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Sample records for adult prairie vole

  1. Neonatal exposure to amphetamine alters social affiliation and central dopamine activity in adult male prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Fukushiro, D F; Olivera, A; Liu, Y; Wang, Z

    2015-10-29

    The prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) is a socially monogamous rodent species that forms pair bonds after mating. Recent data have shown that amphetamine (AMPH) is rewarding to prairie voles as it induces conditioned place preferences. Further, repeated treatment with AMPH impairs social bonding in adult prairie voles through a central dopamine (DA)-dependent mechanism. The present study examined the effects of neonatal exposure to AMPH on behavior and central DA activity in adult male prairie voles. Our data show that neonatal exposure to AMPH makes voles less social in an affiliation test during adulthood, but does not affect animals' locomotor activity and anxiety-like behavior. Neonatal exposure to AMPH also increases the levels of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and DA transporter (DAT) mRNA expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in the brain, indicating an increase in central DA activity. As DA has been implicated in AMPH effects on behavioral and cognitive functions, altered DA activity in the vole brain may contribute to the observed changes in social behavior.

  2. Fine-scale spatial patterns of genetic relatedness among resident adult prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Keane, Brian; Ross, Shavonne; Crist, Thomas O; Solomon, Nancy G

    2015-11-24

    Characterizing the spatial arrangement of related individuals within populations can convey information about opportunities for the evolution of kin-selected social behaviors, the potential for inbreeding, and the geographic distribution of genetic variation. Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) are socially monogamous rodents that sometimes breed cooperatively. Individuals of both sexes are highly philopatric, and among natal dispersers, the average dispersal distance is about 30 m. Such limited natal dispersal can result in the spatial clustering of kin and we used microsatellite data to estimate genetic relatedness among resident adult prairie voles in 2 natural populations to test the hypothesis that limited natal dispersal of male and female prairie voles results in the spatial clustering of kin. Spatial autocorrelation analyses of nest residency and microsatellite data indicated that proximate same-sex adult residents of both sexes were significantly more related than more spatially distant resident same-sex adults in Kansas. In Indiana, adult female voles residing less than 20 m apart were also significantly more related than more spatially distant resident adult females but spatial clustering of kin was not detected among resident adult males. The spatial clustering of kin indicates that opportunities for kin-selected behaviors exist in both populations, especially among females. Differences in the patterns of spatial genetic structure among resident males between the Kansas and Indiana populations may be due to population differences in factors such as demography and mating system, as well as in the extent of natal philopatry.

  3. Species differences in behavior and cell proliferation/survival in the adult brains of female meadow and prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Pan, Y; Liu, Y; Lieberwirth, C; Zhang, Z; Wang, Z

    2016-02-19

    Microtine rodents display diverse patterns of social organization and behaviors, and thus provide a useful model for studying the effects of the social environment on physiology and behavior. The current study compared the species differences and the effects of oxytocin (OT) on anxiety-like, social affiliation, and social recognition behaviors in female meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) and prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). Furthermore, cell proliferation and survival in the brains of adult female meadow and prairie voles were compared. We found that female meadow voles displayed a higher level of anxiety-like behavior but lower levels of social affiliation and social recognition compared to female prairie voles. In addition, meadow voles showed lower levels of cell proliferation (measured by Ki67 staining) and cell survival (measured by BrdU staining) in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) and amygdala (AMY), but not the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus (DG), than prairie voles. Interestingly, the numbers of new cells in the VMH and AMY, but not DG, also correlated with anxiety-like, social affiliation, and social recognition behaviors in a brain region-specific manner. Finally, central OT treatment (200 ng/kg, icv) did not lead to changes in behavior or cell proliferation/survival in the brain. Together, these data indicate a potential role of cell proliferation/survival in selected brain areas on different behaviors between vole species with distinct life strategies.

  4. Species differences in behavior and cell proliferation/survival in the adult brains of female meadow and prairie voles

    PubMed Central

    Pan, Yongliang; Liu, Yan; Lieberwirth, Claudia; Zhang, Zhibin; Wang, Zuoxin

    2016-01-01

    Microtine rodents display diverse patterns of social organization and behaviors, and thus provide a useful model for studying the effects of the social environment on physiology and behavior. The current study compared the species differences and the effects of oxytocin (OT) on anxiety-like, social affiliation, and social recognition behaviors in female meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) and prairie voles (M. ochrogaster). Furthermore, cell proliferation and survival in the brains of adult female meadow and prairie voles were compared. We found that female meadow voles displayed a higher level of anxiety-like behavior but lower levels of social affiliation and social recognition compared to female prairie voles. In addition, meadow voles showed lower levels of cell proliferation (measured by Ki67 staining) and cell survival (measured by BrdU staining) in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) and amygdala (AMY), but not the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus (DG), than prairie voles. Interestingly, the numbers of new cells in the VMH and AMY, but not DG, also correlated with anxiety-like, social affiliation, and social recognition behaviors in a brain region-specific manner. Finally, central OT treatment (200 ng/kg, icv) did not lead to changes in behavior or cell proliferation/survival in the brain. Together, these data indicate a potential role of cell proliferation/survival in selected brain areas on different behaviors between vole species with distinct life strategies. PMID:26708743

  5. Does paedomorphosis contribute to prairie vole monogamy?

    PubMed Central

    Bushyhead, Timothy; Curtis, J. Thomas

    2015-01-01

    We examined skull morphology in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) and meadow voles (M. pennsylvanicus), two closely related species with fundamentally different mating systems, to test the hypothesis that paedomorphosis contributes to the evolution of monogamous mating systems. Using several skull measurements, we found that the overall length:width ratio of meadow vole skulls was greater than that of prairie voles suggesting that meadow vole have longer narrower skulls. We then examined which aspects of skull morphology differed between the species and found that the ratio difference was attributable primarily to longer snout length in meadow voles. Finally, we compared adult morphology in both species to that of pups and found the prairie vole, a monogamous species, displays a more juvenile-like skull morphology than does the meadow vole, a promiscuous species. These results suggest that monogamous vole species retain more juvenile-like morphology than do promiscuous species, and thus possibly retain juvenile-like behaviors that may contribute to a monogamous mating system. PMID:26594100

  6. Estrogen Regulation of Cell Proliferation and Distribution of Estrogen Receptor-α in the Brains of Adult Female Prairie and Meadow Voles

    PubMed Central

    FOWLER, CHRISTIE D.; JOHNSON, FRANK; WANG, ZUOXIN

    2014-01-01

    Adult female prairie (Microtus ochrogaster) and meadow (M. pennsylvanicus) voles were compared to examine neural cell proliferation and the effects of estrogen manipulation on cell proliferation in the amygdala, ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), and dentate gyrus of the hippocampus (DG). Unlike prior studies, our study focused on the amygdala and VMH, because they are involved in social behaviors and may underlie behavioral differences between the species. Meadow voles had a higher density of cells labeled with the cell proliferation marker 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU) in the amygdala and DG than did prairie voles. Treatment with estradiol benzoate (EB) for 3 days increased the density of BrdU-labeled cells in the amygdala, particularly in the posterior cortical (pCorA) and medial (pMeA) nuclei, in meadow, but not prairie, voles. Furthermore, the majority of the BrdU-labeled cells in the pCorA and pMeA displayed either a neuronal or a glial progenitor phenotype, but no species or treatment differences were found in the percentage of neuronal or glial progenitor cells. To understand better estrogen’s effects on adult neurogenesis, we also examined estrogen receptor-α (ERα) distribution. Meadow voles had more ERα-labeled cells in the pCorA and VMH, but not in the pMeA or DG, than did prairie voles. In addition, more than one-half of the BrdU-labeled cells in the amygdala of both species coexpressed ERα labeling. Together, these data indicate that estrogen alters cell proliferation in a species- and region-specific manner, and some of these effects may lie in the specific localization of estrogen receptors in the adult vole brain. PMID:15984004

  7. Estrogen regulation of cell proliferation and distribution of estrogen receptor-alpha in the brains of adult female prairie and meadow voles.

    PubMed

    Fowler, Christie D; Johnson, Frank; Wang, Zuoxin

    2005-08-22

    Adult female prairie (Microtus ochrogaster) and meadow (M. pennsylvanicus) voles were compared to examine neural cell proliferation and the effects of estrogen manipulation on cell proliferation in the amygdala, ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), and dentate gyrus of the hippocampus (DG). Unlike prior studies, our study focused on the amygdala and VMH, because they are involved in social behaviors and may underlie behavioral differences between the species. Meadow voles had a higher density of cells labeled with the cell proliferation marker 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) in the amygdala and DG than did prairie voles. Treatment with estradiol benzoate (EB) for 3 days increased the density of BrdU-labeled cells in the amygdala, particularly in the posterior cortical (pCorA) and medial (pMeA) nuclei, in meadow, but not prairie, voles. Furthermore, the majority of the BrdU-labeled cells in the pCorA and pMeA displayed either a neuronal or a glial progenitor phenotype, but no species or treatment differences were found in the percentage of neuronal or glial progenitor cells. To understand better estrogen's effects on adult neurogenesis, we also examined estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha) distribution. Meadow voles had more ERalpha-labeled cells in the pCorA and VMH, but not in the pMeA or DG, than did prairie voles. In addition, more than one-half of the BrdU-labeled cells in the amygdala of both species coexpressed ERalpha labeling. Together, these data indicate that estrogen alters cell proliferation in a species- and region-specific manner, and some of these effects may lie in the specific localization of estrogen receptors in the adult vole brain.

  8. The oxytocin system promotes resilience to the effects of neonatal isolation on adult social attachment in female prairie voles

    PubMed Central

    Barrett, C E; Arambula, S E; Young, L J

    2015-01-01

    Genes and social experiences interact to create variation in social behavior and vulnerability to develop disorders of the social domain. Socially monogamous prairie voles display remarkable diversity in neuropeptide receptor systems and social behavior. Here, we examine the interaction of early-life adversity and brain oxytocin receptor (OTR) density on adult social attachment in female prairie voles. First, pups were isolated for 3 h per day, or unmanipulated, from postnatal day 1–14. Adult subjects were tested on the partner preference (PP) test to assess social attachment and OTR density in the brain was quantified. Neonatal social isolation impaired female PP formation, without affecting OTR density. Accumbal OTR density was, however, positively correlated with the percent of time spent huddling with the partner in neonatally isolated females. Females with high accumbal OTR binding were resilient to neonatal isolation. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that parental nurturing shapes neural systems underlying social relationships by enhancing striatal OTR signaling. Thus, we next determined whether early touch, mimicking parental licking and grooming, stimulates hypothalamic OT neuron activity. Tactile stimulation induced immediate-early gene activity in OT neurons in neonates. Finally, we investigated whether pharmacologically potentiating OT release using a melanocortin 3/4 agonist, melanotan-II (10 mg kg−1 subcutaneously), would mitigate the social isolation-induced impairments in attachment behavior. Neonatal melanotan-II administration buffered against the effects of early isolation on partner preference formation. Thus, variation in accumbal OTR density and early OT release induced by parental nurturing may moderate susceptibility to early adverse experiences, including neglect. PMID:26196439

  9. The oxytocin system promotes resilience to the effects of neonatal isolation on adult social attachment in female prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Barrett, C E; Arambula, S E; Young, L J

    2015-07-21

    Genes and social experiences interact to create variation in social behavior and vulnerability to develop disorders of the social domain. Socially monogamous prairie voles display remarkable diversity in neuropeptide receptor systems and social behavior. Here, we examine the interaction of early-life adversity and brain oxytocin receptor (OTR) density on adult social attachment in female prairie voles. First, pups were isolated for 3 h per day, or unmanipulated, from postnatal day 1-14. Adult subjects were tested on the partner preference (PP) test to assess social attachment and OTR density in the brain was quantified. Neonatal social isolation impaired female PP formation, without affecting OTR density. Accumbal OTR density was, however, positively correlated with the percent of time spent huddling with the partner in neonatally isolated females. Females with high accumbal OTR binding were resilient to neonatal isolation. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that parental nurturing shapes neural systems underlying social relationships by enhancing striatal OTR signaling. Thus, we next determined whether early touch, mimicking parental licking and grooming, stimulates hypothalamic OT neuron activity. Tactile stimulation induced immediate-early gene activity in OT neurons in neonates. Finally, we investigated whether pharmacologically potentiating OT release using a melanocortin 3/4 agonist, melanotan-II (10 mg kg(-1) subcutaneously), would mitigate the social isolation-induced impairments in attachment behavior. Neonatal melanotan-II administration buffered against the effects of early isolation on partner preference formation. Thus, variation in accumbal OTR density and early OT release induced by parental nurturing may moderate susceptibility to early adverse experiences, including neglect.

  10. Neuropeptide Regulation of Social Attachment: The Prairie Vole Model

    PubMed Central

    Tabbaa, Manal; Paedae, Brennan; Liu, Yan; Wang, Zuoxin

    2016-01-01

    Social attachments are ubiquitous among humans and integral to human health. Although great efforts have been made to elucidate the neural underpinnings regulating social attachments, we still know relatively little about the neuronal and neurochemical regulation of social attachments. As a laboratory animal research model, the socially monogamous prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) displays behaviors paralleling human social attachments and thus has provided unique insights into the neural regulation of social behaviors. Research in prairie voles has particularly highlighted the significance of neuropeptidergic regulation of social behaviors, especially of the roles of oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (AVP). This article aims to review these findings. We begin by discussing the role of the OT and AVP systems in regulating social behaviors relevant to social attachments, and thereafter restrict our discussion to studies in prairie voles. Specifically, we discuss the role of OT and AVP in adult mate attachments, biparental care, social isolation, and social buffering as informed by studies utilizing the prairie vole model. Not only do these studies offer insight into social attachments in humans, but they also point to dysregulated mechanisms in several mental disorders. We conclude by discussing these implications for human health. PMID:28135000

  11. Neonatal melanocortin receptor agonist treatment reduces play fighting and promotes adult attachment in prairie voles in a sex-dependent manner.

    PubMed

    Barrett, Catherine E; Modi, Meera E; Zhang, Billy C; Walum, Hasse; Inoue, Kiyoshi; Young, Larry J

    2014-10-01

    The melanocortin receptor (MCR) system has been studied extensively for its role in feeding and sexual behavior, but effects on social behavior have received little attention. α-MSH interacts with neural systems involved in sociality, including oxytocin, dopamine, and opioid systems. Acute melanotan-II (MTII), an MC3/4R agonist, potentiates brain oxytocin (OT) release and facilitates OT-dependent partner preference formation in socially monogamous prairie voles. Here we examined the long-term impact of early-life MCR stimulation on hypothalamic neuronal activity and social development in prairie voles. Male and female voles were given daily subcutaneous injections of 10 mg/kg MTII or saline between postnatal days (PND) 1-7. Neonatally-treated males displayed a reduction in initiated play fighting bouts as juveniles compared to control males. Neonatal exposure to MTII facilitated partner preference formation in adult females, but not males, after a brief cohabitation with an opposite-sex partner. Acute MTII injection elicited a significant burst of the immediate early gene EGR-1 immunoreactivity in hypothalamic OT, vasopressin, and corticotrophin releasing factor neurons, when tested in PND 6-7 animals. Daily neonatal treatment with 1 mg/kg of a more selective, brain penetrant MC4R agonist, PF44687, promoted adult partner preferences in both females and males compared with vehicle controls. Thus, developmental exposure to MCR agonists lead to a persistent change in social behavior, suggestive of structural or functional changes in the neural circuits involved in the formation of social relationships.

  12. The effects of neonatal castration on the subsequent behavioural response to centrally administered arginine vasopressin and the expression of V1a receptors in adult male prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Cushing, B S; Okorie, U; Young, L J

    2003-11-01

    Centrally administered arginine vasopressin induces the formation of partner preferences in male prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). The expression of many vasopressin-regulated behaviours is testosterone dependent. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that early exposure to gonadal steroids are necessary to establish the typical response of adult male prairie voles to exogenous vasopressin, predicting that adult males which were castrated neonatally would not form partner preferences in response to centrally administered vasopressin. We also examined the effect of neonatal castration on the expression of vasopressin (V1a) receptors. Voles were castrated on the day of birth (NEOCAST), sham-castrated on the day of birth (NEOSHAM) or castrated as adults (ADULTCAST). With the exception of one group of neonatal sham males (NEOSHAM CON), which served as a control for the effects of vasopressin, as adults, all males received a 1- micro l intracerebroventricular injection of vasopressin (100 ng) in artificial cerebrospinal fluid. In addition, 2 weeks before testing, one group of neonatally castrated males received an implant of testosterone propionate (NEOCAST + TP). Between 60 and 90 days of age, an internal cannula was placed in the lateral cerebral ventricle and, 24 h later, males were injected with vasopressin. Subsequently, after an additional 15 min, males were cohabitated with a female 'partner' for 1 h. Immediately following cohabitation, males were placed in a Y-shaped partner preference test apparatus for 3 h, in which the male had access to the 'partner' and a novel female, 'stranger.' Time spent with the partner versus the stranger was compared within and between treatments. The results were found to support our hypothesis as the NEOSHAM and ADULTCAST males formed partner preferences, spending more time with the partner, and they spent significantly more time with their partner than did NEOSHAM CON, NEOCAST or NEOCAST + TP males. Replacement of

  13. Prairie Voles as a Model to Screen Medications for the Treatment of Alcoholism and Addictions.

    PubMed

    Ryabinin, A E; Hostetler, C M

    2016-01-01

    Most preclinical studies of medications to treat addictions are performed in mice and rats. These two rodent species belong to one phylogenetic subfamily, which narrows the likelihood of identifying potential mechanisms regulating addictions in other species, ie, humans. Expanding the genetic diversity of organisms modeling alcohol and drug abuse enhances our ability to screen for medications to treat addiction. Recently, research laboratories adapted the prairie vole model to study mechanisms of alcohol and drugs of abuse. This development not only expanded the diversity of genotypes used to screen medications, but also enhanced capabilities of such screens. Prairie voles belong to 3-5% of mammalian species exhibiting social monogamy. This unusual trait is reflected in their ability to form lasting long-term affiliations between adult individuals. The prairie vole animal model has high predictive validity for mechanisms regulating human social behaviors. In addition, these animals exhibit high alcohol intake and preference. In laboratory settings, prairie voles are used to model social influences on drug reward and alcohol consumption as well as effects of addictive substances on social bonding. As a result, this species can be adapted to screen medications whose effectiveness could be (a) resistant to social influences promoting excessive drug taking, (b) dependent on the presence of social support, and (c) medications affecting harmful social consequences of alcohol and drug abuse. This report reviews the literature on studies of alcohol and psychostimulants in prairie voles and discusses capabilities of this animal model as a screen for novel medications to treat alcoholism and addictions.

  14. Pup exposure elicits hippocampal cell proliferation in the prairie vole.

    PubMed

    Ruscio, Michael G; Sweeny, Timothy D; Hazelton, Julie L; Suppatkul, Patrin; Boothe, Emily; Carter, C Sue

    2008-02-11

    The onset of parental behavior has profound and enduring effects on behavior and neurobiology across a variety of species. In some cases, mere exposure to a foster neonate (and a subsequent parental response) can have similar effects. In the present experiment, we exposed adult male and female prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) to two foster pups for 20 min and quantified cell proliferation in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus (DG), medial amygdala (MeA) and cortical amygdala (CorA). Prairie voles are highly social rodents that typically display biparental care and spontaneous parental care when exposed to foster pups. Comparisons were made between the animals that responded parentally or non-parentally towards the pups, as well as control conditions. Cell proliferation was assessed using injections of 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) and immunocytochemical localization of this marker. The phenotype of the cells was determined using double label immunofluoresence for BrdU and TuJ1 (a neuronal marker). An increase in cell proliferation in the DG was seen in animals exposed to pups. However, animals that responded non-parentally had a greater number of BrdU labeled cells in the DG compared to those that responded parentally. The majority of BrdU labeled cells co-expressed TuJ1 across all groups. These results demonstrate that exposure to a foster pup and the behavioral reaction to it (parental or non-parental) are associated with site-specific changes in cell proliferation.

  15. Dendritic arbor of neurons in the hypothalamic ventromedial nucleus in female prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster).

    PubMed

    Ferri, Sarah L; Rohrbach, Carlos J; Way, Samantha E; Curtis, Kathleen S; Curtis, J Thomas; Flanagan-Cato, Loretta M

    2013-01-01

    Female mating behavior in rats is associated with hormone-induced changes in the dendritic arbor of neurons in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH), particularly the ventrolateral portion. Regulation of mating behavior in female prairie voles differs substantially from that in rats; therefore, we examined the dendritic morphology of VMH neurons in this species. Sexually naïve adult female prairie voles were housed with a male to activate the females' reproductive endocrine system. Following 48 h of cohabitation, females were tested for evidence of reproductive activation by assessing the level of male sexual interest, after which their brains were processed using Golgi impregnation, which allowed ventrolateral VMH neurons to be visualized and analyzed. Dendritic arborization in the female prairie vole VMH neurons was strikingly similar to that of female rats. The key difference was that in the prairie voles the long primary dendrites extended considerably further than those observed in rats. Although most female voles paired with males exhibited sexual activation, some females did not. These two groups displayed specific differences in their VMH dendrites. In particular, the long primary dendrites were longer in the reproductively active females compared with those in the non-activated females. Overall, dendrite lengths were positively correlated with plasma estradiol levels in females exposed to males, but not in unpaired females. Although causal relationships between the neuroendocrine events, dendrite length, and the outward, behavioral manifestation of reproductive activation cannot be determined from this study, these results suggest an association between ventrolateral VMH dendrite morphology and female mating behavior in prairie voles, akin to what has been observed in female rats.

  16. Developmental expression of estrogen receptor beta in the brain of prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster).

    PubMed

    Ploskonka, Stephanie D; Eaton, Jennifer L; Carr, Michael S; Schmidt, Jennifer V; Cushing, Bruce S

    2016-03-01

    Here, for the first time, the expression of estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) is characterized in the brains of the highly prosocial prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster). ERβ immunoreactivity was compared in weanlings (postnatal Day 21) and adult males and females. The results indicate several major findings. First, unlike ERα, ERβ expression is not sexually dimorphic. Second, the adult pattern of ERβ-IR is established at the time of weaning, as there were no age-dependent effects on distribution. Finally, ERβ does not appear to be as widely distributed in voles compared with rats and mice. High levels of ERβ-IR were observed in several regions/nuclei within the medial pre-optic area, ventrolateral pre-optic nuclei, and in the hypothalamus, especially in the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei. The visualization of ERβ in prairie voles is important as the socially monogamous prairie vole functions as a human relevant model system for studying the expression of social behavior and social deficit disorders. Future studies will now be able to determine the effect of treatments on the expression and/or development of ERβ in this highly social species.

  17. Prairie forb response to timing of vole herbivory.

    PubMed

    Sullivan, Amy T; Howe, Henry F

    2009-05-01

    The timing of herbivory can be an important factor in the strength and direction of plant response to herbivore damage. To determine the effect of vole herbivory timing within a growing season on tallgrass prairie forbs, we used individual plant enclosures to limit vole access to three species, Desmanthus illinoensis, Echinacea purpurea, and Heliopsis helianthoides, in an experimental restoration in northern Illinois, USA. As part of a long-term experiment, we implemented five vole access treatments in 2003: (1) vole access for the entire growing season, (2) early-season access, (3) mid-season access, (4) late-season access, and (5) no vole access. We protected all plants from herbivory in the following growing season (2004) to test whether the effects of herbivory in one growing season carried over to the next. We also tested how restoration planting design, including seeding time (June or December) and density (35 or 350 seeds/m2 of each species) affected patterns of herbivory and plant recovery. Vole access for the entire growing season was most detrimental for the growth and reproduction of all three species. In contrast, vole access for a portion of the growing season had different effects on the three species: Desmanthus growth and reproduction was negatively affected by early-season access, Echinacea reproductive output was reduced by late-season access, and Heliopsis was not affected by early-, mid-, or late-season vole access. Negative effects of continual vole access carried over to the following growing season for Desmanthus and Heliopsis, but not for Echinacea. Effects of herbivory did not carry over to the next season for Echinacea and Heliopsis when plants were accessible to voles for only part of the growing season. In contrast, Desmanthus plants exposed to early-season herbivory in one year continued to produce fewer seeds per plant after being protected from vole herbivory for a growing season. Planting density and planting season had mixed effects

  18. Sex differences in the influence of social context, salient social stimulation and amphetamine on ultrasonic vocalizations in prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Ma, Sean T; Resendez, Shanna L; Aragona, Brandon J

    2014-06-01

    Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) are a socially monogamous rodent species and their cooperative behaviors require extensive communication between conspecifics. Rodents use ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) to communicate and because a prairie vole breeder pair must engage in extensive cooperation for successful reproduction, auditory communication may be critical for this species. Therefore, we sought to characterize USVs in adult male and female prairie voles, and to determine how these calls are influenced by social context, salient social stimuli and the psychostimulant drug of abuse amphetamine (AMPH). Here, we characterize prairie vole USVs by showing the range of frequencies of prairie vole USVs, the proportion of various call types, how these call types compare between males and females, and how they are influenced by social stimulation and AMPH. AMPH caused a robust increase in the number of USVs in both males and females and there was a dramatic sex difference in the complexity of call structures of AMPH-induced USVs, with males emitting more elaborate calls. Moreover, we show that novel (i.e. salient) social cues evoked differential increases in USVs across sex, with males showing a much more robust increase in USV production, both with respect to the frequency and complexity of USV production. Exposure to an estrous female in particular caused an extraordinary increase in USVs in male subjects. These data suggest that USVs may be a useful measure of social motivation in this species, including how social behaviors can be impacted by drugs of abuse.

  19. Behavioral comparisons of male and female pups of prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) and meadow voles (M. pennsylvanicus).

    PubMed

    McGuire, Betty; Bemis, William E

    2015-03-01

    Sexual dimorphism in mammals typically is reduced in monogamous species relative to polygynous species, with promiscuous species being intermediate. This pattern of dimorphism characterizes adult behavior and body mass of prairie voles, a monogamous species, when compared with meadow voles, a closely related polygynous or promiscuous species. We examined whether the pattern also applies to young of the two species by observing individual pups living in family groups in seminatural environments. Observations during the second week of life revealed no sex differences in pup behavior or body mass. However, we detected species differences in suckling behavior, jockeying for position within the huddle (especially among males), and body mass that replicate and extend our previous observations. These data indicate that patterns of sexual dimorphism associated with different mating systems may not be evident in juvenile mammals, but that species differences in behavior and body mass can be obvious at this stage.

  20. Response of two prairie forbs to repeated vole herbivory.

    PubMed

    Sullivan, Amy T; Howe, Henry F

    2011-04-01

    Vertebrate herbivores as diverse as ungulates, geese, and rabbits preferentially feed on plants that have previously experienced herbivory. Here, we ask whether smaller grassland "cryptic consumers" such as voles (Microtus ochrogaster and M. pennsylvanicus) preferentially clip (cut stems for access to leaves or seeds) or avoid previously clipped individuals of two tallgrass prairie species (Desmanthus illinoensis and Echinacea purpurea) within a growing season. Further, we ask how these plants respond to repeated clipping within a growing season, and whether the effects of this herbivory last into the subsequent growing season. Voles preferentially clipped stems of D. illinoensis and E. purpurea plants that had been previously clipped. The exception was indiscriminant clipping of stems of E. purpurea late in the growing season when its achenes, a favorite vole food, ripened. For D. illinoensis, repeated clipping resulted in a 59% reduction in biomass, 42% lower ratio of reproductive to vegetative biomass, and 57% fewer seeds produced per plant compared with unclipped plants. These effects lasted into the following growing season in which plants were protected from voles. In contrast, the only effect of repeated clipping for E. purpurea was that the number of achenes per plant was substantially reduced by three episodes of clipping. This effect did not carry over to the next growing season. Such differences in D. illinoensis and E. purpurea response to repeated stem clipping by voles offer insights into how these small rodents can effect major changes in composition and dominance in grassland communities.

  1. A possible function of the preference for hind nipples in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster).

    PubMed

    McGuire, B

    2001-12-01

    Prairie vole pups (Microtus ochrogaster) in laboratory cages prefer hind nipples. In this research, the author observed 8 litters of prairie voles in a seminatural environment to confirm the preference for hind nipples and to determine if young on hind nipples were groomed more frequently or dislodged less frequently than were young on other nipples. Prairie vole pups in seminatural environments preferred hind nipples; this preference was illustrated by the progressive use of more anterior nipples only as litter size increased and by the reluctance of pups to voluntarily release their hold on hind nipples. Maternal grooming of young did not vary with suckling location. Prairie vole young on hind nipples, however, were dislodged less frequently than were young on other nipples. Less frequent dislodgment from hind nipples during maternal movements may play a role in the preference for hind nipples in prairie voles.

  2. Effects of population density on corticosterone levels of prairie voles in the field

    PubMed Central

    Blondel, Dimitri V.; Wallace, Gerard N.; Calderone, Stefanie; Gorinshteyn, Marija; St. Mary, Colette M.; Phelps, Steven M.

    2015-01-01

    High population density is often associated with increased levels of stress-related hormones, such as corticosterone (CORT). Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) are a socially monogamous species known for their large population density fluctuations in the wild. Although CORT influences the social behavior of prairie voles in the lab, the effect of population density on CORT has not previously been quantified in this species in the field. We validated a non-invasive hormone assay for measuring CORT metabolites in prairie vole feces. We then used semi-natural enclosures to experimentally manipulate population density, and measured density effects on male space use and fecal CORT levels. Our enclosures generated patterns of space use and social interaction that were consistent with previous prairie vole field studies. Contrary to the positive relationship between CORT and density typical of other taxa, we found that lower population densities (80 animals/ha) produced higher fecal CORT than high densities (240/ha). Combined with prior work in the lab and field, the data suggest that high prairie vole population densities indicate favorable environments, perhaps through reduced predation risk. Lastly, we found that field animals had lower fecal CORT levels than laboratory-living animals. The data emphasize the usefulness of prairie voles as models for integrating ecological, evolutionary and mechanistic questions in social behavior. PMID:26342968

  3. Effects of population density on corticosterone levels of prairie voles in the field.

    PubMed

    Blondel, Dimitri V; Wallace, Gerard N; Calderone, Stefanie; Gorinshteyn, Marija; St Mary, Colette M; Phelps, Steven M

    2016-01-01

    High population density is often associated with increased levels of stress-related hormones, such as corticosterone (CORT). Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) are a socially monogamous species known for their large population density fluctuations in the wild. Although CORT influences the social behavior of prairie voles in the lab, the effect of population density on CORT has not previously been quantified in this species in the field. We validated a non-invasive hormone assay for measuring CORT metabolites in prairie vole feces. We then used semi-natural enclosures to experimentally manipulate population density, and measured density effects on male space use and fecal CORT levels. Our enclosures generated patterns of space use and social interaction that were consistent with previous prairie vole field studies. Contrary to the positive relationship between CORT and density typical of other taxa, we found that lower population densities (80 animals/ha) produced higher fecal CORT than higher densities (240/ha). Combined with prior work in the lab and field, the data suggest that high prairie vole population densities indicate favorable environments, perhaps through reduced predation risk. Lastly, we found that field animals had lower fecal CORT levels than laboratory-living animals. The data emphasize the usefulness of prairie voles as models for integrating ecological, evolutionary, and mechanistic questions in social behavior.

  4. Chemosensory cues affect amygdaloid neurogenesis and alter behaviors in the socially monogamous prairie vole.

    PubMed

    Liu, Y; Lieberwirth, C; Jia, X; Curtis, J T; Meredith, M; Wang, Z X

    2014-05-01

    The current study examined the effects of pheromonal exposure on adult neurogenesis and revealed the role of the olfactory pathways on adult neurogenesis and behavior in the socially monogamous prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster). Subjects were injected with a cell proliferation marker [5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU)] and then exposed to their own soiled bedding or bedding soiled by a same- or opposite-sex conspecific. Exposure to opposite-sex bedding increased BrdU labeling in the amygdala (AMY), but not the dentate gyrus (DG), of female, but not male, voles, indicating a sex-, stimulus-, and brain region-specific effect. The removal of the main olfactory bulbs or lesioning of the vomeronasal organ (VNOX) in females reduced BrdU labeling in the AMY and DG, and inhibited the male bedding-induced BrdU labeling in the AMY, revealing the importance of an intact olfactory pathway for amygdaloid neurogenesis. VNOX increased anxiety-like behavior and altered social preference, but it did not affect social recognition memory in female voles. VNOX also reduced the percentage of BrdU-labeled cells that co-expressed the neuronal marker TuJ1 in the AMY, but not the DG. Together, our data indicate the importance of the olfactory pathway in mediating brain plasticity in the limbic system as well as its role in behavior.

  5. Identification of subpopulations of prairie voles differentially susceptible to peer influence to decrease high alcohol intake.

    PubMed

    Anacker, Allison M J; Ryabinin, Andrey E

    2013-01-01

    Peer influences are critical in the decrease of alcohol (ethanol) abuse and maintenance of abstinence. We previously developed an animal model of inhibitory peer influences on ethanol drinking using prairie voles and here sought to understand whether this influential behavior was due to specific changes in drinking patterns and to variation in a microsatellite sequence in the regulatory region of the vasopressin receptor 1a gene (avpr1a). Adult prairie voles' drinking patterns were monitored in a lickometer apparatus that recorded each lick a subject exhibited during continuous access to water and 10% ethanol during periods of isolation, pair housing of high and low drinkers, and subsequent isolation. Analysis of fluid consumption confirmed previous results that high drinkers typically decrease ethanol intake when paired with low drinkers, but that a subset of voles do not decrease. Analysis of bout structure revealed differences in the number of ethanol drinking bouts in the subpopulations of high drinkers when paired with low drinkers. Lickometer drinking patterns analyzed by visual and by cross-correlation analyses demonstrated that pair housing did not increase the rate of subjects drinking in bouts occurring at the same time. The length of the avpr1a microsatellite did not predict susceptibility to peer influence or any other drinking behaviors. In summary, subpopulations of high drinkers were identified, by fluid intake and number of drinking bouts, which did or did not lower their ethanol intake when paired with a low drinking peer, and these subpopulations should be explored for testing the efficacy of treatments to decrease ethanol use in groups that are likely to be responsive to different types of therapy.

  6. In vitro culture and in vitro fertilization techniques for prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster).

    PubMed

    Horie, Kengo; Hidema, Shizu; Hirayama, Takashi; Nishimori, Katsuhiko

    2015-08-07

    Prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) is a highly social animal and is a commonly used animal model for neuropsychopharmacological and psychiatric studies. To date, only a few reports on the development of transgenic prairie voles which was primarily due to the suboptimal development of assisted reproductive technology (ART) in prairie voles. Limitations in ART further hinder the development of genetically modified prairie voles such as the application of conventional gene targeting technologies using embryonic stem (ES) or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to generate chimeric prairie voles. Moreover, recent advancement in genome-editing tools such as transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN) and clustered regulatory interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/Cas technology provide an unprecedented opportunity to create gene targeting animal model and the development of ART in prairie voles is necessary for future development of novel transgenic prairie vole model. We have established efficient method for in vitro embryo culture and sperm cryopreservation with high fertilization rate. In G-1 PLUS and G-2 PLUS sequential culture condition, 81.0% (# of Blastocysts/total n) of one-cell embryos developed to blastocysts. In contrary, no embryos were developed to blastocyst stage in KSOM medium (0/total # of embryos in culture). In vitro fertilization rate using fresh and frozen-thawed sperm was 32.6% and 29.3%, respectively. This is the first report of IVF using cryopreserved prairie vole sperm. We employed mouse IVF methods in prairie voles and optimize culture conditions using human G-1/G-2 PLUS sequential culture method that resulted in high embryonic development rate. The development in vole reproductive technology will facilitate the generation of transgenic voles in the future.

  7. Voluntary exercise facilitates pair-bonding in male prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Kenkel, William M; Carter, C Sue

    2016-01-01

    The neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin have been implicated in exercise, as well as monogamy and parental behavior. In this study, we compared behavioral and neuroendocrine effects of access to an exercise wheel vs. the sedentary state typical in lab animal housing. Male prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) were studied because of their extensive repertoire of social behaviors including pair bond formation and biparental care, which are influenced by oxytocin and vasopressin. Subjects in one group had access to a running wheel in their cage (wheel), and voluntarily ran approximately 1.5 km/day for six weeks; these animals were compared to males in standard housing conditions (n=10/group). Males allowed to exercise formed partner preferences significantly faster than controls and exhibited fewer oxytocin neurons, as measured by immunohistochemistry in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. We observed no differences in terms of anxiety-related behavior, or alloparental responsiveness. Males with a running wheel equipped cage gained more total body weight, and by the end of the six weeks were found to have less subcutaneous fat and larger testes as a percentage of bodyweight. The changes to gonadal regulation and pair-bonding behavior associated with voluntary exercise are discussed in terms of their possible relevance to the natural history of this species.

  8. Social recognition is context dependent in single male prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Da-Jiang; Foley, Lauren; Rehman, Asad; Ophir, Alexander G

    2013-11-01

    Single males might benefit from knowing the identity of neighbouring males when establishing and defending boundaries. Similarly, males should discriminate between individual females if this leads to more reproductive opportunities. Contextual social cues may alter the value of learning identity. Knowing the identity of competitors that intrude into an animal's territory may be more salient than knowing the identity of individuals on whose territory an animal is trespassing. Hence, social and environmental context could affect social recognition in many ways. Here we test social recognition of socially monogamous single male prairie voles, Microtus ochrogaster. In experiment 1 we tested recognition of male or female conspecifics and found that males discriminated between different males but not between different females. In experiment 2 we asked whether recognition of males is influenced when males are tested in their own cage (familiar), in a clean cage (neutral) or in the home cage of another male (unfamiliar). Although focal males discriminated between male conspecifics in all three contexts, individual variation in recognition was lower when males were tested in their home cage (in the presence of familiar social cues) compared to when the context lacked social cues (neutral). Experiment 1 indicates that selective pressures may have operated to enhance male territorial behaviour and indiscriminate mate selection. Experiment 2 suggests that the presence of a conspecific cue heightens social recognition and that home-field advantages might extend to social cognition. Taken together, our results indicate social recognition depends on the social and possibly territorial context.

  9. Voluntary Exercise Facilitates Pair-Bonding in Male Prairie Voles

    PubMed Central

    Kenkel, William M; Carter, C. Sue

    2015-01-01

    The neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin have been implicated in exercise, as well as monogamy and parental behavior. In this study, we compared behavioral and neuroendocrine effects of access to an exercise wheel versus the sedentary state typical in lab animal housing. Male prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) were studied because of their extensive repertoire of social behaviors including pair bond formation and biparental care, which are influenced by oxytocin and vasopressin. Subjects in one group had access to a running wheel in their cage (Wheel), and voluntarily ran approximately 1.5 km/day for six weeks; these animals were compared to males in standard housing conditions (n = 10 / group). Males allowed to exercise formed partner preferences significantly faster than controls and exhibited fewer oxytocin neurons, as measured by immunohistochemistry in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. We observed no differences in terms of anxiety-related behavior, or alloparental responsiveness. Males with a running wheel equipped cage gained more total body weight, and by the end of the six weeks were found to have less subcutaneous fat and larger testes as a percentage of bodyweight. The changes to gonadal regulation and pair-bonding behavior associated with voluntary exercise are discussed in terms of their possible relevance to the natural history of this species. PMID:26409174

  10. BOLD fMRI in awake prairie voles: A platform for translational social and affective neuroscience.

    PubMed

    Yee, J R; Kenkel, W M; Kulkarni, P; Moore, K; Perkeybile, A M; Toddes, S; Amacker, J A; Carter, C S; Ferris, C F

    2016-09-01

    The advancement of neuroscience depends on continued improvement in methods and models. Here, we present novel techniques for the use of awake functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) - an important step forward in minimally-invasive measurement of neural activity in a non-traditional animal model. Imaging neural responses in prairie voles, a species studied for its propensity to form strong and selective social bonds, is expected to greatly advance our mechanistic understanding of complex social and affective processes. The use of ultra-high-field fMRI allows for recording changes in region-specific activity throughout the entire brain simultaneously and with high temporal and spatial resolutions. By imaging neural responses in awake animals, with minimal invasiveness, we are able to avoid the confound of anesthesia, broaden the scope of possible stimuli, and potentially make use of repeated scans from the same animals. These methods are made possible by the development of an annotated and segmented 3D vole brain atlas and software for image analysis. The use of these methods in the prairie vole provides an opportunity to broaden neuroscientific investigation of behavior via a comparative approach, which highlights the ethological relevance of pro-social behaviors shared between voles and humans, such as communal breeding, selective social bonds, social buffering of stress, and caregiving behaviors. Results using these methods show that fMRI in the prairie vole is capable of yielding robust blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal changes in response to hypercapnic challenge (inhaled 5% CO2), region-specific physical challenge (unilateral whisker stimulation), and presentation of a set of novel odors. Complementary analyses of repeated restraint sessions in the imaging hardware suggest that voles do not require acclimation to this procedure. Taken together, awake vole fMRI represents a new arena of neurobiological

  11. Costs of pair-bonding and paternal care in male prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The direct costs of paternal care are relatively well documented in primates, however little research has explored these effects in monogamous rodents. The present study examines the long-term effects that pairing and parenting have on male prairie voles. We hypothesized that there would be a signif...

  12. Spontaneous emergence of overgrown molar teeth in a colony of Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster).

    PubMed

    Jheon, Andrew H; Prochazkova, Michaela; Sherman, Michael; Manoli, Devanand S; Shah, Nirao M; Carbone, Lawrence; Klein, Ophir

    2015-03-23

    Continuously growing incisors are common to all rodents, which include the Microtus genus of voles. However, unlike many rodents, voles also possess continuously growing molars. Here, we report spontaneous molar defects in a population of Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). We identified bilateral protuberances on the ventral surface of the mandible in several voles in our colony. In some cases, the protuberances broke through the cortical bone. The mandibular molars became exposed and infected, and the maxillary molars entered the cranial vault. Visualisation upon soft tissue removal and microcomputed tomography (microCT) analyses confirmed that the protuberances were caused by the overgrowth of the apical ends of the molar teeth. We speculate that the unrestricted growth of the molars was due to the misregulation of the molar dental stem cell niche. Further study of this molar phenotype may yield additional insight into stem cell regulation and the evolution and development of continuously growing teeth.

  13. Neuroanatomical distribution of μ-opioid receptor mRNA and binding in monogamous prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) and non-monogamous meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus).

    PubMed

    Inoue, K; Burkett, J P; Young, L J

    2013-08-06

    The opiate system has long been implicated in the rewarding properties of social interactions. In particular, the μ-opioid receptor (MOR) mediates multiple forms of social attachment, including the attachment of offspring to the mother and social bonding between mates. We have previously shown that MOR in the caudate-putamen is involved in partner preference formation in monogamous prairie voles. Here, using in situ hybridization and receptor autoradiography, we mapped in detail the distribution of MOR mRNA and ligand binding in monogamous prairie vole brains and compared MOR binding density with that of promiscuous meadow vole brains. Comparison of MOR binding in these closely related species with distinctly different social behavior revealed that while the distribution of MOR is similar, prairie voles have significantly higher densities of MOR than meadow voles in a majority of regions in the forebrain, including the caudate-putamen, nucleus accumbens shell, lateral septum and several thalamic nuclei, including the anteroventral and anteromedial thalamic nuclei. These differences in MOR expression between prairie and meadow voles could potentially contribute to species differences in behavior, including social attachment.

  14. Melanocortin Receptor Agonists Facilitate Oxytocin-Dependent Partner Preference Formation in the Prairie Vole.

    PubMed

    Modi, Meera E; Inoue, Kiyoshi; Barrett, Catherine E; Kittelberger, Kara A; Smith, Daniel G; Landgraf, Rainer; Young, Larry J

    2015-07-01

    The central melanocortin (MC) system has been widely studied for its effects on food intake and sexual behavior. However, the MC system, and more specifically the MC4 receptor (MC4R), also interacts with neurochemical systems that regulate socioemotional behaviors, including oxytocin (OT) and dopamine. In monogamous prairie voles, OT and dopamine interact to promote partner preference formation, a laboratory measure of an enduring social bond between mates. Here we investigated the effects of MC receptor activation on partner preference formation in prairie voles, as well as the interaction between the MC and OT systems during this process. Peripheral administration of the brain penetrant MC3/4R receptor peptide agonist, Melanotan II (MTII), and the highly selective, small-molecule MC4R agonist, Pf-446687, enhanced partner preference formation in the prairie vole, but not in the non-monogamous meadow vole. MTII-induced partner preferences were enduring, as they were present 1 week after drug manipulation. The prosocial effects of MCR agonists may be mediated, in part, through modulation of OT, as coadministration of an OT receptor antagonist prevented MTII-induced partner preferences. MTII also selectively activated hypothalamic OT neurons and potentiated central OT release. As OT has been shown to enhance some aspects of social cognition in humans, our data suggest that the MC4R may be a viable therapeutic target for enhancing social function in psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia, potentially through activation of the OT system.

  15. Paternal deprivation affects social behaviors and neurochemical systems in the offspring of socially monogamous prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Tabbaa, Manal; Lei, Kelly; Liu, Yan; Wang, Zuoxin

    2017-02-20

    Early life experiences, particularly the experience with parents, are crucial to phenotypic outcomes in both humans and animals. Although the effects of maternal deprivation on offspring well-being have been studied, paternal deprivation (PD) has received little attention despite documented associations between father absence and children health problems in humans. In the present study, we utilized the socially monogamous prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster), which displays male-female pair bonding and bi-parental care, to examine the effects of PD on adult behaviors and neurochemical expression in the hippocampus. Male and female subjects were randomly assigned into one of two experimental groups that grew up with both the mother and father (MF) or with the mother-only (MO, to generate PD experience). Our data show that MO subjects received less parental licking/grooming and carrying and were left alone in the nest more frequently than MF subjects. At adulthood (∼75days of age), MO subjects displayed increased social affiliation (SOA) toward a conspecific compared to MF subjects, but the two groups did not differ in social recognition (SOR) and anxiety-like behavior. Interestingly, MO subjects showed consistent increases in both gene and protein expression of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB) as well as the levels of total histone 3 and histone 3 acetylation in the hippocampus compared to MF subjects. Further, PD experience increased glucocorticoid receptor beta (GRβ) protein expression in the hippocampus of females as well as increased corticotrophin receptor 2 (CRHR2) protein expression in the hippocampus of males, but decreased CRHR2 mRNA in both sexes. Together, our data suggest that PD has a long-lasting, behavior-specific effect on SOA and alters hippocampal neurochemical systems in the vole brain. The functional role of such altered neurochemical systems in social behaviors and the potential involvement

  16. Perinatal and juvenile social environments interact to shape cognitive behaviour and neural phenotype in prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Prounis, George S; Foley, Lauren; Rehman, Asad; Ophir, Alexander G

    2015-11-22

    Social environments experienced at different developmental stages profoundly shape adult behavioural and neural phenotypes, and may have important interactive effects. We asked if social experience before and after weaning influenced adult social cognition in male prairie voles. Animals were raised either with or without fathers and then either housed singly or in sibling pairs. Males that were socially deprived before (fatherless) and after (singly housed) weaning did not demonstrate social recognition or dissociate spatial from social information. We also examined oxytocin and vasopressin receptors (OTR and V1aR) in areas of the forebrain associated with social behaviour and memory. Pre- and post-wean experience differentially altered receptor expression in several structures. Of note, OTR in the lateral septum-an area in which oxytocin inhibits social recognition-was greatest in animals that did not clearly demonstrate social recognition. The combination of absentee fathers on V1aR in the retrosplenial cortex and single housing on OTR in the septohippocampal nucleus produced a unique phenotype previously found to be associated with poor reproductive success in nature. We demonstrate that interactive effects of early life experiences throughout development have tremendous influence over brain-behaviour phenotype and can buffer potentially negative outcomes due to social deprivation.

  17. Perinatal and juvenile social environments interact to shape cognitive behaviour and neural phenotype in prairie voles

    PubMed Central

    Prounis, George S.; Foley, Lauren; Rehman, Asad; Ophir, Alexander G.

    2015-01-01

    Social environments experienced at different developmental stages profoundly shape adult behavioural and neural phenotypes, and may have important interactive effects. We asked if social experience before and after weaning influenced adult social cognition in male prairie voles. Animals were raised either with or without fathers and then either housed singly or in sibling pairs. Males that were socially deprived before (fatherless) and after (singly housed) weaning did not demonstrate social recognition or dissociate spatial from social information. We also examined oxytocin and vasopressin receptors (OTR and V1aR) in areas of the forebrain associated with social behaviour and memory. Pre- and post-wean experience differentially altered receptor expression in several structures. Of note, OTR in the lateral septum—an area in which oxytocin inhibits social recognition—was greatest in animals that did not clearly demonstrate social recognition. The combination of absentee fathers on V1aR in the retrosplenial cortex and single housing on OTR in the septohippocampal nucleus produced a unique phenotype previously found to be associated with poor reproductive success in nature. We demonstrate that interactive effects of early life experiences throughout development have tremendous influence over brain–behaviour phenotype and can buffer potentially negative outcomes due to social deprivation. PMID:26609086

  18. Disruption of social bonds induces behavioral and physiological dysregulation in male and female prairie voles.

    PubMed

    McNeal, Neal; Scotti, Melissa-Ann L; Wardwell, Joshua; Chandler, Danielle L; Bates, Suzanne L; Larocca, Meagan; Trahanas, Diane M; Grippo, Angela J

    2014-02-01

    The social disruption of losing a partner may have particularly strong adverse effects on psychological and physiological functioning. More specifically, social stressors may play a mediating role in the association between mood disorders and cardiovascular dysfunction. This study investigated the hypothesis that the disruption of established social bonds between male and female prairie voles would produce depressive behaviors and cardiac dysregulation, coupled with endocrine and autonomic nervous system dysfunction. In Experiment 1, behaviors related to depression, cardiac function, and autonomic nervous system regulation were monitored in male prairie voles during social bonding with a female partner, social isolation from the bonded partner, and a behavioral stressor. Social isolation produced depressive behaviors, increased heart rate, heart rhythm dysregulation, and autonomic imbalance characterized by increased sympathetic and decreased parasympathetic drive to the heart. In Experiment 2, behaviors related to depression and endocrine function were measured following social bonding and social isolation in both male and female prairie voles. Social isolation produced similar levels of depressive behaviors in both sexes, as well as significant elevations of adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone. These alterations in behavioral and physiological functioning provide insight into the mechanisms by which social stressors negatively influence emotional and cardiovascular health in humans.

  19. Disruption of social bonds induces behavioral and physiological dysregulation in male and female prairie voles

    PubMed Central

    McNeal, Neal; Scotti, Melissa-Ann L.; Wardwell, Joshua; Chandler, Danielle L.; Bates, Suzanne L.; LaRocca, Meagan; Trahanas, Diane M.; Grippo, Angela J.

    2013-01-01

    The social disruption of losing a partner may have particularly strong adverse effects on psychological and physiological functioning. More specifically, social stressors may play a mediating role in the association between mood disorders and cardiovascular dysfunction. This study investigated the hypothesis that the disruption of established social bonds between male and female prairie voles would produce depressive behaviors and cardiac dysregulation, coupled with endocrine and autonomic nervous system dysfunction. In Experiment 1, behaviors related to depression, cardiac function, and autonomic nervous system regulation were monitored in male prairie voles during social bonding with a female partner, social isolation from the bonded partner, and a behavioral stressor. Social isolation produced depressive behaviors, increased heart rate, heart rhythm dysregulation, and autonomic imbalance characterized by increased sympathetic and decreased parasympathetic drive to the heart. In Experiment 2, behaviors related to depression and endocrine function were measured following social bonding and social isolation in both male and female prairie voles. Social isolation produced similar levels of depressive behaviors in both sexes, as well as significant elevations of adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone. These alterations in behavioral and physiological functioning provide insight into the mechanisms by which social stressors negatively influence emotional and cardiovascular health in humans. PMID:24161576

  20. A single prolonged stress paradigm produces enduring impairments in social bonding in monogamous prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Arai, Aki; Hirota, Yu; Miyase, Naoki; Miyata, Shiori; Young, Larry J; Osako, Yoji; Yuri, Kazunari; Mitsui, Shinichi

    2016-12-15

    Traumatic events such as natural disasters, violent crimes, tragic accidents, and war, can have devastating impacts on social relationships, including marital partnerships. We developed a single prolonged stress (SPS) paradigm, which consisted of restraint, forced swimming, and ether anesthesia, to establish an animal model relevant to post-traumatic stress disorder. We applied a SPS paradigm to a monogamous rodent, the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) in order to determine whether a traumatic event affects the establishment of pair bonds. We did not detect effects of the SPS treatment on anhedonic or anxiety-like behavior. Sham-treated male voles huddled with their partner females, following a 6day cohabitation, for a longer duration than with a novel female, indicative of a pair bond. In contrast, SPS-treated voles indiscriminately huddled with the novel and partner females. Interestingly, the impairment of pair bonding was rescued by oral administration of paroxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), after the SPS treatment. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed that oxytocin immunoreactivity (IR) was significantly decreased in the supraoptic nucleus (SON), but not in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), 7days after SPS treatment, and recovered 14days after SPS treatment. After the presentation of a partner female, oxytocin neurons labeled with Fos IR was significantly increased in SPS-treated voles compared with sham-treated voles regardless of paroxetine administration. Our results suggest that traumatic events disturb the formation of pair bond possibly through an interaction with the serotonergic system, and that SSRIs are candidates for the treatment of social problems caused by traumatic events. Further, a vole SPS model may be useful for understanding mechanisms underlying the impairment of social bonding by traumatic events.

  1. Regional differences in mu and kappa opioid receptor G-protein activation in brain in male and female prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Martin, T J; Sexton, T; Kim, S A; Severino, A L; Peters, C M; Young, L J; Childers, S R

    2015-12-17

    Prairie voles are unusual mammals in that, like humans, they are capable of forming socially monogamous pair bonds, display biparental care, and engage in alloparental behaviors. Both mu and kappa opioid receptors are involved in behaviors that either establish and maintain, or result from pair bond formation in these animals. Mu and kappa opioid receptors both utilize inhibitory G-proteins in signal transduction mechanisms, however the efficacy by which these receptor subtypes stimulate G-protein signaling across the prairie vole neuraxis is not known. Utilizing [(35)S]GTPγS autoradiography, we characterized the efficacy of G-protein stimulation in coronal sections throughout male and female prairie vole brains by [D-Ala2,NMe-Phe4,Gly-ol5]-enkephalin (DAMGO) and U50,488H, selective mu and kappa opioid agonists, respectively. DAMGO stimulation was highest in the forebrain, similar to that found with other rodent species. U-50,488H produced greater stimulation in prairie voles than is typically seen in mice and rats, particularly in select forebrain areas. DAMGO produced higher stimulation in the core versus the shell of the nucleus accumbens (NAc) in females, while the distribution of U-50,488H stimulation was the opposite. There were no gender differences for U50,488H stimulation of G-protein activity across the regions examined, while DAMGO stimulation was greater in sections from females compared to those from males for NAc core, entopeduncular nucleus, and hippocampus. These data suggest that the kappa opioid system may be more sensitive to manipulation in prairie voles compared to mice and rats, and that female prairie voles may be more sensitive to mu agonists in select brain regions than males.

  2. Regional Differences in Mu and Kappa Opioid Receptor G-protein Activation in Brain in Male and Female Prairie Voles

    PubMed Central

    Martin, Thomas J.; Sexton, Tammy; Kim, Susy A.; Severino, Amie L.; Peters, Christopher M.; Young, Larry J.; Childers, Steven R.

    2015-01-01

    Prairie voles are unusual mammals in that, like humans, they are capable of forming socially monogamous pair bonds, display biparental care, and engage in alloparental behaviors. Both mu and kappa opioid receptors are involved in behaviors that either establish and maintain, or result from pair bond formation in these animals. Mu and kappa opioid receptors both utilize inhibitory G-proteins as signal transduction mechanisms, however the efficacy by which these receptor subtypes stimulate G-protein signaling across the prairie vole neuraxis is not known. Utilizing [35S]GTPγS autoradiography, we characterized the efficacy of G-protein stimulation in coronal sections throughout male and female prairie vole brain by DAMGO and U50,488H, selective mu and kappa opioid agonists, respectively. DAMGO stimulation was highest in forebrain, similar to that found with other rodent species. U-50,488H produced greater stimulation in prairie voles than is typically seen in mice and rats, particularly in select forebrain areas. DAMGO produced higher stimulation in the core versus the shell of the nucleus accumbens in females, while the distribution of U-50,488H stimulation was the opposite. There were no gender differences for U50,488H stimulation of G-protein activity across the regions examined, while DAMGO stimulation was greater in sections from females compared to those from males for nucleus accumbens core, entopeduncular nucleus, and hippocampus. These data suggest that the kappa opioid system may be more sensitive to manipulation in prairie voles compared to mice and rats, and that female prairie voles may be more sensitive to mu agonists in select brain regions than males. PMID:26523979

  3. Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells With Six Reprogramming Factors From Prairie Vole, Which Is an Animal Model for Social Behaviors.

    PubMed

    Katayama, Masafumi; Hirayama, Takashi; Horie, Kengo; Kiyono, Tohru; Donai, Kenichiro; Takeda, Satoru; Nishimori, Katsuhiko; Fukuda, Tomokazu

    2016-01-01

    Prairie voles show strong pair bonding with their mating partners, and they demonstrate parental behavior toward their infants, indicating that the prairie vole is a unique animal model for analysis of molecular mechanisms of social behavior. Until a recent study, the signaling pathway of oxytocin was thought to be critical for the social behavior of prairie voles, but neuron-specific functional research may be necessary to identify the molecular mechanisms of social behavior. Prairie vole pluripotent stem cells of high quality are essential to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of social behaviors. Generation of high-quality induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) would help to establish a genetically modified prairie vole, including knockout and knock-in models, based on the pluripotency of iPSCs. Thus, we attempted to establish high-quality prairie vole-derived iPSCs (pv-iPSCs) in this study. We constructed a polycistronic reprogramming vector, which included six reprograming factors (Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4, c-myc, Lin28, and Nanog). Furthermore, we evaluated the effect of six reprogramming factors, which included Oct3/4 with the transactivation domain (TAD) of MyoD. Implantation of the pv-iPSCs into immunodeficient mice caused a teratoma with three germ layers. Furthermore, the established pv-iPSCs tested positive for stem cell markers, including alkaline phosphatase activity (ALP), stage-specific embryonic antigen (SSEA)-1, and dependence on leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF). Our data indicate that our newly established pv-iPSCs may be a useful tool for genetic analysis of social behavior.

  4. Male prairie voles display cardiovascular dipping associated with an ultradian activity cycle.

    PubMed

    Lewis, Robert; Curtis, J Thomas

    2016-03-15

    Mammals typically display alternating active and resting phases and, in most species, these rhythms follow a circadian pattern. The active and resting phases often are accompanied by corresponding physiological changes. In humans, blood pressure decreases during the resting phase of the activity cycle, and the magnitude of that "nocturnal dipping" has been used to stratify patients according to the risk for cardiovascular disease. However, in contrast to most mammals, prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) have periods of activity and rest that follow an ultradian rhythm with period lengths significantly <24h. While rhythmic changes in blood pressure across a circadian activity cycle have been well-documented, blood pressure patterns in species that display ultradian rhythms in activity are less well-studied. In the current study, we implanted pressure-sensitive radiotelemetry devices in male prairie voles and recorded activity, mean arterial pressure (MAP), and heart rate (HR) continuously for 3days. Visualization of the ultradian rhythms was enhanced using a 1h running average to filter the dataset. Positive correlations were found between activity and MAP and between activity and HR. During the inactive period of the ultradian cycle, blood pressure decreased by about 15%, which parallels the nocturnal dipping pattern seen in healthy humans. Further, the duration of inactivity did not affect any of the cardiovascular measures, so the differences in blood pressure values between the active and inactive periods are likely driven by ultradian oscillations in hormones and autonomic function. Finally, specific behavioral patterns also were examined. Both the instrumented animal and his non-instrumented cagemate appeared to show synchronized activity patterns, with both animals displaying sleep-like behavior for more than 90% of the inactive period. We propose that the prairie vole ultradian rhythm in blood pressure is an analogue for circadian blood pressure variability

  5. A novel model for neuroendocrine toxicology: neurobehavioral effects of BPA exposure in a prosocial species, the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster).

    PubMed

    Sullivan, Alana W; Beach, Elsworth C; Stetzik, Lucas A; Perry, Amy; D'Addezio, Alyssa S; Cushing, Bruce S; Patisaul, Heather B

    2014-10-01

    Impacts on brain and behavior have been reported in laboratory rodents after developmental exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), raising concerns about possible human effects. Epidemiological data suggest links between prenatal BPA exposure and altered affective behaviors in children, but potential mechanisms are unclear. Disruption of mesolimbic oxytocin (OT)/vasopressin (AVP) pathways have been proposed, but supporting evidence is minimal. To address these data gaps, we employed a novel animal model for neuroendocrine toxicology: the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster), which are more prosocial than lab rats or mice. Male and female prairie vole pups were orally exposed to 5-μg/kg body weight (bw)/d, 50-μg/kg bw/d, or 50-mg/kg bw/d BPA or vehicle over postnatal days 8-14. Subjects were tested as juveniles in open field and novel social tests and for partner preference as adults. Brains were then collected and assessed for immunoreactive (ir) tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) (a dopamine marker) neurons in the principal bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (pBNST) and TH-ir, OT-ir, and AVP-ir neurons in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN). Female open field activity indicated hyperactivity at the lowest dose and anxiety at the highest dose. Effects on social interactions were also observed, and partner preference formation was mildly inhibited at all dose levels. BPA masculinized principal bed nucleus of the stria terminalis TH-ir neuron numbers in females. Additionally, 50-mg/kg bw BPA-exposed females had more AVP-ir neurons in the anterior PVN and fewer OT-ir neurons in the posterior PVN. At the 2 lowest doses, BPA eliminated sex differences in PVN TH-ir neuron numbers and reversed this sex difference at the highest dose. Minimal behavioral effects were observed in BPA-exposed males. These data support the hypothesis that BPA alters affective behaviors, potentially via disruption of OT/AVP pathways.

  6. Male prairie voles with different avpr1a microsatellite lengths do not differ in courtship behaviour.

    PubMed

    Graham, Brittney M; Solomon, Nancy G; Noe, Douglas A; Keane, Brian

    2016-07-01

    Females are generally expected to be selective when choosing their social and sexual partners. In a previous laboratory study, female prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) showed significant social and sexual preferences for males with longer microsatellite DNA within the avpr1a gene encoding the vasopressin 1a receptor, as predicted if females select mates whose parental behaviour should increase female reproductive success. We tested the hypothesis that males with short versus long avpr1a microsatellite alleles exhibit differences in courtship behaviour, which could act as cues for female mate preference. The only behavioural difference we detected between males with short versus long avpr1a microsatellite alleles in mate preference trials was that males with short avpr1a microsatellite alleles sniffed the anogenital region of females more frequently during the first two days of the trials. Our results did not strongly support the hypothesis that a male's avpr1a genotype predicts the courtship behaviours we measured and suggests that other courtship behaviours or traits, such as odour and vocalizations, may be more important to female prairie voles when choosing mates. Additional studies using a wider array of species are needed to assess the degree to which male mammal courtship behaviour provides information on mate quality to females.

  7. Localization of oxytocin receptors in the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) neocortex.

    PubMed

    Duchemin, Auriane; Seelke, Adele M H; Simmons, Trenton C; Freeman, Sara M; Bales, Karen L

    2017-02-15

    Early experience and social context interact to alter the phenotype of complex social behaviors. These early experiences can also result in alterations to cortical organization and connections. Given the ability of the neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) to modulate social and reproductive behavior, OT is likely involved in these cortical processes. However, little is known about the distribution of OT and OT receptors (OTR) within the neocortex. Using autoradiographic and neuroanatomical techniques, we characterized the cortical distribution of OT receptors (OTR) in prairie voles, a socially monogamous rodent species. We found that OTR density was low in the primary sensory areas (including primary somatosensory and auditory regions) but was quite high in association regions (including temporal and parietal association areas, and prelimbic regions). In the primary motor area as well as the temporal and parietal association areas, we observed differences in OTR density across cortical layers. Specifically, cortical layers 2/3 and 5 exhibited greater OTR density than layer 4. Our results point to a role for OT in integrating sensory and motor in the prairie vole brain, providing a complementary mechanism for the modulation of social interactions. Given the ability of early social experience and developmental manipulations of OT to affect the brain and behavior, these results suggest a novel mechanism for how OT may influence cortical organization.

  8. Chronic social isolation enhances reproduction in the monogamous prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster).

    PubMed

    Perry, Adam N; Carter, C Sue; Cushing, Bruce S

    2016-06-01

    Chronic stressors are generally considered to disrupt reproduction and inhibit mating. Here we test the hypothesis that a chronic stressor, specifically social isolation, can facilitate adaptive changes that enhance/accelerate reproductive effort. In general, monogamous species display high levels of prosociality, delayed sexual maturation, and greater parental investment in fewer, higher quality offspring compared with closely related polygynous species. We predicted that chronic social isolation would promote behavioral and neurochemical patterns in prairie voles associated with polygyny. Male and female prairie voles were isolated for four weeks and changes in mating behavior, alloparental care, estrogen receptor (ER) α expression and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression in brain regions regulating sociosexual behavior were examined. In males, isolation accelerated copulation, increased ERα in the medial amygdala (MEApd) and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTpm), and reduced TH expression in the MEApd and BSTpm, but had no effect on alloparental behavior. In females, isolation resulted in more rapid estrus induction and reduced TH expression in the MEApd and BSTpm, but had no effect on estradiol sensitivity or ERα expression. The results support the hypothesis that ERα expression in the MEApd and BSTpm is a critical determinant of male copulatory behavior and/or mating system. The lack of change in alloparental behavior suggests that changes in prosocial behavior are selective and regulated by different mechanisms. The results also suggest that TH in the MEApd and BSTpm may play a critical role in determining mating behavior in both sexes.

  9. Variation in vasopressin receptor (Avpr1a) expression creates diversity in behaviors related to monogamy in prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Barrett, Catherine E; Keebaugh, Alaine C; Ahern, Todd H; Bass, Caroline E; Terwilliger, Ernest F; Young, Larry J

    2013-03-01

    Polymorphisms in noncoding regions of the vasopressin 1a receptor gene (Avpr1a) are associated with a variety of socioemotional characteristics in humans, chimpanzees, and voles, and may impact behavior through a site-specific variation in gene expression. The socially monogamous prairie vole offers a unique opportunity to study such neurobiological control of individual differences in complex behavior. Vasopressin 1a receptor (V1aR) signaling is necessary for the formation of the pair bond in males, and prairie voles exhibit greater V1aR binding in the reward-processing ventral pallidum than do asocial voles of the same genus. Diversity in social behavior within prairie voles has been correlated to natural variation in neuropeptide receptor expression in specific brain regions. Here we use RNA interference to examine the causal relationship between intraspecific variation in V1aR and behavioral outcomes, by approximating the degree of naturalistic variation in V1aR expression. Juvenile male prairie voles were injected with viral vectors expressing shRNA sequences targeting Avpr1a mRNA into the ventral pallidum. Down-regulation of pallidal V1aR density resulted in a significant impairment in the preference for a mated female partner and a reduction in anxiety-like behavior in adulthood. No effect on alloparenting was detected. These data demonstrate that within-species naturalistic-like variation in V1aR expression has a profound effect on individual differences in social attachment and emotionality. RNA interference may prove to be a useful technique to unite the fields of behavioral ecology and neurogenetics to perform ethologically relevant studies of the control of individual variation and offer insight into the evolutionary mechanisms leading to behavioral diversity.

  10. Altered Connexin 43 and Connexin 45 protein expression in the heart as a function of social and environmental stress in the prairie vole.

    PubMed

    Grippo, Angela J; Moffitt, Julia A; Henry, Matthew K; Firkins, Rachel; Senkler, Jonathan; McNeal, Neal; Wardwell, Joshua; Scotti, Melissa-Ann L; Dotson, Ashley; Schultz, Rachel

    2015-01-01

    Exposure to social and environmental stressors may influence behavior as well as autonomic and cardiovascular regulation, potentially leading to depressive disorders and cardiac dysfunction including elevated sympathetic drive, reduced parasympathetic function, and ventricular arrhythmias. The cellular mechanisms that underlie these interactions are not well understood. One mechanism may involve alterations in the expression of Connexin43 (Cx43) and Connexin45 (Cx45), gap junction proteins in the heart that play an important role in ensuring efficient cell-to-cell coupling and the maintenance of cardiac rhythmicity. The present study investigated the hypothesis that long-term social isolation, combined with mild environmental stressors, would produce both depressive behaviors and altered Cx43 and Cx45 expression in the left ventricle of prairie voles - a socially monogamous rodent model. Adult, female prairie voles were exposed to either social isolation (n = 22) or control (paired, n = 23) conditions (4 weeks), alone or in combination with chronic mild stress (CMS) (1 week). Social isolation, versus paired control conditions, produced significantly (p < 0.05) increased depressive behaviors in a 5-min forced swim test, and CMS exacerbated (p < 0.05) these behaviors. Social isolation (alone) reduced (p < 0.05) total Cx43 expression in the left ventricle; whereas CMS (but not isolation) increased (p < 0.05) total Cx45 expression and reduced (p < 0.05) the Cx43/Cx45 ratio, measured via Western blot analysis. The present findings provide insight into potential cellular mechanisms underlying altered cardiac rhythmicity associated with social and environmental stress in the prairie vole.

  11. Altered Connexin 43 and Connexin 45 Protein Expression in the Heart as a Function of Social and Environmental Stress in the Prairie Vole

    PubMed Central

    Grippo, Angela J.; Moffitt, Julia A.; Henry, Matthew K.; Firkins, Rachel; Senkler, Jonathan; McNeal, Neal; Wardwell, Joshua; Scotti, Melissa-Ann L.; Dotson, Ashley; Schultz, Rachel

    2015-01-01

    Exposure to social and environmental stressors may influence behavior as well as autonomic and cardiovascular regulation, potentially leading to depressive disorders and cardiac dysfunction including elevated sympathetic drive, reduced parasympathetic function, and ventricular arrhythmias. The cellular mechanisms that underlie these interactions are not well understood. One mechanism may involve alterations in the expression of Connexin43 (Cx43) and Connexin45 (Cx45), gap junction proteins in the heart that play an important role in ensuring efficient cell-to-cell coupling and the maintenance of cardiac rhythmicity. The present study investigated the hypothesis that long-term social isolation, combined with mild environmental stressors, would produce both depressive behaviors and altered Cx43 and Cx45 expression in the left ventricle of prairie voles – a socially monogamous rodent model. Adult, female prairie voles were exposed to either social isolation (n=22) or control (paired, n=23) conditions (4 weeks), alone or in combination with chronic mild stress (1 week). Social isolation, versus paired control conditions, produced significantly (P < 0.05) increased depressive behaviors in a 5-min forced swim test, and chronic mild stress exacerbated (P < 0.05) these behaviors. Social isolation (alone) reduced (P < 0.05) total Cx43 expression in the left ventricle; whereas chronic mild stress (but not isolation) increased (P < 0.05) total Cx45 expression and reduced (P < 0.05) the Cx43/Cx45 ratio, measured via Western blot analysis. The present findings provide insight into potential cellular mechanisms underlying altered cardiac rhythmicity associated with social and environmental stress in the prairie vole. PMID:25338193

  12. Social isolation in prairie voles induces behaviors relevant to negative affect: toward the development of a rodent model focused on co-occurring depression and anxiety

    PubMed Central

    Grippo, Angela J.; Wu, Kevin D.; Hassan, Iman; Carter, C. Sue

    2008-01-01

    Recent evidence suggests substantial overlap between mood and anxiety disorders, both in clinical presentation and associated features. A theoretical framework to account for this overlap focuses on negative affectivity, defined as the disposition to experience negative emotional states, including fear, sadness and guilt. This model has been successful in explaining the co-occurrence of depressive and anxiety disorders in humans. As a next step, development of an animal model focused on both depression- and anxiety-relevant behaviors may advance understanding of depression-anxiety symptom overlap, relations of these disorders with associated medical conditions and responses to treatment. The current study was designed to investigate inducible and quantifiable depression- and anxiety-like behaviors in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). Adult, female prairie voles were exposed to 4 weeks of social pairing (control) or isolation, an established stressor for socially monogamous mammals (including humans). Operational measures of depression (sucrose intake and behaviors in the forced swim test), anxiety (behaviors in the elevated plus maze) and aggression (responses to an unrelated prairie vole pup) were investigated. Social isolation induced a progressive decline in sucrose intake and increased immobility time during the forced swim test. Social isolation also decreased the amount of time spent in the open arms of the elevated plus maze, and increased pup-directed attack behavior. The current findings suggest that isolation induces behaviors reflecting elevated negative affect. These results may provide a foundation for creating a rodent model to examine the mechanisms underlying comorbid mood and anxiety disorders. PMID:17935206

  13. Comparisons of methods for determining dominance rank in male and female prairie voles (Microtus ochrogastor)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lanctot, Richard B.; Best, Louis B.

    2000-01-01

    Dominance ranks in male and female prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) were determined from 6 measurements that mimicked environmental situations that might be encountered by prairie voles in communal groups, including agonistic interactions resulting from competition for food and water and encounters in burrows. Male and female groups of 6 individuals each were tested against one another in pairwise encounters (i.e., dyads) for 5 of the measurements and together as a group in a 6th measurement. Two types of response variables, aggressive behaviors and possession time of a limiting resource, were collected during trials, and those data were used to determine cardinal ranks and principal component ranks for all animals within each group. Cardinal ranks and principal component ranks seldom yielded similar rankings for each animal across measurements. However, dominance measurements that were conducted in similar environmental contexts, regardless of the response variable recorded, ranked animals similarly. Our results suggest that individual dominance measurements assessed situation- or resource-specific responses. Our study demonstrates problems inherent in determining dominance rankings of individuals within groups, including choosing measurements, response variables, and statistical techniques. Researchers should avoid using a single measurement to represent social dominance until they have first demonstrated that a dominance relationship between 2 individuals has been learned (i.e., subsequent interactions show a reduced response rather than an escalation), that this relationship is relatively constant through time, and that the relationship is not context dependent. Such assessments of dominance status between all dyads then can be used to generate dominance rankings within social groups.

  14. Early experiences can alter the size of cortical fields in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster)

    PubMed Central

    Seelke, A.M.H.; Yuan, S.-M.; Perkeybile, A.M.; Krubitzer, L.A.; Bales, K.L.

    2016-01-01

    The neocortex of the prairie vole is composed of three well-defined sensory areas and one motor area: primary somatosensory, visual, auditory areas and the primary motor area respectively. The boundaries of these cortical areas are identifiable very early in development, and have been thought to resist alteration by all but the most extreme physical or genetic manipulations. Here we assessed the extent to which the boundaries of sensory/motor cortical areas can be altered by exposing young prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) to a chronic stimulus, high or low levels of parental contact, or an acute stimulus, a single dose of saline, oxytocin (OT), or oxytocin antagonist on the day of birth. When animals reached adulthood, their brains were removed, the cortex was flattened, cut parallel to the pial surface, and stained for myelin to identify the architectonic boundaries of sensory and motor areas. We measured the overall proportion of cortex that was myelinated, as well as the proportion of cortex devoted to the sensory and motor areas. Both the chronic and acute manipulations were linked to significant alterations in areal boundaries of cortical fields, but the areas affected differed with different conditions. Thus, differences in parental care and early exposure to OT can both change cortical organization, but their effects are not identical. Furthermore, the effects of both manipulations were sexually dimorphic, with a greater number of statistically significant differences in females than in males. These results indicate that early environmental experience, both through exposure to exogenous neuropeptides and parental contact, can alter the size of cortical fields. PMID:27818789

  15. Methamphetamine Consumption Inhibits Pair Bonding and Hypothalamic Oxytocin in Prairie Voles.

    PubMed

    Hostetler, Caroline M; Phillips, Tamara J; Ryabinin, Andrey E

    2016-01-01

    Methamphetamine (MA) abuse has been linked to violence, risk-taking behaviors, decreased sexual inhibition, and criminal activity. It is important to understand mechanisms underlying these drug effects for prevention and treatment of MA-associated social problems. Previous studies have demonstrated that experimenter-administered amphetamine inhibits pair bonding and increases aggression in monogamous prairie voles. It is not currently known whether similar effects on social behaviors would be obtained under conditions during which the drug is voluntarily (actively) administered. The current study investigated whether MA drinking affects pair bonding and what neurocircuits are engaged. In Experiment 1, we exposed male and female voles to 4 days each of 20 and 40 mg/L MA under a continuous 2-bottle choice (2BC) procedure. Animals were housed either singly or in mesh-divided cages with a social partner. Voles consumed MA in a drinking solution, but MA drinking was not affected by either sex or housing condition. In Experiment 2, we investigated whether MA drinking disrupts social bonding by measuring aggression and partner preference formation following three consecutive days of 18-hour/day access to 100 mg/L MA in a 2BC procedure. Although aggression toward a novel opposite-sex animal was not affected by MA exposure, partner preference was inhibited in MA drinking animals. Experiment 3 examined whether alterations in hypothalamic neuropeptides provide a potential explanation for the inhibition of partner preference observed in Experiment 2. MA drinking led to significant decreases in oxytocin, but not vasopressin, in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus. These experiments are the first investigation into how voluntary pre-exposure to MA affects the development of social attachment in a socially monogamous species and identify potential neural circuits involved in these effects.

  16. Methamphetamine Consumption Inhibits Pair Bonding and Hypothalamic Oxytocin in Prairie Voles

    PubMed Central

    Hostetler, Caroline M.; Phillips, Tamara J.; Ryabinin, Andrey E.

    2016-01-01

    Methamphetamine (MA) abuse has been linked to violence, risk-taking behaviors, decreased sexual inhibition, and criminal activity. It is important to understand mechanisms underlying these drug effects for prevention and treatment of MA-associated social problems. Previous studies have demonstrated that experimenter-administered amphetamine inhibits pair bonding and increases aggression in monogamous prairie voles. It is not currently known whether similar effects on social behaviors would be obtained under conditions during which the drug is voluntarily (actively) administered. The current study investigated whether MA drinking affects pair bonding and what neurocircuits are engaged. In Experiment 1, we exposed male and female voles to 4 days each of 20 and 40 mg/L MA under a continuous 2-bottle choice (2BC) procedure. Animals were housed either singly or in mesh-divided cages with a social partner. Voles consumed MA in a drinking solution, but MA drinking was not affected by either sex or housing condition. In Experiment 2, we investigated whether MA drinking disrupts social bonding by measuring aggression and partner preference formation following three consecutive days of 18-hour/day access to 100 mg/L MA in a 2BC procedure. Although aggression toward a novel opposite-sex animal was not affected by MA exposure, partner preference was inhibited in MA drinking animals. Experiment 3 examined whether alterations in hypothalamic neuropeptides provide a potential explanation for the inhibition of partner preference observed in Experiment 2. MA drinking led to significant decreases in oxytocin, but not vasopressin, in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus. These experiments are the first investigation into how voluntary pre-exposure to MA affects the development of social attachment in a socially monogamous species and identify potential neural circuits involved in these effects. PMID:27380172

  17. Exploration in a dispersal task: Effects of early experience and correlation with other behaviors in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster).

    PubMed

    Arias Del Razo, Rocío; Bales, Karen L

    2016-11-01

    Socially monogamous prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) display remarkable individual variation in social behaviors, which has been associated with differences in early life experience and neuropeptide receptor densities. These differences are also seen in the wild, where approximately 70% of young voles remain in their natal group as non-breeding alloparents, while the other 30% disperse. We investigated whether natural variation in early parental care could contribute to offspring's willingness to "disperse" (willingness to explore) in a laboratory context. Behavioral differences between dispersers and residents could also provide a way to interpret individual variation in other behaviors commonly observed under laboratory conditions. Breeder pairs ranked as high, medium or low-contact, according to the amount of early parental care they provided to offspring, were used to produce and rear experimental subjects. Effects of early parental care on the offspring's willingness to disperse were seen at post-natal day 21, with high-contact offspring spending more time in the start cage and low-contact offspring spending more time exploring. Variations in parental care were also associated with differences in juvenile and adult behaviors that could potentially encourage philopatry or dispersal behavior in the wild. High-contact offspring displayed less anxiety-like behavior compared to low-contact animals. Low-contact offspring displayed the lowest amount of alloparental care. High-contact offspring spent more time in side-by-side contact with a potential partner compared to medium and low-contact offspring. These results suggest that variations in early parental care can impact weanlings' exploratory behavior, but that philopatry is not driven by high anxiety.

  18. Establishment of an immortalized cell line derived from the prairie vole via lentivirus-mediated transduction of mutant cyclin-dependent kinase 4, cyclin D, and telomerase reverse transcriptase

    PubMed Central

    Katayama, Masafumi; Kiyono, Tohru; Horie, Kengo; Hirayama, Takashi; Eitsuka, Takahiro; Kuroda, Kengo; Donai, Kenichiro; Hidema, Shizu; Nishimori, Katsuhiko; Fukuda, Tomokazu

    2015-01-01

    The prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) shows social behaviors such as monogamy and parenting of infants with pair bonding. These social behaviors are specific to the prairie vole and have not been observed in other types of voles, such as mountain voles. Although the prairie vole has several unique characteristics, an in vitro cell culture system has not been established for this species. Furthermore, establishment of cultured cells derived from the prairie vole may be beneficial based on the three Rs (i.e., Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement) concept. Therefore, in this study, we attempted to establish an immortalized cell line derived from the prairie vole. Our previous research has shown that transduction with mutant forms of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4), cyclin D, and telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) could efficiently immortalize cells from multiple species, including humans, cattle, pigs, and monkeys. Here, we introduced these three genes into prairie vole-derived muscle fibroblasts. The expression of mutant CDK4 and cyclin D proteins was confirmed by western blotting, and telomerase activity was detected in immortalized vole muscle-derived fibroblasts (VMF-K4DT cells or VMFs) by stretch PCR. Population doubling analysis showed that the introduction of mutant CDK4, cyclin D, and TERT extended the lifespan of VMFs. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report describing the establishment of an immortalized cell line derived from the prairie vole through the expression of mutant CDK4, cyclin D, and human TERT. PMID:26496927

  19. Chronic metals ingestion by prairie voles produces sex-specific deficits in social behavior: an animal model of autism.

    PubMed

    Curtis, J Thomas; Hood, Amber N; Chen, Yue; Cobb, George P; Wallace, David R

    2010-11-12

    We examined the effects of chronic metals ingestion on social behavior in the normally highly social prairie vole to test the hypothesis that metals may interact with central dopamine systems to produce the social withdrawal characteristic of autism. Relative to water-treated controls, 10 weeks of chronic ingestion of either Hg(++) or Cd(++) via drinking water significantly reduced social contact by male voles when they were given a choice between isolation or contact with an unfamiliar same-sex conspecific. The effects of metals ingestion were specific to males: no effects of metals exposure were seen in females. Metals ingestion did not alter behavior of males allowed to choose between isolation or their familiar cage-mates, rather than strangers. We also examined the possibility that metals ingestion affects central dopamine functioning by testing the voles' locomotor responses to peripheral administration of amphetamine. As with the social behavior, we found a sex-specific effect of metals on amphetamine responses. Males that consumed Hg(++) did not increase their locomotor activity in response to amphetamine, whereas similarly treated females and males that ingested only water significantly increased their locomotor activities. Thus, an ecologically relevant stimulus, metals ingestion, produced two of the hallmark characteristics of autism - social avoidance and a male-oriented bias. These results suggest that metals exposure may contribute to the development of autism, possibly by interacting with central dopamine function, and support the use of prairie voles as a model organism in which to study autism.

  20. Central expression of c-Fos in neonatal male and female prairie voles in response to treatment with oxytocin.

    PubMed

    Cushing, Bruce S; Yamamoto, Yukiyo; Hoffman, Gloria E; Carter, C Sue

    2003-07-12

    Early postnatal exposure to both exogenous and endogenous oxytocin (OT) can have long-term effects on behavior and physiology, although the mechanisms of these effects are not known. c-Fos expression was used to investigate the immediate neural effects of neonatal manipulations of OT in male and female prairie voles. On the day of birth prairie vole pups received an intraperitoneal injection of OT, a selective OT antagonist (OTA), or saline (vehicle control), while an additional group was handled but not injected. One hour after treatment brains were collected and fixed via spinning immersion and immunocytochemistry was then used to label for c-Fos immunoreactivity (IR). There were significant differences between males and females. Handled only females displayed significantly higher levels of c-Fos IR in the mediodorsal thalamic nucleus (MD) than males while handled males had higher c-Fos IR in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus than females. Exogenous OT stimulated neuronal activity in the supraoptic nucleus (SON) in males, while treatment with OTA increased Fos IR in the SON and was associated with reduced Fos IR in the MD in females. The results indicate that neuronal activity and responses to OT are sexually dimorphic in newborn prairie voles. In females changes in Fos expression were stimulated by treatment with OTA, suggesting that endogenous OT affects cellular activity while males responded to exogenous OT.

  1. Intergenerational transmission of alloparental behavior and oxytocin and vasopressin receptor distribution in the prairie vole

    PubMed Central

    Perkeybile, Allison M.; Delaney-Busch, Nathanial; Hartman, Sarah; Grimm, Kevin J.; Bales, Karen L.

    2015-01-01

    Variation in the early environment has the potential to permanently alter offspring behavior and development. We have previously shown that naturally occurring variation in biparental care of offspring in the prairie vole is related to differences in social behavior of the offspring. It was not, however, clear whether the behavioral differences seen between offspring receiving high compared to low amounts of parental care were the result of different care experiences or were due to shared genetics with their high-contact or low-contact parents. Here we use cross-fostering methods to determine the mode of transmission of alloparental behavior and oxytocin receptor (OTR) and vasopressin V1a receptor (V1aR) binding from parent to offspring. Offspring were cross-fostered or in-fostered on postnatal day 1 and parental care received was quantified in the first week postpartum. At weaning, offspring underwent an alloparental care test and brains were then collected from all parents and offspring to examine OTR and V1aR binding. Results indicate that alloparental behavior of offspring was predicted by the parental behavior of their rearing parents. Receptor binding for both OTR and V1aR tended to be predicted by the genetic mothers for female offspring and by the genetic fathers for male offspring. These findings suggest a different, sex-dependent, role of early experience and genetics in shaping behavior compared to receptor distribution and support the notion of sex-dependent outcomes. PMID:26257619

  2. Breaking bonds in male prairie vole: Long-term effects on emotional and social behavior, physiology, and neurochemistry

    PubMed Central

    Sun, P; Smith, AS; Lei, K; Liu, Y; Wang, Z

    2014-01-01

    Social relationships are essential for many fundamental aspects of life while bond disruption can be detrimental to mental and physical health. Male prairie voles form enduring social bonds with their female partners, allowing the evaluation of partner loss on behavior, physiology, and neurochemistry. Males were evaluated for partner preference formation induced by 24 h of mating, and half were separated from their partner for 4 wk. In Experiment 1, partner loss significantly increased anxiety-like behaviors in the elevated plus maze and light-dark box tests and marginally increased depressive-like behaviors in the forced swim test. In addition, while intruder-directed aggression is common in pair bonded prairie voles, separated males were affiliative and lacked aggression toward an unfamiliar female and an intruding male conspecific. Partner loss increased the density of oxytocin-immunoreactivity (-ir), vasopressin-ir, and corticotrophin-releasing hormone-ir cells in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and oxytocin-ir cells in the supraoptic nucleus. Tyrosine hydroxylase-ir was not affected. In Experiment 2, partner preference was observed after 2 wk of partner loss but eliminated after 4 wk partner loss. Body weight gain and plasma corticosterone concentrations were elevated throughout the 4 wk. No effects were observed for plasma oxytocin or vasopressin. Together, partner loss elicits anxiety-like and depression-like behaviors, disrupts bond-related behaviors, and alters neuropeptide systems that regulate such behaviors. Thus, partner loss in male prairie voles may provide a model to better understand the behavior, pathology, and neurobiology underlying partner loss and grief. PMID:24561258

  3. Early rearing experience is related to altered aggression and vasopressin production following chronic social isolation in the prairie vole.

    PubMed

    Perkeybile, Allison M; Bales, Karen L

    2015-04-15

    Parent-offspring interactions early in life can permanently shape the developmental path of those offspring. Manipulation of maternal care has long been used to alter the early-life environment of infants and impacts their later social behavior, aggression, and physiology. More recently, naturally occurring variation in maternal licking and grooming behavior has been shown to result in differences in social behavior and stress physiology in adult offspring. We have developed a model of natural variation in biparental care in the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) and have demonstrated an association between the amount of early care received and later social behavior. In this study, we investigate the relationship between early life care and later aggression and neuroendocrine responses following chronic social isolation. Male and female offspring were reared by their high-contact (HC) or low-contact (LC) parents, then housed for 4 weeks post-weaning in social isolation. After 4 weeks, half of these offspring underwent an intrasexual aggression test. Brains and plasma were collected to measure corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and vasopressin (AVP) immunoreactivity and plasma corticosterone (CORT). Male offspring of LC parents engaged in more aggressive behavior in the intrasexual aggression test compared to HC males. Female offspring of HC parents had higher plasma CORT levels after chronic social isolation and increases in the number and density of AVP-immunopositive cells in the supraoptic nucleus following an intrasexual aggression test. These findings show that the impact of early life biparental care on behavior and HPA activity following a social stressor is both sex-dependent and early experience-specific.

  4. Winter adaptations of male deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) and prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) that vary in reproductive responsiveness to photoperiod.

    PubMed

    Moffatt, C A; DeVries, A C; Nelson, R J

    1993-01-01

    Individuals of many nontropical rodent species restrict breeding to the spring and summer. Seasonal reproductive quiescence putatively reflects the energetic incompatibility of breeding and thermoregulatory activities. However, so-called "out-of-season" breeding occurs in virtually all rodent populations examined, suggesting that the incompatibility can be resolved. Both reproductive inhibition and development of energy-saving adaptations are mediated by environmental photoperiod, but some individuals do not inhibit reproduction in short days. In order to assess the costs and benefits of winter breeding, the present study examined the extent to which male prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) and deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) that maintained summer reproductive function in winter-simulated daylengths also maintained summer thermoregulatory adaptations. Circadian locomotor activity patterns, basal metabolic rate, capacity for nonshivering thermogenesis, nest building, body mass, and daily food consumption were compared among short-day (LD 8:16) regressed males, short-day (LD 8:16) nonregressed males, and long-day (LD 16:8) males. Short-day nonregressed deer mice resembled long-day conspecifics in terms of body mass and nest-building activities; however, the locomotor activity pattern of short-day nonregressed deer mice was similar to that of their short-day regressed conspecifics. Short-day nonregressed prairie voles had body masses similar to those of long-day conspecifics. Regardless of their reproductive response to photoperiod, short-day prairie voles reduced their daily food consumption and wheel-running activity, compared to long-day voles. These results suggest that winter breeding has energetic costs, most likely resulting from maintaining a "summer-like" body mass relative to that of reproductively regressed animals. These costs may be ameliorated to some extent by the reduction in locomotor activity and nest-building behavior emitted by short

  5. Central oxytocin receptors mediate mating-induced partner preferences and enhance correlated activation across forebrain nuclei in male prairie voles

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Zachary V.; Walum, Hasse; Jamal, Yaseen A.; Xiao, Yao; Keebaugh, Alaine C.; Inoue, Kiyoshi; Young, Larry J.

    2016-01-01

    Oxytocin (OT) is a deeply conserved nonapeptide that acts both peripherally and centrally to modulate reproductive physiology and sociosexual behavior across divergent taxa, including humans. In vertebrates, the distribution of the oxytocin receptor (OTR) in the brain is variable within and across species, and OTR signaling is critical for a variety of species-typical social and reproductive behaviors, including affiliative and pair bonding behaviors in multiple socially monogamous lineages of fishes, birds, and mammals. Early work in prairie voles suggested that the endogenous OT system modulates mating-induced partner preference formation in females but not males; however, there is significant evidence that central OTRs may modulate pair bonding behavior in both sexes. In addition, it remains unclear how transient windows of central OTR signaling during sociosexual interaction modulate neural activity to produce enduring shifts in sociobehavioral phenotypes, including the formation of selective social bonds. Here we re-examine the role of the central OT system in partner preference formation in male prairie voles using a selective OTR antagonist delivered intracranially. We then use the same antagonist to examine how central OTRs modulate behavior and immediate early gene (Fos) expression, a metric of neuronal activation, in males during brief sociosexual interaction with a female. Our results suggest that, as in females, OTR signaling is critical for partner preference formation in males and enhances correlated activation across sensory and reward processing brain areas during sociosexual interaction. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that central OTR signaling facilitates social bond formation by coordinating activity across a pair bonding neural network. PMID:26643557

  6. Central oxytocin receptors mediate mating-induced partner preferences and enhance correlated activation across forebrain nuclei in male prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Zachary V; Walum, Hasse; Jamal, Yaseen A; Xiao, Yao; Keebaugh, Alaine C; Inoue, Kiyoshi; Young, Larry J

    2016-03-01

    Oxytocin (OT) is a deeply conserved nonapeptide that acts both peripherally and centrally to modulate reproductive physiology and sociosexual behavior across divergent taxa, including humans. In vertebrates, the distribution of the oxytocin receptor (OTR) in the brain is variable within and across species, and OTR signaling is critical for a variety of species-typical social and reproductive behaviors, including affiliative and pair bonding behaviors in multiple socially monogamous lineages of fishes, birds, and mammals. Early work in prairie voles suggested that the endogenous OT system modulates mating-induced partner preference formation in females but not males; however, there is significant evidence that central OTRs may modulate pair bonding behavior in both sexes. In addition, it remains unclear how transient windows of central OTR signaling during sociosexual interaction modulate neural activity to produce enduring shifts in sociobehavioral phenotypes, including the formation of selective social bonds. Here we re-examine the role of the central OT system in partner preference formation in male prairie voles using a selective OTR antagonist delivered intracranially. We then use the same antagonist to examine how central OTRs modulate behavior and immediate early gene (Fos) expression, a metric of neuronal activation, in males during brief sociosexual interaction with a female. Our results suggest that, as in females, OTR signaling is critical for partner preference formation in males and enhances correlated activation across sensory and reward processing brain areas during sociosexual interaction. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that central OTR signaling facilitates social bond formation by coordinating activity across a pair bonding neural network.

  7. Individual differences in cortical connections of somatosensory cortex are associated with parental rearing style in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster).

    PubMed

    Seelke, Adele M H; Perkeybile, Allison M; Grunewald, Rebecca; Bales, Karen L; Krubitzer, Leah A

    2016-02-15

    Early-life sensory experiences have a profound effect on brain organization, connectivity, and subsequent behavior. In most mammals, the earliest sensory inputs are delivered to the developing brain through tactile contact with the parents, especially the mother. Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) are monogamous and, like humans, are biparental. Within the normal prairie vole population, both the type and the amount of interactions, particularly tactile contact, that parents have with their offspring vary. The question is whether these early and pervasive differences in tactile stimulation and social experience between parent and offspring are manifest in differences in cortical organization and connectivity. To address this question, we examined the cortical and callosal connections of the primary somatosensory area (S1) in high-contact (HC) and low-contact (LC) offspring using neuroanatomical tracing techniques. Injection sites within S1 were matched so that direct comparisons between these two groups could be made. We observed several important differences between these groups. The first was that HC offspring had a greater density of intrinsic connections within S1 compared with LC offspring. Additionally, HC offspring had a more restricted pattern of ipsilateral connections, whereas LC offspring had dense connections with areas of parietal and frontal cortex that were more widespread. Finally, LC offspring had a broader distribution of callosal connections than HC offspring and a significantly higher percentage of labeled callosal neurons. This study is the first to examine individual differences in cortical connections and suggests that individual differences in cortical connections may be related to natural differences in parental rearing styles associated with tactile contact.

  8. Individual differences in cortical connections of somatosensory cortex are associated with parental rearing style in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster)

    PubMed Central

    Seelke, Adele M. H.; Perkeybile, Allison M.; Grunewald, Rebecca; Bales, Karen L.; Krubitzer, Leah A.

    2015-01-01

    Early life sensory experiences have a profound effect on brain organization, connectivity and subsequent behavior. In most mammals, the earliest sensory inputs are delivered to the developing brain through tactile contact with the parents, especially the mother. Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) are monogamous and, like humans, are biparental. Within the normal prairie vole population, both the type and amount of interactions, particularly tactile contact, that parents have with their offspring varies. The question is whether these early and pervasive differences in tactile stimulation and social experience between parent and offspring are manifest in differences in cortical organization and connectivity. To address this question we examined the cortical and callosal connections of the primary somatosensory area (S1) in high contact (HC) and low contact (LC) offspring using neuroanatomical tracing techniques. Injection sites within S1 were matched so that direct comparisons between these two groups could be made. We observed several important differences between these groups. The first was that HC offspring had a greater density of intrinsic connections within S1 compared to LC offspring. The HC offspring had a more restricted pattern of ipsilateral connections while LC offspring had dense connections with areas of parietal and frontal cortex that were more widespread. Finally, LC offspring had a broader distribution of callosal connections than HC offspring and a significantly higher percentage of callosal labeled neurons. To date, this is the first study that examines individual differences in cortical connections and suggests that they may be related to natural differences in parental rearing styles associated with tactile contact. PMID:26101098

  9. The effects of environmental enrichment on depressive- and anxiety-relevant behaviors in socially isolated prairie voles

    PubMed Central

    Grippo, Angela J.; Ihm, Elliott; Wardwell, Joshua; McNeal, Neal; Scotti, Melissa-Ann L.; Moenk, Deirdre A.; Chandler, Danielle L.; LaRocca, Meagan A.; Preihs, Kristin

    2014-01-01

    Objectives Social isolation is associated with depression, anxiety and negative health outcomes. Environmental enrichment, including environmental and cognitive stimulation with inanimate objects and opportunities for physical exercise, may be an effective strategy to include in treatment paradigms for affective disorders as a function of social isolation. In a rodent model – the socially monogamous prairie vole – we investigated the hypothesis that depression- and anxiety-related behaviors following social isolation would be prevented and remediated with environmental enrichment. Methods Experiment 1 investigated the preventive effects of environmental enrichment on negative affective behaviors when administered concurrently with social isolation. Experiment 2 investigated the remediating effects of enrichment on negative affective behaviors when administered following a period of isolation. Behaviors were measured in 3 operational tests: open field; forced swim test; and elevated plus maze. Results In isolated prairie voles, enrichment prevented depression- (immobility in FST, group × housing interaction, P=0.049) and anxiety-relevant behaviors (exploration in open field, group × housing interaction, P=0.036; exploration in elevated plus maze, group × housing interaction, P=0.049). Delayed enrichment also remediated these behaviors in isolated animals (immobility in forced swim test, main effect of housing, P=0.001; exploration in open field, main effect of housing, P=0.047; exploration in elevated plus maze, main effect of housing, P=0.001), and was slightly more effective than physical exercise alone in remediating anxiety-relevant behaviors. Conclusions These findings provide insight into the beneficial effects of an enriched environment on depression- and anxiety-relevant behaviors using a translational rodent model of social isolation. PMID:24804886

  10. Effects of social isolation on mRNA expression for corticotrophin-releasing hormone receptors in prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Pournajafi-Nazarloo, Hossein; Partoo, Leila; Yee, Jason; Stevenson, Jennifer; Sanzenbacher, Lisa; Kenkel, William; Mohsenpour, Seyed Ramezan; Hashimoto, Kozo; Carter, C Sue

    2011-07-01

    Previous studies have demonstrated that various type of stressors modulate messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) for type 1 corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) receptor (CRH-R1 mRNA) and type 2 CRH receptor (CRH-R2 mRNA). The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of social isolation stress of varying durations on the CRH, CRH-R1 and CRH-R2 mRNAs expression in the hypothalamus, hippocampus and pituitary of socially monogamous female and male prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). Isolation for 1h (single isolation) or 1h of isolation every day for 4 weeks (repeated isolation) was followed by a significant increase in plasma corticosterone levels. Single or repeated isolation increased hypothalamic CRH mRNA expression, but no changes in CRH-R1 mRNA in the hypothalamus were observed. Continuous isolation for 4 weeks (chronic isolation) showed no effect on hypothalamic CRH or CRH-R1 mRNAs in female or male animals. However, hypothalamic CRH-R2 mRNA was significantly reduced in voles exposed to chronic isolation. Single or repeated isolation, but not chronic isolation, significantly increased CRH-R1 mRNA and decreased CRH-R2 mRNA in the pituitary. Despite elevated CRH mRNA expression, CRH-R1 and CRH-R2 mRNAs were not modulated in the hippocampus following single or repeated isolation. Although, chronic isolation did not affect hippocampal CRH or CRH-R1 mRNAs, it did increase CRH-R2 mRNA expression in females and males. The results of the present study in prairie voles suggest that social isolation has receptor subtype and species-specific consequences for the modulation of gene expression for CRH and its receptors in brain and pituitary. Previous studies have revealed a female-biased increase in oxytocin in response to chronic isolation; however, we did not find a sex difference in CRH or its receptors following single, repeated or chronic social isolation, suggesting that sexually dimorphic processes beyond the CRH system, possibly involving vasopressin, might

  11. Is it all in the family? The effects of early social structure on neural-behavioral systems of prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster).

    PubMed

    Greenberg, G D; van Westerhuyzen, J A; Bales, K L; Trainor, B C

    2012-08-02

    The transition to parenthood is generally associated with a reduction in anxiety or anxiety-like behavior across a wide range of species. In some species, juveniles provide supplementary parental care for younger siblings, a behavior known as alloparenting. Although the fitness consequences of alloparenting behavior have been a focus of evolutionary research, less is known about how alloparenting behavior impacts affective states. In the socially monogamous prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster), most juveniles exhibit alloparenting behavior, making the species an ideal model for examining the effects of alloparenting on future behavioral outcomes. We randomly assigned juvenile voles to alloparenting (AL) or no alloparenting (NoAL) groups and behaviorally phenotyped them for anxiety-like and social behaviors using the elevated plus maze (EPM), open field test (OFT), startle box, social interaction test, juvenile affiliation test, and partner preference test. AL voles displayed more anxiety-like and less exploratory behaviors than NoAL voles, spending significantly less time in the open arms of the EPM and center of an open field. We dissected the CA1 region of the hippocampus and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) from brains of behaviorally phenotyped voles and nontested siblings as well. Decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in CA1 has generally been associated with increased anxiety-like behavior in other rodents, while an anxiogenic role for BDNF in BNST is less established. Western blot analyses showed that alloparenting experience increased expression of BDNF in the BNST but decreased BDNF expression in the CA1 region of hippocampus (CA1) of nontested voles. There were similar differences in BNST BDNF of behaviorally phenotyped voles, and BDNF levels within this region were negatively correlated with exploratory behavior (i.e. time in center of OFT). Our results suggest that BDNF signaling in BNST and CA1 fluctuate with

  12. The protective effects of social bonding on behavioral and pituitary-adrenal axis reactivity to chronic mild stress in prairie voles.

    PubMed

    McNeal, Neal; Appleton, Katherine M; Johnson, Alan Kim; Scotti, Melissa-Ann L; Wardwell, Joshua; Murphy, Rachel; Bishop, Christina; Knecht, Alison; Grippo, Angela J

    2017-03-05

    Positive social interactions may protect against stress. This study investigated the beneficial effects of pairing with a social partner on behaviors and neuroendocrine function in response to chronic mild stress (CMS) in 13 prairie vole pairs. Following 5 days of social bonding, male and female prairie voles were exposed to 10 days of CMS (mild, unpredictable stressors of varying durations, for instance, strobe light, white noise, and damp bedding), housed with either the social partner (paired group) or individually (isolated group). Active and passive behavioral responses to the forced swim test (FST) and tail-suspension test (TST), and plasma concentrations of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and corticosterone, were measured in all prairie voles following the CMS period. Both female and male prairie voles housed with a social partner displayed lower durations of passive behavioral responses (immobility, a maladaptive behavioral response) in the FST (mean ± SEM; females: 17.3 ± 5.4 s; males: 9.3 ± 4.6 s) and TST (females: 56.8 ± 16.4 s; males: 40.2 ± 11.3 s), versus both sexes housed individually (females, FST: 98.6 ± 12.9 s; females, TST: 155.1 ± 19.3 s; males, FST: 92.4 ± 14.1 s; males, TST: 158.9 ± 22.0 s). Female (but not male) prairie voles displayed attenuated plasma stress hormones when housed with a male partner (ACTH: 945 ± 24.7 pg/ml; corticosterone: 624 ± 139.5 ng/ml), versus females housed individually (ACTH: 1100 ± 23.2 pg/ml; corticosterone: 1064 ± 121.7 ng/ml). These results may inform understanding of the benefits of social interactions on stress resilience. Lay Summary: Social stress can lead to depression. The study of social bonding and stress using an animal model will inform understanding of the protective effects of social bonds. This study showed that social bonding in a rodent model can protect against behavioral responses to stress, and may

  13. Methylation of avpr1a in the cortex of wild prairie voles: effects of CpG position and polymorphism

    PubMed Central

    Maguire, S. M.; Phelps, S. M.

    2017-01-01

    DNA methylation can cause stable changes in neuronal gene expression, but we know little about its role in individual differences in the wild. In this study, we focus on the vasopressin 1a receptor (avpr1a), a gene extensively implicated in vertebrate social behaviour, and explore natural variation in DNA methylation, genetic polymorphism and neuronal gene expression among 30 wild prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). Examination of CpG density across 8 kb of the locus revealed two distinct CpG islands overlapping promoter and first exon, characterized by few CpG polymorphisms. We used a targeted bisulfite sequencing approach to measure DNA methylation across approximately 3 kb of avpr1a in the retrosplenial cortex, a brain region implicated in male space use and sexual fidelity. We find dramatic variation in methylation across the avrp1a locus, with pronounced diversity near the exon–intron boundary and in a genetically variable putative enhancer within the intron. Among our wild voles, differences in cortical avpr1a expression correlate with DNA methylation in this putative enhancer, but not with the methylation status of the promoter. We also find an unusually high number of polymorphic CpG sites (polyCpGs) in this focal enhancer. One polyCpG within this enhancer (polyCpG 2170) may drive variation in expression either by disrupting transcription factor binding motifs or by changing local DNA methylation and chromatin silencing. Our results contradict some assumptions made within behavioural epigenetics, but are remarkably concordant with genome-wide studies of gene regulation. PMID:28280564

  14. Establishment of stable dominance interactions in prairie vole peers: relationships with alcohol drinking and activation of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus.

    PubMed

    Anacker, Allison M J; Smith, Monique L; Ryabinin, Andrey E

    2014-01-01

    Dominance hierarchies are an important aspect of group-living as they determine individual access to resources. The existence of dominance ranks in access to space has not been described in socially monogamous, communally nesting prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). Here, we tested whether dominance could be assessed using the tube test. We also tested whether dominance related to alcohol intake, similar to what has been demonstrated in nonmonogamous species. Same-sex pairs of unfamiliar peers were tested in a series of three trials of the tube test, then paired and allowed individual access to alcohol and water for 4 days, and then tested again in the tube test. For all pairs, the same subjects won the majority of trials before and after alcohol drinking. The number of wins negatively correlated with alcohol intake on the first day of drinking and positively correlated with levels of Fos in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus following the tube test in a separate group of voles. Dominance was not related to Fos levels in other brain regions examined. Together, these results indicate that prairie voles quickly establish stable dominance ranks through a process possibly involving the hypothalamus and suggest that dominance is linked to alcohol drinking.

  15. Intraspecific variation in estrogen receptor alpha and the expression of male sociosexual behavior in two populations of prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Cushing, Bruce S; Razzoli, Maria; Murphy, Anne Z; Epperson, Pamela M; Le, Wei-Wei; Hoffman, Gloria E

    2004-08-06

    Estrogen (E) regulates a variety of male sociosexual behaviors. We hypothesize that there is a relationship between the distribution of estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) and the degree of male social behavior. To test this hypothesis, ERalpha immunoreactivity (IR) was compared in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) from Illinois (IL), which are highly social, and Kansas (KN), which are less social. The expression of androgen receptors (AR) in males also was compared between populations. The expression of ERalpha and AR were compared in brains from KN and IL males and females using immunocytochemistry (ICC). There were significant intrapopulational differences, with males expressing less ERalpha-IR than females in the medial preoptic area, ventromedial nucleus, ventrolateral portion of the hypothalamus, and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BST). IL males also displayed less ERalpha-IR in the medial amygdala (MeA) than IL females. While IL males expressed significantly less ERalpha-IR in the BST and MeA than KN males, there was no difference in AR-IR. Differences in the pattern of ERalpha-IR between KN and IL males were behaviorally relevant, as low levels of testosterone (T) were more effective in restoring sexual activity in castrated KN males than IL males. The lack of difference in AR combined with lower expression of ERalpha-IR in IL males suggests that behavioral differences in response to T are associated with aromatization of T to E and that reduced sensitivity to E may facilitate prosocial behavior in males.

  16. EARLY REARING EXPERIENCE IS ASSOCIATED WITH VASOPRESSIN IMMUNOREACTIVITY BUT NOT REACTIVITY TO AN ACUTE NON-SOCIAL STRESSOR IN THE PRAIRIE VOLE

    PubMed Central

    Perkeybile, Allison M.; Bales, Karen L.

    2015-01-01

    The early life experiences of an organism have the potential to alter their developmental trajectories. Perhaps one of the most powerful influences during this period is the parent-offspring relationship. Previous work in several mammalian species has demonstrated that parental care in early life and specifically maternal behavior can influence several adult outcomes in offspring, including affiliative and aggressive behavior, parental behavior, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) functioning and risk of psychopathology. We have previously demonstrated that naturally occurring variation in the type and amount of care given to offspring in a biparental species, the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster), is related to social, anxiety-like, aggressive behaviors as well as HPA response to chronic and acute social stressors. Here we aim to determine the effects of early biparental care on HPA functioning and the interaction between early care and later reactivity to a forced swim test, an acute non-social stressor. Behavior during the swim test as well as several indicators of HPA activity, including plasma corticosterone (CORT), corticotropin releasing hormone immunoreactivity (CRH-ir), and vasopressin immunoreactivity (AVP-ir) were measured. Results here indicate an effect of early experience on AVP-ir but not CRH-ir or plasma CORT. There were no differences in CORT levels between high-contact (HC) and low-contact (LC) males or females for either control animals or after a swim stressor. CRH-ir was higher in the central amygdala following a swim test but was not influenced by early care. However, AVP-ir was not influenced by exposure to a swim stressor but was affected by early parental care in a sex-dependent manner. Female HC offspring had increased AVP-ir in the SON while HC male offspring had decreased AVP-ir in the PVN compared to their LC counterparts. The differential response of CRH and AVP to early experience and later stress, and the lack of an interaction

  17. Dimercaptopropane Sulfonate Chelation Affects In Vivo Hg and MeHg Distribution in Tissues and Urine of Prairie Voles (Microtus ochrogaster).

    PubMed

    Cobb, G P; Moore, A W; Rummel, K T; McMurry, S T

    2015-12-01

    Methyl mercury cation (MeHg(+)) and divalent mercury (Hg(2+)) were quantified in urine, liver, kidney, and brain of prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) during a 12 week exposure to aqueous MeHg(+) at concentrations of 10, 100, and 1000 ng MeHg(+)/mL. Aqueous MeHg(+) exposures increased mercury accumulation in tissues of voles from each exposure group. Accumulation was greater within the higher two exposure groups. Similar [Hg(2+)] and [MeHg(+)] were determined within a given organ type before and after 2,3-dimercapto-1-propane sulfonate (DMPS) chelation. Similar correlations were seen for Hg(2+) and MeHg(+) concentrations in pre and post chelation urine. Post chelation urine more reliably predicted mercury species concentrations in tissues than did urine collected before chelation. These data demonstrate the utility of DMPS in noninvasive assessment of wildlife exposure to mercury, which may have utility in evaluating meta-population level exposure to hazardous wastes.

  18. Sex differences, effects of male presence and coordination of nest visits in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) during the immediate postnatal period

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mcguire, B.; Parker, E.; Bemis, W.E.

    2007-01-01

    Little is known about sex differences in parental behavior of biparental mammals and if mates in such species coordinate care of young. We studied parental care displayed by prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) under seminatural laboratory conditions during the first 3 d of life of their offspring. Through direct observations and videotaping, we monitored members of male-female pairs to determine if sex differences in early parental behavior exist and if mothers and fathers coordinate visits to the nest. To assess the impact of fathers on survival of pups and behavior of mothers, we also examined parental care displayed by single females toward their young. Male and female members of breeding pairs differed dramatically in degree of parental care. Females spent more time in the nest with young and licked them more frequently than did males. Additionally, females maintained the nest more frequently than did males, whereas they maintained runways less frequently. Although coordination of visits to the nest was not perfect between members of pairs, pups of pairs were left alone for less time than were pups of single females. Parental behavior displayed by paired and single females did not differ, nor did survival of their young to day 3 or 15. We suggest that provision of ample space and cover to vole parents rearing young in captivity promotes expression of sex differences in parental behavior, but that even seminatural conditions are not sufficient to yield benefits of father presence to survival of young. Under more challenging conditions, such as cold temperatures or presence of predators, benefits of father presence might emerge.

  19. Ghrelin receptor (GHS-R1A) antagonism alters preference for ethanol and sucrose in a concentration-dependent manner in prairie voles.

    PubMed

    Stevenson, J R; Francomacaro, L M; Bohidar, A E; Young, K A; Pesarchick, B F; Buirkle, J M; McMahon, E K; O'Bryan, C M

    2016-03-01

    Ghrelin receptor (GHS-R1A) activity has been implicated in reward for preferred foods and drugs; however, a recent study in our laboratory indicated that GHS-R1A antagonism reduces early (after only four exposures) preference for 20% ethanol, but not 10% sucrose in prairie voles, a genetically diverse high alcohol-consuming species. The purpose of the present study was to determine if these effects of GHS-R1A antagonism depend on the concentration of the rewarding solution being consumed. We first characterized preference for varying concentrations of ethanol and sucrose. Two bottle tests of each ethanol concentration versus water indicated that 10% and 20% ethanol are less preferred than 3% ethanol, and a follow-up direct comparison of 10% vs. 20% showed that 10% was preferred over 20%. Direct two-bottle comparisons of 2% vs. 5%, 2% vs. 10%, and 5% vs. 10% sucrose showed that 10% sucrose was most preferred, and 2% sucrose was least preferred. The effects of JMV 2959, a GHS-R1A antagonist, on preference for each concentration of ethanol and sucrose were then tested. In a between groups design prairie voles were given four two-hour drinking sessions in which animals had access to ethanol (3, 10, or 20%) versus water, or sucrose (2, 5, or 10%) versus water every other day. Saline habituation injections were given 30 min before the third drinking session. JMV 2959 (i.p.; 9 mg/kg), a GHS-R1A antagonist, or saline was administered 30 min before the fourth drinking session. JMV 2959 reduced preference for 20% ethanol and 2% sucrose, but had no significant effect on preference for the other ethanol and sucrose concentrations. These data identify constraints on the role of GHS-R1A in early preference for ethanol and sucrose, and the concentration-dependent effects suggest strong preference for a reward may limit the importance of GHS-R1A activity.

  20. Sex steroids are necessary in the second postnatal week for the expression of male alloparental behavior in prairie voles (Microtus ochragaster).

    PubMed

    Kramer, Kristin M; Perry, Adam N; Golbin, Dina; Cushing, Bruce S

    2009-10-01

    Sex steroids play a significant role in organizing male social behavior, which is associated with low levels of pro-social behavior and high levels of aggression. However, the role of steroids in organizing behavior in highly social males is unclear. The authors tested the hypothesis that low levels of sex steroids facilitate the expression of pro-social behavior in male prairie voles (Microtus ochragaster), predicting that inhibition of testosterone and estradiol would reduce spontaneous-alloparental behavior. Treatment with the aromatase inhibitor 1,4,6-androstatriene-3,17-dione (ATD) or the androgen receptor blocker flutamide, days 8-14, significantly reduced the expression of alloparental behavior in 21-day old males. While both treatments reduced alloparental behavior and increased pup-directed aggression, there were differential treatment effects. Flutamide altered initial response, increasing latency to enter the pup cage and the likelihood of retreat from initial contact. ATD-treated males that were alloparental showed increases in sniffing and latencies to lick and huddle. Results indicate that endogenous steroids play a role in the development of male pro-social behavior and the effects of estrogens and androgens differ.

  1. The effect of area size and predation on the time to extinction of prairie vole populations. simulation studies via SERDYCA: a Spatially-Explicit Individual-Based Model of Rodent Dynamics

    SciTech Connect

    Kostova, T; Carlsen, T

    2003-11-21

    We present a spatially-explicit individual-based computational model of rodent dynamics, customized for the prairie vole species, M. Ochrogaster. The model is based on trophic relationships and represents important features such as territorial competition, mating behavior, density-dependent predation and dispersal out of the modeled spatial region. Vegetation growth and vole fecundity are dependent on climatic components. The results of simulations show that the model correctly predicts the overall temporal dynamics of the population density. Time-series analysis shows a very good match between the periods corresponding to the peak population density frequencies predicted by the model and the ones reported in the literature. The model is used to study the relation between persistence, landscape area and predation. We introduce the notions of average time to extinction (ATE) and persistence frequency to quantify persistence. While the ATE decreases with decrease of area, it is a bell-shaped function of the predation level: increasing for 'small' and decreasing for 'large' predation levels.

  2. On the quality of prairie-pothole wetlands for adult and juvenile waterfowl following aerial application of insecticides

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grue, C.E.; Tome, M.W.; Swanson, G.A.; Borthwick, S.M.; DeWeese, L.R.

    1990-01-01

    In 1987 the impact of aerial application of ethyl parathion to waterfowl on small prairie wetlands adjacent to sunflower fields in North Dakota was assessed by studying 5 fenced wetlands surrounded by sunflowers and 5 fenced controls. By 3 days post-spray, 4 of 104 ducklings released onto the wetlands were alive, compared to 52% of 105 control ducklings. Brain ChE activity was depressed > 50% in all but one of the 50 ducklings found dead post-spray. Survival of amphipods in enclosures within the contaminated wetlands was reduced for 25 days. Naturally-occurring broods on unfenced wetlands and free-living aquatic invertebrates in the fenced wetlands were also severely affected. The results suggest aerial application of insecticides may have significant direct and indirect impacts on the survival of adult and juvenile waterfowl within the prairie-pothole region.

  3. Distributions of oxytocin and vasopressin 1a receptors in the Taiwan vole and their role in social monogamy.

    PubMed

    Chappell, A R; Freeman, S M; Lin, Y K; LaPrairie, J L; Inoue, K; Young, L J; Hayes, L D

    2016-06-01

    Social monogamy is a mating strategy rarely employed by mammalian species. Laboratory studies in socially monogamous prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) demonstrate that oxytocin and vasopressin act within the mesolimbic dopamine pathway to facilitate pair-bond formation. Species differences in oxytocin receptor (OTR) and vasopressin 1a receptor (V1aR) distribution in this pathway are associated with species differences in mating strategy. Here we characterize the neuroanatomical distribution of OTR and V1aR binding sites in naturally occurring populations of Taiwan voles (M. kikuchii), which purportedly display social monogamy. Live trapping was conducted at two sites in 2009-2010 and receptor autoradiography for OTR and V1aR was performed on brains from 24 animals. OTR binding in two brain regions where OTR signaling regulates pair-bonding were directly compared with that of prairie voles. Our results show that like prairie voles, Taiwan voles exhibit OTR in the prefrontal cortex, insular cortex, claustrum, nucleus accumbens, caudate-putamen, dorsal lateral septal nucleus, central amygdala, and ventromedial hypothalamus. Unlike prairie voles, Taiwan voles exhibit OTR binding in the CA3 pathway of the hippocampus, as well as the indusium griseum, which has only previously been documented in tuco-tucos (Ctenomys haigi, C. sociabilis), Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) and naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber). V1aR binding was present in the ventral pallidum, lateral septum, nucleus basalis, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, hippocampus, medial amygdala, and anterior, ventromedial and dorsomedial hypothalamus. Marked individual differences in V1aR binding were noted in the cingulate cortex and several thalamic nuclei, remarkably similar to prairie voles. While pharmacological studies are needed to determine whether oxytocin and vasopressin are involved in pair-bond formation in this species, our results lay a foundation for future investigations into the

  4. The relationship of prenatal ethanol exposure and anxiety-related behaviors and central androgen receptor and vasopressin expression in adult male mandarin voles.

    PubMed

    He, F

    2014-04-25

    Prenatal exposure to ethanol has been shown to increase the risk of anxiety in offspring. Here, we tested the effect of prenatal ethanol exposure on adult male mandarin voles (Microtus mandarinus). We examined anxiety-like behavior in the open field and elevated plus-maze tests in males exposed to ethanol prenatally. One control group was not exposed to ethanol or saline, while another control group was exposed to saline. At the age of 90days, males were tested and levels of serum testosterone, androgen receptor immunoreactive neurons (AR-IRs) and arginine vasopressin immunoreactive neurons (AVP-IRs) were measured. Animals exposed to ethanol spent less time in the center of the chamber, covered less distance and conducted fewer crossings in the open-field test. These animals also spent less time and conducted fewer crossings in the open arms. However, they spent more time and made more entries in the closed arms, and traveled less total distance during the elevated plus-maze test, compared to the control voles. Serum T was lower in the ethanol group, and the AR-IR number in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), medial preoptic area (mPOA) and medial amygdaloid nucleus (MeA) was significantly lower. The number of AVP-IRs in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and supraoptic nucleus (SON) of the ethanol group was higher than that of the control groups. Our findings suggest that prenatal ethanol exposure may lead to reduced serum T levels, decreased AR and increased AVP in the CNS and result in the development of anxiety-like behaviors.

  5. Coastal Prairie

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    2000-01-01

    The coastal prairie, located along the coastal plain of southwestern Louisiana and southcentral Texas, is the southernmost tip of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem so prevalent in the Midwest. The coastal prairie ecosystem once covered as much as 3.8 million ha (9 million acres); today, more than 99% of this land has been lost to agriculture, range improvement, and urbanization. The remainder is highly fragmented and severely threatened by invasions of exotic species and urban sprawl. In Louisiana, the former 1 million ha of coastal prairie have now been reduced to about 100 ha. In Texas, only about 100,000 ha of coastal prairie remain intact.

  6. Prairie Stories

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robertson, Amy; Blake, Kathryn

    2011-01-01

    Stories read aloud or written by students help science come alive and engage students as active participants in their learning. Students gain a sense of place by learning about their local ecosystem by listening to stories read aloud, doing prairie-related activities, and writing stories of their own. This article describes a prairie unit that…

  7. Small mammal community composition in cornfields, roadside ditches, and prairies in eastern Nebraska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kirsch, E.M.

    1997-01-01

    Community composition of small mammals was examined in prairies, cornfields, and their adjacent roadside ditches in eastern Nebraska. Western harvest mice (Reithrodontomys megalotis) and meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) were associated with prairie habitat, were common in ditches, but avoided cornfields. Prairie voles (M. Ochrogaster) and white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) were associated with ditch habitat, were common in prairies, but avoided cornfields. Short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda) avoided cornfields, were associated with ditches next to cornfields, but were common in prairies and ditches next to prairies. Deer mice (P. Maniculatus) were associated with cornfields but were relatively common in prairies and ditches. House mice (Mus musculus) were most common in ditches next to cornfields, occurred in cornfields and ditches next to prairies, but were not captured in prairies. Although community composition appears to differ among prairies, ditches, and cornfields, ditches support a more complete suite of the native small mammal species in large and relatively even numbers, whereas cornfields only support deer mice in large numbers.

  8. Neonatal tactile stimulation alleviates the negative effects of neonatal isolation on novel object recognition, sociability and neuroendocrine levels in male adult mandarin voles (Microtus mandarinus).

    PubMed

    Wei, Bin; Tai, Fadao; Liu, Xiao; Ma, Leige; Yang, Xiangping; Jia, Rui; Zhang, Xia

    2013-03-15

    Neonatal isolation results in long-lasting negative alterations to the brain and behavior. Some of these changes include effects on non-spatial learning and memory, sociability and neuroendocrine levels. Theoretically, neonatal tactile stimulation should reverse the impacts of neonatal isolation; however, this remains unknown for changes relating to learning, memory, sociability and hormones in social animals. Using socially monogamous mandarin voles (Microtus mandarinus), the long-lasting effects of these early manipulations on anxiety-like behavior, novel object recognition, sociability, and neuroendocrine levels were investigated. Compared with neonatal-isolated males, males subjected to the same manipulation but accompanied with tactile stimulation had heavier body weights across PND4-18 and displayed significantly less anxiety-like behavior in an open field test. In addition, tactile stimulation increased the preference index for novel object recognition reduced by neonatal isolation. Compared with control males, neonatal-isolated males engaged in less body contact with unfamiliar same-sex individuals and this effect was reversed by neonatal tactile stimulation. Tactile stimulation enhanced aggressive behavior in neonatal-isolated males and increased the levels of AVP and OT in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) which were decreased by neonatal isolation. This early manipulation also reduced serum CORT levels that were significantly up-regulated by neonatal isolation in both neonatal and adult offspring. These results indicate that adequate tactile stimulation in early life plays an important role in the prevention of behavioral disturbances induced by neonatal isolation, possibly through the alteration of central OT, AVP and the serum corticosterone levels.

  9. Age affects over-marking of opposite-sex scent marks in meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus

    PubMed Central

    Ferkin, Michael H.

    2010-01-01

    Models of age-related effects on behavior predict that among short-lived species younger adults are more attractive and attracted to opposite-sex conspecifics than are older adults, whereas the converse is predicted for long-lived species. Although most studies of age-related effects on behavior support these predictions, they are not supported by many studies of scent marking, a behavior used in mate attraction. Over-marking, a form of scent marking, is a tactic used by many terrestrial mammals to convey information about themselves to opposite-sex conspecifics. The present study tested the hypothesis that the age of meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus; a microtine rodent, affects their over- and scent marking behaviors when they encounter the marks of opposite-sex conspecifics. Sex differences existed in the over-marking behavior of adult voles among the three different age groups that were tested. Male voles that were 5-7 mo-old and 10-12 mo-old over-marked a higher proportion of the marks of females than did 2-3 mo-old male voles. Female voles that were 2-3 mo-old, 5-7 mo-old, and 10-12 mo-old over-marked a similar number of marks deposited by male voles. Overall, the data were not consistent with models predicting the behavior of short-lived animals such as rodents when they encounter the opposite sex. The differences in over-marking displayed by older and younger adult male voles may be associated with life history tradeoffs, the likelihood that they will encounter sexually receptive females, and being selected as mates. PMID:20607141

  10. The Prairie Schoolhouse.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Campbell, John Martin

    This book documents the history of the prairie schoolhouse through text and photographs. The prairie schoolhouse was a product of the Western Homestead Era, those years beginning late in the 19th century when the federally owned grass prairies east of the Rockies and the sagebrush country of the interior Northwest were opened to farming.…

  11. Individual growth rates in natural field vole, Microtus agrestis, populations exhibiting cyclic population dynamics.

    PubMed

    Burthe, Sarah Janette; Lambin, Xavier; Telfer, Sandra; Douglas, Alex; Beldomenico, Pablo; Smith, Andrew; Begon, Michael

    2010-03-01

    Rodents that have multi-annual cycles of density are known to have flexible growth strategies, and the "Chitty effect", whereby adults in the high-density phase of the cycle exhibit larger average body mass than during the low phase, is a well-documented feature of cyclic populations. Despite this, there have been no studies that have repeatedly monitored individual vole growth over time from all phases of a density cycle, in order to evaluate whether such variation in body size is due to differences in juvenile growth rates, differences in growth periods, or differential survival of particularly large or small voles. This study compares growth trajectories from voles during the peak, increase and crash phases of the cycle in order to evaluate whether voles are exhibiting fast or slow growth strategies. We found that although voles reach highest asymptotic weights in the peak phase and lowest asymptotes during the crash, initial growth rates were not significantly different. This suggests that voles attain larger body size during the peak phase as a result of growing for longer.

  12. Travelling waves in vole population dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ranta, Esa; Kaitala, Veijo

    1997-12-01

    Spatial self-organization patterns in population dynamics have been anticipated, but demonstrating their existence requires sampling over long periods of time at a range of sites. Voles cause severe economic damage and are therefore extensively monitored, providing a source of the required data. Using two long-term data sets we now report the existence of travelling waves in vole population numbers.

  13. Habitat fragmentation, vole population fluctuations, and the ROMPA hypothesis: An experimental test using model landscapes.

    PubMed

    Batzli, George O

    2016-11-01

    Increased habitat fragmentation leads to smaller size of habitat patches and to greater distance between patches. The ROMPA hypothesis (ratio of optimal to marginal patch area) uniquely links vole population fluctuations to the composition of the landscape. It states that as ROMPA decreases (fragmentation increases), vole population fluctuations will increase (including the tendency to display multi-annual cycles in abundance) because decreased proportions of optimal habitat result in greater population declines and longer recovery time after a harsh season. To date, only comparative observations in the field have supported the hypothesis. This paper reports the results of the first experimental test. I used prairie voles, Microtus ochrogaster, and mowed grassland to create model landscapes with 3 levels of ROMPA (high with 25% mowed, medium with 50% mowed and low with 75% mowed). As ROMPA decreased, distances between patches of favorable habitat (high cover) increased owing to a greater proportion of unfavorable (mowed) habitat. Results from the first year with intensive live trapping indicated that the preconditions for operation of the hypothesis existed (inversely density dependent emigration and, as ROMPA decreased, increased per capita mortality and decreased per capita movement between optimal patches). Nevertheless, contrary to the prediction of the hypothesis that populations in landscapes with high ROMPA should have the lowest variability, 5 years of trapping indicated that variability was lowest with medium ROMPA. The design of field experiments may never be perfect, but these results indicate that the ROMPA hypothesis needs further rigorous testing.

  14. Investigating the Tallgrass Prairie

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Burns, Marcia V.; Chi, Sojin Y.; Hertzog, Nancy B.

    2008-01-01

    This article describes an investigation of a tallgrass prairie undertaken by 3- through 7-year-old children in a preschool and a combined kindergarten/first-grade classroom at a Midwestern university. The teaching teams were curious about how these two age groups would explore their questions about the prairie--how their questions would differ by…

  15. Prairie Stamp Activity Guide.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Blanchard, Fran; Hoofnagle, Sara Griffen

    The North American prairie ecosystem is unique. Comprised of tall grass, mixed grass, and shortgrass communities, the acreage this ecosystem once covered is incredible 400 million acres (pre-settlement times), accounting for 40% of North America's landscape. Prairies are home to a great diversity of animal life, such as cottontail rabbits,…

  16. Restoring the prairie

    SciTech Connect

    Mlot, C.

    1990-12-01

    The US DOE at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, prairie restoration is taking place in order to conserve the rich topsoil. This is the largest of many prairie restoration experiments. Big bluestem grass (Andropogon gerardi), blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), and buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) are the main initial grasses grown. After their growth reaches enough biomass to sustain a fire, other prairie plants such as purple prairie clover and dropseed grass appear. The goal of this is to provide a generous refuge for disappearing native plants and animals, a site for scientific research, and a storehouse of genes adapted to a region that produces much of the worlds food. Plans for restoring the marsh and oak savanna, also native to the Fermilab site are also in the works.

  17. Life on the Iowa Prairies.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Swaim, Ginalie, Ed.

    1985-01-01

    A theme issue of the Iowa State Historical Department magazine ("The Goldfinch") focuses on elementary readings and activities about Iowa prairie life. A total of 13 articles is included. In "History Makers," eight letters recount student and teacher prairie experiences. "The Prairie: Problems or Paradise?" recounts…

  18. Experimental infection of meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) with sheep scrapie

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carlson, CM; Schneider, Jay R.; Pedersen, Janice C.; Heisey, Dennis M.; Johnson, Christopher J.

    2015-01-01

    Meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) are permissive to chronic wasting disease (CWD) infection, but their susceptibility to other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) is poorly characterized. In this initial study, we intracerebrally challenged 6 meadow voles with 2 isolates of sheep scrapie. Three meadow voles acquired a TSE after the scrapie challenge and an extended incubation period. The glycoform profile of proteinase K-resistant prion protein (PrP(res)) in scrapie-sick voles remained similar to the sheep inocula, but differed from that of voles clinically affected by CWD. Vacuolization patterns and disease-associated prion protein (PrP(Sc)) deposition were generally similar in all scrapie-affected voles, except in the hippocampus, where PrP(Sc) staining varied markedly among the animals. Our results demonstrate that meadow voles can acquire a TSE after intracerebral scrapie challenge and that this species could therefore prove useful for characterizing scrapie isolates.

  19. Experimental infection of meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) with sheep scrapie

    PubMed Central

    Carlson, Christina M.; Schneider, Jay R.; Pedersen, Joel A.; Heisey, Dennis M.; Johnson, Christopher J.

    2015-01-01

    Meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) are permissive to chronic wasting disease (CWD) infection, but their susceptibility to other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) is poorly characterized. In this initial study, we intracerebrally challenged 6 meadow voles with 2 isolates of sheep scrapie. Three meadow voles acquired a TSE after the scrapie challenge and an extended incubation period. The glycoform profile of proteinase K-resistant prion protein (PrPres) in scrapie-sick voles remained similar to the sheep inocula, but differed from that of voles clinically affected by CWD. Vacuolization patterns and disease-associated prion protein (PrPSc) deposition were generally similar in all scrapie-affected voles, except in the hippocampus, where PrPSc staining varied markedly among the animals. Our results demonstrate that meadow voles can acquire a TSE after intracerebral scrapie challenge and that this species could therefore prove useful for characterizing scrapie isolates. PMID:25673912

  20. Experimental infection of meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) with sheep scrapie.

    PubMed

    Carlson, Christina M; Schneider, Jay R; Pedersen, Joel A; Heisey, Dennis M; Johnson, Christopher J

    2015-01-01

    Meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) are permissive to chronic wasting disease (CWD) infection, but their susceptibility to other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) is poorly characterized. In this initial study, we intracerebrally challenged 6 meadow voles with 2 isolates of sheep scrapie. Three meadow voles acquired a TSE after the scrapie challenge and an extended incubation period. The glycoform profile of proteinase K-resistant prion protein (PrP(res)) in scrapie-sick voles remained similar to the sheep inocula, but differed from that of voles clinically affected by CWD. Vacuolization patterns and disease-associated prion protein (PrP(Sc)) deposition were generally similar in all scrapie-affected voles, except in the hippocampus, where PrP(Sc) staining varied markedly among the animals. Our results demonstrate that meadow voles can acquire a TSE after intracerebral scrapie challenge and that this species could therefore prove useful for characterizing scrapie isolates.

  1. Transfer coefficient of 226Ra from vegetation to meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus, on U mill tailings

    SciTech Connect

    Cloutier, N.R.; Clulow, F.V.; Lim, T.P.; Dave, N.K.

    1986-06-01

    The 226Ra level in vegetation growing on U mine tailings in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada, was 211 + 22 mBq g-1 (dry weight) compared to less than 7 mBq g-1 (dry weight) in material from a control site. Skeletons of meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) established on the tailings had concentrations of 226Ra of 6083 +/- 673 mBq per animal in winter; 7163 +/- 1077 mBq per animal in spring; 1506 +/- 625 mBq per animal in summer; and 703 +/- 59 mBq per animal in fall, compared to less than 7 mBq per animal in controls. The /sup 226/Ra transfer coefficient from vegetation to voles (defined as total millibecquerels of /sup 226/Ra in adult vole per total millibecquerels of 226Ra consumed by the vole in its lifetime) was calculated as 4.6 +/- 2.9 X 10(-2) in summer and 2.8 +/- 0.6 X 10(-2) in fall.

  2. Transfer coefficient of 226Ra from vegetation to meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus, on U mill tailings.

    PubMed

    Cloutier, N R; Clulow, F V; Lim, T P; Davé, N K

    1986-06-01

    The 226Ra level in vegetation growing on U mine tailings in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada, was 211 + 22 mBq g-1 (dry weight) compared to less than 7 mBq g-1 (dry weight) in material from a control site. Skeletons of meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) established on the tailings had concentrations of 226Ra of 6,083 +/- 673 mBq per animal in winter; 7,163 +/- 1,077 mBq per animal in spring; 1,506 +/- 625 mBq per animal in summer; and 703 +/- 59 mBq per animal in fall, compared to less than 7 mBq per animal in controls. The 226Ra transfer coefficient from vegetation to voles (defined as total millibecquerels of 226Ra in adult vole per total millibecquerels of 226Ra consumed by the vole in its lifetime) was calculated as 4.6 +/- 2.9 X 10(-2) in summer and 2.8 +/- 0.6 X 10(-2) in fall.

  3. Puumala Virus in Bank Voles, Lithuania.

    PubMed

    Straková, Petra; Jagdmann, Sandra; Balčiauskas, Linas; Balčiauskienė, Laima; Drewes, Stephan; Ulrich, Rainer G

    2017-01-01

    Little is known about the presence of human pathogenic Puumala virus (PUUV) in Lithuania. We detected this virus in bank voles (Myodes glareolus) in a region of this country in which previously PUUV-seropositive humans were identified. Our results are consistent with heterogeneous distributions of PUUV in other countries in Europe.

  4. Puumala Virus in Bank Voles, Lithuania

    PubMed Central

    Straková, Petra; Jagdmann, Sandra; Balčiauskas, Linas; Balčiauskienė, Laima; Drewes, Stephan

    2017-01-01

    Little is known about the presence of human pathogenic Puumala virus (PUUV) in Lithuania. We detected this virus in bank voles (Myodes glareolus) in a region of this country in which previously PUUV-seropositive humans were identified. Our results are consistent with heterogeneous distributions of PUUV in other countries in Europe. PMID:27983939

  5. Taxonomic relationships among Phenacomys voles as inferred by cytochrome b

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bellinger, M.R.; Haig, S.M.; Forsman, E.D.; Mullins, T.D.

    2005-01-01

    Taxonomic relationships among red tree voles (Phenacomys longicaudus longicaudus, P. l. silvicola), the Sonoma tree vole (P. pomo), the white-footed vole (P. albipes), and the heather vole (P. intermedius) were examined using 664 base pairs of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Results indicate specific differences among red tree voles, Sonoma tree voles, white-footed voles, and heather voles, but no clear difference between the 2 Oregon subspecies of red tree voles (P. l. longicaudus and P. l. silvicola). Our data further indicated a close relationship between tree voles and albipes, validating inclusion of albipes in the subgenus Arborimus. These 3 congeners shared a closer relationship to P. intermedius than to other arvicolids. A moderate association between porno and albipes was indicated by maximum parsimony and neighbor-joining phylogenetic analyses. Molecular clock estimates suggest a Pleistocene radiation of the Arborimus clade, which is concordant with pulses of diversification observed in other murid rodents. The generic rank of Arborimus is subject to interpretation of data.

  6. Rural Prairie Women.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Conrad, Kari

    "Rural Prairie Women" contains the work of two task forces: the Rural Social Work Task Force which looked at the forces active in North Dakota rural areas and the Rural Women Task Force which examined the position of women within those same rural communities. The relationship between the land, small towns, and sparse population is…

  7. Influence of Reproductive Status: Home Range Size in Water Voles (Arvicola amphibius)

    PubMed Central

    Frafjord, Karl

    2016-01-01

    The relationship between home range and reproductive status of water voles (Arvicola amphibius) was studied by radio-tracking on an island off the coast of northern Norway in 2006–2009. The aim was to test assumptions about the species’ social structure relative to other microtines. Juveniles used fairly small ranges (about 400 m²), with no difference between males and females. Subadults, overwintered voles in April, had ranges similar to juveniles. Reproductively active males (mean 2774.0 m²) increased their range seven-fold relative to juvenile males, with ranges on average 3.3 times larger than adult females (mean 848.3 m²), which also expanded their range. Most litters were born in May and June, and as reproduction ceased in July adult males reduced their range whilst females did not. Body mass or year did not influence home range size. Overlap of home ranges varied, but could be extensive in both adult males and females. The water vole had a social structure similar to some Microtus species, but females appeared to be non-territorial and males perhaps conditioned territorial and non-territorial. PMID:27115881

  8. Barn Owl Productivity Response to Variability of Vole Populations

    PubMed Central

    Pavluvčík, Petr; Poprach, Karel; Machar, Ivo; Losík, Jan; Gouveia, Ana; Tkadlec, Emil

    2015-01-01

    We studied the response of the barn owl annual productivity to the common vole population numbers and variability to test the effects of environmental stochasticity on their life histories. Current theory predicts that temporal environmental variability can affect long-term nonlinear responses (e.g., production of young) both positively and negatively, depending on the shape of the relationship between the response and environmental variables. At the level of the Czech Republic, we examined the shape of the relationship between the annual sum of fledglings (annual productivity) and vole numbers in both non-detrended and detrended data. At the districts’ level, we explored whether the degree of synchrony (measured by the correlation coefficient) and the strength of the productivity response increase (measured by the regression coefficient) in areas with higher vole population variability measured by the s-index. We found that the owls’ annual productivity increased linearly with vole numbers in the Czech Republic. Furthermore, based on district data, we also found that synchrony between dynamics in owls’ reproductive output and vole numbers increased with vole population variability. However, the strength of the response was not affected by the vole population variability. Additionally, we have shown that detrending remarkably increases the Taylor’s exponent b relating variance to mean in vole time series, thereby reversing the relationship between the coefficient of variation and the mean. This shift was not responsible for the increased synchrony with vole population variability. Instead, we suggest that higher synchrony could result from high food specialization of owls on the common vole in areas with highly fluctuating vole populations. PMID:26709518

  9. Vole and lemming activity observed from space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olofsson, Johan; Tømmervik, Hans; Callaghan, Terry V.

    2012-12-01

    Predicting the impacts of present global warming requires an understanding of the factors controlling plant biomass and production. The extent to which they are controlled by bottom-up drivers such as climate, nutrient and water availability, and by top-down drivers such as herbivory and diseases in terrestrial systems is still under debate. By annually recording plant biomass and community composition in grazed control plots and in herbivore-free exclosures, at 12 sites in a subArctic ecosystem, we were able to show that the regular interannual density fluctuations of voles and lemmings drive synchronous interannual fluctuations in the biomass of field-layer vegetation. Plant biomass in the field layer was between 12 and 24% lower the year after a vole peak than the year before, and the combined vole and lemming peaks are visible as a reduced normalized difference vegetation index in satellite images over a 770km2 area in the following year, despite the wide range of abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic forces that influence the vegetation. This strongly suggests that the cascading effect of rodents for the function and diversity of tundra plant communities needs to be included in our scenarios of how these ecosystems will respond to environmental changes.

  10. The Schoolhouse at Prairie View.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barber, Marshall A.

    Written in 1953, this book presents the reminiscences of a renowned scientist about his early education in a one-room school at Prairie View, Kansas, during the 1870s and 1880s. The first chapter records early memories of the road to school, and describes the community of Anglo and German farmers served by Prairie View. Other chapters describe…

  11. Prairie Restoration for Wisconsin Schools.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Murray, Molly Fifield; Greenler, Robin McC.

    This packet is composed of several resources for teachers interested in prairie ecology and restoration. "A Guide to Restoration from Site Analysis to Management" focuses on the Prairie/Oak Savanna communities of Wisconsin and takes teachers through the planning and design process for a restoration project on school grounds including…

  12. Does Gray-Tailed Vole Activity Affect Soil Quality?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Voles are well-known crop pests, especially when peak populations are present, but their role in soil fertility and impacts on agricultural sustainability are not well understood. Five months after the abrupt disappearance of a peak in a gray-tailed vole (Microtus canicaudus) population, we examined...

  13. Morphological characterisation of Paranoplocephala bairdi (Schad, 1954) (Cestoda: Anoplocephalidae) in heather voles Phenacomys spp. and tree voles Arborimus spp., and related species in voles and lemmings (Muridae: Arvicolinae).

    PubMed

    Haukisalmi, Voitto; Rausch, Robert L; Henttonen, Heikki

    2005-11-01

    The taxonomical status of Paranoplocephala bairdi (Schad, 1954)-like cestodes (Anoplocephalidae) in heather voles Phenacomys spp. and tree voles Arborimus spp. (Muridae: Arvicolinae) and their discrimination from five related species of Paranoplocephala is assessed using uni- and multivariate morphometrics. The analyses support the independent status and conspecificity of specimens from Phenacomys spp. and Arborimus spp., and P. bairdi is therefore suggested to be a host-specialist species of heather and tree voles with a wide geographical distribution in North America. A redescription is presented for P. bairdi.

  14. Are water vole resistant to anticoagulant rodenticides following field treatments?

    PubMed

    Vein, Julie; Grandemange, Agnès; Cosson, Jean-François; Benoit, Etienne; Berny, Philippe J

    2011-08-01

    The anti-vitamin Ks (AVKs) are widely used to control rodent populations. They inhibit Vitamin K regeneration by the Vitamin K Epoxide Reductase (VKOR) and cause a fatal hemorrhagic syndrome. Because of repeated use, some populations of commensal rodents have expressed resistance to these compounds. In Franche-Comté (France), the water vole exhibits cyclic population outbreaks. A second generation AVK, bromadiolone, has been used for the last 20 years to control vole populations. The aim of this study is to determine whether these repeated treatments could have led to the development of resistance to AVKs in water vole populations. We conducted enzymatic and genetic studies on water voles trapped in treated and non treated plot. The results indicate that voles from the most heavily treated area exhibit enzymatic changes in VKOR activity hence arguing for resistance to AVKs and that an intronic haplotype on the vkorc1 gene seems to be associated with these enzymatic changes.

  15. Effects of environmental complexity and temporary captivity on foraging behavior of wild-caught meadow voles.

    PubMed

    Kozuch, Amaranta E; McPhee, M Elsbeth

    2014-01-01

    Increased housing of wild nonhuman animals in captivity for conservation, research, and rehabilitation has revealed the importance of systematically analyzing effects of the captive environment on behavior. This study focused on the effects of complexity and time held in captivity on foraging behaviors of wild-caught, adult meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus). Forty-six individuals captured from a meadow outside Oshkosh, WI, were assigned to 1 of 4 captive treatment groups: simple/<50 days (SS), simple/>50 days, complex/<50 days, and complex/>50 days. Number of dish visits, proportion foraging, and frequency of nonforaging behaviors recorded during a 15-min foraging trial were measured for all subjects. Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U Tests were conducted to analyze 4 different comparisons within this behavioral data. Overall, neither time in captivity or environmental complexity affected nonforaging behaviors. In contrast, foraging behaviors did change with treatment: Voles were less active at food dishes and visited control dishes more in treatment group SS than in the other treatment groups. In addition, sex-related differences in foraging behaviors were maintained when voles were exposed to environmental complexity. This article includes options for wildlife managers to adapt captive environments to meet the welfare and behavioral needs of translocated wild nonhuman mammals.

  16. Regional Availability of Plants for Prairie Restoration

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-04-01

    limited on Corps land, a ERDC TN-EMRRP-SI-31 April 2007 6 recent study (Cully et al. 2003) indicated that small fragments of tallgrass prairie ...replicated a 110-acre prairie planted with an array of grasses and wildflowers to show visitors how the prairie in this area appeared historically. Despite...its limited size, a variety of native grasses and prairie wildflowers provide year-round color and give visitors a glimpse at the beauty the prairie

  17. Female host sex-biased parasitism with the rodent stomach nematode Mastophorus muris in wild bank voles (Myodes glareolus).

    PubMed

    Grzybek, Maciej; Bajer, Anna; Behnke-Borowczyk, Jolanta; Al-Sarraf, Mohammed; Behnke, Jerzy M

    2015-02-01

    Abundance and prevalence of helminth infections often differ between host sexes, and are usually biased in favor of males. Relatively few cases of female-biased parasitism have been reported. We sampled bank voles in three woodland sites in N.E. Poland over 11 years at 3-4-year intervals, and assessed their parasite burdens. Prevalence and abundance of the stomach nematode Mastophorus muris were consistently higher among females. Among adult female bank voles from the two sites that showed the highest prevalence with M. muris, both prevalence and abundance were significantly higher in lactating bank voles, but not pregnant animals, and the effect of lactation was evident in both sites, in all four surveys, and in both age classes. Although the magnitude of the effect of lactation varied between years, it was not confounded by any significant interactions with other factors. We hypothesize that mature and reproductively active female bank voles are subject to higher exposure compared with males of similar age, as a consequence of the increased content of invertebrates in their diet, including the intermediate hosts of M. muris, required to meet the higher increased energy and protein demands of nursing litters throughout the summer months.

  18. Systematics of snow voles (Chionomys, Arvicolinae) revisited.

    PubMed

    Yannic, Glenn; Burri, Reto; Malikov, Vladimir G; Vogel, Peter

    2012-03-01

    To elucidate the evolutionary history of snow voles, genus Chionomys, we studied the phylogeography of Chionomysnivalis across its range and investigated its relationships with two congeneric species, Chionomysgud and Chionomysroberti, using independent molecular markers. Analyses were based on mitochondrial (~940 bp cyt b) and Y-chromosomal (~2020 bp from three introns) genetic variation. Our data provide conclusive evidence for a Caucasian and Middle Eastern origin for the three species and a subsequent westward expansion of C.nivalis. In addition, we discuss the taxonomic status of the genus Chionomys in relation to the genus Microtus.

  19. Chromosomal evolution of Arvicolinae (Cricetidae, Rodentia). I. The genome homology of tundra vole, field vole, mouse and golden hamster revealed by comparative chromosome painting.

    PubMed

    Sitnikova, Natalia A; Romanenko, Svetlana A; O'Brien, Patricia C M; Perelman, Polina L; Fu, Beiyuan; Rubtsova, Nadezhda V; Serdukova, Natalya A; Golenishchev, Feodor N; Trifonov, Vladimir A; Ferguson-Smith, Malcolm A; Yang, Fengtang; Graphodatsky, Alexander S

    2007-01-01

    Cross-species chromosome painting has become the mainstay of comparative cytogenetic and chromosome evolution studies. Here we have made a set of chromosomal painting probes for the field vole (Microtus agrestis) by DOP-PCR amplification of flow-sorted chromosomes. Together with painting probes of golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) and mouse (Mus musculus), the field vole probes have been hybridized onto the metaphases of the tundra vole (Microtus oeconomus). A comparative chromosome map between these two voles, golden hamster and mouse has been established based on the results of cross-species chromosome painting and G-banding comparisons. The sets of paints from the field vole, golden hamster and mouse identified a total of 27, 40 and 47 homologous autosomal regions, respectively, in the genome of tundra vole; 16, 41 and 51 fusion/fission rearrangements differentiate the karyotype of the tundra vole from the karyotypes of the field vole, golden hamster and mouse, respectively.

  20. Development of hyperglycemia and diabetes in captive Polish bank voles.

    PubMed

    Bartelik, Aleksandra; Ciesla, Maciej; Kotlinowski, Jerzy; Bartelik, Stanislaw; Czaplicki, Dominik; Grochot-Przeczek, Anna; Kurowski, Krzysztof; Koteja, Paweł; Dulak, Jozef; Józkowicz, Alicja

    2013-03-01

    Diabetes has been detected in Danish and Swedish bank voles (Myodes glareolus). There are no data, however, concerning the prevalence of diabetes in populations from other geographic regions. We investigated the frequency and physiological effects of glucose metabolism disorders in captive bank voles from Poland. Single measurement of fasting blood glucose concentration performed in the 3-4month old captive-born bank Polish voles without any disease symptoms showed that 8% of individuals (22/284) displayed an impaired fasting glucose (IFG, blood glucose (BG) ≥100mg/dL) and 1% (4/284) showed hyperglycemia (BG ≥126mg/dL) which could suggest diabetes. Next, we analyzed blood glucose in samples taken once a month from an additional cohort of bank voles with (FHD), or without (H), a family history of diabetes. The prevalence of IFG at age six months was 26% (16/62) among bank voles from the H group. In the FHD group the prevalence increased to 49% (43/88), and additional 12% (11/88) became diabetic (DB, BG ≥126mg/dL at two time points). Postnatal stress (three maternal deprivations before weaning) did not affect the risk of developing IFG or DB in H voles, but significantly reduced the frequency of glucose metabolism disorders (IFG and DB combined) in FHD voles. IFG was associated with hyperinsulinemia, but not with other biochemical disturbances. Diabetic animals displayed a progressive malformation and vacuolization of β-cells in the pancreas, without visible leukocytic infiltrations. In summary, our results indicate that Polish captive bank voles can develop diabetes, which shows features of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in humans. Risk of diabetes is higher in animal with FHD.

  1. Silicon-based plant defences, tooth wear and voles.

    PubMed

    Calandra, Ivan; Zub, Karol; Szafrańska, Paulina A; Zalewski, Andrzej; Merceron, Gildas

    2016-02-01

    Plant-herbivore interactions are hypothesized to drive vole population cycles through the grazing-induced production of phytoliths in leaves. Phytoliths act as mechanical defences because they deter herbivory and lower growth rates in mammals. However, how phytoliths impair herbivore performance is still unknown. Here, we tested whether the amount of phytoliths changes tooth wear patterns. If confirmed, abrasion from phytoliths could play a role in population crashes. We applied dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) to laboratory and wild voles. Lab voles were fed two pelleted diets with differing amounts of silicon, which produced similar dental textures. This was most probably due to the loss of food mechanical properties through pelletization and/or the small difference in silicon concentration between diets. Wild voles were trapped in Poland during spring and summer, and every year across a population cycle. In spring, voles feed on silica-rich monocotyledons, while in the summer they also include silica-depleted dicotyledons. This was reflected in the results; the amount of silica therefore leaves a traceable record in the dental microwear texture of voles. Furthermore, voles from different phases of population cycles have different microwear textures. We tentatively propose that these differences result from grazing-induced phytolith concentrations. We hypothesize that the high amount of phytoliths in response to intense grazing in peak years may result in malocclusion and other dental abnormalities, which would explain how these silicon-based plant defences help provoke population crashes. DMTA could then be used to reconstruct vole population dynamics using teeth from pellets or palaeontological material.

  2. Hydrologic functions of prairie wetlands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    LaBaugh, J.W.; Winter, T.C.; Rosenberry, D.O.

    1998-01-01

    Wetlands in the prairie known as potholes or sloughs represent an ever-changing mosaic of surface waters interacting with the atmosphere, groundwater, and each other in a variety of ways. Studies of groups of adjacent wetlands in different parts of the glaciated North American prairie have enabled some connections to be made between hydrologic processes, biological communities, and use of these wetlands by wetland-dependent wildlife. Understanding controls on variability in water levels, water volume, and salinity in these wetlands sets the stage for understanding controls on biological communities utilizing these wetlands. The role that natural variability in water and salinity plays in making these wetlands an important resource for waterfowl will provide an important context for those who are responsible for artificially altering the variability of water and salinity in prairie wetlands.

  3. A plague epizootic in the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus).

    PubMed

    Pauli, Jonathan N; Buskirk, Steven W; Williams, Elizabeth S; Edwards, William H

    2006-01-01

    Plague is the primary cause for the rangewide decline in prairie dog (Cynomys spp.) distribution and abundance, yet our knowledge of plague dynamics in prairie dog populations is limited. Our understanding of the effects of plague on the most widespread species, the black-tailed prairie dog (C. ludovicianus), is particularly weak. During a study on the population biology of black-tailed prairie dogs in Wyoming, USA, plague was detected in a colony under intensive monitoring, providing a unique opportunity to quantify various consequences of plague. The epizootic reduced juvenile abundance by 96% and adult abundance by 95%. Of the survivors, eight of nine adults and one of eight juveniles developed antibodies to Yersinia pestis. Demographic groups appeared equally susceptible to infection, and age structure was unaffected. Survivors occupied three small coteries and exhibited improved body condition, but increased flea infestation compared to a neighboring, uninfected colony. Black-tailed prairie dogs are capable of surviving a plague epizootic and reorganizing into apparently functional coteries. Surviving prairie dogs may be critical in the repopulation of plague-decimated colonies and, ultimately, the evolution of plague resistance.

  4. Profitable prairie restoration: The EcoSun Prairie Farm experiment

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Concerns about ongoing conversion of grassland to cropland in the northern Great Plains, and effects on wildlife populations, and soil and water quality prompted a South Dakota group to search for agricultural practices that would balance environmental concerns with farm economics. EcoSun Prairie Fa...

  5. Multiple paternities increase genetic diversity of offspring in Brandt's voles.

    PubMed

    Huo, Ying-jun; Wan, Xin-rong; Wolff, Jerry O; Wang, Guiming; Thomas, Shawn; Iglay, Raymond B; Leopold, Bruce D; Liu, Wei

    2010-07-01

    Mating system and philopatry influence the genetic structure of a social group in mammals. Brandt's vole (Lasiopodomys brandtii) lives in social groups year-round and has male biased dispersal, which makes the vole a model system for studies of genetic consequences of mating system and philopatry. This study aimed to test the hypotheses that: (1) multiple paternity (MP) would exist in Brandt's voles, enhance offspring genetic diversity and reduce genetic relatedness between littermates; (2) promiscuity would occur in this species in that males and females mate with multiple partners; and (3) plural breeders of a social group would be genetically related because of philopatry of female juveniles in Brandt's voles. Paternity analysis indicated that MP occurred in 11 (46%) of 24 social groups examined and that promiscuity existed in this species. Multiple paternity litters had twice the offspring genetic diversity and half the average within-litter genetic relatedness of single paternity litters. We also found plural breeding females in six social groups. Average pairwise genetic relatedness of plural breeders ranged from 0.41 to 0.72 in four social groups, suggesting first-order kinship. Future studies need to investigate effects of reproductive skew and MP on population genetic structure of Brandt's voles.

  6. Mycobacterium microti Infection (Vole Tuberculosis) in Wild Rodent Populations

    PubMed Central

    Cavanagh, Rachel; Begon, Michael; Bennett, Malcolm; Ergon, Torbjørn; Graham, Isla M.; de Haas, Petra E. W.; Hart, C. A.; Koedam, Marianne; Kremer, Kristin; Lambin, Xavier; Roholl, Paul; Soolingen, Dick van

    2002-01-01

    Mycobacterium microti (vole tuberculosis) infections in small wild mammals were first described more than 60 years ago in several populations in Great Britain. Few studies of vole tuberculosis have been undertaken since then, and little is known about the relationship between M. microti isolates originating from different populations or at different times or of the prevalence of this infection in wild rodent populations, despite human cases of M. microti infections being increasingly reported. In this study, field voles (Microtus agrestis), bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus), and wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) were found to be infected, with up to 8% having external tuberculous signs, in wild populations in Northumberland and Cheshire, England. Spoligotyping applied directly to the clinical material simultaneously detected and typed M. microti bacteria in skin lesions, lymph glands, and internal abcesses. IS6110 restriction fragment length polymorphism typing of cultured bacteria was used to compare these isolates with previously isolated strains from both animals and humans. This demonstrated that although the current rodent isolates were distinct from those isolated from voles in the 1930s in Great Britain, they had a high degree of similarity to these strains and were distinct from the M. microti isolates from humans, a pig, and a ferret from The Netherlands. Thus, M. microti infection seems to be widespread in wild rodent populations, but more studies are needed to understand how M. microti might be transmitted from animals to humans and to determine better the zoonotic risk posed. PMID:12202566

  7. Shape of patch edges affects edge permeability for meadow voles.

    PubMed

    Nams, Vilis O

    2012-09-01

    Human development typically fragments natural habitats into patches, affecting population and metapopulation dynamics via changes in animal behavior. Emigration from one habitat patch to another has a large effect on population and metapopulation dynamics. One factor that affects emigration is permeability of patch edges. This study looks at the effects of edge shape (convex, concave, and straight) on edge permeability for meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus).. I tested five hypotheses for responses of animal movement to patch shape: (1) neutral edge response; (2) edge attraction; (3) edge avoidance; (4) time-minimizing, in which an animal attempts to minimize the time spent in inhospitable matrix, and thus travels as far as possible in the patch before crossing the edge; and (5) protection, in which an animal attempts to maximize protection while in the inhospitable matrix by keeping the patch close by. These hypotheses were tested by an experimental manipulation of meadow vole habitats. A strip was mowed with different edge shapes through an old field, and vole response was measured by tracking plates. Voles crossed edges at concave treatments twice as often compared to convex and straight shapes. Hypotheses (2) and (5) were supported. Although edge attraction causes a passive effect of a decrease in edge-crossing at concavities, this effect was eclipsed by the active effect of voles choosing to cross at concavities. The results can be generalized to edge tortuosity in general. Conservation biologists should consider edge shapes when exploring the effects of habitat fragmentation on animal populations.

  8. Soil microbiota of the prairie

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The prairie ecosystem is often used as a benchmark ecosystem to provide a reference soil quality or soil health assessment. Current soil health assessments include measurements of soil chemical and physical indicators and of selected microbiological activities but no characterization of soil microbi...

  9. Phenotypic evolution of dispersal-enhancing traits in insular voles

    PubMed Central

    Forsman, Anders; Merilä, Juha; Ebenhard, Torbjörn

    2011-01-01

    Evolutionary theory predicts that in metapopulations subject to rapid extinction–recolonization dynamics, natural selection should favour evolution of traits that enhance dispersal and recolonization ability. Metapopulations of field voles (Microtus agrestis) on islands in the Stockholm archipelago, Sweden, are characterized by frequent local extinction and recolonization of subpopulations. Here, we show that voles on the islands were larger and had longer feet than expected for their body size, compared with voles from the mainland; that body size and size-specific foot length increased with increasing geographical isolation and distance from mainland; and that the differences in body size and size-specific foot length were genetically based. These findings provide rare evidence for relatively recent (less than 1000 years) and rapid (corresponding to 100–250 darwins) evolution of traits facilitating dispersal and recolonization in island metapopulations. PMID:20685710

  10. Fungal-mediated multitrophic interactions--do grass endophytes in diet protect voles from predators?

    PubMed

    Saari, Susanna; Sundell, Janne; Huitu, Otso; Helander, Marjo; Ketoja, Elise; Ylönen, Hannu; Saikkonen, Kari

    2010-03-24

    Plant-associated micro-organisms such as mycotoxin-producing endophytes commonly have direct negative effects on herbivores. These effects may be carried over to natural enemies of the herbivores, but this has been rarely explored. We examined how feeding on Neotyphodium endophyte infected (E+) and endophyte free (E-) meadow ryegrass (Scherodonus pratensis) affects body mass, population size and mobility of sibling voles (Microtus levis), and whether the diet mediates the vulnerability of voles to least weasel (Mustela nivalis nivalis) predation. Because least weasels are known to be olfactory hunters, we also examined whether they are able to distinguish olfactory cues of voles fed on E+ and E- diets. Neither body mass of voles nor population size differed between diets. However, contrary to our prediction, least weasels preyed more often on voles fed with E- grass than on voles fed with E+ grass. The mobility of voles fed on E+ grass was reduced compared to voles fed on E- grass, but this effect was unrelated to risk of predation. Least weasels appeared unable to distinguish between excrement odours of voles between the two treatments. Our results suggest that consumption of endophytic grass is not directly deleterious to sibling voles. What's more, consumption of endophytes appears to be advantageous to voles by reducing risk of mammalian predation. Our study is thus the first to demonstrate an effect of plant-associated microbial symbionts on herbivore-predator interactions in vertebrate communities.

  11. Detection of Francisella tularensis in voles in Finland.

    PubMed

    Rossow, Heidi; Sissonen, Susanna; Koskela, Katja A; Kinnunen, Paula M; Hemmilä, Heidi; Niemimaa, Jukka; Huitu, Otso; Kuusi, Markku; Vapalahti, Olli; Henttonen, Heikki; Nikkari, Simo

    2014-03-01

    Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent intracellular bacterium causing the zoonotic disease tularemia. It recurrently causes human and animal outbreaks in northern Europe, including Finland. Although F. tularensis infects several mammal species, only rodents and lagomorphs seem to have importance in its ecology. Peak densities of rodent populations may trigger tularemia outbreaks in humans; however, it is still unclear to which extent rodents or other small mammals maintain F. tularensis in nature. The main objective of this study was to obtain information about the occurrence of F. tularensis in small mammals in Finland. We snap-trapped 547 wild small mammals representing 11 species at 14 locations around Finland during 6 years and screened them for the presence of F. tularensis DNA using PCR analysis. High copy number of F. tularensis-specific DNA was detected in tissue samples of five field voles (Microtus agrestis) originating from one location and 2 years. According to DNA sequences of the bacterial 23S ribosomal RNA gene amplified from F. tularensis-infected voles, the infecting agent belongs to the subspecies holarctica. To find out the optimal tissue for tularemia screening in voles, we compared the amounts of F. tularensis DNA in lungs, liver, spleen, and kidney of the infected animals. F. tularensis DNA was detectable in high levels in all four organs except for one animal, whose kidney was F. tularensis DNA-negative. Thus, at least liver, lung, and spleen seem suitable for F. tularensis screening in voles. Thus, liver, lung, and spleen all seem suitable for F. tularensis screening in voles. In conclusion, field voles can be heavily infected with F. tularensis subsp. holarctica and thus potentially serve as the source of infection in humans and other mammals.

  12. Detection of Francisella tularensis in Voles in Finland

    PubMed Central

    Sissonen, Susanna; Koskela, Katja A.; Kinnunen, Paula M.; Hemmilä, Heidi; Niemimaa, Jukka; Huitu, Otso; Kuusi, Markku; Vapalahti, Olli; Henttonen, Heikki; Nikkari, Simo

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Francisella tularensis is a highly virulent intracellular bacterium causing the zoonotic disease tularemia. It recurrently causes human and animal outbreaks in northern Europe, including Finland. Although F. tularensis infects several mammal species, only rodents and lagomorphs seem to have importance in its ecology. Peak densities of rodent populations may trigger tularemia outbreaks in humans; however, it is still unclear to which extent rodents or other small mammals maintain F. tularensis in nature. The main objective of this study was to obtain information about the occurrence of F. tularensis in small mammals in Finland. We snap-trapped 547 wild small mammals representing 11 species at 14 locations around Finland during 6 years and screened them for the presence of F. tularensis DNA using PCR analysis. High copy number of F. tularensis-specific DNA was detected in tissue samples of five field voles (Microtus agrestis) originating from one location and 2 years. According to DNA sequences of the bacterial 23S ribosomal RNA gene amplified from F. tularensis–infected voles, the infecting agent belongs to the subspecies holarctica. To find out the optimal tissue for tularemia screening in voles, we compared the amounts of F. tularensis DNA in lungs, liver, spleen, and kidney of the infected animals. F. tularensis DNA was detectable in high levels in all four organs except for one animal, whose kidney was F. tularensis DNA-negative. Thus, at least liver, lung, and spleen seem suitable for F. tularensis screening in voles. Thus, liver, lung, and spleen all seem suitable for F. tularensis screening in voles. In conclusion, field voles can be heavily infected with F. tularensis subsp. holarctica and thus potentially serve as the source of infection in humans and other mammals. PMID:24575824

  13. Burrows of the sagebrush vole (Lemmiscus curtatus) in southeastern Idaho

    SciTech Connect

    Mullican, T.R.; Keller, B.L.

    1987-04-30

    Burrows of the sagebrush vole (Lemmiscus curtatus) were analyzed by injecting them with expanding polyurethane foam. Average mean depth +/- 1 SE of four burrows was 12.5 +/- 2.6 cm. Tunnels were wider than high and flat on the bottom. Three of four burrows were nearly linear, with an average of five entrances. Burrows usually contained one nest made of Artemisia tridentat bark. No middens or communal nests were found. The burrow structure in sagebrush habitat suggests that sagebrush voles occur singly or in pairs rather than in colonies.

  14. Emotional attachment of pre-weaning pups to mothers and fathers in mandarin voles.

    PubMed

    He, Zhixiong; Zhang, Shuwei; Yu, Chengjun; Li, Yani; Jia, Rui; Tai, Fadao

    2017-02-01

    Studies into the effects of maternal and paternal deprivation on the brain and behavior are traditionally done on animals from postnatal day 0 to 14 when parents display high levels of licking and grooming. Deprivation experiments that reveal attachment conducted during this period are confounded because physiological and emotional deprivation occur simultaneously. Whether rodent pups of greater physiological independence from postnatal 14 to 21days show emotional attachment towards mothers and fathers remains unclear. Here we establish a new animal model for attachment experiments in animals 14-21days old using monogamous mandarin voles (Microtus mandarinus). Levels of emotional attachment of pups from postnatal 14 to 21days were measured using preference tests. Pups spent more time in contact with their mothers, more time approaching, sniffing, climbing and walking near their mothers, and emitted more calls on their mother's side compared to an unknown female. They also showed a preference for their fathers over an unknown male. While pups displayed attachment to both their mothers and fathers, levels directed towards mothers were higher in tests when mothers and fathers were presented simultaneously. These results indicate that mandarin voles can be used as an animal model to investigate the effects of early emotional attachment disruption on the adult brain and behavior.

  15. The role of early life experience and species differences in alcohol intake in microtine rodents.

    PubMed

    Anacker, Allison M J; Ahern, Todd H; Young, Larry J; Ryabinin, Andrey E

    2012-01-01

    Social relationships have important effects on alcohol drinking. There are conflicting reports, however, about whether early-life family structure plays an important role in moderating alcohol use in humans. We have previously modeled social facilitation of alcohol drinking in peers in socially monogamous prairie voles. We have also modeled the effects of family structure on the development of adult social and emotional behaviors. Here we assessed whether alcohol intake would differ in prairie voles reared by both parents compared to those reared by a single mother. We also assessed whether meadow voles, a closely related species that do not form lasting reproductive partnerships, would differ in alcohol drinking or in the effect of social influence on drinking. Prairie voles were reared either bi-parentally (BP) or by a single mother (SM). BP- and SM-reared adult prairie voles and BP-reared adult meadow voles were given limited access to a choice between alcohol (10%) and water over four days and assessed for drinking behavior in social and non-social drinking environments. While alcohol preference was not different between species, meadow voles drank significantly lower doses than prairie voles. Meadow voles also had significantly higher blood ethanol concentrations than prairie voles after receiving the same dose, suggesting differences in ethanol metabolism. Both species, regardless of rearing condition, consumed more alcohol in the social drinking condition than the non-social condition. Early life family structure did not significantly affect any measure. Greater drinking in the social condition indicates that alcohol intake is influenced similarly in both species by the presence of a peer. While the ability of prairie voles to model humans may be limited, the lack of differences in alcohol drinking in BP- and SM-reared prairie voles lends biological support to human studies demonstrating no effect of single-parenting on alcohol abuse.

  16. The Role of Early Life Experience and Species Differences in Alcohol Intake in Microtine Rodents

    PubMed Central

    Anacker, Allison M. J.; Ahern, Todd H.; Young, Larry J.; Ryabinin, Andrey E.

    2012-01-01

    Social relationships have important effects on alcohol drinking. There are conflicting reports, however, about whether early-life family structure plays an important role in moderating alcohol use in humans. We have previously modeled social facilitation of alcohol drinking in peers in socially monogamous prairie voles. We have also modeled the effects of family structure on the development of adult social and emotional behaviors. Here we assessed whether alcohol intake would differ in prairie voles reared by both parents compared to those reared by a single mother. We also assessed whether meadow voles, a closely related species that do not form lasting reproductive partnerships, would differ in alcohol drinking or in the effect of social influence on drinking. Prairie voles were reared either bi-parentally (BP) or by a single mother (SM). BP- and SM-reared adult prairie voles and BP-reared adult meadow voles were given limited access to a choice between alcohol (10%) and water over four days and assessed for drinking behavior in social and non-social drinking environments. While alcohol preference was not different between species, meadow voles drank significantly lower doses than prairie voles. Meadow voles also had significantly higher blood ethanol concentrations than prairie voles after receiving the same dose, suggesting differences in ethanol metabolism. Both species, regardless of rearing condition, consumed more alcohol in the social drinking condition than the non-social condition. Early life family structure did not significantly affect any measure. Greater drinking in the social condition indicates that alcohol intake is influenced similarly in both species by the presence of a peer. While the ability of prairie voles to model humans may be limited, the lack of differences in alcohol drinking in BP- and SM-reared prairie voles lends biological support to human studies demonstrating no effect of single-parenting on alcohol abuse. PMID:22745824

  17. Disease dynamics in cyclic populations of field voles (Microtus agrestis): cowpox virus and vole tuberculosis (Mycobacterium microti).

    PubMed

    Cavanagh, Rachel D; Lambin, Xavier; Ergon, Torbjørn; Bennett, Malcolm; Graham, Isla M; van Soolingen, Dick; Begon, Michael

    2004-04-22

    The possible role of pathogens in rodent population cycles has been largely neglected since Elton's 'epidemic hypothesis' of 1931. To revisit this question, 12 adjacent, cyclic but out-of-phase populations of field voles (Microtus agrestis) in North East England were studied and the initial results are presented here. The prevalences of antibodies to cowpox virus and of clinical signs of Mycobacterium microti infection (vole tuberculosis) showed delayed (not direct) density dependence (with a lag of three to six months). This did not result from changes in population structure, even though there were such changes associated with the different phases of the cycle. The prevalences rose as vole numbers rose, and peaked as numbers declined. The apparent lag in the numerical response of infection prevalence to changes in host abundance is consistent with the hypothesis that diseases, singly or in combination, play a hitherto underestimated role in the dynamics of cyclic populations.

  18. Disease dynamics in cyclic populations of field voles (Microtus agrestis): cowpox virus and vole tuberculosis (Mycobacterium microti).

    PubMed Central

    Cavanagh, Rachel D.; Lambin, Xavier; Ergon, Torbjørn; Bennett, Malcolm; Graham, Isla M.; van Soolingen, Dick; Begon, Michael

    2004-01-01

    The possible role of pathogens in rodent population cycles has been largely neglected since Elton's 'epidemic hypothesis' of 1931. To revisit this question, 12 adjacent, cyclic but out-of-phase populations of field voles (Microtus agrestis) in North East England were studied and the initial results are presented here. The prevalences of antibodies to cowpox virus and of clinical signs of Mycobacterium microti infection (vole tuberculosis) showed delayed (not direct) density dependence (with a lag of three to six months). This did not result from changes in population structure, even though there were such changes associated with the different phases of the cycle. The prevalences rose as vole numbers rose, and peaked as numbers declined. The apparent lag in the numerical response of infection prevalence to changes in host abundance is consistent with the hypothesis that diseases, singly or in combination, play a hitherto underestimated role in the dynamics of cyclic populations. PMID:15255106

  19. Azurocytes in wild field voles: factors associated with their occurrence.

    PubMed

    Beldomenico, Pablo M; Telfer, Sandra; Gebert, Stephanie; Lukomski, Lukasz; Bennett, Malcolm; Begon, Michael

    2008-09-01

    The occurrence of azurocytes (AZ), a type of leukocyte unique to voles and previously described for three Microtus species, is now reported in Microtus agrestis. The goal of this study was to shed new light on the possible function and significance of these cells and on how they play a role in the natural history of rodent species. Individuals from three vole populations were sampled monthly for 2 years. A hemogram was produced for each individual, and AZ counts estimated. The counts of AZ were much higher in pregnant females, and these levels were higher the higher the past vole density. Males had low prevalences and counts, both for breeding and nonbreeding individuals, but they showed a seasonality that varied with age, body condition, and current and past vole density. Also, the occurrence of AZ in males was more likely after they had had low levels of indicators of condition, suggesting that azurocytes may result from a response to infection. Hence, overall our results suggest that, in females, these cells may be important for reproduction and may have a role in inducing abortion when conditions are not favorable, while in males they might be a response to infection.

  20. AZUROCYTES IN WILD FIELD VOLES: FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH THEIR OCCURRENCE

    PubMed Central

    Beldomenico, Pablo M.; Telfer, Sandra; Gebert, Stephanie; Lukomski, Lukasz; Bennett, Malcolm; Begon, Michael

    2009-01-01

    The occurrence of azurocytes (AZ), a type of leukocyte unique to voles previously described for three Microtus species is now reported in Microtus agrestis. The goal of this study was to shed new light on the possible function and significance of these cells and on how they play a role in the natural history of rodent species. Individuals from three vole populations were sampled monthly for two years. A haemogram was produced for each individual, and AZ counts estimated. The counts of AZ were much higher in pregnant females, and these levels were higher the higher the past vole density. Males had low prevalences and counts, both for breeding and non-breeding individuals, but they showed a seasonal variation that varied with age, body condition, and current and past vole density. Also, the occurrence of AZ in males was more likely after they had had low levels of indicators of condition, suggesting that azurocytes may result from a response to infection. Hence, overall our results suggest that, in females, these cells may be important for reproduction and may have a role in inducing abortion when conditions are not favourable, while in males they might be a response to infection. PMID:18704584

  1. Guild composition and habitat use of voles in 2 forest landscapes in south-eastern Norway.

    PubMed

    Gorini, Lucrezia; Linnell, John D C; Boitani, Luigi; Hauptmann, Ulrike; Odden, Morten; Wegge, Per; Nilsen, Erlend B

    2011-12-01

    It is widely believed that intensive forestry has influenced small mammal population dynamics, and thereby the entire mammalian community in Fennoscandian boreal forests. The nature of these impacts on the different species is subject to debate. We live-trapped voles between 2006 and 2009 in 2 commercially harvested forests in south-eastern Norway. We investigated the variation in vole abundance among habitat types (e.g. mature forest and clear-cut) and the hypothesis that graminivorous species such as field voles (Microtus agrestis L.) benefit from clear-cuts at the expense of forest dwellers (i.e. the bank vole, Myodes glareolus Schreb.), using fine-scale descriptors of the ground vegetation. We could not find support for the hypothesis that field voles show a preference for clear-cuts, and their overall abundance was low, while bank voles were the dominant species in all habitat types, including clear-cuts in the peak and pre-peak years. We found a positive association between bank vole abundance and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) availability rather than a specific habitat type. Low field vole density in clear-cuts might be due to variation in local productivity and ground vegetation as well as to large variation in the species temporal dynamics. The latter is particularly associated with the widespread decline of field voles in Scandinavia. Logging has the potential to negatively affect bank vole population dynamics because of the negative effect on bilberry development.

  2. Time-course of micronucleated erythrocytes in response to whole-body gamma irradiation in a model mammalian species, the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus, Schreber).

    PubMed

    Smolich, Igor I; Savina, Natalya V; Ryabokon, Nadezhda I

    2011-01-01

    The time course of the formation of micronucleated polychromatic (MNPCEs) and normochromatic erythrocytes (MNNCEs) in the bone marrow of the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus, Schreber), a model mouse-like species, was studied using the standard micronucleus test at 0, 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36 and 48 hr following whole-body acute γ-irradiation at a dose of 0.5 Gy. Based on the existing literature on laboratory mice, it was suggested that such a dose will not have significant effect on erythroid cell proliferation in the bank vole and hence on the time course of the rise of micronucleated cells. In total, ∼905,000 polychromatic (PCEs) and normochromatic erythrocytes (NCEs) from 82 adult bank voles were analyzed. Although the mean frequencies of MNNCEs were too low to allow for the correct assessment of their time course, an analysis of PCEs showed an increasing rate of MNPCE appearance at 6 hr that reached a maximum at 18-24 hr after irradiation and subsequently decreased. Because the kinetics of MNPCEs reflects the process of erythropoiesis, the current results regarding the time points of appearance of radiation-induced MNPCEs provide the first information on the prolongation of one of the terminal stages of erythrocyte formation in bank vole specimens, namely the stage of maturation of PCEs from erythroblasts. Moreover, the observed time-course data, as well as the low-background frequencies of MNPCEs and characteristic level of PCEs response to radiation, showed similarities between the two model species: bank vole (this study) and laboratory mice (literature data).

  3. Morning ambush attacks by black-footed ferrets on emerging prairie dogs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Eads, D.A.; Biggins, D.E.; Jachowski, D.S.; Livieri, T.M.; Millspaugh, J.J.; Forsberg, M.

    2010-01-01

    Black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) often hunt at night, attacking normally diurnal prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) in underground burrow systems. While monitoring black-footed ferrets in South Dakota during morning daylight hours, we observed an adult female ferret ambush a black-tailed prairie dog (C. ludovicianus) emerging from a burrow. On a neighboring colony, we observed a second adult female ferret engaging in similar ambush behaviors on 12 occasions, although prey was not visible. We retrospectively assessed radio-telemetry data on white-tailed prairie dogs (C. leucurus) and a male and a female ferret to evaluate ferret activity in relation to timing of prairie dog emergence. Activity of radio-collared ferrets was high during the hourly period when prairie dogs first emerged and the following 2 hr, relative to later daylight hours. Such behavior is consistent with behaviors observed in South Dakota. Nighttime movements by ferrets might involve hunting but also reconnaissance of prey preparatory to morning ambush attacks.

  4. Factors that affect parasitism of black-tailed prairie dogs by fleas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Eads, David; Hoogland, John L.

    2016-01-01

    Fleas (Insecta: Siphonaptera) are hematophagous ectoparasites that feed on vertebrate hosts. Fleas can reduce the fitness of hosts by interfering with immune responses, disrupting adaptive behaviors, and transmitting pathogens. The negative effects of fleas on hosts are usually most pronounced when fleas attain high densities. In lab studies, fleas desiccate and die under dry conditions, suggesting that populations of fleas will tend to decline when precipitation is scarce under natural conditions. To test this hypothesis, we compared precipitation vs. parasitism of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) by fleas at a single colony during May and June of 13 consecutive years (1976–1988) at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, USA. The number of fleas on prairie dogs decreased with increasing precipitation during both the prior growing season (April through August of the prior year) and the just-completed winter–spring (January through April of current year). Due to the reduction in available moisture and palatable forage in dry years, herbivorous prairie dogs might have been food-limited, with weakened behavioral and immunological defenses against fleas. In support of this hypothesis, adult prairie dogs of low mass harbored more fleas than heavier adults. Our results have implications for the spread of plague, an introduced bacterial disease, transmitted by fleas, that devastates prairie dog colonies and, in doing so, can transform grassland ecosystems.

  5. Different time and energy budgets of Lesser Snow Geese in rice-prairies and coastal marshes in southwest Louisiana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jonsson, J.E.; Afton, A.D.

    2006-01-01

    Many bird species use human-made habitats and an important issue is whether these are equally suitable foraging habitats as are historical, natural habitats. Historically, Lesser Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens caerulescens, hereafter Snow Geese) wintered in coastal marshes in Louisiana but began using rice-prairies within the last 60 years. Time spent feeding was used as an indicator of habitat suitability and time and energy budgets of Snow Geese were compared between rice-prairies and coastal marshes in southwest Louisiana. Composite diets of Snow Geese have a lower energy density in the rice-prairies than in coastal marshes; thus, we predicted that Snow Geese would spend relatively more time feeding in rice-praires to obtain existence energy. However, time spent feeding was higher in coastal marshes and thus, not proportional to energy density of composite diets. Snow Geese in coastal marshes ingested less apparent metabolizable energy than did Snow Geese in rice-prairies. In rice-prairies, juveniles spent more time feeding than did adults; however, time spent feeding was similar between age classes in coastal marshes. Undeveloped foraging skills probably cause juvenile Snow Geese to forage less efficiently in coastal marshes than in rice-prairies. These findings are consistent with recent trends in Snow Goose numbers, which increased in rice-prairies but remained stable in coastal marshes.

  6. Morphological modularity and assessment of developmental processes within the vole dental row (Microtus arvalis, Arvicolinae, Rodentia).

    PubMed

    Laffont, Rémi; Renvoisé, Elodie; Navarro, Nicolas; Alibert, Paul; Montuire, Sophie

    2009-01-01

    Knowledge of mammalian tooth formation is increasing, through numerous genetic and developmental studies. The prevalence of teeth in fossil remains has led to an intensive description of evolutionary patterns within and among lineages based on tooth morphology. The extent to which developmental processes have influenced tooth morphologies and therefore the role of these processes in these evolutionary patterns are nonetheless challenging. Recent methodological advances have been proposed allowing the inference of developmental processes from adult morphologies and the characterization of the degree of developmental integration/modularity of morphological traits by studying the patterns of variation within and among individuals. This study focuses on the geometric shape of the lower molars of the vole species Microtus arvalis. Our results suggest (i) quasi-independence of each molar at the developmental level (developmental modules), even slightly stronger for the third molar supporting some genetic and developmental hypotheses and (ii) more pervasive integration processes among molars at the morphological level.

  7. The complete mitochondrial genome of the bank vole Clethrionomys glareolus (Rodentia: Arvicolinae).

    PubMed

    Bendová, Karolína; Marková, Silvia; Searle, Jeremy B; Kotlík, Petr

    2016-01-01

    We present the first complete sequence of the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) mitochondrial genome (GenBank accession no. KF918859). The bank vole mitogenome is 16,353 base pairs long and shows the gene content, genome architecture and gene strand asymmetry typical for mammals. The sequence provides an important new genomic resource for the bank vole, which is a popular study species in ecological and evolutionary research.

  8. Bot fly parasitism of the red-backed vole: host survival, infection risk, and population growth.

    PubMed

    Lemaître, Jérôme; Fortin, Daniel; Montiglio, Pierre-Olivier; Darveau, Marcel

    2009-03-01

    Parasites can play an important role in the dynamics of host populations, but empirical evidence remains sparse. We investigated the role of bot fly (Cuterebra spp.) parasitism in red-backed voles (Myodes gapperi) by first assessing the impacts of the parasite on the probability of vole survival under stressful conditions as well as on the reproductive activity of females. We then identified the main factors driving both the individual risk of infection and the abundance of bot flies inside red-backed voles. Finally, we evaluated the impacts of bot fly prevalence on the growth rate of vole populations between mid-July and mid-August. Thirty-six populations of red-backed voles were sampled in the boreal forest of Québec, Canada. The presence and the abundance of parasites in voles, two host life history traits (sex and body condition), three indices of habitat complexity (tree basal area, sapling basal area, coarse woody debris volume), and vole abundance were considered in models evaluating the effects of bot flies on host populations. We found that the probability of survival of red-backed voles in live traps decreased with bot fly infection. Both the individual risk of infection and the abundance of bot flies in red-backed voles were driven mainly by vole abundance rather than by the two host life history traits or the three variables of habitat complexity. Parasitism had population consequences: bot fly prevalence was linked to a decrease in short-term growth rate of vole populations over the summer. We found that bot flies have the potential to reduce survival of red-backed voles, an effect that may apply to large portions of populations.

  9. Field vole ( Microtus agrestis) seasonal spacing behavior: the effect of predation risk by mustelids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borowski, Zbigniew; Owadowska, Edyta

    2010-05-01

    There are numerous studies showing that predation risk may change different aspects of the behavior of prey, such as habitat use, activity pattern, and foraging. Prey should exhibit the strongest antipredatory response against their most deadly predator. Small mustelids are considered the most important mammalian predators of voles. Nevertheless, there is no general agreement as to whether strong antipredatory reactions exist in natural free-living populations of voles. Here, we studied the field vole Microtus agrestis spatial reaction to high predation risk from small mustelids in the breeding (August) and nonbreeding (October) seasons under natural conditions. Voles were exposed to a caged weasel ( Mustela nivalis) and a stoat ( Mustela erminea), as well as to the odors of these predators. The reactions of 30 field voles were monitored with radiotelemetry. The field voles were found to display antipredator reactions that varied with season. In the breeding period, in response to predation risk, voles reduced locomotory activity and daily-range size, whereas in the nonbreeding period they did not. Changes in home range position were similar for control and treatment voles, in both the breeding and nonbreeding periods. The results indicate that mustelid predators modify the spatial behavior of small rodents in natural conditions depending on season. This might be a reflection of differences in state-dependent responses to predation from sexually active or inactive individuals. This suggests that the basic antipredatory reaction of voles under high predation risk from small mustelids limits their locomotory activity.

  10. Variability in susceptibility of voles (Arvicolinae) to experimental infection with Cryptosporidium muris and Cryptosporidium andersoni.

    PubMed

    Modrý, David; Hofmannová, Lada; Antalová, Zuzana; Sak, Bohumil; Kváč, Martin

    2012-07-01

    The infectivity of Cryptosporidium muris and Cryptosporidium andersoni in various species of voles was studied using experimental infections. None of the experimental voles inoculated with 1 × 10(5) oocysts of Cryptosporidium spp. shed any oocysts during 40 DPI, except Brandt's vole (Lasiopodomys brandtii), which was susceptible to C. muris infection. Experiments confirmed the resistance of voles of the genus Microtus sensu stricto to infection with mammalian gastric cryptosporidia, which provides a new study model with prospects to more fully understand the processes involved in the phenomenon of host specificity of this group of protists.

  11. Elodontoma in captive southern red-backed voles (Myodes gapperi)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rodriguez-Ramos Fernandez, Julia; Pinkerton, Marie E.; Heisey, Dennis M.; Drees, Randi; Schneider, Jay; Stickney, Lacey; Hofmeister, Erik K.; Sanchez-Migallon Guzman, David

    2010-01-01

    Five southern red-backed voles (Myodes gapperi) of the first generation of a wild-caught breeding colony were presented with lesions at the maxillary incisors consistent with elodontoma. The affected animals had a history of chronic weight loss, were >16 months of age, and were siblings. Radiographs of the head showed multiglobular to irregularly outlined mineral opacity masses at the apices of the maxillary incisors. On necropsy, maxillary incisor teeth were not grossly visible, and a gingival ulceration was observed at the expected site of eruption. Microscopically, the apical region of the maxillary incisors was thickened or replaced by irregular dental tissue masses consistent with elodontoma. This is the first report to describe elodontoma in red-backed voles.

  12. Dioxin exposure in contaminated sawmill area: the use of molar teeth and bone of bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) and field vole (Microtus agrestis) as biomarkers.

    PubMed

    Murtomaa, Mari; Tervaniemi, Olli-Matti; Parviainen, Juha; Ruokojärvi, Päivi; Tuukkanen, Juha; Viluksela, Matti

    2007-06-01

    Developmental disorders of teeth are among the most sensitive targets of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin and -furan (PCDD/F) exposure. In rats, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) reduces dose-dependently the size of molars, most severely the third lower molars. Dioxins also have effects on developing bone, including altered bone mineral density as well as reduced bending breaking force and stiffness. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of the third lower molar and long bones as biomarkers of PCDD/F exposure in two wild vole species, the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) and the field vole (Microtus agrestis) collected from a PCDD/F contaminated former sawmill area. Survey of soil and biota of the sawmill area indicated a PCDD/F contamination with a congener profile characteristic for the chlorophenol wood preservative Ky-5. The PCDD/F concentration in the bank vole was notably higher than in the field vole. The third molar of the bank vole was significantly smaller in dioxin-exposed animals compared to control group, while there was no difference between these two groups in the field vole. No significant alterations were observed in bone density and strength in either species except for reduced bending strength of the femur neck in bank vole males exposed to dioxins. Even though the bone changes are among the sensitive endpoints of dioxin-exposure, high variability due to age, size and gender limits their use as biomarkers of wildlife exposure. In conclusion, the size of molar teeth seems to be a sensitive and robust biomarker for PCDD/F exposure in wild bank vole populations and thus worth of further studies.

  13. Ecology and conservation of Lesser Prairie-Chickens in sand shinnery oak prairies

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grisham, Blake A.; Zavaleta, Jennifer C.; Behney, Adam C.; Borsdorf, Philip K.; Lucia, Duane R.; Boal, Clint W.; Haukos, David A.

    2016-01-01

    Sand shinnery oak (Quercus havardii) prairies are unique ecosystems endemic to sandy soils of eastern New Mexico, northwestern Texas, and western Oklahoma; the historic and current distribution of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) overlaps these prairie systems. Lesser Prairie-Chicken populations in sand shinnery oak prairies of the Southern Great Plains have declined substantially since the late 1980s, most likely due to conversion of nesting and brood-rearing habitat to row-crop agriculture and extended periods of drought. In addition to threats universal throughout the species distribution, this population is susceptible to a changing climate in an area that is already representative of an extreme environment for ground-nesting birds. Recent studies of Lesser Prairie-Chicken ecology in sand shinnery oak prairies have expanded our knowledge on the ecology and management of the species, but a thorough review of the historic and current literature is lacking. In addition, current management guidelines exist for Lesser Prairie-Chickens in mixed grass and sand sagebrush prairies, but there are no comprehensive management guidelines for the species in sand shinnery oak prairies. This information is paramount given unique aspects of the vegetation community, relative ecosystem drivers, and environmental variation in sand shinnery oak prairie and the species’ current status as a proposed threatened species under the United States Endangered Species Act. Herein, we provide a thorough synthesis of literature pertaining to the life history, habitat requirements, habitat management, and population management for Lesser Prairie-Chickens in sand shinnery oak prairie, provide management guidelines and recommendations for the species in this ecoregion, and highlight current and future research needs. Within our objectives, we place emphasis on two recently completed long-term investigations into Lesser Prairie-Chicken ecology in sand shinnery oak prairie

  14. Captive Housing during Water Vole (Arvicola terrestris) Reintroduction: Does Short-Term Social Stress Impact on Animal Welfare?

    PubMed Central

    Macdonald, David W.

    2010-01-01

    Background Animals captive bred for reintroduction are often housed under conditions which are not representative of their preferred social structure for at least part of the reintroduction process. Specifically, this is most likely to occur during the final stages of the release programme, whilst being housed during transportation to the release site. The degree of social stress experienced by individuals during this time may negatively impact upon their immunocompetence. Methodology/Principal Findings We examined two measure of stress - body weight and Leukocyte Coping Capacity (LCC) - to investigate the effects of group size upon captive-bred water voles destined for release within a reintroduction program. Water voles were housed in laboratory cages containing between one and eight individuals. LCC scores were negatively correlated with group size, suggesting that individuals in larger groups experienced a larger degree of immuno-suppression than did individuals housed in smaller groups or individually. During the course of the study mean body weights increased, in contrast to expectations from a previous study. This was attributed to the individuals sampled being sub-adults and thus growing in length and weight during the course of the investigation. Conclusions/Significance The reintroduction process will inevitably cause some stress to the release cohort. However, for water voles we conclude that the stress experienced may be reduced by decreasing group size within captive colony and/or transportation housing practises. These findings are of significance to other species' reintroductions, in highlighting the need to consider life-history strategies when choosing housing systems for animals being maintained in captivity prior to release to the wild. A reduction in stress experienced at the pre-release stage may improve immunocompetence and thus animal welfare and initial survival post-release. PMID:20352093

  15. Generalist predator, cyclic voles and cavity nests: testing the alternative prey hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Pöysä, Hannu; Jalava, Kaisa; Paasivaara, Antti

    2016-12-01

    The alternative prey hypothesis (APH) states that when the density of the main prey declines, generalist predators switch to alternative prey and vice versa, meaning that predation pressure on the alternative prey should be negatively correlated with the density of the main prey. We tested the APH in a system comprising one generalist predator (pine marten, Martes martes), cyclic main prey (microtine voles, Microtus agrestis and Myodes glareolus) and alternative prey (cavity nests of common goldeneye, Bucephala clangula); pine marten is an important predator of both voles and common goldeneye nests. Specifically, we studied whether annual predation rate of real common goldeneye nests and experimental nests is negatively associated with fluctuation in the density of voles in four study areas in southern Finland in 2000-2011. Both vole density and nest predation rate varied considerably between years in all study areas. However, we did not find support for the hypothesis that vole dynamics indirectly affects predation rate of cavity nests in the way predicted by the APH. On the contrary, the probability of predation increased with vole spring abundance for both real and experimental nests. Furthermore, a crash in vole abundance from previous autumn to spring did not increase the probability of predation of real nests, although it increased that of experimental nests. We suggest that learned predation by pine marten individuals, coupled with efficient search image for cavities, overrides possible indirect positive effects of high vole density on the alternative prey in our study system.

  16. Chronic wasting disease in bank voles: characterisation of the shortest incubation time model for prion diseases

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In order to assess the susceptibility of bank voles to chronic wasting disease (CWD), we inoculated voles carrying isoleucine or methionine at codon 109 (Bv109I and Bv109M, respectively) with CWD isolates from elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. Efficient transmission rate (100%) was observed with...

  17. Predator–vole interactions in northern Europe: the role of small mustelids revised

    PubMed Central

    Korpela, Katri; Helle, Pekka; Henttonen, Heikki; Korpimäki, Erkki; Koskela, Esa; Ovaskainen, Otso; Pietiäinen, Hannu; Sundell, Janne; Valkama, Jari; Huitu, Otso

    2014-01-01

    The cyclic population dynamics of vole and predator communities is a key phenomenon in northern ecosystems, and it appears to be influenced by climate change. Reports of collapsing rodent cycles have attributed the changes to warmer winters, which weaken the interaction between voles and their specialist subnivean predators. Using population data collected throughout Finland during 1986–2011, we analyse the spatio-temporal variation in the interactions between populations of voles and specialist, generalist and avian predators, and investigate by simulations the roles of the different predators in the vole cycle. We test the hypothesis that vole population cyclicity is dependent on predator–prey interactions during winter. Our results support the importance of the small mustelids for the vole cycle. However, weakening specialist predation during winters, or an increase in generalist predation, was not associated with the loss of cyclicity. Strengthening of delayed density dependence coincided with strengthening small mustelid influence on the summer population growth rates of voles. In conclusion, a strong impact of small mustelids during summers appears highly influential to vole population dynamics, and deteriorating winter conditions are not a viable explanation for collapsing small mammal population cycles. PMID:25355481

  18. Possible vector dissemination by swift foxes following a plague epizootic in black-tailed prairie dogs in northwestern Texas.

    PubMed

    McGee, Brady K; Butler, Matthew J; Pence, Danny B; Alexander, James L; Nissen, Janet B; Ballard, Warren B; Nicholson, Kerry L

    2006-04-01

    To determine whether swift foxes (Vulpes velox) could facilitate transmission of Yersinia pestis to uninfected black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies by acquiring infected fleas, ectoparasite and serologic samples were collected from swift foxes living adjacent to prairie dog towns during a 2004 plague epizootic in northwestern Texas, USA. A previous study (1999-2001) indicated that these swift foxes were infested almost exclusively with the flea Pulex irritans. Black-tailed prairie dogs examined from the study area harbored only Pulex simulans and Oropsylla hirsuta. Although P. irritans was most common, P. simulans and O. hirsuta were collected from six swift foxes and a single coyote (Canis latrans) following the plague epizootic. Thus, both of these canids could act as transport hosts (at least temporarily) of prairie dog fleas following the loss of their normal hosts during a plague die-off. All six adult swift foxes tested positive for antibodies to Y. pestis. All 107 fleas from swift foxes tested negative for Y. pestis by mouse inoculation. Although swift foxes could potentially carry Y. pestis to un-infected prairie dog colonies, we believe they play only a minor role in plague epidemiology, considering that they harbored just a few uninfected prairie dog fleas (P. simulans and O. hirsuta).

  19. Are mature female voles more susceptible than immature ones to avian predation?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koivunen, Vesa; Korpimäki, Erkki; Hakkarainen, Harri

    1998-08-01

    It is well known that a number of activities related to reproduction can increase the predation risk for individuals. Both in the aviary and in the field, we studied whether maturity of female field voles ( Microtus agrestis) affected their behaviour and consequently their risk of predation by Tengmalm's owls ( Aegolius funereus). In an aviary, we recorded the behaviour of mature and immature voles in control (owl absent) and predator (owl present) treatments, but did not find obvious differences in behaviour or vulnerability between mature and immature female voles. In the field, we compared maturity status of female field voles snap-trapped in owl territories with those caught by breeding owls in 1992 and 1994. In accordance with the results from an aviary experiment, there were no obvious differences in vulnerability to Tengmalm's owls between mature and immature individuals. This suggests that mature and immature female field voles are equally exposed to avian predation.

  20. Experimental infection of laboratory-bred bank voles (Myodes glareolus) with murid herpesvirus 4.

    PubMed

    Hughes, David J; Kipar, Anja; Leeming, Gail; Sample, Jeffery T; Stewart, James P

    2012-11-01

    MuHV-4 is a natural pathogen of rodents of the genus Apodemus (e.g., wood mice, yellow-necked mice) and Myodes glareolus (bank voles). We report experimental MuHV-4 infection of bank voles in comparison with infection of A. sylvaticus (wood mice) and BALB/c mice. Like in wood mice, the level of productive replication in the lungs of bank voles was significantly lower than in BALB/c mice. In contrast to other hosts, however, the level of latent infection in the lung and spleen of bank voles was extremely low. These findings, together with those of previous studies, suggest that bank voles are an occasional and inefficient host for MuHV-4.

  1. Dynamics of Puumala hantavirus infection in naturally infected bank voles (Clethrinomys glareolus).

    PubMed

    Bernshtein, A D; Apekina, N S; Mikhailova, T V; Myasnikov, Y A; Khlyap, L A; Korotkov, Y S; Gavrilovskaya, I N

    1999-01-01

    Specific features of hantavirus infection in bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) were studied in the endemic area of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in the foothills of the Ural mountains, using long-term observations on living animals by the capture-mark-recapture (CMR) method. The results demonstrated that the infection naturally circulating in the voles is chronic (lasting for up to 15 months) and asymptomatic, with a peak of Puumala virus accumulation and release from the organism during the first month after infection. It was shown that the bank vole population includes young animals with maternal immunity, which remain resistant to the Puumala virus infection for 3-3.5 months. The infection rate in voles depended on the age and sexual maturity of animals. The greatest proportion of seropositive animals was observed among overwintered males. Seroconversion in voles was more frequent during the period of high reproductive activity.

  2. Turnover and dispersal of prairie falcons in southwestern Idaho

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lehman, Robert N.; Steenhof, Karen; Carpenter, L.B.; Kochert, Michael N.

    2000-01-01

    We studied Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus) breeding dispersal, natal dispersal, and turnover at nesting areas in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) from 1971- 95. Of 61 nesting areas where falcons identified one year were known to be present or absent the following year, 57% had a different falcon. This turnover rate was 2-3 times higher than that reported elsewhere for large falcons, and may have been related to high nesting densities in the NCA. Turnover at nesting areas was independent of nesting success in the previous year, but was significantly higher for females nesting on large cliffs. Mean distance between natal and breeding locations for 26 falcons banded as nestlings and later encountered as nesting adults was 8.9 km. Natal dispersal distances were similar for males and females, but more than twice as many males marked as nestlings were later encountered nesting in the NCA. Fourteen adult falcons found on different nesting areas in successive years moved an average of 1.5 km between nesting areas; males dispersed significantly farther than females. Natal and breeding dispersal distances in the NCA were lower than those reported for Prairie Falcons in other study areas. Only four falcons banded as nestlings were found outside NCA boundaries during the breeding period, and only one of these birds was known to be occupying a nesting area. We encountered no falcons banded outside the NCA occupying nesting areas in the NCA during this study.

  3. Tallgrass prairie restoration: seeding for success

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Larson, Diane L.

    2013-01-01

    Tallgrass prairie is one of the most imperiled ecosystems on Earth. A 2004 estimate indicated that only 2.4 percent of the original northern tallgrass prairie remained in the United States. If tallgrass prairie and the species dependent on it are to survive, management must include restoration of cropland and degraded prairies, in addition to preservation of the few remaining fragments. Despite the importance of restoration and its long history (the first tallgrass prairie restoration was started in 1935 at Curtis Prairie in Wisconsin), few studies have been undertaken with the goal of refining restoration practice. This fact sheet contains the results of one such study, started in 2005, in which we compared three seeding methods (dormant-season broadcast, growing-season broadcast, and growing-season drill) fully crossed with low (10-), medium (20-), and high (34-species) seed mixes replicated 12 times on each of 9 former agricultural fields in Minnesota and Iowa. Plots were 12.2 x 12.2 meters (m) and occupied about 1.6 hectares (ha) (4 acres) of each field. A “successful” restoration is one in which cover and richness of planted species is maximized and cover of exotic and invasive species, especially the noxious weed Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), is minimized. Details of the planting methods can be located in Larson and others (2011).

  4. Radionuclides in small mammals of the Saskatchewan prairie, including implications for the boreal forest and Arctic tundra

    SciTech Connect

    Thomas, P.A.

    1995-12-31

    The focus of the study reported was to collect and examine baseline data on radionuclides in small prairie mammal food chains and to assess the feasibility of using small mammals as radionuclide monitors in terrestrial ecosystems, in anticipation of possible future nuclear developments in northern Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. The study report begins with a literature review that summarizes existing data on radionuclides in small mammals, their food, the ambient environment in Canadian terrestrial ecosystems, principles of terrestrial radioecology, soil and vegetation studies, and food chain studies. It then describes a field study conducted to investigate small mammal food chains at three southwestern Saskatchewan prairie sites. Activities included collection and analysis of water, soil, grains, and foliage samples; trapping of small mammals such as mice and voles, and analysis of gastrointestinal tract samples; and determination of food chain transfer of selected radionuclides from soil to plants and to small mammals. Recommendations are made for future analyses and monitoring of small mammals. Appendices include information on radiochemical methods, soil/vegetation studies and small mammal studies conducted at northern Saskatchewan mine sites, and analyses of variance.

  5. A qualitative study on student attitudes towards a controversial species, the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fox-Parrish, Lynne

    This case study determined the attitudes held by high school students toward a controversial, yet keystone, species of the Great Plains, the black-tailed prairie dog. Black-tailed prairie dogs have declined dramatically over the past century as a result of large scale poisoning programs, plague, shooting, and habitat loss. The eradication programs put forth were primarily the result of strongly held misconceptions regarding black-tailed prairie dogs. The misconceptions are ingrained in many agricultural and/or rural communities throughout the prairie dogs' range. The decline of this species has resulted in the decline of many other species and the near extinction of the black-footed ferret. Biodiversity continues to decline and the health of the prairie dog ecosystem (i.e. prairie habitats) is in jeopardy. Although studies have shown that landowners and the adult population that live within the range of black-tailed prairie dogs harbor negative attitudes, nothing is known about the attitudes of adolescents. With an eco-feminist theoretical perspective, a case study methodology was used. Thirty 9th grade students comprised the case. The students lived in a mid-sized urban northern Colorado city whose county ranks 5th in the nation and 1st state wide for the value of their agricultural products. Black-tailed prairie dogs could be found throughout the city and adjacent areas. Students were engaged in a year-long "lesson" on black-tailed prairie dogs and conducted a field research experiment on an active prairie dog town. Interviews were conducted in May 2004. Follow-up interviews were conducted in May 2005. Other data collected were: observations, photographs, journals, and classroom documents. Themes generated were devised by a constant comparative method of data analysis. Three major themes emerged: apathy, egocentrism, and naive conceptions. Two smaller themes also emerged: caring and hopelessness. Adolescents are our future policy and decision makers; therefore

  6. Voles on small islands: effects of food limitation and alien predation.

    PubMed

    Fey, Karen; Banks, Peter B; Korpimäki, Erkki

    2008-09-01

    Ecosystems of three trophic levels may be bottom-up (by food-plant availability) and/or top-down (by predators) limited. Top-down control might be of greater consequence when the predation impact comes from an alien predator. We conducted a replicated two-factor experiment with field voles (Microtus agrestis) during 2004-2005 on small islands of the outer archipelago of the Baltic Sea, south-west Finland, manipulating both predation impact by introduced American mink (Mustela vison) and winter food supply. In autumn 2004, we live-trapped voles on five islands from which mink had been consistently removed, and on four islands where mink were present, and provided half of these islands with 1.8 kg oats per vole. Body mass of female voles increased as a response to supplementary food, whereas both food supplementation and mink removal increased the body mass of male voles in subsequent spring. During winter, there was a positive effect of supplementary food, but in the subsequent summer, possible positive long-term impacts of food supplementation on field voles were not detected. Mink removal appeared not to affect density estimates of field voles during the winter and summer immediately after food addition. Trapping data from 2004 to 2005 and 2007 suggested, however, that in two out of three summers densities of voles were significantly higher in the absence than in the presence of mink. We conclude that vole populations on small islands in the archipelago of the Baltic Sea are mainly bottom-up limited during winter (outside the growing season of food plants), when food availability is low, and limited by mink predation during summer which slows population growth during the reproductive season of voles.

  7. Vole preference of bilberry along gradients of simulated moose density and site productivity.

    PubMed

    Pedersen, Simen; Andreassen, Harry P; Persson, Inga-Lill; Julkunen-Tiitto, Riitta; Danell, Kjell; Skarpe, Christina

    2011-12-01

    Browsing by large herbivores might either increase or decrease preference for the plant by other herbivores, depending on the plant response. Using a cafeteria test, we studied the preference by root voles (Microtus oeconomus [Pallas, 1776]) for bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) previously subjected to 4 levels of simulated moose (Alces alces [Linnaeus, 1758]) density. The different levels of moose density were simulated at population densities relevant for Fennoscandian conditions, in exclosures situated along a site productivity gradient. We expected: (i) voles to prefer bilberry from high productivity sites over low productivity sites; (ii) voles to prefer browsed bilberry, if plants allocate resources to compensatory growth or to avoid browsed bilberry if plants allocate resources to defense; (iii) these effects to increase with increasing simulated moose density; and (iv) the concentration of plant chemicals and the plant morphology to explain vole preference. Specifically, we predicted that voles would prefer: (i) plants with high nitrogen content; (ii) plants with low content of defensive substances; and (iii) tall plants with long shoots. Voles preferred bilberry from the high productivity sites compared to the low productivity sites. We also found an interaction between site productivity and simulated moose density, where voles preferred unbrowsed plants at low productivity sites and intermediate levels of browsing at high productivity sites. There was no effect of plant chemistry or morphology on vole preference. We conclude that moose browsing impacts the food preference of voles. With the current high densities of moose in Fennoscandia, this could potentially influence vole food selection and population dynamics over large geographical areas.

  8. Birds associated with black-tailed prairie dog colonies in southern shortgrass prairie

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barko, V.A.; Shaw, J.H.; Leslie, David M.

    1999-01-01

    We conducted a census of avifaunal richness and abundance on black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies and uncolonized shortgrass prairie in the Oklahoma panhandle in July 1995 and April-June 1996. Five black-tailed prairie dog colonies were paired with five uncolonized prairie sites having similar topography and soil structure. Data were collected by walking permanent line transects and making point counts with a 125-m radius at fixed points placed 250 m apart. Avifaunal abundance and species richness were determined for each site. Avifaunal abundance was significantly higher on sites with prairie dog-colonies than at uncolonized sites during the vegetation growing season. However, we found few significant differences in avian abundance between prairie dog colonies and uncolonized prairie during tile drought months of 1996. We suggest these differences are because of drought-induced vegetation dormancy. Drought created homogeneous habitat instead of distinct habitat patches on prairie dog colonies characteristic of normal precipitation years in other regions of the Great Plains.

  9. Increased radiation from Chernobyl decreases the expression of red colouration in natural populations of bank voles (Myodes glareolus).

    PubMed

    Boratyński, Zbyszek; Lehmann, Philipp; Mappes, Tapio; Mousseau, Timothy A; Møller, Anders Pape

    2014-11-21

    Pheomelanin is a pink to red version of melanin pigment deposited in skin and hair. Due to its bright colour, pheomelanin plays a crucial function in signalling, in particular sexual signalling. However, production of pheomelanin, as opposed to its dark alternative, eumelanin, bears costs in terms of consumption of antioxidants important for protection of DNA against naturally produced reactive oxidative species. Therefore, decreased expression of pheomelanin is expected in organisms exposed to severe oxidative stress such as that caused by exposure to chronic ionizing radiation. We tested if variable exposure to radiation among natural populations of bank voles Myodes glareolus in Chernobyl affected expression of red colouration in their dorsal fur. The relative redness of dorsal fur was positively correlated with weight, but also negatively correlated with the level of background radiation. These results suggest that the development of the natural red colouration in adult bank voles is affected by ionizing background radiation, and potentially causing elevated levels of oxidative stress. Reduced production of pheomelanin allows more antioxidants to mitigate the oxidative stress caused by radiation. However, changing natural animal colouration for physiological reasons can have ecological costs, if e.g. it causes mismatch with habitat colouration and conspicuousness for predators.

  10. Increased radiation from Chernobyl decreases the expression of red colouration in natural populations of bank voles (Myodes glareolus)

    PubMed Central

    Boratyński, Zbyszek; Lehmann, Philipp; Mappes, Tapio; Mousseau, Timothy A.; Møller, Anders Pape

    2014-01-01

    Pheomelanin is a pink to red version of melanin pigment deposited in skin and hair. Due to its bright colour, pheomelanin plays a crucial function in signalling, in particular sexual signalling. However, production of pheomelanin, as opposed to its dark alternative, eumelanin, bears costs in terms of consumption of antioxidants important for protection of DNA against naturally produced reactive oxidative species. Therefore, decreased expression of pheomelanin is expected in organisms exposed to severe oxidative stress such as that caused by exposure to chronic ionizing radiation. We tested if variable exposure to radiation among natural populations of bank voles Myodes glareolus in Chernobyl affected expression of red colouration in their dorsal fur. The relative redness of dorsal fur was positively correlated with weight, but also negatively correlated with the level of background radiation. These results suggest that the development of the natural red colouration in adult bank voles is affected by ionizing background radiation, and potentially causing elevated levels of oxidative stress. Reduced production of pheomelanin allows more antioxidants to mitigate the oxidative stress caused by radiation. However, changing natural animal colouration for physiological reasons can have ecological costs, if e.g. it causes mismatch with habitat colouration and conspicuousness for predators. PMID:25413373

  11. Bioavailability of Hexahydro-1,3,5-Trinitro-1,3,5-Triazine (RDX) to the Praire Vole (Microtus ochrogaster).

    SciTech Connect

    Fellows, Robert J.; Driver, Crystal J.; Cataldo, Dominic A.; Harvey, Scott D.

    2006-07-01

    Estimating risk to wildlife requires that measures of exposure be equivalent to that of the laboratory studies from which toxic responses were observed. Exposure measures are often based on modeled estimates of uptake through the food web. These modeled estimates use largely untested assumptions that can lead to inaccurate, uncertain, and unreliable estimates of exposure. Recently, concerns have been raised over the potential bioavailability and biotransfer of munitions or energetics materials such as hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX). RDX is more recalcitrant in the soil, may remain as the parent compound for extended periods of time, and is rapidly taken up by the roots of higher plants and partitioned predominantly into the above ground, herbivore-accessible tissues. This study assessed plant incorporated [14C]-RDX and plant derived [14C]-RDX-metabolites ingestion by a representative hindgut herbivore, the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster). The animals were fed the labeled chow (≤10 g/ day max) for five or seven days followed by a six or four day chase period with the control chow prior to final weighing and sacrifice. Animal excreta including feces, urine, and respired CO2 were collected and measured. Greater than 95% of all label presented to the voles was recovered in the summed excreta. Seventy-four percent of the label in the total excreta was found in the fecal non-absorbed bulk. This means that greater than 20% of the presented 14C-RDX and plant-derived 14C-RDX-metabolites were absorbed by the animal’s digestive tracts over the time course of the experiment and modified prior to release. These materials were either metabolized to 14CO2 (8 to 10% of the total label) or removed as nitrogenous waste through the kidneys (10 to 14%). The feeding regimes were followed by a rapid, 2 to 3 day, clearing of label from the bulk feces with the cessation of exposure. Both 14C-urine and 14CO2 excretion continued after the feces cleared indicating

  12. Invertebrate biomass: Associations with lesser prairie-chicken habitat use and sand sagebrush density in southwestern Kansas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jamison, B.E.; Robel, R.J.; Pontius, J.S.; Applegate, R.D.

    2002-01-01

    Invertebrates are important food sources for lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) adults and broods. We compared invertebrate biomass in areas used and not used by lesser prairie-chicken adults and broods. We used radiotelemetry to determine use and non-use areas in sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia) prairie in southwestern Kansas and sampled invertebrate populations during summer 1998 and 1999. Sweepnet-collected biomass of short-horned grasshoppers (Acrididae) and total invertebrate biomass generally were greater in habitats used by lesser prairie-chickens than in paired non-use areas. We detected no differences in pitfall-collected biomass of Acrididae (P=0.81) or total invertebrate biomass (P=0.93) among sampling areas with sand sagebrush canopy cover of 0 to 10%, 11 to 30%, and >30%. Results of multivariate analysis and regression model selection suggested that forbs were more strongly associated with invertebrate biomass than shrubs, grasses, or bare ground. We could not separate lesser prairie-chicken selection for areas of forb cover from selection of areas with greater invertebrate biomass associated with forb cover. Regardless of whether the effects of forbs were direct or indirect, their importance in sand sagebrush habitat has management implications. Practices that maintain or increase forb cover likely will increase invertebrate biomass and habitat quality in southwestern Kansas.

  13. Invertebrate biomass: associations with lesser prairie-chicken habitat use and sand sagebrush density in southwestern Kansas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jamison, B.; Robel, R.J.; Pontius, J.S.; Applegate, R.D.

    2002-01-01

    Invertebrates are important food sources for lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) adults and broods. We compared invertebrate biomass in areas used and not used by lesser prairie-chicken adults and broods. We used radiotelemetry to determine use and non-use areas in sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia) prairie in southwestern Kansas and sampled invertebrate populations during summer 1998 and 1999. Sweepnet-collected biomass of short-horned grasshoppers (Acrididae) and total invertebrate biomass generally were greater in habitats used by lesser prairie-chickens than in paired non-use areas. We detected no differences in pitfall-collected biomass of Acrididae (P=0.81) or total invertebrate biomass (P=0.93) among sampling areas with sand sagebrush canopy cover of 0 to 10%, 11 to 30%, and >30%. Results of multivariate analysis and regression model selection suggested that forbs were more strongly associated with invertebrate biomass than shrubs, grasses, or bare ground. We could not separate lesser prairie-chicken selection for areas of forb cover from selection of areas with greater invertebrate biomass associated with forb cover. Regardless of whether the effects of forbs were direct or indirect, their importance in sand sagebrush habitat has management implications. Practices that maintain or increase forb cover likely will increase invertebrate biomass and habitat quality in southwestern Kansas.

  14. Nutrition, care, and behavior of captive prairie dogs.

    PubMed

    Hoogland, John L; James, Dianne A; Watson, Lynda

    2009-05-01

    Prairie dogs are burrowing mammals that inhabit the grasslands of western North America. This article discusses the black-tailed prairie dog, the most common species and the one most likely to be found in zoos and private homes. The authors discuss several topics related to having prairie dogs as pets, such as why they make good pets, types of housing, diet, diseases, and injuries. The article concludes with information about where to obtain prairie dogs as pets.

  15. The Effect of Small-Size Habitat Disturbances on Population Density and Time to Extinction of the Prairie Vole

    SciTech Connect

    Kostova, T; Carlsen, T

    2004-12-13

    We present a study, based on simulations with SERDYCA, a spatially-explicit individual-based model of rodent dynamics, on the relation between population persistence and the presence of numerous isolated disturbances in the habitat. We are specifically interested in the effect of disturbances that do not fragment the environment on population persistence. Our results suggest that the presence of disturbances in the absence of fragmentation can actually increase the average time to extinction of the modeled population. The presence of disturbances decreases population density but can increase the chance for mating in monogamous species and consequently, the ratio of juveniles in the population. It thus provides a better chance for the population to restore itself after a severe period with critically low population density. We call this the ''disturbance-forced localization effect''.

  16. Palouse prairie - synaptic relics from a senior pseudo-botanist

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Historically, vegetation of the Missoula Valley prairie has been regarded as "Agropyron-Festuca community," otherwise described as "Palouse bunchgrass prairie" or just "Palouse prairie." Synecology of this association has been well described starting in the 1920s, however there is no description of...

  17. Soil change induced by prairie dogs across three ecological sites

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) can influence vegetation dynamics and landscape hydrology by altering soil properties, yet few studies have evaluated soil responses to prairie dog activities across a range of soil types. This study was conducted to quantify prairie dog effects on soil properties within...

  18. Effects of short term bioturbation by common voles on biogeochemical soil variables.

    PubMed

    Wilske, Burkhard; Eccard, Jana A; Zistl-Schlingmann, Marcus; Hohmann, Maximilian; Methler, Annabel; Herde, Antje; Liesenjohann, Thilo; Dannenmann, Michael; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus; Breuer, Lutz

    2015-01-01

    Bioturbation contributes to soil formation and ecosystem functioning. With respect to the active transport of matter by voles, bioturbation may be considered as a very dynamic process among those shaping soil formation and biogeochemistry. The present study aimed at characterizing and quantifying the effects of bioturbation by voles on soil water relations and carbon and nitrogen stocks. Bioturbation effects were examined based on a field set up in a luvic arenosol comprising of eight 50 × 50 m enclosures with greatly different numbers of common vole (Microtus arvalis L., ca. 35-150 individuals ha-1 mth-1). Eleven key soil variables were analyzed: bulk density, infiltration rate, saturated hydraulic conductivity, water holding capacity, contents of soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (N), CO2 emission potential, C/N ratio, the stable isotopic signatures of 13C and 15N, and pH. The highest vole densities were hypothesized to cause significant changes in some variables within 21 months. Results showed that land history had still a major influence, as eight key variables displayed an additional or sole influence of topography. However, the δ15N at depths of 10-20 and 20-30 cm decreased and increased with increasing vole numbers, respectively. Also the CO2 emission potential from soil collected at a depth of 15-30 cm decreased and the C/N ratio at 5-10 cm depth narrowed with increasing vole numbers. These variables indicated the first influence of voles on the respective mineralization processes in some soil layers. Tendencies of vole activity homogenizing SOC and N contents across layers were not significant. The results of the other seven key variables did not confirm significant effects of voles. Thus overall, we found mainly a first response of variables that are indicative for changes in biogeochemical dynamics but not yet of those representing changes in pools.

  19. [Diurnal fluctuations of heart rate and locomotive activity in the vole (Microtus arvalis)].

    PubMed

    Ishii, K; Kuwahara, M; Tsubone, H; Sugano, S

    1993-01-01

    Diurnal fluctuations of heart rate and locomotive activity were observed in the unanesthetized and unrestrained voles (Microtus arvalis) and mice, and the differences in these biological characters between voles and mice were also investigated. The mean heart rate of vole in whole day was lower than that of mice. In voles, there were no significant differences in the mean heart rate between in light period and in dark period. It was observed that most of voles were active in not only dark period but light period. On the other hand, in mice, the mean heart rate in dark period was significantly higher than that in light period, and the nocturnal habit was shown obviously in the locomotive activity. In voles, the ultradian rhythmicities of 95-210 min in the heart rate and those of 160-210 min in the locomotive activity were recognized, and the fluctuations of heart rate due to ultradian rhythmicity in voles exceeded the difference between the heart rate in light period and that in dark period. In mice, one of three animals showed the ultradian rhythmicity of 85 min in the fluctuation of heart rate. Diurnal fluctuation of the heart rate in voles consisted of the two patterns which the peaks of heart rate were coincident with the active period or the resting period. However, all the peaks of heart rate in mice were coincident with the active period. These results suggested that the fluctuations of heart rate in voles were dependent on ultradian rhythmicities in addition to the circadian rhythmicities.

  20. Effects of Short Term Bioturbation by Common Voles on Biogeochemical Soil Variables

    PubMed Central

    Wilske, Burkhard; Eccard, Jana A.; Zistl-Schlingmann, Marcus; Hohmann, Maximilian; Methler, Annabel; Herde, Antje; Liesenjohann, Thilo; Dannenmann, Michael; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus; Breuer, Lutz

    2015-01-01

    Bioturbation contributes to soil formation and ecosystem functioning. With respect to the active transport of matter by voles, bioturbation may be considered as a very dynamic process among those shaping soil formation and biogeochemistry. The present study aimed at characterizing and quantifying the effects of bioturbation by voles on soil water relations and carbon and nitrogen stocks. Bioturbation effects were examined based on a field set up in a luvic arenosol comprising of eight 50 × 50 m enclosures with greatly different numbers of common vole (Microtus arvalis L., ca. 35–150 individuals ha–1 mth–1). Eleven key soil variables were analyzed: bulk density, infiltration rate, saturated hydraulic conductivity, water holding capacity, contents of soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (N), CO2 emission potential, C/N ratio, the stable isotopic signatures of 13C and 15N, and pH. The highest vole densities were hypothesized to cause significant changes in some variables within 21 months. Results showed that land history had still a major influence, as eight key variables displayed an additional or sole influence of topography. However, the δ15N at depths of 10–20 and 20–30 cm decreased and increased with increasing vole numbers, respectively. Also the CO2 emission potential from soil collected at a depth of 15–30 cm decreased and the C/N ratio at 5–10 cm depth narrowed with increasing vole numbers. These variables indicated the first influence of voles on the respective mineralization processes in some soil layers. Tendencies of vole activity homogenizing SOC and N contents across layers were not significant. The results of the other seven key variables did not confirm significant effects of voles. Thus overall, we found mainly a first response of variables that are indicative for changes in biogeochemical dynamics but not yet of those representing changes in pools. PMID:25954967

  1. Foraging patterns of voles at heterogeneous avian and uniform mustelid predation risk.

    PubMed

    Eccard, Jana A; Pusenius, Jyrki; Sundell, Janne; Halle, Stefan; Ylönen, Hannu

    2008-10-01

    Temporal variation of antipredatory behavior and a uniform distribution of predation risk over refuges and foraging sites may create foraging patterns different from those anticipated from risk in heterogenous habitats. We studied the temporal variation in foraging behavior of voles exposed to uniform mustelid predation risk and heterogeneous avian predation risk of different levels induced by vegetation types in eight outdoor enclosures (0.25 ha). We manipulated mustelid predation risk with weasel presence or absence and avian predation risk by reducing or providing local cover at experimental food patches. Foraging at food patches was monitored by collecting giving-up densities at artificial food patches, overall activity was automatically monitored, and mortality of voles was monitored by live-trapping and radiotracking. Voles depleted the food to lower levels in the sheltered patches than in the exposed ones. In enclosures with higher avian predation risk caused by lower vegetation height, trays were depleted to lower levels. Unexpectedly, voles foraged in more trays and depleted trays to lower levels in the presence of weasels than in the absence. Weasels match their prey's body size and locomotive abilities and therefore increase predation risk uniformly over both foraging sites and refuge sites that can both be entered by the predator. This reduces the costs of missing opportunities other than foraging. Voles changed their foraging strategy accordingly by specializing on the experimental food patches with predictable returns and probably reduced their foraging in the matrix of natural food source with unpredictable returns and high risk to encounter the weasel. Moreover, after 1 day of weasel presence, voles shifted their main foraging activities to avoid the diurnal weasel. This behavior facilitated bird predation, probably by nocturnal owls, and more voles were killed by birds than by weasels. Food patch use of voles in weasel enclosures increased with

  2. Detection of Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum, and Encephalitozoon cuniculi in the brains of common voles (Microtus arvalis) and water voles (Arvicola terrestris) by gene amplification techniques in western Austria (Vorarlberg).

    PubMed

    Fuehrer, Hans-Peter; Blöschl, Ingrid; Siehs, Christian; Hassl, Andreas

    2010-07-01

    Knowledge about the protozoan parasite fauna in voles (Arvicolinae) in Austria is rather limited, although some of these pathogens play an important role in human medicine and cause zoonoses (e.g., Toxoplasma gondii and Encephalitozoon cuniculi). Others are of relevance in veterinary medicine and have a negative economic impact (e.g., Neospora caninum). Two hundred sixty-eight common voles (Microtus arvalis) and 86 water voles (Arvicola terrestris) from the most western Austrian province, Vorarlberg, were analyzed with PCR techniques for infections with T. gondii, N. caninum, and E. cuniculi. Brain tissues of two common voles (0.7%) and of four water voles (4.7%) tested positive for T. gondii. Furthermore, analysis of four common voles (1.5%) and two water voles (2.3%) generated positive findings for N. caninum, and brain tissues of 16 common voles (6%) and six water voles (7%) tested positive for E. cuniculi. Accordingly, this study not only demonstrates the autochthonous existence of the zoonotic parasites T. gondii and E. cuniculi in voles in Vorarlberg, it also provides the first evidence of an occurrence of N. caninum in animals of the subfamily Arvicolinae, and it is an additional contribution to investigations of the sylvatic cycle of N. caninum.

  3. Suppression of prairie grasses due to excess magnesium in a portion of a restored prairie.

    PubMed

    Franson, Raymond; Krabbe, Stephen; Scholes, Chad

    2017-01-02

    In June 2002, the Department of Energy (DOE) began establishing the 60 ha Howell Prairie at the DOE Weldon Spring Site (WSS). In one area, the clay base is different from the other soil (subarea 2C). Vegetation sampling was conducted on four permanent plots across the prairie beginning in 2008, and shows that three of the four plots have strong establishment of native prairie species including prairie grasses. The fourth plot (subarea 2C), where the soil is different, shows significantly less native grass cover and stunted vegetation compared to the other three plots. One hundred twenty-five soil samples were taken in 6 different months and in 6 different years across the entire prairie restoration. Across the prairie, potassium (K) and phosphorus (P) were not limiting. The pH, organic matter content (OM), and cation exchange capacity (CEC) did not show trends related to the vegetation issues in subarea 2C. Ordination of the ratio of magnesium (Mg):K shows that Mg is very high in subarea 2C, which has been demonstrated to suppress the growth of prairie grasses. Subarea 2C contains interstratified kaolinite-smectite clay which contributes Mg to soil. It is hypothesized that an inexpensive, nondestructive treatment (addition of K) could be applied to remediate this area.

  4. Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    2009-01-01

    The Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) conducts integrated research to fulfill the Department of the Interior's responsibilities to the Nation's natural resources. Located on 600 acres along the James River Valley near Jamestown, North Dakota, the NPWRC develops and disseminates scientific information needed to understand, conserve, and wisely manage the Nation's biological resources. Research emphasis is primarily on midcontinental plant and animal species and ecosystems of the United States. During the center's 40-year history, its scientists have earned an international reputation for leadership and expertise on the biology of waterfowl and grassland birds, wetland ecology and classification, mammalian behavior and ecology, grassland ecosystems, and application of statistics and geographic information systems. To address current science challenges, NPWRC scientists collaborate with researchers from other U.S. Geological Survey centers and disciplines (Biology, Geography, Geology, and Water) and with biologists and managers in the Department of the Interior (DOI), other Federal agencies, State agencies, universities, and nongovernmental organizations. Expanding upon its scientific expertise and leadership, the NPWRC is moving in new directions, including invasive plant species, restoration of native habitats, carbon sequestration and marketing, and ungulate management on DOI lands.

  5. Preference of pen-reared northern bobwhite among native plant seeds of the sand sagebrush-mixed prairie

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Adult northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) are largely granivorous, eating primarily seeds produced from grasses and forbs. The objective of this research was to determine northern bobwhite quail preference among seeds of 45 plant species associated with the sand sagebrush-mixed prairie. ...

  6. [Effect of prenatal stress on the hypothalamo-hypophyseal-adrenal system activity and fat metabolism in the male water vole Arvicola terrestris].

    PubMed

    Makarova, E N; Bazhan, N M

    1999-08-01

    The HPA axis function and the fat metabolism were studied in adult male water voles born to intact mothers and mothers deprived of food on the 15th and 18th days of their pregnancy. The HPA response to emotional stress was relatively low in experimental males in winter. The hormonal response to a 24-hrs food deprivation diminished in experimental group only in February. The blood level of free fatty acids was increased in experimental group as compared to the control one. The short maternal food deprivation modified adaptive abilities of their male progeny.

  7. Experimental Infection of voles with Francisella tularensis indicates their amplification role in tularemia outbreaks.

    PubMed

    Rossow, Heidi; Forbes, Kristian M; Tarkka, Eveliina; Kinnunen, Paula M; Hemmilä, Heidi; Huitu, Otso; Nikkari, Simo; Henttonen, Heikki; Kipar, Anja; Vapalahti, Olli

    2014-01-01

    Tularemia outbreaks in humans have been linked to fluctuations in rodent population density, but the mode of bacterial maintenance in nature is unclear. Here we report on an experiment to investigate the pathogenesis of Francisella tularensis infection in wild rodents, and thereby assess their potential to spread the bacterium. We infected 20 field voles (Microtus agrestis) and 12 bank voles (Myodes glareolus) with a strain of F. tularensis ssp. holarctica isolated from a human patient. Upon euthanasia or death, voles were necropsied and specimens collected for histological assessment and identification of bacteria by immunohistology and PCR. Bacterial excretion and a rapid lethal clinical course with pathological changes consistent with bacteremia and tissue necrosis were observed in infected animals. The results support a role for voles as an amplification host of F. tularensis, as excreta and, in particular, carcasses with high bacterial burden could serve as a source for environmental contamination.

  8. High population density in bank voles stimulates food hoarding after breeding.

    PubMed

    Mappes

    1998-06-01

    The effects of conspecific density (i.e. risk of intraspecific competition) on hoarding behaviour were studied in breeding pairs of bank voles, Clethrionomys glareolus. I simulated high population density by using odours of conspecifics, to exclude the direct effects of exploitation or interference competition for food. The pairs of bank voles hoarded only at the end of their breeding season. Hoarding was not correlated with whether the voles had a litter during the experiment or their litter size, but was more likely at the high population density and for pairs with small females. This may indicate that smaller females especially make caches in the autumn, possibly to ensure better winter survival under high population density. I discuss the hoarding behaviour of bank voles in relation to their territorial behaviour and food resources during the breeding season and predictable population changes during winter. Copyright 1998 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Copyright 1998 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

  9. Spatial water maze learning using celestial cues by the meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus.

    PubMed

    Kavaliers, M; Galea, L A

    1994-03-31

    The Morris water maze is widely used to evaluate to evaluate the spatial learning ability of rodents under laboratory settings. The present study demonstrates that reproductive male meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus, are able to acquire and retain a spatial water maze task using celestial cues. Voles were able to acquire a modified outdoor Morris water maze task over 4 trials per day, whereby they had to learn and remember the location of a submerged hidden platform, using the position of the sun and associated celestial cues. Their proficiency on this task was related to the availability of the celestial cues, with voles displaying significantly poorer spatial navigation on overcast than clear days and when the testing time (and position of the sun and associated celestial cues) was shifted from morning to afternoon. These findings with meadow voles support the ecological relevance of the water maze task.

  10. Experimental Infection of Voles with Francisella tularensis Indicates Their Amplification Role in Tularemia Outbreaks

    PubMed Central

    Rossow, Heidi; Forbes, Kristian M.; Tarkka, Eveliina; Kinnunen, Paula M.; Hemmilä, Heidi; Huitu, Otso; Nikkari, Simo; Henttonen, Heikki; Kipar, Anja; Vapalahti, Olli

    2014-01-01

    Tularemia outbreaks in humans have been linked to fluctuations in rodent population density, but the mode of bacterial maintenance in nature is unclear. Here we report on an experiment to investigate the pathogenesis of Francisella tularensis infection in wild rodents, and thereby assess their potential to spread the bacterium. We infected 20 field voles (Microtus agrestis) and 12 bank voles (Myodes glareolus) with a strain of F. tularensis ssp. holarctica isolated from a human patient. Upon euthanasia or death, voles were necropsied and specimens collected for histological assessment and identification of bacteria by immunohistology and PCR. Bacterial excretion and a rapid lethal clinical course with pathological changes consistent with bacteremia and tissue necrosis were observed in infected animals. The results support a role for voles as an amplification host of F. tularensis, as excreta and, in particular, carcasses with high bacterial burden could serve as a source for environmental contamination. PMID:25271640

  11. Deltamethrin flea-control preserves genetic variability of black-tailed prairie dogs during a plague outbreak

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jones, P.H.; Biggins, D.E.; Eads, D.A.; Eads, S.L.; Britten, H.B.

    2012-01-01

    Genetic variability and structure of nine black-tailed prairie dog (BTPD, Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies were estimated with 15 unlinked microsatellite markers. A plague epizootic occurred between the first and second years of sampling and our study colonies were nearly extirpated with the exception of three colonies in which prairie dog burrows were previously dusted with an insecticide, deltamethrin, used to control fleas (vectors of the causative agent of plague, Yersinia pestis). This situation provided context to compare genetic variability and structure among dusted and non-dusted colonies pre-epizootic, and among the three dusted colonies pre- and post-epizootic. We found no statistical difference in population genetic structures between dusted and non-dusted colonies pre-epizootic. On dusted colonies, gene flow and recent migration rates increased from the first (pre-epizootic) year to the second (post-epizootic) year which suggested dusted colonies were acting as refugia for prairie dogs from surrounding colonies impacted by plague. Indeed, in the dusted colonies, estimated densities of adult prairie dogs (including dispersers), but not juveniles (non-dispersers), increased from the first year to the second year. In addition to preserving BTPDs and many species that depend on them, protecting colonies with deltamethrin or a plague vaccine could be an effective method to preserve genetic variability of prairie dogs. ?? 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  12. Feasibility of relating interferon production by wild voles to types of chemical contamination of their environment : Communication.

    PubMed

    Khan, A; Duvall, J; Santolucito, J

    1984-03-01

    In the fall of 1980, a limited field sampling and laboratory analysis profect was undertaken to explore the feasibility of relating immunological responses of field mice (voles) living wild in an area of environmental concern to the level of chemical contamination of that area. The voles were collected in the vicinity of Love Canal by biological sampling teams already there to collect voles for other purposes.The project helped identify those areas of practical uncertainty that must be clarified before the rate of interferon production in voles can be considered as a possible indicator of chemical contamination. Two lines of research are proposed: developing optimumin vitro interferon bioassays systems for vole leukocytes; and characterizing the interferon production responses of voles following controlled exposures to selected carcinogens and other chemicals.

  13. Survivorship of meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus, from sewage sludge-treated fields

    SciTech Connect

    Maly, M.S.

    1984-06-01

    A long-term field study was begun in 1977 at Miami University to evaluate the effects of land application of sewage sludge on experimental old-field communities. The effects of sludge application on toxic metal concentrations in meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) organs during the first two years of the study have been reported. During the first two years of sludge application, no detrimental effects were observed in vole survivorship as a result of sludge treatment.

  14. Habitat Suitability Index Models: Southern red-backed vole (western United States)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Allen, Arthur W.

    1983-01-01

    Habitat preferences of the southern red-backed vole (Clethrionomys gapperi) are described in this publication, which is one of a series of Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) models. A review and synthesis of the literature is followed by development of a model of the species-habitat requirements of the southern red-backed vole. Habitat suitability indexes are designed for use with Habitat Evaluation Procedures previously developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  15. The predicted influence of climate change on lesser prairie-chicken reproductive parameters

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grisham, Blake A.; Boal, Clint W.; Haukos, David A.; Davis, D.; Boydston, Kathy K.; Dixon, Charles; Heck, Willard R.

    2013-01-01

    The Southern High Plains is anticipated to experience significant changes in temperature and precipitation due to climate change. These changes may influence the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) in positive or negative ways. We assessed the potential changes in clutch size, incubation start date, and nest survival for lesser prairie-chickens for the years 2050 and 2080 based on modeled predictions of climate change and reproductive data for lesser prairie-chickens from 2001-2011 on the Southern High Plains of Texas and New Mexico. We developed 9 a priori models to assess the relationship between reproductive parameters and biologically relevant weather conditions. We selected weather variable(s) with the most model support and then obtained future predicted values from climatewizard.org. We conducted 1,000 simulations using each reproductive parameter's linear equation obtained from regression calculations, and the future predicted value for each weather variable to predict future reproductive parameter values for lesser prairie-chickens. There was a high degree of model uncertainty for each reproductive value. Winter temperature had the greatest effect size for all three parameters, suggesting a negative relationship between above-average winter temperature and reproductive output. The above-average winter temperatures are correlated to La Nina events, which negatively affect lesser prairie-chickens through resulting drought conditions. By 2050 and 2080, nest survival was predicted to be below levels considered viable for population persistence; however, our assessment did not consider annual survival of adults, chick survival, or the positive benefit of habitat management and conservation, which may ultimately offset the potentially negative effect of drought on nest survival.

  16. Age at Vaccination May Influence Response to Sylvatic Plague Vaccine (SPV) in Gunnison's Prairie Dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni).

    PubMed

    Rocke, Tonie E; Tripp, Dan; Lorenzsonn, Faye; Falendysz, Elizabeth; Smith, Susan; Williamson, Judy; Abbott, Rachel

    2015-06-01

    Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) have been considered at greater risk from Yersinia pestis (plague) infection in the montane portion of their range compared to populations at lower elevations, possibly due to factors related to flea transmission of the bacteria or greater host susceptibility. To test the latter hypothesis and determine whether vaccination against plague with an oral sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) improved survival, we captured prairie dogs from a C. g. gunnisoni or "montane" population and a C. g. zuniensis or "prairie" population for vaccine efficacy and challenge studies. No differences (P = 0.63) were found in plague susceptibility in non-vaccinated animals between these two populations; however, vaccinates from the prairie population survived plague challenge at significantly higher rates (P < 0.01) than those from the montane population. Upon further analysis, we determined that response to immunization was most likely associated with differences in age, as the prairie group was much younger on average than the montane group. Vaccinates that were juveniles or young adults survived plague challenge at a much higher rate than adults (P < 0.01 and P = 0.02, respectively), but no difference (P = 0.83) was detected in survival rates between control animals of different ages. These results suggest that host susceptibility is probably not related to the assumed greater risk from plague in the C. g. gunnisoni or "montane" populations of Gunnison's prairie dogs, and that SPV could be a useful plague management tool for this species, particularly if targeted at younger cohorts.

  17. Parentage assignment detects frequent and large-scale dispersal in water voles.

    PubMed

    Telfer, S; Piertney, S B; Dallas, J F; Stewart, W A; Marshall, F; Gow, J L; Lambin, X

    2003-07-01

    Estimating the rate and scale of dispersal is essential for predicting the dynamics of fragmented populations, yet empirical estimates are typically imprecise and often negatively biased. We maximized detection of dispersal events between small, subdivided populations of water voles (Arvicola terrestris) using a novel method that combined direct capture-mark-recapture with microsatellite genotyping to identify parents and offspring in different populations and hence infer dispersal. We validated the method using individuals known from trapping data to have dispersed between populations. Local populations were linked by high rates of juvenile dispersal but much lower levels of adult dispersal. In the spring breeding population, 19% of females and 33% of males had left their natal population of the previous year. The average interpopulation dispersal distance was 1.8 km (range 0.3-5.2 km). Overall, patterns of dispersal fitted a negative exponential function. Information from genotyping increased the estimated rate and scale of dispersal by three- and twofold, respectively, and hence represents a powerful tool to provide more realistic estimates of dispersal parameters.

  18. Significant interspecies differences in induction profiles of hepatic CYP enzymes by TCDD in bank and field voles.

    PubMed

    Murtomaa-Hautala, Mari; Korkalainen, Merja; Pelkonen, Olavi; Hegde, Nagabhooshan; Pohjanvirta, Raimo; Huitu, Otso; Henttonen, Heikki; Rautio, Arja; Viitala, Pirkko; Viluksela, Matti

    2012-03-01

    The gene expression and induction of cytochrome P450 (CYP)-enzymes following 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) peroral administration was studied in the livers of two wild vole species--the bank vole (Myodes glareolus) and the field vole (Microtus agrestis). The dioxin-sensitive C57BL/6 mouse was used as a reference. Doses of 0.05, 0.5, 5.0, and 50 µg/kg were applied to ascertain a dose-response relationship, and the dose of 50 µg/kg was applied to the study time course for up to 96 h. The cytochrome P450 1A1 (CYP1A1) mRNA expression showed an expected dose-dependent increase equally in both vole species. Bank voles expressed notably higher CYP2A mRNA levels as compared with field voles. Both species exhibited dose-dependent increases in putative CYP1A-, CYP2B-, and CYP2A-associated activities as measured by fluorometric assays for ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD), penthoxyresorufin-O-depenthylase (PROD), and 7-ethoxycoumarin-O-deethylase (ECOD), respectively. Putative CYP2A-associated coumarin-7-hydroxylase (COH) activity showed a slight increase at the two highest doses of TCDD in field voles but not in bank voles, and their basal COH activity was only one-fourth or less of that in field voles. Overall, however, bank voles tended to exhibit higher CYP-associated enzyme activities measured at the two largest doses of TCDD than field voles. A western blot analysis of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) revealed that the two vole species had differential band patterns, suggesting dissimilar structures for their AhRs.

  19. Bioconcentration of fallout sup 137 Cs by fungi and red-backed voles (Clethrionomys gapperi)

    SciTech Connect

    Mihok, S.; Schwartz, B.; Wiewel, A.M. )

    1989-12-01

    Cesium-137 and 40K concentrations were measured in vegetation and in red-backed voles (Clethrionomys gapperi) in southeastern Manitoba, Canada, following the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Voles from wet coniferous habitats contained concentrations of {sup 137}Cs twenty- to fiftyfold higher than voles from deciduous habitats. Maximum {sup 137}Cs values were observed in autumn. Voles captured in a spruce bog at this time contained an average body burden of about 11 Bq. Concentrations in vegetation samples were similar to those found by other researchers. Overall, there was only minimal evidence of contamination attributable to Chernobyl in either vegetation or voles. The primary source of {sup 137}Cs in voles appeared to be dietary, particularly mushrooms that contained up to 74 Bq g-1 ash. Based on physiological constraints, mushrooms were the only plausible source of {sup 137}Cs in autumn diets. Elevated values at other times in coniferous areas may have been related to the consumption of epiphytic lichens. These findings suggest that fungi, or the animals that consume them, can serve as sensitive indicators of {sup 137}Cs contamination in the environment.

  20. Stress impairs new but not established relationships in seasonally social voles.

    PubMed

    Anacker, Allison M J; Reitz, Kara M; Goodwin, Nastacia L; Beery, Annaliese K

    2016-03-01

    Affiliative social relationships are impacted by stressors and can shape responses to stress. However, the effects of stress on social relationships in different contexts are not well understood. Meadow voles provide an opportunity to study these effects on peer relationships outside of a reproductive context. In winter months, female meadow voles cohabit with peers of both sexes, and social huddling is facilitated by exposure to short, winter-like day lengths in the lab. We investigated the role of stress and corticosterone (cort) levels in social behavior in short day-housed female meadow voles. A brief forced swim elevated cort levels, and we assessed the effects of this stressor on new and established relationships between females. In pairs formed following exposure to swim stress, the stressor significantly reduced the fraction of huddling time subjects spent with a familiar partner. Swim stress did not affect partner preferences in pairs established prior to the stressor. Finally, we examined fecal glucocorticoid metabolite levels via immunoassay in voles housed under short day (10h light) versus long day (14 h light) conditions and detected higher glucocorticoid levels in long day-housed voles. These findings support a role for stress regulation in the formation of social relationships in female meadow voles, and are consistent with a potential role for seasonal variation in cort in the behavioral transition from solitary to social. Together they highlight the importance of stress and possibly glucocorticoid signaling for social behavior.

  1. Who are the bosses? Group influence on the behavior of voles following owl attack.

    PubMed

    Kleiman, Michal; Bodek, Sivan; Eilam, David

    2014-10-01

    Individual members of a group must conform to the group norms, as they may otherwise become isolated from the group or the group may split. On the other hand, social groups usually comprise various social ranks and display a differential division of labor and consequently different behaviors. The present study was aimed at examining how the above factors are manifested in social voles that had experienced owl attack. Here, we reconfirm the findings of past studies: that grouped voles converge to display similar behavior after owl attack. In addition, we found that high-mass voles were more active in the open sectors of the experimental set-ups both before and after the owl attack, whereas low-mass voles dichotomized to those that increased and those that decreased their activity in the open following owl attack. Taking body mass as a proxy for social rank, it is suggested that as a consequence of their larger size and of their experience and physical strength, high-mass voles both presented an exemplary model for the low-mass voles and, accordingly, assumed leadership and stabilized their group's behavior. We also suggest a hypothetical model for the propagation of behavior in hierarchical groups.

  2. Effects of vole fluctuations on the population dynamics of the barn owl Tyto alba.

    PubMed

    Klok, Chris; de Roos, Andre M

    2007-01-01

    Many predator species feed on prey that fluctuates in abundance from year to year. Birds of prey can face large fluctuations in food abundance i.e. small mammals, especially voles. These annual changes in prey abundance strongly affect the reproductive success and mortality of the individual predators and thus can be expected to influence their population dynamics and persistence. The barn owl, for example, shows large fluctuations in breeding success that correlate with the dynamics in voles, their main prey species. Analysis of the impact of fluctuations in vole abundance (their amplitude, peaks and lows, cycle length and regularity) with a simple predator prey model parameterized with literature data indicates population persistence is especially affected by years with low vole abundance. In these years the population can decline to low owl numbers such that the ensuing peak vole years cannot be exploited. This result is independent of the length and regularity of vole fluctuations. The relevance of this result for conservation of the barn owl and other birds of prey that show a numerical response to fluctuating prey species is discussed.

  3. Revisiting the “visible burrow system”: The impact of the group, social rank, and gender on voles under owl attack.

    PubMed

    Bodek, Sivan; Eilam, David

    2015-07-01

    In the present study, corticosterone levels and behavior were compared between voles (Microtus socialis) that were attacked by a barn owl (Tyto alba) and voles that did not experience such attack. Both female and male voles were exposed to the owl either together with their group mates or when socially isolated. As hypothesized, corticosterone levels were higher in voles after the owl attack, and were higher in females than in males. However, blood corticosterone was higher in voles that experienced the attack in groups compared with the socially-isolated voles. The latter result seems enigmatic, since group members usually benefit from the “social buffering” conferred by their group-mates. It is suggested that contagious vigilance among group members accounts for the higher mean corticosterone level in grouped compared to socially-isolated voles, overshadowing the possible impact of social buffering. We also found a negative correlation between body mass and corticosterone level, with more high-mass voles showing low corticosterone levels compared with low mass voles. This finding accords with a previous study in which the behavior of high-mass voles was less affected by owl attack compared to low-mass voles. The novelty of the present results therefore lies in supporting, at the hormonal level, past behavioral findings in rats and voles, and in demonstrating that high-mass voles, by virtue of their physical strength and perhaps also their life experience, are less stressed by the owl attack and become the leaders and stabilizers of their groups.

  4. Expanding Teacher Understanding of Wisconsin's Prairie Chickens

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brown, Melinda S.; Sivek, Daniel J.; Thomas, Christine L.

    2008-01-01

    The principal author developed a workshop through the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program, based on central Wisconsin's prairie chicken population, to present teachers with the knowledge and skills needed to provide quality environmental education. Seventeen high school teachers attended the 2003 workshop. Pre-and post-workshop surveys were…

  5. Habitat management considerations for prairie chickens

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kirsch, L.M.

    1974-01-01

    Lack of nesting and brood rearing habitat appears to be the universal limiting factor for prairie chickens (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus) throughout their range. Grasslands are essential to prairie chickens, but vary widely in quality and thus in their ability to support prairie chickens. High-quality habitat is grassland providing residual vegetation averaging about 20 inches in height in spring and sufficiently dense to completely conceal a nesting prairie chicken. Annually grazed, annually hayed, or long-term (10 years or more) idled habitats are undesirable. The most successful method for maintaining high-quality nest-brood habitat is prescribed burning at 3- to 5-year intervals; such habitat may be established by seeding grass or grass-legume mixtures. Seeded habitat may be maintained by prescribed burning at 3- to 5-year intervals. Management units should contain at least 2 square miles of high-quality habitat within an area not to exceed 8 square miles. High-quality habitat blocks should be at least 160 acres with a minimum width of one-half mile. Based on available evidence, funding to provide winter food or cover is not recommended.

  6. Mid-Prairie. First Grade Revision.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Joint County System of Cedar, Johnson, Linn, and Washington Counties, Cedar Rapids, IA.

    Written by teachers in the Mid-Prairie Community School District, this revised 1st grade social studies curriculum guide will be tested in the 1970-71 school year and evaluated in the Spring. The units emphasize general communication skills and the building of a background for specific social studies skills: reading social studies material;…

  7. Hokkaido Genotype of Puumala Virus in the Grey Red-backed Vole (Myodes rufocanus) and Northern Red-backed Vole (Myodes rutilus) in Siberia

    PubMed Central

    Yashina, Liudmila N.; Abramov, Sergey A.; Dupal, Tamara A.; Danchinova, Galina A.; Malyshev, Boris S.; Hay, John; Gu, Se Hun; Yanagihara, Richard

    2016-01-01

    Three species of Myodes voles known to harbor hantaviruses include the bank vole (Myodes glareolus), which serves as the reservoir host of Puumala virus (PUUV), the prototype arvicolid rodent-borne hantavirus causing hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Europe, and the grey red-backed vole (M. rufocanus) and royal vole (M. regulus) which carry two PUUV-like hantaviruses, designated Hokkaido virus (HOKV) and Muju virus (MUJV), respectively. To ascertain the hantavirus harbored by the northern red-backed vole (M. rutilus), we initially screened sera from 233 M. rutilus, as well as from 90 M. rufocanus and 110 M. glareolus, captured in Western and Eastern Siberia during June 2007 to October 2009, for anti-hantaviral antibodies. Thereafter, lung tissues from 44 seropositive voles were analyzed for hantavirus RNA by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Partial L-, M- and S-segment sequences, detected in M. rutilus and M. rufocanus, were closely related to HOKV, differing from previously published L-, M- and S-segment sequences of HOKV by 17.8–20.2%, 15.9–23.4% and 15.0–17.0% at the nucleotide level and 2.6–7.9%, 1.3–6.3% and 1.2–4.0% at the amino acid level, respectively. Alignment and comparison of hantavirus sequences from M. glareolus trapped in Tiumen Oblast showed very high sequence similarity to the Omsk lineage of PUUV. Phylogenetic analysis, using neighbor-joining, maximal likelihood and Bayesian methods, showed that HOKV strains shared a common ancestry with PUUV and exhibited geographic-specific clustering. This report provides the first molecular evidence that both M. rutilus and M. rufocanus harbor HOKV, which might represent a genetic variant of PUUV. PMID:26003760

  8. The influence of aridity and fire on Holocene prairie communities in the eastern Prairie Peninsula

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nelson, D.M.; Feng, S.H.; Grimm, E.C.; Curry, B. Brandon; Slate, J.E.

    2006-01-01

    The role of climate and fire in the development, maintenance, and species composition of prairie in the eastern axis of the tallgrass Prairie Peninsula intrigued early North American ecologists. However, evaluation of the long-standing hypotheses about the region's environmental history has been hampered by the scarcity of paleorecords. We conducted multiproxy analyses on early and middle Holocene sediments from two Illinois, USA, lakes to assess long-term climatic, vegetational, and fire variability in the region. Sediment mineral composition, carbonate ??18O, ostracode assemblages, and diatom assemblages were integrated to infer fluctuations in moisture availability. Pollen and charcoal ??13C were used to reconstruct vegetation composition, and charcoal influx was used to reconstruct fire. Results indicate that fire-sensitive trees (e.g., Ulmus, Ostrya, Fraxinus, and Acer saccharum) declined and prairie taxa expanded with increased aridity from 10 000 yr BP to 8500 yr BP. Between ???8500 yr BP and ???6200 yr BP, aridity declined, and prairie coexisted with fire-sensitive and fire-tolerant (e.g., Quercus and Carya) trees. After ???6200 yr BP, prairie taxa became dominant, although aridity was not more severe than it was around 8500 yr BP. Along with aridity, fire appears to have played an important role in the establishment and maintenance of prairie communities in the eastern Prairie Peninsula, consistent with the speculations of the early ecologists. Comparison of our data with results from elsewhere in the North American midcontinent indicates that spatial heterogeneity is a characteristic feature of climatic and vegetational variations on millennial time scales. ?? 2006 by the Ecological Society of America.

  9. Land use and prairie grouse population relationships in North Dakota

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kirsch, L.M.; Klett, A.T.; Miller, H.W.

    1973-01-01

    The relationship between prairie grouse and land use was studied during the period 1964-71. Prairie chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) declined from 48 males in 1964 to none in 1971. Sharp-tailed grouse (Pedioecetes phasianellus) declined from 166 males in 1964 to 57 in 1971. These declines were related to the decline in vigor and eventual loss of Soil Bank habitat on the study area. Two new courtship grounds, established near fields recently retired under the Cropland Adjustment Program, were used by 44 percent of the male sharp-tailed grouse population in 1971. Hay lands on the study area did not support prairie grouse. Pasture lands were of no apparent value to prairie chickens and of limited value to sharp-tailed grouse. Management for prairie grouse should be directed toward developing and maintaining vigorous grass-forb communities on retired croplands and native prairie.

  10. Spatio-temporal patterns of habitat use in voles and shrews modified by density, season and predators.

    PubMed

    Sundell, Janne; Church, Christina; Ovaskainen, Otso

    2012-07-01

    1. Although the intrinsic habitat preferences of a species can be considered to be fixed, the realized habitat use depends on the prevailing abiotic and biotic conditions. Often the core habitats are occupied by dense and stable populations, while marginal habitats become occupied only at times of high density. In a community of interacting species, habitat uses of different species become inter-related, for example an increased density of a strong competitor forcing a weaker competitor to use more marginal habitats. 2. We studied the spatio-temporal distribution patterns of three common small mammal species, the bank vole Myodes glareolus; the field vole Microtus agrestis; and the common shrew Sorex araneus, in a 4-year trapping study carried out on six large islands, each containing a mixture of three main habitat types (forest, field and clear-cut). We experimentally released least weasels (Mustela n. nivalis) to some of the islands to see how the focal species respond to increased predation pressure. 3. Both vole species were largely restricted to their core habitats (bank voles to forests and field voles to fields) at times of low population density. With increasing density, the relative habitat use of both species increased in the clear-cut areas. The common shrew was a generalist in its habitat use at all population densities. 4. The release of the weasels changed the habitat use of all study species. 5. The vole species showed a stronger aggregated pattern than the common shrew, especially at low population density. The vole aggregations remained in the same localities between seasons, except in the case of bank voles after the weasels were released. 6. Bank voles and field voles avoided each other at high density. 7. We conclude that intrinsically differential habitat requirements and flexibility to modify habitat use facilitate the coexistence of the two competing vole species in mosaic landscapes consisting of boreal forests and open

  11. Re-feeding evokes reproductive overcompensation of food-restricted Brandt's voles.

    PubMed

    Xie, Xuehui; Wen, Yilei; Niu, Hongxing; Shi, Dazhao; Zhang, Zhibin

    2012-02-01

    In natural conditions, animals have to cope with fluctuations of food resources. Animals having experienced prolonged decrease in feeding opportunities may increase their reproductive success when meeting abundant food. Though food restriction is well known to reduce reproductive success of animals, it is not clear whether re-feeding can restore or even overcompensate the reproductive success. In this study, we investigated the differences in reproductive parameters between food-restricted and refed (FR-RF) group and control group of Brandt's vole (Lasiopodomys brandtii). For 4 weeks, FR-RF voles were provided with 70% of their normal daily food intake and then they were fed ad libitum for the next 4 weeks. Voles of control group were fed ad libitum for 8 weeks. Females (FR-RF or control) were mated to non-littermate males of the same group (FR-RF or control), and we found that the mean litter size and survival rate of F1 pups of FR-RF group were significantly higher than those of control group. We also provided a field example showing that the litter size of Brandt's voles tended to be higher if they experienced two consecutive dry and wet months than that of voles didn't have this experience. Our results suggest that re-feeding may have evoked an overcompensatory mechanism of food-restricted voles in reproductive success. This may be an adaptive strategy for Brandt's voles (with oscillating populations) to cope with the fluctuating food resources in natural conditions by adjusting their reproductive success.

  12. Holarctic phylogeography of the root vole (Microtus oeconomus): implications for late Quaternary biogeography of high latitudes.

    PubMed

    Brunhoff, C; Galbreath, K E; Fedorov, V B; Cook, J A; Jaarola, M

    2003-04-01

    A species-wide phylogeographical study of the root vole (Microtus oeconomus) was performed using the whole 1140 base pair mitochondrial (mt) cytochrome b gene. We examined 83 specimens from 52 localities resulting in 65 unique haplotypes. Our results demonstrate that the root vole is divided into four main mtDNA phylogenetic lineages that seem to have largely allopatric distributions. Net divergence estimates (2.0-3.5%) between phylogroups, as well as relatively high nucleotide diversity estimates within phylogroups, indicate that the distinct phylogeographical structure was initiated by historical events that predated the latest glaciation. European root voles are divided into a Northern and a Central mtDNA phylogroup. The mtDNA data in concert with fossil records imply that root voles remained north of the classical refugial areas in southern Europe during the last glacial period. The currently fragmented populations in central Europe belong to a single mtDNA phylogroup. The Central Asian and the North European lineages are separated by the Ural Mountains, a phylogeographical split also found in collared lemmings (Dicrostonyx) and the common vole (M. arvalis). The Beringian lineage occurs from eastern Russia through Alaska to northwestern Canada. This distribution is congruent with the traditional boundaries of the Beringian refugium and with phylogeographical work on other organisms. In conclusion, similarities between the phylogeographical patterns in the root vole and other rodents, such as Arctic and subarctic lemmings, as well as more temperate vole species, indicate that late Quaternary geological and climatic events played a strong role in structuring northern biotic communities.

  13. Photoperiod induced obesity in the Brandt's vole (Lasiopodomys brandtii): a model of ‘healthy obesity’?

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Xin-Yu; Yang, Deng-Bao; Xu, Yan-Chao; Gronning, Marianne O. L.; Zhang, Fang; Wang, De-Hua; Speakman, John R.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Brandt's voles have an annual cycle of body weight and adiposity. These changes can be induced in the laboratory by manipulation of photoperiod. In the present study, male captive-bred Brandt's voles aged 35 days were acclimated to a short day (SD) photoperiod (8L:16D) for 70 days. A subgroup of individuals (n=16) were implanted with transmitters to monitor physical activity and body temperature. They were then randomly allocated into long day (LD=16L:8D) (n=19, 8 with transmitters) and SD (n=18, 8 with transmitters) groups for an additional 70 days. We monitored aspects of energy balance, glucose and insulin tolerance (GTT and ITT), body composition and organ fat content after exposure to the different photoperiods. LD voles increased in weight for 35 days and then re-established stability at a higher level. At the end of the experiment LD-exposed voles had greater white adipose tissue mass than SD voles (P=0.003). During weight gain they did not differ in their food intake or digestive efficiency; however, daily energy expenditure was significantly reduced in the LD compared with SD animals (ANCOVA, P<0.05) and there was a trend to reduced resting metabolic rate RMR (P=0.075). Physical activity levels were unchanged. Despite different levels of fat storage, the GTT and ITT responses of SD and LD voles were not significantly different, and these traits were not correlated to body fatness. Hence, the photoperiod-induced obesity was independent on disruptions to glucose homeostasis, indicating a potential adaptive decoupling of these states in evolutionary time. Fat content in both the liver and muscle showed no significant difference between LD and SD animals. How voles overcome the common negative aspects of fat storage might make them a useful model for understanding the phenomenon of ‘healthy obesity’. PMID:27736740

  14. Overview of Prairie Planting Techniques and Maintenance Requirements

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-02-01

    others must be considered when developing plans for burning, mowing, and maintaining a prairie. Given the variation in prairie lands under Corps...diverse. Visiting a local prairie and taking notes on the species present 3 ERDC TN-EMRRP-ER-05 February 2007 and their phenology (e.g., time of...regional variation in planting and management techniques are provided for most techniques. Lastly, the need for a monitoring program is discussed

  15. Photovoltaic systems for Canadian prairie regions

    SciTech Connect

    Nigrin, J.

    1983-10-01

    The communications industry has a need for economic low power generators for their remote sites, with minimized power consumption. Photovoltaic generators (PV) promising hardware simplicity, low cost and low maintenance have the potential to fill this need. The operational record of PV generators is rather poor in harsh environment of the Canadian prairies. The authors' analysis of long term radiation data, field and laboratory tests show that often ignored cyclic winter radiation extremes and poor selection, operation and maintenance of batteries are the most frequent causes of PV system failures. They derive a reliable PV sizing curve for Edmonton (53/sup 0/N, 114/sup 0/W) and study various PV designs. At a cost of $20,000 per 100W a hybrid PV-TEG generator is shown to promise reliable operation which is not affected by extreme weather fluctuations of the Canadian prairies.

  16. Impact of Puumala virus infection on maturation and survival in bank voles: a capture-mark-recapture analysis.

    PubMed

    Tersago, Katrien; Crespin, Laurent; Verhagen, Ron; Leirs, Herwig

    2012-01-01

    Many zoonotic diseases are caused by rodent-borne viruses. Major fluctuations in the transmission of these viruses have been related to large changes in reservoir host population numbers due to external factors. However, the impact of the pathogen itself on the demography of its reservoir host is often overlooked. We investigated the impact of Puumala virus (PUUV) on survival and reproductive maturation probability of its reservoir host, the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). Three years (2004-06) of data from nine independent sites in southern Belgium were collected and analyzed with a capture-mark-recapture (CMR) method that includes statistical correction for the variation in capture probability of voles. A multistate model based on four states of reproductive activity and PUUV immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody status was used to estimate survival and probability of transition from one reproductive or infection state to another. Although survival estimates for reproductively active voles were similar between infected and noninfected individuals, PUUV infection in reproductively inactive voles decreased mean monthly survival by 14%. PUUV infection was associated with a threefold increase in the probability of reproductive maturation in bank voles. Moreover, the probability of PUUV IgG seroconversion was three times higher for reproductively active voles compared to reproductively inactive voles. Our model indicates that PUUV infection may alter bank vole population dynamics by affecting both survival and maturation in its host. Additional studies, using CMR methodology with shorter time intervals between trapping sessions and possibly a longer duration, are needed to confirm these findings.

  17. Defensive responses of Brandt's voles (Lasiopodomys brandtii) to chronic predatory stress.

    PubMed

    Hegab, Ibrahim M; Shang, Guoshen; Ye, Manhong; Jin, Yajuan; Wang, Aiqin; Yin, Baofa; Yang, Shengmei; Wei, Wanhong

    2014-03-14

    Predator odors are non-intrusive natural stressors of high ethological relevance. The objective of this study was to investigate the processing of a chronic, life-threatening stimulus during repeated prolonged presentation to Brandt's voles. One hundred and twenty voles were tested by repeated presentation of cat feces in a defensive withdrawal apparatus. Voles exposed to feces for short periods showed more avoidance, more concealment in the hide box, less contact time with the odor source, more freezing behavior, less grooming, more jumping, and more vigilant rearing than did non-exposed voles, and those exposed for longer periods. Serum levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone increased significantly when animals were repeatedly exposed to cat feces for short periods. The behavioral and endocrine responses habituated during prolonged presentation of cat feces. ΔfosB mRNA expression level was highest in voles exposed to cat feces for 6 and 12 consecutive days, and subsequently declined in animals exposed to cat feces for 24 days. We therefore conclude that the behavioral and endocrine responses to repeated exposure to cat feces undergo a process of habituation, while ΔfosB changes in the medial hypothalamic region exhibit sensitization. We propose that habituation and sensitization are complementary rather than contradictory processes that occur in the same individual upon repeated presentation of the same stressor.

  18. Defensive responses of Brandt's voles (Lasiopodomys brandtii) to stored cat feces.

    PubMed

    Hegab, Ibrahim M; Jin, Yajuan; Ye, Manhong; Wang, Aiqin; Yin, Baofa; Yang, Shengmei; Wei, Wanhong

    2014-01-17

    Predator odors are non-intrusive natural stressors of high ethological relevance. Animals are daily challenged with stressors of varying intensity and it is essential for their survival to respond to a wide range of threats. Behavioral and hormonal responses and changes in the level of medial hypothalamic c-fos mRNA were examined in Brandt's voles (Lasiopodomys brandtii) exposed to the feces of a domestic cat (Felis catus) stored for different periods. One hundred voles were tested in the defensive withdrawal apparatus. The voles showed an aversion to freshly collected cat feces, indicated by high levels of flight-related behaviors, increased freezing behavior, and more vigilant rearing compared to old feces. The serum levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone significantly increased when the voles were exposed to fresh cat feces. The level of c-fos mRNA in the medial hypothalamic region was highest in the individuals exposed to fresh cat feces. All of these behavioral, endocrine and c-fos-mRNA responses were lower when voles were subjected to older cat feces. We conclude that these responses depend on volatile chemical constituents of cat feces rather than their physical characteristics and that this accounts for the lower responses to feces stored for longer periods.

  19. How barn owls (Tyto alba) visually follow moving voles (Microtus socialis) before attacking them.

    PubMed

    Fux, Michal; Eilam, David

    2009-09-07

    The present study focused on the movements that owls perform before they swoop down on their prey. The working hypothesis was that owl head movements reflect the capacity to efficiently follow visually and auditory a moving prey. To test this hypothesis, five tame barn owls (Tyto alba) were each exposed 10 times to a live vole in a laboratory setting that enabled us to simultaneously record the behavior of both owl and vole. Bi-dimensional analysis of the horizontal and vertical projections of movements revealed that owl head movements increased in amplitude parallel to the vole's direction of movement (sideways or away from/toward the owl). However, the owls also performed relatively large repetitive horizontal head movements when the voles were progressing in any direction, suggesting that these movements were critical for the owl to accurately locate the prey, independent of prey behavior. From the pattern of head movements we conclude that owls orient toward the prospective clash point, and then return to the target itself (the vole) - a pattern that fits an interception rather than a tracking mode of following a moving target. The large horizontal component of head movement in following live prey may indicate that barn owls either have a horizontally narrow fovea or that these movements serve in forming a motion parallax along with preserving image acuity on a horizontally wide fovea.

  20. Winter ecology and habitat use of lesser prairie-chickens in west Texas, 2008-11

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Boal, Clint W.; Pirius, Nicholas E.

    2012-01-01

    The lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) has experienced declines in population and occupied range by more than 90 percent since the late 1800s. The lesser prairie-chicken has been listed as a candidate species for protection under the Endangered Species Act and is undergoing review for actual listing. Populations and distribution of lesser prairie-chickens in Texas are thought to be at or near all time lows. These factors have led to substantially increased concern for conservation of the species. It is apparent that sound management and conservation strategies for lesser prairie-chickens are necessary to ensure the long-term persistence of the species. To develop those strategies, basic ecological information is required. Currently, there is a paucity of data on the wintering ecology of the species. We examined home range, habitat use, and survival of lesser prairie-chickens during the winters of 2008–9, 2009–10, and 2010–11 in sand shinnery oak (Quercus havardii) landscapes in west Texas. We captured and radio-tagged 53 adult lesser prairie-chickens. We obtained sufficient locations to estimate winter home-range size for 23 individuals. Home-range size did not differ between years or by sex. Although female prairie-chickens had slightly larger home ranges (503.5 ± 34.9 ha) compared to males (489.1 ± 34.9 ha), the differences were not significant (t2 = 0.05, P = 0.96). During the nonbreeding season, we found that 97.2 percent of locations of male and female prairie-chickens alike were within 3.2 kilometers (km) of the lek of capture. Most locations (96.8%) were within 1.7 km of a known lek and almost all locations (99.9%) were within 3.2 km of an available water source. Habitat cover types were not used proportional to occurrence within the home ranges, grassland dominated areas with sand shinnery oak were used more than available, and sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia) areas dominated with grassland as well as sand sagebrush areas

  1. Photochemical Attenuation of Pesticides in Prairie Potholes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zeng, T.; Arnold, W. A.

    2013-12-01

    Prairie potholes are small, shallow, glacially-derived wetlands scattered across a vast region extending from Midwestern United States into south central Canada known as the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). They constitute one of the largest inland wetland systems on Earth and play a prominent role in sustaining the regional biodiversity and productivity. Throughout the PPR, historic and contemporary conversion of native prairie for agriculture resulted in a pronounced loss of potholes. Remaining potholes have become interspersed within a matrix of agricultural landscape and trap nonpoint source pollutants such as pesticides from adjacent farmland, which has raised concerns regarding negative impacts on the water quality of downstream water bodies. The fate and persistence of pesticides in potholes, however, remains largely unexplored. Prairie potholes are typically characterized by shallow depth (i.e., large photic zone) and high levels of dissolved organic matter (DOM), making them ideal for photochemical reactions. In this context, we collected pothole water samples from North Dakota to investigate the rates and mechanisms of sunlight-induced attenuation of pesticides. The photodegradation kinetics and pathways of sixteen pesticides in the pothole water were monitored under both simulated and natural sunlight. For most pesticides, photolysis accelerated in the pothole water relative to the buffer control, which pointed to the importance of photosensitized processes (i.e., indirect photolysis). Upon solar irradiation, a mixture of photochemically produced reactive intermediates (PPRIs), such as carbonate radical, hydroxyl radical, singlet oxygen, and triplet-excited state DOM, formed in the pothole water. The major pathways through which pesticides degraded were inferred from the relative contribution attributable to specific PPRIs via quencher experiments. Different classes of pesticides exhibited contrasting photochemical behavior, but singlet oxygen and triplet

  2. Lone star tick abundance, fire, and bison grazing in tall-grass prairie

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cully, J.F.

    1999-01-01

    Lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum L.) were collected by drag samples of 1 km transects on 12 watersheds at Konza Prairie Research Natural Area near Manhattan, Kans., during summer 1995-1996. Watersheds were treated to 2 experimental treatments: 3 burn intervals (1-year, 4-year, and 20-year) and 2 grazing treatments (grazed by bison (Bos bison L.) or ungrazed). The objectives were to determine whether fire interval, time since most recent burn, and the presence of large ungulate grazers would cause changes in lone star tick abundance in tallgrass prairie in central Kansas. Watersheds burned at 1-year intervals had fewer larvae and adults than watersheds burned at 4-year or 20-year intervals. Watersheds burned during the year of sampling had fewer ticks than watersheds burned one or more years in the past. For watersheds burned 1 or more years in the past there was no effect from time since burn. The presence of bison did not affect tick abundance. Spring burning is an effective method to reduce tick populations in tallgrass prairie during the year of the burn.

  3. Age at vaccination may influence response to sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) in Gunnison’s prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rocke, Tonie E.; Tripp, Daniel W.; Lorenzsonn, Faye; Falendysz, Elizabeth A.; Smith, Susan; Williamson, Judy L.; Abbott, Rachel C.

    2015-01-01

    Gunnison’s prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) have been considered at greater risk from Yersinia pestis (plague) infection in the montane portion of their range compared to populations at lower elevations, possibly due to factors related to flea transmission of the bacteria or greater host susceptibility. To test the latter hypothesis and determine whether vaccination against plague with an oral sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) improved survival, we captured prairie dogs from a C. g. gunnisoni or “montane” population and a C. g. zuniensis or “prairie” population for vaccine efficacy and challenge studies. No differences (P = 0.63) were found in plague susceptibility in non-vaccinated animals between these two populations; however, vaccinates from the prairie population survived plague challenge at significantly higher rates (P < 0.01) than those from the montane population. Upon further analysis, we determined that response to immunization was most likely associated with differences in age, as the prairie group was much younger on average than the montane group. Vaccinates that were juveniles or young adults survived plague challenge at a much higher rate than adults (P < 0.01 and P = 0.02, respectively), but no difference (P = 0.83) was detected in survival rates between control animals of different ages. These results suggest that host susceptibility is probably not related to the assumed greater risk from plague in the C. g. gunnisoni or “montane” populations of Gunnison’s prairie dogs, and that SPV could be a useful plague management tool for this species, particularly if targeted at younger cohorts.

  4. Phylogeny of Oriental voles (Rodentia: Muridae: Arvicolinae): molecular and morphological evidence.

    PubMed

    Liu, Shaoying; Liu, Yang; Guo, Peng; Sun, Zhiyu; Murphy, Robert W; Fan, Zhenxin; Fu, Jianrong; Zhang, Yaping

    2012-09-01

    The systematics of Oriental voles remains controversial despite numerous previous studies. In this study, we explore the systematics of all species of Oriental voles, except Eothenomys wardi, using a combination of DNA sequences and morphological data. Our molecular phylogeny, based on two mitochondrial genes (COI and cyt b), resolves the Oriental voles as a monophyletic group with strong support. Four distinct lineages are resolved: Eothenomys, Anteliomys, Caryomys, and the new subgenus Ermites. Based on morphology, we consider Caryomys and Eothenomys to be valid genera. Eothenomys, Anteliomys, and Ermites are subgenera of Eothenomys. The molecular phylogeny resolves subgenera Anteliomys and Ermites as sister taxa. Subgenus Eothenomys is sister to the clade Anteliomys + Ermites. Caryomys is the sister group to genus Eothenomys. Further, the subspecies E. custos hintoni and E. chinensis tarquinius do not cluster with E. custos custos and E. chinensis chinensis, respectively, and the former two taxa are elevated to species level and assigned to the new subgenus Ermites.

  5. Host-parasite biology in the real world: the field voles of Kielder.

    PubMed

    Turner, A K; Beldomenico, P M; Bown, K; Burthe, S J; Jackson, J A; Lambin, X; Begon, M

    2014-07-01

    Research on the interactions between the field voles (Microtus agrestis) of Kielder Forest and their natural parasites dates back to the 1930s. These early studies were primarily concerned with understanding how parasites shape the characteristic cyclic population dynamics of their hosts. However, since the early 2000s, research on the Kielder field voles has expanded considerably and the system has now been utilized for the study of host-parasite biology across many levels, including genetics, evolutionary ecology, immunology and epidemiology. The Kielder field voles therefore represent one of the most intensely and broadly studied natural host-parasite systems, bridging theoretical and empirical approaches to better understand the biology of infectious disease in the real world. This article synthesizes the body of work published on this system and summarizes some important insights and general messages provided by the integrated and multidisciplinary study of host-parasite interactions in the natural environment.

  6. The effect of cowpox virus infection on fecundity in bank voles and wood mice.

    PubMed Central

    Feore, S M; Bennett, M; Chantrey, J; Jones, T; Baxby, D; Begon, M

    1997-01-01

    Although epidemic infectious diseases are a recognized cause of changes in host population dynamics, there is little direct evidence for the effect of endemic infections on populations. Cowpox virus is an orthopoxvirus which is endemic in bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus), wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) and field voles (Microtus agrestis) in Great Britain. It does not cause obvious signs of disease nor does it affect survival, but in this study we demonstrate experimentally that it can reduce the fecundity of bank voles and wood mice by increasing the time to first litter by 20-30 days. The pathogenic mechanisms causing this effect are at present not known, but this finding suggests that natural subclinical infection could have a considerable effect on the dynamics of wild populations. PMID:9364786

  7. Intraspecific variation in the energetics of the Cabrera vole.

    PubMed

    Castellanos-Frías, Elena; García-Perea, Rosa; Gisbert, Julio; Bozinovic, Francisco; Virgós, Emilio

    2015-12-01

    Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is an intensively topic studied in ecophysiology for the purpose of understanding energy budgets of the species, variations of energy expenditure during their diary activities and physiological acclimatization to the environment. Establishing how the metabolism is assembled to the environment can provide valuable data to improve conservation strategies of endangered species. In this sense, metabolic differences associated to habitats have been widely reported in the interspecific level, however little is known about the intraspecific view of BMR under an environmental gradient. In this study, we researched the effect of the habitat on metabolic rate of an Iberian endemic species: Iberomys cabrerae. Animals were captured in different subpopulations of its altitudinal range and their MR was studied over a thermal gradient. MR was analyzed through a Linear Mixed Model (LMM) in which, in addition to thermal effects, the bioclimatic zone and sex also influenced the metabolism of the species. The beginning of thermoneutrality zone was set on 26.5°C and RMR was 2.3ml O2g(-1)h(-1), intermediate between both bioclimatic zones. Supramediterranean subpopulations started the Tlc earlier (24.9°C) and had higher RMR than the mesomediterranean ones (26.9°C). The thermal environment together with primary productivity conditions could explain this difference in the metabolic behaviour of the Cabrera voles.

  8. Habitat use by prairie raccoons during the waterfowl breeding season

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fritzell, E.K.

    1978-01-01

    Mobility and habitat use of raccoons (Procyon lotor) in an intensively farmed area of the prairie pothole region were studied during the waterfowl breeding seasons (April-July) of 1973-75. Over 5700 locations of 30 raccoons were analyzed. Movement patterns varied with sex, age, and reproductive status. Adult males moved regularly throughout slightly overlapping ranges that averaged 2560 ha. Yearling males dispersed during May-June but their movements before and after dispersal were similar. Parous or pregnant females (mostly adults) had ranges averaging 806 ha but their movements were confined to smaller areas near the litter site after parturition. Nulliparous yearling females did not disperse and their ranges averaged 656 ha. Building sites, wooded areas, and wetlands were the only habitats preferentially used both at night and during the day. Eighty-one percent of all nocturnal locations and 94 percent of all diurnal locations were in these 3 habitats which comprised only 10 percent of the study area. Use of building sites decreased concomitantly with increased use of wetlands. Upland habitats were seldom used.

  9. Isotopic signatures of vegetation change on northern mixed grass prairie

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    National analyses have shown invasion of northern mixed-grass prairie by nonnative grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.). Invasion of native prairie by nonnative grasses may compromise ecosystem function and limit potential ecosystem services. Recent data from a long-term (100 year) ...

  10. 77 FR 61594 - Prairie Power, Inc.; Notice of Filing

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-10-10

    ... From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Prairie Power, Inc.; Notice of Filing Take notice that on October 1, 2012, Prairie Power, Inc. filed its Revised and Superseding Proposed Revenue Requirement for reactive...

  11. 77 FR 47061 - Prairie Power, Inc.; Notice of Filing

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-08-07

    ... From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Prairie Power, Inc.; Notice of Filing Take notice that on July 30, 2012, Prairie Power, Inc. filed a Proposed Revenue Requirement for reactive supply service under...

  12. A view looking southeast over the Camas Prairie with Bridges ...

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

    A view looking southeast over the Camas Prairie with Bridges 46-1 and 46-2 at Milepost 47 - Camas Prairie Railroad, Second Subdivision, From Spalding in Nez Perce County, through Lewis County, to Grangeville in Idaho County, Spalding, Nez Perce County, ID

  13. Chicago's Columbus Park: The Prairie Idealized. Teaching with Historic Places.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bachrach, Julia Sniderman; Nathan, Jo Ann

    Twenty-four year old Jens Jensen came to the United States, settled in Chicago (Illinois), and promptly fell in love with the Midwest's prairie landscape. Although some thought that prairie was boring, monotonous, and ordinary, Jensen saw great beauty in the tree-filled groves, long winding rivers, natural rock formations and waterfalls, and the…

  14. The Prairie Science Class: Pioneering a Trail in Interdisciplinary Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ernst, Julie; Ellis, Dave

    2005-01-01

    What happens when an old farmstead, native tall-grass prairie, and middle school students are mixed together? Would one guess learning? That is exactly what is happening in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, where students from a rural middle school have joined with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to restore native tallgrass prairie. In the…

  15. Prairie basin wetlands of the Dakotas: A community profile

    SciTech Connect

    Kantrud, H.A.; Krapu, G.L.; Swanson, G.A. . Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center)

    1989-09-01

    This description of prairie basin wetlands of the Dakotas is part of a series of community profiles on ecologically important wetlands of national significance. This region is famous as the producer of at least half of North America's waterfowl and an unknown, but large, proportion of other prairie-dwelling marsh and aquatic birds. 185 refs., 17 figs., 10 tabs.

  16. Development of soil microbial communities during tallgrass prairie restoration

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Soil microbial communities were examined in a chronosequence of four different land-use treatments at the Konza Prairie Biological Station, Kansas. The time series comprised a conventionally tilled cropland (CTC) developed on former prairie soils, two restored grasslands that were initiated on forme...

  17. Reproductive Compatibility of Prairie and Montane Populations of Dermacentor andersoni

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Genetic analysis of a prairie and a montane population of Dermacentor andersoni (Stiles) indicated limited gene flow (Nm < 1) and a large amount of genetic differentiation (Fst = 0.49) between the populations. The prairie population also had a greater level of genetic diversity. Mating experiments...

  18. Effects of Prairie Restoration on Soil Quality Indicators

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Characterization of soil ecosystem functioning based on soil quality assessments of native prairie may provide a reference for evaluating improvement in soil quality of cultivated agroecosystems converted to perennial vegetation during prairie restoration. Our objective was to determine the effect o...

  19. Cardiochilinae and Ichneutinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) of Konza Prairie

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The results of a survey of Cardiochilinae and Ichneutinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) at Konza Prairie near Manhattan, Kansas are reported. Eleven sites representing prairie and woodland/wetland areas, including gallery forest, were sampled in 2001 and 2005 using Malaise traps and a canopy trap. Selec...

  20. Plant Guide: Western Prairie Clover [Dalea Ornata (Douglas) Eaton & Wright

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Western prairie clover [Dalea ornata (Douglas) Eaton & Wright] is a perennial North American legume that is non-toxic to livestock and wildlife. It can be found in Idaho, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, and California. Western prairie is tap-rooted and reaches a height of 30 to 61 cm. A cluster of st...

  1. Long-range movements and breeding dispersal of Prairie Falcons from southwest Idaho

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Steenhof, K.; Fuller, M.R.; Kochert, M.N.; Bates, K.K.

    2005-01-01

    From 1999-2003, we tracked movements of adult female Prairie Falcons (Falco mexicanus) using satellite telemetry to characterize long-range movement patterns and breeding dispersal. We radio marked 40 falcons from April-May on their nesting grounds in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in southwest Idaho. All falcons with functioning transmitters left the Snake River Canyon from late June through mid-July. Most headed northeast across the Continental Divide to summering areas in Montana, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Dakotas. Prairie Falcons stayed at their northern summer areas for 1-4 months before heading to the southern Great Plains or to southwest Idaho. The Great Plains was a key migration pathway. Important wintering areas included the Texas Panhandle and southwest Idaho. Most falcons completed their seasonal migrations within 2 weeks. Use of widely separated nesting, summering, and wintering areas appears to be a strategy to exploit seasonally abundant prey resources. Most falcons had three or fewer use areas during the nonbreeding season, and falcons showed a high degree of fidelity to their use areas during each season. At least 21 falcons returned to nest within 2.5 km of where they nested in the previous year, but one falcon moved to a new nesting area 124 km south of her previous breeding area. Prairie Falcon movements suggest large-scale connectivity of grassland and shrubsteppe landscapes throughout western North America. Conservation of Prairie Falcons must be an international effort that considers habitats used during both nesting and non-nesting seasons. ?? The Cooper Ornithological Society 2005.

  2. Long-range movements and breeding dispersal of Prairie Falcons from southwest Idaho

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Steenhof, Karen; Fuller, Mark R.; Kochert, Michael N.; Bates, Kirk K.

    2005-01-01

    From 1999a??2003, we tracked movements of adult female Prairie Falcons (Falco mexicanus) using satellite telemetry to characterize long-range movement patterns and breeding dispersal. We radio marked 40 falcons from Aprila??May on their nesting grounds in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in southwest Idaho. All falcons with functioning transmitters left the Snake River Canyon from late June through mid-July. Most headed northeast across the Continental Divide to summering areas in Montana, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Dakotas. Prairie Falcons stayed at their northern summer areas for 1a??4 months before heading to the southern Great Plains or to southwest Idaho. The Great Plains was a key migration pathway. Important wintering areas included the Texas Panhandle and southwest Idaho. Most falcons completed their seasonal migrations within 2 weeks. Use of widely separated nesting, summering, and wintering areas appears to be a strategy to exploit seasonally abundant prey resources. Most falcons had three or fewer use areas during the nonbreeding season, and falcons showed a high degree of fidelity to their use areas during each season. At least 21 falcons returned to nest within 2.5 km of where they nested in the previous year, but one falcon moved to a new nesting area 124 km south of her previous breeding area. Prairie Falcon movements suggest large-scale connectivity of grassland and shrubsteppe landscapes throughout western North America. Conservation of Prairie Falcons must be an international effort that considers habitats used during both nesting and non-nesting seasons.

  3. Use of ecological sites in managing wildlife and livestock: An example with prairie dogs

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Prairie dogs are a native rodent found in the mixed grass prairie of the northern Great Plains. Prairie dogs can have an adverse impact on the amount of forages available for grazing livestock. In the Native American community, prairie dogs are often valued as a cultural resource and as an importan...

  4. Cholinesterase inhibition in meadow voles Microtus pennsylvanicus following field applications of Orthene

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jett, D.A.

    1986-01-01

    Brain acetylcholinesterase activity in field-caught meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) was depressed after a field-spray of Orthene (acephate: acetylphosphoramidothioic acid O,S-dimethyl ester) by as much as 32% in 1982 and 38% in 1983. Short-term recovery was demonstrated and occurred in a time-dependent fashion in 1982. Plasma cholinesterase levels were move variable but also were depressed. Residues were detected in vegetation samples and in the gastrointestinal tracts of exposed voles. Residues in vegetation were diluted or absent 7 to 8 d following the treatment.

  5. Lead in tissue of cats fed pine voles from lead arsenate-treated orchards

    SciTech Connect

    Gilmartin, J.E.; Alo, D.K.; Richmond, M.E.; Bache, C.A.; Lisk, D.J.

    1985-02-01

    Lead arsenate has been used for many years for control of insects in apple orchards in the United States. In an earlier study, it was shown that such orchard soils may contain very high concentrations of lead and that orchards voles and mice inhibating such soils accumulate inordinately high levels of lead. It is of interest to learn the possible extent of deposition of lead in higher carnivores that may consume such orchard animals. In the work reported, cats were fed pine voles (Microtus pinetorum) captured in lead arsenate-treated orchards located in the vicinity of New Paltz, New York. Following sacrifice, the lead content of cat tissues was determined.

  6. Prairie Monitoring Protocol Development: North Coast and Cascades Network

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McCoy, Allen; Dalby, Craig

    2009-01-01

    The purpose of the project was to conduct research that will guide development of a standard approach to monitoring several components of prairies within the North Coast and Cascades Network (NCCN) parks. Prairies are an important element of the natural environment at many parks, including San Juan Island National Historical Park (NHP) and Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve (NHR). Forests have been encroaching on these prairies for many years, and so monitoring of the prairies is an important resource issue. This project specifically focused on San Juan Island NHP. Prairies at Ebey's Landing NHR will be monitored in the future, but that park was not mapped as part of this prototype project. In the interest of efficiency, the Network decided to investigate two main issues before launching a full protocol development effort: (1) the imagery requirements for monitoring prairie components, and (2) the effectiveness of software to assist in extracting features from the imagery. Several components of prairie monitoring were initially identified as being easily tracked using aerial imagery. These components included prairie/forest edge, broad prairie composition (for example, shrubs, scattered trees), and internal exclusions (for example, shrubs, bare ground). In addition, we believed that it might be possible to distinguish different grasses in the prairies if the imagery were of high enough resolution. Although the areas in question at San Juan Island NHP are small enough that mapping on the ground with GPS (Global Positioning System) would be feasible, other applications could benefit from aerial image acquisition on a regular, recurring basis and thereby make the investment in aerial imagery worthwhile. The additional expense of orthorectifying the imagery also was determined to be cost-effective.

  7. Interspecific and intraspecific competition as causes of direct and delayed density dependence in a fluctuating vole population.

    PubMed

    Hansen, T F; Stenseth, N C; Henttonen, H; Tast, J

    1999-02-02

    A 3- to 5-year cycle of vole abundances is a characteristic phenomenon in the ecology of northern regions, and their explanation stands as a central theoretical challenge in population ecology. Although many species of voles usually coexist and are in severe competition for food and breeding space, the role of interspecific competition in vole cycles has never been evaluated statistically. After studying community effects on the population dynamics of the gray-sided vole (Clethrionomys rufocanus) in the subarctic birch forest at Kilpisjärvi, Finland, we report statistical results showing that both interspecific and intraspecific effects are important in the direct year-to-year density dependence. However, interspecific effects are not detectable in the 2-year delayed density dependence that is crucial for generating the characteristic cycles. Furthermore, we show that most of the competition takes place during the winter. The results are evaluated against two models of community dynamics. One assumes that the delayed effects are caused by an interaction with a specialist predator, and the other assumes that they are caused by overgrazing food plants. These statistical results show that vole cycles may be generated by a species-specific trophic interaction. The results also suggest that the gray-sided vole may be the focal species in the birch-forest community, as field voles may be in the taiga and as lemmings may be on the tundra.

  8. Experimental demonstration of the antiherbivore effects of silica in grasses: impacts on foliage digestibility and vole growth rates

    PubMed Central

    Massey, Fergus P; Hartley, Sue E

    2006-01-01

    The impact of plant-based factors on the population dynamics of mammalian herbivores has been the subject of much debate in ecology, but the role of antiherbivore defences in grasses has received relatively little attention. Silica has been proposed as the primary defence in grasses and is thought to lead to increased abrasiveness of foliage so deterring feeding, as well as reducing foliage digestibility and herbivore performance. However, at present there is little direct experimental evidence to support these ideas. In this study, we tested the effects of manipulating silica levels on the abrasiveness of grasses and on the feeding preference and growth performance of field voles, specialist grass-feeding herbivores. Elevated silica levels did increase the abrasiveness of grasses and deterred feeding by voles. We also demonstrated, for the first time, that silica reduced the growth rates of both juvenile and mature female voles by reducing the nitrogen they could absorb from the foliage. Furthermore, we found that vole feeding leads to increased levels of silica in leaves, suggesting a dynamic feedback between grasses and their herbivores. We propose that silica induction due to vole grazing reduces vole performance and hence could contribute to cyclic dynamics in vole populations. PMID:16928631

  9. Possible interaction between a rodenticide treatment and a pathogen in common vole (Microtus arvalis) during a population peak.

    PubMed

    Vidal, D; Alzaga, V; Luque-Larena, J J; Mateo, R; Arroyo, L; Viñuela, J

    2009-12-20

    A common vole (Microtus arvalis) population peak in Northern Spain in 2007 was treated with large scale application of chlorophacinone, an anticoagulant rodenticide of the indandione family. Voles found dead and trapped alive were collected in treated and untreated areas. Residues of chlorophacinone were analyzed in liver of voles by HPLC-UV. Also, the presence of the pathogen Francisella tularensis was analyzed by PCR in samples of vole spleen. Chlorophacinone (82-3800 ng/g; wet weight liver) was only detected in voles found dead in treated areas (55.5%). The prevalence of F. tularensis in voles found dead in treated areas was also particularly high (66.7%). Moreover, chlorophacinone levels were lower in voles that were PCR-positive for F. tularensis (geometric mean [95% CI], 418 [143-1219] ng/g) than in those that were PCR-negative (1084 [581-2121] ng/g). Interactions between pathogens and rodenticides might be considered to reduce the doses used in baits or to avoid the use of the more toxic 2nd generation anticoagulant rodenticides.

  10. Electrogenic bicarbonate secretion by prairie dog gallbladder.

    PubMed

    Moser, A James; Gangopadhyay, A; Bradbury, N A; Peters, K W; Frizzell, R A; Bridges, R J

    2007-06-01

    Pathological rates of gallbladder salt and water transport may promote the formation of cholesterol gallstones. Because prairie dogs are widely used as a model of this event, we characterized gallbladder ion transport in animals fed control chow by using electrophysiology, ion substitution, pharmacology, isotopic fluxes, impedance analysis, and molecular biology. In contrast to the electroneutral properties of rabbit and Necturus gallbladders, prairie dog gallbladders generated significant short-circuit current (I(sc); 171 +/- 21 microA/cm(2)) and lumen-negative potential difference (-10.1 +/- 1.2 mV) under basal conditions. Unidirectional radioisotopic fluxes demonstrated electroneutral NaCl absorption, whereas the residual net ion flux corresponded to I(sc). In response to 2 microM forskolin, I(sc) exceeded 270 microA/cm(2), and impedance estimates of the apical membrane resistance decreased from 200 Omega.cm(2) to 13 Omega.cm(2). The forskolin-induced I(sc) was dependent on extracellular HCO(3)(-) and was blocked by serosal 4,4'-dinitrostilben-2,2'-disulfonic acid (DNDS) and acetazolamide, whereas serosal bumetanide and Cl(-) ion substitution had little effect. Serosal trans-6-cyano-4-(N-ethylsulfonyl-N-methylamino)-3-hydroxy-2,2-dimethyl-chroman and Ba(2+) reduced I(sc), consistent with the inhibition of cAMP-dependent K(+) channels. Immunoprecipitation and confocal microscopy localized cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator protein (CFTR) to the apical membrane and subapical vesicles. Consistent with serosal DNDS sensitivity, pancreatic sodium-bicarbonate cotransporter protein pNBC1 expression was localized to the basolateral membrane. We conclude that prairie dog gallbladders secrete bicarbonate through cAMP-dependent apical CFTR anion channels. Basolateral HCO(3)(-) entry is mediated by DNDS-sensitive pNBC1, and the driving force for apical anion secretion is provided by K(+) channel activation.

  11. Islet autoantibodies present in association with Ljungan virus infection in bank voles (Myodes glareolus) in northern Sweden.

    PubMed

    Warvsten, Anna; Björnfors, Martin; Arvidsson, Michael; Vaziri-Sani, Fariba; Jönsson, Ida; Olsson, Gert E; Ahlm, Clas; Larsson, Helena Elding; Lernmark, Åke; Nilsson, Anna-Lena

    2017-01-01

    Bank voles are known reservoirs for Puumala hantavirus and probably also for Ljungan virus (LV), a suggested candidate parechovirus in type 1 diabetes etiology and pathogenesis. The aim of this study was to determine whether wild bank voles had been exposed to LV and if exposure associated to autoantibodies against insulin (IAA), glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 (GADA), or islet autoantigen-2 (IA-2A). Serum samples from bank voles (Myodes glareolus) captured in early summer or early winter of 1997 and 1998, respectively, were analyzed in radio binding assays for antibodies against Ljungan virus (LVA) and Puumala virus (PUUVA) as well as for IAA, GADA, and IA-2A. LVA was found in 25% (189/752), IAA in 2.5% (18/723), GADA in 2.6% (15/615), and IA-2A in 2.5% (11/461) of available bank vole samples. LVA correlated with both IAA (P = 0.007) and GADA (P < 0.001), but not with IA-2A (P = 0.999). There were no correlations with PUUVA, detected in 17% of the bank voles. Compared to LVA negative bank voles, LVA positive animals had higher levels of both IAA (P = 0.002) and GADA (P < 0.001), but not of IA-2A (P = 0.205). Levels of LVA as well as IAA and GADA were higher in samples from bank voles captured in early summer. In conclusion, LVA was detected in bank voles and correlated with both IAA and GADA but not with IA-2A. These observations suggest that exposure to LV may be associated with islet autoimmunity. It remains to be determined if islet autoantibody positive bank voles may develop diabetes in the wild. J. Med. Virol. 89:24-31, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Conflicting research on the demography, ecology, and social behavior of Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hoogland, John L.; Cully, Jack F.; Rayor, Linda S.; Fitzgerald, James P.

    2012-01-01

    Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) are rare, diurnal, colonial, burrowing, ground-dwelling squirrels. Studies of marked individuals living under natural conditions in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s showed that males are heavier than females throughout the year; that adult females living in the same territory are consistently close kin; and that females usually mate with the sexually mature male(s) living in the home territory. Research from 2007 through 2010 challenges all 3 of these findings. Here we discuss how different methods might have led to the discrepancies.

  13. Late Pleistocene voles (Arvicolinae, Rodentia) from the Baranica Cave (Serbia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bogićević, Katarina; Nenadić, Draženko; Mihailović, Dušan

    2012-02-01

    Baranica is a cave system situated in the south-eastern part of Serbia, four kilometers south to Knjaževac, on the right bank of the Trgovi\\vski Timok. The investigations in Baranica were conducted from 1994 to 1997 by the Faculty of Philosophy from Belgrade and the National Museum of Knjaževac. Four geological layers of Quaternary age were recovered. The abundance of remains of both large and small mammals was noticed in the early phase of the research. In this paper, the remains of eight vole species are described: Arvicola terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758), Chionomys nivalis (Martins, 1842), Microtus (Microtus) arvalis (Pallas, 1778) and Microtus (Microtus) agrestis (Linnaeus, 1761), Microtus (Stenocranius) gregalis (Pallas, 1779), Microtus (Terricola) subterraneus (de Sélys-Longchamps, 1836), Clethrionomys glareolus (Schreber, 1780) and Lagurus lagurus (Pallas, 1773). Among them, steppe and open area inhabitants prevail. Based on the evolutionary level and dimensions of the Arvicola terrestris molars, as well as the overall characteristics of the fauna, it was concluded that the deposits were formed in the last glacial period of the Late Pleistocene. These conclusions are rather consistent with the absolute dating of large mammal bones (23.520 ± 110 B.P. for Layer 2 and 35.780 ± 320 B.P. for Layer 4).

  14. Fox faeces and vole distribution on a local range: ecological data in a parasitological perspective for Echinococcus multilocularis.

    PubMed

    Guislain, M H; Raoul, F; Poulle, M L; Giraudoux, P

    2007-12-01

    The completion of the life cycle of Echinococcus multilocularis needs a spatial overlap between intermediate host species (voles) and definitive host (fox) faeces. Factors influencing the importance of this overlap were investigated in north eastern France. Kilometric transects were walked to collect fox faeces and to estimate vole relative densities through surface indices. Habitat and climatic conditions were the strongest predictors of the number of faeces collected, while vole densities had no predictive power. Densities of both Microtus sp. and fox faeces were higher in medium-height vegetation edge. The consequences of such results to understand local transmission processes and human exposure are discussed.

  15. Chromosomal evolution of Arvicolinae (Cricetidae, Rodentia). II. The genome homology of two mole voles (genus Ellobius), the field vole and golden hamster revealed by comparative chromosome painting.

    PubMed

    Romanenko, Svetlana A; Sitnikova, Natalia A; Serdukova, Natalya A; Perelman, Polina L; Rubtsova, Nadezhda V; Bakloushinskaya, Irina Yu; Lyapunova, Elena A; Just, Walter; Ferguson-Smith, Malcolm A; Yang, Fengtang; Graphodatsky, Alexander S

    2007-01-01

    Using cross-species chromosome painting, we have carried out a comprehensive comparison of the karyotypes of two Ellobius species with unusual sex determination systems: the Transcaucasian mole vole, Ellobius lutescens (2n = 17, X in both sexes), and the northern mole vole, Ellobius talpinus (2n = 54, XX in both sexes). Both Ellobius species have highly rearranged karyotypes. The chromosomal paints from the field vole (Microtus agrestis) detected, in total, 34 and 32 homologous autosomal regions in E. lutescens and E. talpinus karyotypes, respectively. No difference in hybridization pattern of the X paint (as well as Y paint) probes on male and female chromosomes was discovered. The set of golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) chromosomal painting probes revealed 44 and 43 homologous autosomal regions in E. lutescens and E. talpinus karyotypes, respectively. A comparative chromosome map was established based on the results of cross-species chromosome painting and a hypothetical ancestral Ellobius karyotype was reconstructed. A considerable number of rearrangements were detected; 31 and 7 fusion/fission rearrangements differentiated the karyotypes of E. lutescens and E. talpinus from the ancestral Ellobius karyotype. It seems that inversions have played a minor role in the genome evolution of these Ellobius species.

  16. Coastal Prairie Restoration Information System: Version 1 (Louisiana)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Allain, Larry

    2007-01-01

    The Coastal Prairie Restoration Information System (CPR) is a Microsoft Access database that allows users to query and view data about Louisiana coastal prairie species. Less than 0.1% of Louisiana's coastal prairie vegetation remains in a relatively undisturbed condition. Encompassing as much as 1 million hectares of land, coastal prairie is a hybrid of coastal wetlands and tall grass prairie. Over 550 plant species have been identified in Louisiana's coastal prairies to date. Efforts to conserve and restore this endangered ecosystem are limited by the ability of workers to identify and access knowledge about this diverse group of plants. In this database, a variety of data are provided for each of 650 coastal prairie species in Louisiana. The database was developed at the U.S. Geological Survey National Wetlands Research Center by Larry Allain, with software development by Myra Silva. Additional funding was provided by the biology department of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL), the ULL Center for Environmental and Ecological Technology, and the National Science Foundation.

  17. Temporal dynamics of Puumala hantavirus infection in cyclic populations of bank voles.

    PubMed

    Voutilainen, Liina; Kallio, Eva R; Niemimaa, Jukka; Vapalahti, Olli; Henttonen, Heikki

    2016-02-18

    Understanding the dynamics of zoonotic pathogens in their reservoir host populations is a prerequisite for predicting and preventing human disease epidemics. The human infection risk of Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) is highest in northern Europe, where populations of the rodent host (bank vole, Myodes glareolus) undergo cyclic fluctuations. We conducted a 7-year capture-mark-recapture study to monitor seasonal and multiannual patterns of the PUUV infection rate in bank vole populations exhibiting a 3-year density cycle. Infected bank voles were most abundant in mid-winter months during years of increasing or peak host density. Prevalence of PUUV infection in bank voles exhibited a regular, seasonal pattern reflecting the annual population turnover and accumulation of infections within each year cohort. In autumn, the PUUV transmission rate tracked increasing host abundance, suggesting a density-dependent transmission. However, prevalence of PUUV infection was similar during the increase and peak years of the density cycle despite a twofold difference in host density. This may result from the high proportion of individuals carrying maternal antibodies constraining transmission during the cycle peak years. Our exceptionally intensive and long-term dataset provides a solid basis on which to develop models to predict the dynamic public health threat posed by PUUV in northern Europe.

  18. Genetic changes at the transferrin locus in the red-backed vole (Clethrionomys gapperi)

    SciTech Connect

    Mihok, S.; Fuller, W.A.; Canham, R.P.; McPhee, E.C.

    1983-01-01

    Genetic changes at the transferrin locus in Clethrionomys gapperi were intermittently monitored in a subarctic population from 1966 to 1978. Over this 13-year period, only minor fluctuations in gene frequency were observed. Gene frequency of Tf/sup J/ increased over winter during declines from high nonbreeding density in autumn. This phenomenon may have been responsible for a general negative correlation between the frequency of Tf/sup J/ and population density. Outside of winter, no frequency changes were detected within trappable age-classes of voles from relatively discrete seasonal generations. Excess of Tf/sup M/J/ heterozygotes occurred in three of four samples of young voles that matured in the year of their birth. A similar heterozygote excess occurred in one of six samples of overwintered voles taken in a year characterized by a high rate of population growth. These results suggest that selection may occur during ecologically different conditions of high density or population growth. A heterozygote advantage in early-season cohorts may account for the maintenance of transferrin polymorphism. This hypothesis requires further data on the breeding structure and early life history of voles.

  19. Ontogenetic and evolutionary trends in the tooth enamel features in Craseomys voles (Arvicolinae, Rodentia).

    PubMed

    Fominykh, M A; Zykov, S V; Borodin, A V

    2016-11-01

    In Craseomys rufocanus and Craseomys rex, the age-related and species differences in thickness and microstructure of the first lower molars (ml) have been identified and studied. The results suggest that the enamel dimensional and microstructural features may serve as additional indicators of the vole tooth evolutionary stage within a single phyletic lineage.

  20. Temporal dynamics of Puumala hantavirus infection in cyclic populations of bank voles

    PubMed Central

    Voutilainen, Liina; Kallio, Eva R.; Niemimaa, Jukka; Vapalahti, Olli; Henttonen, Heikki

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the dynamics of zoonotic pathogens in their reservoir host populations is a prerequisite for predicting and preventing human disease epidemics. The human infection risk of Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) is highest in northern Europe, where populations of the rodent host (bank vole, Myodes glareolus) undergo cyclic fluctuations. We conducted a 7-year capture-mark-recapture study to monitor seasonal and multiannual patterns of the PUUV infection rate in bank vole populations exhibiting a 3-year density cycle. Infected bank voles were most abundant in mid-winter months during years of increasing or peak host density. Prevalence of PUUV infection in bank voles exhibited a regular, seasonal pattern reflecting the annual population turnover and accumulation of infections within each year cohort. In autumn, the PUUV transmission rate tracked increasing host abundance, suggesting a density-dependent transmission. However, prevalence of PUUV infection was similar during the increase and peak years of the density cycle despite a twofold difference in host density. This may result from the high proportion of individuals carrying maternal antibodies constraining transmission during the cycle peak years. Our exceptionally intensive and long-term dataset provides a solid basis on which to develop models to predict the dynamic public health threat posed by PUUV in northern Europe. PMID:26887639

  1. [Genetic diversity of Chionomys genus (Mammalia, Arvicolinae) and comparative phylogeography of snow voles].

    PubMed

    Bannikova, A A; Sizhazheva, A M; Malikova, V G; Golenishchev, F N; Dzuev, R I

    2013-05-01

    In the present study, the genetic polymorphism of the Chionomys genus was examined based on the sequencing of the mitochondrial cytb gene and two nuclear exons, including CHR exon 10 and BRCA1 exon 11. The distinct subdivision of the genus of snow voles into five lineages, including Ch. nivalis, Ch. gud, Ch. roberti, and Ch. aff. nivalis from Turkey, as well as Ch. aff. gud from Turkey, was demonstrated. The branching order in the trees constructed based on the data for different genes was ambiguous, which was probably the consequence of recent and rapid radiation of the major lineages from a common ancestor. However, the data of the mitochondrial and nuclear gene analyses definitely indicated that the genetic and taxonomic diversity of the Chionomys genus was higher than it was expected before. The genetic divergence of some populations was so deep that they probably deserved the statuses of independent species. Despite that the range of the European snow vole Ch. nivalis is larger and more fragmented than the Gudaur vole Ch, gud, the latter species with its relatively small range, which is limited to the Caucasian and Pontic Mountains, was characterized by a similarly expressed phylogenetic structure. At the same time, Robert's vole Ch. roberti was less structured genetically than the first two species. The data obtained supported the Near Eastern, rather than the European origin of the Chionomys genus.

  2. Reproductive responses of male Brandt's voles ( Lasiopodomys brandtii) to 6-methoxybenzoxazolinone (6-MBOA) under short photoperiod

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dai, Xin; Jiang, Lian Yu; Han, Mei; Ye, Man Hong; Wang, Ai Qin; Wei, Wan Hong; Yang, Sheng Mei

    2016-04-01

    The plant secondary metabolite 6-methoxybenzoxazolinone (6-MBOA) can stimulate and enhance animal reproduction. This compound has been successfully detected in Leymus chinensis, which is the main diet of Brandt's voles. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of different 6-MBOA doses on the reproductive physiology of male Brandt's voles under a short photoperiod. The results showed that 6-MBOA administration increased relative testis weight, regardless of the dose, but it had little effect on the body mass. Low and middle doses of 6-MBOA increased the concentrations of luteinizing hormone and testosterone in the serum and the mRNA levels of StAR and CYP11a1 in the testes. However, 6-MBOA did not cause any significant increase in the mRNA levels of KiSS-1, GPR54, and GnRH compared to those in the control group. The mRNA level of KiSS-1 in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) was higher than that in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV). Collectively, our results demonstrated that the number of KiSS-1-expressing neurons located in the ARC was the highest, and that 6-MBOA, which might modulate the reproductive activity along the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, had a dose-dependent stimulatory effect on the reproductive activity of Brandt's voles under a short photoperiod. Our study provided insights into the mechanism of 6-MBOA action and the factors influencing the onset of reproduction in Brandt's voles.

  3. Spontaneous expression of magnetic compass orientation in an epigeic rodent: the bank vole, Clethrionomys glareolus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oliveriusová, Ludmila; Němec, Pavel; Pavelková, Zuzana; Sedláček, František

    2014-07-01

    Magnetoreception has been convincingly demonstrated in only a few mammalian species. Among rodents, magnetic compass orientation has been documented in four species of subterranean mole rats and two epigeic (i.e. active above ground) species—the Siberian hamster and the C57BL/6J mouse. The mole rats use the magnetic field azimuth to determine compass heading; their directional preference is spontaneous and unimodal, and their magnetic compass is magnetite-mediated. By contrast, the primary component of orientation response is learned in the hamster and the mouse, but both species also exhibit a weak spontaneous bimodal preference in the natural magnetic field. To determine whether the magnetic compass of wild epigeic rodents features the same functional properties as that of laboratory rodents, we investigated magnetic compass orientation in the bank vole Clethrionomys glareolus (Cricetidae, Rodentia). The voles exhibited a robust spontaneous bimodal directional preference, i.e. built nests and slept preferentially along the north-south axis, and deflected their directional preference according to a shift in the direction of magnetic north, clearly indicating that they were deriving directional information from the magnetic field. Thus, bimodal, axially symmetrical directional choice seems to be a common feature shared by epigeic rodents. However, spontaneous directional preference in the bank vole appeared to be more pronounced than that reported in the hamster and the mouse. These findings suggest that bank voles are well suited for future studies investigating the adaptive significance and mechanisms of magnetic orientation in epigeic rodents.

  4. IS THE MATRIX REALLY INHOSPITABLE? VOLE RUNWAY DISTRIBUTION IN AN EXPERIMENTALLY FRAGMENTED LANDSCAPE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Habitat fragmentation is a common feature of modern landscapes, with significant impacts on the population densities of and space use by animals. A frequest model system for studying these effects is that of voles (Microtus spp.) and other rodents in experimentally fragmented gr...

  5. Reproductive responses of male Brandt's voles (Lasiopodomys brandtii) to 6-methoxybenzoxazolinone (6-MBOA) under short photoperiod.

    PubMed

    Dai, Xin; Jiang, Lian Yu; Han, Mei; Ye, Man Hong; Wang, Ai Qin; Wei, Wan Hong; Yang, Sheng Mei

    2016-04-01

    The plant secondary metabolite 6-methoxybenzoxazolinone (6-MBOA) can stimulate and enhance animal reproduction. This compound has been successfully detected in Leymus chinensis, which is the main diet of Brandt's voles. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of different 6-MBOA doses on the reproductive physiology of male Brandt's voles under a short photoperiod. The results showed that 6-MBOA administration increased relative testis weight, regardless of the dose, but it had little effect on the body mass. Low and middle doses of 6-MBOA increased the concentrations of luteinizing hormone and testosterone in the serum and the mRNA levels of StAR and CYP11a1 in the testes. However, 6-MBOA did not cause any significant increase in the mRNA levels of KiSS-1, GPR54, and GnRH compared to those in the control group. The mRNA level of KiSS-1 in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) was higher than that in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV). Collectively, our results demonstrated that the number of KiSS-1-expressing neurons located in the ARC was the highest, and that 6-MBOA, which might modulate the reproductive activity along the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, had a dose-dependent stimulatory effect on the reproductive activity of Brandt's voles under a short photoperiod. Our study provided insights into the mechanism of 6-MBOA action and the factors influencing the onset of reproduction in Brandt's voles.

  6. Environmental modulation of same-sex affiliative behavior in female meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus).

    PubMed

    Ondrasek, Naomi R; Wade, Adam; Burkhard, Tracy; Hsu, Kacie; Nguyen, Tiffany; Post, Jessica; Zucker, Irving

    2015-03-01

    The effects of temperature and food availability on social bonds and group formation are poorly understood. Because seasonal transitions in female social behavior facilitate the assembly of winter groups in meadow voles, we explored the role of same-sex female associations in winter sociality. To examine the effects of winter typical environmental conditions on same-sex female affiliative behavior, paired female meadow voles were housed in varying combinations of day length, temperature, and food availability for 7weeks and then tested for social preference. In short days (SDs), lower ambient temperature increased huddling with unfamiliar females without interfering with existing social bonds, whereas lower temperature disrupted the retention of bonds in long days (LDs). Mild food restriction with no discernible effects on body mass enhanced affiliative behavior in SDs, but not LDs. A second experiment examined the effects of sex and day length on the propensity to aggregate with unfamiliar same-sex voles. Compared to LD females and SD males, SD females spent more time in group huddles with unfamiliar voles and displayed no social preference. These outcomes indicate that winter-like conditions enhance affiliative behavior between females and that pre-existing social bonds do not preclude integration into new winter social groups. The adaptive value of these behaviors is discussed.

  7. Bordetella bronchiseptica associated with pulmonary disease in mountain voles (Microtus montanus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jensen, W.I.; Duncan, R.M.

    1980-01-01

    Bordetella bronchiseptica was isolated from the lungs of all of six mountain voles (Microtus montanus) found dead or dying of pulmonary infection near the Bear River Research Station in northern Utah in January, 1973. The possibility of concomitant viral or mycoplasmal infection was not ruled out.

  8. Maternal corticosterone but not testosterone level is associated with the ratio of second-to-fourth digit length (2D:4D) in field vole offspring (Microtus agrestis).

    PubMed

    Lilley, Thomas; Laaksonen, Toni; Huitu, Otso; Helle, Samuli

    2010-03-30

    The steroid environment encountered by a foetus can strongly affect its post-natal physiology and behaviour. It has been proposed that steroid concentrations experienced in utero could be estimated from adults by measuring their second-to-fourth digit length ratio (2D:4D). However, there is still little direct evidence that intra-uterine steroid levels affect individual 2D:4D. We examined whether maternal pre-pregnancy testosterone and corticosterone levels (as estimates of intra-uterine testosterone and corticosterone exposure) affected the 2D:4D of pups in non-domesticated field voles (Microtus agrestis), measured by X-rays at the age of weaning (21 days). Furthermore, for the first time in a non-human species, we studied whether testosterone and corticosterone levels correlated with 2D:4D in adult females. We found that the maternal pre-pregnancy level of testosterone was not associated with offspring 2D:4D in either the left or the right paw. Instead, maternal pre-pregnancy corticosterone level was positively correlated with offspring 2D:4D in the right paw, but unrelated to 2D:4D in the left paw. In addition, the 2D:4D of adult females was not associated with either their circulating testosterone or corticosterone levels. Our results suggest that in field voles maternally administered testosterone is not a major determinant of offspring 2D:4D, whereas maternal stress appears to account for some of the variation in the 2D:4D of their offspring.

  9. Seasonal acclimation of prairie deer mice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andrews, R. V.; Belknap, R. W.

    1993-12-01

    Prairie deer mice responded to long nights by reducing their metabolic rates, core temperatures, thermal conductances and incremental metabolic responses to cold stimulus, while increasing their capacities for nonshivering thermogenesis. Some winter animals spontaneously entered daily torpor in the mornings and thereby further reduced their metabolic rates and core temperatures. Provision of exogenous melatonin (by subdermal implants) mimiced short photoperiod effects on metabolic rates and core temperatures of wild-caught, laboratory maintained animals. Provision of supplemental dietary tryptophan to laboratory animals conditioned to natural light cycles mimiced metabolic effects of long nights in summer animals, and further reduced metabolic rates of winter mice, but did not affect their core temperature levels. Newly caught, laboratory maintained deer mice responded to natural seasonal clues of shortphotoperiod and increased dietary tryptophan by reducing their resting energy requirements through both lower metabolic and lower core temperature levels. Short photoperiod and seasonal change also promoted gonadal involution, and resulted in more socially tolerant huddling by mice with reduced core temperature. Reduced 24-hour LH excretion rates were also observed in winter animals which were exposed to seasonal light cycles at warm (25°C) room temperatures. We propose that seasonal acclimatization involves pineal effects on sex hormone-influenced social behaviors and on resting metabolism. These effects serve to conserve resting energy expenditure and promote hypothermic insulation by wild prairie deer mice.

  10. Drought, Climate Change and the Canadian Prairies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stewart, R. E.

    2010-03-01

    The occurrence of drought is a ubiquitous feature of the global water cycle. Such an extreme does not necessarily lead to an overall change in the magnitude of the global water cycle but it of course affects the regional cycling of water. Droughts are recurring aspects of weather and climate extremes as are floods and tornadoes, but they differ substantially since they have long durations and lack easily identified onsets and terminations. Drought is a relatively common feature of the North American and Canadian climate system and all regions of the continent are affected from time-to-time. However, it tends to be most common and severe over the central regions of the continent. The Canadian Prairies are therefore prone to drought. Droughts in the Canadian Prairies are distinctive in North America. The large scale atmospheric circulations are influenced by blocking from intense orography to the west and long distances from all warm ocean-derived atmospheric water sources; growing season precipitation is generated by a highly complex combination of frontal and convective systems; seasonality is severe and characterized by a relatively long snow-covered and short growing seasons; local surface runoff is primarily produced by snowmelt water; there is substantial water storage potential in the poorly drained, post-glacial topography; and aquifers are overlain by impermeable glacial till, but there are also important permeable aquifers. One example of Prairie drought is the recent one that began in 1999 with cessation of its atmospheric component in 2004/2005 and many of its hydrological components in 2005. This event produced the worst drought for at least a hundred years in parts of the Canadian Prairies. Even in the dust bowl of the 1930s, no single year over the central Prairies were drier than in 2001. The drought affected agriculture, recreation, tourism, health, hydro-electricity, and forestry in the Prairies. Gross Domestic Product fell some 5.8 billion and

  11. Population trends for common prairie pothole carnivores

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Greenwood, Raymond J.; Sovada, Marsha A.; Mac, M.J.; Opler, P.A.; Puckett Haecker, C. E.; Doran, P.D.

    1998-01-01

    Since settlement of the prairie pothole region of the northern Great Plains by Europeans in the late 1800’s, carnivore populations have changed considerably—mostly due to habitat alteration and humaninflicted mortality. At least 19 species of carnivorous mammals once occurred in the prairie pothole region (Jones et al. 1983). Presently, only eight are common throughout the region—coyote, red fox, raccoon, American badger, striped skunk, mink, ermine, and long-tailed weasel (Sargeant et al. 1993). Other species that occur locally or intermittently are mountain lion, lynx, bobcat, gray wolf, gray fox, swift fox, spotted skunk, and least weasel. Grizzly bears, wolverines, and river otters once occurred in the region but are now extirpated. Competition among species affects the distribution of coyotes, wolves, and foxes (Carbyn 1982; Rudzinski et al. 1982; Sargeant et al. 1987; Bailey 1992). These larger canids are keystone species that suppress the distribution of smaller canids (Johnson and Sargeant 1977; Dekker 1989; Johnson et al. 1989).

  12. Are there optimal densities for prairie birds?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Skagen, S.K.; Adams, A.A.Y.

    2010-01-01

    The major forces of food and predation shape fitness-enhancing decisions of birds at all stages of their life cycles. During the breeding season, birds can minimize nest loss due to predation by selecting sites with a lower probability of predation. To understand the environmental and social aspects and consequences of breedingsite selection in prairie birds, we explored variation in nest-survival patterns of the Lark Bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys) in the shortgrass prairie region of North America. Over four breeding seasons, we documented the survival of 405 nests, conducted 60 surveys to estimate bird densities, and measured several vegetative features to describe habitat structure in 24 randomly selected study plots. Nest survival varied with the buntings' density as described by a quadratic polynomial, increasing with density below 1.5 birds ha-1 and decreasing with density between 1.5 and 3 birds ha-1, suggesting that an optimal range of densities favors reproductive success of the Lark Bunting, which nests semi-colonially. Nest survival also increased with increasing vegetation structure of study plots and varied with age of the nest, increasing during early incubation and late in the nestling stage and declining slightly from mid-incubation to the middle of the nestling period. The existence of an optimal range of densities in this semi-colonial species can be elucidated by the "commodity-selection hypothesis" at low densities and density dependence at high densities. ?? The Cooper Ornithological Society 2010.

  13. Sylvatic plague vaccine and management of prairie dogs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rocke, Tonie E.

    2012-01-01

    Scientists at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC), in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Wisconsin (UW), have developed a sylvatic plague vaccine that shows great promise in protecting prairie dogs against plague (Mencher and others, 2004; Rocke and others, 2010). Four species of prairie dogs reside in the United States and Canada, and all are highly susceptible to plague and regularly experience outbreaks with devastating losses. Along with habitat loss and poisoning, plague has contributed to a significant historical decline in prairie dog populations. By some estimates, prairie dogs now occupy only 1 to 2 percent of their former range (Proctor and others, 2006), with prairie dog colonies being now much smaller and fragmented than they were historically, making individual colonies more vulnerable to elimination by plague (Antolin and others, 2002). At least one species, the Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens) is listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) as "threatened." Controlling plague is a vital concern for ongoing management and conservation efforts for prairie dogs. Current efforts to halt the spread of plague in prairie dog colonies typically rely on dusting individual prairie dog burrows with pesticides to kill plague-infected fleas. Although flea-control insecticides, such as deltamethrin, are useful in stopping plague outbreaks in these prairie dog colonies, dusting of burrows is labor intensive and time consuming and may affect other insects and arthropods. As an alternative approach, NWHC and UW scientists developed a sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) for prairie dogs that can be delivered via oral bait. Laboratory studies have shown that consumption of this vaccine-laden bait by different prairie dog species results in significant protection against plague infection that can last for at least 9 months (Rocke and others, 2010; Rocke, unpublished). Work has now shifted to optimizing baits and distribution methods for

  14. Southern marl prairies conceptual ecological model

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Davis, S.M.; Loftus, W.F.; Gaiser, E.E.; Huffman, A.E.

    2005-01-01

    About 190,000 ha of higher-elevation marl prairies flank either side of Shark River Slough in the southern Everglades. Water levels typically drop below the ground surface each year in this landscape. Consequently, peat soil accretion is inhibited, and substrates consist either of calcitic marl produced by algal periphyton mats or exposed limestone bedrock. The southern marl prairies support complex mosaics of wet prairie, sawgrass sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense), tree islands, and tropical hammock communities and a high diversity of plant species. However, relatively short hydroperiods and annual dry downs provide stressful conditions for aquatic fauna, affecting survival in the dry season when surface water is absent. Here, we present a conceptual ecological model developed for this landscape through scientific concensus, use of empirical data, and modeling. The two major societal drivers affecting the southern marl prairies are water management practices and agricultural and urban development. These drivers lead to five groups of ecosystem stressors: loss of spatial extent and connectivity, shortened hydroperiod and increased drought severity, extended hydroperiod and drying pattern reversals, introduction and spread of non-native trees, and introduction and spread of non-native fishes. Major ecological attributes include periphyton mats, plant species diversity and community mosaic, Cape Sable seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis), marsh fishes and associated aquatic fauna prey base, American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), and wading bird early dry season foraging. Water management and development are hypothesized to have a negative effect on the ecological attributes of the southern marl prairies in the following ways. Periphyton mats have decreased in cover in areas where hydroperiod has been significantly reduced and changed in community composition due to inverse responses to increased nutrient availability. Plant species diversity and

  15. Molecular phylogeny of the speciose vole genus Microtus (Arvicolinae, Rodentia) inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences.

    PubMed

    Jaarola, Maarit; Martínková, Natália; Gündüz, Islam; Brunhoff, Cecilia; Zima, Jan; Nadachowski, Adam; Amori, Giovanni; Bulatova, Nina S; Chondropoulos, Basil; Fraguedakis-Tsolis, Stella; González-Esteban, Jorge; José López-Fuster, María; Kandaurov, Andrei S; Kefelioğlu, Haluk; da Luz Mathias, Maria; Villate, Idoia; Searle, Jeremy B

    2004-12-01

    Voles of the genus Microtus represent one of the most speciose mammalian genera in the Holarctic. We established a molecular phylogeny for Microtus to resolve contentious issues of systematic relationships and evolutionary history in this genus. A total of 81 specimens representing ten Microtus species endemic to Europe as well as eight Eurasian, six Asian and one Holarctic species were sequenced for the entire cytochrome b gene (1140 bp). A further 25 sequences were retrieved from GenBank, providing data on an additional 23, mainly Nearctic, Microtus species. Phylogenetic analysis of these 48 species generated four well-supported monophyletic lineages. The genus Chionomys, snow voles, formed a distinct and well-supported lineage separate from the genus Microtus. The subgenus Microtus formed the strongest supported lineage with two sublineages displaying a close relationship between the arvalis species group (common voles) and the socialis species group (social voles). Monophyly of the Palearctic pitymyid voles, subgenus Terricola, was supported, and this subgenus was also subdivided into two monophyletic species groups. Together, these groupings clarify long-standing taxonomic uncertainties in Microtus. In addition, the "Asian" and the Nearctic lineages reported previously were identified although the latter group was not supported. However, relationships among the main Microtus branches were not resolved, suggesting a rapid and potentially simultaneous radiation of a widespread ancestor early in the history of the genus. This and subsequent radiations discernible in the cytochrome b phylogeny, show the considerable potential of Microtus for analysis of historical and ecological determinants of speciation in small mammals. It is evident that speciation is an ongoing process in the genus and that the molecular data provides a vital insight into current species limits as well as cladogenic events of the past.

  16. Cowpox virus infection in natural field vole Microtus agrestis populations: significant negative impacts on survival

    PubMed Central

    Burthe, Sarah; Telfer, Sandra; Begon, Michael; Bennett, Malcolm; Smith, Andrew; Lambin, Xavier

    2010-01-01

    Summary Cowpox virus is an endemic virus circulating in populations of wild rodents. It has been implicated as a potential cause of population cycles in field voles Microtus agrestis L., in Britain, owing to a delayed density-dependent pattern in prevalence, but its impact on field vole demographic parameters is unknown. This study tests the hypothesis that wild field voles infected with cowpox virus have a lower probability of survival than uninfected individuals. The effect of cowpox virus infection on the probability of an individual surviving to the next month was investigated using longitudinal data collected over 2 years from four grassland sites in Kielder Forest, UK. This effect was also investigated at the population level, by examining whether infection prevalence explained temporal variation in survival rates, once other factors influencing survival had been controlled for. Individuals with a probability of infection, P(I), of 1 at a time when base survival rate was at median levels had a 22·4% lower estimated probability of survival than uninfected individuals, whereas those with a P(I) of 0·5 had a 10·4% lower survival. At the population level, survival rates also decreased with increasing cowpox prevalence, with lower survival rates in months of higher cowpox prevalence. Simple matrix projection models with 28 day time steps and two stages, with 71% of voles experiencing cowpox infection in their second month of life (the average observed seroprevalence at the end of the breeding season) predict a reduction in 28-day population growth rate during the breeding season from λ = 1·62 to 1·53 for populations with no cowpox infection compared with infected populations. This negative correlation between cowpox virus infection and field vole survival, with its potentially significant effect on population growth rate, is the first for an endemic pathogen in a cyclic population of wild rodents. PMID:18177331

  17. The role of colonization in the dynamics of patchy populations of a cyclic vole species.

    PubMed

    Glorvigen, Petter; Gundersen, Gry; Andreassen, Harry P; Ims, Rolf A

    2013-09-01

    The crash phase of vole populations with cyclic dynamics regularly leads to vast areas of uninhabited habitats. Yet although the capacity for cyclic voles to re-colonize such empty space is likely to be large and predicted to have become evolved as a distinct life history trait, the processes of colonization and its effect on the spatio-temporal dynamics have been little studied. Here we report from an experiment with root voles (Microtus oeconomus) specifically targeted at quantifying the process of colonization of empty patches from distant source patches and its resultant effect on local vole deme size variation in a patchy landscape. Three experimental factors: habitat quality, predation risk and inter-patch distance were employed among 24 habitat patches in a 100 × 300-m experimental area. The first-born cohort in the spring efficiently colonized almost all empty patches irrespective of the degree of patch isolation and predation risk, but this was dependent on habitat quality. Just after the initial colonization wave the deme sizes in patches of the same quality were underdispersed relative to Poisson variance, indicating regulated (density-dependent) settlement. Towards the end of the breeding season local demographic processes acted to smooth out the initial post-colonization differences among source and colonization patches, and among patches of initially different quality. However, at this time demographic stochasticity had also given rise to a large (overdispersed) variation in deme sizes that may have contributed to an overshadowing of the effect of other factors. The results of this experiment confirmed our expectation that the space-filling capacity of voles is large. The costs associated with transience appeared to be so low, at least at the spatial scale considered in this experiment, that such costs are not likely to substantially constrain habitat selection and colonization in the increase phase of cyclic patchy populations.

  18. Prairie dog poisoning in northern Great Plains: An analysis of programs and policies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roemer, David M.; Forrest, Steven C.

    1996-05-01

    This paper describes the programs and policies regarding prairie dog control in the northern Great Plains states of Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming. The poisoning programs of federal and state agencies are described, along with the statutes and legal mandates that shape agency management of prairie dogs. Current policies on National Grasslands and other federal lands typically limit prairie dogs to small percentages of available potential habitat, to the detriment of prairie dogs and associated species. State programs to assist landowners in prairie dog control differ greatly, employing cost-share incentives (Wyoming) and regulatory fines (South Dakota) to encourage the poisoning of prairie dogs. Prairie dog control is not actively funded or practiced by state or county agencies in Montana. We document federal and state involvement in more than 1 million acres of prairie dog poisoning in the study area during 1978 1992. In combination with undocumented poisoning by private landowners, plague, and shooting, prairie dogs may be experiencing net regional declines, contributing to the disintegration of the prairie dog ecosystem. We recommend that Animal Damage Control operations concerning prairie dogs be terminated, on the basis that they duplicate state programs and are at cross purposes with federal wildlife management programs that seek to perpetuate and/or recover wildlife species that depend on the prairie dog ecosystem. We further recommend that federal range improvement funds be offered as subsidies for the integration of prairie dogs in range management, as opposed to funding prairie dog eradication programs.

  19. Ecological disturbance in a sandhills prairie: impact and importance to the lizard community on Arapaho Prairie in western Nebraska

    SciTech Connect

    Ballinger, R.E.; Jones, S.M.

    1985-01-01

    Lizard species occurring in the sandhills prairie of western Nebraska are typically restricted to microhabitats which have sparse vegetation. The fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus) and the lesser earless lizard (Holbrookia maculata) are especially abundant in open blowouts. Only the six-lined racerunner (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus) occupies microhabitats with dense grass. Since cattle grazing was discontinued on Arapaho Prairie in 1977, associated vegetational changes have tended to reduce the microhabitats available for lizards. As a result of the decreased disturbance to the vegetation, lizards have become more restricted and less abundant on Arapaho Prairie. 19 references, 1 figure, 3 tables.

  20. The spectral emissivity of prairie and pasture grasses at Konza Prairie, Kansas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Palluconi, Frank; Kahle, Anne B.; Hoover, Gordon; Conel, James E.

    1990-01-01

    Field measurements of spectral radiances are used to determine precise values of the spectral emissivity of grass-thatch-soil complexes to facilitate remote temperature determinations. The emissivity variation with wavelength is very small, emissivity is close to unity, and emissivity is fairly constant in terms of emission angle, land practice, and season. The prairie surface is therefore similar to a grey body and a quasiideal emitter, although determinations of the kinetic temperature are required to confirm the results.

  1. Carcass Search & Recovery Guidelines for Black Tailed Prairie Dogs

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    The availability of dead or intoxicated prairie dogs above ground will be monitored, recorded and these carcasses will be properly disposed of, in accordance with the procedures described on this page.

  2. Two decades of prairie restoration at Fermilab, Batavia, Illinois

    SciTech Connect

    Betz, R.F.; Lootens, R.J.; Becker, M.K.

    1996-12-31

    Successional Restoration is the method being used to restore the prairie at Fermilab on the former agricultural fields. This involves an initial planting, using aggressive species that have wide ecological tolerances which will grow well on abandoned agricultural fields. Collectively, these species are designated as the prairie matrix. The species used for this prairie matrix compete with and eventually eliminate most weedy species. They also provide an adequate fuel load capable of sustaining a fire within a few years after a site has been initially planted. Associated changes in the biological and physical structure of the soil help prepare the way for the successful introduction of plants of the later successional species. Only after the species of the prairie matrix are well established, is the species diversity increased by introducing species with narrower ecological tolerances. These species are thus characteristic of the later successional stages.

  3. 18. SOUTH BRANCH, PRAIRIE CITY DITCH, RUNNING SOUTHWEST UNDER FENCE, ...

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

    18. SOUTH BRANCH, PRAIRIE CITY DITCH, RUNNING SOUTHWEST UNDER FENCE, TOWARD US HWY. 50 IN DISTANCE. - Natomas Ditch System, Rhodes Ditch, West of Bidwell Street, north of U.S. Highway 50, Folsom, Sacramento County, CA

  4. Use of free water by nesting lesser prairie-chickens

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Robinson, Samantha G.; Haukos, David A.; Sullins, Daniel S.; Plumb, Reid T.

    2016-01-01

    The lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) is a grassland grouse of semiarid regions. Use of free water has been hypothesized as necessary for egg formation during drought. We assessed the use of hydrogen isotopes (deuterium, δ2H) to determine if female lesser prairie-chickens use and incorporate free water during egg formation by testing the relationship between isotope ratios in available free water and eggshells. We collected eggshells from 124 nests and 282 free water samples from three sites in Kansas in 2013 and 2014. Eggshells had δ2H values similar to free water in the year of severe drought but were dissimilar the year with lessened drought severity. With an established link between lesser prairie-chicken eggshells and free water during severe drought, we have identified a mechanism behind observations of lesser prairie-chicken water use. We have demonstrated that hydrogen isotopes can be used to test research questions related to use of free water.

  5. AmeriFlux US-Kon Konza Prairie LTER (KNZ)

    SciTech Connect

    Brunsell, Nathaniel

    2016-01-01

    This is the AmeriFlux version of the carbon flux data for the site US-Kon Konza Prairie LTER (KNZ). Site Description - Burned on an annual basis. Bison reintroduced in 1987. Experimental cattle herds in 1992

  6. Temporal connectivity in a prairie pothole complex

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Leibowitz, S.G.; Vining, K.C.

    2003-01-01

    A number of studies have noted the occurrence of intermittent surface-water connections between depressional wetlands in general and prairie potholes in particular. Yet, the ecological implications of such connections remain largely unexplored. In 1995, we observed spillage into and out of a North Dakota wetland during two field visits. Between May 3 and May 26, there was a positive relationship between specific conductance and water level at this site, suggesting an external source of dissolved ions. We estimated that specific conductance may have increased at the site by as much as 614 ??S cm-1 due to spillage from the upslope wetland. Based on a spatial analysis that compared National Wetlands Inventory maps with 1996 color infrared imagery, we estimated that 28% of the area's wetlands had a temporary surface water connection to at least one other wetland at that time, including one complex of 14 interconnected wetlands. These results indicate that the connectivity observed in 1995 was not confined to the two wetlands nor to that single year. The degree of connectivity we observed would be expected to occur during the wetter portions of the region's 20-year wet-dry cycle. We hypothesize that intermittent surface-water connections between wetlands occur throughout the prairie pothole region. Given patterns in relief and precipitation, these connections most likely would have occurred in the eastern portion of the prairie pothole region. However, wetland drainage may have altered historical patterns. The implication of these spatial and temporal trends is that surface-water connections between depressional wetlands should be viewed as a probability event that has some distribution over time and space. We refer to connections that are impermanent, temporally discontinuous, or sporadic as temporal connectivity. The most intriguing feature of these temporary connections may be that they could affect biodiversity or population dynamics through transport of individuals

  7. Environmental Impacts of Wind Power Development on the Population Biology of Greater Prairie-Chickens

    SciTech Connect

    Sandercock, Brett K.

    2013-05-22

    power development appears to affect movements in breeding habitats but not nest site selection of female prairie chickens during the breeding season. 5. We tested the effects of wind power development on five components of female fecundity: timing of clutch initiation, clutch size of first nests and renests, nest survival, and hatchability of eggs. Average date of clutch initiation was 26 April, clutch size was 12.7 and 10.6 eggs for first nests and renests, probability of nest survival was low at 0.18, but egg hatchability was high at 0.79. Wind power development had no impact on reproductive effort or nesting success, and all five components of fecundity were not related to treatment period or distance to turbine. Nest survival was the main factor limiting reproductive output of female prairie chickens and most losses were due to predation. Daily nest survival was strongly related to vegetative cover at the nest. Changes to rangeland management practices that would double nesting cover from 2.5 to 5 dm would triple the probability of nest survival from 0.17 to 0.52. Grass and forb cover had weak positive effects on daily nest survival whereas shrub cover, proximity to woodlands, and recent rainfall had negative effects. Reproductive performance of prairie chickens is low in managed rangelands in northcentral Kansas and efforts to improve range conditions and reduce predator activity would aid recovery of prairie chicken populations. 6. We used molecular methods to investigate patterns of natal dispersal in prairie chickens. High rates of nest failure limited the number of young that we could sample. Direct detections of natal dispersal were limited because survival of newly hatched chicks to become adults were low and because we were unable to detect dispersal distances outside of our study area. Direct observations of natal movements were limited and were inadequate to make conclusions about the potential impacts of wind energy development on natal dispersal. Spatial

  8. [Characteristics of erythrocyte lipids in blood of tundra voles (Microtus oeconomus Pall.) inhabiting areas with increased natural radioactivity].

    PubMed

    Shevchenko, O G; Shuktomova, I I; Shishkina, L N

    2011-01-01

    Interrelations between the lipid characteristics of the blood erythrocytes and 226Ra accumulation in the body of tundra voles (Microtus oeconomus Pall.) inhabiting areas with different levels of the radiation background were investigated. It is shown that the ratio of the phospholipid (PL) fractions which cause the blood erythrocyte structure depends on the phase of the population cycle, as well as on the sex and age of tundra voles. The statistically significant interrelation between lysoforms and the sphingomielin content has been revealed in the blood erythrocyte PL of tundra voles; its scale somewhat differs for the animals from the reference and Ra areas. The peroxide concentration in the blood erythrocyte lipids of tundra voles from the Ra area exceeded the control values in all mature groups of the animals trapped at the depression phase of the population density. The 226Ra content in the bodies of the tundra voles which were trapped in the Ra area at the increased phase of the population cycle is for certain higher than that for the animals from the reference area. Interrelations between the lipid peroxidation parameters in the blood erythrocytes and the body 226Ra content for separate sex-age groups of tundra voles have been revealed.

  9. Landscape features and helminth co-infection shape bank vole immunoheterogeneity, with consequences for Puumala virus epidemiology.

    PubMed

    Guivier, E; Galan, M; Henttonen, H; Cosson, J-F; Charbonnel, N

    2014-03-01

    Heterogeneity in environmental conditions helps to maintain genetic and phenotypic diversity in ecosystems. As such, it may explain why the capacity of animals to mount immune responses is highly variable. The quality of habitat patches, in terms of resources, parasitism, predation and habitat fragmentation may, for example, trigger trade-offs ultimately affecting the investment of individuals in various immunological pathways. We described spatial immunoheterogeneity in bank vole populations with respect to landscape features and co-infection. We focused on the consequences of this heterogeneity for the risk of Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) infection. We assessed the expression of the Tnf-α and Mx2 genes and demonstrated a negative correlation between PUUV load and the expression of these immune genes in bank voles. Habitat heterogeneity was partly associated with differences in the expression of these genes. Levels of Mx2 were lower in large forests than in fragmented forests, possibly due to differences in parasite communities. We previously highlighted the positive association between infection with Heligmosomum mixtum and infection with PUUV. We found that Tnf-α was more strongly expressed in voles infected with PUUV than in uninfected voles or in voles co-infected with the nematode H. mixtum and PUUV. H. mixtum may limit the capacity of the vole to develop proinflammatory responses. This effect may increase the risk of PUUV infection and replication in host cells. Overall, our results suggest that close interactions between landscape features, co-infection and immune gene expression may shape PUUV epidemiology.

  10. The persistence of endangered Florida Salt Marsh Voles in salt marshes of the central Florida Gulf Coast

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hotaling, A.S.; Percival, H.F.; Kitchens, W.M.; Kasbohm, J.W.

    2010-01-01

    Two endangered Microtus pennsylvanicus dukecampbelli (Florida Salt Marsh Vole) were captured at a new location, in February of 2009, at Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Since the species discovery in 1979, only 43 Florida Salt Marsh Voles (hereafter FSM Vole) have been captured. Outside of the type locality, this is only the second documented location for the FSM Vole. Given the difficulty in trapping this species and the lack of information about its life history, its discovery in a new location lends itself to the possibility that it is more widespread in the Central Florida Gulf Coast than previously thought. Although much of the salt marsh in the area is in public ownership, a good deal of it has already been altered by logging or development and is threatened by global climate change. More research is needed to adequately protect and manage the habitat for the FSM Vole. A study of FSM Vole coastal salt marsh habitat could also serve as a valuable monitoring tool for subtle changes in salt marsh habitats as global climate change progresses.

  11. What community characteristics help or hinder rural communities in becoming age-friendly? Perspectives from a Canadian prairie province.

    PubMed

    Spina, John; Menec, Verena H

    2015-06-01

    Age-friendly initiatives are increasingly promoted as a policy solution to healthy aging, The primary objective of this article was to examine older adults' and key stakeholders' perceptions of the factors that either help or hinder a community from becoming age-friendly in the context of rural Manitoba, a Canadian prairie province. Twenty-four older adults and 17 key informants completed a qualitative interview. The findings show that contextual factors including size, location, demographic composition, ability to secure investments, and leadership influence rural communities' ability to become age-friendly. Government must consider the challenges these communities face in becoming more age-friendly and develop strategies to support communities.

  12. Disease limits populations: plague and black-tailed prairie dogs.

    PubMed

    Cully, Jack F; Johnson, Tammi L; Collinge, Sharon K; Ray, Chris

    2010-01-01

    Plague is an exotic vector-borne disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis that causes mortality rates approaching 100% in black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). We mapped the perimeter of the active portions of black-tailed prairie dog colonies annually between 1999 and 2005 at four prairie dog colony complexes in areas with a history of plague, as well as at two complexes that were located outside the distribution of plague at the time of mapping and had therefore never been affected by the disease. We hypothesized that the presence of plague would significantly reduce overall black-tailed prairie dog colony area, reduce the sizes of colonies on these landscapes, and increase nearest-neighbor distances between colonies. Within the region historically affected by plague, individual colonies were smaller, nearest-neighbor distances were greater, and the proportion of potential habitat occupied by active prairie dog colonies was smaller than at plague-free sites. Populations that endured plague were composed of fewer large colonies (>100 ha) than populations that were historically plague free. We suggest that these differences among sites in colony size and isolation may slow recolonization after extirpation. At the same time, greater intercolony distances may also reduce intercolony transmission of pathogens. Reduced transmission among smaller and more distant colonies may ultimately enhance long-term prairie dog population persistence in areas where plague is present.

  13. Disease limits populations: plague and black-tailed prairie dogs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cully, Jack F.; Johnson, T.; Collinge, S.K.; Ray, C.

    2010-01-01

    Plague is an exotic vector-borne disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis that causes mortality rates approaching 100% in black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). We mapped the perimeter of the active portions of black-tailed prairie dog colonies annually between 1999 and 2005 at four prairie dog colony complexes in areas with a history of plague, as well as at two complexes that were located outside the distribution of plague at the time of mapping and had therefore never been affected by the disease. We hypothesized that the presence of plague would significantly reduce overall black-tailed prairie dog colony area, reduce the sizes of colonies on these landscapes, and increase nearest-neighbor distances between colonies. Within the region historically affected by plague, individual colonies were smaller, nearest-neighbor distances were greater, and the proportion of potential habitat occupied by active prairie dog colonies was smaller than at plague-free sites. Populations that endured plague were composed of fewer large colonies (>100 ha) than populations that were historically plague free. We suggest that these differences among sites in colony size and isolation may slow recolonization after extirpation. At the same time, greater intercolony distances may also reduce intercolony transmission of pathogens. Reduced transmission among smaller and more distant colonies may ultimately enhance long-term prairie dog population persistence in areas where plague is present.

  14. Interspecific comparisons of sylvatic plague in prairie dogs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cully, J.F.; Williams, E.S.

    2001-01-01

    Of the 3 major factors (habitat loss, poisoning, and disease) that limit abundance of prairie dogs today, sylvatic plague caused by Yersinia pestis is the 1 factor that is beyond human control. Plague epizootics frequently kill >99% of prairie dogs in infected colonies. Although epizootics of sylvatic plague occur throughout most of the range of prairie dogs in the United States and are well described, long-term maintenance of plague in enzootic rodent species is not well documented or understood. We review dynamics of plague in white-tailed (Cynomys leucurus), Gunnison's (C. gunnisoni), and black-tailed (C. ludovicianus) prairie dogs, and their rodent and flea associates. We use epidemiologic concepts to support an enzootic hypothesis in which the disease is maintained in a dynamic state, which requires transmission of Y. pestis to be slower than recruitment of new susceptible mammal hosts. Major effects of plague are to reduce colony size of black-tailed prairie dogs and increase intercolony distances within colony complexes. In the presence of plague, black-tailed prairie dogs will probably survive in complexes of small colonies that are usually >3 km from their nearest neighbor colonies.

  15. Widespread gene flow and high genetic variability in populations of water voles Arvicola terrestris in patchy habitats.

    PubMed

    Aars, J; Dallas, J F; Piertney, S B; Marshall, F; Gow, J L; Telfer, S; Lambin, X

    2006-05-01

    Theory predicts that the impact of gene flow on the genetic structure of populations in patchy habitats depends on its scale and the demographic attributes of demes (e.g. local colony sizes and timing of reproduction), but empirical evidence is scarce. We inferred the impact of gene flow on genetic structure among populations of water voles Arvicola terrestris that differed in average colony sizes, population turnover and degree of patchiness. Colonies typically consisted of few reproducing adults and several juveniles. Twelve polymorphic microsatellite DNA loci were examined. Levels of individual genetic variability in all areas were high (H(O) = 0.69-0.78). Assignments of juveniles to parents revealed frequent dispersal over long distances. The populations showed negative F(IS) values among juveniles, F(IS) values around zero among adults, high F(ST) values among colonies for juveniles, and moderate, often insignificant, F(ST) values for parents. We inferred that excess heterozygosity within colonies reflected the few individuals dispersing from a large area to form discrete breeding colonies. Thus pre-breeding dispersal followed by rapid reproduction results in a seasonal increase in differentiation due to local family groups. Genetic variation was as high in low-density populations in patchy habitats as in populations in continuous habitats used for comparison. In contrast to most theoretical predictions, we found that populations living in patchy habitats can maintain high levels of genetic variability when only a few adults contribute to breeding in each colony, when the variance of reproductive success among colonies is likely to be low, and when dispersal between colonies exceeds nearest-neighbour distances.

  16. Wind training in some prairie trees

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bogan, M.A.; Mollhagen, T.R.

    1969-01-01

    Asymmetry in tree crowns has been established for some time. Lawrence (Ecol. Monogr. 9:217-257, 1939) studied wind training, one cause of asymmetry, in the Columbia River Gorge. He and Boyce (Ecol. Monogr. 24: 29-67, 1954) cite the intensity and direction of wind during the growing season as the causative agents. In their study of trunk asymmetry, Potter and Green (Cology 45: 10-23, 1964) mention crown deformity in the open stands of trees. Prairie trees are typically found in open stands, and to our knowledge no quantitative studies have been done on their crown asymmetry. The present study on the nature of this asymmetry, is an attempt to fill the void.

  17. Microwave experiments on Prairie View Rotamak

    SciTech Connect

    Zhou, R. J.; Xu, M.; Huang, Tian-Sen

    2015-05-15

    A 6 kW/2.45 GHz microwave system has been added on Prairie View Rotamak, and a series of experiments with microwave heating in both O-mode and X-mode configurations have been performed. Effective ionization of hydrogen in the two configurations is observed when filling pressure of the hydrogen gas is under p{sub f}=0.1 Pa. Clear oscillations in plasma current I{sub p} and magnetic field B{sub R} are excited when microwaves are injected into plasma in the X-mode configuration. The higher the injected microwave power, the sooner the emergence of the magnetic oscillations in B{sub R}, which implies the microwave may have decreased the elongation of the plasma. In the experiments, the efficiency of the current drive mechanism due to the injected microwave is about 0.2 kA/kW.

  18. Nitrogen transport from tallgrass prairie watersheds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dodds, W.K.; Blair, J.M.; Henebry, G.M.; Koelliker, J.K.; Ramundo, R.; Tate, C.M.

    1996-01-01

    Discharge and N content of surface water flowing from four Karat watersheds on Konza Prairie Research Natural Area, Kansas, managed with different burn frequencies, were monitored from 1986 to 1992. The goal was to establish the influence of natural processes (climate, fire, and bison grazing) on N transport and concentration in streams. Streams were characterized by variable flow, under conditions that included an extreme flood and a drought during which all channels were dry for over a year. The estimated groundwater/stream water discharge ratio varied between 0.15 to 6.41. Annual N transport by streams, averaged across all watersheds and years, was 0.16 kg N ha-1 yr-1. Annual N transport per unit area also increased as the watershed area increased and as precipitation increased. Total annual transport of N horn the prairie via streams ranged from 0.01 to 6.0% of the N input from precipitation. Nitrate and total N concentrations in surface water decreased (P < 0.001, r values ranged from 0.140.26) as length of time since last fire increased. Increased watershed area was correlated negatively (P < 0.0001) to stream water concentrations of NO3-N and total N (r values = -0.43 and -0.20, respectively). Low N concentration is typical of these streams, with NH4/+-N concentrations below 1.0 ??g L-1, NO3-N ranging from below 1.4 to 392 ??g L-1, and total N from 3.0 to 714 ??g L-1. These data provide an important baseline for evaluating N transport and stream water quality from unfertilized grasslands.

  19. 77 FR 31347 - High Prairie Pipeline, LLC v. Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership; Notice of Complaint

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-05-25

    ... From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission High Prairie Pipeline, LLC v. Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership; Notice... Applicable to Oil Pipeline Proceedings, High Prairie Pipeline, LLC (Complainant) filed a formal...

  20. Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs, Cattle, and the Conservation of North America’s Arid Grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Sierra–Corona, Rodrigo; Davidson, Ana; Fredrickson, Ed L.; Luna-Soria, Hugo; Suzan-Azpiri, Humberto; Ponce-Guevara, Eduardo; Ceballos, Gerardo

    2015-01-01

    Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) have been eliminated from over 95% of their historic range in large part from direct eradication campaigns to reduce their purported competition with cattle for forage. Despite the longstanding importance of this issue to grassland management and conservation, the ecological interactions between cattle and prairie dogs have not been well examined. We address this issue through two complementary experiments to determine if cattle and prairie dogs form a mutualistic grazing association similar to that between prairie dogs and American bison. Our experimental results show that cattle preferentially graze along prairie dog colony edges and use their colony centers for resting, resembling the mutualistic relationship prairie dogs have with American bison. Our results also show that prairie dog colonies are not only an important component of the grassland mosaic for maintaining biodiversity, but also provide benefits to cattle, thereby challenging the long-standing view of prairie dogs as an undesirable pest species in grasslands. PMID:25760377

  1. Flea-borne Bartonella grahamii and Bartonella taylorii in bank voles.

    PubMed

    Bown, Kevin J; Bennet, Malcolm; Begon, Michael

    2004-04-01

    Bartonella species are increasingly associated with a range of human and animal diseases. Despite this, we have a poor understanding of the ecology and epidemiology of many species, especially those circulating in wild populations. Previous studies have demonstrated that a diverse range of Bartonella species are abundant in wild rodent populations; little is known regarding their modes of transmission, although both direct and indirect routes have been suggested. In this study, with bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) as the host species, we demonstrate that the rodent flea Ctenophthalmus nobilis is a competent vector of at least two Bartonella species, B. grahamii, which has previously been associated with human infection, and B. taylorii. In contrast, no evidence of either horizontal or vertical transmission was seen in bank voles inoculated with B. taylorii maintained in an arthropod-free environment; this finding suggests that fleas may be essential for transmitting some Bartonella species.

  2. Flea-borne Bartonella grahamii and Bartonella taylorii in Bank Voles

    PubMed Central

    Bennett, Malcolm; Begon, Michael

    2004-01-01

    Bartonella species are increasingly associated with a range of human and animal diseases. Despite this, we have a poor understanding of the ecology and epidemiology of many species, especially those circulating in wild populations. Previous studies have demonstrated that a diverse range of Bartonella species are abundant in wild rodent populations; little is known regarding their modes of transmission, although both direct and indirect routes have been suggested. In this study, with bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) as the host species, we demonstrate that the rodent flea Ctenophthalmus nobilis is a competent vector of at least two Bartonella species, B. grahamii, which has previously been associated with human infection, and B. taylorii. In contrast, no evidence of either horizontal or vertical transmission was seen in bank voles inoculated with B. taylorii maintained in an arthropod-free environment; this finding suggests that fleas may be essential for transmitting some Bartonella species. PMID:15200860

  3. Implantation and early postimplantation development of the bank vole Clethrionomys glareolus, Schreber.

    PubMed

    Ozdzeński, W; Mystkowska, E T

    1976-06-01

    The development of the bank vole Clethrionomys glareolus is described from implantation to the formation of the foetal membranes. The embryonic development of this species combines features of primitive rodent species, for example Geomys bursarius and highly specialized ones, for examples Mus musculus. The egg-cylinder is formed by invagination into the blastocoelic cavity of the inner cell mass and polar trophoblast overlying it; this resembles in many respects the early stages of development of primitive species. The fully formed egg-cylinder, however, resembles that of the mouse and the formation of foetal membranes is also similar to that in Muridae. It is concluded that in the bank vole and also in other rodents, the extra-embryonic ectoderm of the egg-cylinder is derived from the polar trophoblast rather than from the inner cell mass.

  4. Tradeoffs in ecosystem services of prairies managed for bioenergy production

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jarchow, Meghann Elizabeth

    The use of perennial plant materials as a renewable source of energy may constitute an important opportunity to improve the environmental sustainability of managed land. Currently, the production of energy from agricultural products is primarily in the form of ethanol from corn grain, which used more than 45% of the domestic U.S. corn crop in 2011. Concomitantly, using corn grain to produce ethanol has promoted landscape simplification and homogenization through conversion of Conservation Reserve Program grasslands to annual row crops, and has been implicated in increasing environmental damage, such as increased nitrate leaching into water bodies and increased rates of soil erosion. In contrast, perennial prairie vegetation has the potential to be used as a bioenergy feedstock that produces a substantial amount of biomass as well as numerous ecosystem services. Reincorporating prairies to diversify the landscape of the Midwestern U.S. at strategic locations could provide more habitat for animals, including beneficial insects, and decrease nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment movement into water bodies. In this dissertation, I present data from two field experiments that examine (1) how managing prairies for bioenergy production affects prairie ecology and agronomic performance and (2) how these prairie systems differ from corn systems managed for bioenergy production. Results of this work show that there are tradeoffs among prairie systems and between corn and prairie systems with respect to the amount of harvested biomass, root production, nutrient export, feedstock characteristics, growing season utilization, and species and functional group diversity. These results emphasize the need for a multifaceted approach to fully evaluate bioenergy feedstock production systems.

  5. [Blood system peculiarities in the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) under chronic environmental pollution].

    PubMed

    Tarakhtiĭ, É A; Mukhacheva, S V

    2011-01-01

    The parameters of peripheral blood and hemopoietic organs in mature and immature bank voles inhabiting a chemically polluted area were studied. Variability of the blood system parameters depending on the level of toxic load and the animals' reproductive status was determined. Alteration of the cell composition of erythrocytes and leucocytes, the structure of erythrocytes, and the hemoglobin fractions and leucocyte functions describe the adaptive response to the factors of a changed environment more than the concentration of leucocytes, erythrocytes, and blood hemoglobin.

  6. Differential susceptibility to cadmium-induced liver and kidney injury in wild and laboratory-bred bank voles Myodes glareolus.

    PubMed

    Salińska, Aneta; Włostowski, Tadeusz; Oleńska, Ewa

    2013-08-01

    The objective of the study was to compare the sensitivity of wild and laboratory-bred bank voles to cadmium (Cd)-induced histopathological changes in the liver and kidneys. For 4 weeks, the male bank voles-both wild and laboratory-bred-were provided with diet containing Cd in quantities <0.1 (control), 30, and 60 μg/g dry weight. At the end of exposure period, histopathology and analyses of Cd, metallothionein (MT), glutathione (GSH), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), and lipid peroxidation-all considered to be critical factors during the development of Cd toxicity in the liver and kidneys-were carried out. Histopathological changes (focal hepatocyte swelling, vacuolation and inflammation [leukocyte infiltration] in the liver, and focal proximal tubule degeneration [including epithelial cell swelling] in the kidneys) occurred only in the wild bank voles fed a diet containing 60 μg Cd/g. There were no differences in concentrations of Cd, MT, GSH, Zn, and Cu in liver and kidney between the respective groups of wild and laboratory-bred animals. However, a decrease of hepatic Fe and lipid peroxidation was observed in the wild voles exhibiting histopathological changes. These data indicate the following: (1) wild bank voles are more susceptible to Cd-induced liver and kidney injury than those bred and raised in the laboratory; (2) the difference in sensitivity may be associated with a distinct decrease of hepatic Fe in response to Cd exposure between the two groups of bank voles; and (3) dietary Cd may produce histopathological changes indirectly through decreasing the hepatic Fe and Fe-dependent oxidative processes. These results also suggest that histopathology in the liver and kidney of wild bank voles living in a contaminated environment may occur at relatively low levels of tissue Cd.

  7. Female meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus, respond differently to the scent marks of multiple male conspecifics.

    PubMed

    Ferkin, Michael H; Hobbs, Nicholas J

    2014-05-01

    Many nonhuman animals are capable of discriminating a group or entity containing more objects from one containing less of the same objects. The capacity for making judgments of numerousness may also allow individuals to discriminate between potential mates. Female meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) may use judgments of relative numerousness to distinguish between potential suitors by selecting males that signal their interest by depositing more scent marks relative to other males. We used a familiarization-discrimination paradigm in the absence of training to test the hypothesis that female voles will discriminate between the different numerosities of scent marks of two male conspecifics that are similar in features of their phenotype and quality. During the exposure phase, we presented female voles with different ratios of feces scent marks from two males. During the test phase, we presented females with a single, fresh fecal scent mark from each of the two male donors, whose marks they had previously encountered during the exposure phase. In both phases, females spent more time investigating the scent mark(s) of the male that deposited more scent marks than that of the male that deposited fewer scent marks provided the difference in the ratio of scent marks provided by the male donors in the exposure phase was ≥2. Our results are consistent with studies on a variety of taxa, suggesting that numerosity discriminations are evolutionarily ancient and spontaneously available to nonhuman animals and humans.

  8. Serological survey of rodent-borne viruses in Finnish field voles.

    PubMed

    Forbes, Kristian M; Voutilainen, Liina; Jääskeläinen, Anne; Sironen, Tarja; Kinnunen, Paula M; Stuart, Peter; Vapalahti, Olli; Henttonen, Heikki; Huitu, Otso

    2014-04-01

    In northern Europe, rodent populations display cyclic density fluctuations that can be correlated with the human incidence of zoonotic diseases they spread. During density peaks, field voles (Microtus agrestis) become one of the most abundant rodent species in northern Europe, yet little is known of the viruses they host. We screened 709 field voles, trapped from 14 sites over 3 years, for antibodies against four rodent-borne, potentially zoonotic viruses or virus groups-hantaviruses, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), Ljungan virus (LV), and orthopoxviruses (OPV). Antibodies against all four viruses were detected. However, seroprevalence of hantaviruses, LV, and LCMV was low. OPV antibodies (most likely cowpox) were more common but restricted geographically to southeastern Finland. Within these sites, antibody prevalence showed delayed density dependence in spring and direct density dependence in fall. Higher seroprevalence was found in spring than fall. These results substantially increase knowledge of the presence and distribution of viruses of field voles in Finland, as well as CPXV infection dynamics.

  9. Validation of the Puumala virus rapid field test for bank voles in Germany.

    PubMed

    Reil, D; Imholt, C; Rosenfeld, U M; Drewes, S; Fischer, S; Heuser, E; Petraityte-Burneikiene, R; Ulrich, R G; Jacob, J

    2017-02-01

    Puumala virus (PUUV) causes many human infections in large parts of Europe and can lead to mild to moderate disease. The bank vole (Myodes glareolus) is the only reservoir of PUUV in Central Europe. A commercial PUUV rapid field test for rodents was validated for bank-vole blood samples collected in two PUUV-endemic regions in Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg). A comparison of the results of the rapid field test and standard ELISAs indicated a test efficacy of 93-95%, largely independent of the origin of the antigens used in the ELISA. In ELISAs, reactivity for the German PUUV strain was higher compared to the Swedish strain but not compared to the Finnish strain, which was used for the rapid field test. In conclusion, the use of the rapid field test can facilitate short-term estimation of PUUV seroprevalence in bank-vole populations in Germany and can aid in assessing human PUUV infection risk.

  10. Indirect food web interactions mediated by predator-rodent dynamics: relative roles of lemmings and voles.

    PubMed

    Ims, Rolf A; Henden, John-André; Thingnes, Anders V; Killengreen, Siw T

    2013-01-01

    Production cycles in birds are proposed as prime cases of indirect interactions in food webs. They are thought to be driven by predators switching from rodents to bird nests in the crash phase of rodent population cycles. Although rodent cycles are geographically widespread and found in different rodent taxa, bird production cycles appear to be most profound in the high Arctic where lemmings dominate. We hypothesized that this may be due to arctic lemmings inducing stronger predator responses than boreal voles. We tested this hypothesis by estimating predation rates in dummy bird nests during a rodent cycle in low-Arctic tundra. Here, the rodent community consists of a spatially variable mix of one lemming (Lemmus lemmus) and two vole species (Myodes rufocanus and Microtus oeconomus) with similar abundances. In consistence with our hypothesis, lemming peak abundances predicted well crash-phase nest predation rates, whereas the vole abundances had no predictive ability. Corvids were found to be the most important nest predators. Lemmings appear to be accessible to the whole predator community which makes them particularly powerful drivers of food web dynamics.

  11. Cowpox virus infection in natural field vole Microtus agrestis populations: delayed density dependence and individual risk.

    PubMed

    Burthe, Sarah; Telfer, Sandra; Lambin, Xavier; Bennett, Malcolm; Carslake, David; Smith, Andrew; Begon, Michael

    2006-11-01

    1. Little is known about the dynamics of pathogen (microparasite) infection in wildlife populations, and less still about sources of variation in the risk of infection. Here we present the first detailed analysis of such variation. 2. Cowpox virus is an endemic sublethal pathogen circulating in populations of wild rodents. Cowpox prevalence was monitored longitudinally for 2 years, in populations of field voles exhibiting multiannual cycles of density in Kielder Forest, UK. 3. The probability that available susceptible animals seroconverted in a given trap session was significantly positively related to host density with a 3-month time lag. 4. Males were significantly more likely to seroconvert than females. 5. Despite most infection being found in young animals (because transmission rates were generally high) mature individuals were more likely to seroconvert than immature ones, suggesting that behavioural or physiological changes associated with maturity contribute to variation in infection risk. 6. Hence, these analyses confirm that there is a delayed numerical response of cowpox infection to vole density, supporting the hypothesis that endemic pathogens may play some part in shaping vole cycles.

  12. The dynamics of murid gammaherpesvirus 4 within wild, sympatric populations of bank voles and wood mice.

    PubMed

    Telfer, Sandra; Bennett, Malcolm; Carslake, David; Helyar, Sarah; Begon, Mike

    2007-01-01

    Murid gammaherpesvirus 4 (MuHV-4) is widely used as a small animal model for understanding gammaherpesvirus infections in man. However, there have been no epidemiological studies of the virus in wild populations of small mammals. As MuHV-4 both infects cells associated with the respiratory and immune systems and attempts to evade immune control via various molecular mechanisms, infection may reduce immunocompetence with potentially serious fitness consequences for individuals. Here we report a longitudinal study of antibody to MuHV-4 in a mixed assemblage of bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) and wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) in the UK. The study was conducted between April 2001 and March 2004. Seroprevalence was higher in wood mice than bank voles, supporting earlier work that suggested wood mice were the major host even though the virus was originally isolated from a bank vole. Analyses of both the probability of having antibodies and the probability of initial seroconversion indicated no clear seasonal pattern or relationship with host density. Instead, infection risk was most closely associated with individual characteristics, with heavier males having the highest risk. This may reflect individual variation in susceptibility, potentially related to variability in the ability to mount an effective immune response.

  13. Frequencies of micronuclei in bank voles from zones of high radiation at Chernobyl, Ukraine

    SciTech Connect

    Rodgers, B.E.; Baker, R.J.

    2000-06-01

    A population of Clethrionomys glareolus (bank vole) from a highly radioactive area within the Chernobyl, Ukraine exclusion zone was sampled in June 1997 and in June and October 1998. Internal radiation doses from radiocesium were estimated to be as high as 8 rads/d. Total dose, which takes into account the internal dose form radiostrontium and the surrounding environment, was estimated to be 15 to 20 rads/d. In contrast, individuals from a reference population lying outside of the exclusion zone registered negligible levels of contamination. The authors used the micronucleus test in a double-blind study to analyze blood samples from 58 individuals. They scored more than 600,000 polychromatic erythrocytes (PCEs) but could not reject the null hypothesis that the frequency of micronucleated PCEs in voles exposed to radiation was equal to the frequency in unexposed voles. Results of their study stand in sharp contrast to earlier reports of increased frequencies of micronuclei in rodents exposed to fallout of the Chernobyl accident, but with radiation doses that were orders of magnitude lower than those reported here. Radio resistance and experimental methods are possible explanations for these differences in the results.

  14. [Helminth fauna of the bank vole myodes glareolus (Schreber, 1780) in the Kizhi Archipelago].

    PubMed

    Bugmyrin, S V; Korosov, A V; Bespyatova, L A; Ieshko, E P

    2015-01-01

    The present study was aimed to examine the specific features of the helminth fauna in insular populations of the bank vole (Myodes glareolus) in the north of the species range. The material was collected in and nearby the Kizhi Archipelago (Lake Onega, 62°1' N 35°12' E) during August 1997, 2005-2007, 2012 and 2013. Small mammals were trapped on 23 islands (varying from 2 to 15,000 ha) and on the mainland. Helminthological met- hods were applied to examine 301 specimens of M glareolus. Fourteen helminth species were found: trematodes--Skrjabinoplagiorchis vigisi; cestodes--Paranoplocephala omphalodes, P. gracilis, Catenotaenia henttoneni, Taenia mustelae, Cladotaenia globife- ra, Spirometra erinacei; nematodes--Trichocephalus muris, Aonchotheca murissylvatici, Hepaticola hepatica, Heligmosomum mixtum, Heligmosomoides glareoli, Longistriata minuta, Syphacia petrusewiczi. The parasites S. vigisi, S. erinaci, H. hepatica and T. muris were identified in the bank vole in Karelia for the first time. Significant differences were detected between the helminth faunas of local insular populations of the bank vole. A distinctive feature of all small islands was that samples from them lacked the widespread pa- rasitic nematode Heligmosomum mixtum. The studies have confirmed the general trends observed in the parasite fauna of most isolated populations of small mammals: a poorer species diversity and high infestation rates with certain species of parasites. The Kizhi Archipelago is characterized by the specific high abundance of regionally rare parasite species (H hepatica, A. murissylvatici), and by the absence of common parasites (H. mixtum, H. glareoli).

  15. Habitat evaluation for outbreak of Yangtze voles (Microtus fortis) and management implications.

    PubMed

    Xu, Zhenggang; Zhao, Yunlin; Li, Bo; Zhang, Meiwen; Shen, Guo; Wang, Yong

    2015-05-01

    Rodent pests severely damage agricultural crops. Outbreak risk models of rodent pests often do not include sufficient information regarding geographic variation. Habitat plays an important role in rodent-pest outbreak risk, and more information about the relationship between habitat and crop protection is urgently needed. The goal of the present study was to provide an outbreak risk map for the Dongting Lake region and to understand the relationship between rodent-pest outbreak variation and habitat distribution. The main rodent pests in the Dongting Lake region are Yangtze voles (Microtus fortis). These pests cause massive damage in outbreak years, most notably in 2007. Habitat evaluation and ecological details were obtained by analyzing the correlation between habitat suitability and outbreak risk, as indicated by population density and historical events. For the source-sink population, 96.18% of Yangtze vole disaster regions were covered by a 10-km buffer zone of suitable habitat in 2007. Historical outbreak frequency and peak population density were significantly correlated with the proportion of land covered by suitable habitat (r = 0.68, P = 0.04 and r = 0.76, P = 0.03, respectively). The Yangtze vole population tends to migrate approximately 10 km in outbreak years. Here, we propose a practical method for habitat evaluation that can be used to create integrated pest management plans for rodent pests when combined with basic information on the biology, ecology and behavior of the target species.

  16. Endemic species may have complex histories: within-refugium phylogeography of an endangered Iberian vole.

    PubMed

    Barbosa, S; Paupério, J; Herman, J S; Ferreira, C M; Pita, R; Vale-Gonçalves, H M; Cabral, J A; Garrido-García, J A; Soriguer, R C; Beja, P; Mira, A; Alves, P C; Searle, J B

    2017-02-01

    Glacial refugia protected and promoted biodiversity during the Pleistocene, not only at a broader scale, but also for many endemics that contracted and expanded their ranges within refugial areas. Understanding the evolutionary history of refugial endemics is especially important in the case of endangered species to recognize the origins of their genetic structure and thus produce better informed conservation practices. The Iberian Peninsula is an important European glacial refugium, rich in endemics of conservation concern, including small mammals, such as the Cabrera vole (Microtus cabrerae). This near-threatened rodent is characterized by an unusual suite of genetic, life history and ecological traits, being restricted to isolated geographic nuclei in fast-disappearing Mediterranean subhumid herbaceous habitats. To reconstruct the evolutionary history of the Cabrera vole, we studied sequence variation at mitochondrial, autosomal and sex-linked loci, using invasive and noninvasive samples. Despite low overall mitochondrial and nuclear nucleotide diversities, we observed two main well-supported mitochondrial lineages, west and east. Phylogeographic modelling in the context of the Cabrera vole's detailed fossil record supports a demographic scenario of isolation of two populations during the Last Glacial Maximum from a single focus in the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula. In addition, our data suggest subsequent divergence within the east, and secondary contact and introgression of the expanding western population, during the late Holocene. This work emphasizes that refugial endemics may have a phylogeographic history as rich as that of more widespread species, and conservation of such endemics includes the preservation of that genetic legacy.

  17. Environmental Assessment for Kirtland Air Force Base Prairie Dog Management Program

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2003-11-01

    the Proposed Actions is to better manage the prairie dog population to ensure ecosystem stability, population control, genetic diversity, and...prairie dog , ringtail cat (Bassariscus astutus), striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), spotted skunk (Spilogale gracilis), coyote, cottontail rabbit...Report 1997). Domestic dogs and cats passing through prairie dog towns are susceptible to infection and may carry fleas to residential areas where

  18. Spatiotemporal dynamics of black-tailed prairie dog colonies affected by plague

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are a key component of the disturbance regime in semi-arid grasslands of central North America. Many studies have compared community and ecosystem characteristics on prairie dog colonies to grasslands without prairie dogs, but little is known about la...

  19. Response of mountain plovers to plague-driven dynamics of black-tailed prairie dog colonies

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Sylvatic plague is a major factor influencing prairie dog colony dynamics in the western Great Plains. We studied the nesting response of the mountain plover (Charadrius montanus), a grassland bird that nests on prairie dog colonies, to plague-driven dynamics of prairie dog colonies at three sites i...

  20. The EcoSun Prairie Farm: An experiment in bioenergy production, landscape restoration, and ecological sustainability

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In 2008, the non-profit corporation, EcoSun Prairie Farms (hereafter EcoSun), began establishing mixtures and monocultures of native prairie species in eastern South Dakota on a section of land (hereafter Prairie Farm) that had been conventionally farmed with annual crops for more than a century. T...

  1. 75 FR 65310 - Pine Prairie Energy Center, LLC; Notice of Application

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-10-22

    ... From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Pine Prairie Energy Center, LLC; Notice of Application October 15, 2010. Take notice that on October 4, 2010, Pine Prairie Energy Center, LLC (Pine Prairie), 333 Clay...

  2. The natural history of a fugitive prairie plant (Mirabilis hirsuta (Pursh) MacM.).

    PubMed

    Platt, William J

    1976-12-01

    Some perennial fugitive plants that colonize badger disturbances in xeric prairies have a limited dispersal capacity, and consequently propagules are dispersed over a small area. I hypothesized that high density-dependent mortality might occur early in the life history of such species, and thus increased survival might occur in subsequent age classes because intraspecific competition would be reduced. These hypotheses were tested using natural and experimental cohorts of Mirabilis hirsuta (Pursh) MacM. From these data and field observations, inferences were obtained concerning selective forces operating upon life history characteristics of this species.The distance between individuals of M. hirsuta increases in successive age classes; the greatest decrease in density occurs between the propagule and seedling age classes. Mortality of propagules due to predation by ants and mice was density-dependent. Predation rates were highest at high propagule densities and predation upon propagules located on badger disturbances was higher than the mortality of propagules at similar densities in undisturbed prairie. The results of mortality in the propagule age class are seedlings present only at low densities and located away from parent plants. Seedlings survive to maturity only if they are located on badger disturbances; this species apparently can not successfully compete with plants present in undistrubed prairie. On badger disturbances seedlings present at low densities have much higher survival (roughly 50%) to maturity than do seedlings present at high densities (essentially zero). Thus, if high densities of propagules occur on a disturbance, predation upon propagules results, indirectly, in increased survival of seedlings to maturity. Such predation potentially could have important effects upon interspecific competition of M. hirsuta with other fugitives also colonizing badger disturbances.Reproductive success of M. hirsuta on the Cayler Prairie Preserve is contingent

  3. Resistance to plague among black-tailed prairie dog populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rocke, T.E.; Williamson, J.; Cobble, K.R.; Busch, J.D.; Antolin, M.F.; Wagner, D.M.

    2012-01-01

    In some rodent species frequently exposed to plague outbreaks caused by Yersinia pestis, resistance to the disease has evolved as a population trait. As a first step in determining if plague resistance has developed in black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus), animals captured from colonies in a plague-free region (South Dakota) and two plague-endemic regions (Colorado and Texas) were challenged with Y. pestis at one of three doses (2.5, 250, or 2500 mouse LD50s). South Dakota prairie dogs were far more susceptible to plague than Colorado and Texas prairie dogs (p<0.001), with a mortality rate of nearly 100% over all doses. Colorado and Texas prairie dogs were quite similar in their response, with overall survival rates of 50% and 60%, respectively. Prairie dogs from these states were heterogenous in their response, with some animals dying at the lowest dose (37% and 20%, respectively) and some surviving even at the highest dose (29% and 40%, respectively). Microsatellite analysis revealed that all three groups were distinct genetically, but further studies are needed to establish a genetic basis for the observed differences in plague resistance. ?? 2012, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

  4. Resistance to plague among black-tailed prairie dog populations.

    PubMed

    Rocke, Tonie E; Williamson, Judy; Cobble, Kacy R; Busch, Joseph D; Antolin, Michael F; Wagner, David M

    2012-02-01

    In some rodent species frequently exposed to plague outbreaks caused by Yersinia pestis, resistance to the disease has evolved as a population trait. As a first step in determining if plague resistance has developed in black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus), animals captured from colonies in a plague-free region (South Dakota) and two plague-endemic regions (Colorado and Texas) were challenged with Y. pestis at one of three doses (2.5, 250, or 2500 mouse LD50s). South Dakota prairie dogs were far more susceptible to plague than Colorado and Texas prairie dogs (p<0.001), with a mortality rate of nearly 100% over all doses. Colorado and Texas prairie dogs were quite similar in their response, with overall survival rates of 50% and 60%, respectively. Prairie dogs from these states were heterogeneous in their response, with some animals dying at the lowest dose (37% and 20%, respectively) and some surviving even at the highest dose (29% and 40%, respectively). Microsatellite analysis revealed that all three groups were distinct genetically, but further studies are needed to establish a genetic basis for the observed differences in plague resistance.

  5. Prairie dogs increase fitness by killing interspecific competitors.

    PubMed

    Hoogland, John L; Brown, Charles R

    2016-03-30

    Interspecific competition commonly selects for divergence in ecology, morphology or physiology, but direct observation of interspecific competition under natural conditions is difficult. Herbivorous white-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys leucurus) employ an unusual strategy to reduce interspecific competition: they kill, but do not consume, herbivorous Wyoming ground squirrels (Urocitellus elegans) encountered in the prairie dog territories. Results from a 6-year study in Colorado, USA, revealed that interspecific killing of ground squirrels by prairie dogs was common, involving 47 different killers; 19 prairie dogs were serial killers in the same or consecutive years, and 30% of female prairie dogs killed at least one ground squirrel over their lifetimes. Females that killed ground squirrels had significantly higher annual and lifetime fitness than non-killers, probably because of decreased interspecific competition for vegetation. Our results document the first case of interspecific killing of competing individuals unrelated to predation (IK) among herbivorous mammals in the wild, and show that IK enhances fitness for animals living under natural conditions.

  6. Attwater's prairie-chicken-its life history and management

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lehmann, Valgene W.

    1941-01-01

    Attwater's prairie chicken, a characteristic bird of the Texas coastal prairie, is closely related to the now extinct heath-hen of northeastern North America. Once abundant in an area extending from the coastal tall-grass prairies of southwestern Louisiana and Texas west and south to near Port Isabel, it has decreased in numbers as man has exploited its habitat, until now it is threatened with the same fate as that of the heath-hen.Important factors limiting the numbers of the bird include excessive or persistent rainfall during the nesting season, heavy grazing, excessive pasture burning, agricultural operations, and overshooting. Management will usually involve protection from excessive killing, improvement of food and cover, and control of predators and of the kill by hunters. Responsibility for this rests with the landowner.Optimum prairie chicken range apparently consists of well-drained grassland, with some weeds or shrubs, the cover varying in density from light to heavy; and with surface water available in summer; diversification within the grassland type is essential. In the absence of ample refuges for the species, probably all other favorable factors together will fail to save Attwater's prairie chicken from extinction.This number continues the series of the North American Fauna issued by the Bureau of Biological Survey, of the United States Department of Agriculture, prior to its transfer and consolidation with the Bureau of Fisheries on June 30, 1940, to form the Fish and Wildlife Service, in the Department of the Interior.

  7. Vulnerability of shortgrass prairie bird assemblages to climate change

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Skagen, Susan; Dreitz, Victoria; Conrey, Reesa Y.; Yackel, Amy; Panjabi, Arvind O.; Knuffman, Lekha

    2016-01-01

    The habitats and resources needed to support grassland birds endemic to North American prairie ecosystems are seriously threatened by impending climate change. To assess the vulnerability of grassland birds to climate change, we consider various components of vulnerability, including sensitivity, exposure, and adaptive capacity (Glick et al. 2011). Sensitivity encompasses the innate characteristics of a species and, in this context, is related to a species’ tolerance to changes in weather patterns. Groundnesting birds, including prairie birds, are particularly responsive to heat waves combined with drought conditions, as revealed by abundance and distribution patterns (Albright et al. 2010). To further assess sensitivity, we estimated reproductive parameters of nearly 3000 breeding attempts of a suite of prairie birds relative to prevailing weather. Fluctuations in weather conditions in eastern Colorado, 1997-2014, influenced breeding performance of a suite of avian species endemic to the shortgrass prairie, many of which have experienced recent population declines. High summer temperatures and intense rain events corresponded with lower nest survival for most species. Although dry conditions favored nest survival of Burrowing Owls and Mountain Plovers (Conrey 2010, Dreitz et al. 2012), drought resulted in smaller clutch sizes and lower nest survival for passerines (Skagen and Yackel Adams 2012, Conrey et al. in review). Declining summer precipitation may reduce the likelihood that some passerine species can maintain stable breeding populations in this region of the shortgrass prairie.

  8. Resistance to plague among black-tailed prairie dog populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rocke, Tonie E.; Williamson, Judy; Cobble, Kacy R.; Busch, Joseph D.; Antolin, Michael F.; Wagner, David M.

    2012-01-01

    In some rodent species frequently exposed to plague outbreaks caused by Yersinia pestis, resistance to the disease has evolved as a population trait. As a first step in determining if plague resistance has developed in black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus), animals captured from colonies in a plague-free region (South Dakota) and two plague-endemic regions (Colorado and Texas) were challenged with Y. pestis at one of three doses (2.5, 250, or 2500 mouse LD50s). South Dakota prairie dogs were far more susceptible to plague than Colorado and Texas prairie dogs (p<0.001), with a mortality rate of nearly 100% over all doses. Colorado and Texas prairie dogs were quite similar in their response, with overall survival rates of 50% and 60%, respectively. Prairie dogs from these states were heterogenous in their response, with some animals dying at the lowest dose (37% and 20%, respectively) and some surviving even at the highest dose (29% and 40%, respectively). Microsatellite analysis revealed that all three groups were distinct genetically, but further studies are needed to establish a genetic basis for the observed differences in plague resistance.

  9. Prairie dogs increase fitness by killing interspecific competitors

    PubMed Central

    Brown, Charles R.

    2016-01-01

    Interspecific competition commonly selects for divergence in ecology, morphology or physiology, but direct observation of interspecific competition under natural conditions is difficult. Herbivorous white-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys leucurus) employ an unusual strategy to reduce interspecific competition: they kill, but do not consume, herbivorous Wyoming ground squirrels (Urocitellus elegans) encountered in the prairie dog territories. Results from a 6-year study in Colorado, USA, revealed that interspecific killing of ground squirrels by prairie dogs was common, involving 47 different killers; 19 prairie dogs were serial killers in the same or consecutive years, and 30% of female prairie dogs killed at least one ground squirrel over their lifetimes. Females that killed ground squirrels had significantly higher annual and lifetime fitness than non-killers, probably because of decreased interspecific competition for vegetation. Our results document the first case of interspecific killing of competing individuals unrelated to predation (IK) among herbivorous mammals in the wild, and show that IK enhances fitness for animals living under natural conditions. PMID:27009223

  10. Simulated grazing responses on the proposed prairies National Park

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Parton, William J.; Wright, R. Gerald; Risser, Paul G.

    1980-03-01

    The tallgrass prairie version of the ELM Grassland Model was used to evaluate the potential impact of establishing a tallgrass prairie National Park in the Flint Hills region of Kansas. This total ecosystem model simulates ( a) the flow of water, heat, nitrogen, and phosphorus through the ecosystem and( b) the biomass dynamics of plants and consumers. It was specifically developed to study the effects of levels and types of herbivory, climatic variation, and fertilization upon grassland ecosystems. The model was used to simulate the impact of building up herds of bison, elk, antelope, and wolves on a tallgrass prairie. The results show that the grazing levels in the park should not be decreased below the prepark grazing levels (moderate grazing with cattle) and that the final grazing levels in the park could be maintained at a slightly higher level than the prepark grazing levels.

  11. Canopy Interception for a Tallgrass Prairie under Juniper Encroachment.

    PubMed

    Zou, Chris B; Caterina, Giulia L; Will, Rodney E; Stebler, Elaine; Turton, Donald

    2015-01-01

    Rainfall partitioning and redistribution by canopies are important ecohydrological processes underlying ecosystem dynamics. We quantified and contrasted spatial and temporal variations of rainfall redistribution for a juniper (Juniperus virginiana, redcedar) woodland and a tallgrass prairie in the south-central Great Plains, USA. Our results showed that redcedar trees had high canopy storage capacity (S) ranging from 2.14 mm for open stands to 3.44 mm for closed stands. The canopy funneling ratios (F) of redcedar trees varied substantially among stand type and tree size. The open stands and smaller trees usually had higher F values and were more efficient in partitioning rainfall into stemflow. Larger trees were more effective in partitioning rainfall into throughfall and no significant changes in the total interception ratios among canopy types and tree size were found. The S values were highly variable for tallgrass prairie, ranging from 0.27 mm at early growing season to 3.86 mm at senescence. As a result, the rainfall interception by tallgrass prairie was characterized by high temporal instability. On an annual basis, our results showed no significant difference in total rainfall loss to canopy interception between redcedar trees and tallgrass prairie. Increasing structural complexity associated with redcedar encroachment into tallgrass prairie changes the rainfall redistribution and partitioning pattern at both the temporal and spatial scales, but does not change the overall canopy interception ratios compared with unburned and ungrazed tallgrass prairie. Our findings support the idea of convergence in interception ratio for different canopy structures under the same precipitation regime. The temporal change in rainfall interception loss from redcedar encroachment is important to understand how juniper encroachment will interact with changing rainfall regime and potentially alter regional streamflow under climate change.

  12. Canopy Interception for a Tallgrass Prairie under Juniper Encroachment

    PubMed Central

    Zou, Chris B.; Caterina, Giulia L.; Will, Rodney E.; Stebler, Elaine; Turton, Donald

    2015-01-01

    Rainfall partitioning and redistribution by canopies are important ecohydrological processes underlying ecosystem dynamics. We quantified and contrasted spatial and temporal variations of rainfall redistribution for a juniper (Juniperus virginiana, redcedar) woodland and a tallgrass prairie in the south-central Great Plains, USA. Our results showed that redcedar trees had high canopy storage capacity (S) ranging from 2.14 mm for open stands to 3.44 mm for closed stands. The canopy funneling ratios (F) of redcedar trees varied substantially among stand type and tree size. The open stands and smaller trees usually had higher F values and were more efficient in partitioning rainfall into stemflow. Larger trees were more effective in partitioning rainfall into throughfall and no significant changes in the total interception ratios among canopy types and tree size were found. The S values were highly variable for tallgrass prairie, ranging from 0.27 mm at early growing season to 3.86 mm at senescence. As a result, the rainfall interception by tallgrass prairie was characterized by high temporal instability. On an annual basis, our results showed no significant difference in total rainfall loss to canopy interception between redcedar trees and tallgrass prairie. Increasing structural complexity associated with redcedar encroachment into tallgrass prairie changes the rainfall redistribution and partitioning pattern at both the temporal and spatial scales, but does not change the overall canopy interception ratios compared with unburned and ungrazed tallgrass prairie. Our findings support the idea of convergence in interception ratio for different canopy structures under the same precipitation regime. The temporal change in rainfall interception loss from redcedar encroachment is important to understand how juniper encroachment will interact with changing rainfall regime and potentially alter regional streamflow under climate change. PMID:26544182

  13. Convergent Ecosystems from Divergent Environmental Drivers: Revisiting Drivers of the Past Prairie-Forest Ecotone Across the North American Prairie Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heilman, K.; McLachlan, J. S.; Feng, X.

    2015-12-01

    The Prairie Peninsula in North America refers to the eastward extension of prairie and savanna ecosystems from western tallgrass prairie into deciduous forests of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri. Historically, the Prairie Peninsula border defined one of the largest shifts in vegetation and biomass in North America. Today, the fertile soils of the Prairie Peninsula have been transformed into a large agricultural center of national economic importance. The existence and location of prairie and savanna on the Northwest border of the Prairie Peninsula has previously been attributed to strong, dry westerly winds, low precipitation, and high fire frequencies. However, these drivers remain untested with historical vegetation across the whole Prairie Peninsula. We use recently digitized historical survey data of vegetation at the time of European settlement (the Public Land Survey (PLS)) to test these hypotheses with past structure and composition data of the entire Prairie Peninsula region. We demonstrate that commonly cited hypotheses for the existence of these ecosystems (westerly winds, low precipitation, and fire) cannot predict the extent and composition of the pre-settlement landscape in the Prairie Peninsula. Using the PLS data in a statistical model of biomass run with environmental covariates (precipitation, soil hydrology parameters, and topography), we test which covariates best explain the distribution of biomass and species composition across the region. Explanatory power of each covariate is spatially variable, suggesting that a single environmental factor alone did not drive prairie and savanna vegetation in the Prairie Peninsula. Rather, this work suggests that variable interactions between climate, soil hydrology properties, and disturbances promote similar vegetation structure across space.

  14. Urban Rights-of-Way as Reservoirs for Tall-Grass Prairie Plants and Butterflies.

    PubMed

    Leston, Lionel; Koper, Nicola

    2016-03-01

    Urban rights-of-way may be potential reservoirs of tall-grass prairie plants and butterflies. To determine if this is true, in 2007-2008, we conducted vegetation surveys of species richness and cover, and butterfly surveys of species richness and abundance, along 52 transmission lines and four remnant prairies in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We detected many prairie plants and butterflies within transmission lines. Some unmowed and infrequently managed transmission lines had native plant species richness and total percent cover of native plants comparable to that of similar-sized remnant tall-grass prairies in the region. Although we did not find significant differences in overall native butterfly numbers or species richness between rights-of-way and remnant prairies, we found lower numbers of some prairie butterflies along frequently mowed rights-of-way than within remnant tall-grass prairies. We also observed higher butterfly species richness along sites with more native plant species. By reducing mowing and spraying and reintroducing tall-grass prairie plants, urban rights-of-way could serve as extensive reservoirs for tall-grass prairie plants and butterflies in urban landscapes. Eventually, managing urban rights-of-way as reservoirs for tall-grass prairie plants and animals could contribute to the restoration of tall-grass prairie in the North American Midwest.

  15. Urban Rights-of-Way as Reservoirs for Tall-Grass Prairie Plants and Butterflies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leston, Lionel; Koper, Nicola

    2016-03-01

    Urban rights-of-way may be potential reservoirs of tall-grass prairie plants and butterflies. To determine if this is true, in 2007-2008, we conducted vegetation surveys of species richness and cover, and butterfly surveys of species richness and abundance, along 52 transmission lines and four remnant prairies in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We detected many prairie plants and butterflies within transmission lines. Some unmowed and infrequently managed transmission lines had native plant species richness and total percent cover of native plants comparable to that of similar-sized remnant tall-grass prairies in the region. Although we did not find significant differences in overall native butterfly numbers or species richness between rights-of-way and remnant prairies, we found lower numbers of some prairie butterflies along frequently mowed rights-of-way than within remnant tall-grass prairies. We also observed higher butterfly species richness along sites with more native plant species. By reducing mowing and spraying and reintroducing tall-grass prairie plants, urban rights-of-way could serve as extensive reservoirs for tall-grass prairie plants and butterflies in urban landscapes. Eventually, managing urban rights-of-way as reservoirs for tall-grass prairie plants and animals could contribute to the restoration of tall-grass prairie in the North American Midwest.

  16. Phenological and climatic patterns in three tallgrass prairies

    SciTech Connect

    Kebart, K.K.; Anderson, R.C.

    1987-03-07

    Flowering patterns for a central Illinois tallgrass prairie were studied during the 1983 growing season and compared with those for prairies in Wisconsin and Oklahoma. The distribution of species in flower per month was significantly different (p < 0.05) between the Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Illinois sites. Species that initiated flowering after July 15 tended to flower earlier at northern locations than at southern ones. The number of species in flower per month was correlated with long-term mean monthly temperature and precipitation at all three locations.

  17. Vegetation associations in a rare community type - Coastal tallgrass prairie

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grace, J.B.; Allain, L.; Allen, C.

    2000-01-01

    The coastal prairie ecoregion is located along the northwestern coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico in North America. Because of agricultural and urban development, less than 1% of the original 3.4 million ha of this ecosystem type remains in native condition, making it one of the most endangered ecosystems in North America. The objective of this study was to characterize the vegetation and environmental relationships in a relatively pristine example of lowland coastal prairie in order to provide information for use in conservation and restoration. The study area was a small, isolated prairie located near the southern boundary of the coastal prairie region. Samples were taken along three parallel transects that spanned the prairie. Parameters measured included species composition, elevation, soil characteristics, indications of recent disturbance, above-ground biomass, and light penetration through the plant canopy. Fifty-four species were found in the 107 0.25-m2 plots and a total of 96 species were found at the site. Only two non-native species occurred in sample plots, both of which were uncommon. Cluster analysis was used to identify six vegetation groups, which were primarily dominated by members of the Poaceae or Asteraceae. A conspicuous, natural edaphic feature of the prairie was the presence of 'mima' mounds, which are raised areas approximately 0.5 to 1 m high and 5 to 10 m across. Indicator species analysis revealed a significant number of species that were largely restricted to mounds and these were predominately upland and colonizing species. Ordination was performed using nonmetric, multidimensional scaling. The dominant environmental influence on species composition was found to be elevation and a host of correlated factors including those associated with soil organic content. A secondary group of factors, consisting primarily of soil cations, was found to explain additional variance among plots. Overall, this prairie was found to contain plant

  18. [MORPHOLOGICAL PECULIARITIES OF THE LIVER IN COMMON VOLES INHABITING THE TERRITORY OF BORODINO COAL DEPOSITS AND RECULTIVATION AREAS].

    PubMed

    Shinkarenko, Ye A; Savchenko, A A

    2015-01-01

    The aim of this work was to study the morphological changes of liver in common voles (Microtus arvalis Pallas) inhabiting the territories of brown coal deposition in Borodino coal opencast (Krasnoyarsk region) and on reclaimed dumps 10 and 20 years after its production. Trapping of the voles (10 animals in each group) living under natural conditions on each territory, was conducted for 30 days. Histological examination of the liver in all animals demonstrated degenerative changes and necrosis of hepatocytes, expressed to a various degree. Morphometric study has shown that the greatest changes in the structure of hepatic stroma and parenchyma took place in voles that lived in the dumps of coal, reclaimed 10 years before. It was found that in the animals of this group, the thickness of hepatocyte plates was increased 1.3 times, while the specific volume of necrotic hepatocytes was twice as much as this parameter in the animals that lived on intact territory.

  19. [Ecological aspects of infection of bank vole Clethrionomys glareolus (Schreber, 1780) with Trypanosoma (Herpetosoma) evotomys Hadwen, 1912].

    PubMed

    Karbowiak, G; Wita, I

    2001-01-01

    The studies were carried out in Kosewo Górne in the Mazurian District (North-East region of Poland), in September 1995, September 1996 and between May 1997 and June 1998 each month. The animals were trapped in live traps, and after study they were marked and released. The infection of trypanosomes was detected using microhaematocrit centrifugation technique and in blood smears. The intensity of infection had the range from 50 to 150 000 individuals in 1 ml of blood. The maximal prevalence of infection was in August and September and there were 45% and 38% of infected voles respectively. The infection was detected also in May 1998, in other months the prevalence had low level. There were no individuals of bank vole infected in succeeding months. The females of bank vole are more often infected with trypanosomes than males.

  20. The Importance of Bank Vole Density and Rainy Winters in Predicting Nephropathia Epidemica Incidence in Northern Sweden

    PubMed Central

    Khalil, Hussein; Olsson, Gert; Ecke, Frauke; Evander, Magnus; Hjertqvist, Marika; Magnusson, Magnus; Löfvenius, Mikaell Ottosson; Hörnfeldt, Birger

    2014-01-01

    Pathogenic hantaviruses (family Bunyaviridae, genus Hantavirus) are rodent-borne viruses causing hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Eurasia. In Europe, there are more than 10,000 yearly cases of nephropathia epidemica (NE), a mild form of HFRS caused by Puumala virus (PUUV). The common and widely distributed bank vole (Myodes glareolus) is the host of PUUV. In this study, we aim to explain and predict NE incidence in boreal Sweden using bank vole densities. We tested whether the number of rainy days in winter contributed to variation in NE incidence. We forecast NE incidence in July 2013–June 2014 using projected autumn vole density, and then considering two climatic scenarios: 1) rain-free winter and 2) winter with many rainy days. Autumn vole density was a strong explanatory variable of NE incidence in boreal Sweden in 1990–2012 (R2 = 79%, p<0.001). Adding the number of rainy winter days improved the model (R2 = 84%, p<0.05). We report for the first time that risk of NE is higher in winters with many rainy days. Rain on snow and ground icing may block vole access to subnivean space. Seeking refuge from adverse conditions and shelter from predators, voles may infest buildings, increasing infection risk. In a rainy winter scenario, we predicted 812 NE cases in boreal Sweden, triple the number of cases predicted in a rain-free winter in 2013/2014. Our model enables identification of high risk years when preparedness in the public health sector is crucial, as a rainy winter would accentuate risk. PMID:25391132

  1. Successive sheep grazing reduces population density of Brandt's voles in steppe grassland by altering food resources: a large manipulative experiment.

    PubMed

    Li, Guoliang; Yin, Baofa; Wan, Xinrong; Wei, Wanhong; Wang, Guiming; Krebs, Charles J; Zhang, Zhibin

    2016-01-01

    Livestock grazing has shaped grassland ecosystems around the world. Previous studies indicated grazing showed various impacts on small rodents; however, most studies were conducted over 1-2 years without controlling for confounding factors such as immigration/emigration and predation in rodents. Brandt's voles (Lasiopodomys brandtii) are generally recognized as pests because of food overlap with domestic herbivores, but are also important for biodiversity conservation because they provide nests or food to many birds. Fully understanding the ecological relationship between domestic herbivores and small mammals is essential to making ecosystem management decisions. To address these needs, we carried out a field experiment during the period 2010-2013 to assess the effects of sheep grazing on vegetation and the population density of Brandt's voles along a gradient of three grazing intensities by using 12 large-scale enclosures. Responses of Brandt's voles to livestock grazing varied with grazing intensity and year. As compared to the control group, sheep grazing had no effect on vole abundance in the first year but an overall negative effect on vole abundance in the following 3 years. Successive grazing caused decreases in survival and male body mass of voles, but had no significant effect on fecundity. Negative effects of grazing were associated with a grazing-induced deterioration in both food quantity (reflected by biomass and cover of less-preferred plants), and food quality (measured by tannin and total phenol content). Our findings highlight the urgent need for more flexible management of yearly rotational grazing to optimize livestock production while maintaining species diversity and ecosystem health.

  2. Effect of photoperiod and 6-methoxybenzoxazolinone (6-MBOA) on the reproduction of male Brandt's voles (Lasiopodomys brandtii).

    PubMed

    Dai, Xin; Shi, Jia; Han, Mei; Wang, Ai Qin; Wei, Wan Hong; Yang, Sheng Mei

    2017-03-06

    Plant secondary metabolite 6-methoxybenzoxazolinone (6-MBOA) has been suggested to stimulate animal reproduction. 6-MBOA is detected in Leymus chinensis, a main diet of Brandt's vole (Lasiopodomys brandtii). We have previously reported a stimulatory effect of 6-MBOA on reproduction of male Brandt's voles under a short-day photoperiod. The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of 6-MBOA on reproductive physiology of male Brandt's voles under a long-day photoperiod and examine if 6-MBOA under this photoperiodic regime altered the reproductive status of male Brandt's voles differently than the short-day photoperiod. Under the long-day photoperiod, a high dose of 6-MBOA decreased KiSS-1 mRNA in the arcuate nucleus (ARC), and we also saw a decrease in circulating levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and testosterone (T). Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) and cytochrome P45011a1 (CYP11a1) in the testes, and relative testis weight also decreased with 6-MBOA administration. Compared to the short-day photoperiod, animals under the long-day photoperiod exhibited increased body weight as well as all other reproductive parameters. Our results showed that 6-MBOA inhibited the reproduction of male Brandt's vole under a long-day photoperiod, a stark contrast from its stimulatory effects under a short-day photoperiod. The paradoxical effects of 6-MBOA suggest it may act as a partial agonist of melatonin. These results provide insight into the complex interactions between environmental factors such as photoperiod and diet in the control of Brandt's vole reproduction.

  3. The importance of bank vole density and rainy winters in predicting nephropathia epidemica incidence in Northern Sweden.

    PubMed

    Khalil, Hussein; Olsson, Gert; Ecke, Frauke; Evander, Magnus; Hjertqvist, Marika; Magnusson, Magnus; Löfvenius, Mikaell Ottosson; Hörnfeldt, Birger

    2014-01-01

    Pathogenic hantaviruses (family Bunyaviridae, genus Hantavirus) are rodent-borne viruses causing hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Eurasia. In Europe, there are more than 10,000 yearly cases of nephropathia epidemica (NE), a mild form of HFRS caused by Puumala virus (PUUV). The common and widely distributed bank vole (Myodes glareolus) is the host of PUUV. In this study, we aim to explain and predict NE incidence in boreal Sweden using bank vole densities. We tested whether the number of rainy days in winter contributed to variation in NE incidence. We forecast NE incidence in July 2013-June 2014 using projected autumn vole density, and then considering two climatic scenarios: 1) rain-free winter and 2) winter with many rainy days. Autumn vole density was a strong explanatory variable of NE incidence in boreal Sweden in 1990-2012 (R2 = 79%, p<0.001). Adding the number of rainy winter days improved the model (R2 = 84%, p<0.05). We report for the first time that risk of NE is higher in winters with many rainy days. Rain on snow and ground icing may block vole access to subnivean space. Seeking refuge from adverse conditions and shelter from predators, voles may infest buildings, increasing infection risk. In a rainy winter scenario, we predicted 812 NE cases in boreal Sweden, triple the number of cases predicted in a rain-free winter in 2013/2014. Our model enables identification of high risk years when preparedness in the public health sector is crucial, as a rainy winter would accentuate risk.

  4. Causes of mortality and temporal patterns in breeding season survival of lesser prairie-chickens in shinnery oak prairies

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grisham, Blake A.; Boal, Clint W.

    2015-01-01

    Baseline survival and mortality data for lesser prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) are lacking for shinnery oak (Quercus havardii) prairies. An understanding of the causes and timing of mortalities and breeding season survival in this ecoregion is important because shinnery oak prairies have hotter and drier environmental conditions, as well as different predator communities compared with the northern distribution of the species. The need for this information has become more pressing given the recent listing of the species as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. We investigated causes of mortality and survival of lesser prairie-chickens during the 6-month breeding season (1 Mar–31 Aug) of 2008–2011 on the Texas Southern High Plains, USA. We recorded 42 deaths of radiotagged individuals, and our results indicated female mortalities were proportionate among avian and mammalian predation and other causes of mortality but survival was constant throughout the 6-month breeding season. Male mortalities were constant across avian and mammalian predation and other causes, but more mortalities occurred in June compared with other months. Male survival also varied by month, and survival probabilities were lower in June–August. We found predation on leks was rare, mortalities from fence collisions were rare, female survival did not decrease during incubation or brood-rearing, and survival was influenced by drought. Our study corroborated recent studies that suggested lesser prairie-chickens are living at the edge of their physiological tolerances to environmental conditions in shinnery oak prairies. As such, lesser prairie-chickens in our study experienced different patterns of mortality and survival that we attributed to hot, dry conditions during the breeding season. Specifically, and converse to other studies on lesser prairie-chicken survival and mortality, drought positively influenced female survival because females did not incubate eggs

  5. The Corps of Engineers and Prairie Restoration: Synopsis of the First Corps Prairie Workshop, Follow-up Actions, and Thoughts on the Future of Prairie Restoration and Management on Operational Projects

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2009-06-01

    1 Figure 2. Grass strips and blocks have improved habitat conditions for pheasants and songbirds at...10 Figure 5. Native prairie remnants at Granger Lake, Texas, support a diversity of native grasses and forbs... grasses and forbs. Benefits of prairie restoration efforts noted by Corps personnel included erosion control, sediment management, control of non

  6. Comparative toxicity of acephate in laboratory mice, white-footed mice and meadow voles

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rattner, B.A.; Hoffman, D.J.

    1983-01-01

    The LD50 (95% confidence limits) of the organophosphorus insecticide acephate was estimated to be 351, 380, and 321 mg/kg (295?416, 280?516, and 266?388 mg/kg) for CD-1 laboratory mice (Mus musculus), white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus noveboracensis), and meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus), respectively. In a second study, these species were provided mash containing 0, 25, 100, and 400 ppm acephate for five days. Brain and plasma cholinesterase activities were reduced in a dose-dependent manner to a similar extent in the three species (inhibition of brain acetyl-cholinesterase averaged for each species ranged from 13 to 22% at 25 ppm, 33 to 42% at 100 ppm, and 56 to 57% at 400 ppm). Mash intake, body or liver weight, plasma enzyme activities (alkaline phosphatase, alanine and aspartate aminotransferase), hepatic enzyme activities (aniline hydroxylase, 7-ethoxycoumarin O-deethylase, and glutathione S-transferase), and cytochrome content (P-450 and b5) were not affected by acephate ingestion, although values differed among species. In a third experiment, mice and voles received 400 ppm acephate for 5 days followed by untreated food for up to 2 weeks. Mean inhibition of brain acetylcholin-esterase for the three species ranged from 47 to 58% on day 5, but by days 12 and 19, activity had recovered to 66 to 76% and 81 to 88% of concurrent control values. These findings indicate that CD-1 laboratory mice, white-footed mice, and meadow voles are equally sensitive to acephate when maintained under uniform laboratory conditions. Several factors (e.g., behavior, food preference, habitat) could affect routes and degree of exposure in the field, thereby rendering some species of wild rodents ecologically more vulnerable to organophosphorus insecticides.

  7. Comparative toxicity of acephate in laboratory mice, white-footed mice, and meadow voles

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rattner, B.A.; Hoffman, D.J.

    1984-01-01

    The LD50 (95% confidence limits) of the organophosphorus insecticide acephate was estimated to be 351, 380, and 321 mg/kg (295?416, 280?516, and 266?388 mg/kg) for CD-1 laboratory mice (Mus musculus), white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus noveboracensis), and meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus), respectively. In a second study, these species were provided mash containing 0, 25, 100, and 400 ppm acephate for five days. Brain and plasma cholinesterase activities were reduced in a dose-dependent manner to a similar extent in the three species (inhibition of brain acetyl-cholinesterase averaged for each species ranged from 13 to 22% at 25 ppm, 33 to 42% at 100 ppm, and 56 to 57% at 400 ppm). Mash intake, body or liver weight, plasma enzyme activities (alkaline phosphatase, alanine and aspartate aminotransferase), hepatic enzyme activities (aniline hydroxylase, 7-ethoxycoumarin O-deethylase, and glutathione S-transferase), and cytochrome content (P-450 and b5) were not affected by acephate ingestion, although values differed among species. In a third experiment, mice and voles received 400 ppm acephate for 5 days followed by untreated food for up to 2 weeks. Mean inhibition of brain acetylcholin-esterase for the three species ranged from 47 to 58% on day 5, but by days 12 and 19, activity had recovered to 66 to 76% and 81 to 88% of concurrent control values. These findings indicate that CD-1 laboratory mice, white-footed mice, and meadow voles are equally sensitive to acephate when maintained under uniform laboratory conditions. Several factors (e.g., behavior, food preference, habitat) could affect routes and degree of exposure in the field, thereby rendering some species of wild rodents ecologically more vulnerable to organophosphorus insecticides.

  8. The dynamics of health in wild field vole populations: a haematological perspective.

    PubMed

    Beldomenico, Pablo M; Telfer, Sandra; Gebert, Stephanie; Lukomski, Lukasz; Bennett, Malcolm; Begon, Michael

    2008-09-01

    1. Pathogens have been proposed as potentially important drivers of population dynamics, but while a few studies have investigated the impact of specific pathogens, the wealth of information provided by general indices of health has hardly been exploited. By evaluating haematological parameters in wild populations, our knowledge of the dynamics of health and infection may be better understood. 2. Here, haematological dynamics in natural populations of field voles are investigated to determine environmental and host factors associated with indicators of inflammatory response (counts of monocytes and neutrophils) and of condition: measures of immunological investment (lymphocyte counts) and aerobic capacity (red blood cell counts). 3. Individuals from three field vole populations were sampled monthly for 2 years. Comparisons with individuals kept under controlled conditions facilitated interpretation of field data. Mixed effects models were developed for each cell type to evaluate separately the effects of various factors on post-juvenile voles and mature breeding females. 4. There were three well-characterized 'physiological' seasons. The immunological investment appeared lowest in winter (lowest lymphocyte counts), but red blood cells were at their highest levels and indices of inflammatory response at their lowest. Spring was characterized by a fall in red blood cell counts and peaks in indicators of inflammatory response. During the course of summer-autumn, red blood cell counts recovered, the immunological investment increased and the indicators of inflammatory response decreased. 5. Poor body condition appeared to affect the inflammatory response (lower neutrophil and monocyte peaks) and the immunological investment (lower lymphocyte counts), providing evidence that the capacity to fight infection is dependent upon host condition. 6. Breeding early in the year was most likely in females in better condition (high lymphocyte and red blood cell counts). 7. All the

  9. The dynamics of health in wild field vole populations: a haematological perspective

    PubMed Central

    Beldomenico, Pablo M.; Telfer, Sandra; Gebert, Stephanie; Lukomski, Lukasz; Bennett, Malcolm; Begon, Michael

    2010-01-01

    Summary Pathogens have been proposed as potentially important drivers of population dynamics, but while a few studies have investigated the impact of specific pathogens, the wealth of information provided by general indices of health has hardly been exploited. By evaluating haematological parameters in wild populations, our knowledge of the dynamics of health and infection may be better understood. Here, haematological dynamics in natural populations of field voles are investigated to determine environmental and host factors associated with indicators of inflammatory response (counts of monocytes and neutrophils) and of condition: measures of immunological investment (lymphocyte counts) and aerobic capacity (red blood cell counts). Individuals from three field vole populations were sampled monthly for 2 years. Comparisons with individuals kept under controlled conditions facilitated interpretation of field data. Mixed effects models were developed for each cell type to evaluate separately the effects of various factors on post-juvenile voles and mature breeding females. There were three well-characterized ‘physiological’ seasons. The immunological investment appeared lowest in winter (lowest lymphocyte counts), but red blood cells were at their highest levels and indices of inflammatory response at their lowest. Spring was characterized by a fall in red blood cell counts and peaks in indicators of inflammatory response. During the course of summer—autumn, red blood cell counts recovered, the immunological investment increased and the indicators of inflammatory response decreased. Poor body condition appeared to affect the inflammatory response (lower neutrophil and monocyte peaks) and the immunological investment (lower lymphocyte counts), providing evidence that the capacity to fight infection is dependent upon host condition. Breeding early in the year was most likely in females in better condition (high lymphocyte and red blood cell counts). All the

  10. Evidence That Bank Vole PrP Is a Universal Acceptor for Prions

    PubMed Central

    Watts, Joel C.; Giles, Kurt; Patel, Smita; Oehler, Abby; DeArmond, Stephen J.; Prusiner, Stanley B.

    2014-01-01

    Bank voles are uniquely susceptible to a wide range of prion strains isolated from many different species. To determine if this enhanced susceptibility to interspecies prion transmission is encoded within the sequence of the bank vole prion protein (BVPrP), we inoculated Tg(M109) and Tg(I109) mice, which express BVPrP containing either methionine or isoleucine at polymorphic codon 109, with 16 prion isolates from 8 different species: humans, cattle, elk, sheep, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, and meadow voles. Efficient disease transmission was observed in both Tg(M109) and Tg(I109) mice. For instance, inoculation of the most common human prion strain, sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) subtype MM1, into Tg(M109) mice gave incubation periods of ∼200 days that were shortened slightly on second passage. Chronic wasting disease prions exhibited an incubation time of ∼250 days, which shortened to ∼150 days upon second passage in Tg(M109) mice. Unexpectedly, bovine spongiform encephalopathy and variant CJD prions caused rapid neurological dysfunction in Tg(M109) mice upon second passage, with incubation periods of 64 and 40 days, respectively. Despite the rapid incubation periods, other strain-specified properties of many prion isolates—including the size of proteinase K–resistant PrPSc, the pattern of cerebral PrPSc deposition, and the conformational stability—were remarkably conserved upon serial passage in Tg(M109) mice. Our results demonstrate that expression of BVPrP is sufficient to engender enhanced susceptibility to a diverse range of prion isolates, suggesting that BVPrP may be a universal acceptor for prions. PMID:24699458

  11. Mammalian predator-prey interaction in a fragmented landscape: weasels and voles.

    PubMed

    Haapakoski, Marko; Sundell, Janne; Ylönen, Hannu

    2013-12-01

    The relationship between predators and prey is thought to change due to habitat loss and fragmentation, but patterns regarding the direction of the effect are lacking. The common prediction is that specialized predators, often more dependent on a certain habitat type, should be more vulnerable to habitat loss compared to generalist predators, but actual fragmentation effects are unknown. If a predator is small and vulnerable to predation by other larger predators through intra-guild predation, habitat fragmentation will similarly affect both the prey and the small predator. In this case, the predator is predicted to behave similarly to the prey and avoid open and risky areas. We studied a specialist predator's, the least weasel, Mustela nivalis nivalis, spacing behavior and hunting efficiency on bank voles, Myodes glareolus, in an experimentally fragmented habitat. The habitat consisted of either one large habitat patch (non-fragmented) or four small habitat patches (fragmented) with the same total area. The study was replicated in summer and autumn during a year with high avian predation risk for both voles and weasels. As predicted, weasels under radio-surveillance killed more voles in the non-fragmented habitat which also provided cover from avian predators during their prey search. However, this was only during autumn, when the killing rate was also generally high due to cold weather. The movement areas were the same for both sexes and both fragmentation treatments, but weasels of both sexes were more prone to take risks in crossing the open matrix in the fragmented treatment. Our results support the hypothesis that habitat fragmentation may increase the persistence of specialist predator and prey populations if predators are limited in the same habitat as their prey and they share the same risk from avian predation.

  12. Specialist predator in a multi-species prey community: boreal voles and weasels.

    PubMed

    Sundell, Janne; Ylönen, Hannu

    2008-03-01

    Dissimilar vulnerabilities of different prey types and preferences of predators are factors likely to contribute to community dynamics. This may happen via differential individual properties of prey animals (e.g. vigilance, escape) or via habitat effects making hunting by a predator easier and more rewarding in some habitats, or both. Furthermore, community dynamics may be influenced by predator mediated apparent competition, in which an increase in one prey type has negative effects on another prey type indirectly via the shared predator. We summarize the current knowledge from the field in a model predator-prey system consisting of sympatric boreal vole species and their common specialist predator and review field studies using predator manipulation and studies on the responses of individuals in the laboratory and in outdoor enclosures. The vole species studied represent different prey types that are thought to have different vulnerabilities. Our observations on the main resident specialist predator, the least weasel (Mustela nivalis nivalis L.), show that it hunts according to prey availability and suitability of the hunting habitat. Prey voles respond to the presence of the predator behaviorally in various ways to avoid predation. We conclude that even if the least weasel is a specialized predator of small rodents it acts like a generalist predator within the small rodent guild and may facilitate the coexistence of prey species via predator switching. This may lead to interspecific synchrony between prey populations, which has often been observed. We suggest that the processes determining the community impact of predator-prey interactions are driven by the behavioral arms race between the predator and the prey, together with the habitat-dependent density of prey and net gain for the predator.

  13. 21. LOOKING EAST ALONG NORTH BRANCH PRAIRIE CITY DITCH TO ...

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

    21. LOOKING EAST ALONG NORTH BRANCH PRAIRIE CITY DITCH TO POINT (AT WIRE ROLL) WHERE IT IS CUT BY A ROCK WALL. DITCH IS ALSO VISIBLE RUNNING ALONG BASE OF KNOLL IN DISTANCE, BELOW AND TO RIGHT OF DEAD TREE. - Natomas Ditch System, Rhodes Ditch, West of Bidwell Street, north of U.S. Highway 50, Folsom, Sacramento County, CA

  14. Camel spider (Solifugae) use of prairie dog colonies

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Solifugids (camel spiders) are widespread throughout arid regions of western North America and are thought to be important in structuring desert arthropod communities. Despite the ubiquity of camel spiders, little is known about their ecology. Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are als...

  15. Butterfly responses to prairie restoration through fire and grazing

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Vogel, Jennifer A.; Debinski, Diane M.; Koford, Rolf R.; Miller, J.R.

    2007-01-01

    The development of land for modern agriculture has resulted in losses of native prairie habitat. The small, isolated patches of prairie habitat that remain are threatened by fire suppression, overgrazing, and invasion by non-native species. We evaluated the effects of three restoration practices (grazing only, burning only, and burning and grazing) on the vegetation characteristics and butterfly communities of remnant prairies. Total butterfly abundance was highest on prairies that were managed with burning and grazing and lowest on those that were only burned. Butterfly species richness did not differ among any of the restoration practices. Butterfly species diversity was highest on sites that were only burned. Responses of individual butterfly species to restoration practices were highly variable. In the best predictive regression model, total butterfly abundance was negatively associated with the percent cover of bare ground and positively associated with the percent cover of forbs. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed that sites with burned only and grazed only practices could be separated based on their butterfly community composition. Butterfly communities in each of the three restoration practices are equally species rich but different practices yield compositionally different butterfly communities. Because of this variation in butterfly species responses to different restoration practices, there is no single practice that will benefit all species or even all species within habitat-specialist or habitat-generalist habitat guilds. ?? 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Marl Prairie Vegetation Response to 20th Century Hydrologic Change

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bernhardt, Christopher E.; Willard, Debra A.

    2007-01-01

    We conducted geochronologic and pollen analyses from sediment cores collected in solution holes within marl prairies of Big Cypress National Preserve to reconstruct vegetation patterns of the last few centuries and evaluate the stability and longevity of marl prairies within the greater Everglades ecosystem. Based on radiocarbon dating and pollen biostratigraphy, these cores contain sediments deposited during the last ~300 years and provide evidence for plant community composition before and after 20th century water management practices altered flow patterns throughout the Everglades. Pollen evidence indicates that pre-20th century vegetation at the sites consisted of sawgrass marshes in a peat-accumulating environment; these assemblages indicate moderate hydroperiods and water depths, comparable to those in modern sawgrass marshes of Everglades National Park. During the 20th century, vegetation changed to grass-dominated marl prairies, and calcitic sediments were deposited, indicating shortening of hydroperiods and occurrence of extended dry periods at the site. These data suggest that the presence of marl prairies at these sites is a 20th century phenomenon, resulting from hydrologic changes associated with water management practices.

  17. Nutrient removal by prairie filter strips in agricultural landscapes

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural landscapes have been identified as a primary source of excess nutrients in aquatic systems. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of prairie filter strips (PFS) in removing nutrients from cropland runoff in 12 small watersheds...

  18. 22. NORTH BRANCH, PRAIRIE CITY DITCH, CONTOURING AROUND SIDE OF ...

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

    22. NORTH BRANCH, PRAIRIE CITY DITCH, CONTOURING AROUND SIDE OF KNOLL. DITCH LIES BETWEEN OAK TREE AND POINTED ROCKS, AND EXITS PHOTOGRAPH AT LOWER RIGHT CORNER. VIEW TO NORTHEAST. - Natomas Ditch System, Rhodes Ditch, West of Bidwell Street, north of U.S. Highway 50, Folsom, Sacramento County, CA

  19. Canopy-Coverage Method Compares Pasture and Prairie

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jantzen, Paul G.

    1973-01-01

    Describes the procedures used by a high school biology class in an ecological study related to the degeneration of grasslands. The canopy-coverage method of vegetational analysis was used to compare a low-grade, over-grazed pasture with a nearby high-quality prairie. An interpretation of the results is also presented. (JR)

  20. 23. TERMINUS, NORTH BRANCH PRAIRIE CITY DITCH. DITCH COMES FROM ...

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

    23. TERMINUS, NORTH BRANCH PRAIRIE CITY DITCH. DITCH COMES FROM ISOLATED GROUP OF TREES IN MIDDLE DISTANCE, AND ENDS AT CENTER RIGHT. WATER THEN PROCEEDED DOWN SWALE, INTO TREES AT LEFT. VIEW TO NORTH. - Natomas Ditch System, Rhodes Ditch, West of Bidwell Street, north of U.S. Highway 50, Folsom, Sacramento County, CA

  1. Wetland Ecosystem Services Vary With Climate for Prairie Pothole Landscapes

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Hydrology is the primary mechanism for the cyclic vegetation dynamics collectively known as the wetland cover cycle, which drives ecosystem services for the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). These palustrine, depressional basin waters vacillate with regional drought and deluge, so surface water fluctuat...

  2. Recommended methods for range-wide monitoring of prairie dogs in the United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McDonald, Lyman L.; Stanley, Thomas R.; Otis, David L.; Biggins, Dean E.; Stevens, Patricia D.; Koprowski, John L.; Ballard, Warren

    2011-01-01

    One of the greatest challenges for conserving grassland, prairie scrub, and shrub-steppe ecosystems is maintaining prairie dog populations across the landscape. Of the four species of prairie dogs found in the United States, the Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens) is listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as threatened, the Gunnison's prairie dog (C. gunnisoni) is a candidate for listing in a portion of its range, and the black-tailed prairie dog (C. ludovicianus) and white-tailed prairie dog (C. leucurus) have each been petitioned for listing at least once in recent history. Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined listing is not warranted for either the black-tailed prairie dog or white-tailed prairie dog, the petitions and associated reviews demonstrated the need for the States to monitor and manage for self-sustaining populations. In response to these findings, a multi-State conservation effort was initiated for the nonlisted species which included the following proposed actions: (1) completing an assessment of each prairie dog species in each State, (2) developing a range-wide monitoring protocol for each species using a statistically valid sampling procedure that would allow comparable analyses across States, and (3) monitoring prairie dog status every 3-5 years depending upon the species. To date, each State has completed an assessment and currently is monitoring prairie dog status; however, for some species, the inconsistency in survey methodology has made it difficult to compare data year-to-year or State-to-State. At the Prairie Dog Conservation Team meeting held in November 2008, there was discussion regarding the use of different methods to survey prairie dogs. A recommendation from this meeting was to convene a panel in a workshop-type forum and have the panel review the different methods being used and provide recommendations for range-wide monitoring protocols for each species of prairie dog. Consequently, the Western

  3. Complete mitochondrial genome of the Père David's Vole, Eothenomys melanogaster (Rodentia: Arvicolinae).

    PubMed

    Chen, Shunde; Chen, Guiying; Wei, Haixue; Wang, Qiong

    2016-07-01

    The Père David's Vole, Eothenomys melanogaster belongs to subfamily Arvicolinae. It is widespread in south China, and ranges into northern Southeast Asia. In this study, the complete mitochondrial genome sequence of Eothenomys melanogaster was determined. The mitogenome is 16,331 base pairs in length. The nucleotide sequence data of 12 heavy-strand protein-coding genes of E. melanogaster and other 17 rodents were used for phylogenetic analyses. Tree constructed using Bayesian phylogenetic methods demonstrated that E. melanogaster as a sister to E. chinensis, was clustered in subfamily Arvicolinae. The monophyly of the genus Eothenomys was supported as well with Eothenomys sister to the genus Myodes.

  4. Taphonomic alterations by the rodent species woodland vole (Microtus pinetorum) upon human skeletal remains.

    PubMed

    Pokines, James T

    2015-12-01

    This forensic case report describes the taphonomic effects of woodland vole (Microtus pinetorum) upon a set of skeletonized human remains recovered in Massachusetts, USA. Remains of an individual of this rodent species were discovered where it had been nesting inside the human cranium. Fine, parallel grooves indicative of small rodent gnawing were noted on multiple postcranial elements, and all isolated grooves were consistent in size with the incisors of this species. Other taphonomic alterations to these remains include some gnawing damage and dispersal by large carnivores. This case represents the first report of this rodent species affecting human remains.

  5. Diets of swift foxes (Vulpes velox) in continuous and fragmented prairie in Northwestern Texas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kamler, J.F.; Ballard, W.B.; Wallace, M.C.; Gipson, P.S.

    2007-01-01

    Distribution of the swift fox (Vulpes velox) has declined dramatically since the 1800s, and suggested causes of this decline are habitat fragmentation and transformation due to agricultural expansion. However, impacts of fragmentation and human-altered habitats on swift foxes still are not well understood. To better understand what effects these factors have on diets of swift foxes, scats were collected in northwestern Texas at two study sites, one of continuous native prairie and one representing fragmented native prairie interspersed with agricultural and fields in the Conservation Reserve Program. Leporids, a potential food source, were surveyed seasonally on both sites. Diets of swift foxes differed between sites; insects were consumed more on continuous prairie, whereas mammals, birds, and crops were consumed more on fragmented prairie. Size of populations of leporids were 2-3 times higher on fragmented prairie, and swift foxes responded by consuming more leporids on fragmented (11.1% frequency occurrence) than continuous (3.8%) prairie. Dietary diversity was greater on fragmented prairie during both years of the study. Differences in diets between sites suggested that the swift fox is an adaptable and opportunistic feeder, able to exploit a variety of food resources, probably in relation to availability of food. We suggest that compared to continuous native prairie, fragmented prairie can offer swift foxes a more diverse prey base, at least within the mosaic of native prairie, agricultural, and fields that are in the Conservation Reserve Program.

  6. Beyond the Mediterranean peninsulas: evidence of central European glacial refugia for a temperate forest mammal species, the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus).

    PubMed

    Deffontaine, V; Libois, R; Kotlík, P; Sommer, R; Nieberding, C; Paradis, E; Searle, J B; Michaux, J R

    2005-05-01

    This study details the phylogeographic pattern of the bank vole, Clethrionomys glareolus, a European rodent species strongly associated with forest habitat. We used sequences of 1011 base pairs of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b gene from 207 bank voles collected in 62 localities spread throughout its distribution area. Our results reveal the presence of three Mediterranean (Spanish, Italian and Balkan) and three continental (western, eastern and 'Ural') phylogroups. The endemic Mediterranean phylogroups did not contribute to the post-glacial recolonization of much of the Palaearctic range of species. Instead, the major part of this region was apparently recolonized by bank voles that survived in glacial refugia in central Europe. Moreover, our phylogeographic analyses also reveal differentiated populations of bank voles in the Ural mountains and elsewhere, which carry the mitochondrial DNA of another related vole species, the ruddy vole (Clethrionomys rutilus). In conclusion, this study demonstrates a complex phylogeographic history for a forest species in Europe which is sufficiently adaptable that, facing climate change, survives in relict southern and northern habitats. The high level of genetic diversity characterizing vole populations from parts of central Europe also highlights the importance of such regions as a source of intraspecific genetic biodiversity.

  7. [Genetic variation and phylogeography of the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus, Arvicolinae, Rodentia) in Russia with special reference to the introgression of the mtDNA of a closely related species, red-backed vole (C. rutilus)].

    PubMed

    Abramson, N I; Rodchenkova, E N; Kostygov, A Iu

    2009-05-01

    Totally, 294 bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) and 18 red-backed voles (C. rutilus) from 62 sites of European Russia were studied. Incomplete sequences (967 bp) of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene were determined for 93 C. glareolus individuals from 56 sites and 18 C. rutilus individuals from the same habitats. Analysis of the cytochrome b gene variation has demonstrated that practically the entire European part of Russia, Ural, and a considerable part of Western Europe are inhabited by bank voles of the same phylogroup, displaying an extremely low genetic differentiation. Our data suggest that C. glareolus very rapidly colonized over the presently occupied territory in the post-Pleistocene period from no more than two (central European and western European) refugia for ancestral populations with a small efficient size. PCR typing of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene allowed us to assess the scale of mtDNA introgression from a closely related species, C. rutilus, and to outline the geographical zone of this introgression. Comparison with the red-backed vole haplotypes in the habitats shared by both species favors the hypothesis of an ancient hybridization event (mid-Holocene) and a subsequent introgression. These results suggest that the hybridization took place in the southern and middle Pre-Ural region.

  8. Effect of seed scarification and seeding depth on greenhouse seedling emergence in western prairie clover, Searls prairie clover, and Basalt milkvetch

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Only a few North American legumes are commercially available for rangeland revegetation in the western U.S. Basalt milkvetch (Astragalus filipes, Asfi)), western prairie clover (Dalea ornata, Daor) and Searls' prairie clover (D. searlsiae, Dase) are three North American legumes that hold promise for...

  9. Habitat management for red tree voles in douglas-fir forests. Biology and management of old-growth forests. Forest Service general technical report

    SciTech Connect

    Huff, M.H.; Holthausen, R.S.; Aubry, K.B.

    1992-09-01

    The relations between arboreal rodents and trees causes the animals to be particularly sensitive to the effects of timber harvesting. Among arboreal rodents, the authors consider the red tree vole to be the most vulnerable to local extinctions resulting from the loss or fragmentation of old-growth Douglas-fir forests. Red tree voles are nocturnal, canopy dwelling, and difficult to study. The following habitat characteristics are potentially important for the species: tree species, stand development, tree size, moisture conditions, topographic positions, elevation, and stand size. Based on these characteristics, the authors developed interim management strategies to help sustain or expand existing populations of red tree voles.

  10. Ecosystem engineering varies spatially: a test of the vegetation modification paradigm for prairie dogs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baker, Bruce W.; Augustine, David J.; Sedgwick, James A.; Lubow, Bruce C.

    2013-01-01

    Colonial, burrowing herbivores can be engineers of grassland and shrubland ecosystems worldwide. Spatial variation in landscapes suggests caution when extrapolating single-place studies of single species, but lack of data and the need to generalize often leads to ‘model system’ thinking and application of results beyond appropriate statistical inference. Generalizations about the engineering effects of prairie dogs (Cynomys sp.) developed largely from intensive study at a single complex of black-tailed prairie dogs C. ludovicianus in northern mixed prairie, but have been extrapolated to other ecoregions and prairie dog species in North America, and other colonial, burrowing herbivores. We tested the paradigm that prairie dogs decrease vegetation volume and the cover of grasses and tall shrubs, and increase bare ground and forb cover. We sampled vegetation on and off 279 colonies at 13 complexes of 3 prairie dog species widely distributed across 5 ecoregions in North America. The paradigm was generally supported at 7 black-tailed prairie dog complexes in northern mixed prairie, where vegetation volume, grass cover, and tall shrub cover were lower, and bare ground and forb cover were higher, on colonies than at paired off-colony sites. Outside the northern mixed prairie, all 3 prairie dog species consistently reduced vegetation volume, but their effects on cover of plant functional groups varied with prairie dog species and the grazing tolerance of dominant perennial grasses. White-tailed prairie dogs C. leucurus in sagebrush steppe did not reduce shrub cover, whereas black-tailed prairie dogs suppressed shrub cover at all complexes with tall shrubs in the surrounding habitat matrix. Black-tailed prairie dogs in shortgrass steppe and Gunnison's prairie dogs C. gunnisoni in Colorado Plateau grassland both had relatively minor effects on grass cover, which may reflect the dominance of grazing-tolerant shortgrasses at both complexes. Variation in modification of

  11. Sociality and oxytocin and vasopressin in the brain of male and female dominant and subordinate mandarin voles.

    PubMed

    Qiao, Xufeng; Yan, Yating; Wu, Ruiyong; Tai, Fadao; Hao, Ping; Cao, Yan; Wang, Jianli

    2014-02-01

    The dominant-subordinate hierarchy in animals often needs to be established via agonistic encounters and consequently affects reproduction and survival. Differences in brain neuropeptides and sociality among dominant and subordinate males and females remain poorly understood. Here we explore neuropeptide levels and sociality during agonistic encounter tests in mandarin voles. We found that dominant mandarin voles engaged in higher levels of approaching, investigating, self-grooming and exploring behavior than subordinates. Dominant males habituated better to a stimulus vole than dominant females. Dominant males displayed significantly less oxytocin-immunoreactive neurons in the paraventricular nuclei and more vasopressin-immunoreactive neurons in the paraventricular nuclei, supraoptic nuclei, and the lateral and anterior hypothalamus than subordinates. Dominant females displayed significantly more vasopressin-immunoreactive neurons in the lateral hypothalamus and anterior hypothalamus than subordinates. Sex differences were found in the level of oxytocin and vasopressin. These results indicate that distinct parameters related to central nervous oxytocin and vasopressin are associated with behaviors during agonistic encounters in a sex-specific manner in mandarin voles.

  12. Post-weaning living with parents during juvenile period alters locomotor activity, social and parental behaviors in mandarin voles.

    PubMed

    Wu, Ruiyong; Song, Zhenzhen; Tai, Fadao; Wang, Lu; Kong, Lingzhe; Wang, Jianli

    2013-09-01

    Neonatal parental care plays an important role in the development of offspring behavior, but little is known about the effect of post-weaning contact between offspring and parents on locomotory, social and parental behavior. Here, we explore this concept using socially monogamous mandarin voles (Microtus mandarinus). Voles were assigned to live with parents and siblings from the same litter until 45d (natural dispersal time in the field) or to live with siblings from the same litter after weaning at 21d (normally weaned time, the control). At 70d of age, behaviors were recorded in open field and social interaction tests, and parental care toward their own offspring was measured. Results show that voles that live with parents post-weaning engaged in less locomotory activity and rearing behavior in the open field test, less sniffing of novel individuals and displayed more parental care, compared to voles that did not continue to live with their parents. These findings demonstrate that parent-offspring interaction post-weaning alters locomotory activity, social behavior and parental behavior of offspring at adulthood.

  13. Effects of dietary tannic acid on the growth, hepatic gene expression, and antioxidant enzyme activity in Brandt's voles (Microtus brandti).

    PubMed

    Ye, Man-Hong; Nan, Yan-Lei; Ding, Meng-Meng; Hu, Jun-Bang; Liu, Qian; Wei, Wan-Hong; Yang, Sheng-Mei

    2016-01-01

    This study was designed to investigate the physiological and biochemical responses of Brandt's voles to the persistent presence of dietary tannic acid. The diet for animals in the experimental group was supplemented with 3% dietary tannic acid for 5weeks. The control group received a commercial lab chow. No significant differences were detected in body weight, organ (heart, kidney, and liver) weights, and organ parameters between animals from two groups. However, voles in the experimental group had significantly higher daily food intake, increased contents of proline and histidine in saliva and feces after protein hydrolysis, and elevated hepatic expression of transferrin than the control. Our results suggested the existence of adaptive strategies developed in Brandt's voles to overcome the adverse effects of dietary tannic acid. (1) Food consumption was increased to satisfy their nutritional demands. (2) The secretion of tannic-acid-binding salivary proteins was promoted. (3) The absorption of iron was enhanced. These alterations contributed to neutralize the negative effects of tannic acid and maintain body mass in animals supplemented with tannic acid. As the result of the consumption of tannic acid, hepatic expression of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase was significantly decreased, while the overall potential of the antioxidant system, characterized by increased hepatic enzymatic activities of catalase and glutathione peroxidase, was enhanced. Our results also implied the involvement of tannic acid in the regulation of lipid metabolism and oxidative stress in voles.

  14. Novel, species-typical esters from preputial glands of sympatric voles,Microtus montanus andM. pennsylvanicus.

    PubMed

    Welsh, C J; Moore, R E; Bartelt, R J; Jackson, L L

    1988-01-01

    Olfactory signals may facilitate species recognition between the sympatric voles,Microtus montanus andM. pennsylvanicus. In an effort to isolate and identify compounds that might contribute to such a chemical communication system, the preputial glands of those voles have been examined. Morphological examinations show both vole species possess preputial glands; however, the glands ofM. montanus are much larger than those ofM. pennsylvanicus. Gas Chromatographie analysis revealed that the preputial glands ofM. montanus contain a series of species-typical lipids that are not found inM. pennsylvanicus. Using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry, the species-typical lipids were identified as esters of branched, saturated, and unsaturated C5 and C4 alcohols and straight-chain C16, and "iso" branched C17 fatty acids. This is the first description of such esters from mammalian tissues. The results are discussed relative to the possibility that the species-typical esters act as species recognition cues for the sympatric voles.

  15. Ectoparasitic insects and mites on Yunnan red-backed voles (Eothenomys miletus) from a localized area in southwest China.

    PubMed

    Guo, Xian-Guo; Speakman, John R; Dong, Wen-Ge; Men, Xing-Yuan; Qian, Ti-Jun; Wu, Dian; Qin, Feng; Song, Wen-Yu

    2013-10-01

    Ectoparasitic insects and mites on Yunnan red-backed voles (Eothenomys miletus) in Dali prefecture, Yunnan Province, southwest China, were studied between 2003 and 2004. In total, 34,389 individuals of 86 species of ectoparasitic insects (seven species of fleas and five species of sucking lice) and mites (23 species of gamasid mites and 51 species of chigger mites) were collected from 916 individual hosts. The diversity of ectoparasites on this single rodent species in such a small area was much higher than in previous reports, which concerned more host species and greater geographical areas. The majority of the ectoparasites were chigger mites, which accounted for 59.3% of the parasite species and 87.4% of the individual parasites. Most voles harbored parasites with an overall prevalence (P) of 82.5% and mean abundance (MA) of 37.5 parasites per host. The dispersion coefficient (C) and patchiness index (m*/m) were used to study the spatial patterns of the seven dominant parasite species, and all seven had aggregated distributions. The species abundance distribution of the ectoparasites on the vole was fitted by Preston's lognormal distribution (R (2) = 0.82), and the total expected parasite species was estimated from this plot as 167 species. Yunnan red-backed voles harbor many ectoparasites as revealed by examination of a large host population. Future field investigations should sample large numbers of host individuals to assess ectoparasite populations.

  16. Basal metabolic rate and organ size in Brandt's voles (Lasiopodomys brandtii): Effects of photoperiod, temperature and diet quality.

    PubMed

    Song, Zhi-Gang; Wang, De-Hua

    2006-12-30

    This study examined the effects of photoperiod (long day [16 Light:8 Dark] and short day [8 Light:16 Dark]), temperature (cold [5 degrees C] and warm [23 degrees C]), and diet quality (high-fiber diet [36% neutral-detergent fiber (NDF)] and low-fiber diet [23% NDF]) on basal metabolic rate (BMR), digestible energy intake, and organ size in the Brandt's vole (Lasiopodomys brandtii). Cold increased BMR and showed a significant interaction with diet quality. Cold and short photoperiod increased intake of food and digestible energy. The high-fiber diet increased food intake, but decreased digestibility, and had no effects on digestible energy intake. Voles housed in the cold had heavier liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal segments but a lighter carcass. Segments of the gastrointestinal tract tended to be heavier when voles were fed the high-fiber diet. Voles housed in short photoperiod had lighter heart and kidneys but heavier gut segments. With the effects of body mass on BMR and organs was removed, BMR was significantly related to the dry mass of heart, liver, kidneys and cecum. Digestible energy intake was significantly related to the dry mass of kidneys and stomach. These significant relationships were also detected after removing the effects of body mass, temperature, photoperiod and diet quality. There was also a significant correlation between BMR and digestible energy intake. Our results suggest that variations in BMR reflected the evolution of metabolic machinery that induces higher energy intakes. The data also support the assimilation capacity model of endothermy.

  17. Pathogen infection and exposure, and ectoparasites of the federally endangered Amargosa vole (Microtus californicus scirpensis), California, USA.

    PubMed

    Ott-Conn, Caitlin N; Clifford, Deana; Branston, Tammy; Klinger, Robert; Foley, Janet

    2014-10-01

    Abstract We surveyed pathogens and ectoparasites among federally endangered Amargosa voles (Microtus californicus scirpensis) and sympatric rodents in Tecopa Hot Springs, Inyo County, California, December 2011-November 2012. We aimed to assess disease and detect possible spillover from or connectivity with other hosts within and outside the Amargosa ecosystem. We assessed 71 individual voles and 38 individual sympatric rodents for current infection with seven vector-borne zoonotic pathogens and past exposure to five pathogens. Thirteen percent of Amargosa voles were PCR positive for Toxoplasma gondii, a zoonotic protozoan that may alter host behavior or cause mortality. Additionally, we found antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (SL) spp. in 21% of voles, against Anaplasma phagocytophilum in 2.6%, Rickettsia spp. in 13%, relapsing fever Borrelia (3.9%), and T. gondii (7.9%). Sympatric rodents also had active infections with Borrelia SL spp. (15%). Of the ectoparasites collected, the tick Ixodes minor is of particular interest because the study area is well outside of the species' reported range and because I. minor ticks infest migratory birds as well as rodents, showing a potential mechanism for pathogens to be imported from outside the Amargosa ecosystem.

  18. Effect of the abrasive properties of sedges on the intestinal absorptive surface and resting metabolic rate of root voles.

    PubMed

    Wieczorek, Monika; Szafrańska, Paulina A; Labecka, Anna Maria; Lázaro, Javier; Konarzewski, Marek

    2015-01-15

    Recent studies on grasses and sedges suggest that the induction of a mechanism reducing digestibility of plant tissues in response to herbivore damage may drive rodent population cycles. This defence mechanism seems to rely on the abrasive properties of ingested plants. However, the underlying mechanism has not been demonstrated in small wild herbivores. Therefore, we carried out an experiment in which we determined the joint effect of abrasive sedge components on the histological structure of small intestine as well as resting metabolic rate (RMR) of the root vole (Microtus oeconomus). Histological examination revealed that voles fed with a sedge-dominated diet had shorter villi composed from narrower enterocytes in duodenum, jejunum and ileum. Reduction in the height of villi decreased along the small intestine. Activity of the mucus secretion increased along the small intestine and was significantly higher in the ileum. The intestinal abrasion exceeded the compensatory capabilities of voles, which responded to a sedge-dominated diet by a reduction of body mass and a concomitant decrease in whole body RMR. These results explain the inverse association between body mass and the probability of winter survival observed in voles inhabiting homogenous sedge wetlands.

  19. DETERMINATION OF GENETIC DIVERSITY AND PATERNITY IN THE GRAY-TAILED VOLE (MICROTUS CANICAUDUS) BY RAPD-PCR

    EPA Science Inventory

    Genetic relatedness of gray-tailed voles (Microtus canicaudus) was determined by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD). This work is the first reported use of the RAPD method for pedigree analysis of M. canicaudus and demonstrates the feasibility of RAPD for assessing paternity...

  20. Sex preselection in mammals. Separation of sperm bearing Y and O chromosomes in the vole Microtus oregoni

    SciTech Connect

    Pinkel, D.; Gledhill, B.L.; Lake, S.; Stephenson, D.; Van Dilla, M.A.

    1982-11-26

    The two sex determining sperm populations of the vole Microtus oregoni were separated according to DNA content by use of flow sorting instrumentation. Although the sperm were not viable, they should be useful for addressing the question of haploid expression of genes linked to sex chromosomes and for efficiently searching for biochemical markers that differentiate the two populations.

  1. The effect of chlorpyrifos on thermogenic capacity of bank voles selected for increased aerobic exercise metabolism.

    PubMed

    Dheyongera, Geoffrey; Grzebyk, Katherine; Rudolf, Agata M; Sadowska, Edyta T; Koteja, Paweł

    2016-04-01

    Agro-chemicals potentially cause adverse effects in non-target organisms. The rate of animal energy metabolism can influence their susceptibility to pesticides by influencing food consumption, biotransformation and elimination rates of toxicants. We used experimental evolution to study the effects of inherent differences in energy metabolism rate and exposure to the organophosphate insecticide, chlorpyrifos (CPF) on thermogenic capacity in a wild rodent, the bank vole (Myodes = Clethrionomys glareolus). The voles were sampled from four replicate lines selected for high swim-induced aerobic metabolism (A) and four unselected control (C) lines. Thermogenic capacity, measured as the maximum cold-induced rate of oxygen consumption (VO2cold), was higher in the A - than C lines, and it decreased after continuous exposure to CPF via food or after a single dose administered via oral gavage, but only when measured shortly after exposure. VO2cold measured 24 h after repeated exposure was not affected. In addition, gavage with a single dose led to decreased food consumption and loss in body mass. Importantly, the adverse effects of CPF did not differ between the selected and control lines. Therefore, exposure to CPF has adverse effects on thermoregulatory performance and energy balance in this species. The effects are short-lived and their magnitude is not associated with the inherent level of energy metabolism. Even without severe symptoms of poisoning, fitness can be compromised under harsh environmental conditions, such as cold and wet weather.

  2. Adaptive phylogeography: functional divergence between haemoglobins derived from different glacial refugia in the bank vole

    PubMed Central

    Kotlík, Petr; Marková, Silvia; Vojtek, Libor; Stratil, Antonín; Šlechta, Vlastimil; Hyršl, Pavel; Searle, Jeremy B.

    2014-01-01

    Over the years, researchers have used presumptively neutral molecular variation to infer the origins of current species' distributions in northern latitudes (especially Europe). However, several reported examples of genic and chromosomal replacements suggest that end-glacial colonizations of particular northern areas may have involved genetic input from different source populations at different times, coupled with competition and selection. We investigate the functional consequences of differences between two bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) haemoglobins deriving from different glacial refugia, one of which partially replaced the other in Britain during end-glacial climate warming. This allows us to examine their adaptive divergence and hence a possible role of selection in the replacement. We determine the amino acid substitution Ser52Cys in the major expressed β-globin gene as the allelic difference. We use structural modelling to reveal that the protein environment renders the 52Cys thiol a highly reactive functional group and we show its reactivity in vitro. We demonstrate that possessing the reactive thiol in haemoglobin increases the resistance of bank vole erythrocytes to oxidative stress. Our study thus provides striking evidence for physiological differences between products of genic variants that spread at the expense of one another during colonization of an area from different glacial refugia. PMID:24827438

  3. Anaplasma phagocytophilum strains from voles and shrews exhibit specific ankA gene sequences

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Anaplasma phagocytophilum is a Gram-negative bacterium that replicates obligate intracellularly in neutrophils. It is transmitted by Ixodes spp. ticks and causes acute febrile disease in humans, dogs, horses, cats, and livestock. Because A. phagocytophilum is not transmitted transovarially in Ixodes spp., it is thought to depend on reservoir hosts to complete its life cycle. In Europe, A. phagocytophilum was detected in roe deer, red deer, wild boars, and small mammals. In contrast to roe deer, red deer and wild boars have been considered as reservoir hosts for granulocytic anaplasmosis in humans, dogs, and horses according to groESL- and ankA-based genotyping. A. phagocytophilum variants infecting small mammals in Europe have not been characterized extensively to date. Results We amplified the total ankA open reading frames of 27 strains from voles and shrews. The analysis revealed that they harboured A. phagocytophilum strains that belonged to a distinct newly described ankA gene cluster. Further, we provide evidence that the heterogeneity of ankA gene sequences might have arisen via recombination. Conclusions Based on ankA-based genotyping voles and shrews are unlikely reservoir hosts for granulocytic anaplasmosis in humans, dogs, horses, and livestock in Europe. PMID:24283328

  4. Genetic basis of the trade-off between offspring number and quality in the bank vole.

    PubMed

    Mappes, Tapio; Koskela, Esa

    2004-03-01

    One of the main tenets of modern life-history theory is the negative relationship (trade-off) between the number and quality of offspring produced. Theory predicts a negative genetic correlation between these traits since both are closely related to fitness of individuals. However, the genetic basis of the trade-off has only been tested to a limited extent in natural populations. We examined whether size and quality of offspring are negatively related to litter size in the bank vole Clethrionomys glareolus. First, we found a significant negative phenotypic correlation between the number and size of offspring at birth in both laboratory and field populations of the bank vole. Second, a larger size at birth decreased the maturation age of female offspring in the laboratory, and increased the probability of breeding and the size of the first litter in the field. Furthermore, manipulation of offspring size at weaning indicated that structural effects of birth size in mammals have a more profound effect on the expression of life-history traits than weaning size. Finally, in addition to the phenotypic negative correlation between the number and size of offspring, we found evidence for a negative genetic correlation between these two traits, which confirms the genetic basis of the trade-off. This negative genetic covariation may have considerable effects on the rate and direction of evolution of the two related life-historical traits.

  5. Phylogeographic structure and postglacial evolutionary history of water voles (Arvicola terrestris) in the United Kingdom.

    PubMed

    Piertney, Stuart B; Stewart, Wendy A; Lambin, Xavier; Telfer, Sandra; Aars, Jon; Dallas, John F

    2005-04-01

    The phylogeographic pattern of mitochondrial DNA variation in water voles (Arvicola terrestris) from 57 localities across the United Kingdom and representative samples from Spain, France, Switzerland and Finland was determined from sequence variation in the central portion of the control region. Twenty-seven different haplotypes were resolved which formed two distinct phylogenetic clades. This major division separated haplotypes found in Scotland from those found in England and Wales. Nested clade analysis of haplotypes indicated that such a division was a consequence of allopatric fragmentation. The haplotypes found in Switzerland, France and Spain clustered with Scottish haplotypes, whereas the haplotype from Finland clustered with the English/Welsh haplotypes. These patterns indicate that contemporary Scottish populations are derived from an Iberian glacial refugium, whereas English and Welsh populations are derived from an eastern European refugium. As such, the postglacial recolonization of the United Kingdom must have involved two colonization events, either in different localities with no subsequent contact, or as two waves separated over time, with the second wave of colonizers displacing the first. An analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) identified significant population genetic divergence within both the major clades, indicative of restricted gene flow and regional population isolation. The implications of both phylogeographical and population genetic structure are discussed in context with the conservation of water voles in Britain.

  6. Distribution and Seasonal Variation of Ljungan Virus in Bank Voles (Myodes glareolus) in Fennoscandia.

    PubMed

    Fevola, Cristina; Rossi, Chiara; Rosà, Roberto; Nordström, Åke; Ecke, Frauke; Magnusson, Magnus; Miller, Andrea L; Niemimaa, Jukka; Olsson, Gert E; Jääskeläinen, Anne J; Hörnfeldt, Birger; Henttonen, Heikki; Hauffe, Heidi C

    2017-02-13

    Ljungan virus (LV) is a picornavirus originally isolated from Swedish bank voles ( Myodes glareolus ) in 1998. The association of LV with human disease has been debated ever since, but fundamental data on the ecology of the virus are still lacking. Here we present results of the first intensive study on the prevalence of LV in bank voles trapped in Fennoscandia (Sweden and Finland) from 2009-2012 as determined by PCR. Using an LV-specific RT-PCR, LV was detected in the liver of 73 out of 452 (16.2%) individuals and in 13 out of 17 sampling sites across Sweden and Finland (mean per site prevalence 16%, SE 3%, range 0-50%). We found more infected animals in autumn compared to spring, and lighter and heavier individuals had a higher prevalence than those with intermediate body masses. The result that LV prevalence is also lower in heavier (i.e., older) animals suggests for the first time that LV infection is not persistent in rodents.

  7. Genetic variations of Turkish bank vole, Myodes glareolus (Mammalia: Rodentia) inferred from mtDNA.

    PubMed

    Çolak, Reyhan; Olgun Karacan, Gül; Kandemir, Irfan; Çolak, Ercüment; Kankiliç, Teoman; Yigit, Nuri; Michaux, Johan

    2016-11-01

    The bank vole, Myodes glareolus, lives in deciduous forests throughout the Palearctic region. In Turkey, this species is distributed only in northern Anatolia (the Black Sea region) where these forests exist. This study reveals genetic differentiation among bank vole populations based on two regions of mitochondrial DNA (cytochrome b and D-loop). Populations in northern Anatolia are divided into two genetic lineages (the "eastern" and "western Black Sea" lineages) by the Kızılırmak Valley. While the western Black Sea lineage is close to the Balkan lineage, in accordance with their geographical proximities, surprisingly, the Uludag lineage, also situated in Western Turkey appears related to the eastern Black Sea population. The divergence time analyses suggest a separation between the Balkan and Turkish groups around 0.26 Mya, whereas the split between the eastern and western Black sea lineages appeared a little bit later (0.20 Mya). Our results suggest that regional refuges existed for this species in Turkey and that small-scale habitat fragmentations led to genetic differentiations between Myodes populations.

  8. Relationship between sexual satiety and motivation, brain androgen receptors and testosterone in male mandarin voles.

    PubMed

    He, Fengqin; Yu, Peng; Wu, Ruiyong

    2013-08-01

    Androgen receptors participate in the neuroendocrine regulation of male sexual behavior, primarily in brain areas located in the limbic system. Males of many species present a long-term inhibition of sexual behavior after several ejaculations, known as sexual satiety. It has been shown in rats that androgen receptor expression is reduced 24h after a single ejaculation, or mating to satiety, in the medial preoptic area, nucleus accumbens and ventromedial hypothalamus. The aim of this study was to analyze these processes in another animal, the mandarin vole (Microtus mandarinus). We compared differences in androgen receptor (AR) and testosterone (T) expression in various brain areas between male mandarin voles sexually satiated and those exposed to receptive females but not allowed to mate. Sexual satiety was associated with decreased AR and T expression in the lateral septal nucleus (LS), medial amygdala (MeA), medial preoptic area (mPOA) and ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMH). Males exposed to receptive females showed an increase in AR and T expression in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), LS, MeA and VMH. Serum testosterone levels remained unchanged after 24h in males exposed to receptive females or males mated to satiety. These data suggest a relationship between sexual activity and a decrease in AR and T expression in specific brain areas, and a relationship between sexual motivation and increased AR and T expression in other brain areas, independently of testosterone levels.

  9. Accumulation of lead and organochlorine residues in captive American kestrels fed pine voles from apple orchards

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stendell, R.C.; Beyer, W.N.; Stehn, R.A.

    1989-01-01

    Pine voles (Microtus pinetorum) were collected from pesticide-treated orchards in New York and fed to 3 captive American kestrels (Falco sparverius) for 60 days to evaluate potential hazards from soil-borne persistent insecticides. Three control kestrels were fed uncontaminated laboratory mice (Mus musculus). The pine voles contained an average of 38 ppm lead, 48 ppm DDE and 1.2 ppm dieldrin (dry weight). The kestrels accumulated sublethal amounts of lead (1 ppm lead wet weight) in their livers. In contrast, DDE and dieldrin accumulated in the tissues and brains of kestrels to toxicologically significant concentrations. Control kestrels remained healthy and accumulated insignificant concentrations of the contaminants. The results indicated raptors may not be significantly at risk from lead residues in soil and biota following field applications of lead arsenate. However, sublethal effects may be expected from the level of contamination by organochlorine pesticides. raptors may not be significantly at risk from lead residues in soil and biota following field applications of lead arsenate. However, sublethal effects may be expected from the level of contamination byorganochlorine pesticides. lead wet weight) in their livers.

  10. No evidence of deer mouse involvement in plague (Yersinia pestis) epizootics in prairie dogs.

    PubMed

    Salkeld, Daniel J; Stapp, Paul

    2008-06-01

    Plague, the disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, can have devastating impacts on black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies. One suggested mechanism behind sporadic prairie dog die-offs involves an alternative mammal host, such as the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), which often inhabits prairie dog colonies. We examined the flea populations of deer mice to investigate the potential of flea-borne transmission of plague between deer mice and prairie dogs in northern Colorado, where plague is active in prairie dog colonies. Deer mice were predominantly infested with the flea Aetheca wagneri, and were rarely infested with prairie dog fleas, Oropsylla hirsuta. Likelihood of flea infestation increased with average monthly temperature, and flea loads were higher in reproductive animals. These results suggest that the deer mouse is an unlikely maintenance host of plague in this region.

  11. Guidelines for managing lesser prairie-chicken populations and their habitats

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hagen, C.A.; Jamison, B.E.; Giesen, K.M.; Riley, T.Z.

    2004-01-01

    Lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) populations have declined by >90% since the 1800s. These declines have concerned both biologists and private conservation groups and led to a petition to list the lesser prairie-chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Most of the land in the current range of the lesser prairie-chicken is privately owned, and declines have been primarily attributed to anthropogenic factors. Conversion of native rangeland to cropland and excessive grazing have been implicated as leading causes in the species' decline. Periodic drought probably has exacerbated these problems. Little research on habitat requirements was conducted prior to 1970. Despite recent advances in the knowledge of lesser prairie-chicken ecology, no comprehensive guidelines for management of the species have been published. In these guidelines, we provide a synopsis of our current knowledge of lesser prairie-chicken habitat requirements and suggest management strategies to monitor, maintain, and enhance lesser prairie-chicken populations.

  12. Prairie basin wetlands of the Dakotas: a community profile

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kantrud, H.A.; Krapu, G.L.; Swanson, G.A.

    1989-01-01

    This description of prairie basin wetlands of the Dakotas is part of a series of community profiles on ecologically important wetlands of national significance. The shallow wetlands of the Dakotas form the bulk of the portion of the Prairie Pothole Region lying within the United States. This region is famous as the producer of at least half of North America's waterfowl and an unknown, but large, proportion of other prairie-dwelling marsh and aquatic birds.The wetlands described here lie in relatively small, shallow basins that vary greatly in their ability to maintain surface water, and in their water chemistry, which varies from fresh to hypersaline. These wetlands occur in a wide variety of hydrological settings, in an area where annual and seasonal precipitation varies greatly in form and amount. Thus the presence of surface water in these wetlands is largely unpredictable. Superimposed on these phenomena are the effects of a variety of land uses, including pasture, cultivation, mechanical forage removal, idle conditions and burning. All those factors greatly affect the plant and animal communities found in these basins.This profile covers lacustrine and palustrine basins with temporarily flooded, seasonally flooded, and semipermanently flooded water regimes. Basins with these water regimes compose about 90% of the basins in the Prairie Pothole Region of the Dakotas. This profile outlines the wetland subsystems, classes and subclasses that occur in these basins, and provides a useful reference to their geologic, climatic, hydrologic, and pedologic setting.Detailed information on the biotic environment of the wetlands dealt with in this profile will be useful to scientists and resource managers. Special recognition is paid to the macrophyte and invertebrate communities, which have dynamic qualities found in few other of the world's wetland ecosystems.The most noteworthy animal inhabitants of these basins are waterfowl, which are a resource of international

  13. Measuring animal welfare within a reintroduction: an assessment of different indices of stress in water voles Arvicola amphibius.

    PubMed

    Gelling, Merryl; Johnson, Paul J; Moorhouse, Tom P; Macdonald, David W

    2012-01-01

    Reintroductions are an increasingly common conservation restoration tool; however, little attention has hitherto been given to different methods for monitoring the stress encountered by reintroduced individuals. We compared ten potential measures of stress within four different categories (neuroendocrine, cell function, body condition and immune system function) as proxies for animal welfare in water voles being reintroduced to the Upper Thames region, Oxfordshire, UK. Captive-bred voles were assessed pre-release, and each month post-release for up to five months. Wild-born voles were captured in the field and assessed from two months post-release. Plasma corticosteroid, hydration and body condition of captive-bred voles differed between their pre-release measures and both their first ("short-term") recapture, and their final recapture ("long-term" release), however only body condition and immunocompetence measured using the Nitroblue Tetrazolium (NBT) test were significantly different post-release between the first and last recaptures. Captive-bred animals had lower fat reserves, higher weight/length ratios and better immunocompetence (NBT) than did wild-born voles. Captive-bred males had higher ectoparasite burdens compared to wild-born males and, as reintroduction site quality decreased, became less hydrated. These observations indicate that some methods can identify changes in the stress response in individuals, highlighting areas of risk in a reintroduction programme. In addition, a single measure may not provide a full picture of the stress experienced; instead, a combination of measures of different physiological systems may give a more complete indication of stress during the reintroduction process. We highlight the need to monitor stress in reintroductions using measures from different physiological systems to inform on possible animal welfare improvements and thus the overall success rate of reintroductions.

  14. Measuring Animal Welfare within a Reintroduction: An Assessment of Different Indices of Stress in Water Voles Arvicola amphibius

    PubMed Central

    Gelling, Merryl; Johnson, Paul J.; Moorhouse, Tom P.; Macdonald, David W.

    2012-01-01

    Reintroductions are an increasingly common conservation restoration tool; however, little attention has hitherto been given to different methods for monitoring the stress encountered by reintroduced individuals. We compared ten potential measures of stress within four different categories (neuroendocrine, cell function, body condition and immune system function) as proxies for animal welfare in water voles being reintroduced to the Upper Thames region, Oxfordshire, UK. Captive-bred voles were assessed pre-release, and each month post-release for up to five months. Wild-born voles were captured in the field and assessed from two months post-release. Plasma corticosteroid, hydration and body condition of captive-bred voles differed between their pre-release measures and both their first (“short-term”) recapture, and their final recapture (“long-term” release), however only body condition and immunocompetence measured using the Nitroblue Tetrazolium (NBT) test were significantly different post-release between the first and last recaptures. Captive-bred animals had lower fat reserves, higher weight/length ratios and better immunocompetence (NBT) than did wild-born voles. Captive-bred males had higher ectoparasite burdens compared to wild-born males and, as reintroduction site quality decreased, became less hydrated. These observations indicate that some methods can identify changes in the stress response in individuals, highlighting areas of risk in a reintroduction programme. In addition, a single measure may not provide a full picture of the stress experienced; instead, a combination of measures of different physiological systems may give a more complete indication of stress during the reintroduction process. We highlight the need to monitor stress in reintroductions using measures from different physiological systems to inform on possible animal welfare improvements and thus the overall success rate of reintroductions. PMID:22815923

  15. Do photoperiod and endocrine disruptor 4-tert-octylphenol effect on spermatozoa of bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus)?

    PubMed

    Kotula-Balak, Malgorzata; Grzmil, Pawel; Chojnacka, Katarzyna; Andryka, Katarzyna; Bilinska, Barbara

    2014-05-15

    Photoperiod is an environmental signal that controls physiology and behavior of all organisms. Bank voles, which are seasonal breeders, are stimulated to reproduce by the long photoperiod associated with spring and summer. To date, physiology of bank vole spermatozoa has not been explored, although they constitute an interesting model for examining the relationship between photoperiod and xenoestrogen on spermatozoa function. In an attempt to evaluate the acute effect of 4-tert-octylphenol (OP) an in vitro system was used. Spermatozoa isolated from the cauda epididymidies of long-day (LD; 18 h light: 6 h darkness) and short-day (SD; 6 h light: 18 h darkness) bank voles were treated with two OP concentrations (10(-4) M and 10(-8)M, respectively). OP-treated spermatozoa were used for the examination of motility parameters (computer-assisted semen analyzer CEROS), acrosome integrity (Commassie blue staining), cAMP production (immunoenzymatic assay) and cell viability (flow-cytometry analysis). The study revealed the photoperiod-dependent effect of short OP-treatment on motility parameters of vole spermatozoa. In LD spermatozoa, an increase of velocities: (curvilinear velocity [VCL], average path velocity [VAP] straight line velocity [VSL]) and head activity (amplitude of the lateral head displacement, [ALH]) was found. Interestingly, in SD spermatozoa opposite effect on VCL, VAP, VSL and ALH was observed, however only after treatment with 10(-4)M OP. The dose-dependent influence of OP upon acrosome integrity, as well as cAMP levels, in relation to the reproductive status of voles was observed. Moreover, OP exposure affected spermatozoa morphology rather than spermatozoa viability.

  16. Metal exposure and effects in voles and small birds near a mining haul road in Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brumbaugh, William G.; Mora, Miguel A.; May, Thomas W.; Phalen, David N.

    2010-01-01

    Voles and small passerine birds were live-captured near the Delong Mountain Regional Transportation System (DMTS) haul road in Cape Krusenstern National Monument in northwest Alaska to assess metals exposure and sub-lethal biological effects. Similar numbers of animals were captured from a reference site in southern Cape Krusenstern National Monument for comparison. Histopathological examination of selected organs, and analysis of cadmium, lead, and zinc concentrations in liver and blood samples were performed. Voles and small birds captured from near the haul road had about 20 times greater blood and liver lead concentrations and about three times greater cadmium concentrations when compared to those from the reference site, but there were no differences in zinc tissue concentrations. One vole had moderate metastatic mineralization of kidney tissue, otherwise we observed no abnormalities in internal organs or DNA damage in the blood of any of the animals. The affected vole also had the greatest liver and blood Cd concentration, indicating that the lesion might have been caused by Cd exposure. Blood and liver lead concentrations in animals captured near the haul road were below concentrations that have been associated with adverse biological effects in other studies; however, subtle effects resulting from lead exposure, such as the suppression of the activity of certain enzymes, cannot be ruled out for some individual animals. Results from our 2006 reconnaissance-level study indicate that overall, voles and small birds obtained from near the DMTS road in Cape Krusenstern National Monument were not adversely affected by metals exposure; however, because of the small sample size and other uncertainties, continued monitoring of lead and cadmium in terrestrial habitats near the DMTS road is advised.

  17. Hierarchical spatial segregation of two Mediterranean vole species: the role of patch-network structure and matrix composition.

    PubMed

    Pita, Ricardo; Lambin, Xavier; Mira, António; Beja, Pedro

    2016-09-01

    According to ecological theory, the coexistence of competitors in patchy environments may be facilitated by hierarchical spatial segregation along axes of environmental variation, but empirical evidence is limited. Cabrera and water voles show a metapopulation-like structure in Mediterranean farmland, where they are known to segregate along space, habitat, and time axes within habitat patches. Here, we assess whether segregation also occurs among and within landscapes, and how this is influenced by patch-network and matrix composition. We surveyed 75 landscapes, each covering 78 ha, where we mapped all habitat patches potentially suitable for Cabrera and water voles, and the area effectively occupied by each species (extent of occupancy). The relatively large water vole tended to be the sole occupant of landscapes with high habitat amount but relatively low patch density (i.e., with a few large patches), and with a predominantly agricultural matrix, whereas landscapes with high patch density (i.e., many small patches) and low agricultural cover, tended to be occupied exclusively by the small Cabrera vole. The two species tended to co-occur in landscapes with intermediate patch-network and matrix characteristics, though their extents of occurrence were negatively correlated after controlling for environmental effects. In combination with our previous studies on the Cabrera-water vole system, these findings illustrated empirically the occurrence of hierarchical spatial segregation, ranging from within-patches to among-landscapes. Overall, our study suggests that recognizing the hierarchical nature of spatial segregation patterns and their major environmental drivers should enhance our understanding of species coexistence in patchy environments.

  18. Foods and foraging of prairie striped skunks during the avian nesting season

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Greenwood, R.J.; Sargeant, A.B.; Piehl, J.L.; Buhl, D.A.; Hanson, B.A.

    1999-01-01

    Food habits of prairie skunks are not well understood, yet such knowledge might provide insight into factors influencing nest depredation. We studied food habits of radiocollared adult striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) during 1976-78 in North Dakota, where skunks are regarded as important predators of ground-nesting birds. Plant foods, primarily grain and sunflower seeds, occurred in a larger percentage of scats in spring (15 Apr 31 May) than summer (1 Jun 15 July, P=0.04), but overall, plant foods were a minor part of skunk diets. Animal foods, primarily birds (including eggs), small rodents, and insects occurred annually in a large percentage of scats of all skunks. These foods were acquired nearly exclusively in grasslands. Percentage of scats containing animal foods was similar, irrespective of sex, season, or year (P>0.45). In spring, vertebrates occurred in a smaller percentage of scats of females than males (P0.15). Insects were mostly adult and larval Coleoptera, larval Lepidoptera, and adult and nymph Orthoptera.

  19. AmeriFlux US-IB2 Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory- Batavia (Prairie site)

    DOE Data Explorer

    Matamala, Roser [Argonne National Laboratory

    2016-01-01

    This is the AmeriFlux version of the carbon flux data for the site US-IB2 Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory- Batavia (Prairie site). Site Description - Two eddy correlation systems are installed at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory: one on a restored prairie (established October 2004) and one on a corn/soybean rotation agricultural field (established in July 2005). The prairie site had been farmed for more than 100 years, but was converted to prairie in 1989. April annual to bi-annual prescribed burns have taken place from 1994 - 2007.

  20. Conserving Prairie Pothole Region wetlands and surrounding grasslands: evaluating effects on amphibians

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mushet, David M.; Neau, Jordan L.

    2014-01-01

    The maintenance of viable and genetically diverse populations of amphibians in the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States depends on upland as well as wetland over-wintering and landscape level habitat features. Prairie pothole wetlands provide important amphibian breeding habitat while grasslands surrounding these wetlands provide foraging habitat for adults, overwintering habitat for some species, and important connectivity among breeding wetlands. Grasslands surrounding wetlands were found to be especially important for wood frogs and northern leopard frogs, while croplands dominated habitat utilized by Great Plains toads and Woodhouse’s toads. Habitat suitability mapping highlighted (1) the influence of deep-water overwintering wetlands on suitable habitat for four of five anuran species encountered; (2) the lack of overlap between areas of core habitat for both the northern leopard frog and wood frog compared to the core habitat for both toad species; and (3) the importance of conservation programs in providing grassland components of northern leopard frog and wood frog habitat. Currently, there are approximately 7.2 million acres (2.9 million hectares, ha) of habitat in the PPR identified as suitable for amphibians. WRP and CRP wetland and grassland habitats accounted for approximately 1.9 million acres (0.75 million ha) or 26 percent of this total area. Continued loss of amphibian habitat resulting from an ongoing trend of returning PPR conservation lands to crop production, will likely have significant negative effects on the region’s ability to maintain amphibian biodiversity. Conversely, increases in conservation wetlands and surrounding grasslands on the PPR landscape have great potential to positively influence the region’s amphibian populations.

  1. Broadening diversity in the Arostilepis species complex: Arostrilepis kontrimavichusi in the western red-backed vole Myodes californicus from temperate latitudes of the Pacific Northwest, North America

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Specimens originally identified provisionally as Hymenolepis horrida (= Arostrilepis horrida) in Myodes californicus from near the Pacific coastal zone of southern Oregon are revised. Specimens in western red-backed voles represent an undescribed species of Arostrilepis, contributing to recognition ...

  2. Bank voles (Myodes glareolus) and house mice (Mus musculus musculus; M. m. domesticus) in Europe are each parasitized by their own distinct species of Aspiculuris (Nematoda, Oxyurida).

    PubMed

    Behnke, J M; Stewart, A; Bajer, A; Grzybek, M; Harris, P D; Lowe, A; Ribas, A; Smales, L; Vandegrift, K J

    2015-10-01

    The molecular phylogeny and morphology of the oxyuroid nematode genus Aspiculuris from voles and house mice has been examined. Worms collected from Myodes glareolus in Poland, Eire and the UK are identified as Aspiculuris tianjinensis, previously known only from China, while worms from Mus musculus from a range of locations in Europe and from laboratory mice, all conformed to the description of Aspiculuris tetraptera. Worms from voles and house mice are not closely related and are not derived from each other, with A. tianjinensis being most closely related to Aspiculuris dinniki from snow voles and to an isolate from Microtus longicaudus in the Nearctic. Both A. tianjinensis and A. tetraptera appear to represent recent radiations within their host groups; in voles, this radiation cannot be more than 2 million years old, while in commensal house mice it is likely to be less than 10,000 years old. The potential of Aspiculuris spp. as markers of host evolution is highlighted.

  3. Influence of radio transmitters on prairie falcons (Falco mexicanus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Vekasy, M.S.; Marzluff, J.M.; Kochert, Michael N.; Lehman, Robert N.; Steenhof, Karen

    1996-01-01

    We examined the effects of backpack radio transmitters on Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus) reproduction (percentage of occupied territories producing young and number of nestlings produced) over four years. In addition, we observed falcon aeries during brood-rearing to determine attendance at the nest and in the territory, prey delivery rates, and prey composition. We found no effect of radio tagging on Prairie Falcon productivity (nesting success and brood size) among years, although productivity varied significantly among years. The sex of the falcon tagged did not affect productivity. Radio-tagged members of pairs did not differ significantly from un-tagged members of pairs in territory attendance, nest attendance, prey delivery rates, or caching rates. Nestlings raised by radio-tagged parents attained masses similar to those reared by control parents. During low prey years, radio-tagged males brought a greater proportion of small birds and reptiles, and fewer mammals to the nest area than control males.

  4. Prairie du Chien: Urban Consolidation and Decline 1858-1930.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1981-01-01

    South Beaumont) in 1871. The school had a troubled early history, and in 1880 the Jesuit Order took control of the educational institutin. In 1891 the... Jesuits gave the school its present name, Campion College. Electricity came to Prairie du Chien during the 1890’s. In 1894 I.D. Hulbert, Sherwin...and which by 1862 centered on St. Friole Island-- stimulated an influx of population and construction. The documentary evidence supports a c. 1858

  5. Habitat Suitability Index Models: Black-tailed prairie dog

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Clippinger, Norman W.

    1989-01-01

    A review and synthesis of existing information were used to develop a Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) model for the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomus ludovicianus). The model consolidates habitat use information into a framework appropriate for field application, and is scaled to produce an index between 0.0 (unsuitable habitat) to 1.0 (optimum habitat). HSI models are designed to be used with Habitat Evaluation Procedures previously developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  6. Tallgrass Prairie as a Source and Sink of Methyl Halides

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abel, T.; Rhew, R. C.; Mazeas, O.; Atwood, A.; King, A. J.; Ma, L.; Whelan, M.

    2007-12-01

    Temperate grasslands are believed to be a globally significant sink for methyl bromide (CH3Br) and perhaps methyl chloride (CH3Cl), compounds which lead to stratospheric ozone destruction. Fluxes of these compounds were measured at Konza Prairie, a tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills of Kansas, during June 2006 and August 2007. A stable isotope tracer technique was used to distinguish between simultaneous production and oxidation processes, allowing the first gross flux measurements of CH3Cl and CH3Br from a tallgrass prairie. Observed gross uptake rates of CH3Cl and CH3Br were similar to what we previously observed from the shortgrass steppe in Colorado and annual grasslands in California, but much lower than reported fluxes from a grassland in northeastern North America. A water manipulation experiment was performed both under controlled laboratory conditions, as well as in the field, demonstrating that uptake rates of both CH3Cl and CH3Br were strongly affected by soil moisture. On the production side, new sources of methyl halides were identified in association with certain plant species. Fluxes of these halogenated trace gases were compared to environmental variables, such as air temperature and volumetric water content. Net fluxes of methyl iodide (CH3I), carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), and other halogenated volatile organic compounds (HVOCs), were also measured.

  7. Increased snow facilitates plant invasion in mixedgrass prairie.

    PubMed

    Blumenthlal, D; Chimner, R A; Welker, J M; Morgan, J A

    2008-07-01

    Although global change is known to influence plant invasion, little is known about interactions between altered precipitation and invasion. In the North American mixedgrass prairie, invasive species are often abundant in wet and nitrogen (N)-rich areas, suggesting that predicted changes in precipitation and N deposition could exacerbate invasion. Here, this possibility was tested by seeding six invasive species into experimental plots of mixedgrass prairie treated with a factorial combination of increased snow, summer irrigation, and N addition. Without added snow, seeded invasive species were rarely observed. Snow addition increased average above-ground biomass of Centaurea diffusa from 0.026 to 66 g m(-2), of Gypsophila paniculata from 0.1 to 7.3 g m(-2), and of Linaria dalmatica from 5 to 101 g m(-2). Given added snow, summer irrigation increased the density of G. paniculata, and N addition increased the density and biomass of L. dalmatica. Plant density responses mirrored those of plant biomass, indicating that increases in biomass resulted, in part, from increases in recruitment. In contrast to seeded invasive species, resident species did not respond to snow addition. These results suggest that increases in snowfall or variability of snowfall may exacerbate forb invasion in the mixedgrass prairie.

  8. Chemical transport from paired agricultural and restored prairie watersheds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schilling, K.E.

    2002-01-01

    A five-year record of streamflow and chemical sampling data was evaluated to assess the effects of large-scale prairie restoration on transport of NO3-N, Cl, and SO4 loads from paired 5000-ha watersheds located in Jasper County, Iowa. Water quality conditions monitored during land use conversion from row crop agriculture to native prairie in the Walnut Creek watershed were compared with a highly agricultural control watershed (Squaw Creek). Combining hydrograph separation with a load estimation program, baseflow and stormflow loads of NO3-N, Cl, and SO4 were estimated at upstream and downstream sites on Walnut Creek and a downstream site on Squaw Creek. Chemical export in both watersheds was found to occur primarily with baseflow, with baseflow transport greatest during the late summer and fall. Lower Walnut Creek watershed, which contained the restored prairie areas, exported less NO3-N and Cl compared with upper Walnut Creek and Squaw Creek watersheds. Average flow-weighted concentrations of NO3-N exceeded 10 mg/L in upper Walnut Creek and Squaw Creek, but were estimated to be 6.6 mg/L in lower Walnut Creek. Study results demonstrate the utility of partitioning loads into baseflow and stormflow components to identify sources of pollutant loading to streams.

  9. Lead exposure in Canada geese of the Eastern Prairie Population

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeStefano, S.; Brand, C.J.; Rusch, D.H.; Finley, Daniel L.; Gillespie, M.M.

    1991-01-01

    We monitored lead exposure in Eastern Prairie Population Canada geese during summer-winter, 1986-1987 and 1987-1988 at 5 areas. Blood lead concentrations in geese trapped during summer at Cape Churchill Manitoba were below levels indicative of recent lead exposure (0.18 ppm). Geese exposed to lead (≥0.18 ppm blood lead) increased to 7.6% at Oak Hammock Wildlife Management Area (WMA), southern Manitoba, where lead shot was still in use, and to 10.0% at Roseau River WMA, northern Minnesota, when fall-staging geese were close to a source of lead shot in Manitoba. Proportion of birds exposed to lead dropped to <2% at Lac Qui Parle WMA, Minnesota, a steel shot zone since 1980. On the wintering grounds at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri, 4.9% of all geese showed exposure to lead before the hunting season. Lead exposure rose to 10.0% after hunting ended and then decreased to 5.2% in late winter. Incidence of lead shot in gizzards and concentrations of lead in livers supported blood assay data. Soil samples indicated that lead shot continues to be available to geese at Swan Lake, even though the area was established as a non-toxic shot zone in 1978. Steel shot zones have reduced lead exposure in the Eastern Prairie Population, but lead shot persists in the environment and continues to account for lead exposure and mortality in Eastern Prairie Population Canada geese.

  10. Does habitat fragmentation influence nest predation in the shortgrass prairie?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Howard, M.N.; Skagen, S.K.; Kennedy, P.L.

    2001-01-01

    We examined the effects of habitat fragmentation and vegetation structure of shortgrass prairie and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands on predation rates of artificial and natural nests in northeastern Colorado. The CRP provides federal payments to landowners to take highly erodible cropland out of agricultural production. In our study area, CRP lands have been reseeded primarily with non-native grasses, and this vegetation is taller than native shortgrass prairie. We measured three indices of habitat fragmentation (patch size, degree of matrix fragmentation, and distance from edge), none of which influenced mortality rates of artificial or natural nests. Vegetation structure did influence predation rates of artificial nests; daily mortality decreased significantly with increasing vegetation height. Vegetation structure did not influence predation rates of natural nests. CRP lands and shortgrass sites did not differ with respect to mortality rates of artificial nests. Our study area is only moderately fragmented; 62% of the study area is occupied by native grassland. We conclude that the extent of habitat fragmentation in our study area does not result in increased predation in remaining patches of shortgrass prairie habitat.

  11. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in mesocarnivores of the Canadian prairies.

    PubMed

    Hwang, Y T; Pitt, J A; Quirk, T W; Dubey, J P

    2007-12-01

    The protozoon Toxoplasma gondii has a worldwide distribution and affects many species of warm-blooded animals. In the Canadian prairies, mesocarnivores such as striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) and raccoons (Procyon lotor) have experienced an increase in density and distribution, and they are in close contact with human dwellings. However, there has been no systematic study on the seroprevalence of T. gondii in these mesocarnivore populations. The objectives of the current project were to determine the serum antibody prevalence of T. gondii in Canadian prairie mesocarnivores and to study the relationship between antibody prevalence and species, sex, age, location, and year of collection. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 5 of 24 (20.8%) skunks from Saskatchewan trapped in 1999 and 5 of 40 (12.5%) in 2000. Seroprevalences for T. gondii in raccoons and skunks trapped in Manitoba were 2 of 10 (20%) raccoons trapped in 2002, 7 of 44 (15.9%) trapped in 2003, and 16 of 37 (43.2%) trapped in 2004; and in 13 of 99 (13.1%) skunks trapped in 2003, 29 of 131 (22.1%) trapped in 2004, 53 of 165 (32.1%) trapped in 2005, and 30 of 51 (58.8%) trapped in 2006. Age, location, and year, but not the host species, were important variables in the determining the seroprevalence of T. gondii in skunks and raccoons. Results confirm that T. gondii is endemic in the skunk and raccoon populations in the Canadian prairies.

  12. Water resources of Camas Prairie, south-central Idaho

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Young, H.W.

    1978-01-01

    Ground-water pumpage in Camas Prairie, Idaho, for irrigation and municipal supplies totaled nearly 9,500 acre-feet in 1977. Declines of pressure head in the artesian aquifer have ranged from 3 to 12 feet since 1974 when increased ground-water pumping began. A comparison of water-level measurements made in September 1957 and September 1977 shows declines of more than 30 feet in places in the artesian aquifer. Camas Prairie aquifers are recharged by percolation from streams and by precipitation on the valley floor. Estimated mean annual recharge to the artesian aquifer is 37,000 acre-feet. Vertical recharge from the artesian aquifer to the overlying water-table aquifer is estimated to be 20,000 acre-feet annually. Declines in artesian pressure caused by increased irrigation pumping will result in a reduction of recharge from the artesian aquifer to the water-table aquifer. Yields from irrigation wells in the prairie ranged from 400 to slightly more than 2,000 gallons per minute. Flows in Camas Creek in the 1977 drought year averaged 9,400 acre-feet, compared with 138,000 acre-feet in a normal year. Surface and ground waters sampled in the basin were either a sodium or calcium bicarbonate type water. Dissolved-solids concentrations ranged from 61 to 284 milligrams per liter. (Woodard-USGS)

  13. The propensity of voles and mice to transmit Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato infection to feeding ticks.

    PubMed

    Radzijevskaja, Jana; Paulauskas, Algimantas; Rosef, Olav; Petkevičius, Saulius; Mažeika, Vytautas; Rekašius, Tomas

    2013-10-18

    Lyme borreliosis (LB) caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato is the most common tick-borne zoonosis in the Northern Hemisphere. B. burgdorferi s.l. can infect humans and wild and domestic animals. Ixodes ricinus is the main vector, and small rodents are the most important mammalian reservoirs hosts of B. burgdorferi s.l. in Europe. The prevalence of B. burgdorferi s.l. in I. ricinus ticks from captured rodents, calculated specific infectivities, and transmission coefficients were estimated in order to investigate the role of voles and mice in transmission of the LB causative agent. A total of 12.3% (53 out of 431) of immature I. ricinus ticks from rodents in Lithuania and 3.25% (21 out of 646) in Norway were infected with B. burgdorferi s.l. In Lithuania a total of 40% infested Microtus arvalis, 29% of Myodes glareolus and 4.8% of Apodemus flavicollis carried infected larvae and 67% of M. glareolus, 36% of M. arvalis but none of A. flavicollis carried infected nymphs. In Norway, 2.4% of larvae and 12.1% of nymphs feeding on A. flavicollis were infected. A total of 9% of infested A. flavicollis carried infected larvae and 13% - infected nymphs. Borrelia afzelii was the single genospecies identified in ticks feeding on rodents in Lithuania, and was predominant in ticks collected from rodents in Norway. According to calculated indices of specific infectivity and tick-to host transmission coefficient, M. arvalis and M. glareolus voles were found to be more efficient in transmitting B. burgdorferi s.l. to ticks than A. flavicollis mice. GLMM analysis showed that rodent species significantly influenced the probability of a larva being infected with B. burgdorferi s.l. The larvae feeding on M. arvalis and M. glareolus were more likely to be infected with B. burgdorferi s.l. than those feeding on A. flavicollis. This is the first study to report the quantitative roles of voles and mice in the transmission of B. burgdorferi s.l. to larval ticks in

  14. Heart transcriptome of the bank vole (Myodes glareolus): towards understanding the evolutionary variation in metabolic rate

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Understanding the genetic basis of adaptive changes has been a major goal of evolutionary biology. In complex organisms without sequenced genomes, de novo transcriptome assembly using a longer read sequencing technology followed by expression profiling using short reads is likely to provide comprehensive identification of adaptive variation at the expression level and sequence polymorphisms in coding regions. We performed sequencing and de novo assembly of the bank vole heart transcriptome in lines selected for high metabolism and unselected controls. Results A single 454 Titanium run produced over million reads, which were assembled into 63,581 contigs. Searches against the SwissProt protein database and the ENSEMBL collection of mouse transcripts detected similarity to 11,181 and 14,051 genes, respectively. As judged by the representation of genes from the heart-related Gene Ontology categories and UniGenes detected in the mouse heart, our detection of the genes expressed in the heart was nearly complete (> 95% and almost 90% respectively). On average, 38.7% of the transcript length was covered by our sequences, with notably higher (45.0%) coverage of coding regions than of untranslated regions (24.5% of 5' and 32.7% of 3'UTRs). Lower sequence conservation between mouse and bank vole in untranslated regions was found to be partially responsible for poorer UTR representation. Our data might suggest a widespread transcription from noncoding genomic regions, a finding not reported in previous studies regarding transcriptomes in non-model organisms. We also identified over 19 thousand putative single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A much higher fraction of the SNPs than expected by chance exhibited variant frequency differences between selection regimes. Conclusion Longer reads and higher sequence yield per run provided by the 454 Titanium technology in comparison to earlier generations of pyrosequencing proved beneficial for the quality of assembly. An

  15. Visual counts as an index of White-Tailed Prairie Dog density

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Menkens, George E.; Biggins, Dean E.; Anderson, Stanley H.

    1990-01-01

    Black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) are depended on prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) for food and shelter and were historically restricted to prairie dog towns (Anderson et al. 1986). Because ferrets and prairie dogs are closely associated, successful ferret management and conservation depends on successful prairie dog management. A critical component of any management program for ferrets will be monitoring prairie dog population dynamics on towns containing ferrets or on towns proposed as ferret reintroduction sites. Three techniques for estimating prairie dog population size and density are counts of plugged and reopened burrows (Tietjen and Matschke 1982), mark-recapture (Otis et al. 1978; Seber 1982, 1986; Menkens and Anderson 1989), and visual counts (Fagerstone and Biggins 1986, Knowles 1986). The technique of plugging burrows and counting the number reopened by prairie dogs is too time and labor intensive for population evaluation on a large number of towns or over large areas. Total burrow counts are not correlated with white-tailed prairie dog (C. leucurus) densities and thus cannot be used for populated evaluation (Menkens et al. 1988). Mark-recapture requires trapping that is expensive and time and labor intensive. Monitoring a large number of prairie dog populations using mark-recapture would be difficult. Alternatively a large number of populations could be monitored in short periods of time using the visual count technique (Fagerstone and Biggins 1986, Knowles 1986). However, the accuracy of visual counts has only been evaluated in a few locations. Thus, it is not known whether the relationship between counts and prairie dog density is consistent throughout the prairie dog's range. Our objective was to evaluate the potential of using visual counts as a rapid means of estimating white-tailed prairie dog density in prairie dog towns throughout Wyoming. We studied 18 white-tailed prairie dog towns in 4 white-tailed prairie dog complexes in Wyoming near

  16. Duration of plague (Yersinia pestis) outbreaks in black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies of northern Colorado.

    PubMed

    St Romain, Krista; Tripp, Daniel W; Salkeld, Daniel J; Antolin, Michael F

    2013-09-01

    Plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, triggers die-offs in colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus), but the time-frame of plague activity is not well understood. We document plague activity in fleas from prairie dogs and their burrows on three prairie dog colonies that suffered die-offs. We demonstrate that Y. pestis transmission occurs over periods from several months to over a year in prairie dog populations before observed die-offs.

  17. Interaction between seasonal density-dependence structures and length of the seasons explain the geographical structure of the dynamics of voles in Hokkaido: an example of seasonal forcing.

    PubMed Central

    Stenseth, Nils Chr; Kittilsen, Marte O; Hjermann, Dag Ø; Viljugrein, Hildegunn; Saitoh, Takashi

    2002-01-01

    The grey-sided vole (Clethrionomys rufocanus) is distributed over the entire island of Hokkaido, Japan, across which it exhibits multi-annual density cycles in only parts of the island (the north-eastern part); in the remaining part of the island, only seasonal density changes occur. Using annual sampling of 189 grey-sided vole populations, we deduced the geographical structure in their second-order density dependence. Building upon our earlier suggestion, we deduce the seasonal density-dependent structure for these populations. Strong direct and delayed density dependence is found to occur during winter, whereas no density dependence is seen during the summer period. The direct density dependence during winter may be seen as a result of food being limited during that season: the delayed density dependence during the winter is consistent with vole-specialized predators (e.g. the least weasel) responding to vole densities so as to have a negative effect on the net growth rate of voles in the following year. We conclude that the observed geographical structure of the population dynamics may be properly seen as a result of the length of the summer in interaction with the differential seasonal density-dependent structure. Altogether, this indicates that the geographical pattern in multi-annual density dynamics in the grey-sided vole may be a result of seasonal forcing. PMID:12350246

  18. COMPARISON OF THE POPULATIONS OF COMMON WOOD-NYMPH BUTTERFLIES IN BURNED PRAIRIE, UNBURNED PRAIRIE AND OLD FIELD GRASSES

    SciTech Connect

    Hahn, M.; Walton, R.

    2007-01-01

    Common wood-nymph butterfl ies are found throughout the United States and Canada. However, not much is known about how they overwinter or their preferences for particular grasses and habitats. In this study, the impact of prairie management plans on the abundance of the wood-nymph population was assessed, as well as the preference of these butterfl ies for areas with native or non-native grasses. The abundance of common wood-nymph butterfl ies was determined using Pollard walks; more common wood-nymph butterfl ies were found in the European grasses than were found in the burned and unburned prairie sites. The majority of the vegetation at each of the three sites was identifi ed and documented. Using a 1 X 3 ANOVA analysis, it was determined there were signifi cantly more butterfl ies in the European grasses than in the burned and unburned prairie sites (p < 0.0005). There was no signifi cant difference between the burned and unburned treatments of the prairie on the common wood-nymph population. A multiple variable linear regression model described the effect of temperature and wind speed on the number of observed common wood-nymph butterfl ies per hour (p = 0.026). These preliminary results need to be supplemented with future studies. Quadrat analysis of the vegetation from all three sites should be done to search for a correlation between common wood-nymph butterfl y abundance per hour and the specifi c types or quantity of vegetation at each site. The effect of vegetation height and density on the observer’s visual fi eld should also be assessed.

  19. 76 FR 39445 - Northern States Power Company-Minnesota; Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-07-06

    ... COMMISSION Northern States Power Company--Minnesota; Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2... Company--Minnesota (licensee), the ] operator of Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2... 39, Regarding Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2,'' issued May 2011,...

  20. Long-term spatiotemporal stability and dynamic changes in the haemoparasite community of bank voles (Myodes glareolus) in NE Poland.

    PubMed

    Bajer, Anna; Welc-Falęciak, Renata; Bednarska, Małgorzata; Alsarraf, Mohammed; Behnke-Borowczyk, Jolanta; Siński, Edward; Behnke, Jerzy M

    2014-08-01

    Long-term field studies on parasite communities are rare but provide a powerful insight into the ecological and evolutionary processes shaping host-parasite interactions. The aim of our study was to identify the principal factors regulating long-term trends in the haemoparasite communities of bank voles, and to this end, we sampled three semi-isolated populations of bank voles (n = 880) in 1999, 2002, 2006 and 2010 in the Mazury lake district region of NE Poland. Overall, 90.8 % of the bank voles harboured at least one of the species of haemoparasites studied. Whilst overall prevalence (all species combined) did not vary significantly between the surveys, different temporal changes were detected among voles in each of the three sites. In voles from Urwitałt, prevalence increased consistently with successive surveys, whereas in Tałty, the peak years were 2002 and 2006, and in Pilchy, prevalence oscillated without a clear pattern. Across the study, bank voles harboured a mean of 1.75 ± 0.034 haemoparasite species, and species richness remained stable with no significant between-year fluctuations or trends. However, each of the five constituent species/genera showed a different pattern of spatio-temporal changes. The overall prevalence of Babesia microti was 4.9 %, but this varied significantly between years peaking in 2006 and declining again by 2010. For Bartonella spp., overall prevalence was 38.7 %, and this varied with year of study, but the temporal pattern of changes differed among the three sites. The overall prevalence of Haemobartonella (Mycoplasma) was 68.3 % with an increase in prevalence with year of study in all three sites. Hepatozoon erhardovae had an overall prevalence of 46.8 % but showed a marked reduction with each successive year of the study, and this was consistent in all three sites. The overall prevalence of Trypanosoma evotomys was 15.4 % varying significantly between sites, but showing temporal stability. While overall prevalence

  1. Mitogenomic phylogenetics of the bank vole Clethrionomys glareolus, a model system for studying end-glacial colonization of Europe.

    PubMed

    Filipi, Karolína; Marková, Silvia; Searle, Jeremy B; Kotlík, Petr

    2015-01-01

    We have revisited the mtDNA phylogeny of the bank vole Clethrionomys glareolus based on Sanger and next-generation Illumina sequencing of 32 complete mitochondrial genomes. The bank vole is a key study species for understanding the response of European fauna to the climate change following the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and one of the most convincing examples of a woodland mammal surviving in cryptic northern glacial refugia in Europe. The genomes sequenced included multiple representatives of each of the eight bank vole clades previously described based on cytochrome b (cob) sequences. All clades with the exception of the Basque - likely a misidentified pseudogene clade - were highly supported in all phylogenetic analyses and the relationships between the clades were resolved with high confidence. Our data extend the distribution of the Carpathian clade, the marker of a northern glacial refugium in the Carpathian Mountains, to include Britain and Fennoscandia (but not adjacent areas of continental Europe). The Carpathian sub-clade that colonized Britain and Fennoscandia had a somewhat different history from the sub-clade currently found in or close to the Carpathians and may have derived from a more north-westerly refugial area. The two bank vole populations that colonized Britain at the end of the last glaciation are for the first time linked with particular continental clades, the first colonists with the Carpathian clade and the second colonists with the western clade originating in a more southerly refugium in the vicinity of the Alps. We however found no evidence that a functional divergence of proteins encoded in the mitochondrial genome promoted the partial genetic replacement of the first colonists by the second colonists detected previously in southern Britain. We did identify one codon site that changed more often and more radically in the tree than expected and where the observed amino acid change may affect the reductase activity of the cytochrome bc1

  2. The evolutionary radiation of Arvicolinae rodents (voles and lemmings): relative contribution of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA phylogenies

    PubMed Central

    Galewski, Thomas; Tilak, Marie-ka; Sanchez, Sophie; Chevret, Pascale; Paradis, Emmanuel; Douzery, Emmanuel JP

    2006-01-01

    Background Mitochondrial and nuclear genes have generally been employed for different purposes in molecular systematics, the former to resolve relationships within recently evolved groups and the latter to investigate phylogenies at a deeper level. In the case of rapid and recent evolutionary radiations, mitochondrial genes like cytochrome b (CYB) are often inefficient for resolving phylogenetic relationships. One of the best examples is illustrated by Arvicolinae rodents (Rodentia; Muridae), the most impressive mammalian radiation of the Northern Hemisphere which produced voles, lemmings and muskrats. Here, we compare the relative contribution of a nuclear marker – the exon 10 of the growth hormone receptor (GHR) gene – to the one of the mitochondrial CYB for inferring phylogenetic relationships among the major lineages of arvicoline rodents. Results The analysis of GHR sequences improves the overall resolution of the Arvicolinae phylogeny. Our results show that the Caucasian long-clawed vole (Prometheomys schaposnikowi) is one of the basalmost arvicolines, and confirm that true lemmings (Lemmus) and collared lemmings (Dicrostonyx) are not closely related as suggested by morphology. Red-backed voles (Myodini) are found as the sister-group of a clade encompassing water vole (Arvicola), snow vole (Chionomys), and meadow voles (Microtus and allies). Within the latter, no support is recovered for the generic recognition of Blanfordimys, Lasiopodomys, Neodon, and Phaiomys as suggested by morphology. Comparisons of parameter estimates for branch lengths, base composition, among sites rate heterogeneity, and GTR relative substitution rates indicate that CYB sequences consistently exhibit more heterogeneity among codon positions than GHR. By analyzing the contribution of each codon position to node resolution, we show that the apparent higher efficiency of GHR is due to their third positions. Although we focus on speciation events spanning the last 10 million years

  3. Complete mitochondrial genome of the Chinese oriental vole Eothenomys chinensis (Rodentia: Arvicolinae).

    PubMed

    Yang, Chengzhong; Hao, Haibang; Liu, Shaoying; Liu, Yang; Yue, Bisong; Zhang, Xiuyue

    2012-04-01

    The Chinese oriental vole (Eothenomys chinensis) belongs to subfamily Arvicolinae, which is endemic to the mountains in southwest China. E. chinensis and other Arvicoline species display a number of features that make them ideal for evolutionary studies of speciation and the role of Quaternary glacial cycles on diversification. In this study, the complete mitochondrial genome of E. chinensis was sequenced. It was determined to be 16,362 bases. The nucleotide sequence data of 12 heavy-strand protein-coding genes of E. chinensis and other 19 rodents were used for phylogenetic analyses. Trees constructed using three different phylogenetic methods (Bayesian, maximum parsimony, and maximum likelihood) showed a similar topology demonstrating that E. chinensis was clustered in subfamily arvicolinae--formed a solid monophyletic group being sister to the subfamily Cricetinae. And the trees also suggested that E. chinensis is a sister to the genus Microtus and Proedromys.

  4. Population sex-ratio affecting behavior and physiology of overwintering bank voles (Myodes glareolus).

    PubMed

    Sipari, Saana; Haapakoski, Marko; Klemme, Ines; Palme, Rupert; Sundell, Janne; Ylönen, Hannu

    2016-05-15

    Many boreal rodents are territorial during the breeding season but during winter become social and aggregate for more energy efficient thermoregulation. Communal winter nesting and social interactions are considered to play an important role for the winter survival of these species, yet the topic is relatively little explored. Females are suggested to be the initiators of winter aggregations and sometimes reported to survive better than males. This could be due to the higher social tolerance observed in overwintering females than males. Hormonal status could also affect winter behavior and survival. For instance, chronic stress can have a negative effect on survival, whereas high gonadal hormone levels, such as testosterone, often induce aggressive behavior. To test if the winter survival of females in a boreal rodent is better than that of males, and to assess the role of females in the winter aggregations, we generated bank vole (Myodes glareolus) populations of three different sex ratios (male-biased, female-biased and even density) under semi-natural conditions. We monitored survival, spatial behavior and hormonal status (stress and testosterone) during two winter months. We observed no significant differences in survival between the sexes or among populations with differing sex-ratios. The degree of movement area overlap was used as an indicator of social tolerance and potential communal nesting. Individuals in male biased populations showed a tendency to be solitary, whereas in female biased populations there was an indication of winter aggregation. Females living in male-biased populations had higher stress levels than the females from the other populations. The female-biased sex-ratio induced winter breeding and elevated testosterone levels in males. Thus, our results suggest that the sex-ratio of the overwintering population can lead to divergent overwintering strategies in bank voles.

  5. Life-long shedding of Puumala hantavirus in wild bank voles (Myodes glareolus).

    PubMed

    Voutilainen, Liina; Sironen, Tarja; Tonteri, Elina; Bäck, Anne Tuiskunen; Razzauti, Maria; Karlsson, Malin; Wahlström, Maria; Niemimaa, Jukka; Henttonen, Heikki; Lundkvist, Åke

    2015-06-01

    The knowledge of viral shedding patterns and viraemia in the reservoir host species is a key factor in assessing the human risk of zoonotic viruses. The shedding of hantaviruses (family Bunyaviridae) by their host rodents has widely been studied experimentally, but rarely in natural settings. Here we present the dynamics of Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) shedding and viraemia in naturally infected wild bank voles (Myodes glareolus). In a monthly capture-mark-recapture study, we analysed 18 bank voles for the presence and relative quantity of PUUV RNA in the excreta and blood from 2 months before up to 8 months after seroconversion. The proportion of animals shedding PUUV RNA in saliva, urine and faeces peaked during the first month after seroconversion, but continued throughout the study period with only a slight decline. The quantity of shed PUUV in reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) positive excreta was constant over time. In blood, PUUV RNA was present for up to 7 months but both the probability of viraemia and the virus load declined with time. Our findings contradict the current view of a decline in virus shedding after the acute phase and a short viraemic period in hantavirus infection - an assumption widely adopted in current epidemiological models. We suggest the life-long shedding as a means of hantaviruses to survive over host population bottlenecks, and to disperse in fragmented habitats where local host and/or virus populations face temporary extinctions. Our results indicate that the kinetics of pathogens in wild hosts may differ considerably from those observed in laboratory settings.

  6. Neuroendocrine responses to social isolation and paternal deprivation at different postnatal ages in Mandarin voles.

    PubMed

    Wang, Lu; Zhang, Wei; Wu, Ruiyong; Kong, Lingzhe; Feng, Weige; Cao, Yan; Tai, Fadao; Zhang, Xia

    2014-09-01

    Neonatal isolation and paternal deprivation have long lasting effects on the behavior and neuroendocrine system at adulthood. Whether these effects at adulthood are induced by neonatal changes in relevant neuroendocrine parameters lead by these early-life social experiences is not well understood. Whether monogamous rodents exhibit a stress hypo-responsive period (SHRP) also remains unclear. Using the monogamous mandarin vole, we found that 30 min of isolation did not affect levels of corticosterone (CORT) and adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) at postnatal days 8, 10, and 12 displaying a SHRP, but increased these at postnatal days 4, 14, 16, and 18. Isolation increased vasopressin (AVP)-ir neurons in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and supraoptic nucleus (SON) from postnatal days 4 to 12, and up-regulated oxytocin (OT)-ir neurons in the PVN at postnatal days 4 and 8 and SON at postnatal day 4. Paternally deprived pups showed increase in ACTH and CORT after 30 min of social isolation from postnatal days 8 to 14, increase in AVP-ir neurons in the PVN from postnatal days 10 to 14, reduction in OT-ir neurons in the PVN from postnatal days 10 to 14 and in the SON at postnatal days 12 and 14. These results indicate that monogamous mandarin voles display a short SHRP which can be disrupted by paternal deprivation. Central AVP and OT levels may also be altered by paternal deprivation and social isolation. We propose that changes in these neuroendocrine parameters induced by early-life social experiences such as those tested here persist and result.

  7. Nucleotide variation in the p53 tumor-suppressor gene of voles from Chernobyl, Ukraine.

    PubMed

    DeWoody, J A

    1999-02-02

    The 1986 Chernobyl disaster contaminated vast regions of Ukraine and Belarus with a variety of radioactive isotopes and heavy metals. While over 90% of the radioactive isotopes have decayed into stable compounds, radiation levels in contaminated areas are still extraordinarily high. In fact, some rodents living near the reactor have internal 134,137Cs concentrations approaching 80 000 Bq/g. Several recent genetic analyses of vertebrates have illustrated that mutation rates of organisms exposed to radiation from Chernobyl are higher than in control groups, but none have studied DNA sequences. Nucleotide sequences of rodent mitochondrial genes were originally reported to have been hypervariable, but those results were subsequently retracted. Herein, I report the results of a pilot study to determine the extent of nucleotide variation at the p53 gene in four species of rodents (voles) from Chernobyl and from control sites. I sequenced a 788 bp region (coding and non-coding) of p53 in 30 different mice comprising four different species of Microtus. Nucleotide variation at the population level was due to deletions and substitutions; both were limited to introns. There were no significant differences between the number of haplotypes in radioactive and control populations (p=0.60). Rare or private alleles might have arisen due to unique mutational pressures at Chernobyl. Alternatively, natural selection might have favored one allele over others (i.e., a selective sweep). Neither scenario is strongly supported by these data. Thus, no apparent genetic effects of the Chernobyl disaster on the p53 gene of resident voles were revealed; more extensive surveys will be necessary to determine if mutation rates are indeed elevated in mice from Chernobyl. However, two salient points emerge; the first involves the utility of introns as markers for mutations in coding regions and the second considers the relative merits of cloning in mutation detection studies.

  8. Excretion and measurement of corticosterone and testosterone metabolites in bank voles (Myodes glareolus).

    PubMed

    Sipari, Saana; Ylönen, Hannu; Palme, Rupert

    2017-03-01

    The bank vole is a commonly used model species in behavioral and ecophysiological studies. Thus, presenting a validated method for noninvasive monitoring of corticosterone and testosterone secretion is of high relevance. Here, we evaluated the effect of time of day and an ACTH challenge test on measured fecal corticosterone (FCM) and testosterone (FTM) metabolites in both sexes. Furthermore, we performed radiometabolism experiments for both steroids and sexes to study metabolism and excretion of (3)H-corticosterone and (3)H-testosterone. FCM and FTM were analysed with a 5α-pregnane-3β,11β,21-triol-20-one enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and a testosterone (measuring 17β-hydroxyandrostanes) EIA, respectively. Males had significantly higher FCM levels than females and their main excretion route was via the feces (∼72%), whereas females excreted nearly equal portions in both feces and urine. For testosterone the main excretion route was via the feces in both sexes (∼80%). The time course of excretion was similar in both sexes, but for the first time a significant difference between injected steroids was found: Corticosterone was excreted faster than testosterone, both in urine (median of peak levels: 4h vs 6h) and feces (6h vs 8h). Several metabolites were present in the feces and the tested EIAs reacted with some of them. Time of day had a significant effect on measured fecal steroid metabolites. As expected, males had significantly higher FTM levels than females. ACTH administration significantly increased FCM values; peaks were observed 4-8h after injection. In conclusion, both tested EIAs proved suited for a noninvasive measurement of glucocorticoids and androgens in bank voles.

  9. 77 FR 22569 - Interconnection of the Grande Prairie Wind Farm, Holt County, NE

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-04-16

    ... Prairie Wind, LLC (Grande Prairie Wind), a majority- owned subsidiary of Midwest Wind Energy, LLC, has applied to Western to interconnect their proposed wind energy generation project to Western's power... interconnect their proposed wind energy generation Project to Western's Fort Thompson- Grand...

  10. Prairie Dog Decline Reduces the Supply of Ecosystem Services and Leads to Desertification of Semiarid Grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Martínez-Estévez, Lourdes; Balvanera, Patricia; Pacheco, Jesús; Ceballos, Gerardo

    2013-01-01

    Anthropogenic impacts on North American grasslands, a highly endangered ecosystem, have led to declines of prairie dogs, a keystone species, over 98% of their historical range. While impacts of this loss on maintenance of grassland biodiversity have been widely documented, much less is known about the consequences on the supply of ecosystem services. Here we assessed the effect of prairie dogs in the supply of five ecosystem services by comparing grasslands currently occupied by prairie dogs, grasslands devoid of prairie dogs, and areas that used to be occupied by prairie dogs that are currently dominated by mesquite scrub. Groundwater recharge, regulation of soil erosion, regulation of soil productive potential, soil carbon storage and forage availability were consistently quantitatively or qualitatively higher in prairie dog grasslands relative to grasslands or mesquite scrub. Our findings indicate a severe loss of ecosystem services associated to the absence of prairie dogs. These findings suggest that contrary to a much publicize perception, especially in the US, prairie dogs are fundamental in maintaining grasslands and their decline have strong negative impacts in human well – being through the loss of ecosystem services. PMID:24130691

  11. A long-term study of burning effects on a plant pathogen in tallgrass prairie

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Tallgrass prairie species have evolved with regular exposure to fire. Yet burning has been used as a management tool for reducing plant disease in agricultural systems, posing the question of how plant pathogens of tallgrass prairie will be affected by burning. We studied the rust fungus Puccinia ...

  12. Notice of release of: 1)Majestic germplasm and 2) Spectrum germplasm western prairie clover

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Two natural-track selected germplasms of western prairie clover [Dalea ornata (Douglas ex Hook.) Eaton & J. Wright] [Fabaceae] have been released for use in revegetation of semiarid rangelands in the western USA. Western prairie clover is a perennial leguminous forb that occurs naturally in Idaho, ...

  13. Transition of soil microbial communities in a tallgrass prairie restoration chronosequence

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Extensive agriculture since the 1830’s has led to a 82-99% decline of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem in North America. Restoration of these prairies is of great interest. Objectives were to: (1) investigate the change in soil microbial communities during grassland restoration and (2) study the in...

  14. Influence of shrub encroachment on the soil microbial community composition of remnant hill prairies.

    PubMed

    Yannarell, Anthony C; Menning, Sarah E; Beck, Alyssa M

    2014-05-01

    Hill prairies are remnant grasslands perched on the bluffs of major river valleys, and because their steep slopes make them unsuitable for traditional row crop agriculture, they have some of the lowest levels of anthropogenic disturbance of any prairie ecosystems in the Midwestern USA. However, many decades of fire suppression have allowed for shrub encroachment from the surrounding forests. While shrub encroachment of grasslands can modify soil respiration rates and nutrient storage, it is not known whether shrubs also alter the community composition of soil microorganisms. We conducted transect sampling of nine different hill prairie remnants showing varying degrees of shrub encroachment, and we used DNA-based community profiling (automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis) to characterize the composition of bacterial and fungal communities in the open prairie habitat, the shrub-encroached border, and the surrounding forest. While both bacterial and fungal communities showed statistically significant variation across these habitats, their predominant patterns were different. Bacterial communities of forest soils were distinct from those of the open prairie and the shrub-encroached areas, while fungal communities of the open prairie were distinct from those of the forest and the shrub-encroached border. Shrub encroachment significantly altered the community composition of soil fungal communities. Furthermore, fungal communities of heavily encroached prairie remnants more closely resembled those of the surrounding forest than those of lightly encroached prairies. Thus, shrub encroachment can cause soil fungi to shift from a "grassland" community to a "woody" community, with potential consequences for soil processes and plant-microbe interactions.

  15. 77 FR 65417 - Northern States Power Company (Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant Independent Spent Fuel...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-10-26

    ... From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION Northern States Power Company (Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant Independent Spent Fuel...(c) and 2.321(b), the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (Board) in the above-captioned Prairie...

  16. A Single Spark Can Start a Prairie Fire: Teaching toward Transformation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ayers, William

    2006-01-01

    The old saying, that a single spark can start a prairie fire, appears in many forms and in different cultures carrying a range of shifting implications and meanings. In this article, William Ayers writes that in some instances, prairie fires are not always catastrophic. They are naturally occurring events necessary and renewing; removing the thick…

  17. Sylvatic plague in a Canadian black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus).

    PubMed

    Antonation, Kym S; Shury, Todd K; Bollinger, Trent K; Olson, Adam; Mabon, Philip; Van Domselaar, Gary; Corbett, Cindi R

    2014-07-01

    In 2010, a black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) was found dead in Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada. Postmortem gross and histologic findings indicated bacterial septicemia, likely due to Yersinia pestis, which was confirmed by molecular analysis. This is the first report of Y. pestis in the prairie dog population within Canada.

  18. Mapping prairie remnants on the Hempstead Plains, Long Island, New York.

    PubMed

    Neidich-Ryder, Carole; Kennelly, Patrick

    2014-05-01

    The Hempstead Plains, located in Nassau County, New York, contains remnants of the only naturally occurring prairie east of the Appalachian Mountains. It originally encompassed approximately 12,500 ha. Although the area receives higher amounts of rainfall for a typical tall-grass prairie ecosystem, approximately 114 cm of precipitation per year, its well-drained, dark-colored soil sited above glacial outwash, available natural seed bank, and history of fires enabled development of a tall-grass prairie. This study identified prairie remnants within the historical extent of the Hempstead Plains delineated by the 1928 soil survey from the United States Department of Agriculture. Image analysis of infrared color 8-bit orthophotographs was used for an unsupervised classification on a 156-ha primary study area containing a known prairie remnant, centered on the Red Golf Course at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. The resulting 16 classes were combined into six more general classes before undergoing an error assessment based on field and orthoimagery ground-truthing of 1,000 random points. As confirmed by site visits, analysis was generally able to distinguish prairie grass from non-native grasses using remote sensing, as native warm-season prairie grasses are dormant from late fall to early spring. Overall accuracy for the six classes was 89 %. Accuracy of the warm-season grass class was 81 % for producer's accuracy and 83 % for user's accuracy. This study identified additional sites containing warm-season grasses and potential prairie remnants in Nassau County.

  19. Physiologic reference ranges for captive black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus).

    PubMed

    Keckler, M Shannon; Gallardo-Romero, Nadia F; Langham, Gregory L; Damon, Inger K; Karem, Kevin L; Carroll, Darin S

    2010-05-01

    The black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) is a member of the order Rodentia and the family Sciuridae. Ecologically, prairie dogs are a keystone species in prairie ecology. This species is used as an animal model for human gallbladder disease and diseases caused by infection with Clostridium difficile, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, and most recently, Orthopoxvirus. Despite increasing numbers of prairie dogs used in research and kept as pets, few data are available on their baseline physiology in animal facility housing conditions. To establish baseline physiologic reference ranges, we designed a study using 18 wild-caught black-tailed prairie dogs. Telemetry data were analyzed to establish circadian rhythms for activity and temperature. In addition, hematologic and serum chemistry analyses were performed. Baseline measurements were used to establish the mean for each animal, which then were compiled and analyzed to determine the reference ranges. Here we present physiologic data on serum chemistry and hematology profiles, as well as weight, core body temperature, and daily activity patterns for black-tailed prairie dogs. These results reflect the use of multiple measurements from species- and age-matched prairie dogs and likely will be useful to ecologists, scientists interested in using this animal model in research, and veterinarians caring for pet prairie dogs.

  20. 75 FR 61414 - Basin Electric Power Cooperative: South Dakota PrairieWinds Project

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-10-05

    ... Rural Utilities Service Basin Electric Power Cooperative: South Dakota PrairieWinds Project AGENCY...) for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed South Dakota PrairieWind Project...-megawatt wind-powered generation facility. ADDRESSES: To obtain copies of the ROD, or for...

  1. 77 FR 75119 - Dakota Prairie Grasslands, North Dakota; Oil and Gas Development Supplemental Environmental...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-12-19

    ... Forest Service Dakota Prairie Grasslands, North Dakota; Oil and Gas Development Supplemental... environmental impact statement. SUMMARY: In June of 2003, the Dakota Prairie Grasslands Record of Decision for Oil and Gas Leasing on the Little Missouri and Cedar River National Grasslands was signed....

  2. Rural Schools on the Prairie Turn to Land for Learning and Inspiration. Rural Trust Featured Project.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Null, Elizabeth Higgins

    America's prairie land is under economic and ecological stress. Acting on the belief that rural schools can help revitalize their communities when schools' activities are related to the places where they are located, schools in Arizona, Kansas, and Nebraska are integrating prairie studies across the K-12 curricula. With the help of area…

  3. Eddy covariance measurements of methane fluxes over grazed native and improved prairies in Oklahoma

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Although several studies have reported eddy covariance (EC) measurements at several tallgrass prairie sites to investigate the dynamics of carbon and water vapor fluxes, the EC measurements of methane (CH4) fluxes over grazed tallgrass prairie sites are lacking. CH4 fluxes were measured during the 2...

  4. 75 FR 7470 - Pine Prairie Energy Center, LLC; Notice of Application

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-02-19

    ... Pine Prairie to: (1) Install six 5,750 hp electric motor drive compressor units instead of the four 4,700 hp natural gas-fueled units previously authorized; (2) construct and operate a new electrical substation at the Pine Prairie Gas Handling Facility and approximately 1,200 feet of aerial electric...

  5. Potential impacts of agricultural chemicals on waterfowl and other wildlife inhabiting prairie wetlands: An evaluation of research needs and approaches

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grue, C.E.; DeWeese, L.R.; Mineau, P.; Swanson, G.A.; Foster, J.R.; Arnold, P.M.; Huckins, J.N.; Sheenan, P.J.; Marshall, W.K.; Ludden, A.P.

    1986-01-01

    The potential for agricultural chemicals to enter prairie-pothole wetlands and impact wildlife dependent on these wetlands for survival and reproduction appears to be great. However, the actual risk to wetland wildlife from the inputs of these chemicals cannot be adequately assessed at this time, because of insufficient data. Available data on the use of pesticides in the prairie-pothole region and the toxicity of these pesticides suggest that insecticides pose the greatest hazard to wetland wildlife, particularly birds. The majority of the most widely used insecticides within the region are very toxic to aquatic invertebrates and birds. Of particular concern are the impacts of agricultural chemicals on the quality of the remaining wetlands in the region and whether or not these impacts have contributed to observed declines in waterfowl populations. Although existing data suggest that adult and juvenile waterfowl may not be more sensitive to these chemicals than are other wetland wildlife, their food habits and feeding behaviors may make them more vulnerable to direct toxic effects or chemical-induced changes in the abundance of aquatic invertebrates. Laboratory and field studies in the United States and Canada are critically needed to assess these potential impacts.

  6. Olfactory experience affects the response of meadow voles to the opposite-sex scent donor of mixed-sex over-marks

    PubMed Central

    Ferkin, Michael H.; Ferkin, Daniel A.; Ferkin, Benjamin D.; Vlautin, Christian T.

    2010-01-01

    Scent marking and over-marking are important forms of communication between the sexes for many terrestrial mammals. Over the course of three experiments, we determined whether the amount of time individuals investigate the scent marks of opposite-sex conspecifics is affected by four days of olfactory experience with those conspecifics. In experiment 1, female meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus, spent more time investigating the scent mark of the novel male conspecific than that of the familiar male donor, whereas male voles spent similar amounts of time investigating the scent mark of the familiar female and a novel female conspecific. In experiment 2, voles were exposed to a mixed-sex over-mark in which subjects did not have four days of olfactory experience with either the top-scent donor or the bottom-scent donor. During the test phase, male and female voles spent more time investigating the scent mark of the opposite-sex conspecific that provided the top-scent mark than that of a novel, opposite-sex conspecific. Male and female voles spent similar amounts of time investigating the scent mark of the bottom-scent donor and that of a novel opposite-sex conspecific. In experiment 3, voles were exposed to a mixed-sex over-mark that contained the scent mark of an opposite-sex conspecific with which they had four days of olfactory experience. During the test phase, male voles spent more time investigating the mark of the familiar, top-scent female than the scent mark of a novel female donor but spent similar amounts of time investigating the mark of the familiar, bottom-scent female and that of a novel female donor. In contrast, female voles spent more time investigating the mark of a novel male donor than that of either the familiar, top-scent male or that of the familiar, bottom-scent male. The sex differences in the responses of voles to scent marks and mixed-sex over-marks are discussed in relation to the natural history and non-monogamous mating system of

  7. The colonization history of British water vole (Arvicola amphibius (Linnaeus, 1758)): origins and development of the Celtic fringe.

    PubMed

    Brace, Selina; Ruddy, Mark; Miller, Rebecca; Schreve, Danielle C; Stewart, John R; Barnes, Ian

    2016-04-27

    The terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene, a period from 15 000 to 18 000 Before Present (BP), was critical in establishing the current Holarctic fauna, with temperate-climate species largely replacing cold-adapted ones at mid-latitudes. However, the timing and nature of this process remain unclear for many taxa, a point that impacts on current and future management strategies. Here, we use an ancient DNA dataset to test more directly postglacial histories of the water vole (Arvicola amphibius, formerly A terrestris), a species that is both a conservation priority and a pest in different parts of its range. We specifically examine colonization of Britain, where a complex genetic structure can be observed today. Although we focus on population history at the limits of the species' range, the inclusion of additional European samples allows insights into European postglacial colonization events and provides a molecular perspective on water vole taxonomy.

  8. Citizen knowledge of and attitudes toward black-tailed prairie dogs: completion report

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lamb, B.L.; Cline, Kurt; Brinson, Ayeisha; Sexton, N.R.; Ponds, P.D.

    2001-01-01

    In the late summer of 2000, we canvassed a random sample of residents in the 11-sate short grass prairie region of the United States. We asked about peoplea??s attitude toward and knowledge of black-tailed prairie dogs and their management. The survey received 1,933 useable responses with a response rate of 56.4% (margin of error 2.2%). We developed a questionnaire (OMB Control Number: 1028-0073; see Appendix B) to answer the following questions: * What is the level of citizen knowledge regarding black-tailed prairie dogs? * What are citizensa?? attitudes and preferences regarding black-tailed prairie dogs and the environment in general? * What are the factors that explain difference in attitudes and knowledge about prairie dogs? * What are the factors that explain citizen participation in these types of issues? * What are the important differences between rural and urban citizens regarding their political participation and their knowledge and attitude about prairie dogs? In general, we found that citizens do not have a high regard for black-tailed prairie dogs. Citizens generally have a positive orientation towards the environment and favor a balanced or somewhat environmental approach on questions--like prairie dog management--that involve environmental protection and economic considerations. People having direct experience with prairie dogs are less inclined to view them as beneficial to society than are those who infrequently see or come in contact with the animals. When asked about prairie dogs specifically, most citizens did not believe the question of what to do about these animals was a highly important environmental issue.

  9. PRECIPITATION, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND PARASITISM OF PRAIRIE DOGS BY FLEAS THAT TRANSMIT PLAGUE.

    PubMed

    Eads, David; Hoogland, John

    2017-03-30

    Fleas (Insecta: Siphonaptera) are hematophagous ectoparasites that can reduce the fitness of vertebrate hosts. Laboratory populations of fleas decline under dry conditions, implying that populations of fleas will also decline when precipitation is scarce under natural conditions. If precipitation and hence vegetative production are reduced, however, then herbivorous hosts might suffer declines in body condition and have weakened defenses against fleas, so that fleas will increase in abundance. We tested these competing hypotheses using information from 23 yr of research on 3 species of colonial prairie dogs in western USA: Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni, 1989-1994), Utah prairie dogs (C. parvidens, 1996-2005), and white-tailed prairie dogs (C. leucurus, 2006-2012). For all 3 species, flea-counts per individual varied inversely with the number of days in the prior growing season with >10 mm of precipitation, an index of the number of precipitation events that might have caused a substantial, prolonged increase in soil moisture and vegetative production. Flea-counts per Utah prairie dog also varied inversely with cumulative precipitation of the prior growing season. Further, flea-counts per Gunnison's and white-tailed prairie dog varied inversely with cumulative precipitation of the just-completed January and February. These results complement research on black-tailed prairie dogs (C. ludovicianus) and might have important ramifications for plague, a bacterial disease, transmitted by fleas, that devastates populations of prairie dogs. In particular, our results might help to explain why, at some colonies, epizootics of plague, which can kill >95% of prairie dogs, are more likely to occur during or shortly after periods of reduced precipitation. Climate change is projected to increase the frequency of droughts in the grasslands of western North America. If so, then climate change might affect the occurrence of plague epizootics among prairie dogs and other

  10. Treatment of black-tailed prairie dog burrows with deltamethrin to control fleas (Insecta: Siphonaptera) and plague.

    PubMed

    Seery, David B; Biggins, Dean E; Montenieri, John A; Enscore, Russell E; Tanda, Dale T; Gage, Kenneth L

    2003-09-01

    Burrows within black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies on the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, Colorado, were dusted with deltamethrin insecticide to reduce flea (Insecta: Siphonaptera) abundance. Flea populations were monitored pre- and posttreatment by combing prairie dogs and collecting fleas from burrows. A single application of deltamethrin significantly reduced populations of the plague vector Oropsylla hirsuta, and other flea species on prairie dogs and in prairie dog burrows for at least 84 d. A plague epizootic on the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge caused high mortality of prairie dogs on some untreated colonies, but did not appear to affect nearby colonies dusted with deltamethrin.

  11. High-resolution G-banding and nucleolus-organizer regions of chromosomes of vole Microtus kirgisorum

    SciTech Connect

    Mazurok, N.A.; Rubtsov, N.B.; Ovechkina, Y.Y.

    1995-08-01

    The use of G-banding of chromosomes in combination with the pipette method of chromosome preparation at the early metaphase made it possible to distinguish about 520 segments in the haploid chromosome set of vole Microtus kirgisorum. The idiogram of M. kirgisorum chromosomes was obtained on the basis of detailed investigation of chromosomes at different condensation levels. Data of the localization and the number of nucleolus-organizer regions are given. 16 refs., 3 figs.

  12. Local and Regional Determinants of Colonisation-Extinction Dynamics of a Riparian Mainland-Island Root Vole Metapopulation

    PubMed Central

    Glorvigen, Petter; Andreassen, Harry P.; Ims, Rolf A.

    2013-01-01

    The role of local habitat geometry (habitat area and isolation) in predicting species distribution has become an increasingly more important issue, because habitat loss and fragmentation cause species range contraction and extinction. However, it has also become clear that other factors, in particular regional factors (environmental stochasticity and regional population dynamics), should be taken into account when predicting colonisation and extinction. In a live trapping study of a mainland-island metapopulation of the root vole (Microtus oeconomus) we found extensive occupancy dynamics across 15 riparian islands, but yet an overall balance between colonisation and extinction over 4 years. The 54 live trapping surveys conducted over 13 seasons revealed imperfect detection and proxies of population density had to be included in robust design, multi-season occupancy models to achieve unbiased rate estimates. Island colonisation probability was parsimoniously predicted by the multi-annual density fluctuations of the regional mainland population and local island habitat quality, while extinction probability was predicted by island population density and the level of the recent flooding events (the latter being the main regionalized disturbance regime in the study system). Island size and isolation had no additional predictive power and thus such local geometric habitat characteristics may be overrated as predictors of vole habitat occupancy relative to measures of local habitat quality. Our results suggest also that dynamic features of the larger region and/or the metapopulation as a whole, owing to spatially correlated environmental stochasticity and/or biotic interactions, may rule the colonisation – extinction dynamics of boreal vole metapopulations. Due to high capacities for dispersal and habitat tracking voles originating from large source populations can rapidly colonise remote and small high quality habitat patches and re-establish populations that have gone

  13. Susceptibility to and transmission of H5N1 and H7N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in bank voles (Myodes glareolus).

    PubMed

    Romero Tejeda, Aurora; Aiello, Roberta; Salomoni, Angela; Berton, Valeria; Vascellari, Marta; Cattoli, Giovanni

    2015-05-13

    The study of influenza type A (IA) infections in wild mammals populations is a critical gap in our knowledge of how IA viruses evolve in novel hosts that could be in close contact with avian reservoir species and other wild animals. The aim of this study was to evaluate the susceptibility to infection, the nasal shedding and the transmissibility of the H7N1 and H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses in the bank vole (Myodes glareolus), a wild rodent common throughout Europe and Asia. Two out of 24 H5N1-infected voles displayed evident respiratory distress, while H7N1-infected voles remained asymptomatic. Viable virus was isolated from nasal washes collected from animals infected with both HPAI viruses, and extra-pulmonary infection was confirmed in both experimental groups. Histopathological lesions were evident in the respiratory tract of infected animals, although immunohistochemistry positivity was only detected in lungs and trachea of two H7N1-infected voles. Both HPAI viruses were transmitted by direct contact, and seroconversion was confirmed in 50% and 12.5% of the asymptomatic sentinels in the H7N1 and H5N1 groups, respectively. Interestingly, viable virus was isolated from lungs and nasal washes collected from contact sentinels of both groups. The present study demonstrated that two non-rodent adapted HPAI viruses caused asymptomatic infection in bank voles, which shed high amounts of the viruses and were able to infect contact voles. Further investigations are needed to determine whether bank voles could be involved as silent hosts in the transmission of HPAI viruses to other mammals and domestic poultry.

  14. De novo lipogenesis is suppressed during fasting but upregulated at population decline in cyclic voles

    PubMed Central

    Rouvinen-Watt, Kirsti; Harris, Lora; Huitu, Otso; Henttonen, Heikki; Mustonen, Anne-Mari

    2016-01-01

    Arvicolines are susceptible to the development of fatty liver during short-term fasting. We examined the potential role of de novo lipogenesis (DNL) (i) in the development of fasting-induced fatty liver and (ii) during a population cycle by measuring the mRNA expression of acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1 (ACC1) and fatty acid synthase (FAS). Laboratory voles (Microtus oeconomus and Microtus arvalis) were fed or fasted for 12 or 18 h and their liver mRNA levels were determined. Both species showed decreased mRNA expression of ACC1 and FAS during fasting. This suggests that DNL does not participate in the development of fatty liver in voles, different from human non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In wild bank voles (Myodes glareolus), the mRNA levels of the genes of interest were higher during the population decline compared to the increase phase. In conclusion, DNL was suppressed during acute fasting but upregulated during a long-term population decline—a period of purported scarcity of high-quality food. PMID:26892709

  15. Physiological condition of bank voles (Myodes glareolus) during the increase and decline phases of the population cycle.

    PubMed

    Nieminen, Petteri; Huitu, Otso; Henttonen, Heikki; Finnilä, Mikko A J; Voutilainen, Liina; Itämies, Juhani; Kärjä, Vesa; Saarela, Seppo; Halonen, Toivo; Aho, Jari; Mustonen, Anne-Mari

    2015-09-01

    The dynamics of animal populations are greatly influenced by interactions with their natural enemies and food resources. However, quantifying the relative effects of these factors on demographic rates remains a perpetual challenge for animal population ecology. Food scarcity is assumed to limit the growth and to initiate the decline of cyclic herbivore populations, but this has not been verified with physiological health indices. We hypothesized that individuals in declining populations would exhibit signs of malnutrition-induced deterioration of physiological condition. We evaluated the association of body condition with population cycle phase in bank voles (Myodes glareolus) during the increase and decline phases of a population cycle. The bank voles had lower body masses, condition indices and absolute masses of particular organs during the decline. Simultaneously, they had lower femoral masses, mineral contents and densities. Hemoglobin and hematocrit values and several parameters known to respond to food deprivation were unaffected by the population phase. There were no signs of lymphopenia, eosinophilia, granulocytosis or monocytosis. Erythrocyte counts were higher and plasma total protein levels and tissue proportions of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids lower in the population decline. Ectoparasite load was lower and adrenal gland masses or catecholamine concentrations did not suggest higher stress levels. Food availability seems to limit the size of voles during the decline but they can adapt to the prevailing conditions without clear deleterious health effects. This highlights the importance of quantifying individual health state when evaluating the effects of complex trophic interactions on the dynamics of wild animal populations.

  16. Seasonal changes in body mass, energy intake and thermogenesis in Maximowiczi's voles (Microtus maximowiczii) from the Inner Mongolian grassland.

    PubMed

    Chen, Jing-Feng; Zhong, Wen-Qin; Wang, De-Hua

    2012-02-01

    Small mammals inhabiting temperate and arctic regions exhibit annual adaptive adjustments in physiology, anatomy, and behavior. No data on the physiology of Maximowicz's voles (Microtus maximowiczii) are available at present. Here we examined the seasonal changes in body mass, food intake, thermogenic capacity, serum leptin and thyroid hormone levels in wild-captured individuals from Inner Mongolian grassland, China. We further examined the effects of photoperiod on these parameters. Energy intake, resting metabolic rate, nonshivering thermogenesis (NST), and serum tri-iodothyronine (T3) levels increased while serum leptin and body mass decreased in the cold seasons. Serum T3 levels were positively correlated with NST and uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) contents in brown adipose tissue, and leptin levels were negatively correlated with energy intake and resting metabolic rate. Furthermore, laboratory data showed these changes could be induced by short photoperiod alone. Taken together, our results indicate that Maximowicz's voles can increase thermogenic capacity and energy intake to cope with cold stress. Serum leptin seems to be involved in the regulation of energy intake and changes in T3 level may be important for the variations in NST and/or UCP1. Short photoperiod can serve as a seasonal cue for the winter acclimatization of energy balance in free-living Maximowicz's voles.

  17. Contrasting dynamics of Bartonella spp. in cyclic field vole populations: the impact of vector and host dynamics.

    PubMed

    Telfer, S; Begon, M; Bennett, M; Bown, K J; Burthe, S; Lambin, X; Telford, G; Birtles, R

    2007-03-01

    Many zoonotic disease agents are transmitted between hosts by arthropod vectors, including fleas, but few empirical studies of host-vector-microparasite dynamics have investigated the relative importance of hosts and vectors. This study investigates the dynamics of 4 closely related Bartonella species and their flea vectors in cyclic populations of field voles (Microtus agrestis) over 3 years. The probability of flea infestation was positively related to field vole density 12 months previously in autumn, but negatively related to more recent host densities, suggesting a dilution effect. The 4 Bartonella species exhibited contrasting dynamics. Only B. grahamii, showed a distinct seasonal pattern. Infection probability increased with field vole density for B. doshiae, B. taylorii and BGA (a previously unidentified species) and with density of coexisting wood mice for B. doshiae and B. grahamii. However, only the infection probability of BGA in spring was related to flea prevalence. B. doshiae and BGA were most common in older animals, but the other 2 were most common in non-reproductive hosts. Generally, host density rather than vector abundance appears most important for the dynamics of flea-transmitted Bartonella spp., possibly reflecting the importance of flea exchange between hosts. However, even closely related species showed quite different dynamics, emphasising that other factors such as population age structure can impact on zoonotic risk.

  18. Re-feeding food-deprived male meadow voles affects the sperm allocation of their rival males.

    PubMed

    Vaughn, Ashlee A; Delbarco-Trillo, Javier; Ferkin, Michael H

    2012-12-01

    An individual's nutritional status affects the manner in which same- and opposite-sex conspecifics respond to that individual, which may affect their fitness. Male meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus, increase their sperm allocation if they encounter the scent mark of an unfamiliar male that is not nutritionally challenged. If, however, the scent mark comes from a male that has been food deprived for 24 hours, stud male voles do not increase their sperm allocation. Food deprived males may be viewed as being lower quality and a reduced risk of sperm competition by rival males. We hypothesized that stud males in promiscuous mating systems tailor their sperm allocations depending on whether rival males have been food deprived and then re-fed. We predicted that newly re-fed males will be considered a strong risk of sperm competition because of the potentially high fitness and survival costs associated with food deprivation in males, and that they will cause stud males to increase their sperm allocation. Our results, however, showed that the recovery period from 24 hours of food deprivation was a relatively slow process. It took between 96 hours and 336 hours of re-feeding male scent donors that were food deprived for 24 hours to induce stud males to increase their sperm allocation to levels comparable to when scent donors were not food deprived. Stud male voles may be conserving the amount of sperm allocated until the male scent donors have recovered from food deprivation and subsequent re-feeding.

  19. Manifestations of fasting-induced fatty liver and rapid recovery from steatosis in voles fed lard or flaxseed oil lipids.

    PubMed

    Mustonen, Anne-Mari; Kärjä, Vesa; Kilpiö, Michael; Tammi, Raija; Tammi, Markku; Rouvinen-Watt, Kirsti; Halonen, Toivo; Nieminen, Petteri

    2013-10-22

    Long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) can have beneficial effects against fat deposition, cardiovascular diseases, and liver steatosis. We investigated how diets based on lard (predominantly saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids) or flaxseed oil (rich in 18:3n-3) affect liver fat-% and fatty acid profiles of tundra voles (Microtus oeconomus). We also studied potential participation of hyaluronan (HA) in the pathology of fatty liver and whether the development and recovery of fasting-induced steatosis are influenced by n-3 PUFA. The dietary fatty acid composition was manifested in the liver fatty acid signatures. Fasting for 18 h induced macrovesicular steatosis and the liver fat-% increased to 22% independent of the preceding diet. Fasting-induced steatosis did not involve inflammation or connective tissue activation indicated by the absence of both leukocyte accumulation and increased HA. Food deprivation modified the liver fatty acid signatures to resemble more closely the diets. Fasting reduced the proportions of long-chain n-3 PUFA in both dietary regimes and n-3/n-6 PUFA ratios in the lard-fed voles. Decreases in long-chain n-3 PUFA may promote lipid accumulation by modulating the expression of lipid-metabolizing genes. Dietary 18:3n-3 did not prevent the development or attenuate the manifestation of steatosis in the fasted voles or promote the recovery.

  20. THE CHANGING PACE OF INSULAR LIFE: 5000 YEARS OF MICROEVOLUTION IN THE ORKNEY VOLE (MICROTUS ARVALIS ORCADENSIS)

    PubMed Central

    Cucchi, Thomas; Barnett, Ross; Martínková, Natália; Renaud, Sabrina; Renvoisé, Elodie; Evin, Allowen; Sheridan, Alison; Mainland, Ingrid; Wickham‐Jones, Caroline; Tougard, Christelle; Quéré, Jean Pierre; Pascal, Michel; Pascal, Marine; Heckel, Gerald; O'Higgins, Paul; Searle, Jeremy B.; Dobney, Keith M.

    2014-01-01

    Island evolution may be expected to involve fast initial morphological divergence followed by stasis. We tested this model using the dental phenotype of modern and ancient common voles (Microtus arvalis), introduced onto the Orkney archipelago (Scotland) from continental Europe some 5000 years ago. First, we investigated phenotypic divergence of Orkney and continental European populations and assessed climatic influences. Second, phenotypic differentiation among Orkney populations was tested against geography, time, and neutral genetic patterns. Finally, we examined evolutionary change along a time series for the Orkney Mainland. Molar gigantism and anterior‐lobe hypertrophy evolved rapidly in Orkney voles following introduction, without any transitional forms detected. Founder events and adaptation appear to explain this initial rapid evolution. Idiosyncrasy in dental features among different island populations of Orkney voles is also likely the result of local founder events following Neolithic translocation around the archipelago. However, against our initial expectations, a second marked phenotypic shift occurred between the 4th and 12th centuries AD, associated with increased pastoral farming and introduction of competitors (mice and rats) and terrestrial predators (foxes and cats). These results indicate that human agency can generate a more complex pattern of morphological evolution than might be expected in island rodents. PMID:24957579

  1. Utilization of satellite data for inventorying prairie ponds and lakes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Work, E. A., Jr.; Gilmer, D. S.

    1976-01-01

    ERTS-1 data were used in mapping open surface water features in the glaciated prairies. Emphasis was placed on the recognition of these features based upon water's uniquely low radiance in a single near-infrared waveband. On the basis of these results, thematic maps and statistics relating to open surface water were obtained. In a related effort, the added information content of multiple spectral wavebands was used for discriminating surface water at a level of detail finer than the virtual resolution of the data. The basic theory of this technique and some preliminary results are described.

  2. Extracellular enzyme activity and biogeochemical cycling in restored prairies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lynch, L.; Hernandez, D.; Schade, J. D.

    2011-12-01

    Winter microbial activity in mid-latitude prairie ecosystems is thermally sensitive and significantly influenced by snow depth. Snow insulates the soil column facilitating microbial processing of complex organic substrates. Previous studies in forests and tundra ecosystems suggest patterns of substrate utilization and limitation are seasonal; above freezing, soil microbes access fresh litter inputs and sugar exudates from plant roots, while under frozen condition they recycle nutrients incorporated in microbial biomass. In order to liberate nutrients required for carbon degradation, soil microbes invest energy in the production of extracellular enzymes that cleave monomers from polymer bonds. The inverse relationship between relative enzyme abundance and substrate availability makes enzyme assays a useful proxy to assess changes in resources over time. Our objective in this study was to assess patterns in microbial biomass, nutrient availability, and extracellular enzyme activity in four snow exclosure sites over a seven-month period. Over the past three years, we have maintained a snow removal experiment on two restored prairies in central Minnesota. In each prairie, snow was continuously removed annually from two 4 x 4 m plots by shoveling after each snow event. Extractable C, N and P, and microbial C, N and P in soil samples were measured in samples collected from these snow removal plots, as well as in adjacent unmanipulated prairie control plots. Pools of C, N, and P were estimated using standard extraction protocols, and microbial pools were estimated using chloroform fumigation direct extraction (CFDE). We conducted fluorometric extracellular enzyme assays (EEA) to assess how the degradation potential of cellulose (cellobiohydrolase, CBH), protein (leucine aminopeptidase, LAP), and phosphate esters (phosphatase, PHOS) changed seasonally. Microbial C and N declined between October and June, while microbial P declined during the fall and winter, but increased

  3. Enumeration of prairie wetlands with Landsat and aircraft data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gilmer, D. S.; Work, E. A., Jr.; Colwell, J. E.; Rebel, D. L.

    1980-01-01

    A method is described for estimating wetland abundance in the 700,000 sq km prairie pothole region of North America. A double sampling procedure is described, incorporating the use of high resolution aircraft imagery, capable of delineating ponds as small as 5 m across, as a means of adjusting the count of surface water features derived from the low-resolution Landsat census over a 38,876 sq km area in east-central North Dakota. The regression expansion formula used to estimate the actual number of total wetlands is also presented.

  4. Enumeration of prairie wetlands with Landsat and aircraft data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gilmer, D.S.; Work, E.A.; Colwell, J.E.; Rebel, D.L.

    1980-01-01

    A method is described for making an estimate of wetland numbers in the glaciated prairie region. A double-phase sampling approach is used which consists of first making a total census of wetlands using Landsat data, and then adjusting the Landsat results on the basis of samples derived from high resolution aircraft data. The method is relatively simple to use and has general applicability for estimating habitat features not consistently detectable or resolvable on Landsat imagery because their size range includes features less than the resolution capability of the satellite's sensor.

  5. Prairie restoration at the National Wildlife Health Laboratory (Wisconsin)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Windingstad, R.M.

    1986-01-01

    The National Wildlife Health Laboratory (NWHL), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Madison are in the process of a 7-ha prairie restoration project on their lands to create a microcosmic representation of presettlement Wisconsin. Visiting scientists, personnel from local schools and universities, and neighboring public will eventually be able to use this land for its educational and esthetic value while becoming more familiar with the goals and objectives of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the NWHL. Self-guiding nature trails and a kiosk will facilitate public use after the project is completed.

  6. Season and application rates affect vaccine bait consumption by prairie dogs in Colorado and Utah, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tripp, Daniel W.; Rocke, Tonie E.; Streich, Sean P.; Brown, Nathanael L.; Fernandez, Julia Rodriguez-Ramos; Miller, Michael W.

    2014-01-01

    Plague, a zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, causes high rates of mortality in prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.). An oral vaccine against plague has been developed for prairie dogs along with a palatable bait to deliver vaccine and a biomarker to track bait consumption. We conducted field trials between September 2009 and September 2012 to develop recommendations for bait distribution to deliver plague vaccine to prairie dogs. The objectives were to evaluate the use of the biomarker, rhodamine B, in field settings to compare bait distribution strategies, to compare uptake of baits distributed at different densities, to assess seasonal effects on bait uptake, and to measure bait uptake by nontarget small mammal species. Rhodamine B effectively marked prairie dogs' whiskers during these field trials. To compare bait distribution strategies, we applied baits around active burrows or along transects at densities of 32, 65, and 130 baits/ha. Distributing baits at active burrows or by transect did not affect uptake by prairie dogs. Distributing baits at rates of ≥65/ha (or ≥1 bait/active burrow) produced optimal uptake, and bait uptake by prairie dogs in the autumn was superior to uptake in the spring. Six other species of small mammals consumed baits during these trials. All four species of tested prairie dogs readily consumed the baits, demonstrating that vaccine uptake will not be an obstacle to plague control via oral vaccination.

  7. Protecting Black-Footed Ferrets and Prairie Dogs Against Sylvatic Plague

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rocke, Tonie E.

    2008-01-01

    Scientists at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC), in collaboration with colleagues at other federal agencies and the University of Wisconsin, are developing and testing vaccines that can be used to protect black-footed ferrets and prairie dogs against plague. The black-footed ferret is commonly regarded as the most endangered mammal in North America, and sylvatic plague is a major impediment to its recovery. The three prairie dog species (Gunnison's, black-tailed, and white-tailed prairie dogs), upon which the ferret depends for food and whose burrows they use for shelter, have been drastically reduced from historical levels, resulting in the near extinction of the ferret. All three species are considered 'at risk' and have been petitioned for listing as 'threatened' or 'endangered' by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Additionally, the Utah prairie dog is listed as threatened and the Mexican prairie dog is considered endangered in Mexico. Like the black-footed ferret, all five prairie dog species are highly susceptible to plague and regularly experience outbreaks with devastating losses. Controlling plague outbreaks in prairie dogs and ferrets is a vital concern for ongoing recovery programs and conservation efforts for both species.

  8. Influence of conservation programs on amphibians using seasonal wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Balas, Caleb J.; Euliss, Ned H.; Mushnet, David M.

    2012-01-01

    Extensive modification of upland habitats surrounding wetlands to facilitate agricultural production has negatively impacted amphibian communities in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America. In attempts to mitigate ecosystem damage associated with extensive landscape alteration, vast tracks of upland croplands have been returned to perennial vegetative cover (i.e., conservation grasslands) under a variety of U.S. Department of Agriculture programs. We evaluated the influence of these conservation grasslands on amphibian occupancy of seasonal wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region. Using automated call surveys, aquatic funnel traps, and visual encounter surveys, we detected eight amphibian species using wetlands within three land-use categories (farmed, conservation grasslands, and native prairie grasslands) during the summers of 2005 and 2006. Seasonal wetlands within farmlands were used less frequently by amphibians than those within conservation and native prairie grasslands, and wetlands within conservation grasslands were used less frequently than those within native prairie grasslands by all species and life-stages we successfully modeled. Our results suggest that, while not occupied as frequently as wetlands within native prairie, wetlands within conservation grasslands provide important habitat for maintaining amphibian biodiversity in the Prairie Pothole Region

  9. Analysis of ectoparasites (chigger mites, gamasid mites, fleas and sucking lice) of the Yunnan red-backed vole (Eothenomys miletus) sampled throughout its range in southwest China.

    PubMed

    Peng, P-Y; Guo, X-G; Song, W-Y; Hou, P; Zou, Y-J; Fan, R; He, X-S

    2015-12-01

    The Yunnan red-backed vole Eothenomys miletus (Rodentia: Cricetidae) is an endemic rodent species and reservoir host of zoonoses in southwest China. Based on a large host sample (2463 voles collected from 39 localities between 2001 and 2013), a general analysis of four categories of ectoparasite (fleas, sucking lice, chigger mites and gamasid mites) on E. miletus across its entire range of distribution was made. This analysis identified a total of 71 895 ectoparasites belonging to 320 species (30 species of flea, 9 of sucking louse, 106 of gamasid mite and 175 of chigger mite) with a high prevalence (87%), mean abundance (29.19) and mean intensity (33.69). Of the 18 vector species of zoonoses found on E. miletus, the flea Ctenophthalmus quadratus (Siphonaptera: Hystrichopsyllidae) and chigger mite Leptotrombidium scutellare (Trombidiformes: Trombiculidae) were the dominant species; these are the main vectors of zoonoses in China. All of the dominant parasite species showed an aggregated distribution pattern. Male voles harboured more species of parasite than females. Chigger mites represented the most abundant species group on voles and their prevalence was positively correlated with mean abundance (r = 0.73; P < 0.05). As a single rodent species, E. miletus has a high potential to harbour abundant ectoparasites with high species diversity and high rates of infestation. The sex of the vole affects ectoparasite infestation.

  10. Adler hantavirus, a new genetic variant of Tula virus identified in Major's pine voles (Microtus majori) sampled in southern European Russia.

    PubMed

    Tkachenko, Evgeniy A; Witkowski, Peter T; Radosa, Lukas; Dzagurova, Tamara K; Okulova, Nataliya M; Yunicheva, Yulia V; Vasilenko, Ludmila; Morozov, Vyacheslav G; Malkin, Gennadiy A; Krüger, Detlev H; Klempa, Boris

    2015-01-01

    Although at least 30 novel hantaviruses have been recently discovered in novel hosts such as shrews, moles and even bats, hantaviruses (family Bunyaviridae, genus Hantavirus) are primarily known as rodent-borne human pathogens. Here we report on identification of a novel hantavirus variant associated with a rodent host, Major's pine vole (Microtus majori). Altogether 36 hantavirus PCR-positive Major's pine voles were identified in the Krasnodar region of southern European Russia within the years 2008-2011. Initial partial L-segment sequence analysis revealed novel hantavirus sequences. Moreover, we found a single common vole (Microtusarvalis) infected with Tula virus (TULV). Complete S- and M-segment coding sequences were determined from 11 Major's pine voles originating from 8 trapping sites and subjected to phylogenetic analyses. The data obtained show that Major's pine vole is a newly recognized hantavirus reservoir host. The newfound virus, provisionally called Adler hantavirus (ADLV), is closely related to TULV. Based on amino acid differences to TULV (5.6-8.2% for nucleocapsid protein, 9.4-9.5% for glycoprotein precursor) we propose to consider ADLV as a genotype of TULV. Occurrence of ADLV and TULV in the same region suggests that ADLV is not only a geographical variant of TULV but a host-specific genotype. High intra-cluster nucleotide sequence variability (up to 18%) and geographic clustering indicate long-term presence of the virus in this region.

  11. Lesser prairie-chicken avoidance of trees in a grassland landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lautenbach, Joseph M.; Plumb, Reid T.; Robinson, Samantha G.; Hagen, Christian A.; Haukos, David A.; Pitman, James C.

    2016-01-01

    Grasslands are among the most imperiled ecosystems in North America. Reasons that grasslands are threatened include conversion to row-crop agriculture, fragmentation, and changes in fire regimes. The reduction of fire processes in remaining prairies has resulted in tree encroachment and establishment in grasslands, further reducing grassland quantity and quality. Grassland birds have been experiencing precipitous population declines in recent decades, commensurate with landscape changes to grasslands. The lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus Ridgway) is a declining species of prairie grouse of conservation concern. We used second- and third-order habitat selection metrics to test if female lesser prairie-chickens avoid grasslands where trees were present. Our results indicated that female lesser prairie-chickens selected habitats avoiding the nearest trees by 283 m on average, nearly twice as far as would be expected at random. Lesser prairie-chickens were 40 times more likely to use habitats with tree densities of 0 trees ∙ ha− 1 than habitats with 5 trees ∙ ha− 1. Probability of use indicated that lesser prairie-chickens were 19 times more likely to use habitats 1000 m from the nearest tree when compared with using habitats 0 m from the nearest tree. Nest survival was not affected at densities < 2 trees ∙ ha− 1; however, we could not test if nest survival was affected at greater tree densities as no nests were detected at densities > 2 trees ∙ ha− 1. Avoidance of trees could be due to perceived increased predation risk, reduced habitat quality, or a combination of these potentially confounding factors. Preventing further establishment and expansion of trees in landscapes occupied by lesser prairie-chickens could contribute to the continued persistence of the species. Additionally, restoring grasslands through tree removal may facilitate conservation efforts for grassland species such as the lesser prairie-chicken by improving

  12. Climate change and prairie pothole wetlands: mitigating water-level and hydroperiod effects through upland management

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Renton, David A.; Mushet, David M.; DeKeyser, Edward S.

    2015-01-01

    Prairie pothole wetlands offer crucial habitat for North America’s waterfowl populations. The wetlands also support an abundance of other species and provide ecological services valued by society. The hydrology of prairie pothole wetlands is dependent on atmospheric interactions. Therefore, changes to the region’s climate can have profound effects on wetland hydrology. The relevant literature related to climate change and upland management effects on prairie pothole wetland water levels and hydroperiods was reviewed. Climate change is widely expected to affect water levels and hydroperiods of prairie pothole wetlands, as well as the biota and ecological services that the wetlands support. In general, hydrologic model projections that incorporate future climate change scenarios forecast lower water levels in prairie pothole wetlands and longer periods spent in a dry condition, despite potential increases in precipitation. However, the extreme natural variability in climate and hydrology of prairie pothole wetlands necessitates caution when interpreting model results. Recent changes in weather patterns throughout much of the Prairie Pothole Region have been in increased precipitation that results in increased water inputs to wetlands above losses associated with warmer temperatures. However, observed precipitation increases are within the range of natural climate variability and therefore, may not persist. Identifying management techniques with the potential to affect water inputs to prairie pothole wetlands would provide increased options for managers when dealing with the uncertainties associated with a changing climate. Several grassland management techniques (for example, grazing and burning) have the potential to affect water levels and hydroperiods of prairie pothole by affecting infiltration, evapotranspiration, and snow deposition.

  13. Spatial variation in keystone effects: Small mammal diversity associated with black-tailed prairie dog colonies

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cully, J.F.; Collinge, S.K.; Van Nimwegen, R. E.; Ray, C.; Johnson, W.C.; Thiagarajan, B.; Conlin, D.B.; Holmes, B.E.

    2010-01-01

    Species with extensive geographic ranges may interact with different species assemblages at distant locations, with the result that the nature of the interactions may vary spatially. Black-tailed prairie dogs Cynomys ludovicianus occur from Canada to Mexico in grasslands of the western Great Plains of North America. Black-tailed prairie dogs alter vegetation and dig extensive burrow systems that alter grassland habitats for plants and other animal species. These alterations of habitat justify the descriptor " ecological engineer," and the resulting changes in species composition have earned them status as a keystone species. We examined the impact of black-tailed prairie dogs on small mammal assemblages by trapping at on- and off-colony locations at eight study areas across the species' geographic range. We posed 2 nested hypotheses: 1) prairie dogs function as a keystone species for other rodent species; and 2) the keystone role varies spatially. Assuming that it does, we asked what are the sources of the variation? Black-tailed prairie dogs consistently functioned as a keystone species in that there were strong statistically significant differences in community composition on versus off prairie dog colonies across the species range in prairie grassland. Small mammal species composition varied along both latitudinal and longitudinal gradients, and species richness varied from 4 to 11. Assemblages closer together were more similar; such correlations approximately doubled when including only on- or off-colony grids. Black-tailed prairie dogs had a significant effect on associated rodent assemblages that varied regionally, dependent upon the composition of the local rodent species pool. Over the range of the black-tailed prairie dog, on-colony rodent richness and evenness were less variable, and species composition was more consistent than off-colony assemblages. ?? 2010 The Authors.

  14. Avoidance behavior by prairie grouse: implications for development of wind energy.

    PubMed

    Pruett, Christin L; Patten, Michael A; Wolfe, Donald H

    2009-10-01

    New wind-energy facilities and their associated power transmission lines and roads are being constructed at a rapid pace in the Great Plains of North America. Nevertheless, little is known about the possible negative effects these anthropogenic features might have on prairie birds, one of the most threatened groups in North America. We examined radiotelemetry tracking locations of Lesser Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) and Greater Prairie-Chickens (T. cupido) in two locations in Oklahoma to determine whether these birds avoided or changed movement behavior near power lines and paved highways. We tracked 463 Lesser Prairie-Chickens (15,071 tracking locations) and 216 Greater Prairie-Chickens (5,750 locations) for 7 and 3 years, respectively. Individuals of both species avoided power lines by at least 100 m and Lesser Prairie-Chickens avoided one of the two highways by 100 m. Prairie-chickens crossed power lines less often than expected if birds moved randomly (p < 0.05) but did not appear to perceive highways as a movement barrier (p > 0.05). In addition, home ranges of Lesser Prairie-Chickens overlapped the power line less often than would be expected by chance placement of home ranges; this result was supported by kernel-density estimation of home ranges. It is likely that new power lines (and other tall structures such as wind turbines) will lead to avoidance of previously suitable habitat and will serve as barriers to movement. These two factors will likely increase fragmentation in an already fragmented landscape if wind energy development continues in prairie habitats.

  15. Rangewide genetic analysis of Lesser Prairie-Chicken reveals population structure, range expansion, and possible introgression

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; DeYoung, Randall W; Fike, Jennifer; Hagen, Christian A.; Johnson, Jeff A.; Larsson, Lena C; Patten, Michael

    2016-01-01

    The distribution of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) has been markedly reduced due to loss and fragmentation of habitat. Portions of the historical range, however, have been recolonized and even expanded due to planting of conservation reserve program (CRP) fields that provide favorable vegetation structure for Lesser Prairie-Chickens. The source population(s) feeding the range expansion is unknown, yet has resulted in overlap between Lesser and Greater Prairie-Chickens (T. cupido) increasing the potential for hybridization. Our objectives were to characterize connectivity and genetic diversity among populations, identify source population(s) of recent range expansion, and examine hybridization with the Greater Prairie-Chicken. We analyzed 640 samples from across the range using 13 microsatellites. We identified three to four populations corresponding largely to ecoregions. The Shinnery Oak Prairie and Sand Sagebrush Prairie represented genetically distinct populations (F ST > 0.034 and F ST > 0.023 respectively). The Shortgrass/CRP Mosaic and Mixed Grass ecoregions appeared admixed (F ST = 0.009). Genetic diversity was similar among ecoregions and N e ranged from 142 (95 % CI 99–236) for the Shortgrass/CRP Mosaic to 296 (95 % CI 233–396) in the Mixed Grass Prairie. No recent migration was detected among ecoregions, except asymmetric dispersal from both the Mixed Grass Prairie and to a lesser extent the Sand Sagebrush Prairie north into adjacent Shortgrass/CRP Mosaic (m = 0.207, 95 % CI 0.116–0.298, m = 0.097, 95 % CI 0.010–0.183, respectively). Indices investigating potential hybridization in the Shortgrass/CRP Mosaic revealed that six of the 13 individuals with hybrid phenotypes were significantly admixed suggesting hybridization. Continued monitoring of diversity within and among ecoregions is warranted as are actions promoting genetic connectivity and range expansion.

  16. Energy and conservation benefits from managed prairie biomass

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jungers, Jacob M.; Trost, Jared J.; Lehman, Clarence L.; Tilman, David; Booth, Elaine

    2011-01-01

    Marginally productive land, such as that enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), may provide acreage and economic incentives for cellulosic energy production. Improving the yields from these lands will help establish a biomass producer?s position in the marketplace. The effects of water and nitrogen on biomass yields were investigated in both a plot-scale experiment and a broad-scale survey of CRP lands. The plot-scale experiment demonstrated that irrigation improved mixed-species prairie biomass yields more than nitrogen fertilizer on coarse-textured, marginally productive soils. Experimental plots amended with both irrigation and moderate (but not high) nitrogen produced more biomass than other treatment combinations, but this trend was not statistically significant. The survey of biomass yields on CRP lands across four Midwestern States indicates that yields are better correlated with June rainfall than any other individual month. Applying nutrient-enriched water such as agricultural runoff could benefit prairie yields if applied at appropriate times.

  17. Groundwater nutrient concentrations during prairie reconstruction on an Iowa landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tomer, M.D.; Schilling, K.E.; Cambardella, C.A.; Jacobson, P.; Drobney, P.

    2010-01-01

    One anticipated benefit of ecosystem restoration is water quality improvement. This study evaluated NO3-N and phosphorus in subsurface waters during prairie establishment following decades of row-crop agriculture. A prairie seeding in late 2003 became established in 2006. Wells and suction cup samplers were monitored for NO3-N and phosphorus. Nitrate-N varied with time and landscape position. Non-detectable NO3-N concentrations became modal along ephemeral drainageways in 2006, when average concentrations in uplands first became <10mg NO3-NL-1. This decline continued and upland groundwater averaged near 2mg NO3-NL-1 after 2007. The longer time lag in NO3-N response in uplands was attributed to greater quantities of leachable N in upland subsoils. Spatial differences in vadose-zone travel times were less important, considering water table dynamics. Phosphorus showed a contrasting landscape pattern, without any obvious temporal trend. Phosphorus was greatest along and near ephemeral drainageways. Sediment accumulation from upland agricultural erosion provided a source of P along drainageways, where shallow, reductive groundwater increased P solubility. Phosphorus exceeded eutrophication risk thresholds in these lower areas, where saturation-excess runoff could readily transport P to surface waters. Legacy impacts of past agricultural erosion and sedimentation may include soluble phosphorus in shallow groundwater, at sites prone to saturation-excess runoff. ?? 2010.

  18. Fire and grazing regulate belowground processes in tallgrass prairie

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, Loretta C.; Matchett, John R.

    2001-01-01

    In tallgrass prairie, belowground processes are even more important than in forested systems because aboveground biomass and standing dead litter are periodically removed by frequent fires or grazers. Thus, studies that address factors regulating belowground processes are especially relevant for tallgrass prairie. We predicted that effects of grazing and burning differ belowground and that changes in root productivity caused by burning or grazing provide feedback that affects ecosystem fluxes of C and N. These differences in belowground response should be driven largely by changes in N dynamics and the degree to which burning and grazing affect the pathway and magnitude of N loss and the degree of N limitation in these systems. Fire, the major pathway of N loss in ungrazed tallgrass prairie, should result in reduced net N mineralization and N availability. We expected plants to compensate for increased N limitation by increasing their allocation to roots, as manifested in increased soil respiration and C cycling belowground. In contrast, grazing conserves N in the ecosystem by redistributing the N once contained in grass to labile forms in urine and dung. Thus, we predicted that grazing should increase N cycling rates and N availability to plants. Consequently, grazed plants should be less N limited and should allocate less C to roots and more to shoots. This, in turn, should decrease belowground C cycling, manifested as reduced soil CO2 flux.We explored the roles of grazing and burning on root growth in experimental watersheds at Konza Prairie, Kansas, USA. To assess effects of fire on root productivity, we installed root ingrowth cores in two watersheds without grazers that differ in fire frequency: annually vs. infrequently burned (four years since the last fire). To assess effects of grazing, we installed root ingrowth cores in an annually burned watershed grazed by bison and in fenced controls (exclosures). Within bison “grazing lawns,” root ingrowth cores

  19. Spatiotemporal dynamics of black-tailed prairie dog colonies affected by plague

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Augustine, D.J.; Matchett, M.R.; Toombs, T.P.; Cully, J.F.; Johnson, T.L.; Sidle, John G.

    2008-01-01

    Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are a key component of the disturbance regime in semi-arid grasslands of central North America. Many studies have compared community and ecosystem characteristics on prairie dog colonies to grasslands without prairie dogs, but little is known about landscape-scale patterns of disturbance that prairie dog colony complexes may impose on grasslands over long time periods. We examined spatiotemporal dynamics in two prairie dog colony complexes in southeastern Colorado (Comanche) and northcentral Montana (Phillips County) that have been strongly influenced by plague, and compared them to a complex unaffected by plague in northwestern Nebraska (Oglala). Both plague-affected complexes exhibited substantial spatiotemporal variability in the area occupied during a decade, in contrast to the stability of colonies in the Oglala complex. However, the plague-affected complexes differed in spatial patterns of colony movement. Colonies in the Comanche complex in shortgrass steppe shifted locations over a decade. Only 10% of the area occupied in 1995 was still occupied by prairie dogs in 2006. In 2005 and 2006 respectively, 74 and 83% of the total area of the Comanche complex occurred in locations that were not occupied in 1995, and only 1% of the complex was occupied continuously over a dec