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Sample records for 1-260 finch pruyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

  3. 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. Observing the Zebra Finch.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Waters, Charles

    1979-01-01

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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Presumed mycobacteriosis in laboratory zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Asfaw, Yohannes G; Sun, Francis J

    2010-09-01

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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Ecoimmunity in Darwin's finches: invasive parasites trigger acquired immunity in the medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis).

    PubMed

    Huber, Sarah K; Owen, Jeb P; Koop, Jennifer A H; King, Marisa O; Grant, Peter R; Grant, B Rosemary; Clayton, Dale H

    2010-01-06

    Invasive parasites are a major threat to island populations of animals. Darwin's finches of the Galápagos Islands are under attack by introduced pox virus (Poxvirus avium) and nest flies (Philornis downsi). We developed assays for parasite-specific antibody responses in Darwin's finches (Geospiza fortis), to test for relationships between adaptive immune responses to novel parasites and spatial-temporal variation in the occurrence of parasite pressure among G. fortis populations. We developed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for the presence of antibodies in the serum of Darwin's finches specific to pox virus or Philornis proteins. We compared antibody levels between bird populations with and without evidence of pox infection (visible lesions), and among birds sampled before nesting (prior to nest-fly exposure) versus during nesting (with fly exposure). Birds from the Pox-positive population had higher levels of pox-binding antibodies. Philornis-binding antibody levels were higher in birds sampled during nesting. Female birds, which occupy the nest, had higher Philornis-binding antibody levels than males. The study was limited by an inability to confirm pox exposure independent of obvious lesions. However, the lasting effects of pox infection (e.g., scarring and lost digits) were expected to be reliable indicators of prior pox infection. This is the first demonstration, to our knowledge, of parasite-specific antibody responses to multiple classes of parasites in a wild population of birds. Darwin's finches initiated acquired immune responses to novel parasites. Our study has vital implications for invasion biology and ecological immunology. The adaptive immune response of Darwin's finches may help combat the negative effects of parasitism. Alternatively, the physiological cost of mounting such a response could outweigh any benefits, accelerating population decline. Tests of the fitness implications of parasite-specific immune responses in Darwin

  14. Ecoimmunity in Darwin's Finches: Invasive Parasites Trigger Acquired Immunity in the Medium Ground Finch (Geospiza fortis)

    PubMed Central

    Huber, Sarah K.; Owen, Jeb P.; Koop, Jennifer A. H.; King, Marisa O.; Grant, Peter R.; Grant, B. Rosemary; Clayton, Dale H.

    2010-01-01

    Background Invasive parasites are a major threat to island populations of animals. Darwin's finches of the Galápagos Islands are under attack by introduced pox virus (Poxvirus avium) and nest flies (Philornis downsi). We developed assays for parasite-specific antibody responses in Darwin's finches (Geospiza fortis), to test for relationships between adaptive immune responses to novel parasites and spatial-temporal variation in the occurrence of parasite pressure among G. fortis populations. Methodology/Principal Findings We developed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for the presence of antibodies in the serum of Darwin's finches specific to pox virus or Philornis proteins. We compared antibody levels between bird populations with and without evidence of pox infection (visible lesions), and among birds sampled before nesting (prior to nest-fly exposure) versus during nesting (with fly exposure). Birds from the Pox-positive population had higher levels of pox-binding antibodies. Philornis-binding antibody levels were higher in birds sampled during nesting. Female birds, which occupy the nest, had higher Philornis-binding antibody levels than males. The study was limited by an inability to confirm pox exposure independent of obvious lesions. However, the lasting effects of pox infection (e.g., scarring and lost digits) were expected to be reliable indicators of prior pox infection. Conclusions/Significance This is the first demonstration, to our knowledge, of parasite-specific antibody responses to multiple classes of parasites in a wild population of birds. Darwin's finches initiated acquired immune responses to novel parasites. Our study has vital implications for invasion biology and ecological immunology. The adaptive immune response of Darwin's finches may help combat the negative effects of parasitism. Alternatively, the physiological cost of mounting such a response could outweigh any benefits, accelerating population decline. Tests of the fitness

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Comparative stereology of the mouse and finch left ventricle.

    PubMed

    Bossen, E H; Sommer, J R; Waugh, R A

    1978-01-01

    The volume fractions and surface per unit cell volume of some subcellular components of the left ventricles of the finch and mouse were quantitated by stereologic techniques. These species were chosen for study because they have similar heart rates but differ morphologically in some respects: fiber diameter is larger in the mouse; the mouse has transverse tubules while the finch does not; and the finch has a form of junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum (JSR), extended JSR (EJSR), located in the cell interior with no direct plasmalemmal contact, while the mouse interior JSR (IJSR) abuts on transverse tubules. Our data show that the volume fraction (Vv) and surface area per unit cell volume (Sv) of total SR, and free SR (FSR) are similar. The volume fractions of mitochondria, myofibrils, and total junctional SR were also similar. The Sv of the cell surface of the finch was similar to the Sv of the cell surface of the mouse (Sv-plasmalemma plus Sv of the transverse tubules). The principal difference was in the distribution of JSR; the mouse peripheral JSR (PJSR) represents only 9% of the total JSR, while the finch PJSR accounts for 24% of the bird's JSR. The similar volume fractions of total junctional SR (PJSR + EJSR in the finch; PJSR + IJSR in the mouse) suggest that the EJSR is not an embryologic remnant, and raises the possibility that some function of JSR is independent of plasmalemmal contact.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Orlov, Michael; Sipper, Moshe

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Braaten, Richard F.

    2010-01-01

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

  2. Darwin's Galápagos finches in modern biology

    PubMed Central

    Abzhanov, Arhat

    2010-01-01

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

  3. Mechanisms of copying behaviour in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Guillette, Lauren M; Healy, Susan D

    2014-10-01

    When an individual is faced with choosing between unfamiliar food options, it may benefit initially by choosing the option chosen by other animals so avoiding potentially poisonous food. It is not clear which cues the naïve forager learns from the demonstrator for choosing between food options. To determine firstly which birds (zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata) would copy a demonstrator's choice, in Experiment 1 we presented each observer with a demonstrator feeding from one of two differently coloured feeders and then tested the observer's feeder colour preference. Of the same-sex/mixed-sex demonstrator-observer pairs tested only females copied male demonstrators. In Experiment 2, birds did not prefer either feeder colour in the absence of demonstrators confirming the social learning effect observed in Experiment 1. In Experiment 3, copying females fed significantly more at the feeder of the demonstrated colour, rather than at the location of the demonstrated feeder. These data point not just to the identity of the individual to be copied but also to the kind of information learned. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Darwin's finches: Population variation and sympatric speciation

    PubMed Central

    Grant, B. R.; Grant, P. R.

    1979-01-01

    The classical model of the adaptive radiation of Darwin's finches is one of repeated speciation in allopatry. Evidence presented here suggests that sympatric specification may have contributed to the radiation. On Isla Genovesa Geospiza conirostris displays several features that are consistent with a model of sympatric speciation. Males are polymorphic in song type. Those singing song A have significantly longer bills than those singing song B. The two groups of males forage in different ways that are functionally associated with the bill differences, particularly in the nonbreeding season when food is probably limiting. Territories of mated song A and song B males alternate in space, whereas territories of unmated males do not. This suggests that females can discriminate between males on the basis of song and position, and the pattern is consistent with a hypothesis of assortative mating within song groups. The population is therefore polymorphic; the morphs occupy different niches in which they may be separately regulated and they could be on the way to achieving full reproductive isolation through assortive mating. It is suggested that the population may oscillate between fission and fusion tendencies due to a changing selection regime in this variable and unpredictable environment. There is no evidence that one of the morphs originated allopatrically and then immigrated to Genovesa. The possibility of sympatric speciation being partly responsible for the adaptive radiation, dismissed more than 30 years ago, should be reinstated. PMID:16592654

  5. Darwin's finches: Population variation and sympatric speciation.

    PubMed

    Grant, B R; Grant, P R

    1979-05-01

    The classical model of the adaptive radiation of Darwin's finches is one of repeated speciation in allopatry. Evidence presented here suggests that sympatric specification may have contributed to the radiation. On Isla Genovesa Geospiza conirostris displays several features that are consistent with a model of sympatric speciation. Males are polymorphic in song type. Those singing song A have significantly longer bills than those singing song B. The two groups of males forage in different ways that are functionally associated with the bill differences, particularly in the nonbreeding season when food is probably limiting. Territories of mated song A and song B males alternate in space, whereas territories of unmated males do not. This suggests that females can discriminate between males on the basis of song and position, and the pattern is consistent with a hypothesis of assortative mating within song groups. The population is therefore polymorphic; the morphs occupy different niches in which they may be separately regulated and they could be on the way to achieving full reproductive isolation through assortive mating. It is suggested that the population may oscillate between fission and fusion tendencies due to a changing selection regime in this variable and unpredictable environment. There is no evidence that one of the morphs originated allopatrically and then immigrated to Genovesa. The possibility of sympatric speciation being partly responsible for the adaptive radiation, dismissed more than 30 years ago, should be reinstated.

  6. Vocal Tract Articulation in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  7. 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. © 2016 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 ...

  10. 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...

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Affine transformations capture beak shape variation in Darwin's Finches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brenner, Michael; Campas, Otger; Mallarino, Riccardo; Abzhanov, Arhat

    2009-11-01

    Evolution by natural selection has resulted in extraordinary morphological complexity of living organisms, whose description has thus far defied any precise mathematical characterization linked to the underlying developmental genetics. Here we demonstrate that the morphological diversity of the beaks of Darwin's finches, the classical example of adaptive morphological radiation, is quantitatively accounted for through the mathematical group of affine transformations. Specifically, we show that all beak shapes of Ground Finches (genus Geospiza) are related by scaling transformations (a subgroup of the affine group), and the same scheme occurs for all the beak shapes of Tree and Warbler finches. This analysis shows that the beak shapes within each of these groups differ only by their scales, such as length and depth, each of which is knownto be under genetic control.The complete morphological variability within the beaks of Darwin's finches can be explained by extending the scaling transformations to the entire affine group, by including shear transformations. Altogether our results suggest that the mathematical theory of groups can help decode morphological variability, and points to a potentially hierarchical structure of morphological diversity and the underlying developmental processes.

  15. 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 ...

  16. 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...

  17. Drinking songs: alcohol effects on learned song of zebra finches.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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)

  20. Sex steroid profiles in zebra finches: Effects of reproductive state and domestication.

    PubMed

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

    2017-04-01

    The zebra finch is a common model organism in neuroscience, endocrinology, and ethology. Zebra finches are generally considered opportunistic breeders, but the extent of their opportunism depends on the predictability of their habitat. This plasticity in the timing of breeding raises the question of how domestication, a process that increases environmental predictability, has affected their reproductive physiology. Here, we compared circulating steroid levels in various "strains" of zebra finches. In Study 1, using radioimmunoassay, we examined circulating testosterone levels in several strains of zebra finches (males and females). Subjects were wild or captive (Captive Wild-Caught, Wild-Derived, or Domesticated). In Study 2, using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), we examined circulating sex steroid profiles in wild and domesticated zebra finches (males and females). In Study 1, circulating testosterone levels in males differed across strains. In Study 2, six steroids were detectable in plasma from wild zebra finches (pregnenolone, progesterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), testosterone, androsterone, and 5α-dihydrotestosterone (5α-DHT)). Only pregnenolone and progesterone levels changed across reproductive states in wild finches. Compared to wild zebra finches, domesticated zebra finches had elevated levels of circulating pregnenolone, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, androstenedione, and androsterone. These data suggest that domestication has profoundly altered the endocrinology of this common model organism. These results have implications for interpreting studies of domesticated zebra finches, as well as studies of other domesticated species. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Epigenetics and the Evolution of Darwin’s Finches

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  4. Nicotine kinetics in zebra finches in vivo and in vitro.

    PubMed

    Miksys, Sharon; Cappendijk, Susanne L T; Perry, William M; Zhao, Bin; Tyndale, Rachel F

    2013-06-01

    Nicotine enhances cognitive performance, and in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), which is a well-established model of cognition, the effects of nicotine on song production have been reported. Nicotine and cotinine plasma levels were assessed in vivo after subcutaneous injection of 0.18 mg/kg nicotine, a dose that elicits changes in song production. The half-life of nicotine elimination was 33 minutes, and levels were undetectable by 4 hours. Average plasma nicotine over 2 hours was 32 ng/ml, similar to levels seen in human smokers and rat models of nicotine behavior. Nicotine brain levels were 30 and 14 ng/g 1 and 2 hours after treatment. To understand the potential for drug interactions and the regulation of nicotine metabolism in zebra finches, we characterized in vitro nicotine metabolism and the hepatic enzyme involved. In humans, cytochrome P450 2A6 metabolizes nicotine to cotinine, and CYP2A-like activity and protein have been reported in some birds. Zebra finch liver microsomes metabolized nicotine and bupropion (a CYP2B substrate) but not coumarin (a CYP2A substrate). Nicotine was metabolized to cotinine with a Michaelis-Menten constant (K(m)) of 96 µM and a V(max) of 56 pmol/min per milligram. Nicotine and bupropion metabolism was inhibited by C-8-xanthate (a specific CYP2B inhibitor) but not by CYP2A-specific inhibitors, and hepatic levels of CYP2B-like but not CYP2A-like proteins correlated with nicotine (r = 0.52; P = 0.04) and bupropion metabolism (r = 0.81; P < 0.001), suggesting CYP2B-mediation of nicotine metabolism as seen in rats. These results will facilitate further investigation of nicotine's effects in zebra finches.

  5. Epigenetic variation between urban and rural populations of Darwin's finches.

    PubMed

    McNew, Sabrina M; Beck, Daniel; Sadler-Riggleman, Ingrid; Knutie, Sarah A; Koop, Jennifer A H; Clayton, Dale H; Skinner, Michael K

    2017-08-24

    The molecular basis of evolutionary change is assumed to be genetic variation. However, growing evidence suggests that epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, may also be involved in rapid adaptation to new environments. An important first step in evaluating this hypothesis is to test for the presence of epigenetic variation between natural populations living under different environmental conditions. In the current study we explored variation between populations of Darwin's finches, which comprise one of the best-studied examples of adaptive radiation. We tested for morphological, genetic, and epigenetic differences between adjacent "urban" and "rural" populations of each of two species of ground finches, Geospiza fortis and G. fuliginosa, on Santa Cruz Island in the Galápagos. Using data collected from more than 1000 birds, we found significant morphological differences between populations of G. fortis, but not G. fuliginosa. We did not find large size copy number variation (CNV) genetic differences between populations of either species. However, other genetic variants were not investigated. In contrast, we did find dramatic epigenetic differences between the urban and rural populations of both species, based on DNA methylation analysis. We explored genomic features and gene associations of the differentially DNA methylated regions (DMR), as well as their possible functional significance. In summary, our study documents local population epigenetic variation within each of two species of Darwin's finches.

  6. 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

  7. Do zebra finch parents fail to recognise their own offspring?

    PubMed

    Reers, Hendrik; Jacot, Alain; Forstmeier, Wolfgang

    2011-04-13

    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.

  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. Prediction of stellar masses with Finch and Skea geometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-10-01

    The Finch and Skea spacetime produces stars which are physically reasonable. In this investigation we use a particular solution of the generalised Finch and Skea model of Maharaj et al. (Int. J. Mod. Phys. D 26:1750014, 2016) to study the mass and radius. We generate masses and radii for three cases: charged anisotropic, charged isotropic and uncharged isotropic distributions for observed compact objects. Physical features of the model show the non-negligible influence of charge and anisotropy on the mass and radius within the stellar objects. The model parameters values are fixed based on physical requirements and stability conditions of compact stars. We show that the model is consistent with the observed masses of selected pulsars PSR J1614-2230, PSR J1903+0327, 4U 1820-30, Cen X-3, EXO 1785-248 and LMC X-4. The investigation reveals that the Finch and Skea geometry is physically relevant for the study of observed compact stars.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Rodway, George W

    2007-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Digital gene expression analysis of the zebra finch genome

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background In order to understand patterns of adaptation and molecular evolution it is important to quantify both variation in gene expression and nucleotide sequence divergence. Gene expression profiling in non-model organisms has recently been facilitated by the advent of massively parallel sequencing technology. Here we investigate tissue specific gene expression patterns in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) with special emphasis on the genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Results Almost 2 million 454-sequencing reads from cDNA of six different tissues were assembled and analysed. A total of 11,793 zebra finch transcripts were represented in this EST data, indicating a transcriptome coverage of about 65%. There was a positive correlation between the tissue specificity of gene expression and non-synonymous to synonymous nucleotide substitution ratio of genes, suggesting that genes with a specialised function are evolving at a higher rate (or with less constraint) than genes with a more general function. In line with this, there was also a negative correlation between overall expression levels and expression specificity of contigs. We found evidence for expression of 10 different genes related to the MHC. MHC genes showed relatively tissue specific expression levels and were in general primarily expressed in spleen. Several MHC genes, including MHC class I also showed expression in brain. Furthermore, for all genes with highest levels of expression in spleen there was an overrepresentation of several gene ontology terms related to immune function. Conclusions Our study highlights the usefulness of next-generation sequence data for quantifying gene expression in the genome as a whole as well as in specific candidate genes. Overall, the data show predicted patterns of gene expression profiles and molecular evolution in the zebra finch genome. Expression of MHC genes in particular, corresponds well with expression patterns in other vertebrates

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. An outbreak of mycobacteriosis in Gouldian finches caused by Mycobacterium peregrinum.

    PubMed

    Vitali, Simone D; Eden, Paul A; Payne, Karen L; Vaughan, Rebecca J

    2006-09-01

    An outbreak of mycobacteriosis was detected in an aviary containing Gouldian finches (Erythrura gouldiae) and golden shouldered parrots (Psephotus chrysopterygius). Affected birds developed granulomatous lesions, usually of the liver and intestine. Mycobacterium peregrinum, a species of the Mycobacterium fortuitum group, was cultured on pooled samples of intestinal tract from 31 euthanized finches. These rapid-growing mycobacteria are saprophytic organisms that are generally not associated with clinical disease in immunocomponenet hosts. This is the first report of mycobacteriosis in finches implicating M peregrinum as a causative agent.

  8. 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. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Riede, Tobias; Schilling, Nadja; Goller, Franz

    2013-01-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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. © 2014 The Author(s). Evolution © 2014 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Behavioural responses to video playbacks by zebra finch males.

    PubMed

    Galoch, Zdzislaw; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2007-01-10

    A major problem for communication research is to provide standardized stimuli and to disentangle the relative contribution of different sensory channels to the compound signal and its effectiveness. Video techniques have frequently been used for this purpose. Fifty Hertz cathode ray tube (CRT) screens cannot be used for birds because their flicker frequency is lower than the time resolution of at least songbirds. Thin film transistor (TFT) screens have successfully been used to present video clips of behaving conspecifics. We show here that they are indeed transmitting video images in a way that enables zebra finches to react appropriately to live video images of conspecifics and that the test birds are able to detect small differences in the behaviour of the stimulus animals. Adding acoustic information strongly enhanced the reaction to the video clips.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Anatomical plasticity in the adult zebra finch song system.

    PubMed

    McDonald, Kathryn S; Kirn, John R

    2012-11-01

    In many songbirds, vocal learning-related cellular plasticity was thought to end following a developmental critical period. However, mounting evidence in one such species, the zebra finch, suggests that forms of plasticity common during song learning continue well into adulthood, including a reliance on auditory feedback for song maintenance. This reliance wanes with increasing age, in tandem with age-related increases in fine motor control. We investigated age-related morphological changes in the adult zebra finch song system by focusing on two cortical projection neuron types that 1) share a common efferent target, 2) are known to exhibit morphological and functional change during song learning, and 3) exert opposing influences on song acoustic structure. Neurons in HVC and the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (LMAN) both project to the robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA). During juvenile song learning and adult song maintenance, HVC promotes song syllable stereotypy, whereas LMAN promotes learning and acoustic variability. After retrograde labeling of these two cell types in adults, there were age-related increases in dendritic arbor in HVC-RA but not LMAN-RA neurons, resulting in an increase in the ratio of HVC-RA:LMAN-RA dendritic arbor. Differential growth of HVC relative to LMAN dendrites may relate to increases in song motor refinement, decreases in the reliance of song on auditory feedback, or both. Despite this differential growth with age, both cell types retain the capacity for experience-dependent growth, as we show here. These results may provide insights into mechanisms that promote and constrain adult vocal plasticity. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  9. Anatomical plasticity in the adult Zebra Finch song system

    PubMed Central

    McDonald, Kathryn S.; Kirn, John R.

    2012-01-01

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

  10. Physiological responses to photoperiod in three cardueline finch species.

    PubMed

    Hahn, Thomas P; Pereyra, Maria E; Sharbaugh, Susan M; Bentley, George E

    2004-05-15

    Cardueline finches (canaries, goldfinches, and rosefinches, etc.) vary widely in the degree to which their natural reproductive schedules track seasonal changes in photoperiod. In this study, we tested for photo-induction of reproductive development and photorefractoriness in males of three cardueline finch species: pine siskins (Carduelis pinus), common redpolls (Carduelis flammea), and white-winged crossbills (Loxia leucoptera). Exposure to long days (20L:4D) in winter induced gonadal growth and elevation of circulating luteinizing hormone (LH) in all three species. After 4.5 months on constant long days, gonadal regression was complete in redpolls and siskins, but only partial in crossbills. Feather molt was most advanced in redpolls, slightly less advanced in siskins, and least advanced in crossbills. These results indicate that the reproductive systems of all three species were stimulated by long days, but that the crossbills, which are temporal opportunists, either did not become absolutely photorefractory, or developed refractoriness more slowly than did the other two species. Reproductive development of controls held for 4.5 months on constant short days (5L:19D) was negligible in redpolls and crossbills, but substantial in siskins, suggesting that of the three species, pine siskins may be the least dependent on long days for reproductive development. Changes in fat deposition and body mass also differed among species. Short day redpolls tended to be fatter and heavier than long day redpolls, and long day crossbills tended to be fatter and heavier than short day crossbills. Body mass and fat depot of siskins remained high irrespective of photoperiod. These results illustrate substantial variation among these close relatives, and are consistent with the idea that differences in apparent reproductive flexibility among cardueline taxa relate to interspecific differences in responsiveness to environmental cues, not simply to differences in the environments

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

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

  12. 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

    ...; Final Rule to List the Medium Tree-Finch (Camarhynchus pauper) as Endangered Throughout Its Range AGENCY... Service (Service), determine endangered status for the medium tree-finch (Camarhynchus pauper) under the.... SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background In this final rule, we determine endangered status for the medium...

  13. 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

  14. Multilocus genotypes from Charles Darwin's finches: biodiversity lost since the voyage of the Beagle

    PubMed Central

    Petren, Kenneth; Grant, Peter R.; Grant, B. Rosemary; Clack, Andrew A.; Lescano, Ninnia V.

    2010-01-01

    Genetic analysis of museum specimens offers a direct window into a past that can predate the loss of extinct forms. We genotyped 18 Galápagos finches collected by Charles Darwin and companions during the voyage of the Beagle in 1835, and 22 specimens collected in 1901. Our goals were to determine if significant genetic diversity has been lost since the Beagle voyage and to determine the genetic source of specimens for which the collection locale was not recorded. Using ‘ancient’ DNA techniques, we quantified variation at 14 autosomal microsatellite loci. Assignment tests showed several museum specimens genetically matched recently field-sampled birds from their island of origin. Some were misclassified or were difficult to classify. Darwin's exceptionally large ground finches (Geospiza magnirostris) from Floreana and San Cristóbal were genetically distinct from several other currently existing populations. Sharp-beaked ground finches (Geospiza difficilis) from Floreana and Isabela were also genetically distinct. These four populations are currently extinct, yet they were more genetically distinct from congeners than many other species of Darwin's finches are from each other. We conclude that a significant amount of the finch biodiversity observed and collected by Darwin has been lost since the voyage of the Beagle. PMID:20194164

  15. Multilocus genotypes from Charles Darwin's finches: biodiversity lost since the voyage of the Beagle.

    PubMed

    Petren, Kenneth; Grant, Peter R; Grant, B Rosemary; Clack, Andrew A; Lescano, Ninnia V

    2010-04-12

    Genetic analysis of museum specimens offers a direct window into a past that can predate the loss of extinct forms. We genotyped 18 Galápagos finches collected by Charles Darwin and companions during the voyage of the Beagle in 1835, and 22 specimens collected in 1901. Our goals were to determine if significant genetic diversity has been lost since the Beagle voyage and to determine the genetic source of specimens for which the collection locale was not recorded. Using 'ancient' DNA techniques, we quantified variation at 14 autosomal microsatellite loci. Assignment tests showed several museum specimens genetically matched recently field-sampled birds from their island of origin. Some were misclassified or were difficult to classify. Darwin's exceptionally large ground finches (Geospiza magnirostris) from Floreana and San Cristóbal were genetically distinct from several other currently existing populations. Sharp-beaked ground finches (Geospiza difficilis) from Floreana and Isabela were also genetically distinct. These four populations are currently extinct, yet they were more genetically distinct from congeners than many other species of Darwin's finches are from each other. We conclude that a significant amount of the finch biodiversity observed and collected by Darwin has been lost since the voyage of the Beagle.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-01

    As a social species zebra finches might be expected to copy the food choices of more experienced conspecifics. This prediction has been tested previously by presenting observers with two demonstrator birds that differ in some way (e.g., sex, familiarity), each feeding on a different colour food source. However, if the observer subsequently exhibits a preference, it is unclear whether it has copied the choice of one demonstrator or avoided the choice of the other. Furthermore, this choice may actually be influenced by pre-existing preferences, a potential bias that is rarely tested. Here we examine whether apparent copying or avoidance can be explained by pre-existing preferences. In Experiment 1, observers had the opportunity to watch a conspecific forage from one of the two differently coloured food hoppers. In Experiment 2, the observers did not have this opportunity. In both experiments observers were subsequently tested for their food hopper preference and all but one preferred one colour over the other. In Experiment 1 some observers showed evidence for copying, while others seemed to avoid the colour preferred by the demonstrator. In Experiment 2 females generally preferred the white hopper. Pre-existing colour preferences could, therefore, explain the apparent copying/avoidance we observed. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Cognition in the wild. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Comparisons of different methods to train a young zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) to learn a song.

    PubMed

    Derégnaucourt, Sébastien; Poirier, Colline; Kant, Anne Van der; Linden, Annemie Van der; Gahr, Manfred

    2013-06-01

    Like humans, oscine songbirds exhibit vocal learning. They learn their song by imitating conspecifics, mainly adults. Among them, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) has been widely used as a model species to study the behavioral, cellular and molecular substrates of vocal learning. Various methods using taped song playback have been used in the laboratory to train young male finches to learn a song. Since different protocols have been applied by different research groups, the efficiency of the studies cannot be directly compared. The purpose of our study was to address this problem. Young finches were raised by their mother alone from day post hatching (dph) 10 and singly isolated from dph 35. One week later, exposure to a song model began, either using a live tutor or taped playback (passive or self-elicited). At dph 100, the birds were transferred to a common aviary. We observed that one-to-one live tutoring is the best method to get a fairly complete imitation. Using self-elicited playback we observed high inter-individual variability; while some finches learned well (including good copying of the song model), others exhibited poor copying. Passive playback resulted in poor imitation of the model. We also observed that finches exhibited vocal changes after dph 100 and that the range of these changes was negatively related to their imitation of the song model. Taken together, these results suggest that social aspects are predominant in the success outcome of song learning in the zebra finch. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. An introduced parasitic fly may lead to local extinction of Darwin's finch populations.

    PubMed

    Koop, Jennifer A H; Kim, Peter S; Knutie, Sarah A; Adler, Fred; Clayton, Dale H

    2016-04-01

    Introduced pathogens and other parasites are often implicated in host population level declines and extinctions. However, such claims are rarely supported by rigorous real-time data. Indeed, the threat of introduced parasites often goes unnoticed until after host populations have declined severely. The recent introduction of the parasitic nest fly, Philornis downsi, to the Galápagos Islands provides an opportunity to monitor the current impact of an invasive parasite on endemic land bird populations, including Darwin's finches.In this paper we present a population viability model to explore the potential long-term effect of P. downsi on Darwin's finch populations. The goal of our study was to determine whether P. downsi has the potential to drive host populations to extinction and whether management efforts are likely to be effective.Our model is based on data from five years of experimental field work documenting the effect of P. downsi on the reproductive success of medium ground finch Geospiza fortis populations on Santa Cruz Island. Under two of the three scenarios tested, the model predicted medium ground finches are at risk of extinction within the next century.However, sensitivity analyses reveal that even a modest reduction in the prevalence of the parasite could improve the stability of finch populations. We discuss the practicality of several management options aimed at achieving this goal.Synthesis and applications. Our study demonstrates the predicted high risk of local extinction of an abundant host species, the medium ground finch Geospiza fortis due to an introduced parasite, Philornis downsi. However, our study further suggests that careful management practices aimed at reducing parasite prevalence have the potential to significantly lower the risk of host species extinction.

  4. An introduced parasitic fly may lead to local extinction of Darwin’s finch populations

    PubMed Central

    Koop, Jennifer A. H.; Kim, Peter S.; Knutie, Sarah A.; Adler, Fred; Clayton, Dale H.

    2015-01-01

    Summary Introduced pathogens and other parasites are often implicated in host population level declines and extinctions. However, such claims are rarely supported by rigorous real-time data. Indeed, the threat of introduced parasites often goes unnoticed until after host populations have declined severely. The recent introduction of the parasitic nest fly, Philornis downsi, to the Galápagos Islands provides an opportunity to monitor the current impact of an invasive parasite on endemic land bird populations, including Darwin’s finches. In this paper we present a population viability model to explore the potential long-term effect of P. downsi on Darwin’s finch populations. The goal of our study was to determine whether P. downsi has the potential to drive host populations to extinction and whether management efforts are likely to be effective. Our model is based on data from five years of experimental field work documenting the effect of P. downsi on the reproductive success of medium ground finch Geospiza fortis populations on Santa Cruz Island. Under two of the three scenarios tested, the model predicted medium ground finches are at risk of extinction within the next century. However, sensitivity analyses reveal that even a modest reduction in the prevalence of the parasite could improve the stability of finch populations. We discuss the practicality of several management options aimed at achieving this goal. Synthesis and applications. Our study demonstrates the predicted high risk of local extinction of an abundant host species, the medium ground finch Geospiza fortis due to an introduced parasite, Philornis downsi. However, our study further suggests that careful management practices aimed at reducing parasite prevalence have the potential to significantly lower the risk of host species extinction. PMID:26980922

  5. 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

  6. The impact of domestication on fearfulness: a comparison of tonic immobility reactions in wild and domesticated finches.

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Kenta; Ikebuchi, Maki; Okanoya, Kazuo

    2013-11-01

    We examined differences in the fear response between Bengalese finches and their wild ancestor, the white-backed munia, to explore the evolutionary mechanisms of behavioural changes due to domestication. The Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica) was domesticated from the wild-living white-backed munia (L. striata) approximately 250 years ago. A previous study indicated that Bengalese finches sing much more complex songs than white-backed munias. We hypothesised that Bengalese finches are likely able to allocate more resources to reproduction in exchange for reduced survival effort. We measured tonic immobility (TI) reactions as a response to physical restraint to evaluate fearfulness related to coping with predation. The results showed that Bengalese finches exhibited decreased TI responses compared with white-backed munias. TI responses were unaffected by sex, body weight or growth conditions. These differences suggest that the fearfulness in Bengalese finches has been reduced by selective pressure during domestication. Bengalese finches may have been able to increase the investment of energy in reproduction in exchange for reduced costs of predation and coping necessary to survive in the wild; these behavioural changes may have been a major target of domestication effects in this species. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  7. Sexual Dimorphism in the Early Embryogenesis in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Tagirov, Makhsud; Rutkowska, Joanna

    2014-01-01

    Sex-specific gene expression before the onset of gonadogensis has been documented in embryos of mammals and chickens. In several mammalian species, differences in gene expression are accompanied by faster growth of pre-implantation male embryos. Here we asked whether avian embryos before gonadal differentiation are also sex-dimorphic in size and what genes regulate their growth. We used captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) whose freshly laid eggs were artificially incubated for 36–40 hours. Analyses controlling for the exact time of incubation of 81 embryos revealed that males were larger than females in terms of Hamburger and Hamilton stage and number of somites. Expression of 15 genes involved in cell cycle regulation, growth, metabolic activity, steroidogenic pathway and stress modulation were measured using RT-PCR in 5 male and 5 female embryos incubated for exactly 36 h. We found that in the presence of equal levels of the growth hormone itself, the faster growth of male embryos is most likely achieved by the overexpression of the growth hormone receptor gene and three other genes responsible for cell cycle regulation and metabolism, all of them located on the Z chromosome. Autosomal genes did not show sex-specific expression, except for the steroidogenic factor 1 which was expressed only in female embryos. To our knowledge this is the first report of sexual size dimorphism before gonadogenesis in birds. The finding suggests that faster growth of early male embryos is conserved through the mammalian and bird phyla, irrespective of their differential sex chromosome systems. PMID:25493645

  8. Sexual Dimorphism in the Early Embryogenesis in Zebra Finches.

    PubMed

    Tagirov, Makhsud; Rutkowska, Joanna

    2014-01-01

    Sex-specific gene expression before the onset of gonadogensis has been documented in embryos of mammals and chickens. In several mammalian species, differences in gene expression are accompanied by faster growth of pre-implantation male embryos. Here we asked whether avian embryos before gonadal differentiation are also sex-dimorphic in size and what genes regulate their growth. We used captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) whose freshly laid eggs were artificially incubated for 36-40 hours. Analyses controlling for the exact time of incubation of 81 embryos revealed that males were larger than females in terms of Hamburger and Hamilton stage and number of somites. Expression of 15 genes involved in cell cycle regulation, growth, metabolic activity, steroidogenic pathway and stress modulation were measured using RT-PCR in 5 male and 5 female embryos incubated for exactly 36 h. We found that in the presence of equal levels of the growth hormone itself, the faster growth of male embryos is most likely achieved by the overexpression of the growth hormone receptor gene and three other genes responsible for cell cycle regulation and metabolism, all of them located on the Z chromosome. Autosomal genes did not show sex-specific expression, except for the steroidogenic factor 1 which was expressed only in female embryos. To our knowledge this is the first report of sexual size dimorphism before gonadogenesis in birds. The finding suggests that faster growth of early male embryos is conserved through the mammalian and bird phyla, irrespective of their differential sex chromosome systems.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  16. Song Decrystallization in Adult Zebra Finches Does Not Require the Song Nucleus NIf

    PubMed Central

    Roy, Arani; Mooney, Richard

    2009-01-01

    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. PMID:19515953

  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. Evolutionary innovation and diversification of carotenoid-based pigmentation in finches.

    PubMed

    Ligon, Russell A; Simpson, Richard K; Mason, Nicholas A; Hill, Geoffrey E; McGraw, Kevin J

    2016-12-01

    The ornaments used by animals to mediate social interactions are diverse, and by reconstructing their evolutionary pathways we can gain new insights into the mechanisms underlying ornamental innovation and variability. Here, we examine variation in plumage carotenoids among the true finches (Aves: Fringillidae) using biochemical and comparative phylogenetic analyses to reconstruct the evolutionary history of carotenoid states and evaluate competing models of carotenoid evolution. Our comparative analyses reveal that the most likely ancestor of finches used dietary carotenoids as yellow plumage colorants, and that the ability to metabolically modify dietary carotenoids into more complex pigments arose secondarily once finches began to use modified carotenoids to create red plumage. Following the evolutionary "innovation" that enabled modified red carotenoid pigments to be deposited as plumage colorants, many finch species subsequently modified carotenoid biochemical pathways to create yellow plumage. However, no reversions to dietary carotenoids were observed. The finding that ornaments and their underlying mechanisms may be operating under different selection regimes-where ornamental trait colors undergo frequent reversions (e.g., between red and yellow plumage) while carotenoid metabolization mechanisms are more conserved-supports a growing empirical framework suggesting different evolutionary patterns for ornaments and the mechanistic innovations that facilitate their diversification.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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…

  5. 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.

  6. 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…

  7. 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.

  8. 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…

  9. 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

  10. 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…

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  12. 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

  13. Vocal mechanics in Darwin's finches: correlation of beak gape and song frequency.

    PubMed

    Podos, Jeffrey; Southall, Joel A; Rossi-Santos, Marcos R

    2004-02-01

    Recent studies of vocal mechanics in songbirds have identified a functional role for the beak in sound production. The vocal tract (trachea and beak) filters harmonic overtones from sounds produced by the syrinx, and birds can fine-tune vocal tract resonance properties through changes in beak gape. In this study, we examine patterns of beak gape during song production in seven species of Darwin's finches of the Galápagos Islands. Our principal goals were to characterize the relationship between beak gape and vocal frequency during song production and to explore the possible influence therein of diversity in beak morphology and body size. Birds were audio and video recorded (at 30 frames s(-1)) as they sang in the field, and 164 song sequences were analyzed. We found that song frequency regressed significantly and positively on beak gape for 38 of 56 individuals and for all seven species examined. This finding provides broad support for a resonance model of vocal tract function in Darwin's finches. Comparison among species revealed significant variation in regression y-intercept values. Body size correlated negatively with y-intercept values, although not at a statistically significant level. We failed to detect variation in regression slopes among finch species, although the regression slopes of Darwin's finch and two North American sparrow species were found to differ. Analysis within one species (Geospiza fortis) revealed significant inter-individual variation in regression parameters; these parameters did not correlate with song frequency features or plumage scores. Our results suggest that patterns of beak use during song production were conserved during the Darwin's finch adaptive radiation, despite the evolution of substantial variation in beak morphology and body size.

  14. 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

  15. Molecular phylogenetic relationship of snow finch complex (genera Montifringilla, Pyrgilauda, and Onychostruthus) from the Tibetan plateau.

    PubMed

    Qu, Yanhua; Ericson, Per G P; Lei, Fumin; Gebauer, Axel; Kaiser, Martin; Helbig, Andreas J

    2006-07-01

    The snow finch complex (Montifringilla, Pyrgilauda, and Onychostruthus) has its center of distribution on the Tibetan plateau, with six out of seven species in the genera occurring there. Phylogenetic relationships among these six species of three genera have been studied based on DNA sequence data obtained from the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and the nuclear myoglobin gene. The results support monophyly of the snow finch complex group and three major evolutionary lineages are recognized. The first clade consists of ruficollis, blanfordi, and davidiana. These three taxa are sometimes placed in their own genus, Pyrgilauda, and the DNA data supports this. The three taxa nivalis, henrici, and adamsi have traditionally been placed in the genus Montifringilla, and they group together strongly in the present analysis. The results further suggest that nivalis and adamsi are more closely related to each other than are nivalis and henrici, despite that the latter two are often regarded as conspecific. The third distinct lineage within the snow finch complex consists of taczanowskii, which has been placed its own genus, Onychostruthus. This taxon has a basal position in the phylogenetic tree and is sister to all other snow finches. We estimated that taczanowskii split from the other taxa between 2 and 2.5 mya, i.e., about the time for the most recent uplift of the Tibetan plateau, "the Tibet movement", 3.6-1.7 mya. Cladogenesis within the Montifringilla and Pyrgilauda clades seems to be contemporary with the second phase of "Tibet movement" at 2.5 mya and the third phase at 1.7 mya and "Kunhuang movement" in 1.5-0.6 mya. The dramatic climatic and ecological changes following from the uplift of the Tibetan plateau, together with the cyclic contraction and expansion of suitable habitats during the Pleistocene, are probably the most important factors for the cladogenesis in snow finch complex.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Social learning of food types in zebra finches (Taenopygia guttata) is directed by demonstrator sex and feeding activity.

    PubMed

    Katz, M; Lachlan, R F

    2003-03-01

    In this study we examined how social learning of feeding preferences by zebra finches was affected by the identity of different demonstrators. We presented adult zebra finches with two demonstrators, one male and one female, that exhibited different food choices, and we recorded their subsequent preference when given a choice between the two food types. Previously it was found that young zebra finches' patterns of social learning are affected by the sex of the individual demonstrating a feeding behaviour. This result could be explained by the lack of exposure these animals had to the opposite sex, or by their mating status. Therefore, we investigated the social learning preferences of adult mated zebra finches. We found the same pattern of directed social learning of a different type of feeding behaviour (food colour): female zebra finches preferred the colour of food eaten by male demonstrators, whereas male zebra finches showed little evidence of any preference for the colour of food eaten by female demonstrators. Furthermore, we found that female observers' preferences were biased by demonstrators' relative feeding activity: the female demonstrator was only ever preferred if it ate less than its male counterpart.

  20. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Baran, Nicole M.; Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth

    2014-01-01

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

  2. Genomic and neural analysis of the estradiol-synthetic pathway in the zebra finch

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Steroids are small molecule hormones derived from cholesterol. Steroids affect many tissues, including the brain. In the zebra finch, estrogenic steroids are particularly interesting because they masculinize the neural circuit that controls singing and their synthesis in the brain is modulated by experience. Here, we analyzed the zebra finch genome assembly to assess the content, conservation, and organization of genes that code for components of the estrogen-synthetic pathway and steroid nuclear receptors. Based on these analyses, we also investigated neural expression of a cholesterol transport protein gene in the context of song neurobiology. Results We present sequence-based analysis of twenty steroid-related genes using the genome assembly and other resources. Generally, zebra finch genes showed high homology to genes in other species. The diversity of steroidogenic enzymes and receptors may be lower in songbirds than in mammals; we were unable to identify all known mammalian isoforms of the 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase families in the zebra finch genome assembly, and not all splice sites described in mammals were identified in the corresponding zebra finch genes. We did identify two factors, Nobox and NR1H2-RXR, that may be important for coordinated transcription of multiple steroid-related genes. We found very little qualitative overlap in predicted transcription factor binding sites in the genes for two cholesterol transport proteins, the 18 kDa cholesterol transport protein (TSPO) and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR). We therefore performed in situ hybridization for TSPO and found that its mRNA was not always detected in brain regions where StAR and steroidogenic enzymes were previously shown to be expressed. Also, transcription of TSPO, but not StAR, may be regulated by the experience of hearing song. Conclusions The genes required for estradiol synthesis and action are represented in the

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Spatial Unmasking of Birdsong in Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata) and Budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus)

    PubMed Central

    Dent, Micheal L.; McClaine, Elizabeth M.; Best, Virginia; Ozmeral, Erol; Narayan, Rajiv; Gallun, Frederick J.; Sen, Kamal; Shinn-Cunningham, Barbara G.

    2009-01-01

    Budgerigars and zebra finches were tested, using operant conditioning techniques, on their ability to identify a zebra finch song in the presence of a background masker emitted from either the same or a different location as the signal. Identification thresholds were obtained for three masker types differing in their spectrotemporal characteristics (noise, modulated noise, and a song chorus). Both bird species exhibited similar amounts of spatial unmasking across the three masker types. The amount of unmasking was greater when the masker was played continuously compared to when the target and masker were presented simultaneously. These results suggest that spatial factors are important for birds in the identification of natural signals in noisy environments. PMID:19929104

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Does Foraging Behaviour Affect Female Mate Preferences and Pair Formation in Captive Zebra Finches?

    PubMed Central

    Boogert, Neeltje J.; Bui, Cavina; Howarth, Krista; Giraldeau, Luc-Alain; Lefebvre, Louis

    2010-01-01

    Background Successful foraging is essential for survival and reproductive success. In many bird species, foraging is a learned behaviour. To cope with environmental change and survive periods in which regular foods are scarce, the ability to solve novel foraging problems by learning new foraging techniques can be crucial. Although females have been shown to prefer more efficient foragers, the effect of males' foraging techniques on female mate choice has never been studied. We tested whether females would prefer males showing the same learned foraging technique as they had been exposed to as juveniles, or whether females would prefer males that showed a complementary foraging technique. Methodology/Principal Findings We first trained juvenile male and female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) to obtain a significant proportion of their food by one of two foraging techniques. We then tested whether females showed a preference for males with the same or the alternative technique. We found that neither a male's foraging technique nor his foraging performance affected the time females spent in his proximity in the mate-choice apparatus. We then released flocks of these finches into an aviary to investigate whether assortative pairing would be facilitated by birds taught the same technique exploiting the same habitat. Zebra finches trained as juveniles in a specific foraging technique maintained their foraging specialisation in the aviary as adults. However, pair formation and nest location were random with regard to foraging technique. Conclusions/Significance Our findings show that zebra finches can be successfully trained to be foraging specialists. However, the robust negative results of the conditions tested here suggest that learned foraging specializations do not affect mate choice or pair formation in our experimental context. PMID:21179514

  13. Does foraging behaviour affect female mate preferences and pair formation in captive zebra finches?

    PubMed

    Boogert, Neeltje J; Bui, Cavina; Howarth, Krista; Giraldeau, Luc-Alain; Lefebvre, Louis

    2010-12-15

    Successful foraging is essential for survival and reproductive success. In many bird species, foraging is a learned behaviour. To cope with environmental change and survive periods in which regular foods are scarce, the ability to solve novel foraging problems by learning new foraging techniques can be crucial. Although females have been shown to prefer more efficient foragers, the effect of males' foraging techniques on female mate choice has never been studied. We tested whether females would prefer males showing the same learned foraging technique as they had been exposed to as juveniles, or whether females would prefer males that showed a complementary foraging technique. We first trained juvenile male and female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) to obtain a significant proportion of their food by one of two foraging techniques. We then tested whether females showed a preference for males with the same or the alternative technique. We found that neither a male's foraging technique nor his foraging performance affected the time females spent in his proximity in the mate-choice apparatus. We then released flocks of these finches into an aviary to investigate whether assortative pairing would be facilitated by birds taught the same technique exploiting the same habitat. Zebra finches trained as juveniles in a specific foraging technique maintained their foraging specialisation in the aviary as adults. However, pair formation and nest location were random with regard to foraging technique. Our findings show that zebra finches can be successfully trained to be foraging specialists. However, the robust negative results of the conditions tested here suggest that learned foraging specializations do not affect mate choice or pair formation in our experimental context.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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. © 2015 The Author(s).

  19. Social facilitation of male song by male and female conspecifics in the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata.

    PubMed

    Jesse, Fabienne; Riebel, Katharina

    2012-11-01

    Zebra finches are a ubiquitous model system for the study of vocal learning in animal communication. Their song has been well described, but its possible function(s) in social communication are only partly understood. The so-called 'directed song' is a high-intensity, high-performance song given during courtship in close proximity to the female, which is known to mediate mate choice and mating. However, this singing mode constitutes only a fraction of zebra finch males' prolific song output. Potential communicative functions of their second, 'undirected' singing mode remain unresolved in the face of contradicting reports of both facilitating and inhibiting effects of social company on singing. We addressed this issue by experimentally manipulating social contexts in a within-subject design, comparing a solo versus male or female only company condition, each lasting for 24h. Males' total song output was significantly higher when a conspecific was in audible and visible distance than when they were alone. Male and female company had an equally facilitating effect on song output. Our findings thus indicate that singing motivation is facilitated rather than inhibited by social company, suggesting that singing in zebra finches might function both in inter- and intrasexual communication. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  1. 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

  2. Analysis of the immunoglobulin light chain genes in zebra finch: evolutionary implications.

    PubMed

    Das, Sabyasachi; Mohamedy, Uzra; Hirano, Masayuki; Nei, Masatoshi; Nikolaidis, Nikolas

    2010-01-01

    All jawed vertebrates produce immunoglobulins (IGs) as a defense mechanism against pathogens. Typically, IGs are composed of two identical heavy chains (IGH) and two identical light chains (IGL). Most tetrapod species encode more than one isotype of light chains. Chicken is the only representative of birds for which genomic information is currently available and is an exception to the above rule because it encodes only a single IGL isotype (i.e., lambda). Here, we show that the genome of zebra finch, another bird species, encodes a single IGL isotype, that is, lambda, like the chicken. These results strongly suggest that the second isotype (i.e., kappa) present in both reptiles and mammals was lost in a very early stage of bird evolution. Furthermore, we show that both chicken and zebra finch contain a single set of functional variable, joining, and constant region genes and multiple variable region pseudogenes. The latter finding suggests that this type of genomic organization was already present in the common ancestor of these bird species and remained unchanged over a long evolutionary time. This conservation is in contrast with the high levels of variation observed in the mammalian IGL loci. The presence of a single functional variable region gene followed by multiple variable pseudogenes in zebra finch suggest that this species may be generating antibody diversity by a gene conversion-like mechanism like the chicken.

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-31

    Avian bornaviruses (ABV) are known to be the causative agent of proventricular dilatation disease (PDD) in parrots and their relatives (Psittaciformes). A broad range of ABV genotypes has been detected not only in psittacine birds, but also in other avian species including canary birds (Serinus canaria forma domestica) and Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata f. dom.), which are both members of the order songbirds (Passeriformes). During this study 286 samples collected from captive and wild birds of various passerine species in different parts of Germany were screened for the presence of ABV. Interestingly, only three ABV-positive samples were identified by RT-PCR. They originated from one yellow-winged pytilia (Pytilia hypogrammica) and two black-rumped waxbills (Estrilda troglodytes) from a flock of captive estrildid finches in Saxony. The ABV isolates detected here were only distantly related to ABV isolates found in passerine species in Germany and Japan and form a new genotype tentatively called ABV-EF (for "estrildid finches"). Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  7. Maternal Effects Underlie Ageing Costs of Growth in the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Tissier, Mathilde L.; Williams, Tony D.; Criscuolo, François

    2014-01-01

    Maternal effects provide a mechanism to adapt offspring phenotype and optimize the mother’s fitness to current environmental conditions. Transferring steroids to the yolk is one way mothers can translate environmental information into potential adaptive signals for offspring. However, maternally-derived hormones might also have adverse effects for offspring. For example, recent data in zebra finch chicks suggested that ageing related-processes (i.e. oxidative stress and telomere loss) were increased after egg-injection of corticosterone (CORT). Still, we have few experimental data describing the effect of maternal effects on the growth-ageing trade-off in offspring. Here, we chronically treated pre-laying zebra finch females (Taeniopygia guttata) with 17-β-estradiol (E2) or CORT, and followed offspring growth and cellular ageing rates (oxidative stress and telomere loss). CORT treatment decreased growth rate in male chicks and increased rate of telomere loss in mothers and female offspring. E2 increased body mass gain in male offspring, while reducing oxidative stress in both sexes but without affecting telomere loss. Since shorter telomeres were previously found to be a proxy of individual lifespan in zebra finches, maternal effects may, through pleiotropic effects, be important determinants of offspring life-expectancy by modulating ageing rate during embryo and post-natal growth. PMID:24828412

  8. Relative salience of envelope and fine structure cues in zebra finch song

    PubMed Central

    Vernaleo, Beth A.; Dooling, Robert J.

    2011-01-01

    Zebra finches produce a learned song that is rich in harmonic structure and highly stereotyped. More is generally known about how birds learn and produce this song than how they perceive it. Here, zebra finches were trained with operant techniques to discriminate changes in natural and synthetic song motifs. Results show that zebra finches are quite insensitive to changes to the overall envelope of the motif since they were unable to discriminate more than a doubling in inter-syllable interval durations. By contrast, they were quite sensitive to changes in individual syllables. A series of tests with synthetic song syllables, including some made of frozen noise and Schroeder harmonic complexes, showed that birds used a suite of acoustic cues in normal listening but they could also distinguish among syllables simply on the basis of the temporal fine structure in the waveform. Thus, while syllable perception is maintained by multiple redundant cues, temporal fine structure features alone are sufficient for syllable discrimination and may be more important for communication than previously thought. PMID:21568438

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  10. 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

  11. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

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

  13. 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…

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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 US 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 ‘house finch conjunctivitis’ we also expanded the known host range of Mycoplasma sturni and obtained isolates from additional wild bird species. Accumulating evidence shows that a diverse range of wild bird species may carry or have been exposed to M. gallisepticum in the US, as in Europe and Asia. Therefore, the emergence of a pathogenic M. gallisepticum strain in House Finches may actually be the exception that has allowed us to identify the broader epidemiologic picture. PMID:27285414

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Winograd, Claudia; Clayton, David; Ceman, Stephanie

    2008-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2005-01-01

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

  19. 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

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

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

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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  4. Dynamics of a novel pathogen in an avian host: Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis in house finches.

    PubMed

    Dhondt, André A; Altizer, Sonia; Cooch, Evan G; Davis, Andrew K; Dobson, Andrew; Driscoll, Melanie J L; Hartup, Barry K; Hawley, Dana M; Hochachka, Wesley M; Hosseini, Parviez R; Jennelle, Christopher S; Kollias, George V; Ley, David H; Swarthout, Elliott C H; Sydenstricker, Keila V

    2005-04-01

    In early 1994, a novel strain of Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG)--a poultry pathogen with a world-wide distribution--emerged in wild house finches and within 3 years had reached epidemic proportions across their eastern North American range. The ensuing epizootic resulted in a rapid decline of the host population coupled with considerable seasonal fluctuations in prevalence. To understand the dynamics of this disease system, a multi-disciplinary team composed of biologists, veterinarians, microbiologists and mathematical modelers set forth to determine factors driving and influenced by this host-pathogen system. On a broad geographic scale, volunteer observers ("citizen scientists") collected and reported data used for calculating both host abundance and disease prevalence. The scale at which this monitoring initiative was conducted is unprecedented and it has been an invaluable source of data for researchers at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology to track the spread and magnitude of disease both spatially and temporally. At a finer scale, localized and intensive field studies provided data used to quantify the effects of disease on host demographic parameters via capture-mark-recapture modeling, effects of host behavior on disease and vice-versa, and the biological and genetic profiles of birds with known phenotypic characteristics. To balance the field-based component of the study, experiments were conducted with finches held in captivity to describe and quantify the effects of experimental infections on hosts in both individual and social settings. The confluence of these various elements of the investigation provided the foundation for construction of a general compartmentalized epidemiological model of the dynamics of the house finch-MG system. This paper serves several purposes including (i) a basic review of the pathogen, host, and epidemic cycle; (ii) an explanation of our research strategy; (iii) a basic review of results from the diverse multi

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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).

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. [Experimental studies on the significance of mouth markings in zebra finch nestlings].

    PubMed

    Immelmann, K; Piltz, A; Sossinka, R

    1977-10-01

    Wild-coloured Zebra Finch nestlings with fully developed mouth markings were compared with white mutants, which lack the markings, with respect to the ability of these markings to release the feeding response of both wild-coloured and white parents. In more than 80 nestlings, the wild-coloured ones proved to have a higher survival rate, to grow faster, to be given more food, and to have piority to the first feedings in the day. Within the colour groups greater relative age was as advantageous as mouth markings were between groups.

  11. Oscillating magnetic field disrupts magnetic orientation in Zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata

    PubMed Central

    Keary, Nina; Ruploh, Tim; Voss, Joe; Thalau, Peter; Wiltschko, Roswitha; Wiltschko, Wolfgang; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2009-01-01

    Background Zebra finches can be trained to use the geomagnetic field as a directional cue for short distance orientation. The physical mechanisms underlying the primary processes of magnetoreception are, however, largely unknown. Two hypotheses of how birds perceive magnetic information are mainly discussed, one dealing with modulation of radical pair processes in retinal structures, the other assuming that iron deposits in the upper beak of the birds are involved. Oscillating magnetic fields in the MHz range disturb radical pair mechanisms but do not affect magnetic particles. Thus, application of such oscillating fields in behavioral experiments can be used as a diagnostic tool to decide between the two alternatives. Methods In a setup that eliminates all directional cues except the geomagnetic field zebra finches were trained to search for food in the magnetic north/south axis. The birds were then tested for orientation performance in two magnetic conditions. In condition 1 the horizontal component of the geomagnetic field was shifted by 90 degrees using a helmholtz coil. In condition 2 a high frequently oscillating field (1.156 MHz) was applied in addition to the shifted field. Another group of birds was trained to solve the orientation task, but with visual landmarks as directional cue. The birds were then tested for their orientation performance in the same magnetic conditions as applied for the first experiment. Results The zebra finches could be trained successfully to orient in the geomagnetic field for food search in the north/south axis. They were also well oriented in test condition 1, with the magnetic field shifted horizontally by 90 degrees. In contrast, when the oscillating field was added, the directional choices during food search were randomly distributed. Birds that were trained to visually guided orientation showed no difference of orientation performance in the two magnetic conditions. Conclusion The results indicate that zebra finches use a

  12. 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

  13. 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).

  14. 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

  15. 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

  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. Sex differences in cell proliferation and glucocorticoid responsiveness in the zebra finch brain

    PubMed Central

    Katz, Amnon; Mirzatoni, Anahid; Zhen, Yin; Schlinger, Barney A.

    2009-01-01

    Neural proliferation is a conserved property of the adult vertebrate brain. In mammals, stress reduces hippocampal neuronal proliferation and the effect is stronger in males than in females. We tested the effects of glucocorticoids on ventricular zone cell proliferation in adult zebra finches where neurons are produced that migrate to and incorporate within the neural circuits controlling song learning and performance. Adult male zebra finches sing and have an enlarged song circuitry; females do not sing and the song circuit is poorly developed. Freshly prepared slices from adult males and females containing the lateral ventricles were incubated with the mitotic marker BrdU with or without steroid treatments. BrdU-labeled cells were revealed immunocytochemically and all labeled cells within the ventricular zone were counted. We identified significantly higher rates of proliferation along the ventricular zone of males than in females. Moreover, acute administration of corticosterone significantly reduced proliferation in males with no effects in females. This effect in males was replicated by RU-486, which appears to act as an agonist of the glucocorticoid receptor in the songbird brain. The corticosterone effect was reversed by Thiram, which disrupts corticosterone action on the glucocorticoid receptor. Sex differences in proliferation and responses to stress hormones may contribute to the sexually dimorphic and seasonal growth of the neural song system of songbirds. PMID:18662338

  20. Transcriptional response to West Nile virus infection in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Hofmeister, Erik K.; Balakrishnan, Christopher N.

    2017-01-01

    West Nile virus (WNV) is a widespread arbovirus that imposes a significant cost to both human and wildlife health. WNV exists in a bird-mosquito transmission cycle in which passerine birds act as the primary reservoir host. As a public health concern, the mammalian immune response to WNV has been studied in detail. Little, however, is known about the avian immune response to WNV. Avian taxa show variable susceptibility to WNV and what drives this variation is unknown. Thus, to study the immune response to WNV in birds, we experimentally infected captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Zebra finches provide a useful model, as like many natural avian hosts they are moderately susceptible to WNV and thus provide sufficient viremia to infect mosquitoes. We performed RNAseq in spleen tissue during peak viremia to provide an overview of the transcriptional response. In general, we find strong parallels with the mammalian immune response to WNV, including upregulation of five genes in the Rig-I-like receptor signalling pathway, and offer insights into avian-specific responses. Together with complementary immunological assays, we provide a model of the avian immune response to WNV and set the stage for future comparative studies among variably susceptible populations and species. PMID:28680683

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

    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. PMID:28261321

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Dose-dependent uptake, elimination, and toxicity of monosodium methanearsonate in adult zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Albert, Courtney A; Williams, Tony D; Morrissey, Christy A; Lai, Vivian W M; Cullen, William R; Elliott, John E

    2008-03-01

    Monosodium methanearsonate (MSMA), an arsenic-based pesticide, has been used for the past 10 years in attempts to suppress mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreaks in British Columbia, Canada. Previous studies have shown that cavity nesting forest birds such as woodpeckers forage and breed in MSMA treated pine stands. Here we examined the effects of MSMA in the laboratory using the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), with the objective to examine tissue distribution and sublethal toxic effects in a model avian species. Zebra finches were exposed to this pesticide at doses similar to those found in bark beetle samples from MSMA stands of trees treated in the southern interior of British Columbia (8, 24, and 72 microg/g/d and a control group). Results showed high excretion (>90%) of arsenic in all dose groups, as well as dose-dependent trends in accumulation of arsenic in the blood (p < 0.001) and specific tissues. Monomethylarsonic acid, MMA (V), was the predominant form of arsenic in the blood plasma. Dimethylarsinic acid was the major form of arsenic found in the liver (83%) and kidney (61%) tissues. The brain tissue contained primarily the MMA (V) form (57%). Significant weight loss occurred in the two highest dose groups (p < 0.05). Birds in the highest dose group lost up to 15% of initial body mass.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  15. 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'.

  16. Singing, but not Seizure, Induces Synaptotagmin IV in Zebra Finch Song Circuit Nuclei

    PubMed Central

    Poopatanapong, A.; Teramitsu, I.; Byun, J.S.; Vician, L.J.; Herschman, H.R.; White, S.A.

    2009-01-01

    Synaptotagmins are a family of proteins that function in membrane fusion events, including synaptic vesicle exocytosis. Within this family, synaptotagmin IV (Syt IV) is unique in being a depolarization-induced immediate early gene (IEG). Experimental perturbation of Syt IV modulates neurotransmitter release in mice, flies, and PC12 cells, and modulates learning in mice. Despite these features, induction of Syt IV expression by a natural behavior has not been previously reported. We used the zebra finch, a songbird species, to investigate Syt IV because song is a naturally learned behavior whose neuro-anatomical basis is largely identified. We observed that, similar to rodents, Syt IV is inducible in songbirds. This induction was selective and depended on the nature of neuronal depolarization. Generalized seizures caused by the GABAA receptor antagonist, metrazole, induced the IEG, ZENK, in zebra finch brain. However, these same seizures failed to induce Syt IV in song control areas. In contrast, when nontreated birds sang, three song control areas showed striking Syt IV induction. Further, this induction appeared sensitive to the social context in which song was sung. Together, these data suggest that neural activity during singing can drive Syt IV expression within song circuitry whereas generalized seizure activity fails to do so even though song control areas are depolarized. Our findings indicate that, within this neural circuit for a procedurally learned sensorimotor behavior, Syt IV is selective and requires precisely patterned neural activity and/or neuro-modulation associated with singing. PMID:17058190

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Transcriptional response to West Nile virus infection in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Newhouse, Daniel J.; Hofmeister, Erik K.; Balakrishnan, Christopher N.

    2017-01-01

    West Nile virus (WNV) is a widespread arbovirus that imposes a significant cost to both human and wildlife health. WNV exists in a bird-mosquito transmission cycle in which passerine birds act as the primary reservoir host. As a public health concern, the mammalian immune response to WNV has been studied in detail. Little, however, is known about the avian immune response to WNV. Avian taxa show variable susceptibility to WNV and what drives this variation is unknown. Thus, to study the immune response to WNV in birds, we experimentally infected captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Zebra finches provide a useful model, as like many natural avian hosts they are moderately susceptible to WNV and thus provide sufficient viremia to infect mosquitoes. We performed RNAseq in spleen tissue during peak viremia to provide an overview of the transcriptional response. In general, we find strong parallels with the mammalian immune response to WNV, including upregulation of five genes in the Rig-I-like receptor signalling pathway, and offer insights into avian-specific responses. Together with complementary immunological assays, we provide a model of the avian immune response to WNV and set the stage for future comparative studies among variably susceptible populations and species.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Differences in depredation by small predators limit the use of plasticine and zebra finch eggs in artificial-nest studies

    Treesearch

    Thomas J. Maier; Richard M. DeGraaf

    2001-01-01

    Small mammals, such as mice and voles, have been implicated as major egg predators of Neotropical migrant passerines by field studies using soft plasticine eggs or the very small eggs of Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Nevertheless, the effort required to depredate these commonly used egg surrogates may be less than that required to depredate the...

  6. 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

  7. An eye for beauty: lateralized visual stimulation of courtship behavior and mate preferences in male zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata.

    PubMed

    Templeton, Jennifer J; McCracken, Brianna G; Sher, Melissa; Mountjoy, D James

    2014-02-01

    Research on intersexual selection focuses on traits that have evolved for attracting mates and the consequences of mate choice. However, little is known about the cognitive and neural mechanisms that allow choosers to discriminate among potential mates and express an attraction to specific traits. Preferential use of the right eye during lateral displays in zebra finches, and lateralized expression of intermediate early genes in the left hemisphere during courtship led us to hypothesize that: (1) visual information from each eye differentially mediates courtship responses to potential mates; and (2) the ability to discriminate among mates and prefer certain mates over others is lateralized in the right eye/left hemisphere system of zebra finch brains. First, we exposed male zebra finches to females when using left, right or both eyes. Males courted more when the right eye was available than when only the left eye was used. Secondly, male preference for females - using beak color to indicate female quality - was tested. Right-eyed and binocular males associated with and courted orange-beaked more than gray-beaked females; whereas left-eyed males showed no preference. Lateral displays and eye use in male zebra finches increase their attractiveness and ability to assess female quality, potentially enhancing reproductive success. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: CO3 2013. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. In-situ measurements of ice nucleating particles with FINCH (Fast Ice Nucleus Chamber)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohl, Rebecca; Frank, Fabian; Curtius, Joachim; Rose, Diana

    2017-04-01

    Ice nucleating particles (INPs), which are a small fraction of the total aerosol population, are capable of triggering ice formation under atmospheric conditions. Since INPs play an important role for the radiative properties of clouds as well as for the formation of precipitation it is important to get quantitative information on the ice activity of various atmospheric aerosol species. With the Fast Ice Nucleus Chamber (FINCH; Bundke et al., 2008) the number concentration of INP is determined at different freezing temperatures and supersaturations. In contrast to other commonly used INP counters, i.e., continuous flow diffusion chambers (CFDCs, DeMott et al., 2011), in FINCH the supersaturation is reached by mixing the sample flow of ambient aerosol with a warm moist as well as a cold dry airflow. By changing the flow rates and temperatures of the individual airflows the freezing temperature (down to -50°C) and supersaturation (up to above water saturation) can be varied relatively quickly. Particles that are ice active at the prescribed freezing temperature and supersaturation grow to crystals and are counted by a home-built optical particle counter (OPC) mounted below the chamber (Bundke et al., 2010). FINCH was operated during the four-week INUIT-BACCHUS-ACTRIS field campaign in Cyprus in April 2016. The measuring site was the location of the Cyprus Atmospheric Observatory (CAO) at Agia Marina Xyliatou, which is typically influenced by dust from the Sahara and the Middle East, an aerosol that is known to have relatively good ice nucleating ability. First results from this campaign will be presented. Acknowledgements: The authors thank the entire INUIT-BACCHUS-ACTRIS campaign team for their cooperation and support. The INUIT-2 project is financed by the German Research Foundation DFG (FOR 1525). The INUIT-Cyprus campaign is a cooperation with the EU-funded project BACCHUS and is also funded by ACTRIS-TNA. References: Bundke, U., Nillius, B., Jaenicke, R

  9. Accelerated Evolution of PAK3- and PIM1-like Kinase Gene Families in the Zebra Finch, Taeniopygia guttata

    PubMed Central

    Kong, Lesheng; Lovell, Peter V.; Heger, Andreas; Mello, Claudio V.; Ponting, Chris P.

    2010-01-01

    Genes encoding protein kinases tend to evolve slowly over evolutionary time, and only rarely do they appear as recent duplications in sequenced vertebrate genomes. Consequently, it was a surprise to find two families of kinase genes that have greatly and recently expanded in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) lineage. In contrast to other amniotic genomes (including chicken) that harbor only single copies of p21-activated serine/threonine kinase 3 (PAK3) and proviral integration site 1 (PIM1) genes, the zebra finch genome appeared at first to additionally contain 67 PAK3-like (PAK3L) and 51 PIM1-like (PIM1L) protein kinase genes. An exhaustive analysis of these gene models, however, revealed most to be incomplete, owing to the absence of terminal exons. After reprediction, 31 PAK3L genes and 10 PIM1L genes remain, and all but three are predicted, from the retention of functional sites and open reading frames, to be enzymatically active. PAK3L, but not PIM1L, gene sequences show evidence of recurrent episodes of positive selection, concentrated within structures spatially adjacent to N- and C-terminal protein regions that have been discarded from zebra finch PAK3L genes. At least seven zebra finch PAK3L genes were observed to be expressed in testis, whereas two sequences were found transcribed in the brain, one broadly including the song nuclei and the other in the ventricular zone and in cells resembling Bergmann's glia in the cerebellar Purkinje cell layer. Two PIM1L sequences were also observed to be expressed with broad distributions in the zebra finch brain, one in both the ventricular zone and the cerebellum and apparently associated with glial cells and the other showing neuronal cell expression and marked enrichment in midbrain/thalamic nuclei. These expression patterns do not correlate with zebra finch-specific features such as vocal learning. Nevertheless, our results show how ancient and conserved intracellular signaling molecules can be co

  10. Development and validation of a house finch interleukin-1β (HfIL-1β) ELISA system.

    PubMed

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

    2017-08-30

    A unique clade of the bacterium Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), which causes chronic respiratory disease in poultry, has resulted in annual epidemics of conjunctivitis in North American house finches since the 1990s. Currently, few immunological tools have been validated for this songbird species. Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) is a prototypic multifunctional cytokine and can affect almost every cell type during Mycoplasma infection. The overall goal of this study was to develop and validate a direct ELISA assay for house finch IL-1β (HfIL-1β) using a cross-reactive chicken antibody. A direct ELISA approach was used to develop this system using two different coating methods, carbonate and dehydration. In both methods, antigens (recombinant HfIL-1b or house finch plasma) were serially diluted in carbonate-bicarbonate coating buffer and either incubated at 4 °C overnight or at 60 °C on a heating block for 2 hr. To generate the standard curve, rHfIL-1b protein was serially diluted at 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, and 24 ng/mL. Following blocking and washing, anti-chicken IL-1b polyclonal antibody was added, plates were later incubated with detecting antibodies, and reactions developed with tetramethylbenzidine solution. A commercially available anti-chicken IL-1β (ChIL-1β) polyclonal antibody (pAb) cross-reacted with house finch plasma IL-1β as well as bacterially expressed recombinant house finch IL-1β (rHfIL-1β) in immunoblotting assays. In a direct ELISA system, rHfIL-1β could not be detected by an anti-ChIL-1β pAb when the antigen was coated with carbonate-bicarbonate buffer at 4°C overnight. However, rHfIL-1β was detected by the anti-ChIL-1β pAb when the antigen was coated using a dehydration method by heat (60°C). Using the developed direct ELISA for HfIL-1β with commercial anti-ChIL-1β pAb, we were able to measure plasma IL-1β levels from house finches. Based on high amino acid sequence homology, we hypothesized and demonstrated cross-reactivity of

  11. Song exposure regulates known and novel microRNAs in the zebra finch auditory forebrain

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background In an important model for neuroscience, songbirds learn to discriminate songs they hear during tape-recorded playbacks, as demonstrated by song-specific habituation of both behavioral and neurogenomic responses in the auditory forebrain. We hypothesized that microRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) may participate in the changing pattern of gene expression induced by song exposure. To test this, we used massively parallel Illumina sequencing to analyse small RNAs from auditory forebrain of adult zebra finches exposed to tape-recorded birdsong or silence. Results In the auditory forebrain, we identified 121 known miRNAs conserved in other vertebrates. We also identified 34 novel miRNAs that do not align to human or chicken genomes. Five conserved miRNAs showed significant and consistent changes in copy number after song exposure across three biological replications of the song-silence comparison, with two increasing (tgu-miR-25, tgu-miR-192) and three decreasing (tgu-miR-92, tgu-miR-124, tgu-miR-129-5p). We also detected a locus on the Z sex chromosome that produces three different novel miRNAs, with supporting evidence from Northern blot and TaqMan qPCR assays for differential expression in males and females and in response to song playbacks. One of these, tgu-miR-2954-3p, is predicted (by TargetScan) to regulate eight song-responsive mRNAs that all have functions in cellular proliferation and neuronal differentiation. Conclusions The experience of hearing another bird singing alters the profile of miRNAs in the auditory forebrain of zebra finches. The response involves both known conserved miRNAs and novel miRNAs described so far only in the zebra finch, including a novel sex-linked, song-responsive miRNA. These results indicate that miRNAs are likely to contribute to the unique behavioural biology of learned song communication in songbirds. PMID:21627805

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Enhanced fos expression in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) brain following first courtship.

    PubMed

    Sadananda, Monika; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2002-06-24

    Young zebra finch males that court a female for the first time develop a stable preference for the females of that species. On the neuronal level, consolidation of the imprinted information takes place. Here we demonstrate that first courtship or being chased around in the cage leads to enhanced fos expression in forebrain areas implicated in learning and imprinting in zebra finch males compared with birds reared in isolation or in the aviary. Two of the forebrain areas highly active during first courtship (as demonstrated by the 14C-2-deoxyglucose technique), the imprinting locus latral neo/hyperstriatum ventrale (LNH) and the secondary visual area hyperstriatum accessorium/dorsale (HAD), demonstrate enhanced fos expression. Two other imprinting-related areas, the medial neo/hyperstriatum ventrale (MNH) and archistriatum/neostriatum caudale (ANC), do show c-fos induction; however, the areas are not congruous with those demarcated by the 2-DG autoradiographic studies. Additional telencephalic areas include the olfactory lobe, the information storage site lobus parolfactorius (LPO), the memory site hippocampus, the auditory caudomedial neostriatum implicated in the strength of song learning, and the caudolateral neostriatum, which is comparable to the mammalian prefrontal cortex. In addition, c-fos is induced by first courtship and chasing in neurosecretory cell groups of the preoptic area and hypothalamus associated with the repertoire of sexual behavior and stress or enhanced arousal. Enhanced fos expression is also observed in brainstem sources of specific (noradrenergic, catecholaminergic) and nonspecific (reticular formation) activating pathways with inputs to higher brain areas implicated in the imprinting process. Birds reared in isolation or alternatively in the aviary with social and sexual contact to conspecifics showed attenuated or no fos expression in most of the above-mentioned areas. First courtship and chasing both lead to enhanced uptake of 2-DG in

  15. “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

  16. 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

  17. Daily behaviour can differ between colour morphs of the same species: a study on circadian activity behaviour of grey and pied zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Mishra, Ila; Trivedi, Amit Kumar; Kumar, Vinod

    2014-05-01

    To investigate if the plumage colour mutation relates to circadian activity behaviour in the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, wild type grey and pied mutant males were sequentially subjected for three weeks each to 12 h light:12 h darkness (12L:12D) and constant dim light (LL(dim)) condition. During the first 3 h of the 12 h day, pied finches were significantly greater active than grey finches. Also, as compared to grey, pied finches had longer activity duration in the day, with early activity onsets and late activity offsets. This was changed under free-running condition (LL(dim)), when the activity later in the subjective day (clock hour 9 and 11) was significantly greater in grey than in pied finches.Two colour morphs differed in daily activity profile, but not in the total daily activity or circadian rhythm period. Results suggest that greyzebra finches represent late chronotype, and could perhaps be better adapted to a seemingly stressful environment, such as low intensity LL(dim) in the present study.

  18. Seasonality and wildlife disease: how seasonal birth, aggregation and variation in immunity affect the dynamics of Mycoplasma gallisepticum in house finches.

    PubMed Central

    Hosseini, Parviez R.; Dhondt, André A.; Dobson, Andy

    2004-01-01

    We examine the role of host seasonal breeding, host seasonal social aggregation and partial immunity in affecting wildlife disease dynamics, focusing on the dynamics of house finch conjunctivitis (Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) in Carpodacus mexicanus). This case study of an unmanaged emerging infectious disease provides useful insight into the important role of seasonal factors in driving ongoing disease dynamics. Seasonal breeding can force recurrent epidemics through the input of fresh susceptibles, which will clearly affect a wide variety of wildlife disease dynamics. Seasonal patterns of social aggregation and foraging behaviour could change transmission dynamics. We use latitudinal variation in the timing of breeding, and social systems to model seasonal dynamics of house finch conjunctivitis across eastern North America. We quantify the patterns of seasonal breeding, and social aggregation across a latitudinal gradient in the eastern range of the house finch, supplemented with known field and laboratory information on immunity to MG in finches. We then examine the interactions of these factors in a theoretical model of disease dynamics. We find that both forms of seasonality could explain the dynamics of the house finch-MG system, and that these factors could have important effects on the dynamics of wildlife diseases generally. In particular, while either alone is sufficient to create recurrent cycles of prevalence in a population with an endemic disease, both are required to produce the specific semi-annual pattern of disease prevalence seen in the house finch conjunctivitis system. PMID:15615682

  19. Chronic dietary toxicity of methylmercury in the zebra finch, Poephila guttata

    SciTech Connect

    Scheuhammer, A.M.

    1988-01-01

    Mercury (Hg) contamination of the environment through anthropogenic activity continues to be significant, and has resulted in the accumulation of elevated levels of Hg in invertebrates, fish and wildlife in certain Hg contaminated habitats. In addition, the availability of methylmercury (MeHg), a highly toxic and readily absorbable form of Hg, to the food chain is enhanced at low pH, an this has resulted in higher concentrations of Hg in various biota which inhabit environments sensitive to acid precipitation. The chronic dietary toxicity of MeHg has been investigated in a number of bird species including mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos, black ducks, pheasants, quail, and chickens. Except for a subchronic feeding study, the effects of MeHg on small passerines have not been studied. The present report describes the tissue accumulation and toxicity of MeHg in zebra finches (Poephila guttata) in response to chronic dietary exposure.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Form of Dietary Methylmercury does not Affect Total Mercury Accumulation in the Tissues of Zebra Finch.

    PubMed

    Varian-Ramos, Claire W; Whitney, Margaret; Rice, Gary W; Cristol, Daniel A

    2017-07-01

    Exposure to mercury in humans, other mammals, and birds is primarily dietary, with mercury in the methylated form and bound to cysteine in the tissues of prey items. Yet dosing studies are generally carried out using methylmercury chloride. Here we tested whether the accumulation of total mercury in zebra finch blood, egg, muscle, liver, kidney or brain differed depending on whether dietary mercury was complexed with chloride or cysteine. We found no effect of form of mercury on tissue accumulation. Some previous studies have found lower accumulation of mercury in tissues of animals fed complexed mercury. Much remains to be understood about what happens to ingested mercury once it enters the intestines, but our results suggest that dietary studies using methylmercury chloride in birds will produce similar tissue accumulation levels to those using methylmercury cysteine.

  3. 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.

  4. Increased mortality in a colony of zebra finches exposed to continuous light.

    PubMed

    Snyder, Jessica M; Molk, Denise M; Treuting, Piper M

    2013-01-01

    Over a 1-mo period, increased morbidity and mortality occurred in a flock of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Complete postmortem examination was performed on 6 of the affected birds, 4 of which subsequently were diagnosed with the avian gastric yeast previously known as megabacteriosis (Macrorhabdus ornithogaster). The remaining 2 birds were diagnosed with a cloacal abscess and with large bowel perforation and peritonitis. All the birds had been prophylactically treated with amphotericin B for megabacteria 2 mo previously. An environmental assessment revealed that the light cycle had been altered, and the birds were being exposed to constant light. With correction of the light cycle, the health of the birds improved dramatically. The remaining birds were treated again with amphotericin B, and baseline mortality returned to normal. The birds in this report show several similarities to previous reports of sleep deprivation syndrome in mammals.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  6. 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

  7. Increased Mortality in a Colony of Zebra Finches Exposed to Continuous Light

    PubMed Central

    Snyder, Jessica M; Molk, Denise M; Treuting, Piper M

    2013-01-01

    Over a 1-mo period, increased morbidity and mortality occurred in a flock of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Complete postmortem examination was performed on 6 of the affected birds, 4 of which subsequently were diagnosed with the avian gastric yeast previously known as megabacteriosis (Macrorhabdus ornithogaster). The remaining 2 birds were diagnosed with a cloacal abscess and with large bowel perforation and peritonitis. All the birds had been prophylactically treated with amphotericin B for megabacteria 2 mo previously. An environmental assessment revealed that the light cycle had been altered, and the birds were being exposed to constant light. With correction of the light cycle, the health of the birds improved dramatically. The remaining birds were treated again with amphotericin B, and baseline mortality returned to normal. The birds in this report show several similarities to previous reports of sleep deprivation syndrome in mammals. PMID:23849414

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

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

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

  9. Dynamics of the vocal imitation process: how a zebra finch learns its song.

    PubMed

    Tchernichovski, O; Mitra, P P; Lints, T; Nottebohm, F

    2001-03-30

    Song imitation in birds provides good material for studying the basic biology of vocal learning. Techniques were developed for inducing the rapid onset of song imitation in young zebra finches and for tracking trajectories of vocal change over a 7-week period until a match to a model song was achieved. Exposure to a model song induced the prompt generation of repeated structured sounds (prototypes) followed by a slow transition from repetitive to serial delivery of syllables. Tracking this transition revealed two phenomena: (i) Imitations of dissimilar sounds can emerge from successive renditions of the same prototype, and (ii) developmental trajectories for some sounds followed paths of increasing acoustic mismatch until an abrupt correction occurred by period doubling. These dynamics are likely to reflect underlying neural and articulatory constraints on the production and imitation of sounds.

  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. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Syringeal specialization of frequency control during song production in the Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata domestica).

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

    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. 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. 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 enhance acoustic complexity of song

  14. Flight performance in the altricial zebra finch: Developmental effects and reproductive consequences.

    PubMed

    Crino, Ondi L; Klaassen van Oorschot, Brett; Crandell, Kristen E; Breuner, Creagh W; Tobalske, Bret W

    2017-04-01

    The environmental conditions animals experience during development can have sustained effects on morphology, physiology, and behavior. Exposure to elevated levels of stress hormones (glucocorticoids, GCs) during development is one such condition that can have long-term effects on animal phenotype. Many of the phenotypic effects of GC exposure during development (developmental stress) appear negative. However, there is increasing evidence that developmental stress can induce adaptive phenotypic changes. This hypothesis can be tested by examining the effect of developmental stress on fitness-related traits. In birds, flight performance is an ideal metric to assess the fitness consequences of developmental stress. As fledglings, mastering takeoff is crucial to avoid bodily damage and escape predation. As adults, takeoff can contribute to mating and foraging success as well as escape and, thus, can affect both reproductive success and survival. We examined the effects of developmental stress on flight performance across life-history stages in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Specifically, we examined the effects of oral administration of corticosterone (CORT, the dominant avian glucocorticoid) during development on ground-reaction forces and velocity during takeoff. Additionally, we tested for associations between flight performance and reproductive success in adult male zebra finches. Developmental stress had no effect on flight performance at all ages. In contrast, brood size (an unmanipulated variable) had sustained, negative effects on takeoff performance across life-history stages with birds from small broods performing better than birds from large broods. Flight performance at 100 days posthatching predicted future reproductive success in males; the best fliers had significantly higher reproductive success. Our results demonstrate that some environmental factors experienced during development (e.g. clutch size) have stronger, more sustained effects than

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    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

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Welch, Kenneth C.

    2014-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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. © 2014 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2014 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Velten, Brandy P; Welch, Kenneth C

    2014-06-01

    Myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoform complement is intimately related to a muscle's contractile properties, yet relatively little is known about avian MHC isoforms or how they may vary with fiber type and/or the contractile properties of a muscle. The rapid shortening of muscles necessary to power flight at the high wingbeat frequencies of ruby-throated hummingbirds and zebra finches (25-60 Hz), along with the varied morphology and use of the hummingbird hindlimb, provides a unique opportunity to understand how contractile and morphological properties of avian muscle may be reflected in MHC expression. Isoforms of the hummingbird and zebra finch flight and hindlimb muscles were electrophoretically separated and compared with those of other avian species representing different contractile properties and fiber types. The flight muscles of the study species operate at drastically different contraction rates and are composed of different histochemically defined fiber types, yet each exhibited the same, single MHC isoform corresponding to the chicken adult fast isoform. Thus, despite quantitative differences in the contractile demands of flight muscles across species, this isoform appears necessary for meeting the performance demands of avian powered flight. Variation in flight muscle contractile performance across species may be due to differences in the structural composition of this conserved isoform and/or variation within other mechanically linked proteins. The leg muscles were more varied in their MHC isoform composition across both muscles and species. The disparity in hindlimb MHC expression between hummingbirds and the other species highlights previously observed differences in fiber type composition and thrust production during take-off. Copyright © 2014 the American Physiological Society.

  6. 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.

  7. Evidence for the involvement of two areas of the zebra finch forebrain in sexual imprinting.

    PubMed

    Rollenhagen, A; Bischof, H J

    2000-03-01

    Sexual imprinting in male zebra finches is a two-step process, including an acquisition period early in life and a stabilization process normally occuring during the first courtship attempts of the male. During the acquisition period, a young male learns about its social environment. During stabilization, which can be delayed experimentally until day 100, it develops a preference for the appropriate object for courtship behavior on the basis of its previous and acute experience. Thereafter, this preference cannot be altered again. Exploring the physiological basis for imprinting, we have previously shown that the neurons of two forebrain areas (ANC and HAD) increase their spine density in the course of the stabilization process, while in two other areas (MNH and LNH) a decrease of spine density can be observed. With the present experiments, we tested the idea that the spine density decrease in MNH and LNH is the anatomical manifestation of the imprinting process. Previous behavioral experiments have shown that exposure to a nestbox after 100 days of age stabilizes the sexual preference of a zebra finch male as well as does exposure to a female. The present study shows that nestbox exposure also reduces the spine density in MNH and LNH, but has no effect on ANC and HAD. It has also been shown previously that treating males with an antiandrogen between days 40 and 100 affects the final preference of a male. The present experiment indicates that the same treatment affects spine growth during development in MNH and LNH and prevents the increase of spine density within HAD and ANC normally induced by exposure to a female. The results are interpreted as strong evidence for the involvement of MNH and LNH in sexual imprinting. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Intracerebral estrogen provision increases cytogenesis and neurogenesis in the injured zebra finch brain

    PubMed Central

    Walters, Bradley J.; Alexiades, Nikita G.; Saldanha, Colin J.

    2010-01-01

    To determine whether or not local, injury-induced aromatization and/orestrogen provision can affect cyto-or neuro-genesis following mechanical brain damage, two groups of adult male zebra finches sustained bilateral penetrating brain injuries. The first received contralateral injections of vehicle or the aromatase inhibitor fadrozole. The second group received contalateral injections of fadrozole, or fadrozole with 17β-estradiol. Subsequent to injury, birds were injected with the thymidine analog 5-Bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU). Two weeks following injury, the birds were perfused, and coronal sections were labeled using antibodies against BrdU and the neuronal proteins HuC/HuD. In a double blind fashion, BrdU positive cells and BrdU/Hu double-labeled cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ) and at the injury site (INJ) were imaged and sampled. The average numbers of cells per image were compared across brain regions and treatments using repeated measures ANOVAs and, where applicable, post-hoc, pairwise comparisons. Fadrozole administration had no detectable effect on cytogenesis or neurogenesis, however, fadrozole coupled with estradiol significantly increased both measures. The dorsal SVZ had the greatest proportion of new cells that differentiated into neurons, though the highest numbers of BrdU labeled and BrdU, Hu double-labeled cells were detected at the injury site. In the adult zebra finch brain, local estradiol provision can increase cytogenesis and neurogenesis, however, whether or not endogenous glial aromatization is sufficient to similarly affect these processes remains to be seen. PMID:20878945

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Physiological and behavioral responses to an acute-phase response in zebra finches: immediate and short-term effects.

    PubMed

    Sköld-Chiriac, Sandra; Nord, Andreas; Nilsson, Jan-Åke; Hasselquist, Dennis

    2014-01-01

    Activation of the immune system to clear pathogens and mitigate infection is a costly process that might incur fitness costs. When vertebrates are exposed to pathogens, their first line of defense is the acute-phase response (APR), which consists of a suite of physiological and behavioral changes. The dynamics of the APR are relatively well investigated in mammals and domesticated birds but still rather unexplored in passerine birds. In this study, we injected male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) with a bacterial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide [LPS]) to assess the potential physiological, immunological, and behavioral responses during the time course of an APR and also to record any potential short-term effects by measuring the birds during the days after the expected APR. We found that LPS-injected zebra finches decreased activity and gained less body mass during the APR, compared to control individuals. In addition, LPS-injected birds increased their production of LPS-reactive antibodies and reduced their metabolic rate during the days after the expected APR. Our results show that zebra finches demonstrate sickness behaviors during an APR but also that physiological effects persist after the expected time course of an APR. These delayed effects might be either a natural part of the progression of an APR, which is probably true for the antibody response, or a short-term carryover effect, which is probably true for the metabolic response.

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

    PubMed

    Belda, Antonio; Peiró, Victoriano; Seva, Eduardo

    2012-01-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. A house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) spleen transcriptome reveals intra- and interspecific patterns of gene expression, alternative splicing and genetic diversity in passerines

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background With its plumage color dimorphism and unique history in North America, including a recent population expansion and an epizootic of Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), the house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) is a model species for studying sexual selection, plumage coloration and host-parasite interactions. As part of our ongoing efforts to make available genomic resources for this species, here we report a transcriptome assembly derived from genes expressed in spleen. Results We characterize transcriptomes from two populations with different histories of demography and disease exposure: a recently founded population in the eastern US that has been exposed to MG for over a decade and a native population from the western range that has never been exposed to MG. We utilize this resource to quantify conservation in gene expression in passerine birds over approximately 50 MY by comparing splenic expression profiles for 9,646 house finch transcripts and those from zebra finch and find that less than half of all genes expressed in spleen in either species are expressed in both species. Comparative gene annotations from several vertebrate species suggest that the house finch transcriptomes contain ~15 genes not yet found in previously sequenced vertebrate genomes. The house finch transcriptomes harbour ~85,000 SNPs, ~20,000 of which are non-synonymous. Although not yet validated by biological or technical replication, we identify a set of genes exhibiting differences between populations in gene expression (n = 182; 2% of all transcripts), allele frequencies (76 FST ouliers) and alternative splicing as well as genes with several fixed non-synonymous substitutions; this set includes genes with functions related to double-strand break repair and immune response. Conclusions The two house finch spleen transcriptome profiles will add to the increasing data on genome and transcriptome sequence information from natural populations. Differences in splenic expression between

  5. Studies of trichomonad protozoa in free ranging songbirds: prevalence of Trichomonas gallinae in house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) and corvids and a novel trichomonad in mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos).

    PubMed

    Anderson, Nancy L; Grahn, Robert A; Van Hoosear, Karen; Bondurant, Robert H

    2009-05-12

    This study refutes the accepted dogma that significant pathogenic effects of Trichomonas gallinae are limited to columbiformes and raptors in free ranging bird populations in North America. Trichomonads were associated with morbidity and mortality amongst free ranging house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus), mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) and corvids (scrub jay: Aphelocoma californica; crow: Corvus brachyrhynchos; raven: Corvus corax) in northern California. Prevalence of trichomonad infection was 1.7% in house finches, 0-6.3% in corvids, and 0.9% in mockingbirds. Bird case fatality ratio was 95.5% in house finches, 0-100.0% in corvids, and 37.5% in mockingbirds. DNA sequences of parasites in house finches and corvids were identical to T. gallinae strain g7 (GeneBank AY349182.1) for the 5.8s ribosome. DNA sequences of parasites cultured from two mockingbirds were genetically distinct from that of available sequenced trichomonads. These isolates were clearly phylogenetically more closely related to the Trichomonadinae than the Tritrichomonadinae. While molecular techniques were required to differentiate between trichomonad species, wet mount preparations from the oral cavity/crop were a reliable and inexpensive method of screening for trichomonad infections in these species. Positive wet mount tests in house finches and corvids living in northern California were highly likely to indicate infection with T. gallinae, while in mockingbirds positive wet mounts most likely indicated a trichomonad other than T. gallinae.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Scaling of jaw muscle size and maximal bite force in finches.

    PubMed

    van der Meij, M A A; Bout, R G

    2004-07-01

    Fringillids and estrildids differ in their husking performance on hard closed-shelled seeds, which are cracked before they are eaten. The time required to husk a seed is directly related to seed hardness, and husking time is therefore expected to be related to bite force as well. We investigated whether there is a significant difference in jaw muscle mass and maximal bite force between fringillids and estrildids. The analysis shows that fringillids have relatively larger jaw muscles than estrildids and are able to produce higher bite forces than estrildids of the same body size. This difference in jaw muscle mass mainly results from a difference in jaw closing muscles. Compared with other birds, the jaw muscles of both fringillids and estrildids scale strongly positively allometric with body size. Muscle fibre length scales negatively allometric with body size, which results in relatively high muscle and bite forces. Comparison with the scarce data available for other trophic groups suggests that the scaling of jaw muscle size depends on diet and that jaw muscle size in finches is an adaptation to their feeding behaviour.

  9. Sex and pairing status impact how zebra finches use social information in foraging.

    PubMed

    Templeton, Christopher N; Philp, Katharine; Guillette, Lauren M; Laland, Kevin N; Benson-Amram, Sarah

    2017-06-01

    Many factors, including the demonstrator's sex, status, and familiarity, shape the nature and magnitude of social learning. Given the important role of pair bonds in socially-monogamous animals, we predicted that these intimate relationships would promote the use of social information, and tested this hypothesis in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Observer birds witnessed either their mate or another familiar, opposite-sex bird eat from one, but not a second novel food source, before being allowed to feed from both food sources themselves. Birds used social information to make foraging decisions, but not all individuals used this information in the same way. While most individuals copied the foraging choice of the demonstrator as predicted, paired males did not, instead avoiding the feeder demonstrated by their mate. Our findings reveal that sex and pairing status interact to influence the use of social information and suggest that paired males might use social information to avoid competing with their mate. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Kelly, Aubrey M.; Goodson, James L.

    2014-01-01

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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Female conspecifics restore rhythmic singing behaviour in arrhythmic male zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Jha, Neelu Anand; Kumar, Vinod

    2017-03-01

    The present study investigated whether pairing with a conspecific female would restore rhythmicity in the singing behaviour of arrhythmic male songbirds. We recorded the singing and, as the circadian response indicator, monitored the activity-rest pattern in male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) housed without or with a conspecific female under 12 h light: 12 h darkness (12L:12D) or constant bright light (LL bright). Both unpaired and paired birds exhibited a significant daily rhythm in the singing and activity behaviour, but paired birds, under 12L:12D, showed a ~2 h extension in the evening. Exposure to LLbright decayed rhythmicity, but the female presence restored rhythmic patterns without affecting the 24 h song output. In the acoustic features, we found a significant difference in the motif duration between unpaired and paired male songs. Overall, these results demonstrated for the first time the role of the female in restoring the circadian phenotype of singing behaviour in male songbirds with disrupted circadian functions, although how interaction between sexes affects the circadian timing of male singing is not understood yet. It is suggested that social cues rendered by a conspecific female could improve the circadian performance by restoring rhythmicity in the biological functions of the cohabiting arrhythmic male partner.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-15

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  7. Connections of thalamic modulatory centers to the vocal control system of the zebra finch

    PubMed Central

    Akutagawa, Eugene; Konishi, Masakazu

    2005-01-01

    The vocal control system of zebra finches shows auditory gating in which neuronal responses to the individual bird's own song vary with behavioral states such as sleep and wakefulness. However, we know neither the source of gating signals nor the anatomical connections that could link the modulatory centers of the brain with the song system. Two of the song-control nuclei in the forebrain, the HVC (used as the proper name) and the interfacial nucleus of the nidopallium, both show auditory gating, and they receive input from the uvaeform nucleus (Uva) in the thalamus. We used a combination of anterograde and retrograde tracing methods to show that the dorsal part of the reticular formation and the medial habenula (MHb) project to the Uva. We also show by choline acetyl transferase immunohistochemistry that the MHb is cholinergic and sends cholinergic fibers to the Uva. Our findings suggest that the Uva might serve as a hub to coordinate neuromodulatory input into the song system. PMID:16166261

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Maternal Antibody Transfer Can Lead to Suppression of Humoral Immunity in Developing Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Merrill, Loren; Grindstaff, Jennifer L.

    2015-01-01

    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 (lipo-polysaccharide [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. PMID:25244385

  12. Melanin-based plumage coloration in the house finch is unaffected by coccidial infection

    PubMed Central

    Hill, G. E.; Brawner, W. R.

    1998-01-01

    For most species of birds, ornamental plumage coloration may result from two types of pigments: carotenoids and melanins. Despite the fact that melanin pigments can be synthesized by birds from basic, amino acid precursors, while carotenoids cannot be synthesized by birds and must be ingested, melanin-based plumage coloration and carotenoid-based plumage coloration have often been treated as a single trait in investigations of the function and evolution of plumage coloration. Expression of carotenoid-based coloration is known to be dependent on condition, while the effects of individual condition have not been well-tested for expression of melanin-based coloration. In this study, we experimentally tested the effect of coccidial infection of the intestinal tract of male house finches during moult on expression of melanin-based plumage coloration. Coccidial infection had a significant negative effect on carotenoid-based coloration, but it had no significant effect on melanin-based feather coloration. Unlike carotenoid-based coloration, melanin-based coloration may be cheap to produce, and honesty of melanin-based coloration my require social mediation.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. An optimized protocol for high-throughput in situ hybridization of zebra finch brain

    PubMed Central

    Carleton, J.; Lovell, P.V.; McHugh, A.; Marzulla, T.; Horback, K.; Mello, C.V.

    2015-01-01

    In situ hybridization (ISH) is a sensitive technique for documenting the tissue distribution of mRNAs. Advances in non-radioactive methods based on chromogenic detection of digoxigenin (DIG)-labeled probes have increased spatial resolution compared to emulsion autoradiography, and when paired with high-resolution digital imaging have allowed for the large scale molecular profiling at cellular resolution within a histological context (e.g. Allen Brain Atlas, GenePaint.org; (Visel et al. 2004; Lein et al. 2007). However, technical challenges restrict the number of genes that can be investigated in a small laboratory setting. This protocol describes a low cost, small footprint, high-throughput ISH procedure for 10 μm sections developed to document brain gene expression in zebra finches (http://www.zebrafinchatlas.org). It uses DIG-labeled riboprobes synthesized from cDNA templates available through the Songbird Neurogenomics Consortium (Replogle et al. 2008) and is based on previously described protocols for radiolabeled riboprobes (Clayton et al. 1988; Mello and Clayton 1994; Mello et al. 1997) that we have adapted for DIG-labeled (Lovell and Mello 2011; Lovell et al. 2013). Conditions have now been further optimized to produce cellular labeling approaching the resolution of immunohistochemical methods, low background, and compatibility with high-resolution digital imaging. This protocol allows a technician to process ~180 slides per week, and can be scaled to accommodate a broad range of tissues for which cryosections can be obtained. PMID:25342071

  18. An optimized protocol for high-throughput in situ hybridization of zebra finch brain.

    PubMed

    Carleton, Julia B; Lovell, Peter V; McHugh, Anne; Marzulla, Tessa; Horback, Katy L; Mello, Claudio V

    2014-10-23

    In situ hybridization (ISH) is a sensitive technique for documenting the tissue distribution of mRNAs. Advanced nonradioactive ISH methods that are based on the use of digoxigenin (DIG)-labeled probes and chromogenic detection have better spatial resolution than emulsion autoradiography techniques and, when paired with high-resolution digital imaging, allow for large-scale profiling of gene expression at cellular resolution within a histological context. However, technical challenges restrict the number of genes that can be investigated in a small laboratory setting. This protocol describes an optimized, low-cost, small-footprint, high-throughput ISH procedure to detect gene expression patterns in 10-µm brain sections from zebra finches. It uses DIG-labeled riboprobes synthesized from cDNA templates available through the Songbird Neurogenomics Consortium. The method is compatible with high-resolution digital imaging; it produces images with low background and a resolution approaching that of immunohistochemical methods. Approximately 180 slides can be processed each week using this protocol, but it can be scaled to accommodate a broad range of tissues from which cryosections can be obtained. © 2014 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  20. Regulation of learned vocal behavior by an auditory motor cortical nucleus in juvenile zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Naie, Katja; Hahnloser, Richard H R

    2011-07-01

    In the process of song learning, songbirds such as the zebra finch shape their initial soft and poorly formed vocalizations (subsong) first into variable plastic songs with a discernable recurring motif and then into highly stereotyped adult songs. A premotor brain area critically involved in plastic and adult song production is the cortical nucleus HVC. One of HVC's primary afferents, the nucleus interface of the nidopallium (NIf), provides a significant source of auditory input to HVC. However, the premotor involvement of NIf has not been extensively studied yet. Here we report that brief and reversible pharmacological inactivation of NIf in juvenile birds leads to transient degradation of plastic song toward subsong, as revealed by spectral and temporal song features. No such song degradation is seen following NIf inactivation in adults. However, in both juveniles and adults NIf inactivation leads to a transient decrease in song stereotypy. Our findings reveal a contribution of NIf to song production in juveniles that agrees with its known role in adults in mediating thalamic drive to downstream vocal motor areas during sleep.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  2. Divorce in the socially monogamous zebra finch: Hormonal mechanisms and reproductive consequences.

    PubMed

    Crino, Ondi L; Buchanan, Katherine L; Fanson, Benjamin G; Hurley, Laura L; Smiley, Kristina O; Griffith, Simon C

    2017-01-01

    Up to 80% of all bird species are socially monogamous. Divorce (switching partners) or pair disruption (due to the death of a partner) has been associated with decreased reproductive success, suggesting social monogamy is a strategy that may maximize fitness via coordination between partners. Previous studies have demonstrated the effects of divorce and pair disruption on immediate reproductive success. Here, we used a paired experimental design in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) to examine the hormonal mechanisms that modulate parental behavior and reproductive success in response to a partnership change (hereafter divorce). Specifically, we examined the effects of divorce on the avian stress hormone corticosterone (CORT) in both parents and nestlings, parental behaviors (incubation and nestling provisioning), prolactin (PRL), and reproductive success. We found that divorce resulted in delayed clutch initiation, reduced clutch mass, and an increase in nestling CORT response to a standardized stressor. These effects on reproductive investment and chick CORT response were not clearly determined by parental endocrine responses. Divorce had no effect on the level of parental CORT. PRL levels were highly correlated within a pair regardless of treatment, were negatively related to the investment that males made in incubation, and increased in experimental males as a result of pair disruption. This study demonstrates the fundamental impact which divorce has not only on reproduction, but also the physiological stress responses of offspring and suggests that in socially monogamous animals the maintenance of a stable partnership over time could be advantageous for long term fitness.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  8. 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.

  9. Disentangling ancient interactions: a new extinct passerine provides insights on character displacement among extinct and extant island finches.

    PubMed

    Rando, Juan Carlos; Alcover, Josep Antoni; Illera, Juan Carlos

    2010-09-23

    Evolutionary studies of insular biotas are based mainly on extant taxa, although such biotas represent artificial subsets of original faunas because of human-caused extinctions of indigenous species augmented by introduced exotic taxa. This makes it difficult to obtain a full understanding of the history of ecological interactions between extant sympatric species. Morphological bill variation of Fringilla coelebs and F. teydea (common and blue chaffinches) has been previously studied in the North Atlantic Macaronesian archipelagos. Character displacement between both species has been argued to explain bill sizes in sympatry. However, this explanation is incomplete, as similar patterns of bill size have been recorded in F. coelebs populations from islands with and without F. teydea. The discovery of a new extinct species in Tenerife (Canary Islands), here named Carduelis aurelioi n. sp. (slender-billed greenfinch), provides the opportunity to study ancient ecological interactions among Macaronesian finches. To help understand the evolutionary histories of forest granivores in space and time, we have performed a multidisciplinary study combining: (1) morphological analyses and radiocarbon dating (11,460±60 yr BP) of the new taxon and, (2) molecular divergence among the extant finch species and populations in order to infer colonization times (1.99 and 1.09 My for F. teydea and F. coelebs respectively). C. aurelioi, F. coelebs and F. teydea co-habited in Tenerife for at least one million years. The unique anatomical trends of the new species, namely chaffinch-like beak and modified hind and forelimbs, reveal that there was a process of divergence of resource competition traits among the three sympatric finches. The results of our study, combined with the presence of more extinct greenfinches in other Macaronesian islands with significant variation in their beak sizes, suggests that the character displacement has influenced patterns of divergence in bill size and

  10. 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.

  11. Disentangling Ancient Interactions: A New Extinct Passerine Provides Insights on Character Displacement among Extinct and Extant Island Finches

    PubMed Central

    Rando, Juan Carlos; Alcover, Josep Antoni; Illera, Juan Carlos

    2010-01-01

    Background Evolutionary studies of insular biotas are based mainly on extant taxa, although such biotas represent artificial subsets of original faunas because of human-caused extinctions of indigenous species augmented by introduced exotic taxa. This makes it difficult to obtain a full understanding of the history of ecological interactions between extant sympatric species. Morphological bill variation of Fringilla coelebs and F. teydea (common and blue chaffinches) has been previously studied in the North Atlantic Macaronesian archipelagos. Character displacement between both species has been argued to explain bill sizes in sympatry. However, this explanation is incomplete, as similar patterns of bill size have been recorded in F. coelebs populations from islands with and without F. teydea. Methodology/Principal Findings The discovery of a new extinct species in Tenerife (Canary Islands), here named Carduelis aurelioi n. sp. (slender-billed greenfinch), provides the opportunity to study ancient ecological interactions among Macaronesian finches. To help understand the evolutionary histories of forest granivores in space and time, we have performed a multidisciplinary study combining: (1) morphological analyses and radiocarbon dating (11,460±60 yr BP) of the new taxon and, (2) molecular divergence among the extant finch species and populations in order to infer colonization times (1.99 and 1.09 My for F. teydea and F. coelebs respectively). Conclusion/Significance C. aurelioi, F. coelebs and F. teydea co-habited in Tenerife for at least one million years. The unique anatomical trends of the new species, namely chaffinch-like beak and modified hind and forelimbs, reveal that there was a process of divergence of resource competition traits among the three sympatric finches. The results of our study, combined with the presence of more extinct greenfinches in other Macaronesian islands with significant variation in their beak sizes, suggests that the character

  12. Contractile activity of the pectoralis in the zebra finch according to mode and velocity of flap-bounding flight.

    PubMed

    Tobalske, Bret W; Puccinelli, Lisa A; Sheridan, David C

    2005-08-01

    We studied flying zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata, N = 12), to provide a new test of a long-standing ;fixed-gear' hypothesis that flap-bounding birds use only intermittent non-flapping phases, instead of variation in muscle activity, to vary mechanical power output in flight. Using sonomicrometry and electromyography, we measured in vivo fascicle length and neuromuscular recruitment in the pectoralis as the birds flew in different flight modes (level, ascending, descending; mean velocity 1.6+/-0.3 m s(-1)) and across velocities in a new, variable-speed wind tunnel (0-12 m s(-1)). Synchronized high-speed digital video (250 Hz) provided a record of wing kinematics. Flight mode had a significant effect upon pectoralis strain, strain rate, fractional shortening and the relative timing of muscle activity (onset, offset and duration). Among flight velocities, we observed significant variation in pectoralis strain, fractional lengthening and shortening, strain rate, relative electromyographic (EMG) amplitude, and EMG duration and offset. In particular, variation in strain rate and relative EMG amplitude indicates that the fixed-gear hypothesis should be rejected. Instead, it appears that zebra finch vary work and power output within wingbeats by modulating muscle contractile behavior and between wingbeats using intermittent bounds. Muscle activity patterns and wing kinematics were similar between free flight and wind tunnel flight at similar speeds. Comparing flights with and without surgically implanted transducers and electrodes, zebra finch exhibited a reduction in maximum velocity (from 14 to 12 m s(-1)) and a significant increase in wingbeat frequency and percent time flapping. This identifies a potential limitation of in vivo flight measurements, and similar studies of bird flight should, therefore, include measurements of the extent to which flight performance is compromised by experimental protocol.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Transcriptional response to West Nile virus infection in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), a songbird model for immune function

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hofmeister, Erik K.; Newhouse, Daniel J.; Balakrishnan, Christopher N.

    2017-01-01

    The data set contains paired-end, 100 nucleotide long RNA sequencing reads for each sample. Raw sequencing reads ranged from 18-30million reads per sample. Quality trimmed reads were mapped to the Zebra Finch reference genome with an average of 79.0-80.8% mapping rate, corresponding to 18,618 Ensembl gene IDs. Of these, 14,114 genes averaged at least 5 mapped reads across all samples and were utilized for differential expression (DE) analyses. DE analyzed two ways: as pairwise comparisons between treatments to identify specific genes with DEseq2 and as a time course grouping genes into expression paths with EBSeqHMM.

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

    PubMed Central

    Reiner, Anton

    2008-01-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. GABA Immunoreactivity in Auditory and Song Control Brain Areas of Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Pinaud, Raphael; Mello, Claudio V.

    2009-01-01

    Inhibitory transmission is critical to sensory and motor processing and is believed to play a role in experience-dependent plasticity. The main inhibitory neurotransmitter in vertebrates, GABA, has been implicated in both sensory and motor aspects of vocalization in songbirds. To understand the role of GABAergic mechanisms in vocal communication, GABAergic elements must be characterized fully. Hence, we investigated GABA immunohistochemistry in the zebra finch brain, emphasizing auditory areas and song control nuclei. Several nuclei of the ascending auditory pathway showed a moderate to high density of GABAergic neurons including the cochlear nuclei, nucleus laminaris, superior olivary nucleus, mesencephalic nucleus lateralis pars dorsalis, and nucleus ovoidalis. Telencephalic auditory areas, including field L subfields L1, L2a and L3, as well as the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM) and mesopallium (CMM), contained GABAergic cells at particularly high densities. Considerable GABA labeling was also seen in the shelf area of caudodorsal nidopallium, and the cup area in the arcopallium, as well as in area X, the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium, the robust nucleus of the arcopallium and nidopallial nucleus HVC. GABAergic cells were typically small, most likely local inhibitory interneurons, although large GABA-positive cells that were sparsely distributed were also identified. GABA-positive neurites and puncta were identified in most nuclei of the ascending auditory pathway and in song control nuclei. Our data are in accordance with a prominent role of GABAergic mechanisms in regulating the neural circuits involved in song perceptual processing, motor production, and vocal learning in songbirds. PMID:17466487

  20. Estrogen levels influence medullary bone quantity and density in female house finches and pine siskins.

    PubMed

    Squire, Maria E; Veglia, Megan K; Drucker, Kevin A; Brazeal, Kathleen R; Hahn, Thomas P; Watts, Heather E

    2017-05-15

    Medullary bone, a non-structural osseous tissue, serves as a temporary storage site for calcium that is needed for eggshell production in a number of avian species. Previous research focusing primarily on domesticated species belonging to the Anseriformes, Galliformes, and Columbiformes has indicated that rising estrogen levels are a key signal stimulating medullary bone formation; Passeriformes (which constitute over half of extant bird species and are generally small) have received little attention. In the current study, we examined the influence of estrogen on medullary bone and cortical bone in two species of Passeriformes: the Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) and the House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus). Females of these species received either an estradiol implant or were untreated as a control. After 4.5-5months, reproductive condition was assessed and leg (femora) and wing (humeri) bones were collected for analysis using high-resolution (10μm) micro-computed tomography scanning. We found that in both species estradiol-treated females had significantly greater medullary bone quantity in comparison to untreated females, but we found no differences in cortical bone quantity or microarchitecture. We were also able to examine medullary bone density in the pine siskins and found that estradiol treatment significantly increased medullary bone density. Furthermore, beyond the effect of the estradiol treatment, we observed a relationship between medullary bone quantity and ovarian condition that suggests that the timing of medullary bone formation may be related to the onset of yolk deposition in these species. Further research is needed to better understand the precise timing and endocrine regulation of medullary bone formation in Passerines and to determine the extent to which female Passerines rely on medullary bone calcium during the formation of calcified eggshells. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. Dopaminergic Modulation of Reproductive Behavior and Activity in Male Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

    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. PMID:17945359

  2. 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.

  3. Optical Imaging of Retinotopic Maps in a Small Songbird, the Zebra Finch

    PubMed Central

    Keary, Nina; Voss, Joe; Lehmann, Konrad

    2010-01-01

    Background The primary visual cortex of mammals is characterised by a retinotopic representation of the visual field. It has therefore been speculated that the visual wulst, the avian homologue of the visual cortex, also contains such a retinotopic map. We examined this for the first time by optical imaging of intrinsic signals in zebra finches, a small songbird with laterally placed eyes. In addition to the visual wulst, we visualised the retinotopic map of the optic tectum which is homologue to the superior colliculus in mammals. Methodology/Principal Findings For the optic tectum, our results confirmed previous accounts of topography based on anatomical studies and conventional electrophysiology. Within the visual wulst, the retinotopy revealed by our experiments has not been illustrated convincingly before. The frontal part of the visual field (0°±30° azimuth) was not represented in the retinotopic map. The visual field from 30°–60° azimuth showed stronger magnification compared with more lateral regions. Only stimuli within elevations between about 20° and 40° above the horizon elicited neuronal activation. Activation from other elevations was masked by activation of the preferred region. Most interestingly, we observed more than one retinotopic representation of visual space within the visual wulst, which indicates that the avian wulst, like the visual cortex in mammals, may show some compartmentation parallel to the surface in addition to its layered structure. Conclusion/Significance Our results show the applicability of the optical imaging method also for small songbirds. We obtained a more detailed picture of retinotopic maps in birds, especially on the functional neuronal organisation of the visual wulst. Our findings support the notion of homology of visual wulst and visual cortex by showing that there is a functional correspondence between the two areas but also raise questions based on considerable differences between avian and mammalian

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Lovell, Peter V.; Mello, Claudio V.

    2010-01-01

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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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).

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Previous infection with West Nile or St. Louis encephalitis viruses provides cross protection during reinfection in house finches.

    PubMed

    Fang, Ying; Reisen, William K

    2006-09-01

    House finches are competent hosts for both West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis viruses and frequently become infected during outbreaks. In the current study, House finches were infected initially with either West Nile or St. Louis encephalitis viruses and then challenged 6 weeks post infection with either homologous or heterologous viruses. Although mortality rates were high during initial infection with West Nile virus, prior infection with either virus prevented mortality upon challenge with West Nile virus. Prior infection with West Nile virus provided sterilizing immunity against both viruses, whereas prior infection with St. Louis encephalitis virus prevented viremia from St. Louis encephalitis virus, but only reduced West Nile virus viremia titers. Immunologic responses were measured by enzyme immunoassay and plaque reduction neutralization tests. Heterologous challenge with West Nile virus in birds previously infected with St. Louis encephalitis virus produced the greatest immunologic response, markedly boosting antibody levels against St. Louis encephalitis virus. Our data have broad implications for free-ranging avian serological diagnostics and possibly for the recent disappearance of St. Louis encephalitis virus from California.

  13. 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

  14. No mutual mate choice for quality in zebra finches: Time to question a widely-held assumption.

    PubMed

    Wang, Daiping; Forstmeier, Wolfgang; Kempenaers, Bart

    2017-08-31

    Studies of mate choice typically assume that individuals prefer high quality mates and select them based on condition-dependent indicator traits. In species with bi-parental care, mutual mate choice is expected to result in assortative mating for quality. When assortment is not perfect, the lower quality pair members are expected to compensate by increased parental investment to secure their partner (positive differential allocation). This framework has been assumed to hold for monogamous species like the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), but progress has been hampered by the difficulty to define individual quality. By combining multiple measures of causes (inbreeding, early nutrition) and consequences (ornaments, displays, fitness components) of variation in quality into a single principal component, we here show that quality variation can be quantified successfully. We further show that variation in quality indeed predicts individual pairing success, presumably because it reflects an individual's vigor or ability to invest in reproduction. However, despite high statistical power, we found no evidence for either assortative mating or for positive differential allocation. We suggest that zebra finch ornaments and displays are not sufficiently reliable for the benefits of choosiness to exceed the costs of competition for the putative best partner. To assess the generality of these findings unbiased quantification of signal honesty and preference strength is required, rather than selective reporting of significant results. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Sexually Dimorphic SCAMP1 Expression in the Forebrain Motor Pathway for Song Production of Juvenile Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Yu Ping; Peabody, Camilla; Tomaszycki, Michelle L.; Wade, Juli

    2010-01-01

    Mechanisms regulating sexual differentiation of the zebra finch song system are not well understood. The present study was designed to more fully characterize secretory carrier membrane protein 1 (SCAMP1), which was identified in a cDNA microarray screen as showing increased expression in the forebrains of developing male compared with female zebra finches. We completed the sequence of the open reading frame and used in situ hybridization to compare mRNA in song control regions of juvenile (25-day-old) individuals. Expression was significantly greater in the HVC (used as a proper name) and robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA) in males than in females. Immunohistochemistry revealed that SCAMP1 protein is also expressed in these two brain regions, and qualitatively appears greater in males. Western analysis confirmed that the protein is increased in the telencephalon of males when compared with females at 25 days of age. These results are consistent with the idea that SCAMP1 is involved in masculinization of these brain areas, perhaps facilitating the survival of cells within them. PMID:17443802

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

    PubMed Central

    Tebbich, Sabine; Teschke, Irmgard

    2014-01-01

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

  20. Higher temperatures during development reduce body size in the zebra finch in the lab and in the wild.

    PubMed

    Andrew, Samuel C; Hurley, Laura L; Mariette, Mylene M; Griffith, Simon C

    2017-10-04

    The most commonly documented morphological response across many taxa to climatic variation across their range follows Bergmann's rule, which predicts larger body size in colder climates. In observational data from wild zebra finches breeding across a range of temperatures in the spring and summer, we show that this relationship appears to be driven by the negative effect of high temperatures during development. This idea was then experimentally tested on zebra finches breeding in temperature controlled climates in the laboratory. These experiments confirmed that those individuals produced in a hot environment (30°C) were smaller than those produced in cool conditions (18°C). Our results suggest a proximate causal link between temperature and body size, and suggest that a hotter climate during breeding periods could drive significant changes in morphology within and between populations. This effect could account for much of the variation in body size that drives the well observed patterns first described by Bergmann, and that are still largely attributed to selection on adult body size during cold winters. The climate-dependent developmental plasticity that we have demonstrated is an important component in understanding how endotherms may be affected by climate change. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  1. 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.

  2. Sexual imprinting on continuous variation: do female zebra finches prefer or avoid unfamiliar sons of their foster parents?

    PubMed

    Schielzeth, H; Burger, C; Bolund, E; Forstmeier, W

    2008-09-01

    Sexual imprinting on discrete variation that serves the identification of species, morphs or sexes is well documented. By contrast, sexual imprinting on continuous variation leading to individual differences in mating preferences within a single species, morph and sex has been studied only once (in humans). We measured female preferences in a captive population of wild-type zebra finches. Individual cross-fostering ensured that all subjects grew up with unrelated foster parents and nest mates. Females from two cohorts (N = 113) were given a simultaneous choice between (two or four) unfamiliar males, one of which was a genetic son of their foster parents (SFP). We found no significant overall preference for the SFP (combined effect size d = 0.14 +/- 0.15). Additionally, we tested if foster parent traits could potentially explain between-female variation in preferences. However, neither the effectiveness of cooperation between the parents nor male contribution to parental care affected female preferences for the son of the foster father. We conclude that at least in zebra finches sexual imprinting is not a major source of between-individual variation in mating preferences.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  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. 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

  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. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-11-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Soderstrom, Ken; Gilbert, Marcoita T.

    2012-01-01

    Normal CNS development proceeds through late-postnatal stages of adolescent development. The activity-dependence of this development underscores 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 accumulated behavioral, physiological and biochemical evidence supporting such a key regulatory role for endocannabinoid signaling during late-postnatal CNS development. Our focus is on 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 potential to persistently alter cognition, learning and memory. PMID:22884809

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  14. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-01

    Songbirds are widely used in studies of the neurobiology underlying learning, memory and performance of the sounds used in vocal communication. Development and activity of neurons in many brain sites implicated in those behaviors are closely related to levels of circulating testosterone. Approaches to understand the effects of testosterone in songbirds are presently limited to testosterone implants, which elevate testosterone levels to supraphysiological values, or castration, which eliminates gonadal production of testosterone. Previous studies in mammals indicate that GnRH agonists may be an effective tool to reduce testosterone within that range of extremes and without invasive surgery. To evaluate the effectiveness of the GnRH agonist Deslorelin as a tool to modulate levels of testosterone in songbirds, we recorded the effects of Deslorelin in adult male zebra finches. We recorded songs, body mass and blood testosterone levels pre-treatment, then we gave each bird a small subcutaneous implant of Deslorelin. We measured blood plasma testosterone levels weekly and recorded song behavior and gross morphology of brain, testes and heart at the end of each experiment. Testosterone levels were reduced at the 5mg/kg dose, and the very slight song changes we observed at that dose were like those reported for castrated zebra finches. As expected, there were no changes in the number of cells in androgen-sensitive brain structures. Suppression of testosterone at the 5mg/kg dose was reversible through implant removal. Thus, Deslorelin is a new tool to transiently suppress testosterone levels without the invasiveness and undesirable aftereffects of surgical castration. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  16. SELECTION ON BILL CHARACTERS IN A POPULATION OF DARWIN'S FINCHES: GEOSPIZA CONIROSTRIS ON ISLA GENOVESA, GALÁPAGOS.

    PubMed

    Grant, B R

    1985-05-01

    Lande and Arnold's (1983) technique for measuring selection on correlated quantitative traits was used to identify the targets of selection and to reveal the direction of selection on three bill dimensions, during different stages of the life cycle in a population of Darwin's finches, Geospiza conirostris, on Isla Genovesa, Galápagos. There was a tendency towards disruptive selection during dry conditions, arising from differential survival. In terms of longevity and breeding success of females, the direction of selection was to increase bill length. For males competing for territories, selection acted to increase bill depth and bill length. The effects of male-male interactions were separated from those of female choice. Male-male interactions selected for deep and long bills, whereas females chose their mates on the basis of a male's territory position and plumage coloration. The results reveal three factors constraining changes in bill dimensions: a tendency for the mean of a dimension to shift in one direction is counteracted by selection in the opposite direction on 1) another, positively correlated, bill dimension, 2) the same dimension in the other sex, and 3) the same dimension at another stage of the life cycle. If these factors are overcome by strong directional selection at one stage of the life cycle and relaxation at another, there can be an evolutionary response because the bill dimensions in this population are known to be heritable. The results complement those found in studies of G. fortis on another island and strengthen the view that these populations of Darwin's finches are frequently subjected to natural selection. © 1985 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  17. 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

  18. 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. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. 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.

  20. The effects of dietary carotenoid supplementation and retinal carotenoid accumulation on vision-mediated foraging in the house finch.

    PubMed

    Toomey, Matthew B; McGraw, Kevin J

    2011-01-01

    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. 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). 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 light environments.

  1. 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

  2. Interspecific variation in photo-induced GnRH plasticity among nomadic cardueline finches.

    PubMed

    Pereyra, Maria Elena; Sharbaugh, Susan M; Hahn, Thomas P

    2005-01-01

    Changes in response to photoperiod are of fundamental importance to seasonal cycles in avian reproductive development. In this study we present data on photo-induced changes in gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) immunoreactivity associated with the development of photorefractoriness in males of 3 closely related species of cardueline finch: common redpoll (Carduelis flammea), pine siskin (C. pinus) and white-winged crossbill (Loxia leucoptera). All are nomadic, mid- to high-latitude breeders with varying levels of reproductive flexibility: redpolls are typically seasonal, pine siskins more flexibly seasonal and white-winged crossbills temporally opportunistic. Males were exposed to either long (20L:4D) or short days (5L:19D), beginning in January, and GnRH was assessed via immunocytochemistry 4.5 months later. Plasma LH, testis size, and molt score were also measured. Significant reductions in the number of irGnRH cells detected, cross-sectional cell area and optical density of these cells occurred in both redpolls and siskins on long, as compared with short, days. These decreases in irGnRH, coupled with spontaneous testicular regression and onset of molt were consistent with the development of absolute photorefractoriness on constant long days. In contrast, the tendency for numbers of GnRH immunopositive cells and mean measures of GnRH immunoreactivity (cell area, optical density and axonal fiber density) to decrease were much more moderate in white-winged crossbills held on long versus short days. Although none of the four measures of GnRH immunoreactivity differed significantly between treatments in crossbills, significant shifts in the frequency distribution of irGnRH neurons to include greater numbers of less immunoreactive cells suggested that antigenic GnRH content was reduced in many cells. These photo-induced shifts in optical densities of GnRH cells in long-day, as compared with short-day crossbills followed, to a lesser extent, the pattern in pine

  3. C-fos induction in forebrain areas of two different visual pathways during consolidation of sexual imprinting in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Sadananda, Monika; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2006-10-16

    Two forebrain areas in the hyperpallium apicale and in the lateral nidopallium of isolated male zebra finches are highly active (2-deoxyglucose technique) on exposure to females for the first time, that is first courtship. These areas also demonstrate enhanced neuronal plasticity when screened with c-fos immunocytochemistry. Both are areas involved in the processing of visual information conveyed by the two major visual pathways in birds, strengthening our hypothesis that courtship in the zebra finch is a visually guided behaviour. First courtship and chased birds show enhanced c-fos induction in the hyperpallial area, which could represent neuronal activity reflecting changes in the immediate environment. The enhanced expression of fos in first courtship birds in lateral nidopallial neurons indicates imminent long-lasting changes at the synaptic level that form the substrate for imprinting, a stable form of learning in birds.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. SNPs across time and space: population genomic signatures of founder events and epizootics in the House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus).

    PubMed

    Shultz, Allison J; Baker, Allan J; Hill, Geoffrey E; Nolan, Paul M; Edwards, Scott V

    2016-10-01

    Identifying genomic signatures of natural selection can be challenging against a background of demographic changes such as bottlenecks and population expansions. Here, we disentangle the effects of demography from selection in the House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) using samples collected before and after a pathogen-induced selection event. Using ddRADseq, we genotyped over 18,000 SNPs across the genome in native pre-epizootic western US birds, introduced birds from Hawaii and the eastern United States, post-epizootic eastern birds, and western birds sampled across a similar time span. We found 14% and 7% reductions in nucleotide diversity, respectively, in Hawaiian and pre-epizootic eastern birds relative to pre-epizootic western birds, as well as elevated levels of linkage disequilibrium and other signatures of founder events. Despite finding numerous significant frequency shifts (outlier loci) between pre-epizootic native and introduced populations, we found no signal of reduced genetic diversity, elevated linkage disequilibrium, or outlier loci as a result of the epizootic. Simulations demonstrate that the proportion of outliers associated with founder events could be explained by genetic drift. This rare view of genetic evolution across time in an invasive species provides direct evidence that demographic shifts like founder events have genetic consequences more widespread across the genome than natural selection.

  16. 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).

  17. Body-condition indices are repeatable across short, but not long, time periods in crimson finches Neochmia phaeton.

    PubMed

    Milenkaya, O; Legge, S; Walters, J R

    2014-01-01

    Abstract It is common in evolutionary ecology to interpret body-condition indices as indicators of individual quality, but this hypothesized relationship has been questioned and remains poorly validated. Here, we test one of the fundamental predictions of this condition-quality hypothesis, that relative-condition indices are repeatable within individuals, that is, that the index score of an individual relative to others is consistent over time. We sampled crimson finches (Neochmia phaeton) for seven commonly used condition indices and tested whether individual condition relative to conspecifics in the same context (e.g., breeding stage) was repeatable. We calculated the relative indices' repeatability across several temporal scales, from short (within breeding season) to long (more than 2 yr) time periods, as well as without consideration of timescale. Most relative-condition indices were repeatable when sampled without consideration of timescale, all were repeatable within a short time period, and none were repeatable over the longest time period. This provides only partial support for the condition-quality hypothesis, because although relative-condition indices were generally repeatable, this was primarily attributed to short-term, instead of long-term, repeatability. Condition indices may be meaningful indicators of short-term survival or fitness potential, but our findings are inconsistent with the idea that condition indices are indicators of inherent individual quality.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  19. Encoding of naturalistic optic flow by motion sensitive neurons of nucleus rotundus in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

    PubMed Central

    Eckmeier, Dennis; Kern, Roland; Egelhaaf, Martin; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2013-01-01

    The retinal image changes that occur during locomotion, the optic flow, carry information about self-motion and the three-dimensional structure of the environment. Especially fast moving animals with only little binocular vision depend on these depth cues for maneuvering. They actively control their gaze to facilitate perception of depth based on cues in the optic flow. In the visual system of birds, nucleus rotundus neurons were originally found to respond to object motion but not to background motion. However, when background and object were both moving, responses increased the more the direction and velocity of object and background motion on the retina differed. These properties may play a role in representing depth cues in the optic flow. We therefore investigated, how neurons in nucleus rotundus respond to optic flow that contains depth cues. We presented simplified and naturalistic optic flow on a panoramic LED display while recording from single neurons in nucleus rotundus of anaesthetized zebra finches. Unlike most studies on motion vision in birds, our stimuli included depth information. We found extensive responses of motion selective neurons in nucleus rotundus to optic flow stimuli. Simplified stimuli revealed preferences for optic flow reflecting translational or rotational self-motion. Naturalistic optic flow stimuli elicited complex response modulations, but the presence of objects was signaled by only few neurons. The neurons that did respond to objects in the optic flow, however, show interesting properties. PMID:24065895

  20. An examination of the effect of aerosolized permanone insecticide on zebra finch susceptibility to West Nile virus

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jankowski, Mark D.; Murray, E. Moore; Hofmeister, Erik K.

    2017-01-01

    West Nile virus is primarily maintained cryptically primarily in avian (Passerine) populations where it is transmitted by Culex spp. mosquitoes. Mosquito control measures currently include physical activities to reduce mosquito breeding sites, the application of mosquito larvicides, or aerosolized insecticides to kill adults (adulticides) when arboviral diseases such as West Nile virus (WNV) or Zika virus are detected in mosquito populations. Organochlorine, organohosphorus, carbamate and pyrethroid insecticides are often used. Previous work suggests an effect of pyrethroids on the immune system in a variety of vertebrates. We examined the effects of exposure to aerosolized Permanone® 30:30 insecticide (permethrin and piperonyl butoxide in soy oil vehicle) at ∼103−106x potential environmental concentrations on the response of captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) to experimental challenge with WNV. Compared to vehicle control birds, WNV outcome was unchanged (65% of birds produced a viremia) in the ‘low’ exposure (9.52 mg/m3±3.13 SD permethrin) group, but reduced in the ‘high’ exposure (mean 376.5 mg/m3±27.9 SD permethrin) group (30% were viremic) (p < 0.05). After clearing WNV infection, birds treated with Permanone regained less body mass than vehicle treated birds (p < 0.001). Our study suggests that exposure to aerosolized Permanone insecticide at levels exceeding typical application rates has the potential to not change or mildly enhance a bird's resistance to WNV.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  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. 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.

  5. Evolutionary differentiation in the Neotropical montane region: molecular phylogenetics and phylogeography of Buarremon brush-finches (Aves, Emberizidae).

    PubMed

    Cadena, Carlos Daniel; Klicka, John; Ricklefs, Robert E

    2007-09-01

    Studies on Neotropical phylogeography have largely focused on lowland organisms. Because lowland and highland biotas have different histories and are likely affected by different processes influencing population differentiation, understanding Neotropical diversification requires detailed studies on montane taxa. We present the most comprehensive analysis of population differentiation conducted so far on a widespread group of Neotropical montane organisms, focusing on the evolutionary relationships and phylogeography of Buarremon brush-finches (Aves: Emberizidae) in montane areas from Mexico through Argentina. Sequences of mitochondrial and nuclear genes demonstrate that Buarremon is not monophyletic with respect to Arremon and Lysurus. Genetic structure revealed by mtDNA is strong in both B. brunneinucha and B. torquatus. Gene genealogies and nucleotide diversity indicate that B. brunneinucha originated in Mexico and later expanded to South America, where it followed one colonization route through the east, and one through the west of the continent. Differentiation among populations of B. torquatus was substantial, reaching 8% uncorrected sequence divergence within South America. Relationships among major lineages of B. torquatus were not fully resolved owing to rapid differentiation, but the occurrence of closely related taxa in distant locations suggests a complex history of diversification. Some Colombian populations of B. brunneinucha have affinities with populations from Venezuela and the East Andean slope of Ecuador and Peru, and others with those from the Pacific slope of Ecuador. Moreover, five divergent lineages of B. torquatus occur within Colombia, highlighting the importance of dense sampling in northwest South America for studies on diversification of widespread Neotropical lineages.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

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

  7. 17β-ESTRADIOL LEVELS IN MALE ZEBRA FINCH BRAIN: COMBINING PALKOVITS PUNCH AND AN ULTRASENSITIVE RADIOIMMUNOASSAY

    PubMed Central

    Charlier, Thierry D.; Po, Kelvin W.L.; Newman, Amy E.M.; Shah, Amit H.; Saldanha, Colin J.; Soma, Kiran K.

    2010-01-01

    Local aromatization of testosterone into 17β-estradiol (E2) is often required for the physiological and behavioral actions of testosterone. In most vertebrates, aromatase is expressed in a few discrete brain regions. While many studies have measured brain aromatase mRNA or activity, very few studies have measured brain E2 levels, particularly in discrete brain regions, because of technical challenges. Here, we used the Palkovits punch technique to isolate 13 discrete brain nuclei from adult male zebra finches. Steroids were extracted via solid phase extraction. E2 was then measured with an ultrasensitive, specific and precise radioimmunoassay. Our protocol leads to high recovery of E2 (84%) and effectively removes interfering brain lipids. E2 levels were high in aromatase-rich regions such as caudal medial nidopallium and hippocampus. E2 levels were intermediate in the medial preoptic area, ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus, lateral and medial magnocellular nuclei of anterior nidopallium, nucleus taeniae of the amygdala, and Area X. E2 levels were largely non-detectable in the cerebellum, HVC, lateral nidopallium and optic lobes. Importantly, E2 levels were significantly lower in plasma than in the caudal medial nidopallium. This protocol allows one to measure E2 in discrete brain regions and potentially relate local E2 concentrations to aromatase activity and behavior. PMID:20144613

  8. 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.

  9. THE EFECTS OF ESTRADIOL ON 17β-HYDROXYSTEROID DEHYDROGENASE TYPE IV AND ANDROGEN RECEPTOR EXPRESSION IN THE DEVELOPING ZEBRA FINCH SONG SYSTEM

    PubMed Central

    Thompson, J. Bayley; Dzubur, Eldin; Wade, Juli; Tomaszycki, Michelle

    2011-01-01

    Recent work in zebra finches suggests that genes and hormones may act together to masculinize the brain. This study tested the effects of exogenous estradiol (E2) on 17β-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase type IV (HSD17B4) and the co-localization of HSD17B4 and androgen receptor (AR) mRNA. We asked three primary questions: First, how does post-hatching E2 treatment affect HSD17B4 mRNA expression in males and females? Second, is this gene expressed in the same cells as AR, and, third, if so does E2 modulate co-expression? Female finches implanted with 50μg of E2 on the third day post-hatching showed a significant increase in the density of cells expressing HSD17B4 and AR in HVC at day 25. Co-localization of AR cells that also expressed HSD17B4 was high across groups (>81%). We found significant sex differences in co-localization in both the HVC and Area X of control animals, with males showing a higher percentage of cells expressing AR mRNA that also expressed HSD17B4 in comparison to females. However, although E2 treatments significantly increased the number of cells expressing HSD17B4 mRNA and AR mRNA in the HVC of females, the percentage of HSD17B4 cells co-expressing AR was reduced in HVC and Area X in E2-treated animals. These results lend support to the hypothesis that genes and hormones may act in concert to modulate the sexually differentiation of the zebra finch song system. Further, the data suggest that a single hormonal mechanism cannot mimic the complex development of male singing behavior and associated song nuclei. PMID:21665192

  10. Protein-Protein Interaction Among the FoxP Family Members and their Regulation of Two Target Genes, VLDLR and CNTNAP2 in the Zebra Finch Song System

    PubMed Central

    Mendoza, Ezequiel; Scharff, Constance

    2017-01-01

    The Forkhead transcription factor FOXP2 is implicated in speech perception and production. The avian homolog, FoxP21 contributes to song learning and production in birds. In human cell lines, transcriptional activity of FOXP2 requires homo-dimerization or dimerization with paralogs FOXP1 or FOXP4. Whether FoxP dimerization occurs in the brain is unknown. We recently showed that FoxP1, FoxP2 and FoxP4 (FoxP1/2/4) proteins are co-expressed in neurons of Area X, a song control region in zebra finches. We now report on dimer- and oligomerization of zebra finch FoxPs and how this affects transcription. In cell lines and in the brain we identify homo- and hetero-dimers, and an oligomer composed of FoxP1/2/4. We further show that FoxP1/2 but not FoxP4 bind to the regulatory region of the target gene Contactin-associated protein-like 2 (CNTNAP2). In addition, we demonstrate that FoxP1/4 bind to the regulatory region of very low density lipoprotein receptor (VLDLR), as has been shown for FoxP2 previously. Interestingly, FoxP1/2/4 individually or in combinations regulate the promoters for SV40, zebra finch VLDLR and CNTNAP2 differentially. These data exemplify the potential for complex transcriptional regulation of FoxP1/2/4, highlighting the need for future functional studies dissecting their differential regulation in the brain. PMID:28507505

  11. Protein-Protein Interaction Among the FoxP Family Members and their Regulation of Two Target Genes, VLDLR and CNTNAP2 in the Zebra Finch Song System.

    PubMed

    Mendoza, Ezequiel; Scharff, Constance

    2017-01-01

    The Forkhead transcription factor FOXP2 is implicated in speech perception and production. The avian homolog, FoxP2 contributes to song learning and production in birds. In human cell lines, transcriptional activity of FOXP2 requires homo-dimerization or dimerization with paralogs FOXP1 or FOXP4. Whether FoxP dimerization occurs in the brain is unknown. We recently showed that FoxP1, FoxP2 and FoxP4 (FoxP1/2/4) proteins are co-expressed in neurons of Area X, a song control region in zebra finches. We now report on dimer- and oligomerization of zebra finch FoxPs and how this affects transcription. In cell lines and in the brain we identify homo- and hetero-dimers, and an oligomer composed of FoxP1/2/4. We further show that FoxP1/2 but not FoxP4 bind to the regulatory region of the target gene Contactin-associated protein-like 2 (CNTNAP2). In addition, we demonstrate that FoxP1/4 bind to the regulatory region of very low density lipoprotein receptor (VLDLR), as has been shown for FoxP2 previously. Interestingly, FoxP1/2/4 individually or in combinations regulate the promoters for SV40, zebra finch VLDLR and CNTNAP2 differentially. These data exemplify the potential for complex transcriptional regulation of FoxP1/2/4, highlighting the need for future functional studies dissecting their differential regulation in the brain.

  12. Sexually dimorphic expression of the genes encoding ribosomal proteins L17 and L37 in the song control nuclei of juvenile zebra finches

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Yu Ping; Wade, Juli

    2010-01-01

    Studies evaluating the role of steroid hormones in sexual differentiation of the zebra finch song system have produced complicated and at times paradoxical results, and indicate that additional factors may be critical. Therefore, in a previous study we initiated a screen for differential gene expression in the telencephalon of developing male and female zebra finches. The use of cDNA microarrays and real-time quantitative PCR revealed increased expression of the genes encoding ribosomal proteins L17 and L37 (RPL17 and RPL37) in the male forebrain as a whole. Preliminary in situ hybridization data then indicated enhanced expression of both these genes in song control regions. Two experiments in the present study quantified the mRNA expression. The first utilized 25-day-old male and female zebra finches. The second compared a separate set of juveniles to adults of both sexes to both re-confirm enhanced expression in juvenile males and to determine whether it is limited to developing animals. In Experiment 1, males exhibited increased expression of both RPL17 and RPL37 compared to females in Area X, the robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA), and the ventral ventricular zone (VVZ), which may provide neurons to Area X. Experiment 2 replicated the sexually dimorphic expression of these genes at post-hatching day 25, and documented that the sex differences are eliminated or greatly reduced in adults. The results are consistent with the idea that these ribosomal proteins may influence sexual differentiation of Area X and RA, potentially regulating the genesis and/or survival of neurons. PMID:16938280

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Distribution of aromatase-immunoreactive cells in the forebrain of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata): implications for the neural action of steroids and nuclear definition in the avian hypothalamus.

    PubMed

    Balthazart, J; Absil, P; Foidart, A; Houbart, M; Harada, N; Ball, G F

    1996-10-01

    Cells immunoreactive for the enzyme aromatase were localized in the forebrain of male zebra finches with the use of an immunocytochemistry procedure. Two polyclonal antibodies, one directed against human placental aromatase and the other directed against quail recombinant aromatase, revealed a heterogeneous distribution of the enzyme in the telencephalon, diencephalon, and mesencephalon. Staining was enhanced in some birds by the administration of the nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor, R76713 racemic Vorozole) prior to the perfusion of the birds as previously described in Japanese quail. Large numbers of cells immunoreactive for aromatase were found in nuclei in the preoptic region and in the tuberal hypothalamus. A nucleus was identified in the preoptic region based on the high density of aromatase immunoreactive cells within its boundaries that appears to be homologous to the preoptic medial nucleus (POM) described previously in Japanese quail. In several birds alternate sections were stained for immunoreactive vasotocin, a marker of the paraventricular nucleus (PVN). This information facilitated the clear separation of the POM in zebra finches from nuclei that are adjacent to the POM in the preoptic area-hypothalamus, such as the PVN and the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus. Positively staining cells were also detected widely throughout the telencephalon. Cells were discerned in the medial parts of the ventral hyperstriatum and neostriatum near the lateral ventricle and in dorsal and medial parts of the hippocampus. They were most abundant in the caudal neostriatum where they clustered in the dorsomedial neostriatum, and as a band of cells coursing along the dorsal edge of the lamina archistriatalis dorsalis. They were also present in high numbers in the ventrolateral aspect of the neostriatum and in the nucleus taeniae. None of the telencephalic vocal control nuclei had appreciable numbers of cells immunoreactive for aromatase within their boundaries

  16. 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

  17. Effects of housing condition and early corticosterone treatment on learned features of song in adult male zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Shahbazi, Mahin; Jimenez, Pedro; Martinez, Luis A; Carruth, Laura L

    2014-03-01

    Early developmental stress can have long-term physiological and behavioral effects on an animal. Developmental stress and early corticosterone (Cort) exposure affect song quality in many songbirds. Early housing condition can act as a stressor and affect the growth of nestlings and adult song, and improvements in housing condition can reverse adverse effects of early stress exposure in rodents. However, little is known about this effect in songbirds. Therefore, we took a novel approach to investigate if housing condition can modify the effects of early Cort exposure on adult song in male zebra finches. We manipulated early housing conditions to include breeding in large communal flight cages (FC; standard housing condition; with mixed-sex and mix-aged birds) versus individual breeding cages (IBC, one male-female pair with small, IBC-S, or large clutches, IBC-L) in post-hatch Cort treated male birds. We found that Cort treated birds from IBC-S have higher overall song learning scores (between tutor and pupil) than from FC but there is no difference between these groups in the No-Cort treated birds. When examining the effects of Cort within each housing condition, overall song learning scores decreased in Cort treated birds from flight cages but increased in birds from IBC-S compared to controls. Likewise, the total number of syllables and syllable types increased significantly in Cort treated birds from IBC-S, but decreased in FC-reared birds though this effect was not statistically significant. These findings suggest that the effects of early Cort treatment on learned features of song depend on housing condition. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Tokarev, Kirill; Tiunova, Anna

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-11-01

    The unparalleled avian diversity of the Neotropics has long been argued to be in large part the evolutionary consequence of the incredible habitat diversity and rugged topography of the Andes mountains. Various scenarios have been proposed to explain how the Andean context could have generated lineage diversification (e.g. vicariant speciation or parapatric speciation across vertical ecological gradients), yet further study on Andean taxa is needed to reveal the relative importance of the different processes. Here we use mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences to derive the first phylogenetic hypothesis for Phrygilus (Sierra-Finches), one of the most species-rich genera of mainly Andean passerines. We find strong evidence that the genus is polyphyletic, comprising four distantly related clades with at least nine other genera interspersed between them (Acanthidops, Catamenia, Diglossa, Haplospiza, Idiopsar, Melanodera, Rowettia, Sicalis and Xenodacnis). These four Phrygilus clades coincide with groups previously established mainly on the basis of plumage characters, suggesting single evolutionary origins for each of these. We consider the history of diversification of each clade, analyzing the timing of splitting events, ancestral reconstruction of altitudinal ranges and current geographical distributions. Phrygilus species origins date mainly to the Pleistocene, with representatives diversifying within, out of, and into the Andes. Finally, we explored whether Phrygilus species, especially those with broad altitudinal and latitudinal Andean distributions, showed phylogeographic structure. Our best-sampled taxon (Phrygilus fruticeti) exhibited no clear pattern; however, we found deep genetic splits within other surveyed species, with Phrygilus unicolor being the most extreme case and deserving of further research. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  5. Parasites in the city: degree of urbanization predicts poxvirus and coccidian infections in house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus).

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. Mercury reduces avian reproductive success and imposes selection: an experimental study with adult- or lifetime-exposure in zebra finch.

    PubMed

    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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Sexually Dimorphic and Developmentally Regulated Expression of Tubulin Specific Chaperone Protein A in the LMAN of Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Qi, Linda M.; Wade, Juli

    2013-01-01

    Sex differences in brain and behavior exist across vertebrates, but the molecular factors regulating their development are largely unknown. Songbirds exhibit substantial sexual dimorphisms. In zebra finches, only males sing, and the brain areas regulating song learning and production are much larger in males. Recent data suggest that sex chromosome genes (males ZZ; females ZW) may play roles in sexual differentiation. The present studies tested the hypothesis that a Z-gene, tubulin specific chaperone protein A (TBCA), contributes to sexual differentiation of the song system. This taxonomically conserved gene is integral to microtubule synthesis, and within the song system, its mRNA is specifically increased in males compared to females in the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (LMAN), a region critical for song learning and plasticity. Using in situ hybridization, Western blot analysis, and immunohistochemistry, we observed effects of both age and sex on TBCA mRNA and protein expression. The transcript is increased in males compared to females at three juvenile ages, but not in adults. TBCA protein, both the number of immunoreactive cells and relative concentration in LMAN, is diminished in adults compared to juveniles. The latter was also increased in males compared to females at post-hatching day 25. With double-label immunofluorescence and retrograde tract tracing, we also document that the majority of TBCA+ cells in LMAN are neurons, and that they include RA-projecting cells. These results indicate that TBCA is both temporally and spatially primed to facilitate the development of a sexually dimorphic neural pathway critical for song. PMID:23727504

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. Cryptic Regulation of Vasotocin Neuronal Activity but Not Anatomy by Sex Steroids and Social Stimuli in Opportunistic Desert Finches

    PubMed Central

    Kabelik, David; Morrison, Jenilee A.; Goodson, James L.

    2010-01-01

    In most vertebrate species, the production of vasotocin (VT; non-mammals) and vasopressin (VP; mammals) in the medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTm) waxes and wanes with seasonal reproductive state; however, opportunistically breeding species might need to maintain high levels of this behaviorally relevant neuropeptide year-round in anticipation of unpredictable breeding opportunities. We here provide support for this hypothesis and demonstrate that these neurons are instead regulated ‘cryptically’ via hormonal regulation of their activity levels, which may be rapidly modified to adjust VT signaling. First, we show that combined treatment of male and female zebra finches (Estrildidae: Taeniopygia guttata) with the androgen receptor antagonist flutamide and the aromatase inhibitor 1,4,6-androstatriene-3,17-dione does not alter the expression of VT immunoreactivity within the BSTm; however, both hormonal treatment and social housing environment (same-sex versus mixed-sex) alter VT colocalization with the immediate early gene product Fos (a proxy marker of neural activation) in the BSTm. In a second experiment, manipulations of estradiol (E2) levels with the aromatase inhibitor letrozole (LET) or subcutaneous E2 implants failed to alter colocalization, suggesting that the colocalization effects in experiment 1 were solely androgenic. LET treatment also did not affect VT immunoreactivity in a manner reversible by E2 treatment. Finally, comparisons of VT immunoreactivity in breeding and nonbreeding individuals of several estrildid species demonstrate that year-round stability of VT immunoreactivity is found only in highly opportunistic species, and is therefore not essential to the maintenance of long-term pair bonds, which are ubiquitous in the Estrildidae. PMID:20332615

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.