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Sample records for european starling sturnus

  1. Song predicts immunocompetence in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed Central

    Duffy, Deborah L; Ball, Gregory F

    2002-01-01

    According to the immunocompetence handicap hypothesis, sexually selected characteristics predict immune function and this relationship is mediated by testosterone. In the present study, we investigated whether bird song could predict immunity in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). We recorded the singing and reproductive behaviours of 16 adult male starlings in an outdoor aviary and then assessed their cell-mediated and humoral immunity in vivo. The males were observed in groups of four for 2 h each day over a 4-day period. For each male, the number of songs produced was recorded and the average song-bout length was computed. Next, cell-mediated and humoral immunity were assessed via cutaneous swelling responses to the T-cell mitogen phytohaemagglutinin and antibody responses to a novel antigen, keyhole limpet haemocyanin. Song rate and song-bout length were positively correlated with cell-mediated and humoral immunity, respectively. Additionally, a negative relationship between plasma testosterone concentration and antibody response was observed. These data demonstrate that male starling song can be used as a predictor of immunocompetence, with more robust singers exhibiting enhanced immunity. Whether this relationship is mediated directly by testosterone requires further investigation. PMID:11958717

  2. Effects of auditory recognition learning on the perception of vocal features in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Meliza, C Daniel

    2011-11-01

    Learning to recognize complex sensory signals can change the way they are perceived. European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) recognize other starlings by their song, which consists of a series of complex, stereotyped motifs. Song recognition learning is accompanied by plasticity in secondary auditory areas, suggesting that perceptual learning is involved. Here, to investigate whether perceptual learning can be observed behaviorally, a same-different operant task was used to measure how starlings perceived small differences in motif structure. Birds trained to recognize conspecific songs were better at detecting variations in motifs from the songs they learned, even though this variation was not directly necessary to learn the associative task. Discrimination also improved as the reference stimulus was repeated multiple times. Perception of the much larger differences between different motifs was unaffected by training. These results indicate that sensory representations of motifs are enhanced when starlings learn to recognize songs. PMID:22087940

  3. Effects of auditory recognition learning on the perception of vocal features in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Daniel Meliza, C.

    2011-01-01

    Learning to recognize complex sensory signals can change the way they are perceived. European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) recognize other starlings by their song, which consists of a series of complex, stereotyped motifs. Song recognition learning is accompanied by plasticity in secondary auditory areas, suggesting that perceptual learning is involved. Here, to investigate whether perceptual learning can be observed behaviorally, a same–different operant task was used to measure how starlings perceived small differences in motif structure. Birds trained to recognize conspecific songs were better at detecting variations in motifs from the songs they learned, even though this variation was not directly necessary to learn the associative task. Discrimination also improved as the reference stimulus was repeated multiple times. Perception of the much larger differences between different motifs was unaffected by training. These results indicate that sensory representations of motifs are enhanced when starlings learn to recognize songs. PMID:22087940

  4. Specific floater home ranges and prospective behaviour in the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Tobler, Michael; Smith, Henrik G

    2004-02-01

    In many bird species, floaters are present on the breeding grounds in one or more years before they breed. There is increasing evidence that they have specific home ranges in which they search for information about current and future breeding opportunities. We investigated the role of prospecting in a migratory European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) population. Radio-tracking showed that male starling floaters use specific home range areas during the breeding period. Nest-box observations demonstrated that non-parental nest intrusion is common in the starling and that it is significantly more frequent during the nestling than during the incubation period. In addition, small groups of nest boxes were more likely to be occupied by starlings if they had been put up during the preceding breeding season. The results suggest that floaters try to acquire information about local breeding communities. One specific type of information may be the location of potential breeding sites. PMID:14991146

  5. Specific floater home ranges and prospective behaviour in the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tobler, Michael; Smith, Henrik G.

    In many bird species, floaters are present on the breeding grounds in one or more years before they breed. There is increasing evidence that they have specific home ranges in which they search for information about current and future breeding opportunities. We investigated the role of prospecting in a migratory European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) population. Radio-tracking showed that male starling floaters use specific home range areas during the breeding period. Nest-box observations demonstrated that non-parental nest intrusion is common in the starling and that it is significantly more frequent during the nestling than during the incubation period. In addition, small groups of nest boxes were more likely to be occupied by starlings if they had been put up during the preceding breeding season. The results suggest that floaters try to acquire information about local breeding communities. One specific type of information may be the location of potential breeding sites.

  6. Effects of dietary quality on basal metabolic rate and internal morphology of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Geluso, K.; Hayes, J.P.

    1999-01-01

    European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were fed either a low- or high-quality diet to test the effects of dietary quality on basal metabolic rate (BMR) and internal morphology. Basal metabolic rate did not differ significantly between the two dietary groups, but internal morphology differed greatly. Starlings fed the low-quality diet had heavier gastrointestinal tracts, gizzards, and livers. Starlings fed the high-quality diet had heavier breast muscles. Starlings on the low-quality diet maintained mass, while starlings on the high-quality diet gained mass. Dry matter digestibility and energy digestibility were lower for starlings fed the low-quality diet, and their food and water intake were greater than starlings on the high-quality diet. The lack of dietary effect on BMR may be the result of increased energy expenditure of digestive organs paralleling a reduction of energy expenditure of organs and tissues not related to digestion (i.e., skeletal muscle). This trade-off in energy allocation among organs suggests a mechanism by which organisms may alter BMR in response to a change in seasonal variation in food availability.

  7. Processing of transient signals in the visual system of the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and humans.

    PubMed

    Feinkohl, Arne; Klump, Georg

    2011-01-01

    The double-pulse resolution (DPR) measures the processing performance for transient visual signals as the threshold duration for detecting a temporal gap between two light flashes in relation to gap duration. The DPR of four European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and four humans was measured in an operant Go/NoGo procedure. We applied the method of constant stimuli and determined thresholds using signal-detection theory. The starling DPR (22.2 ms±2.3 ms SE) was significantly shorter than human DPR (35.2 ms±1.3 ms SE; p<0.01, t-test). The difference suggests that starlings have a higher temporal resolution for transient visual signals than humans.

  8. Ahemeral light regimens test the photoperiodic threshold of the european starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwab, R. G.

    1980-03-01

    Male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were held for three consecutive photoperiod oscillations (ahemeral years) composed of 30-h day lengths, i.e., the “daily” light and dark each lasted three hours longer than under the natural daily photoperiod at latitude 38°N. These starlings had no gonad metamorphosis during the 45 actual months necessary to complete the three ahemeral photoperiod oscillations; nor did subsequent exposure to continuous illumination elicit gonad response. It is concluded that the daily duration of light and darkness (although certainly operant in controlling starling sexual cycles under temperate-zone photoperiod oscillations) is not the critical factor establishing a sexual cycle under the ahemeral regimen. Rather, it appears that this species must experience a daily duration of light of 12 hours or less (a definitive photoperiodic threshold) before photo-induction of a sexual cycle is possible.

  9. Processing of transient signals in the visual system of the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and humans.

    PubMed

    Feinkohl, Arne; Klump, Georg

    2011-01-01

    The double-pulse resolution (DPR) measures the processing performance for transient visual signals as the threshold duration for detecting a temporal gap between two light flashes in relation to gap duration. The DPR of four European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and four humans was measured in an operant Go/NoGo procedure. We applied the method of constant stimuli and determined thresholds using signal-detection theory. The starling DPR (22.2 ms±2.3 ms SE) was significantly shorter than human DPR (35.2 ms±1.3 ms SE; p<0.01, t-test). The difference suggests that starlings have a higher temporal resolution for transient visual signals than humans. PMID:20875443

  10. Embryonic modulation of maternal steroids in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Paitz, Ryan T.; Bowden, Rachel M.; Casto, Joseph M.

    2011-01-01

    In birds, maternally derived yolk steroids are a proposed mechanism by which females can adjust individual offspring phenotype to prevailing conditions. However, when interests of mother and offspring differ, parent–offspring conflict will arise and embryonic interests, not those of the mother, should drive offspring response to maternal steroids in eggs. Because of this potential conflict, we investigated the ability of developing bird embryos to process maternally derived yolk steroids. We examined how progesterone, testosterone and oestradiol levels changed in both the yolk/albumen (YA) and the embryo of European starling eggs during the first 10 days of development. Next, we injected tritiated testosterone into eggs at oviposition to characterize potential metabolic pathways during development. Ether extractions separated organic and aqueous metabolites in both the embryo and YA homogenate, after which major steroid metabolites were identified. Results indicate that the concentrations of all three steroids declined during development in the YA homogenate. Exogenous testosterone was primarily metabolized to an aqueous form of etiocholanolone that remained in the YA. These results clearly demonstrate that embryos can modulate their local steroid environment, setting up the potential for parent–offspring conflict. Embryonic regulation must be considered when addressing the evolutionary consequences of maternal steroids in eggs. PMID:20667883

  11. Embryonic modulation of maternal steroids in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Paitz, Ryan T; Bowden, Rachel M; Casto, Joseph M

    2011-01-01

    In birds, maternally derived yolk steroids are a proposed mechanism by which females can adjust individual offspring phenotype to prevailing conditions. However, when interests of mother and offspring differ, parent-offspring conflict will arise and embryonic interests, not those of the mother, should drive offspring response to maternal steroids in eggs. Because of this potential conflict, we investigated the ability of developing bird embryos to process maternally derived yolk steroids. We examined how progesterone, testosterone and oestradiol levels changed in both the yolk/albumen (YA) and the embryo of European starling eggs during the first 10 days of development. Next, we injected tritiated testosterone into eggs at oviposition to characterize potential metabolic pathways during development. Ether extractions separated organic and aqueous metabolites in both the embryo and YA homogenate, after which major steroid metabolites were identified. Results indicate that the concentrations of all three steroids declined during development in the YA homogenate. Exogenous testosterone was primarily metabolized to an aqueous form of etiocholanolone that remained in the YA. These results clearly demonstrate that embryos can modulate their local steroid environment, setting up the potential for parent-offspring conflict. Embryonic regulation must be considered when addressing the evolutionary consequences of maternal steroids in eggs. PMID:20667883

  12. Azimuthal sound localization in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris): II. Psychophysical results.

    PubMed

    Feinkohl, Arne; Klump, Georg M

    2013-02-01

    Small songbirds have a difficult analysis problem: their head is small compared to the wavelengths of sounds used for communication providing only small interaural time and level differences. Klump and Larsen (1992) measured the physical binaural cues in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) that allow the comparison of acoustical cues and perception. We determined the starling's minimum audible angle (MAA) in an operant Go/NoGo procedure for different spectral and temporal stimulus conditions. The MAA for broadband noise with closed-loop localization reached 17°, while the starling's MAA for open-loop localization of broadband noise reached 29°. No substantial difference between open-loop and closed-loop localization was found in 2 kHz pure tones. The closed-loop MAA improved from 26° to 19° with an increase in pure tone frequency from 1 to 4 kHz. This finding is in line with the physical cues available. While the starlings can only make use of interaural time difference cues at lower frequencies (e.g., 1 and 2 kHz), additional interaural level difference cues become available at higher frequencies (e.g., 4 kHz or higher, Klump and Larsen 1992). An improvement of the starling's MAA with an increasing number of standard stimulus presentations prior to the test stimulus has important implications for determining relative (MAA) localization thresholds. PMID:23160796

  13. Dynamics of Campylobacter colonization of a natural host, Sturnus vulgaris (European starling).

    PubMed

    Colles, F M; McCarthy, N D; Howe, J C; Devereux, C L; Gosler, A G; Maiden, M C J

    2009-01-01

    Wild European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) shed Campylobacter at high rates, suggesting that they may be a source of human and farm animal infection. A survey of Campylobacter shedding of 957 wild starlings was undertaken by culture of faecal specimens and genetic analysis of the campylobacters isolated: shedding rates were 30.6% for Campylobacter jejuni, 0.6% for C. coli and 6.3% for C. lari. Genotyping by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and antigen sequence typing established that these bacteria were distinct from poultry or human disease isolates with the ST-177 and ST-682 clonal complexes possibly representing starling-adapted genotypes. There was seasonal variation in both shedding rate and genotypic diversity, both exhibiting a maximum during the late spring/early summer. Host age also affected Campylobacter shedding, which was higher in younger birds, and turnover was rapid with no evidence of cross-immunity among Campylobacter species or genotypes. In nestlings, C. jejuni shedding was evident from 9 days of age but siblings were not readily co-infected. The dynamics of Campylobacter infection of starlings differed from that observed in commercial poultry and consequently there was no evidence that wild starlings represent a major source of Campylobacter infections of food animals or humans. PMID:18826435

  14. Dynamics of Campylobacter colonization of a natural host, Sturnus vulgaris (European Starling)

    PubMed Central

    Colles, F M; McCarthy, N D; Howe, J C; Devereux, C L; Gosler, A G; Maiden, M C J

    2009-01-01

    Wild European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) shed Campylobacter at high rates, suggesting that they may be a source of human and farm animal infection. A survey of Campylobacter shedding of 957 wild starlings was undertaken by culture of faecal specimens and genetic analysis of the campylobacters isolated: shedding rates were 30.6% for Campylobacter jejuni, 0.6% for C. coli and 6.3% for C. lari. Genotyping by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and antigen sequence typing established that these bacteria were distinct from poultry or human disease isolates with the ST-177 and ST-682 clonal complexes possibly representing starling-adapted genotypes. There was seasonal variation in both shedding rate and genotypic diversity, both exhibiting a maximum during the late spring/early summer. Host age also affected Campylobacter shedding, which was higher in younger birds, and turnover was rapid with no evidence of cross-immunity among Campylobacter species or genotypes. In nestlings, C. jejuni shedding was evident from 9 days of age but siblings were not readily co-infected. The dynamics of Campylobacter infection of starlings differed from that observed in commercial poultry and consequently there was no evidence that wild starlings represent a major source of Campylobacter infections of food animals or humans. PMID:18826435

  15. Mid-winter temperatures, not spring temperatures, predict breeding phenology in the European starling Sturnus vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Tony D.; Bourgeon, Sophie; Cornell, Allison; Ferguson, Laramie; Fowler, Melinda; Fronstin, Raime B.; Love, Oliver P.

    2015-01-01

    In many species, empirical data suggest that temperatures less than 1 month before breeding strongly influence laying date, consistent with predictions that short lag times between cue and response are more reliable, decreasing the chance of mismatch with prey. Here we show in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) that mid-winter temperature ca 50–90 days before laying (8 January–22 February) strongly (r2 = 0.89) predicts annual variation in laying date. Mid-winter temperature also correlated highly with relative clutch size: birds laid later, but laid larger clutches, in years when mid-winter temperatures were lower. Despite a high degree of breeding synchrony (mean laying date 5–13 April = ±4 days; 80% of nests laid within 4.8 days within year), European starlings show strong date-dependent variation in clutch size and productivity, but this appears to be mediated by a different temporal mechanism for integration of supplemental cue (temperature) information. We suggest the relationship between mid-winter temperature and breeding phenology might be indirect with both components correlating with a third factor: temperature-dependent development of the starling's insect (tipulid) prey. Mid-winter temperatures might set the trajectory of growth and final biomass of tipulid larvae, with this temperature cue providing starlings with information on breeding season prey availability (though exactly how remains unknown). PMID:26064582

  16. Mid-winter temperatures, not spring temperatures, predict breeding phenology in the European starling Sturnus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Williams, Tony D; Bourgeon, Sophie; Cornell, Allison; Ferguson, Laramie; Fowler, Melinda; Fronstin, Raime B; Love, Oliver P

    2015-01-01

    In many species, empirical data suggest that temperatures less than 1 month before breeding strongly influence laying date, consistent with predictions that short lag times between cue and response are more reliable, decreasing the chance of mismatch with prey. Here we show in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) that mid-winter temperature ca 50-90 days before laying (8 January-22 February) strongly (r (2) = 0.89) predicts annual variation in laying date. Mid-winter temperature also correlated highly with relative clutch size: birds laid later, but laid larger clutches, in years when mid-winter temperatures were lower. Despite a high degree of breeding synchrony (mean laying date 5-13 April = ±4 days; 80% of nests laid within 4.8 days within year), European starlings show strong date-dependent variation in clutch size and productivity, but this appears to be mediated by a different temporal mechanism for integration of supplemental cue (temperature) information. We suggest the relationship between mid-winter temperature and breeding phenology might be indirect with both components correlating with a third factor: temperature-dependent development of the starling's insect (tipulid) prey. Mid-winter temperatures might set the trajectory of growth and final biomass of tipulid larvae, with this temperature cue providing starlings with information on breeding season prey availability (though exactly how remains unknown). PMID:26064582

  17. Captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in breeding condition show an increased cardiovascular stress response to intruders.

    PubMed

    Dickens, Molly J; Nephew, Benjamin C; Romero, L Michael

    2006-01-01

    European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) alter their physiology and behavior between seasons, becoming territorial during the spring/summer and flocking during the fall/winter. We used captive male starlings in breeding (photostimulated to 18L : 6D) and nonbreeding (11L : 13D) conditions to determine whether changing physiology and behavior alters their reaction to crowding. One or five intruders entered a resident's cage without human disturbance. A subcutaneous heart rate transmitter recorded cardiovascular output in residents. Corticosterone and testosterone were measured in plasma samples taken before and after the intrusion. While corticosterone concentrations did not change, heart rate changed significantly, indicating that these responses can be regulated independently. Long-day birds showed a significantly elevated heart rate response to the single-bird intrusion compared to short-day birds. Whereas five intruders elicited an identical peak response in both groups, long-day birds also demonstrated an equivalent response to one intruder. In addition, one intruder induced longer elevation in heart rate for long-day birds. Male starlings in breeding condition, therefore, demonstrate an increased sensitivity to additional conspecifics. This seasonal shift in response suggests that a higher tolerance for intrusion (i.e., considering a nearby starling as less stressful) may facilitate flocking behavior, while a lower tolerance may aid in territoriality. PMID:16927240

  18. Lead concentrations and reproductive success in European starlings Sturnus vulgaris nesting within highway roadside verges

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grue, C.E.; Hoffman, D.J.; Beyer, W.N.; Franson, L.P.

    1986-01-01

    In 1981, the authors studied lead concentrations and reproductive success in free-living European starlings Sturnus vulgaris nesting within the verges of two Maryland highways with different traffic volumes, Route 197(average daily traffic volume[ADT] = 10,800 vehicles) and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (ADT=52,500 vehicles) and a nearby control area. Concentrations (mg kg-1 dry weight) of lead in the ingesta (84-94 mg kg-1), carcasses (4.0-9.6 mg kg-1)and feathers (6.8-52 mg kg-1) of Parkway nestlings and adults were 3 to 13 times those found in starlings from the control area, whereas lead concentrations in the ingesta and tissues of starlings from the verge of Route 197 were similar to those of controls. Activity of delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) in red blood cells (RBCs) of adult and nestling starlings from the Parkway was depressed from 43 to 60% compared to controls. RBC ALAD activity in adults from nests along Route 197 was similar to that of adult starlings from the control area, but that of their young was depressed 17%. Haemoglobin concentrations (-16%) and haematocrits (-10%) in Parkway nestlings were depressed compared with those of nestlings from the other two study areas, whereas those of adults were not affected. Clutch size, number of young hatched and the number of young in nests 1 to 3 days before fledging were similar among sites, as were body weights of adults and prefledging weights of their young. However, brain weights of Parkway nestlings were lower (P < 0.05) than those of nestlings from the other study areas. Results suggests that lead within verges of major highways probably does not pose a serious hazard to adult ground-foraging songbirds. However, the effects of lead-induced reductions in haemoglobin concentration, haematocrit, RBC ALAD activity and brain weight on the postfledging survival of their young are not known.

  19. Effect of head turns on the localization accuracy of sounds in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Feinkohl, Arne; Borzeszkowski, Katharina M; Klump, Georg M

    2013-11-01

    Long signal durations that represent closed-loop conditions permit responses based on the sensory feedback during the presentation of the stimulus, while short stimulus durations that represent open-loop conditions do not allow for directed head turns during signal presentation. A previous study showed that for broadband noise stimuli, the minimum audible angle (MAA) of the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is smaller under closed-loop compared to open-loop conditions (Feinkohl & Klump, 2013). Head turns represent a possible strategy to improve sound localization cues under closed-loop conditions. In this study, we analyze the influence of head turns on the starling MAA for broadband noise and 2 kHz tones under closed-loop and open-loop conditions. The starlings made more head turns under closed-loop conditions compared to open-loop conditions. Under closed-loop conditions, their sensitivity for discriminating sound source positions was best if they turned their head once or more per stimulus presentation. We discuss potential cues generated from head turns under closed-loop conditions. PMID:24035879

  20. Helminth parasites of the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) (Aves, Sturnidae), an invasive bird in Argentina.

    PubMed

    Valente, Romina; Ibañez, Lucía Mariel; Lorenti, Eliana; Fiorini, Vanina Dafne; Montalti, Diego; Diaz, Julia Inés

    2014-07-01

    The aim of this work is to contribute to the knowledge of gastrointestinal parasites of the European starling Sturnus vulgaris, an invasive bird from Argentina. Seventy-six birds were collected during the spring of 2007 and were examined for helminths. Six parasite species were found: one trematoda of the Echinostoma revolutum "group," four nematodes (Synhimantus nasuta, Microtetrameres sp., Pterothominx exilis, and Ornithocapillaria ovopunctata), and one acanthocephalan (Plagiorhynchus cylindraceus). All species found have been recorded in Eurasia and/or North America previously, although present reports enlarge their geographical distribution. As expected in an invasive host, the parasite community shows much lower species richness (n = 6) than those observed in their native area (79 and 35 in the Eurasia and North America, respectively).

  1. Toxicity of parathion to captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)-absence of seasonal effects

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rattner, B.A.; Grue, C.E.

    1990-01-01

    The effects of season on the toxicity of the prototypic organophosphorus insecticide parathion was evaluated using adult European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) housed in outdoor pens. Groups of birds received oral doses of parathion in the fall, winter, spring and summer. Median lethal dosage, and brain and plasma cholinesterase inhibition, were found to be quite similar among seasons. Parathion may have been more toxic during hot weather (winter vs. summer LD50 estimate: 160 vs. 118 mg/kg; p < 0.1). In view of previous reports in which ambient temperature extremes and harsh weather have enhanced organophosphorus insecticide toxicity to birds, it is concluded that circannual toxicity studies should include measures of sensitivity (acute oral exposure) and vulnerability (dietary exposure) to better predict responses of free-ranging birds.

  2. Helminth parasites of the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) (Aves, Sturnidae), an invasive bird in Argentina.

    PubMed

    Valente, Romina; Ibañez, Lucía Mariel; Lorenti, Eliana; Fiorini, Vanina Dafne; Montalti, Diego; Diaz, Julia Inés

    2014-07-01

    The aim of this work is to contribute to the knowledge of gastrointestinal parasites of the European starling Sturnus vulgaris, an invasive bird from Argentina. Seventy-six birds were collected during the spring of 2007 and were examined for helminths. Six parasite species were found: one trematoda of the Echinostoma revolutum "group," four nematodes (Synhimantus nasuta, Microtetrameres sp., Pterothominx exilis, and Ornithocapillaria ovopunctata), and one acanthocephalan (Plagiorhynchus cylindraceus). All species found have been recorded in Eurasia and/or North America previously, although present reports enlarge their geographical distribution. As expected in an invasive host, the parasite community shows much lower species richness (n = 6) than those observed in their native area (79 and 35 in the Eurasia and North America, respectively). PMID:24804922

  3. Evidence for opioid involvement in the regulation of song production in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Riters, Lauren V; Schroeder, Molly B; Auger, Catherine J; Eens, Marcel; Pinxten, Rianne; Ball, Gregory F

    2005-02-01

    Many social animals vocalize at high rates, suggesting that vocal communication is highly motivated and rewarding. In songbirds, much is known about the neural control of vocal behavior; however, little is known about neurobiological mechanisms regulating the motivation to communicate. This study examined a possible role for opioid neuropeptides in motivation and reward associated with song production in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Peripheral opioid blockade facilitated male song production. Furthermore, methionine-enkephalin immunolabeled fiber densities within brain regions in which opioids are known to regulate motivation and reward (i.e., the medial preoptic nucleus and ventral tegmental area) related positively to male song production. These data suggest that song production might be regulated by opioid activity within motivation and reward neural systems. PMID:15727529

  4. Developmental stress, social rank and song complexity in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Spencer, K A; Buchanan, K L; Goldsmith, A R; Catchpole, C K

    2004-02-01

    Bird song is a sexually selected trait and females have been shown to prefer males that sing more complex songs. However, for repertoire size to be an honest signal of male quality it must be associated with some form of cost. This experiment investigates the effects of food restriction and social status during development on song complexity in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Birds that experienced an unpredictable food supply early in life produced a significantly smaller repertoire of song phrases than those with a constant food supply. Social status during development was also significantly correlated with repertoire size, with dominant birds producing more phrase types. This study therefore provides novel evidence that social as well as nutritional history may be important in shaping the song signal in this species. PMID:15101438

  5. Developmental stress, social rank and song complexity in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed Central

    Spencer, K A; Buchanan, K L; Goldsmith, A R; Catchpole, C K

    2004-01-01

    Bird song is a sexually selected trait and females have been shown to prefer males that sing more complex songs. However, for repertoire size to be an honest signal of male quality it must be associated with some form of cost. This experiment investigates the effects of food restriction and social status during development on song complexity in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Birds that experienced an unpredictable food supply early in life produced a significantly smaller repertoire of song phrases than those with a constant food supply. Social status during development was also significantly correlated with repertoire size, with dominant birds producing more phrase types. This study therefore provides novel evidence that social as well as nutritional history may be important in shaping the song signal in this species. PMID:15101438

  6. Sexual Dimorphism and Bilateral Asymmetry of Syrinx and Vocal Tract in the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Prince, Ben; Riede, Tobias; Goller, Franz

    2014-01-01

    Sexually dimorphic vocal behavior in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) is associated with a 100% larger syrinx in males and other morphological adaptations of the sound source. The songbird syrinx consists of two independent sound sources, whose specialization for different spectral ranges may be reflected in morphological properties, but the morphology of labia and syringeal skeleton have not been investigated for lateralized specializations. Similarly, little is known whether the morphology of the songbird vocal tract reflects differences in vocal behavior. Here, we tested the hypothesis that different vocal behavior and specialization is reflected in the morphology. We investigated syringeal and upper vocal tract morphology of male and female European starlings (Sturnus υulgaris). Female starlings exhibit smaller vocal repertoires and sing at lower rates than males. In males, the left syrinx produces mostly low frequencies, while the right one is used for higher notes. Macroscopic and histological techniques were used to record nineteen measurements from the syrinx and the vocal tract which were tested for sexual differences in syrinx and vocal tract and for lateral asymmetry within the syrinx. Sexually dimorphic vocal behavior is reflected in the morphology of the starling syrinx. Males have a larger syrinx with the size difference attributable to increased muscle mass and three enlarged elements of the syringeal skeleton. The upper vocal tract, however, does not differ between males and females. Distinct lateralization was found in two elements of the syringeal skeleton of females, and the labia in the left syrinx are larger than those on the right in both sexes. The sexual dimorphism of the syringeal size is smaller in starlings (35%) than in zebra finches (100%), which is consistent with the different vocal behavior of females in both species. The morphological differences between the two sound sources are discussed in relation to their vocal performance

  7. Sexual dimorphism and bilateral asymmetry of syrinx and vocal tract in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Prince, Ben; Riede, Tobias; Goller, Franz

    2011-12-01

    Sexually dimorphic vocal behavior in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) is associated with a 100% larger syrinx in males and other morphological adaptations of the sound source. The songbird syrinx consists of two independent sound sources, whose specialization for different spectral ranges may be reflected in morphological properties, but the morphology of labia and syringeal skeleton have not been investigated for lateralized specializations. Similarly, little is known whether the morphology of the songbird vocal tract reflects differences in vocal behavior. Here, we tested the hypothesis that different vocal behavior and specialization is reflected in the morphology. We investigated syringeal and upper vocal tract morphology of male and female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Female starlings exhibit smaller vocal repertoires and sing at lower rates than males. In males, the left syrinx produces mostly low frequencies, while the right one is used for higher notes. Macroscopic and histological techniques were used to record nineteen measurements from the syrinx and the vocal tract which were tested for sexual differences in syrinx and vocal tract and for lateral asymmetry within the syrinx. Sexually dimorphic vocal behavior is reflected in the morphology of the starling syrinx. Males have a larger syrinx with the size difference attributable to increased muscle mass and three enlarged elements of the syringeal skeleton. The upper vocal tract, however, does not differ between males and females. Distinct lateralization was found in two elements of the syringeal skeleton of females, and the labia in the left syrinx are larger than those on the right in both sexes. The sexual dimorphism of the syringeal size is smaller in starlings (35%) than in zebra finches (100%), which is consistent with the different vocal behavior of females in both species. The morphological differences between the two sound sources are discussed in relation to their vocal performance

  8. Female presence affects male behavior and testosterone levels in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Pinxten, Rianne; de Ridder, Elke; Eens, Marcel

    2003-08-01

    In this study, we confronted individually housed male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) with a female conspecific for 60 min to study the consequences on behavior and plasma testosterone (T) concentrations. Control males experienced a similar procedure, the only difference being that they were tested in the absence of a female. Female presence significantly affected both behavior and plasma T levels of male starlings. Experimental males spent significantly more time singing in the nest box and flew significantly more into the nest box with green nesting material during female presentations than during control periods. Control males never showed these mate attraction behaviors. In total 5 of the 16 experimental males did not respond behaviorally to the female stimulus bird (NR males). In contrast to T levels of control males, plasma T concentrations of both experimental males that did respond to the female (R males) and of NR males (which only perceived the female stimulus) were positively influenced by female presentation. The time spent singing in the nest box by experimental males (R and NR males combined) during female presence tended to be positively correlated with changes in plasma T levels. Finally, before introduction of a female, plasma T levels of R males were significantly higher than those of NR males indicating that individually housed males respond to the presence of a female conspecific by increasing their mate attraction behaviors only when a threshold plasma T concentration has been reached. PMID:13129481

  9. Azimuthal sound localization in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris): III. Comparison of sound localization measures.

    PubMed

    Feinkohl, Arne; Borzeszkowski, Katharina M; Klump, Georg M

    2016-02-01

    Sound localization studies have typically employed two types of tasks: absolute tasks that measured the localization of the angular location of a single sound and relative tasks that measured the localization of the angular location of a sound relative to the angular location of another sound from a different source (e.g., in the Minimum Audible Angle task). The present study investigates the localization of single sounds in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) with a left/right discrimination paradigm. Localization thresholds of 8-12° determined in starlings using this paradigm were much lower than the minimum audible angle thresholds determined in a previous study with the same individuals. The traditional concept of sound localization classifies the present experiment as an absolute localization task. However, we propose that the experiment presenting single sounds measured localization of the angular location of the sound relative to a non-acoustic spatial frame of reference. We discuss how the properties of the setup can determine if presentation of single sounds in a left/right discrimination paradigm comprises an absolute localization task rather than a localization task relative to a non-acoustic reference. Furthermore, the analysis methods employed may lead to quite different threshold estimates for the same data, especially in case of a response bias in left/right discrimination. We propose using an analysis method precluding effects of response bias on the threshold estimate. PMID:25870127

  10. Reproductive state modulates testosterone-induced singing in adult female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Stevenson, Tyler J.; Fortune, Eric S.; Ball, Gregory F.

    2015-01-01

    European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) exhibit seasonal changes in singing and in the volumes of the neural substrate. Increases in song nuclei volume are mediated at least in part by increases in day length, which is also associated with increases in plasma testosterone (T), reproductive activity, and singing behavior in males. The correlations between photoperiod (i.e. daylength), T, reproductive state and singing hamper our ability to disentangle causal relationships. We investigated how photoperiodic-induced variation in reproductive state modulates the effects of T on singing behavior and song nuclei volumes in adult female starlings. Female Starlings do not naturally produce measureable levels of circulating T but nevertheless respond to exogenous T, which induces male-like singing. We manipulated photoperiod by placing birds in a photosensitive or photorefractory state and then treated them with T-filled or empty silastic implants. We recorded morning singing behavior for three weeks, after which we assessed reproductive condition and measured song nuclei volumes. We found that T-treated photosensitive birds sang significantly more than all other groups including T-treated photorefractory birds. All T-treated birds had larger song nuclei volumes than with blank-treated birds (despite photorefractory T-treated birds not increasing song-rate). There was no effect of photoperiod on the song nuclei volumes of T-treated birds. These data show that the behavioral effects of exogenous T can be modulated by reproductive state in adult female songbirds. Furthermore, these data are consistent with other observations that increases in singing rate in response to T are not necessarily due to the direct effects of T on song nuclei volume. PMID:25989596

  11. Reproductive state modulates testosterone-induced singing in adult female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Rouse, Melvin L; Stevenson, Tyler J; Fortune, Eric S; Ball, Gregory F

    2015-06-01

    European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) exhibit seasonal changes in singing and in the volumes of the neural substrate. Increases in song nuclei volume are mediated at least in part by increases in day length, which is also associated with increases in plasma testosterone (T), reproductive activity, and singing behavior in males. The correlations between photoperiod (i.e. daylength), T, reproductive state and singing hamper our ability to disentangle causal relationships. We investigated how photoperiodic-induced variation in reproductive state modulates the effects of T on singing behavior and song nuclei volumes in adult female starlings. Female starlings do not naturally produce measureable levels of circulating T but nevertheless respond to exogenous T, which induces male-like singing. We manipulated photoperiod by placing birds in a photosensitive or photorefractory state and then treated them with T-filled or empty silastic implants. We recorded morning singing behavior for 3 weeks, after which we assessed reproductive condition and measured song nuclei volumes. We found that T-treated photosensitive birds sang significantly more than all other groups including T-treated photorefractory birds. All T-treated birds had larger song nuclei volumes than with blank-treated birds (despite photorefractory T-treated birds not increasing song-rate). There was no effect of photoperiod on the song nuclei volumes of T-treated birds. These data show that the behavioral effects of exogenous T can be modulated by reproductive state in adult female songbirds. Furthermore, these data are consistent with other observations that increases in singing rate in response to T are not necessarily due to the direct effects of T on song nuclei volume. PMID:25989596

  12. Variation in plasma leptin-like immunoreactivity in free-living European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Kordonowy, Lauren L; McMurtry, John P; Williams, Tony D

    2010-03-01

    Leptin, a protein hormone secreted by fat cells, is best known for its role as an adiposity signal; however, leptin has diverse physiological roles ranging from regulation of feeding behavior and body weight, to effects on reproduction and immune function. Although leptin has been extensively studied in mammals, the identification and function of leptin in birds remains controversial, and studies have focused on captive or domesticated species. Here, we describe changes in plasma leptin-like immunoreactivity during the reproductive and non-reproductive seasons in free-living female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Plasma leptin-like immunoreactivity was high during egg-laying (27.8+/-2.4 ng/mL) and clutch completion (23.8+/-1.6 ng/mL), decreased during incubation (13.0+/-1.6 ng/mL) and chick-rearing (12.0+/-1.3 ng/mL), but was elevated again in non-breeders in November (23.7+/-1.1 ng/mL). Although there was marked and consistent variation in total body mass and body composition with breeding stage and season in this population, plasma leptin-like immunoreactivity did not parallel changes in body mass or body composition. These data suggest that the strong positive relationship between plasma leptin-like immunoreactivity and body mass reported for captive birds and mammals does not hold for free-living birds. Rather, among free-living female European starlings, variation in plasma leptin-like immunoreactivity is associated with breeding stage or seasonal variation per se, and we discuss possible mechanisms underlying this variation, focusing on ovarian function and egg production. PMID:19796643

  13. Developmental Exposure to Aroclor 1254 Alters Migratory Behavior in Juvenile European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Flahr, Leanne M; Michel, Nicole L; Zahara, Alexander R D; Jones, Paul D; Morrissey, Christy A

    2015-05-19

    Birds exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals during development could be susceptible to neurological and other physiological changes affecting migratory behaviors. We investigated the effects of ecologically relevant levels of Aroclor 1254, a polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) mixture, on moult, fattening, migratory activity, and orientation in juvenile European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Birds were orally administered 0 (control), 0.35 (low), 0.70 (intermediate), or 1.05 (high) μg Aroclor 1254/g-body weight by gavage from 1 through 18 days posthatch and later exposed in captivity to a photoperiod shift simulating an autumn migration. Migratory activity and orientation were examined using Emlen funnel trials. Across treatments, we found significant increases in mass, fat, and moulting and decreasing plasma thyroid hormones over time. We observed a significant increase in activity as photoperiod was shifted from 13L:11D (light:dark) to 12L:12D, demonstrating that migratory condition was induced in captivity. At 12L:12D, control birds oriented to 155.95° (South-Southeast), while high-dosed birds did not. High-dosed birds showed a delayed orientation to 197.48° (South-Southwest) under 10L:14D, concomitant with apparent delays in moult. These findings demonstrate how subtle contaminant-induced alterations during development could lead to longer-scale effects, including changes in migratory activity and orientation, which could potentially result in deleterious effects on fitness and survival.

  14. Heritability of Nestling Growth in Cross-Fostered European Starlings Sturnus Vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    Smith, H. G.; Wettermark, K. J.

    1995-01-01

    In altricial birds, growth rates and nestling morphology vary between broods. For natural selection to produce evolutionary change in these variables, there must exist heritable variation. Since nestling traits are not any longer present in parents, traditional offspring-parent regressions cannot estimate heritabilities of these. In this study, a partial cross-fostering experiment was performed, where nestlings of the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) were reciprocally exchanged between nests. The experiment demonstrated a significant heritability of nestling tarsus length and body mass, but not of the growth trajectories followed by individual nestlings. The heritability estimate for tarsus length obtained in the cross-fostering experiment using full-sib analysis was lower than those obtained by offspring-parent regressions. This is likely due to a genotype-by-environment effect on tarsus length, with nestlings destined to become large but in poor condition having a low probability of appearing as parents. The main reason for the low heritability of growth was probably the large within-brood variation in growth pattern due to the initial size hierarchy of nestlings. Nestlings demonstrated targeted growth, where small-sized nestlings that initially grew slower than their siblings, managed to catch up. PMID:8647400

  15. A behavioral analysis of prey detection lateralization and unilateral transfer in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Templeton, J J; Christensen-Dykema, J M

    2008-11-01

    It has been suggested that birds prefer to use a particular eye while learning to detect cryptic prey and that this eye preference enhances foraging performance. European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) with the left, right, or both eyes available learned to detect inconspicuous cues associated with the presence of hidden prey. Acquisition scores were not significantly different between left and right-eyed birds; however, performance in the binocular condition was significantly higher than in the two monocular conditions. When binocular birds were tested with familiar and unfamiliar cues present simultaneously, the familiar cue was selected significantly more often than the unfamiliar cue, suggesting that the birds were searching for specific cue features. When monocular birds were tested using only the naïve eye, performance dropped significantly. In right-eyed birds using the naïve left eye, performance remained at chance levels over transfer trials. However, left-eyed birds using the naïve right eye had a superior performance compared to the initial acquisition scores of right-eyed birds and also showed a significant improvement in performance over transfer trials. Thus, although there was no direct evidence of lateralization during acquisition, there was unilateral transfer of the prey detection skill from the right to the left hemisphere. PMID:18639618

  16. Post-hatching dynamics of plasma biochemistry in free-living European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Juráni, Marián; Výboh, Pavel; Zeman, Michal; Lamosová, Dalma; Kost'ál, L'ubor; Blazícek, Pavol

    2004-05-01

    This is the first study of plasma biochemical parameters in free-living altricial birds during an entire developmental period in a nest, represented by European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Dynamics of postnatal changes from hatching until close to fledging (days 1 to 15) were registered. Parameters of protein metabolism represented by total proteins, albumin and globulin concentrations increased continuously during the observed developmental period. There were two peaks in uric acid concentration on days 5 and 11. To the contrary, the creatinine content did not change throughout the observed period and increased only on day 15. Creatine kinase activity gradually increased until day 11 and then fell before fledging. Parameters of lipid metabolism (concentration of total lipids, triacylglycerols and nonesterified fatty acids) in plasma increased gradually reaching a plateau between days 8 and 11 and then declined on day 15. The cholesterol concentration pattern was similar to maximum value on day 11, then consecutively decreased. Concentration of glucose increased until day 8 and remained unchanged until fledging. Whereas calcium reached the highest concentration during days 8 and 11, phosphorus peaked earlier on day 5. The activity of alkaline phosphatase was similar to the pattern found in calcium concentration. Presented data showed an increase in both protein and lipid metabolism during the phase of rapid growth. A remarkable decrease in parameters of lipid metabolism before fledging may reflect increased physical activity and changes in nutrition. PMID:15165575

  17. Developmental Exposure to Aroclor 1254 Alters Migratory Behavior in Juvenile European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Flahr, Leanne M; Michel, Nicole L; Zahara, Alexander R D; Jones, Paul D; Morrissey, Christy A

    2015-05-19

    Birds exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals during development could be susceptible to neurological and other physiological changes affecting migratory behaviors. We investigated the effects of ecologically relevant levels of Aroclor 1254, a polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) mixture, on moult, fattening, migratory activity, and orientation in juvenile European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Birds were orally administered 0 (control), 0.35 (low), 0.70 (intermediate), or 1.05 (high) μg Aroclor 1254/g-body weight by gavage from 1 through 18 days posthatch and later exposed in captivity to a photoperiod shift simulating an autumn migration. Migratory activity and orientation were examined using Emlen funnel trials. Across treatments, we found significant increases in mass, fat, and moulting and decreasing plasma thyroid hormones over time. We observed a significant increase in activity as photoperiod was shifted from 13L:11D (light:dark) to 12L:12D, demonstrating that migratory condition was induced in captivity. At 12L:12D, control birds oriented to 155.95° (South-Southeast), while high-dosed birds did not. High-dosed birds showed a delayed orientation to 197.48° (South-Southwest) under 10L:14D, concomitant with apparent delays in moult. These findings demonstrate how subtle contaminant-induced alterations during development could lead to longer-scale effects, including changes in migratory activity and orientation, which could potentially result in deleterious effects on fitness and survival. PMID:25893686

  18. Artificial rain and cold wind act as stressors to captive molting and non-molting European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    de Bruijn, Robert; Romero, L Michael

    2013-03-01

    Free-roaming animals continually cope with changes in their environment. One of the most unpredictable environmental phenomena is weather. Being able to respond to weather appropriately is crucial as it can be a threat to survival. The stress response, consisting of increases in heart rate and release of glucocorticoids, is an important mechanism by which animals cope with stressors. This study examined behavioral, heart rate, and corticosterone responses of captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to two aspects of weather mimicked under controlled conditions, a subtle (3 °C) decrease in temperature and a short, mild bout of rain. Both decreased temperature and exposure to rain elicited increases in heart rate and corticosterone in non-molting starlings. Molt is an important life history stage in birds that affects feather cover and may require a different response to weather-related stressors. We repeated the experiment in molting starlings and found increases in heart rate in response to rain and cold wind. However, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis was suppressed during molt, as molting starlings did not increase corticosterone release in response to either stimulus. These data suggest these stimuli induce increased allostatic load in starlings, and that animals may adjust their response depending on the life-history stage.

  19. Artificial rain and cold wind act as stressors to captive molting and non-molting European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    de Bruijn, Robert; Romero, L Michael

    2013-03-01

    Free-roaming animals continually cope with changes in their environment. One of the most unpredictable environmental phenomena is weather. Being able to respond to weather appropriately is crucial as it can be a threat to survival. The stress response, consisting of increases in heart rate and release of glucocorticoids, is an important mechanism by which animals cope with stressors. This study examined behavioral, heart rate, and corticosterone responses of captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to two aspects of weather mimicked under controlled conditions, a subtle (3 °C) decrease in temperature and a short, mild bout of rain. Both decreased temperature and exposure to rain elicited increases in heart rate and corticosterone in non-molting starlings. Molt is an important life history stage in birds that affects feather cover and may require a different response to weather-related stressors. We repeated the experiment in molting starlings and found increases in heart rate in response to rain and cold wind. However, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis was suppressed during molt, as molting starlings did not increase corticosterone release in response to either stimulus. These data suggest these stimuli induce increased allostatic load in starlings, and that animals may adjust their response depending on the life-history stage. PMID:23277223

  20. Effect of age and testosterone on autumnal neurogenesis in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Absil, Philippe; Pinxten, Rianne; Balthazart, Jacques; Eens, Marcel

    2003-07-14

    The male European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is an open-ended learner that increases its repertoire throughout life. In parallel, the volume of high vocal center (HVC) is larger in older birds than in yearlings. We labeled with the thymidine analog 5'-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) the cells that are generated during the fall in the brain of adult males that were 2 or more years old and in yearling males that were treated with exogenous testosterone (T) or kept intact before BrdU administration. In all subjects, the singing rate was recorded and BrdU-labeled cells were quantified in HVC, in proliferative areas of the ventricular zone (VZ) and in auditory regions. BrdU-containing cells were observed in all brain regions investigated. They were significantly more numerous in the VZ of the T-treated yearlings than in any other group. In older birds, a reduced number of labeled cells was specifically observed in the VZ close to the anterior commissure. No group difference was detected in auditory processing areas or in HVC. These data show for the first time a positive influence of T on the production of new cells at the VZ level in a male songbird and a decrease of this process with age. Furthermore, in T-treated birds, a correlation was observed between the HVC volume and the number of differentiated (round) BrdU-positive cell numbers in HVC on the one hand and song rate on another hand supporting the notion that singing activity is causally related to the T-induced growth of this song control nucleus. PMID:12842292

  1. The effects of chronic psychological and physical stress on feather replacement in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Strochlic, David E; Romero, L Michael

    2008-01-01

    Corticosterone (CORT) is seasonally modulated in many passerines, with plasma CORT concentrations lowest during the prebasic molt, when all feathers are replaced. Recent evidence indicating that CORT implants slow the rate of feather regrowth in molting birds suggests that plasma CORT concentrations are downregulated during molt in order to avoid the inhibition of feather growth caused by the protein catabolic activity of CORT. To further test this hypothesis, we examined whether endogenous CORT release, stimulated by exposure to either psychological stress or physical stress (food restriction), could inhibit feather regrowth rates or decrease feather quality in birds undergoing an induced molt (feather replacement after plucking). European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were exposed to chronic psychological stress or food restriction for three weeks of the feather regrowth period. Throughout this time, the length of growing primary, secondary, and tail feathers was measured and blood samples were collected to measure baseline and stress-induced CORT concentrations. Upon completion of growth, feather quality was analyzed via measurements of mass, rachis length, feather area, and presence of fault bars. Both psychological and physical stress protocols elevated circulating plasma CORT but significantly less than implants from an earlier study did. Psychological stress had no effect on feather regrowth rates or feather quality. Food restriction had no effect on feather growth rate but caused asynchronous feather replacement. When combined with psychological stress, physical stress also resulted in smaller feather area. Results indicate that CORT implants may not accurately represent chronic stress physiology. Additionally, the purpose for downregulating CORT concentrations during molt appears to be more complicated than simply protecting feather production from CORT's catabolic effects. PMID:18032078

  2. Latent cognitive effects from low-level polychlorinated biphenyl exposure in juvenile European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Zahara, Alexander R D; Michel, Nicole L; Flahr, Leanne M; Ejack, Leanne E; Morrissey, Christy A

    2015-11-01

    Ecotoxicology research on polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) mixtures has focused principally on short-term effects on reproduction, growth, and other physiological endpoints. Latent cognitive effects from early life exposure to low-level PCBs were examined in an avian model, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Thirty-six birds, divided equally among 4 treatment groups (control = 0 µg, low = 0.35 µg, intermediate = 0.70 µg, and high = 1.05 µg Aroclor 1254/g body weight), were dosed 1 d through 18 d posthatch, then tested 8 mo to 9 mo later in captivity in an analog to an open radial arm maze. Birds were subject to 4 sequential experiments: habituation, learning, cue selection, and memory. One-half of the birds did not habituate to the test cage; however, this was not linked to a treatment group. Although 11 of the remaining 18 birds successfully learned, only 1 was from the high-dosed group. Control and low-dosed birds were among the only treatment groups to improve trial times throughout the learning experiment. High-dosed birds were slower and more error-prone than controls. Cue selection (spatial or color cues) and memory retention were not affected by prior PCB exposure. The results indicate that a reduction in spatial learning ability persists among birds exposed to Aroclor 1254 during development. This may have implications for migration ability, resource acquisition, and other behaviors relevant for fitness. PMID:26033510

  3. Chronic psychological stress alters body weight and blood chemistry in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Awerman, J L; Romero, L M

    2010-05-01

    One hallmark of chronic stress is a decrease in body weight that rebounds once chronic stress is alleviated. We applied chronic psychological stress by exposing European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to a previously validated chronic stress protocol (CSP) consisting of 4 different randomly applied stressors per day. Experimental design consisted of a 21 day CSP (CSP1), a 60day recovery (R1), a second 14 day CSP (CSP2), and a second 30 day recovery (R2). Body weight decreased by approximately 5% during CSP1, but overshot to 5-10% above initial body weight during R1. To investigate underlying mechanisms, we periodically measured 12 biochemical analytes, including aspartate aminotransferase (AST), creatine kinase (CK), bile acids, total protein, albumin, globulin, glucose, uric acid, calcium (Ca(++)), phosphorus (PHOS), potassium (K(+)), and sodium (Na(+)). AST and CK increased at the beginning of CSP1, suggesting muscle breakdown. Additionally, decreases in albumin and total protein paired with stable uric acid, but no associated change in glucose, suggested protein breakdown as a secondary energy source. Changes in blood parameters that occurred during CSP1 did not reverse during R1. During CSP2 and R2, weight loss and gain occurred in different proportions. CSP2 produced an approximate 15% decrease in body weight, but R2 resulted in only re-gaining 5% of this weight, although this was equivalent to the pre-CSP1 weight. In summary, protein metabolism appeared to mediate weight loss during chronic stress, but over-gaining weight was not a good indicator of recovery. PMID:20096363

  4. Respiratory water loss during rest and flight in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Engel, Sophia; Suthers, Roderick A; Biebach, Herbert; Visser, G Henk

    2006-12-01

    Respiratory water loss in Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) at rest and during flight at ambient temperatures (T(amb)) between 6 and 25 degrees C was calculated from respiratory airflow and exhaled air temperature. At rest, breathing frequency f (1.4+/-0.3 Hz) and tidal volume Vt (1.9+/-0.4 ml) were independent of T(amb), but negatively correlated with each other. Mean ventilation at rest was 156+/-28 ml min(-1) at all T(amb). Exhaled air temperature (T(exh)) at rest increased with T(amb) (T(exh) = 0.92.T(amb)+12.45). Respiratory water loss at rest averaged 0.18+/-0.09 ml h(-1) irrespective of T(amb). In flying Starlings f was 4.0+/-0.4 Hz and independent of T(amb). Vt during flight averaged 3.6+/-0.4 ml and increased with T(amb) (Vt = 0.06.T(amb)+2.83) as, correspondingly, did ventilation. T(exh) during flight increased with T(amb) (T(exh) = 0.85.T(amb)+17.29). Respiratory water loss during flight (average REWL(f) = 0.74+/-0.22 ml h(-1)) was significantly higher than at rest and increased with T(amb). Our measurements suggest that respiratory evaporation accounts for most water loss in flying Starlings and increases more than cutaneous evaporation with rising ambient temperature. PMID:17011222

  5. Use and husbandry of captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in scientific research: a review of current practice.

    PubMed

    Asher, Lucy; Bateson, Melissa

    2008-04-01

    We reviewed the use of captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in scientific research published between 2000 and 2004. We estimated the numbers of birds used and documented their origin and the range of husbandry regimes employed with the aim of comparing current practice with the new European guidelines for husbandry of laboratory animals. Over the five-year period, 106 primary articles report the use of an estimated total of 2490 captive starlings. The majority of birds were caught from the wild either as adults or fledglings, and only 3% were hand-reared from chicks. There was considerable variation in husbandry. In the majority of cases, standards fell below those currently recommended as best practice in the UK and cited in new European guidelines. The median volume of home cages employed was 0.42 m3 (0.13-5.1 m3, interquartile range), whereas current recommendations suggest a minimum of 1.0 m3 for a singly-housed bird. The median volume of space allowed per bird was 0.13 m3/bird (0.08-1.05 m3/bird, Q1-Q3), whereas current recommendations suggest a minimum of 0.33 m3/bird. Only 27% of the articles mentioned providing any form of environmental enrichment for birds in their home cages. We recommend that more research be conducted into the welfare of starlings to inform legislation and guidelines, and thus maximize the welfare of captive animals. PMID:18435870

  6. The histology and fine structure of the ureter of the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed Central

    Williams, G R; Nicholson, J K

    1983-01-01

    Light and electron microscopic techniques were employed to study the structure of the ureter of the starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Particular attention was paid to the characterisation of the epithelial cell types. Differences were found in the chemical composition of the mucins found in the ureteric epithelial cells and the medullary collecting ducts, which suggested that they might perform different functions. The epithelial cells were of two main types. The basally situated cells were electron-lucent, apparently relatively undifferentiated, and contained little rough endoplasmic reticulum or mucigen. The cells which were directly adjacent to the lumen were highly specialised for mucus secretion and contained extensive rough endoplasmic reticulum and large numbers of mucigen-containing vacuoles. Cells of intermediate character were also observed and the relationships between the epithelial cell types were discussed. The possibility of a holocrine mode of mucus secretion in the avian ureteric epithelium was discussed. Images Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4 PMID:6885620

  7. Behavioural and hormonal effects of social isolation and neophobia in a gregarious bird species, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Apfelbeck, Beate; Raess, Michael

    2008-08-01

    Separating gregarious individuals from their group members often results in behavioural and physiological changes, like increased levels of corticosterone. Testosterone and corticosterone, in particular, have been implicated in the response of mammals to novelty. Data in birds are, however, rare. The presence or absence of group members may also influence an individual's response to novel stimuli. We assessed the behaviour and hormonal response of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to a novel object in two different situations and seasons: each starling was tested when separated and when in contact with its group members in May/June (breeding season) and again in September/October (non-breeding season). Starlings are gregarious throughout the year, but as foraging flocks are small during the breeding season and large during the non-breeding season, we assumed that non-breeding starlings would be more affected by social isolation. Overall, starlings had higher levels of corticosterone, lost more body mass, and were more active when they were separated from their group. Isolated individuals, however, did not show a greater neophobic response than individuals in the presence of their group members in either season. Circulating levels of testosterone and corticosterone were higher after a test with novel object than after a test with only the familiar feeding dish in both sexes and seasons. However, control tests for handling effects confirmed only the increase in testosterone. Our study shows that social isolation is stressful for unrelated and unpaired members of a wild flocking bird species and demonstrates that novelty can lead to a rise in testosterone in birds. PMID:18514197

  8. Experimental analysis of perching in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris: Passeriformes; Passeres), and the automatic perching mechanism of birds.

    PubMed

    Galton, Peter M; Shepherd, Jeffrey D

    2012-04-01

    The avian automatic perching mechanism (APM) involves the automatic digital flexor mechanism (ADFM) and the digital tendon-locking mechanism (DTLM). When birds squat on a perch to sleep, the increased tendon travel distance due to flexion of the knee and ankle supposedly causes the toes to grip the perch (ADFM) and engage the DTLM so perching while sleeping involves no muscular effort. However, the knees and ankles of sleeping European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are only slightly flexed and, except for occasional balancing adjustments, the distal two-thirds of the toes are not flexed to grip a 6-mm-diameter perch. The cranial ankle angle (CAA) is ∼120° and the foot forms an inverted "U" that, with the mostly unflexed toes, provides a saddle-like structure so the bird balances its weight over the central pad of the foot (during day weight further back and digits actively grasp perch). In the region of the pad, the tendon sheath of many birds is unribbed, or only very slightly so, and it is always separated from the tendon of the M. flexor digitorum longus by tendons of the other toe flexor muscles. Passive leg flexion produces no toe flexion in anesthetized Starlings and only after 15-20 min, at the onset of rigor mortis, in freshly sacrificed Starlings. Anesthetized Starlings could not remain perched upon becoming unconscious (ADFM, DTLM intact). Birds whose digital flexor tendons were severed or the locking mechanism eliminated surgically (no ADFM or DTLM), so without ability to flex their toes, slept on the perch in a manner similar to unoperated Starlings (except CAA ∼90°-110°). Consequently, there is no APM or ADFM and the DTLM, although involved in lots of other activities, only acts in perching with active contraction of the digital flexor muscles. PMID:22539208

  9. Auditory scene analysis by songbirds: stream segregation of birdsong by European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Hulse, S H; MacDougall-Shackleton, S A; Wisniewski, A B

    1997-03-01

    Three experiments examined the capacity of European starlings to segregate perceptually 2 superimposed, intermixed auditory stimuli. The stimuli were 10-s song samples from 2 of 4 songbird species: European starling, brown thrasher, mockingbird, and nightingale. The birds first learned a discrimination between the intermixed song pairs. Then, they maintained the discrimination with novel song exemplars in the mixtures and when song stimuli for each species were presented alone. Performance fell, but remained above chance, when song pairs were mixed with the dawn chorus of bird song. The results show that starlings were identifying the songs of individual species within the baseline superimposed song pairs, a process of auditory stream segregation and scene analysis (A. S. Bregman, 1990).

  10. European starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris ) suggest that landfills are an important source of bioaccumulative flame retardants to Canadian terrestrial ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Chen, Da; Martin, Pamela; Burgess, Neil M; Champoux, Louise; Elliott, John E; Forsyth, Douglas J; Idrissi, Abde; Letcher, Robert J

    2013-01-01

    Landfills are used as the primary means for the disposal of municipal solid waste in Canada. In the present study, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and other flame retardants (FRs) were determined in fresh European starling ( Sturnus vulgaris ) eggs collected in 2009, 2010, and 2011 from nest boxes established within, adjacent to, and 10 and 40 km distant to five major urban centers across Canada, i.e., Vancouver, British Columbia (BC); Calgary, Alberta (AB); Hamilton, Ontario (ON); Montréal, Québec (QC); and Halifax, Nova Scotia (NS). Nest boxes were located in several land use types: urban industrial areas (districts of industrial activity within city limits), landfill sites (adjacent to cities), and rural (agricultural) sites located 10 and 40 km distant from the major urban centers, as well as a national reference site. Of the 14 PBDE congeners and 16 non-PBDE FR substances determined in the starling eggs, BDE-17, -28, -47, -49, -66, -85, -99, -100, -138, -153, -154, -183, and -209, Dechlorane Plus isomers (anti and syn), and bis(2-ethylhexyl)-3,4,5,6-tetrabromophthalate (BEHTBP) were most frequently quantifiable. The data revealed orders of magnitude greater PBDE concentrations in eggs from starlings nesting in landfill sites (median: 28-280 ng/g wet weight) relative to those from urban industrial and rural environments. However, the percent fractional composition of the PBDE congener patterns did not vary significantly between the types of land uses or between years. Additionally, the median ∑PBDE concentration in eggs from landfill sites and the human population density of the metropolitan region that the landfill serves were highly correlated (r(2) = 0.998, p < 0.001). As the first transcontinental effort in assessing FR contamination in Canadian terrestrial ecosystems, the present study strongly suggest that landfills are an important FR source to starlings nesting nearby and that other terrestrial organisms could also be similarly exposed. PMID

  11. Endocrine disrupting, haematological and biochemical effects of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in a terrestrial songbird, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Van den Steen, Evi; Eens, Marcel; Geens, Ann; Covaci, Adrian; Darras, Veerle M; Pinxten, Rianne

    2010-11-15

    We exposed female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) during a 6month period to environmentally relevant concentrations of a pentabromodiphenyl ether (Penta-BDE) mixture (about 1740μg/kg body weight) through subcutaneous implants, and examined endocrine disruptive, haematological and biochemical effects. To investigate endocrine disrupting effects of PBDEs, testosterone, estradiol and thyroid hormones (T(3) and T(4)) were measured in the plasma. We found no significant differences between the control and exposed groups for any of the hormones. However, 14days after implantation, T(3) concentrations tended to be lower in the exposed group compared to the control group. For albumin, our results suggest that short term exposure of PBDEs may result in a negative effect on albumin, while the opposite was observed on a longer term (6months after implantation). However, from the statistical analysis, effects on albumin disappeared when excluding females that laid eggs. These results demonstrate that observed effects during the breeding season should be interpreted carefully when the breeding status of females is unknown. There were no significant differences found between the control and exposed groups for the other biochemical parameters (total protein, uric acid, cholesterol, aspartate transaminase, total antioxidative capacity, high-density lipoproteins and creatine kinase) and haematological parameters (amount of red blood cells, haemoglobin concentration, haematocrit, mean corpuscular volume and mean corpuscular haemoglobin). All together, our results suggest that European starlings, similar to other passerine species, may be less sensitive to the effects of organohalogenated pollutants, such as PBDEs, than other bird species. PMID:20888617

  12. Behavioral and physiological responses of wild-caught European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to a minor, rapid change in ambient temperature.

    PubMed

    de Bruijn, Robert; Romero, L Michael

    2011-10-01

    Free-ranging animals continuously adjust to changes in their environment. The stress response, typified by increases in heart rate and glucocorticoids, is an important physiological response regulating these changes. This study investigated heart rate, corticosterone and behavioral responses of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to a rapid 30min decrease in temperature using an air-conditioning unit. Ten wild-caught birds were divided into pairs and exposed to four different trials. Three trials were controls: undisturbed birds; exposing birds to only the noise of the air-conditioning unit; and exposing the birds to 20°C airflow. For the experimental trial birds were exposed to 12°C air, leading to a rapid but modest 3°C drop in ambient temperature inside the birdcages. Heart rate and behavior were recorded before and during trials, while blood samples were collected before and after each trial for corticosterone measurements. Cooling, but none of the control conditions, induced an increase in heart rate and corticosterone. Additionally, cooling led to an increase in perch hopping and feather ruffling. We conclude that minor changes in temperature can elicit a stress response in European starlings, which suggests that this may be an important mechanism by which animals cope with minor rapid environmental changes. PMID:21723407

  13. Metabolic power, mechanical power and efficiency during wind tunnel flight by the European starling Sturnus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Ward, S; Möller, U; Rayner, J M; Jackson, D M; Bilo, D; Nachtigall, W; Speakman, J R

    2001-10-01

    We trained two starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to fly in a wind tunnel whilst wearing respirometry masks. We measured the metabolic power (P(met)) from the rates of oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production and calculated the mechanical power (P(mech)) from two aerodynamic models using wingbeat kinematics measured by high-speed cinematography. P(met) increased from 10.4 to 14.9 W as flight speed was increased from 6.3 to 14.4 m s(-1) and was compatible with the U-shaped power/speed curve predicted by the aerodynamic models. Flight muscle efficiency varied between 0.13 and 0.23 depending upon the bird, the flight speed and the aerodynamic model used to calculate P(mech). P(met) during flight is often estimated by extrapolation from the mechanical power predicted by aerodynamic models by dividing P(mech) by a flight muscle efficiency of 0.23 and adding the costs of basal metabolism, circulation and respiration. This method would underestimate measured P(met) by 15-25 % in our birds. The mean discrepancy between measured and predicted P(met) could be reduced to 0.1+/-1.5 % if flight muscle efficiency was altered to a value of 0.18. A flight muscle efficiency of 0.18 rather than 0.23 should be used to calculate the flight costs of birds in the size range of starlings (approximately 0.1 kg) if P(met) is calculated from P(mech) derived from aerodynamic models.

  14. Chronic stress alters glucocorticoid receptor and mineralocorticoid receptor mRNA expression in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) brain.

    PubMed

    Dickens, M; Romero, L M; Cyr, N E; Dunn, I C; Meddle, S L

    2009-10-01

    Although the glucocorticoid response to acute short-term stress is an adaptive physiological mechanism that aids in the response to and survival of noxious stimuli, chronic stress is associated with a negative impact on health. In wild-caught European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), chronic stress alters the responsiveness of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis as measured by the acute corticosterone response. In the present study, we investigated potential underlying neuroendocrine mechanisms by comparing glucocorticoid receptor and mineralocorticoid receptor mRNA expression in the brains of chronically and nonchronically-stressed starlings. Hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, but not hippocampal, glucocorticoid receptor mRNA expression in chronically-stressed birds was significantly lower compared to controls, suggesting changes in the efficacy of corticosterone negative feedback. In addition, chronically-stressed birds showed a significant decrease in hippocampal MR mRNA expression. Together, these results suggest that chronic stress changes the brain physiology of wild birds and provides important information for the understanding of the underlying mechanisms that result in dysregulation of the HPA axis in wild animals by chronic stress. PMID:19686439

  15. European starling (Sturnus vulgaris): avian model and monitor of polychlorinated biphenyl contamination at a Superfund site in southern Illinois, USA.

    PubMed

    Arenal, Christine A; Halbrook, Richard S; Woodruff, MaryJo

    2004-01-01

    Accumulation and effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in avian species were evaluated at a Superfund site located at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (IL, USA). European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were monitored at nest boxes constructed at each of two study and two reference sites. During the breeding season, starling productivity and adult provisioning behavior were monitored. At 15 d after hatch, chicks and adults were collected for contaminant and biomarker analyses. Chicks and adults were necropsied. ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activity was measured in liver tissue, and polychlorinatedbiphenyl (PCB; Aroclor 1254) and 34 chlorinated biphenyl (CB) congener concentrations were measured in carcasses. Polychlorinated biphenyl and CB concentrations also were measured in eggs that failed to hatch. Mean Aroclor 1254 and quantified CB concentrations were greater (p < 0.001) in eggs that failed to hatch, 15-d-old chicks, and adults collected from PCB-contaminated sites (hereafter PCB sites) compared to those collected from reference sites. The EROD activity was greater (p = 0.005) in 15-d-old chicks, but not adults (p = 0.972), collected from PCB sites compared to those collected from reference sites. No differences were found among study and reference sites in number of eggs laid or percent of eggs hatched; however, reduced nest provisioning behavior and decreased chick survival were observed at PCB sites. Polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations measured in samples collected from the PCB sites are similar to concentrations previously associated with adverse effects in avian species. Other avian species utilizing these sites also may be exposed to PCBs with associated adverse effects. This study demonstrates that starling nestlings are good biological monitors of local contamination and continued monitoring may provide useful data for evaluating the effectiveness of proposed remediation. PMID:14768872

  16. Estradiol differentially affects auditory recognition and learning according to photoperiodic state in the adult male songbird, European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Calisi, Rebecca M; Knudsen, Daniel P; Krause, Jesse S; Wingfield, John C; Gentner, Timothy Q

    2013-01-01

    Changes in hormones can affect many types of learning in vertebrates. Adults experience fluctuations in a multitude of hormones over a temporal scale, from local, rapid action to more long-term, seasonal changes. Endocrine changes during development can affect behavioral outcomes in adulthood, but how learning is affected in adults by hormone fluctuations experienced during adulthood is less understood. Previous reports have implicated the sex steroid hormone estradiol (E2) in both male and female vertebrate cognitive functioning. Here, we examined the effects of E2 on auditory recognition and learning in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). European starlings are photoperiodic, seasonally breeding songbirds that undergo different periods of reproductive activity according to annual changes in day length. We simulated these reproductive periods, specifically 1. photosensitivity, 2. photostimulation, and 3. photorefractoriness in captive birds by altering day length. During each period, we manipulated circulating E2 and examined multiple measures of learning. To manipulate circulating E2, we used subcutaneous implants containing either 17-β E2 and/or fadrozole (FAD), a highly specific aromatase inhibitor that suppresses E2 production in the body and the brain, and measured the latency for birds to learn and respond to short, male conspecific song segments (motifs). We report that photostimulated birds given E2 had higher response rates and responded with better accuracy than those given saline controls or FAD. Conversely, photosensitive, animals treated with E2 responded with less accuracy than those given FAD. These results demonstrate how circulating E2 and photoperiod can interact to shape auditory recognition and learning in adults, driving it in opposite directions in different states. PMID:24058881

  17. Constitutive immune function in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, is decreased immediately after an endurance flight in a wind tunnel.

    PubMed

    Nebel, Silke; Bauchinger, Ulf; Buehler, Deborah M; Langlois, Lillie A; Boyles, Michelle; Gerson, Alexander R; Price, Edwin R; McWilliams, Scott R; Guglielmo, Christopher G

    2012-01-15

    Life-history theory predicts that animals face a trade-off in energy allocation between performing strenuous exercise, such as migratory flight, and mounting an immune response. We experimentally tested this prediction by studying immune function in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, flown in a wind tunnel. Specifically, we predicted that constitutive immune function decreases in response to training and, additionally, in response to immediate exercise. We compared constitutive immune function among three groups: (1) 'untrained' birds that were kept in cages and were not flown; (2) 'trained' birds that received flight training over a 15 day period and performed a 1-4 h continuous flight, after which they rested for 48 h before being sampled; and (3) 'post-flight' birds that differed from the 'trained' group only in being sampled immediately after the final flight. A bird in our trained group represents an individual during migration that has been resting between migratory flights for at least 2 days. A bird in our post-flight group represents an individual that has just completed a migratory flight and has not yet had time to recover. Three of our four indicators (haptoglobin, agglutination and lysis) showed the predicted decrease in immune function in the post-flight group, and two indicators (haptoglobin, agglutination) showed the predicted decreasing trend from the untrained to trained to post-flight group. Haptoglobin levels were negatively correlated with flight duration. No effect of training or flight was detected on leukocyte profiles. Our results suggest that in European starlings, constitutive immune function is decreased more as a result of immediate exercise than of exercise training. Because of the recent emergence of avian-borne diseases, understanding the trade-offs and challenges faced by long-distance migrants has gained a new level of relevance and urgency. PMID:22189771

  18. Estradiol differentially affects auditory recognition and learning according to photoperiodic state in the adult male songbird, European starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Knudsen, Daniel P.; Krause, Jesse S.; Wingfield, John C.; Gentner, Timothy Q.

    2013-01-01

    Changes in hormones can affect many types of learning in vertebrates. Adults experience fluctuations in a multitude of hormones over a temporal scale, from local, rapid action to more long-term, seasonal changes. Endocrine changes during development can affect behavioral outcomes in adulthood, but how learning is affected in adults by hormone fluctuations experienced during adulthood is less understood. Previous reports have implicated the sex steroid hormone estradiol (E2) in both male and female vertebrate cognitive functioning. Here, we examined the effects of E2 on auditory recognition and learning in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). European starlings are photoperiodic, seasonally breeding songbirds that undergo different periods of reproductive activity according to annual changes in day length. We simulated these reproductive periods, specifically 1. photosensitivity, 2. photostimulation, and 3. photorefractoriness in captive birds by altering day length. During each period, we manipulated circulating E2 and examined multiple measures of learning. To manipulate circulating E2, we used subcutaneous implants containing either 17-β E2 and/or fadrozole (FAD), a highly specific aromatase inhibitor that suppresses E2 production in the body and the brain, and measured the latency for birds to learn and respond to short, male conspecific song segments (motifs). We report that photostimulated birds given E2 had higher response rates and responded with better accuracy than those given saline controls or FAD. Conversely, photosensitive, animals treated with E2 responded with less accuracy than those given FAD. These results demonstrate how circulating E2 and photoperiod can interact to shape auditory recognition and learning in adults, driving it in opposite directions in different states. PMID:24058881

  19. Song as an honest signal of past developmental stress in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed Central

    Buchanan, K L; Spencer, K A; Goldsmith, A R; Catchpole, C K

    2003-01-01

    Bird song is a sexually selected male trait where females select males on the basis of song quality. It has recently been suggested that the quality of the adult male song may be determined by nutritional stress during early development. Here, we test the 'nutritional-stress hypothesis' using the complex song of the European starling. Fledgling starlings were kept under experimental treatment (unpredictable short-term food deprivations) or control conditions (ad libitum food supply), for three months immediately after independence. We measured their physiological and immune responses during the treatment and recorded song production during the following spring. Birds in the experimental group showed increased mass during the treatment and also a significantly suppressed humoral response compared with birds in the control group. There was no difference between the groups in the cell-mediated response. Next spring, males in the experimental group spent less time singing, sang fewer song bouts, took longer to start singing and also sang significantly shorter song bouts. These data support the hypothesis that both the quality and quantity of song produced by individual birds reflect past developmental stress. The results also suggest the 'nutritional-stress hypothesis' is best considered as a more general 'developmental-stress hypothesis'. PMID:12816653

  20. Stimulus Familiarity Affects Perceptual Restoration in the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Seeba, Folkert; Klump, Georg M.

    2009-01-01

    Background Humans can easily restore a speech signal that is temporally masked by an interfering sound (e.g., a cough masking parts of a word in a conversation), and listeners have the illusion that the speech continues through the interfering sound. This perceptual restoration for human speech is affected by prior experience. Here we provide evidence for perceptual restoration in complex vocalizations of a songbird that are acquired by vocal learning in a similar way as humans learn their language. Methodology/Principal Findings European starlings were trained in a same/different paradigm to report salient differences between successive sounds. The birds' response latency for discriminating between a stimulus pair is an indicator for the salience of the difference, and these latencies can be used to evaluate perceptual distances using multi-dimensional scaling. For familiar motifs the birds showed a large perceptual distance if discriminating between song motifs that were muted for brief time periods and complete motifs. If the muted periods were filled with noise, the perceptual distance was reduced. For unfamiliar motifs no such difference was observed. Conclusions/Significance The results suggest that starlings are able to perceptually restore partly masked sounds and, similarly to humans, rely on prior experience. They may be a suitable model to study the mechanism underlying experience-dependent perceptual restoration. PMID:19551146

  1. Influence of testosterone metabolites on song-control system neuroplasticity during photostimulation in adult European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Hall, Zachary J; Macdougall-Shackleton, Scott A

    2012-01-01

    The song-control system is a network of discrete nuclei in the songbird brain that controls the production and learning of birdsong and exhibits some of the best-studied neuroplasticity found in the adult brain. Photoperiodic growth of the song-control system during the breeding season is driven, at least in part, by the gonadal steroid testosterone. When acting on neural tissue, however, testosterone can be metabolized into 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or 17β-estradiol (E2), which activate different hormonal signaling pathways. By treating adult starlings with both testosterone metabolites and metabolite antagonists, we attempted to isolate the effects of androgen and estrogen treatment on neuroplasticity during photostimulation in male and female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Photostimulation resulted in a large HVC volume typical of the breeding season in all treatments independent of hormone treatment. E2 had additional effects on HVC growth by reducing neuron density and enhancing early survival of new neurons recruited to HVC in females but did not significantly affect HVC volume. Conversely, DHT reduced the migration of new neurons, assessed by the expression of doublecortin, to HVC. DHT also increased syrinx mass and maintained RA (robust nucleus of the arcopallium) cytoarchitecture in the presence of aromatase inhibitors. In addition, we document the first evidence of sex-specific neuroplastic responses of the song-control system to androgens and estrogens. These findings suggest that the contributions of DHT and E2 signaling in songbird neuroplasticity may be regulated by photoperiod and that future studies should account for species and sex differences in the brain. PMID:22792214

  2. Dietary mercury exposure causes decreased escape takeoff flight performance and increased molt rate in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Carlson, Jenna R; Cristol, Daniel; Swaddle, John P

    2014-10-01

    Mercury is a widespread and persistent environmental contaminant that occurs in aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Recently, songbirds that forage from primarily terrestrial sources have shown evidence of bioaccumulation of mercury, but little research has assessed the effects of mercury on their health and fitness. There are many indications that mercury negatively affects neurological functioning, bioenergetics, and behavior through a variety of mechanisms and in a wide array of avian taxa. Effective flight is crucial to avian fitness and feather molt is an energetically expensive life history trait. Therefore, we investigated whether mercury exposure influenced flight performance and molt in a common songbird, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Specifically, we dosed the diet of captive starlings with methylmercury cysteine at 0.0, 0.75, or 1.5 μg/g wet weight and recorded changes in flight performance after 1 year of dietary mercury exposure. We also recorded the annual molt of wing feathers. We found that individuals dosed with mercury exhibited decreased escape takeoff flight performance compared with controls and blood mercury was also correlated with an increased rate of molt, which can reduce flight performance and thermoregulatory ability. This study reveals two novel endpoints, flight performance and molt, that may be affected by dietary mercury exposure. These findings suggest a potential impact on wild songbirds exposed to mercury levels comparable to the high dosage levels in the present study. Any decrease in flight efficiency could reduce fitness due to a direct impact on survival during predation events or by decreased efficiency in other critical activities (such as foraging or migration) that require efficient flight. PMID:25030113

  3. Influence of Testosterone Metabolites on Song-Control System Neuroplasticity during Photostimulation in Adult European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Hall, Zachary J.; MacDougall-Shackleton, Scott A.

    2012-01-01

    The song-control system is a network of discrete nuclei in the songbird brain that controls the production and learning of birdsong and exhibits some of the best-studied neuroplasticity found in the adult brain. Photoperiodic growth of the song-control system during the breeding season is driven, at least in part, by the gonadal steroid testosterone. When acting on neural tissue, however, testosterone can be metabolized into 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or 17β-estradiol (E2), which activate different hormonal signaling pathways. By treating adult starlings with both testosterone metabolites and metabolite antagonists, we attempted to isolate the effects of androgen and estrogen treatment on neuroplasticity during photostimulation in male and female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Photostimulation resulted in a large HVC volume typical of the breeding season in all treatments independent of hormone treatment. E2 had additional effects on HVC growth by reducing neuron density and enhancing early survival of new neurons recruited to HVC in females but did not significantly affect HVC volume. Conversely, DHT reduced the migration of new neurons, assessed by the expression of doublecortin, to HVC. DHT also increased syrinx mass and maintained RA (robust nucleus of the arcopallium) cytoarchitecture in the presence of aromatase inhibitors. In addition, we document the first evidence of sex-specific neuroplastic responses of the song-control system to androgens and estrogens. These findings suggest that the contributions of DHT and E2 signaling in songbird neuroplasticity may be regulated by photoperiod and that future studies should account for species and sex differences in the brain. PMID:22792214

  4. Status-appropriate singing behavior, testosterone and androgen receptor immunolabeling in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Cordes, M.A.; Stevenson, S.A.; Riters, L.V.

    2014-01-01

    Vocalizations convey information about an individual’s motivational, internal, and social status. As circumstances change, individuals respond by adjusting vocal behavior accordingly. In European starlings, a male that acquires a nest site socially dominates other males and dramatically increases courtship song. Although circulating testosterone is associated with social status and vocal production it is possible that steroid receptors fine-tune status-appropriate changes in behavior. Here we explored a possible role for androgen receptors. Male starlings that acquired nest sites produced high rates of courtship song. For a subset of males this occurred even in the absence of elevated circulating testosterone. Immunolabeling for androgen receptors (ARir) was highest in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) in males with both a nest site and elevated testosterone. For HVC, ARir was higher in dominant males with high testosterone (males that sang longer songs) than dominant males with low testosterone (males that sang shorter songs). ARir in the dorsal medial portion of the nucleus intercollicularis (DM) was elevated in males with high testosterone irrespective of dominance status. Song bout length related positively to ARir in POM, HVC and DM, and testosterone concentrations related positively to ARir in POM and DM. Results suggest the role of testosterone in vocal behavior differs across brain regions and support the hypothesis that testosterone in POM underlies motivation, testosterone in HVC relates to song quality, and testosterone in DM stimulates vocalizations. Our data also suggest that singing may influence AR independent of testosterone and that alternative androgen-independent pathways regulate status-appropriate singing behavior. PMID:24594286

  5. Status-appropriate singing behavior, testosterone and androgen receptor immunolabeling in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Cordes, M A; Stevenson, S A; Riters, L V

    2014-04-01

    Vocalizations convey information about an individual's motivational, internal, and social status. As circumstances change, individuals respond by adjusting vocal behavior accordingly. In European starlings, a male that acquires a nest site socially dominates other males and dramatically increases courtship song. Although circulating testosterone is associated with social status and vocal production it is possible that steroid receptors fine-tune status-appropriate changes in behavior. Here we explored a possible role for androgen receptors. Male starlings that acquired nest sites produced high rates of courtship song. For a subset of males this occurred even in the absence of elevated circulating testosterone. Immunolabeling for androgen receptors (ARir) was highest in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) in males with both a nest site and elevated testosterone. For HVC, ARir was higher in dominant males with high testosterone (males that sang longer songs) than dominant males with low testosterone (males that sang shorter songs). ARir in the dorsal medial portion of the nucleus intercollicularis (DM) was elevated in males with high testosterone irrespective of dominance status. Song bout length related positively to ARir in POM, HVC and DM, and testosterone concentrations related positively to ARir in POM and DM. Results suggest that the role of testosterone in vocal behavior differs across brain regions and support the hypothesis that testosterone in POM underlies motivation, testosterone in HVC relates to song quality, and testosterone in DM stimulates vocalizations. Our data also suggest that singing may influence AR independent of testosterone and that alternative androgen-independent pathways regulate status-appropriate singing behavior. PMID:24594286

  6. Spatial epidemiology of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in dairy cattle in relation to night roosts Of Sturnus vulgaris (European Starling) in Ohio, USA (2007-2009).

    PubMed

    Swirski, A L; Pearl, D L; Williams, M L; Homan, H J; Linz, G M; Cernicchiaro, N; LeJeune, J T

    2014-09-01

    The goal of our study was to use spatial scan statics to determine whether the night roosts of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) act as point sources for the dissemination of Escherichia coli O157:H7 among dairy farms. From 2007 to 2009, we collected bovine faecal samples (n = 9000) and starling gastrointestinal contents (n = 430) from 150 dairy farms in northeastern Ohio, USA. Isolates of E. coli O157:H7 recovered from these samples were subtyped using multilocus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA). Generated MLVA types were used to construct a dendrogram based on a categorical multistate coefficient and unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA). Using a focused spatial scan statistic, we identified statistically significant spatial clusters among dairy farms surrounding starling night roosts, with an increased prevalence of E. coli O157:H7-positive bovine faecal pats, increased diversity of distinguishable MLVA types and a greater number of isolates with MLVA types from bovine-starling clades versus bovine-only clades. Thus, our findings are compatible with the hypothesis that starlings have a role in the dissemination of E. coli O157:H7 among dairy farms, and further research into starling management is warranted. PMID:24279810

  7. Estimation of Unsteady Aerodynamics in the Wake of a Freely Flying European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Ben-Gida, Hadar; Kirchhefer, Adam; Taylor, Zachary J.; Bezner-Kerr, Wayne; Guglielmo, Christopher G.; Kopp, Gregory A.; Gurka, Roi

    2013-01-01

    Wing flapping is one of the most widespread propulsion methods found in nature; however, the current understanding of the aerodynamics in bird wakes is incomplete. The role of the unsteady motion in the flow and its contribution to the aerodynamics is still an open question. In the current study, the wake of a freely flying European starling has been investigated using long-duration high-speed Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) in the near wake. Kinematic analysis of the wings and body of the bird has been performed using additional high-speed cameras that recorded the bird movement simultaneously with the PIV measurements. The wake evolution of four complete wingbeats has been characterized through reconstruction of the time-resolved data, and the aerodynamics in the wake have been analyzed in terms of the streamwise forces acting on the bird. The profile drag from classical aerodynamics was found to be positive during most of the wingbeat cycle, yet kinematic images show that the bird does not decelerate. It is shown that unsteady aerodynamics are necessary to satisfy the drag/thrust balance by approximating the unsteady drag term. These findings may shed light on the flight efficiency of birds by providing a partial answer to how they minimize drag during flapping flight. PMID:24278243

  8. Estimation of unsteady aerodynamics in the wake of a freely flying European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Ben-Gida, Hadar; Kirchhefer, Adam; Taylor, Zachary J; Bezner-Kerr, Wayne; Guglielmo, Christopher G; Kopp, Gregory A; Gurka, Roi

    2013-01-01

    Wing flapping is one of the most widespread propulsion methods found in nature; however, the current understanding of the aerodynamics in bird wakes is incomplete. The role of the unsteady motion in the flow and its contribution to the aerodynamics is still an open question. In the current study, the wake of a freely flying European starling has been investigated using long-duration high-speed Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) in the near wake. Kinematic analysis of the wings and body of the bird has been performed using additional high-speed cameras that recorded the bird movement simultaneously with the PIV measurements. The wake evolution of four complete wingbeats has been characterized through reconstruction of the time-resolved data, and the aerodynamics in the wake have been analyzed in terms of the streamwise forces acting on the bird. The profile drag from classical aerodynamics was found to be positive during most of the wingbeat cycle, yet kinematic images show that the bird does not decelerate. It is shown that unsteady aerodynamics are necessary to satisfy the drag/thrust balance by approximating the unsteady drag term. These findings may shed light on the flight efficiency of birds by providing a partial answer to how they minimize drag during flapping flight.

  9. Early life disadvantage strengthens flight performance trade-offs in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    O'Hagan, Daniel; Andrews, Clare P.; Bedford, Thomas; Bateson, Melissa; Nettle, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    Developmental stress has been shown to affect adult flight performance in birds, with both negative and positive effects reported in the literature. Previous studies have used developmental manipulations that had substantial effects on patterns of growth. They have also examined mean levels of flight performance per individual, rather than investigating how developmental stress might alter trade-offs between different components of flight performance. We recorded multiple components of escape flight performance in 20 adult European starlings previously subjected to a manipulation likely to have altered levels of developmental stress. Siblings had been cross-fostered to nests where they were either slightly larger (advantaged treatment) or slightly smaller (disadvantaged treatment) than their competitors. The manipulation had no detectable effect on growth. However, developmental treatment affected performance in escape flights a year later by strengthening the trade-offs between different flight parameters. Disadvantaged birds faced a steeper trade-off between take-off speed and take-off angle, and a steeper trade-off between take-off angle and total time in flight, than advantaged birds. The results suggest that even subtle early life adversity that has no obvious effect on growth or size can leave a lasting legacy in the form of constraints on locomotor performance later in life. PMID:25843958

  10. Estimation of unsteady aerodynamics in the wake of a freely flying European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Ben-Gida, Hadar; Kirchhefer, Adam; Taylor, Zachary J; Bezner-Kerr, Wayne; Guglielmo, Christopher G; Kopp, Gregory A; Gurka, Roi

    2013-01-01

    Wing flapping is one of the most widespread propulsion methods found in nature; however, the current understanding of the aerodynamics in bird wakes is incomplete. The role of the unsteady motion in the flow and its contribution to the aerodynamics is still an open question. In the current study, the wake of a freely flying European starling has been investigated using long-duration high-speed Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) in the near wake. Kinematic analysis of the wings and body of the bird has been performed using additional high-speed cameras that recorded the bird movement simultaneously with the PIV measurements. The wake evolution of four complete wingbeats has been characterized through reconstruction of the time-resolved data, and the aerodynamics in the wake have been analyzed in terms of the streamwise forces acting on the bird. The profile drag from classical aerodynamics was found to be positive during most of the wingbeat cycle, yet kinematic images show that the bird does not decelerate. It is shown that unsteady aerodynamics are necessary to satisfy the drag/thrust balance by approximating the unsteady drag term. These findings may shed light on the flight efficiency of birds by providing a partial answer to how they minimize drag during flapping flight. PMID:24278243

  11. Early life adversity increases foraging and information gathering in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    Andrews, Clare; Viviani, Jérémie; Egan, Emily; Bedford, Thomas; Brilot, Ben; Nettle, Daniel; Bateson, Melissa

    2015-01-01

    Animals can insure themselves against the risk of starvation associated with unpredictable food availability by storing energy reserves or gathering information about alternative food sources. The former strategy carries costs in terms of mass-dependent predation risk, while the latter trades off against foraging for food; both trade-offs may be influenced by an individual's developmental history. Here, we consider a possible role of early developmental experience in inducing different mass regulation and foraging strategies in European starlings. We measured the body mass, body condition, foraging effort, food consumption and contrafreeloading (foraging for food hidden in sand when equivalent food is freely available) of adult birds (≥10 months old) that had previously undergone a subtle early life manipulation of food competition (cross-fostering into the highest or lowest ranks in the brood size hierarchy when 2–12 days of age). We found that developmentally disadvantaged birds were fatter in adulthood and differed in foraging behaviour compared with their advantaged siblings. Disadvantaged birds were hyperphagic compared with advantaged birds, but only following a period of food deprivation, and also spent more time contrafreeloading. Advantaged birds experienced a trade-off between foraging success and time spent contrafreeloading, whereas disadvantaged birds faced no such trade-off, owing to their greater foraging efficiency. Thus, developmentally disadvantaged birds appeared to retain a phenotypic memory of increased nestling food competition, employing both energy storage and information-gathering insurance strategies to a greater extent than their advantaged siblings. Our results suggest that subtle early life disadvantage in the form of psychosocial stress and/or food insecurity can leave a lasting legacy on foraging behaviour and mass regulation even in the absence of food insufficiency during development or adulthood. PMID:26566292

  12. Hand-rearing reduces fear of humans in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Feenders, Gesa; Bateson, Melissa

    2011-01-01

    Pending changes in European legislation ban the use of wild-caught animals in research. This change is partly justified on the assumption that captive-breeding (or hand-rearing) increases welfare of captive animals because these practices result in animals with reduced fear of humans. However, there are few actual data on the long-term behavioural effects of captive-breeding in non-domestic species, and these are urgently needed in order to understand the welfare and scientific consequences of adopting this practice. We compared the response of hand-reared and wild-caught starlings to the presence of a human in the laboratory. During human presence, all birds increased their general locomotor activity but the wild-caught birds moved away from the human and were less active than the hand-reared birds. After the human departed, the wild-caught birds were slower to decrease their activity back towards baseline levels, and showed a dramatic increase in time at the periphery of the cage compared with the hand-reared birds. We interpret these data as showing evidence of a greater fear response in wild-caught birds with initial withdrawal followed by a subsequent rebound of prolonged attempts to escape the cage. We found no effects of environmental enrichment. However, birds in cages on low shelves were less active than birds on upper shelves, and showed a greater increase in the time spent at the periphery of their cages after the human departed, perhaps indicating that the lower cages were more stressful. In demonstrating reduced fear of humans in hand-reared birds, our results support one of the proposed welfare benefits of this practice, but without further data on the possible welfare costs of hand-rearing, it is not yet possible to reach a general conclusion about its net welfare impact. However, our results confirm a clear scientific impact of both hand-rearing and cage position at the behavioural level. PMID:21364770

  13. Sharing mates and nest boxes is associated with female "friendship" in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Henry, Laurence; Bourguet, Cécile; Coulon, Marion; Aubry, Christine; Hausberger, Martine

    2013-02-01

    Breeding decisions in birds involve both mate and nest choice, and there is increasing evidence that social influences may modulate individual choices. Female preferences may be affected by other females' preferences and mutual choice cannot always be excluded, which makes the whole pattern more complex than assumed by most sexual selection models. Social transmission may be facilitated by particular social bonds, therefore prebreeding social networks may influence later mate choices. The other case where females share mate or resources is polygyny, generally viewed to only benefit males. If mutual benefits may arise then mechanisms should evolve to reduce the reproductive cost for females such as to reduce the cost of aggression by sharing their mate with a preferred same-sex social partner. We tested the hypothesis that females' mating decisions may be influenced by the prebreeding social network and that social partner relations established prior to breeding may share decisions (mate/sites) in a facultatively polygynous species, the European starling. Two experiments were designed to test the relative importance of male or nest by following the whole dynamics of the breeding cycle from the prebreeding period until mate and nest selection. In both cases socially isolated females tended to be excluded from breeding, while prebreeding social partners tended to share mates and to nest in close proximity, mate copying leading in some case to polygyny. The final pattern resulted both from female "likes and dislikes" and male preferences for some females. Aggressive interactions between females were rare. Vocal sharing between females may have been a clue for males as to the degree of social integration of these females. PMID:23106801

  14. Hand-Rearing Reduces Fear of Humans in European Starlings, Sturnus vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    Feenders, Gesa; Bateson, Melissa

    2011-01-01

    Pending changes in European legislation ban the use of wild-caught animals in research. This change is partly justified on the assumption that captive-breeding (or hand-rearing) increases welfare of captive animals because these practices result in animals with reduced fear of humans. However, there are few actual data on the long-term behavioural effects of captive-breeding in non-domestic species, and these are urgently needed in order to understand the welfare and scientific consequences of adopting this practice. We compared the response of hand-reared and wild-caught starlings to the presence of a human in the laboratory. During human presence, all birds increased their general locomotor activity but the wild-caught birds moved away from the human and were less active than the hand-reared birds. After the human departed, the wild-caught birds were slower to decrease their activity back towards baseline levels, and showed a dramatic increase in time at the periphery of the cage compared with the hand-reared birds. We interpret these data as showing evidence of a greater fear response in wild-caught birds with initial withdrawal followed by a subsequent rebound of prolonged attempts to escape the cage. We found no effects of environmental enrichment. However, birds in cages on low shelves were less active than birds on upper shelves, and showed a greater increase in the time spent at the periphery of their cages after the human departed, perhaps indicating that the lower cages were more stressful. In demonstrating reduced fear of humans in hand-reared birds, our results support one of the proposed welfare benefits of this practice, but without further data on the possible welfare costs of hand-rearing, it is not yet possible to reach a general conclusion about its net welfare impact. However, our results confirm a clear scientific impact of both hand-rearing and cage position at the behavioural level. PMID:21364770

  15. Bottom of the Heap: Having Heavier Competitors Accelerates Early-Life Telomere Loss in the European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    Nettle, Daniel; Monaghan, Pat; Boner, Winnie; Gillespie, Robert; Bateson, Melissa

    2013-01-01

    Early-life adversity is associated with poorer health and survival in adulthood in humans and other animals. One pathway by which early-life environmental stressors could affect the adult phenotype is via effects on telomere dynamics. Several studies have shown that early-life adversity is associated with relatively short telomeres, but these are often cross-sectional and usually correlational in design. Here, we present a novel experimental system for studying the relationship between early-life adversity and telomere dynamics using a wild bird, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). We used cross-fostering to experimentally assign sibling chicks to either small or large broods for twelve days of the growth period. We measured telomere length in red blood cells using quantitative PCR near the beginning of the experimental manipulation (4 days old), at the end of the experimental manipulation (15 days old), and once the birds were independent (55 days old). Being in a larger brood slowed growth and retarded wing development and the timing of fledging. We found no evidence that overall brood size affected telomere dynamics. However, the greater the number of competitors above the focal bird in the within-brood size hierarchy, the greater was the telomere loss during the period of the experimental manipulation. The number of competitors below the focal in the hierarchy had no effect. The effect of heavier competitors was still evident when we controlled for the weight of the focal bird at the end of the manipulation, suggesting it was not due to retarded growth per se. Moreover, the impact of early competition on telomeres was still evident at independence, suggesting persistence beyond early life. Our study provides experimental support for the hypothesis that social stress, in this case induced by the presence of a greater number of dominant competitors, accelerates the rate of telomere loss. PMID:24386235

  16. Bottom of the heap: having heavier competitors accelerates early-life telomere loss in the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Nettle, Daniel; Monaghan, Pat; Boner, Winnie; Gillespie, Robert; Bateson, Melissa

    2013-01-01

    Early-life adversity is associated with poorer health and survival in adulthood in humans and other animals. One pathway by which early-life environmental stressors could affect the adult phenotype is via effects on telomere dynamics. Several studies have shown that early-life adversity is associated with relatively short telomeres, but these are often cross-sectional and usually correlational in design. Here, we present a novel experimental system for studying the relationship between early-life adversity and telomere dynamics using a wild bird, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). We used cross-fostering to experimentally assign sibling chicks to either small or large broods for twelve days of the growth period. We measured telomere length in red blood cells using quantitative PCR near the beginning of the experimental manipulation (4 days old), at the end of the experimental manipulation (15 days old), and once the birds were independent (55 days old). Being in a larger brood slowed growth and retarded wing development and the timing of fledging. We found no evidence that overall brood size affected telomere dynamics. However, the greater the number of competitors above the focal bird in the within-brood size hierarchy, the greater was the telomere loss during the period of the experimental manipulation. The number of competitors below the focal in the hierarchy had no effect. The effect of heavier competitors was still evident when we controlled for the weight of the focal bird at the end of the manipulation, suggesting it was not due to retarded growth per se. Moreover, the impact of early competition on telomeres was still evident at independence, suggesting persistence beyond early life. Our study provides experimental support for the hypothesis that social stress, in this case induced by the presence of a greater number of dominant competitors, accelerates the rate of telomere loss.

  17. Bottom of the heap: having heavier competitors accelerates early-life telomere loss in the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Nettle, Daniel; Monaghan, Pat; Boner, Winnie; Gillespie, Robert; Bateson, Melissa

    2013-01-01

    Early-life adversity is associated with poorer health and survival in adulthood in humans and other animals. One pathway by which early-life environmental stressors could affect the adult phenotype is via effects on telomere dynamics. Several studies have shown that early-life adversity is associated with relatively short telomeres, but these are often cross-sectional and usually correlational in design. Here, we present a novel experimental system for studying the relationship between early-life adversity and telomere dynamics using a wild bird, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). We used cross-fostering to experimentally assign sibling chicks to either small or large broods for twelve days of the growth period. We measured telomere length in red blood cells using quantitative PCR near the beginning of the experimental manipulation (4 days old), at the end of the experimental manipulation (15 days old), and once the birds were independent (55 days old). Being in a larger brood slowed growth and retarded wing development and the timing of fledging. We found no evidence that overall brood size affected telomere dynamics. However, the greater the number of competitors above the focal bird in the within-brood size hierarchy, the greater was the telomere loss during the period of the experimental manipulation. The number of competitors below the focal in the hierarchy had no effect. The effect of heavier competitors was still evident when we controlled for the weight of the focal bird at the end of the manipulation, suggesting it was not due to retarded growth per se. Moreover, the impact of early competition on telomeres was still evident at independence, suggesting persistence beyond early life. Our study provides experimental support for the hypothesis that social stress, in this case induced by the presence of a greater number of dominant competitors, accelerates the rate of telomere loss. PMID:24386235

  18. Neurotensin immunolabeling relates to sexually-motivated song and other social behaviors in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Merullo, Devin P.; Cordes, Melissa A.; Stevenson, Sharon A.; Riters, Lauren V.

    2015-01-01

    The brain regions involved in vocal communication are well described for some species, including songbirds, but less is known about the neural mechanisms underlying motivational aspects of communication. Mesolimbic dopaminergic projections from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are central to mediating motivated behaviors. In songbirds, VTA provides dopaminergic innervation to brain regions associated with motivation and social behavior that are also involved in sexually-motivated song production. Neurotensin (NT) is a neuropeptide that strongly modulates dopamine activity, co-localizes with dopamine in VTA, and is found in regions where dopaminergic cells project from VTA. Yet, little is known about how NT contributes to vocal communication or other motivated behaviors. We examined the relationships between sexually-motivated song produced by male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and NT immunolabeling in brain regions involved in social behavior and motivation. Additionally, we observed relationships between NT labeling, non-vocal courtship behaviors (another measure of sexual motivation), and agonistic behavior to begin to understand NT’s role in socially-motivated behaviors. NT labeling in VTA, lateral septum, and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis correlated with sexually-motivated singing and non-vocal courtship behaviors. NT labeling in VTA, lateral septum, medial preoptic nucleus, and periaqueductal gray was associated with agonistic behavior. This study is the first to suggest NT’s involvement in song, and one of the few to implicate NT in social behaviors more generally. Additionally, our results are consistent with the idea that distinct patterns of neuropeptide activity in brain areas involved in social behavior and motivation underlie differentially motivated behaviors. PMID:25595421

  19. Neurotensin immunolabeling relates to sexually-motivated song and other social behaviors in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Merullo, Devin P; Cordes, Melissa A; Stevenson, Sharon A; Riters, Lauren V

    2015-04-01

    The brain regions involved in vocal communication are well described for some species, including songbirds, but less is known about the neural mechanisms underlying motivational aspects of communication. Mesolimbic dopaminergic projections from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are central to mediating motivated behaviors. In songbirds, VTA provides dopaminergic innervation to brain regions associated with motivation and social behavior that are also involved in sexually-motivated song production. Neurotensin (NT) is a neuropeptide that strongly modulates dopamine activity, co-localizes with dopamine in VTA, and is found in regions where dopaminergic cells project from VTA. Yet, little is known about how NT contributes to vocal communication or other motivated behaviors. We examined the relationships between sexually-motivated song produced by male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and NT immunolabeling in brain regions involved in social behavior and motivation. Additionally, we observed relationships between NT labeling, non-vocal courtship behaviors (another measure of sexual motivation), and agonistic behavior to begin to understand NT's role in socially-motivated behaviors. NT labeling in VTA, lateral septum, and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis correlated with sexually-motivated singing and non-vocal courtship behaviors. NT labeling in VTA, lateral septum, medial preoptic nucleus, and periaqueductal gray was associated with agonistic behavior. This study is the first to suggest NT's involvement in song, and one of the few to implicate NT in social behaviors more generally. Additionally, our results are consistent with the idea that distinct patterns of neuropeptide activity in brain areas involved in social behavior and motivation underlie differentially motivated behaviors. PMID:25595421

  20. Testosterone increases repertoire size in an open-ended learner: an experimental study using adult male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Van Hout, Alain J-M; Pinxten, Rianne; Darras, Veerle M; Eens, Marcel

    2012-11-01

    Song in songbirds is a learned secondary sexual behavior, first acquired during a sensitive phase of juvenile development, which is affected by hormones such as testosterone (T). While the latter has received much attention, the potential involvement of T in the adult repertoire changes observed in a number of species is much less understood. Yet, this may prove essential to understand the role of song as a sexually selected trait. We therefore performed a T-implantation experiment during the non-breeding season (when T is basal), using adult male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), a songbird species in which song repertoire size (and composition) changes seasonally and increases with age. Repertoire size increased rapidly in T-males, but not in control males, indicating a role for T in repertoire size changes. This increase resulted from a lower proportion of dropped song types in T-males than in control males, while the proportion of added song types did not differ between both groups. Interestingly, the observed repertoire turnover (adding and removing song types from the repertoire) in both groups, suggests that elevated plasma T levels were not essential for changes in repertoire composition (contrary to repertoire size). Finally, T-males (but not control males) significantly increased their song rate, while neither group showed a significant change in their song bout length and phrase repetition rate. Taken together, our results suggest a role for T in adult song learning and provide new insights into the information content of repertoire size and song bout length as sexually selected traits. PMID:23036784

  1. The development of stereotypic behavior in caged European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Feenders, Gesa; Bateson, Melissa

    2012-12-01

    Stereotypic behavior in captive animals has been hypothesized to emerge from thwarted natural behavior patterns and is thought to be more common in captive-reared animals. However, data on the early stages of developing stereotypies are currently scarce. We compared the development of stereotypic route-tracing and somersaulting in hand-reared and wild-caught starlings placed in individual cages for the first time. We found that wild-caught birds were less active but showed more escape motivation and more evidence of route-tracing behavior. Furthermore, somersaulting was only observed in wild-caught birds. Development of somersaulting was predicted by subtle differences in behavior during the first few days in cages and developed in individuals with low levels of route-tracing behavior. Our data suggest a role for escape motivation in the development of starling stereotypies and additionally that route-tracing and somersaulting may represent alternative outlets for thwarted escape. In contrast to observations from mammals, our results show that stereotypies are more common in wild-caught starlings. PMID:22127904

  2. Experimental Challenge of a Peridomestic Avian Species, European Starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris ), with Novel Influenza A H7N9 Virus from China.

    PubMed

    Hall, Jeffrey S; Ip, Hon S; TeSlaa, Joshua L; Nashold, Sean W; Dusek, Robert J

    2016-07-01

    In 2013 a novel avian influenza H7N9 virus was isolated from several critically ill patients in China, and infection with this virus has since caused more than 200 human deaths. Live poultry markets are the likely locations of virus exposure to humans. Peridomestic avian species also may play important roles in the transmission and maintenance of H7N9 at live poultry markets. We experimentally challenged wild European Starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris ) with the novel H7N9 virus and measured virus excretion, clinical signs, and infectious dose. We found that European Starlings can be infected with this virus when inoculated with relatively high doses, and we predict that infected birds excrete sufficient amounts of virus to transmit to other birds, including domestic chickens. Infected European Starlings showed no clinical signs or mortality after infection with H7N9. This abundant peridomestic bird may be a source of the novel H7N9 virus in live poultry markets and may have roles in virus transmission to poultry and humans. PMID:27285413

  3. Rational choice, context dependence, and the value of information in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Freidin, Esteban; Kacelnik, Alex

    2011-11-18

    Both human and nonhuman decision-makers can deviate from optimal choice by making context-dependent choices. Because ignoring context information can be beneficial, this is called a "less-is-more effect." The fact that organisms are so sensitive to the context is thus paradoxical and calls for the inclusion of an ecological perspective. In an experiment with starlings, adding cues that identified the context impaired performance in simultaneous prey choices but improved it in sequential prey encounters, in which subjects could reject opportunities in order to search instead in the background. Because sequential prey encounters are likely to be more frequent in nature, storing and using contextual information appears to be ecologically rational on balance by conditioning acceptance of each opportunity to the relative richness of the background, even if this causes context-dependent suboptimal preferences in (less-frequent) simultaneous choices. In ecologically relevant scenarios, more information seems to be more. PMID:22096203

  4. Quantification of abnormal repetitive behaviour in captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Brilot, Ben O; Asher, Lucy; Feenders, Gesa; Bateson, Melissa

    2009-11-01

    Stereotypies are repetitive, unvarying and goalless behaviour patterns that are often considered indicative of poor welfare in captive animals. Quantifying stereotypies can be difficult, particularly during the early stages of their development when behaviour is still flexible. We compared two methods for objectively quantifying the development of route-tracing stereotypies in caged starlings. We used Markov chains and T-pattern analysis (implemented by the software package, Theme) to identify patterns in the sequence of locations a bird occupied within its cage. Pattern metrics produced by both methods correlated with the frequency of established measures of stereotypic behaviour and abnormal behaviour patterns counted from video recordings, suggesting that both methods could be useful for identifying stereotypic individuals and quantifying stereotypic behaviour. We discuss the relative benefits and disadvantages of the two approaches. PMID:19622388

  5. The memory of hunger: developmental plasticity of dietary selectivity in the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Bloxham, Louise; Bateson, Melissa; Bedford, Thomas; Brilot, Ben; Nettle, Daniel

    2014-05-01

    The decision to consume toxic prey is a trade-off between the benefits of obtaining nutrients and the costs of ingesting toxins. This trade-off is affected by current state: animals will consume more toxic prey if they are food deprived. However, whether the trade-off is affected by developmental history is currently unknown. We studied the decision to eat quinine-injected mealworms in adult starling siblings that had been exposed to either high or low levels of food competition as chicks, via a brood size manipulation. At the time of our experiments, the two groups of birds did not differ in size, body weight or current environment. Each bird was presented with the toxic prey while living on a high-quality diet and a low-quality diet. We found an effect of diet, with birds consuming more toxic prey while on the low-quality diet, and also of developmental history, with birds from the high-competition brood size treatment eating more toxic prey than their low-competition siblings. The effects of brood size treatment were not completely mediated by early growth, although we did find evidence that early growth affected toxic prey consumption independently of brood size treatment. We discuss our results in relation to adaptive developmental plasticity and the developmental origins of behavioural variation. PMID:24910465

  6. The memory of hunger: developmental plasticity of dietary selectivity in the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    Bloxham, Louise; Bateson, Melissa; Bedford, Thomas; Brilot, Ben; Nettle, Daniel

    2014-01-01

    The decision to consume toxic prey is a trade-off between the benefits of obtaining nutrients and the costs of ingesting toxins. This trade-off is affected by current state: animals will consume more toxic prey if they are food deprived. However, whether the trade-off is affected by developmental history is currently unknown. We studied the decision to eat quinine-injected mealworms in adult starling siblings that had been exposed to either high or low levels of food competition as chicks, via a brood size manipulation. At the time of our experiments, the two groups of birds did not differ in size, body weight or current environment. Each bird was presented with the toxic prey while living on a high-quality diet and a low-quality diet. We found an effect of diet, with birds consuming more toxic prey while on the low-quality diet, and also of developmental history, with birds from the high-competition brood size treatment eating more toxic prey than their low-competition siblings. The effects of brood size treatment were not completely mediated by early growth, although we did find evidence that early growth affected toxic prey consumption independently of brood size treatment. We discuss our results in relation to adaptive developmental plasticity and the developmental origins of behavioural variation. PMID:24910465

  7. Adult: young ratio influences song acquisition in female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Bertin, Aline; Hausberger, Martine; Henry, Laurence; Richard-Yris, Marie-Annick

    2009-05-01

    One parallel between humans and most songbirds is the fact that young require social interactions with an adult to acquire specific vocalizations. Songbirds are considered good models for comparative studies, although reports to date concern almost exclusively male songbirds. In addition, adult influence on vocal communication is generally investigated only in restricted social contexts (usually dyads). Here, the authors analyzed song learning and spatial associations among young female starlings that were maintained for 1 year in dyads (1 adult, 1 young), triads (2 adults, 1 young) or a larger group (7 young, 2 adults). Segregation by age was seen in the triads and in the larger group. The influence of adults (proportion of songs copied from adults) decreased as the young adult ratio increased. Unusual temporal features were observed in young maintained in triads and young neglected copying adult songs in the presence of peers. These results are among the first to explore the circumstances under which females learn and from whom they learn. They also add new insight to a wide range of questions about social influences on learning. PMID:19450026

  8. Selective behavioral responses to male song are affected by the dopamine agonist GBR-12909 in female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Pawlisch, Benjamin A; Riters, Lauren V

    2010-09-24

    Female songbirds use attributes of male song to select mates. Different types of male song differ in incentive value (or the ability to attract females). Dopamine plays a role in incentive value and reward; however, little is known about its role in selective female behavioral responses to male courtship signals. We examined the effects of the indirect dopamine agonist (dopamine reuptake inhibitor) GBR-12909 on female songbird responses to male song stimuli. Female European starlings were played recordings of long starling song (presumed high incentive value), short starling song (presumed lower incentive value), or purple martin song (lowest incentive value). Vehicle-treated females investigated nest boxes playing starling song more than purple martin song. However, GBR-12909 disrupted preferential responses to the starling song stimuli. GBR-12909 also increased cFOS immunolabeling in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH) at the same dose that disrupted female selective responses to male starling song. The results suggest that dopamine receptors play an important role in female selective responses to biologically meaningful stimuli and that the VMH may be influenced by dopamine to alter female responses to male song. PMID:20633541

  9. Fear and Exploration in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris): A Comparison of Hand-Reared and Wild-Caught Birds

    PubMed Central

    Feenders, Gesa; Klaus, Kristel; Bateson, Melissa

    2011-01-01

    The revision of EU legislation will ban the use of wild-caught animals in scientific procedures. This change is partially predicated on the assumption that captive-rearing produces animals with reduced fearfulness. Previously, we have shown that hand-reared starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) indeed exhibit reduced fear of humans compared to wild-caught conspecifics. Here, we asked whether this reduction in fear in hand-reared birds is limited to fear of humans or extends more generally to fear of novel environments and novel objects. Comparing 6–8 month old birds hand-reared in the lab with age-matched birds caught from the wild as fledged juveniles a minimum of 1 month previously, we examined the birds' initial reactions in a novel environment (a small cage) and found that wild-caught starlings were faster to initiate movement compared to the hand-reared birds. We interpret this difference as evidence for greater escape motivation in the wild-caught birds. In contrast, we found no differences between hand-reared and wild-caught birds when tested in novel object tests assumed to measure neophobia and exploratory behaviour. Moreover, we found no correlations between individual bird's responses in the different tests, supporting the idea that these measure different traits (e.g. fear and exploration). In summary, our data show that developmental origin affects one measure of response to novelty in young starlings, indicative of a difference in either fear or coping style in a stressful situation. Our data contribute to a growing literature demonstrating effects of early-life experience on later behaviour in a range of species. However, since we did not find consistent evidence for reduced fearfulness in hand-reared birds, we remain agnostic about the welfare benefits of hand-rearing as a method for sourcing wild birds for behavioural and physiological research. PMID:21526000

  10. Fear and exploration in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris): a comparison of hand-reared and wild-caught birds.

    PubMed

    Feenders, Gesa; Klaus, Kristel; Bateson, Melissa

    2011-01-01

    The revision of EU legislation will ban the use of wild-caught animals in scientific procedures. This change is partially predicated on the assumption that captive-rearing produces animals with reduced fearfulness. Previously, we have shown that hand-reared starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) indeed exhibit reduced fear of humans compared to wild-caught conspecifics. Here, we asked whether this reduction in fear in hand-reared birds is limited to fear of humans or extends more generally to fear of novel environments and novel objects. Comparing 6-8 month old birds hand-reared in the lab with age-matched birds caught from the wild as fledged juveniles a minimum of 1 month previously, we examined the birds' initial reactions in a novel environment (a small cage) and found that wild-caught starlings were faster to initiate movement compared to the hand-reared birds. We interpret this difference as evidence for greater escape motivation in the wild-caught birds. In contrast, we found no differences between hand-reared and wild-caught birds when tested in novel object tests assumed to measure neophobia and exploratory behaviour. Moreover, we found no correlations between individual bird's responses in the different tests, supporting the idea that these measure different traits (e.g. fear and exploration). In summary, our data show that developmental origin affects one measure of response to novelty in young starlings, indicative of a difference in either fear or coping style in a stressful situation. Our data contribute to a growing literature demonstrating effects of early-life experience on later behaviour in a range of species. However, since we did not find consistent evidence for reduced fearfulness in hand-reared birds, we remain agnostic about the welfare benefits of hand-rearing as a method for sourcing wild birds for behavioural and physiological research. PMID:21526000

  11. Experimental infection of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and house sparrows (Passer domesticus) with pandemic 2009 H1N1 and swine H1N1 and H3N2 triple reassortant influenza viruses.

    PubMed

    Nemeth, Nicole M; Oesterle, Paul T; Poulson, Rebecca L; Jones, Cheryl A; Tompkins, S Mark; Brown, Justin D; Stallknecht, David E

    2013-04-01

    European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) are common peridomestic passerine birds that are often associated with domestic animal production facilities. This association provides a potential means for pathogen transmission between facilities. We inoculated European Starlings and House Sparrows with three non-avian influenza virus strains: two swine isolates (H1N1 and H3N2) and one human isolate representing the H1N1 pandemic strain that originated from swine. No viral shedding was observed in House Sparrows, and shedding was minimal and transient in two of 12 (17%) European Starlings. One of these two infected Starlings seroconverted 14 days after inoculation. These results suggest that these two passerine species are minimally susceptible to current influenza viruses in domestic pigs and therefore pose a negligible risk for transmission between or within swine production facilities. PMID:23568924

  12. Seasonal changes in hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone-I immunoreactivity in relation with testicular volume in adult male free-living European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Pintér, O; Péczely, P

    2010-09-01

    Birds from the temperate and cold zones show annual sexual activity accompanied by gonadal changes and fluctuation in their brain gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) levels. However, most of the studies were done on captive birds where the constant environment can profoundly modify periodical changes. Therefore our aim was to reveal annual variations of hypothalamic and gonadal changes in male, free-living European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) captured directly from their natural environment. We analyzed hypothalamic GnRH-I immunoreactivity and testes volume. Four key time points of the active reproductive cycle and the photorefractory phase were studied. GnRH-I immunoreactivity was analyzed in the preoptic area (POA) and the median eminence (ME). Photorefractory birds (August) with regressed gonads had the lowest level of GnRH-I immunoreactivity compared to other birds from the active reproductive phases. These results suggest that parallel with the gonadal volume GnRH-I undergoes seasonal changes in adult male free-living European starlings. PMID:20724271

  13. Wild European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) adjust to captivity with sustained sympathetic nervous system drive and a reduced fight-or-flight response.

    PubMed

    Dickens, Molly J; Romero, L Michael

    2009-01-01

    Although research on wild species typically involves capture, handling, and some degree of captivity, few studies examine how these actions affect and/or alter the animal's underlying stress physiology. Furthermore, we poorly understand the immediate changes that occur as wild animals adjust to captive conditions. Most studies to date have investigated relatively long-term changes in the glucocorticoid response to an acute stressor, but immediate changes in the fight-or-flight response are relatively understudied in wild-caught species. In this study, we investigated changes to the cardiovascular stress response during the first 10 d of captivity of freshly captured wild European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). We demonstrated that (1) baseline heart rate (HR) remains elevated for several days following transport into captivity, (2) the normal balance between sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and parasympathetic nervous system regulation of HR is disrupted, with the SNS exerting relatively greater control over baseline HR for the first days of captivity, and (3) the HR response to startle, a mild stressor, becomes significantly reduced compared to that of starlings maintained in captivity for several months and remains below the control response for at least 10 d. These data are the first to show that successive acute stressors and introduction to a captive setting significantly alter the physiology and responsiveness of the cardiovascular stress response system.

  14. Wild European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) adjust to captivity with sustained sympathetic nervous system drive and a reduced fight-or-flight response.

    PubMed

    Dickens, Molly J; Romero, L Michael

    2009-01-01

    Although research on wild species typically involves capture, handling, and some degree of captivity, few studies examine how these actions affect and/or alter the animal's underlying stress physiology. Furthermore, we poorly understand the immediate changes that occur as wild animals adjust to captive conditions. Most studies to date have investigated relatively long-term changes in the glucocorticoid response to an acute stressor, but immediate changes in the fight-or-flight response are relatively understudied in wild-caught species. In this study, we investigated changes to the cardiovascular stress response during the first 10 d of captivity of freshly captured wild European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). We demonstrated that (1) baseline heart rate (HR) remains elevated for several days following transport into captivity, (2) the normal balance between sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and parasympathetic nervous system regulation of HR is disrupted, with the SNS exerting relatively greater control over baseline HR for the first days of captivity, and (3) the HR response to startle, a mild stressor, becomes significantly reduced compared to that of starlings maintained in captivity for several months and remains below the control response for at least 10 d. These data are the first to show that successive acute stressors and introduction to a captive setting significantly alter the physiology and responsiveness of the cardiovascular stress response system. PMID:19642947

  15. Lesions to the medial preoptic nucleus differentially affect singing and nest box-directed behaviors within and outside of the breeding season in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Alger, Sarah J.; Riters, Lauren V.

    2008-01-01

    Little is known about how the brain regulates context appropriate communication. European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are seasonally-breeding songbirds that produce song in various social contexts. During the breeding season, males that acquire nest sites sing high levels of sexually-motivated song in response to a female. Outside of this context, however, song rates are not affected by female presence. The medial preoptic nucleus (POM) is a region outside of the song control system that regulates male sexual behavior, and several studies in songbirds implicate the POM in sexually-motivated song. However, recent data suggest that the role of the POM might extend to song produced in other contexts as well. To examine this possibility, effects of bilateral electrolytic lesions of the POM on singing and other behaviors in adult male starlings within sexually relevant and non-sexual contexts in response to various social stimuli were examined. Lesions to the POM exclusively reduced song and nest box-directed behaviors within highly sexually relevant contexts. Unexpectedly, POM lesions increased song in a non-sexual context, suggesting an inhibitory role for the POM in this context. These data suggest that the POM interacts with the song control system so that song occurs in an appropriate social context in response to appropriate stimuli. PMID:17201478

  16. Behavioural investigation of polarisation sensitivity in the Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) and the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Greenwood, Verity J; Smith, Emma L; Church, Stuart C; Partridge, Julian C

    2003-09-01

    Many animals have sensitivity to the e-vector of linearly polarised light, which may assist in visually mediated behaviours such as navigation, signalling and foraging. However, it is still controversial as to whether birds possess polarisation sensitivity. Several studies have found that altering the polarisation patterns of the broad visual field surrounding birds alters their intended migratory orientation. However, electrophysiological tests have failed to elicit evidence for polarisation sensitivity in birds, and the mechanism by which birds might perceive polarised light is unknown. In this experiment, we trained Japanese quail and European starlings to discriminate stimuli differing in their polarisation pattern. Although both quail and starlings were able to discriminate stimuli in which the stimulus sub-components either differed or had the same radiant intensity (the control task), they were unable to discriminate stimuli in which the e-vector orientations of the stimulus sub-components either differed by 90 degrees or had the same angle of polarisation. The birds' successful performance on the control task, but failure to complete the polarisation task, demonstrated that they had all the necessary cognitive abilities to make the discrimination except sensitivity to angle of polarisation. We conclude that quail and starlings are unable to use polarisation cues in this foraging task. PMID:12909701

  17. Breeding context-dependent relationships between song and cFOS labeling within social behavior brain regions in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Heimovics, Sarah A.; Riters, Lauren V.

    2008-01-01

    Male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) sing throughout the year, but the social factors that motivate singing behavior differ depending upon the context in which song is produced. In a non-breeding context (when testosterone concentrations are low) starlings form large, mixed-sex flocks and song is involved in flock cohesion and perhaps maintenance of social hierarchies. In contrast, in a breeding context (when testosterone concentrations are high) male song plays a direct role in mate attraction. How the nervous system ensures that song production occurs in an appropriate context in response to appropriate stimuli is not well understood. The song control system regulates song production, learning, and to some extent perception; however these nuclei do not appear to regulate the social context in which song is produced. A network of steroid hormone sensitive nuclei of the basal forebrain and midbrain regulates social behavior. The present study used the immediate early gene cFOS to explore possible involvement of these regions in context-dependent song production. Numbers of cFOS-labeled cells in the medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, anterior hypothalamus, and ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus related positively only to song produced in a breeding context. In contrast, numbers of cFOS-labeled cells in three zones of the lateral septum related positively only to song produced in a non-breeding context. Taken together, these data suggest differential regulation of male starling song by social behavior nuclei depending upon the breeding context in which it is produced. PMID:16914152

  18. Shedding and serologic responses following primary and secondary inoculation of house sparrows (Passer domesticus) and European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) with low-pathogenicity avian influenza virus.

    PubMed

    Nemeth, Nicole M; Thomas, Nicholas O; Orahood, Darcy S; Anderson, Theodore D; Oesterle, Paul T

    2010-10-01

    Waterfowl and shorebirds are well-recognized natural reservoirs of low-pathogenicity avian influenza viruses (LPAIV); however, little is known about the role of passerines in avian influenza virus ecology. Passerines are abundant, widespread, and commonly come into contact with free-ranging birds as well as captive game birds and poultry. We inoculated and subsequently challenged house sparrows (Passer domesticus) and European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) with wild-bird origin LPAIV H3N8 to evaluate their potential role in transmission. Oropharyngeal shedding was short lived, and was detected in more starlings (97.2%) than sparrows (47.2%; n=36 of each). Cloacal shedding was rare in both species (8.3%; n=36 of each) and no cage-mate transmission occurred. Infectious LPAIV was cultured from oropharyngeal and cloacal swabs and gastrointestinal and respiratory tissues from both species. Seroconversion was detected as early as 3 days post inoculation (d.p.i.) (16.7% of sparrows and 0% of starlings; n=6 each); 50% of these individuals seroconverted by 5 d.p.i., and nearly all birds (97%; n=35) seroconverted by 28 d.p.i. In general, pre-existing homologous immunity led to reduced shedding and increased antibody levels within 7 days of challenge. Limited shedding and lack of cage-mate transmission suggest that passerines are not significant reservoirs of LPAIV, although species differences apparently exist. Passerines readily and consistently seroconverted to LPAIV, and therefore inclusion of passerines in epidemiological studies of influenza outbreaks in wildlife and domestic animals may provide further insight into the potential involvement of passerines in avian influenza virus transmission ecology. PMID:20954019

  19. ZENK labeling within social behavior brain regions reveals breeding context-dependent patterns of neural activity associated with song in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Heimovics, Sarah A.; Riters, Lauren V.

    2007-01-01

    In songbirds, song learning and production are regulated by the song control system. How the rest of the brain interacts with song nuclei to ensure that song is produced in an appropriate context is not yet clear. In male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), breeding context song is sexually motivated whereas non-breeding context song is more broadly socially motivated. Brain regions involved in regulating social behavior might differentially regulate starling song depending upon the context in which it is produced. Here, we compared the number of ZENK-labeled cells in song and social behavior nuclei in starlings singing in either a breeding or a non-breeding context. Numbers of ZENK-labeled cells in HVC related positively to song produced in both contexts. Interestingly, numbers of ZENK-labeled cells in one subdivision of the lateral septum (LS) related negatively to breeding context song but positively to non-breeding context song. In a subdivision of the medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTm) ZENK labeling only related positively to non-breeding context song whereas in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH) ZENK labeling showed a tighter positive relationship with breeding context song. Together, these findings indicate that social behavior brain regions outside of the song control system regulate singing behavior differently depending upon whether song is sexually or more broadly socially motivated. Breeding context-dependent regulation of song by LS, BSTm, and VMH suggests that these nuclei may be central to adjusting song production so that it occurs in response to appropriate social and environmental stimuli. PMID:17113163

  20. ZENK labeling within social behavior brain regions reveals breeding context-dependent patterns of neural activity associated with song in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Heimovics, Sarah A; Riters, Lauren V

    2007-01-25

    In songbirds, song learning and production are regulated by the song control system. How the rest of the brain interacts with song nuclei to ensure that song is produced in an appropriate context is not yet clear. In male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), breeding context song is sexually motivated, whereas, non-breeding context song is more broadly socially motivated. Brain regions involved in regulating social behavior might differentially regulate starling song depending upon the context in which it is produced. Here, we compared the number of ZENK-labeled cells in song and social behavior nuclei in starlings singing in either a breeding or a non-breeding context. Numbers of ZENK-labeled cells in HVC related positively to song produced in both contexts. Interestingly, numbers of ZENK-labeled cells in one subdivision of the lateral septum (LS) related negatively to breeding context song but positively to non-breeding context song. In a subdivision of the medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTm) ZENK labeling only related positively to non-breeding context song, whereas, in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH) ZENK labeling showed a tighter positive relationship with breeding context song. Together, these findings indicate that social behavior brain regions outside of the song control system regulate singing behavior differently depending upon whether song is sexually or more broadly socially motivated. Breeding context-dependent regulation of song by LS, BSTm, and VMH suggests that these nuclei may be central to adjusting song production so that it occurs in response to appropriate social and environmental stimuli. PMID:17113163

  1. Breeding-context-dependent relationships between song and cFOS labeling within social behavior brain regions in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Heimovics, Sarah A; Riters, Lauren V

    2006-12-01

    Male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) sing throughout the year, but the social factors that motivate singing behavior differ depending upon the context in which song is produced. In a non-breeding context (when testosterone concentrations are low), starlings form large, mixed-sex flocks and song is involved in flock cohesion and perhaps maintenance of social hierarchies. In contrast, in a breeding context (when testosterone concentrations are high), male song plays a direct role in mate attraction. How the nervous system ensures that song production occurs in an appropriate context in response to appropriate stimuli is not well understood. The song control system regulates song production, learning, and, to some extent, perception; however, these nuclei do not appear to regulate the social context in which song is produced. A network of steroid hormone sensitive nuclei of the basal forebrain and midbrain regulates social behavior. The present study used the immediate early gene cFOS to explore possible involvement of these regions in context-dependent song production. Numbers of cFOS-labeled cells in the medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, anterior hypothalamus, and ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus related positively only to song produced in a breeding context. In contrast, numbers of cFOS-labeled cells in three zones of the lateral septum related positively only to song produced in a non-breeding context. Taken together, these data suggest differential regulation of male starling song by social behavior nuclei depending upon the breeding context in which it is produced. PMID:16914152

  2. Accumulation, tissue-specific distribution and debromination of decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE 209) in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Van den Steen, E; Covaci, A; Jaspers, V L B; Dauwe, T; Voorspoels, S; Eens, M; Pinxten, R

    2007-07-01

    In this study we investigated the accumulation, tissue-specific distribution and possible debromination of BDE 209 in a terrestrial songbird species, the European starling, using silastic implants as a method of exposure. BDE 209 accumulated in the blood of the exposed starlings to a mean peak concentration of 16+/-4.1 ng/ml on day 10. After this peak, there was a decline to 3.3+/-0.4 ng/ml blood at the end of the exposure period of 76 days, which suggests elimination of BDE 209. In the exposed group, the muscle concentrations (461 ng/g lipid weight [lw], 430 ng/g lw) were about twofold those in liver (269 ng/g lw, 237 ng/g lw). In addition to BDE 209, other PBDE congeners, particularly octa- and nonaBDEs, were also present in the muscle and liver, suggesting bioformation from BDE 209. To our knowledge, these results are the first indications for the debromination of BDE 209 in birds. PMID:17239511

  3. Variation in enkephalin immunoreactivity in the social behavior network and song control system of male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) is dependent on breeding state and gonadal condition.

    PubMed

    Stevenson, Tyler J; Calabrese, Marc D; Ball, Gregory F

    2012-03-01

    Many temperate zone songbird species exhibit marked seasonal variation in song quality as well as in the motivation to sing. Two brain systems are known to mediate such annual variation in song quality and motivation: (1) the song control system (SCS), and (2) the social behavior network (SBN), respectively. How these two circuits interact to produce changes in singing behavior is not well understood. The opioid enkephalin is expressed in both the SCS and SBN and may function to modulate song quality in a socially relevant manner. Using immunocytochemistry, we examined variation in enkephalin immunoreactivity (ENK-ir) in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) that were in breeding conditions (i.e. photostimulated) or non-breeding conditions (i.e. photorefractory). We also included a group of castrated photostimulated males to investigate the relationship between gonadal steroids and ENK-ir. ENK-ir in the preoptic area (POA) and lateral septum (LS) was greater in photostimulated intact birds as compared to photorefractory males, but not in other regions within the SBN. There was a significant difference in ENK-ir in two forebrain song nuclei, HVC and the lateral nucleus of the anterior medial nidopallium (lMAN), with lower expression in photostimulated intact as compared to photorefractory birds. ENK-ir did not change across breeding conditions in the Nucleus Interface (NIf). After accounting for the volumetric change in HVC and lMAN, the pattern of ENK-ir remained greater in photorefractory compared to intact photostimulated starlings. We propose that the observed regulation of ENK-ir in the POA and LS may be related to seasonal changes in the motivation to engage in singing behavior, while the change in ENK-ir in the song system are associated with the quality of the song produced. Thus seasonal changes in a single neuromodulatory system can have very different functional effects based on the neuroanatomical specificity of its expression. PMID:22198223

  4. Simultaneous and sequential choice as a function of reward delay and magnitude: normative, descriptive and process-based models tested in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Shapiro, Martin S; Siller, Steven; Kacelnik, Alex

    2008-01-01

    The authors analyze prevalent theoretical and empirical quantitative models of choice using data from European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). The different models originate from diverse lines of thinking, including optimal foraging theory, descriptive behavioral analysis, and temporal discounting. The authors also investigate the Sequential Choice Model (SCM) that predicts choice between simultaneous alternatives as a function of behavior in sequential encounters. SCM assumes that simultaneous encounters are rare in nature, where animals often exploit or dismiss single opportunities. Mechanisms of choice adapted for sequential encounters may be evolutionarily stable even if they impose a cost in the rarer simultaneous cases. The best predictive power is achieved by the SCM and by hyperbolic discounting with value (or attractiveness) of each option proportional to reward amount and inversely proportional to the sum of delay to reward plus delay to respond. Choice probability matched the ratio of each option's value to the sum of values of all available options. The good fit of SCM supports the view that choice is driven by mechanisms adapted to sequential, rather than simultaneous encounters with feeding opportunities.

  5. Simultaneous and sequential choice as a function of reward delay and magnitude: normative, descriptive and process-based models tested in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Shapiro, Martin S; Siller, Steven; Kacelnik, Alex

    2008-01-01

    The authors analyze prevalent theoretical and empirical quantitative models of choice using data from European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). The different models originate from diverse lines of thinking, including optimal foraging theory, descriptive behavioral analysis, and temporal discounting. The authors also investigate the Sequential Choice Model (SCM) that predicts choice between simultaneous alternatives as a function of behavior in sequential encounters. SCM assumes that simultaneous encounters are rare in nature, where animals often exploit or dismiss single opportunities. Mechanisms of choice adapted for sequential encounters may be evolutionarily stable even if they impose a cost in the rarer simultaneous cases. The best predictive power is achieved by the SCM and by hyperbolic discounting with value (or attractiveness) of each option proportional to reward amount and inversely proportional to the sum of delay to reward plus delay to respond. Choice probability matched the ratio of each option's value to the sum of values of all available options. The good fit of SCM supports the view that choice is driven by mechanisms adapted to sequential, rather than simultaneous encounters with feeding opportunities. PMID:18248116

  6. An exposure study with polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris): toxicokinetics and reproductive effects.

    PubMed

    Van den Steen, Evi; Eens, Marcel; Covaci, Adrian; Dirtu, Alin C; Jaspers, Veerle L B; Neels, Hugo; Pinxten, Rianne

    2009-02-01

    We exposed female European starlings to a pentabromodiphenyl ether (Penta-BDE) mixture through subcutaneous implants, and examined levels and profiles of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) together with reproductive effects. Sum PBDE levels increased significantly in the serum of the exposed females from 218+/-43 to 23,400+/-2035 pg/ml. Sum PBDE concentrations in the eggs of the exposed group ranged from 130+/-12 to 220+/-37 ng/g wet weight (ww). The profile in serum after egg laying was very similar to that in eggs. There were no detectable levels of HO-PBDEs in both serum and eggs. Fewer females of the exposed group initiated egg laying compared to the control group, although the difference was not significant. In addition, egg weight and volume were significantly higher in the exposed group. These results suggest that, at the investigated exposure levels (150 microg sum PBDEs/bird), PBDEs may have a negative effect on reproductive performance. PMID:18977567

  7. Social suppression of song is associated with a reduction in volume of a song-control nucleus in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Sartor, Jennifer J; Ball, Gregory F

    2005-02-01

    In seasonally breeding songbirds, variations in testosterone and song correlate with volume changes in brain nuclei associated with song, including the HVC. The authors tested whether singing can lead to activity-dependent increases in HVC volume by examining song output in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). The authors manipulated males' environments so that only some were dominant with nestboxes, whereas others were not. Some of these males thus sang at higher rates and had larger HVC volume than others. The study was conducted over 2 years. In 1 year, males selectively occupied nestboxes but did not sing. HVC volume did not differ in these starlings, indicating that nestbox possession alone cannot increase HVC. The findings suggest that changes in song nuclei volume can be driven by changes in singing. PMID:15727528

  8. Metabolic power of European starlings Sturnus vulgaris during flight in a wind tunnel, estimated from heat transfer modelling, doubly labelled water and mask respirometry.

    PubMed

    Ward, S; Möller, U; Rayner, J M V; Jackson, D M; Nachtigall, W; Speakman, J R

    2004-11-01

    It is technically demanding to measure the energetic cost of animal flight. Each of the previously available techniques has some disadvantage as well advantages. We compared measurements of the energetic cost of flight in a wind tunnel by four European starlings Sturnus vulgaris made using three independent techniques: heat transfer modelling, doubly labelled water (DLW) and mask respirometry. We based our heat transfer model on thermal images of the surface temperature of the birds and air flow past the body and wings calculated from wing beat kinematics. Metabolic power was not sensitive to uncertainty in the value of efficiency when estimated from heat transfer modelling. A change in the assumed value of whole animal efficiency from 0.19 to 0.07 (the range of estimates in previous studies) only altered metabolic power predicted from heat transfer modelling by 13%. The same change in the assumed value of efficiency would cause a 2.7-fold change in metabolic power if it were predicted from mechanical power. Metabolic power did not differ significantly between measurements made using the three techniques when we assumed an efficiency in the range 0.11-0.19, although the DLW results appeared to form a U-shaped power-speed curve while the heat transfer model and respirometry results increased linearly with speed. This is the first time that techniques for determining metabolic power have been compared using data from the same birds flying under the same conditions. Our data provide reassurance that all the techniques produce similar results and suggest that heat transfer modelling may be a useful method for estimating metabolic rate.

  9. Two seconds is all it takes: European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) increase levels of circulating glucocorticoids after witnessing a brief raptor attack.

    PubMed

    Jones, Blake C; Smith, Adam D; Bebus, Sara E; Schoech, Stephan J

    2016-02-01

    Researchers typically study "acute" activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis by measuring levels of circulating glucocorticoids in animals that have been exposed to a predator or a cue from a predator (e.g., odor), or have experienced a standardized capture-and-restraint protocol, all of which are many minutes in duration. However, exposure to predators in the "wild", either as the subject of an attack or as a witness to an attack, is generally much shorter as most depredation attempts upon free-living animals last <5s. Yet, whether a stimulus lasting only seconds can activate the HPA axis is unknown. To determine if a stimulus of a few seconds triggers a glucocorticoid response, we measured levels of corticosterone (CORT; the primary avian glucocorticoid) in wild-caught European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) after they witnessed a brief (<2-8s) raptor attack upon a conspecific, a human "attack" (i.e., a researcher handling a conspecific), and an undisturbed control. Witnesses of a raptor attack responded with CORT levels comparable to that induced by a standardized capture-and-restraint protocol. Glucocorticoid levels of individuals following the control treatment were similar to baseline levels, and those that witnessed a human "attack" had intermediate levels. Our results demonstrate that witnessing a predator attack of very brief duration triggers a profound adrenocortical stress response. Given the considerable evidence of a role for glucocorticoids in learning and memory, such a response may affect how individuals learn to recognize and appropriately react to predators. PMID:26522494

  10. Metabolic power of European starlings Sturnus vulgaris during flight in a wind tunnel, estimated from heat transfer modelling, doubly labelled water and mask respirometry.

    PubMed

    Ward, S; Möller, U; Rayner, J M V; Jackson, D M; Nachtigall, W; Speakman, J R

    2004-11-01

    It is technically demanding to measure the energetic cost of animal flight. Each of the previously available techniques has some disadvantage as well advantages. We compared measurements of the energetic cost of flight in a wind tunnel by four European starlings Sturnus vulgaris made using three independent techniques: heat transfer modelling, doubly labelled water (DLW) and mask respirometry. We based our heat transfer model on thermal images of the surface temperature of the birds and air flow past the body and wings calculated from wing beat kinematics. Metabolic power was not sensitive to uncertainty in the value of efficiency when estimated from heat transfer modelling. A change in the assumed value of whole animal efficiency from 0.19 to 0.07 (the range of estimates in previous studies) only altered metabolic power predicted from heat transfer modelling by 13%. The same change in the assumed value of efficiency would cause a 2.7-fold change in metabolic power if it were predicted from mechanical power. Metabolic power did not differ significantly between measurements made using the three techniques when we assumed an efficiency in the range 0.11-0.19, although the DLW results appeared to form a U-shaped power-speed curve while the heat transfer model and respirometry results increased linearly with speed. This is the first time that techniques for determining metabolic power have been compared using data from the same birds flying under the same conditions. Our data provide reassurance that all the techniques produce similar results and suggest that heat transfer modelling may be a useful method for estimating metabolic rate. PMID:15531650

  11. Individual variation in plasma estradiol-17beta and androgen levels during egg formation in the European starling Sturnus vulgaris: implications for regulation of yolk steroids.

    PubMed

    Williams, T D; Kitaysky, A S; Vézina, F

    2004-05-01

    While it is clear that maternal transfer of steroids to egg yolk can have significant effects on offspring phenotype, an unresolved question is whether females can facultatively adjust yolk hormone levels independently of their own plasma levels or whether yolk steroid levels are simply a direct consequence of temporal variation in the female's hormonal status. In part, this is because we lack detailed information about the day-to-day pattern of changes in plasma hormone levels during the laying cycle for non-domesticated birds. Here, we describe changes in plasma estradiol-17beta (E2) and androgens, throughout laying in relation to specific stages of ovarian follicular development in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Plasma E2 levels increased rapidly from the onset of rapid yolk development (RYD) to reach maximum levels in birds with a complete follicle hierarchy (> or = 4 yolky follicles). However, levels decreased linearly throughout the later stages of follicle development returning to pre-breeding values before the final yolky follicle was ovulated. In females with > or = 4 yolky follicles there was 10-fold variation in plasma E2 levels among individual females, but this was not related to plasma levels of the main yolk precursor vitellogenin or to the total mass of yolky follicles developing at the time of blood sampling. In contrast to E2, plasma androgen levels showed only a very gradual linear decline throughout the laying cycle from pre-RYD to clutch completion. Furthermore, androgen levels showed less individual variability: 4-fold variation among females with > or = 4 yolky follicles, although this was also independent of our measures of reproductive function. Data on inter- and intra-individual variation in female hormone levels are important to set-up a priori predictions for, and interpretation of, studies of yolk hormone levels. PMID:15081834

  12. Postfledging survival of European starlings

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krementz, D.G.; Nichols, J.D.; Hines, J.E.

    1989-01-01

    We tested the hypotheses that mass at fledging and fledge date within the breeding season affect postfledging survival in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Nestlings were weighed on day 18 after hatch and tagged with individually identifiable patagial tags. Fledge date was recorded. Marked fledglings were resighted during weekly two-day intensive observation periods for 9 weeks postfledging. Post-fledging survival and sighting probabilities were estimated for each of four groups (early or late fledging by heavy or light fledging mass). Body mass was related to post-fledging survival for birds that fledged early. Results were not clear-cut for relative fledge date, although there was weak evidence that this also influenced survival. Highest survival probability estimates occurred in the EARLY-HEAVY group, while the lowest survival estimate occurred in the LATE-LIGHT group. Sighting probabilities differed significantly among groups, emphasizing the need to estimate and compare survival using models which explicitly incorporate sighting probabilities.

  13. Context-Dependent Links between Song Production and Opioid-Mediated Analgesia in Male European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Kelm-Nelson, Cynthia A.; Stevenson, Sharon A.; Riters, Lauren V.

    2012-01-01

    Little is known about the neural mechanisms that ensure appropriate vocal behaviors within specific social contexts. Male songbirds produce spontaneous (undirected) songs as well as female-directed courtship songs. Opioid neuropeptide activity in specific brain regions is rewarding, at least in mammals, and past studies suggest that the opioid met-enkephalin in such areas is more tightly linked to undirected than female-directed song. Recent data using a song-associated place preference paradigm further suggest that production of undirected but not directed song is tightly linked to intrinsic reward. Opioids have analgesic properties. Therefore, if production of undirected song is closely linked to opioid-mediated reward, the production of undirected but not directed song should be associated with analgesia. Consistent with this prediction, in male starlings we identified a positive correlation between analgesia (decreased reactivity to a hot water bath) and undirected song (in non-breeding season condition males in affiliative flocks) but not female-directed song (in breeding season condition males presented with females). When breeding condition males were divided according to social status, a negative correlation was found in subordinate males (i.e. males that failed to acquire a nest box). These data are consistent with the hypotheses 1) that the production of undirected song is facilitated or maintained by opioids (and/or other neuromodulators that also induce analgesia) and 2) that production of female-directed song is not linked in the same way to release of the same neuromodulators. Results also demonstrate a link between analgesia and song in subordinate individuals lacking a nesting territory within the breeding season. Overall, the findings indicate that distinct neural mechanisms regulate communication in different social contexts and support the working hypothesis that undirected but not directed song is tightly linked to opioid release. PMID:23056422

  14. Context-dependent links between song production and opioid-mediated analgesia in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Kelm-Nelson, Cynthia A; Stevenson, Sharon A; Riters, Lauren V

    2012-01-01

    Little is known about the neural mechanisms that ensure appropriate vocal behaviors within specific social contexts. Male songbirds produce spontaneous (undirected) songs as well as female-directed courtship songs. Opioid neuropeptide activity in specific brain regions is rewarding, at least in mammals, and past studies suggest that the opioid met-enkephalin in such areas is more tightly linked to undirected than female-directed song. Recent data using a song-associated place preference paradigm further suggest that production of undirected but not directed song is tightly linked to intrinsic reward. Opioids have analgesic properties. Therefore, if production of undirected song is closely linked to opioid-mediated reward, the production of undirected but not directed song should be associated with analgesia. Consistent with this prediction, in male starlings we identified a positive correlation between analgesia (decreased reactivity to a hot water bath) and undirected song (in non-breeding season condition males in affiliative flocks) but not female-directed song (in breeding season condition males presented with females). When breeding condition males were divided according to social status, a negative correlation was found in subordinate males (i.e. males that failed to acquire a nest box). These data are consistent with the hypotheses 1) that the production of undirected song is facilitated or maintained by opioids (and/or other neuromodulators that also induce analgesia) and 2) that production of female-directed song is not linked in the same way to release of the same neuromodulators. Results also demonstrate a link between analgesia and song in subordinate individuals lacking a nesting territory within the breeding season. Overall, the findings indicate that distinct neural mechanisms regulate communication in different social contexts and support the working hypothesis that undirected but not directed song is tightly linked to opioid release. PMID:23056422

  15. Curvilinear relationships between mu-opioid receptor labeling and undirected song in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Kelm-Nelson, Cynthia A.; Riters, Lauren V.

    2013-01-01

    Female-directed communication in male songbirds has been reasonably well studied; yet, relatively little is known about communication in other social contexts. Songbirds also produce song that is not clearly directed towards another individual (undirected song) when alone or in flocks. Although the precise functions of undirected song may differ across species, this type of song is considered important for flock maintenance, song learning or practice. Past studies show that undirected song is tightly coupled to analgesia and positive affective state, which are both mediated by opioid activity. Furthermore, labeling for the opioid met-enkephalin in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) correlates positively with undirected song production. We propose that undirected song is facilitated and maintained by opioid receptor activity in the POM and other brain regions involved in affective state, analgesia, and social behavior. To provide insight into this hypothesis, we used immunohistochemistry to examine relationships between undirected song and mu-opioid receptors in male starlings. Polynomial regression analyses revealed significant inverted-U shaped relationships between measures of undirected song and mu-opioid receptor labeling in the POM, medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTm), and periaqueductal gray (PAG). These results suggest that low rates of undirected song may stimulate and/or be maintained by mu-opioid receptor activity; however, it may be that sustained levels of mu-opioid receptor activity associated with high rates of undirected song cause mu-opioid receptor down-regulation. The results indicate that mu-opioid receptor activity in POM, BSTm, and PAG may underlie previous links identified between undirected song, analgesia, and affective state. PMID:23774651

  16. Curvilinear relationships between mu-opioid receptor labeling and undirected song in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Kelm-Nelson, Cynthia A; Riters, Lauren V

    2013-08-21

    Female-directed communication in male songbirds has been reasonably well studied; yet, relatively little is known about communication in other social contexts. Songbirds also produce song that is not clearly directed towards another individual (undirected song) when alone or in flocks. Although the precise functions of undirected song may differ across species, this type of song is considered important for flock maintenance, song learning or practice. Past studies show that undirected song is tightly coupled to analgesia and positive affective state, which are both mediated by opioid activity. Furthermore, labeling for the opioid met-enkephalin in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) correlates positively with undirected song production. We propose that undirected song is facilitated and maintained by opioid receptor activity in the POM and other brain regions involved in affective state, analgesia, and social behavior. To provide insight into this hypothesis, we used immunohistochemistry to examine relationships between undirected song and mu-opioid receptors in male starlings. Polynomial regression analyses revealed significant inverted-U shaped relationships between measures of undirected song and mu-opioid receptor labeling in the POM, medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTm), and periaqueductal gray (PAG). These results suggest that low rates of undirected song may stimulate and/or be maintained by mu-opioid receptor activity; however, it may be that sustained levels of mu-opioid receptor activity associated with high rates of undirected song cause mu-opioid receptor down-regulation. The results indicate that mu-opioid receptor activity in POM, BSTm, and PAG may underlie previous links identified between undirected song, analgesia, and affective state. PMID:23774651

  17. Shape from shading in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Qadri, Muhammad A J; Romero, L Michael; Cook, Robert G

    2014-11-01

    Birds behave as if they quickly and accurately perceive an object-filled visual world. Beyond the extensive research with pigeons, however, there is a large and important gap in our knowledge about the mechanisms of object perception and recognition in other avian visual systems. The pattern of shading reflected from the surfaces of objects is one important optical feature that provides fundamental information about shape. To better understand how surface and object shading is processed by a passerine species, 5 starlings were tested with differentially illuminated convex and concave curved surfaces in 3 experiments using a simultaneous visual discrimination procedure. Starlings rapidly learned this shape-from-shading discrimination independent of varied lighting direction, surface color, and camera perspective. Variations in the pattern of lighting through experimental manipulations of camera perspective, surface height, contrast, material specularity, and surface shape were consistent with the hypothesis that the starlings perceived these illuminated surfaces as having 3-dimensional shape, similar to results previously collected with pigeons. These similarities across different orders of birds indicate that the relative shading of objects in a visual scene is a highly salient feature for shape processing in birds and is likely a highly conserved visual process that is widely distributed within this class of animal. PMID:25111630

  18. Shape from Shading in Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Qadri, Muhammad A.; Romero, L. Michael; Cook, Robert G.

    2014-01-01

    Birds behave as if they quickly and accurately perceive an object-filled visual world. Beyond the extensive research with pigeons, however, there is a large and important gap in our knowledge about the mechanisms of object perception and recognition in other avian visual systems. The pattern of shading reflected from object surfaces is one important optical feature providing fundamental information about shape. To better understand how surface and object shading is processed by a passerine species, five starlings were tested with differentially illuminated convex and concave curved surfaces in three experiments using a simultaneous visual discrimination procedure. Starlings rapidly learned this shape-from-shading discrimination independent of varied lighting direction, surface color, and camera perspective. Variations in the pattern of lighting through experimental manipulations of camera perspective, surface height, contrast, material specularity, and surface shape were consistent with the hypothesis that the starlings perceived these illuminated surfaces as having three-dimensional shape, similar to results previously collected with pigeons. These similarities across different orders of birds indicate that the relative shading for objects in a visual scene is a highly salient feature for shape processing in birds and is likely a highly conserved visual process that is widely distributed within this class of animal. PMID:25111630

  19. The Perception of Glass Patterns by Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Qadri, Muhammad A. J.; Cook, Robert G.

    2014-01-01

    Glass patterns are structured dot stimuli used to investigate the visual perception of global form. Studies have demonstrated that humans and pigeons differ in their processing of circular versus linearly organized Glass patterns. To test whether this comparative difference is characteristic of birds as a phylogenetic class, we investigated for the first time how a passerine (starlings, Sturnus vulgaris) discriminated multiple Glass patterns from random dot stimuli in a simultaneous discrimination. Examining acquisition, steady-state performance, and the effects of diminishing global coherence, it was found that the perception of Glass patterns by five starlings differed from human perception and corresponded to that established with pigeons. This suggests an important difference in how birds and primates are specialized in their processing of circular visual patterns, perhaps related to face perception, or in how these highly visual animals direct attention to the global and local components of spatially separated form stimuli. PMID:25117091

  20. The perception of Glass patterns by starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Qadri, Muhammad A J; Cook, Robert G

    2015-06-01

    Glass patterns are structured dot stimuli used to investigate the visual perception of global form. Studies have demonstrated that humans and pigeons differ in their processing of circular versus linearly organized Glass patterns. To test whether this comparative difference is characteristic of birds as a phylogenetic class, we investigated for the first time how a passerine (starlings, Sturnus vulgaris) discriminated multiple Glass patterns from random-dot stimuli in a simultaneous discrimination. By examining acquisition, steady-state performance, and the effects of diminishing global coherence, it was found that the perception of Glass patterns by 5 starlings differed from human perception and corresponded to that established with pigeons. This suggests an important difference in how birds and primates are specialized in their processing of circular visual patterns, perhaps related to face perception, or in how these highly visual animals direct attention to the global and local components of spatially separated form stimuli. PMID:25117091

  1. Foraging rate versus sociality in the starling Sturnus vulgaris.

    PubMed Central

    Vásquez, R A; Kacelnik, A

    2000-01-01

    It is well established that social conditions often modify foraging behaviour, but the theoretical interpretation of the changes produced is not straightforward. Changes may be due to alterations of the foraging currency (the mathematical expression that behaviour maximizes) and/or of the available resources. An example of the latter is when both solitary and social foragers maximize rates of gain over time, but competition alters the behaviour required to achieve this, as assumed by ideal free distribution models. Here we examine this problem using captive starlings Sturnus vulgaris. Subjects had access to two depleting patches that replenished whenever the alternative patch was visited. The theoretical rate-maximizing policy was the same across all treatments, and consisted of alternating between patches following a pattern that could be predicted using the marginal value theorem (MVT). There were three treatments that differed in the contents of an aviary adjacent to one of the two patches (called the 'social' patch). In the control treatment, the aviary was empty, in the social condition it contained a group of starlings, and in a non-specific stimulus control it contained a group of zebra finches. In the control condition both patches were used equally and behaviour was well predicted by the MVT. In the social condition, starlings foraged more slowly in the social than in the solitary patch. Further, foraging in the solitary patch was faster and in the social patch slower in the social condition than in the control condition. Although these changes are incompatible with overall rate maximization (gain rate decreased by about 24% by self-imposed changes), if the self-generated gain functions were used the MVT was a good predictor of patch exploitation under all conditions. We discuss the complexities of nesting optimal foraging models in more comprehensive theoretical accounts of behaviour integrating functional and mechanistic perspectives. PMID:10687821

  2. Lesions to the medial preoptic nucleus differentially affect singing and nest box-directed behaviors within and outside of the breeding season in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Alger, Sarah J; Riters, Lauren V

    2006-12-01

    Little is known about how the brain regulates context-appropriate communication. European starlings produce song in various social contexts. During the breeding season, males with nest sites sing high levels of sexually motivated song in response to a female. Outside of this context, song rates are not affected by female presence. The medial preoptic nucleus (POM) regulates male sexual behavior, and studies in songbirds implicate the POM in sexually motivated song. Recent data suggest that the role of the POM might extend to song produced in other contexts as well. To examine this possibility, effects of bilateral electrolytic lesions of the POM on singing and other behaviors in adult male starlings within sexually relevant and nonsexual contexts were studied. Lesions to the POM exclusively reduced song and nest box-directed behaviors within highly sexually relevant contexts. Unexpectedly, POM lesions increased song in a nonsexual context, suggesting an inhibitory role for the POM in this context. These data suggest that the POM interacts with the song control system so that song occurs in an appropriate social context in response to appropriate stimuli. PMID:17201478

  3. Effects of predictable and unpredictable food restriction on the stress response in molting and non-molting European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Bauer, Carolyn M; Glassman, Laura W; Cyr, Nicole E; Romero, L Michael

    2011-11-01

    This study tested whether an ethologically relevant stressor, a three-week period of food restriction where food was unavailable for four hours a day, caused chronic stress in molting and non-molting captive European starlings. Although all birds increased weight during the Food Restriction period, only non-molting birds increased food intake. Morning baseline heart rates increased during the Food Restriction period and all birds showed a decrease in heart rate when food was absent from the cage. In non-molting birds, there were no differences in either baseline or stress-induced corticosterone (CORT) concentrations, whereas molting birds showed attenuated baseline CORT, stress-induced CORT, and fecal glucocorticoid metabolite levels over the Food Restriction period. Although several parameters, such as increased morning heart rate, are consistent with chronic stress, the majority of these data suggest that restricting food availability is not chronically stressful. Furthermore, making the timing of food removal less predictable by randomizing when food was removed during the day did not enhance any of the above responses, but did alter the frequency of maintenance and feeding behaviors. In conclusion, starlings appear resistant to developing symptoms of chronic stress from repeated food restriction. PMID:21801846

  4. Mu-opioid receptor densities are depleted in regions implicated in agonistic and sexual behavior in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) defending nest sites and courting females

    PubMed Central

    Kelm, Cynthia A.; Forbes-Lorman, Robin M.; Auger, Catherine J.; Riters, Lauren V.

    2010-01-01

    Social status and resource availability can strongly influence individual behavioral responses to conspecifics. In European starlings, males that acquire nest sites sing in response to females and dominate other males. Males without nest sites sing, but not to females, and they do not interact agonistically with other males. Little is known about the neural regulation of status- or resource-appropriate behavioral responses to conspecifics. Opioid neuropeptides are implicated in birdsong and agonistic behavior, suggesting that opioids may underlie differences in the production of these behaviors in males with and without nest sites. Here, we examined densities of immunolabeled mu-opioid receptors in groups of male starlings. Males that defended nest boxes dominated other males and sang at higher rates when presented with a female than males without nest boxes, independent of testosterone concentrations. Multiple regression analyses showed nest box ownership (not agonistic behavior or singing) predicted the optical density of receptor labeling in the medial bed nucleus of stria terminalis, paraventricular nucleus, ventral tegmental area and the medial preoptic nucleus. Compared to males without nest boxes, males with nest boxes had lower densities of immunolabeled mu-opioid receptors in these regions. Singing additionally predicted the area covered by labeling in the ventral tegmental area. The results suggest that elevated opioid activity in these regions suppresses courtship and agonistic behavioral responses to conspecifics in males without nest boxes. The findings are consistent with a dynamic role for opioid receptors in adjusting social behavior so that it is appropriate given the resources available to an individual. PMID:21147175

  5. Mu-opioid receptor densities are depleted in regions implicated in agonistic and sexual behavior in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) defending nest sites and courting females.

    PubMed

    Kelm, Cynthia A; Forbes-Lorman, Robin M; Auger, Catherine J; Riters, Lauren V

    2011-05-16

    Social status and resource availability can strongly influence individual behavioral responses to conspecifics. In European starlings, males that acquire nest sites sing in response to females and dominate other males. Males without nest sites sing, but not to females, and they do not interact agonistically with other males. Little is known about the neural regulation of status- or resource-appropriate behavioral responses to conspecifics. Opioid neuropeptides are implicated in birdsong and agonistic behavior, suggesting that opioids may underlie differences in the production of these behaviors in males with and without nest sites. Here, we examined densities of immunolabeled mu-opioid receptors in groups of male starlings. Males that defended nest boxes dominated other males and sang at higher rates when presented with a female than males without nest boxes, independent of testosterone concentrations. Multiple regression analyses showed nest box ownership (not agonistic behavior or singing) predicted the optical density of receptor labeling in the medial bed nucleus of stria terminalis, paraventricular nucleus, ventral tegmental area and the medial preoptic nucleus. Compared to males without nest boxes, males with nest boxes had lower densities of immunolabeled mu-opioid receptors in these regions. Singing additionally predicted the area covered by labeling in the ventral tegmental area. The results suggest that elevated opioid activity in these regions suppresses courtship and agonistic behavioral responses to conspecifics in males without nest boxes. The findings are consistent with a dynamic role for opioid receptors in adjusting social behavior so that it is appropriate given the resources available to an individual. PMID:21147175

  6. Aversion of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to garlic oil treated granules: garlic oil as an avian repellent. Garlic oil analysis by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Hile, Arla G; Shan, Zhixing; Zhang, Shao-Zhong; Block, Eric

    2004-04-21

    European starlings significantly reduced their consumption of a food mixture that was 50% food-grade garlic oil (GO)-impregnated granules, even after overnight food deprivation, as demonstrated by "one-choice" ("no-choice") tests. Food consumption during 3 h following overnight food deprivation was reduced by 61-65% compared to controls. By testing the same subjects with 25, 10, and 1% mixtures of granules in feed, it was shown that commercial GO granules were repellent to birds in lower concentrations, with more than a 50% decrease in feeding for birds presented with a 10% mixture of commercial GO granules in food and a 17% decrease for the 1% treatment. Products containing GO show considerable promise as inexpensive, environmentally benign, nonlethal bird repellents. In comparing various GO preparations used in this work, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic methods prove to be particularly useful for rapid quantitation of major and minor components without requiring fractionation or isolation procedures, which could adversely effect the less stable components. PMID:15080619

  7. Differential relationships between D1 and D2 dopamine receptor expression in the medial preoptic nucleus and sexually-motivated song in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    DeVries, M S; Cordes, M A; Stevenson, S A; Riters, L V

    2015-08-20

    Converging data in songbirds support a central role for the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) in motivational aspects of vocal production. Recent data suggest that dopamine in the POM plays a complex modulatory role in the production of sexually-motivated song and that an optimal level of dopamine D1 receptor stimulation is required to facilitate singing behavior. To further explore this possibility, we used quantitative real-time PCR to examine relationships between mRNA expression of D1 as well as D2 receptors in the POM (and also the lateral septum and Area X) and sexually-motivated singing behavior in male European starlings. Results showed that both males with the highest and lowest D1 expression in the POM sang significantly less than males with intermediate levels of expression. Furthermore, singing behavior rose linearly in association with increasing levels of D1 expression in POM but dropped abruptly, such that individuals with D1 expression values higher than the mean sang very little. Analysis of birds with low and intermediate levels of D1 expression in POM revealed strong positive correlations between D1 expression and song but negative relationships between D2 receptor expression and song. These findings support prior work suggesting an optimal level of POM D1 receptor stimulation best facilitates sexually-motivated singing behavior. Results also suggest that D2 receptors may work in opposition to D1 receptors in POM to modify vocal production. PMID:26079111

  8. Links between breeding readiness, opioid immunolabeling, and the affective state induced by hearing male courtship song in female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Riters, Lauren V.; Ellis, Jesse M. S.; Angyal, Caroline S.; Borkowski, Vincent; Cordes, Melissa A.; Stevenson, Sharon A.

    2013-01-01

    Male courtship vocalizations represent a potent signal designed to attract females; however, not all females find male signals equally attractive. We explored the possibility that the affective state induced by hearing courtship vocalizations depends on the motivational state of a receiver. We used a conditioned place preference test of reward to determine the extent to which the rewarding properties of hearing male courtship song differed in female European starlings categorized as nest box owners (a sign of breeding readiness) or non-owners. Nest box owners developed a preference for a chamber in which they previously heard male courtship song. Non-owners displayed no preference for a chamber in which they previously heard song. Positive correlations were identified between the preference a female developed for the song-paired chamber and female nesting and dominance behaviors observed prior to conditioning (indices of the motivation to breed). Immunolabeling for met-enkephalin (an opioid neuropeptide involved in reward) in the medial preoptic nucleus, ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus, nucleus accumbens, and periaqueductal gray was higher in females with compared to those without nest boxes. Both nest box entries and song-induced place preference also correlated positively with met-enkephalin labeling in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus. These findings indicate that the reward value of vocal signals is linked to individual differences in motivational state; and that differences in enkephalin activity may play a role in modifying an individual’s motivational state and/or the reward value of song. PMID:23473880

  9. Differential relationships between D1 and D2 dopamine receptor expression in the medial preoptic nucleus and sexually-motivated song in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    DeVries, M. S.; Cordes, M.A.; Stevenson, S.A.; Riters, L.V.

    2015-01-01

    Converging data in songbirds support a central role for the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) in motivational aspects of vocal production. Recent data suggest that dopamine in the POM plays a complex modulatory role in the production of sexually-motivated song and that an optimal level of dopamine D1 receptor stimulation is required to facilitate singing behavior. To further explore this possibility, we used quantitative real time PCR to examine relationships between mRNA expression of D1 as well as D2 receptors in the POM (and also the lateral septum and Area X) and sexually-motivated singing behavior in male European starlings. Results showed that both males with the highest and lowest D1 expression in the POM sang significantly less than males with intermediate levels of expression. Furthermore, singing behavior rose linearly in association with increasing levels of D1 expression in POM but dropped abruptly, such that individuals with D1 expression values higher than the mean sang very little. Analysis of birds with low and intermediate levels of D1 expression in POM revealed strong positive correlations between D1 expression and song but negative relationships between D2 receptor expression and song. These findings support prior work suggesting an optimal level of POM D1 receptor stimulation best facilitates sexually-motivated singing behavior. Results also suggest that D2 receptors may work in opposition to D1 receptors in POM to modify vocal production. PMID:26079111

  10. Links between breeding readiness, opioid immunolabeling, and the affective state induced by hearing male courtship song in female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Riters, Lauren V; Ellis, Jesse M S; Angyal, Caroline S; Borkowski, Vincent J; Cordes, Melissa A; Stevenson, Sharon A

    2013-06-15

    Male courtship vocalizations represent a potent signal designed to attract females; however, not all females find male signals equally attractive. We explored the possibility that the affective state induced by hearing courtship vocalizations depends on the motivational state of a receiver. We used a conditioned place preference test of reward to determine the extent to which the rewarding properties of hearing male courtship song differed in female European starlings categorized as nest box owners (a sign of breeding readiness) or non-owners. Nest box owners developed a preference for a chamber in which they previously heard male courtship song. Non-owners displayed no preference for a chamber in which they previously heard song. Positive correlations were identified between the preference a female developed for the song-paired chamber and female nesting and dominance behaviors observed prior to conditioning (indices of the motivation to breed). Immunolabeling for met-enkephalin (an opioid neuropeptide involved in reward) in the medial preoptic nucleus, ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus, nucleus accumbens, and periaqueductal gray was higher in females with compared to those without nest boxes. Both nest box entries and song-induced place preference also correlated positively with met-enkephalin labeling in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus. These findings indicate that the reward value of vocal signals is linked to individual differences in motivational state; and that differences in enkephalin activity may play a role in modifying an individual's motivational state and/or the reward value of song. PMID:23473880

  11. Sexually-motivated song is predicted by androgen-and opioid-related gene expression in the medial preoptic nucleus of male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Cordes, M.A.; Stevenson, S.A.; Driessen, T.M.; Eisinger, B.E.; Riters, L.V.

    2015-01-01

    Across vertebrates, communication conveys information about an individual’s motivational state, yet little is known about the neuroendocrine regulation of motivational aspects of communication. For seasonally breeding songbirds, increases in testosterone in spring stimulate high rates of sexually-motivated courtship song, though not all birds sing at high rates. It is generally assumed that testosterone or its metabolites act within the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) to stimulate the motivation to sing. In addition to androgen receptors (ARs) and testosterone, opioid neuropeptides in the POM influence sexually-motivated song production, and it has been proposed that testosterone may in part regulate song by modifying opioid systems. To gain insight into a possible role for androgen-opioid interactions in the regulation of communication we examined associations between sexually-motivated song and relative expression of ARs, mu opioid receptors (muORs), and preproenkephalin (PENK) in the POM (and other regions) of male European starlings using qPCR. Both AR and PENK expression in POM correlated positively with singing behavior, whereas muOR in POM correlated negatively with song. Furthermore, the ratio of PENK/muOR expression correlated negatively with AR expression in POM. Finally, in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), PENK expression correlated negatively with singing behavior. Results support the hypothesis that ARs may alter opioid gene expression in POM to fine-tune singing to reflect a male’s motivational state. Data also suggest that bidirectional relationships may exist between opioids and ARs in POM and song, and additionally support a role for opioids in the VTA, independent of AR activity in this region. PMID:25264575

  12. Sexually-motivated song is predicted by androgen-and opioid-related gene expression in the medial preoptic nucleus of male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Cordes, M A; Stevenson, S A; Driessen, T M; Eisinger, B E; Riters, L V

    2015-02-01

    Across vertebrates, communication conveys information about an individual's motivational state, yet little is known about the neuroendocrine regulation of motivational aspects of communication. For seasonally breeding songbirds, increases in testosterone in spring stimulate high rates of sexually-motivated courtship song, though not all birds sing at high rates. It is generally assumed that testosterone or its metabolites act within the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) to stimulate the motivation to sing. In addition to androgen receptors (ARs) and testosterone, opioid neuropeptides in the POM influence sexually-motivated song production, and it has been proposed that testosterone may in part regulate song by modifying opioid systems. To gain insight into a possible role for androgen-opioid interactions in the regulation of communication we examined associations between sexually-motivated song and relative expression of ARs, mu opioid receptors (muORs), and preproenkephalin (PENK) in the POM (and other regions) of male European starlings using qPCR. Both AR and PENK expression in POM correlated positively with singing behavior, whereas muOR in POM correlated negatively with song. Furthermore, the ratio of PENK/muOR expression correlated negatively with AR expression in POM. Finally, in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), PENK expression correlated negatively with singing behavior. Results support the hypothesis that ARs may alter opioid gene expression in POM to fine-tune singing to reflect a male's motivational state. Data also suggest that bidirectional relationships may exist between opioids and ARs in POM and song, and additionally support a role for opioids in the VTA, independent of AR activity in this region. PMID:25264575

  13. [Chewing lice (Phthiraptera: Ischnocera, Amblycera) of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris, L.) in Turkey].

    PubMed

    Dik, Bilal; Uslu, Uğur; Derinbay Ekici, Ozlem; Işik, Nermin

    2009-01-01

    This study was carried out in order to detect chewing lice species occurring on starlings (Sturnus vulgaris, L). For this purpose, 27 starlings which were shot and sent in nylon bags to our laboratory by hunters were inspected for lice. Nine lice specimens were collected from the starlings and they were preserved in vials separately in 70% alcohol. They were cleared in 10% KOH for one or two days and mounted on slides in Canada balsam. They were examined by light microscope and identified to species. Four (14.81%) of 27 starlings were found to be infested with lice. Four species were identified as Myrsidea cucullaris (Nitzsch, 1818), Brueelia nebulosa (Burmeister, 1838), Sturnidoecus sturni (Schrank, 1766) and Brueelia sp. All of them have been reported for the first time from starlings in Turkey.

  14. [Chewing lice (Phthiraptera: Ischnocera, Amblycera) of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris, L.) in Turkey].

    PubMed

    Dik, Bilal; Uslu, Uğur; Derinbay Ekici, Ozlem; Işik, Nermin

    2009-01-01

    This study was carried out in order to detect chewing lice species occurring on starlings (Sturnus vulgaris, L). For this purpose, 27 starlings which were shot and sent in nylon bags to our laboratory by hunters were inspected for lice. Nine lice specimens were collected from the starlings and they were preserved in vials separately in 70% alcohol. They were cleared in 10% KOH for one or two days and mounted on slides in Canada balsam. They were examined by light microscope and identified to species. Four (14.81%) of 27 starlings were found to be infested with lice. Four species were identified as Myrsidea cucullaris (Nitzsch, 1818), Brueelia nebulosa (Burmeister, 1838), Sturnidoecus sturni (Schrank, 1766) and Brueelia sp. All of them have been reported for the first time from starlings in Turkey. PMID:20101585

  15. Anatomical localization of the effects of reproductive state, castration, and social milieu on cells immunoreactive for gonadotropin-releasing hormone-I in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Stevenson, Tyler J; Ball, Gregory F

    2009-11-10

    Gonadotropin-releasing hormone-I (GnRH-I) cells are localized primarily to the septopreoptic area (POA) and are responsible for regulating gonadotropin release from the anterior pituitary. Some songbird species exhibit dramatic seasonal variation in the number of detectable GnRH-I immunoreactive cells, with higher numbers being observed during the breeding season. Here we investigated the anatomical distribution of GnRH-I-immunoreactive cells in male starlings that varied in response to manipulations of reproductive state, social context, and gonadal condition. We housed photostimulated, intact and castrated male starlings with a female or alone. Additionally, a fifth treatment group consisted of photorefractory males (i.e., in a nonreproductive state) housed alone. All photostimulated males had significantly greater numbers of GnRH-I cells compared with photorefractory male starlings. There was a significant main effect of castration and social context. Castrated males had significantly greater numbers of GnRH-I cells compared with intact males, and males housed in male-female dyads also had greater numbers of GnRH-I cells. Furthermore, the significant main effects of castration and social context were the result of an increase in GnRH-I cell numbers specifically in the rostral and intermediate regions of the POA. These findings indicate that social context and hormonal milieu have profound effects on GnRH-I immunoreactivity in addition to the previously described effects of reproductive state. These data provide novel insight into the environmental regulation of the hypothalamopituitary axis and suggest that gonadal hormones and female presence independently regulate GnRH-I cells in specific regions of the POA in male starlings. PMID:19731303

  16. Seasonal changes in courtship behavior, plasma androgen levels and in hypothalamic aromatase immunoreactivity in male free-living European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Pintér, Ottó; Péczely, Péter; Zsebok, Sándor; Zelena, Dóra

    2011-05-15

    In songbirds from temperate latitudes, singing during spring has an essential role in mate attraction, while during the non-breeding season it is connected to territorial aggression and/or maintaining dominance hierarchies or flock cohesion. Courtship behavior is regulated by plasma testosterone (T) levels. Other androgens, like dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) could be responsible for aggression. The aromatization of androgens in the brain is an essential step in mediating their effects on behavior. Our goal was to determine whether the seasonal changes in male courtship behavior (measured by average song bout length and wing-waving/flicking) are related to seasonal changes in androgen activity (measured by plasma T, DHEA levels) and aromatase (ARO) immunoreactivity in the preoptic area/medial preoptic nucleus (POA/POM) of free-living male starlings. DHEA increased during pair formation, decreased at nesting and remained at low levels. The number of ARO cells - in line with the T levels - increased during the courtship and nesting periods, but outside the breeding season it was low. Song bout length showed a similar pattern, namely the peak was reached during the courtship period, and after that males stopped singing when chicks started to hatch. Short and fast wing-flicking and wing-waving behavior was observed only during the breading season. Summarizing, we have found that song bout length of male starlings changes parallel with plasma T levels and ARO immunoreactivity in the POA/POM. Furthermore, DHEA levels were low during the sexually inactive period which suggests that other mechanisms could be involved in the aggressive non-courtship behavior/vocalization in these birds. PMID:21310152

  17. Photoperiodic differences in a forebrain nucleus involved in vocal plasticity: enkephalin immunoreactivity reveals volumetric variation in song nucleus lMAN but not NIf in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Stevenson, Tyler J; Ball, Gregory F

    2010-09-15

    Seasonal variation in the volume of various song control nuclei in many passerine species remains one of the best examples of naturally occurring adult neuroplasticity among vertebrates. The lateral portion of the magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (lMAN) is a song nucleus that is important for song learning and seems to be critical for inducing variability in the song structure that is later pruned via a feedback process to produce adult crystallized song. To date, lMAN has not been shown to exhibit seasonal changes in volume, probably because it is difficult to resolve the boundaries of lMAN when employing histological methods based on Nissl staining. Here, lMAN(core) volumes were examined in intact photostimulated (i.e., breeding), castrated photostimulated and photorefractory (i.e., nonbreeding) male starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to investigate the degree of seasonal variation in brain morphology. We present data demonstrating that the volumes of the total MAN and lMAN(core) delineated by enkephalin immunoreactivity are greater in photostimulated male starlings as compared to photorefractory males. Moreover, two other regions associated with the song system that have not been investigated previously in the context of seasonal plasticity namely (i) the medial portion of MAN (mMAN), and (ii) the nucleus interfacialis (NIf) did not display significant volumetric variation. We propose that greater lMAN(core) volumes are associated with the increase in vocal plasticity that is generally observed prior to production of stereotyped song.

  18. Photoperiodic differences in a forebrain nucleus involved in vocal plasticity: enkephalin immunoreactivity reveals volumetric variation in song nucleus lMAN but not NIf in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Stevenson, Tyler J; Ball, Gregory F

    2010-01-01

    Seasonal variation in the volume of various song control nuclei in many passerine species remains one of the best examples of naturally occurring adult neuroplasticity among vertebrates. The lateral portion of the magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (lMAN) is a song nucleus that is important for song learning and seems to be critical for inducing variability in the song structure that is later pruned via a feedback process to produce adult crystallized song. To date, lMAN has not been shown to exhibit seasonal changes in volume, probably because it is difficult to resolve the boundaries of lMAN when employing histological methods based on Nissl staining. Here, lMANcore volumes were examined in intact photostimulated (i.e. breeding), castrated photostimulated and photorefractory (i.e. non-breeding) male starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to investigate the degree of seasonal variation in brain morphology. We present data demonstrating that the volumes of the total MAN and lMANcore delineated by enkephalin immunoreactivity are greater in photostimulated male starlings as compared to photorefractory males. Moreover, two other regions associated with the song system that have not been investigated previously in the context of seasonal plasticity namely i) the medial portion of MAN (mMAN), and ii) the nucleus interfacialis (NIf) did not display significant volumetric variation. We propose that greater lMANcore volumes are associated with the increase in vocal plasticity which is generally observed prior to production of stereotyped song. PMID:20556824

  19. Photoperiodic differences in a forebrain nucleus involved in vocal plasticity: enkephalin immunoreactivity reveals volumetric variation in song nucleus lMAN but not NIf in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Stevenson, Tyler J; Ball, Gregory F

    2010-09-15

    Seasonal variation in the volume of various song control nuclei in many passerine species remains one of the best examples of naturally occurring adult neuroplasticity among vertebrates. The lateral portion of the magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (lMAN) is a song nucleus that is important for song learning and seems to be critical for inducing variability in the song structure that is later pruned via a feedback process to produce adult crystallized song. To date, lMAN has not been shown to exhibit seasonal changes in volume, probably because it is difficult to resolve the boundaries of lMAN when employing histological methods based on Nissl staining. Here, lMAN(core) volumes were examined in intact photostimulated (i.e., breeding), castrated photostimulated and photorefractory (i.e., nonbreeding) male starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to investigate the degree of seasonal variation in brain morphology. We present data demonstrating that the volumes of the total MAN and lMAN(core) delineated by enkephalin immunoreactivity are greater in photostimulated male starlings as compared to photorefractory males. Moreover, two other regions associated with the song system that have not been investigated previously in the context of seasonal plasticity namely (i) the medial portion of MAN (mMAN), and (ii) the nucleus interfacialis (NIf) did not display significant volumetric variation. We propose that greater lMAN(core) volumes are associated with the increase in vocal plasticity that is generally observed prior to production of stereotyped song. PMID:20556824

  20. Residues of organochlorine compounds in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), 1979

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cain, B.W.; Bunck, C.M.

    1983-01-01

    Starlings were collected for the National Pesticides Monitoring Program from 112 sites throughout the contiguous United States and analyzed for organochlorine compounds. Starling samples from 14 sites had greater than 1.0 ppm DDE residues with the highest DDE level being 15.8 ppm in a sample taken near Roswell, New Mexico. The occurrence of PCBs and chlordane isomers increased since the 1976 collection, but DDT, and dieldrin occurrences decreased. DDE and dieldrin levels decreased since the 1976 collection, but the level of PCBs has increased

  1. Nationwide residues of organochlorine compounds in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), 1976

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    White, D.H.

    1979-01-01

    Organochlorine pesticide and PCB residues in starlings from 126 sites within the contiguous 48 states were monitored during fall 1976. The average nationwide level of DDE and PCBs has increased significantly since 1974, but the number of sites reporting PCB residues has decreased fivefold. Dieldrin residues have remained unchanged since 1974. Highest DDE levels occurred in samples from parts of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Louisiana, and New Mexico.

  2. Effective use of tea to limit dietary iron available to starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Seibels, Bob; Lamberski, Nadine; Gregory, Christopher R; Slifka, Kerri; Hagerman, Ann E

    2003-09-01

    Wild-caught starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were fed an iron-enriched diet, with or without supplemental black tea leaves, to determine whether tea-derived tannins would prevent intestinal iron absorption. Hepatic biopsies were obtained to determine hepatic iron concentrations by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Hepatic iron concentrations increased significantly (P = 0.04) in 21 birds that consumed only the iron-enriched diet for 6 mo but not in the 20 birds that consumed the iron-enriched diet with tea leaf supplementation for the same time period. PMID:14582799

  3. Hemispheric specialization in the primary auditory area of awake and anesthetized starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    George, Isabella; Vernier, Baptiste; Richard, Jean-Pierre; Hausberger, Martine; Cousillas, Hugo

    2004-06-01

    Although evidence exists for a lateralization of song production, few studies have focused on the perceptual aspect of lateralization in songbirds. In the present study, the authors recorded neuronal responses to a variety of species-specific and artificial, nonspecific stimuli in both hemispheres of awake and anesthetized male starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Recordings were made in the primary auditory area of the songbird brain, the Field L complex. The right hemisphere exhibited significantly more responsive units than the left hemisphere in awake birds, and this difference was significantly reduced in anesthetized birds. Furthermore, clear hemispheric specialization toward categories of behaviorally relevant stimuli and precise parameters of these stimuli were found. The main auditory area of the starling's brain thus appears to show some degree of lateralization. PMID:15174938

  4. Use of dairies by postreproductive flocks of European starlings.

    PubMed

    Homan, H J; LeJeune, J T; Pearl, D L; Seamans, T W; Slowik, A A; Morasch, Mark R; Linz, G M

    2013-07-01

    Knowledge of the behavior and movement patterns of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris L.) is important to wildlife managers that seek to resolve conflicts at livestock facilities. We captured and radio tagged 10 starlings at each of 5 dairies in northeastern Ohio. From September 19 to October 31, 2007, we obtained sufficient data from 40 birds to study their behavior and movements. The birds visited the dairies where they were initially captured (home sites) on 85% of the days, spending 58% of each day at the dairies. Onsite arrival and departure times were 2.5h after sunrise and 3.1h before sunset. Daily visits by radio-tagged cohorts from the other dairies were greatest for the 2 most proximate dairies (1.3 km apart), with number of visits between this pairing >7× that of the 9 other pairings combined (4.1-6.5 km apart). Two birds used their home sites intermittently as roosts, arriving 3.8h before sunset and departing 0.2h after sunrise. In addition to using home-site roosts, these birds also used a distant roost (22km) that was used by 36 of the 40 birds. The efficacy of starling management programs, especially lethal management, depends on degree of site fidelity, use of other facilities, and roosting behavior. For example, starlings that use dairies as roosting sites may require a different management strategy than required at dairies used as daytime sites because of differences in arrival and departure behavior. Our research will help resource managers evaluate current management strategies already in place and change them, if needed, to fit the behavior profile of starlings using dairies and other types of livestock facilities. PMID:23684017

  5. Short photoperiod increases energy intake, metabolic thermogenesis and organ mass in silky starlings Sturnus sericeus

    PubMed Central

    WANG, Jia-Qi; WANG, Jia-Jia; WU, Xu-Jian; ZHENG, Wei-Hong; LIU, Jin-Song

    2016-01-01

    Environmental cues play important roles in the regulation of an animal’s physiology and behavior. One such cue, photoperiod, plays an important role in the seasonal acclimatization of birds. It has been demonstrated that an animal’s body mass, basal metabolic rate (BMR), and energy intake, are all affected by photoperiod. The present study was designed to examine photoperiod induced changes in the body mass, metabolism and metabolic organs of the silky starling, Sturnus sericeus. Captive silky starlings increased their body mass and BMR during four weeks of acclimation to a short photoperiod. Birds acclimated to a short photoperiod also increased the mass of certain organs (liver, gizzard and small intestine), and both gross energy intake (GEI) and digestible energy intake (DEI), relative to those acclimated to a long photoperiod. Furthermore, BMR was positively correlated with body mass, liver mass, GEI and DEI. These results suggest that silky starlings increase metabolic thermogenesis when exposed to a short photoperiod by increasing their body and metabolic organ mass, and their GEI and DEI. These findings support the hypothesis that bird species from temperate climates typically display high phenotypic flexibility in thermogenic capacity. PMID:27029864

  6. Drowning is an apparent and unexpected recurrent cause of mass mortality of Common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    PubMed Central

    Lawson, Becki; Duff, J. Paul; Beckmann, Katie M.; Chantrey, Julian; Peck, Kirsi M.; Irvine, Richard M.; Robinson, Robert A.; Cunningham, Andrew A.

    2015-01-01

    Drowning is infrequently reported as a cause of death of wild birds and such incidents typically involve individual, rather than multiple, birds. Over a 21-year period (1993 to 2013 inclusive), we investigated 12 incidents of mortality of multiple (2 − 80+) Common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in Great Britain that appeared to be due to drowning. More than ten birds were affected in ten of these reported incidents. These incidents always occurred during the spring and early summer months and usually involved juvenile birds. In all cases, circumstantial evidence and post-mortem examinations indicated drowning to be the most likely cause of death with no underlying disease found. A behavioural explanation seems likely, possibly related to the gregarious nature of this species combined with juvenile inexperience in identifying water hazards. A review of data from the ringed bird recovery scheme across Great Britain (1909–2013 inclusive) of both starlings and Common blackbirds (Turdus merula), also a common garden visitor, identified additional suspected drowning incidents, which were significantly more common in the former species, supporting a species predisposition to drowning. For each species there was a marked seasonal peak from April to August. Drowning should be included as a differential diagnosis when investigating incidents of multiple starling mortality, especially of juveniles. PMID:26601771

  7. Drowning is an apparent and unexpected recurrent cause of mass mortality of Common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Lawson, Becki; Duff, J Paul; Beckmann, Katie M; Chantrey, Julian; Peck, Kirsi M; Irvine, Richard M; Robinson, Robert A; Cunningham, Andrew A

    2015-01-01

    Drowning is infrequently reported as a cause of death of wild birds and such incidents typically involve individual, rather than multiple, birds. Over a 21-year period (1993 to 2013 inclusive), we investigated 12 incidents of mortality of multiple (2 - 80+) Common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in Great Britain that appeared to be due to drowning. More than ten birds were affected in ten of these reported incidents. These incidents always occurred during the spring and early summer months and usually involved juvenile birds. In all cases, circumstantial evidence and post-mortem examinations indicated drowning to be the most likely cause of death with no underlying disease found. A behavioural explanation seems likely, possibly related to the gregarious nature of this species combined with juvenile inexperience in identifying water hazards. A review of data from the ringed bird recovery scheme across Great Britain (1909-2013 inclusive) of both starlings and Common blackbirds (Turdus merula), also a common garden visitor, identified additional suspected drowning incidents, which were significantly more common in the former species, supporting a species predisposition to drowning. For each species there was a marked seasonal peak from April to August. Drowning should be included as a differential diagnosis when investigating incidents of multiple starling mortality, especially of juveniles. PMID:26601771

  8. Short photoperiod increases energy intake, metabolic thermogenesis and organ mass in silky starlings Sturnus sericeus.

    PubMed

    Wang, Jia-Qi; Wang, Jia-Jia; Wu, Xu-Jian; Zheng, Wei-Hong; Liu, Jin-Song

    2016-03-18

    Environmental cues play important roles in the regulation of an animal's physiology and behavior. One such cue, photoperiod, plays an important role in the seasonal acclimatization of birds. It has been demonstrated that an animal's body mass, basal metabolic rate (BMR), and energy intake, are all affected by photoperiod. The present study was designed to examine photoperiod induced changes in the body mass, metabolism and metabolic organs of the silky starling, Sturnus sericeus. Captive silky starlings increased their body mass and BMR during four weeks of acclimation to a short photoperiod. Birds acclimated to a short photoperiod also increased the mass of certain organs (liver, gizzard and small intestine), and both gross energy intake (GEI) and digestible energy intake (DEI), relative to those acclimated to a long photoperiod. Furthermore, BMR was positively correlated with body mass, liver mass, GEI and DEI. These results suggest that silky starlings increase metabolic thermogenesis when exposed to a short photoperiod by increasing their body and metabolic organ mass, and their GEI and DEI. These findings support the hypothesis that bird species from temperate climates typically display high phenotypic flexibility in thermogenic capacity. PMID:27029864

  9. Metabolic rate and evaporative water loss in the silky starling (Sturnus sericeus)

    PubMed Central

    Huan-Huan, BAO; Qing-Jian, LIANG; Hong-Lei, ZHU; Xiao-Qiu, ZHOU; Wei-Hong, ZHENG; Jin-Song, LIU

    2014-01-01

    To better understand the physiological characteristics of the silky starling (Sturnus sericeus), its body temperature (Tb), basal metabolic rate (BMR), evaporative water loss (EWL) and thermal conductance (C) elicited by different ambient temperatures (Ta) (5−30 ℃) were determined in the present study. Our results showed that they have a high Tb (41.6±0.1 ℃), a wide thermal neutral zone (TNZ) (20−27.5 ℃) and a relatively low BMR within the TNZ (3.37±0.17 mL O2/g·h). The EWL was nearly stable below the TNZ (0.91±0.07 mg H2O/g·h) but increased remarkably within and above the TNZ. The C was constant below the TNZ, with a minimum value of 0.14±0.01 mL O2/g·h·℃. These findings indicate that the BMR, Tb and EWL of the silky starling were all affected by Ta, especially when Ta was below 20 ℃ and the EWL plays an important role in thermal regulation. PMID:25017746

  10. Metabolic rate and evaporative water loss in the silky starling (Sturnus sericeus).

    PubMed

    Bao, Huan-Huan; Liang, Qing-Jian; Zhu, Hong-Lei; Zhou, Xiao-Qiu; Zheng, Wei-Hong; Liu, Jin-Song

    2014-07-01

    To better understand the physiological characteristics of the silky starling (Sturnus sericeus), its body temperature (Tb), basal metabolic rate (BMR), evaporative water loss (EWL) and thermal conductance (C) elicited by different ambient temperatures (Ta) (5-30 ℃) were determined in the present study. Our results showed that they have a high Tb (41.6 ± 0.1 ℃), a wide thermal neutral zone (TNZ) (20-27.5℃) and a relatively low BMR within the TNZ (3.37 ± 0.17 mL O₂/g·h). The EWL was nearly stable below the TNZ (0.91 ± 0.07 mg H₂O/g·h) but increased remarkably within and above the TNZ. The C was constant below the TNZ, with a minimum value of 0.14 ± 0.01 mL O₂/g·h·℃. These findings indicate that the BMR, Tb and EWL of the silky starling were all affected by Ta, especially when Ta was below 20 ℃ and the EWL plays an important role in thermal regulation.

  11. Efficacy of European starling control to reduce Salmonella enterica contamination in a concentrated animal feeding operation in the Texas panhandle

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are an invasive bird species known to cause damage to plant and animal agriculture. New evidence suggests starlings may also contribute to the maintenance and spread of diseases within livestock facilities. Identifying and mitigating the risk pathways that contribute to disease in livestock is necessary to reduce production losses and contamination of human food products. To better understand the impact starlings have on disease transmission to cattle we assessed the efficacy of starling control as a tool to reduce Salmonella enterica within a concentrated animal feeding operation. We matched a large facility, slated for operational control using DRC-1339 (3-chloro-4-methylaniline hydrochloride, also 3-chloro p-toluidine hydrochloride, 3-chloro-4-methylaniline), with a comparable reference facility that was not controlling birds. In both facilities, we sampled cattle feed, cattle water and cattle feces for S. enterica before and after starling control operations. Results Within the starling-controlled CAFO, detections of S. enterica contamination disappeared from feed bunks and substantially declined within water troughs following starling control operations. Within the reference facility, detections of S. enterica contamination increased substantially within feed bunks and water troughs. Starling control was not observed to reduce prevalence of S. enterica in the cattle herd. Following starling control operations, herd prevalence of S. enterica increased on the reference facility but herd prevalence of S. enterica on the starling-controlled CAFO stayed at pretreatment levels. Conclusions Within the starling-controlled facility detections of S. enterica disappeared from feed bunks and substantially declined within water troughs following control operations. Since cattle feed and water are obvious routes for the ingestion of S. enterica, starling control shows promise as a tool to help livestock producers manage

  12. Melatonin, immunity and cost of reproductive state in male European starlings.

    PubMed

    Bentley, G E; Demas, G E; Nelson, R J; Ball, G F

    1998-07-01

    The effects of reproductive condition and exogenous melatonin on immune function were investigated in castrated European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris. Photorefractory and photostimulated starlings exposed to long days were implanted with melatonin or with blank capsules. Photostimulated starlings with blank capsules exhibited reduced splenocyte proliferation in response to the T-cell mitogen, concanavalin A, compared with the other long-day birds. Exogenous melatonin prevented the suppression of immune function by photostimulation. Photorefractory starlings, with or without melatonin implants, exhibited enhanced immune function compared with photostimulated starlings implanted with blanks. This enhancement was not mediated by endogenous melatonin, but appeared to be related to changes in reproductive state. In addition to the traditional costs of reproduction in birds (e.g. raising of young), there may be a cost of the reproductive state of starlings (i.e. whether they are photorefractory or photostimulated). These data are, we believe, the first to indicate a direct effect of reproductive state on immune function that is independent of both photoperiod (i.e., changes in the duration of melatonin secretion) and gonadal steroids.

  13. Melatonin, immunity and cost of reproductive state in male European starlings.

    PubMed Central

    Bentley, G E; Demas, G E; Nelson, R J; Ball, G F

    1998-01-01

    The effects of reproductive condition and exogenous melatonin on immune function were investigated in castrated European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris. Photorefractory and photostimulated starlings exposed to long days were implanted with melatonin or with blank capsules. Photostimulated starlings with blank capsules exhibited reduced splenocyte proliferation in response to the T-cell mitogen, concanavalin A, compared with the other long-day birds. Exogenous melatonin prevented the suppression of immune function by photostimulation. Photorefractory starlings, with or without melatonin implants, exhibited enhanced immune function compared with photostimulated starlings implanted with blanks. This enhancement was not mediated by endogenous melatonin, but appeared to be related to changes in reproductive state. In addition to the traditional costs of reproduction in birds (e.g. raising of young), there may be a cost of the reproductive state of starlings (i.e. whether they are photorefractory or photostimulated). These data are, we believe, the first to indicate a direct effect of reproductive state on immune function that is independent of both photoperiod (i.e., changes in the duration of melatonin secretion) and gonadal steroids. PMID:9699312

  14. The ultrastructure of the epithelium of the ductuli efferentes testis in the common starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed Central

    Bellamy, S J; Kendall, M D

    1985-01-01

    The ductuli efferentes of male common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were prepared for light and electron microscopy. The epithelium of breeding birds was pseudostratified, consisting of ciliated cells, which were of the same type throughout the ductules, and of two types of non-ciliated cells: an electron-dense form with complex lateral invaginations, long microvilli and apical invaginations found in proximal ductuli efferentes (Type 1 a) and a less dense, taller, seemingly more secretory cell found distally (Type 1 b). Both types contained crystal-like structures in granular and transitional endoplasmic reticulum, which were occasionally seen in ciliated cells and not elsewhere. These 'intracisternal bodies' were probably proteinaceous in nature. The ciliated cells were typically more electron-lucent than the non-ciliated cells. They adopted the height and interdigitation characteristics of the surrounding epithelium. Occasional annulate lamellae were encountered. Intraepithelial lymphocytes were seen occasionally, notably in non-breeding birds. The epithelial morphology of the non-breeding common starling is briefly mentioned. The tubules were collapsed and apparently inactive, although signs of proliferative activity were seen in birds killed in February. The distinction of the epithelial cells into one ciliated and two non-ciliated types in this study is discussed in the light of previous work, as differences were found to exist. It is suggested that care should be taken in the use of mammalian tubule nomenclature when it is applied to birds. Images Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4 Figs. 5-6 Fig. 7 Fig. 8 Fig. 9 PMID:4077685

  15. The ultrastructure of the centroacinar cells within the pancreas of the starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed Central

    Williams, D W; Kendall, M D

    1982-01-01

    Tissues from the dorsal lobe of the pancreas of 8 starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were examined electron microscopically using conventionally prepared samples. Centroacinar cells were distinguished from exocrine pancreas cells by differences in size, shape, distribution, position and zymogen granule content. The centroacinar cells closely resembled ductal cells and were separated from them only by position. Both electron-lucent and electron-dense forms of centroacinar cells were observed. Centroacinar cells show a prominent single nucleus, often displaying at least one nucleolus, surrounded by cytoplasm in which lies a spectrum of both primary and secondary lysosomes, mitochondria which appear to have some tubulovesicular cristae amongst the predominating transverse cristae, a sparse para- or supranuclear Golgi apparatus, and variable populations of ribosomes and profiles of both rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum. Cell surface features include microvilli, 'blebs' and the occasional single cilium. Centroacinar cells are believed to be involved in electrolyte secretion although, from a study of their ultrastructure, the absence of beta cytomembranes with numerous mitochondria in their neighbourhood, would appear to contra-indicate the maintenance of an osmotic gradient between the extracellular fluid and any secretory product. Images Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4 Fig. 5 Fig. 6 Fig. 7 PMID:7130051

  16. European Starlings Are Capable of Discriminating Subtle Size Asymmetries in Paired Stimuli

    PubMed Central

    Swaddle, John P; Johnson, Charles W

    2007-01-01

    Small deviations from bilateral symmetry (fluctuating asymmetries) are cues to fitness differences in some animals. Therefore, researchers have considered whether animals use these small asymmetries as visual cues to determine appropriate behavioral responses (e.g., mate preferences). However, there have been few systematic studies of animals' abilities to visually discriminate such minor asymmetries. If the asymmetries cannot be discriminated, fluctuating asymmetry can not be a visual cue. Here, we report an investigation of European starlings' (Sturnus vulgaris) abilities to discriminate small size asymmetries. We trained starlings, through operant conditioning in a free-flight aviary, to discriminate achromatic, symmetric paired stimuli from size-matched asymmetric stimuli. By starting the learning process with a large asymmetry and progressing through sequential trials of decreasing asymmetry, we elucidated a behavioral limit to asymmetry discrimination. We found that starlings are capable of discriminating a 10% size asymmetry. There was weaker evidence for discrimination of 5% asymmetry but no evidence for signal discrimination at 2.5% size asymmetry. This level of asymmetry discrimination suggests that many size asymmetry cues in nature can be discriminated by birds. At each level of asymmetry discrimination, we also tested whether starlings could generalize their learned symmetry preference to unreinforced novel images. Consistent with previous findings, we found that starlings could generalize their symmetry preferences. PMID:17345950

  17. European starlings unriddle the ambiguous-cue problem.

    PubMed

    Vasconcelos, Marco; Monteiro, Tiago

    2014-01-01

    The ambiguous-cue problem is deceptively simple. It involves two concurrently trained simultaneous discriminations (known as PA and NA trials), but only three stimuli. Stimulus A is common to both discriminations, but serves as non-reinforced stimulus (S-) on PA trials and as reinforced stimulus (S+) on NA trials. Typically, animals' accuracy is lower on PA trials-the ambiguous-cue effect. We conducted two experiments with European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) using Urcuioli and Michalek's (2007, Psychon B Rev 14, 658-662) experimental manipulations as a springboard to test the predictions of two of the most important theoretical accounts of the effect: the interfering cue hypothesis and value transfer theory. Both experiments included two groups of birds, one trained with a regular ambiguous-cue problem (Group Continuous) and another trained with partial reinforcement on PA trials (Group PA-Partial). The experiments differed only in the number of sessions (18 vs. 36) and daily trials (360 vs. 60). As previously observed, we found faster acquisition on NA trials than on PA trials in both experiments, but by the end of training PA performance was surprisingly high, such that no ambiguous-cue effect was present in Group Continuous of either experiment. The effect was still present in both PA-Partial groups, but to a smaller degree than expected. These findings are inconsistent with the literature, in particular with the results of Urcuioli and Michalek (2007) with pigeons, and question the aforementioned theoretical accounts as complete explanations of the ambiguous-cue effect. In our view, to achieve such high levels of accuracy on PA trials, starlings must have attended to configural (i.e., contextual) cues, thus differentiating stimulus A when presented on PA trials from stimulus A when presented on NA trials. A post hoc simulation of a reinforcement-based configural model supported our assertion.

  18. Ectoparasitism and the role of green nesting material in the European starling

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fauth, P.T.; Krementz, D.G.; Hines, J.E.

    1991-01-01

    The use of green nesting material is wide-spread among birds. Recent evidence suggests that birds use secondary chemicals contained in green plants to control ectoparasites. We manipulated green nesting material and ectoparasites of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris ) to test two hypotheses: (1) ectoparasites adversely affect prefledging survival and morphometrics or postfledging survival, and (2) green nesting material ameliorates the effects of ectoparasites. We recorded fat score, number of scabs, tarsal length, body mass, and hematocrit level on each nestling 17 days after hatching. We also fitted each nestling with unique patagial tags and resighted the starlings for 6-8 weeks after fledging to estimate survival and sighting rates. Nests devoid of green nesting material and dusted with the insecticide, carbaryl, had fewer high ectoparasite infestations, and nestlings had significantly lower scab scores, and significantly higher body masses than nestlings in undusted boxes. However, there was no difference in postfledging survival between birds from carbaryl-treated and undusted nests.

  19. The accessory pancreatic ducts of the starling Sturnus vulgaris: an ultrastructural and light microscopic study.

    PubMed Central

    Vinnicombe, S J; Kendall, M D

    1983-01-01

    Wild starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were utilised for a study of the small accessory pancreatic ducts that pass from the pancreas to the loop of the duodenum. These ducts do not appear to have been described before in the literature. Each duct was composed of an epithelial lining of a main cell type, which had small numbers of two other cell types intermixed. A lamina propria consisting of a loose collagenous network, richly endowed with a thick nerve plexus, separated the epithelium from the muscle coat. The muscle consisted of inner longitudinal, middle transverse and outermost spiral layers. This was surrounded by a dense collagenous tunica adventitia, and the ducts were accompanied by large blood vessels. The main columnar cells of the epithelium had a strong PAS positivity, and an alcian blue-positive reaction at high molarities of magnesium chloride (greater than 0.5 M). This indicated the presence of mucopolysaccharides with a high degree of sulphation, such as heparan sulphate. Both of the staining reactions were limited to a fine apical surface reaction which probably did not extend into the cells themselves. At the electron microscope level it could be seen that the surface coat corresponded to a filamentous layer overlying short stubby microvilli on the apical surface of the epithelium. Numerous apical electron-dense inclusion granules did not appear to participate in the histochemical reaction. Comparisons of these findings with work on the main ducts of the pancreas in other species have been made and discussed. Images Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4 Fig. 5 Fig. 6 Fig. 7 Fig. 8 Fig. 9 Fig. 10 PMID:6630045

  20. Direct social contacts override auditory information in the song-learning process in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Poirier, Colline; Henry, Laurence; Mathelier, Maryvonne; Lumineau, Sophie; Cousillas, Hugo; Hausberger, Martine

    2004-06-01

    Social influence on song acquisition was studied in 3 groups of young European starlings raised under different social conditions but with the same auditory experience of adult song. Attentional focusing on preferred partners appears the most likely explanation for differences found in song acquisition in relation to experience, sex, and song categories. Thus, pair-isolated birds learned from each other and not from broadcast live songs, females did not learn from the adult male tutors, and sharing occurred more between socially associated peers. On the contrary, single-isolated birds clearly copied the adult songs that may have been the only source of attention stimulation. Therefore, social preference appears as both a motor for song learning and a potential obstacle for acquisition from nonpreferred partners, including adults. PMID:15250805

  1. Effects of arginine vasotocin (AVT) on the behavioral, cardiovascular, and corticosterone responses of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to crowding.

    PubMed

    Nephew, Benjamin C; Aaron, Robert S; Romero, L Michael

    2005-03-01

    Previous studies in European starlings have concluded that conspecific crowding can be a significant stressor that is capable of simultaneously altering behavior, heart rate, and corticosterone (CORT) concentrations. It was hypothesized that the peptide hormone arginine vasotocin (AVT) has a role in the regulation of these three types of responses to crowding. Four male and four female resident starlings were submitted to nine combinations of 3 crowding treatments (0, 1, or 5 intruder starlings) and 3 subcutaneous injections (1, 4 microg AVT, and saline control). Resident starlings were given a treatment injection, their heart rate and behavior were monitored for 30 min, 0, 1, or 5 intruder Starlings were allowed to enter the residents cage, and HR and behavior were monitored for another 30 min. Blood samples were taken before and after all treatments to assess CORT concentrations. Exogenous AVT decreased the frequency of maintenance behaviors (feeding, drinking, preening, and beak wiping), as well as activity in resident starlings. Although aggressive behaviors upright posture, head feather expansion, and pecking) increased during crowding, these increases were significantly attenuated by AVT. Heart rate was significantly lower during these behavioral effects, and the CORT data indicate that the cardiovascular and behavioral effects are not dependent on significant increases in CORT. These data support the hypothesis that AVT's attenuation of general behavior and crowding induced aggression are modulated by a cardiovascular mechanism. PMID:15708756

  2. Comparative response of nestling European starlings and red-winged blackbirds to an oral administration of either dimethoate or chlorpyrifos.

    PubMed

    Meyers, S M; Marden, B T; Bennett, R S; Bentley, R

    1992-07-01

    Red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus; blackbird) and European starling (Sturnus vulgaris; starling) nestlings were dosed with either 2.0 mg/kg body mass chlorpyrifos, 50.0 mg/kg body mass dimethoate, or a propylene glycol carrier in situ. Four growth measurements (body mass, culmen, tarsus, wing) were recorded from nestlings to determine if these organophosphorus compounds caused perturbations in development at sublethal concentrations. Blackbird nestlings were more sensitive to chlorpyrifos than starling nestlings were more sensitive to dimethoate than blackbird nestlings. This was in contrast to reported adult LD50 values where the reverse was true. Blackbird nestlings were more tolerant of a substantially higher concentration of dimethoate than the adult LD50. The sensitivity of starling nestlings to dimethoate was similar to adults. In contrast, juveniles of both species were more sensitive to chlorpyrifos than adults. After the initial 24 hr, surviving nestlings dosed with either chemical recovered and continued their development. Exposure to dimethoate caused significant depression in starling body mass during the initial 24 hr period. Survivors obtain body mass equal to controls within 48 hr post dosing. The research presented here demonstrates that the simple supposition that passerine nestlings are typically more sensitive to toxins than adults does not always hold true. It also indicates that sensitivity relationships among adults do not necessarily apply to their nestlings.

  3. European starlings recognize the location of robotic conspecific attention

    PubMed Central

    Butler, Shannon R.; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban

    2014-01-01

    Looking where others are allocating attention can facilitate social interactions by providing information about objects or locations of interest. We asked whether European starlings follow the orientation behaviour of conspecifics owing to their highly gregarious behaviour. Starlings reoriented their attention to follow that of a robot around a barrier more often than when the robot's attention was directed elsewhere. This is the first empirical evidence of reorienting in response to conspecific attention in a songbird. Starlings may use this behaviour to obtain fine-tuned spatial information from conspecifics (e.g. direction of predator approach, spatial location of food patches), enhancing group cohesion. PMID:25319821

  4. Plasma leptin during reproduction in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Leptin, a systemic hormone produced by adipocytes or fat cells, has been widely studied in mammals, and is known to play diverse roles in body mass regulation, immune function, reproduction, etc. However we know very little about avian leptin, especially in free-living birds; indeed, this remains a ...

  5. The nerves of the accessory pancreatic ducts of the common starling (Sturnus vulgaris): an ultrastructural and light microscopic study.

    PubMed Central

    McAllister, R M; Kendall, M D

    1984-01-01

    An ultrastructural and light microscopic study was undertaken to examine the nerves of the accessory pancreatic ducts of the starling (Sturnus vulgaris), previously noted (Vinnicombe, 1982) to have a particularly dense innervation. Large numbers of nerves were found in the ducts, predominantly in the lamina propria, and all contained exclusively unmyelinated axons. Probable neuron cell bodies were observed in the smooth muscle layer, but not in the lamina propria. Schwann cells invested all the axons, and these displayed terminal swellings in a 'synapse en passage' arrangement. The nerves of the lamina propria were most numerous in the region immediately beneath the epithelium and were present in the epithelial folds. One axon was observed to have penetrated the epithelial basal lamina and to lie between two epithelial cells. Examination of the terminal profiles and their contained synaptic vesicles showed the innervation to have probable pain afferent, cholinergic, adrenergic and perhaps peptidergic components. The results of this study were compared with reports on pancreatic duct innervation in other species, mostly as parts of wider studies on pancreatic innervation. Images Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4 PMID:6490527

  6. Identification of European starling GnRH-I precursor mRNA and its seasonal regulation.

    PubMed

    Ubuka, Takayoshi; Cadigan, Penelope A; Wang, Ariel; Liu, Jennifer; Bentley, George E

    2009-07-01

    Songbirds show dynamic seasonal changes in their reproductive activities during the year. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone-I (GnRH-I) is critical for the control of reproduction in vertebrates. The molecular mechanisms controlling reproduction are not well understood in songbirds, largely because the GnRH-I precursor polypeptide gene was unknown until now. Here, we report the complete sequence and seasonal regulation of GnRH-I precursor polypeptide mRNA in a songbird, European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). The translated starling GnRH-I precursor polypeptide contained an amino acid sequence that can be processed into chicken GnRH-I peptide (pEHWSYGLQPG-NH(2)). However, the overall homology of GnRH-I precursor polypeptide (including a 23 amino acid signal peptide, the decapeptide hormone and Gly-Lys-Arg cleavage site followed by 55 amino acid GnRH-associated peptide sequences) between starling and chicken was only 58%. GnRH-I mRNA and GnRH-I peptide were observed to be co-localized in the preoptic area of sexually mature birds using in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry. GnRH-I mRNA exhibited large variance in photosensitive birds, and converged to a high level in photostimulated birds. Subsequently, GnRH-I mRNA decreased to below detectability in most of the photorefractory birds. Changes were also observed in GnRH-I peptide levels, although changes in GnRH-I peptide were not as marked. Our data indicate that GnRH-I mRNA synthesis commences but is variable in photosensitive birds, stabilizes in photostimulated birds, then ceases when birds become photorefractory. Finer-scale investigation into temporal regulation of GnRH-I precursor polypeptide mRNA will provide insight into its regulation by environmental, social and physiological cues. PMID:19362556

  7. Distributed Recognition of Natural Songs by European Starlings

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Knudsen, Daniel; Thompson, Jason V.; Gentner, Timothy Q.

    2010-01-01

    Individual vocal recognition behaviors in songbirds provide an excellent framework for the investigation of comparative psychological and neurobiological mechanisms that support the perception and cognition of complex acoustic communication signals. To this end, the complex songs of European starlings have been studied extensively. Yet, several…

  8. Salmonella Detection and Aerobic Colony Count in Deep-Frozen Carcasses of House Sparrow (Passer Domesticus) and Starling (Sturnus Vulgaris) Intended for Human Consumption

    PubMed Central

    De Cesare, Alessandra; Braggio, Simonetta; Manfreda, Gerardo

    2014-01-01

    Wild birds are potential vehicles of zoonotic pathogen transmission to humans. The zoonotic concern increases for small wild birds like house sparrows (Passer domesticus) and starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) which are hunted in developing countries and commercialised in Italy for human consumption. From June to October 2011, 330 house sparrows and 140 starlings were hunted and slaughtered. Deep-frozen carcasses were transported to Italy and stored for 6-8 months at -18°C. Aerobic colony count and Salmonella detection in carcasses were assessed following standard microbiological methods (ISO 4833:2003 and ISO 6579:2004, respectively). Carcasses of house sparrows showed higher levels of aerobic bacteria in comparison to starling carcasses (5.7 vs 3.2 log10 CFU/g). Moreover, 7 out of 11 lots of carcasses of house sparrows were positive for Salmonella. Among the 18 isolates of Salmonella, 14 were S. Typhimurium, 2 were S. Enteritidis, and 2 were not distinguishable. All of them were susceptible to antibiotics. All tested carcasses of starling were Salmonella negative. Deep-freezing was not efficient as a decontamination technique on carcasses of house sparrows. PMID:27800336

  9. Avfail in color avoidance learning by starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus).

    PubMed

    Mason, J R; Arzt, A H; Reidinger, R F

    1985-12-01

    Certain unconditioned stimuli (UCS) in flavor avoidance learning sometimes become ineffective after pairings with relatively stronger UCS. This failure of avoidance learning (avfail) has been demonstrated only with rodents. The present investigations were conducted to determine whether avfail might also occur with avian species, the food selection of which is guided primarily by visual cues. In Experiment 1, starlings were given pairings of methiocarb (a relatively weak UCS) and LiCl (a relatively strong UCS). In Experiment 2, red-winged blackbirds were given pairings of two concentrations of methiocarb (relatively weak and relatively strong UCS, respectively). Pairings were followed by a conditioning trial (UCS gavage in the presence of a color cue) and two-choice tests. Conditioned avoidance was always observed except when methiocarb preceded LiCl and when the low preceded the high methiocarb dose in preconditioning pairings. Experiment 3 demonstrated that UCS habituation could not account for the results of Experiments 1 and 2. The data reflect avfail in the visual modality, and a biological implication of the results is that birds may not learn strong avoidance of aposematic prey containing varied levels of toxicant.

  10. Invasive species can't cover their tracks: using microsatellites to assist management of starling (Sturnus vulgaris) populations in Western Australia.

    PubMed

    Rollins, Lee Ann; Woolnough, Andrew P; Wilton, Alan N; Sinclair, Ron; Sherwin, William B

    2009-04-01

    Invasive species are known to cause environmental and economic damage, requiring management by control agencies worldwide. These species often become well established in new environments long before their detection, resulting in a lack of knowledge regarding their history and dynamics. When new invasions are discovered, information regarding the source and pathway of the invasion, and the degree of connectivity with other populations can greatly benefit management strategies. Here we use invasive common starling (Sturnus vulgaris) populations from Australia to demonstrate that genetic techniques can provide this information to aid management, even when applied to highly vagile species over continental scales. Analysis of data from 11 microsatellites in 662 individuals sampled at 17 localities across their introduced range in Australia revealed four populations. One population consisted of all sampling sites from the expansion front in Western Australia, where control efforts are focused. Despite evidence of genetic exchange over both contemporary and historical timescales, gene flow is low between this population and all three more easterly populations. This suggests that localized control of starlings on the expansion front may be an achievable goal and the long-standing practice of targeting select proximal eastern source populations may be ineffective on its own. However, even with low levels of gene flow, successful control of starlings on the expansion front will require vigilance, and genetic monitoring of this population can provide essential information to managers. The techniques used here are broadly applicable to invasive populations worldwide. PMID:19317845

  11. Assessment of concentrations and effects of organohalogen contaminants in a terrestrial passerine, the European starling.

    PubMed

    Eng, Margaret L; Williams, Tony D; Letcher, Robert J; Elliott, John E

    2014-03-01

    European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are a valuable model species for the assessment of concentrations and effects of environmental contaminants in terrestrial birds. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are found in birds throughout the world, but relatively little is known of their concentrations or effects in free-living terrestrial passerines. We used a nest box population of European starlings to 1) measure the variation in egg concentrations of persistent organohalogen contaminants at an agricultural site, and 2) assess whether individual variation in PBDE concentrations in eggs was related to reproductive parameters, as well as maternal or nestling characteristics including body condition, thyroid hormones, oxidative stress, and hematocrit. As PBDEs were the main contaminant class of interest, we only assessed a subset of eggs for other organohalogen contaminants to establish background concentrations. Exposure to organohalogen contaminants was extremely variable over this relatively small study area. Geometric mean wet weight concentrations (range in brackets) of the major contaminants were 36.5 (12-174) ng/g ΣDDT (n=6 eggs) and 10.9 (2-307) ng/g ΣPBDEs (n=14). ΣPCBs at 3.58 (1.5-6.4) ng/g (n=6) were lower and less variable. There were low levels of other organochlorine (OC) pesticides such as dieldrin (2.02 ng/g), chlordanes (1.11 ng/g) and chlorobenzenes (0.23 ng/g). The only form of DDT detected was p,p'-DDE. The congener profiles of PBDEs and PCBs reflect those of industrial mixtures (i.e. DE-71, Aroclors 1254, 1260 and 1262). For all of the contaminant classes, concentrations detected in eggs at our study site were below levels previously reported to cause effects. Due to small sample sizes, we did not assess the relationship between ΣPCBs or ΣOCs and adult or chick condition. We observed no correlative relationships between individual variation in PBDE concentrations in starling eggs and reproductive success, maternal condition, or nestling

  12. Postfledging survival of European starlings exposed as nestlings to an organophosphorus insecticide

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stromborg, K.L.; Grue, C.E.; Nichols, J.D.; Hepp, G.R.; Hines, J.E.; Bourne, H.C.

    1988-01-01

    To test the hypothesis that exposure to organophosphorus (OP) insecticides reduces postfledging survival of altricial birds, 16-d-old European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were weighed and orally dosed with corn oil containing 6.0 mg of dicrotophos per kilogram of body mass or an equivalent exposure of pure corn oil (controls). Two days later, each survivor was weighed again and patagially tagged for identification after fledging. Resightings of marked fledglings were made during weekly 2-d intensive observations yielding four estimates of postfledging survival. Before fledging, only OP-dosed birds died (18.5%), and OP-dosed survivors lost more mass (5.2%, P = .001) than controls (1.4%) but their masses on day 18 were only slightly lower (2% of control mean, P = .10). Brain cholinesterase activity, a sensitive indicator of OP exposure in birds, was depressed and average of 93% in OP-dosed nestlings that died compared to controls, and an average of 46% in OP-dosed nestlings alive on day 18. Age at fledging, postfledging survival, flocking behavior, and habitat use, however, did not differ between OP-dosed and control birds. The effects of the OP on the nestlings appeared to be rapid, to be reversible in survivors, and did not extend into the postfledging period. In addition, we found no relationship between body mass at fledging and postfledging survival.

  13. Female aggression and the maintenance of monogamy: female behaviour predicts male mating status in European starlings

    PubMed Central

    Sandell, M. I.

    1998-01-01

    Any reduction in the fitness of a breeding female induced by the settlement of additional females with her mate creates a conflict between the sexes over mating system. In birds, females are often aggressive towards other females but few studies have been able to quantify the importance of female-female aggression for the maintenance of monogamy. This study of the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris, quantifies male and female behaviour towards a potential prospecting female, presented in a cage during the pre-laying period, and relates it to the subsequent mating status of the male. A solitary breeding male was given the opportunity to attract an additional mate, which almost half of the males did. No biometric characters of the male or female were related to the subsequent mating status. Males demonstrated mate-attraction behaviour towards the caged female but the behaviour of the male did not predict the likelihood to attract an additional female. However, the proportion of time that the female spent near the potential settler was related to mating status, indicating that females that reacted more strongly towards a potential female competitor maintained their monogamous status. These results suggest that female behaviour may play an important role in shaping the mating system of facultatively polygynous species.

  14. Fibre architecture and song activation rates of syringeal muscles are not lateralized in the European starling

    PubMed Central

    Uchida, A. M.; Meyers, R. A.; Cooper, B. G.; Goller, F.

    2010-01-01

    The songbird vocal organ, the syrinx, is composed of two sound generators, which are independently controlled by sets of two extrinsic and four intrinsic muscles. These muscles rank among the fastest vertebrate muscles, but the molecular and morphological foundations of this rapid physiological performance are unknown. Here we show that the four intrinsic muscles in the syrinx of male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are composed of fast oxidative and superfast fibres. Dorsal and ventral tracheobronchialis muscles contain slightly more superfast fibres relative to the number of fast oxidative fibres than dorsal and ventral syringealis muscles. This morphological difference is not reflected in the highest, burst-like activation rate of the two muscle groups during song as assessed with electromyographic recordings. No difference in fibre type ratio was found between the corresponding muscles of the left and right sound generators. Airflow and electromyographic measurements during song indicate that maximal activation rate and speed of airflow regulation do not differ between the two sound sources. Whereas the potential for high-speed muscular control exists on both sides, the two sound generators are used differentially for modulation of acoustic parameters. These results show that large numbers of superfast fibre types are present in intrinsic syringeal muscles of a songbird, providing further confirmation of rapid contraction kinetics. However, syringeal muscles are composed of two fibre types which raises questions about the neuromuscular control of this heterogeneous muscle architecture. PMID:20228343

  15. Developmental and familial predictors of adult cognitive traits in the European starling

    PubMed Central

    Nettle, Daniel; Andrews, Clare P.; Monaghan, Pat; Brilot, Ben O.; Bedford, Thomas; Gillespie, Robert; Bateson, Melissa

    2015-01-01

    In birds, there is evidence that adult cognitive traits can both run in families and be affected by early developmental influences. However, different studies use different cognitive tasks, which may not be measuring the same traits, and also focus on different developmental factors. We report results from a study in which we administered multiple cognitive tasks (autoshaping, discrimination learning, reversal learning, progressive ratio schedule, extinction learning and impulsivity) to a cohort of 34 European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, for which several early developmental measures were available. The cohort consisted of siblings raised either apart or together, whose position in the size hierarchy of the rearing brood had been experimentally manipulated. We examined how the different cognitive measures covaried, the extent to which they ran in families, and which of the developmental factors predicted which of the cognitive outcomes. We found that discrimination and reversal learning speeds were positively correlated, as were breakpoint on the progressive ratio schedule and resistance to extinction. Otherwise, the cognitive measures were uncorrelated, suggesting that they reflected different underlying traits. All traits except discrimination and reversal learning speed ran in families to a substantial extent. Using a model selection approach, we found evidence that natal brood size and developmental telomere attrition (the extent to which the birds' erythrocyte telomeres shortened in early life, an integrative measure of developmental stress) were related to several adult cognitive measures. Results are discussed with respect to the best way of measuring avian cognitive abilities, and the utility of developmental telomere attrition as a predictor of adult outcomes. PMID:26405302

  16. Residues of organochlorine pesticides and polychloribiphenyls [sic] in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), from the continental United States, 1982

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bunck, C.M.; Prouty, R.M.; Krynitsky, A.J.

    1987-01-01

    Starlings were collected from 129 sites throughout the contiguous United States in the fall of 1982 and analyzed for organochlorine compounds as part of a nationwide monitoring program. Residues of 14 organochlorine compounds were found. Only DDE, polychlorobiphenyls (PCB), dieldrin, and heptachlor epoxide occurred in more than 50% of the lO-starling pools. Geographical variation in the occurrence of seven organochlorine compounds was noted. Mean DDE levels were higher in the southwestern United States. Mean PCB levels were higher in the eastern United States. The occurrence frequency of most organochlorines in 1982 was similar to that which was reported in the previous nationwide study in 1979. A slight increase in occurrence was noted for trans-nonachlor. Mean DDE level I in 1982 was similar to that of 1979. Mean PCB level in 1982 was lower than the 1979 mean, but this change may not reflect a decrease in environmental PCB levels.

  17. Photoperiodic Condition Is Associated with Region-Specific Expression of GNRH1 mRNA in the Preoptic Area of the Male Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)1

    PubMed Central

    Stevenson, Tyler J.; Bernard, Daniel J.; Ball, Gregory F.

    2009-01-01

    Many seasonally breeding avian species exhibit marked changes in hypothalamic content of gonadotropin-releasing vhormone 1 (GNRH1) protein that are reflective of breeding condition. We recently cloned the GNRH1 cDNA in European starlings and demonstrated that changes in GNRH1 mRNA levels occur with a time course similar to what has been observed with GNRH1 protein. However, we did not previously resolve whether these differences were attributable to changes in the number of cells expressing the gene. Herein, we investigated photoperiod-induced changes in the number and distribution of GNRH1 mRNA-expressing cells in the preoptic area of male starlings. GNRH1 mRNA-expressing cell number was significantly greater in breeding birds than in nonbreeding birds. Starlings maintained in short nonstimulatory day length (i.e., prebreeding) showed intermediate cell numbers. Detailed analysis of the rostrocaudal and mediolateral distribution revealed that breeding birds had greater numbers of cells expressing GNRH1 mRNA in the medial intermediate, mediocaudal, and lateral intermediate preoptic area compared with prebreeding and nonbreeding birds. These data demonstrate that photoperiodic changes in reproductive state in starlings are associated with region-specific alterations in the number of cells expressing the GNRH1 gene. It remains to be determined whether these changes reflect quantitative differences in gene expression among an otherwise stable population of cells or a phenotypic switch in which cells gain or lose the ability to make GNRH1 mRNA in response to environmental cues. PMID:19516022

  18. Photoperiodic condition is associated with region-specific expression of GNRH1 mRNA in the preoptic area of the male starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Stevenson, Tyler J; Bernard, Daniel J; Ball, Gregory F

    2009-10-01

    Many seasonally breeding avian species exhibit marked changes in hypothalamic content of gonadotropin-releasing vhormone 1 (GNRH1) protein that are reflective of breeding condition. We recently cloned the GNRH1 cDNA in European starlings and demonstrated that changes in GNRH1 mRNA levels occur with a time course similar to what has been observed with GNRH1 protein. However, we did not previously resolve whether these differences were attributable to changes in the number of cells expressing the gene. Herein, we investigated photoperiod-induced changes in the number and distribution of GNRH1 mRNA-expressing cells in the preoptic area of male starlings. GNRH1 mRNA-expressing cell number was significantly greater in breeding birds than in nonbreeding birds. Starlings maintained in short nonstimulatory day length (i.e., prebreeding) showed intermediate cell numbers. Detailed analysis of the rostrocaudal and mediolateral distribution revealed that breeding birds had greater numbers of cells expressing GNRH1 mRNA in the medial intermediate, mediocaudal, and lateral intermediate preoptic area compared with prebreeding and nonbreeding birds. These data demonstrate that photoperiodic changes in reproductive state in starlings are associated with region-specific alterations in the number of cells expressing the GNRH1 gene. It remains to be determined whether these changes reflect quantitative differences in gene expression among an otherwise stable population of cells or a phenotypic switch in which cells gain or lose the ability to make GNRH1 mRNA in response to environmental cues. PMID:19516022

  19. Influence of the number of repellent-treated and untreated food or water containers on intake by the European starling.

    PubMed

    Hile, Arla G; Tordoff, Michael G

    2005-08-01

    The availability of multiple sources of food and drink has a profound influence on choice behavior in rodents. It is not known how other taxa might respond to the same kind of variation in availability. We tested European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) with various combinations of unadulterated and repellent-treated (0.025% citronellyl acetate) resources. In Experiment 1, birds drank more plain than repellent-treated water than when given (a) 2 bottles of plain water and 2 of repellent-water, or (b) 3 bottles of plain water and 1 of repellent-water. However, they drank more repellent than water when given 3 bottles of repellent-water and 1 of plain water. Thus, the aversion to the repellent became indifference when repellent-water was abundant. In Experiment 2, birds ate more untreated than treated food when given (a) 1 cup of untreated food and 1 cup of treated food or (b) 2 cups of untreated food and 1 of treated food. They ate equal amounts of untreated and treated food when given 1 cup of untreated food and 2 cups of treated food. These results demonstrate the effect of relative availability on choice, and imply that availability should be considered when using repellents.

  20. Site-specific regulation of adult neurogenesis by dietary fatty acid content, vitamin E and flight exercise in European starlings.

    PubMed

    Hall, Zachary J; Bauchinger, Ulf; Gerson, Alexander R; Price, Edwin R; Langlois, Lillie A; Boyles, Michelle; Pierce, Barbara; McWilliams, Scott R; Sherry, David F; Macdougall-Shackleton, Scott A

    2014-03-01

    Exercise is known to have a strong effect on neuroproliferation in mammals ranging from rodents to humans. Recent studies have also shown that fatty acids and other dietary supplements can cause an upregulation of neurogenesis. It is not known, however, how exercise and diet interact in their effects on adult neurogenesis. We examined neuronal recruitment in multiple telencephalic sites in adult male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) exposed to a factorial combination of flight exercise, dietary fatty acids and antioxidants. Experimental birds were flown in a wind tunnel following a training regime that mimicked the bird's natural flight behaviour. In addition to flight exercise, we manipulated the composition of dietary fatty acids and the level of enrichment with vitamin E, an antioxidant reported to enhance neuronal recruitment. We found that all three factors - flight exercise, fatty acid composition and vitamin E enrichment - regulate neuronal recruitment in a site-specific manner. We also found a robust interaction between flight training and vitamin E enrichment at multiple sites of neuronal recruitment. Specifically, flight training was found to enhance neuronal recruitment across the telencephalon, but only in birds fed a diet with a low level of vitamin E. Conversely, dietary enrichment with vitamin E upregulated neuronal recruitment, but only in birds not flown in the wind tunnel. These findings indicate conserved modulation of adult neurogenesis by exercise and diet across vertebrate taxa and indicate possible therapeutic interventions in disorders characterized by reduced adult neurogenesis.

  1. Opposite Effects of Early-Life Competition and Developmental Telomere Attrition on Cognitive Biases in Juvenile European Starlings.

    PubMed

    Bateson, Melissa; Emmerson, Michael; Ergün, Gökçe; Monaghan, Pat; Nettle, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    Moods are enduring affective states that we hypothesise should be affected by an individual's developmental experience and its current somatic state. We tested whether early-life adversity, induced by manipulating brood size, subsequently altered juvenile European starlings' (Sturnus vulgaris) decisions in a judgment bias task designed to provide a cognitive measure of mood. We predicted that starlings from larger broods, specifically those that had experienced more nest competitors larger than themselves would exhibit reduced expectation of reward, indicative of a 'pessimistic', depression-like mood. We used a go/no-go task, in which 30 starlings were trained to probe a grey card disc associated with a palatable mealworm hidden underneath and avoid a different shade of grey card disc associated with a noxious quinine-injected mealworm hidden underneath. Birds' response latencies to the trained stimuli and also to novel, ambiguous stimuli intermediate between these were subsequently tested. Birds that had experienced greater competition in the nest were faster to probe trained stimuli, and it was therefore necessary to control statistically for this difference in subsequent analyses of the birds' responses to the ambiguous stimuli. As predicted, birds with more, larger nest competitors showed relatively longer latencies to probe ambiguous stimuli, suggesting reduced expectation of reward and a 'pessimistic', depression-like mood. However, birds with greater developmental telomere attrition--a measure of cellular aging associated with increased morbidity and reduced life-expectancy that we argue could be used as a measure of somatic state--showed shorter latencies to probe ambiguous stimuli. This would usually be interpreted as evidence for a more positive or 'optimistic' affective state. Thus, increased competition in the nest and poor current somatic state appear to have opposite effects on cognitive biases. Our results lead us to question whether increased

  2. Mechanisms of antimicrobial resistant Salmonella enterica transmission associated with starling-livestock interactions.

    PubMed

    Carlson, James C; Hyatt, Doreene R; Ellis, Jeremy W; Pipkin, David R; Mangan, Anna M; Russell, Michael; Bolte, Denise S; Engeman, Richard M; DeLiberto, Thomas J; Linz, George M

    2015-08-31

    Bird-livestock interactions have been implicated as potential sources for bacteria within concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO). European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in particular are known to contaminate cattle feed and water with Salmonella enterica through their fecal waste. We propose that fecal waste is not the only mechanisms through which starlings introduce S. enterica to CAFO. The goal of this study was to assess if starlings can mechanically move S. enterica. We define mechanical movement as the transportation of media containing S. enterica, on the exterior of starlings within CAFO. We collected 100 starlings and obtained external wash and gastrointestinal tract (GI) samples. We also collected 100 samples from animal pens. Within each pen we collected one cattle fecal, feed, and water trough sample. Isolates from all S. enterica positive samples were subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing. All sample types, including 17% of external starling wash samples, contained S. enterica. All sample types had at least one antimicrobial resistant (AMR) isolate and starling GI samples harbored multidrug resistant S. enterica. The serotypes isolated from the starling external wash samples were all found in the farm environment and 11.8% (2/17) of isolates from positive starling external wash samples were resistant to at least one class of antibiotics. This study provides evidence of a potential mechanism of wildlife introduced microbial contamination in CAFO. Mechanical movement of microbiological hazards, by starlings, should be considered a potential source of bacteria that is of concern to veterinary, environmental and public health. PMID:25960334

  3. Levels of PBDEs in plasma of juvenile starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) from British Columbia, Canada and assessment of PBDE metabolism by avian liver microsomes.

    PubMed

    Erratico, Claudio; Currier, Heidi; Szeitz, András; Bandiera, Stelvio; Covaci, Adrian; Elliott, John

    2015-06-15

    In this study, the levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), HO-PBDEs, and bromophenols were monitored in starling chick plasma samples collected in Delta (British Columbia, Canada) close to the Vancouver municipal landfill and in Glen Valley, a rural area in British Columbia. The in vitro formation of hydroxylated metabolites of 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-47) and 2,2',4,4',5-pentabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-99) was also investigated using starling chick liver microsomes. Total PBDE plasma levels were approximately 60 times higher in starling chicks from Delta than from Glen Valley, suggesting that the Delta site is a major source of PBDEs for the local population of starlings and that PBDEs previously measured in starling eggs are bioavailable to chicks. In both locations, BDE-47 and BDE-99 were the two major congeners present at similar concentrations, suggesting contamination with the Penta-BDE mixture. Among the several possible hydroxylated metabolites of PBDEs monitored in starling plasma, only 2,4,5-tribromophenol was detected and its levels did not exceed 18±7 pg/mL. Also, several hydroxylated metabolites of BDE-47 and BDE-99 were formed by starling chick liver microsomes, but in low amounts. Therefore, our data consistently suggest that oxidative metabolism of PBDEs in starling chicks proceeds at low rate in vivo and in vitro. In conclusion, the landfill located in Delta is a relevant source of bioavailable PBDEs for the local starling population. Because of the limited ability of starling chicks to metabolize PBDEs, these compounds are likely to bioaccumulate in starlings over time. The possible toxicological implications of PBDEs bioaccumulation in starlings are currently unknown and require further research. PMID:25747361

  4. Individual variation in parental workload and breeding productivity in female European starlings: is the effort worth it?

    PubMed Central

    Fowler, Melinda A; Williams, Tony D

    2015-01-01

    We analyzed individual variation in work load (nest visit rate) during chick-rearing, and the consequences of this variation in terms of breeding productivity, in a highly synchronous breeder, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) focusing on female birds. There was marked (10- to 16-fold) variation in total, female and male nest visit rates, among individuals, but individual variation in female nest visit rate was independent of environment (rainfall, temperature) and metrics of individual quality (laying date, clutch size, amount of male provisioning help), and was only weakly associated with chick demand (i.e., day 6 brood size). Female nest visit rate was independent of date and experimentally delayed birds provisioned at the same rate as peak-nesting birds; supporting a lack of effect of date per se. Brood size at fledging was positively but weakly related to total nest visit rate (male + female), with >fivefold variation in nest visit rate for any given brood size, and in females brood size at fledging and chick mass at fledging were independent of female nest visit rate, that is, individual variation in workload was not associated with higher productivity. Nevertheless, nest visit rate in females was repeatable among consecutive days (6–8 posthatching), and between peak (first) and second broods, but not among years. Our data suggest that individual females behave as if committed to a certain level of parental care at the outset of their annual breeding attempt, but this varies among years, that is, behavior is not fixed throughout an individual's life but represents an annually variable decision. We suggest females are making predictable decisions about their workload during provisioning that maximizes their overall fitness based on an integration of information on their current environment (although these cues currently remain unidentified). PMID:26380688

  5. Opposite Effects of Early-Life Competition and Developmental Telomere Attrition on Cognitive Biases in Juvenile European Starlings

    PubMed Central

    Bateson, Melissa; Emmerson, Michael; Ergün, Gökçe; Monaghan, Pat; Nettle, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    Moods are enduring affective states that we hypothesise should be affected by an individual’s developmental experience and its current somatic state. We tested whether early-life adversity, induced by manipulating brood size, subsequently altered juvenile European starlings’ (Sturnus vulgaris) decisions in a judgment bias task designed to provide a cognitive measure of mood. We predicted that starlings from larger broods, specifically those that had experienced more nest competitors larger than themselves would exhibit reduced expectation of reward, indicative of a ‘pessimistic’, depression-like mood. We used a go/no-go task, in which 30 starlings were trained to probe a grey card disc associated with a palatable mealworm hidden underneath and avoid a different shade of grey card disc associated with a noxious quinine-injected mealworm hidden underneath. Birds’ response latencies to the trained stimuli and also to novel, ambiguous stimuli intermediate between these were subsequently tested. Birds that had experienced greater competition in the nest were faster to probe trained stimuli, and it was therefore necessary to control statistically for this difference in subsequent analyses of the birds’ responses to the ambiguous stimuli. As predicted, birds with more, larger nest competitors showed relatively longer latencies to probe ambiguous stimuli, suggesting reduced expectation of reward and a ‘pessimistic’, depression-like mood. However, birds with greater developmental telomere attrition—a measure of cellular aging associated with increased morbidity and reduced life-expectancy that we argue could be used as a measure of somatic state—showed shorter latencies to probe ambiguous stimuli. This would usually be interpreted as evidence for a more positive or ‘optimistic’ affective state. Thus, increased competition in the nest and poor current somatic state appear to have opposite effects on cognitive biases. Our results lead us to question

  6. On the Estimation of Time Dependent Lift of a European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) during Flapping Flight

    PubMed Central

    Stalnov, Oksana; Ben-Gida, Hadar; Kirchhefer, Adam J.; Guglielmo, Christopher G.; Kopp, Gregory A.; Liberzon, Alexander; Gurka, Roi

    2015-01-01

    We study the role of unsteady lift in the context of flapping wing bird flight. Both aerodynamicists and biologists have attempted to address this subject, yet it seems that the contribution of unsteady lift still holds many open questions. The current study deals with the estimation of unsteady aerodynamic forces on a freely flying bird through analysis of wingbeat kinematics and near wake flow measurements using time resolved particle image velocimetry. The aerodynamic forces are obtained through two approaches, the unsteady thin airfoil theory and using the momentum equation for viscous flows. The unsteady lift is comprised of circulatory and non-circulatory components. Both approaches are presented over the duration of wingbeat cycles. Using long-time sampling data, several wingbeat cycles have been analyzed in order to cover both the downstroke and upstroke phases. It appears that the unsteady lift varies over the wingbeat cycle emphasizing its contribution to the total lift and its role in power estimations. It is suggested that the circulatory lift component cannot assumed to be negligible and should be considered when estimating lift or power of birds in flapping motion. PMID:26394213

  7. On the Estimation of Time Dependent Lift of a European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) during Flapping Flight.

    PubMed

    Stalnov, Oksana; Ben-Gida, Hadar; Kirchhefer, Adam J; Guglielmo, Christopher G; Kopp, Gregory A; Liberzon, Alexander; Gurka, Roi

    2015-01-01

    We study the role of unsteady lift in the context of flapping wing bird flight. Both aerodynamicists and biologists have attempted to address this subject, yet it seems that the contribution of unsteady lift still holds many open questions. The current study deals with the estimation of unsteady aerodynamic forces on a freely flying bird through analysis of wingbeat kinematics and near wake flow measurements using time resolved particle image velocimetry. The aerodynamic forces are obtained through two approaches, the unsteady thin airfoil theory and using the momentum equation for viscous flows. The unsteady lift is comprised of circulatory and non-circulatory components. Both approaches are presented over the duration of wingbeat cycles. Using long-time sampling data, several wingbeat cycles have been analyzed in order to cover both the downstroke and upstroke phases. It appears that the unsteady lift varies over the wingbeat cycle emphasizing its contribution to the total lift and its role in power estimations. It is suggested that the circulatory lift component cannot assumed to be negligible and should be considered when estimating lift or power of birds in flapping motion. PMID:26394213

  8. On the Estimation of Time Dependent Lift of a European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) during Flapping Flight.

    PubMed

    Stalnov, Oksana; Ben-Gida, Hadar; Kirchhefer, Adam J; Guglielmo, Christopher G; Kopp, Gregory A; Liberzon, Alexander; Gurka, Roi

    2015-01-01

    We study the role of unsteady lift in the context of flapping wing bird flight. Both aerodynamicists and biologists have attempted to address this subject, yet it seems that the contribution of unsteady lift still holds many open questions. The current study deals with the estimation of unsteady aerodynamic forces on a freely flying bird through analysis of wingbeat kinematics and near wake flow measurements using time resolved particle image velocimetry. The aerodynamic forces are obtained through two approaches, the unsteady thin airfoil theory and using the momentum equation for viscous flows. The unsteady lift is comprised of circulatory and non-circulatory components. Both approaches are presented over the duration of wingbeat cycles. Using long-time sampling data, several wingbeat cycles have been analyzed in order to cover both the downstroke and upstroke phases. It appears that the unsteady lift varies over the wingbeat cycle emphasizing its contribution to the total lift and its role in power estimations. It is suggested that the circulatory lift component cannot assumed to be negligible and should be considered when estimating lift or power of birds in flapping motion.

  9. Variation in plasma leptin-like immunoreactivity in free-living European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Leptin, a protein hormone secreted by fat cells, is best known for its role as an adiposity signal; however, leptin has diverse physiological roles ranging from regulation of feeding behavior and body weight, to effects on reproduction and immune function. Although leptin has been extensively studi...

  10. Mites infesting two migratory birds, Coturnix c. coturnix (quail or Simmaan) and Sturnus v. vulgaris (starling or zarzuur) with reference to avian zoonosis.

    PubMed

    Mazyad, S A; Morsy, T A; Fekry, A A; Farrag, A M

    1999-01-01

    Birds are a marvelous group of creatures. Their beautiful coloration, singing, dancing and their attractive ways of life offer great pleasure to birdwatcher. Egypt is one of the most important countries of migratory birds. Not less than 300 species of birds visit Egypt annually from allover the world. The mite fauna of two migratory birds was studied in North Sinai Governorate and Suez Canal Zone. Thirty-one species of mites were recovered from quail and 39 from starling. Both types of birds serve hosts for 26 species of mites. Besides, five species were only recovered from quail and 13 species from starling. These totaled 44 species belonging to 30 families of three suborders (Mesostigmata, Trombidiformes and Sarcoptidiformes). The mite index on quail ranged between 1.0 to 5.0 in North Sinai G. and 1.0 to 17.0 in Suez Canal Z. The mite index on starling ranged between 1.0 to 4.75 in North Sinai G. and 1.0 to 4.5 in Suez Canal Z. Sixteen of the recovered species of mites were not recorded before on the Egyptian resident birds (house sparrow and laughing dove). The medical and veterinary importance of avian zoonosis was discussed. It is hoped to stimulate the awareness to migratory birds as reservoir hosts for microorganisms and parasites from allover the world. Besides, there is an urgent need to protect the resident and the visiting birds.

  11. First record of metacestodes of Mesocestoides sp. in the common starling (Sturnus vulgaris) in Europe, with an 18S rDNA characterisation of the isolate.

    PubMed

    Literák, Ivan; Olson, Peter D; Georgiev, Boyko B; Spakulová, Marta

    2004-03-01

    Metacestodes of Mesocestoides sp. were recorded from Sturnus vulgaris (Passeriformes: Stumidae) in the Czech Republic in April 2002. They were found in a cutaneous cyst and in the thoracic region of the body cavity of the bird. This is the first record of metacestodes of Mesocestoides sp. in this host species in Europe as well as the first finding of the formation of a cutaneous cyst provoked by this parasite. Additional specimens from Apodemus agrarius (Mammalia: Rodentia) from Bulgaria and Lacerta agilis (Reptilia: Squamata) from the Czech Republic were compared with that from S. vulgaris. Sequence data from the V4 variable region (18S rDNA) were used to compare genetic variability among these and previously characterized isolates of Mesocestoides spp. A number of distinct clades were recognized, with metacestodes from L. agilis showing the highest degree of relative divergence. PMID:15139376

  12. Neurotensin neural mRNA expression correlates with vocal communication and other highly-motivated social behaviors in male European starlings.

    PubMed

    Merullo, Devin P; Cordes, Melissa A; Susan DeVries, M; Stevenson, Sharon A; Riters, Lauren V

    2015-11-01

    Vocalizations coordinate social interactions in many species and often are important for behaviors such as mate attraction or territorial defense. Although the neural circuitry underlying vocal communication is well-known for some animal groups, such as songbirds, the motivational processes that regulate vocal signals are not as clearly understood. Neurotensin (NT) is a neuropeptide implicated in motivation that can modulate the activity of dopaminergic neurons. Dopaminergic projections from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are key to mediating highly motivated, goal-directed behaviors, including sexually-motivated birdsong. However, the role of NT in modifying vocal communication or other social behaviors has not been well-studied. Here in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) we analyzed relationships between sexually-motivated song and NT and NT1 receptor (NTSR1) expression in VTA. Additionally, we examined NT and NTSR1 expression in four regions that receive dopaminergic projections from VTA and are involved in courtship song: the medial preoptic nucleus (POM), the lateral septum (LS), Area X, and HVC. Relationships between NT and NTSR1 expression and non-vocal courtship and agonistic behaviors were also examined. NT expression in Area X positively related to sexually-motivated song production. NT expression in POM positively correlated with non-vocal courtship behavior and agonistic behavior. NT expression in POM was greatest in males owning nesting sites, and the opposite pattern was observed for NTSR1 expression in LS. These results are the first to implicate NT in Area X in birdsong, and further highlight NT as a potential neuromodulator for the control of vocal communication and other social behaviors.

  13. Seasonal differences in the secretion of luteinising hormone and prolactin in response to N-methyl-DL-aspartate in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Dawson, A

    2005-02-01

    In birds, unlike mammals, seasonal changes in reproductive function are associated with marked changes in the amount of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) stored in the hypothalamus. Prolonged exposure to long photoperiods leads to photorefractoriness after the breeding season. Photorefractory birds have low hypothalamic concentrations of chicken GnRH-I (cGnRH-I). Exposure to short photoperiods results in renewed cGnRH-I synthesis and increased hypothalamic stores. Birds are then photosensitive and subsequent exposure to an increase in photoperiod results in increased cGnRH-I secretion and gonadal maturation. However, it is unclear whether the reverse is true at the time of gonadal regression during long photoperiods (i.e. that a decrease in GnRH-I synthesis precedes regression). Hypothalamic stores of cGnRH-I, and possibly therefore of releasable GnRH-I, decrease after regression. Single injections of the glutamate agonist N-methyl-DL-aspartate (NMA) were used as a probe to assess releasable stores of cGnRH-I in male starlings at four physiologically different reproductive stages. Treatment induced the greatest increase in luteinising hormone (LH) in photosensitive birds in January, and a slight increase in sexually mature birds in April. There was a slight but significant increase in June, immediately after testicular regression, but no increase in fully photorefractory birds in September. These data confirm that photorefractoriness is associated with a lack of releasable cGnRH-I, but that decreased synthesis of cGnRH-I is not the proximate cause of regression. There was an increase in prolactin in response to NMA at all times. The magnitude of the response was proportional to pre-treatment concentrations, with the greatest response in June. It is suggested that high circulating prolactin may fine-tune the timing of gonadal regression in advance of the inhibition of cGnRH-I synthesis. PMID:15796761

  14. Molecular characterization of Salmonella enterica isolates associated with starling-livestock interactions.

    PubMed

    Carlson, James C; Hyatt, Doreene R; Bentler, Kevin; Mangan, Anna M; Russell, Michael; Piaggio, Antoinette J; Linz, George M

    2015-08-31

    Bird-livestock interactions have been implicated as potential sources for bacteria within concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO). In this study we characterized XbaI-digested genomic DNA from Salmonella enterica using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The PFGE analysis was conducted using 182 S. enterica isolates collected from a single CAFO between 2009 and 2012. Samples collected in 2012 were subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing. The analysis was limited to S. enterica serotypes, with at least 10 isolates, known to occur in both European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and cattle (Bos taurus) within this CAFO. A total of five different serotypes were screened; S. Anatum, S. Kentucky, S. Meleagridis, S. Montevideo, S. Muenchen. These samples were recovered from five different sample types; starling gastrointestinal tracts (GI), starling external wash, cattle feces, cattle feed and cattle water troughs. Indistinguishable S. enterica PFGE profiles were recovered from isolates originating in all sample types. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was also associated with indistinguishable S. enterica isolates recovered from all samples types. These data suggests that AMR S. enterica is transmitted between cattle and starlings and that shared feed sources are likely contributing to infections within both species. Moreover we isolated indistinguishable PFGE profiles across all years of data collection, suggesting long-term environmental persistence may be mediated by starling visits to CAFO. PMID:25866128

  15. Stereotyping starlings are more 'pessimistic'.

    PubMed

    Brilot, Ben O; Asher, Lucy; Bateson, Melissa

    2010-09-01

    Negative affect in humans and animals is known to cause individuals to interpret ambiguous stimuli pessimistically, a phenomenon termed 'cognitive bias'. Here, we used captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to test the hypothesis that a reduction in environmental conditions, from enriched to non-enriched cages, would engender negative affect, and hence 'pessimistic' biases. We also explored whether individual differences in stereotypic behaviour (repetitive somersaulting) predicted 'pessimism'. Eight birds were trained on a novel conditional discrimination task with differential rewards, in which background shade (light or dark) determined which of two covered dishes contained a food reward. The reward was small when the background was light, but large when the background was dark. We then presented background shades intermediate between those trained to assess the birds' bias to choose the dish associated with the smaller food reward (a 'pessimistic' judgement) when the discriminative stimulus was ambiguous. Contrary to predictions, changes in the level of cage enrichment had no effect on 'pessimism'. However, changes in the latency to choose and probability of expressing a choice suggested that birds learnt rapidly that trials with ambiguous stimuli were unreinforced. Individual differences in performance of stereotypies did predict 'pessimism'. Specifically, birds that somersaulted were more likely to choose the dish associated with the smaller food reward in the presence of the most ambiguous discriminative stimulus. We propose that somersaulting is part of a wider suite of behavioural traits indicative of a stress response to captive conditions that is symptomatic of a negative affective state. PMID:20464439

  16. Behavioural response of European starlings exposed to video playback of conspecific flocks: effect of social context and predator threat.

    PubMed

    Zoratto, Francesca; Manzari, Leonardo; Oddi, Ludovica; Pinxten, Rianne; Eens, Marcel; Santucci, Daniela; Alleva, Enrico; Carere, Claudio

    2014-03-01

    We studied the behavioural response of European starlings to a socially mediated predation event. Adult starlings were exposed to either a video of a flock attacked by a peregrine falcon or a video of a flock not under attack. We investigated whether the social condition affected the anti-predator response under the hypothesis that in such a gregarious species singletons would increase their anti-predator behaviour more than individuals in groups, to compensate for potential increased risk. The video of the flock under attack caused an increase in immobility and vigilance, more marked in singletons, both during and after the exposure. The video of the non-threatened flock caused an increase in activity levels, especially during the exposure. Furthermore, we observed a marked increase in comfort activities in singletons as well as in social interactions and vocalizations in mini-flocks. Only birds in mini-flocks vocalized, which may be explained by an audience effect, a process of social cognition mediated by the social context, and not only by the stimulus. The results are in line with previous field studies, which showed that isolated starlings are exposed to a higher risk of predation compared to individuals in flocks. PMID:24468212

  17. Spatio-temporal variation in European starling reproductive success at multiple small spatial scales

    PubMed Central

    Brickhill, Daisy; Evans, Peter GH; Reid, Jane M

    2015-01-01

    Understanding population dynamics requires spatio-temporal variation in demography to be measured across appropriate spatial and temporal scales. However, the most appropriate spatial scale(s) may not be obvious, few datasets cover sufficient time periods, and key demographic rates are often incompletely measured. Consequently, it is often assumed that demography will be spatially homogeneous within populations that lack obvious subdivision. Here, we quantify small-scale spatial and temporal variation in a key demographic rate, reproductive success (RS), within an apparently contiguous population of European starlings. We used hierarchical cluster analysis to define spatial clusters of nest sites at multiple small spatial scales and long-term data to test the hypothesis that small-scale spatio-temporal variation in RS occurred. RS was measured as the number of chicks alive ca. 12 days posthatch either per first brood or per nest site per breeding season (thereby incorporating multiple breeding attempts). First brood RS varied substantially among spatial clusters and years. Furthermore, the pattern of spatial variation was stable across years; some nest clusters consistently produced more chicks than others. Total seasonal RS also varied substantially among spatial clusters and years. However, the magnitude of variation was much larger and the pattern of spatial variation was no longer temporally consistent. Furthermore, the estimated magnitude of spatial variation in RS was greater at smaller spatial scales. We thereby demonstrate substantial spatial, temporal, and spatio-temporal variation in RS occurring at very small spatial scales. We show that the estimated magnitude of this variation depended on spatial scale and that spatio-temporal variation would not have been detected if season-long RS had not been measured. Such small-scale spatio-temporal variation should be incorporated into empirical and theoretical treatments of population dynamics. PMID:26380670

  18. Flying starlings, PET and the evolution of volant dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Gold, Maria Eugenia Leone; Schulz, Daniela; Budassi, Michael; Gignac, Paul M; Vaska, Paul; Norell, Mark A

    2016-04-01

    Birds have evolved behavioral and morphological adaptations for powered flight. Many aspects of this transition are unknown, including the neuroanatomical changes that made flight possible [1]. To understand how the avian brain drives this complex behavior, we utilized positron emission tomography (PET) scanning and the tracer (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) to document regional metabolic activity in the brain associated with a variety of locomotor behaviors. FDG studies are typically employed in rats [2] though the technology has been applied to birds [3]. We examined whole-brain function in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), trained to fly in a wind tunnel while metabolizing the tracer. Drawing on predictions from early anatomical studies [4], we hypothesized increased metabolic activity in the Wulst and functionally related visual brain regions during flight. We found that flight behaviors correlated positively with entopallia and Wulst activity, but negatively with thalamic activity. PMID:27046806

  19. Effects of dietary aluminum, calcium, and phosphorus on egg and bone of European starlings

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miles, A.K.; Grue, C.E.; Pendleton, G.W.; Soares, J.H.

    1993-01-01

    Egg and bone of passerine birds nesting in acidified habitats may be affected by high levels of Al or P, or low levels of Ca. Nine treatments of three levels of dietary Al (target levels of 200, 1,000, and 5,000 ?g/g) and three levels of Ca:P (target levels of NN = 1.3% Ca: 0.9% P; LL = 0.19 Ca:0.45 P; LH = 0.19 Ca:1.65 P) were fed to 16-17 starling pairs during two breeding seasons. Eggs of starlings fed the LH diet were smaller and weighed less than eggs from the NN and LL treatments. Treatment effects on thickness, strength, and weight of eggshells were not consistent between seasons, probably because of differences in actual dietary levels of AI, Ca, and P or in incubation intervals. In one season, birds fed the highest Al diet had thicker eggshells than those from the other Al treatments (no effect from Ca:P); the following season, eggshells from the NN and LH treatments were thicker and stronger than those from the LL treatment. Eggshells from the NN treatment weighed more than those from the other Ca:P treatments. Starlings on the LH diet had the strongest femurs, but the effect was interactive with different levels of dietary AI. Effects of Ca:P on egg and bone were more evident than Al effects.

  20. A starling-deterrent wood duck nest box

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McGilvrey, F.B.; Uhler, F.M.

    1971-01-01

    In many parts of the United States, the starling (Sturnus vulgaris) has I become a serious competitor for nest boxes erected for wood ducks (Aix sponsa). Research at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge near Rock Hall, Maryland, demonstrated that horizontal nest structures with semicircular entrance holes 11 inches in diameter were acceptable to nesting wood ducks but discouraged nesting by starlings. Starlings seemed to prefer boxes in open impoundments to those in wooded impoundments, whereas wood ducks seemed to show no preference.

  1. Pharmacological manipulations of dopamine and opioids have differential effects on sexually motivated song in male European starlings.

    PubMed

    Schroeder, Molly B; Riters, Lauren V

    2006-07-30

    Vocal communication is common among social vertebrates, though little is known about the neural mechanisms regulating the motivation to communicate. This study examined a possible role for dopamine and opioids in sexually motivated song in male European starlings. The dopamine reuptake inhibitor GBR-12909 increased singing behavior, whereas the D1 dopamine receptor antagonist SCH-23390 decreased song, suggesting a role for dopamine in the motivation to sing. In contrast, the opioid agonist fentanyl decreased song, and the antagonist naloxone has previously been shown to increase song, findings consistent with a role for opioids in reward associated with song production. These results suggest that dopamine and opioids play opposing roles in the regulation of the motivation to communicate. PMID:16784760

  2. Neural endocannabinoid CB1 receptor expression, social status, and behavior in male European starlings.

    PubMed

    DeVries, M Susan; Cordes, Melissa A; Rodriguez, Jonathan D; Stevenson, Sharon A; Riters, Lauren V

    2016-08-01

    Many species modify behavior in response to changes in resource availability or social status; however, the neural mechanisms underlying these modifications are not well understood. Prior work in male starlings demonstrates that status-appropriate changes in behavior involve brain regions that regulate social behavior and vocal production. Endocannabinoids are ubiquitously distributed neuromodulators that are proposed to play a role in adjusting behavior to match social status. As an initial step to provide insight into this hypothesis we observed flocks of male starlings in outdoor aviaries during the breeding season. We used quantitative real-time PCR to measure expression of endocannabinoid CB1 receptors in brain regions involved in social behavior and motivation (lateral septum [LS], ventral tegmental area [VTA], medial preoptic nucleus [POM]) and vocal behavior (Area X and robust nucleus of the arcopallium; RA). Males with nesting sites sang to females and displaced other males more than males without nesting sites. They also had higher levels of CB1 receptor expression in LS and RA. CB1 expression in LS correlated positively with agonistic behaviors. CB1 expression in RA correlated positively with singing behavior. CB1 in VTA also correlated positively with singing when only singing birds were considered. These correlations nicely map onto the well-established role of LS in agonistic behavior and the known role of RA in song production and VTA in motivation and song production. Studies are now needed to precisely characterize the role of CB1 receptors in these regions in the production of status-appropriate social behaviors. PMID:27206544

  3. Molecular epidemiology and public health relevance of Campylobacter isolated from dairy cattle and European starlings in Ohio, USA.

    PubMed

    Sanad, Yasser M; Closs, Gary; Kumar, Anand; LeJeune, Jeffrey T; Rajashekara, Gireesh

    2013-03-01

    Dairy cattle serve as a potential source for Campylobacter infection in humans. Outbreaks associated with consumption of either Campylobacter contaminated raw milk or contaminated milk after treatment were previously recorded in the United States. Further, starlings have been implicated in the spread of bacterial pathogens among livestock. Here, we determined the prevalence, genotypic, and phenotypic properties of Campylobacter isolated from fecal samples of dairy cattle and starlings found on the same establishment in northeastern Ohio. Campylobacter were detected in 83 (36.6%) and 57 (50.4%) out of 227 dairy and 113 starling fecal samples, respectively. Specifically, 79 C. jejuni, five C. coli, and two other Campylobacter spp. were isolated from dairy feces, while all isolates from starlings (n=57) were C. jejuni. Our results showed that the prevalence of C. jejuni in birds was significantly (p<0.01) higher than that in dairy cattle. The pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis showed that C. jejuni were genotypically diverse and host restricted; however, there were several shared genotypes between dairy cattle and starling isolates. Likewise, many shared clonal complexes (CC) between dairy cattle and starlings were observed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) analysis. As in humans, both in cattle and starlings, the CC 45 and CC 21 were the most frequently represented CCs. As previously reported, CC 177 and CC 682 were restricted to the bird isolates, while CC 42 was restricted to dairy cattle isolates. Further, two new sequence types (STs) were detected in C. jejuni from dairy cattle. Interestingly, cattle and starling C. jejuni showed high resistance to multiple antimicrobials, including ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, and gentamicin. In conclusion, our results highlight starlings as potential reservoirs for C. jejuni, and they may play an important role in the epidemiology of clinically important C. jejuni in dairy population.

  4. Reward associated with singing behavior correlates with opioid-related gene expression in the medial preoptic nucleus in male European starlings.

    PubMed

    Riters, Lauren V; Stevenson, Sharon A; DeVries, M Susan; Cordes, Melissa A

    2014-01-01

    Birdsong consists of species-specific learned vocal sequences that are used primarily to attract mates and to repel competitors during the breeding season. However, many birds continue to sing at times when vocal production has no immediate or obvious impact on conspecific behavior. The mechanisms that ensure that animals produce important behaviors in contexts in which the function of these behaviors is not immediate or obvious are not known. One possibility is that animals engage in such behaviors because they are associated with pleasure. Here we examined the hypothesis that male European starlings sing outside of the breeding season in part because the act of singing in this context is facilitated and/or maintained by opioid-mediated reward. We measured song-associated reward using a conditioned place preference (CPP) test in male starlings producing fall, non-breeding season-typical song. We used quantitative real time PCR to measure expression of the enkephalin opioid precursor preproenkephalin (PENK) and mu opioid receptors (MOR) in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM; a region in which opioids are implicated in both reward and starling fall song) and additionally the song control region HVC as a control. Starlings developed a strong preference for a place that had been paired previously with the act of producing fall-typical song, indicating that fall song production was associated with a positive affective state. Both PENK and MOR mRNA expression in the POM, but not HVC, correlated positively with both individual reward state (as reflected in CPP) and undirected singing behavior. These results suggest that singing induces opioid receptor and enkephalin expression in the POM and consequent reward, and/or that opioid release in the POM induced by individual or environmental factors (e.g., the presence of food, safety of a flock or the absence of predators) induces a positive affective state which then facilitates singing behavior. PMID:25521590

  5. Absence of circannual toxicity of parathion to starlings

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rattner, B.A.; Grue, C.E.

    1990-01-01

    Ambient temperature and season have been observed to influence the toxicity of several environmental pollutants in homeotherms. The circannual toxicity of ethyl parathion (EP) was examined in adult European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Groups of birds housed in outdoor pens received oral doses of EP (20-150 mg/kg body weight) in fall, winter, spring and summer (temperature range -3.3 to 36.7?C). The median lethal dosage (LD50), and brain and plasma cholinesterase inhibition, were found to be quite similar among seasons. There was some suggestion that EP may have been more toxic during hot weather (winter versus summer LD50 estimate [95% confidence interval]:160 [114-225] vs. 118 [102-136] mg/kg; P<0.10). In view of previous reports in which ambient temperature extremes and harsh weather have enhanced organophosphorus insecticide toxicity to birds, it is concluded that circannual toxicity studies should include measures of sensitivity (acute oral exposure) and vulnerability (dietary exposure) to better predict responses of free-ranging birds

  6. Social cues regulate reciprocal switching of hypothalamic Dio2/Dio3 and the transition into final follicle maturation in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Perfito, Nicole; Guardado, Daisy; Williams, Tony D; Bentley, George E

    2015-02-01

    With final maturation of ovarian follicles, birds are committed to a major energetic investment: egg laying. Follicles develop in a 2-step process: 1) initial development of regressed follicles stimulated by long days and 2) yolk incorporation into hierarchical follicles, ovulation, and oviposition. We know little about how females transduce environmental cues into neuroendocrine signals regulating the second step. The present study measures gene expression in tissues within the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis. Females were housed in seminatural enclosures experiencing natural changes in photoperiod and environmental cues (eg, temperature, rainfall, etc), without males or with constant access to males (January to April). By April, females with males had begun to lay eggs, whereas those without males had not. In a second study, females without males for 3.5 months were then given access to males for 7 days. Restricting male access completely inhibited final follicle maturation, whereas 7-day male access stimulated full vitellogenesis and follicle maturation. Few gene expression changes were attributable to constant male access (January to March), but naïve females given 7-day male access had increased type 2 deiodinase (DIO2) and decreased DIO3 synthesis in the hypothalamus, potentially influencing local thyroid hormone metabolism, increased expression of LH receptor and aromatase in follicles and vitellogenin in liver. Our data suggest that initial follicle development may be more heavily influenced by photoperiod, but the second step (final maturation) is sensitive to other cues such as social interactions. This is the first demonstration of a social effect on the Dio2/Dio3 system, previously thought only responsive to photoperiod cues. PMID:25490148

  7. Extrapolating laboratory avian toxicity data to free-living birds: Comparison of the toxicity of parathion to captive and free-living European starlings

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grue, C.E.; Rattner, B.A.; Bunck, C.M.

    1993-01-01

    In 1985 and 1986, we captured nesting wild female European starlings with young 8-10 days of age. Birds were weighted, banded, and given one of four dosages of the OP insecticide parathion (50, 72, 104 or 150 mg/kg dissolved in corn oil) or pure corn-oil (control). and their young weighed. Nest boxes (7- 12/treatment) were observed and young re-weighed 2-3 days postdose to determine presence/absence of the females. If necessary, males were captured and fate of young used to confirm female response. Brain ChE inhibition in dosed birds (based on a pilot study) was 55-74%. EC50's (failure to return to nest box) for the females was 74 mg/kg in 1985 and 92 mg/kg in 1986. Confidence limit (95%) for these estimates overlapped LD50's for captive female starlings dosed with the OP in spring and early summer 1987 (136, 128 mg/kg, respectively). Results suggest that responses of captive and free-living birds to potentially lethal concentrations of OP's are similar, despite the additional stresses in the wild.

  8. Context-Dependent Preferences in Starlings: Linking Ecology, Foraging and Choice

    PubMed Central

    Vasconcelos, Marco; Monteiro, Tiago; Kacelnik, Alex

    2013-01-01

    Foraging animals typically encounter opportunities that they either pursue or skip, but occasionally meet several alternatives simultaneously. Behavioural ecologists predict preferences using absolute properties of each option, while decision theorists focus on relative evaluations at the time of choice. We use European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to integrate ecological reasoning with decision models, linking and testing hypotheses for value acquisition and choice mechanism. We hypothesise that options' values depend jointly on absolute attributes, learning context, and subject's state. In simultaneous choices, preference could result either from comparing subjective values using deliberation time, or from processing each alternative independently, without relative comparisons. The combination of the value acquisition hypothesis and independent processing at choice time has been called the Sequential Choice Model. We test this model with options equated in absolute properties to exclude the possibility of preference being built at the time of choice. Starlings learned to obtain food by responding to four stimuli in two contexts. In context [AB], they encountered options A5 or B10 in random alternation; in context [CD], they met C10 or D20. Delay to food is denoted, in seconds, by the suffixes. Observed latency to respond (Li) to each option alone (our measure of value) ranked thus: LA≈LCStarlings preferred A5 over C10 and C10 over B10. There was no detectable evaluation time, and preference magnitude was predictable from latency differentials. This implies that value reflects learning rather than choice context, that preferences are not constructed by relative judgements at the time of choice, and that mechanisms

  9. Circadian behavioral and melatonin rhythms in the European starling under light-dark cycles with steadily changing periods: evidence for close mutual coupling?

    PubMed

    Kumar, Vinod; Van't Hof, Thomas J; Gwinner, Eberhard

    2007-11-01

    In European starlings exposed to constant conditions, circadian rhythms in locomotion and feeding can occasionally exhibit complete dissociation from each other. Whether such occasional dissociation between two behavioral rhythms reflects on the strength of the mutual coupling of their internal oscillators has not been investigated. To examine this, as well as to elucidate the role of melatonin in this system, we simultaneously measured the rhythms of locomotion, feeding and melatonin secretion in starlings exposed to light-dark (LD) cycles of low intensity with steadily changing periods (T). In birds initially entrained to T 24 LD cycles (12L:12D, 10:0.2 lx), beginning on day 15, T was either lengthened to 26.5 h (experiment 1) or shortened to T 21.5 h (experiment 2) by changing the daily dark period 4 min each day. After 18 and 19 cycles of T 26.5 and T 21.5, respectively, birds were released into constant dim light conditions (LL(dim); 0.2 lx) for about 2 weeks. Locomotor and feeding rhythms were continuously recorded. Plasma melatonin levels were measured at three times: in T 24, when T equaled 26 or 22 h and at the end of T 26.5 or T 21.5 exposure. The results show that, contrary to our expectations, the three rhythms were not dissociated. Rather they remained synchronized and changed their phase angle difference with the light zeitgeber concomitantly and at the same rate. The melatonin rhythm stayed in synchrony with the behavioral rhythms and as a consequence, peaked either during day or at night, depending on the phase relationship between the activity rhythm and the zeitgeber cycle.

  10. A longitudinal study of feed contamination by European starling excreta in Ohio dairy farms (2007-2008).

    PubMed

    Medhanie, G A; Pearl, D L; McEwen, S A; Guerin, M T; Jardine, C M; Schrock, J; LeJeune, J T

    2014-01-01

    The objectives of this study were to understand the temporal pattern of contamination of cattle feed by starling excrement on dairy farms and to evaluate the temporal pattern in recovering Escherichia coli O157:H7 or Salmonella in relation to the absolute mass of excrement recovered. A longitudinal study was conducted on 15 dairy farms in Ohio from July 2007 to October 2008. One open-topped tray filled with bird feed was placed near a cattle feeding site; bird excrement from the tray was weighed monthly for 12 consecutive months. Linear regression models with a random intercept for farm were computed to examine the association between the absolute weight of excrement recovered each month or the farm-specific standard score for weight of excrement, and month or season. Exact logistic regression was used to determine whether an association between recovering E. coli O157:H7 or Salmonella was present and the amount of excrement recovered and season. A spatial scan statistic was used to test for evidence of space-time clustering of excrement, based on the standard score for the weight of the excrement, among our study farms. A total of 5 of 179 excrement samples (2.79%) were positive for E. coli O157:H7 and 2 (1.12%) were positive for Salmonella. A significantly higher level of contamination with excrement was observed during the winter. The odds of recovering a pathogen increased with the amount of excrement recovered and decreased if the excrement was collected in the winter. A spatio-temporal cluster of contamination with excrement was detected. These findings provide basic information for future quantitative microbial risk assessments concerning the role of starlings in spreading enteric pathogens on dairy farms.

  11. Effects of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene on immune function and mixed-function oxygenase activity in the European starling

    SciTech Connect

    Trust, K.A.; Hooper, M.J. . Inst. of Wildlife and Environmental Toxicology); Fairbrother, A. . Environmental Research Lab.)

    1994-05-01

    Immune function and hepatic MFO activity were examined in adult and nestling starlings administered a synthetic PAH, 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA). Methods used to examine the starling immune system included immunopathology, macrophage phagocytosis, lymphocyte blastogenesis to concanavalin A, and hemagglutination of sheep erythrocytes (SRBC). Concomitant investigations of MFO activity were conducted in starlings exposed to DMBA. Ethoxyresorufin O-dealkylase (EROD) and pentoxyresorufin O-depentylase (PROD) were used as indicators of hepatic MFO activity. Changes in MFO activity were compared to chemically altered immune responses following DMBA exposure. Subcutaneous exposure of adult starlings to 125 mg/kg DMBA resulted in suppression of lymphocyte blastogenesis and antibody production to SRBC. EROD and PROD activity were increased 2.8- and 3.4-fold, respectively. Lymphocyte blastogenesis was impaired in adult starlings orally exposed to 125 mg/kg DMBA. The immune system of nestling starlings exposed orally to 100 mg/kg DMBA was altered, as evidenced by decreased phagocytic ability of macrophages and inhibition of lymphocyte blastogenesis. Oral exposure to DMBA did not induce MFO activity in starlings of either age class. Effects of DMBA on immune function and MFO activity in starlings varied with the age of birds and route and length of chemical exposure.

  12. Winter habitat associations of blackbirds and starlings wintering in the south-central United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Matthew Strassburg,; Crimmins, Shawn M.; George M. Linz,; McKann, Patrick C.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.

    2015-01-01

    Birds can cause extensive crop damage in the United States. In some regions, depredating species comprise a substantial portion of the total avian population, emphasizing their importance both economically and ecologically. We used the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count data from the south-central United States and mixed-effects models to identify habitat factors associated with population trend and abundance for 5 species: red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula), rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus), Brewer’s blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus), and European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Overall, we found positive associations between bird abundance and agricultural land-cover for all species. Relationships between abundance and other land-cover types were species-specific, often with contrasting relationships among species. Likewise, we found no consistent patterns among abundance and climate. Of the 5 species, only red-winged blackbirds had a significant population trend in our study area, increasing annually by 2.4%. There was marginal evidence to suggest population increases for rusty blackbirds, whereas all other species showed no trend in population size within our study area. Our study provides managers who are interested in limiting crop damage in the south-central United States with novel information on habitat associations in the region that could be used to improve management and control actions.

  13. Developmental telomere attrition predicts impulsive decision-making in adult starlings

    PubMed Central

    Bateson, Melissa; Brilot, Ben O.; Gillespie, Robert; Monaghan, Pat; Nettle, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    Animals in a poor biological state face reduced life expectancy, and as a consequence should make decisions that prioritize immediate survival and reproduction over long-term benefits. We tested the prediction that if, as has been suggested, developmental telomere attrition is a biomarker of state and future life expectancy, then individuals who have undergone greater developmental telomere attrition should display greater choice impulsivity as adults. We measured impulsive decision-making in a cohort of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in which we had previously manipulated developmental telomere attrition by cross-fostering sibling chicks into broods of different sizes. We show that as predicted by state-dependent optimality models, individuals who had sustained greater developmental telomere attrition and who had shorter current telomeres made more impulsive foraging decisions as adults, valuing smaller, sooner food rewards more highly than birds with less attrition and longer telomeres. Our findings shed light on the biological embedding of early adversity and support a functional explanation for its consequences that could be applicable to other species, including humans. PMID:25473012

  14. Nationwide residues of mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and selenium in starlings, 1973

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    White, D.H.; Bean, J.R.; Longcore, J.R.

    1977-01-01

    Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) collected in 1973 at 51 sites throughout the continental United States were analyzed for mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and selenium. All samples contained detectable levels of these elements. In general, residues were low: mercury residues ranged from <0.01 to 0.20 ppm: lead, from <0.10 10 3.20 ppm: cadmium, from <0.05 to 0.20 ppm: arsenic, from <0.05 to 1.40 ppm: and selenium, from 0.10 to 1.10 ppm. There was a significant overall decline in mercury and lead residues in starlings since 1971, and a significant increase in arsenic residues. Lead residues were significantly higher in starlings from urban areas than from rural areas.

  15. Do spotless starlings place feathers at their nests by ultraviolet color?

    PubMed

    Avilés, Jesús M; Parejo, Deseada; Pérez-Contreras, Tomás; Navarro, Carlos; Soler, Juan J

    2010-02-01

    A considerable number of bird species carry feathers to their nests. Feathers' presence in the nests has traditionally been explained by their insulating properties. Recently, however, it has been suggested that feathers carried to the nests by females of the spotted starling (Sturnus unicolor L.) could have an ornamental function based on their ultraviolet (300-400 nm) and human-visible longer wavelength (400-700 nm) coloration. In our population, 95.7% of feathers found inside next-boxes occupied by nesting starlings were rock dove fly feathers. Of these feathers, 82.7% were naturally positioned with their reverse side oriented toward the entrance hole and 42.4% of all found feathers were situated within the nest-cup. Here we experimentally assess the signaling function of ultraviolet coloration of feathers in nests of spotless starlings by providing nests with a number of pigeon flight feathers that were respectively treated on their obverse, reverse, both, or neither side with a UV blocker. Starlings placed 42.5% of the experimental feathers in the nest-cup irrespective of the UV block treatment. Orientation of feathers toward the entrance hole was not related with their ultraviolet radiation. However, feathers placed within the nest-cup were more likely found with their reverse side oriented toward the entrance hole confirming our correlative findings. These results suggest a minor role of ultraviolet coloration on feather location by spotless starlings.

  16. Do spotless starlings place feathers at their nests by ultraviolet color?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Avilés, Jesús M.; Parejo, Deseada; Pérez-Contreras, Tomás; Navarro, Carlos; Soler, Juan J.

    2010-02-01

    A considerable number of bird species carry feathers to their nests. Feathers’ presence in the nests has traditionally been explained by their insulating properties. Recently, however, it has been suggested that feathers carried to the nests by females of the spotted starling ( Sturnus unicolor L.) could have an ornamental function based on their ultraviolet (300-400 nm) and human-visible longer wavelength (400-700 nm) coloration. In our population, 95.7% of feathers found inside next-boxes occupied by nesting starlings were rock dove fly feathers. Of these feathers, 82.7% were naturally positioned with their reverse side oriented toward the entrance hole and 42.4% of all found feathers were situated within the nest-cup. Here we experimentally assess the signaling function of ultraviolet coloration of feathers in nests of spotless starlings by providing nests with a number of pigeon flight feathers that were respectively treated on their obverse, reverse, both, or neither side with a UV blocker. Starlings placed 42.5% of the experimental feathers in the nest-cup irrespective of the UV block treatment. Orientation of feathers toward the entrance hole was not related with their ultraviolet radiation. However, feathers placed within the nest-cup were more likely found with their reverse side oriented toward the entrance hole confirming our correlative findings. These results suggest a minor role of ultraviolet coloration on feather location by spotless starlings.

  17. Diffusion of individual birds in starling flocks.

    PubMed

    Cavagna, A; Duarte Queirós, S M; Giardina, I; Stefanini, F; Viale, M

    2013-04-01

    Flocking is a paradigmatic example of collective animal behaviour, where global order emerges out of self-organization. Each individual has a tendency to align its flight direction with those of neighbours, and such a simple form of interaction produces a state of collective motion of the group. When compared with other cases of collective ordering, a crucial feature of animal groups is that the interaction network is not fixed in time, as each individual moves and continuously changes its neighbours. The possibility to exchange neighbours strongly enhances the stability of global ordering and the way information is propagated through the group. Here, we assess the relevance of this mechanism in large flocks of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). We find that birds move faster than Brownian walkers both with respect to the centre of mass of the flock, and with respect to each other. Moreover, this behaviour is strongly anisotropic with respect to the direction of motion of the flock. We also measure the amount of neighbours reshuffling and find that neighbours change in time exclusively as a consequence of the random fluctuations in the individual motion, so that no specific mechanism to keep one's neighbours seems to be enforced. On the contrary, our findings suggest that a more complex dynamical process occurs at the border of the flock. PMID:23407827

  18. Diffusion of individual birds in starling flocks

    PubMed Central

    Cavagna, A.; Queirós, S. M. Duarte; Giardina, I.; Stefanini, F.; Viale, M.

    2013-01-01

    Flocking is a paradigmatic example of collective animal behaviour, where global order emerges out of self-organization. Each individual has a tendency to align its flight direction with those of neighbours, and such a simple form of interaction produces a state of collective motion of the group. When compared with other cases of collective ordering, a crucial feature of animal groups is that the interaction network is not fixed in time, as each individual moves and continuously changes its neighbours. The possibility to exchange neighbours strongly enhances the stability of global ordering and the way information is propagated through the group. Here, we assess the relevance of this mechanism in large flocks of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). We find that birds move faster than Brownian walkers both with respect to the centre of mass of the flock, and with respect to each other. Moreover, this behaviour is strongly anisotropic with respect to the direction of motion of the flock. We also measure the amount of neighbours reshuffling and find that neighbours change in time exclusively as a consequence of the random fluctuations in the individual motion, so that no specific mechanism to keep one's neighbours seems to be enforced. On the contrary, our findings suggest that a more complex dynamical process occurs at the border of the flock. PMID:23407827

  19. Recursion, Language, and Starlings

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Corballis, Michael C.

    2007-01-01

    It has been claimed that recursion is one of the properties that distinguishes human language from any other form of animal communication. Contrary to this claim, a recent study purports to demonstrate center-embedded recursion in starlings. I show that the performance of the birds in this study can be explained by a counting strategy, without any…

  20. Sensitivity of nestling and adult starlings to dicrotophos, an organophosphate pesticide

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grue, C.E.; Shipley, B.K.

    1984-01-01

    The 24-hr median lethal dose (LD50) of dicrotophos (3-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyl-cis-crotonamide dimethyl phosphate) for free-living 5-day-old nestling European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris, LDso = 4.92 mg/kg body wt) was about one-half that obtained for free-living 15day-old nestlings (9.59 mg/kg) and captive adult males (8.37 mg/kg) and females (8.47 mg/ kg). Nestlings and adults with low pretreatment body weights appeared to be more vulnerable to organophosphate (OP) exposure. Brain cholinesterase (ChE) activity was severely depressed in all birds that died (74-94%); the degree of inhibition did not vary with age or sex. Inhibition of brain ChE in 5-day-old nestlings alive 24 hr post dose (X = 28-43%) was lower than that of 15-day-old (X = 55-68%) and adult (X = 55-77%) survivors. Body weights of OP-dosed birds that died were depressed an average of 20 to 46% in 5-day-olds, 7 to 20% in 15-day-olds, and 0 to 10% in adults; weight losses varied inversely with age and dosage, and directly with time to death. Average weight losses in 5- and 15-day-old survivors (X < 31 and 26%, respectively) varied directly with dose and exceeded comparable values for adults (X = 3-15%). Results suggest that (1) young nestling songbirds may be nearly twice as sensitive as adults to OPs, (2) growth of nestlings may be severely depressed following OP exposure, and (3) recovery of brain ChE activity following exposure to ChE inhibitors may be more rapid in nestlings than adults.

  1. Campylobacter jejuni colonization and population structure in urban populations of ducks and starlings in New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Mohan, Vathsala; Stevenson, Mark; Marshall, Jonathan; Fearnhead, Paul; Holland, Barbara R; Hotter, Grant; French, Nigel P

    2013-08-01

    A repeated cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. and the population structure of C. jejuni in European starlings and ducks cohabiting multiple public access sites in an urban area of New Zealand. The country's geographical isolation and relatively recent history of introduction of wild bird species, including the European starling and mallard duck, create an ideal setting to explore the impact of geographical separation on the population biology of C. jejuni, as well as potential public health implications. A total of 716 starling and 720 duck fecal samples were collected and screened for C. jejuni over a 12 month period. This study combined molecular genotyping, population genetics and epidemiological modeling and revealed: (i) higher Campylobacter spp. isolation in starlings (46%) compared with ducks (30%), but similar isolation of C. jejuni in ducks (23%) and starlings (21%), (ii) significant associations between the isolation of Campylobacter spp. and host species, sampling location and time of year using logistic regression, (iii) evidence of population differentiation, as indicated by FST , and host-genotype association with clonal complexes CC ST-177 and CC ST-682 associated with starlings, and clonal complexes CC ST-1034, CC ST-692, and CC ST-1332 associated with ducks, and (iv) greater genetic diversity and genotype richness in ducks compared with starlings. These findings provide evidence that host-associated genotypes, such as the starling-associated ST-177 and ST-682, represent lineages that were introduced with the host species in the 19th century. The isolation of sequence types associated with human disease in New Zealand indicate that wild ducks and starlings need to be considered as a potential public health risk, particularly in urban areas.

  2. Diffusion and Topological Neighbours in Flocks of Starlings: Relating a Model to Empirical Data

    PubMed Central

    Hemelrijk, Charlotte K.; Hildenbrandt, Hanno

    2015-01-01

    Moving in a group while avoiding collisions with group members causes internal dynamics in the group. Although these dynamics have recently been measured quantitatively in starling flocks (Sturnus vulgaris), it is unknown what causes them. Computational models have shown that collective motion in groups is likely due to attraction, avoidance and, possibly, alignment among group members. Empirical studies show that starlings adjust their movement to a fixed number of closest neighbours or topological range, namely 6 or 7 and assume that each of the three activities is done with the same number of neighbours (topological range). Here, we start from the hypothesis that escape behavior is more effective at preventing collisions in a flock when avoiding the single closest neighbor than compromising by avoiding 6 or 7 of them. For alignment and attraction, we keep to the empirical topological range. We investigate how avoiding one or several neighbours affects the internal dynamics of flocks of starlings in our computational model StarDisplay. By comparing to empirical data, we confirm that internal dynamics resemble empirical data more closely if flock members avoid merely their single, closest neighbor. Our model shows that considering a different number of interaction partners per activity represents a useful perspective and that changing a single parameter, namely the number of interaction partners that are avoided, has several effects through selforganisation. PMID:25993474

  3. Female starlings adjust primary sex ratio in response to aromatic plants in the nest.

    PubMed Central

    Polo, Vicente; Veiga, José P.; Cordero, Pedro J.; Viñuela, Javier; Monaghan, Pat

    2004-01-01

    Adjustment of offspring sex ratios should be favoured by natural selection when parents are capable of facultatively altering brood sex ratios and of recognizing the circumstances that predict the probable fitness benefit of producing sons and daughters. Although experimental studies have shown that female birds may adjust offspring sex ratios in response to changes in their own condition and in the external appearance of their mate, and male attributes other than his external morphology are also thought to act as signals of male quality, it is not known whether females will respond to changes in such signals, in the absence of any change in the appearance of the male himself. Here, we experimentally manipulated a male courtship display, the green plants carried to the nest by male spotless starlings (Sturnus unicolor), without changing any physical attributes of the male himself, and examined whether this influenced female decisions on offspring sex ratio. We found that in an environment in which female starlings were producing more daughters than sons, experimental enhancement of the green nesting material caused females to significantly increase the number of male eggs produced and thereby removed the female bias. This effect was consistent in 2 years and at two localities. This demonstrates that the green material, whose function has long puzzled biologists, conveys important information to the female and that she facultatively adjusts offspring production accordingly. PMID:15347516

  4. Starlings uphold principles of economic rationality for delay and probability of reward.

    PubMed

    Monteiro, Tiago; Vasconcelos, Marco; Kacelnik, Alex

    2013-04-01

    Rationality principles are the bedrock of normative theories of decision-making in biology and microeconomics, but whereas in microeconomics, consistent choice underlies the notion of utility; in biology, the assumption of consistent selective pressures justifies modelling decision mechanisms as if they were designed to maximize fitness. In either case, violations of consistency contradict expectations and attract theoretical interest. Reported violations of rationality in non-humans include intransitivity (i.e. circular preferences) and lack of independence of irrelevant alternatives (changes in relative preference between options when embedded in different choice sets), but the extent to which these observations truly represent breaches of rationality is debatable. We tested both principles with starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), training subjects either with five options differing in food delay (exp. 1) or with six options differing in reward probability (exp. 2), before letting them choose repeatedly one option out of several binary and trinary sets of options. The starlings conformed to economic rationality on both tests, showing strong stochastic transitivity and no violation of the independence principle. These results endorse the rational choice and optimality approaches used in behavioural ecology, and highlight the need for functional and mechanistic enquiring when apparent violations of such principles are observed. PMID:23390098

  5. Feathers at nests are potential female signals in the spotless starling

    PubMed Central

    Veiga, José P; Polo, Vicente

    2005-01-01

    Although the presence of feathers in the nest is widespread among birds, it has not been previously suggested that feathers can be used as sexual signals. Females of the spotless starling (Sturnus unicolor) regularly carry feathers to their nest, mostly during laying and incubation. We show that the arrangement of these feathers was non-random with respect to the side (obverse or reverse) placed upwards (which can be viewed from the nest entrance). Feathers of the wood pigeon (Columba palumbus) and the spotless starling, which exhibit higher ultraviolet and visible reflectance on their reverse side, were predominantly placed with this side upwards. On the contrary, feathers of the jay (Garrulus glandarius) were predominantly found exhibiting the obverse side, which possesses higher reflectance in this species. Feathers of the azure-winged magpie (Cyanopica cyana), with similar reflectance values on either side, were placed indiscriminately in obverse and reverse positions. The results suggest that feathers are arranged to maximize their conspicuousness within the nest and hence that they might be potentially used as intraspecific signals. PMID:17148200

  6. Can starling eggs be useful as a biomonitoring tool to study organohalogenated contaminants on a worldwide scale?

    PubMed

    Eens, Marcel; Jaspers, Veerle L B; Van den Steen, Evi; Bateson, Melissa; Carere, Claudio; Clergeau, Philippe; Costantini, David; Dolenec, Zdravko; Elliott, John E; Flux, John; Gwinner, Helga; Halbrook, Richard S; Heeb, Philipp; Mazgajski, Tomasz D; Moksnes, Arne; Polo, Vicente; Soler, Juan José; Sinclair, Ron; Veiga, José P; Williams, Tony D; Covaci, Adrian; Pinxten, Rianne

    2013-01-01

    Large-scale international monitoring studies are important to assess emission patterns and environmental distributions of organohalogenated contaminants (OHCs) on a worldwide scale. In this study, the presence of OHCs was investigated on three continents (Europe, North America and Australasia), using eggs of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris and Sturnus unicolor) to assess their suitability for large-scale monitoring studies. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study using bird eggs of the same species as a biomonitor for OHCs on an intercontinental scale. We found significant differences in OHC concentrations of the eggs among sampling locations, except for hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs). Mean concentrations of sum polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in eggs ranged from 78±26 ng/glipid weight (lw) in Australia to 2900±1300 ng/g lw in the United States. The PCB profile was dominated by CB 153 and CB 138 in all locations, except for New Zealand, where the contribution of CB 95, CB 101 and CB 149 was also high. The highest mean sum polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) concentrations were found in Canada (4400±830 ng/g lw), while the lowest mean PBDE concentrations were measured in Spain (3.7±0.1 ng/g lw). The PBDE profile in starling eggs was dominated by BDE 47 and BDE 99 in all countries, but in Belgium, the higher brominated PBDEs had a higher contribution compared to other countries. For the organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs) ranged from 110±16 ng/g lw in France to 17,000±3400 ng/g lw in New Zealand, while HCHs and hexachlorobenzene were generally in low concentrations in all sampling locations. Chlordanes were remarkably high in eggs from the United States (2500±1300 ng/g lw). The OCP profile in all countries was largely dominated by p,p'-DDE. In general, the worldwide trends we observed in starling eggs were in accordance with the literature on human and environmental OHC data, which suggests that there is

  7. Further studies on the use of enzyme profiles to monitor residue accumulation in wildlife: Plasma enzymes in starlings fed graded concentrations of morsodren, DDE, Aroclor 1254, and malathion

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dieter, M.P.

    1975-01-01

    Wild-trapped starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were fed concentrations of Morsodren (2, 4, and 8 ppm), DDE or Aroclor 1254 (5, 25, and 100 ppm), or malathion (8, 35, and 160 ppm) that were found to be sublethal in pen-reared Coturnix quail fed these amounts for 12 weeks. Plasma enzymes had to be measured earlier than planned in starlings fed Morsodren (at three weeks) or the organochlorine compounds (at seven weeks) because of unexpected, subsequent mortality. Variations in enzyme response were greater in wild than in pen-reared birds, but not enough to mask the toxicant-induced changes in enzyme activity. Cholinesterase activities decreased in birds fed Morsodren or malathion, and increased in those fed the organochlorine compounds. Lactate dehydrogenase activities increased two-fold in starlings fed Morsodren and two- to four-fold in those fed the organochlorine compounds, but only 50% in those fed malathion. Further examination of enzyme profiles showed that creatine kinase and aspartate aminotransferase activities increased two-to four-fold in birds fed Morsodren or the organochlorine compounds but not at all in those fed malathion. Thus the classes of environmental contaminants fed to starlings could be easily distinguished by these enzymatic parameters. Evaluation of enzymatic profiles appears to be a potentially valuable technique to monitor the presence of toxicants in wild populations, especially if used to complement standard chemical residue analyses. Here the residue analyses showed, after three weeks feeding, that mercury in the carcasses reflected the concentrations fed daily, whereas accumulation in the livers was two- to four-fold greater. After seven weeks feeding, liver residues of either organochlorine compound were about three-fold higher than the concentrations fed daily. However, four times as much DDE as Aroclor 1254 had accumulated in the carcasses.

  8. Starling curves and central venous pressure.

    PubMed

    Berlin, David A; Bakker, Jan

    2015-01-01

    Recent studies challenge the utility of central venous pressure monitoring as a surrogate for cardiac preload. Starting with Starling's original studies on the regulation of cardiac output, this review traces the history of the experiments that elucidated the role of central venous pressure in circulatory physiology. Central venous pressure is an important physiologic parameter, but it is not an independent variable that determines cardiac output. PMID:25880040

  9. A comprehensive molecular phylogeny of the starlings (Aves: Sturnidae) and mockingbirds (Aves: Mimidae): congruent mtDNA and nuclear trees for a cosmopolitan avian radiation.

    PubMed

    Lovette, Irby J; Rubenstein, Dustin R

    2007-09-01

    We generated a comprehensive phylogeny for the avian families Sturnidae (starlings, mynas, Rhabdornis, oxpeckers, and allies) and Mimidae (mockingbirds, thrashers, and allies) to explore patterns of morphological and behavioral diversification. Reconstructions were based on mitochondrial DNA sequences from five coding genes (4108 bp), and nuclear intron sequences from four loci (2974 bp), for most taxa, supplemented with NDII gene sequences (1041 bp) derived from museum skin specimens from additional taxa; together the 117 sampled taxa comprise 78% of the 151 species in these families and include representatives of all currently or recently recognized genera. Phylogenetic analyses consistently identified nine major clades. The basal lineage is comprised of the two Buphagus oxpeckers, which are presently confined to Africa where they are obligately associated with large mammals. Some species in nearly all of the other major clades also feed on or around large vertebrates, and this association may be an ancestral trait that fostered the world-wide dispersal of this group. The remaining taxa divide into sister clades representing the New-World Mimidae and Old-World Sturnidae. The Mimidae are divided into two subclades, a group of Central American and West Indian catbirds and thrashers, and a pan-American clade of mockingbirds and thrashers. The Sturnidae are subdivided into six clades. The Phillipine endemic Rhabdornis are the sister lineage to a larger and substantially more recent radiation of South Asian and Pacific island starlings and mynas. A clade of largely migratory or nomadic Eurasian starlings (within which the basal lineage is the model taxon Sturnus vulgaris) is allied to three groups of largely African species. These reconstructions confirm that Buphagus should not be included in the Sturnidae, and identify many genera that are not monophyletic. They also highlight the substantial diversity among the major Sturnidae subclades in rates of species

  10. A three-dimensional digital atlas of the starling brain.

    PubMed

    De Groof, Geert; George, Isabelle; Touj, Sara; Stacho, Martin; Jonckers, Elisabeth; Cousillas, Hugo; Hausberger, Martine; Güntürkün, Onur; Van der Linden, Annemie

    2016-05-01

    Because of their sophisticated vocal behaviour, their social nature, their high plasticity and their robustness, starlings have become an important model species that is widely used in studies of neuroethology of song production and perception. Since magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) represents an increasingly relevant tool for comparative neuroscience, a 3D MRI-based atlas of the starling brain becomes essential. Using multiple imaging protocols we delineated several sensory systems as well as the song control system. This starling brain atlas can easily be used to determine the stereotactic location of identified neural structures at any angle of the head. Additionally, the atlas is useful to find the optimal angle of sectioning for slice experiments, stereotactic injections and electrophysiological recordings. The starling brain atlas is freely available for the scientific community.

  11. Hand rearing affects emotional responses but not basic cognitive performance in European starlings☆

    PubMed Central

    Feenders, Gesa; Bateson, Melissa

    2013-01-01

    Hand rearing is a common procedure in behavioural research on birds. While likely to produce tamer experimental animals, there is a risk that it could induce pathological changes in brain and behaviour similar to those seen in mammals that have experienced maternal separation. We explored the effects of hand rearing on the cognitive and behavioural development of European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, to assess the generality of results obtained from hand-reared animals. Two groups of age-matched birds were created from the same wild population: one hand-reared from 10 days posthatch and one brought into the laboratory as independent juveniles. These groups were compared on a battery of neuropsychological tasks designed to probe different aspects of cognitive function including learning, perseverative cognition, interval timing, neophobia and impulsivity. There was no evidence for cognitive impairment in the hand-reared birds. They did not have reduced learning speed, impairments in accuracy or precision of interval timing or pathological perseverative cognition compared to the wild-caught birds. Additionally, there was no evidence that birds that developed stereotypies in laboratory cages (predominantly the wild-caught birds) had any cognitive impairments, although this may be because no birds had severe, crystallized stereotypies. There was some evidence that hand-reared birds were less neophobic and less impulsive than wild-caught birds, suggesting that hand rearing might alter emotionally mediated decision making in a direction usually associated with reduced developmental stress in mammals. This study therefore supports the use of hand rearing as an experimental procedure in behavioural research on passerine birds. PMID:23888084

  12. Water bathing alters threat perception in starlings

    PubMed Central

    Brilot, Ben O.; Bateson, Melissa

    2012-01-01

    The majority of bird taxa perform water bathing, but little is known about the adaptive value of this behaviour. If bathing is important for feather maintenance then birds that have not bathed should have poorer feather condition, compromised escape ability and therefore increased responsiveness to cues of predation. We conducted two experiments examining the behaviour of captive starlings responding to conspecific alarm calls. Birds that had no access to bathing water showed a decreased willingness to feed and increased their vigilance behaviour following an alarm call. We argue that birds denied access to bathing water interpreted an ambiguous cue of threat as requiring more caution than birds that had access, consistent with higher levels of anxiety. Our results support the provision of bathing water for captive birds as an important welfare measure. PMID:22250131

  13. [Starling resister and stability of sleep ventilation].

    PubMed

    Krieger, J; Petiau, C; Sforza, E; Weiss, T; Thibault, A; Bazin, A

    1998-12-01

    The upper airway can be described as a collapsible segment (the pharynx) interposed between two rigid bony (the cavum) or cartilaginous (the trachea) segments. Due to this structure, the pharynx behaves as a collapsible tube, in which airflow does not depend on the downstream pressure, but is limited to a maximum value which depends only on the upstream pressure and on the pressure surrounding the collapsible segment; this behavior, known as a Starling resistor can be modeled by the waterfall effect. Thus, the upper airways can be in three different conditions: an occluded condition, in which no flow is possible, a patent condition, in which flow depends on the difference between upstream and downstream pressures (according to Poiseuille's law), and a situation in which flow is limited. The behavior of the upper airway is largely dependent on its anatomic structure, but functional factors play a critical role. Among these sleep state is both a determinant of the collapsibility of the pharynx, and determined by the simulation of upper airway mechanoreceptors whose activity depends on the activity of respiratory muscles. Thus the interplay of three factors: ventilatory drive, upper airway collapsibility, and arousal threshold can predict most of the situations of stable and unstable ventilatory behavior during sleep. The level of the arousal threshold governs the stability of the ventilatory pattern, as it determines whether a combination of slow, respiratory effort, and blood gases can be maintained or is interrupted by an arousal. PMID:9894229

  14. Care of nestlings by wild female starlings exposed to an organophosphate pesticide

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grue, C.E.; Powell, G.V.N.; McChesney, M.J.

    1982-01-01

    (1) Our objective was to determine the effect of exposure to an organophosphate pesticide (OP), dicrotophos (3-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyl-cis-scrotonamide dimethyl phosphate), on care of nestlings by wild female starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)....(2) We selected twelve pairs of active nests based on synchrony in the reproductive cycle. When nestlings were 10 days old (day 10), adult males were captured and killed and brood size was adjusted to four. The frequency and temporal distribution of sorties made by each pair of females to feed their young were recorded for 2 h at 18.00 hours on day 11 and 06.00 hours on day 12. One female from each pair was given a single oral dose of dicrotophos (2.5 mg/kg of body weight) dissolved in corn oil; the second female received an equivalent exposure of pure corn oil. Birds were released and their nestlings weighed. Parental care was again monitored between 18.00 and 20.00 hours on day 12 and 06.00 and 08.00 hours on day 13. Females were then captured and they with their young were weighed and killed. Changes in parental care in OP-dosed and control females were compared using paired t-tests. ....(3) The OP-dosed females made significantly (P < 0.5) fewer sorties to feed their young and remained away from their boxes for longer periods of time than controls. Nestlings of OP-treated females lost significantly more weight (X = 9.3%) than nestlings of controls (X = 3.2%). Brain ChE activity in OP-treated females was inhibited an average of 50.7% compared with controls. Weight changes in OP-dosed (X = -8.9%) and control females (X = -8.3%) were similar.....(4) Results indicate that parental care may be significantly reduced in songbirds receiving severe but sublethal exposure to organophosphate pesticides. The potential for a reduction or modification in parental care to alter reproductive success in passerines is discussed..... (5) Techniques utilized, or modifications thereof, may be useful in collecting the additional data needed to

  15. Starling flock networks manage uncertainty in consensus at low cost.

    PubMed

    Young, George F; Scardovi, Luca; Cavagna, Andrea; Giardina, Irene; Leonard, Naomi E

    2013-01-01

    Flocks of starlings exhibit a remarkable ability to maintain cohesion as a group in highly uncertain environments and with limited, noisy information. Recent work demonstrated that individual starlings within large flocks respond to a fixed number of nearest neighbors, but until now it was not understood why this number is seven. We analyze robustness to uncertainty of consensus in empirical data from multiple starling flocks and show that the flock interaction networks with six or seven neighbors optimize the trade-off between group cohesion and individual effort. We can distinguish these numbers of neighbors from fewer or greater numbers using our systems-theoretic approach to measuring robustness of interaction networks as a function of the network structure, i.e., who is sensing whom. The metric quantifies the disagreement within the network due to disturbances and noise during consensus behavior and can be evaluated over a parameterized family of hypothesized sensing strategies (here the parameter is number of neighbors). We use this approach to further show that for the range of flocks studied the optimal number of neighbors does not depend on the number of birds within a flock; rather, it depends on the shape, notably the thickness, of the flock. The results suggest that robustness to uncertainty may have been a factor in the evolution of flocking for starlings. More generally, our results elucidate the role of the interaction network on uncertainty management in collective behavior, and motivate the application of our approach to other biological networks. PMID:23382667

  16. Social coordination in animal vocal interactions. Is there any evidence of turn-taking? The starling as an animal model

    PubMed Central

    Henry, Laurence; Craig, Adrian J. F. K.; Lemasson, Alban; Hausberger, Martine

    2015-01-01

    Turn-taking in conversation appears to be a common feature in various human cultures and this universality raises questions about its biological basis and evolutionary trajectory. Functional convergence is a widespread phenomenon in evolution, revealing sometimes striking functional similarities between very distant species even though the mechanisms involved may be different. Studies on mammals (including non-human primates) and bird species with different levels of social coordination reveal that temporal and structural regularities in vocal interactions may depend on the species' social structure. Here we test the hypothesis that turn-taking and associated rules of conversations may be an adaptive response to the requirements of social life, by testing the applicability of turn-taking rules to an animal model, the European starling. Birdsong has for many decades been considered as one of the best models of human language and starling songs have been well described in terms of vocal production and perception. Starlings do have vocal interactions where alternating patterns predominate. Observational and experimental data on vocal interactions reveal that (1) there are indeed clear temporal and structural regularities, (2) the temporal and structural patterning is influenced by the immediate social context, the general social situation, the individual history, and the internal state of the emitter. Comparison of phylogenetically close species of Sturnids reveals that the alternating pattern of vocal interactions varies greatly according to the species' social structure, suggesting that interactional regularities may have evolved together with social systems. These findings lead to solid bases of discussion on the evolution of communication rules in relation to social evolution. They will be discussed also in terms of processes, at the light of recent neurobiological findings. PMID:26441787

  17. Energy expenditure during flight in relation to body mass: effects of natural increases in mass and artificial load in Rose Coloured Starlings

    PubMed Central

    Engel, Sophia; Visser, G. Henk

    2008-01-01

    Rose Coloured Starlings (Sturnus roseus) flew repeatedly for several hours in a wind tunnel while undergoing spontaneous variation in body mass. The treatments were as follows: flying unrestrained (U), with a control harness of 1.2% of their body mass (C), or with a harness of 7.4% of their body mass, which was either applied immediately before the flight (LS) or at least 9 days in advance (LL). Energy expenditure during flight (ef in W) was measured with the Doubly Labelled Water method. Flight costs in LS and LL were not significantly different and therefore were pooled (L). The harness itself did not affect ef, i.e. U and C flights were not different. ef was allometrically related with body mass m (in g). The slopes were not significantly different between the treatments, but ef was increased by 5.4% in L compared to C flights (log10(ef) = 0.050 + 0.47 × log10(m) for C, and log10(ef) = 0.073 + 0.47 × log10(m) for L). The difference in ef between C, LS and LL was best explained by taking the transported mass mtransp (in g) instead of m into account (log10(ef) = −0.08 + 0.54 × log10(mtransp)). Flight costs increased to a lesser extent than expected from interspecific allometric comparison or aerodynamic theory, regardless of whether the increase in mass occurred naturally or artificially. We did not observe an effect of treatment on breast muscle size and wingbeat frequency. We propose that the relatively low costs at a high mass are rather a consequence of immediate adjustments in physiology and/or flight behaviour than of long-term adaptations. PMID:18481070

  18. Testicular growth and regression are not correlated with Dio2 expression in a wild male songbird, sturnus vulgaris, exposed to natural changes in photoperiod.

    PubMed

    Bentley, George E; Tucker, Shanna; Chou, Heather; Hau, Michaela; Perfito, Nicole

    2013-05-01

    Timing of seasonal breeding in birds and mammals is regulated by changing the day length and is dependent on the presence of thyroid hormones. A mechanism for thyroid-dependent control of seasonality has been proposed, in which exposure to long day lengths induces rapid local conversion of T4 to its bioactive form, T3, via the up-regulation of the enzyme type 2 iodothyronine deiodinase (Dio2) in the brain, and the down-regulation of Dio3 (which inactivates T3). Such changes were correlated with gonadotropin release and gonadal growth in quail. This mechanism was elucidated in a domesticated species (quail) exposed to unnatural acute changes in day length. Here we investigated the Dio2/Dio3 mechanism in a wild species, the European starling, under naturally changing day length. Although Dio2 expression varied seasonally, Dio3 did not. We found no correlation of Dio2 with photoperiod, seasonal regulation of GnRH, or testicular volume. The observed differences in data from starlings and quail could be a result of phylogeny, genetic drift from founder populations, or differences in reproductive seasonality in addition to or instead of arising from domestication or use of artificially changing photoperiods. Overall, the data indicate that in a wild species exposed to natural changes in day length, the current proposed mechanism for photoperiodic timing is less straightforward than is generally accepted and might not be as universally applicable as previously thought.

  19. Testicular growth and regression are not correlated with Dio2 expression in a wild male songbird, sturnus vulgaris, exposed to natural changes in photoperiod.

    PubMed

    Bentley, George E; Tucker, Shanna; Chou, Heather; Hau, Michaela; Perfito, Nicole

    2013-05-01

    Timing of seasonal breeding in birds and mammals is regulated by changing the day length and is dependent on the presence of thyroid hormones. A mechanism for thyroid-dependent control of seasonality has been proposed, in which exposure to long day lengths induces rapid local conversion of T4 to its bioactive form, T3, via the up-regulation of the enzyme type 2 iodothyronine deiodinase (Dio2) in the brain, and the down-regulation of Dio3 (which inactivates T3). Such changes were correlated with gonadotropin release and gonadal growth in quail. This mechanism was elucidated in a domesticated species (quail) exposed to unnatural acute changes in day length. Here we investigated the Dio2/Dio3 mechanism in a wild species, the European starling, under naturally changing day length. Although Dio2 expression varied seasonally, Dio3 did not. We found no correlation of Dio2 with photoperiod, seasonal regulation of GnRH, or testicular volume. The observed differences in data from starlings and quail could be a result of phylogeny, genetic drift from founder populations, or differences in reproductive seasonality in addition to or instead of arising from domestication or use of artificially changing photoperiods. Overall, the data indicate that in a wild species exposed to natural changes in day length, the current proposed mechanism for photoperiodic timing is less straightforward than is generally accepted and might not be as universally applicable as previously thought. PMID:23525217

  20. Can Bayliss and Starling gut hormones cure a worldwide pandemic?

    PubMed Central

    Scott, R V; Tan, T M; Bloom, S R

    2014-01-01

    Bayliss and Starling first coined the term ‘hormone’ with reference to secretin, a substance they found that was produced by the gut, but released into the blood stream to act at a distance. The intestine is now known as the largest endocrine organ in the body, and it produces numerous hormones with a wide range of functions. These include controlling appetite and energy homeostasis. Obesity is one of the greatest health threats facing the world today. At present, the only successful treatment is surgery. Bariatric procedures such as the Roux-en-Y bypass work by elevating gut hormones that induce satiety. Significant research has gone into producing versions of these hormones that can be delivered therapeutically to treat obesity. This review looks at the role of gut hormones in obesity, and the development of gut hormone-derived obesity treatments. PMID:25217372

  1. Can Bayliss and Starling gut hormones cure a worldwide pandemic?

    PubMed

    Scott, R V; Tan, T M; Bloom, S R

    2014-12-01

    Bayliss and Starling first coined the term 'hormone' with reference to secretin, a substance they found that was produced by the gut, but released into the blood stream to act at a distance. The intestine is now known as the largest endocrine organ in the body, and it produces numerous hormones with a wide range of functions. These include controlling appetite and energy homeostasis. Obesity is one of the greatest health threats facing the world today. At present, the only successful treatment is surgery. Bariatric procedures such as the Roux-en-Y bypass work by elevating gut hormones that induce satiety. Significant research has gone into producing versions of these hormones that can be delivered therapeutically to treat obesity. This review looks at the role of gut hormones in obesity, and the development of gut hormone-derived obesity treatments. PMID:25217372

  2. Use of captive starlings to determine effects of pollutants on passerine reproduction

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grue, C.E.; Christian, C.L.; Lamb, D.W.; Kenaga, E.E.

    1981-01-01

    Three reproductive trials were conducted to develop techniques for propagation of captive starlings (Stumus vulgaris) which could determine the effects of environmental contaminants on passerine reproduction. Trials were conducted during the spring of 1979 in five adjacent 2.4 by 3 by 12-m outdoor wire pens containing four or ten pairs of starlings, a similar number of nest boxes, perches, water, commercial turkey starter, and alfalfa hay as nesting material. Nestling diets consisted of combinations of Nebraska Brand bird of prey diet, live or frozen mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) and crickets (Acheta domestica), or live earthworms (Pheretima sp.). Starlings reproduced successfully when the number of breeding pairs per pen was reduced from ten to four. The average clutch sizes for each pen (4.3 to 4.9) were similar to those reported for wild starlings. Hatching (60 to 90.4 percent) and fledging (0 to 100 percent) success varied among pens. The fledging success was greatest in the pens which received the most diverse nestling diets: Nebraska Brand diet plus frozen or live mealworms and crickets. Whether the insects were presented alive or frozen appeared to have little effect on the reproductive success. The starlings did not consume or carry earthworms to their young. The body weights of 20-day-old nestlings raised in captivity (X=73.9 g) were similar to those of starlings in the wild. The use of single pairs per pen may eliminate problems in presentation of nestling diets due to asynchrony in breeding between pairs and excessive interactions among individuals, which may interfere with parental care. The starling appears to be an excellent model for examining the effects of environmental contaminants on the reproduction of songbirds in captivity.

  3. Test of the Starling resistor model in the human upper airway during sleep

    PubMed Central

    Genta, Pedro R.; Owens, Robert L.; Edwards, Bradley A.; Sands, Scott A.; Loring, Stephen H.; White, David P.; Jackson, Andrew C.; Pedersen, Ole F.; Butler, James P.

    2014-01-01

    The human pharyngeal airway during sleep is conventionally modeled as a Starling resistor. However, inspiratory flow often decreases with increasing effort (negative effort dependence, NED) rather than remaining fixed as predicted by the Starling resistor model. In this study, we tested a major prediction of the Starling resistor model—that the resistance of the airway upstream from the site of collapse remains fixed during flow limitation. During flow limitation in 24 patients with sleep apnea, resistance at several points along the pharyngeal airway was measured using a pressure catheter with multiple sensors. Resistance between the nose and the site of collapse (the upstream segment) was measured before and after the onset of flow limitation to determine whether the upstream dimensions remained fixed (as predicted by the Starling resistor model) or narrowed (a violation of the Starling resistor model). The upstream resistance from early to mid inspiration increased considerably during flow limitation (by 35 ± 41 cmH2O·liter−1·s−1, P < 0.001). However, there was a wide range of variability between patients, and the increase in upstream resistance was strongly correlated with the amount of NED (r = 0.75, P < 0.001). Therefore, patients with little NED exhibited little upstream narrowing (consistent with the Starling model), and patients with large NED exhibited large upstream narrowing (inconsistent with the Starling model). These findings support the idea that there is not a single model of pharyngeal collapse, but rather that different mechanisms may dominate in different patients. These differences could potentially be exploited for treatment selection. PMID:25324514

  4. Information transfer and behavioural inertia in starling flocks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Attanasi, Alessandro; Cavagna, Andrea; Del Castello, Lorenzo; Giardina, Irene; Grigera, Tomas S.; Jelić, Asja; Melillo, Stefania; Parisi, Leonardo; Pohl, Oliver; Shen, Edward; Viale, Massimiliano

    2014-09-01

    Collective decision-making in biological systems requires all individuals in the group to go through a behavioural change of state. During this transition fast and robust transfer of information is essential to prevent cohesion loss. The mechanism by which natural groups achieve such robustness, however, is not clear. Here we present an experimental study of starling flocks performing collective turns. We find that information about direction changes propagates across the flock with a linear dispersion law and negligible attenuation, hence minimizing group decoherence. These results contrast starkly with present models of collective motion, which predict diffusive transport of information. Building on spontaneous symmetry breaking and conservation-law arguments, we formulate a theory that correctly reproduces linear and undamped propagation. Essential to this framework is the inclusion of the birds' behavioural inertia. The theory not only explains the data, but also predicts that information transfer must be faster the stronger the group's orientational order, a prediction accurately verified by the data. Our results suggest that swift decision-making may be the adaptive drive for the strong behavioural polarization observed in many living groups.

  5. Simulation of the Frank-Starling Law of the Heart

    PubMed Central

    Ribarič, Samo; Kordaš, Marjan

    2012-01-01

    We developed a lumped parameter, computer-based model of an equivalent electronic circuit for a one-atrium one-ventricle (frog) heart attached to a vascular circuit, to simulate a basic concept of cardiovascular physiology, the Frank-Starling Law of the Heart. A series of simulations was performed, to observe changes in cardiovascular variables (e.g., arterial pressure, ventricular volume, and valve flows) if either preload or afterload was increased. The simulated data agreed qualitatively, and quantitatively when experimental data are available, with data obtained on amphibian or on mammalian myocardium. In addition, the data obtained in these simulations improve our understanding of the mechanism(s) whereby the heart muscle adapts itself to increased distension (increased preload) or to impeded systolic contraction (increased afterload). The analysis of the measured valve flows suggests that the ventricle is a highly input sensitive pump because the input pressure determines the diastolic distension and, consequently, the force of ventricular systolic contraction. On the other hand, the ventricle is a relatively output insensitive pump. Therefore, not only atrium contraction, but also predominantly the preceding ventricular systolic contraction is the main mechanism of the subsequent diastolic ventricular filling. We conclude that the presented model enables the study of basic concepts of cardiovascular physiology. PMID:23243461

  6. Information transfer and behavioural inertia in starling flocks.

    PubMed

    Attanasi, Alessandro; Cavagna, Andrea; Del Castello, Lorenzo; Giardina, Irene; Grigera, Tomas S; Jelić, Asja; Melillo, Stefania; Parisi, Leonardo; Pohl, Oliver; Shen, Edward; Viale, Massimiliano

    2014-09-01

    Collective decision-making in biological systems requires all individuals in the group to go through a behavioural change of state. During this transition fast and robust transfer of information is essential to prevent cohesion loss. The mechanism by which natural groups achieve such robustness, though, is not clear. Here we present an experimental study of starling flocks performing collective turns. We find that information about direction changes propagates across the flock with a linear dispersion law and negligible attenuation, hence minimizing group decoherence. These results contrast starkly with current models of collective motion, which predict diffusive transport of information. Building on spontaneous symmetry breaking and conservation laws arguments, we formulate a new theory that correctly reproduces linear and undamped propagation. Essential to the new framework is the inclusion of the birds' behavioural inertia. The new theory not only explains the data, but also predicts that information transfer must be faster the stronger the group's orientational order, a prediction accurately verified by the data. Our results suggest that swift decision-making may be the adaptive drive for the strong behavioural polarization observed in many living groups. PMID:25264452

  7. Ernest Henry Starling (1866-1927): the scientist and the man.

    PubMed

    Henriksen, Jens H

    2005-02-01

    The pre-eminent achievements of the English physician and physiologist Ernest Henry Starling were his quantitative explanation of the transcapillary transport of fluid, the discovery of the first hormone, secretin, and his formulation of the law of the heart. In some ways Starling was an outsider and he was the centre of several scientific and social controversies. However, throughout his life he stressed fundamental scientific attitudes and ideas with remarkable persistence and power, although also balance, and his scientific achievements have stood the test of time.

  8. Identification of Starling Circovirus in an Estuarine Mollusc (Amphibola crenata) in New Zealand Using Metagenomic Approaches

    PubMed Central

    Dayaram, Anisha; Goldstien, Sharyn; Zawar-Reza, Peyman; Gomez, Christopher; Harding, Jon S.

    2013-01-01

    Two complete genomes of starling circovirus (StCV) were recovered from Amphibola crenata, an estuarine New Zealand mollusc. This is the first report of StCV outside Europe. The viral genomes were recovered from rolling circle-amplified enriched circular DNA followed by back-to-back primers and specific primer PCR amplification. PMID:23723397

  9. European Starlings Are Capable of Discriminating Subtle Size Asymmetries in Paired Stimuli

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Swaddle, John P.; Johnson, Charles W.

    2007-01-01

    Small deviations from bilateral symmetry (fluctuating asymmetries) are cues to fitness differences in some animals. Therefore, researchers have considered whether animals use these small asymmetries as visual cues to determine appropriate behavioral responses (e.g., mate preferences). However, there have been few systematic studies of animals'…

  10. Improving propulsive efficiency through passive mechanisms using a Starling vortex generator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whittlesey, Robert; Dabiri, John

    2011-11-01

    Ruiz et al. (2011) demonstrated that pulsed propulsion with vortex rings, much like those seen in the wake of jellyfish and squid, can greatly enhance the overall efficiency of submersible vehicles. The objective of the present research is to achieve pulsed propulsion passively using a Starling vortex generator which consists of a collapsible tube within an airtight box. Recent work has shown that a Starling vortex generator is able to generate vortex rings, which indicates enhanced propulsion, while requiring less energy to generate pulsatility than the system by Ruiz et al. (2011). Current work is focused on conducting an experimental parameter study to determine an empirical scaling law suitable for design purposes, with the aim to integrate the device into a full-scale unmanned undersea vehicle. Support is greatly appreciated from ONR Awards N000140810918 and N000141010137.

  11. Environmental variability and the evolution of the glucocorticoid receptor (Nr3c1) in African starlings.

    PubMed

    Hofmeister, Natalie R; Rubenstein, Dustin R

    2016-10-01

    One of the primary ways that organisms cope with environmental change is through regulation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the neuroendocrine system that controls reactions to stress. Variation in genes regulating the HPA axis - particularly the glucocorticoid receptor - may facilitate adaptation to changing climatic conditions by altering expression. Here we examine signatures of selection on the glucocorticoid receptor gene (Nr3c1) in African starlings that inhabit a range of environments, including those with variable climatic conditions. To investigate potential adaptive mechanisms underlying the vertebrate stress response, we sequence the Nr3c1 gene in 27 species of African starlings. Although we find some evidence of positive selection, substitution rate is negatively correlated with variance in precipitation. This suggests climatic cycling in sub-Saharan Africa may have resulted in lower substitution rates to maintain a successful coping strategy. When environmental conditions fluctuate rapidly, variation in the strength of purifying selection can explain evolutionary rate variation. PMID:27500971

  12. A tribute to a scientist extraordinaire - Ernest H. Starling (1866-1927).

    PubMed

    Palanisamy, Vimala; Km, Prathibha

    2015-01-01

    One of the defining moments in the history of medicine came in the year 1902 with the discovery of Secretin, the first hormone to be isolated in the human body. The men credited with this milestone discovery, which went on to revolutionize medicine, are Ernest H. Starling and William M. Bayliss. Their contributions aided the transition of medical practice from empiricism towards rationalism. E.H. Starling introduced the word 'hormone', laying the foundation for the development of Endocrinology as a medical specialty. His extensive research in circulatory physiology including the study of the electric activity of the heart and capillary fluid shift has made his name a mainstay in its study. His interests were varied, where he contributed his scientific bend of mind to the study of different fields of Physiology and his non-conformist ideals to the study of the then prevalent educational system in Great Britain. In lieu with celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of E. H. Starling, a brilliant scientist and an educational reformist, a chronological construe of his academic pursuits and milestone achievements has been presented. One hopes that such recollections serve to inspire and invigorate the scientist inside everyone and also serve as guiding beacons to students and researchers.

  13. A tribute to a scientist extraordinaire - Ernest H. Starling (1866-1927).

    PubMed

    Palanisamy, Vimala; Km, Prathibha

    2015-01-01

    One of the defining moments in the history of medicine came in the year 1902 with the discovery of Secretin, the first hormone to be isolated in the human body. The men credited with this milestone discovery, which went on to revolutionize medicine, are Ernest H. Starling and William M. Bayliss. Their contributions aided the transition of medical practice from empiricism towards rationalism. E.H. Starling introduced the word 'hormone', laying the foundation for the development of Endocrinology as a medical specialty. His extensive research in circulatory physiology including the study of the electric activity of the heart and capillary fluid shift has made his name a mainstay in its study. His interests were varied, where he contributed his scientific bend of mind to the study of different fields of Physiology and his non-conformist ideals to the study of the then prevalent educational system in Great Britain. In lieu with celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of E. H. Starling, a brilliant scientist and an educational reformist, a chronological construe of his academic pursuits and milestone achievements has been presented. One hopes that such recollections serve to inspire and invigorate the scientist inside everyone and also serve as guiding beacons to students and researchers. PMID:27604200

  14. Extent of utilization of the Frank-Starling mechanism in conscious dogs. [preload effects on myocardial regulation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Boettcher, D. H.; Vatner, S. F.; Heyndrickx, G. R.; Braunwald, E.

    1978-01-01

    The left ventricular end-diastolic pressure-dimension relationships in conscious dogs were studied; the ventricle was stressed to its limit in terms of myocardial preload in order to assess the extent of use of the Frank-Starling mechanism under these conditions. The preload was increased through volume loading with saline infusions, the provocation of global myocardial ischemia by constriction of the left main coronary artery, and infusion of methoxamine. While left ventricular end-diastolic pressure increased substantially in the reclining conscious animals, the left ventricular end-diastolic diameter did not increase, suggesting a minimum role for the Frank-Starling mechanism in this case.

  15. Assessing Video Presentations as Environmental Enrichment for Laboratory Birds

    PubMed Central

    Coulon, Marion; Henry, Laurence; Perret, Audrey; Cousillas, Hugo; Hausberger, Martine; George, Isabelle

    2014-01-01

    The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of video presentations of natural landscapes on European starlings' (Sturnus vulgaris) stereotypic behaviours (SBs) and other abnormal repetitive behaviours (ARBs) and to evaluate the impact of past experience by comparing wild-caught and hand-reared starlings' reactions. Ten wild-caught and five hand-reared starlings were presented 1-hour videos of landscapes twice a day for five successive days, while a control group of eight wild-caught and four hand-reared starlings was presented a grey screen for the same amount of time. The analysis of the starlings' behaviour revealed that the video presentations of landscapes appeared to have a positive but limited and experience-dependent effect on starlings' SBs and other ARBs compared to the controls. Indeed, whereas video presentations seemed to modulate high rates of SBs and ARBs, they did not appear to be enriching enough to prevent the emergence or the development of SBs and ARBs in an impoverished environment. They even appeared to promote a particular type of SB (somersaulting) that is thought to be linked to escape motivation. The fact that this effect was observed in hand-reared starlings suggests that videos of landscapes could elicit motivation to escape even in birds that never experienced outdoor life. These results highlight the importance of investigating stereotypic behaviour both quantitatively and qualitatively in order to provide crucial clues on animal welfare. PMID:24827457

  16. Prolactin is associated with the development of photorefractoriness in intact, castrated, and testosterone-implanted starlings

    SciTech Connect

    Goldsmith, A.R.; Nicholls, T.J.

    1984-05-01

    Using radioimmunoassays, prolactin, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) were measured in the plasma of intact, castrated, and testosterone-implanted male starlings. Two groups of birds (intact and castrated males) were transferred when photosensitive from short (8-hr) to long (16-hr) day lengths; in both cases plasma prolactin levels increased steadily reaching a peak after 5 weeks of photostimulation, at the time of the onset of photorefractoriness. Three groups (intacts, castrates, and castrates implanted with Silastic capsules containing testosterone) were exposed to day lengths increasing by 30 min per week from 8 to 16 hr. Again, prolactin levels increased in a similar fashion in all three groups at the time of refractoriness, which occurred when the day length reached 15-16 hr. Thus the timing of photorefractoriness and the associated rise in prolactin secretion which occur in response to photostimulation do not depend upon the presence of the gonads and are not affected when testosterone is maintained at a constant high level. Nor is the increase in prolactin altered when the cycle of gonadotrophin secretion which normally precedes it is completely suppressed by the implantation of a testosterone capsule. It would seem that prolactin secretion in the starling is stimulated by transfer from short to long day lengths, but not as a consequence of high gonadotrophin or androgen secretion rates.

  17. An accurate equation of state for hard Gaussian overlap fluids from a generalized Carnahan-Starling method

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maeso, M. J.; Solana, J. R.

    The Carnahan-Starling method for obtaining the equation of state of the hard-sphere fluid is generalized and used to derive an equation of state for hard Gaussian overlap fluids. The results are in excellent agreement with existing simulation data.

  18. Congestive heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is associated with severely impaired dynamic Starling mechanism

    PubMed Central

    Shibata, Shigeki; Hastings, Jeff L.; Prasad, Anand; Fu, Qi; Bhella, Paul S.; Pacini, Eric; Krainski, Felix; Palmer, M. Dean; Zhang, Rong

    2011-01-01

    Sedentary aging leads to increased cardiovascular stiffening, which can be ameliorated by sufficient amounts of lifelong exercise training. An even more extreme form of cardiovascular stiffening can be seen in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), which comprises ∼40∼50% of elderly patients diagnosed with congestive heart failure. There are two major interrelated hypotheses proposed to explain heart failure in these patients: 1) increased left ventricular (LV) diastolic stiffness and 2) increased arterial stiffening. The beat-to-beat dynamic Starling mechanism, which is impaired with healthy human aging, reflects the interaction between ventricular and arterial stiffness and thus may provide a link between these two mechanisms underlying HFpEF. Spectral transfer function analysis was applied between beat-to-beat changes in LV end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP; estimated from pulmonary artery diastolic pressure with a right heart catheter) and stroke volume (SV) index. The dynamic Starling mechanism (transfer function gain between LVEDP and the SV index) was impaired in HFpEF patients (n = 10) compared with healthy age-matched controls (n = 12) (HFpEF: 0.23 ± 0.10 ml·m−2·mmHg−1 and control: 0.37 ± 0.11 ml·m−2·mmHg−1, means ± SD, P = 0.008). There was also a markedly increased (3-fold) fluctuation of LV filling pressures (power spectral density of LVEDP) in HFpEF patients, which may predispose to pulmonary edema due to intermittent exposure to higher pulmonary capillary pressure (HFpEF: 12.2 ± 10.4 mmHg2 and control: 3.8 ± 2.9 mmHg2, P = 0.014). An impaired dynamic Starling mechanism, even more extreme than that observed with healthy aging, is associated with marked breath-by-breath LVEDP variability and may reflect advanced ventricular and arterial stiffness in HFpEF, possibly contributing to reduced forward output and pulmonary congestion. PMID:21310890

  19. Sexing Adult Pale-Winged Starlings Using Morphometric and Discriminant Function Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Henry, Laurence; Biquand, Véronique; Craig, Adrian J. F. K.; Hausberger, Martine

    2015-01-01

    Accurate sexing of birds is vital for behavioral studies but can be a real problem in the field, especially for monomorphic species. Our goal here was to characterize the morphology of male and female monomorphic pale-winged starlings (Onychognathus nabouroup), a South African sturnid whose plumage is sexually monomorphic. Morphological measurements of genetically sexed animals indicated that males were statistically larger than females for five measurements: Mass, tail length, tarsus length and wing length. By using a Discriminant Function Analysis based on the measurements taken by one ringer, we were able to predict correctly the sex of 81.10% of the birds of data collected in the field and 77.9% of museum skins independently of year of capture and ringer. The model developed here should be useful for further field studies of this species. PMID:26367269

  20. Empirical evidence of cold stress induced cell mediated and humoral immune response in common myna ( Sturnus tristis)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sandhu, Mansur A.; Zaib, Anila; Anjum, Muhammad S.; Qayyum, Mazhar

    2015-11-01

    Common myna ( Sturnus tristis) is a bird indigenous to the Indian subcontinent that has invaded many parts of the world. At the onset of our investigation, we hypothesized that the immunological profile of myna makes it resistant to harsh/new environmental conditions. In order to test this hypothesis, a number of 40 mynas were caught and divided into two groups, i.e., 7 and 25 °C for 14 days. To determine the effect of cold stress, cell mediated and humoral immune responses were assessed. The macrophage engulfment percentage was significantly ( P < 0.05) higher at 25 °C rather than 7 °C either co-incubated with opsonized or unopsonized sheep red blood cells (SRBC). Macrophage engulfment/cell and nitric oxide production behaved in a similar manner. However, splenic cells plaque formation, heterophil to lymphocyte (H/L) ratio, and serum IgM or IgG production remained non-significant. There was a significant increase of IgG antibody production after a second immunization by SRBC. To the best of our knowledge, these findings have never been reported in the progression of this bird's invasion in frosty areas of the world. The results revealed a strengthened humoral immune response of myna and made this bird suitable for invasion in the areas of harsh conditions.

  1. Empirical evidence of cold stress induced cell mediated and humoral immune response in common myna (Sturnus tristis).

    PubMed

    Sandhu, Mansur A; Zaib, Anila; Anjum, Muhammad S; Qayyum, Mazhar

    2015-11-01

    Common myna (Sturnus tristis) is a bird indigenous to the Indian subcontinent that has invaded many parts of the world. At the onset of our investigation, we hypothesized that the immunological profile of myna makes it resistant to harsh/new environmental conditions. In order to test this hypothesis, a number of 40 mynas were caught and divided into two groups, i.e., 7 and 25 °C for 14 days. To determine the effect of cold stress, cell mediated and humoral immune responses were assessed. The macrophage engulfment percentage was significantly (P < 0.05) higher at 25 °C rather than 7 °C either co-incubated with opsonized or unopsonized sheep red blood cells (SRBC). Macrophage engulfment/cell and nitric oxide production behaved in a similar manner. However, splenic cells plaque formation, heterophil to lymphocyte (H/L) ratio, and serum IgM or IgG production remained non-significant. There was a significant increase of IgG antibody production after a second immunization by SRBC. To the best of our knowledge, these findings have never been reported in the progression of this bird's invasion in frosty areas of the world. The results revealed a strengthened humoral immune response of myna and made this bird suitable for invasion in the areas of harsh conditions.

  2. Myosin head orientation: a structural determinant for the Frank-Starling relationship

    SciTech Connect

    Farman, Gerrie P.; Gore, David; Allen, Edward; Schoenfelt, Kelly; Irving, Thomas C.; de Tombe, Pieter P.

    2011-09-06

    The cellular mechanism underlying the Frank-Starling law of the heart is myofilament length-dependent activation. The mechanism(s) whereby sarcomeres detect changes in length and translate this into increased sensitivity to activating calcium has been elusive. Small-angle X-ray diffraction studies have revealed that the intact myofilament lattice undergoes numerous structural changes upon an increase in sarcomere length (SL): lattice spacing and the I{sub 1,1}/I{sub 1,0} intensity ratio decreases, whereas the M3 meridional reflection intensity (I{sub M3}) increases, concomitant with increases in diastolic and systolic force. Using a short ({approx}10 ms) X-ray exposure just before electrical stimulation, we were able to obtain detailed structural information regarding the effects of external osmotic compression (with mannitol) and obtain SL on thin intact electrically stimulated isolated rat right ventricular trabeculae. We show that over the same incremental increases in SL, the relative changes in systolic force track more closely to the relative changes in myosin head orientation (as reported by IM3) than to the relative changes in lattice spacing. We conclude that myosin head orientation before activation determines myocardial sarcomere activation levels and that this may be the dominant mechanism for length-dependent activation.

  3. Ernest Henry Starling (1866-1927) on the glomerular and tubular functions of the kidney.

    PubMed

    Fine, Leon G

    2014-01-01

    Around the turn of the 20th century, Ernest Henry Starling (1866-1927) made many fundamental contributions to the understanding of human physiology. With a deep interest in how fluid balance is regulated, he naturally turned to explore the intricacies of kidney function. Early in his career he focused upon the process of glomerular filtration and was able to substantiate the view of Carl Ludwig that this process can be explained entirely upon the basis of hydrostatic and oncotic pressure gradients across the glomerular capillary wall and that the process can be regulated by alterations in the tone of the afferent and efferent arterioles. To explore renal tubular function he employed a heart-lung-kidney model in the dog and was able to infer that certain substances are reabsorbed by the tubules (e.g. sodium chloride) and certain by tubular secretion (e.g. uric acid, indigo carmine dye). By temporarily blocking tubular function using hydrocyanic acid he was able to conclude that secreted substances must be taken up on the peritubular side of the cell and concentrated within the cell to drive the secretory process. Finally, he was able to appreciate that the kidney is an organ which is regulated according to the needs of the organism and that the processes of glomerular filtration, tubular secretion and reabsorption are all subject to regulatory influences, which have evolved to conserve the normal chemical composition of the cells and fluids of the body. PMID:24970544

  4. Cardiac system bioenergetics: metabolic basis of the Frank-Starling law

    PubMed Central

    Saks, Valdur; Dzeja, Petras; Schlattner, Uwe; Vendelin, Marko; Terzic, Andre; Wallimann, Theo

    2006-01-01

    The fundamental principle of cardiac behaviour is described by the Frank-Starling law relating force of contraction during systole with end-diastolic volume. While both work and respiration rates increase linearly with imposed load, the basis of mechano-energetic coupling in heart muscle has remained a long-standing enigma. Here, we highlight advances made in understanding of complex cellular and molecular mechanisms that orchestrate coupling of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation with ATP utilization for muscle contraction. Cardiac system bioenergetics critically depends on an interrelated metabolic infrastructure regulating mitochondrial respiration and energy fluxes throughout cellular compartments. The data reviewed indicate the significance of two interrelated systems regulating mitochondrial respiration and energy fluxes in cells: (1) the creatine kinase, adenylate kinase and glycolytic pathways that communicate flux changes generated by cellular ATPases within structurally organized enzymatic modules and networks; and (2) a secondary system based on mitochondrial participation in cellular calcium cycle, which adjusts substrate oxidation and energy-transducing processes to meet increasing cellular energy demands. By conveying energetic signals to metabolic sensors, coupled phosphotransfer reactions provide a high-fidelity regulation of the excitation–contraction cycle. Such integration of energetics with calcium signalling systems provides the basis for ‘metabolic pacing’, synchronizing the cellular electrical and mechanical activities with energy supply processes. PMID:16410283

  5. Emergence of collective changes in travel direction of starling flocks from individual birds' fluctuations

    PubMed Central

    Attanasi, Alessandro; Cavagna, Andrea; Del Castello, Lorenzo; Giardina, Irene; Jelic, Asja; Melillo, Stefania; Parisi, Leonardo; Pohl, Oliver; Shen, Edward; Viale, Massimiliano

    2015-01-01

    One of the most impressive features of moving animal groups is their ability to perform sudden coherent changes in travel direction. While this collective decision can be a response to an external alarm cue, directional switching can also emerge from the intrinsic fluctuations in individual behaviour. However, the cause and the mechanism by which such collective changes of direction occur are not fully understood yet. Here, we present an experimental study of spontaneous collective turns in natural flocks of starlings. We employ a recently developed tracking algorithm to reconstruct three-dimensional trajectories of each individual bird in the flock for the whole duration of a turning event. Our approach enables us to analyse changes in the individual behaviour of every group member and reveal the emergent dynamics of turning. We show that spontaneous turns start from individuals located at the elongated tips of the flocks, and then propagate through the group. We find that birds on the tips deviate from the mean direction of motion much more frequently than other individuals, indicating that persistent localized fluctuations are the crucial ingredient for triggering a collective directional change. Finally, we quantitatively verify that birds follow equal-radius paths during turning, the effects of which are a change of the flock's orientation and a redistribution of individual locations in the group. PMID:26236825

  6. Emergence of collective changes in travel direction of starling flocks from individual birds' fluctuations.

    PubMed

    Attanasi, Alessandro; Cavagna, Andrea; Del Castello, Lorenzo; Giardina, Irene; Jelic, Asja; Melillo, Stefania; Parisi, Leonardo; Pohl, Oliver; Shen, Edward; Viale, Massimiliano

    2015-07-01

    One of the most impressive features of moving animal groups is their ability to perform sudden coherent changes in travel direction. While this collective decision can be a response to an external alarm cue, directional switching can also emerge from the intrinsic fluctuations in individual behaviour. However, the cause and the mechanism by which such collective changes of direction occur are not fully understood yet. Here, we present an experimental study of spontaneous collective turns in natural flocks of starlings. We employ a recently developed tracking algorithm to reconstruct three-dimensional trajectories of each individual bird in the flock for the whole duration of a turning event. Our approach enables us to analyse changes in the individual behaviour of every group member and reveal the emergent dynamics of turning. We show that spontaneous turns start from individuals located at the elongated tips of the flocks, and then propagate through the group. We find that birds on the tips deviate from the mean direction of motion much more frequently than other individuals, indicating that persistent localized fluctuations are the crucial ingredient for triggering a collective directional change. Finally, we quantitatively verify that birds follow equal-radius paths during turning, the effects of which are a change of the flock's orientation and a redistribution of individual locations in the group.

  7. A sliding mode-based starling-like controller for implantable rotary blood pumps.

    PubMed

    Bakouri, Mohsen A; Salamonsen, Robert F; Savkin, Andrey V; AlOmari, Abdul-Hakeem H; Lim, Einly; Lovell, Nigel H

    2014-07-01

    Clinically adequate implementation of physiological control of a rotary left ventricular assist device requires a sophisticated technique such as the recently proposed method based on the Frank-Starling mechanism. In this mechanism, the stroke volume of the heart increases in response to an increase in the volume of blood filling the left ventricle at the end of diastole. To emulate this process, changes in pump speed need to automatically regulate pump flow to ensure that the combined output of the left ventricle and pump match the output of the right ventricle across changing cardiovascular states. In this approach, we exploit the linear relationship between estimated mean pump flow (Q ̅ est) and pump flow pulsatility (PIQp) in a tracking control algorithm based on sliding mode control. The immediate response of the controller was assessed using a lumped parameter model of the cardiovascular system (CVS) and pump from which could be extracted both Q ̅ est and PIQp. Two different perturbations from the resting state in the presence of left ventricular failure were tested. The first was blood loss requiring a reduction in pump flow to match the reduced output from the right ventricle and to avoid the complication of ventricular suction. The second was exercise, requiring an increase in pump flow. The sliding mode controller induced the required changes in Qp within approximately five heart beats in the blood loss simulation and eight heart beats in the exercise simulation without clinically significant transients or steady-state errors.

  8. The classical Starling resistor model often does not predict inspiratory airflow patterns in the human upper airway.

    PubMed

    Owens, Robert L; Edwards, Bradley A; Sands, Scott A; Butler, James P; Eckert, Danny J; White, David P; Malhotra, Atul; Wellman, Andrew

    2014-04-15

    The upper airway is often modeled as a classical Starling resistor, featuring a constant inspiratory airflow, or plateau, over a range of downstream pressures. However, airflow tracings from clinical sleep studies often show an initial peak before the plateau. To conform to the Starling model, the initial peak must be of small magnitude or dismissed as a transient. We developed a method to simulate fast or slow inspirations through the human upper airway, to test the hypothesis that this initial peak is a transient. Eight subjects [4 obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), 4 controls] slept in an "iron lung" and wore a nasal mask connected to a continuous/bilevel positive airway pressure machine. Downstream pressure was measured using an epiglottic catheter. During non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, subjects were hyperventilated to produce a central apnea, then extrathoracic pressure was decreased slowly (∼2-4 s) or abruptly (<0.5 s) to lower downstream pressure and create inspiratory airflow. Pressure-flow curves were constructed for flow-limited breaths, and slow vs. fast reductions in downstream pressure were compared. All subjects exhibited an initial peak and then a decrease in flow with more negative pressures, demonstrating negative effort dependence (NED). The rate of change in downstream pressure did not affect the peak to plateau airflow ratio: %NED 22 ± 13% (slow) vs. 20 ± 5% (fast), P = not significant. We conclude that the initial peak in inspiratory airflow is not a transient but rather a distinct mechanical property of the upper airway. In contrast to the classical Starling resistor model, the upper airway exhibits marked NED in some subjects. PMID:24458746

  9. The classical Starling resistor model often does not predict inspiratory airflow patterns in the human upper airway

    PubMed Central

    Edwards, Bradley A.; Sands, Scott A.; Butler, James P.; Eckert, Danny J.; White, David P.; Malhotra, Atul; Wellman, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    The upper airway is often modeled as a classical Starling resistor, featuring a constant inspiratory airflow, or plateau, over a range of downstream pressures. However, airflow tracings from clinical sleep studies often show an initial peak before the plateau. To conform to the Starling model, the initial peak must be of small magnitude or dismissed as a transient. We developed a method to simulate fast or slow inspirations through the human upper airway, to test the hypothesis that this initial peak is a transient. Eight subjects [4 obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), 4 controls] slept in an “iron lung” and wore a nasal mask connected to a continuous/bilevel positive airway pressure machine. Downstream pressure was measured using an epiglottic catheter. During non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, subjects were hyperventilated to produce a central apnea, then extrathoracic pressure was decreased slowly (∼2–4 s) or abruptly (<0.5 s) to lower downstream pressure and create inspiratory airflow. Pressure-flow curves were constructed for flow-limited breaths, and slow vs. fast reductions in downstream pressure were compared. All subjects exhibited an initial peak and then a decrease in flow with more negative pressures, demonstrating negative effort dependence (NED). The rate of change in downstream pressure did not affect the peak to plateau airflow ratio: %NED 22 ± 13% (slow) vs. 20 ± 5% (fast), P = not significant. We conclude that the initial peak in inspiratory airflow is not a transient but rather a distinct mechanical property of the upper airway. In contrast to the classical Starling resistor model, the upper airway exhibits marked NED in some subjects. PMID:24458746

  10. Modulation of the Cardiomyocyte Contraction inside a Hydrostatic Pressure Bioreactor: In Vitro Verification of the Frank-Starling Law

    PubMed Central

    Fassina, Lorenzo; Magenes, Giovanni; Gimmelli, Roberto; Naro, Fabio

    2015-01-01

    We have studied beating mouse cardiac syncytia in vitro in order to assess the inotropic, ergotropic, and chronotropic effects of both increasing and decreasing hydrostatic pressures. In particular, we have performed an image processing analysis to evaluate the kinematics and the dynamics of those pressure-loaded beating syncytia starting from the video registration of their contraction movement. By this analysis, we have verified the Frank-Starling law of the heart in in vitro beating cardiac syncytia and we have obtained their geometrical-functional classification. PMID:25667923

  11. A computational model of cerebrospinal fluid production and reabsorption driven by Starling forces.

    PubMed

    Buishas, Joel; Gould, Ian G; Linninger, Andreas A

    2014-10-01

    Experimental evidence has cast doubt on the classical model of river-like cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow from the choroid plexus to the arachnoid granulations. We propose a novel model of water transport through the parenchyma from the microcirculation as driven by Starling forces. This model investigates the effect of osmotic pressure on water transport between the cerebral vasculature, the extracellular space (ECS), the perivascular space (PVS), and the CSF. A rigorous literature search was conducted focusing on experiments which alter the osmolarity of blood or ventricles and measure the rate of CSF production. Investigations into the effect of osmotic pressure on the volume of ventricles and the flux of ions in the blood, choroid plexus epithelium, and CSF are reviewed. Increasing the osmolarity of the serum via a bolus injection completely inhibits nascent fluid flow production in the ventricles. A continuous injection of a hyperosmolar solution into the ventricles can increase the volume of the ventricle by up to 125%. CSF production is altered by 0.231 μL per mOsm in the ventricle and by 0.835 μL per mOsm in the serum. Water flux from the ECS to the CSF is identified as a key feature of intracranial dynamics. A complete mathematical model with all equations and scenarios is fully described, as well as a guide to constructing a computational model of intracranial water balance dynamics. The model proposed in this article predicts the effects the osmolarity of ECS, blood, and CSF on water flux in the brain, establishing a link between osmotic imbalances and pathological conditions such as hydrocephalus and edema. PMID:25358881

  12. Sexual and natural selection in the evolution of extended phenotypes: the use of green nesting material in starlings.

    PubMed

    Rubalcaba, J G; Polo, V; Maia, R; Rubenstein, D R; Veiga, J P

    2016-08-01

    Although sexual selection is typically considered the predominant force driving the evolution of ritualized sexual behaviours, natural selection may also play an important and often underappreciated role. The use of green aromatic plants among nesting birds has been interpreted as a component of extended phenotype that evolved either via natural selection due to potential sanitary functions or via sexual selection as a signal of male attractiveness. Here, we compared both hypotheses using comparative methods in starlings, a group where this behaviour is widespread. We found that the use of green plants was positively related to male-biased size dimorphism and that it was most likely to occur among cavity-nesting species. These results suggest that this behaviour is likely favoured by sexual selection, but also related to its sanitary use in response to higher parasite loads in cavities. We speculate that the use of green plants in starlings may be facilitated by cavity nesting and was subsequently co-opted as a sexual signal by males. Our results represent an example of how an extended phenotypic component of males becomes sexually selected by females. Thus, both natural selection and sexual selection are necessary to fully understand the evolution of ritualized behaviours involved in courtship. PMID:27168035

  13. European Community.

    PubMed

    1987-05-01

    The European Community was established in 1951 to reconcile France and Germany after World War II and to make possible the eventual federation of Europe. By 1986, there were 12 member countries: France, Italy, Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Greece, Spain, and Portugal. Principal areas of concern are internal and external trade, agriculture, monetary coordination, fisheries, common industrial and commercial policies, assistance, science and research, and common social and regional policies. The European Community has a budget of US$34.035 billion/year, funded by customs duties and 1.4% of each member's value-added tax. The treaties establishing the European Community call for members to form a common market, a common customs tariff, and common agricultural, transport, economic, and nuclear policies. Major European Community institutions include the Commission, Council of Ministers, European Parliament, Court of Justice, and Economic and Social Committee. The Community is the world's largest trading unit, accounting for 15% of world trade. The 2 main goals of the Community's industrial policy are to create an open internal market and to promote technological innovation in order to improve international competitiveness. The European Community aims to contribute to the economic and social development of Third World countries as well. PMID:12177941

  14. Mycoplasmosis in captive crows and robins from Minnesota.

    PubMed

    Wellehan, J F; Calsamiglia, M; Ley, D H; Zens, M S; Amonsin, A; Kapur, V

    2001-07-01

    Mycoplasma sturni is a recently described organism previously associated with conjunctivitis in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), northern mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) and blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata). Herein we describe the isolation of M. sturni from an American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) presenting with conjunctivitis. A nested-PCR was designed for identification of M. sturni in clinical specimens and the sensitivity of the reaction was found to be 10 colony-changing units. The organism was found in asymptomatic American crows caged with a nestmate of the crow with conjunctivitis. Mycoplasma sturni also was found in asymptomatic American robins (Turdus migratorius) and in a European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) housed at the same facility as the crows. Heterogenity of M. sturni isolates from different host species was found by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analyses. Heterogeneity also was found among M. sturni isolates recovered from American crows. We suggest that M. sturni can successfully infect American crows and American robins with or without the presence of clinical disease. Furthermore, we demonstrate that nested-PCR is an effective method for the detection of M. sturni and that substantial genetic heterogeneity exists among natural isolates of this bacterial pathogen.

  15. Possible environmental contaminant effects in neotropical migrants nesting at a Superfund site

    SciTech Connect

    Arenal, C.; Halbrook, R.

    1995-12-31

    Forest fragmentation, insularization, and tropical deforestation have been named as significant factors in the decline of many neotropical migrant bird species, however, contamination of breeding grounds also may be of concern. Additionally, neotropical migrants may serve as a route of transport of contaminants from breeding grounds in North America to wintering grounds in the tropics. Accumulation and effects of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and heavy metal concentrations in avian species were evaluated at a Superfund site (Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois) using the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) as a model. Starlings were monitored at 12 nest boxes constructed at each of 3 study and 2 reference sites. Behavior of adult starlings was observed in the field to assess possible contaminant effects on nest attentiveness and reproductive success was recorded as the number of chicks surviving to 15 days post-hatch. Effects included a significant reduction in nest attentiveness behavior and increased chick mortality between PCB and reference sites. There were no significant differences among study and reference sites in number of eggs laid and percent of eggs hatched. Because Crab Orchard NWR serves as breeding ground for approximately 80 neotropical migrant species, the results suggest that species with feeding habits similar to starlings also may have greater body burdens of metals and PCBs and may suffer similar reductions in nesting success. The potential exists for transport and incorporation of environmental contaminants into the food chain at sites along the migration route.

  16. European Education.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tapia, Ivan, Ed.; Blochmann, Georg M., Ed.

    1996-01-01

    A special six-article section of this journal is devoted to the theme of "European Education" (EU): (1) "Reform of EU Educational Policy" (Volker Thomas); (2) "Living in Europe, Working for Europe" (Volker Thomas); (3) "EURES Helps to Find Jobs" (Volker Thomas); (4) "Help for Higher Education Institutions in Central and Eastern Europe" (Siegbert…

  17. Effect of volume loading on the Frank-Starling relation during reductions in central blood volume in heat-stressed humans.

    PubMed

    Bundgaard-Nielsen, M; Wilson, T E; Seifert, T; Secher, N H; Crandall, C G

    2010-09-01

    During reductions in central blood volume while heat stressed, a greater decrease in stroke volume (SV) for a similar decrease in ventricular filling pressure, compared to normothermia, suggests that the heart is operating on a steeper portion of a Frank-Starling curve. If so, volume loading of heat-stressed individuals would shift the operating point to a flatter portion of the heat stress Frank-Starling curve thereby attenuating the reduction in SV during subsequent decreases in central blood volume. To investigate this hypothesis, right heart catheterization was performed in eight males from whom pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP), central venous pressure and SV (via thermodilution) were obtained while central blood volume was reduced via lower-body negative pressure (LBNP) during normothermia, whole-body heating (increase in blood temperature 1 degrees C), and during whole-body heating after intravascular volume expansion. Volume expansion was accomplished by administration of a combination of a synthetic colloid (HES 130/0.4, Voluven) and saline. Before LBNP, SV was not affected by heating (122 +/- 30 ml; mean +/- s.d.) compared to normothermia (110 +/- 20 ml; P = 0.06). However, subsequent volume loading increased SV to 143 +/- 29 ml (P = 0.003). LBNP provoked a larger decrease in SV relative to the decrease in PCWP during heating (8.6 +/- 1.9 ml mmHg(1)) compared to normothermia (4.5 +/- 3.0 ml mmHg(1), P = 0.02). After volume loading while heat stressed, the reduction in the SV to PCWP ratio during LBNP was comparable to that observed during normothermia (4.8 +/- 2.3 ml mmHg(1); P = 0.78). These data support the hypothesis that a Frank-Starling mechanism contributes to compromised blood pressure control during simulated haemorrhage in heat-stressed individuals, and extend those findings by showing that volume infusion corrects this deficit by shifting the operating point to a flatter portion of the heat stress Frank-Starling curve.

  18. Interpreting population estimates of birds following pesticide applications--behavior of male starlings exposed to an organophosphate pesticide

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grue, C.E.; Shipley, B.J.; Ralph, C. John; Scott, J. Michael

    1981-01-01

    We determined activity budgets for 10 pairs of captive male Starlings between 7 May and 18 July 1980. Our objective was to quantify changes in behavior after exposure to an organophosphate (OP) pesticide and to assess the impact of changes in behavior on the interpretation of population estimates of birds following pesticide applications. We observed each pair of males for an hour at 07:30 and 09:30 for four days and classified their behavior into one of four categories: flying, perching, foraging, or singing and displaying. At 06:30 on day 2, one male received a single oral dose of 2.5 mg dicrotophos (3-hydroxy-N, N-dimethyl-cis-crotonamide dimethyl phosphate) per kg of body weight; the other male received an equivalent exposure of corn oil. Changes in the activity budgets of OP-dosed and control males were compared using t-tests. Activity of OP-dosed males was significantly (P _ 0.05) reduced within the 2-4 h following exposure. OP-dosed males spent more time perching (46.1%) than controls and less time flying (-96.6%), foraging (-28.5%), and singing and displaying (-49.5%). The frequency of perching (-75.3%), flying (-83.8%), foraging (-54.1%), and singing and displaying (- 59.2%) was significantly reduced. Activity in OP-dosed males returned to normal by 26-28 h posttreatment. Results suggest that movement and vocalization may be significantly reduced in birds exposed to organophosphate and carbamate pesticides. Conventional censusing techniques and population estimating procedures may, therefore, be inadequate to assess changes in bird populations after pesticide applications because of the difficulty in separating decreases in density due to mortality or emigration from reductions in activity.

  19. The Role of the Frank–Starling Law in the Transduction of Cellular Work to Whole Organ Pump Function: A Computational Modeling Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Niederer, Steven A.; Smith, Nicolas P.

    2009-01-01

    We have developed a multi-scale biophysical electromechanics model of the rat left ventricle at room temperature. This model has been applied to investigate the relative roles of cellular scale length dependent regulators of tension generation on the transduction of work from the cell to whole organ pump function. Specifically, the role of the length dependent Ca2+ sensitivity of tension (Ca50), filament overlap tension dependence, velocity dependence of tension, and tension dependent binding of Ca2+ to Troponin C on metrics of efficient transduction of work and stress and strain homogeneity were predicted by performing simulations in the absence of each of these feedback mechanisms. The length dependent Ca50 and the filament overlap, which make up the Frank-Starling Law, were found to be the two dominant regulators of the efficient transduction of work. Analyzing the fiber velocity field in the absence of the Frank-Starling mechanisms showed that the decreased efficiency in the transduction of work in the absence of filament overlap effects was caused by increased post systolic shortening, whereas the decreased efficiency in the absence of length dependent Ca50 was caused by an inversion in the regional distribution of strain. PMID:19390615

  20. Retinal Ganglion Cell Topography of Five Species of Ground-Foraging Birds

    PubMed Central

    Dolan, Tracy; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban

    2010-01-01

    Birds that forage on the ground have been studied extensively in relation to behavioral trade-offs between foraging and scanning for predators; however, we know little about the topography of their retinas, which can influence how they gather visual information. We characterized the density of retinal ganglion cells across the retina and estimated visual acuity of four Passeriformes (European starling Sturnus vulgaris, brown-headed cowbird Molothrus ater, house sparrow Passer domesticus, house finch Carpodacus mexicanus) and one Columbiforme (mourning dove Zenaida macroura) that forage on the ground. We used cresyl violet to stain retinal ganglion cells and estimated visual acuity based on cell density and eye size. All species contained a single area centralis, where cell densities were >20,000 cells/mm2. The proportion of the retina that fell in each of five cell density ranges varied between species. European starlings and house finches had the largest area of high cell density, mourning doves had the smallest. The largest proportion of the retina (>35%) of brown-headed cowbird and house sparrow was in the second-lowest cell density range. Considering the 25th percentile of highest cell densities, house finches and European starlings showed the highest cell densities and mourning doves the lowest. Estimated visual acuity increased from house finch, house sparrow, brown-headed cowbird, European starling to mourning dove, and was associated with both retinal area and cell density. Our findings suggest that these ground foragers do not have highly specialized retinas in relation to other types of foragers (e.g. tree foragers), probably because foraging on seeds and insects from the ground is not as visually demanding; however, the studied species showed variability in retinal topography that may be related to foraging techniques, eye size constraints, and size of the area centralis. PMID:20516656

  1. Starling resistor versus compliance. Which explains the zero-flow pressure of a dynamic arterial pressure-flow relation?

    PubMed

    Magder, S

    1990-07-01

    Arterial pressure at zero flow (Pz = 0) that is higher than venous pressure (Pv) in dynamic pressure-flow relations has been explained by the presence of an arteriolar Starling resistor (SR) mechanism (i.e., vascular waterfall) or the discharge of vascular capacitance. To determine which was predominant, I studied in vivo hind limbs of 18 anesthetized dogs in which femoral arteries were cannulated with in-line electromagnetic flow probes to measure inflow (Qin), Pv was controlled, and collateral flow was eliminated with a tourniquet. Pz = 0 was obtained by turning flow to zero. Three tests were applied: 1) Pv was raised in steps with either constant Qin or constant arterial pressure (Pa) to determine the pressure at which upstream vascular characteristics were affected by a change in Pv, 2) the time to reach Pz = 0 was varied to determine compliance effects, and 3) an equation was developed to determine if experimentally derived parameters could explain Pz = 0 without invoking an SR. With constant Qin and a Pz = 0 of 56.9 +/- 11.7 mm Hg (time to Pz = 0, 3 seconds), Pv could be raised by 9.6 +/- 6.2 to 16.3 +/- 6.0 mm Hg before Pa increased, and with constant Pa, Pv could be raised by 6.8 +/- 7.3 to 14.0 +/- 8.0 mm Hg before Qin decreased. With increasing times to reach Pz = 0, Pz = 0 initially dropped precipitously, but then decreased by only a small amount over the next 5-10 seconds even though arterial pressure was much above Pv. This could be explained by an SR mechanism with a critical pressure of 42.3 +/- 11.4 mm Hg and an arterial compliance of 0.0104 +/- 0.0023 ml.mm Hg-1 (n = 6). There was no value for the compliance that described the results when the arterial outflow pressure was Pv. Thus, this study supports the hypothesis that an SR mechanism is present in the vascular system. It is most likely precapillary, and in the resting limb, it has a value of 40-50 mm Hg. However, Pz = 0 in dynamic pressure-flow studies of less than 4 seconds is also greatly

  2. Dark nests and egg colour in birds: a possible functional role of ultraviolet reflectance in egg detectability

    PubMed Central

    Avilés, Jesús M; Soler, Juan J; Pérez-Contreras, Tomás

    2006-01-01

    Owing to the conspicuousness of ultraviolet (UV) colour in dark environments, natural selection might have selected UV egg coloration because it would enhance egg detectability by parents in murky nests. Here, we tested this hypothesis by using comparative and experimental approaches. First, we studied variation in egg coloration of 98 species of European passerines measured using UV–visible reflectance spectrometry (300–700 nm) in relation to nesting habits. Analyses based on raw data and controlling for phylogenetic distances both at the species and the family levels revealed that hole-nester species produced eggs with higher UV reflectance than those nesting in open habitats. The experimental approach consisted of the manipulation of UV reflectance of the experimental eggs introduced outside the nest-cup of the hole-nester spotless starling Sturnus unicolor and the study of the retrieval of these eggs. Ultraviolet-reflecting eggs (controls) were more frequently retrieved to the nest-cup than non-reflecting (–UV) eggs. These results were not due to ‘–UV’ eggs being recognized by starlings as parasitic because when a parasitic egg is detected, starlings removed it from the nest-box. Therefore, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that UV egg colours are designed to provide highly detectable targets for parent birds in dark nest environments. PMID:17015364

  3. Titin strain contributes to the Frank-Starling law of the heart by structural rearrangements of both thin- and thick-filament proteins.

    PubMed

    Ait-Mou, Younss; Hsu, Karen; Farman, Gerrie P; Kumar, Mohit; Greaser, Marion L; Irving, Thomas C; de Tombe, Pieter P

    2016-02-23

    The Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart is due, in part, to modulation of myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity by sarcomere length (SL) [length-dependent activation (LDA)]. The molecular mechanism(s) that underlie LDA are unknown. Recent evidence has implicated the giant protein titin in this cellular process, possibly by positioning the myosin head closer to actin. To clarify the role of titin strain in LDA, we isolated myocardium from either WT or homozygous mutant (HM) rats that express a giant splice isoform of titin, and subjected the muscles to stretch from 2.0 to 2.4 μm of SL. Upon stretch, HM compared with WT muscles displayed reduced passive force, twitch force, and myofilament LDA. Time-resolved small-angle X-ray diffraction measurements of WT twitching muscles during diastole revealed stretch-induced increases in the intensity of myosin (M2 and M6) and troponin (Tn3) reflections, as well as a reduction in cross-bridge radial spacing. Independent fluorescent probe analyses in relaxed permeabilized myocytes corroborated these findings. X-ray electron density reconstruction revealed increased mass/ordering in both thick and thin filaments. The SL-dependent changes in structure observed in WT myocardium were absent in HM myocardium. Overall, our results reveal a correlation between titin strain and the Frank-Starling mechanism. The molecular basis underlying this phenomenon appears not to involve interfilament spacing or movement of myosin toward actin but, rather, sarcomere stretch-induced simultaneous structural rearrangements within both thin and thick filaments that correlate with titin strain and myofilament LDA.

  4. Titin strain contributes to the Frank–Starling law of the heart by structural rearrangements of both thin- and thick-filament proteins

    PubMed Central

    Ait-Mou, Younss; Hsu, Karen; Farman, Gerrie P.; Kumar, Mohit; Greaser, Marion L.; Irving, Thomas C.; de Tombe, Pieter P.

    2016-01-01

    The Frank–Starling mechanism of the heart is due, in part, to modulation of myofilament Ca2+ sensitivity by sarcomere length (SL) [length-dependent activation (LDA)]. The molecular mechanism(s) that underlie LDA are unknown. Recent evidence has implicated the giant protein titin in this cellular process, possibly by positioning the myosin head closer to actin. To clarify the role of titin strain in LDA, we isolated myocardium from either WT or homozygous mutant (HM) rats that express a giant splice isoform of titin, and subjected the muscles to stretch from 2.0 to 2.4 μm of SL. Upon stretch, HM compared with WT muscles displayed reduced passive force, twitch force, and myofilament LDA. Time-resolved small-angle X-ray diffraction measurements of WT twitching muscles during diastole revealed stretch-induced increases in the intensity of myosin (M2 and M6) and troponin (Tn3) reflections, as well as a reduction in cross-bridge radial spacing. Independent fluorescent probe analyses in relaxed permeabilized myocytes corroborated these findings. X-ray electron density reconstruction revealed increased mass/ordering in both thick and thin filaments. The SL-dependent changes in structure observed in WT myocardium were absent in HM myocardium. Overall, our results reveal a correlation between titin strain and the Frank–Starling mechanism. The molecular basis underlying this phenomenon appears not to involve interfilament spacing or movement of myosin toward actin but, rather, sarcomere stretch-induced simultaneous structural rearrangements within both thin and thick filaments that correlate with titin strain and myofilament LDA. PMID:26858417

  5. The cross-bridge dynamics is determined by two length-independent kinetics: Implications on muscle economy and Frank-Starling Law.

    PubMed

    Amiad Pavlov, Daria; Landesberg, Amir

    2016-01-01

    The cellular mechanisms underlying the Frank-Starling Law of the heart and the skeletal muscle force-length relationship are not clear. This study tested the effects of sarcomere length (SL) on the average force per cross-bridge and on the rate of cross-bridge cycling in intact rat cardiac trabeculae (n=9). SL was measured by laser diffraction and controlled with a fast servomotor to produce varying initial SLs. Tetanic contractions were induced by addition of cyclopiazonic acid, to maintain a constant activation. Stress decline and redevelopment in response to identical ramp shortenings, starting at various initial SLs, was analyzed. Both stress decline and redevelopment responses revealed two distinct kinetics: a fast and a slower phase. The duration of the rapid phases (4.2 ± 0.1 msec) was SL-independent. The second slower phase depicted a linear dependence of the rate of stress change on the instantaneous stress level. Identical slopes (70.5 ± 1.6 [1/s], p=0.33) were obtained during ramp shortening at all initial SLs, indicating that the force per cross-bridge and cross-bridge cycling kinetics are length-independent. A decrease in the slope at longer SLs was obtained during stress redevelopment, due to internal shortening. The first phase is attributed to rapid changes in the average force per cross-bridge. The second phase is ascribed to both cross-bridge cycling between its strong and weak conformations and to changes in the number of strong cross-bridges. Cross-bridge cycling kinetics and muscle economy are length-independent and the Frank-Starling Law cannot be attributed to changes in the force per cross-bridge or in the single cross-bridge cycling rates. PMID:26654781

  6. Why birdsong is sometimes like music.

    PubMed

    Baptista, Luis F; Keister, Robin A

    2005-01-01

    The sounds and songs of birds have inspired the musical compositions of numerous cultures throughout the globe. This article examines a variety of compositions from Western music that feature birdsong and explores the concept of birds as both vocalists and instrumentalists. The concept of birds as composers is then developed-how they use rhythmic variations, pitch relationships, and combinations of notes similar to those found in music-and the theory that birds create variation in their songs partially to avoid monotony is considered. Various families of birds that borrow sounds from other species are surveyed, in particular the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris), which may have inspired a Mozart composition. We conclude that the fusion of avian bioacoustics and the study of birdsong in music may function as a conservation tool, raising the awareness of humans and stimulating future generations to save for posterity what remains of the natural world.

  7. Investigation of nitrogen transformations in a southern California constructed wastewater treatment wetland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sartoris, J.J.; Thullen, J.S.; Barber, L.B.; Salas, D.E.

    2000-01-01

    We tested the hypotheses that mass at fledging and fledge date within the breeding season affect postfledging survival in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Nestlings were weighed on day 18 after hatch and tagged with individually identifiable patagial tags. Fledge date was recorded. Marked fledglings were resighted during weekly two-day intensive observation periods for 9 weeks postfledging. Post-fledging survival and sighting probabilities were estimated for each of four groups (early or late fledging by heavy or light fledging mass). Body mass was related to post-fledging survival for birds that fledged early. Results were not clear-cut for relative fledge date, although there was weak evidence that this also influenced survival. Highest survival probability estimates occurred in the EARLY-HEAVY group, while the lowest survival estimate occurred in the LATE-LIGHT group. Sighting probabilities differed significantly among groups, emphasizing the need to estimate and compare survival using models which explicitly incorporate sighting probabilities.

  8. Brain cholinesterase activity of nestling great egrets, snowy egrets, and black-crowned night-herons

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Custer, T.W.; Ohlendorf, H.M.

    1989-01-01

    Inhibition of brain cholinesterase (ChE) activity in birds is often used to diagnose exposure or death from organophosphorus or carbmate pesticides. Brain ChE activity in the young of altricial species increase with age; however, this relationship has only been demonstrated in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Brain ChE activity of nestling great egrets (Casmerodius albus) collected from a colony in Texas increased significantly with age and did not differ among individuals from different nests. Brain ChE activity of nestling snowy egrets (Egretta thula) and black-crowned night -herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) collected in one colony each from Rhode Island, Texas, and California also increased significantly with age and did not differ among individuals from different nests or colonies. This study further demonstrates that age must be considered when evaluating exposure of nestling altricial birds to ChE inhibitors.

  9. Brain cholinesterase activity of nestling great egrets snowy egrets and black-crowned night-herons

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Custer, T.W.; Ohlendorf, H.M.

    1989-01-01

    Inhibition of brain cholinesterase (ChE) activity in birds is often used to diagnose exposure or death from organophosphorus or carbamate pesticides. Brain ChE activity in the young of altricial species increases with age; however, this relationship has only been demonstrated in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Brain ChE activity of nestling great egrets (Casmerodius albus) collected from a colony in Texas (USA) increased significantly with age and did not differ among individuals from different nests. Brain ChE activity of nestling snowy egrets (Egretta thula) and black-crowned night-herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) collected in one colony each from Rhode Island, Texas and California (USA) also increased significantly with age and did not differ among individuals from different nests or colonies. This study further demonstrates that age must be considered when evaluating exposure of nestling altricial birds to ChE inhibitors.

  10. Brain cholinesterase activity of nestling great egrets, snowy egrets and black-crowned night-herons.

    PubMed

    Custer, T W; Ohlendorf, H M

    1989-07-01

    inhibition of brain cholinesterase (ChE) activity in birds is often used to diagnose exposure or death from organophosphorus or carbamate pesticides. Brain ChE activity in the young of altricial species increases with age; however, this relationship has only been demonstrated in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Brain ChE activity of nestling great egrets (Casmerodius albus) collected from a colony in Texas (USA) increased significantly with age and did not differ among individuals from different nests. Brain ChE activity of nestling snowy egrets (Egretta thula) and black-crowned night-herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) collected in one colony each from Rhode Island, Texas and California (USA) also increased significantly with age and did not differ among individuals from different nests or colonies. This study further demonstrates that age must be considered when evaluating exposure of nestling altricial birds to ChE inhibitors.

  11. Globalization: The European Experience.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Goldsmith, Peter

    1996-01-01

    The experience of the United Kingdom and other European countries in designing legal education which responds to the changing needs of the European Union is described. The three-stage British system of legal education is outlined, and the impact of European Union formation discussed briefly. Changes in undergraduate study, professional training,…

  12. Revisiting Frank–Starling: regulatory light chain phosphorylation alters the rate of force redevelopment (k tr) in a length‐dependent fashion

    PubMed Central

    West, Timothy G.; Ferenczi, Michael A.

    2016-01-01

    Key points Regulatory light chain (RLC) phosphorylation has been shown to alter the ability of muscle to produce force and power during shortening and to alter the rate of force redevelopment (k tr) at submaximal [Ca2+].Increasing RLC phosphorylation ∼50% from the in vivo level in maximally [Ca2+]‐activated cardiac trabecula accelerates k tr.Decreasing RLC phosphorylation to ∼70% of the in vivo control level slows k tr and reduces force generation. k tr is dependent on sarcomere length in the physiological range 1.85–1.94 μm and RLC phosphorylation modulates this response.We demonstrate that Frank–Starling is evident at maximal [Ca2+] activation and therefore does not necessarily require length‐dependent change in [Ca2+]‐sensitivity of thin filament activation.The stretch response is modulated by changes in RLC phosphorylation, pinpointing RLC phosphorylation as a modulator of the Frank–Starling law in the heart.These data provide an explanation for slowed systolic function in the intact heart in response to RLC phosphorylation reduction. Abstract Force and power in cardiac muscle have a known dependence on phosphorylation of the myosin‐associated regulatory light chain (RLC). We explore the effect of RLC phosphorylation on the ability of cardiac preparations to redevelop force (k tr) in maximally activating [Ca2+]. Activation was achieved by rapidly increasing the temperature (temperature‐jump of 0.5–20ºC) of permeabilized trabeculae over a physiological range of sarcomere lengths (1.85–1.94 μm). The trabeculae were subjected to shortening ramps over a range of velocities and the extent of RLC phosphorylation was varied. The latter was achieved using an RLC‐exchange technique, which avoids changes in the phosphorylation level of other proteins. The results show that increasing RLC phosphorylation by 50% accelerates k tr by ∼50%, irrespective of the sarcomere length, whereas decreasing phosphorylation by 30% slows k tr by ∼50

  13. The seroprevalence of avipoxvirus and its association with avian malaria (Plasmodium spp.) infection in introduced passerine birds in the southern regions of the North Island of New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Ha, H J; Banda, M; Alley, M R; Howe, L; Gartrell, B D

    2013-03-01

    Blood samples were collected from 65 free-ranging birds from six species in the southern North Island of New Zealand. Sera from the birds were tested for the presence of avipoxvirus (APV) antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and blood cells from 55 birds were also tested for Plasmodium spp. by PCR. Forty-five birds (69.2%) tested seropositive to APV. Song thrushes (Turdus philomelos) presented the highest seroprevalence at 100% (4/4), followed by Eurasian blackbirds (Turdus merula) (96.86%, 31/32), chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) (54.55%, 6/11), starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) (25%, 3/12), greenfinches (Carduelis chloris) (25%, 1/4), and European goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis) (0%, 0/2). Plasmodium spp. DNA was detected in 15/55 birds (27.3%), including 11 Eurasian blackbirds, one song thrush, and three starlings. Eight Eurasian blackbird isolates (73%) grouped within the subgenus Novyella. Two Eurasian blackbird isolates and the song thrush isolate clustered within a different group with previously reported lineages LINN1 and AFTRU5. In addition, all three starling isolates clustered within the well-characterized lineage Plasmodium (Huffia) elongatum GRW06. All Plasmodium-positive Eurasian blackbirds and the song thrush were seropositive to APV, whereas only 67% of Plasmodium-positive starlings showed evidence of previous exposure to APV. A significant relationship between birds seropositive to APV and birds infected by Plasmodium spp. was observed (chi2 = 5.69, df = 1, P = 0.0086). To the authors' knowledge this is the first report describing the seroprevalence of APV and its association with Plasmodium spp. infection in introduced bird species in New Zealand.

  14. The seroprevalence of avipoxvirus and its association with avian malaria (Plasmodium spp.) infection in introduced passerine birds in the southern regions of the North Island of New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Ha, H J; Banda, M; Alley, M R; Howe, L; Gartrell, B D

    2013-03-01

    Blood samples were collected from 65 free-ranging birds from six species in the southern North Island of New Zealand. Sera from the birds were tested for the presence of avipoxvirus (APV) antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and blood cells from 55 birds were also tested for Plasmodium spp. by PCR. Forty-five birds (69.2%) tested seropositive to APV. Song thrushes (Turdus philomelos) presented the highest seroprevalence at 100% (4/4), followed by Eurasian blackbirds (Turdus merula) (96.86%, 31/32), chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) (54.55%, 6/11), starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) (25%, 3/12), greenfinches (Carduelis chloris) (25%, 1/4), and European goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis) (0%, 0/2). Plasmodium spp. DNA was detected in 15/55 birds (27.3%), including 11 Eurasian blackbirds, one song thrush, and three starlings. Eight Eurasian blackbird isolates (73%) grouped within the subgenus Novyella. Two Eurasian blackbird isolates and the song thrush isolate clustered within a different group with previously reported lineages LINN1 and AFTRU5. In addition, all three starling isolates clustered within the well-characterized lineage Plasmodium (Huffia) elongatum GRW06. All Plasmodium-positive Eurasian blackbirds and the song thrush were seropositive to APV, whereas only 67% of Plasmodium-positive starlings showed evidence of previous exposure to APV. A significant relationship between birds seropositive to APV and birds infected by Plasmodium spp. was observed (chi2 = 5.69, df = 1, P = 0.0086). To the authors' knowledge this is the first report describing the seroprevalence of APV and its association with Plasmodium spp. infection in introduced bird species in New Zealand. PMID:23678738

  15. The European Communications Satellite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stone, T. A.

    1985-09-01

    Two European Communication Satellites (ECSs) are now in operation for Eutelsat, forming the orbital portion of a communications system that will operate until 1993, carrying telephony and TV for the European Broadcasting Union. A total of five ECSs are to be constructed in order to ensure continuity of service over the systems lifetime. ECSs will also serve as the bases for the European Regional Communication System, which furnishes small receiver dish specialized services and preemptive TV distribution channels within Europe.

  16. [Biobanks European infrastructure].

    PubMed

    Kinkorová, Judita; Topolčan, Ondřej

    2016-01-01

    Biobanks are structured repositories of human tissue samples connected with specific information. They became an integral part of personalized medicine in the new millennium. At the European research area biobanks are isolated not well coordinated and connected to the network. European commission supports European infrastructure BBMRI-ERIC (Biobanks and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure European Research Infrastructure Consortium), consortium of 54 members with more than 225 associated organizations, largely biobanks from over 30 countries. The aim is to support biomedical research using stored samples. Czech Republic is a member of the consortium as a national node BBMRI_CZ, consisting of five partners.

  17. Acute oral toxicity of sodium cyanide in birds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wiemeyer, Stanley N.; Hill, E.F.; Carpenter, J.W.; Krynitsky, A.J.

    1986-01-01

    Sensitivities of six avian species, black vulture (Coragyps atratus), American kestrel (Falco sparverius), Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica), domestic chicken (Gallus domesticus), eastern screech-owl (Otus asio), and European starling (Sturnus vulgaris), to acute poisoning by sodium cyanide (NaCN) were compared by single dose LD50's. Three species, domestic chickens, black vultures, and turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), were dosed with NaCN to determine cyanide residues in those that died and also in survivors, in addition to postmortem fate. Three flesh-eating species (black vulture, American kestrel, and eastern screech-owl; LD50's 4.0-8.6 mg/kg) were more sensitive to NaCN than three species (Japanese quail, domestic chicken, and European starling; LD50's 9.4-21 mg/kg) that fed predominantly on plant material. Elevated concentrations of cyanide were found in the blood of birds that died of cyanide poisoning; however, concentrations in birds that died overlapped those in survivors. Blood was superior to liver as the tissue of choice for detecting cyanide exposure. No gross pathological changes related to dosing were observed at necropsy.

  18. Seasonal variation in diagnostic enzymes and biochemical constituents of captive northern bobwhites and passerines

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hill, E.F.; Murray, H.C.

    1987-01-01

    1. A variety of biochemical measurements were taken periodically in captive northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus L.), European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris L.), red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus L.) and common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula L.) to determine whether baseline values remain sufficiently stable throughout the year for general clinical use in the absence of concurrent control specimens. 2. Variables included whole blood hematocrit and hemoglobin, plasma lactate dehydrogenase, alpha-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, creatine kinase, butyrylcholinesterase, alkaline phosphatase, glucose, albumin, total protein, creatinine, urea nitrogen, uric acid, cholesterol, and triglycerides, and brain acetylcholinesterase. Butyryl- and acetylcholinesterase were included because of their specific uses in toxicology. 3. Significant seasonal differences were detected for each of the variables except brain acetylcholinesterase in at least one of the species. Significant species differences were detected during at least one season for all of the variables measured. 4. All species were maintained outdoors, but only northern bobwhites came into reproductive condition and showed sex-differences in the clinical variables during their normal breeding season. 5. It was concluded that reference values for the 18 clinical variables measured could be calculated from our data for adult specimens of the species studied, and that results for one species cannot be extrapolated with certainty to any other species. 6. Estimated normal bounds for each of the 18 variables measured by commonly used clinical procedures are presented for reproductively quiescent northern bobwhites, European starlings, red-winged blackbirds, and common grackles.

  19. Education and European Integration.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lowe, John

    1992-01-01

    Reviews implications for education and training of the movement toward integration among European Community nations and the end of Communist governments. Discusses common concerns for new Europe, including data sharing, teacher training, educational quality, disadvantaged learners, demographic and employment trends, European Studies curricula, and…

  20. European auxiliary propulsion, 1972

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Holcomb, L. B.

    1972-01-01

    The chemical and electric auxiliary propulsion technology of the United Kingdom, France, and West Germany is discussed in detail, and the propulsion technology achievements of Italy, India, Japan, and Russia are reviewed. A comparison is presented of Shell 405 catalyst and a European spontaneous hydrazine catalyst called CNESRO I. Finally, conclusions are drawn regarding future trends in European auxiliary propulsion technology development.

  1. European journals on microbiology.

    PubMed

    Ronda, C; Vázquez, M

    1997-12-01

    A survey on the scientific journals dealing with microbiology published in Europe has been carried out. Eighteen European countries publish microbiological journals with the United Kingdom. Netherlands and Germany leading in number of journals on this specialty. Most of the European journals on microbiology are published bimonthly (27%), and English is the most common language used (54%). Most of these journals (86%) are included in some database, but only 36 (25%) are indexed in the six databases studied. Out of the 146 journals registered, 71 (49%), published in 11 European countries, are included in the 1995 Journal Citation Reports (ISI, Philadelphia).

  2. The European Spallation Source

    SciTech Connect

    Lindroos M.; Calaga R.; Bousson S.; Danared H.; Devanz G. et al

    2011-04-20

    In 2003 the joint European effort to design a European Spallation Source (ESS) resulted in a set of reports, and in May 2009 Lund was agreed to be the ESS site. The ESS Scandinavia office has since then worked on setting all the necessary legal and organizational matters in place so that the Design Update and construction can be started in January 2011, in collaboration with European partners. The Design Update phase is expected to end in 2012, to be followed by a construction phase, with first neutrons expected in 2018-2019.

  3. European Union Regulations.

    PubMed

    Fürst, Peter

    2011-01-01

    The European Union (EU) has been a leader in the development of both guidance and regulations to ensure food safety throughout the member states. Because of the free movement of food commodities among the countries that belong to the European Union, there is a great need to assure high quality monitoring of both imported food and member state products. The procedures and methods required need to be practical, state-of-the art, and harmonised. The European Commission has developed a network of laboratories and scientific studies to meet this goal. This chapter describes the current Regulations, Directives and Decisions of the European Commission that protect the food supply throughout Europe. Because imported food needs to comply with the EU requirements, and the need to have common compliance throughout the member states, the developed system could be a worldwide template for monitoring the food supply. In addition, the integral role of chromatography hyphenated to mass spectrometry is described.

  4. The European Solar Telescope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Collados, M.; Bettonvil, F.; Cavaller, L.; Ermolli, I.; Gelly, B.; Pérez, A.; Socas-Navarro, H.; Soltau, D.; Volkmer, R.; EST Team

    The European Solar Telescope (EST) is a project to design, build and operate an European Solar 4-meter class telescope to be located in the Canary Islands, with the participation of institutions from fifteen European countries gathered around the consortium EAST (European Association for Solar Telescopes). The project main objective up to the present has been the development of the conceptual design study (DS) of a large aperture Solar Telescope. The study has demonstrated the scientific, technical and financial feasibility of EST. The DS has been possible thanks to the co-financing allocated specifically by the EU and the combined efforts of all the participant institutions. Different existing alternatives have been analysed for all telescope systems and subsystems, and decisions have been taken on the ones that are most compatible with the scientific goals and the technical strategies. The present status of some subsystems is reviewed in this paper.

  5. European Stroke Science Workshop

    PubMed Central

    Mattle, Heinrich P.; Brainin, Michael; Chamorro, Angel; Diener, Hans Christoph; Hacke, Werner; Leys, Didier; Norrving, Bo; Ward, Nick

    2012-01-01

    The European Stroke Organisation (ESO) held its first European Stroke Science Workshop in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (15-17 December 2011). Stroke experts based in Europe were invited to present and discuss their current research. The scope of the workshop was to review the most recent findings of selected topics in stroke, to exchange ideas, to stimulate new research and to enhance collaboration between European stroke research groups. Seven scientific sessions were held, each starting with a keynote lecture to review the state of the art of the given topic, followed by 4 or 5 short presentations by experts. They were asked to limit their presentations to 10 slides containing only recent information. The meeting was organized by the executive committee of the ESO (Heinrich Mattle, chairman, Michael Brainin, Angel Chamorro, Werner Hacke, Didier Leys) and supported by the European Stroke Conference (Michael Hennerici). In this article we summarize the main contents of this successful workshop. PMID:22836350

  6. European PTTI report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cordara, Franco; Grimaldi, Sabrina; Leschiutta, Sigfrido

    1994-01-01

    Time and frequency metrology in Europe presents some peculiar features in its three main components: research on clocks, comparisons and dissemination methods, and dissemination services. Apart from the usual activities of the national metrological laboratories, an increasing number of cooperation between the European countries are promoted inside some European organizations, such as the ECC, EFTA, EUROMET, and WECC. Cooperation between these organizations is covered. The present, evolving situation will be further influenced by the recent political changes in Eastern Europe.

  7. Digestive efficiencies of Cape white-eyes (Zosterops virens), red-winged starlings (Onychognathus morio) and speckled mousebirds (Colius striatus) fed varying concentrations of equicaloric glucose or sucrose artificial fruit diets.

    PubMed

    Zungu, Manqoba M; Downs, Colleen T

    2016-09-01

    Digestive physiology is important for understanding the feeding behaviour of organisms. Specifically, studies on the digestive physiology of frugivorous and nectarivorous birds are important for elucidating their preference patterns in the wild and the selective pressures they exert on fruit pulp and nectar. In this study, digesta transit times and digestive efficiencies of three species of birds, the Cape white-eyes (Zosterops virens), red-winged starlings (Onychognathus morio) and speckled mousebirds (Colius striatus) were investigated on equicaloric glucose or sucrose artificial fruit diets. Three concentrations, approximating the natural range of sugar concentrations in sugary, bird-dispersed fruits were used: low (6.6%), medium (12.4%) and high (22%). Digesta transit times of birds increased with an increase in concentration for all diets but were generally higher on glucose diets. Intake rates, on the other hand, decreased with an increase in sugar concentration. All species of birds failed to maintain a constant assimilated energy intake on glucose diets but mousebirds and white-eyes maintained it on sucrose diets. Apparent assimilation efficiencies of glucose diets for all species were comparable and typical of those found in other frugivorous birds. However, assimilation efficiencies for sucrose diets differed widely with red-winged starlings displaying very low assimilation efficiencies and as a consequence; they lost significant body mass on all sucrose diets. These results demonstrate the importance of digestive physiology in explaining fruit selection patterns in frugivorous birds and how a seemingly trivial physiological trait can have dire ecological consequences. PMID:27174647

  8. Social visual contact, a primary "drive" for social animals?

    PubMed

    Perret, Audrey; Henry, Laurence; Coulon, Marion; Caudal, Jean-Pierre; Richard, Jean-Pierre; Cousillas, Hugo; Hausberger, Martine; George, Isabelle

    2015-05-01

    Social animals are always searching for conspecifics, thereby expressing a genuine "social need". This need is illustrated by the fact that social isolation can induce isolation syndromes that can be attenuated by devices such as mirrors. Social contacts appear to be so vital for social animals that they may be ready to work to obtain social stimulations. We used operant conditioning to investigate the possibility to use visual contact (through pictures of conspecifics) as a primary reinforcer. Isolated European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were offered the choice of seeing either social images (i.e. pictures of conspecifics) or non-social images (i.e. pictures of landscapes or pictures of monkeys) by triggering sensors. In contrast with most studies, our subjects were presented still pictures of conspecifics and not videos. Moreover, these pictures were used as primary reinforcers and thus were not paired with food. Our data show that starlings were ready to work and to use the apparatus (i.e. sensors) to see pictures in the absence of any other reward. Moreover, they actively and significantly preferred pictures of conspecifics to pictures of inanimate objects (landscapes) or of heterospecifics (monkeys). This suggests that 2D pictures with a social overtone can be used as primary reinforcers for isolated social birds. PMID:25604422

  9. European Education, European Citizenship? On the Role of Education in Constructing Europeanness.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ollikainen, Aaro

    2000-01-01

    Focuses on the role of the European Union (EU) education programs in fostering a sense of European citizenship. Addresses the five meanings given to the concept of European citizenship: (1) recognition of European heritage; (2) EU loyalty; (3) right of free movement; (4) political participation; and (5) active citizenship. (CMK)

  10. The European nitrogen case.

    PubMed

    van Egmond, Klaas; Bresser, Ton; Bouwman, Lex

    2002-03-01

    The N budget for Europe (excluding the former Soviet Union) indicates that the 3 principal driving forces of the acceleration of the European N cycle are fertilizer production (14 Mt (mill. tonnes) N yr-1), fossil fuel combustion and other industry (3.3 Mt N yr-1) and import of N in various products (7.6 Mt N yr-1). The various leaks of reactive N species from European food, energy and industrial production systems are estimated and their effects on human health and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are assessed. Future European environmental policy measures to close the N cycle and to reduce leaks of reactive N can best focus on the three major driving forces, taking into consideration the possible consequences in the N cascade. Critical loads may be useful tools in determining N-emission ceilings and developing integrated policies for regulating N flows such as fertilizer use and imports and N levels.

  11. European Universe Awareness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Russo, P.; Miley, G.; Westra van Holthe, F.; Schrier, W.; Reed, S.

    2011-10-01

    The European Universe Awareness (EU-UNAWE) programme uses the beauty and grandeur of the cosmos to encourage young children, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds, to develop an interest in science and technology and to foster a sense of global citizenship. EU-UNAWE is already active in 40 countries and comprises a global network of almost 500 astronomers, teachers and other educators. The programme was recently awarded a grant of 1.9 million euros by the European Union so that it can be further developed in five European countries and South Africa. The grant will be used to organise teacher training workshops and to develop educational materials, such as an astronomy news service for children and games. During this presentation we will outline some of the biggest achievements of EU-UNAWE to date and discuss future plans for the programme.

  12. Trends in European English.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wilkinson, Robert

    It is proposed that a European variety of English without native speakers is emerging as a language of international communication in Europe. This is a consequence of many factors, including the strength of the American economy, the breadth and depth of American research in science and technology, the pervasive influence of American-style popular…

  13. Multilingualism in European Workplaces

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gunnarsson, Britt-Louise

    2014-01-01

    This state-of-the-art article includes a review of past and recent studies on multilingualism at work in European environments. One aim is to provide the reader with a cross-cultural picture of workplace studies on various languages in Europe, another to discuss both positive and problem-based accounts of multilingualism at work. The overview…

  14. European Music Year 1985.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Alexanderson, Thomas; And Others

    1984-01-01

    Articles concerning music are included in this newsletter dedicated to cultural venture to be jointly carried out by the Council of Europe and the European communities. Many events will mark Music Year 1985, including concerts, dance performances, operas, publications, recordings, festivals, exhibitions, competitions, and conferences on musical…

  15. European Civilization. Teacher's Manual.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Leppert, Ella C.; Halac, Dennis

    The instructional materials in this teaching guide for Course II, Unit IV, follow and build upon a previous sequential course described in SO 003 169 offering ninth grade students a study on the development of Western European Civilization. Focus is upon four periods of high development: The High Middle Ages (12th Century), The Renaissance (15th…

  16. The European Economic Community.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schuchart, Kelvin

    1986-01-01

    Maintains that social studies students need to realize the relationship of the European Economic Community to the United States in order to understand the trade bonds that exist between us. Briefly reviews the history of the Community, outlines its Common Agricultural Policy, and provides situations for classroom role playing. (JDH)

  17. The European VLBI network

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schilizzi, R. T.

    1980-01-01

    The capabilities of the European very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) network are summarized. The range of baseline parameters, sensitivities, and recording and other equipment available are included. Plans for upgrading the recording facilities and the use of geostationary satellites for signal transfer and clock synchronization are discussed.

  18. Evaluating the risk of pathogen transmission from wild animals to domestic pigs in Australia.

    PubMed

    Pearson, Hayley E; Toribio, Jenny-Ann L M L; Lapidge, Steven J; Hernández-Jover, Marta

    2016-01-01

    Wild animals contribute to endemic infection in livestock as well as the introduction, reintroduction and maintenance of pathogens. The source of introduction of endemic diseases to a piggery is often unknown and the extent of wildlife contribution to such local spread is largely unexplored. The aim of the current study was to quantitatively assess the probability of domestic pigs being exposed to different pathogens from wild animals commonly found around commercial piggeries in Australia. Specifically, this study aims to quantify the probability of exposure to the pathogens Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. from European starlings (Sturnus vulgarus); Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, Lawsonia intracellularis and Salmonella spp. from rats (Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus); and Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, Leptospira spp., Brucella suis and L. intracellularis from feral pigs (Sus scrofa). Exposure assessments, using scenario trees and Monte Carlo stochastic simulation modelling, were conducted to identify potential pathways of introduction and calculate the probabilities of these pathways occurring. Input parameters were estimated from a national postal survey of commercial pork producers and from disease detection studies conducted for European starlings, rats and feral pigs in close proximity to commercial piggeries in Australia. Based on the results of the exposure assessments, rats presented the highest probability of exposure of pathogens to domestic pigs at any point in time, and L. intracellularis (median 0.13, 5% and 95%, 0.05-0.23) and B. hyodysenteriae (median 0.10, 0.05-0.19) were the most likely pathogens to be transmitted. Regarding European starlings, the median probability of exposure of domestic pigs to pathogenic E. coli at any point in time was estimated to be 0.03 (0.02-0.04). The highest probability of domestic pig exposure to feral pig pathogens at any point in time was found to be for M. hyopneumoniae (median 0.013, 0

  19. Evaluating the risk of pathogen transmission from wild animals to domestic pigs in Australia.

    PubMed

    Pearson, Hayley E; Toribio, Jenny-Ann L M L; Lapidge, Steven J; Hernández-Jover, Marta

    2016-01-01

    Wild animals contribute to endemic infection in livestock as well as the introduction, reintroduction and maintenance of pathogens. The source of introduction of endemic diseases to a piggery is often unknown and the extent of wildlife contribution to such local spread is largely unexplored. The aim of the current study was to quantitatively assess the probability of domestic pigs being exposed to different pathogens from wild animals commonly found around commercial piggeries in Australia. Specifically, this study aims to quantify the probability of exposure to the pathogens Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. from European starlings (Sturnus vulgarus); Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, Lawsonia intracellularis and Salmonella spp. from rats (Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus); and Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, Leptospira spp., Brucella suis and L. intracellularis from feral pigs (Sus scrofa). Exposure assessments, using scenario trees and Monte Carlo stochastic simulation modelling, were conducted to identify potential pathways of introduction and calculate the probabilities of these pathways occurring. Input parameters were estimated from a national postal survey of commercial pork producers and from disease detection studies conducted for European starlings, rats and feral pigs in close proximity to commercial piggeries in Australia. Based on the results of the exposure assessments, rats presented the highest probability of exposure of pathogens to domestic pigs at any point in time, and L. intracellularis (median 0.13, 5% and 95%, 0.05-0.23) and B. hyodysenteriae (median 0.10, 0.05-0.19) were the most likely pathogens to be transmitted. Regarding European starlings, the median probability of exposure of domestic pigs to pathogenic E. coli at any point in time was estimated to be 0.03 (0.02-0.04). The highest probability of domestic pig exposure to feral pig pathogens at any point in time was found to be for M. hyopneumoniae (median 0.013, 0

  20. Carotenoid Supplementation Positively Affects the Expression of a Non-Visual Sexual Signal

    PubMed Central

    Van Hout, Alain J.-M.; Eens, Marcel; Pinxten, Rianne

    2011-01-01

    Carotenoids are a class of pigments which are widely used by animals for the expression of yellow-to-red colour signals, such as bill or plumage colour. Since they also have been shown to promote immunocompetence and to function as antioxidants, many studies have investigated a potential allocation trade-off with respect to carotenoid-based signals within the context of sexual selection. Although an effect of carotenoids on non-visual (e.g. acoustic) signals involved in sexual selection has been hypothesized, this has to date not been investigated. First, we examined a potential effect of dietary carotenoid supplementation on overall song rate during the non-breeding season in captive male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). After only 3–7 days, we found a significant (body-mass independent) positive effect of carotenoid availability on overall song rate. Secondly, as a number of studies suggest that carotenoids could affect the modulation of sexual signals by plasma levels of the steroid hormone testosterone (T), we used the same birds to subsequently investigate whether carotenoid availability affects the increase in (nestbox-oriented) song rate induced by experimentally elevated plasma T levels. Our results suggest that carotenoids may enhance the positive effect of elevated plasma T levels on nestbox-oriented song rate. Moreover, while non-supplemented starlings responded to T-implantation with an increase in both overall song rate and nestbox-oriented song, carotenoid-supplemented starlings instead shifted song production towards (reproductively relevant) nestbox-oriented song, without increasing overall song rate. Given that song rate is an acoustic signal rather than a visual signal, our findings therefore indicate that the role of carotenoids in (sexual) signalling need not be dependent on their function as pigments. PMID:21283591

  1. Chestnut, European (Castanea sativa).

    PubMed

    Corredoira, Elena; Valladares, Silvia; Vieitez, Ana M; Ballester, Antonio

    2015-01-01

    Development of a system for direct transfer of antifungal candidate genes into European chestnut (Castanea sativa) would provide an alternative approach to conventional breeding for production of chestnut trees that are tolerant to ink disease caused by Phytophthora spp. Overexpression of genes encoding PR proteins (such as thaumatin-like proteins), which display antifungal activity, may represent an important advance in control of the disease. We have used a chestnut thaumatin-like protein gene (CsTL1) isolated from European chestnut cotyledons and have achieved overexpression of the gene in chestnut somatic embryogenic lines used as target material. We have also acclimatized the transgenic plants and grown them on in the greenhouse. Here, we describe the various steps of the process, from the induction of somatic embryogenesis to the production of transgenic plants.

  2. Telemedicine and European law.

    PubMed

    Callens, Stefaan

    2003-01-01

    A Directive of the European Union was first published in 2000, which dealt with telemedicine as part of its provisions. This E-Commerce Directive, as it became known, was subjected to further study which revealed some problems relative to the practice of telemedicine. Among the subjects discussed in this paper are those of privacy, data protection, free movement of services, the impact of electronic communication and ethical issues. PMID:15074761

  3. Biophotonics: a European perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robin, Thierry; Cochard, Jacques; Breussin, Frédéric

    2013-03-01

    The objective of the present work is to determine the opportunities and challenges for Biophotonics business development in Europe for the next five years with a focus on sensors and systems: for health diagnostics and monitoring; for air, water and food safety and quality control. The development of this roadmap was initiated and supported by EPIC (The European Photonics Industry Consortium). We summarize the final roadmap data: market application segments and trends, analysis of the market access criteria, analysis of the technology trends and major bottlenecks and challenges per application.

  4. Eastern European risk management

    SciTech Connect

    Honey, J.A. )

    1992-01-01

    Here the authors assess Eastern European risk management practices through the evaluation of the nuclear power plants in the region. This evaluation is limited to the Soviet-designed and -built VVER-440 pressurized water reactors (PWRs) that are currently operating in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Russia, and the Ukraine and until recently operated at Greifswald in the former East Germany. This evaluation is based on the basic design of the plants, a safety evaluation of the Greifswald facility by representatives from the Federal Republic of Germany and personal visits by the author to Greifswald and Loviisa.

  5. EAC: The European Astronauts Centre

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ripoll, Andres

    The newly established European Astronauts Centre (EAC) in Cologne represents the European Astronauts Home Base and will become a centre of expertise on European astronauts activities. The paper gives an overview of the European approach to man-in-space, describes the European Astronauts Policy and presents the major EAC roles and responsibilities including the management of selection, recruitment and flight assignment of astronauts; the astronauts support and medical surveillance; the supervision of the astronauts' non-flight assignments; crew safety; the definition of the overall astronauts training programme; the scheduling and supervision of the training facilities; the implementation of Basic Training; the recruitment, training and certification of instructors, and the interface to NASA in the framework of the Space Station Freedom programme. An overview is given on the organisation of EAC, and on the European candidate astronauts selection performed in 1991.

  6. The first modern Europeans.

    PubMed

    Benazzi, Stefano

    2012-01-01

    The discovery of new human fossil remains is one of the most obvious ways to improve our understanding of the dynamics of human evolution. The reanalysis of existing fossils using newer methods is also crucial, and may lead to a reconsideration of the biological and taxonomical status of some specimens, and improve our understanding of highly debated periods in human prehistory. This is particularly true for those remains that have previously been studied using traditional approaches, with only morphological descriptions and standard calliper measurements available. My own interest in the Uluzzian, and its associated human remains grew from my interest in applying recently developed analytical techniques to quantify morphological variation. Discovered more than 40 years ago, the two deciduous molars from Grotta del Cavallo (Apulia, Italy) are the only human remains associated with the Uluzzian culture (one of the main three European "transitional" cultures). These teeth were previously attributed to Neanderthals. This attribution contributed to a consensus view that the Uluzzian, with its associated ornament and tool complexes, was produced by Neanderthals. A reassessment of these deciduous teeth by means of digital morphometric analysis revealed that these remains belong to anatomically modern humans (AMHs). This finding contradicts previous assumptions and suggests that modern humans, and not Neanderthals, created the Uluzzian culture. Of equal importance, new chronometric analyses date these dental remains to 43,000-45,000 cal BP. Thus, the teeth from Grotta del Cavallo represent the oldest European AMH currently known.

  7. European drought trends

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gudmundsson, L.; Seneviratne, S. I.

    2015-06-01

    Recent climate projections suggest pronounced changes in European drought frequency. In the north, increased precipitation volumes are likely to reduce drought occurrence, whereas more frequent droughts are expected for southern Europe. To assess whether this pattern of changes in drought frequency can already be identified for the past decades, we analyse trends in a recently developed pan-European drought climatology that is based on the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). The index is derived on multiple time scales, ranging from 1 to 36 months, which allows the assessment of trends in both short term and multi-year droughts. Trends are quantified using the Theil-Sen trend estimator combined with an extension of the Mann-Kendal test (p < 0.05) that accounts for serial correlation. Field significance is assessed on the basis of techniques that control the false discovery rate in a multiple testing setting. The trend analysis indicates that changes in drought frequency are more pronounced on time scales of one year and longer. The analysis also reveals that there has been a tendency for decreased drought frequency in northern Europe in the past decades, whereas droughts have likely become more frequent in selected southern regions.

  8. The European Solar Telescope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Socas-Navarro, H.

    2012-12-01

    In this presentation I will describe the current status of the European Solar Telescope (EST) project. The EST design has a 4-m aperture to achieve both a large photon collection and very high spatial resolution. It includes a multi-conjugate adaptive system integrated in the light path for diffraction-limited imaging. The optical train is optimized to minimize instrumental polarization and to keep it nearly constant as the telescope tracks the sky. A suite of visible and infrared instruments are planned with a light distribution system that accomodates full interoperability and simultaneous usage. The science drivers emphasize combined observations at multiple heights in the atmosphere to build a connected view of solar magnetism from the photosphere to the corona.

  9. An American Construction of European Education Space

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Silova, Iveta; Brehm, William C.

    2010-01-01

    The construction of the European education space has typically been attributed to European education policy makers, institutions, and networks. Rarely do scholars consider the role of outside, non-European actors in shaping the terrain of European education thought and practice. This article considers the construction of the European education…

  10. European Schoolnet: Enabling School Networking

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Scimeca, Santi; Dumitru, Petru; Durando, Marc; Gilleran, Anne; Joyce, Alexa; Vuorikari, Riina

    2009-01-01

    School networking is increasingly important in a globalised world, where schools themselves can be actors on an international stage. This article builds on the activities and experience of the longest established European initiative in this area, European Schoolnet (EUN), a network of 31 Ministries of Education. First, we offer an introduction…

  11. The European Dimension in Education.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Council of Europe, Strasbourg (France). Directorate of Education, Culture and Sport, Documentation Section.

    This paper addresses concerns about a European dimension in education that has been created by the enlargement of the European Union (EU) (the inclusion of Austria, Finland, and Sweden) and the gradual transformations of institutions into a future federal state. Sections of the paper include: (1) "Introduction"; (2) "Defining the European…

  12. Vascular surgery: the European perspective.

    PubMed

    Harris, P

    1999-09-01

    Isaac Newton, among others, observed that 'we see so far because we are standing upon the shoulders of giants'. In vascular surgery most of the giants have been European, and this is a heritage which we as Europeans can take pride in and build upon if we chose to do so. As in other areas of life, commitment is essential in order to influence the future. For vascular surgeons in Europe this means active participation in the European scientific societies for vascular surgery and in the UEMS. The main value of the EBSQ.VASC assessments to date has been to expose the uneven standards of training in vascular surgery within the European Union. Only if action follows to address these inequalities will the tactics of the European Board of Vascular Surgery be vindicated.

  13. European Neutron Activation System.

    2013-01-11

    Version 03 EASY-2010 (European Activation System) consists of a wide range of codes, data and documentation all aimed at satisfying the objective of calculating the response of materials irradiated in a neutron flux. The main difference from the previous version is the upper energy limit, which has increased from 20 to 60 MeV. It is designed to investigate both fusion devices and accelerator based materials test facilities that will act as intense sources of high-energymore » neutrons causing significant activation of the surrounding materials. The very general nature of the calculational method and the data libraries means that it is applicable (with some reservations) to all situations (e.g. fission reactors or neutron sources) where materials are exposed to neutrons below 60 MeV. EASY can be divided into two parts: data and code development tools and user tools and data. The former are required to develop the latter, but EASY users only need to be able to use the inventory code FISPACT and be aware of the contents of the EAF library (the data source). The complete EASY package contains the FISPACT-2007 inventory code, the EAF-2003, EAF-2005, EAF-2007 and EAF-2010 libraries, and the EASY User Interface for the Window version. The activation package EASY-2010 is the result of significant development to extend the upper energy range from 20 to 60 MeV so that it is capable of being used for IFMIF calculations. The EAF-2010 library contains 66,256 reactions, almost five times more than in EAF-2003 (12,617). Deuteron-induced and proton-induced cross section libraries are also included, and can be used with EASY to enable calculations of the activation due to deuterons and proton [2].« less

  14. European MEMS foundries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salomon, Patric R.

    2003-01-01

    According to the latest release of the NEXUS market study, the market for MEMS or Microsystems Technology (MST) is predicted to grow to $68B by the year 2005, with systems containing these components generating even higher revenues and growth. The latest advances in MST/MEMS technology have enabled the design of a new generation of microsystems that are smaller, cheaper, more reliable, and consume less power. These integrated systems bring together numerous analog/mixed signal microelectronics blocks and MEMS functions on a single chip or on two or more chips assembled within an integrated package. In spite of all these advances in technology and manufacturing, a system manufacturer either faces a substantial up-front R&D investment to create his own infrastructure and expertise, or he can use design and foundry services to get the initial product into the marketplace fast and with an affordable investment. Once he has a viable product, he can still think about his own manufacturing efforts and investments to obtain an optimized high volume manufacturing for the specific product. One of the barriers to successful exploitation of MEMS/MST technology has been the lack of access to industrial foundries capable of producing certified microsystems devices in commercial quantities, including packaging and test. This paper discusses Multi-project wafer (MPW) runs, requirements for foundries and gives some examples of foundry business models. Furthermore, this paper will give an overview on MST/MEMS services that are available in Europe, including pure commercial activities, European project activities (e.g. Europractice), and some academic services.

  15. Aroclor 1254 residues in birds: Lethal levels and loss rates

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stickel, W.H.; Stickel, L.F.; Dyrland, R.A.; Hughes, D.L.

    1984-01-01

    Lethal residues of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were determined experimentally in four species of wild birds (male common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula ), immature female red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus ), adult male brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater ) and immature female starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)) given dietary dosage of 1,500 ppm of Aroclor 1254) until one-half had died, sacrificing the survivors, chemically analyzing the tissues, and comparing results in dead birds and survivors. For all species, residues of 310 ppm or higher in the brain showed increasing likelihood of death from PCB poisoning. Residues in dead birds did not differ among species except for starlings (Sturnus vulgaris ), which averaged slightly lower than the others. However, the species differed in the length of time to 50% mortality and in the levels of PCBs in brains at sacrifice.

  16. Testosterone induces "splitting" of circadian locomotor activity rhythms in birds.

    PubMed

    Gwinner, E

    1974-07-01

    Under the influence of testosterone, the free-running circadian rhythm of locomotor activity of the starling, Sturnus vulgaris, tends to "split" into two components which temporarily run with different circadian frequencies: "splitting" occurred in intact birds whose testes grew, and in castrated birds that were injected with testosterone. Since "splitting" most probably reflects the temporal separation of two (or two groups of) circadian oscillators, these results suggest that testosterone affects the mutual coupling of circadian oscillators controlling locomotor activity.

  17. European Union a New Babylon?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mesch, F.

    2010-07-01

    The growing European Union faces growing problems in personal communication. These problems cannot be overcome only by more language courses in school. As important is a better mutual knowledge of the culture of other countries, a knowledge that can be gained only by a personal, professional stay in foreign countries. On university level, such stays are best organized by networks connecting European universities. In the broad field of measurement, this IMEKO symposium might offer a unique forum to thoroughly discuss structure and realization of such a network with all interested colleagues.

  18. The European convention on bioethics.

    PubMed

    de Wachter, M A

    1997-01-01

    Nearly fifteen years after the Council of Europe first called for a pan-European convention on issues in bioethics to harmonize disparate national regulations, in November 1996 the council's Committee of Ministers approved the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine for formal adoption. The draft convention, released in July 1994, provoked strong public, professional, and governmental debate among European nations, particularly regarding provisions for biomedical research with subjects unable to give informed consent. If ratified, the "bioethics convention" will become the first such document to have binding force internationally.

  19. Interactions between European Citizenship and Language Learning among Adolescent Europeans

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hennebry, Mairin

    2011-01-01

    Recent enlargement of the European Union (EU) has created debate as to the suitability of current structures and policies for effectively engaging citizens and developing social cohesion. Education and specifically modern foreign language (MFL) teaching are argued by the literature to play a key role in equipping young people to interact and…

  20. Stress, captivity, and reproduction in a wild bird species.

    PubMed

    Dickens, Molly J; Bentley, George E

    2014-09-01

    In seasonal species, glucocorticoid concentrations are often highest during the breeding season. However, the role of increased hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity in the regulation of reproduction remains poorly understood. Our study is the first, to our knowledge, to document reproductive consequences of a non-pharmacological hindrance to seasonal HPA fluctuations. Using wild-caught male and female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) housed in an outdoor, semi-natural environment, we divided birds into two mixed-sex groups. One group remained in the outdoor aviary, where starlings breed at the appropriate time of year. The other group was transferred into an indoor flight aviary, where we predicted reproductive suppression to occur. We measured changes in corticosterone (CORT) at baseline and stress-induced concentrations prior to group separation and at the experiment's conclusion. After ten days, the birds showed remarkable differences in breeding behavior and HPA activity. Outdoor birds exhibited increases in baseline and stress-induced CORT and progressed into active breeding (pairing, nest building, egg laying, etc.). In contrast, indoor birds displayed no change in baseline or stress-induced CORT and few signs of active breeding. We found significant sex and treatment effects on expression of HPA and hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis elements, suggesting sex-specific regulatory mechanisms. Our data suggest a novel, facilitating role for the HPA axis in the transition between early breeding and active breeding in a wild, seasonal avian species. In addition, understanding how changes in housing condition affect seasonal HPA fluctuations may help alleviate barriers to breeding wild animals in captivity. PMID:25257808

  1. Migration- and exercise-induced changes to flight muscle size in migratory birds and association with IGF1 and myostatin mRNA expression.

    PubMed

    Price, Edwin R; Bauchinger, Ulf; Zajac, Daria M; Cerasale, David J; McFarlan, Jay T; Gerson, Alexander R; McWilliams, Scott R; Guglielmo, Christopher G

    2011-09-01

    Seasonal adjustments to muscle size in migratory birds may result from preparatory physiological changes or responses to changed workloads. The mechanisms controlling these changes in size are poorly understood. We investigated some potential mediators of flight muscle size (myostatin and insulin-like growth factor, IGF1) in pectoralis muscles of wild wintering or migrating white-throated sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis), captive white-throated sparrows that were photoperiod manipulated to be in a `wintering' or `migratory' (Zugunruhe) state, and captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) that were either exercised for 2 weeks in a wind tunnel or untrained. Flight muscle size increased in photo-stimulated `migrants' and in exercised starlings. Acute exercise but not long-term training caused increased expression of IGF1, but neither caused a change in expression of myostatin or its metalloprotease activator TLL1. Photo-stimulated `migrant' sparrows demonstrated increased expression of both myostatin and IGF1, but wild sparrows exhibited no significant seasonal changes in expression of either myostatin or IGF1. Additionally, in both study species we describe several splice variants of myostatin that are shared with distantly related bird species. We demonstrate that their expression patterns are not different from those of the typical myostatin, suggesting that they have no functional importance and may be mistakes of the splicing machinery. We conclude that IGF1 is likely to be an important mediator of muscle phenotypic flexibility during acute exercise and during endogenous, seasonal preparation for migration. The role of myostatin is less clear, but its paradoxical increase in photo-stimulated `migrants' may indicate a role in seasonal adjustments of protein turnover. PMID:21832125

  2. Relationship between DDE concentrations and laying sequence in eggs of two passerine species.

    PubMed

    Reynolds, K D; Skipper, S L; Cobb, G P; McMurry, S T

    2004-10-01

    Passerine eggs make useful biomonitors of environmental pollutants. Among passerines, it is not known whether organochlorine contaminants in eggs within the same clutch are independent observations or follow a laying order effect. Intraclutch variation of DDE (1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis[(p-chlorophenyl)]ethylene) concentrations was studied in eggs collected from prothonotary warblers (Protonotaria citrea) and European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) nesting on National Priority List sites in lower Alabama and central Colorado, respectively. All 209 eggs collected for this study contained detectable levels of DDE. Mean concentration of DDE across all prothonotary warbler eggs (mean 8.71 microg/g +/- 1.19, n = 20) was almost two orders of magnitude greater than mean concentrations of DDE in all starling eggs (mean 0.70 microg/g +/- 0.06, n = 189). In both species, there was a large amount of variability among individual eggs of the same clutch and no significant relationship between laying order and DDE concentration. Variation among eggs laid in the same sequential order was high and effectively masked any potential trends in laying order effect. We hypothesized that the variability was caused by the spatial heterogeneity of DDE on our study sites, the nature of egg development within a female passerine, or a combination of these factors. Investigators focusing on lipophilic contaminants should exercise caution when making inferences about contaminant concentrations in an entire clutch of passerine eggs after the collection and analysis of a single egg because our data show that DDE levels in a single egg collected for analysis do not consistently reflect DDE levels in the eggs remaining in the nest. PMID:15386134

  3. Stress, captivity, and reproduction in a wild bird species.

    PubMed

    Dickens, Molly J; Bentley, George E

    2014-09-01

    In seasonal species, glucocorticoid concentrations are often highest during the breeding season. However, the role of increased hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity in the regulation of reproduction remains poorly understood. Our study is the first, to our knowledge, to document reproductive consequences of a non-pharmacological hindrance to seasonal HPA fluctuations. Using wild-caught male and female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) housed in an outdoor, semi-natural environment, we divided birds into two mixed-sex groups. One group remained in the outdoor aviary, where starlings breed at the appropriate time of year. The other group was transferred into an indoor flight aviary, where we predicted reproductive suppression to occur. We measured changes in corticosterone (CORT) at baseline and stress-induced concentrations prior to group separation and at the experiment's conclusion. After ten days, the birds showed remarkable differences in breeding behavior and HPA activity. Outdoor birds exhibited increases in baseline and stress-induced CORT and progressed into active breeding (pairing, nest building, egg laying, etc.). In contrast, indoor birds displayed no change in baseline or stress-induced CORT and few signs of active breeding. We found significant sex and treatment effects on expression of HPA and hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis elements, suggesting sex-specific regulatory mechanisms. Our data suggest a novel, facilitating role for the HPA axis in the transition between early breeding and active breeding in a wild, seasonal avian species. In addition, understanding how changes in housing condition affect seasonal HPA fluctuations may help alleviate barriers to breeding wild animals in captivity.

  4. European tests on materials outgassing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zwaal, A.

    1977-01-01

    With a view to international coordination of spacecraft materials, a number of European firms and institutes performed outgassing tests on identical materials at 125 C in high vacuum. The outgassing data obtained with the different types of equipment is presented and both the results and the critical parameters are discussed.

  5. The European NEO Coordination Centre

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perozzi, E.; Borgia, B.; Micheli, M.

    An operational approach to NEO (Near-Earth Object) hazard monitoring has been developed at European level within the framework of the Space Situational Awareness Program (SSA) of the European Space Agency (ESA). Through federating European assets and profiting of the expertise developed in European Universities and Research Centers, it has been possible to start the deployment of the so-called SSA NEO Segment. This initiative aims to provide a significant contribution to the worldwide effort to the discovery, follow-up and characterization of the near-Earth object population. A major achievement has been the inauguration in May 2013 of the ESA NEO Coordination Centre located at ESRIN (Frascati, Italy). The goal of the NEOCC Precursor Service operations is twofold: to make available updated information on the NEO population and the associated hazard and to contribute to optimize the NEO observational efforts. This is done by maintaining and improving a Web Portal publicly available at http://neo.ssa.esa.int and by performing follow-up observations through a network of collaborating telescopes and facilities. An overview of the SSA-NEO System and a summary of the first two years of NEOCC operations is presented.

  6. Beyond "Ability": Some European Alternatives

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wrigley, Terry

    2013-01-01

    This article draws on European approaches to differentiation that do not entail fatalistic determinism. It describes two challenging initiatives in Denmark, where democratic learning and learning for democracy are enshrined in law. Other examples come from Germany, from the Bielefeld laboratory school and a sixth form college, where planning for…

  7. Phased Retirement: The European Experience.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Swank, Constance

    This report provides United States corporate and union policymakers with practical information on one alternative work pattern for older employees--phased retirement--from European colleagues who already have implemented or negotiated specific phasing programs. An introduction provides details on the collection of information from companies in…

  8. Attitudes of Europeans toward Age.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ageing International, 1993

    1993-01-01

    Two Commission of European Communities surveys of people over age 15 and of those over 60 demonstrated a widespread belief that older people deserve public support and services and face employment discrimination. Socioeconomic factors influenced older people's sense of security and life satisfaction. Positive intergenerational attitudes appeared.…

  9. European association of tissue banks.

    PubMed

    Cahane, Michael; van Baare, Jeroen

    2009-01-01

    Tissue banking is a specific field of medical practice. The European Association of Tissue Banks (EATB) is a scientific nonprofit organization that coordinates and supports aspects of tissue banking within Europe. The evolvement, structure and principal fields of interest and activities of the EATB are described.

  10. BSE : the European regulatory context.

    PubMed

    Chalus, T; Peutz, I

    2000-10-01

    The Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy crisis provoked a fundamental re-appraisal of the way in which the European Community approaches matters of food safety. Between 28 July 1989, when restrictions on the dispatch of certain live cattle from the UK starte PMID:12631966

  11. European astronaut training in Houston.

    PubMed

    Chiarenza, O

    1993-11-01

    Three European astronauts are currently training as Space Shuttle Mission Specialists at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Two of the astronauts, Maurizio Cheli and Jean-Francois Clervoy, recently became members of NASA's 'astronaut pool' and have entered the Advanced Training phase. The third one, Claude Nicollier, is now preparing for the mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope in December.

  12. OER: A European Policy Perspective

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Alquézar Sabadie, Jesús Maria; Castaño Muñoz, Jonatan; Puni, Yves; Redecker, Christine; Vuorikari, Riina

    2014-01-01

    The potential benefits of OER have led many European governments to implement policies supporting their creation and use. This chapter aims to put these OER policies in context, discussing their focus and scope and highlighting challenges and bottlenecks. On the basis of the analysis of the current state of the art, it is argued that one of main…

  13. European Year of Languages, 2001.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Council of Europe, Strasbourg (France). Directorate of Education, Culture and Sport, Documentation Section.

    This document is a folder full of brochures describing the activities of Council of Europe and the European Union to celebrate 2001 as a year of languages in order to celebrate the linguistic diversity of Europe and promote the many opportunities available for lifelong language learning. A number of facts and figures about the languages of Europe…

  14. Adolescent Leisure across European Nations.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flammer, August; Schaffner, Brigitta

    2003-01-01

    Examined variations in adolescent time use within Europe and their relation to culture, focusing on organization of free time, most frequent leisure activities, and resulting emotional states. Found that European adolescents spent free time in a range of activities, including electronic media, computer games, playing musical instruments, reading,…

  15. Mathematical Modelling in European Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ferri, Rita Borromeo

    2013-01-01

    Teaching and learning of mathematical modelling has become a key competence within school curricula and educational standards in many countries of the world. The term mathematical modelling, its meaning, and how it can be implemented in mathematics lessons have been intensively discussed during several Conferences of the European Society for…

  16. The European Location Framework - from National to European

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pauknerova, E.; Sidlichovsky, P.; Urbanas, S.; Med, M.

    2016-06-01

    The European Location Framework (ELF) means a technical infrastructure which will deliver authoritative, interoperable geospatial reference data from all over Europe for analysing and understanding information connected to places and features. The ELF has been developed and set up through the ELF Project, which has been realized by a consortium of partners (public, private and academic organisations) since March 2013. Their number increased from thirty to forty in the year 2016, together with a project extension from 36 to 44 months. The project is co-funded by the European Commission's Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and will end in October 2016. In broad terms, the ELF Project will deliver a unique gateway to the authoritative reference geospatial information for Europe (harmonised pan-European maps, geographic and land information) sourced from the National Mapping and Cadastral Authorities (NMCAs) around Europe and including transparent licensing. This will be provided as an online ELF web service that will deliver an up-to-date topographic base map and also as view & download services for access to the ELF datasets. To develop and build up the ELF, NMCAs are accompanied and collaborate with several research & academia institutes, a standardisation body, system integrators, software developers and application providers. The harmonisation is in progress developing and triggering a number of geo-tools like edge-matching, generalisation, transformation and others. ELF will provide also some centralised tools like Geo Locator for searching location based on geographical names, addresses and administrative units, and GeoProduct Finder for discovering the available web-services and licensing them. ELF combines national reference geo-information through the ELF platform. ELF web services will be offered to users and application developers through open source (OSKARI) and proprietary (ArcGIS Online) cloud platforms. Recently, 29 NMCAs plus the

  17. European Cargo Ship Launches to Station

    NASA Video Gallery

    The European Space Agency's third Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-3) launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket from the European space port in Kourou, French Guiana, at 12:34 a.m. EDT Friday, beginning a si...

  18. New head picked for European Spallation Source

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banks, Michael

    2016-06-01

    The UK physicist John Womersley is to become the next director-general of the €1.8bn European Spallation Source (ESS), which is currently being built in Lund, Sweden, by a 17-member consortium of European countries.

  19. European physics impact - to a first approximation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Starckx, Senne

    2013-05-01

    Physics-based industries contributed around 14%, or €3800bn, to the total value of the European economy in 2010 - exceeding that of the construction and retail sectors combined - according to a report by the European Physical Society (EPS).

  20. European Initiatives in Postgraduate Education in Gerontology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    van Rijsselt, Rene J. T.; Parkatti, Terttu; Troisi, Joseph

    2007-01-01

    This paper describes three innovative European initiatives in postgraduate education in gerontology. The first is the European Masters Program in Gerontology (EuMaG), developed as an interdisciplinary joint program, supported and delivered by 22 European universities. Second, the Nordplus initiative to increase mobility of students and staff in…

  1. Europeanizing Education: Governing a New Policy Space

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lawn, Martin; Grek, Sotiria

    2012-01-01

    The study of common and diverse effects in the field of education across Europe is a growing field of inquiry and research. It is the result of many actions, networks and programmes over the last few decades and the development of common European education policies. "Europeanizing Education" describes the origins of European education policy, as…

  2. Advanced Placement European History: A New Approach.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Beaber, Lawrence

    A new approach to the teaching of European history is being implemented in Advanced Placement secondary classes. In the latter 1950's a Committee of Examiners composed of European history professors and secondary teachers formulated a course description comprised of a brief outline of an introductory survey in European history. It was organized…

  3. European Community Databases: Online to Europe.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hensley, Colin

    1989-01-01

    Describes three groups of databases sponsored by the European Communities Commission: Eurobases, a textual database of the contents of the "Official Journal" of the European Community; the European Community Host Organization (ECHO) databases, which offer multilingual information about Europe; and statistical databases. Information on access and…

  4. How Is European Governance Configuring the EHEA?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Magalhães, António; Veiga, Amélia; Sousa, Sofia; Ribeiro, Filipa

    2012-01-01

    This article focuses on the interaction between the European dimension driven by the creation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the development of national reforms to fulfil that objective. On the basis of data gathered in eight countries involved in EuroHESC project TRUE (Transforming European Universities), the curricular and the…

  5. Songbirds use spectral shape, not pitch, for sound pattern recognition.

    PubMed

    Bregman, Micah R; Patel, Aniruddh D; Gentner, Timothy Q

    2016-02-01

    Humans easily recognize "transposed" musical melodies shifted up or down in log frequency. Surprisingly, songbirds seem to lack this capacity, although they can learn to recognize human melodies and use complex acoustic sequences for communication. Decades of research have led to the widespread belief that songbirds, unlike humans, are strongly biased to use absolute pitch (AP) in melody recognition. This work relies almost exclusively on acoustically simple stimuli that may belie sensitivities to more complex spectral features. Here, we investigate melody recognition in a species of songbird, the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), using tone sequences that vary in both pitch and timbre. We find that small manipulations altering either pitch or timbre independently can drive melody recognition to chance, suggesting that both percepts are poor descriptors of the perceptual cues used by birds for this task. Instead we show that melody recognition can generalize even in the absence of pitch, as long as the spectral shapes of the constituent tones are preserved. These results challenge conventional views regarding the use of pitch cues in nonhuman auditory sequence recognition. PMID:26811447

  6. A sonic net excludes birds from an airfield: implications for reducing bird strike and crop losses.

    PubMed

    Swaddle, John P; Moseley, Dana L; Hinders, Mark K; Smith, Elizabeth P

    2016-03-01

    Collisions between birds and aircraft cause billions of dollars of damages annually to civil, commercial, and military aviation. Yet technology to reduce bird strike is not generally effective, especially over longer time periods. Previous information from our lab indicated that filling an area with acoustic noise, which masks important communication channels for birds, can displace European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) from food sources. Here we deployed a spatially controlled noise (termed a "sonic net"), designed to overlap with the frequency range of bird vocalizations, at an airfield. By conducting point counts, we monitored the presence of birds for four weeks before deployment of our sonic net, and for four weeks during deployment. We found an 82% reduction in bird presence in the sonic net area compared with change in the reference areas. This effect was as strong in the fourth week of exposure as in the first week. We also calculated the potential costs avoided resulting from this exclusion. We propose that spatially controlled acoustic manipulations that mask auditory communication for birds may be an effective long term and fairly benign way of excluding problem birds from areas of socioeconomic importance, such as airfields, agricultural sites, and commercial properties. PMID:27209777

  7. Habitat relationships and nest site characteristics of cavity-nesting birds in cottonwood floodplains

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sedgwick, James A.; Knopf, Fritz L.

    1990-01-01

    We examined habitat relationships and nest site characteristics for 6 species of cavity-nesting birds--American kestrel (Falco sparverius), northern flicker (Colaptes auratus), red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus), black-capped chickadee (Parus atricapillus), house wren (Troglodytes aedon), and European starling (Sturnus vulgaris)--in a mature plains cottonwood (Populus sargentii) bottomland along the South Platte River in northeastern Colorado in 1985 and 1986. We examined characteristics of cavities, nest trees, and the habitat surrounding nest trees. Density of large trees (>69 cm dbh), total length of dead limbs ≥10 cm diameter (TDLL), and cavity density were the most important habitat variables; dead limb length (DLL), dbh, and species were the most important tree variables; and cavity height, cavity entrance diameter, and substrate condition at the cavity (live vs. dead) were the most important cavity variables in segregating cavity nesters along habitat, tree, and cavity dimensions, respectively. Random sites differed most from cavity-nesting bird sites on the basis of dbh, DLL, limb tree density (trees with ≥1 m dead limbs ≥10 cm diameter), and cavity density. Habitats of red-headed woodpeckers and American kestrels were the most unique, differing most from random sites. Based on current trends in cottonwood demography, densities of cavity-nesting birds will probably decline gradually along the South Platte River, paralleling a decline in DLL, limb tree density, snag density, and the concurrent lack of cottonwood regeneration.

  8. Better the devil you know: avian predators find variation in prey toxicity aversive.

    PubMed

    Barnett, Craig A; Bateson, Melissa; Rowe, Candy

    2014-11-01

    Toxic prey that signal their defences to predators using conspicuous warning signals are called 'aposematic'. Predators learn about the toxic content of aposematic prey and reduce their attacks on them. However, through regulating their toxin intake, predators will include aposematic prey in their diets when the benefits of gaining the nutrients they contain outweigh the costs of ingesting the prey's toxins. Predators face a problem when managing their toxin intake: prey sharing the same warning signal often vary in their toxicities. Given that predators should avoid uncertainty when managing their toxin intake, we tested whether European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) preferred to eat fixed-defence prey (where all prey contained a 2% quinine solution) to mixed-defence prey (where half the prey contained a 4% quinine solution and the other half contained only water). Our results support the idea that predators should be more 'risk-averse' when foraging on variably defended prey and suggest that variation in toxicity levels could be a form of defence.

  9. A statistical framework for genetic association studies of power curves in bird flight.

    PubMed

    Lin, Min; Zhao, Wei; Wu, Rongling

    2006-01-01

    How the power required for bird flight varies as a function of forward speed can be used to predict the flight style and behavioral strategy of a bird for feeding and migration. A U-shaped curve was observed between the power and flight velocity in many birds, which is consistent to the theoretical prediction by aerodynamic models. In this article, we present a general genetic model for fine mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTL) responsible for power curves in a sample of birds drawn from a natural population. This model is developed within the maximum likelihood context, implemented with the EM algorithm for estimating the population genetic parameters of QTL and the simplex algorithm for estimating the QTL genotype-specific parameters of power curves. Using Monte Carlo simulation derived from empirical observations of power curves in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris), we demonstrate how the underlying QTL for power curves can be detected from molecular markers and how the QTL detected affect the most appropriate flight speeds used to design an optimal migration strategy. The results from our model can be directly integrated into a conceptual framework for understanding flight origin and evolution.

  10. Blood-feeding ectoparasites as developmental stressors: Does corticosterone mediate effects of mite infestation on nestling growth, immunity and energy availability?

    PubMed

    Pryor, Leah J Eisner; Casto, Joseph M

    2015-08-01

    How resources are distributed to growth and self-maintenance early in life is likely to impact survival and reproduction. Early resource allocation decisions may be particularly critical in altricial birds, as they have rapid developmental trajectories, and may be highly susceptible to environmental factors that can perturb development. The aim of this study was to determine if blood-feeding ectoparasites act as developmental stressors in European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) nestlings, driving a trade-off between growth and immunity. We hypothesized that because ectoparasites compete for resources they would induce growth-immunity trade-offs in parasitized nestlings. We also tested the hypothesis that changes in plasma corticosterone mediate the effects of ectoparasites on growth and immunity. Throughout development we assessed between-nest variation in ectoparasite density, measured growth, and a variety of blood parameters, including plasma corticosterone. We also assessed immune function across development. We found that nestlings from nests with high levels of ectoparasites were smaller, had elevated blood glucose, lower hematocrit levels, and appeared to engage in compensatory growth prior to fledging. They also had elevated innate immune responses early, but reduced responses later relative to nestlings from nests with low levels of ectoparasites. Plasma corticosterone was not affected by ectoparasite load, but did increase with nestling age. Overall, we find evidence that ectoparasites are developmental stressors that affect growth-immunity trade-offs, but their effects do not appear to be mediated by changes in circulating levels of corticosterone.

  11. Are novel objects perceived as stressful? The effect of novelty on heart rate.

    PubMed

    Fischer, Clare Parker; Franco, Leor A; Romero, L Michael

    2016-07-01

    Neophobia, or the fear of novel objects, is a behavior that is often found in wild animals. Neophobia appears to be related to the physiological stress response because individuals with higher glucocorticoid responses to stress often are more neophobic. The relationship between the heart rate response and novelty, however, has not been tested in a wild species. We implanted heart rate transmitters in captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to measure increases in heart rate as an index of the adrenomedullary stress response. Specifically, we measured heart rate in animals encountering novel objects on or near their food dishes using a system to display the novel objects while the experimenters remained outside the room, thereby minimizing the confounding effects of experimenter presence on heart rate. We analyzed three conditions: the period of adjustment to the experimental setup before any exposure to novelty, novel object trials, and no object controls (presented in a random order after 0-5 novel objects). Birds approached their food dishes faster during the adjustment period than during novel object trials. Although they demonstrated a behavioral aversion to novelty, the effect on heart rate was unexpected. Heart rate increased sharply when the food dishes were displayed. The duration of the startle response was longer during no object controls than during novel object exposure, the opposite of the anticipated result. There were no correlations between behavior and metrics of the heart rate response. Novel object exposure does not cause an increase in heart rate.

  12. An experimental demonstration that early-life competitive disadvantage accelerates telomere loss.

    PubMed

    Nettle, Daniel; Monaghan, Pat; Gillespie, Robert; Brilot, Ben; Bedford, Thomas; Bateson, Melissa

    2015-01-01

    Adverse experiences in early life can exert powerful delayed effects on adult survival and health. Telomere attrition is a potentially important mechanism in such effects. One source of early-life adversity is the stress caused by competitive disadvantage. Although previous avian experiments suggest that competitive disadvantage may accelerate telomere attrition, they do not clearly isolate the effects of competitive disadvantage from other sources of variation. Here, we present data from an experiment in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) that used cross-fostering to expose siblings to divergent early experience. Birds were assigned either to competitive advantage (being larger than their brood competitors) or competitive disadvantage (being smaller than their brood competitors) between days 3 and 12 post-hatching. Disadvantage did not affect weight gain, but it increased telomere attrition, leading to shorter telomere length in disadvantaged birds by day 12. There were no effects of disadvantage on oxidative damage as measured by plasma lipid peroxidation. We thus found strong evidence that early-life competitive disadvantage can accelerate telomere loss. This could lead to faster age-related deterioration and poorer health in later life.

  13. Variation in wing pattern and palatability in a female-limited polymorphic mimicry system

    PubMed Central

    Long, Elizabeth C; Hahn, Thomas P; Shapiro, Arthur M

    2014-01-01

    Checkerspot butterflies in the genera Euphydryas and Chlosyne exhibit phenotypic polymorphisms along a well-defined latitudinal and elevational gradient in California. The patterns of phenotypic variation in Euphydryas chalcedona, Chlosyne palla, and Chlosyne hoffmanni suggest a mimetic relationship; in addition, the specific patterns of variation in C. palla suggest a female-limited polymorphic mimicry system (FPM). However, the existence of polymorphic models runs counter to predictions of mimicry theory. Palatability trials were undertaken to assess whether or not the different color morphs of each species were distasteful or toxic to a generalized avian predator, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Results indicate that the black morph of E. chalcedona is distasteful, but not toxic, to predators, while the red morph is palatable. C . hoffmanni and both color morphs of C. palla are palatable to predators. Predators that learn to reject black E. chalcedona also reject black C. palla, suggesting that the latter is a FPM of the former. C. hoffmanni does not appear to be involved in this mimetic relationship. PMID:25512850

  14. Effects of early-developmental stress on growth rates, body composition and developmental plasticity of the HPG-axis.

    PubMed

    Farrell, Tara M; Morgan, Amanda; Sarquis-Adamson, Yanina; MacDougall-Shackleton, Scott A

    2015-10-01

    In altricial songbirds, food restriction in early development has adverse effects on various physiological systems. When conditions improve birds can accelerate growth, but this compensatory strategy is associated with long-term adverse consequences. One system affected by altered growth rates is the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. Here, we subjected European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, to an unpredictable food manipulation from 35 to 115days of age. We assessed the effects of the treatment by measuring overall body mass and body composition during and following the treatment period (i.e., accelerated growth). In adulthood, we measured the long-term effects of the treatment on overall body mass, testis volume, and HPG axis function in both sexes by quantifying androgen levels before and after a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) challenge. During the treatment period, treatment birds had less body fat than controls. Following the treatment period, treatment birds weighed more than controls, but these gains were attributed to changes in lean mass. In adulthood, treatment males had lower baseline androgen levels, but there was no difference in peak androgen levels compared to controls. Treatment females did not differ from controls on any of the androgen measures. However, females that accelerated growth faster following the termination of the treatment had lower integrated androgen levels. When faced with limited developmental resources, birds may alter the developmental trajectory of physiological systems as a compensatory strategy. Such a strategy may have long-term consequences on endocrine regulation that could affect courtship and reproductive behaviors.

  15. Body size matters for aposematic prey during predator aversion learning.

    PubMed

    Smith, Karen E; Halpin, Christina G; Rowe, Candy

    2014-11-01

    Aposematic prey advertise their toxicity to predators using conspicuous warning signals, which predators learn to use to reduce their intake of toxic prey. Like other types of prey, aposematic prey often differ in body size, both within and between species. Increasing body size can increase signal size, which make larger aposematic prey more detectable but also gives them a more effective and salient deterrent. However, increasing body size also increases the nutritional value of prey, and larger aposematic prey may make a more profitable meal to predators that are trading off the costs of eating toxins with the benefits of ingesting nutrients. We tested if body size, independent of signal size, affected predation of toxic prey as predators learn to reduce their attacks on them. European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) learned to discriminate between defended (quinine-injected) and undefended (water-injected) mealworm prey (Tenebrio molitor) using visual signals. During this process, we found that birds attacked and ate more defended prey the larger they were. Body size does affect the probability that toxic prey are attacked and eaten, which has implications for the evolutionary dynamics of aposematism and mimicry (where species share the same warning pattern). PMID:25256160

  16. Carotenoids, birdsong and oxidative status: administration of dietary lutein is associated with an increase in song rate and circulating antioxidants (albumin and cholesterol) and a decrease in oxidative damage.

    PubMed

    Casagrande, Stefania; Pinxten, Rianne; Zaid, Erika; Eens, Marcel

    2014-01-01

    Despite the appealing hypothesis that carotenoid-based colouration signals oxidative status, evidence supporting the antioxidant function of these pigments is scarce. Recent studies have shown that lutein, the most common carotenoid used by birds, can enhance the expression of non-visual traits, such as birdsong. Nevertheless, the underlying physiological mechanisms remain unclear. In this study we hypothesized that male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) fed extra lutein increase their song rate as a consequence of an improved oxidative status. Although birdsong may be especially sensitive to the redox status, this has, to the best of our knowledge, never been tested. Together with the determination of circulating oxidative damage (ROMs, reactive oxygen metabolites), we quantified uric acid, albumin, total proteins, cholesterol, and testosterone, which are physiological parameters potentially sensitive to oxidation and/or related to both carotenoid functions and birdsong expression. We found that the birds fed extra lutein sang more frequently than control birds and showed an increase of albumin and cholesterol together with a decrease of oxidative damage. Moreover, we could show that song rate was associated with high levels of albumin and cholesterol and low levels of oxidative damage, independently from testosterone levels. Our study shows for the first time that song rate honestly signals the oxidative status of males and that dietary lutein is associated with the circulation of albumin and cholesterol in birds, providing a novel insight to the theoretical framework related to the honest signalling of carotenoid-based traits. PMID:25549336

  17. Songbirds use spectral shape, not pitch, for sound pattern recognition

    PubMed Central

    Bregman, Micah R.; Patel, Aniruddh D.; Gentner, Timothy Q.

    2016-01-01

    Humans easily recognize “transposed” musical melodies shifted up or down in log frequency. Surprisingly, songbirds seem to lack this capacity, although they can learn to recognize human melodies and use complex acoustic sequences for communication. Decades of research have led to the widespread belief that songbirds, unlike humans, are strongly biased to use absolute pitch (AP) in melody recognition. This work relies almost exclusively on acoustically simple stimuli that may belie sensitivities to more complex spectral features. Here, we investigate melody recognition in a species of songbird, the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), using tone sequences that vary in both pitch and timbre. We find that small manipulations altering either pitch or timbre independently can drive melody recognition to chance, suggesting that both percepts are poor descriptors of the perceptual cues used by birds for this task. Instead we show that melody recognition can generalize even in the absence of pitch, as long as the spectral shapes of the constituent tones are preserved. These results challenge conventional views regarding the use of pitch cues in nonhuman auditory sequence recognition. PMID:26811447

  18. Effects of sibling competition on growth, oxidative stress, and humoral immunity: a two-year brood-size manipulation.

    PubMed

    Bourgeon, Sophie; Guindre-Parker, Sarah; Williams, Tony D

    2011-01-01

    We investigated the effects of ecological context (by comparing data from two consecutive years) and experimentally manipulated nestling developmental conditions (large vs. small brood size) on immune function (immunoglobulin Y [IgY]) and oxidative stress in nestling European starlings Sturnus vulgaris. On the basis of annual differences in chicks' morphological traits and body masses close to fledging, we established that 2007 was a relative low-quality year and 2008 was a relatively high-quality year. Total antioxidant capacity (TAC) was significantly lower in experimentally enlarged broods, but only in the low-quality year (2007). Total oxidant status (TOS) was independent of brood size in both years but was 45% higher in the low-quality year. Consequently, plasma oxidative status (the ratio between TOS and TAC) was higher in 2007. In contrast, plasma IgY levels were higher in the experimentally enlarged broods and in the high-quality year (2008). Thus, immune function and oxidative stress showed inverse relationships with developmental conditions and annual variation in year quality. Finally, TOS and TAC were positively correlated, but only in the low-quality year (2007), and there was no relationship observed between IgY and markers of oxidative stress. Our results demonstrate the importance of taking into account year effects or ecological context when assessing environmental effects on physiological mechanisms underlying the life-history traits of chicks, such as oxidative stress.

  19. Better the devil you know: avian predators find variation in prey toxicity aversive.

    PubMed

    Barnett, Craig A; Bateson, Melissa; Rowe, Candy

    2014-11-01

    Toxic prey that signal their defences to predators using conspicuous warning signals are called 'aposematic'. Predators learn about the toxic content of aposematic prey and reduce their attacks on them. However, through regulating their toxin intake, predators will include aposematic prey in their diets when the benefits of gaining the nutrients they contain outweigh the costs of ingesting the prey's toxins. Predators face a problem when managing their toxin intake: prey sharing the same warning signal often vary in their toxicities. Given that predators should avoid uncertainty when managing their toxin intake, we tested whether European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) preferred to eat fixed-defence prey (where all prey contained a 2% quinine solution) to mixed-defence prey (where half the prey contained a 4% quinine solution and the other half contained only water). Our results support the idea that predators should be more 'risk-averse' when foraging on variably defended prey and suggest that variation in toxicity levels could be a form of defence. PMID:25392317

  20. Parathion poisoning of Mississippi kites in Oklahoma

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Franson, J. Christian

    1994-01-01

    Parathion(phosphorothioic acid O, O-diethyl O-[4-nitrophenyl] ester) is a broad spectrum organophosphorus insecticide, used on a variety of crops and occasionally for mosquito control, and is highly toxic to birds (Smith 1987). Intentional poisoning with parathion is reported to have killed more than 8000 red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) and European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in two separate instances (Stone et al. 1984). Use of parathion on wheat fields has resulted in the mortality of about 1600 Canada geese (Branta canadensis) and other waterfowl in one instance (White et al. 1982) and about 200 Canada geese in another (Flickinger et al. 1991). More than 200 laughing gulls (Larus atricilla) died near cotton fields treated with parathion (White et al. 1979). Secondary poisoning of raptors resulting from the consumption of prey exposed to parathion, has been reported experimentally and in the field. Stone et al. (1984) found two dead red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), a Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperii) and an American kestrel (Falco sparverius) that had fed on blackbirds killed by parathion. One of four American kestrels died after being fed cricket frogs (Acris crepitans) that had been exposed to 10ppm parathion for 96 hr (Fleming et al. 1982). The Mississippi kite (Ictinia mississippensis) is highly insectivorous (Brown and Amadon 1968) and is thus subject to secondary poisoning resulting from consumption of insects exposed to pesticides. I report here an instance of secondary parathion poisoning in wild Mississippi kites.

  1. Better the devil you know: avian predators find variation in prey toxicity aversive

    PubMed Central

    Barnett, Craig A.; Bateson, Melissa; Rowe, Candy

    2014-01-01

    Toxic prey that signal their defences to predators using conspicuous warning signals are called ‘aposematic’. Predators learn about the toxic content of aposematic prey and reduce their attacks on them. However, through regulating their toxin intake, predators will include aposematic prey in their diets when the benefits of gaining the nutrients they contain outweigh the costs of ingesting the prey's toxins. Predators face a problem when managing their toxin intake: prey sharing the same warning signal often vary in their toxicities. Given that predators should avoid uncertainty when managing their toxin intake, we tested whether European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) preferred to eat fixed-defence prey (where all prey contained a 2% quinine solution) to mixed-defence prey (where half the prey contained a 4% quinine solution and the other half contained only water). Our results support the idea that predators should be more ‘risk-averse’ when foraging on variably defended prey and suggest that variation in toxicity levels could be a form of defence. PMID:25392317

  2. Cognitive mechanisms of risky choice: is there an evaluation cost?

    PubMed

    Aw, Justine; Monteiro, Tiago; Vasconcelos, Marco; Kacelnik, Alex

    2012-02-01

    We contrast two classes of choice processes, those assuming time-consuming comparisons and those where stimuli for each option act independently, competing for expression by cross censorship. The Sequential Choice Model (SCM) belongs in the latter category, and has received empirical support in several procedures involving deterministic alternatives. Here we test this model in risky choices. In two treatments, each with five conditions, European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) faced choices between options with unpredictable outcomes and risk-free alternatives. In the delay treatment the five conditions involved choices between a variable option offering two equiprobable delays to reward and a fixed option with delay differing between conditions. The amount treatment was structurally similar, but amount of reward rather than delay was manipulated. As assumed (and required) by the SCM, latency to respond in no-choice trials reflected each option's richness with respect to the background alternatives, and, crucially, preferences in simultaneous choices were predictable from latencies to each option in forced trials. However, we did not detect reliable differences in response times between forced and choice trials, neither the lengthening expected from evaluation models nor the shortening expected from the SCM. PMID:22001371

  3. Carotenoids, Birdsong and Oxidative Status: Administration of Dietary Lutein Is Associated with an Increase in Song Rate and Circulating Antioxidants (Albumin and Cholesterol) and a Decrease in Oxidative Damage

    PubMed Central

    Casagrande, Stefania; Pinxten, Rianne; Zaid, Erika; Eens, Marcel

    2014-01-01

    Despite the appealing hypothesis that carotenoid-based colouration signals oxidative status, evidence supporting the antioxidant function of these pigments is scarce. Recent studies have shown that lutein, the most common carotenoid used by birds, can enhance the expression of non-visual traits, such as birdsong. Nevertheless, the underlying physiological mechanisms remain unclear. In this study we hypothesized that male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) fed extra lutein increase their song rate as a consequence of an improved oxidative status. Although birdsong may be especially sensitive to the redox status, this has, to the best of our knowledge, never been tested. Together with the determination of circulating oxidative damage (ROMs, reactive oxygen metabolites), we quantified uric acid, albumin, total proteins, cholesterol, and testosterone, which are physiological parameters potentially sensitive to oxidation and/or related to both carotenoid functions and birdsong expression. We found that the birds fed extra lutein sang more frequently than control birds and showed an increase of albumin and cholesterol together with a decrease of oxidative damage. Moreover, we could show that song rate was associated with high levels of albumin and cholesterol and low levels of oxidative damage, independently from testosterone levels. Our study shows for the first time that song rate honestly signals the oxidative status of males and that dietary lutein is associated with the circulation of albumin and cholesterol in birds, providing a novel insight to the theoretical framework related to the honest signalling of carotenoid-based traits. PMID:25549336

  4. An experimental demonstration that early-life competitive disadvantage accelerates telomere loss

    PubMed Central

    Nettle, Daniel; Monaghan, Pat; Gillespie, Robert; Brilot, Ben; Bedford, Thomas; Bateson, Melissa

    2015-01-01

    Adverse experiences in early life can exert powerful delayed effects on adult survival and health. Telomere attrition is a potentially important mechanism in such effects. One source of early-life adversity is the stress caused by competitive disadvantage. Although previous avian experiments suggest that competitive disadvantage may accelerate telomere attrition, they do not clearly isolate the effects of competitive disadvantage from other sources of variation. Here, we present data from an experiment in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) that used cross-fostering to expose siblings to divergent early experience. Birds were assigned either to competitive advantage (being larger than their brood competitors) or competitive disadvantage (being smaller than their brood competitors) between days 3 and 12 post-hatching. Disadvantage did not affect weight gain, but it increased telomere attrition, leading to shorter telomere length in disadvantaged birds by day 12. There were no effects of disadvantage on oxidative damage as measured by plasma lipid peroxidation. We thus found strong evidence that early-life competitive disadvantage can accelerate telomere loss. This could lead to faster age-related deterioration and poorer health in later life. PMID:25411450

  5. Surveillance for Ixodes pacificus and the tick-borne pathogens Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Borrelia burgdorferi in birds from California's Inner Coast Range.

    PubMed

    Dingler, Regina J; Wright, Stan A; Donohue, Ann M; Macedo, Paula A; Foley, Janet E

    2014-06-01

    We investigated the involvement of birds in the ecology of the western black-legged tick, Ixodes pacificus, and its associated zoonotic bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum, at two interior coast-range study sites in northern California. Anaplasma phagocytophilum, the agent of granulocytic anaplasmosis (GA), and B. burgdorferi s.s., the agent of Lyme disease (LD), are tick-borne pathogens that are well established in California. We screened blood and ticks from 349 individual birds in 48 species collected in 2011 and 2012 using pathogen-specific PCR. A total of 617 immature I. pacificus was collected with almost three times as many larvae than nymphs. There were 7.5 times more I. pacificus at the Napa County site compared to the Yolo County site. Two of 74 (3%) nymphal pools from an Oregon junco (Junco hyemalis) and a hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus) and 4 individual larvae (all from Oregon juncos) were PCR-positive for B. burgdorferi. Blood samples from a golden-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) and a European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) were positive for A. phagocytophilum DNA at very low levels. Birds that forage on ground or bark and nest on the ground, as well as some migratory species, are at an increased risk for acquiring I. pacificus. Our findings show that birds contribute to the ecologies of LD and GA in California by serving as a blood-meal source, feeding and transporting immature I. pacificus, and sometimes as a source of Borrelia infection. PMID:24690191

  6. Developing dynamic mechanistic species distribution models: predicting bird-mediated spread of invasive plants across northeastern North America.

    PubMed

    Merow, Cory; Lafleur, Nancy; Silander, John A; Wilson, Adam M; Rubega, Margaret

    2011-07-01

    Species distribution models are a fundamental tool in ecology, conservation biology, and biogeography and typically identify potential species distributions using static phenomenological models. We demonstrate the importance of complementing these popular models with spatially explicit, dynamic mechanistic models that link potential and realized distributions. We develop general grid-based, pattern-oriented spread models incorporating three mechanisms--plant population growth, local dispersal, and long-distance dispersal--to predict broadscale spread patterns in heterogeneous landscapes. We use the model to examine the spread of the invasive Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental bittersweet) by Sturnus vulgaris (European starling) across northeastern North America. We find excellent quantitative agreement with historical spread records over the last century that are critically linked to the geometry of heterogeneous landscapes and each of the explanatory mechanisms considered. Spread of bittersweet before 1960 was primarily driven by high growth rates in developed and agricultural landscapes, while subsequent spread was mediated by expansion into deciduous and coniferous forests. Large, continuous patches of coniferous forests may substantially impede invasion. The success of C. orbiculatus and its potential mutualism with S. vulgaris suggest troubling predictions for the spread of other invasive, fleshy-fruited plant species across northeastern North America.

  7. Ambient temperature influences birds' decisions to eat toxic prey☆

    PubMed Central

    Chatelain, M.; Halpin, C.G.; Rowe, C.

    2013-01-01

    Aposematic prey warn predators of their toxicity using conspicuous signals. However, predators regularly include aposematic prey in their diets, particularly when they are in a poor energetic state and in need of nutrients. We investigated whether or not an environmental factor, ambient temperature, could change the energetic state of predators and lead to an increased intake of prey that they know to contain toxins. We found that European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, increased their consumption of mealworm, Tenebrio molitor, prey containing quinine (a mild toxin) when the ambient temperature was reduced below their thermoneutral zone from 20 °C to 6 °C. The birds differed in their sensitivity to changes in ambient temperature, with heavier birds increasing the number of toxic prey they ate more rapidly with decreasing temperature compared to birds with lower body mass. This could have been the result of their requiring more nutrients at lower temperatures or being better able to detoxify quinine. Taken together, our results suggest that conspicuous coloration may be more costly at lower temperatures, and that aposematic prey may need to invest more in chemical defences as temperatures decline. Our study also provides novel insights into what factors affect birds' decisions to eat toxic prey, and demonstrates that selection pressures acting on prey defences can vary with changing temperature across days, seasons, climes, and potentially in response to climate change. PMID:24109148

  8. Are novel objects perceived as stressful? The effect of novelty on heart rate.

    PubMed

    Fischer, Clare Parker; Franco, Leor A; Romero, L Michael

    2016-07-01

    Neophobia, or the fear of novel objects, is a behavior that is often found in wild animals. Neophobia appears to be related to the physiological stress response because individuals with higher glucocorticoid responses to stress often are more neophobic. The relationship between the heart rate response and novelty, however, has not been tested in a wild species. We implanted heart rate transmitters in captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to measure increases in heart rate as an index of the adrenomedullary stress response. Specifically, we measured heart rate in animals encountering novel objects on or near their food dishes using a system to display the novel objects while the experimenters remained outside the room, thereby minimizing the confounding effects of experimenter presence on heart rate. We analyzed three conditions: the period of adjustment to the experimental setup before any exposure to novelty, novel object trials, and no object controls (presented in a random order after 0-5 novel objects). Birds approached their food dishes faster during the adjustment period than during novel object trials. Although they demonstrated a behavioral aversion to novelty, the effect on heart rate was unexpected. Heart rate increased sharply when the food dishes were displayed. The duration of the startle response was longer during no object controls than during novel object exposure, the opposite of the anticipated result. There were no correlations between behavior and metrics of the heart rate response. Novel object exposure does not cause an increase in heart rate. PMID:27072510

  9. Alien invasive birds.

    PubMed

    Brochier, B; Vangeluwe, D; van den Berg, T

    2010-08-01

    A bird species is regarded as alien invasive if it has been introduced, intentionally or accidentally, to a location where it did not previously occur naturally, becomes capable of establishing a breeding population without further intervention by humans, spreads and becomes a pest affecting the environment, the local biodiversity, the economy and/or society, including human health. European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) and Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) have been included on the list of '100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species', a subset of the Global Invasive Species Database. The 'Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe' project has selected Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) and Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) as among 100 of the worst invasive species in Europe. For each of these alien bird species, the geographic range (native and introduced range), the introduction pathway, the general impacts and the management methods are presented. PMID:20919578

  10. A sonic net excludes birds from an airfield: implications for reducing bird strike and crop losses.

    PubMed

    Swaddle, John P; Moseley, Dana L; Hinders, Mark K; Smith, Elizabeth P

    2016-03-01

    Collisions between birds and aircraft cause billions of dollars of damages annually to civil, commercial, and military aviation. Yet technology to reduce bird strike is not generally effective, especially over longer time periods. Previous information from our lab indicated that filling an area with acoustic noise, which masks important communication channels for birds, can displace European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) from food sources. Here we deployed a spatially controlled noise (termed a "sonic net"), designed to overlap with the frequency range of bird vocalizations, at an airfield. By conducting point counts, we monitored the presence of birds for four weeks before deployment of our sonic net, and for four weeks during deployment. We found an 82% reduction in bird presence in the sonic net area compared with change in the reference areas. This effect was as strong in the fourth week of exposure as in the first week. We also calculated the potential costs avoided resulting from this exclusion. We propose that spatially controlled acoustic manipulations that mask auditory communication for birds may be an effective long term and fairly benign way of excluding problem birds from areas of socioeconomic importance, such as airfields, agricultural sites, and commercial properties.

  11. Increased predation of nutrient-enriched aposematic prey

    PubMed Central

    Halpin, Christina G.; Skelhorn, John; Rowe, Candy

    2014-01-01

    Avian predators readily learn to associate the warning coloration of aposematic prey with the toxic effects of ingesting them, but they do not necessarily exclude aposematic prey from their diets. By eating aposematic prey ‘educated’ predators are thought to be trading-off the benefits of gaining nutrients with the costs of eating toxins. However, while we know that the toxin content of aposematic prey affects the foraging decisions made by avian predators, the extent to which the nutritional content of toxic prey affects predators' decisions to eat them remains to be tested. Here, we show that European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) increase their intake of a toxic prey type when the nutritional content is artificially increased, and decrease their intake when nutritional enrichment is ceased. This clearly demonstrates that birds can detect the nutritional content of toxic prey by post-ingestive feedback, and use this information in their foraging decisions, raising new perspectives on the evolution of prey defences. Nutritional differences between individuals could result in equally toxic prey being unequally predated, and might explain why some species undergo ontogenetic shifts in defence strategies. Furthermore, the nutritional value of prey will likely have a significant impact on the evolutionary dynamics of mimicry systems. PMID:24598424

  12. Songbirds use spectral shape, not pitch, for sound pattern recognition.

    PubMed

    Bregman, Micah R; Patel, Aniruddh D; Gentner, Timothy Q

    2016-02-01

    Humans easily recognize "transposed" musical melodies shifted up or down in log frequency. Surprisingly, songbirds seem to lack this capacity, although they can learn to recognize human melodies and use complex acoustic sequences for communication. Decades of research have led to the widespread belief that songbirds, unlike humans, are strongly biased to use absolute pitch (AP) in melody recognition. This work relies almost exclusively on acoustically simple stimuli that may belie sensitivities to more complex spectral features. Here, we investigate melody recognition in a species of songbird, the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), using tone sequences that vary in both pitch and timbre. We find that small manipulations altering either pitch or timbre independently can drive melody recognition to chance, suggesting that both percepts are poor descriptors of the perceptual cues used by birds for this task. Instead we show that melody recognition can generalize even in the absence of pitch, as long as the spectral shapes of the constituent tones are preserved. These results challenge conventional views regarding the use of pitch cues in nonhuman auditory sequence recognition.

  13. Developing a European Identity: A Case Study of the European School at Culham

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Savvides, Nicola

    2006-01-01

    Encouraging pupils to develop a sense of European identity is one of the implicit aims of the "European Schools". This paper reports on a small case study that was carried out in 2004 that investigated how the European School at Culham attempts to develop in its pupils a sense of European identity. In particular, the study looked at the secondary…

  14. Making Citizens, Being European? European Symbolism in Slovenian Citizenship Education Textbooks

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Banjac, Marinko; Pušnik, Tomaž

    2015-01-01

    Citizenship education has been an important part of the European Union's (EU) agenda to integrate a European dimension into schools' curricula. The usage of European symbolism in citizenship education curriculum material has been an especially important (yet understudied) means not only to promote a distinct European identity and increase…

  15. European standardisation of hearing protectors.

    PubMed

    Korhonen, E

    2005-01-01

    European legislation based on the New Approach requires that technical requirements for products are given in harmonised European standards. The Directive 89/686/EEC on Personal Protective Equipment came into force in 1995. The existence of product and testing standards is a prerequisite for the effective implementation of the directive. There was a need to develop several standards in a very short time period and the basic standards for hearing protectors have already been revised once. It is important to continue the validation of the standardised testing methods and requirement levels. This requires good co-operation and research between test laboratories and research institutes, especially as it is necessary to ensure new products comply with these technical requirements.

  16. Traceability from a European perspective.

    PubMed

    Schwägele, F

    2005-09-01

    At pan-European level there is a need for traceability systems giving information on origin, processing, retailing and final destination of foodstuffs. Such systems shall enhance consumer confidence in food; enable the regulatory authorities to identify and to withdraw health hazardous and non-consumable foodstuffs from the market. Animal feeds are an element in this "food-to-farm" approach to public health. Such feedstuffs are preliminary elements of some foods for human consumption, and hence are an inherent element of the food chain. A harmonised pan-European food traceability protocol would greatly assist authorities in detecting fraud as well as dangerous substances. The food chain comprises a range of sequential and parallel stages bridging the full spectrum from agricultural production to the consumable foodstuffs by consumers. EU legislation on traceability and the technologies needed to implement this system for meat and meat products are the focus of this paper. PMID:22064062

  17. Security Economics and European Policy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, Ross; Böhme, Rainer; Clayton, Richard; Moor, Tyler

    In September 2007, we were awarded a contract by the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) to investigate failures in the market for secure electronic communications within the European Union, and come up with policy recommendations. In the process, we spoke to a large number of stakeholders, and held a consultative meeting in December 2007 in Brussels to present draft proposals, which established most had wide stakeholder support. The formal outcome of our work was a detailed report, “Security Economics and the Internal Market”, published by ENISA in March 2008. This paper presents a much abridged version: in it, we present the recommendations we made, along with a summary of our reasoning.

  18. Biosimilar insulins: a European perspective

    PubMed Central

    DeVries, J H; Gough, S C L; Kiljanski, J; Heinemann, L

    2015-01-01

    Biosimilar insulins are likely to enter clinical practice in Europe in the near future. It is important that clinicians are familiar with and understand the concept of biosimilarity and how a biosimilar drug may differ from its reference product. The present article provides an overview of biosimilars, the European regulatory requirements for biosimilars and safety issues. It also summarizes the current biosimilars approved in Europe and the key clinical issues associated with the use of biosimilar insulins. PMID:25376600

  19. Progress in European CELSS activities.

    PubMed

    Skoog, A I

    1987-01-01

    The European CELSS activities started in the late 1970's with system analysis and feasibility studies of Biological Life Support Systems (BLSS). Since then the European efforts have continued in two major directions: as a series of individual development tasks like the Environmental Life Support System and the Solar Plant Growth Facility, and in parallel hereto as overall coordination and planning activities for life support system long term needs definition and payload definition for COLUMBUS utilization. The early initiations for CELSS came from the industry side in Europe, but since then planning and hardware feasibility analyses have been initiated also from customer/agency side. Despite this, it is still to early to state that a "CELSS-programme" as a "concerted" effort has been agreed upon in Europe. However, the general CELSS objectives have been accepted as planning and possible development goals for the European effort for manned space activities, and as experimental planning topics in the life sciences community for the next decades.

  20. Progress in European CELSS activities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Skoog, A. I.

    1987-01-01

    The European Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) activities started in the late 1970's with system analysis and feasibility studies of Biological Life Support Systems (BLSS). The initiation for CELSS came from the industry side in Europe, but since then planning and hardware feasibility analyses have been initiated also from customer/agency side. Despite this, it is still too early to state that a CELSS program as a concerted effort has been agreed upon in Europe. However, the general CELSS objectives were accepted as planning and possible development goals for the European effort for manned space activities, and as experimental planning topics in the life sciences community for the next decades. It is expected that ecological life support systems can be tested and implemented on a space station towards the end of this century or early in the next. For the European activities a possible scenario can be projected based on ongoing life support system development activities and the present life sciences goals.

  1. European initiatives in postgraduate education in gerontology.

    PubMed

    van Rijsselt, René J T; Parkatti, Terttu; Troisi, Joseph

    2007-01-01

    This paper describes three innovative European initiatives in postgraduate education in gerontology. The first is the European Masters Program in Gerontology (EuMaG), developed as an interdisciplinary joint program, supported and delivered by 22 European universities. Second, the Nordplus initiative to increase mobility of students and staff in the field of gerontology in the European Nordic countries is elaborated. Third, two postgraduate Gerontology and Geriatrics programs offered by the European Centre of Gerontology and Geriatrics, University of Malta are presented. In 1995, the Centre was designated a WHO Collaborating Centre for healthy aging. To provide a context for these initiatives, a short overview is presented of developments in the European Higher Education Area, and the current state and recent developments in gerontology training in Europe is elaborated. The article concludes with discussion of the feasibility and sustainability of European internationalization efforts in education and training in gerontology.

  2. European perspectives of food safety.

    PubMed

    Bánáti, Diána

    2014-08-01

    Food safety has been a growing concern among European Union (EU) citizens over the last decades. Despite the fact that food has never been safer, consumers are considerably uncertain and increasingly critical about the safety of their food. The introduction of new principles, such as the primary responsibility of producers, traceability, risk analysis, the separation of risk assessment and risk management provided a more transparent, science-based system in Europe, which can help to restore consumers' lost confidence. The present EU integrated approach to food safety 'from farm to fork' aims to assure a high level of food safety within the EU. PMID:24515443

  3. European Ariane 5 launcher readied

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Covault, Craig

    1994-04-01

    Key propulsion and system tests for the Ariane 5 are beginning. Its first launch is expected in late 1995 from Kourou, French Guiana. This $6.37-billion European Space Agency program involves 100 major contractors. With a storable propellant upper stage, the Ariane 5 will place up to 15,224 pounds (6,920 kg) into geosynchronous transfer orbit, or 39,600 pounds (18,000 kg) into low Earth orbit. Applicaions for the Ariane 5, along with its design and construction are discussed in this article. Programmatic issues are also addressed.

  4. European alchemy: some traditional beliefs.

    PubMed

    Karpenko, V

    1999-01-01

    Three important doctrines of European alchemy are discussed: the Emerald Table of Hermes, the idea of transmutation, and the Elixir of Life. The analysis of these problems is focused on the 16th century, the epoch of the high flourish of alchemy in Renaissance Europe. As typical examples two works are chosen: the treatises of Jean-Pierre Fabre (1588-1658) and Alexander von Suchten (? 1520 - ? 1590). The arguments of these authors illustrate the ways how alchemists tried to defend their position in face of repeated failures. Just the 16th century stood in the sign of dramatic development of crafts, but, simultaneously, of growing interest in alchemy.

  5. Sprawl in European urban areas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prastacos, Poulicos; Lagarias, Apostolos

    2016-08-01

    In this paper the 2006 edition of the Urban Atlas database is used to tabulate areas of low development density, usually referred to as "sprawl", for many European cities. The Urban Atlas database contains information on the land use distribution in the 305 largest European cities. Twenty different land use types are recognized, with six of them representing urban fabric. Urban fabric classes are residential areas differentiated by the density of development, which is measured by the sealing degree parameter that ranges from 0% to 100% (non-developed, fully developed). Analysis is performed on the distribution of the middle to low density areas defined as those with sealing degree less than 50%. Seven different country groups in which urban areas have similar sprawl characteristics are identified and some key characteristics of sprawl are discussed. Population of an urban area is another parameter considered in the analysis. Two spatial metrics, average patch size and mean distance to the nearest neighboring patch of the same class, are used to describe proximity/separation characteristics of sprawl in the urban areas of the seven groups.

  6. The new European Hubble archive

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    De Marchi, Guido; Arevalo, Maria; Merin, Bruno

    2016-01-01

    The European Hubble Archive (hereafter eHST), hosted at ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre, has been released for public use in October 2015. The eHST is now fully integrated with the other ESA science archives to ensure long-term preservation of the Hubble data, consisting of more than 1 million observations from 10 different scientific instruments. The public HST data, the Hubble Legacy Archive, and the high-level science data products are now all available to scientists through a single, carefully designed and user friendly web interface. In this talk, I will show how the the eHST can help boost archival research, including how to search on sources in the field of view thanks to precise footprints projected onto the sky, how to obtain enhanced previews of imaging data and interactive spectral plots, and how to directly link observations with already published papers. To maximise the scientific exploitation of Hubble's data, the eHST offers connectivity to virtual observatory tools, easily integrates with the recently released Hubble Source Catalog, and is fully accessible through ESA's archives multi-mission interface.

  7. Policymaking in European healthy cities.

    PubMed

    de Leeuw, Evelyne; Green, Geoff; Spanswick, Lucy; Palmer, Nicola

    2015-06-01

    This paper assesses policy development in, with and for Healthy Cities in the European Region of the World Health Organization. Materials for the assessment were sourced through case studies, a questionnaire and statistical databases. They were compiled in a realist synthesis methodology, applying theory-based evaluation principles. Non-response analyses were applied to ascertain the degree of representatives of the high response rates for the entire network of Healthy Cities in Europe. Further measures of reliability and validity were applied, and it was found that our material was indicative of the entire network. European Healthy Cities are successful in developing local health policy across many sectors within and outside government. They were also successful in addressing 'wicked' problems around equity, governance and participation in themes such as Healthy Urban Planning. It appears that strong local leadership for policy change is driven by international collaboration and the stewardship of the World Health Organization. The processes enacted by WHO, structuring membership of the Healthy City Network (designation) and the guidance on particular themes, are identified as being important for the success of local policy development. PMID:26069314

  8. Policymaking in European healthy cities.

    PubMed

    de Leeuw, Evelyne; Green, Geoff; Spanswick, Lucy; Palmer, Nicola

    2015-06-01

    This paper assesses policy development in, with and for Healthy Cities in the European Region of the World Health Organization. Materials for the assessment were sourced through case studies, a questionnaire and statistical databases. They were compiled in a realist synthesis methodology, applying theory-based evaluation principles. Non-response analyses were applied to ascertain the degree of representatives of the high response rates for the entire network of Healthy Cities in Europe. Further measures of reliability and validity were applied, and it was found that our material was indicative of the entire network. European Healthy Cities are successful in developing local health policy across many sectors within and outside government. They were also successful in addressing 'wicked' problems around equity, governance and participation in themes such as Healthy Urban Planning. It appears that strong local leadership for policy change is driven by international collaboration and the stewardship of the World Health Organization. The processes enacted by WHO, structuring membership of the Healthy City Network (designation) and the guidance on particular themes, are identified as being important for the success of local policy development.

  9. European Hands-on Universe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doran, Rosa; Ferlet, Roger; Gómez de Castro, Ana I.; Hill, Robert; Horellou, Cathy; Mankiewicz, Lech; Melchior, Anne-Laure; Metaxa, Margarita; Zanazzi, Alessandra

    2007-08-01

    Hands-on Universe is a project born at UC@Berkeley. A project devoted to enrich the teaching of Astronomy within the classroom environment with a different approach, more connected to the new technologies. Its main goals are not only to promote the use of such technologies but also to reawaken on students the taste for STEM (Science, technologies, engineering and math) related issues and also to increase their scientific culture. Eight countries in Europe decided to adopt the method and, funded by MINERVA, formed the European Hands-on Universe. Several resources were produced and a data reduction software developed http://www.euhou.net/.Other European countries are interested and should join this coordinated effort in the near future. At an international level there are 20 countries using this approach. There are plans to develop scientific cooperation among these countries. Pilot scientific research projects in schools are being tested in EU-HOU schools, Russia and USA. There is also a game being developed to be used as a new tool for teaching scientific content in the classroom environment. An effort to develop an international network of scientific / educational collaboration is the next step.

  10. Participation in European water policy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Ast, J. A.; Boot, S. P.

    This paper considers the possibilities for interactive policy-making in European water management. In the new European Water Framework Directive, public information and consultation are major elements in the procedure (process) that leads to River Basin Management Plans. In general, decision making in integrated water management should not be limited to the application of models and desk studies. Important decisions need a high level of participation. In this interactive approach, visions, ideas, patterns of behaviour and solutions to perceived problems of different societal actors can be identified and incorporated into the decision-making process. For example, farmer organisations, environmental groups and associations of house owners, but also individual citizens often have various and differing ideas about measures that change the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of a river basin. Well-organised interaction has two main potential advantages: The quality of the decision will be higher because specific knowledge of people involved and their different views are taken into consideration. The interaction enables exchange of information which can lead to a better understanding of the ins and outs of the specific situation and in this way contribute to public support. By means of two examples of water related policy issues in Europe, i.e. economic approaches in the water framework directive and Integrated Product Policy, various opportunities for pluralistic as well as corporatist types of participation in modern water management are presented and discussed.

  11. Neutron bomb and European defense

    SciTech Connect

    Sweet, W.

    1980-08-15

    France's development of the controversial neutron bomb is in line with the US goal of flexible response to a Soviet threat in Europe. US neutron bomb production is on a standby basis pending agreement among the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members for deployment. Controversy over the bomb centers on its anti-personnel nature, which many see as immoral in comparison with weapons that primarily damage property. Opponents also see it as lowering the nuclear threshold and increasing the chance of nuclear war. Supporters view the bomb as a tactical weapon to be used on a limited scale as a last resort. If Germany's Chancellor Schmidt fails to negotiate a limit to European nuclear arms deployment with the Soviet Union, neutron-bomb production in the US and France will most likely proceed. The prospects for including European nuclear weapons in the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) III are jeopardized by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the failure of an early SALT II ratification. 17 references. (DCK)

  12. Biotechnology products and European consumers.

    PubMed

    Moses, V

    1999-12-30

    More than 100 interviews conducted during 1997 with European food manufacturers and retailers, trade associations, government departments, consumer groups, environmental organizations and some individual academic scientists revealed how differences in the perceived attitudes of consumers gave rise to varying approaches by suppliers to the possible introduction of transgenic foods. European consumers generally are not against the pharmaceutical products of biotechnology but are much less willing to accept food and food ingredients, especially when derived from genetically modified plants. Objections are mainly based on fears for the health and safety of the consumer, worries about the possibility of deleterious effects on the environment, and a range of moral and ethical concerns often deriving from a distaste, however expressed, at the concept of interfering with nature. Consumer understanding of the science underlying biotechnology is patchy; in no country does more than a small proportion of the population claim a good grasp. Partly no doubt as a consequence of these attitudes, the introduction of genetically modified foods into Europe has occurred slowly and, during the period of this study, perhaps only in the Netherlands and the UK.

  13. The New European Wind Atlas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lundtang Petersen, Erik

    2013-04-01

    The New European Wind Atlas 1. European wind resource assessment through a ERA-NET Plus project 1.1 The new EU Atlas The Commission decided earlier this year to issue an ERA-NET Plus call for the creation and publication of a new EU wind atlas. The atlas will cover Member states as well as Member states' exclusive economic zones, both onshore and offshore. It involved the launch of a single joint call for proposals by promoters of national and/or regional programmes, thereby allowing a more efficient use of existing financial resources. Therefore the funding scheme is that of ERA-NET Plus which implies that at least 5 MS shall commit at least 1 million Euros each and the Commission tops up with on third of the MS contribution. Basically it is the MS research programmes that will execute the project but an important part of the project is to create "open project development platforms" with associated protocols allowing a wider range of scientists worldwide to contribute. The project has a duration of 5 years. The decision on the new wind atlas was taken after several years of work by the European Wind Energy Technology Platform and the European Energy Research Alliances' Joint programme for Wind Energy. 2. Structure of the project The project will be structured around three areas of work, to be implemented in parallel: 2.1 Creation and publication of a European wind atlas in electronic form, which will include the underlying data and a new EU wind climate database. The database will at a minimum include: Wind resources and their associated uncertainty; Extreme wind; Turbulence characteristics; Adverse weather conditions; Predictability for short term prediction; Guidelines. 2.2 Development of dynamical downscaling methodologies and open-source models. The developed downscaling methodologies and models will be fully documented and made public available and will be used to produce overview maps of wind resources and relevant data at several heights and a horizontal

  14. Seams issues in European transmission investments

    SciTech Connect

    Buijs, Patrik; Bekaert, David; Belmans, Ronnie

    2010-12-15

    European policy goals are challenging for transmission networks, requiring investments in cross-border capacity. Despite those goals, an increased awareness of the need for investments and the voluntary cooperation among countries sharing the challenges, a regulatory gap between national and European interests persists. Further development of a European cross-border planning and financing framework is required. U.S. experiences may serve as food for thought. (author)

  15. European security, nuclear weapons and public confidence

    SciTech Connect

    Gutteridge, W.

    1982-01-01

    This book presents papers on nuclear arms control in Europe. Topics considered include political aspects, the balance of power, nuclear disarmament in Europe, the implications of new conventional technologies, the neutron bomb, theater nuclear weapons, arms control in Northern Europe, naval confidence-building measures in the Baltic, the strategic balance in the Arctic Ocean, Arctic resources, threats to European stability, developments in South Africa, economic cooperation in Europe, European collaboration in science and technology after Helsinki, European cooperation in the area of electric power, and economic cooperation as a factor for the development of European security and cooperation.

  16. Developments in international/European health law.

    PubMed

    Abbing, Henriette D C Roscam

    2009-03-01

    International (European) organizations have impact on health law. The most recent developments are: a revision of the world Medical's Association Declaration of Helsinki, a proposal for a Directive (European Commission) on standards of quality and safety of human organs intended for transplantation, accompanied by a ten point action plan; a proposal (European Commission) for a Directive on the application of patients' rights in cross-border health care; a proposal (European commission) for a Directive on information to the general public on medicinal products subject to medical prescription. PMID:19353913

  17. The Revised European Social Fund and Action to Combat Unemployment in the European Community.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vandamme, Francois

    1984-01-01

    The tasks of the European Social Fund, the European Economic Community's social policy instrument, were reviewed in l983 in the light of the worsening unemployment situation and the priority placed on employment and vocational training policies. (Author/SSH)

  18. EMSO: European Multidisciplinary Seafloor Observatory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Favali, P.; Partnership, Emso

    2009-04-01

    EMSO, a Research Infrastructure listed within ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) Roadmap), is the European-scale network of multidisciplinary seafloor observatories from the Arctic to the Black Sea with the scientific objective of long-term real-time monitoring of processes related to geosphere/biosphere/hydrosphere interactions. EMSO will enhance our understanding of processes through long time series appropriate to the scale of the phenomena, constituting the new frontier of studying Earth interior, deep-sea biology and chemistry and ocean processes. EMSO will reply also to the need expressed in the frame of GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) to develop a marine segment integrated in the in situ and satellite global monitoring system. The EMSO development relays upon the synergy between the scientific community and the industry to improve the European competitiveness with respect to countries like USA/Canada, NEPTUNE, VENUS and MARS projects, Taiwan, MACHO project, and Japan, DONET project. In Europe the development of an underwater network is based on previous EU-funded projects since early '90, and presently supported by EU initiatives. The EMSO infrastructure will constitute the extension to the sea of the land-based networks. Examples of data recorded by seafloor observatories will be presented. EMSO is presently at the stage of Preparatory Phase (PP), funded in the EC FP7 Capacities Programme. The project has started in April 2008 and will last 4 years with the participation of 12 Institutions representing 12 countries. EMSO potential will be significantly increased also with the interaction with other Research Infrastructures addressed to Earth Science. 2. IFREMER-Institut Français de Recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer (France, ref. Roland Person); KDM-Konsortium Deutsche Meeresforschung e.V. (Germany, ref. Christoph Waldmann); IMI-Irish Marine Institute (Ireland, ref. Michael Gillooly); UTM-CSIC-Unidad de

  19. EMSO: European Multidisciplinary Seafloor Observatory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Favali, Paolo

    2010-05-01

    EMSO, a Research Infrastructure listed within ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) Roadmap (Report 2006, http://cordis.europa.eu/esfri/roadmap.htm), is the European-scale network of multidisciplinary seafloor observatories from the Arctic to the Black Sea with the scientific objective of long-term real-time monitoring of processes related to geosphere/biosphere/hydrosphere interactions. EMSO will enhance our understanding of processes through long time series appropriate to the scale of the phenomena, constituting the new frontier of studying Earth interior, deep-sea biology and chemistry and ocean processes. The development of an underwater network is based on previous EU-funded projects since early '90 and is being supported by several EU initiatives, as the on-going ESONET-NoE, coordinated by IFREMER (2007-2011, http://www.esonet-emso.org/esonet-noe/), and aims at gathering together the Research Community of the Ocean Observatories. In 2006 the FP7 Capacities Programme launched a call for Preparatory Phase (PP) projects, that will provide the support to create the legal and organisational entities in charge of managing the infrastructures, and coordinating the financial effort among the countries. Under this call the EMSO-PP project was approved in 2007 with the coordination of INGV and the participation of other 11 Institutions of 11 countries. The project has started in April 2008 and will last 4 years. The EMSO is a key-infrastructure both for Ocean Sciences and for Solid Earth Sciences. In this respect it will enhance and complement profitably the capabilities of other European research infrastructures such as EPOS, ERICON-Aurora Borealis, and SIOS. The perspective of the synergy among EMSO and other ESFRI Research Infrastructures will be outlined. EMSO Partners: IFREMER-Institut Français de Recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer (France, ref. Roland Person); KDM-Konsortium Deutsche Meeresforschung e.V. (Germany, ref. Christoph

  20. Assessing European wild fire vulnerability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oehler, F.; Oliveira, S.; Barredo, J. I.; Camia, A.; Ayanz, J. San Miguel; Pettenella, D.; Mavsar, R.

    2012-04-01

    Wild fire vulnerability is a measure of potential socio-economic damage caused by a fire in a specific area. As such it is an important component of long-term fire risk management, helping policy-makers take informed decisions about adequate expenditures for fire prevention and suppression, and to target those regions at highest risk. This paper presents a first approach to assess wild fire vulnerability at the European level. A conservative approach was chosen that assesses the cost of restoring the previous land cover after a potential fire. Based on the CORINE Land Cover, a restoration cost was established for each land cover class at country level, and an average restoration time was assigned according to the recovery capacity of the land cover. The damage caused by fire was then assessed by discounting the cost of restoring the previous land cover over the restoration period. Three different vulnerability scenarios were considered assuming low, medium and high fire severity causing different levels of damage. Over Europe, the potential damage of wild land fires ranges from 10 - 13, 732 Euro*ha-1*yr-1 for low fire severity, 32 - 45,772 Euro*ha-1*yr-1 for medium fire severity and 54 - 77,812 Euro*ha-1*yr-1 for high fire severity. The least vulnerable are natural grasslands, moors and heathland and sclerophyllous vegetation, while the highest cost occurs for restoring broad-leaved forest. Preliminary validation comparing these estimates with official damage assessments for past fires shows reasonable results. The restoration cost approach allows for a straightforward, data extensive assessment of fire vulnerability at European level. A disadvantage is the inherent simplification of the evaluation procedure with the underestimation of non-markets goods and services. Thus, a second approach has been developed, valuing individual wild land goods and services and assessing their annual flow which is lost for a certain period of time in case of a fire event. However

  1. EERA and Its European Conferences on Educational Research: A Patchwork of Research on European Educational Research

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Keiner, Edwin; Hofbauer, Susann

    2014-01-01

    The process of Europeanisation is closely linked to the process of an emerging European Educational Research Area and an education research identity. The European Conferences on Educational Research (ECER), European Educational Research Association (EERA) and its networks are involved in new directions and strands of educational research in…

  2. Carbon sequestration in European croplands.

    PubMed

    Smith, Pete; Falloon, Pete

    2005-01-01

    The Marrakech Accords allow biospheric carbon sinks and sources to be included in attempts to meet emission reduction targets for the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Forest management, cropland management, grazing land management, and re-vegetation are allowable activities under Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol. Soil carbon sinks (and sources) can, therefore, be included under these activities. Croplands are estimated to be the largest biospheric source of carbon lost to the atmosphere in Europe each year, but the cropland estimate is the most uncertain among all land-use types. It is estimated that European croplands (for Europe as far east as the Urals) lose 300 Tg (C) per year, with the mean figure for the European Union estimated to be 78 Tg (C) per year (with one SD=37). National estimates for EU countries are of a similar order of magnitude on a per-area basis. There is significant potential within Europe to decrease the flux of carbon to the atmosphere from cropland, and for cropland management to sequester soil carbon, relative to the amount of carbon stored in cropland soils at present. The biological potential for carbon storage in European (EU 15) cropland is of the order of 90-120 Tg (C) per year, with a range of options available that include reduced and zero tillage, set-aside, perennial crops, deep rooting crops, more efficient use of organic amendments (animal manure, sewage sludge, cereal straw, compost), improved rotations, irrigation, bioenergy crops, extensification, organic farming, and conversion of arable land to grassland or woodland. The sequestration potential, considering only constraints on land use, amounts of raw materials and available land, is up to 45 Tg (C) per year. The realistic potential and the conservative achievable potentials may be considerably lower than the biological potential because of socioeconomic and other constraints, with a realistically achievable potential estimated to be about 20% of the

  3. PRACE - The European HPC Infrastructure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stadelmeyer, Peter

    2014-05-01

    The mission of PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe) is to enable high impact scientific discovery and engineering research and development across all disciplines to enhance European competitiveness for the benefit of society. PRACE seeks to realize this mission by offering world class computing and data management resources and services through a peer review process. This talk gives a general overview about PRACE and the PRACE research infrastructure (RI). PRACE is established as an international not-for-profit association and the PRACE RI is a pan-European supercomputing infrastructure which offers access to computing and data management resources at partner sites distributed throughout Europe. Besides a short summary about the organization, history, and activities of PRACE, it is explained how scientists and researchers from academia and industry from around the world can access PRACE systems and which education and training activities are offered by PRACE. The overview also contains a selection of PRACE contributions to societal challenges and ongoing activities. Examples of the latter are beside others petascaling, application benchmark suite, best practice guides for efficient use of key architectures, application enabling / scaling, new programming models, and industrial applications. The Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) is an international non-profit association with its seat in Brussels. The PRACE Research Infrastructure provides a persistent world-class high performance computing service for scientists and researchers from academia and industry in Europe. The computer systems and their operations accessible through PRACE are provided by 4 PRACE members (BSC representing Spain, CINECA representing Italy, GCS representing Germany and GENCI representing France). The Implementation Phase of PRACE receives funding from the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreements RI-261557, RI-283493 and RI

  4. Mathematics Teaching in Four European Countries

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Andrews, Paul; Sayers, Judy

    2006-01-01

    This article discusses a comparative study, funded by the European Union, of the teaching of mathematics in five European countries, (Flanders, England, Finland, Hungary and Spain) to students in the upper primary (ages 10-12) and lower secondary (12-14) years. These ages were chosen as they represent a time when many students' experiences of…

  5. Cultural Diversity among American and European Businesspersons.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    West, Judy F.; Nixon, Judy C.

    An astute American, knowledgeable of and sensitive to cultural diversities among Europeans can communicate effectively for business success. The results of research into the communication customs of 27 European countries are presented: the Big Three (France, Germany, United Kingdom--England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales); Western…

  6. European and Intercultural Dimension in Greek Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Damanakis, Michael

    2005-01-01

    Negotiations concerning Greece's accession into the European Union began as early as 1961, when a cooperation agreement was signed between Greece and the European Economic Community. These negotiations were concluded 20 years later, on 1 January 1981, when Greece became the tenth full member of the EU. The next major step in Greece's progress…

  7. A European Vision for Adult Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Waddington, Sue; Tuckett, Alan; Boucher, Fiona

    2012-01-01

    The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) is the UK national coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning, with the challenge of creating a coherent message across the four countries to inform European cooperation on adult learning. To start the debate, the journal staff asked Sue Waddington, Alan Tuckett, and Fiona…

  8. European Perspectives on the Learning Organisation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nyhan, Barry; Cressey, Peter; Tomassini, Massimo; Kelleher, Michael; Poell, Rob

    2004-01-01

    This paper, based on a publication entitled "Facing up to the Learning Organisation Challenge," published in April 2003, provides an overview of the main questions emerging from recent European research projects related to the topic of the learning organisation. The rationale for focusing on this topic is the belief that the European Union goals…

  9. European Rabbits as Reservoir for Coxiella burnetii.

    PubMed

    González-Barrio, David; Maio, Elisa; Vieira-Pinto, Madalena; Ruiz-Fons, Francisco

    2015-06-01

    We studied the role of European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) as a reservoir for Coxiella burnetii in the Iberian region. High individual and population seroprevalences observed in wild and farmed rabbits, evidence of systemic infections, and vaginal shedding support the reservoir role of the European rabbit for C. burnetii.

  10. European Rabbits as Reservoir for Coxiella burnetii.

    PubMed

    González-Barrio, David; Maio, Elisa; Vieira-Pinto, Madalena; Ruiz-Fons, Francisco

    2015-06-01

    We studied the role of European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) as a reservoir for Coxiella burnetii in the Iberian region. High individual and population seroprevalences observed in wild and farmed rabbits, evidence of systemic infections, and vaginal shedding support the reservoir role of the European rabbit for C. burnetii. PMID:25988670

  11. The Future of Copyright Management: European Perspectives.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Battisti, Michele

    This paper presents European perspectives on the future of copyright management. The first section is an overview of intellectual property rights in Europe, including differences between copyright countries and "droit d'auteur" countries. The second section addresses European Community legal policy, including examples related to the directives for…

  12. European Industrial Doctorates: Marie Curie Actions

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    European Commission, 2012

    2012-01-01

    European industrial doctorates are joint doctoral training projects funded by the European Union (EU) and open to all research fields. The project brings together an academic participant (university, research institution, etc.) and a company. They have to be established in two different EU Member States or associated countries. Associated partners…

  13. Internationalisms--Identical Vocabularies in European Languages.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Braun, Peter

    Linguistic history has described borrowing in the European languages as a process exclusive to one language at any given time. However, it is more likely that there is a core of common loan words, or internationalisms, in many European languages. These internationalisms have come from a variety of sources: the historic interrelatedness of…

  14. The Words That Buoy the European Impulse.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hogenraad, Robert; Tousignant, Nathalie; Castano, Emanuele; Bestgen, Yves; Dumoulin, Michel

    With a view on analyzing the deeper trends in the European discourse that will shape the European Union's (EU's) future, a study examined 121 speeches made by EU political leaders over the period 1985-1997 and concorded and statisticized which words were used, how often, where, and when with the help of a computer-aided content analysis engine.…

  15. Transnational Lives in European Educational Research

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lawn, Martin

    2014-01-01

    Transnational collaboration by educational researchers in Europe has grown fast since the mid-1990s and the means to support it have become more easily accessible. A study of the growth of the European Educational Research Association (EERA) since its foundation in the mid-1990s shows how transnational research in European education began, and how…

  16. Implications of 1992 for European Telecommunications.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Muller, Jurgen

    This paper analyzes the effect of the unified single market of 1992 on European telecommunications. The major policy aspects of the European Economic Commission's Green Paper on "The Development of the Common Market for Telecommunications Services and Equipment" are highlighted, and the effects of these policies in the equipment market are…

  17. European Organizations of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine.

    PubMed

    Tederko, Piotr; Kujawa, Jolanta; Księżopolska-Orłowska, Krystyna

    2015-01-01

    Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (PRM) is a basic medical specialty officially recognized in Europe since 1962. This article briefly presents the significance, attainments and tasks recently undertaken by the leading structures responsible for international harmonization and management of the specialty within healthcare systems in Europe and for scientific development: the Section and Board of the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS-PRM), European Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine (AEMR) and European Society of PRM (ESPRM). The concept of rehabilitation according to the biopsychosocial model of functioning recently promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) closely follows the assumptions of the Polish Model of Rehabilitation, formulated in the 1960's and approved by the WHO in 1970. Since its accession to the European Union in 2004, Poland has been gradually increasing active participation in the European structures of PRM.

  18. Prospects for European labour demand.

    PubMed

    Lindley, R M

    1988-07-01

    The impact of economic and technological trends upon the level and structure of labor demand is examined, exploring the methods used to model the labor market and making special reference to demography and technology. Evidence on recent and prospective changes in labor demand is reviewed for France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK. The models used to explore future employment scenarios usually fail to incorporate the linkages required to fully analyze the various demographic-economic interactions. Further, this is not generally viewed as a limitation, given the time frame of most employment projections and their preoccupation with changes in the structure of labor demand. Medium-term multisectoral models tend to pay more attention to both demographic and technical change, but the treatment of both aspects is limited. The projections provide a framework for considering how both socioeconomic behavior and policy might change to achieve different outcomes. The greater a model's behavioral content, as expressed in its relationships between different variables, the greater the insight obtainable from simulation exercises. The 1st half of the 1970s was characterized by a reduction in German employment, representing the severest of European reactions to the oil crisis. The 2nd half of the decade recorded rapid growth in Italy and the Netherlands. The 1980s started with marked declines in Germany and the UK. Overall, the net gains of the 1970s were lost in the recession following the 2nd oil crisis. In none of the 5 countries studied does any realistic prospect emerge of achieving full employment before 2000. The most optimistic outcome is that unemployment will decline only slowly, it at all. The growth of both new forms and areas of employment will not compensate sufficiently for the loss of jobs elsewhere and the growth of labor supply. The industrial sector will continue to experience change in favor of the service sector but at a slower rate than during

  19. West European magnetic confinement fusion research

    SciTech Connect

    McKenney, B.L.; McGrain, M. . Foreign Applied Sciences Assessment Center); Hazeltine, R.D. . Inst. for Fusion Studies); Gentle, K.W. ); Hogan, J.T. ); Porkolab, M. . Dept. of Physics); Sigmar

    1990-01-01

    This report presents a technical assessment and review of the West European program in magnetic confinement fusion by a panel of US scientists and engineers active in fusion research. Findings are based on the scientific and technical literature, on laboratory reports and preprints, and on the personal experiences and collaborations of the panel members. Concerned primarily with developments during the past 10 years, from 1979 to 1989, the report assesses West European fusion research in seven technical areas: tokamak experiments; magnetic confinement technology and engineering; fusion nuclear technology; alternate concepts; theory; fusion computations; and program organization. The main conclusion emerging from the analysis is that West European fusion research has attained a position of leadership in the international fusion program. This distinction reflects in large measure the remarkable achievements of the Joint European Torus (JET). However, West European fusion prominence extends beyond tokamak experimental physics: the program has demonstrated a breadth of skill in fusion science and technology that is not excelled in the international effort. It is expected that the West European primacy in central areas of confinement physics will be maintained or even increased during the early 1990s. The program's maturity and commitment kindle expectations of dramatic West European advances toward the fusion energy goal. For example, achievement of fusion breakeven is expected first in JET, before 1995.

  20. Do online pharmacies fit European internal markets?

    PubMed

    Mäkinen, Mia Maria; Rautava, Päivi Tuire; Forsström, Jari Johannes

    2005-05-01

    The aim of this article is to consider the suitability of online pharmacies into European internal market area. This required considering the models of present online pharmacies in respect to the existing legislation. Data on online pharmacy settings was collected by looking some online pharmacies, which were found by using Goggle search machine with term "online pharmacy" and by studying websites of some well-known online pharmacies. European legislation and policy were studied from European Union's official website. Online drug markets seem to be increasing in popularity for reasons related to their ready availability and cost benefits. Few online pharmacies are based in Europe, yet online markets are worldwide. Community legislation does not stipulate on the legality of online pharmacies on European internal markets. Instead Community legislation offers framework for electronic commerce that could also include online pharmacy practise. National legislation, however, may rule them out either directly or indirectly. Regardless of European internal markets online pharmacies' cross-border operations are particularly complicated. Preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice concerning one European online pharmacy's cross-border practise is awaited 2003-2004 and will offer some aspects for future. PMID:15802158

  1. Do online pharmacies fit European internal markets?

    PubMed

    Mäkinen, Mia Maria; Rautava, Päivi Tuire; Forsström, Jari Johannes

    2005-05-01

    The aim of this article is to consider the suitability of online pharmacies into European internal market area. This required considering the models of present online pharmacies in respect to the existing legislation. Data on online pharmacy settings was collected by looking some online pharmacies, which were found by using Goggle search machine with term "online pharmacy" and by studying websites of some well-known online pharmacies. European legislation and policy were studied from European Union's official website. Online drug markets seem to be increasing in popularity for reasons related to their ready availability and cost benefits. Few online pharmacies are based in Europe, yet online markets are worldwide. Community legislation does not stipulate on the legality of online pharmacies on European internal markets. Instead Community legislation offers framework for electronic commerce that could also include online pharmacy practise. National legislation, however, may rule them out either directly or indirectly. Regardless of European internal markets online pharmacies' cross-border operations are particularly complicated. Preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice concerning one European online pharmacy's cross-border practise is awaited 2003-2004 and will offer some aspects for future.

  2. Hermes - A manned European system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cretenet, J.-C.

    Features of a European hypersonic winged reentry vehicle, Hermes, are presented, together with the technology requirements for its development and the missions it would serve. LEO is beginning to hold promise for the manufacture of materials in microgravity and/or vacuum conditions in orbiting facilities which need to be serviced. A manned, reusable, winged reentry vehicle would permit the delivery and return of payloads from space, recovery of the first stage of the Ariane V rocket for reuse, and return of the Hermes to a landing at the Kourou launch site. The avionics would be similar to those of modern aircraft, as would the landing system. In-orbit operational techniques would be needed, as would an internal environment similar to Spacelab, a rigid turnaround time, high utilization rate, and a 10 yr lifetime. The length of the Hermes is projected as 12.5 m, wingtip to wingtip breadth of 7.4 m, and a total mass of 11,400 kg for a heliosynchronous orbit mission, while 15,400 kg are available for a circular, 490 m/sec orbit.

  3. Northern European Satellite Test Bed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuster-Bruce, Alan; Lawson, James; Quinlan, Michael; McGregor, Andrew

    Satellite Based Augmentation Systems are being developed in Europe (EGNOS), the USA (WAAS), and in Japan (MSAS). As part of their support to EGNOS, NATS and Racal have developed and deployed a prototype SBAS system called the Northern European Satellite Test Bed (NEST Bed). NEST Bed uses GPS L1/L2 reference stations at: Aberdeen, Rotterdam, Ankara, Cadiz, Keflavik, and Bronnoysund. Data is sent to the Master Control Centre at NATS Gatwick Services Management Centre for processing. The resulting 250 bits-per-second message is sent to Goonhilly for up-linking by BT to the Navigation Payload of either the Inmarsat AOR-E or F5 spare satellite. NEST Bed was deployed and commissioned during summer 1998, and flight tests were successfully demonstrated at the September 1998 Farnborough Air Show where approaches were flown to Boscombe Down on the DERA BAC1-11 aircraft. In October 1998, a NATS/FAA flight trial was held in Iceland involving NEST Bed and the FAA NSTB. NEST Bed is also being used for SARPS validation.

  4. Infective endocarditis: the European viewpoint.

    PubMed

    Tornos, Pilar; Gonzalez-Alujas, Teresa; Thuny, Frank; Habib, Gilbert

    2011-05-01

    Infective endocarditis (IE) is a difficult and complex disease. In recent years epidemiology and microbiology have changed. In developed countries IE is now affecting older patients and patients with no previously known valve disease. Prosthetic IE (prosthetic valve endocarditis [PVE]) and endocarditis in patients with pacemakers and other devices (cardiac device related infective endocarditis [CDRIE]) are becoming more frequent. The number of Staphylococcus aureus IE is increasing related to the number of endocarditis that occurs because of health care associated procedures, especially in diabetics or patients on chronic hemodialysis. The change in the underlying population and the increase in the number of cases caused by very virulent organism explain why the disease still carries a poor prognosis and a high mortality. The variety of clinical manifestations and complications, as well as the serious prognosis, makes it mandatory that IE patients need to be treated in experienced hospitals with a collaborative approach between different specialists, involving cardiologists, infectious disease specialists, microbiologists, surgeons, and frequently others, including neurologists and radiologists. Only an early diagnosis followed by risk stratification and a prompt institution of the correct antibiotic treatment as well as an appropriate and timed surgical indication may improve mortality figures. The recent European Guidelines try to provide clear and simple recommendations, obtained by expert consensus after thorough review of the available literature to all specialists involved in clinical decision-making of this difficult and changing disease.

  5. Current european regulatory perspectives on insulin analogues.

    PubMed

    Enzmann, Harald G; Weise, Martina

    2011-01-01

    Insulin analogues are increasingly considered as an alternative to human insulin in the therapy of diabetes mellitus. Insulin analogues (IAs) are chemically different from human insulin and may have different pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic properties. The significance of the modifications of the insulin molecule for the safety profile of IAs must be considered. This review describes the regulatory procedure and the expectations for the scientific content of European marketing authorization applications for innovative IAs submitted to the European Medicines Agency. Particular consideration is given to a potential cancer hazard. Specific regulatory guidance on how to address a possible carcinogenic or tumor promoting effect of innovative IAs in non-clinical studies is available. After marketing authorization, the factual access of patients to the new product will be determined to great extent by health technology assessment bodies, reimbursement decisions and the price. Whereas the marketing authorization is a European decision, pricing and reimbursement are national or regional responsibilities. The assessment of benefit and risk by the European Medicines Agency is expected to influence future decisions on price and reimbursement on a national or regional level. Collaborations between regulatory agencies and health technology assessment bodies have been initiated on European and national level to facilitate the use of the European Medicines Agency's benefit risk assessment as basis on which to build the subsequent health technology assessment. The option for combined or joint scientific advice procedures with regulators and health technology assessment bodies on European level or on a national level in several European Member States may help applicants to optimize their development program and dossier preparation in regard of both European marketing authorization application and reimbursement decisions. PMID:21736748

  6. Lung cancer screening: the European perspective.

    PubMed

    Veronesi, Giulia

    2015-05-01

    European studies have contributed significantly to the understanding of lung cancer screening. Smoking within screening, quality of life, nodule management, minimally invasive treatments, cancer prevention programs, and risk models have been extensively investigated by European groups. Mortality data from European screening studies have not been encouraging so far, but long-term results of the NELSON study are eagerly awaited. Investigations on molecular markers of lung cancer are ongoing in Europe; preliminary results suggest they may become an important screening tool in the future.

  7. The development of nursing: a European perspective.

    PubMed

    Salvage, J

    1997-01-01

    What do we mean by "Europe" and what is a European perspective? Those of us living in the European Union (EU) often equate Europe with our own "Western" countries, although as the EU itself expands even the term "Western" is increasingly inaccurate. The 50 Member States of the WHO European Region cover a huge area stretching from the western coast of Greenland to the Mediterranean, the Arctic and the Pacific coasts of the Russian Federation. "WHO Europe" is a loose geographical definition, since it incorporates all the republics of the former Soviet Union, including those in Central Asia.

  8. An overview on European SPS activities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reinhartz, K. K.

    1980-01-01

    The organization of space and energy research in Europe is discussed. The European situation is highlighted with emphasis on the dependency of energy imports and on the energy requirements of Europe. The status of SPS research in the countries that form the European Space Agency was reviewed. It is concluded that in view of the unfavorable geographical and climatic situation of large parts of Europe, terrestrial solar energy conversion is unlikely to make a significant contribution to Europe's future energy supply. Thus, SPS development is of special interest to the European community.

  9. Developing indicators for European birds.

    PubMed

    Gregory, Richard D; van Strien, Arco; Vorisek, Petr; Gmelig Meyling, Adriaan W; Noble, David G; Foppen, Ruud P B; Gibbons, David W

    2005-02-28

    The global pledge to deliver 'a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010' is echoed in a number of regional and national level targets. There is broad consensus, however, that in the absence of conservation action, biodiversity will continue to be lost at a rate unprecedented in the recent era. Remarkably, we lack a basic system to measure progress towards these targets and, in particular, we lack standard measures of biodiversity and procedures to construct and assess summary statistics. Here, we develop a simple classification of biodiversity indicators to assist their development and clarify purpose. We use European birds, as example taxa, to show how robust indicators can be constructed and how they can be interpreted. We have developed statistical methods to calculate supranational, multi-species indices using population data from national annual breeding bird surveys in Europe. Skilled volunteers using standardized field methods undertake data collection where methods and survey designs differ slightly across countries. Survey plots tend to be widely distributed at a national level, covering many bird species and habitats with reasonable representation. National species' indices are calculated using log-linear regression, which allows for plot turnover. Supranational species' indices are constructed by combining the national species' indices weighted by national population sizes of each species. Supranational, multi-species indicators are calculated by averaging the resulting indices. We show that common farmland birds in Europe have declined steeply over the last two decades, whereas woodland birds have not. Evidence elsewhere shows that the main driver of farmland bird declines is increased agricultural intensification. We argue that the farmland bird indicator is a useful surrogate for trends in other elements of biodiversity in this habitat.

  10. European small geostationary communications satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, Wei, , Dr.; Ellmers, Frank; Winkler, Andreas; Schuff, Herbert; Sansegundo Chamarro, Manuel Julián

    2011-04-01

    Hispasat Advanced Generation 1 (HAG1) is the first satellite using the SGEO platform, which is under the development in the ESA Artes-11 program. Since the last presentation in the IAC 2007, a European industrial consortium led by OHB has completed the mission and spacecraft design. The platform Preliminary Design Review has been carried out in May 2008. The customer for the first mission is a commercial operator—Hispasat. The contract was signed in December 2008 and the satellite will be launched in 2012. To give confidence to the customer, SGEO platform will use up to date flight proven technologies. HAG1 carries 20/24 Ku-band and 3/5 Ka-band transponders to provide commercial services. Some innovative payload technologies will also be flown on board of HAG1 to gain in-orbit heritage. SGEO has also been selected as the baseline platform for the ESA Data Relay Satellite (EDRS). Phase-A study has just kicked off in January 2009. The targeted launch date is 2013. Heinrich Hertz will also use the SGEO platform. Heinrich Hertz is funded by the German Space Agency (DLR) and provides flight opportunities for technologies and components developed by the German Space Industry. With the HAG1 contract in hand, and EDRS and Heinrich Hertz in the line, OHB with its partners has the confidence that it will be able to speed up the product development of the SGEO platform for potential customers in the commercial market. This paper will first present the updated platform design and the status of the product development will be followed with the introduction of innovative payload technologies on board the first mission—HAG1 and ended with the mission concepts of EDRS and Heinrich Hertz missions.

  11. European attitudes to gene therapy and pharmacogenetics.

    PubMed

    Hudson, John; Orviska, Marta

    2011-10-01

    Views on pharmacogenetics and gene therapy systematically differ across European countries. But despite a complex regulatory regime there is a balance of support, albeit laced with considerable uncertainty. PMID:21745587

  12. Realising the European Network of Biodosimetry (RENEB).

    PubMed

    Kulka, U; Ainsbury, L; Atkinson, M; Barquinero, J F; Barrios, L; Beinke, C; Bognar, G; Cucu, A; Darroudi, F; Fattibene, P; Gil, O; Gregoire, E; Hadjidekova, V; Haghdoost, S; Herranz, R; Jaworska, A; Lindholm, C; Mkacher, R; Mörtl, S; Montoro, A; Moquet, J; Moreno, M; Ogbazghi, A; Oestreicher, U; Palitti, F; Pantelias, G; Popescu, I; Prieto, M J; Romm, H; Rothkamm, K; Sabatier, L; Sommer, S; Terzoudi, G; Testa, A; Thierens, H; Trompier, F; Turai, I; Vandersickel, V; Vaz, P; Voisin, P; Vral, A; Ugletveit, F; Woda, C; Wojcik, A

    2012-10-01

    In Europe, a network for biological dosimetry has been created to strengthen the emergency preparedness and response capabilities in case of a large-scale nuclear accident or radiological emergency. Through the RENEB (Realising the European Network of Biodosimetry) project, 23 experienced laboratories from 16 European countries will establish a sustainable network for rapid, comprehensive and standardised biodosimetry provision that would be urgently required in an emergency situation on European ground. The foundation of the network is formed by five main pillars: (1) the ad hoc operational basis, (2) a basis of future developments, (3) an effective quality-management system, (4) arrangements to guarantee long-term sustainability and (5) awareness of the existence of RENEB. RENEB will thus provide a mechanism for quick, efficient and reliable support within the European radiation emergency management. The scientific basis of RENEB will concurrently contribute to increased safety in the field of radiation protection. PMID:22923244

  13. European packaging laws: Can it happen here?

    SciTech Connect

    Rogers, B.

    1996-06-01

    European packaging recycling and reduction efforts helped reshape recycling efforts and thinking. This article provides an update on what is happening with packaging recycling in Europe and how it affects the rest of the world, especially the US. World recycling markets were shaken by the enactment of the German Packaging Recycling ordinance of 1991. While the initial market shock waves may have subsided, the effects are still being felt. The ordinance has changed the way European countries think about packaging waste, and that way of thinking has spread, in various forms, around the world, affecting US manufacturers and causing US lawmakers to at least consider similar legislation here. The German Packaging Ordinance, its counterparts in other countries, and the European Union (EU) Directive have, themselves, been evolutionary as well as revolutionary--reacting and changing over the past five years. US reaction to the European laws has also evolved, moving from horror and annoyance to a reasoned analysis and evaluation.

  14. European Cargo Ship Launches to Station

    NASA Video Gallery

    The European Space Agency's (ESA) fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle cargo craft (ATV-4) launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana at 5:52 p.m. EDT on Wednesday to begin a 10-day t...

  15. European Flood Awareness System - now operational

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alionte Eklund, Cristina.; Hazlinger, Michal; Sprokkereef, Eric; Garcia Padilla, Mercedes; Garcia, Rafael J.; Thielen, Jutta; Salamon, Peter; Pappenberger, Florian

    2013-04-01

    The European Commission's Communication "Towards a Stronger European Union Disaster Response" adopted and endorsed by the Council in 2010, underpins the importance of strengthening concerted actions for natural disasters including floods, which are amongst the costliest natural disasters in the EU. The European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) contributes in the case of major flood events. to better protection of the European Citizen, the environment, property and cultural heritage. The disastrous floods in Elbe and Danube rivers in 2002 confronted the European Commission with non-coherent flood warning information from different sources and of variable quality, complicating planning and organisation of aid. Thus, the Commission initiated the development of a European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) which is now going operational. EFAS has been developed and tested at the Joint Research Centre, the Commission's in house science service, in close collaboration with the National hydrological and meteorological services, European Civil Protection through the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) and other research institutes. EFAS provides Pan-European overview maps of flood probabilities up to 10 days in advance as well as detailed forecasts at stations where the National services are providing real time data. More than 30 hydrological services and civil protection services in Europe are part of the EFAS network. Since 2011, EFAS is part of the COPERNICUS Emergency Management Service, (EMS) and is now an operational service since 2012. The Operational EFAS is being executed by several consortia dealing with different operational aspects: • EFAS Hydrological data collection centre —REDIAM and ELIMCO- will be collecting historic and realtime discharge and water levels data in support to EFAS • EFAS Meteorological data collection centre —outsourced but running onsite of JRC Ispra. Will be collecting historic and realtime meteorological data in support to EFAS

  16. Demographics of the European Apicultural Industry

    PubMed Central

    Chauzat, Marie-Pierre; Cauquil, Laura; Roy, Lise; Franco, Stéphanie; Hendrikx, Pascal; Ribière-Chabert, Magali

    2013-01-01

    Over the last few years, many European and North American countries have reported a high rate of disorders (mortality, dwindling and disappearance) affecting honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera). Although beekeeping has become an increasingly professional activity in recent years, the beekeeping industry remains poorly documented in Europe. The European Union Reference Laboratory for Honeybee Health sent a detailed questionnaire to each Member State, in addition to Kosovo and Norway, to determine the demographics and state of their beekeeping industries. Based on data supplied by the National Reference Laboratory for honeybee diseases in each European country, a European database was created to describe the beekeeping industry including the number and types of beekeepers, operation size, industry production, and health (notifiable diseases, mortalities). The total number of beekeepers in Europe was estimated at 620 000. European honey production was evaluated at around 220 000 tons in 2010. The price of honey varied from 1.5 to 40 €/kg depending on the country and on the distribution network. The estimated colony winter mortality varied from 7 to 28% depending on the country and the origin of the data (institutional survey or beekeeping associations). This survey documents the high heterogeneity of the apicultural industry within the European Union. The high proportion of non-professional beekeepers and the small mean number of colonies per beekeeper were the only common characteristics at European level. The tremendous variation in European apicultural industries has implication for any comprehensive epidemiological or economic analysis of the industry. This variability needs to be taken into account for such analysis as well as for future policy development. The industry would be served if beekeeping registration was uniformly implemented across member states. Better information on the package bee and queen production would help in understanding the ability of

  17. Medical ethics in the European Community.

    PubMed Central

    Riis, P

    1993-01-01

    Increasing European co-operation must take place in many areas, including medical ethics. Against the background of common cultural norms and pluralistic variation within political traditions, religion and lifestyles, Europe will have to converge towards unity within the field of medical ethics. This article examines how such convergence might develop with respect to four major areas: European research ethics committees, democratic health systems, the human genome project and rules for stopping futile treatments. PMID:8459444

  18. The Western European Union Satellite Centre

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jasani, Bhupendra; Mara, Simon

    1993-06-01

    In January 1993, the FALCON consortium of 13 European companies, led by Cray Systems, won the contract to supply a turnkey satellite image processing facility to the Western European Union. The project started immediately and will be installed at WEU's Data Centre in Torrejon near Madrid in December 1993. This paper discusses the development of an idea for a Regional Satellite Monitoring Agency (RSMA) which will be realized in December 1993 when the Centre becomes fully operational.

  19. Demographics of the European apicultural industry.

    PubMed

    Chauzat, Marie-Pierre; Cauquil, Laura; Roy, Lise; Franco, Stéphanie; Hendrikx, Pascal; Ribière-Chabert, Magali

    2013-01-01

    Over the last few years, many European and North American countries have reported a high rate of disorders (mortality, dwindling and disappearance) affecting honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera). Although beekeeping has become an increasingly professional activity in recent years, the beekeeping industry remains poorly documented in Europe. The European Union Reference Laboratory for Honeybee Health sent a detailed questionnaire to each Member State, in addition to Kosovo and Norway, to determine the demographics and state of their beekeeping industries. Based on data supplied by the National Reference Laboratory for honeybee diseases in each European country, a European database was created to describe the beekeeping industry including the number and types of beekeepers, operation size, industry production, and health (notifiable diseases, mortalities). The total number of beekeepers in Europe was estimated at 620,000. European honey production was evaluated at around 220,000 tons in 2010. The price of honey varied from 1.5 to 40 €/kg depending on the country and on the distribution network. The estimated colony winter mortality varied from 7 to 28% depending on the country and the origin of the data (institutional survey or beekeeping associations). This survey documents the high heterogeneity of the apicultural industry within the European Union. The high proportion of non-professional beekeepers and the small mean number of colonies per beekeeper were the only common characteristics at European level. The tremendous variation in European apicultural industries has implication for any comprehensive epidemiological or economic analysis of the industry. This variability needs to be taken into account for such analysis as well as for future policy development. The industry would be served if beekeeping registration was uniformly implemented across member states. Better information on the package bee and queen production would help in understanding the ability of

  20. Utrecht and the European Solar Telescope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bettonvil, F. C. M.; EST Team

    2013-01-01

    In 2008, in the quest towards large solar facilities, a pan-European project was started to study a 4-m European Solar Telescope (EST). As one of the major partners, Utrecht played a significant role in the design, in particular in relation to the intended open design, its enclosure, telescope mechanics as well its polarimetric properties. Mid-2011 the work did result in an innovative conceptual design for EST.

  1. Work of the European Haemovigilance Network (EHN).

    PubMed

    Faber, Jean-Claude

    2004-02-01

    Haemovigilance has become a crucial part of the blood safety concept. In the Member States of the European Union, national haemovigilance systems are already in place or are developing. With the coming into force of the European Blood Directive 2002/98/EC, Community haemovigilance has become a priority: cooperation between the national haemovigilance systems will be of vital interest. The process of collaboration has already been initiated some years ago by the European Haemovigilance Network (EHN) with the following objectives: to favour the exchange of valid information between its members, to increase rapid alert/early warning between the members, to encourage joint activities between the members and to undertake educational activities relating to haemovigilance. This has been achieved by the EHN by developing and maintaining a website [http://www.ehn-org.net], by establishing a system for rapid alert and early warning (RAS), by discussing on all kinds of definitions relevant to haemovigilance, initiating standardisation of processes and forms (developing a common "mother matrix"), by starting with the compilation and analysis of European data (generated by the national haemovigilance systems in Europe) and by organising annual European Haemovigilance Seminars, where all these items are discussed. As in the past, the EHN will continue in the future to play a major role in promoting European haemovigilance.

  2. Genetics and the origin of European languages.

    PubMed Central

    Piazza, A; Rendine, S; Minch, E; Menozzi, P; Mountain, J; Cavalli-Sforza, L L

    1995-01-01

    A new set of European genetic data has been analyzed to dissect independent patterns of geographic variation. The most important cause of European genetic variation has been confirmed to correspond to the migration of Neolithic farmers from the area of origin of agriculture in the Middle East. The next most important component of genetic variation is apparently associated with a north-south gradient possibly due to adaptation to cold climates but also to the differentiation of the Uralic and the Indo-European language-speaking people; however, the relevant correlations are not significantly different from zero after elimination of the spatial autocorrelation. The third component is highly correlated with the infiltration of the Yamna ("Kurgan") people, nomadic pastoralists who domesticated the horse and who have been claimed to have spread Indo-European languages to Europe; this association, which is statistically significant even when taking spatial autocorrelations into account, does not completely exclude the hypothesis of Indo-European as the language of Neolithic farmers. It is possible that both expansions were responsible for the spread of different subfamilies of Indo-European languages, but our genetic data cannot resolve their relative importance. Images Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4 PMID:7597038

  3. Assessing nitrogen pressures on European surface water

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grizzetti, B.; Bouraoui, F.; de Marsily, G.

    2008-12-01

    The European environmental legislation on water, in particular the 2000 Water Framework Directive, requires the evaluation of nutrient pressures and the assessment of mitigation measures at the river basin scale. Models have been identified as tools that can contribute to fulfill these requirements. The objective of this research was the implementation of a modeling approach (Geospatial Regression Equation for European Nutrient losses (GREEN)) to assess the actual nitrogen pressures on surface water quality at medium and large basin scale (European scale) using readily available data. In particular the aim was to estimate diffuse nitrogen emissions into surface waters, contributions by different sources (point and diffuse) to the nitrate load in rivers, and nitrogen retention in river systems. A comprehensive database including nutrient sources and physical watershed characteristics was built at the European scale. The modeling partially or entirely covered some of the larger and more populated European river basins, including the Danube, Rhine, Elbe, Weser, and Ems in Germany, the Seine and Rhone in France, and the Meuse basin shared by France and Belgium. The model calibration was satisfactory for all basins. The source contribution to the in-stream nitrogen load, together with the diffuse nitrogen emissions and river nitrogen retention were estimated and were found to be in the range of values reported in the literature. Finally, the model results were extrapolated to estimate the diffuse nitrogen emission and source apportionment at the European scale.

  4. European utilities requirements for future reactors

    SciTech Connect

    Roch, M.

    1996-12-31

    The prospect for future nuclear power plants has led the utilities of seven European countries to launch an effort to define the requirements that should be common to all utilities for the next reactors to be built in Europe. These requirements will ultimately be part of a four-volume document and will cover all aspects of a plant: performance, grid connection, codes and standards, materials, quality assurance, cost, and, of course, safety. The seven European countries - France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Belgium - issued revision A of Vols 1 and 2 in Nov. 1994, which deal with all the general requirements, not specific to any design, originally issued in March 1994. Comments were requested from most of the nuclear utilities as well as from reactor vendors worldwide. This gave rise to an enormous number of comments, which were duly considered by the European Union. The relevant ones were incorporated into revision B of Vols. 1 and 2, which was issued in Nov 1995, the objective of this revision B being essentially to gain approval from the safety authorities. A particular aspect of the European approach resides in the fact that these European requirements will have to be discussed and agreed on by at least nine safety authorities, i.e., the authorities of the seven counties that launched revision B, plus the authorities of two newcomers, Finland and Sweden, which have just applied for European Union membership.

  5. The European Marine Strategy: Noise Monitoring in European Marine Waters from 2014.

    PubMed

    Dekeling, René; Tasker, Mark; Ainslie, Michael; Andersson, Mathias; André, Michel; Borsani, Fabrizio; Brensing, Karsten; Castellote, Manuel; Dalen, John; Folegot, Thomas; van der Graaf, Sandra; Leaper, Russell; Liebschner, Alexander; Pajala, Jukka; Robinson, Stephen; Sigray, Peter; Sutton, Gerry; Thomsen, Frank; Werner, Stefanie; Wittekind, Dietrich; Young, John V

    2016-01-01

    The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive requires European member states to develop strategies for their marine waters leading to programs of measures that achieve or maintain good environmental status (GES) in all European seas by 2020. An essential step toward reaching GES is the establishment of monitoring programs, enabling the state of marine waters to be assessed on a regular basis. A register for impulsive noise-generating activities would enable assessment of their cumulative impacts on wide temporal and spatial scales; monitoring of ambient noise would provide essential insight into current levels and any trend in European waters. PMID:26610961

  6. The European Marine Strategy: Noise Monitoring in European Marine Waters from 2014.

    PubMed

    Dekeling, René; Tasker, Mark; Ainslie, Michael; Andersson, Mathias; André, Michel; Borsani, Fabrizio; Brensing, Karsten; Castellote, Manuel; Dalen, John; Folegot, Thomas; van der Graaf, Sandra; Leaper, Russell; Liebschner, Alexander; Pajala, Jukka; Robinson, Stephen; Sigray, Peter; Sutton, Gerry; Thomsen, Frank; Werner, Stefanie; Wittekind, Dietrich; Young, John V

    2016-01-01

    The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive requires European member states to develop strategies for their marine waters leading to programs of measures that achieve or maintain good environmental status (GES) in all European seas by 2020. An essential step toward reaching GES is the establishment of monitoring programs, enabling the state of marine waters to be assessed on a regular basis. A register for impulsive noise-generating activities would enable assessment of their cumulative impacts on wide temporal and spatial scales; monitoring of ambient noise would provide essential insight into current levels and any trend in European waters.

  7. European Sail Tower SPS concept

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seboldt, W.; Klimke, M.; Leipold, M.; Hanowski, N.

    2001-03-01

    Based on a DLR-study in 1998/99 on behalf of ESA/ESTEC called "System Concepts, Architectures and Technologies for Space Exploration and Utilization (SE&U)" a new design for an Earth-orbiting Solar Power Satellite (SPS) has been developed. The design is called "European Sail Tower SPS" and consists mainly of deployable sail-like structures derived from the ongoing DLR/ESA solar sail technology development activity. Such a SPS satellite features an extremely light-weight and large tower-like orbital system and could supply Europe with significant amounts of electrical power generated by photovoltaic cells and subsequently transmitted to Earth via microwaves. In order to build up the sail tower, 60 units - each consisting of a pair of square-shaped sails - are moved from LEO to GEO with electric propulsion and successively assembled in GEO robotically on a central strut. Each single sail has dimensions of 150m × 150 m and is automatically deployed, using four diagonal light-weight carbon fiber (CFRP) booms which are initially rolled up on a central hub. The electric thrusters for the transport to GEO could also be used for orbit and attitude control of the assembled tower which has a total length of about 15 km and would be mainly gravity gradient stabilized. Employing thin film solar cell technology, each sail is used as a solar array and produces an electric power in orbit of about 3.7 MW e. A microwave antenna with a diameter of 1 km transmits the power to a 10 km rectenna on the ground. The total mass of this 450 MW SPS is about 2100 tons. First estimates indicate that the costs for one kWh delivered in this way could compete with present day energy costs, if launch costs would decrease by two orders of magnitude. Furthermore, mass production and large numbers of installed SPS systems must be assumed in order to lower significantly the production costs and to reduce the influence of the expensive technology development. The paper presents the technical concept

  8. Using European Systems from a North American Library.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clinton, Marshall; Grenville, Sally

    1980-01-01

    Illustrates the special considerations of using European search systems from North America: steps in establishing a telephone link with the European Space Agency's system, lack of availability to North Americans of some European databases through this system, user reaction, and costs. Brief descriptions of some European databases and a connect…

  9. Realizing the European Higher Education Area: Berlin Conference of European Higher Education Ministers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    European Education, 2004

    2004-01-01

    The Bologna Declaration of June 1999 has put in motion a series of reforms needed to make European higher education more compatible and comparable, more competitive and attractive for European citizens and for citizens and scholars from other continents. In Prague, in May 2001, the ministers took note of the progress so far and added three new…

  10. The Emergent European Educational Policies under Scrutiny: The Bologna Process from a Central European Perspective

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kwiek, Marek

    2004-01-01

    In this article, the Bologna Process and the European Research Area are viewed as the two sides of the same coin: that of the redefinition of the missions of the institution of the university. The Bologna Process is viewed as relatively closed to global developments: as largely inward-looking, focused on European regional problems (and European…

  11. Governing by Inspection? European Inspectorates and the Creation of a European Education Policy Space

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Grek, Sotiria; Lawn, Martin; Ozga, Jenny; Segerholm, Christina

    2013-01-01

    This paper draws on the first, completed phase of a research project on inspection as governing in three European inspection systems. The data presented here draw attention to the rather under-researched associational activities of European inspectorates and their developing practices of policy learning and exchange, and highlight their…

  12. European Higher Education Policy and the Formation of Entrepreneurial Students as Future European Citizens

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Papatsiba, Vassiliki

    2009-01-01

    In this article, the author argues that European education policies and rhetoric are imbued with orthodoxy of agency and models of empowered, entrepreneurial actors, striving to surpass the limits of national boundaries. Free circulation of citizens has progressively underpinned a new construction of "the European", who is entrepreneurial,…

  13. The European Round Table of Industrialists and the Restructuring of European Higher Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kauppinen, Ilkka

    2014-01-01

    The restructuring of European higher education (EHE) since the 1980s is a widely studied subject. However, this paper argues that previous studies have paid insufficient attention to the role of transnational policy-making groups in this complex and multilevel process. This argument is supported by focusing on how the European Round Table of…

  14. How Green Are European Curricula? A Comparative Analysis of Primary School Syllabi in Five European Countries

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hanish, Anna; Rank, Astrid; Seeber, Gunther

    2014-01-01

    The authors conducted a cross-national curriculum analysis as part of a European Union Comenius project regarding the implementation of an online tool to foster environmental education (EE) in primary schools. The overall goal was to determine the extent and intensity that EE is embedded in the syllabi of five European countries. To this end, the…

  15. Working towards a European Geological Data Infrastructure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van der Krogt, Rob; Hughes, Richard; Pedersen, Mikael; Serrano, Jean-Jacques; Lee, Kathryn A.; Tulstrup, Jørgen; Robida, François

    2013-04-01

    The increasing importance of geological information for policy, regulation and business needs at European and international level has been recognized by the European Parliament and the European Commission, who have called for the development of a common European geological knowledge base. The societal relevance of geoscience data/information is clear from many current issues such as shale gas exploration (including environmental impacts), the availability of critical mineral resources in a global economy, management and security with regard to geohazards (seismic, droughts, floods, ground stability), quality of (ground-)water and soil and societal responses to the impacts of climate change. The EGDI-Scope project responds to this, aiming to prepare an implementation plan for a pan-European Geological Data Infrastructure (EGDI), under the umbrella of the FP7 e- Infrastructures program. It is envisaged that the EGDI will build on geological datasets and models currently held by the European Geological Surveys at national and regional levels, and will also provide a platform for datasets generated by the large number of relevant past, ongoing and future European projects which have geological components. With European policy makers and decision makers from (international) industry as the main target groups (followed by research communities and the general public) stakeholder involvement is imperative to the successful realization and continuity of the EGDI. With these ambitions in mind, the presentation will focus on the following issues, also based on the first results and experiences of the EGDI-Scope project that started mid-2012: • The organization of stakeholder input and commitment connected to relevant 'use cases' within different thematic domains; a number of stakeholder representatives is currently involved, but the project is open to more extensive participation; • A large number of European projects relevant for data delivery to EGDI has been reviewed

  16. European activities in radiation protection in medicine.

    PubMed

    Simeonov, Georgi

    2015-07-01

    The recently published Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom ('new European Basic Safety Standards', EU BSS) modernises and consolidates the European radiation protection legislation by taking into account the latest scientific knowledge, technological progress and experience with implementing the current legislation and by merging five existing Directives into a single piece of legislation. The new European BSS repeal previous European legislation on which the national systems for radiation protection in medicine of the 28 European Union (EU) Member States are based, including the 96/29/Euratom 'BSS' and the 97/43/Euratom 'Medical Exposure' Directives. While most of the elements of the previous legislation have been kept, there are several legal changes that will have important influence over the regulation and practice in the field all over Europe-these include, among others: (i) strengthening the implementation of the justification principle and expanding it to medically exposed asymptomatic individuals, (ii) more attention to interventional radiology, (iii) new requirements for dose recording and reporting, (iv) increased role of the medical physics expert in imaging, (v) new set of requirements for preventing and following up on accidents and (vi) new set of requirements for procedures where radiological equipment is used on people for non-medical purposes (non-medical imaging exposure). The EU Member States have to enforce the new EU BSS before January 2018 and bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with it. The European Commission has certain legal obligations and powers to verify the compliance of the national measures with the EU laws and, wherever necessary, issue recommendations to, or open infringement cases against, national governments. In order to ensure timely and coordinated implementation of the new European legal requirements for radiation protection, the Commission is launching several actions

  17. In Brief: European cooperation in polar research

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    2009-07-01

    A new European Polar Framework agreement aims to increase research cooperation, streamline links between many European national research programs in the Arctic and Antarctic, and possibly create international research teams similar to the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. The new framework includes commitments to collaborate on new multinational research initiatives and to have national polar programs converge where appropriate. “Recent environmental shifts in the poles have been large and rapid. By linking together Europe's polar research more closely we can get a better grasp on the wide-ranging series of changes taking place,” said Paul Egerton, executive director of the European Science Foundation's European Polar Board, which aims to facilitate cooperation among various organizations. The agreement was signed on 24 June by 26 European scientific institutions, including the British Antarctic Survey; the Agency of Culture, Education, Research and the Church Affairs, Greenland; the Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Germany; Italy's Programma Nazionale di Ricerche in Antartide; Norway's Norsk Polarinstitutt; and the Romanian Antarctic Foundation.

  18. West European public and the Atlantic Alliance

    SciTech Connect

    Ziegler, A.H. Jr.

    1987-01-01

    Using original and previously published survey data, this study explores West European public attitudes about Atlantic cooperation in general and NATO in particular. Alternative viewpoints are categorized into a typology that is used to describe the conceptual nature of European beliefs and to measure the level of public support for the different viewpoints. Long-term trends in these attitudes and causal determinants are also examined. A distinguishing feature of this study is that it is truly comparative. The analysis relies on identical survey items administered in four European countries: Great Britain, France, West German, and Italy. The longitudinal data examined indicate that some fundamental changes have occurred in European security beliefs. Anti-Americanism has increased dramatically at the same time that attitudes toward the Soviet Union have become more favorable, and the fear of nuclear weapons and nuclear war has increased substantially. Explanations for these shifts in opinion are not found in sociological factors, such as changes in generational experiences, educational levels, or social classes; but instead, European attitudes appear to reflect broad changes in international politics, such as the Vietnam War, nuclear parity, and detente. Favorable opinion for NATO tends to be high, yet specific defense-related measures receive much less support.

  19. Introduction: European bioethics on a rocky road.

    PubMed

    Sass, H M

    2001-06-01

    There are quite a number of rocky roads on which the 'old continent' has embarked. There is, first, a harmonization of cultures and attitudes in the creation of a common European market of values and valuables, a harmonization undertaken in order to survive in an increasingly competitive global market. Second, there is a reactivation of specific European traditions in discourse, peaceable hermeneutics, solidarity, subsidiarity, tolerance in both conflict reduction and solution, and respect for self-determination and self-responsibility. Third, there is an integration of theory and practice, of visions and reality, of national identity or pride and common European rights, and of obligations and cultural heritages. Last but not least, there is a question about the definition of 'European' in a world which, at least in part, has been developed by successful European missionary work in the distribution of Age-of-Reason principles such as personal autonomy and social and ideational tolerance, the promotion of science-based technologies, and the creation of global markets for goods and services. PMID:11445878

  20. Environmental sustainability in European public healthcare.

    PubMed

    Chiarini, Andrea; Vagnoni, Emidia

    2016-01-01

    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to enlarge the debate concerning the influence of leadership on environmental sustainability implementation in European public healthcare organisations. Design/methodology/approach - This paper is a viewpoint. It is based on preliminary analysis of European standards dedicated to environmental sustainability and their spread across Europe in public healthcare organisations. Viewpoints concerning leadership are then discussed and asserted. Findings - This paper found a limited implementation of standards such as Green Public Procurement criteria, Eco-Management and Audit Scheme and ISO 14001 in public healthcare. Some clues indicate that the lack of implementation is related to leadership and management commitment. Originality/value - For the first time, this paper investigates relationships between leadership and environmental sustainability in European public healthcare opening further avenues of research on the subject. PMID:26764957

  1. European Fuel Cells R&D Review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michael, P. D.; Maguire, J.

    1994-09-01

    A review is presented on the status of fuel cell development in Europe, addressing the research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) and commercialization activities being undertaken, identifying key European organizations active in development and commercialization of fuel cells, and detailing their future plans. This document describes the RD&D activities in Europe on alkaline, phosphoric acid, polymer electrolyte, direct methanol, solid oxide, and molten carbonate fuel cell types. It describes the European Commission's activities, its role in the European development of fuel cells, and its interaction with the national programs. It then presents a country-by-country breakdown. For each country, an overview is given, presented by fuel cell type. Scandinavian countries are covered in less detail. American organizations active in Europe, either in supplying fuel cell components, or in collaboration, are identified. Applications include transportation and cogeneration.

  2. Environmental sustainability in European public healthcare.

    PubMed

    Chiarini, Andrea; Vagnoni, Emidia

    2016-01-01

    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to enlarge the debate concerning the influence of leadership on environmental sustainability implementation in European public healthcare organisations. Design/methodology/approach - This paper is a viewpoint. It is based on preliminary analysis of European standards dedicated to environmental sustainability and their spread across Europe in public healthcare organisations. Viewpoints concerning leadership are then discussed and asserted. Findings - This paper found a limited implementation of standards such as Green Public Procurement criteria, Eco-Management and Audit Scheme and ISO 14001 in public healthcare. Some clues indicate that the lack of implementation is related to leadership and management commitment. Originality/value - For the first time, this paper investigates relationships between leadership and environmental sustainability in European public healthcare opening further avenues of research on the subject.

  3. European neolithization and ancient DNA: an assessment.

    PubMed

    Deguilloux, Marie-France; Leahy, Rachael; Pemonge, Marie-Hélène; Rottier, Stéphane

    2012-01-01

    Neolithic processes underlying the distribution of genetic diversity among European populations have been the subject of intense debate since the first genetic data became available. However, patterns observed in the current European gene pool are the outcome of Paleolithic and Neolithic processes, overlaid with four millennia of further developments. This observation encouraged paleogeneticists to contribute to the debate by directly comparing genetic variation from the ancient inhabitants of Europe to their contemporary counterparts. Pre-Neolithic and Neolithic paleogenetic data are becoming increasingly available for north and northwest European populations. Despite the numerous problems inherent in the paleogenetic approach, the accumulation of ancient DNA datasets offers new perspectives from which to interpret the interactions between hunter-gatherer and farming communities. In light of information emerging from diverse disciplines, including recent paleogenetic studies, the most plausible model explaining the movement of Neolithic pioneer groups in central Europe is that of leapfrog migration.

  4. European industry attacks proposed carbon tax

    SciTech Connect

    Roberts, M.

    1995-08-09

    The European chemical industry, facing growing political support for the European Commission`s latest version of the carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2})-energy tax, has renewed its attacks on the proposed law. Simon de Bree, chairman of DSM and president of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic; Brussels), last week wrote to Jacques Santer, president of the commission, and Solana Madariaga, current president of Europe Union`s (EU) Council of Ministers, saying the tax was {open_quotes}totally unacceptable and irresponsible in terms of EU competitiveness.{close_quotes} He says it {open_quotes}has nothing to do anymore with the protection of the environment and has instead become a normal additional taxation, disguised, for opportunistic reasons, as an environmental protection measurement.{close_quotes}

  5. European whole body counter measurement intercomparison.

    PubMed

    Thieme, M; Hunt, E L; König, K; Schmitt-Hannig, A; Gödde, R

    1998-04-01

    In order to test the common quality standards for the performance of measurements of internal radioactivity, the European Commission funded a European intercomparison of whole body counters, which was organized and carried out by the Institut fuer Strahlenhygiene (part of the German Bundesamt fuer Strahlenschutz). Forty-four whole body counting facilities from forty-two institutions in nineteen countries (the fifteen member states of the European Union plus Hungary, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Norway) took part in this intercomparison, which made it the most comprehensive ever carried out in Europe. For the study, the 70 kg tissue equivalent St Petersburg phantom was used with rods containing 40K, 57Co, 60Co, and 137Cs. The overall results of the whole body counter study were rather good.

  6. Educational Innovations in Finnish and European Contexts: An Analysis of the Aims and Outcomes of "The European Observatory" of the European Commission (1994-1998). Research Report 200.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tella, Seppo; Tirri, Kirsi

    The purpose of this document is to analyze some of the major developments and research findings of the European Observatory of Innovations in Education and Training (1994-1998). The Observatory was a consortium of 13 member countries of the European Union serving as a European network of researchers and educators in the field of comparative…

  7. European XFEL: Soft X-Ray instrumentation

    SciTech Connect

    Molodtsov, S. L.

    2011-12-15

    The currently constructed European X-Ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL) will generate new knowledge in almost all the technical and scientific disciplines that are shaping our daily life-including nanotechnology, medicine, pharmaceutics, chemistry, materials science, power engineering and electronics. On 8 January 2009, civil engineering work (tunnels, shafts, halls) has been started at all three construction sites. In this presentation status and parameters of the European XFEL facility and instrumentation as well as planned research applications particularly in the range of soft X-rays are reviewed.

  8. Awareness System Implemented in the European Network

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jańıček, František; Jedinák, Martin; Šulc, Igor

    2014-09-01

    Transmission system in Slovakia is part of a synchronously interconnected system of continental Europe. Besides indisputable technical and economical benefits of cooperation many hazardous factors exist of fault condition spreading with impact on our system. Even today a system break-up escalated into a vast blackout is a real danger. European transmission system operators continually work on preventive measures and develop systems with a goal to handle critical situations. The ambition of the European Awareness System is to signalize the rise of these situations and also assist with system restoration

  9. [European Union fight against smoking related activitiy].

    PubMed

    Calvete Oliva, Antonio

    2005-01-01

    This study is aimed at providing information concerning the provisions adopted by the European Union on both a compulsory and non-compulsory basis for its member States related in one way or another to the fight against smoking. To this end, a review is made of all of the provisions published in the Official Journal of the European Union as of the first published in 1986 up to March 2005, commenting upon the aspects of each provision having to do with the subject stated above.

  10. The molecular genetics of European ancestry.

    PubMed Central

    Sykes, B

    1999-01-01

    In an earlier paper we proposed, on the basis of mitochondrial control region variation, that the bulk of modern European mitochondrial DNA(mtDNA) diversity had its roots in the European Upper Palaeolithic. Refining the mtDNA phylogeny and enlarging the sample size both within Europe and the Middle East still support this interpretation and indicate three separate phases of colonization: (i) the Early Upper Palaeolithic about 50,000 BP; (ii) the Late Upper Palaeolithic 11,000-14,000 BP; and (iii) the Neolithic from 8500 BP. PMID:10091253

  11. European scientific notes. Volume 34, Number 9

    SciTech Connect

    Burt, W.V.; Peters, D.J.

    1980-09-30

    This is a monthly publication presenting brief articles concerning recent developments in European Scientific Research. It is hoped that these articles (which do not constitute part of the scientific literature) may prove of value to American scientists by calling attention to current development and to institutions and individuals engaged in these scientific efforts. The articles are written primarily by members of the staff of ORNL and occasionally articles are prepared by, or in cooperation with, members of the scientific staffs of the United States Air Force's European Office of Aerospace Research and Development and the United States ARmy Research and Standardization Group. Articles are also contributed by visiting Stateside scientists.

  12. Pharmaceutical regulation in the single European market.

    PubMed

    Matthews, D; Wilson, C

    1998-01-01

    This paper assesses the impact of new EU-wide drug authorisation procedures. The paper examines various attempts to introduce harmonised market authorisation routes for pharmaceuticals including the establishment of the multi-state, concentration, decentralised and centralised procedures. The paper considers the current role of the European Medicines Evaluation Agency and the likelihood that its powers will be increased in the future. Finally, the paper assesses whether EU regulation has created beneficial market conditions for pharmaceutical companies operating in the single European market. PMID:9922630

  13. Pharmaceutical regulation in the single European market.

    PubMed

    Matthews, D; Wilson, C

    1998-01-01

    This paper assesses the impact of new EU-wide drug authorisation procedures. The paper examines various attempts to introduce harmonised market authorisation routes for pharmaceuticals including the establishment of the multi-state, concentration, decentralised and centralised procedures. The paper considers the current role of the European Medicines Evaluation Agency and the likelihood that its powers will be increased in the future. Finally, the paper assesses whether EU regulation has created beneficial market conditions for pharmaceutical companies operating in the single European market.

  14. The European LeukemiaNet: achievements and perspectives

    PubMed Central

    Hehlmann, Rüdiger; Grimwade, David; Simonsson, Bengt; Apperley, Jane; Baccarani, Michele; Barbui, Tiziano; Barosi, Giovanni; Bassan, Renato; Béné, Marie C.; Berger, Ute; Büchner, Thomas; Burnett, Alan; Cross, Nicolas C.P.; de Witte, Theo J.M.; Döhner, Hartmut; Dombret, Hervé; Einsele, Hermann; Engelich, Georg; Foà, Robin; Fonatsch, Christa; Gökbuget, Nicola; Gluckman, Elaine; Gratwohl, Alois; Guilhot, Francois; Haferlach, Claudia; Haferlach, Thorsten; Hallek, Michael; Hasford, Jörg; Hochhaus, Andreas; Hoelzer, Dieter; Kiladjian, Jean-Jaques; Labar, Boris; Ljungman, Per; Mansmann, Ulrich; Niederwieser, Dietger; Ossenkoppele, Gert; Ribera, José M.; Rieder, Harald; Serve, Hubert; Schrotz-King, Petra; Sanz, Miguel A.; Saußele, Susanne

    2011-01-01

    The only way to cure leukemia is by cooperative research. To optimize research, the European LeukemiaNet integrates 105 national leukemia trial groups and networks, 105 interdisciplinary partner groups and about 1,000 leukemia specialists from 175 institutions. They care for tens of thousands of leukemia patients in 33 countries across Europe. Their ultimate goal is to cure leukemia. Since its inception in 2002, the European LeukemiaNet has steadily expanded and has unified leukemia research across Europe. The European LeukemiaNet grew from two major roots: 1) the German Competence Network on Acute and Chronic Leukemias; and 2) the collaboration of European Investigators on Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. The European LeukemiaNet has improved leukemia research and management across Europe. Its concept has led to funding by the European Commission as a network of excellence. Other sources (European Science Foundation; European LeukemiaNet-Foundation) will take over when the support of the European Commission ends. PMID:21048032

  15. Brazil to Join the European Southern Observatory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2010-12-01

    The Federative Republic of Brazil has yesterday signed the formal accession agreement paving the way for it to become a Member State of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Following government ratification Brazil will become the fifteenth Member State and the first from outside Europe. On 29 December 2010, at a ceremony in Brasilia, the Brazilian Minister of Science and Technology, Sergio Machado Rezende and the ESO Director General, Tim de Zeeuw signed the formal accession agreement aiming to make Brazil a Member State of the European Southern Observatory. Brazil will become the fifteen Member State and the first from outside Europe. Since the agreement means accession to an international convention, the agreement must now be submitted to the Brazilian Parliament for ratification [1]. The signing of the agreement followed the unanimous approval by the ESO Council during an extraordinary meeting on 21 December 2010. "Joining ESO will give new impetus to the development of science, technology and innovation in Brazil as part of the considerable efforts our government is making to keep the country advancing in these strategic areas," says Rezende. The European Southern Observatory has a long history of successful involvement with South America, ever since Chile was selected as the best site for its observatories in 1963. Until now, however, no non-European country has joined ESO as a Member State. "The membership of Brazil will give the vibrant Brazilian astronomical community full access to the most productive observatory in the world and open up opportunities for Brazilian high-tech industry to contribute to the European Extremely Large Telescope project. It will also bring new resources and skills to the organisation at the right time for them to make a major contribution to this exciting project," adds ESO Director General, Tim de Zeeuw. The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) telescope design phase was recently completed and a major review was

  16. Inspection of Home Education in European Countries

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Blok, Henk; Karsten, Sjoerd

    2011-01-01

    In many European countries and in North America, home education is a viable alternative for education at school. Parents who want to home school their child are legally allowed to do so, although some countries impose rather strict conditions. This article concentrates on the way authorities supervise or inspect the quality of home education. A…

  17. Issues of Discrimination in European Education Systems.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gundara, Jagdish S.

    2000-01-01

    Examines difficulties and complexities in researching issues of discrimination in education across European countries as a first step in devising intercultural curricula. Discusses cross-national differences in terminology, in the ways in which research issues related to racism and interculturalism are formulated, and in the educational experience…

  18. Mobility Attitudes and Behaviours among Young Europeans

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Doherty, Noeleen; Dickmann, Michael; Mills, Timothy

    2010-01-01

    Purpose: The paper seeks to explore the career attitudes, motivations and behaviours of young people in initial vocational education and training (IVET) in Europe. Design/methodology/approach: This exploratory web-based survey was conducted during the European year for mobility. Drawing on existing research on the motivators of international…

  19. Europe's Universities in the European Research Area

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Smith, John H.

    2008-01-01

    Universities are placed strategically at the interplay of research and technological development, educational and regional development policies at both national and European level. Universities are also unique environments in which interdisciplinary skills are being developed to tackle the complex challenges facing human, social and economic…

  20. Is There a European Language History?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mattheier, Klaus J.

    2010-01-01

    The thoughts on a language history within a European context sketched out here represent an attempt to extend the concepts of regional and particularly national language history by adding a third dimension: transnational language history in Europe. After a few general thoughts on the extended area of research, in which so-called external language…