Science.gov

Sample records for developing zebra finch

  1. Observing the Zebra Finch.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Waters, Charles

    1979-01-01

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

  2. Development of temporal structure in zebra finch song

    PubMed Central

    Troyer, Todd W.

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Winograd, Claudia; Clayton, David; Ceman, Stephanie

    2008-01-01

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

  5. Dynamics of zebra finch and mockingbird vocalizations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cimenser, Aylin

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

  6. Embryological Staging of the Zebra Finch, Taeniopygia guttata

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Merrill, Loren; Grindstaff, Jennifer L

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Merrill, Loren; Grindstaff, Jennifer L.

    2015-01-01

    Maternally transferred antibodies have been documented in a wide range of taxa and are thought to adaptively provide protection against parasites and pathogens while the offspring immune system is developing. In most birds, transfer occurs when females deposit immunoglobulin Y into the egg yolk, and it is proportional to the amount in the female’s plasma. Maternal antibodies can provide short-term passive protection as well as specific and nonspecific immunological priming, but high levels of maternal antibody can result in suppression of the offspring’s humoral immune response. We injected adult female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) with one of two antigens (lipo-polysaccharide [LPS] or keyhole limpet hemocyanin [KLH]) or a control and then injected offspring with LPS, KLH, or a control on days 5 and 28 posthatch to examine the impact of maternally transferred antibodies on the ontogeny of the offspring’s humoral immune system. We found that offspring of females exposed to KLH had elevated levels of KLH-reactive antibody over the first 17–28 days posthatch but reduced KLH-specific antibody production between days 28 and 36. We also found that offspring exposed to either LPS or KLH exhibited reduced total antibody levels, compared to offspring that received a control injection. These results indicate that high levels of maternal antibodies or antigen exposure during development can have negative repercussions on short-term antibody production and may have long-term fitness repercussions for the offspring. PMID:25244385

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-10-04

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

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

    PubMed

    Soderstrom, Ken; Gilbert, Marcoita T

    2013-03-19

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Soderstrom, Ken; Gilbert, Marcoita T.

    2012-01-01

    Normal CNS development proceeds through late-postnatal stages of adolescent development. The activity-dependence of this development underscores significance of CNS-active drug exposure prior to completion of brain maturation. Exogenous modulation of signaling important in regulating normal development is of particular concern. This mini-review presents a summary of accumulated behavioral, physiological and biochemical evidence supporting such a key regulatory role for endocannabinoid signaling during late-postnatal CNS development. Our focus is on data obtained using a unique zebra finch model of developmental psychopharmacology. This animal has allowed investigation of neuronal morphological effects essential to establishment and maintenance of neural circuitry, including processes related to synaptogenesis and dendritic spine dynamics. Altered neurophysiology that follows exogenous cannabinoid exposure during adolescent development has potential to persistently alter cognition, learning and memory. PMID:22884809

  16. Female Zebra Finches Smell Their Eggs

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

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

  18. Vocal Tract Articulation in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Lund, Melissa; Shearn-Bochsler, Valerie

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Tam, Helen; Schlinger, Barney A.

    2009-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Braaten, Richard F.

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kriengwatana, Buddhamas; MacDougall-Shackleton, Scott A

    2015-01-01

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

  5. Mechanisms of copying behaviour in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Guillette, Lauren M; Healy, Susan D

    2014-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2003-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Schmitz, Anna; Peschel, Andrea; Korbel, Rüdiger

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Spierings, Michelle J; ten Cate, Carel

    2014-07-22

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Figueredo, Aurelio Jose; And Others

    1992-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Killpack, Tess L.; Karasov, William H.

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Reers, Hendrik; Jacot, Alain; Forstmeier, Wolfgang

    2011-04-13

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-08-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Reers, Hendrik; Jacot, Alain; Forstmeier, Wolfgang

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  4. Digital gene expression analysis of the zebra finch genome

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  7. Colour preferences in nest-building zebra finches.

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-01

    Some bird species are selective in the materials they choose for nest building, preferring, for example, materials of one colour to others. However, in many cases the cause of these preferences is not clear. One of those species is the zebra finch, which exhibits strong preferences for particular colours of nest material. In an attempt to determine why these birds strongly prefer one colour of material over another, we compared the preferences of paired male zebra finches for nest material colour with their preferences for food of the same colours. We found that birds did indeed prefer particular colours of nest material (in most cases blue) but that they did not generally prefer food of one colour over the other colours. It appears, then, that a preference for one colour or another of nest material is specific to the nest-building context. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: insert SI title. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed Central

    Riede, Tobias; Schilling, Nadja; Goller, Franz

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Riede, Tobias; Schilling, Nadja; Goller, Franz

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Sanford, Kirsten; Clayton, Nicola S

    2008-04-01

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

  12. Developmental stress increases reproductive success in male zebra finches

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Galoch, Zdzislaw; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2007-01-10

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    McDonald, Kathryn S; Kirn, John R

    2012-11-01

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

  17. Anatomical plasticity in the adult Zebra Finch song system

    PubMed Central

    McDonald, Kathryn S.; Kirn, John R.

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-02-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Immelmann, K; Piltz, A; Sossinka, R

    1977-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    1999-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-15

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Forstmeier, Wolfgang; Ellegren, Hans

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Mello, Claudio V

    2014-10-23

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Asfaw, Yohannes G; Sun, Francis J

    2010-09-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  11. Sexual Dimorphism in the Early Embryogenesis in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Tagirov, Makhsud; Rutkowska, Joanna

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Tagirov, Makhsud; Rutkowska, Joanna

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Burley, Nancy Tyler; Foster, Valerie Suzanne

    2004-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Roy, Arani; Mooney, Richard

    2009-01-01

    In adult male zebra finches, transecting the vocal nerve causes previously stable (i.e., crystallized) song to slowly degrade, presumably because of the resulting distortion in auditory feedback. How and where distorted feedback interacts with song motor networks to induce this process of song decrystallization remains unknown. The song premotor nucleus HVC is a potential site where auditory feedback signals could interact with song motor commands. Although the forebrain nucleus interface of the nidopallium (NIf) appears to be the primary auditory input to HVC, NIf lesions made in adult zebra finches do not trigger song decrystallization. One possibility is that NIf lesions do not interfere with song maintenance, but do compromise the adult zebra finch's ability to express renewed vocal plasticity in response to feedback perturbations. To test this idea, we bilaterally lesioned NIf and then transected the vocal nerve in adult male zebra finches. We found that bilateral NIf lesions did not prevent nerve section–induced song decrystallization. To test the extent to which the NIf lesions disrupted auditory processing in the song system, we made in vivo extracellular recordings in HVC and a downstream anterior forebrain pathway (AFP) in NIf-lesioned birds. We found strong and selective auditory responses to the playback of the birds' own song persisted in HVC and the AFP following NIf lesions. These findings suggest that auditory inputs to the song system other than NIf, such as the caudal mesopallium, could act as a source of auditory feedback signals to the song motor network. PMID:19515953

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Figueredo, Aurelio Jose; And Others

    1995-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Roy, Arani; Mooney, Richard

    2009-08-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Figueredo, Aurelio Jose; And Others

    1995-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Sadananda, Monika; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2002-06-24

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Ahmadiantehrani, Somayeh; London, Sarah E.

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2001-03-30

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

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

    PubMed

    Morrison, R G; Nottebohm, F

    1993-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Rollenhagen, A; Bischof, H J

    2000-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Mello, Claudio V.

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Soderstrom, Ken; Tian, Qiyu

    2006-06-10

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Baran, Nicole M; Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Katz, M; Lachlan, R F

    2003-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Baran, Nicole M.; Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Schlinger, B A; Arnold, A P

    1992-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Jesse, Fabienne; Riebel, Katharina

    2012-11-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Vernaleo, Beth A.; Dooling, Robert J.

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-12-15

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    Konishi, M.; Akutagawa, E. )

    1990-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-07

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Pinzon-Rodriguez, Atticus; Muheim, Rachel

    2017-04-01

    Birds have a light-dependent magnetic compass that provides information about the spatial alignment of the geomagnetic field. It is proposed to be located in the avian retina and mediated by a light-induced, radical-pair mechanism involving cryptochromes as sensory receptor molecules. To investigate how the behavioural responses of birds under different light spectra match with cryptochromes as the primary magnetoreceptor, we examined the spectral properties of the magnetic compass in zebra finches. We trained birds to relocate a food reward in a spatial orientation task using magnetic compass cues. The birds were well oriented along the trained magnetic compass axis when trained and tested under low-irradiance 521 nm green light. In the presence of a 1.4 MHz radio-frequency electromagnetic (RF)-field, the birds were disoriented, which supports the involvement of radical-pair reactions in the primary magnetoreception process. Birds trained and tested under 638 nm red light showed a weak tendency to orient ∼45 deg clockwise of the trained magnetic direction. Under low-irradiance 460 nm blue light, they tended to orient along the trained magnetic compass axis, but were disoriented under higher irradiance light. Zebra finches trained and tested under high-irradiance 430 nm indigo light were well oriented along the trained magnetic compass axis, but disoriented in the presence of a RF-field. We conclude that magnetic compass responses of zebra finches are similar to those observed in nocturnally migrating birds and agree with cryptochromes as the primary magnetoreceptor, suggesting that light-dependent, radical-pair-mediated magnetoreception is a common property for all birds, including non-migratory species. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-06

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Spierings, Michelle J.; ten Cate, Carel

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Spierings, Michelle J; Ten Cate, Carel

    2016-07-05

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Hofmeister, Erik K.; Balakrishnan, Christopher N.

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-17

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Guillette, Lauren M; Healy, Susan D

    2016-12-30

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

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

    PubMed

    Chen, Jiani; Ten Cate, Carel

    2015-08-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-11-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Fukushima, Makoto; Margoliash, Daniel

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-03-01

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

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

    Treesearch

    Thomas J. Maier; Richard M. DeGraaf

    2001-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Balakrishnan, Christopher N.; Edwards, Scott V.

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Norton, Philipp; Scharff, Constance

    2016-01-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    Scheuhammer, A.M.

    1988-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    1997-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-06

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kniel, Nina; Bender, Stefanie; Witte, Klaudia

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Welch, Kenneth C.

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Velten, Brandy P; Welch, Kenneth C

    2014-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Kniel, Nina; Bender, Stefanie; Witte, Klaudia

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Noreen, Elin; Bourgeon, Sophie; Bech, Claus

    2011-07-01

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

  16. Behavioural and neurophysiological aspects of sexual imprinting in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Bischof, H J; Rollenhagen, A

    1999-02-01

    Sexual imprinting has been defined as the process by which young animals learn the characteristics of their future sexual partners. It is a two stage process including an acquisition period where features of the social environment are learnt, and a stabilization process by which, under the guidance of the previously acquired social information, a preference for a sexual partner is established and stabilized, so that it cannot be altered again subsequently. The stabilization process is short (1 h) and can be controlled experimentally. This allows for the design of experiments to examine the physiological events accompanying the imprinting process. During the stabilization process, four areas of the forebrain are more activated than in any other behavioural context. These are the hyperstriatum accessorium/dorsale (HAD), the archi-neostriatum caudale (ANC), the medial neo/hyperstriatum (MNH) and the lateral neo/hyperstriatum (LNH). Isolation during development reduces the spine density of neurons in HAD and ANC and enhances it in MNH and LNH. Subsequent exposure to a female (which stabilizes the previously acquired preference in behavioural experiments) for 1 week leads to an enhancement of spine densities in HAD and ANC, and to a reduction in MNH and LNH. The enhancement in HAD and ANC is reversible by a second isolation period after the exposure to a female, the reduction within MNH and LNH is not. This irreversibility indicates that the reduction process within MNH and LNH may be the anatomical manifestation of the imprinting process. The examination of spine densities in the four brain areas after two experiments which have been shown previously to affect the stabilization process in behavioural experiments, confirms this idea.

  17. Long-Distance Retinoid Signaling in the Zebra Finch Brain

    PubMed Central

    Roeske, Tina C.; Scharff, Constance; Olson, Christopher R.; Nshdejan, Arpik; Mello, Claudio V.

    2014-01-01

    All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), the main active metabolite of vitamin A, is a powerful signaling molecule that regulates large-scale morphogenetic processes during vertebrate embryonic development, but is also involved post-natally in regulating neural plasticity and cognition. In songbirds, it plays an important role in the maturation of learned song. The distribution of the ATRA-synthesizing enzyme, zRalDH, and of ATRA receptors (RARs) have been described, but information on the distribution of other components of the retinoid signaling pathway is still lacking. To address this gap, we have determined the expression patterns of two obligatory RAR co-receptors, the retinoid X receptors (RXR) α and γ, and of the three ATRA-degrading cytochromes CYP26A1, CYP26B1, and CYP26C1. We have also studied the distribution of zRalDH protein using immunohistochemistry, and generated a refined map of ATRA localization, using a modified reporter cell assay to examine entire brain sections. Our results show that (1) ATRA is more broadly distributed in the brain than previously predicted by the spatially restricted distribution of zRalDH transcripts. This could be due to long-range transport of zRalDH enzyme between different nuclei of the song system: Experimental lesions of putative zRalDH peptide source regions diminish ATRA-induced transcription in target regions. (2) Four telencephalic song nuclei express different and specific subsets of retinoid-related receptors and could be targets of retinoid regulation; in the case of the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (lMAN), receptor expression is dynamically regulated in a circadian and age-dependent manner. (3) High-order auditory areas exhibit a complex distribution of transcripts representing ATRA synthesizing and degrading enzymes and could also be a target of retinoid signaling. Together, our survey across multiple connected song nuclei and auditory brain regions underscores the prominent role of

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

    PubMed

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

    1998-09-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Yu Ping; Wade, Juli

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Beach, L. Q.; Wade, J.

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

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

  5. 17β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type IV, a Z-linked gene, is higher in females than in males in visual and auditory regions of developing zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Tomaszycki, Michelle L; Dzubur, Eldin

    2013-07-03

    One of the most important decisions in a monogamous animal's life is the choice of a partner (partner preference), but the process by which this occurs remains poorly understood. The present study tests the hypothesis that hormones and genes play a role in sexual differentiation of partner preferences, as in the song system. We focused on a Z-linked gene, 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type IV (HSD17B4), coding for a steroidogenic enzyme that converts estradiol (E2) into an inactive metabolite. HSD17B4 mRNA is expressed more in the song regions of males compared to females throughout development, suggesting that regulation of E2 is important for male-typical song development. Here, we focused on four regions associated with sexual partner preferences. Females had significantly higher levels of HSD17B4 mRNA in auditory (caudomedial nidopallium) and visual (hyperpallium apicale) regions than did males at day 25. HSD17B4 was expressed in the hippocampus and caudolateral nidopallium, but there were no sex differences. In a second experiment, animals of both sexes were treated with E2 and HSD17B4 and androgen receptor (AR) mRNA were measured, since masculinization of the song system is, in part, accomplished by AR. AR was low across the four regions and was not sexually differentiated. E2 treatments increased HSD17B4 mRNA in the auditory region of males, which is contrary to findings in the song system. Our research suggests that different behaviors may be guided by the same genes and hormones, but that the exact nature of the gene-hormone relationships may differ according to brain region and behavior. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. Hippocampal Lesions Impair Spatial Memory Performance, but Not Song-A Developmental Study of Independent Memory Systems in the Zebra Finch

    PubMed Central

    Bailey, David J.; Wade, Juli; Saldanha, Colin J.

    2009-01-01

    Songbirds demonstrate song- and spatial-learning, forms of memory that appear distinct in formal characteristics and fitting the descriptions and criteria of procedural and episodic-like memory function, respectively. As in other vertebrates, the neural pathways underlying these forms of memory may also be dissociable, and include the corresponding song circuit and hippocampus (HP). Whether (or not) these two memory systems interact is unknown. Interestingly, the HP distinguishes itself as a site of immediate early gene expression in response to song and as a site of estrogen synthesis, a steroid involved in song learning. Thus, an interaction between these memory systems and their anatomical substrates appears reasonable to hypothesize, particularly during development. To test this idea, juvenile male or female zebra finches received chemical lesions of the HP at various points during song learning, as did adults. Song structure, singing behavior, song preference, and spatial memory were tested in adulthood. Although lesions of the HP severely compromised HP-dependent spatial memory function across all ages and in both sexes, we were unable to detect any effects of HP lesions on song learning, singing, or song structure in males. Interestingly, females lesioned as adults, but not as juveniles, did lose the characteristic preference for their father's song. Since compromise of the neural circuits that subserve episodic-like memory does very little (if anything) to affect procedural-like (song learning) memory, we conclude that these memory systems and their anatomical substrates are well dissociated in the developing male zebra finch. PMID:19280648

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-17

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-06-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Jha, Neelu Anand; Kumar, Vinod

    2017-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-15

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

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

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

    PubMed

    Waterman, Susanna A; Harding, Cheryl F

    2008-04-09

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Akutagawa, Eugene; Konishi, Masakazu

    2005-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    del Priore, Lucía; Pigozzi, María I

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Williams, H

    2001-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-01-22

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-23

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

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

    PubMed

    Naie, Katja; Hahnloser, Richard H R

    2011-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Gilbert, Marcoita T.; Soderstrom, Ken

    2011-01-01

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

  10. Small molecule analysis and imaging of fatty acids in the zebra finch song system using time-of-flight-secondary ion mass spectrometry

    PubMed Central

    Amaya, Kensey R.; Sweedler, Jonathan V.; Clayton, David F.

    2011-01-01

    Fatty acids are central to brain metabolism and signaling, but their distributions within complex brain circuits have been difficult to study. Here we applied an emerging technique, time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), to image specific fatty acids in a favorable model system for chemical analyses of brain circuits, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). The zebra finch, a songbird, produces complex learned vocalizations under the control of an interconnected set of discrete, dedicated brain nuclei “song nuclei”. Using ToF-SIMS, the major song nuclei were visualized by virtue of differences in their content of essential and non-essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids (arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) showed distinctive distributions across the song nuclei, and the 18-carbon fatty acids stearate and oleate discriminated the different core and shell subregions of song nucleus LMAN. Principle component analysis of the spectral data set provided further evidence of chemical distinctions between the song nuclei. By analyzing song nucleus RA at three different ages during juvenile song learning, we obtain the first direct evidence of changes in lipid content that correlate with progression of song learning. The results demonstrate the value of ToF-SIMS to study lipids in a favorable model system for probing the function of lipids in brain organization, development and function. PMID:21496023

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

    Mitochondria have a fundamental role in the transduction of energy from food into ATP. The coupling between food oxidation and ATP production is never perfect, but may nevertheless be of evolutionary significance. The 'uncoupling to survive' hypothesis suggests that 'mild' mitochondrial uncoupling evolved as a protective mechanism against the excessive production of damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS). Because resource allocation and ROS production are thought to shape animal life histories, alternative life-history trajectories might be driven by individual variation in the degree of mitochondrial uncoupling. We tested this hypothesis in a small bird species, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), by treating adults with the artificial mitochondrial uncoupler 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) over a 32-month period. In agreement with our expectations, the uncoupling treatment increased metabolic rate. However, we found no evidence that treated birds enjoyed lower oxidative stress levels or greater survival rates, in contrast to previous results in other taxa. In vitro experiments revealed lower sensitivity of ROS production to DNP in mitochondria isolated from skeletal muscles of zebra finch than mouse. In addition, we found significant reductions in the number of eggs laid and in the inflammatory immune response in treated birds. Altogether, our data suggest that the 'uncoupling to survive' hypothesis may not be applicable for zebra finches, presumably because of lower effects of mitochondrial uncoupling on mitochondrial ROS production in birds than in mammals. Nevertheless, mitochondrial uncoupling appeared to be a potential life-history regulator of traits such as fecundity and immunity at adulthood, even with food supplied ad libitum. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

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

    PubMed

    Smiley, Kristina O; Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth

    2016-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2001-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-08-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Levréro, Florence; Blanc, Alain; Mathevon, Nicolas

    2012-02-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Pinaud, Raphael; Mello, Claudio V.

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Keary, Nina; Voss, Joe; Lehmann, Konrad

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Dubois, Frédérique; Belzile, Alexandra

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Lovell, Peter V.; Mello, Claudio V.

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Sizemore, Max; Perkel, David J.

    2008-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Herrmann, K; Bischof, H J

    1986-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Wang, Daiping; Forstmeier, Wolfgang; Kempenaers, Bart

    2017-08-31

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    1994-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Helekar; Marsh; Viswanath; Rosenfield

    2000-04-03

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Tomaszycki, Michelle L; Blaine, Sara K

    2014-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2005-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-02-22

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Qi, Linda M.; Wade, Juli

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-09-30

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

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

    PubMed

    Soderstrom, Ken; Wilson, Ashley R

    2013-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Krause, E Tobias

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Merrill, Loren; Grindstaff, Jennifer L.

    2014-01-01

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

  10. Cortisol and corticosterone in immune organs and brain of European starlings: developmental changes, effects of restraint stress, comparison with zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Kim L; Chin, Eunice H; Shah, Amit H; Soma, Kiran K

    2009-07-01

    Glucocorticoids (GCs) are produced in the adrenal glands and also in extra-adrenal sites, including immune organs and brain. Here, we examined regulation of systemic GC levels in plasma and local GC levels in immune organs and brain during development. We conducted two studies and examined a total of 462 samples from 70 subjects. In study 1, we determined corticosterone and cortisol levels in the plasma, immune organs, and brain of wild European starlings on posthatch day 0 (P0) and P10 (at baseline and after 45 min of restraint). Baseline corticosterone and cortisol levels were low in the immune organs and brain at P0 and P10, providing little evidence for local GC synthesis in starlings. At P0, restraint had no significant effects on corticosterone or cortisol levels in the plasma or tissues; however, there was a trend for restraint to increase both corticosterone and cortisol in the immune organs. At P10, restraint increased corticosterone levels in the plasma and all tissues, but restraint increased cortisol levels in the plasma, thymus, and diencephalon only. In study 2, we directly compared GC levels in European starlings and zebra finches at P4. In zebra finches but not starlings, cortisol levels were higher in the immune organs than in plasma. This difference in immune GC levels might be due to evolutionary lineage, life history strategy, or experiential factors, such as parasite exposure. This is the first study to measure immune GC levels in wild animals and one of the first studies to measure local GC levels after restraint stress.

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

    PubMed

    Martyka, Rafał; Rutkowska, Joanna; Cichoń, Mariusz

    2011-02-23

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-07-01

    Stress is thought to be a potent suppressor of reproduction. However, the vast majority of studies focus on the relationship between chronic stress and reproductive suppression, despite the fact that chronic stress is rare in the wild. We investigated the role of fasting in altering acute stress physiology, reproductive physiology, and reproductive behavior of male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) with several goals in mind. First, we wanted to determine if acute fasting could stimulate an increase in plasma corticosterone and a decrease in corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG) and testosterone. We then investigated whether fasting could alter expression of undirected song and courtship behavior. After subjecting males to fasting periods ranging from 1 to 10h, we collected plasma to measure corticosterone, CBG, and testosterone. We found that plasma corticosterone was elevated, and testosterone was decreased after 4, 6, and 10h of fasting periods compared with samples collected from the same males during nonfasted (control) periods. CBG was lower than control levels only after 10h of fasting. We also found that, coincident with these endocrine changes, males sang less and courted females less vigorously following short-term fasting relative to control conditions. Our data demonstrate that acute fasting resulted in rapid changes in endocrine physiology consistent with hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis activation and hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis deactivation. Fasting also inhibited reproductive behavior. We suggest that zebra finches exhibit physiological and behavioral flexibility that makes them an excellent model system for studying interactions of acute stress and reproduction. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Sadananda, Monika; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2006-10-16

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-10-01

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

  1. Living with the past: nutritional stress in juvenile males has immediate effects on their plumage ornaments and on adult attractiveness in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Naguib, Marc; Nemitz, Andrea

    2007-09-19

    The environmental conditions individuals experience during early development are well known to have fundamental effects on a variety of fitness-relevant traits. Although it is evident that the earliest developmental stages have large effects on fitness, other developmental stages, such as the period when secondary sexual characters develop, might also exert a profound effect on fitness components. Here we show experimentally in male zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata, that nutritional conditions during this later period have immediate effects on male plumage ornaments and on their attractiveness as adults. Males that had received high quality food during the second month of life, a period when secondary sexual characteristics develop, were significantly more attractive as adults in mate choice tests than siblings supplied with standard food during this period. Preferred males that had experienced better nutritional conditions had larger orange cheek patches when nutritional treatments ended than did unpreferred males. Sexual plumage ornaments of young males thus are honest indicators of nutritional conditions during this period. The mate choice tests with adult birds indicate that nutritional conditions during the period of song learning, brain and gonad development, and moult into adult plumage have persisting effects on male attractiveness. This suggests that the developmental period following nutritional dependence from the parents is just as important in affecting adult attractiveness as are much earlier developmental periods. These findings thus contribute to understanding the origin and consequences of environmentally determined fitness components.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Plummer, Emily Megan; Goller, Franz

    2008-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-04-05

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-06-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    1994-07-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Liao, Congshu; Li, Dongfeng

    2012-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ewenson, Erynne; Zann, Richard; Flannery, Graham

    2001-08-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

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

  14. 17β-ESTRADIOL LEVELS IN MALE ZEBRA FINCH BRAIN: COMBINING PALKOVITS PUNCH AND AN ULTRASENSITIVE RADIOIMMUNOASSAY

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Mendoza, Ezequiel; Scharff, Constance

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Mendoza, Ezequiel; Scharff, Constance

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-08-04

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Keary, Nina; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Tokarev, Kirill; Tiunova, Anna

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Chantal, Véronique

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

    We previously demonstrated that hormone treatments which stimulate female-directed singing increased levels and turnover of dopamine (DA) in brain areas controlling the motor patterning of song. To help determine how DA affects singing, we quantified the effects of treating adult male finches with the D1/D2 receptor antagonist cis-flupenthixol. Adult males were given subcutaneous silastic implants of androgen, in case drug treatment interfered with androgen secretion. One week later, they were tested with females. Males were divided into three groups matched for levels of courtship singing. Males were then subcutaneously implanted with osmotic minipumps containing either saline, a low, or a high dose of cis-flupenthixol. Each male was tested with a different female 5 and 10 days after implantation to determine how this D1/D2 receptor antagonist affected behavior. Both drug doses affected female-directed singing 5 days after initiation of treatment. High-dose males sang to females significantly less often than males in the other two groups. Low-dose males showed fewer high-intensity courtship displays in which males dance towards females as they sing. These effects on courtship singing were not seen at day 10, though other behavioral effects were seen at this time. Male beak wipes, rocks, following females and female withdrawals from males were also affected by drug treatment. General activity in the home cage was decreased by day 11. These data demonstrate that singing and several other female-directed behaviors are sensitive to perturbations in DA receptor function. PMID:17945359

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-02-11

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2007-02-01

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

  7. Three IgH isotypes, IgM, IgA and IgY are expressed in Gentoo penguin and zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Han, Binyue; Li, Yan; Han, Haitang; Zhao, Yaofeng; Pan, Qingjie; Ren, Liming

    2017-01-01

    Previous studies on a limited number of birds suggested that the IgD-encoding gene was absent in birds. However, one of our recent studies showed that the gene was definitely expressed in the ostrich and emu. Interestingly, we also identified subclass diversification of IgM and IgY in these two birds. To better understand immunoglobulin genes in birds, in this study, we analyzed the immunoglobulin heavy chain genes in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) and Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua), belonging respectively to the order Passeriformes, the most successful bird order in terms of species diversity and numbers, and Sphenisciformes, a relatively primitive avian order. Similar to the results obtained in chickens and ducks, only three genes encoding immunoglobulin heavy chain isotypes, IgM, IgA and IgY, were identified in both species. Besides, we detected a transcript encoding a short membrane-bound IgA lacking the last two CH exons in the Gentoo penguin. We did not find any evidence supporting the presence of IgD gene or subclass diversification of IgM/IgY in penguin or zebra finch. The obtained data in our study provide more insights into the immunoglobulin heavy chain genes in birds and may help to better understand the evolution of immunoglobulin genes in tetrapods.

  8. Learning to cope with degraded sounds: female zebra finches can improve their expertise in discriminating between male voices at long distances.

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

    Reliable transmission of acoustic information about individual identity is of critical importance for pair bond maintenance in numerous monogamous songbirds. However, information transfer can be impaired by environmental constraints such as external noise or propagation-induced degradation. Birds have been shown to use several adaptive strategies to deal with difficult signal transmission contexts. Specifically, a number of studies have suggested that vocal plasticity at the emitter's level allows birds to counteract the deleterious effects of sound degradation. Although the communication process involves both the emitter and the receiver, perceptual plasticity at the receiver's level has received little attention. Here, we explored the reliability of individual recognition by female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), testing whether perceptual training can improve discrimination of degraded individual vocal signatures. We found that female zebra finches are proficient in discriminating between calls of individual males at long distances, and even more so when they can train themselves with increasingly degraded signals over time. In this latter context, females succeed in discriminating between males as far as 250 m. This result emphasizes that adaptation to adverse communication conditions may involve not only the emitter's vocal plasticity but also the receptor's decoding process through on-going learning. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  9. Three IgH isotypes, IgM, IgA and IgY are expressed in Gentoo penguin and zebra finch

    PubMed Central

    Han, Haitang; Zhao, Yaofeng; Pan, Qingjie; Ren, Liming

    2017-01-01

    Previous studies on a limited number of birds suggested that the IgD-encoding gene was absent in birds. However, one of our recent studies showed that the gene was definitely expressed in the ostrich and emu. Interestingly, we also identified subclass diversification of IgM and IgY in these two birds. To better understand immunoglobulin genes in birds, in this study, we analyzed the immunoglobulin heavy chain genes in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) and Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua), belonging respectively to the order Passeriformes, the most successful bird order in terms of species diversity and numbers, and Sphenisciformes, a relatively primitive avian order. Similar to the results obtained in chickens and ducks, only three genes encoding immunoglobulin heavy chain isotypes, IgM, IgA and IgY, were identified in both species. Besides, we detected a transcript encoding a short membrane-bound IgA lacking the last two CH exons in the Gentoo penguin. We did not find any evidence supporting the presence of IgD gene or subclass diversification of IgM/IgY in penguin or zebra finch. The obtained data in our study provide more insights into the immunoglobulin heavy chain genes in birds and may help to better understand the evolution of immunoglobulin genes in tetrapods. PMID:28403146

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

    PubMed

    Elie, Julie E; Theunissen, Frédéric E

    2016-03-01

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

  11. Learning to cope with degraded sounds: female zebra finches can improve their expertise in discriminating between male voices at long distances

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Reliable transmission of acoustic information about individual identity is of critical importance for pair bond maintenance in numerous monogamous songbirds. However, information transfer can be impaired by environmental constraints such as external noise or propagation-induced degradation. Birds have been shown to use several adaptive strategies to deal with difficult signal transmission contexts. Specifically, a number of studies have suggested that vocal plasticity at the emitter's level allows birds to counteract the deleterious effects of sound degradation. Although the communication process involves both the emitter and the receiver, perceptual plasticity at the receiver's level has received little attention. Here, we explored the reliability of individual recognition by female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), testing whether perceptual training can improve discrimination of degraded individual vocal signatures. We found that female zebra finches are proficient in discriminating between calls of individual males at long distances, and even more so when they can train themselves with increasingly degraded signals over time. In this latter context, females succeed in discriminating between males as far as 250 m. This result emphasizes that adaptation to adverse communication conditions may involve not only the emitter's vocal plasticity but also the receptor's decoding process through on-going learning. PMID:24948627

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

    Here, we present an adaptation of restriction-site-associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) to the Illumina HiSeq2000 technology that we used to produce SNP markers in very large quantities at low cost per unit in the Réunion grey white-eye (Zosterops borbonicus), a nonmodel passerine bird species with no reference genome. We sequenced a set of six pools of 18-25 individuals using a single sequencing lane. This allowed us to build around 600 000 contigs, among which at least 386 000 could be mapped to the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) genome. This yielded more than 80 000 SNPs that could be mapped unambiguously and are evenly distributed across the genome. Thus, our approach provides a good illustration of the high potential of paired-end RAD sequencing of pooled DNA samples combined with comparative assembly to the zebra finch genome to build large contigs and characterize vast numbers of informative SNPs in nonmodel passerine bird species in a very efficient and cost-effective way. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    PubMed

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

    1996-10-01

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

  14. Carotenoid accumulation in the tissues of zebra finches: predictors of integumentary pigmentation and implications for carotenoid allocation strategies.

    PubMed

    McGraw, Kevin J; Toomey, Matthew B

    2010-01-01

    Carotenoid pigments produce the bright yellow to red ornamental colors of many animals, especially birds, and must ultimately be derived from the diet. However, they are also valuable for many physiological functions (e.g., antioxidants, immunostimulants, photoprotection, visual tuning, yolk nourishment to embryos), and as a result they are present in numerous internal body tissues (e.g., liver, adipose tissue, retina) whose carotenoid types and amounts are rarely studied in the context of color acquisition. Because male and female animals typically place different priorities on fitness-enhancing activities (e.g., gametic investment in females, sexual attraction in males), carotenoid allocation may track such investment patterns in the two sexes, and we can test for such sex-specific priorities of carotenoids by assessing body-tissue distributions of these pigments. We used high-performance liquid chromatography to identify and quantify carotenoid pigments from the plasma, liver, adipose tissue, and retina as well as the beak and legs of male and female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), a species in which males display sexually attractive, red, carotenoid-based beak coloration and females also display some (albeit a less rich orange) beak color. To our knowledge, this is the first study of the predictors of carotenoid-based leg coloration-another potentially important visual signal-in this species. The same suite of dietary (e.g., lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin) and metabolically derived (e.g., dehydrolutein, anhydrolutein) yellow and orange carotenoids was present in plasma, liver, and adipose tissue of both sexes. Retina contained two different metabolites (astaxanthin and galloxanthin) that serve specific functions in association with unique photoreceptor types in the eye. Beaks were enriched with four red ketocarotenoid derivatives in both sexes (alpha-doradexanthin, adonirubin, astaxanthin, and canthaxanthin), while the carotenoid profile of legs

  15. Genomic organization and molecular phylogenies of the beta (β) keratin multigene family in the chicken (Gallus gallus) and zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata): implications for feather evolution

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background The epidermal appendages of reptiles and birds are constructed of beta (β) keratins. The molecular phylogeny of these keratins is important to understanding the evolutionary origin of these appendages, especially feathers. Knowing that the crocodilian β-keratin genes are closely related to those of birds, the published genomes of the chicken and zebra finch provide an opportunity not only to compare the genomic organization of their β-keratins, but to study their molecular evolution in archosaurians. Results The subfamilies (claw, feather, feather-like, and scale) of β-keratin genes are clustered in the same 5' to 3' order on microchromosome 25 in chicken and zebra finch, although the number of claw and feather genes differs between the species. Molecular phylogenies show that the monophyletic scale genes are the basal group within birds and that the monophyletic avian claw genes form the basal group to all feather and feather-like genes. Both species have a number of feather clades on microchromosome 27 that form monophyletic groups. An additional monophyletic cluster of feather genes exist on macrochromosome 2 for each species. Expression sequence tag analysis for the chicken demonstrates that all feather β-keratin clades are expressed. Conclusions Similarity in the overall genomic organization of β-keratins in Galliformes and Passeriformes suggests similar organization in all Neognathae birds, and perhaps in the ancestral lineages leading to modern birds, such as the paravian Anchiornis huxleyi. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that evolution of archosaurian epidermal appendages in the lineage leading to birds was accompanied by duplication and divergence of an ancestral β-keratin gene cluster. As morphological diversification of epidermal appendages occurred and the β-keratin multigene family expanded, novel β-keratin genes were selected for novel functions within appendages such as feathers. PMID:20482795

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  17. Neonatal nutrition, adult antioxidant defences and sexual attractiveness in the zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Blount, Jonathan D; Metcalfe, Neil B; Arnold, Kathryn E; Surai, Peter F; Devevey, Godefroy L; Monaghan, Pat

    2003-08-22

    Early nutrition has recently been shown to have pervasive, downstream effects on adult life-history parameters including lifespan, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Damage to biomolecules caused by oxidants, such as free radicals generated during metabolic processes, is widely recognized as a key contributor to somatic degeneration and the rate of ageing. Lipophilic antioxidants (carotenoids, vitamins A and E) are an important component of vertebrate defences against such damage. By using an avian model, we show here that independent of later nutrition, individuals experiencing a short period of low-quality nutrition during the nestling period had a twofold reduction in plasma levels of these antioxidants at adulthood. We found no effects on adult external morphology or sexual attractiveness: in mate-choice trials females did not discriminate between adult males that had received standard- or lower-quality diet as neonates. Our results suggest low-quality neonatal nutrition resulted in a long-term impairment in the capacity to assimilate dietary antioxidants, thereby setting up a need to trade off the requirement for antioxidant activity against the need to maintain morphological development and sexual attractiveness. Such state-dependent trade-offs could underpin the link between early nutrition and senescence.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  19. The ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata): Afferent and efferent projections in relation to the control of reproductive behavior.

    PubMed

    Wild, J Martin

    2017-08-15

    Sex-specific mating behaviors occur in a variety of mammals, with the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) and the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMH) mediating control of male and female sexual behavior, respectively. In birds, likewise, POM is predominantly involved in the control of male reproductive behavior, but the degree to which VMH is involved in female reproductive behavior is unclear. Here, in male and female zebra finches, a combination of aromatase immunohistochemistry and conventional tract tracing facilitated the definition of two separate but adjacent nuclei in the basal hypothalamus: an oblique band of aromatase-positive (AR+) neurons, and ventromedial to this, an ovoid, aromatase-negative (AR-) nucleus. The AR- nucleus, but not the AR+ nucleus, was here shown to receive a projection from rostral parts of the thalamic auditory nucleus ovoidalis and from the nucleus of the tractus ovoidalis. The AR- nucleus also receives an overlapping, major projection from previously uncharted regions of the medial arcopallium and a minor projection from the caudomedial nidopallium. Both the AR- and the AR+ nuclei project to the intercollicular nucleus of the midbrain. No obvious sex differences in either the pattern of AR immunoreactivity or of the afferent projections to the AR- nucleus were observed. The significance of these results in terms of the acoustic control of avian reproductive behavior is discussed, and a comparison with the organization of VMH afferents in lizards suggests a homologous similarity of the caudal telencephalon in sauropsids. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  20. Hippocampal activation of immediate early genes Zenk and c-Fos in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) during learning and recall of a spatial memory task.

    PubMed

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

    2010-03-01

    Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are able to learn the position of food by orienting on spatial cues in a 'dry water maze'. In the course of spatial learning, the hippocampus shows high expression of the immediate early genes (IEGs) Zenk and c-Fos, indicating high activation of this area during learning. In contrast, the IEG activity is nearly absent if the birds do not have to rely on spatial cues. In the present experiment it was investigated whether hippocampal activation can also be observed if the learned spatial task is recalled. For this purpose, the hippocampal Zenk and c-Fos activation of birds in an early learning stage was compared with that of others having well reached their maximal performance. The results show that the avian hippocampus is also active during recall of a learned spatial task, but the activation is significantly lower than in animals learning actually. As in previous experiments, hippocampal IEG expression showed strong variation not only in the position of the active patches of neurons, but also in size and cell density. The observed difference contributes to the view that immediate early genes may not be indicators of activation alone, but may be due to a combination of activation and plastic changes.

  1. Sex- and Age-Related Differences in Ribosomal Proteins L17 and L37, as well as Androgen Receptor Protein, in the Song Control System of Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Yu Ping; Wade, Juli

    2010-01-01

    The zebra finch song system is sexually dimorphic – only males sing, and the morphology of forebrain regions controlling the learning and production of this song is greatly enhanced in males compared to females. Masculinization appears to involve effects of steroid hormones as well as other factors, perhaps including the expression of sex chromosome genes (males: ZZ, females: ZW). The present study investigated three proteins – two encoded by Z-linked genes, ribosomal proteins L17 and L37 (RPL 17 and RPL37), including their co-localization with androgen receptor (AR), from post-hatching day 25 to adulthood. Extensive co-expression of AR with the ribosomal proteins was detected in the three song nuclei investigated (HVC, RA, and Area X) across these ages. In general, more cells expressed each of these proteins in males compared to females, and the sex differences increased as animals matured. Specific patterns differed across regions and between RPL17 and RPL37, which suggest potential roles of one or both of these proteins in the incorporation and/or differentiation of song system cells. PMID:20933575

  2. Afferentation of the lateral nidopallium: A tracing study of a brain area involved in sexual imprinting in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Sadananda, Monika; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2006-08-23

    The lateral forebrain of zebra finches that comprises parts of the lateral nidopallium and parts of the lateral mesopallium is supposed to be involved in the storage and processing of visual information acquired by an early learning process called sexual imprinting. This information is later used to select an appropriate sexual partner for courtship behavior. Being involved in such a complicated behavioral task, the lateral nidopallium should be an integrative area receiving input from many other regions of the brain. Our experiments indeed show that the lateral nidopallium receives input from a variety of telencephalic regions including the primary and secondary areas of both visual pathways, the globus pallidus, the caudolateral nidopallium functionally comparable to the prefrontal cortex, the caudomedial nidopallium involved in song perception and storage of song-related memories, and some parts of the arcopallium. There are also a number of thalamic, mesencephalic, and brainstem efferents including the catecholaminergic locus coeruleus and the unspecific activating reticular formation. The spatial distribution of afferents suggests a compartmentalization of the lateral nidopallium into several subdivisions. Based on its connections, the lateral nidopallium should be considered as an area of higher order processing of visual information coming from the tectofugal and the thalamofugal visual pathways. Other sensory modalities and also motivational factors from a variety of brain areas are also integrated here. These findings support the idea of an involvement of the lateral nidopallium in imprinting and the control of courtship behavior.

  3. Sexual imprinting leads to lateralized and non-lateralized expression of the immediate early gene zenk in the zebra finch brain.

    PubMed

    Lieshoff, Carsten; Grosse-Ophoff, Jürgen; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2004-01-05

    Sexual imprinting is an early learning process by which young birds acquire the features of a potential sexual partner. The physiological basis of this learning process is an irreversible reduction of spine densities in two forebrain areas, the lateral neo- and hyperstriatum (LNH) and the medial neo- and hyperstriatum (MNH). The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the immediate early gene zenk, which has been shown frequently to play a role in plastic processes in the song system of zebra finches, may also be involved in the structural changes observed in these areas. The first exposure to a female after an isolation period enhances zenk expression in a variety of brain areas including LNH, MNH, and optic tectum. In contrast to earlier results, it was only the neostriatal part of LNH which showed an enhancement on first courtship, while exposure to a nestbox enhanced the label within the entire LNH area. Unexpectedly, the IEG expression was clearly lateralized in some layers of the optic tectum. Because lateralization occurred independent of the experimental condition, our study adds to recent results which also support the idea of a lateralized organization of the avian visual system.

  4. No Band Color Effects on Male Courtship Rate or Body Mass in the Zebra Finch: Four Experiments and a Meta-Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Seguin, Aurelie; Forstmeier, Wolfgang

    2012-01-01

    Replication of experiments is essential for distinguishing real effects from type 1 errors and idiosyncrasies. One of the most replicated experiments in behavioral ecology is the presumed manipulation of male attractiveness in zebra finches by adding red or green color bands. Red-banded males were found to have higher fitness than green-banded males, and most empirical evidence suggests that this effect is mediated by female mating preferences rather than by male-male competition. A recent study, however, reported that color bands affected male courtship rate and body mass independently of female behavior. If this effect was real, some earlier findings of female preferences and maternal effects on offspring traits could potentially be reinterpreted as being mediated indirectly via effects on male behavior. This new perspective seems appealing also in light of a growing interest in bi-directional feedback mechanisms between endocrinology and ornamentation. However, here we report four independent failures to replicate this effect of color bands on courtship rate and body mass. Combining this new experimental data with all the published evidence in a meta-analysis shows that color bands seem to affect neither male courtship rate (average effect size d = 0.02) nor male body mass (d = −0.07). The present case is a reminder that replication of experiments lies at the heart of distinguishing between real effects and false positive findings. PMID:22685545

  5. Evidence for cholinergic participation in the control of bird song; acetylcholinesterase distribution and muscarinic receptor autoradiography in the zebra finch brain

    SciTech Connect

    Ryan, S.M.; Arnold, A.P.

    1981-10-20

    Brain regions thought to be involved in the control of song in the zebra finch (Poephila guttata), were examined histochemically using the Karnovsky and Roots direct-coloring method for the detection of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and the autoradiographic method for the localization of muscarinic cholinergic receptors following injection of tritiated quinuclidinyl benzilate (3H QNB). All presently identified vocal control nuclei in both males and females contain AChE. These nuclei include Area X, magnocellular nucleus of the anterior neostriatum (MAN), nucleus interface (NIF), caudal nucleus of the hyperstriatum ventrale (HVc), intercollicular nucleus (ICo), nucleus uva, robust nucleus of the archistriatum (RA), and tracheosyringeal portion of the hypoglossal nerve nucleus (nXIIts). All nuclei except Area X contain mostly AChE-synthesizing cell bodies. All of these nuclei contain some AChE in the neuropil, with particularly intense staining in Area X, the surrounding LPO, and the dorsomedial portion of ICo. In agreement with this description are very high concentrations of 3H QNB in both Area X and the dorsomedial ICo. HVc also appears specifically labeled. Evidence from these two histological technique suggests that efferent projections of most vocal control area may utilize acetylcholine, and that several of the vocal control nuclei may themselves receive muscarinic cholinergic projection. In Area X, there are sex differences of AChE neuropil staining. This evidence suggesting that sexually dimorphic projections to or within Area X are cholinergic or cholinoceptive.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  7. Genomic Landscape of Long Terminal Repeat Retrotransposons (LTR-RTs) and Solo LTRs as Shaped by Ectopic Recombination in Chicken and Zebra Finch.

    PubMed

    Ji, Yanzhu; DeWoody, J Andrew

    2016-06-01

    Transposable elements (TEs) are nearly ubiquitous among eukaryotic genomes, but TE contents vary dramatically among phylogenetic lineages. Several mechanisms have been proposed as drivers of TE dynamics in genomes, including the fixation/loss of a particular TE insertion by selection or drift as well as structural changes in the genome due to mutation (e.g., recombination). In particular, recombination can have a significant and directional effect on the genomic TE landscape. For example, ectopic recombination removes internal regions of long terminal repeat retrotransposons (LTR-RTs) as well as one long terminal repeat (LTR), resulting in a solo LTR. In this study, we focus on the intra-species dynamics of LTR-RTs and solo LTRs in bird genomes. The distribution of LTR-RTs and solo LTRs in birds is intriguing because avian recombination rates vary widely within a given genome. We used published linkage maps and whole genome assemblies to study the relationship between recombination rates and LTR-removal events in the chicken and zebra finch. We hypothesized that regions with low recombination rates would harbor more full-length LTR-RTs (and fewer solo LTRs) than regions with high recombination rates. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the ratio of full-length LTR-RTs and solo LTRs across chromosomes, across non-overlapping megabase windows, and across physical features (i.e., centromeres and telomeres). The chicken data statistically supported the hypothesis that recombination rates are inversely correlated with the ratio of full-length to solo LTRs at both the chromosome level and in 1-Mb non-overlapping windows. We also found that the ratio of full-length to solo LTRs near chicken telomeres was significantly lower than those ratios near centromeres. Our results suggest a potential role of ectopic recombination in shaping the chicken LTR-RT genomic landscape.

  8. Long-term effects of adolescent stress on neophobic behaviors in zebra finches are modulated by social context when in adulthood.

    PubMed

    Emmerson, Michael G; Spencer, Karen A

    2017-02-03

    Experiencing stress during adolescence can increase neophobic behaviors in adulthood, but most tests have been conducted in the absence of conspecifics. Conspecifics can modulate responses to stressors, for example by acting as 'social buffers' to attenuate the aversive appraisal of stressors. Here, we investigate the long-term effects of adolescent stress on the behavioral responses to novel stimuli (a mild stressor) across social contexts in an affiliative passerine bird, the zebra finch. During early (days 40-60) or late (days 65-85) adolescence the birds (n=66) were dosed with either saline or the hormone corticosterone (CORT). CORT was given in order to mimic a physiological stress response and saline was given as a control. In adulthood, the birds' behavioral responses to a novel environment were recorded in both the presence and absence of conspecifics. An acute CORT response was also quantified in adolescence and adulthood. Our findings show clear evidence of social context mediating any long-term effects of adolescent stress. In the presence of familiar conspecifics no treatment effects were detected. Individually, birds dosed with CORT in early adolescence were slower to enter a novel environment, spent more time perching in the same novel environment, and, if female, engaged in more risk assessment. Birds dosed in late adolescence were unaffected. No treatment effects were detected on CORT, but adolescents had a higher CORT concentration than adults. Our results are the first to suggest that familiar conspecifics in adulthood can buffer the long-term effects of stress that occurred during early adolescence.

  9. Plasma reactive oxygen metabolites and non-enzymatic antioxidant capacity are not affected by an acute increase of metabolic rate in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Beamonte-Barrientos, Rene; Verhulst, Simon

    2013-07-01

    Understanding the sources of variation in oxidative stress level is a challenging issue due to the implications of oxidative stress for late age diseases, longevity and life-history trade-offs. Reactive oxygen species that cause oxidative stress are mostly a by-product of energy metabolism and it is therefore often assumed that oxidative stress is proportional to energy consumption. In mammals, an increased metabolic rate induced by cold exposure generally increases oxidative stress. However, compared to mammals, birds generate fewer free radicals per ATP produced and hence it is not obvious that, in birds, a cold-induced increase of metabolic rate increase oxidative stress. We tested whether cold-induced increase in metabolic rate increased oxidative stress in zebra finches by exposing individuals to cold and warm overnight temperatures. We registered metabolic rate and plasma levels of non-enzymatic antioxidants and reactive oxygen metabolites (ROMs), a measure of oxidative damage. Metabolic rate was on average 88 % higher in cold compared to warm temperature, with females being stronger affected than males. However, temperature had no effect on plasma antioxidants or our measure of oxidative damage. Middle-age birds had higher levels of plasma antioxidants than younger and older birds, but age was unrelated to ROMs. Birds showed repeatability of plasma ROMs across temperatures but not of non-enzymatic antioxidants. In contrast to similar studies in mammals, our results do not show evidence of increased oxidative stress in plasma after an acute cold-induced increase of metabolic rate but research in more bird species is needed to assess the generality of this pattern.

  10. Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide (CART) in the brain of zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata: Organization, interaction with neuropeptide Y, and response to changes in energy status.

    PubMed

    Singh, Omprakash; Kumar, Santosh; Singh, Uday; Kumar, Vinod; Lechan, Ronald M; Singru, Praful S

    2016-10-15

    Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) has emerged as a potent anorectic agent. CART is widely distributed in the brain of mammals, amphibians, and teleosts, but the relevant information in avian brain is not available. In birds, CART inhibits food intake, whereas neuropeptide Y (NPY), a well-known orexigenic peptide, stimulates it. How these neuropeptides interact in the brain to regulate energy balance is not known. We studied the distribution of CART-immunoreactivity in the brain of zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, its interaction with NPY, and their response to dynamic energy states. CART-immunoreactive fibers were found in the subpallium, hypothalamus, midbrain, and brainstem. Conspicuous CART-immunoreactive cells were observed in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, hypothalamic paraventricular, supraoptic, dorsomedial, infundibular (IN), lateral hypothalamic, Edinger-Westphal, and parabrachial nuclei. Hypothalamic sections of fed, fasted, and refed animals were immunostained with cFos, NPY, and CART antisera. Fasting dramatically increased cFos- and NPY-immunoreactivity in the IN, followed by rapid reduction by 2 hours and restoration to normal fed levels 6-10 hours after refeeding. CART-immunoreactive fibers in IN showed a significant reduction during fasting and upregulation with refeeding. Within the IN, double immunofluorescence revealed that 94 ± 2.1% of NPY-immunoreactive neurons were contacted by CART-immunoreactive fibers and 96 ± 2.8% NPY-immunoreactive neurons expressed cFos during fasting. Compared to controls, superfused hypothalamic slices of fasted birds treated with CART-peptide showed a significant reduction (P < 0.001) in NPY-immunoreactivity in the IN. As in other vertebrates, CART in the brain of T. guttata may perform several functions, and has a particularly important role in the hypothalamic regulation of energy homeostasis. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:3014-3041, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley

  11. A New Semi-automated Method for Assessing Avian Acoustic Networks Reveals that Juvenile and Adult Zebra Finches Have Separate Calling Networks

    PubMed Central

    Fernandez, Marie S. A.; Soula, Hedi A.; Mariette, Mylene M.; Vignal, Clémentine

    2016-01-01

    Social networks are often inferred from spatial associations, but other parameters like acoustic communication are likely to play a central role in within group interactions. However, it is currently difficult to determine which individual initiates vocalizations, or who responds to whom. To this aim, we designed a method that allows analyzing group vocal network while controlling for spatial networks, by positioning each group member in equidistant individual cages and analyzing continuous vocal interactions semi-automatically. We applied this method to two types of zebra finch groups, composed of either two adult females and two juveniles, or four young adults (juveniles from the first groups). Young often co-occur in the same social group as adults but are likely to have a different social role, which may be reflected in their vocal interactions. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that the social structure of the group influences the parameters of the group vocal network. We found that groups including juveniles presented periods with higher level of activity than groups composed of young adults. Using two types of analyses (Markov analysis and cross-correlation), we showed that juveniles as well as adults were more likely to respond to individuals of their own age-class (i.e. to call one after another, in terms of turn-taking, and within a short time-window, in terms of time delay). When juveniles turned into adulthood, they showed adult characteristics of vocal patterns. Together our results suggest that vocal behavior changes during ontogeny, and individuals are more strongly connected with individuals of the same age-class within acoustic networks. PMID:27965602

  12. Muscarinic Receptors Are Responsible for the Cholinergic Modulation of Projection Neurons in the Song Production Brain Nucleus RA of Zebra Finches.

    PubMed

    Meng, Wei; Wang, Songhua; Yao, Lihua; Zhang, Nan; Li, Dongfeng

    2017-01-01

    Songbirds are a useful model for the study of learned vocal behavior in vertebrates. The robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA) is a premotor nucleus in the vocal motor pathway. It receives excitatory synaptic inputs from the anterior forebrain pathway. RA also receives cholinergic inputs from the ventral paleostriatum of the basal forebrain. Our previous study showed that carbachol, a non-selective cholinergic receptor agonist, modulates the electrophysiology of RA projection neurons (PNs), indicating that cholinergic modulation of RA may play an important role in song production. However, the receptor mechanisms underlying these effects are poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated the electrophysiological properties of two acetylcholine receptors on the RA PNs of adult male zebra finches using in vitro whole-cell current clamp. Our results demonstrate that activation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) simulate the effects of carbachol. Both carbachol and the mAChR agonist muscarine produced a decrease in the excitability of RA PNs and a hyperpolarization of the membrane potential. The mAChR antagonist atropine blocked the effects of carbachol. Activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) with nAChR agonist nicotine or DMPP had no effect on the excitability of RA PNs, and the nAChR antagonist mecamylamine failed to inhibit the effects of carbachol. These results suggest that mAChRs, but not nAChRs, primarily modulate the effects of carbachol on the activity of RA PNs. Collectively, these findings contribute to our understanding of the mechanism of cholinergic modulation in the vocal nuclei of songbirds.

  13. Muscarinic Receptors Are Responsible for the Cholinergic Modulation of Projection Neurons in the Song Production Brain Nucleus RA of Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Meng, Wei; Wang, Songhua; Yao, Lihua; Zhang, Nan; Li, Dongfeng

    2017-01-01

    Songbirds are a useful model for the study of learned vocal behavior in vertebrates. The robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA) is a premotor nucleus in the vocal motor pathway. It receives excitatory synaptic inputs from the anterior forebrain pathway. RA also receives cholinergic inputs from the ventral paleostriatum of the basal forebrain. Our previous study showed that carbachol, a non-selective cholinergic receptor agonist, modulates the electrophysiology of RA projection neurons (PNs), indicating that cholinergic modulation of RA may play an important role in song production. However, the receptor mechanisms underlying these effects are poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated the electrophysiological properties of two acetylcholine receptors on the RA PNs of adult male zebra finches using in vitro whole-cell current clamp. Our results demonstrate that activation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) simulate the effects of carbachol. Both carbachol and the mAChR agonist muscarine produced a decrease in the excitability of RA PNs and a hyperpolarization of the membrane potential. The mAChR antagonist atropine blocked the effects of carbachol. Activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) with nAChR agonist nicotine or DMPP had no effect on the excitability of RA PNs, and the nAChR antagonist mecamylamine failed to inhibit the effects of carbachol. These results suggest that mAChRs, but not nAChRs, primarily modulate the effects of carbachol on the activity of RA PNs. Collectively, these findings contribute to our understanding of the mechanism of cholinergic modulation in the vocal nuclei of songbirds. PMID:28293176

  14. Functional MRI of Auditory Responses in the Zebra Finch Forebrain Reveals a Hierarchical Organisation Based on Signal Strength but Not Selectivity

    PubMed Central

    Boumans, Tiny; Gobes, Sharon M. H.; Poirier, Colline; Theunissen, Frederic E.; Vandersmissen, Liesbeth; Pintjens, Wouter; Verhoye, Marleen; Bolhuis, Johan J.; Van der Linden, Annemie

    2008-01-01

    Background Male songbirds learn their songs from an adult tutor when they are young. A network of brain nuclei known as the ‘song system’ is the likely neural substrate for sensorimotor learning and production of song, but the neural networks involved in processing the auditory feedback signals necessary for song learning and maintenance remain unknown. Determining which regions show preferential responsiveness to the bird's own song (BOS) is of great importance because neurons sensitive to self-generated vocalisations could mediate this auditory feedback process. Neurons in the song nuclei and in a secondary auditory area, the caudal medial mesopallium (CMM), show selective responses to the BOS. The aim of the present study is to investigate the emergence of BOS selectivity within the network of primary auditory sub-regions in the avian pallium. Methods and Findings Using blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) fMRI, we investigated neural responsiveness to natural and manipulated self-generated vocalisations and compared the selectivity for BOS and conspecific song in different sub-regions of the thalamo-recipient area Field L. Zebra finch males were exposed to conspecific song, BOS and to synthetic variations on BOS that differed in spectro-temporal and/or modulation phase structure. We found significant differences in the strength of BOLD responses between regions L2a, L2b and CMM, but no inter-stimuli differences within regions. In particular, we have shown that the overall signal strength to song and synthetic variations thereof was different within two sub-regions of Field L2: zone L2a was significantly more activated compared to the adjacent sub-region L2b. Conclusions Based on our results we suggest that unlike nuclei in the song system, sub-regions in the primary auditory pallium do not show selectivity for the BOS, but appear to show different levels of activity with exposure to any sound according to their place in the auditory processing stream. PMID

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-03-01

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

  16. In ovo tris(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate concentrations significantly decrease in late incubation after a single exposure via injection, with no evidence of effects on hatching success or latent effects on growth or reproduction in zebra finches.

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

    Zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) eggs were injected with the organophosphate triester flame retardant tris(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBOEP) at 0 μg/g, 0.01 μg/g, 1 μg/g, 10 μg/g, or 50 μg/g egg. Subsets of high-dose eggs were collected throughout incubation to measure TBOEP, which started declining in late incubation and then decreased rapidly to 28% of injected concentration by hatching. The authors found no effects of TBOEP on survival, growth, or reproduction even at very high doses. Environ Toxicol Chem 2017;36:83-88. © 2016 SETAC. © 2016 SETAC.

  17. Limitations of the sensitive period for sexual imprinting: neuroanatomical and behavioral experiments in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Bischof, Hans-Joachim; Geissler, Edda; Rollenhagen, Astrid

    2002-07-18

    In the course of developmental sensitive periods, an animal receives input from the environment which shapes its behaviour and neuronal connectivity. While normally restricted to early development, it has been shown frequently that an extension of the sensitive period to later ages is possible by sensory deprivation or inadequate stimulation. This raises the question whether sensitive periods can be shifted to any age, or whether a time window exists within which sensitive period shifts are possible. We show here for sexual imprinting that such a time window exists, and we also show that the spine density changes during development in brain areas involved in imprinting predict the limits for sensitive period shifts. Based on these results, we speculate about the mechanisms which may underlay the regulation of spine density and thus the imprinting process.

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

    PubMed

    Benney, K S; Braaten, R F

    2000-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-08-30

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

  1. Development of a molecular diagnostic system to discriminate Dreissena polymorpha (zebra mussel) and Dreissena bugensis (quagga mussel)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hoy, M.S.; Kelly, K.; Rodriguez, R.J.

    2010-01-01

    A 3-primer PCR system was developed to discriminate invasive zebra (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga (Dreissena bugensis) mussel. The system is based on: 1) universal primers that amplifies a region of the nuclear 28s rDNA gene from both species and 2) a species-specific primer complementary to either zebra or quagga mussel. The species-specific primers bind to sequences between the binding sites for the universal primers resulting in the amplification of two products from the target species and one product from the nontarget species. Therefore, nontarget products are positive amplification controls. The 3-primer system accurately discriminated zebra and quagga mussels from seven geographically distinct populations.

  2. Chronic CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonism persistently increases dendritic spine densities in brain regions important to zebra finch vocal learning and production in an antidepressant-sensitive manner.

    PubMed

    Holland, Tessa L; Soderstrom, Ken

    2017-10-01

    During typical late-postnatal CNS development, net reductions in dendritic spine densities are associated with activity-dependent learning. Prior results showed agonist exposure in young animals increased spine densities in a subset of song regions while adult exposures did not, suggesting endocannabinoid signaling regulates dendritic spine dynamics important to vocal development. Here we addressed this question using the CB1 receptor-selective antagonist SR141716A (SR) to disrupt endocannabinoid signaling both during and after vocal learning. We hypothesized antagonist exposure during vocal development, but not adulthood, would alter spine densities. Following 25days of exposure and a 25day maturation period, 3D reconstructions of Golgi-Cox stained neurons were used to measure spine densities. We found antagonist treatments during both age periods increased densities within Area X (basal ganglia) and following adult treatments within HVC (premotor cortical-like). Results suggest both inappropriate cannabinoid receptor stimulation and inhibition are capable of similar disregulatory effects during establishment of circuits important to vocal learning, with antagonism extending these effects through adulthood. Given clinical evidence of depressant effects of SR, we tested the ability of the antidepressant monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) phenelzine to mitigate SR-induced spine density increases. This was confirmed implicating interaction between monoamine and endocannabinoid systems. Finally, we evaluated acute effects of these drugs to alter ability of novel song exposure to increase spine densities in auditory NCM and other regions, finding when combined, SR and phenelzine increased densities within Area X. These results contribute to understanding relevance of dendritic spine dynamics in neuronal development, drug abuse, and depression. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  3. Young and intense: FoxP2 immunoreactivity in Area X varies with age, song stereotypy, and singing in male zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Thompson, Christopher K; Schwabe, Fabian; Schoof, Alexander; Mendoza, Ezequiel; Gampe, Jutta; Rochefort, Christelle; Scharff, Constance

    2013-01-01

    FOXP2 is a transcription factor functionally relevant for learned vocalizations in humans and songbirds. In songbirds, FoxP2 mRNA expression in the medium spiny neurons of the basal ganglia song nucleus Area X is developmentally regulated and varies with singing conditions in different social contexts. How individual neurons in Area X change FoxP2 expression across development and in social contexts is not known, however. Here we address this critical gap in our understanding of FoxP2 as a link between neuronal networks and behavior. We used a statistically unbiased analysis of FoxP2-immunoreactivity (FoxP2-IR) on a neuron-by-neuron basis and found a bimodal distribution of FoxP2-IR neurons in Area X: weakly-stained and intensely-stained. The density of intensely-stained FoxP2-IR neurons was 10 times higher in juveniles than in adults, exponentially decreased with age, and was negatively correlated with adult song stability. Three-week old neurons labeled with BrdU were more than five times as likely to be intensely-stained than weakly-stained. The density of FoxP2-IR putative migratory neurons with fusiform-shaped nuclei substantially decreased as birds aged. The density of intensely-stained FoxP2-IR neurons was not affected by singing whereas the density of weakly-stained FoxP2-IR neurons was. Together, these data indicate that young Area X medium spiny neurons express FoxP2 at high levels and decrease expression as they become integrated into existing neural circuits. Once integrated, levels of FoxP2 expression correlate with singing behavior. Together, these findings raise the possibility that FoxP2 levels may orchestrate song learning and song stereotypy in adults by a common mechanism.

  4. Young and intense: FoxP2 immunoreactivity in Area X varies with age, song stereotypy, and singing in male zebra finches

    PubMed Central

    Thompson, Christopher K.; Schwabe, Fabian; Schoof, Alexander; Mendoza, Ezequiel; Gampe, Jutta; Rochefort, Christelle; Scharff, Constance

    2013-01-01

    FOXP2 is a transcription factor functionally relevant for learned vocalizations in humans and songbirds. In songbirds, FoxP2 mRNA expression in the medium spiny neurons of the basal ganglia song nucleus Area X is developmentally regulated and varies with singing conditions in different social contexts. How individual neurons in Area X change FoxP2 expression across development and in social contexts is not known, however. Here we address this critical gap in our understanding of FoxP2 as a link between neuronal networks and behavior. We used a statistically unbiased analysis of FoxP2-immunoreactivity (FoxP2-IR) on a neuron-by-neuron basis and found a bimodal distribution of FoxP2-IR neurons in Area X: weakly-stained and intensely-stained. The density of intensely-stained FoxP2-IR neurons was 10 times higher in juveniles than in adults, exponentially decreased with age, and was negatively correlated with adult song stability. Three-week old neurons labeled with BrdU were more than five times as likely to be intensely-stained than weakly-stained. The density of FoxP2-IR putative migratory neurons with fusiform-shaped nuclei substantially decreased as birds aged. The density of intensely-stained FoxP2-IR neurons was not affected by singing whereas the density of weakly-stained FoxP2-IR neurons was. Together, these data indicate that young Area X medium spiny neurons express FoxP2 at high levels and decrease expression as they become integrated into existing neural circuits. Once integrated, levels of FoxP2 expression correlate with singing behavior. Together, these findings raise the possibility that FoxP2 levels may orchestrate song learning and song stereotypy in adults by a common mechanism. PMID:23450800

  5. Auditory experience refines cortico-basal ganglia inputs to motor cortex via remapping of single axons during vocal learning in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Miller-Sims, Vanessa C; Bottjer, Sarah W

    2012-02-01

    Experience-dependent changes in neural connectivity underlie developmental learning and result in life-long changes in behavior. In songbirds axons from the cortical region LMAN(core) (core region of lateral magnocellular nucleus of anterior nidopallium) convey the output of a basal ganglia circuit necessary for song learning to vocal motor cortex [robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA)]. This axonal projection undergoes remodeling during the sensitive period for learning to achieve topographic organization. To examine how auditory experience instructs the development of connectivity in this pathway, we compared the morphology of individual LMAN(core)→RA axon arbors in normal juvenile songbirds to those raised in white noise. The spatial extent of axon arbors decreased during the first week of vocal learning, even in the absence of normal auditory experience. During the second week of vocal learning axon arbors of normal birds showed a loss of branches and varicosities; in contrast, experience-deprived birds showed no reduction in branches or varicosities and maintained some arbors in the wrong topographic location. Thus both experience-independent and experience-dependent processes are necessary to establish topographic organization in juvenile birds, which may allow birds to modify their vocal output in a directed manner and match their vocalizations to a tutor song. Many LMAN(core) axons of juvenile birds, but not adults, extended branches into dorsal arcopallium (Ad), a region adjacent to RA that is part of a parallel basal ganglia pathway also necessary for vocal learning. This transient projection provides a point of integration between the two basal ganglia pathways, suggesting that these branches convey corollary discharge signals as birds are actively engaged in learning.

  6. Development of the Zebra load region for increased capability plasma diagnostics and improved Leopard laser access

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Astanovitskiy, Alexey; Presura, R.; Ivanov, V. V.; Haboub, A.; Plachaty, C.; Kindel, J. M.

    2008-11-01

    A new geometry for the load area in the Zebra (1MA pulse generator) is developed. It will form the basis for future experiments requiring Leopard (1057nm, 50TW laser) to Zebra coupling and give extended capability to z-pinch diagnostics. This required the development of a new current return, which allows laser access and installation of the OD 4'' parabolic mirror for the x-ray radiography, isochoric heating and magnetized plasma experiments, and accommodates wire-array z-pinch loads, to which the laser may then be coupled. In addition, this configuration allows diagnostics access close to the plasma, leading to a significant increase of the spatial resolution for imaging of z-pinches, as well as the photon flux in imaging and spectroscopy of laser produced plasmas. These diagnostics will allow coupling of the Leopard beam for x-ray laser probing of the pinch plasma and we will test point-projection x-ray backlighting of the pinch plasma.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  9. Characterization of NF-κΒ/IκΒ Proteins in Zebra Fish and Their Involvement in Notochord Development

    PubMed Central

    Correa, Ricardo G.; Tergaonkar, Vinay; Ng, Jennifer K.; Dubova, Ilir; Izpisua-Belmonte, Juan Carlos; Verma, Inder M.

    2004-01-01

    Although largely involved in innate and adaptive immunity, NF-κB plays an important role in vertebrate development. In chicks, the inactivation of the NF-κΒ pathway induces functional alterations of the apical ectodermal ridge, which mediates limb outgrowth. In mice, the complete absence of NF-κB activity leads to prenatal death and neural tube defects. Here, we report the cloning and characterization of NF-κΒ/IκB proteins in zebra fish. Despite being ubiquitously expressed among the embryonic tissues, NF-κΒ/IκB members present distinct patterns of gene expression during the early zebra fish development. Biochemical assays indicate that zebra fish NF-κΒ proteins are able to bind consensus DNA-binding (κB) sites and inhibitory IκBα proteins from mammals. We show that zebra fish IκBαs are degraded in a time-dependent manner after induction of transduced murine embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) and that these proteins are able to rescue NF-κΒ activity in IκBα−/− MEFs. Expression of a dominant-negative form of the murine IκBα (mIκBαM), which is able to block NF-κΒ in zebra fish cells, interferes with the notochord differentiation, generating no tail (ntl)-like embryos. This phenotype can be rescued by coinjection of the T-box gene ntl (Brachyury homologue), which is typically required for the formation of posterior mesoderm and axial development, suggesting that ntl lies downstream of NF-κΒ. We further show that ntl and Brachyury promoter regions contain functional κB sites and NF-κΒ can directly modulate ntl expression. Our study illustrates the conservation and compatibility of NF-κΒ/IκB proteins among vertebrates and the importance of NF-κΒ pathway in mesoderm formation during early embryogenesis. PMID:15169890

  10. Zebra batteries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sudworth, J. L.

    By using molten sodium chloroaluminate as secondary electrolyte, a series of solid transition metal chlorides can be used as positive electrodes in cells with sodium as the negative and beta-alumina as the solid electrlyte. Nickel chloride is preferred and Zebra batteries based on this cell reaction have been developed to the pilot-line production stage. The batteries have a number of features which make them attractive for electric-vehicle applications. Thus, the cells can be assebled in the discharged state eliminating the need to handle liquid sodium. By locating the positive electrode inside the beta-alumina tube, square cell cases can be used giving maximum packing efficiency in batteries. The absence of corrosion in the cell leads to a long life and high reliability. For electric-vehicle applications safety is very imporant, and crash testing has shown that even serious damage to the battery in a crash situation would not present a significant additional hazard to the driver or passengers. The remaining technical challenges are to increase the specific power of the battery towards the end of discharge and to demonstrate that the processes, which have been developed for cell and battery production, are capable of meeting the cost targets.

  11. Recent Developments on the Pulsed Neutron Source and Diagnostics on Zebra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKee, Erik

    2013-10-01

    At the Nevada Terawatt Facility, neutron diagnostics are being added to the x-ray and optical diagnostics already employed on the Zebra pulsed-power z-pinch generator. The Zebra generator can produce plasmas approaching solid density over 100 ns timescales. It is hypothesized that production of neutrons on Zebra are through beam-like collisions in MHD instabilities in the z-pinch where there exist localized, intense electric fields. These fields accelerate deuterons to energies where the fusion reaction cross section becomes significant to produce neutrons. Palladium wires are used as the constraining media for deuterium gas in the fabrication of targets used on Zebra which produces short pulses of fast neutrons. The MCNP Monte Carlo particle transport code will be used in conjunction with neutron activation diagnostic to model detector effects from background scatter events and detector geometry. The neutron detectors currently measuring neutron yield include isotope activation using Silver, Indium and bubble-gel detectors. Also presented are nTOF detector geometries inspired by the difficulty in measuring TOF neutron signals in a low neutron yield, high gamma yield environment on Zebra. We report on a neutron yield exceeding 1010 neutrons per pulse measured using activation techniques and novel nTOF detector geometries being shaped by MCNP calculations to be fielded in the Zebra environment. Effort enabled by support from collaboration with LLNL and NSTec.

  12. Zebra fish Dnmt1 and Suv39h1 regulate organ-specific terminal differentiation during development.

    PubMed

    Rai, Kunal; Nadauld, Lincoln D; Chidester, Stephanie; Manos, Elizabeth J; James, Smitha R; Karpf, Adam R; Cairns, Bradley R; Jones, David A

    2006-10-01

    DNA methylation and histone methylation are two key epigenetic modifications that help govern heterochromatin dynamics. The roles for these chromatin-modifying activities in directing tissue-specific development remain largely unknown. To address this issue, we examined the roles of DNA methyltransferase 1 (Dnmt1) and the H3K9 histone methyltransferase Suv39h1 in zebra fish development. Knockdown of Dnmt1 in zebra fish embryos caused defects in terminal differentiation of the intestine, exocrine pancreas, and retina. Interestingly, not all tissues required Dnmt1, as differentiation of the liver and endocrine pancreas appeared normal. Proper differentiation depended on Dnmt1 catalytic activity, as Dnmt1 morphants could be rescued by active zebra fish or human DNMT1 but not by catalytically inactive derivatives. Dnmt1 morphants exhibited dramatic reductions of both genomic cytosine methylation and genome-wide H3K9 trimethyl levels, leading us to investigate the overlap of in vivo functions of Dnmt1 and Suv39h1. Embryos lacking Suv39h1 had organ-specific terminal differentiation defects that produced largely phenocopies of Dnmt1 morphants but retained wild-type levels of DNA methylation. Remarkably, suv39h1 overexpression rescued markers of terminal differentiation in Dnmt1 morphants. Our results suggest that Dnmt1 activity helps direct histone methylation by Suv39h1 and that, together, Dnmt1 and Suv39h1 help guide the terminal differentiation of particular tissues.

  13. Examining the role of tuber biochemistry in the development of zebra chip in stored potato tubers

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Zebra chip disease (ZC), associated with infection by the bacterium ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (Lso), is an emerging problem for potato growers in the United States, Mexico, and New Zealand. Although potato tubers exhibiting ZC symptoms will be rejected by processors, it remains possible...

  14. Camdeboo-Mountain Zebra National Park Corridor: Opportunities for conservation and socio-economic development

    Treesearch

    Matthew Norval

    2015-01-01

    The Wilderness Foundation, in partnership with South African National Parks has initiated a two year project in the Karoo; The Mountain Zebra-Camdeboo Corridor Project. Through either voluntary Contractual National Park or Protected Environment agreements, the project aims to work with, rather than displace, current conservation-compatible land-use practices such as...

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-01-01

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

  16. Zebra mussel life history

    SciTech Connect

    Ackerman, J.D.

    1995-06-01

    The success of introduced zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas) and Dreissena bugensis Andrusova) can be related in large parttot a life history that is unlike that of the indigenous freshwater fauna and yet is conserved with marine bivalves. Following external fertilization and embryological development, there is a brief trochophore stage. With the development of a velum and the secretion of a D-shaped larval shell, the larva becomes a D-shaped veliger, which is the first recognizable planktonic larva. Later, the secretion of a second larval shell leads to the last obligate free-swimming veliger stage known as the veliconcha. The last larval stage known as the pediveliger, however, can both swim using its velum or crawl using its fully-functional foot. Pediveligers actively select substrates on which they {open_quotes}settle{close_quotes} by secreting byssal threads and undergo metamorphosis to become plantigrade mussels. The secretion of the adult shell and concomitant changes in growth axis leads to the heteromyariant or mussel-like shape, which is convergent with marine mussels. Like a number of other bivalves, zebra mussels produce byssal threads as adults, but these attachments may be broken enabling their translocation to new areas. The recognition and examination of these life history traits will lead to a better understanding of zebra mussel biology.

  17. [Retinoic acid signal pathway regulation of zebra fish tooth development through manipulation of the differentiation of neural crest].

    PubMed

    Liu, Xin; Huang, Xing; Xu, Zhiyun; Yang, Deqin

    2016-04-01

    To investigate the mechanism of retinoic acid (RA) signal in dental evolution, RA is used to explore the influence of the mechanism on neural crest's migration during the early stage of zebra fish embryos. We divided embryos of wild type and transgenic line zebra fish into three groups. 1 x 10(-7) to 6 x 10(-7) mol x L(-1) RA and 1 x 10(-7) mo x L(-1) 4-diethylaminobenzaldehyde (DEAB) were added into egg water at 24 hpf for 9 h. Dimethyl sulfoxid (DMSO) with the concentration was used as control group. Then, antisense probes of dlx2a, dlx2b, and barxl were formulated to perform whole-mount in situ hybridization to check the expressions of the genes in 48 hpf to 72 hpf embryos. We observed fluorescence of transgenic line in 4 dpf embryos. We obtained three mRNA probes successfully. Compared with DMSO control group, a low concentration (1 x 10(-7) mol x L(-1)) of RA could up-regulate the expression of mRNA (barx1, dlx2a) in neural crest. Obvious migration trend was observed toward the pharyngeal arch in which teeth adhered. Transgenic fish had spreading fluorescence tendency in pharyngeal arch. However, a high concentration (4 x 10(-7) mol x L(-1)) of RA malformed the embryos and killed them after treatment. One third of the embryos of middle concentration (3 x 10(-7) mo x L(-1)) exhibited delayed development. DEAB resulted in neural crest dysplasia. The expression of barxl and dlx2a were suppressed, and the appearance of dlx2b in tooth was delayed. RA signal pathway can regulate the progenitors of tooth by controlling the growth of the neural crest and manipulating tooth development

  18. Development of a bioaerosol single particle detector (BIO IN) for the fast ice nucleus chamber FINCH

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-10-01

    In this work we present the setup and first tests of our new BIO IN detector. This detector is designed to classify atmospheric ice nuclei (IN) for their biological content. Biological material is identified via its auto-fluorescence (intrinsic fluorescence) after irradiation with UV radiation. Ice nuclei are key substances for precipitation development via the Bergeron-Findeisen process. The level of scientific knowledge regarding origin and climatology (temporal and spatial distribution) of IN is very low. Some biological material is known to be active as IN even at relatively high temperatures of up to -2°C (e.g. pseudomonas syringae bacteria). These biological IN could have a strong influence on the formation of clouds and precipitation. We have designed the new BIO IN sensor to analyze the abundance of IN of biological origin. The instrument will be flown on one of the first missions of the new German research aircraft ''HALO'' (High Altitude and LOng Range).

  19. ORAL ESTROGEN MASCULINIZES FEMALE ZEBRA FINCH SONG SYSTEM. (R825294)

    EPA Science Inventory

    The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Concl...

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-06

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-09-01

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

  4. Control Strategies for Zebra Mussel Infestations at Public Facilities

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1992-07-01

    facilities. It was decided that sites where zebra mussel infestations would be most apparent were components of (1) navigation locks (walls, miter gates, fill... components likely to be negatively affected by zebra mussels. In addition, attendees prepared a preliminary list of strategies to deal with zebra mussel...struc- tural components , and suitable control strategies. The matrix was developed prior to the meeting by WES personnel and was based on an approach

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

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

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

  6. Environmental DNA mapping of Zebra Mussel populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Amberg, Jon; Merkes, Christopher

    2016-01-01

    Environmental DNA (eDNA) has become a popular tool for detecting aquatic invasive species, but advancements have made it possible to potentially answer other questions like reproduction, movement, and abundance of the targeted organism. In this study we developed a Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) eDNA protocol. We then determined if this assay could be used to help determine Zebra Mussel biomass in a lake with a well-established population of Zebra Mussels and a lake with an emerging population of mussels. Our eDNA assay detected DNA of Zebra Mussels but not DNA from more than 20 other species of fish and mussels, many commonly found in Minnesota waters. Our assay did not predict biomass. We did find that DNA from Zebra Mussels accumulated in softer substrates in both lakes, even though the mussels were predominately on the harder substrates. Therefore, we concluded that eDNA may be useful to detect the presence of Zebra Mussels in these lakes but our assay/approach could not predict biomass.

  7. A sensorimotor area in the songbird brain is required for production of vocalizations in the song learning period of development.

    PubMed

    Piristine, Hande C; Choetso, Tenzin; Gobes, Sharon M H

    2016-11-01

    Sensory feedback is essential for acquiring and maintaining complex motor behaviors, including birdsong. In zebra finches, auditory feedback reaches the song control circuits primarily through the nucleus interfacialis nidopalii (Nif), which provides excitatory input to HVC (proper name)-a premotor region essential for the production of learned vocalizations. Despite being one of the major inputs to the song control pathway, the role of Nif in generating vocalizations is not well understood. To address this, we transiently inactivated Nif in late juvenile zebra finches. Upon Nif inactivation (in both hemispheres or on one side only), birds went from singing stereotyped zebra finch song to uttering highly variable and unstructured vocalizations resembling sub-song, an early juvenile song form driven by a basal ganglia circuit. Simultaneously inactivating Nif and LMAN (lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium), the output nucleus of a basal ganglia circuit, inhibited song production altogether. These results suggest that Nif is required for generating the premotor drive for song. Permanent Nif lesions, in contrast, have only transient effects on vocal production, with song recovering within a day. The sensorimotor nucleus Nif thus produces a premotor drive to the motor pathway that is acutely required for generating learned vocalizations, but once permanently removed, the song system can compensate for its absence. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 76: 1213-1225, 2016.

  8. The effects of Zebra Chip disease development and bacterial titer on biochemical properties in relation to the time of infection

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Potato tuber biochemical responses to ‘Candidatus’ Liberibacter solanacearum (Lso), the causal agent of Zebra chip disease, were evaluated both within infected tubers and across different infection dates. Tuber biochemistry also was related to symptom severity and bacterial titer. Symptom severity w...

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

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

  13. Effects of temperature on 'Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum' and zebra chip potato disease symptom development

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Temperature has been shown to have significant impact on development of liberibacter species associated with citrus Huanglongbing disease. “Candidatus Liberibacter africanus” and “Ca. L. americanus” are both heat sensitive, whereas “Ca. L. asiaticus” is heat tolerant. The recently described “Ca. L. ...

  14. Several synthetic progestins disrupt the glial cell specific-brain aromatase expression in developing zebra fish.

    PubMed

    Cano-Nicolau, Joel; Garoche, Clémentine; Hinfray, Nathalie; Pellegrini, Elisabeth; Boujrad, Noureddine; Pakdel, Farzad; Kah, Olivier; Brion, François

    2016-08-15

    The effects of some progestins on fish reproduction have been recently reported revealing the hazard of this class of steroidal pharmaceuticals. However, their effects at the central nervous system level have been poorly studied until now. Notwithstanding, progesterone, although still widely considered primarily a sex hormone, is an important agent affecting many central nervous system functions. Herein, we investigated the effects of a large set of synthetic ligands of the nuclear progesterone receptor on the glial-specific expression of the zebrafish brain aromatase (cyp19a1b) using zebrafish mechanism-based assays. Progesterone and 24 progestins were first screened on transgenic cyp19a1b-GFP zebrafish embryos. We showed that progesterone, dydrogesterone, drospirenone and all the progesterone-derived progestins had no effect on GFP expression. Conversely, all progestins derived from 19-nortesterone induced GFP in a concentration-dependent manner with EC50 ranging from the low nM range to hundreds nM. The 19-nortestosterone derived progestins levonorgestrel (LNG) and norethindrone (NET) were further tested in a radial glial cell context using U251-MG cells co-transfected with zebrafish ER subtypes (zfERα, zfERβ1 or zfERβ2) and cyp19a1b promoter linked to luciferase. Progesterone had no effect on luciferase activity while NET and LNG induced luciferase activity that was blocked by ICI 182,780. Zebrafish-ERs competition assays showed that NET and LNG were unable to bind to ERs, suggesting that the effects of these compounds on cyp19a1b require metabolic activation prior to elicit estrogenic activity. Overall, we demonstrate that 19-nortestosterone derived progestins elicit estrogenic activity by inducing cyp19a1b expression in radial glial cells. Given the crucial role of radial glial cells and neuro-estrogens in early development of brain, the consequences of exposure of fish to these compounds require further investigation.

  15. Zebra mussel mitigation; overview

    SciTech Connect

    Claudi, R.

    1995-06-01

    Zebra mussels cause a number of problems to industrial raw water users as well as having serious impact on civil structures exposed to mussel infested waters. The largest volume of water (up to 90% of the total) drawn into most industrial and power generating plants, is for cooling and heat transfer. The rest of the volume is used for other plant processes, such as make-up in steam systems, and service systems used for cleaning, air conditions, fire protection and human consumption. All raw water systems are vulnerable to zebra mussel infestation to greater or lesser degree. To-date, many different chemical and non-chemical techniques for zebra mussel control have been investigated. However, the treatment of choice for most facilities is based on chemical control. This has been the common practice in Europe and so far it has been the case in North America. This is likely to change as the environmental constraints on release of chemicals into natural water bodies continue to increase. This paper deals with the different steps raw water users should take when deciding on a mitigation strategy, the mitigation measures available to-date and those that have been proposed for the control of zebra mussels in industrial systems.

  16. Zebra mussel monitoring

    SciTech Connect

    Hennagir, T.

    1994-01-01

    In less than a decade, zebra mussels have become the latest environmental scourge to plague the North American power industry. Infestations in the Great Lakes region have already reached natural disaster proportions. The invasion shows little sign of subsiding; Michigan's inland waters are the next most likely threatened area. In the southern United States, the mussles' migration has extended about 50 miles deeper than experts had originally predicted. By the year 2000, zebra mussel monitoring and control efforts will cost business and industry $5 billion, according to the federal Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990. Estimates of more than $1 million to control mussel fouling are projected for the Great Lakes area alone. While small independent hydropower stations are not as susceptible to zebra mussles as coal or nuclear facilities, there is cause for concern. Infestations can quickly foul hydropower plant components, hampering equipment operation and reducing facility efficiency. In extreme cases, leaving the mussels unchecked can result in stoplog gate flow blockage or false water level gauge readings. Advance prevention is often an effective first-line of defense against this troublesome, rapidly spreading and extremely prolific mollusk. Mussel monitoring efforts should begin a year in advance of when zebra mussels are expected to appear in a given location. Hydropower facility components that come into contact or rely exclusively on raw water are at greatest risk, as are other external components such as embayment walls, screens, trashracks and fish ladders.

  17. Testosterone induces testicular development but reduces GnRH-I fiber density in the brain of the House Finch, Carpodacus mexicanus.

    PubMed

    Deviche, Pierre; Martin, Russell K; Small, Thomas; Sharp, Peter J

    2006-06-01

    Testosterone (T) in male birds generally inhibits the activity of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis, but the androgen can also be gonadostimulatory. The mechanisms responsible for this stimulation are unknown. To address this question, adult male House Finches, Carpodacus mexicanus, held on short day length to inhibit reproductive function, received 20-mm long T-filled Silastic capsules either for 74 days (T+; n=5; Day 1-74) or for 66 days followed by eight days without capsules (T-; n=5), or empty capsules for 74 days (controls, C, n=10). At sacrifice on Day 74, plasma T concentrations were elevated in T+ males and low, and similar in T- and C males. Testes were enlarged in T+ males (136.5+/-57.2mg), small in T- males (16.2+/-9.5 mg), and undeveloped in C males (5.4+/-3.6 mg). The three groups had similar numbers and sizes of hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone-I immunoreactive (GnRH-I ir) perikarya, but perikaryon GnRH-I ir labelling was lighter in T+ than C males. T+ males also had lower density of GnRH-immunolabelled fibers in the preoptic area and lower intensity of GnRH immunolabelling in the median eminence than C males, suggesting an inhibition of GnRH-I neuronal activity. Plasma luteinizing hormone in the three experimental groups was uniformly low and did not differ. Thus, T administration-induced testicular development was associated with an inhibition of the reproductive neuroendocrine system, demonstrating a direct stimulatory effect of T on testes. Stimulation of testicular function by endogenous T in seasonal breeders may contribute to the rapid gonadal maturation that takes place in response to photostimulation.

  18. Update on zebra chip variety screening trial

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Sustainable management of zebra chip (ZC) disease of potato requires the identification and development of tolerant or resistant potato varieties. For five years (2010-2014), over 280 potato varieties and advanced breeding lines were screened for ZC under controlled field cage conditions, by infecti...

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-09-01

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

  20. ZEBRA battery meets USABC goals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dustmann, Cord-H.

    In 1990, the California Air Resources Board has established a mandate to introduce electric vehicles in order to improve air quality in Los Angeles and other capitals. The United States Advanced Battery Consortium has been formed by the big car companies, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Department of Energy in order to establish the requirements on EV-batteries and to support battery development. The ZEBRA battery system is a candidate to power future electric vehicles. Not only because its energy density is three-fold that of lead acid batteries (50% more than NiMH) but also because of all the other EV requirements such as power density, no maintenance, summer and winter operation, safety, failure tolerance and low cost potential are fulfilled. The electrode material is plain salt and nickel in combination with a ceramic electrolyte. The cell voltage is 2.58 V and the capacity of a standard cell is 32 Ah. Some hundred cells are connected in series and parallel to form a battery with about 300 V OCV. The battery system including battery controller, main circuit-breaker and cooling system is engineered for vehicle integration and ready to be mounted in a vehicle [J. Gaub, A. van Zyl, Mercedes-Benz Electric Vehicles with ZEBRA Batteries, EVS-14, Orlando, FL, Dec. 1997]. The background of these features are described.

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

    PubMed

    Kelly, Aubrey M; Goodson, James L

    2015-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Tebbich, Sabine; Sterelny, Kim; Teschke, Irmgard

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

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

  4. Genomic resources for songbird research and their use in characterizing gene expression during brain development

    PubMed Central

    Li, XiaoChing; Wang, Xiu-Jie; Tannenhauser, Jonathan; Podell, Sheila; Mukherjee, Piali; Hertel, Moritz; Biane, Jeremy; Masuda, Shoko; Nottebohm, Fernando; Gaasterland, Terry

    2007-01-01

    Vocal learning and neuronal replacement have been studied extensively in songbirds, but until recently, few molecular and genomic tools for songbird research existed. Here we describe new molecular/genomic resources developed in our laboratory. We made cDNA libraries from zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) brains at different developmental stages. A total of 11,000 cDNA clones from these libraries, representing 5,866 unique gene transcripts, were randomly picked and sequenced from the 3′ ends. A web-based database was established for clone tracking, sequence analysis, and functional annotations. Our cDNA libraries were not normalized. Sequencing ESTs without normalization produced many developmental stage-specific sequences, yielding insights into patterns of gene expression at different stages of brain development. In particular, the cDNA library made from brains at posthatching day 30–50, corresponding to the period of rapid song system development and song learning, has the most diverse and richest set of genes expressed. We also identified five microRNAs whose sequences are highly conserved between zebra finch and other species. We printed cDNA microarrays and profiled gene expression in the high vocal center of both adult male zebra finches and canaries (Serinus canaria). Genes differentially expressed in the high vocal center were identified from the microarray hybridization results. Selected genes were validated by in situ hybridization. Networks among the regulated genes were also identified. These resources provide songbird biologists with tools for genome annotation, comparative genomics, and microarray gene expression analysis. PMID:17426146

  5. Steam treatment of zebra mussels

    SciTech Connect

    Tsou, J.; Rybarik, D.L.; Thiel, J.

    1995-06-01

    Steam injection into intake bays is a nonchemical method to control zebra mussels. This technique was demonstrated at Dairyland Power Cooperative`s J.P. Madgett Station located in Alma, Wisconsin. The project was funded by the EPRI Zebra Mussel Consortium which includes: Dairyland Power Cooperative, Central Illinois Public Service, Duke Power, Illinois Power Company, PSI Energy, Public Service Electric & Gas, and Tennessee Valley Authority. This technique can be used by other power plants with a similar problem. A contract between Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Stone & Webster Engineering Corporation (Stone & Webster) was initiated in August 1994. The steam treatments were performed at the J.P. Madgett intake in Alma, Wisconsin, on September 14 and 18, 1994. The J.P. Madgett Station has two water intake bays with storage capacities of approximately 295,000 and 265,000 gallons, respectively. Each intake can be isolated, permitting either full or reduced generation depending on river temperature conditions. In addition to the intake bays, the outside fire protection loop and hydrants were also treated with the hot water from one of the bays. This paper presents the process design, piping and steam educator configurations, portable industrial boiler sizing and description, and the thermocouples to monitor the water temperature in the intake bay. The biological mortality and control test protocol and treatment results are also presented. Treatment effectiveness was 100%; however, equipment installation and operation was more problematic than anticipated. A generic computer program is developed and verified using thermal data from the test. The PC program will allow other utilities to size the boiler and estimate the heat losses from an intake bay. The treatment also provided valuable information that simplifies future applications and provides for more realistic design and installation schedules and costs.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Orlov, Michael; Sipper, Moshe

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

  7. A Zebra in the Classroom.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Leake, Devin; Morvillo, Nancy

    1998-01-01

    Describes the care and breeding of zebra fish, suggests various experiments and observations easily performed in a classroom setting, and provides some ideas to further student interest and exploration of these organisms. (DDR)

  8. USGS Zebra Mussel Monitoring Program for north Texas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Churchill, Christopher J.; Baldys, Stanley

    2012-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Zebra Mussel Monitoring Program for north Texas provides early detection and monitoring of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) by using a holistic suite of detection methods. The program is designed to assess zebra mussel occurrence, distribution, and densities in north Texas waters by using four approaches: (1) SCUBA diving, (2) water-sample collection with plankton tow nets (followed by laboratory analyses), (3) artificial substrates, and (4) water-quality sampling. Data collected during this type of monitoring can assist rapid response efforts and can be used to quantify the economic and ecological effects of zebra mussels in the north Texas area. Monitoring under this program began in April 2010. The presence of large zebra mussel populations often causes undesirable economic and ecological effects, including damage to water-processing infrastructure and hydroelectric powerplants (with an estimated 10-year cost of $3.1 billion), displacement of native mussels, increases in concentrations of certain species of cyanobacteria, and increases in concentrations of geosmin (an organic compound that results in taste and odor issues in water). Since no large-scale, environmentally safe eradication method has been developed for zebra mussels, it is difficult to remove established populations. Broad physicochemical adaptability, prolific reproductive capacity, and rapid dispersal methods have enabled zebra mussels, within a period of about 20 years, to establish populations under differing environmental conditions across much of the eastern part of the United States. In Texas, the presence of zebra mussels was first confirmed in April 2009 in Lake Texoma in the Red River Basin along the Texas-Oklahoma border. They were most likely introduced into Lake Texoma through overland transport from an infested water body. Since then, the presence of zebra mussels has been reported in both the Red River and Washita River arms of Lake Texoma, in

  9. Prox1 Is a Novel Coregulator of Ff1b and Is Involved in the Embryonic Development of the Zebra Fish Interrenal Primordium

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Yi-Wen; Gao, Wei; Teh, Hui-Ling; Tan, Jee-Hian; Chan, Woon-Khiong

    2003-01-01

    Steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) plays an essential role in adrenal development, although the exact molecular mechanisms are unclear. Our previous work established that Ff1b is the zebra fish homologue of SF-1 and that its disruption by antisense morpholinos leads to a complete ablation of the interrenal organ. In this study, results of biochemical analyses suggest that Ff1b and other Ff1 members interact with Prox1, a homeodomain protein. Fine mapping using site-directed mutants showed that this interaction requires an intact Ff1b heptad 9 and AF2, as well as Prox1 NR Box I. In vivo, this physical interaction led to the inhibition of Ff1-mediated transactivation of pLuc3XFRE, indicating that Prox1 acts to repress the transcriptional activity of Ff1b. In situ hybridization demonstrates that prox1 colocalizes with ff1a and ff1b in the liver and interrenal primordia, respectively. Embryos microinjected with prox1 morpholino displayed a consistent partial reduction of 3β-Hsd activity in the interrenal organ, while ff1b morpholino led to a disappearance of prox1. Based on these results, we propose that during the course of interrenal organogenesis, Prox1 functions as a tissue-specific coregulator of Ff1b and that the subsequent inhibition of Ff1b activity, after its initial roles in the specification of interrenal primordium, is critical for the maturation of the interrenal organ. PMID:14517294

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2001-01-01

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

  11. Zebra mussel control using acoustic energy

    SciTech Connect

    Tiller, G.W.; Gaucher, T.A.; Menezes, J.K.; Dolat, S.W. )

    1992-01-01

    A practical and economical device or method that reduces zebra mussel colonization without detrimental side effects is highly desirable. An ideal method is one that could be installed near, on, or in existing raw water intakes and conduits. It must have a known effect that is limited to a defined area, should have maximum effects on a targeted species, and preferably have a low life cycle cost than the current alternative methods of control and maintenance. Underwater sound could be such a desirable solution, if found to be an effective control measure for zebra mussels. Although sound most often applies specifically to acoustic energy that is audible to humans, 20 Hertz (Hz) to 20 kiloHertz (kHz), in this report we will use the terms sound and acoustic to include acoustic energy between 100 Hz and 100 MegaHertz (MHz). This research on zebra mussel biofouling is designed to effect the early developmental stages in the life cycle of Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas). Vulnerable stages in the development of D. polymorpha that might yield to site-specific acoustic deterrence measures include the free-swimming larval veliger stage, the postveliger pre-attachment demersal stage, and the immediate post-attachment stage. The proposed applications include surface treatment to prevent, reduce or eliminate colonization on underwater structures, and the stream treatment to reduce or eliminate (destroy) mussel larvae entrained in a moving volume of water.

  12. Development of a cDNA microarray of zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) foot and its use in understanding the early stage of underwater adhesion.

    PubMed

    Xu, Wei; Faisal, Mohamed

    2009-05-01

    The underwater adhesion of the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) to substrates is a complex process that is controlled by a delicate apparatus, the byssus. As a critical activity of the byssus glands embedded in the zebra mussel feet, byssogenesis is highly active to produce numerous byssal threads from the settled juvenile stage through the adult stage in its life cycle. This lifelong activity helps the zebra mussel to firmly attach to substrata underwater, thereby causing severe economic and ecologic impacts. In an attempt to better understand the zebra mussel's byssus activity, a cDNA microarray (ZMB) including 716 genes, generated from a Suppression Subtractive Hybridization (SSH) cDNA library, was printed and used for the comparison of gene expression during zebra mussel adhesion and non-adhesion. To better understand the byssogenesis mechanism, RNA samples from the zebra mussel feet with byssogenesis and without byssogenesis were used in a two-color hybridization to reveal the gene differential expression in the two states. Based on the P values (P<0.05), Fifty-two ESTs were found as differentially expressed genes and were divided into two groups, upregulated and downregulated groups according to there logFC values. With the false discovery rate (FDR) adjustment, seven were identified from the upregulated group and nine from the downregulated group. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the four excretory gland peptide-like protein (EGP) encoding genes in upregulated group are structurally different than the two in the downregulated list. The amino acid composition analysis on the proteins, which were encoded by the up- or downregulated ESTs without homologues (NH) suggested that seven of the NH proteins are biochemically similar to the novel foot proteins from other mussels. The quantitative reverse transcription PCR (QRT-PCR) proved the uniqueness of the templates in the array, and also confirmed the differentially expressed genes identified by microarray

  13. Cortisol and corticosterone in the songbird immune and nervous systems: local vs. systemic levels during development.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Kim L; Soma, Kiran K

    2008-07-01

    Glucocorticoids (GCs) have profound effects on the immune and nervous systems during development. However, circulating GC levels are low neonatally and show little response to stressors. This paradox could be resolved if immune and neural tissues locally synthesize GCs. Here, we measured baseline corticosterone and cortisol levels in plasma, immune organs, and brain regions of developing zebra finches. Steroids were extracted using solid phase-extraction and quantified using specific immunoassays. As expected, corticosterone was the predominant GC in plasma and increased with age. In contrast, cortisol was the predominant GC in immune tissues (bursa of Fabricius, thymus, spleen) and decreased with age. Cortisol levels in immune tissues were higher than cortisol levels in plasma. In the brain, corticosterone and cortisol levels were similarly low, providing little evidence for local synthesis of GCs in the brain. This is the first study to measure 1) cortisol in the plasma of songbirds, 2) corticosterone or cortisol in the brain of songbirds, and 3) corticosterone or cortisol in the immune system of any species. Despite the prevailing dogma that corticosterone is the primary GC in birds, these results indicate that cortisol is the predominant GC in the immune system of developing zebra finches. These results raise the hypothesis that cortisol is synthesized de novo from cholesterol in the immune system as an "immunosteroid," analogous to neurosteroids synthesized in the brain. Local production of GCs in immune tissues may allow GCs to regulate lymphocyte selection while avoiding the costs of high systemic GCs during development.

  14. Zebra mussel mortality with chlorine

    SciTech Connect

    Van Benschoten, J.E.; Jensen, J.N.; Harrington, D.; DeGirolamo, D.J.

    1995-05-01

    The rate of mortality of the zebra mussel in response to chlorine is described by a kinetic model that combines a statistical characterization of mussel mortality with a disinfection-type modeling approach. Parameter estimates were made with nine sets of data from experiments conducted in Niagara River water. From the kinetic model, an operational diagram was constructed that describes the time to 95% mortality as a function of chlorine concentration and temperature. Either the model or the diagram can be used to assist utilities in planning chlorination treatments for controlling zebra mussels.

  15. IMPACT OF WATER TEMPERATURE ON ZEBRA MUSSEL MORTALITY

    SciTech Connect

    Daniel P. Molloy

    2002-08-07

    These tests conducted this past quarter have indicated that the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens strain CL0145A is effective at killing zebra mussels at water temperatures ranging from 7 to 23 C. Percent kill will likely be somewhat lower at very low temperatures, e.g., 7 C, but even at such low temperatures high mussel kill can still be achieved (>70% kill). This is significant because the development of a zebra mussel control method that is efficacious in such a wide range of temperatures broadens its usefulness as a potential commercial product.

  16. Environmentally Safe Control of Zebra Mussel Fouling

    SciTech Connect

    Daniel Molloy

    2008-02-29

    The two primary objectives of this USDOE-NETL contract were successfully achieved during the project: (1) to accelerate research on the development of the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens strain CL145A (Pf-CL145A) as a biocontrol agent for zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga mussels (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis)--two invasive freshwater bivalve species that are infesting water pipes in power plants; and (2) to identify a private-sector company that would move forward to commercialize Pf-CL145A as a substitute for the current polluting use of biocide chemicals for control of these dreissenid mussels in power plant pipes.

  17. FindZebra: a search engine for rare diseases.

    PubMed

    Dragusin, Radu; Petcu, Paula; Lioma, Christina; Larsen, Birger; Jørgensen, Henrik L; Cox, Ingemar J; Hansen, Lars Kai; Ingwersen, Peter; Winther, Ole

    2013-06-01

    The web has become a primary information resource about illnesses and treatments for both medical and non-medical users. Standard web search is by far the most common interface to this information. It is therefore of interest to find out how well web search engines work for diagnostic queries and what factors contribute to successes and failures. Among diseases, rare (or orphan) diseases represent an especially challenging and thus interesting class to diagnose as each is rare, diverse in symptoms and usually has scattered resources associated with it. We design an evaluation approach for web search engines for rare disease diagnosis which includes 56 real life diagnostic cases, performance measures, information resources and guidelines for customising Google Search to this task. In addition, we introduce FindZebra, a specialized (vertical) rare disease search engine. FindZebra is powered by open source search technology and uses curated freely available online medical information. FindZebra outperforms Google Search in both default set-up and customised to the resources used by FindZebra. We extend FindZebra with specialized functionalities exploiting medical ontological information and UMLS medical concepts to demonstrate different ways of displaying the retrieved results to medical experts. Our results indicate that a specialized search engine can improve the diagnostic quality without compromising the ease of use of the currently widely popular standard web search. The proposed evaluation approach can be valuable for future development and benchmarking. The FindZebra search engine is available at http://www.findzebra.com/. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Hemispheric dominance underlying the neural substrate for learned vocalizations develops with experience.

    PubMed

    Chirathivat, Napim; Raja, Sahitya C; Gobes, Sharon M H

    2015-06-22

    Many aspects of song learning in songbirds resemble characteristics of speech acquisition in humans. Genetic, anatomical and behavioural parallels have most recently been extended with demonstrated similarities in hemispheric dominance between humans and songbirds: the avian higher order auditory cortex is left-lateralized for processing song memories in juvenile zebra finches that already have formed a memory of their fathers' song, just like Wernicke's area in the left hemisphere of the human brain is dominant for speech perception. However, it is unclear if hemispheric specialization is due to pre-existing functional asymmetry or the result of learning itself. Here we show that in juvenile male and female zebra finches that had never heard an adult song before, neuronal activation after initial exposure to a conspecific song is bilateral. Thus, like in humans, hemispheric dominance develops with vocal proficiency. A left-lateralized functional system that develops through auditory-vocal learning may be an evolutionary adaptation that could increase the efficiency of transferring information within one hemisphere, benefiting the production and perception of learned communication signals.

  19. The function of zebra stripes.

    PubMed

    Caro, Tim; Izzo, Amanda; Reiner, Robert C; Walker, Hannah; Stankowich, Theodore

    2014-04-01

    Despite over a century of interest, the function of zebra stripes has never been examined systematically. Here we match variation in striping of equid species and subspecies to geographic range overlap of environmental variables in multifactor models controlling for phylogeny to simultaneously test the five major explanations for this infamous colouration. For subspecies, there are significant associations between our proxy for tabanid biting fly annoyance and most striping measures (facial and neck stripe number, flank and rump striping, leg stripe intensity and shadow striping), and between belly stripe number and tsetse fly distribution, several of which are replicated at the species level. Conversely, there is no consistent support for camouflage, predator avoidance, heat management or social interaction hypotheses. Susceptibility to ectoparasite attack is discussed in relation to short coat hair, disease transmission and blood loss. A solution to the riddle of zebra stripes, discussed by Wallace and Darwin, is at hand.

  20. Detroit Edison conquers zebra mussels

    SciTech Connect

    Harwood, D.B.; Buda, D.J. )

    1993-11-01

    A potentially troublesome zebra mussel infestation at Detroit Edison's Harbor Beach Power Plant was nipped in time. Reducing the oxygen content of water inside the plant's water systems and using steam to thermally treat a colony of mussels that was established in the plant's screenhouse prevented the problem. So successful was the temperature treatment that it will be used regularly as part of the plant's annual mussel removal program.

  1. Dorsal pallidal neurons directly link the nidopallium and midbrain in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Wild, J Martin

    2017-05-01

    The dorsal pallidum in birds is considered similar, if not homologous, to the globus pallidus (GP) of mammals. The dorsal pallidum projects to both thalamic and midbrain targets similar to the direct and indirect pathways arising from the internal and external segments of the GP. In the present study, retrograde and anterograde tracing studies revealed a previously undescribed projection of the avian dorsal pallidum. This arises from a specific dorsomedial component, which terminates in the intercollicular nucleus and partly surrounds the avian equivalent of the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus. The respiratory-vocal dorsomedial nucleus of the intercollicular complex, however, does not receive these projections. The somata of the pallidal neurons retrogradely labeled from injections in the intercollicular nucleus were large and generally multipolar and had extensive, sparsely branching central processes (presumptive dendrites) that together extended up to 2 mm dorsally into the intermediate and caudomedial nidopallium. The size and morphology of these neurons were similar to those of large pallidal neurons labeled by calretinin immunoreactivity, which could be co-localized to the same cells. Thus, rather than being directly involved in the control of movement, the large dorsomedial neurons of the caudal dorsal pallidum may be involved in sensory processing, in that they provide an unusual direct link between sensory (auditory/somatosensory) regions of the nidopallium and sensory regions of the intercollicular nucleus of the midbrain. J. Comp. Neurol. 525:1731-1742, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  2. Circadian regulation of bird song, call, and locomotor behavior by pineal melatonin in the zebra finch.

    PubMed

    Wang, Gang; Harpole, Clifford E; Trivedi, Amit K; Cassone, Vincent M

    2012-04-01

    As both a photoreceptor and pacemaker in the avian circadian clock system, the pineal gland is crucial for maintaining and synchronizing overt circadian rhythms in processes such as locomotor activity and body temperature through its circadian secretion of the pineal hormone melatonin. In addition to receptor presence in circadian and visual system structures, high-affinity melatonin binding and receptor mRNA are present in the song control system of male oscine passeriform birds. The present study explores the role of pineal melatonin in circadian organization of singing and calling behavior in comparison to locomotor activity under different lighting conditions. Similar to locomotor activity, both singing and calling behavior were regulated on a circadian basis by the central clock system through pineal melatonin, since these behaviors free-ran with a circadian period and since pinealectomy abolished them in constant environmental conditions. Further, rhythmic melatonin administration restored their rhythmicity. However, the rates by which these behaviors became arrhythmic and the rates of their entrainment to rhythmic melatonin administration differed among locomotor activity, singing and calling under constant dim light and constant bright light. Overall, the study demonstrates a role for pineal melatonin in regulating circadian oscillations of avian vocalizations in addition to locomotor activity. It is suggested that these behaviors might be controlled by separable circadian clockworks and that pineal melatonin entrains them all through a circadian clock.

  3. Developmental stress affects song learning but not song complexity and vocal amplitude in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Brumm, Henrik; Zollinger, Sue Anne; Slater, Peter J B

    2009-07-01

    Several recent studies have tested the hypothesis that song quality in adult birds may reflect early developmental conditions, specifically nutritional stress during the nestling period. Whilst all of these earlier studies found apparent links between early nutritional stress and song quality, their results disagree as to which aspects of song learning or production were affected. In this study, we attempted to reconcile these apparently inconsistent results. Our study also provides the first assessment of song amplitude in relation to early developmental stress and as a potential cue to male quality. We used an experimental manipulation in which the seeds on which the birds were reared were mixed with husks, making them more difficult for the parents to obtain. Compared with controls, such chicks were lighter at fledging; they were thereafter placed on a normal diet and had caught up by 100 days. We show that nutritional stress during the first 30 days of life reduced the birds' accuracy of song syntax learning, resulting in poorer copies of tutor songs. Our experimental manipulations did not lead to significant changes in song amplitude, song duration or repertoire size. Thus, individual differences observed in song performance features probably reflect differences in current condition or motivation rather than past condition.

  4. Seasonal effects of the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) on sediment denitrification rates in Pool 8 of the Upper Mississippi River

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bruesewitz, Denise A.; Tank, Jennifer L.; Bernot, Melody J.; Richardson, William B.; Strauss, Eric A.

    2006-01-01

    Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) have altered the structure of invaded ecosystems and exhibit characteristics that suggest they may influence ecosystem processes such as nitrogen (N) cycling. We measured denitrification rates seasonally on sediments underlying zebra mussel beds collected from the impounded zone of Navigation Pool 8 of the Upper Mississippi River. Denitrification assays were amended with nutrients to characterize variation in nutrient limitation of denitrification in the presence or absence of zebra mussels. Denitrification rates at zebra mussel sites were high relative to sites without zebra mussels in February 2004 (repeated measures analysis of variance (RM ANOVA), p = 0.005), potentially because of high NO3-N variability from nitrification of high NH4+ zebra mussel waste. Denitrification rates were highest in June 2003 (RM ANOVA, p 3-N concentrations during the study (linear regression, R2 = 0.72, p p ≤ 0.01). Examining how zebra mussels influence denitrification rates will aid in developing a more complete understanding of the impact of zebra mussels and more effective management strategies of eutrophic waters.

  5. New Concerns Emerge as Zebra Mussel Spreads.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Walter, Martha L., Ed.

    1992-01-01

    Reports on the Zebra Mussel invasion of North American inland waterways. Discusses United States Army Corps of Engineers operations that may facilitate or be affected by the spread of Zebra Mussels, the threat to native clams, chemical and mechanical control methods, natural solutions, and ongoing research. (MCO)

  6. New Concerns Emerge as Zebra Mussel Spreads.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Walter, Martha L., Ed.

    1992-01-01

    Reports on the Zebra Mussel invasion of North American inland waterways. Discusses United States Army Corps of Engineers operations that may facilitate or be affected by the spread of Zebra Mussels, the threat to native clams, chemical and mechanical control methods, natural solutions, and ongoing research. (MCO)

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

    PubMed Central

    Grant, Peter R.; Grant, B. Rosemary

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2005-01-01

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

  10. Zebra Stripes through the Eyes of Their Predators, Zebras, and Humans.

    PubMed

    Melin, Amanda D; Kline, Donald W; Hiramatsu, Chihiro; Caro, Tim

    2016-01-01

    The century-old idea that stripes make zebras cryptic to large carnivores has never been examined systematically. We evaluated this hypothesis by passing digital images of zebras through species-specific spatial and colour filters to simulate their appearance for the visual systems of zebras' primary predators and zebras themselves. We also measured stripe widths and luminance contrast to estimate the maximum distances from which lions, spotted hyaenas, and zebras can resolve stripes. We found that beyond ca. 50 m (daylight) and 30 m (twilight) zebra stripes are difficult for the estimated visual systems of large carnivores to resolve, but not humans. On moonless nights, stripes are difficult for all species to resolve beyond ca. 9 m. In open treeless habitats where zebras spend most time, zebras are as clearly identified by the lion visual system as are similar-sized ungulates, suggesting that stripes cannot confer crypsis by disrupting the zebra's outline. Stripes confer a minor advantage over solid pelage in masking body shape in woodlands, but the effect is stronger for humans than for predators. Zebras appear to be less able than humans to resolve stripes although they are better than their chief predators. In conclusion, compared to the uniform pelage of other sympatric herbivores it appears highly unlikely that stripes are a form of anti-predator camouflage.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-24

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

  12. Zebra fish myc family and max genes: differential expression and oncogenic activity throughout vertebrate evolution.

    PubMed Central

    Schreiber-Agus, N; Horner, J; Torres, R; Chiu, F C; DePinho, R A

    1993-01-01

    To gain insight into the role of Myc family oncoproteins and their associated protein Max in vertebrate growth and development, we sought to identify homologs in the zebra fish (Brachydanio rerio). A combination of a polymerase chain reaction-based cloning strategy and low-stringency hybridization screening allowed for the isolation of zebra fish c-, N-, and L-myc and max genes; subsequent structural characterization showed a high degree of conservation in regions that encode motifs of known functional significance. On the functional level, zebra fish Max, like its mammalian counterpart, served to suppress the transformation activity of mouse c-Myc in rat embryo fibroblasts. In addition, the zebra fish c-myc gene proved capable of cooperating with an activated H-ras to effect the malignant transformation of mammalian cells, albeit with diminished potency compared with mouse c-myc. With respect to their roles in normal developing tissues, the differential temporal and spatial patterns of steady-state mRNA expression observed for each zebra fish myc family member suggest unique functions for L-myc in early embryogenesis, for N-myc in establishment and growth of early organ systems, and for c-myc in increasingly differentiated tissues. Furthermore, significant alterations in the steady-state expression of zebra fish myc family genes concomitant with relatively constant max expression support the emerging model of regulation of Myc function in cellular growth and differentiation. Images PMID:8474440

  13. Zebra mussel adhesion: structure of the byssal adhesive apparatus in the freshwater mussel, Dreissena polymorpha.

    PubMed

    Farsad, Nikrooz; Sone, Eli D

    2012-03-01

    The freshwater zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) owes a large part of its success as an invasive species to its ability to attach to a wide variety of substrates. As in marine mussels, this attachment is achieved by a proteinaceous byssus, a series of threads joined at a stem that connect the mussel to adhesive plaques secreted onto the substrate. Although the zebra mussel byssus is superficially similar to marine mussels, significant structural and compositional differences suggest that further investigation of the adhesion mechanisms in this freshwater species is warranted. Here we present an ultrastructural examination of the zebra mussel byssus, with emphasis on interfaces that are critical to its adhesive function. By examining the attached plaques, we show that adhesion is mediated by a uniform electron dense layer on the underside of the plaque. This layer is only 10-20 nm thick and makes direct and continuous contact with the substrate. The plaque itself is fibrous, and curiously can exhibit either a dense or porous morphology. In zebra mussels, a graded interface between the animal and the substrate mussels is achieved by interdigitation of uniform threads with the stem, in contrast to marine mussels, where the threads themselves are non-uniform. Our observations of several novel aspects of zebra mussel byssal ultrastructure may have important implications not only for preventing biofouling by the zebra mussel, but for the development of new bioadhesives as well.

  14. Review of techniques to prevent introduction of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) during native mussel (Unionoidea) conservation activities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cope, W.G.; Newton, T.J.; Gatenby, C.M.

    2003-01-01

    Because of the declines in diversity and abundance of native freshwater mussels (superfamily Unionoidea), and the potential decimation of populations of native mussels resulting from the rapid spread of the exotic zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha, management options to eliminate or reduce the threat of the zebra mussel are needed. Relocating native mussels to refugia (artificial and natural) has been proposed to mitigate the threat of zebra mussels to native species. Relocation of native mussels to refugia such as fish hatchery facilities or natural habitats within their historic range. Which are unlikely to be infested by zebra mussels, necessitates that protocols be developed to prevent the inadvertent introduction of zebra mussels. Several recent studies have developed Such protocols, and have assessed their effectiveness on the health and survival of native mussels during subsequent relocation to various refugia. The purpose of this project is to synthesize and evaluate the current protocols and to develop a set of procedures that resource managers and researchers should consider before conducting conservation activities in zebra mussel infested waters. We found that the existing protocols have many common points of concern, such as facility modification and suitability, zebra mussel risk assessment and management procedures, and health and disease management procedures. These conservation protocols may have broad applicability to other situations and locations. A summary and evaluation of the information in these main areas, along with recommended guidelines, are presented in this article.

  15. Switch from sexual to parthenogenetic reproduction in a zebra shark

    PubMed Central

    Dudgeon, Christine L.; Coulton, Laura; Bone, Ren; Ovenden, Jennifer R.; Thomas, Severine

    2017-01-01

    Parthenogenesis is a natural form of asexual reproduction in which embryos develop in the absence of fertilisation. Most commonly found in plants and invertebrate organisms, an increasing number of vertebrate species have recently been reported employing this reproductive strategy. Here we use DNA genotyping to report the first demonstration of an intra-individual switch from sexual to parthenogenetic reproduction in a shark species, the zebra shark Stegostoma fasciatum. A co-housed, sexually produced daughter zebra shark also commenced parthenogenetic reproduction at the onset of maturity without any prior mating. The demonstration of parthenogenesis in these two conspecific individuals with different sexual histories provides further support that elasmobranch fishes may flexibly adapt their reproductive strategy to environmental circumstances. PMID:28091617

  16. Switch from sexual to parthenogenetic reproduction in a zebra shark.

    PubMed

    Dudgeon, Christine L; Coulton, Laura; Bone, Ren; Ovenden, Jennifer R; Thomas, Severine

    2017-01-16

    Parthenogenesis is a natural form of asexual reproduction in which embryos develop in the absence of fertilisation. Most commonly found in plants and invertebrate organisms, an increasing number of vertebrate species have recently been reported employing this reproductive strategy. Here we use DNA genotyping to report the first demonstration of an intra-individual switch from sexual to parthenogenetic reproduction in a shark species, the zebra shark Stegostoma fasciatum. A co-housed, sexually produced daughter zebra shark also commenced parthenogenetic reproduction at the onset of maturity without any prior mating. The demonstration of parthenogenesis in these two conspecific individuals with different sexual histories provides further support that elasmobranch fishes may flexibly adapt their reproductive strategy to environmental circumstances.

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-05-15

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

  18. Controlling zebra mussel infestations at hydroelectric plants

    SciTech Connect

    Sblendorio, R.P.; Malinchock, J.C. ); Claudi, R. )

    1991-07-01

    U.S. and Canadian utilities in the great lakes area have adopted techniques to temporarily prevent infestation of the zebra mussel in their hydro facilities, but are still looking for more permanent solutions.

  19. Zebra mussels invade Lake Erie muds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Berkman, Paul Arthur; Haltuch, Melissa A.; Tichich, Emily; Garton, David W.; Kennedy, Gregory W.; Gannon, John E.; Mackey, Scudder D.; Fuller, Jonathan A.; Liebenthal, Dale L.

    1998-01-01

    Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) originated in western Russia but have now become widespread in Europe and North America. They are widely known for their conspicuous invasion of rocks and other hard substrates in North American and European watersheds. We have found beds of zebra mussels directly colonizing sand and mud sediments each year across hundreds of square kilometres of North America's Lake Erie. This transformation of sedimentary habitats into mussel beds represents an unforeseen change in the invasive capacity of this species.

  20. Zebra mussels. The assault continues

    SciTech Connect

    Lamarre, L.

    1993-09-01

    Over the past seven years, zebra mussel infestation has spread relentlessly, fouling up utility cooling intakes and other industrial operations that draw fresh water. The striped invader has flourished in all of the Great Lakes and most of the major river systems east of and including the Mississippi. It has also migrated much deeper into the South than experts anticipated and is making its way westward. Now biologists have turned up a separate, look-alike species they fear may be just as destructive. EPRI is continuing its work to improve control techniques and has published a comprehensive monitoring and control guide that outlines the best practices currently available for dealing with the mussel problem. This article reviews the results of this work.

  1. Zebra mussel control using periodic chlorine dioxide treatments

    SciTech Connect

    Tsou, J.; Coyle, J.; Crone, D.

    1996-08-01

    This paper summarizes the EPRI report (TR-105202) on the same topic as well as presents changes in current thinking on the suitability (applicability) of chlorine dioxide for fouling control. Chlorine dioxide was tested as a zebra mussel biocide at two steam electric generating stations in Illinois and one in Indiana. The purpose of these studies was to determine the efficacy of chlorine dioxide in killing zebra mussels and to develop site specific treatment programs for the three utilities. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Zebra Mussel Consortium sponsored the testing of this recent use of chlorine dioxide. The raw water system at Central Illinois Public Service`s Meredosia Station, on the Illinois River, received applications of chlorine dioxide in April, July, and September 1994. The raw water system at Illinois Power Company`s Wood River Station, on the Mississippi River, received applications in July 1993, January, April, May, July, and September 1994. The Gallagher Station, on the Ohio River, was treated in July and October 1994. Chlorine dioxide was generated on-site and injected into the water intake structure. Both cooling and service water systems were treated at the facilities. 6 refs., 13 figs.

  2. Mortality of zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, veligers during downstream transport

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Horvath, T.G.; Lamberti, G.A.

    1999-01-01

    1. Streams flowing from lakes which contain zebra mussels, Dreissena polymorpha, provide apparently suitable habitats for mussel colonization and downstream range expansion, yet most such streams contain few adult mussels. We postulated that mussel veligers experience high mortality during dispersal via downstream transport. They tested this hypothesis in Christiana Creek, a lake-outlet stream in south-western Michigan, U.S.A., in which adult mussel density declined exponentially with distance downstream. 2. A staining technique using neutral red was developed and tested to distinguish quickly live and dead veligers. Live and dead veligers were distinguishable after an exposure of fresh samples to 13.3 mg L-1 of neutral red for 3 h. 3. Neutral red was used to determine the proportion of live veligers in samples taken longitudinally along Christiana Creek. The proportion of live veligers (mean ?? SE) declined from 90 ?? 3% at the lake outlet to 40 ?? 8% 18 km downstream. 4. Veligers appear to be highly susceptible to damage by physical forces (e.g. shear), and therefore, mortality in turbulent streams could be an important mechanism limiting zebra mussel dispersal to downstream reaches. Predictions of zebra mussel spread and population growth should consider lake-stream linkages and high mortality in running waters.

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

    PubMed Central

    Genbrugge, Annelies; Heyde, Anne-Sophie; Adriaens, Dominique; Boone, Matthieu; Van Hoorebeke, Luc; Dirckx, Joris; Aerts, Peter; Podos, Jeffrey; Herrel, Anthony

    2011-01-01

    Darwin's finches are a model system in ecological and evolutionary research, but surprisingly little is known about their skull morphology and development. Indeed, only the early beak development and external variation in adult beak shape has been studied. Understanding the development of the skull from embryo up to the adult is important to gain insights into how selection acts upon, and drives, variation in beak shape. Here, we provide a detailed description of the skeletal development of the skull in the medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis). Although the ossification sequence of the cranial elements is broadly similar to that observed for other birds, some differences can be observed. Unexpectedly, our data show that large changes in skull shape take place between the nestling and the juvenile phases. The reorientation of the beak, the orbit and the formation of well-developed processes and cristae suggest that these changes are likely related to the use of the beak after leaving the nest. This suggests that the active use of the jaw muscles during seed cracking plays an important role in shaping the adult skull morphology and may be driving some of the intra-specific variation observed in species such as G. fortis. Investigating the development of the jaw muscles and their interaction with the observed ossification and formation of the skull and lower jaw would allow further insights into the ecology and evolution of beak morphology in Darwin's finches. PMID:21599660

  4. Zebra Stripes through the Eyes of Their Predators, Zebras, and Humans

    PubMed Central

    Melin, Amanda D.; Kline, Donald W.; Hiramatsu, Chihiro; Caro, Tim

    2016-01-01

    The century-old idea that stripes make zebras cryptic to large carnivores has never been examined systematically. We evaluated this hypothesis by passing digital images of zebras through species-specific spatial and colour filters to simulate their appearance for the visual systems of zebras’ primary predators and zebras themselves. We also measured stripe widths and luminance contrast to estimate the maximum distances from which lions, spotted hyaenas, and zebras can resolve stripes. We found that beyond ca. 50 m (daylight) and 30 m (twilight) zebra stripes are difficult for the estimated visual systems of large carnivores to resolve, but not humans. On moonless nights, stripes are difficult for all species to resolve beyond ca. 9 m. In open treeless habitats where zebras spend most time, zebras are as clearly identified by the lion visual system as are similar-sized ungulates, suggesting that stripes cannot confer crypsis by disrupting the zebra’s outline. Stripes confer a minor advantage over solid pelage in masking body shape in woodlands, but the effect is stronger for humans than for predators. Zebras appear to be less able than humans to resolve stripes although they are better than their chief predators. In conclusion, compared to the uniform pelage of other sympatric herbivores it appears highly unlikely that stripes are a form of anti-predator camouflage. PMID:26799935

  5. Personality is tightly coupled to vasopressin-oxytocin neuron activity in a gregarious finch

    PubMed Central

    Kelly, Aubrey M.; Goodson, James L.

    2014-01-01

    Nonapeptides of the vasopressin-oxytocin family modulate social processes differentially in relation to sex, species, behavioral phenotype, and human personality. However, the mechanistic bases for these differences are not well understood, in part because multidimensional personality structures remain to be described for common laboratory animals. Based upon principal components (PC) analysis of extensive behavioral measures in social and nonsocial contexts, we now describe three complex dimensions of phenotype (“personality”) for the zebra finch, a species that exhibits a human-like social organization that is based upon biparental nuclear families embedded within larger social groups. These dimensions can be characterized as Social competence/dominance, Gregariousness, and Anxiety. We further demonstrate that the phasic Fos responses of nonapeptide neurons in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis are significantly predicted by personality, sex, social context, and their interactions. Furthermore, the behavioral PCs are each associated with a distinct suite of neural PCs that incorporate both peptide cell numbers and their phasic Fos responses, indicating that personality is reflected in complex patterns of neuromodulation arising from multiple peptide cell groups. These findings provide novel insights into the mechanisms underlying sex- and phenotype-specific modulation of behavior, and should be broadly relevant, given that vasopressin-oxytocin systems are strongly conserved across vertebrates. PMID:24611041

  6. How to save the rarest Darwin's finch from extinction: the mangrove finch on Isabela Island

    PubMed Central

    Fessl, Birgit; Young, Glyn H.; Young, Richard P.; Rodríguez-Matamoros, Jorge; Dvorak, Michael; Tebbich, Sabine; Fa, John E.

    2010-01-01

    Habitat destruction and predation by invasive alien species has led to the disappearance of several island populations of Darwin's finches but to date none of the 13 recognized species have gone extinct. However, driven by rapid economic growth in the Galápagos, the effects of introduced species have accelerated and severely threatened these iconic birds. The critically endangered mangrove finch (Camarhynchus heliobates) is now confined to three small mangroves on Isabela Island. During 2006–2009, we assessed its population status and monitored nesting success, both before and after rat poisoning. Population size was estimated at around only 100 birds for the two main breeding sites, with possibly 5–10 birds surviving at a third mangrove. Before rat control, 54 per cent of nests during incubation phase were predated with only 18 per cent of nests producing fledglings. Post-rat control, nest predation during the incubation phase fell to 30 per cent with 37 per cent of nests producing fledglings. During the nestling phase, infestation by larvae of the introduced parasitic fly (Philornis downsi) caused 14 per cent additional mortality. Using population viability analysis, we simulated the probability of population persistence under various scenarios of control and showed that with effective management of these invasive species, mangrove finch populations should start to recover. PMID:20194165

  7. Darwin's finches treat their feathers with a natural repellent.

    PubMed

    Cimadom, Arno; Causton, Charlotte; Cha, Dong H; Damiens, David; Fessl, Birgit; Hood-Nowotny, Rebecca; Lincango, Piedad; Mieles, Alejandro E; Nemeth, Erwin; Semler, Elizabeth M; Teale, Stephen A; Tebbich, Sabine

    2016-10-10

    Darwin's finches are highly innovative. Recently we recorded for the first time a behavioural innovation in Darwin's finches outside the foraging context: individuals of four species rubbed leaves of the endemic tree Psidium galapageium on their feathers. We hypothesised that this behaviour serves to repel ectoparasites and tested the repellency of P. galapageium leaf extracts against parasites that negatively affect the fitness of Darwin's finches, namely mosquitoes and the invasive hematophagous fly Philornis downsi. Mosquitoes transmit pathogens which have recently been introduced by humans and the larvae of the fly suck blood from nestlings and incubating females. Our experimental evidence demonstrates that P. galapageium leaf extracts repel both mosquitoes and adult P. downsi and also inhibit the growth of P. downsi larvae. It is therefore possible that finches use this plant to repel ectopoarasites.

  8. 20. Photographic copy of photograph (at the offices of Finch, ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    20. Photographic copy of photograph (at the offices of Finch, Pruyn & Company, Glen Street, Glens Falls, New York), Beach?, Photographer, November 25, 1913. View southwest to northwest of the Glens Falls Dam before activation. Intake structures for International Paper Company and Finch, Pruyn & Company are on the left and right, respectively. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  9. 18. Photographic copy of photograph (at teh offices of Finch, ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    18. Photographic copy of photograph (at teh offices of Finch, Pruyn & Company, Glen Street, Glens Falls, New York), Beach?, Photographer, June 31, 1913. Panoramic view east to southwest of the Glens Falls Dam after the 1913 flood taken from the west end of the Finch, Pruyn & Company intake structure. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  10. Zebra: A striped network file system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hartman, John H.; Ousterhout, John K.

    1992-01-01

    The design of Zebra, a striped network file system, is presented. Zebra applies ideas from log-structured file system (LFS) and RAID research to network file systems, resulting in a network file system that has scalable performance, uses its servers efficiently even when its applications are using small files, and provides high availability. Zebra stripes file data across multiple servers, so that the file transfer rate is not limited by the performance of a single server. High availability is achieved by maintaining parity information for the file system. If a server fails its contents can be reconstructed using the contents of the remaining servers and the parity information. Zebra differs from existing striped file systems in the way it stripes file data: Zebra does not stripe on a per-file basis; instead it stripes the stream of bytes written by each client. Clients write to the servers in units called stripe fragments, which are analogous to segments in an LFS. Stripe fragments contain file blocks that were written recently, without regard to which file they belong. This method of striping has numerous advantages over per-file striping, including increased server efficiency, efficient parity computation, and elimination of parity update.

  11. Comparative stereology of the mouse and finch left ventricle.

    PubMed

    Bossen, E H; Sommer, J R; Waugh, R A

    1978-01-01

    The volume fractions and surface per unit cell volume of some subcellular components of the left ventricles of the finch and mouse were quantitated by stereologic techniques. These species were chosen for study because they have similar heart rates but differ morphologically in some respects: fiber diameter is larger in the mouse; the mouse has transverse tubules while the finch does not; and the finch has a form of junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum (JSR), extended JSR (EJSR), located in the cell interior with no direct plasmalemmal contact, while the mouse interior JSR (IJSR) abuts on transverse tubules. Our data show that the volume fraction (Vv) and surface area per unit cell volume (Sv) of total SR, and free SR (FSR) are similar. The volume fractions of mitochondria, myofibrils, and total junctional SR were also similar. The Sv of the cell surface of the finch was similar to the Sv of the cell surface of the mouse (Sv-plasmalemma plus Sv of the transverse tubules). The principal difference was in the distribution of JSR; the mouse peripheral JSR (PJSR) represents only 9% of the total JSR, while the finch PJSR accounts for 24% of the bird's JSR. The similar volume fractions of total junctional SR (PJSR + EJSR in the finch; PJSR + IJSR in the mouse) suggest that the EJSR is not an embryologic remnant, and raises the possibility that some function of JSR is independent of plasmalemmal contact.

  12. Lessons learned in over 100 zebra mussel control applications at industrial facilities

    SciTech Connect

    McGough, C.M.; Gilland, P.H.; Muia, R.A.

    1998-12-31

    Since their introduction into US waterways, Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorphae) have spread rapidly throughout the Great Lakes and Mississippi regions. These mussels have continued to colonize the intake pipes of industrial water supplies and water distribution systems throughout the affected areas. Their colonization has compromised plant safety and production efficiency, and steadily increased costs to water users. The design of each industrial plant water distribution system is unique. A comprehensive zebra mussel control strategy using the best available options must be considered in each specific situation. This paper discusses the successful use of one strategy (a quaternary ammonia-based molluscicide) in the battle against zebra mussels. The commercial life cycle of an industrial molluscicide began with initial toxicity screening in the laboratory. The evaluation continued at plant sites through field trials and applications. Lessons learned from these experiences helped direct the efforts toward the development of a second generation program.

  13. ZebraZoom: an automated program for high-throughput behavioral analysis and categorization.

    PubMed

    Mirat, Olivier; Sternberg, Jenna R; Severi, Kristen E; Wyart, Claire

    2013-01-01

    The zebrafish larva stands out as an emergent model organism for translational studies involving gene or drug screening thanks to its size, genetics, and permeability. At the larval stage, locomotion occurs in short episodes punctuated by periods of rest. Although phenotyping behavior is a key component of large-scale screens, it has not yet been automated in this model system. We developed ZebraZoom, a program to automatically track larvae and identify maneuvers for many animals performing discrete movements. Our program detects each episodic movement and extracts large-scale statistics on motor patterns to produce a quantification of the locomotor repertoire. We used ZebraZoom to identify motor defects induced by a glycinergic receptor antagonist. The analysis of the blind mutant atoh7 revealed small locomotor defects associated with the mutation. Using multiclass supervised machine learning, ZebraZoom categorized all episodes of movement for each larva into one of three possible maneuvers: slow forward swim, routine turn, and escape. ZebraZoom reached 91% accuracy for categorization of stereotypical maneuvers that four independent experimenters unanimously identified. For all maneuvers in the data set, ZebraZoom agreed with four experimenters in 73.2-82.5% of cases. We modeled the series of maneuvers performed by larvae as Markov chains and observed that larvae often repeated the same maneuvers within a group. When analyzing subsequent maneuvers performed by different larvae, we found that larva-larva interactions occurred as series of escapes. Overall, ZebraZoom reached the level of precision found in manual analysis but accomplished tasks in a high-throughput format necessary for large screens.

  14. ZebraZoom: an automated program for high-throughput behavioral analysis and categorization

    PubMed Central

    Mirat, Olivier; Sternberg, Jenna R.; Severi, Kristen E.; Wyart, Claire

    2013-01-01

    The zebrafish larva stands out as an emergent model organism for translational studies involving gene or drug screening thanks to its size, genetics, and permeability. At the larval stage, locomotion occurs in short episodes punctuated by periods of rest. Although phenotyping behavior is a key component of large-scale screens, it has not yet been automated in this model system. We developed ZebraZoom, a program to automatically track larvae and identify maneuvers for many animals performing discrete movements. Our program detects each episodic movement and extracts large-scale statistics on motor patterns to produce a quantification of the locomotor repertoire. We used ZebraZoom to identify motor defects induced by a glycinergic receptor antagonist. The analysis of the blind mutant atoh7 revealed small locomotor defects associated with the mutation. Using multiclass supervised machine learning, ZebraZoom categorized all episodes of movement for each larva into one of three possible maneuvers: slow forward swim, routine turn, and escape. ZebraZoom reached 91% accuracy for categorization of stereotypical maneuvers that four independent experimenters unanimously identified. For all maneuvers in the data set, ZebraZoom agreed with four experimenters in 73.2–82.5% of cases. We modeled the series of maneuvers performed by larvae as Markov chains and observed that larvae often repeated the same maneuvers within a group. When analyzing subsequent maneuvers performed by different larvae, we found that larva–larva interactions occurred as series of escapes. Overall, ZebraZoom reached the level of precision found in manual analysis but accomplished tasks in a high-throughput format necessary for large screens. PMID:23781175

  15. Research continues on zebra mussel control

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1993-04-01

    Researchers are working on many fronts to learn methods for controlling and combatting zebra mussels, a species of mussel that can attach to the inside of water intakes at hydroelectric and thermal power plants, and can reduce or block water flow. Biologists at the University of Toledo in Ohio report that compounds from the African soapberry plant called lemmatoxins are lethal to zebra mussels. In laboratory tests, researchers have determined 1 to 2 milligrams of purified lemmatoxins per liter will kill the mussels. In field tests, biologist Harold Lee flushed water through a mussel-infested pipe. He found that the berry extract killed mussels in four to eight hours, making continuous treatment of water intake pipes unnecessary, according to a report in New Scientists. The University of Toledo participated in another project, funded by the American Water Works Association Research Foundation. That project team included the cities of Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio, Finkbeiner, Pettis Strout, Ltd. consulting engineers, and researchers from Ohio's Case Western Reserve University. The team identified a chemical oxidant, sodium hypochlorite, as a cost-effective agent for controlling zebra mussels at water treatment plant intakes. Toledo has used the sodium hypochlorite and reports the chemical has cleared colonies of zebra mussels that had attached to the intake of its water treatment plant.

  16. Zebra Mussel Monitoring and Control Guide

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1992-12-01

    The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Zebra Mussel Monitoring and Control Guide is a comprehensive compilation of US and European practices as reported in the open literature as of the end of 1992. EPRI considers the guide to be a living' document and will update it periodically in order to provide results of current research on chemical and nonchemical control technologies and utility experiences. The zebra mussel has infested all of the Great Lakes and other major rivers and waterways and is positioned to spread even more to the adjoining river basins. The impact of the zebra mussel on industrial power plantsis as a biofouler that clogs water systems and heat exchangers. This EPRI guideline identifies the zebra mussel, discusses its distribution in the United States, presents the potential threats to power plants, and presents the methods to initiate monitoring and control programs. Both preventive and corrective measures are presented. Preventive measures include various monitoring methods to initiate control techniques. The control techniques include both chemical and nonchemical together with combining techniques. Corrective methods include operational considerations, chemical cleaning, and mechanical/physical cleaning. It also may be possible to incorporate design changes, such as open to closed-loop backfit, backflushing, or pretreatment for closed systems. Various appendices are included that contain specifications to aid utilities in implementing several of the monitoring and control technologies, results of chemical evaluations at Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company plants, and data on the fate of various commercial molluscicides.

  17. Control of zebra mussels with ultraviolet radiation

    SciTech Connect

    Lewis, D.P.

    1998-07-01

    This paper presents the results of research on the effects of low and medium pressure ultraviolet (UV) radiation on zebra mussel mortality carried out between 1992 and 1995. An initial 1992 study, carried out by Aquatic Sciences (ASI), showed that flow-through UV systems have the ability to kill zebra mussels and prevent them from attaching to downstream surfaces. However, this work did not include expanded testing to determine the limitations of UV radiation at higher flow rates or to further define effective working parameters. The 1994 study was carried out at the Lennox Thermal Generating Station (TGS) of Ontario Hydro in Kingston, Ontario. This study involved the testing of two open channel UV systems (medium and low pressure) in an effort to determine flow rates and volumes for which UV disinfection would be effective and practical for the prevention of zebra mussel infestation. It was recommended that medium pressure (MP) and low pressure (LP) UV systems be tested for their ability to control downstream settlement of zebra mussels, in flow-through trials.

  18. Potato zebra chip disease: a phytopathological tale

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Potato zebra chip (ZC) disease is a relative newcomer to the world of important potato diseases. First reported in Mexico in the 1990s, by 2004-2005 the disease was causing serious economic damage in parts of Texas. ZC is now widespread in the western United States, Mexico, Central America, and wa...

  19. Darwin's Galápagos finches in modern biology

    PubMed Central

    Abzhanov, Arhat

    2010-01-01

    One of the classic examples of adaptive radiation under natural selection is the evolution of 15 closely related species of Darwin's finches (Passeriformes), whose primary diversity lies in the size and shape of their beaks. Since Charles Darwin and other members of the Beagle expedition collected these birds on the Galápagos Islands in 1835 and introduced them to science, they have been the subjects of intense research. Many biology textbooks use Darwin's finches to illustrate a variety of topics of evolutionary theory, such as speciation, natural selection and niche partitioning. Today, as this Theme Issue illustrates, Darwin's finches continue to be a very valuable source of biological discovery. Certain advantages of studying this group allow further breakthroughs in our understanding of changes in recent island biodiversity, mechanisms of speciation and hybridization, evolution of cognitive behaviours, principles of beak/jaw biomechanics as well as the underlying developmental genetic mechanisms in generating morphological diversity. Our objective was to bring together some of the key workers in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology who study Darwin's finches or whose studies were inspired by research on Darwin's finches. Insights provided by papers collected in this Theme Issue will be of interest to a wide audience. PMID:20194163

  20. Physical Conditions in the Source Region of a Zebra Structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yasnov, L. V.; Karlický, M.; Stupishin, A. G.

    2016-08-01

    We analyze the physical conditions in the source region of a zebra structure, observed with the Ondřejov radiospectrograph during the 1 August 2010 solar flare. To determine the gyro-frequency harmonic numbers of the observed zebra lines, we compute the magnetic field strength, the electron density, and their spatial scales in the source region of the zebra structure. The region where the flare occurred is analyzed using EUV (171 Å and 335 Å) observations. To determine the conditions in the zebra source region, the magnetic field structure is reconstructed using observed photospheric magnetic field data. By computing the dependence of the magnetic field vs. height in this reconstruction and by comparing the magnetic field strength derived from the zebra structure, we determine the dependence of the electron density vs. height in the zebra source-region. We identify the loops where the zebra structure was generated at heights of about 2.5 - 3.3 Mm. Assuming the barometric law for the electron density, we determine the temperature in the zebra source-region to be T ≈ 2.0 × 104~K. Comparing the obtained values of the temperature and electron density in the zebra source-region with a model of the solar atmosphere, we find that the zebra structure was generated in the transition region, in agreement with our previous results.

  1. Use and costs of insecticides to control zebra chip and psyllids

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Zebra chip disease in potatoes has become a serious problem in North America. Researchers in Texas developed a sampling and reporting program for cooperating growers in three states. Data from this project enabled us to document insecticide use and costs for ZC control in commercial potato fields...

  2. Use and costs of insecticdes to control potato psyllids and zebra chip on potatoes

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Zebra chip disease in potatoes has become a serious problem in North America. Researchers in Texas developed a sampling and reporting program for cooperating growers in three states. Data from this project enabled us to document insecticide use and costs for ZC control in commercial potato fields...

  3. Darwin's finches: Population variation and sympatric speciation

    PubMed Central

    Grant, B. R.; Grant, P. R.

    1979-01-01

    The classical model of the adaptive radiation of Darwin's finches is one of repeated speciation in allopatry. Evidence presented here suggests that sympatric specification may have contributed to the radiation. On Isla Genovesa Geospiza conirostris displays several features that are consistent with a model of sympatric speciation. Males are polymorphic in song type. Those singing song A have significantly longer bills than those singing song B. The two groups of males forage in different ways that are functionally associated with the bill differences, particularly in the nonbreeding season when food is probably limiting. Territories of mated song A and song B males alternate in space, whereas territories of unmated males do not. This suggests that females can discriminate between males on the basis of song and position, and the pattern is consistent with a hypothesis of assortative mating within song groups. The population is therefore polymorphic; the morphs occupy different niches in which they may be separately regulated and they could be on the way to achieving full reproductive isolation through assortive mating. It is suggested that the population may oscillate between fission and fusion tendencies due to a changing selection regime in this variable and unpredictable environment. There is no evidence that one of the morphs originated allopatrically and then immigrated to Genovesa. The possibility of sympatric speciation being partly responsible for the adaptive radiation, dismissed more than 30 years ago, should be reinstated. PMID:16592654

  4. Darwin's finches: Population variation and sympatric speciation.

    PubMed

    Grant, B R; Grant, P R

    1979-05-01

    The classical model of the adaptive radiation of Darwin's finches is one of repeated speciation in allopatry. Evidence presented here suggests that sympatric specification may have contributed to the radiation. On Isla Genovesa Geospiza conirostris displays several features that are consistent with a model of sympatric speciation. Males are polymorphic in song type. Those singing song A have significantly longer bills than those singing song B. The two groups of males forage in different ways that are functionally associated with the bill differences, particularly in the nonbreeding season when food is probably limiting. Territories of mated song A and song B males alternate in space, whereas territories of unmated males do not. This suggests that females can discriminate between males on the basis of song and position, and the pattern is consistent with a hypothesis of assortative mating within song groups. The population is therefore polymorphic; the morphs occupy different niches in which they may be separately regulated and they could be on the way to achieving full reproductive isolation through assortive mating. It is suggested that the population may oscillate between fission and fusion tendencies due to a changing selection regime in this variable and unpredictable environment. There is no evidence that one of the morphs originated allopatrically and then immigrated to Genovesa. The possibility of sympatric speciation being partly responsible for the adaptive radiation, dismissed more than 30 years ago, should be reinstated.

  5. Eye of the Finch: characterization of the ocular microbiome of house finches in relation to mycoplasmal conjunctivitis.

    PubMed

    Thomason, Courtney A; Leon, Ariel; Kirkpatrick, Laila T; Belden, Lisa K; Hawley, Dana M

    2017-04-01

    Vertebrate ocular microbiomes are poorly characterized and virtually unexplored in wildlife species. Pathogen defense is considered a key function of microbiomes, but determining microbiome stability during disease is critical for understanding the role of resident microbial communities in infectious disease dynamics. Here, we characterize the ocular bacterial microbiome of house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus), prior to and during experimental infection with an inflammatory ocular disease, Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis, caused by Mycoplasma gallisepticum. In ocular tissues of healthy house finches, we identified 526 total bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs, 97% similarity), primarily from Firmicutes (92.6%) and Proteobacteria (6.9%), via 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Resident ocular communities of healthy female finches were characterized by greater evenness and phylogenetic diversity compared to healthy male finches. Regardless of sex, ocular microbiome community structure significantly shifted 11 days after experimental inoculation with M. gallisepticum. A suite of OTUs, including taxa from the genera Methylobacterium, Acinetobacter and Mycoplasma, appear to drive these changes, indicating that the whole finch ocular microbiome responds to infection. Further study is needed to quantify changes in absolute abundance of resident taxa and to elucidate potential functional roles of the resident ocular microbiome in mediating individual responses to this common songbird bacterial pathogen. © 2016 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  6. A family of Finch and Skea relativistic stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maharaj, S. D.; Kileba Matondo, D.; Mafa Takisa, P.

    Several new families of exact solution to the Einstein-Maxwell system of differential equations are found for anisotropic charged matter. The spacetime geometry is that of Finch and Skea which satisfies all criteria for physical acceptability. The exact solutions can be expressed in terms of elementary functions, Bessel functions and modified Bessel functions. When a parameter is restricted to be an integer then the special functions reduce to simple elementary functions. The uncharged model of Finch and Skea [R. Finch and J. E. F. Skea, Class. Quantum Grav. 6 (1989) 467.] and the charged model of Hansraj and Maharaj [S. Hansraj and S. D. Maharaj, Int. J. Mod. Phys. D 15 (2006) 1311.] are regained as special cases. The solutions found admit a barotropic equation of state. A graphical analysis indicates that the matter and electric quantities are well behaved.

  7. Every inch a finch: a commentary on Grant (1993) ‘Hybridization of Darwin's finches on Isla Daphne Major, Galapagos’

    PubMed Central

    Bell, Graham

    2015-01-01

    One of the most familiar features of the natural world is that most animals and plants fall into distinct categories known as species. The attempt to understand the nature of species and the origin of new species was the enterprise that drove the early development of evolutionary biology and has continued to be a major focus of research. Individuals belonging to the same species usually share a distinctive appearance and way of life, and they can mate together successfully and produce viable offspring. New species may evolve, therefore, either through ecological divergence or through sexual isolation. The balance between these processes will depend on the extent of hybridization, especially in the early stages of divergence. Detecting and measuring hybridization in natural populations, however, requires intensive, long-term field programmes that are seldom undertaken, leaving a gap in our understanding of species formation. The finch community of a small, isolated island in the Galapagos provided an opportunity to discover how frequently hybridization takes place between closely related species in a pristine location, and Peter Grant's paper, published in Philosophical Transactions B in 1993, reports the observations that he and his collaborators made during the first 20 years of what is now one of the classical studies of evolution in action. This commentary was written to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. PMID:25750230

  8. The zebra mussel: US utility implications. [Contains Glossary

    SciTech Connect

    McMahon, R.F. )

    1990-11-01

    Dreissena polymorpha, the freshwater macrofouling zebra mussel, was introduced to Lake St. Clair, near Detroit, Michigan, in 1985. It has since spread throughout Lake Erie. Its planktonic veliger larval stage disperses on water currents and adults are transported by human and natural vectors, making it likely to spread throughout most of the United States and southern Canada except for the southwestern and southern United State, where summer water temperatures are above tolerated levels. Veligers enter raw water systems on intake currents to settle and grow to adults attached by secreted byssal threads to hard surfaces. Accumulations of adults impede flow, aggravate sedimentation and corrosion, and foul small-diameter components. Settlement occurs at flow velocities less than 1.5--2.0 m/sec. Mussels can reduce effective pipe diameters and foul intake structures, steam condensers, heat exchangers, fire protection systems, and cooling tower basins. Establishment of mussels in raw water systems should be prevented because subsequent removal is difficult and expensive. Mitigation procedures include manual removal, robotic cleaning, thermal backwashing, water jetting, application of molluscicides, and possibly line pigging and acidic chemical cleaning. Control technologies include oxidizing and non-oxidizing molluscicides, robotic cleaning, shell strainers, exposure of veligers to high voltage electrical fields, thermal backwashing and sand-filtration. The United States power industry can utilize extensive European experience with this species and domestic experience with the Asian clam in its development of effective controls for zebra mussel fouling.

  9. Automatic detection of zebra crossings from mobile LiDAR data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Riveiro, B.; González-Jorge, H.; Martínez-Sánchez, J.; Díaz-Vilariño, L.; Arias, P.

    2015-07-01

    An algorithm for the automatic detection of zebra crossings from mobile LiDAR data is developed and tested to be applied for road management purposes. The algorithm consists of several subsequent processes starting with road segmentation by performing a curvature analysis for each laser cycle. Then, intensity images are created from the point cloud using rasterization techniques, in order to detect zebra crossing using the Standard Hough Transform and logical constrains. To optimize the results, image processing algorithms are applied to the intensity images from the point cloud. These algorithms include binarization to separate the painting area from the rest of the pavement, median filtering to avoid noisy points, and mathematical morphology to fill the gaps between the pixels in the border of white marks. Once the road marking is detected, its position is calculated. This information is valuable for inventorying purposes of road managers that use Geographic Information Systems. The performance of the algorithm has been evaluated over several mobile LiDAR strips accounting for a total of 30 zebra crossings. That test showed a completeness of 83%. Non-detected marks mainly come from painting deterioration of the zebra crossing or by occlusions in the point cloud produced by other vehicles on the road.

  10. Complete mitochondrial genome of the Zebra bullhead shark Heterodontus zebra (Heterodontiformes: Heterodontidae).

    PubMed

    Chen, Xiao; Peng, Xin; Huang, Xiaolin; Xiang, Dan

    2014-08-01

    The complete mitochondrial genome of the Zebra bullhead shark Heterodontus zebra was first presented in this study. It was 16,720 bp in length, encoding 37 genes and one control region. The gene order and translate orientation were identical to most vertebrates. Overall nucleotide base composition of H. zebra mitogenome was 31.6% A; 26.8% C; 13.1% G and 28.4% T. Total 27 bp overlaps and 20 bp short intergenic spaces were found in 17 gene junctions in the genome. Two start codons (ATG and GTG) and three terminate codons (TAG, TAA and T) were found in 13 protein-coding genes. Except for tRNA-Ser2, which lost the dihydrouridine (DHU) arm and formed one simple loop, the remaining tRNAs could fold into the typical clover-leaf secondary structures. The termination-associated sequences and three short conserved blocks (CBS I-III) were identified in the control region.

  11. Stravation tolerance of zebra mussels, Dreissena polymorpha

    SciTech Connect

    Chase, R.; McMahon, R.F.

    1995-06-01

    Samples of zebra mussels, Dreissena polymorpha (n=30), were held without food at 5{degrees}, 15{degrees}, or 25{degrees}C and examined daily for mortality. Further samples of 210 mussels at each test temperature were periodically subsampled (n=10) throughout the starvation period. Tissues and shells of sampled specimens were dried to a constant weight. Zebra mussels held at 25{degrees}C experienced 100% mortality after 166 days of starvation while mussels at 15{degrees}C experienced 100% mortality after 545 days. A mortality of 60% was recorded in mussels after 524 days at 5{degrees}C. Dry shell weight (DSW) of starving zebra mussels at 25{degrees}C remained constant; at 15{degrees}C, DSW increased, likely due to deposition of new shell without increase in length. At 5{degrees}C DSW decreased possibly due to the high solubility of shell calcium carbonate at this low temperature. Dry tissue weight (DTW) decreased linearly during starvation at all test temperatures with the rate of DTW loss increasing at higher holding temperatures. Estimated percent tissue biomass reductions in a 20 mm long starved individual were 73.8% after 132 days at 25{degrees}C, 68.9% after 545 days at 15{degrees}C and 61.6% after 516 days at 5{degrees}C. When DTW loss rates were converted to O{sub 2} consumption rates (O{sub 2}), the O{sub 2} of a 20 mm long mussel was estimated to be 22.2% of prestarvation O{sub 2} at 25{degrees}C, 11.0% at 15{degrees}C and 10.2% at 5{degrees}C. Major reduction in metabolic demand in starving zebra mussels at low temperatures allows overwintering without appreciable loss of organic energy stores.

  12. Chlorine dioxide treatment for zebra mussel control

    SciTech Connect

    Rybarik, D.; Byron, J.; Germer, M.

    1995-06-01

    Chlorine is recognized and commonly used biocide for power plant cooling water and service water treatment programs, including the control of zebra mussels. Chlorine dioxide has recently become a popular method of zebra mussel control because of its economy, safety, environmental acceptability, and effectiveness when compared to other mussel control methods. This control technique was recently demonstrated at Dairyland Power Cooperative`s Alma Generating Station on the east bank of the upper Mississippi River in Alma, Wisconsin. The project was assisted with EPRI Tailored Collaboration Program funds. The Dairyland Power Alam Generating Station consists of five generating units that utilize raw, untreated Mississippi River water for condenser, circulating, and service water supplies. The first units were built in 1947, with the final and largest unit being completed in 1960. Total station generating capacity is 200 MW. Because of recent increases in the zebra mussel density at the station intake, Dairyland Power selected the team of Nalco and Rio Linda to perform a chlorine dioxide treatment of the station`s new water systems to eradicate and control the mussels before their presence created operational difficulties. This paper will present the results of the treatment including treatment theory, design and construction of the treatment system, the method of chlorine dioxide generation, treatment concentration, analytical methods o monitoring chlorine dioxide generation, residuals and trihalomethane (THM) concentrations, protocol for monitoring treatment mortality, and the effects of chlorine dioxide and detoxification on other water chemistry parameters and equipment materials. The goal of this paper is to inform and assist users with establishing consistent and uniform practices for safely utilizing and monitoring chlorine dioxide in the eradication and control of zebra mussels.

  13. Robotic removal of zebra mussel accumulations in a nuclear power plant screenhouse

    SciTech Connect

    Kotler, S.R.; Mallen, E.C. [Indiana Michigan Power Co. Tamms, K.M.

    1995-06-01

    Zebra mussel accumulations in the power plant intake system have increased over the last four years and have become a maintenance issue. Several treatment methods have been used, including mechanical cleaning by divers. This is limited to areas of relatively low flow velocity. Various sections of the screenhouse are not accessible except during an outage or when one of the intake tunnels can be otherwise be blocked and flow reduced. In addition, diver services are relatively costly. For the above reasons, the Indiana Michigan Power Co., Cook Nuclear Plant, contracted with ARD Environmental Inc. to develop and test a robotic system as an alternative to cleaning by divers. The first phase of this project addressed the requirement to clean the screenhouse floor in all areas, including those with high flow velocity. Subsequent phases will address robotic cleaning of other areas of the intake and the screenhouse structures. The objectives of the project were to: (1) Demonstrate the ability to deploy and retrieve a modified XT1000 vehicle in the inlet bay and screen bays; (2) Remove the accumulations of zebra mussels and possibly other pumpable material from the floor; (3) Reduce or eliminate the need for diver services and reduce overall cost of removing accumulations of zebra mussels; and, (4) Critique operations and develop recommendations for further enhancements to the robotic equipment and materials handling system. Implementation of the operating plan commenced on September 8, 1994, and was completed on October 7, 1994. The project demonstrated that robotic techniques are an efficient and cost effective alternative to diver operations for mechanical removal of zebra mussels. In particular, the robotic system was able to operate effectively in the high flow velocity areas including those at the intake tunnels. The ability to operate in the high flow areas means that zebra mussel removal may take place at any time, without affecting normal plant operations.

  14. EFFECTS OF EXOGENOUS ESTROGEN ON MATE SELECTION OF HOUSE FINCHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Concern about the potential for endocrine disrupting chemicals to interfere with normal breeding behaviors of wildlife has prompted this study of effects of exogenous estrogen on mate selection in songbirds. The house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) was selected as a model as it is ...

  15. EFFECTS OF EXTROGENOUS ESTROGEN ON MATE SELECTION OF HOUSE FINCHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Effects of exogenous estrogen on mate selection of house finches. Clark, J., Fairbrother, A*. Parametrix, Inc., Corvallis, OR; Brewer, L., EBA, Inc., Sisters, OR; Bennett, R.S., USEPA, Mid-Continent Ecology Division, Duluth, MN.

    Concern about the potential for endocrine...

  16. Affine transformations capture beak shape variation in Darwin's Finches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brenner, Michael; Campas, Otger; Mallarino, Riccardo; Abzhanov, Arhat

    2009-11-01

    Evolution by natural selection has resulted in extraordinary morphological complexity of living organisms, whose description has thus far defied any precise mathematical characterization linked to the underlying developmental genetics. Here we demonstrate that the morphological diversity of the beaks of Darwin's finches, the classical example of adaptive morphological radiation, is quantitatively accounted for through the mathematical group of affine transformations. Specifically, we show that all beak shapes of Ground Finches (genus Geospiza) are related by scaling transformations (a subgroup of the affine group), and the same scheme occurs for all the beak shapes of Tree and Warbler finches. This analysis shows that the beak shapes within each of these groups differ only by their scales, such as length and depth, each of which is knownto be under genetic control.The complete morphological variability within the beaks of Darwin's finches can be explained by extending the scaling transformations to the entire affine group, by including shear transformations. Altogether our results suggest that the mathematical theory of groups can help decode morphological variability, and points to a potentially hierarchical structure of morphological diversity and the underlying developmental processes.

  17. EFFECTS OF EXOGENOUS ESTROGEN ON MATE SELECTION OF HOUSE FINCHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Concern about the potential for endocrine disrupting chemicals to interfere with normal breeding behaviors of wildlife has prompted this study of effects of exogenous estrogen on mate selection in songbirds. The house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) was selected as a model as it is ...

  18. EFFECTS OF EXTROGENOUS ESTROGEN ON MATE SELECTION OF HOUSE FINCHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Effects of exogenous estrogen on mate selection of house finches. Clark, J., Fairbrother, A*. Parametrix, Inc., Corvallis, OR; Brewer, L., EBA, Inc., Sisters, OR; Bennett, R.S., USEPA, Mid-Continent Ecology Division, Duluth, MN.

    Concern about the potential for endocrine...

  19. Speciation or Irruption: The Significance of the Darwin Finches.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Harper, G. H.

    1980-01-01

    Uses the irruption theory in explaining the occurrence of the Darwin finches in the Galapagos Islands as an example of how alternative theories can be presented in an educational setting. Advocates the comparison of alternative theories to encourage creative thinking and a critical attitude. (CS)

  20. Evaluation of the use of chlorine dioxide to control zebra mussels

    SciTech Connect

    Tsou, J.; Coyle, J.; Pallo, S.

    1995-06-01

    Chlorine dioxide was tested as a zebra mussel biocide at two steam electric generating stations in Illinois. The purpose of these studies was to determine the efficacy of chlorine dioxide in killing zebra mussels and to develop site specific treatment programs for the two utilities. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Zebra Mussel Consortium sponsored the testing of this recent use of chlorine dioxide. The raw water system at Central Illinois Public Service`s Meredosia Station, on the Illinois River, received two to four day applications of chlorine dioxide in April, July, and September 1994. The raw water system at Illinois Power Company`s Wood River Station, on the Mississippi River, received two to four day applications in July 1993, January, April, May, July, and September 1994. Chlorine dioxide was generated on-site and injected into the water intake structure, in front of or just behind the traveling screens, at both power stations. Both cooling and service water systems were treated at the facilities. Various water quality parameters, including residual chlorine in the discharge effluent, were measured during the studies. Residual chlorine was neutralized with sodium bisulfite prior to discharge at both plants. Bioboxes, containing healthy zebra mussels, were placed at various strategic locations throughout the power stations. Control bioboxes were also placed in the rivers, upstream of the chlorine dioxide injection locations. Results of the chlorine dioxide applications varied from 35 percent to 100 percent. These varied results appear to be related to seasonal water temperature differences, water quality, and/or plant design. Mortality differences were also noted in bioboxes which contained zebra mussels imported from Lake Erie and those which contained local mussels. These and other data are presented.

  1. Singing-Related Activity in Anterior Forebrain of Male Zebra Finches Reflects Courtship Motivation for Target Females

    PubMed Central

    Iwasaki, Mai; Poulsen, Thomas M.; Oka, Kotaro; Hessler, Neal A.

    2013-01-01

    A critical function of singing by male songbirds is to attract a female mate. Previous studies have suggested that the anterior forebrain system is involved in this courtship behavior. Neural activity in this system, including the striatal Area X, is strikingly dependent on the function of male singing. When males sing to attract a female bird rather than while alone, less variable neural activity results in less variable song spectral features, which may be attractive to the female. These characteristics of neural activity and singing thus may reflect a male's motivation for courtship. Here, we compared the variability of neural activity and song features between courtship singing directed to a female with whom a male had previously formed a pair-bond or to other females. Surprisingly, across all units, there was no clear tendency for a difference in variability of neural activity or song features between courtship of paired females, nonpaired females, or dummy females. However, across the population of recordings, there was a significant relationship between the relative variability of syllable frequency and neural activity: when syllable frequency was less variable to paired than nonpaired females, neural activity was also less variable (and vice-versa). These results show that the lower variability of neural activity and syllable frequency during directed singing is not a binary distinction from undirected singing, but can vary in intensity, possibly related to the relative preference of a male for his singing target. PMID:24312344

  2. DSP-4, a noradrenergic neurotoxin, produces sex-specific effects on pairing and courtship behavior in zebra finches.

    PubMed

    Vahaba, Daniel M; Lacey, William H; Tomaszycki, Michelle L

    2013-09-01

    Norepinephrine (NE) is involved in a variety of behaviors across vertebrate species. In songbirds, NE is involved in singing and auditory perception, fundamental components of pair formation. Mechanisms of pairing remain poorly understood in avian species. NE is likely involved given its role in vocal communication and perception. Here, we tested the hypothesis that DSP-4 treatments (a noradrenergic neurotoxin that decreases NE) decreases singing in males, song perception in females and pairing in both sexes using a naturalistic paradigm. Females were tested for preferences of either control or DSP-4 males in a two-choice paradigm using live males. Both sexes were then tested for courtship and pair formation in aviaries. In the two-choice paradigm, control females showed a significant preference for control males over DSP-4 males, whereas DSP-4 females showed no such preference. In the aviary tests, DSP-4 males engaged in less courtship behavior, showed decreased pairing behaviors and increased pair latencies compared to control males. In females, DSP-4 treatments did not alter courtship or pairing behavior. Lower neural densities of noradrenergic fibers in song, auditory, and affiliative regions were observed in DSP-4 animals of both sexes. Furthermore, DBH-ir densities in these regions explained variations in courtship and pairing behaviors, as well as pairing status. Our results extend previous findings to naturalistic contexts, provide evidence that DBH-ir densities in specific regions correlate with pairing-related behaviors, and inform us of sex differences in the role of NE in pairing.

  3. c-fos is induced in the hippocampus during consolidation of sexual imprinting in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

    PubMed

    Sadananda, Monika; Bischof, Hans-Joachim

    2004-01-01

    c-fos was used to mark regions of enhanced neuronal activity during sexual imprinting, an early learning process by which information about the prospective sexual partner is acquired and consolidated. In the present study, we demonstrate that the hippocampus, already known for its specialized spatial memory capacities in navigating pigeons and in food-storing birds, depicts a selective differential c-fos induction in a situation shown to lead to sexual imprinting, that is, exposing previously isolated male birds to a female for 1 h. c-fos induction is lateralized, the left hippocampus showing more c-fos activity than the right. Our results would indicate a role for the hippocampus in the consolidation process of imprinting, probably in the transfer of information to the other telencephalic areas that show alterations in synaptic connectivity as a result of consolidation of sexual imprinting.

  4. Invasion of the Zebra Mussels: A Mock Trial Activity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Beck, Judy A.; Czerniak, Charlene M.

    2005-01-01

    In this activity, students learn about the important topic of invasive species, specifically Zebra Mussels. Students role-play different characters in a real-life situation: the trial of the Zebra Mussel for unlawful disruption of the Great Lakes ecosystem. Students will also learn about jurisprudential inquiry by examining the trial process. This…

  5. Invasion of the Zebra Mussels: A Mock Trial Activity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Beck, Judy A.; Czerniak, Charlene M.

    2005-01-01

    In this activity, students learn about the important topic of invasive species, specifically Zebra Mussels. Students role-play different characters in a real-life situation: the trial of the Zebra Mussel for unlawful disruption of the Great Lakes ecosystem. Students will also learn about jurisprudential inquiry by examining the trial process. This…

  6. The head of the finch: the anatomy of the feeding system in two species of finches (Geospiza fortis and Padda oryzivora).

    PubMed

    Genbrugge, Annelies; Herrel, Anthony; Boone, Matthieu; Van Hoorebeke, Luc; Podos, Jeffrey; Dirckx, Joris; Aerts, Peter; Dominique, Adriaens

    2011-12-01

    Despite the large number of studies devoted to the evolution of beak shape in Darwin's finches, surprisingly little is known about the morphology of the skull and jaw musculature in these birds. Moreover, it remains currently unclear whether Darwin's finches are unusual in their cranial morphology compared with other seed-cracking birds. Here, we provide a detailed description of the morphology of the cranial system in the medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis) and compare it with that of another seed-cracking bird of similar overall size and appearance, the Java finch (Padda oryzivora). Our data show an overall similarity in beak size and cranial morphology. Yet, differences in the jaw adductor size and corresponding attachments to the cranium and mandible are prominent, with the medium ground finch having much more robust jaw-closing muscles. This is reflected in differences in bite forces, with the medium ground finch biting much harder than the Java finch. These data suggest similarities in the evolution of the feeding system in birds specializing in the cracking of hard seeds, but also show the uniqueness of the cranial morphology and bite force of the medium ground finch compared with other seed-cracking birds.

  7. Molecular ecology of zebra mussel invasions.

    PubMed

    May, Gemma E; Gelembiuk, Gregory W; Panov, Vadim E; Orlova, Marina I; Lee, Carol Eunmi

    2006-04-01

    The invasion of the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, into North American waters has resulted in profound ecological disturbances and large monetary losses. This study examined the invasion history and patterns of genetic diversity among endemic and invading populations of zebra mussels using DNA sequences from the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene. Patterns of haplotype frequency indicate that all invasive populations of zebra mussels from North America and Europe originated from the Ponto-Caspian Sea region. The distribution of haplotypes was consistent with invasive populations arising from the Black Sea drainage, but could not exclude the possibility of an origin from the Caspian Sea drainage. Similar haplotype frequencies among North American populations of D. polymorpha suggest colonization by a single founding population. There was no evidence of invasive populations arising from tectonic lakes in Turkey, while lakes in Greece and Macedonia contained only Dreissena stankovici. Populations in Turkey might be members of a sibling species complex of D. polymorpha. Ponto-Caspian derived populations of D. polymorpha (theta = 0.0011) and Dreissena bugensis (one haplotype) exhibited low levels of genetic diversity at the COI gene, perhaps as a result of repeated population bottlenecks. In contrast, geographically isolated tectonic lake populations exhibited relatively high levels of genetic diversity (theta = 0.0032 to 0.0134). It is possible that the fluctuating environment of the Ponto-Caspian basin facilitated the colonizing habit of invasive populations of D. polymorpha and D. bugensis. Our findings were concordant with the general trend of destructive freshwater invaders in the Great Lakes arising from the Ponto-Caspian Sea basin.

  8. Zebra mussels enter the compost pile

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1992-08-01

    Zebra mussels, introduced accidentally into the Great Lakes, are overpopulating at phenomenal rates, especially in Lake Erie, where they damage oyster beds, foster excessive algae growth and cling to boats. They also clog the intake pipes of city water systems and power generating plants. The expense of cleaning intake screens is considerable, since they have to be physically removed and cleaned. Then the mussels must be disposed of, costing some power plants as much as $50,000 a year to landfill, says Wayne Koser of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

  9. Sex chromosome linkage of mate preference and color signal maintains assortative mating between interbreeding finch morphs.

    PubMed

    Pryke, Sarah R

    2010-05-01

    Assortative mating is a key aspect in the speciation process because it is important for both initial divergence and maintenance of distinct species. However, it remains a challenge to explain how assortative mating evolves when diverging populations are undergoing gene flow (e.g., during hybridization). Here I experimentally test how assortative mating is maintained with frequent gene flow between diverged head-color morphs of the Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae). Contrary to the predominant view on the development of sexual preferences in birds, cross-fostered offspring did not imprint on the phenotype of their conspecific (red or black morphs) or heterospecific (Bengalese finch) foster parents. Instead, the mating preferences of F(1) and F(2) intermorph-hybrids are consistent with inheritance on the Z chromosomes, which are also the location for genes controlling color expression and the genes causing low fitness of intermorph-hybrids. Genetic associations between color signal and preference loci on the sex chromosomes may prevent recombination from breaking down these associations when the morphs interbreed, helping to maintain assortative mating in the face of gene flow. Although sex linkage of reproductively isolating traits is theoretically expected to promote speciation, social and ecological constraints may enforce frequent interbreeding between the morphs, thus preventing complete reproductive isolation.

  10. Zebra mussel infestation of unionid bivalves (Unionidae) in North America

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schloesser, Don W.; Nalepa, Thomas F.; Mackie, Gerald L.

    1996-01-01

    In 1989, zebra mussels received national attention in North America when they reached densities exceeding 750,000/m2 in a water withdrawal facility along the shore of western Lake Erie of the Laurentian Great Lakes. Although water withdrawal problems caused by zebra mussels have been of immediate concern, ecological impacts attributed to mussels are likely to be the more important long-term issue for surface waters in North America. To date, the epizoic colonization (i.e., infestation) of unionid bivalve mollusks by zebra mussels has caused the most direct and severe ecological impact. Infestation of and resulting impacts caused by zebra mussels on unionids in the Great Lakes began in 1988. By 1990, mortality of unionids was occurring at some locations; by 1991, extant populations of unionids in western Lake Erie were nearly extirpated; by 1992, unionid populations in the southern half of Lake St. Clair were extirpated; by 1993, unionids in widely separated geographic areas of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River showed high mortality due to mussel infestation. All infested unionid species in the Great Lakes (23) have become infested and exhibited mortality within two to four years after heavy infestation began. Data indicate that mean zebra mussel densities >5,000–6,000/m2 and infestation intensities >100-200/unionid in the presence of heavy zebra mussel recruitment results in near total mortality of unionids. At present, all unionid species in rivers, streams, and akes that sympatrically occur with zebra mussels have been infested and, in many locations, negatively impacted by zebra mussels. We do not know the potential consequences of infestation on the 297 unionid species found in North America, but believe zebra mussels pose an immediate threat to the abundance and diversity of unionids.

  11. Epigenetics and the Evolution of Darwin’s Finches

    PubMed Central

    Skinner, Michael K.; Gurerrero-Bosagna, Carlos; Haque, M. Muksitul; Nilsson, Eric E.; Koop, Jennifer A.H.; Knutie, Sarah A.; Clayton, Dale H.

    2014-01-01

    The prevailing theory for the molecular basis of evolution involves genetic mutations that ultimately generate the heritable phenotypic variation on which natural selection acts. However, epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of phenotypic variation may also play an important role in evolutionary change. A growing number of studies have demonstrated the presence of epigenetic inheritance in a variety of different organisms that can persist for hundreds of generations. The possibility that epigenetic changes can accumulate over longer periods of evolutionary time has seldom been tested empirically. This study was designed to compare epigenetic changes among several closely related species of Darwin’s finches, a well-known example of adaptive radiation. Erythrocyte DNA was obtained from five species of sympatric Darwin’s finches that vary in phylogenetic relatedness. Genome-wide alterations in genetic mutations using copy number variation (CNV) were compared with epigenetic alterations associated with differential DNA methylation regions (epimutations). Epimutations were more common than genetic CNV mutations among the five species; furthermore, the number of epimutations increased monotonically with phylogenetic distance. Interestingly, the number of genetic CNV mutations did not consistently increase with phylogenetic distance. The number, chromosomal locations, regional clustering, and lack of overlap of epimutations and genetic mutations suggest that epigenetic changes are distinct and that they correlate with the evolutionary history of Darwin’s finches. The potential functional significance of the epimutations was explored by comparing their locations on the genome to the location of evolutionarily important genes and cellular pathways in birds. Specific epimutations were associated with genes related to the bone morphogenic protein, toll receptor, and melanogenesis signaling pathways. Species-specific epimutations were significantly overrepresented in

  12. 17. Photographic copy of photograph (at the offices of Finch, ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    17. Photographic copy of photograph (at the offices of Finch, Pruyn & Company, Glen Street, Glens Falls, New York), Beach?, Photographer, March 28, 1913. Panoramic view of the Hudson River at Glens Falls during the March 1913 flood showing overtopped Glens Falls Dam and washed out bridge. Facing southwest. - Glens Falls Dam, 100' to 450' West of U.S. Route 9 Bridge Spanning Hudson River, Glens Falls, Warren County, NY

  13. Factorial microarray analysis of zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha: Dreissenidae, Bivalvia) adhesion.

    PubMed

    Xu, Wei; Faisal, Mohamed

    2010-05-28

    The zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) has been well known for its expertise in attaching to substances under the water. Studies in past decades on this underwater adhesion focused on the adhesive protein isolated from the byssogenesis apparatus of the zebra mussel. However, the mechanism of the initiation, maintenance, and determination of the attachment process remains largely unknown. In this study, we used a zebra mussel cDNA microarray previously developed in our lab and a factorial analysis to identify the genes that were involved in response to the changes of four factors: temperature (Factor A), current velocity (Factor B), dissolved oxygen (Factor C), and byssogenesis status (Factor D). Twenty probes in the microarray were found to be modified by one of the factors. The transcription products of four selected genes, DPFP-BG20_A01, EGP-BG97/192_B06, EGP-BG13_G05, and NH-BG17_C09 were unique to the zebra mussel foot based on the results of quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR). The expression profiles of these four genes under the attachment and non-attachment were also confirmed by qRT-PCR and the result is accordant to that from microarray assay. The in situ hybridization with the RNA probes of two identified genes DPFP-BG20_A01 and EGP-BG97/192_B06 indicated that both of them were expressed by a type of exocrine gland cell located in the middle part of the zebra mussel foot. The results of this study suggested that the changes of D. polymorpha byssogenesis status and the environmental factors can dramatically affect the expression profiles of the genes unique to the foot. It turns out that the factorial design and analysis of the microarray experiment is a reliable method to identify the influence of multiple factors on the expression profiles of the probesets in the microarray; therein it provides a powerful tool to reveal the mechanism of zebra mussel underwater attachment.

  14. Factorial microarray