of the most probable explanations for cooperation among non-kin, has been modelled as a Prisoner's Dilemma. According to this game, cooperation could evolve when individuals, who expect to play again, use conditional strategies like tit-for-tat or Pavlov. There is evidence that humans use such strategies to achieve mutual cooperation, but most controlled experiments with non-human animals have failed to find cooperation. One reason for this could be that subjects fail to cooperate because they behave as if they were to play only once. To assess this hypothesis, we conducted an experiment with monogamous zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) that were tested in a two-choice apparatus, with either their social partner or an experimental opponent of the opposite sex. We found that zebra finches maintained high levels of cooperation in an iterated Prisoner's Dilemma game only when interacting with their social partner. Although other mechanisms may have contributed to the observed difference between the two treatments, our results support the hypothesis that animals do not systematically give in to the short-term temptation of cheating when long-term benefits exist. Thus, our findings contradict the commonly accepted idea that reciprocal altruism will be rare in non-human animals.

  20. Variation in the Structure of Bird Nests between Northern Manitoba and Southeastern Ontario

    PubMed Central

    Crossman, Carla A.; Rohwer, Vanya G.; Martin, Paul R.

    2011-01-01

    Traits that converge in appearance under similar environmental conditions among phylogenetically independent lineages are thought to represent adaptations to local environments. We tested for convergence in nest morphology and composition of birds breeding in two ecologically different locations in Canada: Churchill in northern Manitoba and Elgin in southeastern Ontario. We examined nests from four families of passerine birds (Turdidae: Turdus, Parulidae: Dendroica, Emberizidae: Passerculus and Fringillidae: Carduelis) where closely related populations or species breed in both locations. Nests of American Robins, Yellow Warblers, and Carduelis finches had heavier nest masses, and tended to have thicker nest-walls, in northern Manitoba compared with conspecifics or congenerics breeding in southeastern Ontario. Together, all species showed evidence for wider internal and external nest-cup diameters in northern Manitoba, while individual species showed varying patterns for internal nest-cup and external nest depths. American Robins, Yellow Warblers, and Carduelis finches in northern Manitoba achieved heavier nest masses in different ways. American Robins increased all materials in similar proportions, and Yellow Warblers and Common Redpolls used greater amounts of select materials. While changes in nest composition vary uniquely for each species, the pattern of larger nests in northern Manitoba compared to southeastern Ontario in three of our four phylogenetically-independent comparisons suggests that birds are adapting to similar selective pressures between locations. PMID:21552515

  1. Interacting effects of early dietary conditions and reproductive effort on the oxidative costs of reproduction

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    The hypothesis that oxidative damage accumulation can mediate the trade-off between reproduction and lifespan has recently been questioned. However, in captive conditions, studies reporting no evidence in support of this hypothesis have usually provided easy access to food which may have mitigated the cost of reproduction. Here, I test the hypothesis that greater investment in reproduction should lead to oxidative damage accumulation and telomere loss in domestic zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata. Moreover, since the change or fluctuation in diet composition between early and late postnatal period can impair the ability to produce antioxidant defences in zebra finches, I also tested if early nutritional conditions (constant vs fluctuating early diet) influenced the magnitude of any subsequent costs of reproduction (e.g., oxidative damage and/or telomere shortening). In comparison to pairs with reduced broods, the birds that had to feed enlarged broods showed a higher level of oxidative DNA damage (8-OHdG), but brood size had no effect on telomeres. Fluctuating early diet composition reduced the capacity to maintain the activity of endogenous antioxidants (GPx), particularly when reproductive costs were increased (enlarged brood). The decline in GPx in birds feeding enlarged broods was accompanied by a change in bill colouration. This suggests that birds with lower endogenous antioxidant defences might have strategically increased the mobilization of antioxidants previously stored in other tissues (i.e., bill and liver) and thus, preventing an excessive accumulation of damage during reproduction. PMID:28316895

  2. Meaning in the avian auditory cortex: neural representation of communication calls.

    PubMed

    Elie, Julie E; Theunissen, Frédéric E

    2015-03-01

    Understanding how the brain extracts the behavioral meaning carried by specific vocalization types that can be emitted by various vocalizers and in different conditions is a central question in auditory research. This semantic categorization is a fundamental process required for acoustic communication, and presupposes discriminative and invariance properties of the auditory system for conspecific vocalizations. Songbirds have been used extensively to study vocal learning, but the communicative function of all their vocalizations and their neural representation has yet to be examined. In this study, we first generated a library containing almost the entire zebra finch vocal repertoire, and organised communication calls along nine different categories according to their behavioral meaning. We then investigated the neural representations of these semantic categories in the primary and secondary auditory areas of six anesthetised zebra finches. To analyse how single units encode these call categories, we described neural responses in terms of their discrimination, selectivity and invariance properties. Quantitative measures for these neural properties were obtained with an optimal decoder using both spike counts and spike patterns. Information theoretic metrics show that almost half of the single units encode semantic information. Neurons achieve higher discrimination of these semantic categories by being more selective and more invariant. These results demonstrate that computations necessary for semantic categorization of meaningful vocalizations are already present in the auditory cortex, and emphasise the value of a neuro-ethological approach to understand vocal communication.

  3. Geographical variation in bill size across bird species provides evidence for Allen's rule.

    PubMed

    Symonds, Matthew R E; Tattersall, Glenn J

    2010-08-01

    Allen's rule proposes that the appendages of endotherms are smaller, relative to body size, in colder climates, in order to reduce heat loss. Empirical support for Allen's rule is mainly derived from occasional reports of geographical clines in extremity size of individual species. Interspecific evidence is restricted to two studies of leg proportions in seabirds and shorebirds. We used phylogenetic comparative analyses of 214 bird species to examine whether bird bills, significant sites of heat exchange, conform to Allen's rule. The species comprised eight diverse taxonomic groups-toucans, African barbets, Australian parrots, estrildid finches, Canadian galliforms, penguins, gulls, and terns. Across all species, there were strongly significant relationships between bill length and both latitude and environmental temperature, with species in colder climates having significantly shorter bills. Patterns supporting Allen's rule in relation to latitudinal or altitudinal distribution held within all groups except the finches. Evidence for a direct association with temperature was found within four groups (parrots, galliforms, penguins, and gulls). Support for Allen's rule in leg elements was weaker, suggesting that bird bills may be more susceptible to thermoregulatory constraints generally. Our results provide the strongest comparative support yet published for Allen's rule and demonstrate that thermoregulation has been an important factor in shaping the evolution of bird bills.

  4. Seed dispersal networks in the Galápagos and the consequences of alien plant invasions.

    PubMed

    Heleno, Ruben H; Olesen, Jens M; Nogales, Manuel; Vargas, Pablo; Traveset, Anna

    2013-01-07

    Alien plants are a growing threat to the Galápagos unique biota. We evaluated the impact of alien plants on eight seed dispersal networks from two islands of the archipelago. Nearly 10 000 intact seeds from 58 species were recovered from the droppings of 18 bird and reptile dispersers. The most dispersed invaders were Lantana camara, Rubus niveus and Psidium guajava, the latter two likely benefiting from an asynchronous fruit production with most native plants, which facilitate their consumption and spread. Lava lizards dispersed the seeds of 27 species, being the most important dispersers, followed by small ground finch, two mockingbirds, the giant tortoise and two insectivorous birds. Most animals dispersed alien seeds, but these formed a relatively small proportion of the interactions. Nevertheless, the integration of aliens was higher in the island that has been invaded for longest, suggesting a time-lag between alien plant introductions and their impacts on seed dispersal networks. Alien plants become more specialized with advancing invasion, favouring more simplified plant and disperser communities. However, only habitat type significantly affected the overall network structure. Alien plants were dispersed via two pathways: dry-fruited plants were preferentially dispersed by finches, while fleshy fruited species were mostly dispersed by other birds and reptiles.

  5. Seed dispersal networks in the Galápagos and the consequences of alien plant invasions

    PubMed Central

    Heleno, Ruben H.; Olesen, Jens M.; Nogales, Manuel; Vargas, Pablo; Traveset, Anna

    2013-01-01

    Alien plants are a growing threat to the Galápagos unique biota. We evaluated the impact of alien plants on eight seed dispersal networks from two islands of the archipelago. Nearly 10 000 intact seeds from 58 species were recovered from the droppings of 18 bird and reptile dispersers. The most dispersed invaders were Lantana camara, Rubus niveus and Psidium guajava, the latter two likely benefiting from an asynchronous fruit production with most native plants, which facilitate their consumption and spread. Lava lizards dispersed the seeds of 27 species, being the most important dispersers, followed by small ground finch, two mockingbirds, the giant tortoise and two insectivorous birds. Most animals dispersed alien seeds, but these formed a relatively small proportion of the interactions. Nevertheless, the integration of aliens was higher in the island that has been invaded for longest, suggesting a time-lag between alien plant introductions and their impacts on seed dispersal networks. Alien plants become more specialized with advancing invasion, favouring more simplified plant and disperser communities. However, only habitat type significantly affected the overall network structure. Alien plants were dispersed via two pathways: dry-fruited plants were preferentially dispersed by finches, while fleshy fruited species were mostly dispersed by other birds and reptiles. PMID:23173203

  6. Melanin-based color of plumage: role of condition and of feathers' microstructure.

    PubMed

    D'Alba, Liliana; Van Hemert, Caroline; Spencer, Karen A; Heidinger, Britt J; Gill, Lisa; Evans, Neil P; Monaghan, Pat; Handel, Colleen M; Shawkey, Matthew D

    2014-10-01

    Whether melanin-based colors honestly signal a bird's condition during the growth of feathers is controversial, and it is unclear if, or how, the physiological processes underlying melanogenesis or the role of the microstructure of feathers in imparting structural color to feathers may be adversely affected by condition. Here, we report results from two experiments designed to measure the effect of condition on expression of eumelanic and pheomelanic coloration in black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) and zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), respectively. In chickadees, we compared feathers of birds affected and unaffected by avian keratin disorder, whereas in zebra finches we compared feathers of controls with feathers of those subjected to an unpredictable food supply during development. In both cases, we found that control birds had brighter feathers (higher total reflectance) and more barbules, but similar densities of melanosomes. In addition, the microstructure of the feathers explained variation in color more strongly than did melanosome density. Together, these results suggest that melanin-based coloration may in part be condition-dependent, but that this may be driven by changes in keratin and feather development, rather than melanogenesis itself. Researchers should be cautious when assigning variation in melanin-based color to melanin alone and microstructure of the feather should be taken into account.

  7. Feeding innovations in a nested phylogeny of Neotropical passerines

    PubMed Central

    Lefebvre, Louis; Ducatez, Simon; Audet, Jean-Nicolas

    2016-01-01

    Several studies on cognition, molecular phylogenetics and taxonomic diversity independently suggest that Darwin's finches are part of a larger clade of speciose, flexible birds, the family Thraupidae, a member of the New World nine-primaried oscine superfamily Emberizoidea. Here, we first present a new, previously unpublished, dataset of feeding innovations covering the Neotropical region and compare the stem clades of Darwin's finches to other neotropical clades at the levels of the subfamily, family and superfamily/order. Both in terms of raw frequency as well as rates corrected for research effort and phylogeny, the family Thraupidae and superfamily Emberizoidea show high levels of innovation, supporting the idea that adaptive radiations are favoured when the ancestral stem species were flexible. Second, we discuss examples of innovation and problem-solving in two opportunistic and tame Emberizoid species, the Barbados bullfinch Loxigilla barbadensis and the Carib grackle Quiscalus lugubris fortirostris in Barbados. We review studies on these two species and argue that a comparison of L. barbadensis with its closest, but very shy and conservative local relative, the black-faced grassquit Tiaris bicolor, might provide key insights into the evolutionary divergence of cognition. PMID:26926278

  8. The Songbird Neurogenomics (SoNG) Initiative: Community-based tools and strategies for study of brain gene function and evolution

    PubMed Central

    Replogle, Kirstin; Arnold, Arthur P; Ball, Gregory F; Band, Mark; Bensch, Staffan; Brenowitz, Eliot A; Dong, Shu; Drnevich, Jenny; Ferris, Margaret; George, Julia M; Gong, George; Hasselquist, Dennis; Hernandez, Alvaro G; Kim, Ryan; Lewin, Harris A; Liu, Lei; Lovell, Peter V; Mello, Claudio V; Naurin, Sara; Rodriguez-Zas, Sandra; Thimmapuram, Jyothi; Wade, Juli; Clayton, David F

    2008-01-01

    Background Songbirds hold great promise for biomedical, environmental and evolutionary research. A complete draft sequence of the zebra finch genome is imminent, yet a need remains for application of genomic resources within a research community traditionally focused on ethology and neurobiological methods. In response, we developed a core set of genomic tools and a novel collaborative strategy to probe gene expression in diverse songbird species and natural contexts. Results We end-sequenced cDNAs from zebra finch brain and incorporated additional sequences from community sources into a database of 86,784 high quality reads. These assembled into 31,658 non-redundant contigs and singletons, which we annotated via BLAST search of chicken and human databases. The results are publicly available in the ESTIMA:Songbird database. We produced a spotted cDNA microarray with 20,160 addresses representing 17,214 non-redundant products of an estimated 11,500–15,000 genes, validating it by analysis of immediate-early gene (zenk) gene activation following song exposure and by demonstrating effective cross hybridization to genomic DNAs of other songbird species in the Passerida Parvorder. Our assembly was also used in the design of the "Lund-zfa" Affymetrix array representing ~22,000 non-redundant sequences. When the two arrays were hybridized to cDNAs from the same set of male and female zebra finch brain samples, both arrays detected a common set of regulated transcripts with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.895. To stimulate use of these resources by the songbird research community and to maintain consistent technical standards, we devised a "Community Collaboration" mechanism whereby individual birdsong researchers develop experiments and provide tissues, but a single individual in the community is responsible for all RNA extractions, labelling and microarray hybridizations. Conclusion Immediately, these results set the foundation for a coordinated set of 25 planned

  9. Single-particle characterization of ice-nucleating particles and ice particle residuals sampled by three different techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Worringen, A.; Kandler, K.; Benker, N.; Dirsch, T.; Weinbruch, S.; Mertes, S.; Schenk, L.; Kästner, U.; Frank, F.; Nillius, B.; Bundke, U.; Rose, D.; Curtius, J.; Kupiszewski, P.; Weingartner, E.; Schneider, J.; Schmidt, S.; Ebert, M.

    2014-09-01

    In the present work, three different techniques are used to separate ice-nucleating particles (INP) and ice particle residuals (IPR) from non-ice-active particles: the Ice Selective Inlet (ISI) and the Ice Counterflow Virtual Impactor (Ice-CVI), which sample ice particles from mixed phase clouds and allow for the analysis of the residuals, as well as the combination of the Fast Ice Nucleus Chamber (FINCH) and the Ice Nuclei Pumped Virtual Impactor (IN-PCVI), which provides ice-activating conditions to aerosol particles and extracts the activated ones for analysis. The collected particles were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis to determine their size, chemical composition and mixing state. Samples were taken during January/February 2013 at the High Alpine Research Station Jungfraujoch. All INP/IPR-separating techniques had considerable abundances (median 20-70%) of contamination artifacts (ISI: Si-O spheres, probably calibration aerosol; Ice-CVI: Al-O particles; FINCH + IN-PCVI: steel particles). Also, potential measurement artifacts (soluble material) occurred (median abundance < 20%). After removal of the contamination particles, silicates and Ca-rich particles, carbonaceous material and metal oxides were the major INP/IPR particle types separated by all three techniques. Minor types include soot and Pb-bearing particles. Sea-salt and sulfates were identified by all three methods as INP/IPR. Lead was identified in less than 10% of the INP/IPR. It was mainly present as an internal mixture with other particle types, but also external lead-rich particles were found. Most samples showed a maximum of the INP/IPR size distribution at 400 nm geometric diameter. In a few cases, a second super-micron maximum was identified. Soot/carbonaceous material and metal oxides were present mainly in the submicron range. ISI and FINCH yielded silicates and Ca-rich particles mainly with diameters above 1 μm, while the Ice-CVI also

  10. Single-particle characterization of ice-nucleating particles and ice particles residuals sampled by three different techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kandler, Konrad; Worringen, Annette; Benker, Nathalie; Dirsch, Thomas; Mertes, Stephan; Schenk, Ludwig; Kästner, Udo; Frank, Fabian; Nillius, Björn; Bundke, Ulrich; Rose, Diana; Curtius, Joachim; Kupiszewski, Piotr; Weingartner, Ernest; Vochezer, Paul; Schneider, Johannes; Schmidt, Susan; Weinbruch, Stephan; Ebert, Martin

    2015-04-01

    During January/February 2013, at the High Alpine Research Station Jungfraujoch a measurement campaign was carried out, which was centered on atmospheric ice-nucleating particles (INP) and ice particle residuals (IPR). Three different techniques for separation of INP and IPR from the non-ice-active particles are compared. The Ice Selective Inlet (ISI) and the Ice Counterflow Virtual Impactor (Ice-CVI) sample ice particles from mixed phase clouds and allow for the analysis of the residuals. The combination of the Fast Ice Nucleus Chamber (FINCH) and the Ice Nuclei Pumped Counterflow Virtual Impactor (IN-PCVI) provides ice-activating conditions to aerosol particles and extracts the activated INP for analysis. Collected particles were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis to determine size, chemical composition and mixing state. All INP/IPR-separating techniques had considerable abundances (median 20 - 70 %) of instrumental contamination artifacts (ISI: Si-O spheres, probably calibration aerosol; Ice-CVI: Al-O particles; FINCH+IN-PCVI: steel particles). Also, potential sampling artifacts (e.g., pure soluble material) occurred with a median abundance of < 20 %. While these could be explained as IPR by ice break-up, for INP their IN-ability pathway is less clear. After removal of the contamination artifacts, silicates and Ca-rich particles, carbonaceous material and metal oxides were the major INP/IPR particle types separated by all three techniques. Soot was a minor contributor. Lead was detected in less than 10 % of the particles, of which the majority were internal mixtures with other particle types. Sea-salt and sulfates were identified by all three methods as INP/IPR. Most samples showed a maximum of the INP/IPR size distribution at 400 nm geometric diameter. In a few cases, a second super-micron maximum was identified. Soot/carbonaceous material and metal oxides were present mainly in the submicron range. ISI and FINCH

  11. Genomics analysis of potassium channel genes in songbirds reveals molecular specializations of brain circuits for the maintenance and production of learned vocalizations

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background A fundamental question in molecular neurobiology is how genes that determine basic neuronal properties shape the functional organization of brain circuits underlying complex learned behaviors. Given the growing availability of complete vertebrate genomes, comparative genomics represents a promising approach to address this question. Here we used genomics and molecular approaches to study how ion channel genes influence the properties of the brain circuitry that regulates birdsong, a learned vocal behavior with important similarities to human speech acquisition. We focused on potassium (K-)Channels, which are major determinants of neuronal cell excitability. Starting with the human gene set of K-Channels, we used cross-species mRNA/protein alignments, and syntenic analysis to define the full complement of orthologs, paralogs, allelic variants, as well as novel loci not previously predicted in the genome of zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). We also compared protein coding domains in chicken and zebra finch orthologs to identify genes under positive selective pressure, and those that contained lineage-specific insertions/deletions in functional domains. Finally, we conducted comprehensive in situ hybridizations to determine the extent of brain expression, and identify K-Channel gene enrichments in nuclei of the avian song system. Results We identified 107 K-Channel finch genes, including 6 novel genes common to non-mammalian vertebrate lineages. Twenty human genes are absent in songbirds, birds, or sauropsids, or unique to mammals, suggesting K-Channel properties may be lineage-specific. We also identified specific family members with insertions/deletions and/or high dN/dS ratios compared to chicken, a non-vocal learner. In situ hybridization revealed that while most K-Channel genes are broadly expressed in the brain, a subset is selectively expressed in song nuclei, representing molecular specializations of the vocal circuitry. Conclusions Together

  12. Mesozoic retroposons reveal parrots as the closest living relatives of passerine birds.

    PubMed

    Suh, Alexander; Paus, Martin; Kiefmann, Martin; Churakov, Gennady; Franke, Franziska Anni; Brosius, Jürgen; Kriegs, Jan Ole; Schmitz, Jürgen

    2011-08-23

    The relationships of passerines (such as the well-studied zebra finch) with non-passerine birds is one of the great enigmas of avian phylogenetic research, because decades of extensive morphological and molecular studies yielded highly inconsistent results between and within data sets. Here we show the first application of the virtually homoplasy-free retroposon insertions to this controversy. Our study examined ~200,000 retroposon-containing loci from various avian genomes and retrieved 51 markers resolving early bird phylogeny. Among these, we obtained statistically significant evidence that parrots are the closest and falcons the second-closest relatives of passerines, together constituting the Psittacopasserae and the Eufalconimorphae, respectively. Our new and robust phylogenetic framework has substantial implications for the interpretation of various conclusions drawn from passerines as model organisms. This includes insights of relevance to human neuroscience, as vocal learning (that is, birdsong) probably evolved in the psittacopasseran ancestor, >30 million years earlier than previously assumed.

  13. Shared developmental programme strongly constrains beak shape diversity in songbirds.

    PubMed

    Fritz, Joerg A; Brancale, Joseph; Tokita, Masayoshi; Burns, Kevin J; Hawkins, M Brent; Abzhanov, Arhat; Brenner, Michael P

    2014-04-16

    The striking diversity of bird beak shapes is an outcome of natural selection, yet the relative importance of the limitations imposed by the process of beak development on generating such variation is unclear. Untangling these factors requires mapping developmental mechanisms over a phylogeny far exceeding model systems studied thus far. We address this issue with a comparative morphometric analysis of beak shape in a diverse group of songbirds. Here we show that the dynamics of the proliferative growth zone must follow restrictive rules to explain the observed variation, with beak diversity constrained to a three parameter family of shapes, parameterized by length, depth and the degree of shear. We experimentally verify these predictions by analysing cell proliferation in the developing embryonic beaks of the zebra finch. Our findings indicate that beak shape variability in many songbirds is strongly constrained by shared properties of the developmental programme controlling the growth zone.

  14. A cortical motor nucleus drives the basal ganglia-recipient thalamus in singing birds

    PubMed Central

    Goldberg, Jesse H.

    2012-01-01

    The pallido-recipient thalamus transmits information from the basal ganglia (BG) to the cortex and plays a critical role motor initiation and learning. Thalamic activity is strongly inhibited by pallidal inputs from the BG, but the role of non-pallidal inputs, such as excitatory inputs from cortex, is unclear. We have recorded simultaneously from presynaptic pallidal axon terminals and postsynaptic thalamocortical neurons in a BG-recipient thalamic nucleus necessary for vocal variability and learning in zebra finches. We found that song-locked rate modulations in the thalamus could not be explained by pallidal inputs alone, and persisted following pallidal lesion. Instead, thalamic activity was likely driven by inputs from a motor ‘cortical’ nucleus also necessary for singing. These findings suggest a role for cortical inputs to the pallido-recipient thalamus in driving premotor signals important for exploratory behavior and learning. PMID:22327474

  15. Ultraconserved Elements Sequencing as a Low-Cost Source of Complete Mitochondrial Genomes and Microsatellite Markers in Non-Model Amniotes

    PubMed Central

    Raposo do Amaral, Fábio; Neves, Leandro G.; Resende, Márcio F. R.; Mobili, Flávia; Miyaki, Cristina Y.; Pellegrino, Katia C. M.; Biondo, Cibele

    2015-01-01

    Sequence capture of ultraconserved elements (UCEs) associated with massively parallel sequencing has become a common source of nuclear data for studies of animal systematics and phylogeography. However, mitochondrial and microsatellite variation are still commonly used in various kinds of molecular studies, and probably will complement genomic data in years to come. Here we show that besides providing abundant genomic data, UCE sequencing is an excellent source of both sequences for microsatellite loci design and complete mitochondrial genomes with high sequencing depth. Identification of dozens of microsatellite loci and assembly of complete mitogenomes is exemplified here using three species of Poospiza warbling finches from southern and southeastern Brazil. This strategy opens exciting opportunities to simultaneously analyze genome-wide nuclear datasets and traditionally used mtDNA and microsatellite markers in non-model amniotes at no additional cost. PMID:26379155

  16. Cortical interference effects in the cocktail party problem.

    PubMed

    Narayan, Rajiv; Best, Virginia; Ozmeral, Erol; McClaine, Elizabeth; Dent, Micheal; Shinn-Cunningham, Barbara; Sen, Kamal

    2007-12-01

    Humans and animals must often discriminate between complex natural sounds in the presence of competing sounds (maskers). Although the auditory cortex is thought to be important in this task, the impact of maskers on cortical discrimination remains poorly understood. We examined neural responses in zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) field L (homologous to primary auditory cortex) to target birdsongs that were embedded in three different maskers (broadband noise, modulated noise and birdsong chorus). We found two distinct forms of interference in the neural responses: the addition of spurious spikes occurring primarily during the silent gaps between song syllables and the suppression of informative spikes occurring primarily during the syllables. Both effects systematically degraded neural discrimination as the target intensity decreased relative to that of the masker. The behavioral performance of songbirds degraded in a parallel manner. Our results identify neural interference that could explain the perceptual interference at the heart of the cocktail party problem.

  17. Transgenic songbirds with suppressed or enhanced activity of CREB transcription factor

    PubMed Central

    Abe, Kentaro; Matsui, Sumiko; Watanabe, Dai

    2015-01-01

    Songbirds postnatally develop their skill to utter and to perceive a vocal signal for communication. How genetic and environmental influences act in concert to regulate the development of such skill is not fully understood. Here, we report the phenotype of transgenic songbirds with altered intrinsic activity of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) transcription factor. By viral vector-mediated modification of genomic DNA, we established germ line-transmitted lines of zebra finches, which exhibited enhanced or suppressed activity of CREB. Although intrinsically acquired vocalizations or their hearing ability were not affected, the transgenic birds showed reduced vocal learning quality of their own songs and impaired audio-memory formation against conspecific songs. These results thus demonstrate that appropriate activity of CREB is necessary for the postnatal acquisition of learned behavior in songbirds, and the CREB transgenic birds offer a unique opportunity to separately manipulate both genetic and environmental factors that impinge on the postnatal song learning. PMID:26048905

  18. Interplay of Inhibition and Excitation Shapes a Premotor Neural Sequence

    PubMed Central

    Kosche, Georg; Vallentin, Daniela

    2015-01-01

    In the zebra finch, singing behavior is driven by a sequence of bursts within premotor neurons located in the forebrain nucleus HVC (proper name). In addition to these excitatory projection neurons, HVC also contains inhibitory interneurons with a role in premotor patterning that is unclear. Here, we used a range of electrophysiological and behavioral observations to test previously described models suggesting discrete functional roles for inhibitory interneurons in song production. We show that single HVC premotor neuron bursts are sufficient to drive structured activity within the interneuron network because of pervasive and facilitating synaptic connections. We characterize interneuron activity during singing and describe reliable pauses in the firing of those neurons. We then demonstrate that these gaps in inhibition are likely to be necessary for driving normal bursting behavior in HVC premotor neurons and suggest that structured inhibition and excitation may be a general mechanism enabling sequence generation in other circuits. PMID:25609636

  19. Characterization and cross-species amplification of microsatellite markers in African Silverbill (Lonchura cantans).

    PubMed

    Parine, N R; Kumar, D; Pathan, A A K; Elrobh, M S; Khan, W; Alanazi, M

    2013-11-18

    We tested the cross-amplification of eight microsatellites developed for Bengalese finch in African Silverbill (Lonchura cantans). In order to develop resources for conservation genetic studies in the species L. cantans, we tested the amplification success and polymorphism in eight previously developed microsatellite loci, in L. cantans. All eight microsatellite markers were successfully amplified, of which all were polymorphic, with 3 to 9 alleles and an expected heterozygosity (HE) ranging from 0.606 to 0.718. On average, there were 5.25 alleles/locus and a mean HE of 0.6456. These eight polymorphic markers could be of potential use in studies of genetic variability, population structure, and reproductive strategy of African Silverbills. The markers tested should be useful for population and conservation genetic studies in this genus, and, in particular, for species closely related to the source species, L. cantans.

  20. Sperm morphology, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) concentration and swimming velocity: unexpected relationships in a passerine bird

    PubMed Central

    Bennison, Clair; Brookes, Lola; Slate, Jon; Birkhead, Tim

    2016-01-01

    The relationship between sperm energetics and sperm function is poorly known, but is central to our understanding of the evolution of sperm traits. The aim of this study was to examine how sperm morphology and ATP content affect sperm swimming velocity in the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata. We exploited the high inter-male variation in this species and created extra experimental power by increasing the number of individuals with very long or short sperm through artificial selection. We found a pronounced quadratic relationship between total sperm length and swimming velocity, with velocity increasing with length up to a point, but declining in the very longest sperm. We also found an unexpected negative association between midpiece length and ATP content: sperm with a short midpiece generally contained the highest concentration of ATP. Low intracellular ATP is therefore unlikely to explain reduced swimming velocity among the very longest sperm (which tend to have a shorter midpiece). PMID:27559067

  1. Auditory experience-dependent cortical circuit shaping for memory formation in bird song learning

    PubMed Central

    Yanagihara, Shin; Yazaki-Sugiyama, Yoko

    2016-01-01

    As in human speech acquisition, songbird vocal learning depends on early auditory experience. During development, juvenile songbirds listen to and form auditory memories of adult tutor songs, which they use to shape their own vocalizations in later sensorimotor learning. The higher-level auditory cortex, called the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM), is a potential storage site for tutor song memory, but no direct electrophysiological evidence of tutor song memory has been found. Here, we identify the neuronal substrate for tutor song memory by recording single-neuron activity in the NCM of behaving juvenile zebra finches. After tutor song experience, a small subset of NCM neurons exhibit highly selective auditory responses to the tutor song. Moreover, blockade of GABAergic inhibition, and sleep decrease their selectivity. Taken together, these results suggest that experience-dependent recruitment of GABA-mediated inhibition shapes auditory cortical circuits, leading to sparse representation of tutor song memory in auditory cortical neurons. PMID:27327620

  2. Olfactory kin recognition in a songbird.

    PubMed

    Krause, E Tobias; Krüger, Oliver; Kohlmeier, Philip; Caspers, Barbara A

    2012-06-23

    The ability to recognize close relatives in order to cooperate or to avoid inbreeding is widespread across all taxa. One accepted mechanism for kin recognition in birds is associative learning of visual or acoustic cues. However, how could individuals ever learn to recognize unfamiliar kin? Here, we provide the first evidence for a novel mechanism of kin recognition in birds. Zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) fledglings are able to distinguish between kin and non-kin based on olfactory cues alone. Since olfactory cues are likely to be genetically based, this finding establishes a neglected mechanism of kin recognition in birds, particularly in songbirds, with potentially far-reaching consequences for both kin selection and inbreeding avoidance.

  3. First record of the avian ectoparasite Philornis downsi Dodge & Aitken, 1968 (Diptera: Muscidae) in Argentina.

    PubMed

    Silvestri, L; Antoniazzi, L R; Couri, M S; Monje, L D; Beldomenico, P M

    2011-10-01

    Species of Philornis Meinert, 1890 (Diptera, Muscidae) are Neotropical dipterans that include species with parasitic larvae which feed on nestling birds. To date, all Philornis species that have been recorded from Argentina have parasitic subcutaneous larvae. Here, for the first time for Argentina, we report the finding of Philornis downsi Dodge & Aitken, 1968, a fly with a nest-dwelling, semi-haematophagous larva. This record, from the humid Chaco ecoregion of Argentina in the nest of a saffron finch Sicalis flaveola pelzelni Sclater, substantially extends the known distribution of this species. We also report the consensus sequences of the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) and ITS2 regions of three of the specimens for future reference and comparison. Further investigation is needed to determine whether Argentina is part of the historical range of P. downsi or, alternatively, represents a recent expansion of its range, perhaps due to climatic changes or other factors of global environmental variation.

  4. Sex and age identification of palila

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jeffrey, J.J.; Fancy, S.G.; Lindsey, G.D.; Banko, P.C.; Pratt, T.K.; Jacobi, J.D.

    1993-01-01

    Methods to sex and age Palila (Loxioides bailleui), an endangered Hawaiian finch restricted to subalpine woodlands on Hawai'i, were identified on the basis of measurements and plumage characteristics of 17 museum specimens and 96 known-age, live Palila. Palila undergo a single annual molt during September-December following the breeding season. Presence of a complete or partial wingbar distinguishes hatch-year and second-year Palila from after-second-year birds. Adult male Palila are distinguished from females by a distinct napeline and lt 30% gray feathers intermixed with yellow feathers on the head. The black or gray feathers of the lores and chin of males are darker than those on the back, whereas the lores and chin of females are lighter or of the same shade as back feathers.

  5. Mesozoic retroposons reveal parrots as the closest living relatives of passerine birds

    PubMed Central

    Suh, Alexander; Paus, Martin; Kiefmann, Martin; Churakov, Gennady; Franke, Franziska Anni; Brosius, Jürgen; Kriegs, Jan Ole; Schmitz, Jürgen

    2011-01-01

    The relationships of passerines (such as the well-studied zebra finch) with non-passerine birds is one of the great enigmas of avian phylogenetic research, because decades of extensive morphological and molecular studies yielded highly inconsistent results between and within data sets. Here we show the first application of the virtually homoplasy-free retroposon insertions to this controversy. Our study examined ~200,000 retroposon-containing loci from various avian genomes and retrieved 51 markers resolving early bird phylogeny. Among these, we obtained statistically significant evidence that parrots are the closest and falcons the second-closest relatives of passerines, together constituting the Psittacopasserae and the Eufalconimorphae, respectively. Our new and robust phylogenetic framework has substantial implications for the interpretation of various conclusions drawn from passerines as model organisms. This includes insights of relevance to human neuroscience, as vocal learning (that is, birdsong) probably evolved in the psittacopasseran ancestor, >30 million years earlier than previously assumed. PMID:21863010

  6. Single-particle characterization of ice-nucleating particles and ice particle residuals sampled by three different techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Worringen, A.; Kandler, K.; Benker, N.; Dirsch, T.; Mertes, S.; Schenk, L.; Kästner, U.; Frank, F.; Nillius, B.; Bundke, U.; Rose, D.; Curtius, J.; Kupiszewski, P.; Weingartner, E.; Vochezer, P.; Schneider, J.; Schmidt, S.; Weinbruch, S.; Ebert, M.

    2015-04-01

    In the present work, three different techniques to separate ice-nucleating particles (INPs) as well as ice particle residuals (IPRs) from non-ice-active particles are compared. The Ice Selective Inlet (ISI) and the Ice Counterflow Virtual Impactor (Ice-CVI) sample ice particles from mixed-phase clouds and allow after evaporation in the instrument for the analysis of the residuals. The Fast Ice Nucleus Chamber (FINCH) coupled with the Ice Nuclei Pumped Counterflow Virtual Impactor (IN-PCVI) provides ice-activating conditions to aerosol particles and extracts the activated particles for analysis. The instruments were run during a joint field campaign which took place in January and February 2013 at the High Alpine Research Station Jungfraujoch (Switzerland). INPs and IPRs were analyzed offline by scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis to determine their size, chemical composition and mixing state. Online analysis of the size and chemical composition of INP activated in FINCH was performed by laser ablation mass spectrometry. With all three INP/IPR separation techniques high abundances (median 20-70%) of instrumental contamination artifacts were observed (ISI: Si-O spheres, probably calibration aerosol; Ice-CVI: Al-O particles; FINCH + IN-PCVI: steel particles). After removal of the instrumental contamination particles, silicates, Ca-rich particles, carbonaceous material and metal oxides were the major INP/IPR particle types obtained by all three techniques. In addition, considerable amounts (median abundance mostly a few percent) of soluble material (e.g., sea salt, sulfates) were observed. As these soluble particles are often not expected to act as INP/IPR, we consider them as potential measurement artifacts. Minor types of INP/IPR include soot and Pb-bearing particles. The Pb-bearing particles are mainly present as an internal mixture with other particle types. Most samples showed a maximum of the INP/IPR size distribution at 200

  7. Sensorimotor nucleus NIf is necessary for auditory processing but not vocal motor output in the avian song system.

    PubMed

    Cardin, Jessica A; Raksin, Jonathan N; Schmidt, Marc F

    2005-04-01

    Sensorimotor integration in the avian song system is crucial for both learning and maintenance of song, a vocal motor behavior. Although a number of song system areas demonstrate both sensory and motor characteristics, their exact roles in auditory and premotor processing are unclear. In particular, it is unknown whether input from the forebrain nucleus interface of the nidopallium (NIf), which exhibits both sensory and premotor activity, is necessary for both auditory and premotor processing in its target, HVC. Here we show that bilateral NIf lesions result in long-term loss of HVC auditory activity but do not impair song production. NIf is thus a major source of auditory input to HVC, but an intact NIf is not necessary for motor output in adult zebra finches.

  8. A Neural Code That Is Isometric to Vocal Output and Correlates with Its Sensory Consequences

    PubMed Central

    Vyssotski, Alexei L.; Stepien, Anna E.; Keller, Georg B.; Hahnloser, Richard H. R.

    2016-01-01

    What cortical inputs are provided to motor control areas while they drive complex learned behaviors? We study this question in the nucleus interface of the nidopallium (NIf), which is required for normal birdsong production and provides the main source of auditory input to HVC, the driver of adult song. In juvenile and adult zebra finches, we find that spikes in NIf projection neurons precede vocalizations by several tens of milliseconds and are insensitive to distortions of auditory feedback. We identify a local isometry between NIf output and vocalizations: quasi-identical notes produced in different syllables are preceded by highly similar NIf spike patterns. NIf multiunit firing during song precedes responses in auditory cortical neurons by about 50 ms, revealing delayed congruence between NIf spiking and a neural representation of auditory feedback. Our findings suggest that NIf codes for imminent acoustic events within vocal performance. PMID:27723764

  9. Template-based automatic recognition of birdsong syllables from continuous recordings.

    PubMed

    Anderson, S E; Dave, A S; Margoliash, D

    1996-08-01

    The application of dynamic time warping (DTW) to the automated analysis of continuous recordings of animal vocalizations is evaluated. The DTW algorithm compares an input signal with a set of predefined templates representative of categories chosen by the investigator. It directly compares signal spectrograms, and identifies constituents and constituent boundaries, thus permitting the identification of a broad range of signals and signal components. When applied to vocalizations of an indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea) and a zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) collected from a low-clutter, low-noise environment, the recognizer identifies syllables in stereotyped songs and calls with greater than 97% accuracy. Syllables of the more variable and lower amplitude indigo bunting plastic song are identified with approximately 84% accuracy. Under restricted recordings conditions, this technique apparently has general applicability to analysis of a variety of animal vocalizations and can dramatically decrease the amount of time spent on manual identification of vocalizations.

  10. Evidence of trade-offs shaping virulence evolution in an emerging wildlife pathogen.

    PubMed

    Williams, P D; Dobson, A P; Dhondt, K V; Hawley, D M; Dhondt, A A

    2014-06-01

    In the mid-1990s, the common poultry pathogen Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) made a successful species jump to the eastern North American house finch Haemorhous mexicanus (HM). Subsequent strain diversification allows us to directly quantify, in an experimental setting, the transmission dynamics of three sequentially emergent geographic isolates of MG, which differ in the levels of pathogen load they induce. We find significant among-strain variation in rates of transmission as well as recovery. Pathogen strains also differ in their induction of host morbidity, measured as the severity of eye lesions due to infection. Relationships between pathogen traits are also investigated, with transmission and recovery rates being significantly negatively correlated, whereas transmission and virulence, measured as average eye lesion score over the course of infection, are positively correlated. By quantifying these disease-relevant parameters and their relationships, we provide the first analysis of the trade-offs that shape the evolution of this important emerging pathogen.

  11. Evolutionary trade-offs, Pareto optimality, and the geometry of phenotype space.

    PubMed

    Shoval, O; Sheftel, H; Shinar, G; Hart, Y; Ramote, O; Mayo, A; Dekel, E; Kavanagh, K; Alon, U

    2012-06-01

    Biological systems that perform multiple tasks face a fundamental trade-off: A given phenotype cannot be optimal at all tasks. Here we ask how trade-offs affect the range of phenotypes found in nature. Using the Pareto front concept from economics and engineering, we find that best-trade-off phenotypes are weighted averages of archetypes--phenotypes specialized for single tasks. For two tasks, phenotypes fall on the line connecting the two archetypes, which could explain linear trait correlations, allometric relationships, as well as bacterial gene-expression patterns. For three tasks, phenotypes fall within a triangle in phenotype space, whose vertices are the archetypes, as evident in morphological studies, including on Darwin's finches. Tasks can be inferred from measured phenotypes based on the behavior of organisms nearest the archetypes.

  12. Organizing Principles of Spectro-Temporal Encoding in the Avian Primary Auditory Area Field L

    PubMed Central

    Nagel, Katherine I.; Doupe, Allison J.

    2008-01-01

    The organization of post-thalamic auditory areas remains unclear in many respects. Using a stimulus based on properties of natural sounds, we mapped spectro-temporal receptive fields (STRFs) of neurons in the primary auditory area field L of unanesthetized zebra finches. Cells were sensitive to only a subset of possible acoustic features: nearly all neurons were narrowly tuned along either the spectral dimension, the temporal dimension, or both; broadly tuned and strongly orientation-sensitive cells were rare. At high stimulus intensities, neurons were sensitive to differences in sound energy along their preferred dimension, while at lower intensities, neurons behaved more like simple detectors. Finally, we found a systematic relationship between neurons’ STRFs, their electrophysiological properties, and their location in field L input or output layers. These data suggest that spectral and temporal processing are segregated within field L, and provide a unifying account of how field L response properties depend on stimulus intensity. PMID:18579083

  13. Computer simulations of sympatric speciation in a simple food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luz-Burgoa, K.; Dell, Tony; de Oliveira, S. Moss

    2005-07-01

    Galapagos finches, have motivated much theoretical research aimed at understanding the processes associated with the formation of the species. Inspired by them, in this paper we investigate the process of sympatric speciation in a simple food web model. For that we modify the individual-based Penna model that has been widely used to study aging as well as other evolutionary processes. Initially, our web consists of a primary food source and a single herbivore species that feeds on this resource. Subsequently we introduce a predator that feeds on the herbivore. In both instances we manipulate directly a basal resource distribution and monitor the changes in the populations. Sympatric speciation is obtained for the top species in both cases, and our results suggest that the speciation velocity depends on how far up, in the food chain, the focus population is feeding. Simulations are done with three different sexual imprintinglike mechanisms, in order to discuss adaptation by natural selection.

  14. Unstable neurons underlie a stable learned behavior

    PubMed Central

    Liberti, William A.; Markowitz, Jeffrey E.; Perkins, L. Nathan; Liberti, Derek C.; Leman, Daniel P.; Guitchounts, Grigori; Velho, Tarciso; Kotton, Darrell N.; Lois, Carlos; Gardner, Timothy J.

    2016-01-01

    Motor skills can be maintained for decades, but the biological basis of this memory persistence remains largely unknown. The zebra finch, for example, sings a highly stereotyped song that is stable for years, but it is not known whether the precise neural patterns underlying song are stable or shift from day to day. Here, we demonstrate that the population of projection neurons coding for song in the pre-motor nucleus HVC change from day to day. The most dramatic shifts occur over intervals of sleep. In contrast to the transient participation of excitatory neurons, ensemble measurements dominated by inhibition persist unchanged even after damage to downstream motor nerves. These observations offer a principle of motor stability: spatio-temporal patterns of inhibition can maintain a stable scaffold for motor dynamics while the population of principle neurons that directly drive behavior shift from one day to the next. PMID:27723744

  15. The genomics of memory and learning in songbirds.

    PubMed

    Clayton, David F

    2013-01-01

    Songbirds have unique value as a model for memory and learning. In their natural social life, they communicate through vocalizations that they must learn to produce and recognize. Song communication elicits abrupt changes in gene expression in regions of the forebrain responsible for song perception and production--what is the functional significance of this genomic response? For 20 years, the focus of research was on just a few genes [primarily ZENK, now known as egr1 (early gene response 1)]. Recently, however, DNA microarrays have been developed and applied to songbird behavioral research, and in 2010 the initial draft assembly of the zebra finch genome was published. Together, these new data reveal that the genomic involvement in song processing is far more complex than anticipated. The concepts of neurogenomic computation and biological embedding are introduced as frameworks for future research.

  16. Basal ganglia function, stuttering, sequencing, and repair in adult songbirds.

    PubMed

    Kubikova, Lubica; Bosikova, Eva; Cvikova, Martina; Lukacova, Kristina; Scharff, Constance; Jarvis, Erich D

    2014-10-13

    A pallial-basal-ganglia-thalamic-pallial loop in songbirds is involved in vocal motor learning. Damage to its basal ganglia part, Area X, in adult zebra finches has been noted to have no strong effects on song and its function is unclear. Here we report that neurotoxic damage to adult Area X induced changes in singing tempo and global syllable sequencing in all animals, and considerably increased syllable repetition in birds whose song motifs ended with minor repetitions before lesioning. This stuttering-like behavior started at one month, and improved over six months. Unexpectedly, the lesioned region showed considerable recovery, including immigration of newly generated or repaired neurons that became active during singing. The timing of the recovery and stuttering suggest that immature recovering activity of the circuit might be associated with stuttering. These findings indicate that even after juvenile learning is complete, the adult striatum plays a role in higher level organization of learned vocalizations.

  17. Human mutant huntingtin disrupts vocal learning in transgenic songbirds.

    PubMed

    Liu, Wan-Chun; Kohn, Jessica; Szwed, Sarah K; Pariser, Eben; Sepe, Sharon; Haripal, Bhagwattie; Oshimori, Naoki; Marsala, Martin; Miyanohara, Atsushi; Lee, Ramee

    2015-11-01

    Speech and vocal impairments characterize many neurological disorders. However, the neurogenetic mechanisms of these disorders are not well understood, and current animal models do not have the necessary circuitry to recapitulate vocal learning deficits. We developed germline transgenic songbirds, zebra finches (Taneiopygia guttata) expressing human mutant huntingtin (mHTT), a protein responsible for the progressive deterioration of motor and cognitive function in Huntington's disease (HD). Although generally healthy, the mutant songbirds had severe vocal disorders, including poor vocal imitation, stuttering, and progressive syntax and syllable degradation. Their song abnormalities were associated with HD-related neuropathology and dysfunction of the cortical-basal ganglia (CBG) song circuit. These transgenics are, to the best of our knowledge, the first experimentally created, functional mutant songbirds. Their progressive and quantifiable vocal disorder, combined with circuit dysfunction in the CBG song system, offers a model for genetic manipulation and the development of therapeutic strategies for CBG-related vocal and motor disorders.

  18. Mesurol as a bird repellent on wine grapes in Oregon and California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hothem, R.L.; Mott, D.F.; DeHaven, R.W.; Guarino, J.L.

    1981-01-01

    Field tests were conducted in California and Oregon from July to October 1978 to evaluate the effectiveness of Mesurol as a repellent to reduce bird damage to ripening wine grapes. A block of vines composed of two similar, adjacent plots was delineated at each of 20 vineyards. One randomly chosen plot within each block was treated with up to three applications of Mesurol (75% wettable powder) at a mean rate of 3.1 kg/ha. Damage assessments at harvest showed that the treatment significantly reduced bird damage in both states, but the actual level of bird damage protection provided by the treatment could not be calculated. Based on bird censuses, the primary grape-depredating species in Oregon vineyards was the American robin (Turdus migratorius), whereas house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus), California quail (Lophortyx californicus), goldfinches (Spinus spp.), and robins were the primary species in California.

  19. Sex differences and rapid estrogen signaling: a look at songbird audition

    PubMed Central

    Krentzel, Amanda A.; Remage-Healey, Luke

    2015-01-01

    The actions of estrogens have been associated with brain differentiation and sexual dimorphism in a wide range of vertebrates. Here we consider the actions of brain-derived ‘neuroestrogens’ in the forebrain and the accompanying differences and similarities observed between males and females in a variety of species. We summarize recent evidence showing that baseline and fluctuating levels of neuroestrogens within the auditory forebrain of male and female zebra finches are largely similar, and that neuroestrogens enhance auditory representations in both sexes. With a comparative perspective we review evidence that non-genomic mechanisms of neuroestrogen actions are sexually differentiated, and we propose a working model for nonclassical estrogen signaling via the MAPK intracellular signaling cascade in the songbird auditory forebrain that is informed by the way sex differences may be compensated. This view may lead to a more comprehensive understanding of how sex influences estradiol-dependent modulation of sensorimotor representations. PMID:25637753

  20. Avian vocal production beyond low dimensional models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mindlin, Gabriel B.

    2017-02-01

    Birdsong is an active field of research in neuroscience, since songbirds learn their songs through a process similar to that followed by humans during vocal learning. Moreover, many of the vocalizations produced by birds are quite complex. Since the avian vocal organ is nonlinear, it is sensible to explore how much of that complexity is due to the neural instructions controlling the vocal organ, and how much to its nonlinear nature. In this work we first review some of the work carried out in the last years to address this problem, and then we discuss the existence of noisy sound sources in the avian vocal organ. We show that some spectral features of the song produced by the Zebra finch (one of the most widely studied species) can only be explained when vortex sound is taken into account.