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Sample records for european starling sturnus

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Geluso, Keith; 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-07

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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).

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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).

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  19. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. 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

  1. European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) challenged with Escherichia coli O157 can carry and transmit the human pathogen to cattle.

    PubMed

    Kauffman, M D; LeJeune, J

    2011-12-01

    European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are an invasive species in the United States and are considered a nuisance pest to agriculture. The goal of this study was to determine the potential for these birds to be reservoirs and/or vectors for the human pathogen Escherichia coli O157:H7. Under biosecurity confinement, starlings were challenged with various doses of E. coli O157:H7 to determine a minimum infectious dose, the magnitude and duration of pathogen shedding, and the potential of pathogen transmission among starlings and between starlings and cattle. Birds transiently excreted E. coli O157:H7 following low-dose inoculation; however, exposure to greater than 10(5.5) colony-forming units (CFUs) resulted in shedding for more than 3 days in 50% of the birds. Colonized birds typically excreted greater than 10(3) CFU g(-1) of faeces, and the pathogen was detected for as long as 14 days postinoculation. Cohabitating E. coli O157:H7-positive starlings with culture-negative birds or 12-week-old calves resulted in intra- and interspecies pathogen transmission within 24 h. Likewise, E. coli O157:H7 was recovered from previously culture-negative starlings following 24-h cohabitation with calves shedding E. coli O157:H7.   European starlings may be a suitable reservoir and vector of E. coli O157:H7. Given the duration and magnitude of E. coli O157:H7 shedding by European starlings, European starlings should be considered a public health hazard. Measures aimed at controlling environmental contamination with starling excrement, on the farm and in public venues, may decrease food-producing animal and human exposure to this pathogen. © 2011 The Authors. Letters in Applied Microbiology © 2011 The Society for Applied Microbiology.

  2. 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. Copyright 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. 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.

  4. PCB and heavy metal contamination and effects in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) at a superfund site

    SciTech Connect

    Arenal, C.A.; Halbrook, R.S.

    1997-02-01

    From 1946-1967 industrial activities at the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (CONWR) included the construction of landfills and dumps for disposal of hazardous waste. Heavy metals such as cadmium, chromium, mercury, and lead and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a special concern because of transport to biotic communities. During routine monitoring, Hite and King found elevated concentrations of mercury in fish from Crab Orchard Lake, and Kohler et al. reported PCB concentrations greater than FDA safety limits (2 ppm) in 38% of the fish collected in the eastern portion of Crab Orchard Lake. Additionally, livers from hunter harvested white-tailed deer killed on CONWR contained significantly greater concentrations of nickel and lead compared to deer collected off CONWR. In 1984, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added 7 sites within CONWR to the National Priorities List under the Comprehensive Environmental Recovery, Compensation and Liabilities Act. These site contained varying concentrations of PCBs (Aroclor 1254) and heavy metals that were assessed as posing risk to wildlife. Because few studies have been completed on the effects of PCB and heavy metal concentrations on avian species among sites on the refuge, and preliminary studies by McKee indicated possible avian reproductive impairment due to contaminant exposure, additional study to evaluate adverse effects in avian species was initiated. Using the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) as an avian model, this project provided biological and contaminant baseline data for evaluating avian exposure and effects, and provides a benchmark for determining the effectiveness of proposed remedial actions on CONWR. 18 refs., 5 figs., 2 tabs.

  5. 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. © 2015 SETAC.

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

  7. 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.

  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. © 2012 WILEY PERIODICALS, INC.

  9. 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.

  10. 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. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  11. 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.

  12. 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. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved

  4. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

  9. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  10. 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

  11. Follicular development and plasma yolk precursor dynamics through the laying cycle in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Challenger, W O; Williams, T D; Christians, J K; Vézina, F

    2001-01-01

    We investigated the quantitative matching of plasma yolk precursor supply (the plasma pool) to follicle demand during yolk formation in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Plasma concentrations of the two yolk precursors, vitellogenin (VTG) and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), were only elevated coincident with rapid yolk development (RYD) and matched variation in total yolky follicle mass. VTG and VLDL were low (<0.4 microg/mL and <4.2 mg/mL, respectively) in nonbreeders and prebreeders with no yolky follicles, and at clutch completion. They increased to 4.02 microg/mL and 19.4 mg/mL in birds with a full follicle hierarchy (F1-F4), and concentrations then remained high and actually increased up to the point where only a single, yolky (F1) follicle remained. However, there was some evidence for mismatching of supply and demand: (a) precursor concentrations increased throughout the laying cycle even though the number of developing follicles decreased. We suggest that this is because of a requirement to maintain a large precursor pool to maintain high uptake rates; and (b) in birds with a full follicle hierarchy, precursor concentrations were negatively correlated with total follicle mass. This suggests that high uptake rates in large follicles can actually deplete circulating precursor concentrations. Plasma concentrations of both yolk precursors increased rapidly in the early morning with (predicted) time after ovulation, consistent with a lack of fine control of precursor concentrations. However, mean plasma VTG concentrations did not differ between morning or evening samples. In contrast, plasma VLDL concentrations were lower in the morning (16.8 mg/mL) than in the evening (22.9 mg/mL). Although there is marked individual variation in plasma VTG and VLDL (four- to eightfold), both precursors were repeatable in the short term (24 h), and plasma VTG was repeatable over a 14-d interval between successive breeding attempts.

  12. 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. Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  13. 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.

  14. Experimental challenge of a peridomestic avian species, European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), with novel Influenza A H7N9 virus from China

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hall, Jeffrey S.; Ip, Hon S.; Teslaa, Joshua L.; Nashold, Sean W.; Dusek, Robert

    2016-01-01

    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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

    Feenders, Gesa; Klaus, Kristel; Bateson, Melissa

    2011-04-15

    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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Volatile Methylsiloxanes and Organophosphate Esters in the Eggs of European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and Congeneric Gull Species from Locations across Canada.

    PubMed

    Lu, Zhe; Martin, Pamela A; Burgess, Neil M; Champoux, Louise; Elliott, John E; Baressi, Enzo; De Silva, Amila O; de Solla, Shane R; Letcher, Robert J

    2017-09-05

    Volatile methylsiloxanes (VMSs) and organophosphate esters (OPEs) are two suites of chemicals that are of environmental concern as organic contaminants, but little is known about the exposure of wildlife to these contaminants, particularly in birds, in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The present study investigates the spatial distributions of nine cyclic and linear VMSs and 17 OPEs in the eggs of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and three congeneric gull species (i.e., herring gull (Larus argentatus), glaucous-winged gull (L. glaucescens), and California gull (L. californicus)) from nesting sites across Canada. ∑VMS concentrations for all bird eggs were dominated by decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5), dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane (D6), and octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4). With European starlings, birds breeding adjacent to landfill sites had eggs containing significantly greater ∑VMS concentrations (median: 178 ng g(-1) wet weight (ww)) compared with those from the urban industrial (20 ng g(-1) ww) and rural sites (1.3 ng g(-1) ww), indicating that the landfills are important sources of VMSs to Canadian terrestrial environments. In gull eggs, the median ∑VMS concentrations were up to 254 ng g(-1) ww and suggested greater detection frequencies and levels of VMSs in aquatic- versus terrestrial-feeding birds in Canada. In contrast, the detection frequency of OPEs in all European starling and gull eggs was lower than 16%. This suggested that low dietary exposure or rapid metabolism of accumulated OPEs occurs in aquatic feeding birds and may warrant further investigation for the elucidation of the reasons for these differences.

  3. The role of prolactin in the development of reproductive photorefractoriness and postnuptial molt in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Dawson, A; Sharp, P J

    1998-02-01

    Seasonal breeding in many birds, including the European starling, is terminated by the development of absolute reproductive photorefractoriness, followed by a postnuptial molt, when photo-induced PRL secretion is at its seasonal maximum. To determine whether this photo-induced increase in PRL secretion has a causal role in the development of photorefractoriness or molt, European starlings were actively immunized against vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), the PRL releasing hormone in birds, or against PRL, during a photo-induced breeding cycle. In half of the VIP-immunized birds, the photo-induced increase in PRL was completely suppressed. Although these birds became photorefractory, the rate of gonadal regression was markedly slowed. These birds did not molt. In the remaining VIP-immunized birds, the photo-induced increase in PRL was inhibited but not completely suppressed. In these birds, and in those immunized against PRL, gonadal regression was also slowed, but molt progressed as normal. There were no significant differences in concentrations of plasma thyroxine between treatment and control groups, indicating that the effects of immunization on gonadal regression were not mediated by the induction of hypothyroidism. These results are consistent with the view that in the European starling the seasonal photo-induced increase in PRL accelerates gonadal regression during the onset of photorefractoriness but does not itself cause photorefractoriness. Further, the seasonal increase in PRL is required for the induction of the postnuptial molt.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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. Copyright © 2012

  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.

  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.

  11. 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

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Foraging behavior of European starlings: implications for mitigating their impact on native species

    Treesearch

    Kathryn L. Purcell

    2015-01-01

    European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are a remarkably successful invasive species known to compete with native bird species for nest sites. The objective of this study was to understand why starlings avoid ungrazed pastures and provide recommendations to help mitigate the impacts of starlings on native bird species. I used aviary trials to examine...

  17. 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.

  18. Heat transfer from starlings sturnus vulgaris during flight

    PubMed

    Ward; Rayner; MOLler; Jackson; Nachtigall; Speakman

    1999-06-01

    Infrared thermography was used to measure heat transfer by radiation and the surface temperature of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) (N=4) flying in a wind tunnel at 6-14 m s-1 and at 15-25 degrees C. Heat transfer by forced convection was calculated from bird surface temperature and biophysical modelling of convective heat transfer coefficients. The legs, head and ventral brachial areas (under the wings) were the hottest parts of the bird (mean values 6.8, 6.0 and 5.3 degrees C, respectively, above air temperature). Thermal gradients between the bird surface and the air decreased at higher air temperatures or during slow flight. The legs were trailed in the air stream during slow flight and when air temperature was high; this could increase heat transfer from the legs from 1 to 12 % of heat transfer by convection, radiation and evaporation (overall heat loss). Overall heat loss at a flight speed of 10.2 m s-1 averaged 11. 3 W, of which radiation accounted for 8 % and convection for 81 %. Convection from the ventral brachial areas was the most important route of heat transfer (19 % of overall heat loss). Of the overall heat loss, 55 % occurred by convection and radiation from the wings, although the primaries and secondaries were the coolest parts of the bird (2.2-2.5 degrees C above air temperature). Calculated heat transfer from flying starlings was most sensitive to accurate measurement of air temperature and convective heat transfer coefficients.

  19. 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. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. 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. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Factors affecting the abundance and distribution of European starlings at the San Joaquin Experimental Range

    Treesearch

    Kathryn L. Purcell; Jared Verner; Sylvia R. Mori

    2002-01-01

    We examined population trends and factors related to the abundance and presence of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) at the San Joaquin Experimental Range in the foothills of the western Sierra Nevada, 31 km east of Madera, California. Starlings first appeared there in low numbers in the late 1960s and are now abundant breeders. Simple models...

  2. Nest defense behaviors of native cavity-nesting birds to European Starlings

    Treesearch

    Rodney G. Olsen; Kathryn L. Purcell; David. Grubbs

    2008-01-01

    We used behavioral experiments to evaluate competition for nest sites and the extent to which European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are seen as a threat by native bird species at the San Joaquin Experimental Range, Madera County, CA. We quantified the level of aggressive behavior of four species of native cavity-nesting birds to starlings at active...

  3. 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

  4. 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. Copyright © 2015 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. 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

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

  7. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. [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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  11. The starling (Sturnus vulgaris) as an experimental model for staphylococcal infection of the avian foot.

    PubMed

    Cooper, J E; Needham, J R

    1981-07-01

    Inoculation of the footpad of the starling (Sturnus vulgaris) with a broth culture of Staphylococcus aureus resulted in a swelling of the foot and histological changes similar to those seen in bumblefoot in poultry and other species. In a number of cases S: aureus could be re-isolated. It is suggested that this could prove to be a useful model in the study of avian pododermatitis.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Common Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) increasingly select for grazed areas with increasing distance-to-nest

    PubMed Central

    Fox, Anthony D.; Thellesen, Peder V.; Dalby, Lars; Sunde, Peter

    2017-01-01

    The abundant and widespread Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is currently declining across much of Europe due to landscape changes caused by agricultural intensification. The proximate mechanisms causing adverse effects to breeding Starlings are unclear, hampering our ability to implement cost-efficient agri-environmental schemes to restore populations to former levels. This study aimed to show how this central foraging farmland bird uses and selects land cover types in general and how use of foraging habitat changes in relation to distance from the nest. We attached GPS-loggers to 17 breeding Starlings at a Danish dairy cattle farm in 2015 and 2016 and analysed their use of different land cover types as a function of distance intervals from the nest and their relative availability. As expected for a central place forager, Starlings increasingly avoided potential foraging areas with greater distance-to-nest: areas ≥ 500 m were selected > 100 times less frequently than areas within 100 m. On average, Starlings selected the land cover category Grazed most frequently, followed by Short Grass, Bare Ground, Meadow and Winter Crops. Starlings compensated for elevated travel costs by showing increasing habitat selection the further they foraged from the nest. Our results highlight the importance of Grazed foraging habitats close to the nest site of breeding Starlings. The ecological capacity of intensively managed farmlands for insectivorous birds like the Starling is decreasing through conversion of the most strongly selected land cover type (Grazed) to the least selected (Winter Crops) which may be further exacerbated through spatial segregation of foraging and breeding habitats. PMID:28771556

  16. An excitation-pattern model for the starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Buus, S; Klump, G M; Gleich, O; Langemann, U

    1995-07-01

    This paper develops and tests an excitation-pattern model for the starling. Like excitation-pattern models for humans [e.g., Zwicker, Acustica 6, 365-381 (1956); Florentine and Buus, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 70, 1646-1654 (1981)], the model for starlings provides a unified account of a large body of data. The foundation of the model is a critical-band scale, which is derived as an equal-distance scale according to a cochlear-map function. The cochlear-map function is determined as a best-fitting function to physiological data relating characteristic frequency (CF) of auditory-nerve fibers to their place of innervation on the basilar papilla. Excitation patterns are derived from auditory-nerve measurements of levels at CF necessary to produce firing rates equal to those evoked by a test tone. The shape of these excitation patterns is independent of level and frequency when plotted on a cochlear-distance scale. The resulting model indicates that 10-dB bandwidths of auditory-nerve tuning curves and frequency DLs can be approximated as equal distances along the basilar papilla. Predictions of level discrimination are in good agreement with the data, except below 20 dB SL. Overall, the present work indicates that excitation-pattern models account for a wide range of auditory phenomena in both humans and starlings, when the models take into account differences in critical-band scales, absolute thresholds, excitation-pattern slopes, and growth of excitation, which is linear in starlings, but nonlinear in humans.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

    2015-11-25

    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.

  1. 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

  2. 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. Copyright © 2013 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Detection of influenza viral gene in European starlings and experimental infection.

    PubMed

    Qin, Zhuoming; Clements, Teresa; Wang, Leyi; Khatri, Mahesh; Pillai, Smitha P S; Zhang, Yan; Lejeune, Jeffrey T; Lee, Chang-Won

    2011-07-01

    European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are common, widely distributed birds in North America that frequently come into contact with agricultural operations. However, starlings have been one of the neglected land-based wild bird species for influenza surveillance. To study the potential role of starlings in the ecology and epidemiology of influenza virus. We collected 328 digestive and 156 tracheal samples from starlings in Ohio in years 2007 (July) to 2008 (August) and screened for the presence of influenza virus by real-time RT-PCR, standard RT-PCR and virus isolation using embryonated chicken eggs. In addition, we conducted an experimental infection study to evaluate the replication and induction of antibody response by two low pathogenic avian influenza (AI) viruses in starlings. Although virus isolation was negative, we confirmed 21 influenza positive digestive and tracheal samples by real-time and standard RT-PCR tests. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that five NS genes recovered from Starlings belonged to NS subtype A and were most similar to the NS genes from a wild aquatic bird origin isolate from Ohio. Experimental infection studies using two low pathogenic AI strains showed that starlings could be infected, shed virus, and seroconvert. This study shows that starlings can carry influenza virus that is genetically similar to wild aquatic bird origin strains and may serve as a carrier of influenza virus to domestic animals. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  4. 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

  5. The near wake of a freely flying European starling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirchhefer, Adam J.; Kopp, Gregory A.; Gurka, Roi

    2013-05-01

    The wake of a freely flying European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) has been measured using high speed, time-resolved, particle image velocimetry, simultaneously with high speed cameras which imaged the bird. These have been used to generate vector maps that can be associated with the bird's location and wing configuration in the wind tunnel. Time series of measurements have been expressed as composite wake plots which depict segments of the wing beat cycle for various spanwise locations in the wake. Measurements indicate that downwash is not produced during the upstroke, suggesting that the upstroke does not generate lift. As well, the wake velocities imply the presence of streamwise vortical structures, in addition to tip vortices. These two characteristics indicate similarities between the wake of a bird and the wake of a bat, which may be general features of the wakes of flapping wings.

  6. Pathogen Presence in European Starlings Inhabiting Commercial Piggeries in South Australia.

    PubMed

    Pearson, Hayley E; Lapidge, Steven J; Hernández-Jover, Marta; Toribio, Jenny-Ann L M L

    2016-06-01

    The majority of bacterial diarrhea-causing illnesses in domestic pigs result from infection with Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., or Campylobacter spp. These bacterial enteropathogens also correspond with the most-common bacteria isolated from wild birds. Additionally, viral pathogens such as avian influenza virus (AIV), West Nile virus (WNV, including Kunjin disease), and Newcastle disease virus (NDV) may also be carried and transmitted by birds in Australia. Introduced European starlings (Sturnus vulgarus) are one of the most-frequently reported birds on piggeries in Australia. The presence of the three bacterial pathogens, Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., and Escherichia coli , as well as the three viral pathogens AIV, WNV, and NDV, were evaluated in starlings captured on four commercial piggeries in South Australia. A total of 473 starlings were captured on the four piggeries in 2008 and 2009. A cloacal swab was taken from each bird and cultured for bacterial identification, with follow-up serotyping of any positives, whilst fifty samples were analyzed by PCR for the three target viral pathogens. There was no AIV, WNV, or NDV detected in the 50 starlings sampled. Escherichia coli was found to be present in the starling populations on all four piggeries whilst Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter jejuni were found to be present only in the starling population sampled on one piggery. Serotyping identified pig-pathogenic strains of the bacteria. The prevalence of these production-limiting bacterial pathogens in starlings, coupled with the large starling populations often found inside piggeries during daylight hours in the summer months, presents a disease transmission risk and jeopardizes piggery disease management. Removal of starlings from agricultural enterprises (as shown by international studies), or prevention of starling access to animal feed and water, could substantially reduce the risk of transmission of enterobacterial pathogens from starlings to

  7. Dairy cattle management factors that influence on-farm density of European starlings in Ohio, 2007-2009.

    PubMed

    Medhanie, Genet A; Pearl, David L; McEwen, Scott A; Guerin, Michele T; Jardine, Claire M; LeJeune, Jeffrey T

    2015-06-15

    Potential dairy farm management and environmental factors that attract European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to dairy farms were explored. During the period from 2007 to 2009, 150 dairy farms were each visited twice (once during the summer and again in the fall) and the number of starlings was recorded. Risk factors were assessed for possible association with the number of starlings per milking cow (starling density), using a zero-inflated negative binomial model. Starling density was higher on farms visited in 2007 compared to those visited in 2008 or 2009. The interaction term between feeding method and feeding site was significantly associated with starling density on farm; generally, feeding outdoors was associated with increased starling density. The odds of a zero starling count (compared to a count greater than zero) was higher on farms that removed manure from barns weekly or less frequently than weekly compared to those that removed manure daily or after every milking. The odds of a zero starling count decreased with increasing distance of a farm from the closest night roost. Identifying on farm risk factors that expose farms to starlings will help farmers develop strategies that minimize the number of birds on their farms and thereby reduce physical damage to the farms as well as the potential for pathogen transmission from birds to cattle and humans. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

    Carlson, James C; Engeman, Richard M; Hyatt, Doreene R; Gilliland, Rickey L; DeLiberto, Thomas J; Clark, Larry; Bodenchuk, Michael J; Linz, George M

    2011-02-16

    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. 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. 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 disease. Yet, we do not believe

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Daily laying time in free-living European starlings: solar noon, a potential synchronizer.

    PubMed

    Houdelier, Cécilia; Bertin, Aline; Guyomarc'h, Catherine; Richard, Marie-Annick; Lumineau, Sophie

    2007-01-01

    Reproduction is generally controlled by important temporal constraints involving complex adaptive mechanisms. Birds, in temperate zones, present marked breeding seasonality as well as marked daily organization of reproductive behavior, especially laying. Intra-specific variability and determinants of this pattern have been investigated mainly in domestic non-passerine birds. The present study analyzed the daily temporal organization of laying in a free-living species, the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris. Breeding in a starling colony was monitored for five consecutive years using a non-invasive method (infrared video camera) to precisely estimate laying times. European starlings present a marked daily laying rhythm, ovipositions occurring only during a morning species-specific temporal window. Inside this laying window, time intervals between successive eggs varied greatly among females. Contrary to many species, the light/dark cycle did not appear to control laying time in European starlings, but daily variations of the ultraviolet composition of the solar spectrum appeared to be a possible Zeitgeber of this behavior.

  12. 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.

  13. The effect of chronic psychological stress on corticosterone, plasma metabolites, and immune responsiveness in European starlings.

    PubMed

    Cyr, Nicole E; Earle, Kristen; Tam, Christine; Romero, L Michael

    2007-01-01

    Although increases in glucocorticoid concentrations during acute stress are believed to help animals survive stressful events, chronic changes in glucocorticoid concentrations can alter metabolism and lead to disease. We studied the effect of chronic psychological stress on corticosterone (CORT), corticosterone binding globulin (CBG), glucose, and triglyceride concentrations as well as immune responsiveness to a T-cell mitogen challenge in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris. To induce chronic stress we used a chronic stress protocol consisting of five stressors (loud radio, cage tapping, cage rolling, human voice, and bag restraint) administered in random order for 30 min for 4 times/day over 18 days. Total CORT decreased throughout the chronic stress period, which parallels a previous study with starlings. CBG capacity did not significantly change with chronic stress, thus free CORT followed the same pattern of attenuation as total CORT during chronic stress. Despite the change in regulation of CORT release, daytime glucose and triglyceride concentrations did not change with chronic stress. In addition, immune responsiveness in chronically stressed and unstressed birds was similar. Our results, together with a previous study using a similar CSP in European starlings, suggest that starlings physiologically dampen the HPA axis during chronic psychological stress to avoid pathology associated with chronically augmented CORT concentrations such as hyperglycemia and impaired immune function.

  14. Biomarker sensitivity to vehicle exhaust in experimentally exposed European starlings.

    PubMed

    North, Michelle A; Smits, Judit E G

    2017-10-05

    The effects of vehicle-related emissions on health has been a long-standing question in human health sciences; however, the toxicology of chronic exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of these complex mixtures has not been characterized in wild birds. Adult European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were exposed to vehicle emissions, with combined benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX) concentrations totaling 13.3 µg/m(3) over 20 days of exposure for 5 hours per day. Exposed birds had significantly lower cell-mediated immunity (measured using PHA skin test, p<0.0001), thyroxine (T4, p=0.042) and glutathione concentrations (tGSH, p=0.034) than control birds. There was no difference in body condition, antibody response to vaccination, triiodothyronine (T3), hepatic biotransformation (EROD activity) or oxidative stress (TBARS and ratios of reduced to oxidized GSH) or organ masses between exposed and control birds. This study supports findings of previous exposure studies examining wild birds exposed to air contaminants, and raises concern that environmentally-relevant concentrations of common urban volatile pollutants may have measurable effects on health.

  15. Neural Correlates of Behavioural Olfactory Sensitivity Changes Seasonally in European Starlings

    PubMed Central

    De Groof, Geert; Gwinner, Helga; Steiger, Silke; Kempenaers, Bart; Van der Linden, Annemie

    2010-01-01

    Background Possibly due to the small size of the olfactory bulb (OB) as compared to rodents, it was generally believed that songbirds lack a well-developed sense of smell. This belief was recently revised by several studies showing that various bird species, including passerines, use olfaction in many respects of life. During courtship and nest building, male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) incorporate aromatic herbs that are rich in volatile compounds (e.g., milfoil, Achillea millefolium) into the nests and they use olfactory cues to identify these plants. Interestingly, European starlings show seasonal differences in their ability to respond to odour cues: odour sensitivity peaks during nest-building in the spring, but is almost non-existent during the non-breeding season. Methodology/Principal Findings This study used repeated in vivo Manganese-enhanced MRI to quantify for the first time possible seasonal changes in the anatomy and activity of the OB in starling brains. We demonstrated that the OB of the starling exhibits a functional seasonal plasticity of certain plant odour specificity and that the OB is only able to detect milfoil odour during the breeding season. Volumetric analysis showed that this seasonal change in activity is not linked to a change in OB volume. By subsequently experimentally elevating testosterone (T) in half of the males during the non-breeding season we showed that the OB volume was increased compared to controls. Conclusions/Significance By investigating the neural substrate of seasonal olfactory sensitivity changes we show that the starlings' OB loses its ability during the non-breeding season to detect a natural odour of a plant preferred as green nest material by male starlings. We found that testosterone, applied during the non-breeding season, does not restore the discriminatory ability of the OB but has an influence on its size. PMID:21179464

  16. Neural correlates of behavioural olfactory sensitivity changes seasonally in European starlings.

    PubMed

    De Groof, Geert; Gwinner, Helga; Steiger, Silke; Kempenaers, Bart; Van der Linden, Annemie

    2010-12-15

    Possibly due to the small size of the olfactory bulb (OB) as compared to rodents, it was generally believed that songbirds lack a well-developed sense of smell. This belief was recently revised by several studies showing that various bird species, including passerines, use olfaction in many respects of life. During courtship and nest building, male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) incorporate aromatic herbs that are rich in volatile compounds (e.g., milfoil, Achillea millefolium) into the nests and they use olfactory cues to identify these plants. Interestingly, European starlings show seasonal differences in their ability to respond to odour cues: odour sensitivity peaks during nest-building in the spring, but is almost non-existent during the non-breeding season. This study used repeated in vivo Manganese-enhanced MRI to quantify for the first time possible seasonal changes in the anatomy and activity of the OB in starling brains. We demonstrated that the OB of the starling exhibits a functional seasonal plasticity of certain plant odour specificity and that the OB is only able to detect milfoil odour during the breeding season. Volumetric analysis showed that this seasonal change in activity is not linked to a change in OB volume. By subsequently experimentally elevating testosterone (T) in half of the males during the non-breeding season we showed that the OB volume was increased compared to controls. By investigating the neural substrate of seasonal olfactory sensitivity changes we show that the starlings' OB loses its ability during the non-breeding season to detect a natural odour of a plant preferred as green nest material by male starlings. We found that testosterone, applied during the non-breeding season, does not restore the discriminatory ability of the OB but has an influence on its size.

  17. The non-photic induction of spermatogenic development in European starlings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rutledge, J. T.

    1980-03-01

    Detailed studies of the photosexual biology of male European starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris) document a non-obligatory involvement of photoperiod in the induction of testicular metamorphosis. Although post-winter solstice increases in daily photophase duration are responsible for the ecologically correct chronology of the annual reproductive cycle, starlings maintained in the absence of daily photostimulation under go testicular metamorphosis with complete spermatogenic development. Present experiments reveal that the rate of testicular growth in starlings held in constant darkness (DD) is affected by previous photoperiodic experience. Birds held under a natural northtemperate zone photoperiod and transferred to DD on 13 September require significantly fewer days to achieve spermatogenic testes than birds pretreated under 12-and 14-h photoperiods or in constant light (LL). Complete spermatogenesis in the 14-h group is achieved only after a greater duration of DD exposure than in all other birds. Variations in the extent of the 12-h pretreatment period do not alter the testis growth rate in starlings subsequently transferred to DD. It is suggested that photoperiodic conditions applied prior to the initiation of DD treatment may affect the characteristics of circadian oscillations that occur in the absence of a photoperiodic zeitgeber, and thus change the reproductive response rate through alterations of hormonal secretions from the hypothalamo-hypophyseal axis.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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 ...

  19. Effects of oral doses of fluoride on nestling European starlings

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fleming, W.J.; Grue, C.E.; Schuler, C.A.; Bunck, C.M.

    1987-01-01

    Nestling European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), raised and fed by free-living adults, were given daily oral doses of either distilled water, 193 mg sodium as Na2CO3 per kg of body weight (sodium control group), or 6, 10, 13, 17,23, 30, 40, 80, 160 mg of the fluoride ion as NaF in distilled water per kg of body weight (mg/kg). Dosing began when nestlings were 24-48 hr old and continued for 16 days. The 24-hr LD50 of fluoride for day-old starlings was 50 mg/kg. The 16-day LD50 was 17 mg/kg. The sodium control group did not differ from the water control group with respect to any of the measured variables. Growth rates were significantly reduced in the 13 and 17 mg of fluoride/kg groups; weights of birds given higher dose levels were omitted from growth comparisons because of high, fluoride-induced mortality. Although pre-fledging weights for the 10, 13, and 17 mg of fluoride/kg groups averaged 3.6 to 8.6% less than controls at 17 days, this difference was not significant. Feather and bone growth of the fluoride and control groups were not different, except for keel length measured at 17 days of age which averaged less in the fluoride groups. Liver and spleen weights were not affected by fluoride treatments. No histological damage related to fluoride treatments was found in liver, spleen, or kidney. The logarithm of bone fluoride and magnesium concentration increased with the logarithm of increasing fluoride treatment levels and were significantly correlated with each other. Fluoride treatments had no effect on percent calcium or phosphorus in bone or plasma alkaline phosphatase activity. Oral doses of fluoride appear to be more toxic than equivalent dietary levels. Most birds probably acquire fluoride through their diet. Therefore, the results of the study may overestimate the potential effects of fluorides on songbirds living in fluoride-contaminated environments.

  20. Age-dependent changes in plasma and brain cholinesterase activities of house wrens and European starlings.

    PubMed

    Mayack, David T; Martin, Tim

    2003-07-01

    We determined age-dependent changes in plasma and brain cholinesterase (ChE) activity for two species of passerines: house wren (Troglodytes aedon) and European starling (Sturnus vulgaris, starling). In plasma from nestlings of both species, total ChE activity increased with age, acetycholinesterase (AChE, EC 3.1.1.7) activity declined rapidly immediately after hatching, and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE, EC 3.1.1.8) activity increased steadily. For both species, total ChE and BChE activities and the BChE:AChE ratio in plasma were significantly greater in adults than nestlings suggesting trends observed in nestlings continue post fledging. In older nestlings and adults, AChE activity in plasma was significantly greater and BChE:AChE ratio less in house wrens than starlings. For house wrens as compared with starlings, ChE activity in brain increased at a significantly greater rate with age in nestlings and was significantly greater in adults. However, ChE activity in brain was similar at fledging for both species suggesting that the increase in ChE in brain is more directly related to ontogeny than chronologic age in nestlings of passerines. For both species, ChE activity increased significantly with brain weight of nestlings but not adults. House wrens hold similar patterns of age-dependent change in ChE activity in common with starlings but also exhibit differences in AChE activity in plasma that should be considered as a factor potentially affecting their relative toxicologic response to ChE inhibitors.

  1. Will the early bird get the mate? Egg lay order influences neural development in European Starling chicks.

    PubMed

    Au, Kelly Lynn; Storey, Anne E; Walsh, Carolyn J

    2010-03-05

    We investigated the role of egg lay order on growth and neural development in pre-fledgling European Starlings, Sturnus vulgaris. Chicks hatched from early-laid eggs had larger relative RA volumes than chicks hatched from later-laid eggs. There were no relationships between lay order and the volume of other brain regions, or chick growth metrics. In adult birds, RA volume is related to song repertoire size, and may affect mate attraction ability. Lay order effects on adult song nuclei should be examined further. Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  2. 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

  3. Age-dependent changes in plasma and brain cholinesterase activities of eastern bluebirds and European starlings.

    PubMed

    Gard, N W; Hooper, M J

    1993-01-01

    Age-dependent changes in plasma and brain cholinesterase (ChE) activity were characterized in two altricial passerine species: eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) and European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Plasma acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity declined rapidly immediately after hatching, while plasma butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) activity increased throughout the nestling period. These patterns continued after birds fledged, since the BChE: AChE ratio was higher in adult birds than fledglings. This is the first confirmation of age-dependent changes in plasma ChE activity in altricial species. Total plasma ChE activity increased with age in both species, which is the reverse of results previously reported for several precocial species. Brain ChE activity increased with age in both species, and did not reach asymptotic levels before young fledged. This corresponded with patterns previously documented in European starlings and three other altricial species. We propose that age and degree of precocity in young birds must be considered when examining sensitivity or evaluating field exposure of birds to ChE-inhibiting compounds.

  4. 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.

  5. 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…

  6. 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…

  7. European starlings recognize the location of robotic conspecific attention.

    PubMed

    Butler, Shannon R; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban

    2014-10-01

    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. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  8. Combined effects of molt and chronic stress on heart rate, heart rate variability, and glucocorticoid physiology in European starlings.

    PubMed

    Kostelanetz, Sophia; Dickens, Molly J; Romero, L Michael

    2009-12-01

    Molt is an important life-history stage in avian species, but little is known about the effects of chronic stress during this period. Three weeks after the onset of molt, captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were exposed to 18 days of chronic stress, induced with four 30-minute randomized stressors presented daily. Birds showed no chronic-stress-induced changes in heart rate or heart rate variability when measured either during the middle of the day or at night. These data suggest that chronic stress did not alter the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system regulation of cardiovascular function, which contrasts with data from an earlier study indicating that chronic stress profoundly alters cardiovascular function in non-molting starlings. Additionally, there was a significant increase in restraint-induced corticosterone secretion the first week of chronic stress that subsequently returned to pre-chronic-stress levels by the second week of exposure. The attenuated corticosterone response again contrasts with data from non-molting starlings that showed significant decreases in corticosterone responses. Consequently, the resistance to cardiovascular and corticosterone changes indicates that the physiological changes induced by chronic stress are greatly attenuated in molting birds. Overall, the data suggest that molt requires a degree of physiological stability that must be protected, so that if a bird is exposed to chronic stress during this life-history stage, molt takes priority.

  9. Cytochrome P4501A induction in primary cultures of embryonic European starling hepatocytes exposed to TCDD, PeCDF and TCDF.

    PubMed

    Farmahin, Reza; Crump, Doug; Jones, Stephanie P; Mundy, Lukas J; Kennedy, Sean W

    2013-05-01

    Novel methods that predict the sensitivity of avian embryos to the toxic effects of dioxin-like compounds (DLCs) using either (1) knowledge of the identity of amino acids at key sites within the ligand binding domain of aryl hydrocarbon receptor 1 (AHR1) or (2) a luciferase reporter gene assay that measures AHR1 activation were recently reported. Results from both methods predict that European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and domestic chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) embryos have similar sensitivity to the biochemical and toxic effects of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), 2,3,4,7,8-pentachlorodibenzofuran (PeCDF) and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzofuran (TCDF). Chicken embryos are highly sensitive to DLC toxicity, and the prediction that starlings are equally sensitive is surprising given their widespread distribution and large population size. In an attempt to learn more about starling sensitivity to DLCs, we determined concentration-dependent effects of TCDD, PeCDF and TCDF on cytochrome P4501A4 and 1A5 (CYP1A4 and 1A5) mRNA levels in primary cultures of hepatocytes prepared from embryonic European starlings. It has been demonstrated that the sensitivity of avian hepatocytes to CYP1A4/5 induction is well correlated with LD50 values of DLCs for several avian species. The results of the present study indicate that European starling hepatocytes are indeed as sensitive as chicken hepatocytes to CYP1A4/5 induction after exposure to TCDD. However, starling hepatocytes are less sensitive than chicken hepatocytes to CYP1A4/5 induction by PeCDF and TCDF.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-04-01

    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.

  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. Chronic stress in free-living European starlings reduces corticosterone concentrations and reproductive success.

    PubMed

    Cyr, Nicole E; Michael Romero, L

    2007-03-01

    Chronic increases in stress hormones such as glucocorticoids are maladaptive, yet studies demonstrating a causal relationship among chronic stress, increases in glucocorticoid concentrations, and subsequent fitness costs in free-living animals are lacking. We experimentally induced chronic psychological stress in female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) by subjecting half of the females at our study site to a chronic stress protocol consisting of 4, 30 min stressors (loud radio, predator calls, a novel object, or predator decoys including a snake, rat, and owl) administered in random order daily for 8 days after clutch completion. Experimental females were captured at the end of the chronic stress protocol (9 days after the onset of the chronic stress protocol), and unstressed control females were captured at the same stage of the nesting cycle. Chronically stressed females had lower baseline corticosterone (CORT, the avian glucocorticoid) concentrations and lower reproductive success than unstressed females. Furthermore, surviving nestlings in experimentally stressed broods showed sensitization of the CORT response to acute stress, which is a physiological change that could persist to adulthood. Attenuation of baseline CORT concentrations in adult females is contrary to the general assumption that elevated CORT concentrations indicate stress, suggesting that more research is necessary before CORT concentrations can be used to accurately assess chronic stress in field studies.

  14. Brood size moderates associations between relative size, telomere length, and immune development in European starling nestlings.

    PubMed

    Nettle, Daniel; Andrews, Clare; Reichert, Sophie; Bedford, Tom; Gott, Annie; Parker, Craig; Kolenda, Claire; Martin-Ruiz, Carmen; Monaghan, Pat; Bateson, Melissa

    2016-11-01

    For young birds in a nest, body size may have implications for other aspects of development such as telomere length and immune function. However, it is possible to predict associations in either direction. On the one hand, there may be trade-offs between growth and telomere maintenance, and growth and investment in immune function, suggesting there will be negative correlations. On the other hand, relatively larger individuals might be advantaged in competition with their nest-mates, allowing them to garner more resources overall, leading to positive correlations. We studied development over the nestling period in 34 nests of wild European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris. Intrabrood competition is typically more intense in larger broods. Hence, we predicted that body size should become an increasingly positive predictor of telomere length and immune functioning as brood size increases. In partial support of our prediction, there were significant interactions between brood size and body size in predicting both erythrocyte telomere length change and plasma levels of the cytokine interleukin-6. The associations between body size and these outcomes went from negative in the smallest broods to positive in the largest. A further immune marker, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, showed no systematic patterning with body size or brood size. Our results confirm that the size to which a nestling grows is important for telomere dynamics and the development of the immune system, but the phenotypic associations are moderated by the competitive context.

  15. 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

  16. The role of European starlings in the spread of coccidia within concentrated animal feeding operations.

    PubMed

    Carlson, James C; Linz, George M; Ballweber, Lora R; Elmore, Stacey A; Pettit, Susan E; Franklin, Alan B

    2011-08-25

    To investigate the relationship between European starlings and bovine coccidiosis we collected samples from European starlings, cattle feed bunks, cattle water troughs, and cattle feces within concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). These samples were screened for coccidia spp. to investigate (i) the prevalence of coccidia in starlings using CAFOs; (ii) if there is a relationship between bovine coccidiosis and starling numbers; (iii) if coccidia contamination of cattle feed and water is related to the number of starlings observed on CAFOs. Coccidia belonging to the genus Eimeria were detected in cattle feces and one water sample but no Eimeria spp. were detected in European starlings or cattle feed. However, many European starling samples were positive for Isospora. Starling use of CAFOs did not appear to be associated with coccidia spp. shedding by cattle and there was no correlation between starling numbers and contamination of cattle feed and water, suggesting that starling do not contribute to the amplification and spread of Eimeria in CAFOs. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  17. 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.

  18. An assessment of the developmental toxicity of BDE-99 in the European starling using an integrated laboratory and field approach.

    PubMed

    Eng, Margaret L; Elliott, John E; Williams, Tony D

    2014-10-01

    Developmental exposure of wildlife to anthropogenic contaminants can have long-term effects that are difficult to assess in field monitoring studies, and may not be evident in laboratory studies that lack ecological components. The objective of this study was to assess the long-term effects of early exposure to contaminants under ecological conditions in a model passerine species, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). We selected 2,2',4,4',5-pentabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-99) as a representative contaminant, as it is one of the major constituents of the commercial penta-BDE flame retardant mixture, and has been reported in avian egg and tissue samples worldwide. We developed a novel approach to assess the developmental toxicity of BDE-99 in starlings by combining aspects of laboratory and field studies. We dosed free-living nestlings living in natural broods in the field with environmentally relevant concentrations of BDE-99 (0-173.8 ng/g bw/day) for the duration of the nesting cycle. To simulate monitoring of long-term effects we brought birds into captivity just prior to fledging and used photoperiod manipulations to induce reproductive development. We assessed a range of physiological and development measures such as hematocrit, oxidative stress, thyroid hormones, neuroanatomy, growth, molt rate, bill color, and testes development. We found some evidence of thyroid hormone disruption, but there were no effects on any other measures of physiology or development. The European starling could serve as a valuable model species for assessing early exposure and long-term effects of anthropogenic contaminants in terrestrial wildlife using this combined field/laboratory approach.

  19. Early-life adversity accelerates cellular ageing and affects adult inflammation: Experimental evidence from the European starling

    PubMed Central

    Nettle, Daniel; Andrews, Clare; Reichert, Sophie; Bedford, Tom; Kolenda, Claire; Parker, Craig; Martin-Ruiz, Carmen; Monaghan, Pat; Bateson, Melissa

    2017-01-01

    Early-life adversity is associated with accelerated cellular ageing during development and increased inflammation during adulthood. However, human studies can only establish correlation, not causation, and existing experimental animal approaches alter multiple components of early-life adversity simultaneously. We developed a novel hand-rearing paradigm in European starling nestlings (Sturnus vulgaris), in which we separately manipulated nutritional shortfall and begging effort for a period of 10 days. The experimental treatments accelerated erythrocyte telomere attrition and increased DNA damage measured in the juvenile period. For telomere attrition, amount of food and begging effort exerted additive effects. Only the combination of low food amount and high begging effort increased DNA damage. We then measured two markers of inflammation, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and interleukin-6, when the birds were adults. The experimental treatments affected both inflammatory markers, though the patterns were complex and different for each marker. The effect of the experimental treatments on adult interleukin-6 was partially mediated by increased juvenile DNA damage. Our results show that both nutritional input and begging effort in the nestling period affect cellular ageing and adult inflammation in the starling. However, the pattern of effects is different for different biomarkers measured at different time points. PMID:28094324

  20. Songs of two starling species: common traits versus adaptations to the social environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Houdelier, C.; Hausberger, M.; Craig, A. J. F. K.

    2012-12-01

    We analysed, for the first time, songs of the African Red-winged Starling Onychognathus morio and compared their general characteristics with those of the European Starling Sturnus vulgaris. Both species are gregarious during the non-breeding season, but European Starlings tend to nest in colonies, form unstable pair-bonds and are occasionally polygynous, whereas Red-winged Starlings form long-term pair-bonds and occupy exclusive nesting territories. Red-winged Starlings produced the same basic song categories as European Starlings: warbles and whistles. These two categories appeared to be involved in similar social interactions in the two species. However, several aspects of song behaviour differed between the two species: Red-winged Starlings, breeding in isolated nests, preferentially used whistles for long-distance communication and showed a simpler organization of warbling song. Whistles in the Red-winged Starling were mostly shared between birds and, in contrast to the European Starling, were not indicators of individual identity. Also in contrast to the European Starling, female song in Red-winged Starlings appeared very important throughout the breeding period. Our results suggest that some song characteristics in the two species are phylogenetically conserved whereas others are affected by the distinct social systems of the two species.

  1. Songs of two starling species: common traits versus adaptations to the social environment.

    PubMed

    Houdelier, C; Hausberger, M; Craig, A J F K

    2012-12-01

    We analysed, for the first time, songs of the African Red-winged Starling Onychognathus morio and compared their general characteristics with those of the European Starling Sturnus vulgaris. Both species are gregarious during the non-breeding season, but European Starlings tend to nest in colonies, form unstable pair-bonds and are occasionally polygynous, whereas Red-winged Starlings form long-term pair-bonds and occupy exclusive nesting territories. Red-winged Starlings produced the same basic song categories as European Starlings: warbles and whistles. These two categories appeared to be involved in similar social interactions in the two species. However, several aspects of song behaviour differed between the two species: Red-winged Starlings, breeding in isolated nests, preferentially used whistles for long-distance communication and showed a simpler organization of warbling song. Whistles in the Red-winged Starling were mostly shared between birds and, in contrast to the European Starling, were not indicators of individual identity. Also in contrast to the European Starling, female song in Red-winged Starlings appeared very important throughout the breeding period. Our results suggest that some song characteristics in the two species are phylogenetically conserved whereas others are affected by the distinct social systems of the two species.

  2. Spatial Clustering of Escherichia coli with Reduced Susceptibility to Cefotaxime and Ciprofloxacin among Dairy Cattle Farms Relative to European Starling Night Roosts.

    PubMed

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

    2017-05-01

    European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) have been implicated in the dispersal of zoonotic enteric pathogens. However, their role in disseminating antimicrobial-resistant organisms through their home range has not been clearly established. The aim of this study was to determine whether starling night roosts served as foci for spreading organisms with reduced susceptibility to antimicrobials among dairy cattle farms. Bovine faecal pats were collected from 150 dairy farms in Ohio. Each farm was visited twice (in summer and fall) between 2007 and 2009. A total of 1490 samples (10 samples/farm over two visits) were tested for Escherichia coli with reduced susceptibility to cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin. Using a spatial scan statistic, focal scans were conducted to determine whether clusters of farms with a high prevalence of organisms with reduced susceptibility to cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin surrounded starling night roosts. Faecal pats 13.42% and 13.56% of samples carried Escherichia coli with reduced susceptibility to cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin, respectively. Statistically significant (P < 0.05) spatial clusters of faecal pats with high prevalence of Escherichia coli showing reduced susceptibility to cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin were identified around these night roosts. This finding suggests that the risk of carriage of organisms with reduced susceptibility to antimicrobials in cattle closer to starling night roosts was higher compared to cattle located on farms further from these sites. Starlings might have an important role in spreading antimicrobial-resistant E. coli to livestock environments, thus posing a threat to animal and public health. © 2016 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

  3. 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. © 2013 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  4. DHEA and estradiol levels in brain, gonads, adrenal glands, and plasma of developing male and female European starlings.

    PubMed

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

    2011-10-01

    Traditionally, sexual differentiation of the brain was thought to be driven by gonadal hormones, particularly testosterone (T). However, recent studies in songbirds suggest that other steroids may also be important. For example, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) can be synthesized by the gonads, adrenal glands, and/or brain and locally metabolized into T and 17β-estradiol (E(2)). Here, we examined DHEA and E(2) levels in the brain, peripheral tissues, and plasma of wild European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). In Study 1, samples were collected from males and females at P0 (day of hatch), P6, and P8. In Study 2, samples were collected at P4. At P0, DHEA levels in the diencephalon were higher in males than females. DHEA levels were generally high in the gonads and adrenals, and they were higher in testes than ovaries at P8. Further, E(2) levels were non-detectable in most brain samples, suggesting that DHEA was not metabolized to E(2) or that locally produced E(2) was rapidly inactivated. At P4, DHEA levels in telencephalic regions were lower in males than females. Taken together, these data suggest that sex differences in peripheral DHEA secretion and neural DHEA metabolism at specific ages during development might play a role in sexual differentiation of the songbird brain.

  5. 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.

  6. Near wake features of a flying European Starling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirchhefer, Adam; Kopp, Gregory; Gurka, Roi

    2013-11-01

    A great deal of research focusing on flapping wings has been motivated by their high performance capabilities, especially in low Reynolds number configurations where static wing performance typically suffers. The approaches to studying flapping wings have taken different forms. One form has been the systematic investigation of the parameters that influence the relationship between flapping wings and their wake. The other form, and the approach used in the present work, is the investigation of flapping wings in nature. While the earliest work on the flapping wings of animals consists of observations of bird flight by Leonardo DaVinci, advances in technology have allowed for quantitative measurements of the wake. The near wake of a freely flying European starling has been measured using high speed, time-resolved, particle image velocimetry, simultaneously with high speed cameras which imaged the bird. These have been used to measure the near wake two-dimensional velocity field that can be associated with the bird's location and wing configuration in an avian wind tunnel. Time series of the velocities have been expressed as composite wake plots, which depict segments of the wing beat cycle for various spanwise locations in the wake. Measurements indicate that downwash is not produced during the upstroke, suggesting that the upstroke does not generate lift. As well, the wake velocities imply the presence of streamwise vortical structures, in addition to tip vortices. These two characteristics indicate similarities between the wake of a bird and the wake of a bat.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  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. 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

  10. Amino acid sequence of the AhR1 ligand-binding domain predicts avian sensitivity to dioxin like compounds: in vivo verification in European starlings.

    PubMed

    Eng, Margaret L; Elliott, John E; Jones, Stephanie P; Williams, Tony D; Drouillard, Ken G; Kennedy, Sean W

    2014-12-01

    Research has demonstrated that the sensitivity of avian species to the embyrotoxic effects of dioxin-like compounds can be predicted by the amino acid identities at two key sites within the ligand-binding domain of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor 1 (AhR1). The domestic chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) has been established as a highly sensitive species to the toxic effects of dioxin-like compounds. Results from genotyping and in vitro assays predict that the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is also highly sensitive to dioxin-like compound toxicity. The objective of the present study was to test that prediction in vivo. To do this, we used egg injections in field nesting starlings with 3,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB-126), a dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyl. Eggs were dosed with either the vehicle control or 1 of 5 doses (1.4, 7.1, 15.9, 32.1, and 52.9 ng PCB-126/g egg). A dose-dependent increase in embryo mortality occurred, and the median lethal dose (LD50; 95% confidence interval [CI]) was 5.61 (2.33-9.08) ng/g. Hepatic CYP1A4/5 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in hatchlings also increased in a dose-dependent manner, with CYP1A4 being more induced than CYP1A5. No effect of dose on morphological measures was seen, and we did not observe any overt malformations. These results indicate that, other than the chicken, the European starling is the most sensitive species to the effects of PCB-126 on avian embryo mortality reported to date, which supports the prediction of relative sensitivity to dioxin-like compounds based on amino acid sequence of the AhR1. © 2014 SETAC.

  11. Independent effects of song quality and experience with photostimulation on expression of the immediate, early gene ZENK (EGR-1) in the auditory telencephalon of female European starlings.

    PubMed

    Sockman, Keith W; Ball, Gregory F

    2009-05-01

    Age influences behavioral decisions such as reproductive timing and effort. In photoperiodic species, such age effects may be mediated, in part, by the individual's age-accrued experience with photostimulation. In female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) that do not differ in age, experimental manipulation of photostimulation experience (photoexperience) affects hypothalamic, pituitary, and gonadal activity associated with reproductive development. Does photoexperience also affect activity in forebrain regions involved in processing a social cue, the song of males, which can influence mate choice and reproductive timing in females? Female starlings prefer long songs over short songs in a mate-choice context, and, like that in other songbird species, their auditory telencephalon plays a major role in processing these signals. We manipulated the photoexperience of female starlings, photostimulated them, briefly exposed them to either long or short songs, and quantified the expression of the immediate-early gene ZENK (EGR-1) in the caudomedial nidopallium as a measure of activity in the auditory telencephalon. Using an information theoretic approach, we found higher ZENK immunoreactivity in females with prior photostimulation experience than in females experiencing photostimulation for the first time. We also found that long songs elicited greater ZENK immunoreactivity than short songs did. We did not find an effect of the interaction between photoexperience and song length, suggesting that photoexperience does not affect forebrain ZENK-responsiveness to song quality. Thus, photoexperience affects activity in an area of the forebrain that processes social signals, an effect that we hypothesize mediates, in part, the effects of age on reproductive decisions in photoperiodic songbirds.

  12. Independent effects of song quality and experience with photostimulation on expression of the immediate, early gene ZENK (EGR-1) in the auditory telencephalon of female European starlings

    PubMed Central

    Sockman, Keith W.; Ball, Gregory F.

    2010-01-01

    Age influences behavioral decisions such as reproductive timing and effort. In photoperiodic species, such age effects may be mediated, in part, by the individual's age-accrued experience with photostimulation. In female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) that do not differ in age, experimental manipulation of photostimulation experience (photoexperience) affects hypothalamic, pituitary, and gonadal activity associated with reproductive development. Does photoexperience also affect activity in forebrain regions involved in processing a social cue, the song of males, which can influence mate choice and reproductive timing in females? Female starlings prefer long songs over short songs in a mate-choice context, and, like that in other songbird species, their auditory telencephalon plays a major role in processing these signals. We manipulated the photoexperience of female starlings, photostimulated them, briefly exposed them to either long or short songs, and quantified the expression of the immediate-early gene ZENK (EGR-1) in the caudomedial nidopallium as a measure of activity in the auditory telencephalon. Using an information theoretic approach, we found higher ZENK immunoreactivity in females with prior photostimulation experience than in females experiencing photostimulation for the first time. We also found that long songs elicited greater ZENK immunoreactivity than short song did. We did not find an effect of the interaction between photoexperience and song length, suggesting that photoexperience does not affect forebrain ZENK-responsiveness to song quality. Thus, photoexperience affects activity in an area of the forebrain that processes social signals, an effect that we hypothesize mediates, in part, the effects of age on reproductive decisions in photoperiodic songbirds. PMID:19224564

  13. Individual differences in the motivation to communicate relate to levels of midbrain and striatal catecholamine markers in male European starlings.

    PubMed

    Heimovics, Sarah A; Salvante, Katrina G; Sockman, Keith W; Riters, Lauren V

    2011-11-01

    Individuals display dramatic differences in social communication even within similar social contexts. Across vertebrates dopaminergic projections from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and midbrain central gray (GCt) strongly influence motivated, reward-directed behaviors. Norepinephrine is also rich in these areas and may alter dopamine neuronal activity. The present study was designed to provide insight into the roles of dopamine and norepinephrine in VTA and GCt and their efferent striatal target, song control region area X, in the regulation of individual differences in the motivation to sing. We used high pressure liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection to measure dopamine, norepinephrine and their metabolites in micropunched samples from VTA, GCt, and area X in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). We categorized males as sexually motivated or non-sexually motivated based on individual differences in song produced in response to a female. Dopamine markers and norepinephrine in VTA and dopamine in area X correlated positively with sexually-motivated song. Norepinephrine in area X correlated negatively with non-sexually-motivated song. Dopamine in GCt correlated negatively with sexually-motivated song, and the metabolite DOPAC correlated positively with non-sexually-motivated song. Results highlight a role for evolutionarily conserved dopaminergic projections from VTA to striatum in the motivation to communicate and highlight novel patterns of catecholamine activity in area X, VTA, and GCt associated with individual differences in sexually-motivated and non-sexually-motivated communication. Correlations between dopamine and norepinephrine markers also suggest that norepinephrine may contribute to individual differences in communication by modifying dopamine neuronal activity in VTA and GCt. Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  14. Individual differences in the motivation to communicate relate to levels of midbrain and striatal catecholamine markers in male European starlings

    PubMed Central

    Heimovics, Sarah A; Salvante, Katrina G; Sockman, Keith W; Riters, Lauren V

    2013-01-01

    Individuals display dramatic differences in social communication even within similar social contexts. Across vertebrates dopaminergic projections from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and midbrain central gray (GCt) strongly influence motivated, reward-directed behaviors. Norepinephrine is also rich in these areas and may alter dopamine neuronal activity. The present study was designed to provide insight into the roles of dopamine and norepinephrine in VTA and GCt and their efferent striatal target, song control region area X, in the regulation of individual differences in the motivation to sing. We used high pressure liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection to measure dopamine, norepinephrine and their metabolites in micropunched samples from VTA, GCt, and area X in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). We categorized males as sexually motivated or non-sexually motivated based on individual differences in song produced in response to a female. Dopamine markers and norepinephrine in VTA and dopamine in area X correlated positively with sexually-motivated song. Norepinephrine in area X correlated negatively with non-sexually-motivated song. Dopamine in GCt correlated negatively with sexually-motivated song, and the metabolite DOPAC correlated positively with non-sexually-motivated song. Results highlight a role for evolutionarily conserved dopaminergic projections from VTA to striatum in the motivation to communicate and highlight novel patterns of catecholamine activity in area X, VTA, and GCt associated with individual differences in sexually-motivated and non-sexually-motivated communication. Correlations between dopamine and norepinephrine markers also suggest that norepinephrine may contribute to individual differences in communication by modifying dopamine neuronal activity in VTA and GCt. PMID:21907203

  15. 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

  16. Flame retardants in eggs of American kestrels and European starlings from southern Lake Ontario region (North America).

    PubMed

    Chen, Da; Letcher, Robert J; Martin, Pamela

    2012-11-01

    While a number of studies have extensively investigated flame retardant (FR) contamination in aquatic ecosystems from the Laurentian Great Lakes basin, there remains a dearth of information for terrestrial ecosystems. In the current study, American kestrels (Falco sparverius) (AMKE) and European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) (EUST) that are terrestrial ecosystem consumers, and from the southern Lake Ontario regions, were investigated as potential terrestrial bio-monitoring species. Egg homogenates were screened for sixteen PBDE congeners and nineteen non-PBDE FRs of established or emerging environmental importance. PBDE congeners dominated the FR burdens in eggs of AMKE and EUST, with total concentrations ranging from 3.4 to 39.8 (median: 13.5) and 1.5 to 117 (median: 4.9) ng g(-1) wet weight (ww), respectively. Although the production and application of the Firemaster FF-1 (a commercial hexabromobiphenyl PBB mixture) has been discontinued for over four decades, its major component, 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexabromobiphenyl (BB-153), was still frequently detected in AMKE and EUST eggs. Two isomers of the chlorinated FR Dechlorane plus (DP) were mostly detected in eggs collected from Niagara-on-the-Lake in the western portion of Lake Ontario, approximately 15 km from the only North American DP manufacturing site, clearly reflecting point source influences. FR comparisons in eggs from AMKE, EUST and Great Lakes herring gulls revealed species-specific contamination burdens and PBDE congener profiles, likely due to influences from trophic levels and PBDE congener-specific bioaccumulation and biomagnification capacities in terrestrial versus aquatic food chains. Insectivorous birds (e.g. great tit) and relatives of AMKE have also been used as bio-monitoring tools in European and Asian regions, allowing investigation of spatial distribution patterns on a more international scale. AMKE and EUST have also been used as model species for laboratory evaluation of FR toxic effects in

  17. 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. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  18. Complex modulation of singing behavior by testosterone in an open-ended learner, the European Starling.

    PubMed

    Van Hout, Alain J-M; Eens, Marcel; Balthazart, Jacques; Pinxten, Rianne

    2009-11-01

    In many temperate zone songbird species males only produce song during the breeding season, when plasma testosterone (T) levels are high. Males of some species sing throughout the year, even when T levels are low, indicating a dissociation between high T levels and song rate. Given that few studies have taken advantage of these species, we compare here song traits expressed under high versus low T concentrations and we study the role of testosterone in adult song learning in the European Starling, an open-ended learner in which repertoire size dramatically increases with age. We performed a detailed comparison of song complexity and song rate between fall and spring in 6-year-old intact male European starlings. In parallel, we investigated whether potential seasonal changes were regulated by the gonadally induced increase in plasma T, by comparing seasonal changes in intact and castrated males of the same age (castrated as juveniles during their first fall) and by subsequently experimentally elevating T in half of the castrated males. While song rate and stereotypy did not differ between intacts and castrates or between fall and spring, both groups increased their average song bout length from fall to spring, but only intact males increased their repertoire size, indicating that effects of seasonal T changes differ between song traits. Intact males overall displayed a larger song repertoire and a longer bout length than the castrates, and implantation with T caused a turnover in repertoire composition in castrates. However, as the castrates had never experienced high T levels and yet displayed a markedly higher repertoire size than that of typical yearling males, this suggests that the progressive increase of song repertoire with age in male starlings is not dependent on gonadal T, although it may be T-enhanced.

  19. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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 species, 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 sexuallymotivated 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. PMID:26192712

  1. D1-like dopamine receptor density in nuclei involved in social behavior correlates with song in a context-dependent fashion in male European starlings.

    PubMed

    Heimovics, S A; Cornil, C A; Ball, G F; Riters, L V

    2009-03-31

    Research in songbirds shows that singing behavior is regulated by both brain areas involved in vocal behavior as well as those involved in social behavior. Interestingly, the precise role of these regions in song can vary as a function of the social, environmental and breeding context. To date, little is known about the neurotransmitters underlying such context-dependent regulation of song. Dopamine (DA) modulates highly motivated, goal-directed behaviors (including sexually motivated song) and emerging data implicate DA in the context-dependent regulation of singing behavior. This study was performed to begin to examine whether differences in DA receptors may underlie, in part, context-dependent differences in song production. We used autoradiographic procedures to label D1-like and D2-like DA receptors to examine the relationship between DA receptor density and singing behavior in multiple contexts in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Within a breeding context (when testosterone (T) was high), D1-like receptor density in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) and midbrain central gray (GCt) negatively correlated with song used to attract a female. Additionally in this context, D1-like receptor density in POM, GCt, medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTm), and lateral septum (LS) negatively correlated with song likely used to defend a nest box. In contrast, in a non-breeding context (when T was low), D1-like receptor density in POM and LS positively correlated with song used to maintain social flocks. No relationships were identified between song in any context and D2-like receptor densities. Differences in the brain regions and directional relationships between D1-like receptor binding and song suggest that dopaminergic systems play a region and context-specific role in song. These data also suggest that individual variation in singing behavior may, in part, be explained by individual differences in D1-like receptor density in brain regions

  2. Sexual dimorphism in the volume of song control nuclei in European starlings: assessment by a Nissl stain and autoradiography for muscarinic cholinergic receptors.

    PubMed

    Bernard, D J; Casto, J M; Ball, G F

    1993-08-22

    Previous studies have found that the volume of several song control nuclei is larger in male songbirds than in female songbirds. The degree of this volumetric sex difference within a given species appears to be systematically related to the degree of the behavioral sex difference. The largest volumetric differences have been reported in species in which the male sings and the female sings little, if at all, and the smallest sex differences in volume have been reported in species in which males and females both sing in nearly equal amounts. We compared the volume of three song control nuclei in male and female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), a species in which females are known to sing, though at a much lower rate than males. We investigated the volume of hyperstriatum ventrale, pars caudale, nucleus robustus archistriatalis, and area X of the lobus parolfactorius as defined with the use of a Nissl stain. In addition, we measured the volume of area X as defined by the density of muscarinic cholinergic receptors visualized by in vitro receptor autoradiographic methods. The volumes of all three of the song nuclei, as defined by Nissl staining, are significantly larger in males than in females. For area X, Nissl staining and receptor autoradiography indicate the same significant volumetric sex difference. The three nuclei are approximately one and one half to two times larger in males than in females, a degree of dimorphism that is intermediate to those reported for other species. Previous investigations of sex differences in the avian vocal control system have used only Nissl stains to define nuclear volumes. We demonstrate in this paper that receptor autoradiography can be used to assess dimorphisms in nuclear volume. Broad application of this approach to a number of neurotransmitter receptor systems will better characterize the dimorphisms in the song system, and therefore will provide greater insight into the neuroanatomical and neurochemical control of

  3. D1-like dopamine receptor density in nuclei involved in social behavior correlates with song in a context-dependent fashion in male European starlings

    PubMed Central

    Heimovics, Sarah A; Cornil, Charlotte A; Ball, Gregory F; Riters, Lauren V

    2009-01-01

    Research in songbirds shows that singing behavior is regulated by both brain areas involved in vocal behavior as well as those involved in social behavior. Interestingly, the precise role of these regions in song can vary as a function of the social, environmental and breeding context. To date, little is known about the neurotransmitters underlying such context-dependent regulation of song. Dopamine (DA) modulates highly motivated, goal-directed behaviors (including sexually motivated song) and emerging data implicate DA in the context-dependent regulation of singing behavior. This study was performed to begin to examine whether differences in DA receptors may underlie, in part, context-dependent differences in song production. We used autoradiographic procedures to label D1-like and D2-like DA receptors to examine the relationship between DA receptor density and singing behavior in multiple contexts in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Within a breeding context (when testosterone (T) was high), D1-like receptor density in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) and midbrain central gray (GCt) negatively correlated with song used to attract a female. Additionally in this context, D1-like receptor density in POM, GCt, medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTm), and lateral septum (LS) negatively correlated with song likely used to defend a nestbox. In contrast, in a non-breeding context (when T was low), D1-like receptor density in POM and LS positively correlated with song used to maintain social flocks. No relationships were identified between song in any context and D2-like receptor densities. Differences in the brain regions and directional relationships between D1-like receptor binding and song suggest that dopaminergic systems play a region and context-specific role in song. These data also suggest that individual variation in singing behavior may, in part, be explained by individual differences in D1-like receptor density in brain regions

  4. 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. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  5. The confusion effect when attacking simulated three-dimensional starling flocks

    PubMed Central

    Hildenbrandt, Hanno; Scott-Samuel, Nicholas E.; Cuthill, Innes C.; Hemelrijk, Charlotte K. 

    2017-01-01

    The confusion effect describes the phenomenon of decreasing predator attack success with increasing prey group size. However, there is a paucity of research into the influence of this effect in coherent groups, such as flocks of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Here, for the first time, we use a computer game style experiment to investigate the confusion effect in three dimensions. To date, computerized studies on the confusion effect have used two-dimensional simulations with simplistic prey movement and dynamics. Our experiment is the first investigation of the effects of flock size and density on the ability of a (human) predator to track and capture a target starling in a realistically simulated three-dimensional flock of starlings. In line with the predictions of the confusion effect, modelled starlings appear to be safer from predation in larger and denser flocks. This finding lends credence to previous suggestions that starling flocks have anti-predator benefits and, more generally, it suggests that active increases in density in animal groups in response to predation may increase the effectiveness of the confusion effect. PMID:28280553

  6. 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.

  7. Force estimation and turbulence in the wake of a freely flying European Starling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ben-Gida, Hadar; Kirchhefer, Adam; Kopp, Gregory; Gurka, Roi

    2011-11-01

    Flapping wings are one of the most complex yet widespread propulsion method found in nature. Although aeronautical technology has advanced rapidly over the past 100 years, natural flyers, which have evolved over millions of years, still feature higher efficiency and represent one of nature's finest locomotion methods. One of the key questions is the role of the unsteady motion in the flow due to the wing flapping and its contribution to the forces acting on a bird during downstroke and upstroke. The wake of a freely flying European Starling is investigated as a case study of unsteady wing aerodynamics. Measurements of the near wake have been taken using long duration high-speed PIV in the wake behind a freely flying bird in a specially designed avian wind tunnel. The wake has been characterized by means of velocity and vorticity fields. The measured flow field is decomposed based on the wing position phases. Drag and lift have been estimated using the mean velocity deficit and the circulation at the wake region. In addition, kinematic analysis of the wing motion and the body has been performed using additional high-speed cameras that recorded the bird movement simultaneously with the PIV. Correlations between the wing kinematics and the flow field characteristics are presented as well as the time evolution of the velocity, vorticity and additional turbulence parameters.

  8. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. 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

    2016-04-04

    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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

    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.

  11. 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

  12. Subtle cues of predation risk: starlings respond to a predator's direction of eye-gaze

    PubMed Central

    Carter, Julia; Lyons, Nicholas J; Cole, Hannah L; Goldsmith, Arthur R

    2008-01-01

    For prey animals to negotiate successfully the fundamental trade-off between predation and starvation, a realistic assessment of predation risk is vital. Prey responses to conspicuous indicators of risk (such as looming predators or fleeing conspecifics) are well documented, but there should also be strong selection for the detection of more subtle cues. A predator's head orientation and eye-gaze direction are good candidates for subtle but useful indicators of risk, since many predators orient their head and eyes towards their prey as they attack. We describe the first explicit demonstration of a bird responding to a live predator's eye-gaze direction. We present wild-caught European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) with human ‘predators’ whose frontal appearance and gaze direction are manipulated independently, and show that starlings are sensitive to the predator's orientation, the presence of eyes and the direction of eye-gaze. Starlings respond in a functionally significant manner: when the predator's gaze was averted, starlings resumed feeding earlier, at a higher rate and consumed more food overall. By correctly assessing lower risk and returning to feeding activity earlier (as in this study), the animal gains a competitive advantage over conspecifics that do not respond to the subtle predator cue in this way. PMID:18445559

  13. Measurements of Neuronal Soma Size and Estimated Peptide Concentrations in Addition to Cell Abundance Offer a Higher Resolution of Seasonal and Reproductive Influences of GnRH-I and GnIH in European Starlings.

    PubMed

    Amorin, Nelson; Calisi, Rebecca M

    2015-08-01

    Hypothalamic neuropeptides involved in vertebrate reproduction, gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH-I) and gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH), can vary in the abundance of immunoreactive cells as a function of the reproductive status and nest box occupation of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). While using the abundance of cells as an indicator of the activity of neurohormones is informative, incorporating information on cell size (readily observed using immunohistochemistry) can offer a more detailed understanding of environmentally-mediated changes in hormonal dynamics. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the size of cells' somas and the estimated concentration of peptides in cells immunoreactive (ir) for GnRH-I and GnIH would vary throughout the breeding season and as a function of nest-box status (resident or not). In the absence of a direct assay of protein, we estimated an index of the concentration of hypothalamic peptides via the relative optical density (i.e., the difference between the mean optical density and the optical density of background staining). In support of our hypothesis, we found that GnRH-I- and GnIH-ir soma size and peptide concentration changed both in males and females throughout the breeding season. Somas were largest and estimated peptide concentration was highest mid-season when compared with earlier in the season or to the non-breeding period. For nest-box residents, GnIH-ir soma size and peptide concentration were higher during the middle of the breeding season than earlier in the breeding season, although residence in the nest box was not related to GnRH-I-ir variables. Our results confirm that previously reported changes in cell abundance mimic changes we see in GnRH-I and GnIH-ir soma size and our proxy for peptide concentration. However, investigating changes in the soma of GnRH-I-ir cells revealed a peak in size during the middle of the breeding season, a change not evident when solely examining data on the

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Multiple-locus variable-nucleotide tandem repeat subtype analysis implicates European starlings as biological vectors for Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Ohio, USA.

    PubMed

    Williams, M L; Pearl, D L; Lejeune, J T

    2011-10-01

    To provide molecular epidemiological evidence of avian transmission of Escherichia coli O157:H7 between dairy farms in Ohio, this study was designed to identify genetic relatedness between isolates originating from bovine faecal samples and intestinal contents of European starlings captured on these farms. During a three-year period (2007-2009), cattle (n = 9000) and starlings (n = 430) on 150 different dairy farms in northern Ohio were sampled for the presence of E. coli O157:H7. Isolates were subjected to multiple-locus variable-nucleotide tandem repeat analysis (MLVA). Distinct allelic groups were identified on most farms; however, isolates clustering into three MLVA groups originated from both cattle and birds on different farms. Sharing of indistinguishable epidemiologically linked E. coli O157 MLVA subtypes between starlings and cattle on different farms supports the hypothesis that these birds contribute to the transmission of E. coli O157:H7 between dairy farms. A continued need exists to identify and to improve preharvest measures for controlling E. coli O157:H7. Controlling wildlife intrusion, particularly European starlings, on livestock operations, may be an important strategy for reducing dissemination of E. coli O157:H7 between farms and thereby potentially decreasing the on-farm prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 and enhancing the safety of the food supply. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Applied Microbiology © 2011 The Society for Applied Microbiology.

  17. Representations of Conspecific Song by Starling Secondary Forebrain Auditory Neurons: Toward a Hierarchical Framework

    PubMed Central

    Chi, Zhiyi; Margoliash, Daniel

    2010-01-01

    The functional organization giving rise to stimulus selectivity in higher-order auditory neurons remains under active study. We explored the selectivity for motifs, spectrotemporally distinct perceptual units in starling song, recording the responses of 96 caudomedial mesopallium (CMM) neurons in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) under awake-restrained and urethane-anesthetized conditions. A subset of neurons was highly selective between motifs. Selectivity was correlated with low spontaneous firing rates and high spike timing precision, and all but one of the selective neurons had similar spike waveforms. Neurons were further tested with stimuli in which the notes comprising the motifs were manipulated. Responses to most of the isolated notes were similar in amplitude, duration, and temporal pattern to the responses elicited by those notes in the context of the motif. For these neurons, we could accurately predict the responses to motifs from the sum of the responses to notes. Some notes were suppressed by the motif context, such that removing other notes from motifs unmasked additional excitation. Models of linear summation of note responses consistently outperformed spectrotemporal receptive field models in predicting responses to song stimuli. Tests with randomized sequences of notes confirmed the predictive power of these models. Whole notes gave better predictions than did note fragments. Thus in CMM, auditory objects (motifs) can be represented by a linear combination of excitation and suppression elicited by the note components of the object. We hypothesize that the receptive fields arise from selective convergence by inputs responding to specific spectrotemporal features of starling notes. PMID:20032245

  18. Sleep-dependent consolidation of auditory discrimination learning in adult starlings

    PubMed Central

    Brawn, Timothy P.; Nusbaum, Howard C.; Margoliash, Daniel

    2010-01-01

    Memory consolidation is widely believed to benefit from sleep. Sleep-dependent memory consolidation has been established broadly in humans, appearing in declarative and procedural tasks. Animal studies have indicated a variety of mechanisms that could potentially serve as the neural basis of sleep-dependent consolidation, such as the offline replay of waking neural activity and the modulation of specific sleep parameters or synaptic strength during sleep. Memory consolidation, however, cannot be inferred from neuronal events alone, and the behavioral demonstration of sleep-dependent consolidation has been limited in animals. Here we investigated whether adult animals undergo sleep-dependent memory consolidation comparable to that of humans. European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were trained to discriminate between segments of novel starling song and retested after retention periods that included a regular night of sleep or consisted only of wakefulness. Auditory discrimination performance improved significantly after retention periods that included sleep but not after time spent awake, and the performance changes following sleep were significantly greater than after comparable periods of wakefulness. Thus, sleep produces a pattern of memory benefits in adult starlings that is fundamentally similar to the patterns of sleep-dependent consolidation observed in humans, suggesting a common sleep-dependent mechanism works across many vertebrate species to consolidate memories and establishing a robust animal model for this phenomenon. PMID:20071524

  19. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. The decline in yolk progesterone concentrations during incubation is dependent on embryonic development in the European starling.

    PubMed

    Paitz, Ryan T; Casto, Joseph M

    2012-05-01

    Oviparous amniotes, particularly birds, have become model systems in which to study how mothers may utilize steroids to adaptively adjust offspring development. Although there is now ample evidence that maternally derived steroids in the egg at oviposition can influence offspring phenotype, very little is known about how these steroids elicit such effects. Of the major avian steroid hormones found in yolk, progesterone is by far the most abundant at oviposition, but has received little research attention to date. In this study, we examine the metabolism of [(3)H]-progesterone injected into freshly laid European starling eggs throughout the first 5 days of development by characterization of radioactivity within the egg homogenate. We also introduce a technique that utilizes a focal, freeze/thaw cycle to prevent embryonic development and allows us to assess the role of the embryo in metabolizing progesterone during early incubation. Two major findings result. First is that [(3)H]-progesterone is metabolized in eggs possessing a developing embryo, but not in eggs with disrupted embryonic development. Second is that the change in the distribution of radioactivity within eggs possessing an embryo is the result of metabolism of [(3)H]-progesterone to a more polar form that is subsequently conjugated. Together, these data suggest live embryos are necessary for metabolism of progesterone during early incubation, underscoring the potentially important contribution of embryos to functional modulation or mediation of maternal yolk steroid effects. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-07-01

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

  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.

  5. Reward Associated with Singing Behavior Correlates with Opioid-Related Gene Expression in the Medial Preoptic Nucleus in Male European Starlings

    PubMed Central

    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

  6. On-farm starling populations and other environmental and management factors associated with the presence of cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin resistant E. coli among dairy cattle in Ohio.

    PubMed

    Medhanie, Genet A; Pearl, David L; McEwen, Scott A; Guerin, Michele T; Jardine, Claire M; Schrock, Jennifer; LeJeune, Jeffrey T

    2016-11-01

    Wild birds that forage around livestock facilities have been implicated as vectors of antimicrobial resistant organisms. Although antimicrobial resistant bacteria have been isolated from European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), their role in the dissemination of antimicrobial resistant elements in livestock facilities needs further investigation. To determine whether on-farm starling density and other factors were associated with the presence of cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin resistant E. coli among dairy cows in Ohio, bovine fecal pats from 150 farms were tested for the presence of cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin resistant E. coli. Each farm was visited twice (during the summer and fall of 2007-2009). Multi-level logistic regression models with a random intercept to account for fecal pats collected within a specific visit to a farm were used to assess the associations. The percentage of samples with cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin resistant E. coli was 13.4% and 13.6%, respectively. The percentage of farms having at least one sample testing positive for cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin resistant E. coli was 56.7% and 48.7%, respectively. The odds of detecting cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin resistant E. coli in the samples was significantly higher in 2007 compared to 2008 and 2009, in fall compared to summer, and from farms closer than 60km to starling night roost sites compared to the farms further than 60km. The presence of starlings during the day had a negative association with the likelihood of detecting cefotaxime resistant E. coli. Presence of calves also had a negative association with the likelihood of detecting both cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin resistant E. coli. European starlings might play a role in the dissemination of antimicrobial resistant agents in livestock facilities related to their daily population movements rather than the specific density of birds on farm during the day.

  7. 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

  8. Effects of restricted basilar papillar lesions and hair cell regeneration on auditory forebrain frequency organization in adult European starlings.

    PubMed

    Irvine, Dexter R F; Brown, Mel; Kamke, Marc R; Rubel, Edwin W

    2009-05-27

    The frequency organization of neurons in the forebrain Field L complex (FLC) of adult starlings was investigated to determine the effects of hair cell (HC) destruction in the basal portion of the basilar papilla (BP) and of subsequent HC regeneration. Conventional microelectrode mapping techniques were used in normal starlings and in lesioned starlings either 2 d or 6-10 weeks after aminoglycoside treatment. Histological examination of the BP and recordings of auditory brainstem evoked responses confirmed massive loss of HCs in the basal portion of the BP and hearing losses at frequencies >2 kHz in starlings tested 2 d after aminoglycoside treatment. In these birds, all neurons in the region of the FLC in which characteristic frequencies (CFs) normally increase from 2 to 6 kHz had CF in the range of 2-4 kHz. The significantly elevated thresholds of responses in this region of altered tonotopic organization indicated that they were the residue of prelesion responses and did not reflect CNS plasticity. In the long-term recovery birds, there was histological evidence of substantial HC regeneration. The tonotopic organization of the high-frequency region of the FLC did not differ from that in normal starlings, but the mean threshold at CF in this frequency range was intermediate between the values in the normal and lesioned short-recovery groups. The recovery of normal tonotopicity indicates considerable stability of the topography of neuronal connections in the avian auditory system, but the residual loss of sensitivity suggests deficiencies in high-frequency HC function.

  9. EFFECTS OF RESTRICTED BASILAR PAPILLAR LESIONS AND HAIR CELL REGENERATION ON AUDITORY FOREBRAIN FREQUENCY ORGANIZATION IN ADULT EUROPEAN STARLINGS

    PubMed Central

    Irvine, Dexter R. F.; Brown, Mel; Kamke, Marc R.; Rubel, Edwin W

    2009-01-01

    The frequency organization of neurons in the forebrain Field L complex (FLC) of adult starlings was investigated to determine the effects of hair cell (HC) destruction in the basal portion of the basilar papilla (BP) and of subsequent HC regeneration. Conventional microelectrode mapping techniques were used in normal starlings and in lesioned starlings either 2 days or 6–10 weeks after aminoglycoside treatment. Histological examination of the BP and recordings of auditory brainstem evoked responses confirmed massive loss of HCs in the basal portion of the BP and hearing losses at frequencies above 2 kHz in starlings tested 2 days after aminoglycoside treatment. In these birds, all neurons in the region of the FLC in which CFs normally increase from 2 to 6 kHz had characteristic frequency (CF) in the range 2–4 kHz. The significantly elevated thresholds of responses in this region of altered tonotopic organization indicated that they were the residue of pre-lesion responses and did not reflect central nervous system plasticity. In the long-term recovery birds, there was histological evidence of substantial HC regeneration. The tonotopic organization of the high frequency region of the FLC did not differ from that in normal starlings, but the mean threshold at CF in this frequency range was intermediate between the values in the normal and lesioned short-recovery groups. The recovery of normal tonotopicity indicates considerable stability of the topography of neuronal connections in the avian auditory system, but the residual loss of sensitivity suggests deficiencies in high-frequency HC function. PMID:19474314

  10. Patterns of hypothalamic GnIH change over the reproductive period in starlings and rats.

    PubMed

    Calisi, R M; Geraghty, A C; Avila, A; Kaufer, D; Bentley, G E; Wingfield, J C

    2016-10-01

    Gonadotropin inhibitory hormone (GnIH) exerts powerful inhibitory effects on various levels of the vertebrate hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (reproductive) axis, yet little is known of how it might change naturally over the course of reproduction. We characterized patterns of hypothalamic GnIH cell abundance over the reproductive period in two popular models used for the study of reproductive endocrinology: European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and Sprague-Dawley rats (Rattus norvegicus). We also examined the effects on an unpredictable change in the environment on GnIH cell abundance during the reproductive period, specifically during the period of parental care, by simulating a nest predation event and removing eggs/pups. In both species, we report changes in GnIH cell abundance are occurring at similar reproductive time points but are not always directionally parallel; this may be due to a difference in life histories and physiology mediating parental care. We discovered that cells immunoreactive for the GnIH peptide in male and female starlings are most highly abundant on the first day of incubation and the first day after the first chick hatches. Conversely in rats, GnIH cell abundance decreases in dams on the first day after pups are born. In both male and female starlings and female rats, GnIH cell abundance increases in response to egg/pup loss, indicating that GnIH responds to an unpredictable change in the environment in a potentially conserved fashion. These changes in GnIH cell abundance during the reproductive period inspire further investigation of its adaptive role in reproductive physiological events and behaviors, especially parental care. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  11. Birds of a feather flock together: Insights into starling murmuration behaviour revealed using citizen science.

    PubMed

    Goodenough, Anne E; Little, Natasha; Carpenter, William S; Hart, Adam G

    2017-01-01

    Pre-roost murmuration displays by European starlings Sturnus vulgaris are a spectacular example of collective animal behaviour. To date, empirical research has focussed largely on flock movement and biomechanics whereas research on possible causal mechanisms that affect flock size and murmuration duration has been limited and restricted to a small number of sites. Possible explanations for this behaviour include reducing predation through the dilution, detection or predator confusion effects (the "safer together" hypotheses) or recruiting more birds to create larger (warmer) roosts (the "warmer together" hypothesis). We collected data on size, duration, habitat, temperature and predators from >3,000 murmurations using citizen science. Sightings were submitted from 23 countries but UK records predominated. Murmurations occurred across a range of habitats but there was no association between habitat and size/duration. Size increased significantly from October to early February, followed by a decrease until the end of the season in March (overall mean 30,082 birds; maximum 750,000 birds). Mean duration was 26 minutes (± 44 seconds SEM). Displays were longest at the start/end of the season, probably due to a significant positive relationship with day length. Birds of prey were recorded at 29.6% of murmurations. The presence of predators including harrier Circus, peregrine Falco peregrinus, and sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus was positively correlated with murmuration size (R2 = 0.401) and duration (R2 = 0.258), especially when these species were flying near to, or actively engaging with, starlings. Temperature was negatively correlated with duration but the effect was much weaker than that of day length. When predators were present, murmurations were statistically more likely to end with all birds going down en masse to roost rather than dispersing from the site. Our findings suggest that starling murmurations are primarily an anti-predator adaptation rather than being

  12. 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

  13. Birds of a feather flock together: Insights into starling murmuration behaviour revealed using citizen science

    PubMed Central

    Little, Natasha; Carpenter, William S.; Hart, Adam G.

    2017-01-01

    Pre-roost murmuration displays by European starlings Sturnus vulgaris are a spectacular example of collective animal behaviour. To date, empirical research has focussed largely on flock movement and biomechanics whereas research on possible causal mechanisms that affect flock size and murmuration duration has been limited and restricted to a small number of sites. Possible explanations for this behaviour include reducing predation through the dilution, detection or predator confusion effects (the “safer together” hypotheses) or recruiting more birds to create larger (warmer) roosts (the “warmer together” hypothesis). We collected data on size, duration, habitat, temperature and predators from >3,000 murmurations using citizen science. Sightings were submitted from 23 countries but UK records predominated. Murmurations occurred across a range of habitats but there was no association between habitat and size/duration. Size increased significantly from October to early February, followed by a decrease until the end of the season in March (overall mean 30,082 birds; maximum 750,000 birds). Mean duration was 26 minutes (± 44 seconds SEM). Displays were longest at the start/end of the season, probably due to a significant positive relationship with day length. Birds of prey were recorded at 29.6% of murmurations. The presence of predators including harrier Circus, peregrine Falco peregrinus, and sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus was positively correlated with murmuration size (R2 = 0.401) and duration (R2 = 0.258), especially when these species were flying near to, or actively engaging with, starlings. Temperature was negatively correlated with duration but the effect was much weaker than that of day length. When predators were present, murmurations were statistically more likely to end with all birds going down en masse to roost rather than dispersing from the site. Our findings suggest that starling murmurations are primarily an anti-predator adaptation rather than

  14. Context-dependent preferences in starlings: linking ecology, foraging and choice.

    PubMed

    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

  15. 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.

  16. Contributions of testosterone and territory ownership to sexually-motivated behaviors and mRNA expression in the medial preoptic area of male European starlings.

    PubMed

    Spool, Jeremy A; Stevenson, Sharon A; Angyal, Caroline S; Riters, Lauren V

    2016-11-01

    Animals integrate social information with their internal endocrine state to control the timing of behavior, but how these signals are integrated in the brain is not understood. The medial preoptic area (mPOA) may play an integrative role in the control of courtship behavior, as it receives projections from multiple sensory systems, and is central to the hormonal control of courtship behavior across vertebrates. Additionally, data from many species implicate opioid and dopaminergic systems in the mPOA in the control of male courtship behavior. We used European starlings to test the hypothesis that testosterone (T) and social status (in the form of territory possession) interact to control the timing of courtship behavior by modulating steroid hormone-, opioid- and dopaminergic-related gene expression in the mPOA. We found that only males given both T and a nesting territory produced high rates of courtship behavior in response to a female. T treatment altered patterns of gene expression in the mPOA by increasing androgen receptor, aromatase, mu-opioid receptor and preproenkephalin mRNA and decreasing tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA expression. Territory possession did not alter mRNA expression in the mPOA, despite the finding that only birds with both T and a nesting territory produced courtship behavior. We propose that T prepares the mPOA to respond to the presence of a female with high rates of courtship song by altering gene expression, but that activity in the mPOA is under a continuous (i.e. tonic) inhibition until a male starling obtains a nesting territory. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. 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. Copyright © 2014 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-22

    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.

  20. 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.

  1. Inverted-U shaped effects of D1 dopamine receptor stimulation in the medial preoptic nucleus on sexually motivated song in male European starlings.

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-01

    Past studies in songbirds have highlighted a central role for the medial preoptic nucleus (mPOA) in context-appropriate vocal communication. During the breeding season, male songbirds sing primarily to attract females (sexually motivated song) and to repel competitors (agonistically motivated song). Past data have linked dopamine and D1 dopamine receptors in the mPOA to sexually motivated but not agonistically motivated song; however, direct effects of dopamine receptor manipulations in the mPOA on song have not been experimentally tested. Here, we tested the hypothesis that D1 receptor stimulation in the mPOA selectively influences sexually motivated male song, and the possibility that the effects of D1 receptor agonism differ at low and high doses. In a first study, breeding-condition male European starlings received infusions of saline or a single dose of the D1 receptor agonist SKF 38393 on separate test days into the mPOA or hypothalamic control areas. Stimulation of D1 receptors in the mPOA triggered sexually motivated but not agonistically motivated song. A second study showed inverted-U shaped dose-response effects of the agonist, such that low levels of sexually motivated song were observed at low and high levels of D1 receptor activation. A third study showed that the effects of the D1 receptor agonist were blocked by the D1 receptor antagonist SCH 23390. These findings suggest that an optimal level of D1 receptor stimulation in the mPOA is needed to facilitate sexually motivated vocal production. The results support a central, context-specific role for the mPOA in vocal communication, and more broadly demonstrate a complex, modulatory influence of D1 receptors in the mPOA on sexually motivated behavior. © 2013 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  2. 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.

  3. Song in an Affiliative Context Relates to the Neural Expression of Dopamine- and Neurotensin-Related Genes in Male European Starlings.

    PubMed

    Merullo, Devin P; Angyal, Caroline S; Stevenson, Sharon A; Riters, Lauren V

    2016-01-01

    Some animals, including songbirds, vocalize at high rates when alone or in large groups. In songbirds, vocal behavior in these contexts is important for song learning and group cohesion. It is not obviously targeted at any particular individual and is described as 'undirected'. Studies suggest a role for dopamine (DA) in undirected song. The neuropeptide neurotensin (NT) can enhance dopaminergic signaling upon binding to the NT receptor 1 (NTR1) and is found in regions where DA can influence song, including the ventral tegmental area (VTA), septum, and the song control nucleus Area X. To begin to test the hypothesis that NT and DA in these regions interact to influence undirected song, we used quantitative real-time PCR to relate undirected singing to mRNA expression of NT, NTR1, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH; a synthetic enzyme for DA) and D1 and D2 receptors in male European starlings. TH and NT expression in VTA, and NT and D1 expression in Area X, positively correlated with song. NT markers also correlated positively with DA markers in VTA. Given the role of VTA projections to Area X in song learning, these results suggest that interactions between NT and DA in these regions may contribute to vocal learning. In septum, NTR1 expression positively correlated with song and NT and DA markers were correlated, suggesting that NT in this region may influence dopaminergic transmission to facilitate undirected vocalizations. Overall, these findings implicate interactions between NT and DA in affiliative communication. © 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  4. Behavioral indices of breeding readiness in female European starlings correlate with immunolabeling for catecholamine markers in brain areas involved in sexual motivation.

    PubMed

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

    2012-12-01

    In seasonally-breeding songbirds, lengthening photoperiod, increases in estradiol and exposure to male courtship facilitate breeding behavior in females in spring. However, there is extreme variability in the extent to which spring-condition females are attracted by male courtship or engage in nesting behavior. Here we explore possible links between catecholamines and individual differences in behaviors indicative of breeding readiness. Female European starlings were placed in conditions typical of the breeding season (spring-like) or the non-breeding season (fall-like). Although many females examined nesting locations, only a subset of spring-like females occupied nest sites. Labeling for dopamine-beta-hydroxylase (DBH; the enzyme involved in norepinephrine synthesis) in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH) was densest in females that acquired nest sites compared to spring-like females without nest sites or fall-like females. Within the group of spring-like females, nesting behaviors correlated positively with DBH labeling in VMH. Females with nest sites had the lowest density of DBH labeling in the ventral tegmental area, and labeling correlated negatively with spring-like female nesting behaviors. Labeling for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH; the rate limiting enzyme for catecholamine synthesis) in putative nucleus accumbens was lowest in spring-like females without nest sites, and labeling correlated positively with nesting behavior in spring-like females. TH labeling density in the medial preoptic nucleus was highest in fall-like females, but a trend was observed for a positive correlation between TH labeling and spring-like female nesting behaviors. These results link distinct patterns of catecholamine activity in brain regions implicated in sexual motivation to female breeding readiness. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  5. Inverted-U shaped effects of D1 dopamine receptor stimulation in the medial preoptic nucleus on sexually-motivated song in male European starlings

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Past studies in songbirds highlight a central role for the medial preoptic nucleus (mPOA) in context-appropriate vocal communication. During the breeding season, male songbirds sing primarily to attract females (sexually-motivated song) and to repel competitors (agonistically-motivated song). Past data link dopamine and D1 dopamine receptors in the mPOA to sexually-motivated but not agonistically-motivated song; however, direct effects of dopamine receptor manipulations in the mPOA on song have not been experimentally tested. Here we tested the hypothesis that D1 receptor stimulation in the mPOA selectively influences sexually-motivated male song and the possibility that the effects of D1 agonism differ at low and high doses. In a first study, breeding condition male European starlings received infusions of saline or a single dose of the D1 receptor agonist SKF 38393 on separate test days into mPOA or hypothalamic control areas. Stimulation of D1 receptors in mPOA triggered sexually-motivated but not agonistically-motivated song. A second study showed inverted-U shaped dose-response effects of the agonist such that low levels of sexually-motivated song were observed at low and high levels of D1 receptor activation. A third study showed that effects of the D1 agonist were blocked by the D1 receptor antagonist SCH 23390. These findings suggest that an optimal level of D1 dopamine receptor stimulation in mPOA is needed to facilitate sexually-motivated vocal production. The results support a central, context-specific role for the mPOA in vocal communication and more broadly demonstrate a complex, modulatory influence of D1 receptors in mPOA on sexually-motivated behavior. PMID:24528137

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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…

  9. 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…

  10. 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.

  11. Are Female Starlings Able to Recognize the Scent of Their Offspring?

    PubMed Central

    Amo, Luisa; Tomás, Gustavo; Parejo, Deseada; Avilés, Jesús Miguel

    2014-01-01

    Background Although there is growing evidence that birds may have individual chemical profiles that can function in several social contexts, offspring recognition based on olfactory cues has never been explored. This ability should be more likely evolved in colonial birds and/or species suffering brood parasitism, in which the risk of being engaged in costly misdirected parental care is high. Methodology/Principal Findings We performed a choice experiment to examine whether females of the spotless starling, Sturnus unicolor, a species that is colonial, and where a fraction of the population is exposed to intraspecific brood parasitism, can discriminate between the scent of their offspring and that of unrelated nestlings. We also explored whether the development of the uropygial gland secretion may play a role in such olfactory discrimination by performing the choice experiments to females rearing nestlings of two different ages, that is, without and with developed uropygial glands. Results showed that female starlings did not preferentially choose the scent of their offspring, independently of whether the gland of nestlings was developed or not. Conclusions/Significance Our results suggest that female starlings do not have or do not show the ability to distinguish their offspring based on olfaction, at least up to 12–14 days of nestling age. Further research is needed to examine whether odour-based discrimination may function when fledgling starlings leave the nest and the risk of costly misidentification is likely to increase. PMID:25299305

  12. Are female starlings able to recognize the scent of their offspring?

    PubMed

    Amo, Luisa; Tomás, Gustavo; Parejo, Deseada; Avilés, Jesús Miguel

    2014-01-01

    Although there is growing evidence that birds may have individual chemical profiles that can function in several social contexts, offspring recognition based on olfactory cues has never been explored. This ability should be more likely evolved in colonial birds and/or species suffering brood parasitism, in which the risk of being engaged in costly misdirected parental care is high. We performed a choice experiment to examine whether females of the spotless starling, Sturnus unicolor, a species that is colonial, and where a fraction of the population is exposed to intraspecific brood parasitism, can discriminate between the scent of their offspring and that of unrelated nestlings. We also explored whether the development of the uropygial gland secretion may play a role in such olfactory discrimination by performing the choice experiments to females rearing nestlings of two different ages, that is, without and with developed uropygial glands. Results showed that female starlings did not preferentially choose the scent of their offspring, independently of whether the gland of nestlings was developed or not. Our results suggest that female starlings do not have or do not show the ability to distinguish their offspring based on olfaction, at least up to 12-14 days of nestling age. Further research is needed to examine whether odour-based discrimination may function when fledgling starlings leave the nest and the risk of costly misidentification is likely to increase.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Abstract 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. We applied molecular epidemiology and population genetics to obtain insights in to the population structure, host-species relationships, gene flow and

  14. Sex recognition by odour and variation in the uropygial gland secretion in starlings.

    PubMed

    Amo, Luisa; Avilés, Jesús M; Parejo, Deseada; Peña, Aránzazu; Rodríguez, Juan; Tomás, Gustavo

    2012-05-01

    1. Although a growing body of evidence supports that olfaction based on chemical compounds emitted by birds may play a role in individual recognition, the possible role of chemical cues in sexual selection of birds has been only preliminarily studied. 2. We investigated for the first time whether a passerine bird, the spotless starling Sturnus unicolor, was able to discriminate the sex of conspecifics by using olfactory cues and whether the size and secretion composition of the uropygial gland convey information on sex, age and reproductive status in this species. 3. We performed a blind choice experiment during mating, and we found that starlings were able to discriminate the sex of conspecifics by using chemical cues alone. Both male and female starlings preferred male scents. Furthermore, the analysis of the chemical composition of the uropygial gland secretion by using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) revealed differences between sexes, ages and reproductive status. 4. In conclusion, our study reveals for first time that a passerine species can discriminate the sex of conspecifics by relying on chemical cues and suggests that the uropygial gland secretion may potentially function as a chemical signal used in mate choice and/or intrasexual competition in this species. © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2012 British Ecological Society.

  15. 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. © 2013 The Authors. Microbiology Open published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  16. Sleep consolidation of interfering auditory memories in starlings.

    PubMed

    Brawn, Timothy P; Nusbaum, Howard C; Margoliash, Daniel

    2013-04-01

    Memory consolidation has been described as a process to strengthen newly formed memories and to stabilize them against interference from similar learning experiences. Sleep facilitates memory consolidation in humans, improving memory performance and protecting against interference encountered after sleep. The European starling, a songbird, has also manifested sleep-dependent memory consolidation when trained on an auditory-classification task. Here, we examined how memory for two similar classification tasks is consolidated across waking and sleep in starlings. We demonstrated for the first time that the learning of each classification reliably interferes with the retention of the other classification across waking retention but that sleep enhances and stabilizes the memory of both classifications even after performance is impaired by interference. These observations demonstrate that sleep consolidation enhances retention of interfering experiences, facilitating opportunistic daytime learning and the subsequent formation of stable long-term memories.

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

    PubMed Central

    Monteiro, Tiago; Vasconcelos, Marco; Kacelnik, Alex

    2013-01-01

    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

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

    PubMed

    Monteiro, Tiago; Vasconcelos, Marco; Kacelnik, Alex

    2013-04-07

    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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Scale-free correlations in starling flocks.

    PubMed

    Cavagna, Andrea; Cimarelli, Alessio; Giardina, Irene; Parisi, Giorgio; Santagati, Raffaele; Stefanini, Fabio; Viale, Massimiliano

    2010-06-29

    From bird flocks to fish schools, animal groups often seem to react to environmental perturbations as if of one mind. Most studies in collective animal behavior have aimed to understand how a globally ordered state may emerge from simple behavioral rules. Less effort has been devoted to understanding the origin of collective response, namely the way the group as a whole reacts to its environment. Yet, in the presence of strong predatory pressure on the group, collective response may yield a significant adaptive advantage. Here we suggest that collective response in animal groups may be achieved through scale-free behavioral correlations. By reconstructing the 3D position and velocity of individual birds in large flocks of starlings, we measured to what extent the velocity fluctuations of different birds are correlated to each other. We found that the range of such spatial correlation does not have a constant value, but it scales with the linear size of the flock. This result indicates that behavioral correlations are scale free: The change in the behavioral state of one animal affects and is affected by that of all other animals in the group, no matter how large the group is. Scale-free correlations provide each animal with an effective perception range much larger than the direct interindividual interaction range, thus enhancing global response to perturbations. Our results suggest that flocks behave as critical systems, poised to respond maximally to environmental perturbations.

  7. Cardiac thin filament regulation and the Frank-Starling mechanism.

    PubMed

    Kobirumaki-Shimozawa, Fuyu; Inoue, Takahiro; Shintani, Seine A; Oyama, Kotaro; Terui, Takako; Minamisawa, Susumu; Ishiwata, Shin'ichi; Fukuda, Norio

    2014-07-01

    The heart has an intrinsic ability to increase systolic force in response to a rise in ventricular filling (the Frank-Starling law of the heart). It is widely accepted that the length dependence of myocardial activation underlies the Frank-Starling law of the heart. Recent advances in muscle physiology have enabled the identification of the factors involved in length-dependent activation, viz., titin (connectin)-based interfilament lattice spacing reduction and thin filament "on-off" regulation, with the former triggering length-dependent activation and the latter determining the number of myosin molecules recruited to thin filaments. Patients with a failing heart have demonstrated reduced exercise tolerance at least in part via depression of the Frank-Starling mechanism. Recent studies revealed that various mutations occur in the thin filament regulatory proteins, such as troponin, in the ventricular muscle of failing hearts, which consequently alter the Frank-Starling mechanism. In this article, we review the molecular mechanisms of length-dependent activation, and the influence of troponin mutations on the phenomenon.

  8. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

    Schmidt-Wellenburg, Carola A; Engel, Sophia; Visser, G Henk

    2008-08-01

    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 L(S) 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 x log10(m) for C, and log10(ef) = 0.073 + 0.47 x log10(m) for L). The difference in ef between C, LS and LL was best explained by taking the transported mass m transp (in g) instead of m into account (log10(ef) = -0.08 + 0.54 x log10(m transp)). 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.

  12. The Frank-Starling mechanism in vertebrate cardiac myocytes.

    PubMed

    Shiels, Holly A; White, Ed

    2008-07-01

    The Frank-Starling law of the heart applies to all classes of vertebrates. It describes how stretch of cardiac muscle, up to an optimum length, increases contractility thereby linking cardiac ejection to cardiac filling. The cellular mechanisms underlying the Frank-Starling response include an increase in myofilament sensitivity for Ca2+, decreased myofilament lattice spacing and increased thin filament cooperativity. Stretching of mammalian, amphibian and fish cardiac myocytes reveal that the functional peak of the sarcomere length (SL)-tension relationship occurs at longer SL in the non-mammalian classes. These findings correlate with in vivo cardiac function as non-mammalian vertebrates, such as fish, vary stroke volume to a relatively larger extent than mammals. Thus, it seems the length-dependent properties of individual myocytes are modified to accommodate differences in organ function, and the high extensibility of certain hearts is matched by the extensibility of their myocytes. Reasons for the differences between classes are still to be elucidated, however, the structure of mammalian ventricular myocytes, with larger widths and higher levels of passive stiffness than those from other vertebrate classes may be implicated.

  13. Assessment of contractility in intact ventricular cardiomyocytes using the dimensionless 'Frank-Starling Gain' index.

    PubMed

    Bollensdorff, Christian; Lookin, Oleg; Kohl, Peter

    2011-07-01

    This paper briefly recapitulates the Frank-Starling law of the heart, reviews approaches to establishing diastolic and systolic force-length behaviour in intact isolated cardiomyocytes, and introduces a dimensionless index called 'Frank-Starling Gain', calculated as the ratio of slopes of end-systolic and end-diastolic force-length relations. The benefits and limitations of this index are illustrated on the example of regional differences in Guinea pig intact ventricular cardiomyocyte mechanics. Potential applicability of the Frank-Starling Gain for the comparison of cell contractility changes upon stretch will be discussed in the context of intra- and inter-individual variability of cardiomyocyte properties.

  14. How social experience shapes song representation in the brain of starlings.

    PubMed

    George, Isabelle; Cousillas, Hugo

    2013-06-01

    Birdsong, like speech, is a learned behaviour whose critical function is to communicate with others and whose development critically depends on social influences. Song learning is a complex phenomenon that involves not only the development of species-specific vocalisations, but also the development of the ability to organise these vocalisations and to use them in an appropriate context. Although the fact that interactions with adult experienced models are essential for song production to develop properly has been well established, far less is known about song perception and processing. The fact that songbirds learn to vocalise and to use their vocalisations selectively through interactions with adults questions whether such interactions are also required for songbirds to perceive and process their vocalisations selectively and whether social interactions may shape song perception and processing as they shape song production. In order to address these questions, our team uses an original neuroethological approach to study the neural bases of song behaviour in a highly social songbird species: the European starlings. We provide here a synthesis of the results we have obtained using this approach over the last decade. Our results show that direct social experience with adult experienced models not only shapes song behaviour but also shapes these songbirds' brains and their ability to perceive and to process acoustic signals whose communicative value, as well as their acoustic structure, have to be learned.

  15. 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. © 2014 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology © 2014 The Physiological Society.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Selection, constraint, and the evolution of coloration in African starlings.

    PubMed

    Maia, Rafael; Rubenstein, Dustin R; Shawkey, Matthew D

    2016-05-01

    Colorful plumage plays a prominent role in the evolution of birds, influencing communication (sexual/social selection), and crypsis (natural selection). Comparative studies have focused primarily on these selective pressures, but the mechanisms underlying color production can also be important by constraining the color gamut upon which selection acts. Iridescence is particularly interesting to study the interaction between selection and color-producing mechanisms because a broad range of colors can be produced with a shared template, and innovations to this template further expand this by increasing the parameters interacting to produce colors. We examine the patterns of ornamentation and dichromatism evolution in African starlings, a group remarkably diverse in color production mechanisms, social systems, and ecologies. We find that the presence of iridescence is ancestral to the group, being predominantly lost in females and cooperative breeders, as well as species with less labile templates. Color-producing mechanisms interact and are the main predictors of plumage ornamentation and elaboration, with little influence of selective pressures in their evolution. Dichromatism, however is influenced by social system and the loss of iridescence. Our results show the importance of considering both selection and constraints, and the different roles that they may have, in the evolution of ornamentation and dimorphism.

  20. 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.

  1. Frank-starling control of a left ventricular assist device.

    PubMed

    Stevens, Michael Charles; Gaddum, Nicholas Richard; Pearcy, Mark; Salamonsen, Robert F; Timms, Daniel Lee; Mason, David Glen; Fraser, John F

    2011-01-01

    A physiological control system was developed for a rotary left ventricular assist device (LVAD) in which the target pump flow rate (LVADQ) was set as a function of left atrial pressure (LAP), mimicking the Frank-Starling mechanism. The control strategy was implemented using linear PID control and was evaluated in a pulsatile mock circulation loop using a prototyped centrifugal pump by varying pulmonary vascular resistance to alter venous return. The control strategy automatically varied pump speed (2460 to 1740 to 2700 RPM) in response to a decrease and subsequent increase in venous return. In contrast, a fixed-speed pump caused a simulated ventricular suction event during low venous return and higher ventricular volumes during high venous return. The preload sensitivity was increased from 0.011 L/min/mmHg in fixed speed mode to 0.47L/min/mmHg, a value similar to that of the native healthy heart. The sensitivity varied automatically to maintain the LAP and LVADQ within a predefined zone. This control strategy requires the implantation of a pressure sensor in the left atrium and a flow sensor around the outflow cannula of the LVAD. However, appropriate pressure sensor technology is not yet commercially available and so an alternative measure of preload such as pulsatility of pump signals should be investigated.

  2. Immunity, Life and Dancing Starlings: A Physician's Perspective.

    PubMed

    Bercovich, Dani; Goodman, Geoffrey; Gershwin, M Eric

    2016-08-01

    Immune function is the most basic physiological process in humans and indeed throughout the animal kingdom. Interestingly, the vast majority of textbooks of physiology do not include a chapter on immunity. Our species survival is dependent on the diversity of the immune response and the ability for antigen presentation and effector mechanisms to be enormously promiscuous. As physicians, we are likely all too aware of how brief our life span is and the myriad of diseases and events that shorten it. It is not surprising that we question where our life comes from and our relationship within the universe. Many hypotheses have been offered regarding the likelihood that intelligent life exists elsewhere. We propose that such issues be discussed in the context of basic biologic observations on earth, such as the sight of a dense flock of tens of thousands of starlings maneuvering in rapid twists and turns at dusk before settling in trees for the night. The mathematical likelihood for life elsewhere was proposed by Frank Drake in a classic equation whose 'thesis' has stimulated the search for alien civilizations and the nature of life. A fundamental gap in this equation is the presence of a diverse immune response, a feature essential for survival of Life, presumably also extra-terrestrially.

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  5. Replication of the Frank-Starling response in a mock circulation loop.

    PubMed

    Gregory, Shaun D; Stevens, Michael; Timms, Daniel; Pearcy, Mark

    2011-01-01

    Mock circulation loops (MCLs) are used to evaluate cardiovascular devices prior to in-vivo trials; however they lack the vital autoregulatory responses that occur in humans. This study aimed to develop and implement a left and right ventricular Frank-Starling response in a MCL. A proportional controller based on ventricular end diastolic volume was used to control the driving pressure of the MCL's pneumatically operated ventricles. Ventricular pressure-volume loops and end systolic pressure-volume relationships were produced for a variety of healthy and pathological conditions and compared with human data to validate the simulated Frank-Starling response. The non-linear Frank-Starling response produced in this study successfully altered left and right ventricular contractility with changing preload and was validated with previously reported data. This improvement to an already detailed MCL has resulted in a test rig capable of further refining cardiovascular devices and reducing the number of in-vivo trials.

  6. Assessment of the Frank-Starling relationship by two-dimensional echocardiography.

    PubMed

    Zipprich, D A; Owen, C H; Lewis, C W; Gall, S A; Davis, J W; Kisslo, J A; Glower, D D

    1996-01-01

    The Frank-Starling relationship between left ventricular stroke work and end-diastolic minor-axis cross-sectional area was evaluated as a load-insensitive measure of inotropic state by two-dimensional echocardiography in 10 conscious dogs. Stroke work was calculated as the product of systolic change in cross-sectional area and either (1) beat-to-beat mean arterial pressure or (2) initial systolic blood pressure. Both Frank-Starling relationships were highly linear during preload variation (mean r = 0.96), sensitive to the inotropic state (slope increase with calcium 51% +/- 43% and 62% +/- 53%, respectively), and insensitive to afterload (r < 0.4, slope or x intercept versus afterload). Thus the Frank-Starling relationships derived from two-dimensional echocardiographic images and peripheral arterial pressure may be a useful and practical means of assessing inotropic state with minimally invasive measurements.

  7. β-Arrestin mediates the Frank-Starling mechanism of cardiac contractility.

    PubMed

    Abraham, Dennis M; Davis, Robert T; Warren, Chad M; Mao, Lan; Wolska, Beata M; Solaro, R John; Rockman, Howard A

    2016-12-13

    The Frank-Starling law of the heart is a physiological phenomenon that describes an intrinsic property of heart muscle in which increased cardiac filling leads to enhanced cardiac contractility. Identified more than a century ago, the Frank-Starling relationship is currently known to involve length-dependent enhancement of cardiac myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity. However, the upstream molecular events that link cellular stretch to the length-dependent myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity are poorly understood. Because the angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) and the multifunctional transducer protein β-arrestin have been shown to mediate mechanosensitive cellular signaling, we tested the hypothesis that these two proteins are involved in the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart. Using invasive hemodynamics, we found that mice lacking β-arrestin 1, β-arrestin 2, or AT1R were unable to generate a Frank-Starling force in response to changes in cardiac volume. Although wild-type mice pretreated with the conventional AT1R blocker losartan were unable to enhance cardiac contractility with volume loading, treatment with a β-arrestin-biased AT1R ligand to selectively activate β-arrestin signaling preserved the Frank-Starling relationship. Importantly, in skinned muscle fiber preparations, we found markedly impaired length-dependent myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity in β-arrestin 1, β-arrestin 2, and AT1R knockout mice. Our data reveal β-arrestin 1, β-arrestin 2, and AT1R as key regulatory molecules in the Frank-Starling mechanism, which potentially can be targeted therapeutically with β-arrestin-biased AT1R ligands.

  8. Effect of thermal stress on Frank-Starling relations in humans.

    PubMed

    Wilson, T E; Brothers, R M; Tollund, C; Dawson, E A; Nissen, P; Yoshiga, C C; Jons, C; Secher, N H; Crandall, C G

    2009-07-01

    The Frank-Starling 'law of the heart' is implicated in certain types of orthostatic intolerance in humans. Environmental conditions have the capacity to modulate orthostatic tolerance, where heat stress decreases and cooling increases orthostatic tolerance. The objective of this project was to test the hypothesis that heat stress augments and cooling attenuates orthostatic-induced decreases in stroke volume (SV) via altering the operating position on a Frank-Starling curve. Pulmonary artery catheters were placed in 11 subjects for measures of pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) and SV (thermodilution derived cardiac output/heart rate). Subjects experienced lower-body negative-pressure (LBNP) of 0, 15 and 30 mmHg during normothermia, skin-surface cooling (decrease in mean skin temperature of 4.3 +/- 0.4 degrees C (mean +/- s.e.m.) via perfusing 16 degrees C water through a tubed-lined suit), and whole-body heating (increase in blood temperature of 1.0 +/- 0.1 degrees C via perfusing 46 degrees C water through the suit). SV was 123 +/- 8, 121 +/- 10, 131 +/- 7 ml prior to LBNP, during normothermia, skin-surface cooling, and whole-body heating, respectfully (P = 0.20). LBNP of 30 mmHg induced greater decreases in SV during heating (-48.7 +/- 6.7 ml) compared to normothermia (-33.2 +/- 7.4 ml) and to cooling (-10.3 +/- 2.9 ml; all P < 0.05). Relating PCWP to SV indicated that cooling values were located on the flatter portion of a Frank-Starling curve because of attenuated decreases in SV per decrease in PCWP. In contrast, heating values were located on the steeper portion of a Frank-Starling curve because of augmented decreases in SV per decrease in PCWP. These data suggest that a Frank-Starling mechanism may contribute to improvements in orthostatic tolerance during cold stress and orthostatic intolerance during heat stress.

  9. Endothelin-1 contributes to the Frank-Starling response in hypertrophic rat hearts.

    PubMed

    Piuhola, Jarkko; Szokodi, István; Kinnunen, Pietari; Ilves, Mika; deChâtel, Rudolf; Vuolteenaho, Olli; Ruskoaho, Heikki

    2003-01-01

    Endothelin-1 is involved in mechanical load-induced cardiac growth processes; it also has effects on contractility. The interaction of endothelin-1 and the Frank-Starling response is unknown. The present study aimed to characterize the role of endothelin-1 in the regulation of the Frank-Starling response, one of the major mechanisms regulating cardiac contractile force, in both normal and hypertrophied hearts. Nontransgenic rat hearts and hypertrophic hearts of hypertensive double transgenic rats harboring human angiotensinogen and renin genes were studied in a Langendorff isolated heart setup with a liquid-filled balloon inside the left ventricle used to measure contractile parameters. The rats were studied at compensated phase, before showing any signs of heart failure. Compensated hypertrophy in double transgenic rat hearts resulted in improved contractility at a given level of preload when compared with nontransgenic rat hearts. Hearts of both rat lines showed preserved Frank-Starling responses, that is, increased contractile function in response to increased end-diastolic pressure. The mixed endothelin A/B receptor antagonist bosentan attenuated the Frank-Starling response by 53% (P<0.01) in the double transgenic hearts but not in nontransgenic hearts. The diastolic parameters remained unaffected. The left ventricles of the double transgenic rat hearts showed an 82% higher level of endothelin type A receptor mRNA and a 25% higher level of immunoreactive endothelin-1 compared with nontransgenic rat hearts. The type 1 angiotensin II receptor antagonist CV-11974 had no significant effect on contractile function in response to load in either strain. These results show that endogenous endothelin-1 contributes to the Frank-Starling response in hypertrophied rat hearts by affecting systolic performance.

  10. 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'…

  11. 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'…

  12. [Cardiohemodynamics and efficiency Frank-Starling mechanism in spontaneously hypertensive rats].

    PubMed

    Dorofeieva, N O; Kuz'menko, M O; Shimans'ka, T V; Sagach, V F

    2012-01-01

    We studied cardiohemodynamics and efficiency Frank-Starling mechanism in 6-month-old spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and age-matched Wistar rats, using pressure-volume (PV) conductance catheter system (Millar Instruments, Houston, TX) to evaluate systolic and diastolic function in vivo. Rats were anesthetized with urethane. Cardiohemodynamics analyzed using PVAN 3.6 (Millar Instruments). We found that systolic and diastolic function of the heart in spontaneously hypertensive rats were lower, than in controls. We have shown, inhibition of the efficiency Frank-Starling mechanism, increasing arterial stiffness in spontaneously hypertensive rats. It's shown, less efficiency heart work, with more energy and more oxygen consumption in spontaneously hypertensive rats, may be associated with increasing arterial stiffness and decrease functional reserve of the heart.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Theoretical foundations of a Starling-like controller for rotary blood pumps.

    PubMed

    Salamonsen, Robert Francis; Lim, Einly; Gaddum, Nicholas; AlOmari, Abdul-Hakeem H; Gregory, Shaun David; Stevens, Michael; Mason, David Glen; Fraser, John F; Timms, Daniel; Karunanithi, Mohan K; Lovell, Nigel Hamilton

    2012-09-01

    A clinically intuitive physiologic controller is desired to improve the interaction between implantable rotary blood pumps and the cardiovascular system. This controller should restore the Starling mechanism of the heart, thus preventing overpumping and underpumping scenarios plaguing their implementation. A linear Starling-like controller for pump flow which emulated the response of the natural left ventricle (LV) to changes in preload was then derived using pump flow pulsatility as the feedback variable. The controller could also adapt the control line gradient to accommodate longer-term changes in cardiovascular parameters, most importantly LV contractility which caused flow pulsatility to move outside predefined limits. To justify the choice of flow pulsatility, four different pulsatility measures (pump flow, speed, current, and pump head pressure) were investigated as possible surrogates for LV stroke work. Simulations using a validated numerical model were used to examine the relationships between LV stroke work and these measures. All were approximately linear (r(2) (mean ± SD) = 0.989 ± 0.013, n = 30) between the limits of ventricular suction and opening of the aortic valve. After aortic valve opening, the four measures differed greatly in sensitivity to further increases in LV stroke work. Pump flow pulsatility showed more correspondence with changes in LV stroke work before and after opening of the aortic valve and was least affected by changes in the LV and right ventricular (RV) contractility, blood volume, peripheral vascular resistance, and heart rate. The system (flow pulsatility) response to primary changes in pump flow was then demonstrated to be appropriate for stable control of the circulation. As medical practitioners have an instinctive understanding of the Starling curve, which is central to the synchronization of LV and RV outputs, the intuitiveness of the proposed Starling-like controller will promote acceptance and enable rational

  16. The NO stimulator, Catestatin, improves the Frank-Starling response in normotensive and hypertensive rat hearts.

    PubMed

    Angelone, T; Quintieri, A M; Pasqua, T; Filice, E; Cantafio, P; Scavello, F; Rocca, C; Mahata, S K; Gattuso, A; Cerra, M C

    2015-08-01

    The myocardial response to mechanical stretch (Frank-Starling law) is an important physiological cardiac determinant. Modulated by many endogenous substances, it is impaired in the presence of cardiovascular pathologies and during senescence. Catestatin (CST:hCgA352-372), a 21-amino-acid derivate of Chromogranin A (CgA), displays hypotensive/vasodilatory properties and counteracts excessive systemic and/or intra-cardiac excitatory stimuli (e.g., catecholamines and endothelin-1). CST, produced also by the myocardium, affects the heart by modulating inotropy, lusitropy and the coronary tone through a Nitric Oxide (NO)-dependent mechanism. This study evaluated the putative influence elicited by CST on the Frank-Starling response of normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) and hypertensive (SHR) hearts by using isolated and Langendorff perfused cardiac preparations. Functional changes were evaluated on aged (18-month-old) WKY rats and SHR which mimic human chronic heart failure (HF). Comparison to WKY rats, SHR showed a reduced Frank-Starling response. In both rat strains, CST administration improved myocardial mechanical response to increased end-diastolic pressures. This effect was mediated by EE/IP3K/NOS/NO/cGMP/PKG, as revealed by specific inhibitors. CST-dependent positive Frank-Starling response is paralleled by an increment in protein S-Nitrosylation. Our data suggested CST as a NO-dependent physiological modulator of the stretch-induced intrinsic regulation of the heart. This may be of particular importance in the aged hypertrophic heart, whose function is impaired because of a reduced systolic performance accompanied by delayed relaxation and increased diastolic stiffness.

  17. Frank-Starling mechanism retains recirculation fraction of myocardial Ca(2+) in the beating heart.

    PubMed

    Mizuno, J; Araki, J; Mohri, S; Minami, H; Doi, Y; Fujinaka, W; Miyaji, K; Kiyooka, T; Oshima, Y; Iribe, G; Hirakawa, M; Suga, H

    2001-12-01

    Myocardial Ca(2+) handling in excitation-contraction coupling is the second primary determinant of energy or O(2) demand in a working heart. The intracellular and extracellular routes remove myocardial Ca(2+) that was released into the sarcoplasma with different Ca(2+): ATP stoichiometries. The intracellular route is twice as economical as the extracellular route. Therefore the fraction of total Ca(2+) removed via the sarcoplasmic reticulum, i.e., the recirculation fraction of intracellular Ca(2+) (RF), determines the economy of myocardial Ca(2+) handling. RF has conventionally been estimated as the exponential decay rate of postextrasystolic potentiation (PESP). However, we have found that PESP usually decays in alternans, but not exponentially in the canine left ventricle beating above 100 beats/min. We have succeeded in estimating RF from the exponential decay component of an alternans PESP. We previously found that the Frank-Starling mechanism or varied ventricular preload did not affect the economy of myocardial Ca(2+) handling. Then, to account for this important finding, we hypothesized that the Frank-Starling mechanism would not affect RF at a constant heart rate. We tested this hypothesis and found its supportive evidence in 11 canine left ventricles. We conclude that RF at a constant heart rate would remain constant, independent of the Frank-Starling mechanism.

  18. 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.

  19. Nitrite is a positive modulator of the Frank-Starling response in the vertebrate heart.

    PubMed

    Angelone, Tommaso; Gattuso, Alfonsina; Imbrogno, Sandra; Mazza, Rosa; Tota, Bruno

    2012-06-01

    Evidence from both mammalian and nonmammalian vertebrates indicates that intracardiac nitric oxide (NO) facilitates myocardial relaxation, ventricular diastolic distensibility, and, consequently, the Frank-Starling response, i.e., the preload-induced increase of cardiac output. Since nitrite ion (NO(2)(-)), the major storage pool of bioactive NO, recently emerged as a cardioprotective endogenous modulator, we explored its influence on the Frank-Starling response in eel, frog, and rat hearts, used as paradigms of fish, amphibians, and mammals, respectively. We demonstrated that, like NO, exogenous nitrite improves the Frank-Starling response in all species, as indicated by an increase of stroke volume and stroke work (eel and frog) and of left ventricular (LV) pressure and LVdP/dt max (rat), used as indexes of inotropism. Unlike in frog and rat, in eel, the positive influence of nitrite appeared to be dependent on NO synthase inhibition. In all species, the effect was sensitive to NO scavengers, independent on nitroxyl anion, and mediated by a cGMP/PKG-dependent pathway. Moreover, the nitrite treatment increased S-nitrosylation of lower-molecular-weight proteins in cytosolic and membrane fractions. These results suggest that nitrite acts as a physiological source of NO, modulating through different species-specific mechanisms, the stretch-induced intrinsic regulation of the vertebrate heart.

  20. Effect of thermal stress on Frank–Starling relations in humans

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, T E; Brothers, R M; Tollund, C; Dawson, E A; Nissen, P; Yoshiga, C C; Jons, C; Secher, N H; Crandall, C G

    2009-01-01

    The Frank–Starling ‘law of the heart’ is implicated in certain types of orthostatic intolerance in humans. Environmental conditions have the capacity to modulate orthostatic tolerance, where heat stress decreases and cooling increases orthostatic tolerance. The objective of this project was to test the hypothesis that heat stress augments and cooling attenuates orthostatic-induced decreases in stroke volume (SV) via altering the operating position on a Frank–Starling curve. Pulmonary artery catheters were placed in 11 subjects for measures of pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) and SV (thermodilution derived cardiac output/heart rate). Subjects experienced lower-body negative-pressure (LBNP) of 0, 15 and 30 mmHg during normothermia, skin-surface cooling (decrease in mean skin temperature of 4.3 ± 0.4°C (mean ±s.e.m.) via perfusing 16°C water through a tubed-lined suit), and whole-body heating (increase in blood temperature of 1.0 ± 0.1°C via perfusing 46°C water through the suit). SV was 123 ± 8, 121 ± 10, 131 ± 7 ml prior to LBNP, during normothermia, skin-surface cooling, and whole-body heating, respectfully (P= 0.20). LBNP of 30 mmHg induced greater decreases in SV during heating (−48.7 ± 6.7 ml) compared to normothermia (−33.2 ± 7.4 ml) and to cooling (−10.3 ± 2.9 ml; all P < 0.05). Relating PCWP to SV indicated that cooling values were located on the flatter portion of a Frank–Starling curve because of attenuated decreases in SV per decrease in PCWP. In contrast, heating values were located on the steeper portion of a Frank–Starling curve because of augmented decreases in SV per decrease in PCWP. These data suggest that a Frank–Starling mechanism may contribute to improvements in orthostatic tolerance during cold stress and orthostatic intolerance during heat stress. PMID:19417092

  1. The role of context, colour and location cues in socially learned novel food source preferences in starlings, Sternus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Root-Bernstein, Meredith

    2010-06-01

    Although the opportunity for errors in social learning is widely recognised, as yet little research has been directed towards understanding specific inaccuracies, biases and limitations in social learning and the mechanisms that give rise to them. In two experiments I ask how starlings, Sternus vulgaris, identify exemplars of novel feeders previously learned about socially. I find that starlings have a stronger response to feeders in the same context as that in which social learning took place, compared to identical and nonidentical feeders in a different context. Within a context that matches where social learning took place, starlings prefer feeders that show the same location and colour as the feeder demonstrated by the demonstrator starling, and show no preference when colour and location cues are dissociated. This suggests that starlings are relatively accurate social learners, since they show strong responses to novel foraging options only if they match the context, colour and location of options learned about socially, and they do so after very few trials. Furthermore, the responses of the subjects were compatible with conditioned learning-like mechanisms, which provide a useful basis for the further investigation of the origins and implications of errors in social learning. Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  2. Assessing video presentations as environmental enrichment for laboratory birds.

    PubMed

    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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Functional significance of the Frank-Starling mechanism under physiological and pathophysiological conditions.

    PubMed

    Jacob, R; Dierberger, B; Kissling, G

    1992-11-01

    The functional significance of the Frank-Starling mechanism under physiological and pathophysiological conditions is discussed, based mainly on animal experiment results (in the dog, pig and rat). The dependence of individual stroke volume on end-diastolic volume can be described adequately using Frank's diagram. This can be illustrated by varying filling pressure (respiratory cycle, vascular tone in the capacitance system, body position, circulating blood volume) and by alterations in the duration of the filling period (heart rate and rhythm, rate of relaxation) and in ventricular compliance (wall thickness, fibrosis; contracture, rigor). The functional importance of the Frank-Starling mechanism lies mainly in adapting left to right ventricular output. During upright physical exercise an increase in end-diastolic volume due to the action of the peripheral muscle pump and increased venous tone can assist in enhancing stroke volume. Reduced contractility leads to a shift of the operating point to the right in the pressure-volume diagram, thus tending to prevent a decrease in stroke volume. However, the consequences of increased circulating blood volume in chronic heart failure are, as a rule, mainly detrimental (congestive symptoms; myocardial component of coronary resistance; cardiac energetics). Reduced contractility results in a flattening of the relation between stroke volume (or stroke work) and end-diastolic volume. Furthermore, the Starling mechanism is prevented from becoming effective if the sarcomere-length reserve is exhausted, or in the presence of inadequate sarcomere extension due to impaired relaxation or reduced distensibility of the ventricular wall. The latter is illustrated using the example of a dilated fibrotic left ventricle from a rat with experimental supravalvular aortic stenosis.

  7. 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.

  8. Use of the Frank-Starling mechanism during submaximal versus maximal upright exercise.

    PubMed

    Plotnick, G D; Becker, L C; Fisher, M L; Gerstenblith, G; Renlund, D G; Fleg, J L; Weisfeldt, M L; Lakatta, E G

    1986-12-01

    To evaluate the extent to which the Frank-Starling mechanism is utilized during successive stages of vigorous upright exercise, absolute left ventricular end-diastolic volume and ejection fraction were determined by gated blood pool scintigraphy at rest and during multilevel maximal upright bicycle exercise in 30 normal males aged 26-50 yr, who were able to exercise to 125 W or greater. Left ventricular end-systolic volume, stroke volume, and cardiac output were calculated at rest and during each successive 3-min stage of exercise [25, 50, 75, 100, and 125-225 W (peak)]. During early exercise (25 W), end-diastolic and stroke volumes increased (+17 +/- 1 and +31 +/- 4%, respectively), with no change in end-systolic volume. With further exercise (50-75 W) end-diastolic volume remained unchanged as end-systolic volume decreased (-12 +/- 4 and -24 + 5%, respectively). At peak exercise end-diastolic volume decreased to resting level, stroke volume remained at a plateau, and end-systolic volume further decreased (-48 +/- 7%). Thus the Frank-Starling mechanism is used early in exercise, perhaps because of a delay in sympathetic mobilization, and does not appear to play a role in the later stages of vigorous exercise.

  9. Reconstitution of the Frank-Starling mechanism in engineered heart tissues.

    PubMed

    Asnes, Clara F; Marquez, J Pablo; Elson, Elliot L; Wakatsuki, Tetsuro

    2006-09-01

    According to the Frank-Starling mechanism, as the heart is stretched, it increases its contraction force. Reconstitution of the Frank-Starling mechanism is an important milestone for producing functional heart tissue constructs. Spontaneously contracting engineered heart tissues (EHTs) were reconstituted by growing dissociated chicken embryo cardiomyocytes in collagen matrices. Twitch and baseline tensions were recorded at precisely controlled levels of tissue strain. The EHTs showed a steep increase in twitch tension from 0.47 +/- 0.02 to 0.91 +/- 0.02 mN/mm2 as they were stretched at a constant rate (2.67% per min) from 86% to 100% of the length at which maximum twitch force was exerted. In response to a sudden stretch (3.3%), the twitch tension increased gradually (approximately 60 s) in a Gd3+-sensitive manner, suggesting the presence of stretch-activated Ca2+ channels. A large difference in baseline tension between lengthening (loading) and shortening (unloading) was also recorded. Disruption of nonsarcomeric actin filaments by cytochalasin D and latrunculin B decreased this difference. A simple mechanical model interprets these results in terms of mechanical connections between myocytes and nonmuscle cells. The experimental results strongly suggest that regulation of twitch tension in EHTs is similar to that of natural myocardium.

  10. Reconstitution of the Frank-Starling Mechanism in Engineered Heart Tissues

    PubMed Central

    Asnes, Clara F.; Marquez, J. Pablo; Elson, Elliot L.; Wakatsuki, Tetsuro

    2006-01-01

    According to the Frank-Starling mechanism, as the heart is stretched, it increases its contraction force. Reconstitution of the Frank-Starling mechanism is an important milestone for producing functional heart tissue constructs. Spontaneously contracting engineered heart tissues (EHTs) were reconstituted by growing dissociated chicken embryo cardiomyocytes in collagen matrices. Twitch and baseline tensions were recorded at precisely controlled levels of tissue strain. The EHTs showed a steep increase in twitch tension from 0.47 ± 0.02 to 0.91 ± 0.02 mN/mm2 as they were stretched at a constant rate (2.67% per min) from 86% to 100% of the length at which maximum twitch force was exerted. In response to a sudden stretch (3.3%), the twitch tension increased gradually (∼60 s) in a Gd3+-sensitive manner, suggesting the presence of stretch-activated Ca2+ channels. A large difference in baseline tension between lengthening (loading) and shortening (unloading) was also recorded. Disruption of nonsarcomeric actin filaments by cytochalasin D and latrunculin B decreased this difference. A simple mechanical model interprets these results in terms of mechanical connections between myocytes and nonmuscle cells. The experimental results strongly suggest that regulation of twitch tension in EHTs is similar to that of natural myocardium. PMID:16782784

  11. Application of Adaptive Starling-Like Controller to Total Artificial Heart Using Dual Rotary Blood Pumps.

    PubMed

    Ng, Boon C; Smith, Peter A; Nestler, Frank; Timms, Daniel; Cohn, William E; Lim, Einly

    2017-03-01

    The successful clinical applicability of rotary left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) has led to research interest in devising a total artificial heart (TAH) using two rotary blood pumps (RBPs). The major challenge when using two separately controlled LVADs for TAH support is the difficulty in maintaining the balance between pulmonary and systemic blood flows. In this study, a starling-like controller (SLC) hybridized with an adaptive mechanism was developed for a dual rotary LVAD TAH. The incorporation of the adaptive mechanism was intended not only to minimize the risk of pulmonary congestion and atrial suction but also to match cardiac demand. A comparative assessment was performed between the proposed adaptive starling-like controller (A-SLC) and a conventional SLC as well as a constant speed controller. The performance of all controllers was evaluated by subjecting them to three simulated scenarios [rest, exercise, head up tilt (HUT)] using a mock circulation loop. The overall results showed that A-SLC was superior in matching pump flow to cardiac demand without causing hemodynamic instabilities. In contrast, improper flow regulation by the SLC resulted in pulmonary congestion during exercise. From resting supine to HUT, overpumping of the RBPs at fixed speed (FS) caused atrial suction, whereas implementation of SLC resulted in insufficient flow. The comparative study signified the potential of the proposed A-SLC for future TAH implementation particularly among outpatients, who are susceptible to variety of clinical scenarios.

  12. [Interpretation of the epizootic outbreak among wild and domestic birds in the south of the European part of Russia in December 2007].

    PubMed

    L'vov, D K; Shchelkanov, M Iu; Prilipov, A G; Deriabin, P G; Fediakina, I T; Galkina, I V; Kireev, D E; Frolov, A V; Akanina, D S; Usacheva, O V; Shliapnikova, O V; Poglazov, A B; Morozova, T N; Proshina, E S; Grebennikova, T V; Zaberezhnyĭ, A D; Iakovlev, S S; Shcherbakova, L O; Shapovalov, A B; Zhalin, M V; Rudenko, V P; Pichuev, A E; Litvin, K N; Varkentin, A V; Steshenko, V V; Kharitonov, S P; Proshina, E S; Samokhvalov, E I; Al'khovskiĭ, S V; Aliper, T I; Martynovchenko, V V; Lysenko, S N; Vlasov, N A; Nepoklonov, E A

    2008-01-01

    The paper presents the results of interpreting the epizootic outbreak etiologically associated with high-virulent influenza virus A/H5N1 among domestic and wild birds in the Zernogradsky and Tselinsky districts of the Rostov Region. Epizooty was characterized by a high infection rate in the synanthropic birds of a ground-based complex. RT-PCT revealed influenza virus A/H5 in 60% of pigeons and crows and in around 20% of starlings, and in 10% of tree sparrows. Fifteen viral strains from chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus), Indian ducks (Cairina moschata), rooks (Corvus frugilegus), rock pigeons (Columba livia), tree sparrows (Passer montanus), common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), and great white herons (Egretta alba) were isolated and deposited in the State Collection of Viruses of the Russian Federation. Full-sized genomes of 5 strains were sequenced and deposited in the international database GenBank. The isolated strains belong to the Quinhai-Siberian (2.2) genotype, an Iranian-Northern Caucasian subgroup, they are phylogenetically closest to the strain A/chicken/Moscow/2/2007 (inducing epizooty among poultry in the near-Moscow Region in February 2007) and have 13 unique amino acid replacements as the consensus of the Quinhai-Siberian genotypes in the proteins PB2, PA, HA, NP, NA, and M2, by preserving thereby 4 unique replacements first describes for the strain A/chicken/Moscow/2/2007. The findings are indicative of a different mechanism that is responsible for bringing the virus into the northeastern part of the Azov Sea area in September 2007 (during the fall migration of wild birds) and in December 2007 in the south-western Rostov Region where a human factor cannot be excluded. Mass infection of synanthropic birds endangers the further spread of epizooty, including that in the central regions of the Russian Federation in spring after near migrants return after wintering.

  13. 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

  14. Role of the giant elastic protein titin in the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart.

    PubMed

    Fukuda, Norio; Granzier, Henk

    2004-04-01

    Increased ventricular volume enhances the systolic performance, a phenomenon known as Frank-Starling's law of the heart. At its basis is the ability of cardiac muscle to produce increased active force in response to increased muscle length. Although numerous studies have been conducted to elucidate the molecular basis of length-dependent activation, the mechanism remains elusive. The giant protein titin (also known as connectin) is the third filament system in the sarcomere and is responsible for most passive stiffness of striated muscle in the physiological sarcomere length range. The force generated by titin is usually seen as passive and independent of active force generation. Recent findings, however, suggest that titin-based passive force modulates actin-myosin interaction, resulting in greater active force in response to stretch. In this short review, we discuss the molecular mechanisms of length-dependent activation, focusing on the possible role of titin in its regulation.

  15. Exhaustion of Frank-Starling mechanism in conscious dogs with heart failure.

    PubMed

    Komamura, K; Shannon, R P; Ihara, T; Shen, Y T; Mirsky, I; Bishop, S P; Vatner, S F

    1993-10-01

    The goal of this study was to elucidate the ability of the left ventricle to accommodate an increase in preload (Frank-Starling mechanism) in the presence of congestive heart failure (CHF) but in the absence of the complicating effects of hypertrophy and fibrosis. To accomplish this, the effects of volume loading were examined in eight conscious dogs during the control state and after 3 wk of right ventricular pacing (240 beats/min). CHF increased heart rate (by 16 +/- 5 from 92 +/- 5 beats/min), left ventricular (LV) end-diastolic pressure (by 17 +/- 2 from 10 +/- 1 mmHg), and LV end-diastolic volume (EDV; by 23 +/- 4 from 57 +/- 3 ml). Despite reduced LV ejection fraction (from 54 +/- 3 to 31 +/- 3%), there was no significant change in cardiac output (2.5 +/- 0.3 l/min) compared with control (2.7 +/- 0.2 l/min). Stroke volume was preserved (control 19 +/- 2 ml; CHF 18 +/- 2 ml) at a constant heart rate by a shift to the right in the relationship between LV stroke volume and EDV, indicating the importance of chronic ventricular dilatation in maintaining pump performance. In the control state, acute volume load increased LV EDV (by 17 +/- 2 ml) and stroke volume (by 11 +/- 2 ml), whereas in CHF it did not increase LV EDV or stroke volume. Scanning electron microscopy revealed areas of reduced collagen weave pattern surrounding myofibers. Myocyte cross-sectional area by transmission electron microscopy was significantly reduced, and there were multiple electron-dense expansions of the Z lines with disruption of the normal lateral sarcomere alignment. These morphological findings suggest that chronic ventricular dilatation utilized in CHF results from myocyte stretch and morphological intracellular rearrangement. Furthermore, the failing heart cannot further augment stroke volume by acutely increasing EDV in CHF, suggesting that the Frank-Starling reserve is essentially exhausted.

  16. Preload-based Starling-like control of rotary blood pumps: An in-vitro evaluation.

    PubMed

    Mansouri, Mahdi; Gregory, Shaun D; Salamonsen, Robert F; Lovell, Nigel H; Stevens, Michael C; Pauls, Jo P; Akmeliawati, Rini; Lim, Einly

    2017-01-01

    Due to a shortage of donor hearts, rotary left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are used to provide mechanical circulatory support. To address the preload insensitivity of the constant speed controller (CSC) used in conventional LVADs, we developed a preload-based Starling-like controller (SLC). The SLC emulates the Starling law of the heart to maintain mean pump flow ([Formula: see text]) with respect to mean left ventricular end diastolic pressure (PLVEDm) as the feedback signal. The SLC and CSC were compared using a mock circulation loop to assess their capacity to increase cardiac output during mild exercise while avoiding ventricular suction (marked by a negative PLVEDm) and maintaining circulatory stability during blood loss and severe reductions in left ventricular contractility (LVC). The root mean squared hemodynamic deviation (RMSHD) metric was used to assess the clinical acceptability of each controller based on pre-defined hemodynamic limits. We also compared the in-silico results from our previously published paper with our in-vitro outcomes. In the exercise simulation, the SLC increased [Formula: see text] by 37%, compared to only 17% with the CSC. During blood loss, the SLC maintained a better safety margin against left ventricular suction with PLVEDm of 2.7 mmHg compared to -0.1 mmHg for CSC. A transition to reduced LVC resulted in decreased mean arterial pressure (MAP) and [Formula: see text] with CSC, whilst the SLC maintained MAP and [Formula: see text]. The results were associated with a much lower RMSHD value with SLC (70.3%) compared to CSC (225.5%), demonstrating improved capacity of the SLC to compensate for the varying cardiac demand during profound circulatory changes. In-vitro and in-silico results demonstrated similar trends to the simulated changes in patient state however the magnitude of hemodynamic changes were different, thus justifying the progression to in-vitro evaluation.

  17. Preload-based Starling-like control of rotary blood pumps: An in-vitro evaluation

    PubMed Central

    Gregory, Shaun D.; Salamonsen, Robert F.; Lovell, Nigel H.; Stevens, Michael C.; Pauls, Jo P.; Akmeliawati, Rini; Lim, Einly

    2017-01-01

    Due to a shortage of donor hearts, rotary left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are used to provide mechanical circulatory support. To address the preload insensitivity of the constant speed controller (CSC) used in conventional LVADs, we developed a preload-based Starling-like controller (SLC). The SLC emulates the Starling law of the heart to maintain mean pump flow (QP¯) with respect to mean left ventricular end diastolic pressure (PLVEDm) as the feedback signal. The SLC and CSC were compared using a mock circulation loop to assess their capacity to increase cardiac output during mild exercise while avoiding ventricular suction (marked by a negative PLVEDm) and maintaining circulatory stability during blood loss and severe reductions in left ventricular contractility (LVC). The root mean squared hemodynamic deviation (RMSHD) metric was used to assess the clinical acceptability of each controller based on pre-defined hemodynamic limits. We also compared the in-silico results from our previously published paper with our in-vitro outcomes. In the exercise simulation, the SLC increased QP¯ by 37%, compared to only 17% with the CSC. During blood loss, the SLC maintained a better safety margin against left ventricular suction with PLVEDm of 2.7 mmHg compared to -0.1 mmHg for CSC. A transition to reduced LVC resulted in decreased mean arterial pressure (MAP) and QP¯ with CSC, whilst the SLC maintained MAP and QP¯. The results were associated with a much lower RMSHD value with SLC (70.3%) compared to CSC (225.5%), demonstrating improved capacity of the SLC to compensate for the varying cardiac demand during profound circulatory changes. In-vitro and in-silico results demonstrated similar trends to the simulated changes in patient state however the magnitude of hemodynamic changes were different, thus justifying the progression to in-vitro evaluation. PMID:28212401

  18. Protein kinase C epsilon induces systolic cardiac failure marked by exhausted inotropic reserve and intact Frank-Starling mechanism.

    PubMed

    Montgomery, David E; Rundell, Veronica L M; Goldspink, Paul H; Urboniene, Dalia; Geenen, David L; de Tombe, Pieter P; Buttrick, Peter M

    2005-11-01

    Myofilament dysfunction is a common point of convergence for many forms of heart failure. Recently, we showed that cardiac overexpression of PKC epsilon initially depresses myofilament activity and then leads to a progression of changes characteristic of human heart failure. Here, we examined the effects of PKC epsilon on contractile reserve, Starling mechanism, and myofilament activation in this model of end-stage dilated cardiomyopathy. Pressure-volume loop analysis and echocardiography showed that the PKC epsilon mice have markedly compromised systolic function and increased end-diastolic volumes. Dobutamine challenge resulted in a small increase in contractility in PKC epsilon mice but failed to enhance cardiac output. The PKC epsilon mice showed a normal length-dependent tension development in skinned cardiac muscle preparations, although Frank-Starling mechanism appeared to be compromised in the intact animal. Simultaneous measurement of tension and ATPase demonstrated that the maximum tension and ATPase were markedly lower in the PKC epsilon mice at any length or Ca2+ concentration. However, the tension cost was also lower indicating less energy expenditure. We conclude 1) that prolonged overexpression of PKC epsilon ultimately leads to a dilated cardiomyopathy marked by exhausted contractile reserve, 2) that PKC epsilon does not compromise the Frank-Starling mechanism at the myofilament level, and 3) that the Starling curve excursion is limited by the inotropic state of the heart. These results reflect the significance of the primary myofilament contractilopathy induced by phosphorylation and imply a role for PKC epsilon-mediated phosphorylation in myofilament physiology and the pathophysiology of decompensated cardiac failure.

  19. Recovery of the Frank-Starling mechanism by coenzyme Q10 in patients with load-induced contractility depression.

    PubMed

    Oda, T

    1993-01-01

    Load-induced contractility depression, in which supernormal left ventricular ejection fraction and contractility at rest decrease by added afterload, is most often found in children with mitral valve prolapse who have symptoms. Patients have high ventricular end-diastolic pressure at rest, which is further increased by afterload challenge. The Frank-Starling mechanism may be maximally mobilized with high preload even at rest to compensate for the intrinsically depressed inotropic state. Therefore, preload reserve may be easily exhausted due to afterload addition. We aimed to determine left ventricular end-diastolic fiber length, stroke work, and contractility before and during handgrip by echocardiograms to obtain evidence for the Frank-Starling mechanism in patients and controls, including patients treated with coenzyme Q10. The subjects were divided into four groups, each consisting of 30 children aged 6-16 years: group 1, normals; group 2, patients; group 3, the same patients as in group 2 after coenzyme Q10 therapy; and group 4, patients with asymptomatic mitral valve prolapse. Baseline values and percentage increases in systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and left ventricular wall stress showed no differences among the groups. Only in group 2 were the percentage increase in ejection fraction, fiber shortening velocity, contractility, and end-diastolic dimension strongly negative, despite supernormal baseline levels. In other groups, these were significantly positive, without intergroup differences. We conclude that in the heart with load-induced contractility depression, the Frank-Starling mechanism deviates from normal. The normal Frank-Starling mechanism was recovered due to coenzyme Q10, which may improve disturbed bioenergetic function at the molecular level.

  20. A new generalization of the Carnahan-Starling equation of state to additive mixtures of hard spheres.

    PubMed

    Hansen-Goos, Hendrik; Roth, Roland

    2006-04-21

    We introduce an expansion of the equation of state for additive hard-sphere mixtures in powers of the total packing fraction with coefficients which depend on a set of weighted densities used in scaled particle theory and fundamental measure theory. We demand that the mixture equation of state recovers the quasiexact Carnahan-Starling [J. Chem. Phys. 51, 635 (1969)] result in the case of a one-component fluid and show from thermodynamic considerations and consistency with an exact scaled particle relation that the first and second orders of the expansion lead unambiguously to the Boublik-Mansoori-Carnahan-Starling-Leland [J. Chem. Phys. 53, 471 (1970); J. Chem. Phys. 54, 1523 (1971)] equation and the extended Carnahan-Starling equation introduced by Santos et al. [Mol. Phys. 96, 1 (1999)]. In the third order of the expansion, our approach allows us to define a new equation of state for hard-sphere mixtures which we find to be more accurate than the former equations when compared to available computer simulation data for binary and ternary mixtures. Using the new mixture equation of state, we calculate expressions for the surface tension and excess adsorption of the one-component fluid at a planar hard wall and compare its predictions to available simulation data.

  1. Percutaneous left atrial appendage closure improves left atrial mechanical function through Frank-Starling mechanism.

    PubMed

    Coisne, Augustin; Pilato, Rosario; Brigadeau, François; Klug, Didier; Marquie, Christelle; Souissi, Zouheir; Richardson, Marjorie; Mouton, Stéphanie; Polge, Anne-Sophie; Lancellotti, Patrizio; Lacroix, Dominique; Montaigne, David

    2017-05-01

    Modifications in left atrial (LA) flow velocities after left atrial appendage (LAA) exclusion have been shown in animal and ex vivo models. In a substudy of PROTECT AF (Percutaneous Closure of the Left Atrial Appendage Versus Warfarin Therapy for Prevention of Stroke in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation), an objective improvement in quality of life was observed after LAA closure. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of LAA closure on LA transport function. Comprehensive transthoracic echocardiography evaluation (2-dimensional [2D]/3-dimensional [3D], 2D speckle tracking) was prospectively performed before and after LAA closure (at discharge and 45 days after procedure) in 33 patients. LAA closure was associated with a significant improvement in LA reservoir function at discharge and 45 days after the procedure with (1) increased maximum LA volume index, (2) increased 2D-LA reservoir volume and expansion index, and (3) increased 2D speckle tracking-derived peak atrial longitudinal strain (PALS) (27.9 ± 14 and 26 ± 12.6 vs 21.7 ± 10.7%, P <.0001). LAA closure was also associated with a significant improvement in LA contractile function with (1) increased LA ejection fraction and (2) increased speckle tracking-derived peak atrial contraction strain (PACS) in sinus rhythm patients (19.1 ± 6.8 and 18.1 ± 5.4 vs 14.4 ± 6.4%, P = .0006). Conversely, the slope of the relation between PACS and PALS remained unchanged (0.5 ± 0.27 and 0.53 ± 0.3 vs 0.5 ± 0.25, P = .99), thus arguing for an improvement in LA contractile function secondary to a Frank-Starling effect rather than a modification in its intrinsic contractility. LAA closure was associated with an improvement in LA mechanical function. These changes appeared to be related to a modification in loading conditions, that is, a Frank-Starling effect. Copyright © 2017 Heart Rhythm Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. Systematics, morphology, and ecological history of the Mascarene starlings (Aves: Sturnidae) with the description of a new genus and species from Mauritius.

    PubMed

    Hume, Julian Pender

    2014-08-12

    Two endemic starlings, both extinct, have been described from the Mascarene Islands of Réunion and Rodrigues: the Hoopoe Starling, Huppe or Réunion Crested Starling Fregilupus varius, which is known from 19 skins and a single Holocene proximal end of a fossil femur, and the Rodrigues Starling Necropsar rodericanus, which is known as specimens only from fossils of most skeletal elements. Both were recorded alive in early accounts of Mascarene faunas. A third species of starling Cryptopsar ischyrhynchus gen. nov. sp. nov. is described herein from fossils from Mauritius, but was never reported in the early literature. This paper provides an analysis of the Sturnidae of the Mascarene Islands based on newly discovered fossil remains, and details historical reports and accounts. Their ecology and extinction are interpreted from historical evidence. Necropsar, Cryptopsar and Fregilupus clearly form part of the same clade, but morphological analysis shows that Necropsar and Cryptopsar are more closely related to each other than to Fregilupus and may have been part of a different colonisation event. All three genera appear to have their origins in SE Asia and have morphological similarities with the SE Asian sturnid genera, Sturnia and Gracupica, so they presumably colonised the islands via island-hopping during lower sea level stands. 

  3. Effects of temperature on the nitric oxide-dependent modulation of the Frank-Starling mechanism: the fish heart as a case study.

    PubMed

    Amelio, D; Garofalo, F; Capria, C; Tota, B; Imbrogno, S

    2013-02-01

    The Frank-Starling law is a fundamental property of the vertebrate myocardium which allows, when the end-diastolic volume increases, that the consequent stretch of the myocardial fibers generates a more forceful contraction. It has been shown that in the eel (Anguilla anguilla) heart, nitric oxide (NO) exerts a direct myocardial relaxant effect, increasing the sensitivity of the Frank-Starling response (Garofalo et al., 2009). With the use of isolated working heart preparations, this study investigated the relationship between NO modulation of Frank-Starling response and temperature challenges in the eel. The results showed that while, in long-term acclimated fish (spring animals perfused at 20 °C and winter animals perfused at 10 °C) the inhibition of NO production by L-N5 (1-iminoethyl)ornithine (L-NIO) significantly reduced the Frank-Starling response, under thermal shock conditions (spring animals perfused at 10 or 15 °C and winter animals perfused at 15 or 20 °C) L-NIO treatment resulted without effect. Western blotting analysis revealed a decrease of peNOS and pAkt expressions in samples subjected to thermal shock. Moreover, an increase in Hsp90 protein levels was observed under heat thermal stress. Together, these data suggest that the NO synthase/NO-dependent modulation of the Frank-Starling mechanism in fish is sensitive to thermal stress.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  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

    2015-07-06

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-03-01

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-06-01

    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(1,1)/I(1,0) intensity ratio decreases, whereas the M3 meridional reflection intensity (I(M3)) increases, concomitant with increases in diastolic and systolic force. Using a short (∼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 I(M3)) 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.

  9. Role of the Frank-Starling mechanism during maximal semisupine exercise after oral atenolol.

    PubMed

    Andersen, K; Vik-Mo, H

    1982-08-01

    Reproducible left ventricular dimensions were found by M-mode echocardiography in eight healthy men in the semisupine position during two maximal bicycle exercise tests, performed with four hours interval. Left ventricular end-diastolic dimension did not increase during maximal exercise, while fractional shortening increased by a decrease in end-systolic dimension. Twelve men studied by the same procedure were given 100 mg atenolol orally just after the first test which conspicuously reduced their heart rate response to exercise. End-diastolic dimension increased significantly from rest to peak exercise after the administration of atenolol in contrast to that before beta blockade, and fractional shortening at maximal exercise increased compared with the preceding control test. We conclude that atenolol changes the left ventricular response to maximal semisupine exercise in normal man, with dilatation and a concomitant increase in systolic myocardial shortening. This suggests that atenolol during maximal exercise reveals the part played by the Frank-Starling mechanism in cardiac reserve. In addition to that mechanism, the increased ventricular emptying is probably also the result of reduced afterload after administration of atenolol.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    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 I1,1/I1,0 intensity ratio decreases, whereas the M3 meridional reflection intensity (IM3) increases, concomitant with increases in diastolic and systolic force. Using a short (∼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. PMID:21460195

  11. Role of the Frank-Starling mechanism during maximal semisupine exercise after oral atenolol.

    PubMed Central

    Andersen, K; Vik-Mo, H

    1982-01-01

    Reproducible left ventricular dimensions were found by M-mode echocardiography in eight healthy men in the semisupine position during two maximal bicycle exercise tests, performed with four hours interval. Left ventricular end-diastolic dimension did not increase during maximal exercise, while fractional shortening increased by a decrease in end-systolic dimension. Twelve men studied by the same procedure were given 100 mg atenolol orally just after the first test which conspicuously reduced their heart rate response to exercise. End-diastolic dimension increased significantly from rest to peak exercise after the administration of atenolol in contrast to that before beta blockade, and fractional shortening at maximal exercise increased compared with the preceding control test. We conclude that atenolol changes the left ventricular response to maximal semisupine exercise in normal man, with dilatation and a concomitant increase in systolic myocardial shortening. This suggests that atenolol during maximal exercise reveals the part played by the Frank-Starling mechanism in cardiac reserve. In addition to that mechanism, the increased ventricular emptying is probably also the result of reduced afterload after administration of atenolol. Images PMID:7093084

  12. Titin and Troponin: Central Players in the Frank-Starling Mechanism of the Heart

    PubMed Central

    Fukuda, Norio; Terui, Takako; Ohtsuki, Iwao; Ishiwata, Shin’ichi; Kurihara, Satoshi

    2009-01-01

    The basis of the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart is the intrinsic ability of cardiac muscle to produce greater active force in response to stretch, a phenomenon known as length-dependent activation. A feedback mechanism transmitted from cross-bridge formation to troponin C to enhance Ca2+ binding has long been proposed to account for length-dependent activation. However, recent advances in muscle physiology research technologies have enabled the identification of other factors involved in length-dependent activation. The striated muscle sarcomere contains a third filament system composed of the giant elastic protein titin, which is responsible for most passive stiffness in the physiological sarcomere length range. Recent studies have revealed a significant coupling of active and passive forces in cardiac muscle, where titin-based passive force promotes cross-bridge recruitment, resulting in greater active force production in response to stretch. More currently, the focus has been placed on the troponin-based “on-off” switching of the thin filament state in the regulation of length-dependent activation. In this review, we discuss how myocardial length-dependent activation is coordinately regulated by sarcomere proteins. PMID:20436852

  13. Titin and troponin: central players in the frank-starling mechanism of the heart.

    PubMed

    Fukuda, Norio; Terui, Takako; Ohtsuki, Iwao; Ishiwata, Shin'ichi; Kurihara, Satoshi

    2009-05-01

    The basis of the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart is the intrinsic ability of cardiac muscle to produce greater active force in response to stretch, a phenomenon known as length-dependent activation. A feedback mechanism transmitted from cross-bridge formation to troponin C to enhance Ca(2+) binding has long been proposed to account for length-dependent activation. However, recent advances in muscle physiology research technologies have enabled the identification of other factors involved in length-dependent activation. The striated muscle sarcomere contains a third filament system composed of the giant elastic protein titin, which is responsible for most passive stiffness in the physiological sarcomere length range. Recent studies have revealed a significant coupling of active and passive forces in cardiac muscle, where titin-based passive force promotes cross-bridge recruitment, resulting in greater active force production in response to stretch. More currently, the focus has been placed on the troponin-based "on-off" switching of the thin filament state in the regulation of length-dependent activation. In this review, we discuss how myocardial length-dependent activation is coordinately regulated by sarcomere proteins.

  14. Cellular mechanisms for the slow phase of the Frank-Starling response.

    PubMed

    Bluhm, W F; Sung, D; Lew, W Y; Garfinkel, A; McCulloch, A D

    1998-01-01

    Following a step increase in sarcomere length, isometric cardiac muscle tension increases instantaneously by the Frank-Starling mechanism. In isolated papillary muscle and myocytes, there is an additional significant rise in developed tension over the following 15 min due to an unknown mechanism. This slow change in tension could not be explained by mechanical heterogeneity of the muscle preparations or by an increase in myofilament sensitivity to Ca2+. The slow change in tension was not dependent on sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ loading assessed with rapid cooling contractures, and was not significantly altered by sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ depletion (ryanodine) or inhibition of sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ reuptake (cyclopiazonic acid). We used the Luo-Rudy ionic model of the ventricular myocyte together with a model of the length-dependent myofilament activation by Ca2+ to examine the effects of step changes in the parameters of sarcolemmal ion fluxes as possible mechanisms for the slow change in stress. The slow increase in tension was simulated by step changes in the Na+-K+ pump or Na+ leak currents, suggesting that the slow change in stress may be caused by length induced changes in Na+ fluxes. The model also predicted a slow increase in the magnitude of the initial repolarization during phase 1 of the action potential. The combination of experimental and computational models used in this investigation represents a valuable technique in elucidating the cellular mechanisms of fundamental processes in cardiac excitation-contraction coupling.

  15. Titin/connectin-based modulation of the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart.

    PubMed

    Fukuda, Norio; Granzier, Henk L

    2005-01-01

    The basis of the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart is the increase in active force when muscle is stretched. Various findings have shown that muscle length, i.e., sarcomere length (SL), modulates activation of cardiac myofilaments at a given concentration of Ca2+ ([Ca2+]). This augmented Ca2+ activation with SL, commonly known as "length-dependent activation", is manifested as the leftward shift of the force-pCa (= -log [Ca2+]) relation as well as by the increase in maximal Ca2+ -activated force. Despite the numerous studies that have been undertaken, the molecular mechanism(s) of length-dependent activation is (are) still not fully understood. The giant sarcomere protein titin/connectin is the largest protein known to date. Titin/connectin is responsible for most passive force in vertebrate striated muscle and also functions as a molecular scaffold during myofibrillogenesis. Recent studies suggest that titin/connectin plays an important role in length-dependent activation by sensing stretch and promoting actomyosin interaction. Here we review and extend this previous work and focus on the mechanism by which titin/connectin might modulate actomyosin interaction.

  16. 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.

  17. Perching but not foraging networks predict the spread of novel foraging skills in starlings.

    PubMed

    Boogert, Neeltje J; Nightingale, Glenna F; Hoppitt, William; Laland, Kevin N

    2014-11-01

    The directed social learning hypothesis suggests that information does not spread evenly through animal groups, but rather individual characteristics and patterns of physical proximity guide the social transmission of information along specific pathways. Network-based diffusion analysis (NBDA) allows researchers to test whether information spreads following a social network. However, the explanatory power of different social networks has rarely been compared, and current models do not easily accommodate random effects (e.g. allowing for individuals within groups to correlate in their asocial solving rates). We tested whether the spread of two novel foraging skills through captive starling groups was affected by individual- and group-level random and fixed effects (i.e. sex, age, body condition, dominance rank and demonstrator status) and perching or foraging networks. We extended NBDA to include random effects and conducted model discrimination in a Bayesian context. We found that social learning increased the rate at which birds acquired the novel foraging task solutions by 6.67 times, and acquiring one of the two novel foraging task solutions facilitated the asocial acquisition of the other. Surprisingly, the spread of task solutions followed the perching rather than the foraging social network. Upon acquiring a task solution, foraging performance was facilitated by the presence of group mates. Our results highlight the importance of considering more than one social network when predicting the spread of information through animal groups. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Cognition in the wild.

  18. 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

  19. Myocardial response to incremental exercise in endurance-trained athletes: influence of heart rate, contractility and the Frank-Starling effect.

    PubMed

    Warburton, Darren E R; Haykowsky, Mark J; Quinney, H Arthur; Blackmore, Derrick; Teo, Koon K; Humen, Dennis P

    2002-09-01

    Recent evidence indicates that endurance-trained athletes are able to increase their stroke volume (SV) throughout incremental upright exercise, probably due to a progressively greater effect of the Frank-Starling mechanism. This is contrary to the widely held belief that SV reaches a plateau at a submaximal heart rate (irrespective of fitness level), owing to a limitation in the time for diastolic filling. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate whether endurance-trained athletes rely on a progressively greater effect of the Frank-Starling mechanism throughout incremental exercise. A secondary purpose was to evaluate the effects of postural position on the cardiovascular responses to incremental exercise. Ten male cyclists participated in this investigation. Left ventricular function was assessed throughout incremental exercise in the supine and upright positions (counterbalanced) using radionuclide ventriculography. Stroke volume increased in a linear fashion during incremental exercise in both the upright and supine positions. The increases in cardiac output (Q) throughout incremental to maximal exercise (in both the supine and upright positions) were significantly related to changes in heart rate, myocardial contractility and the Frank-Starling mechanism. Percentage changes in end-diastolic volume and SV were significantly greater in the upright position versus the supine position, reflecting an increased reliance on the Frank-Starling effect to increase Q. We conclude from this investigation that highly trained endurance athletes are able to make progressively increasing usage of the Frank-Starling effect throughout incremental exercise. Postural position has a significant effect on the relative contribution of heart rate, myocardial contractility and the Frank-Starling mechanism to the increase in Q during exercise conditions.

  20. The external work-pressure time integral relationships and the afterload dependence of Frank-Starling mechanism.

    PubMed

    Sela, Gali; Landesberg, Amir

    2009-10-01

    The mechanisms underlying the Frank-Starling Law of the heart are elusive and the prevalent notion suggests that it is afterload independent. However, isolated fiber studies reveal that the afterload determines cardiac function through cross-bridge dependent mechanisms. The study explores the roles of the afterload, in situ. The LV was exposed by left-thoracotomy in adult sheep (72.6+/-8.2 kg, n=8). Pressure transducers were inserted into the LV and aorta, a flowmeter was placed around the aortic root, and the LV volume was assessed by sonocrystals. Occluders around the aorta and the inferior vena cava enabled control of the afterload and preload. Different afterloads were imposed by partial aortic occlusions. Transient inferior vena cava occlusions (IVCOs) were preformed whenever the afterload was steady. A highly linear relationship was found between the external work (EW) and pressure time integral (PTI) (R(2)=0.98+/-0.01) during each transient IVCO (n=48). The slope of the EW-PTI relationship (WPTiR) was preload independent since, for any given afterload, the EW and PTI lay on a straight line. Interestingly, the slope of the WPTiR was afterload dependant: The slope was 33.3+/-4.1 mJ/mmHg.s at baselines and decreased by 1.0+/-0.50 mJ/mmHg.s with every 1 mmHg.min/L increase in the peripheral resistance. A unique WPTiR was obtained during both the occlusion and release phases of each IVCO, while two distinct EW-preload or PTI-preload relationships were observed. The novel WPTiR ties the Frank (pressure development) and Starling (EW production) phenomena together. The dependence of the WPTiR on the afterload highlights the adaptive control of the Frank-Starling mechanisms to changes in the afterload.

  1. 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

  2. Modulation of the cardiomyocyte contraction inside a hydrostatic pressure bioreactor: in vitro verification of the Frank-Starling law.

    PubMed

    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.

  3. Starling pressures in the human arm and their alteration in postmastectomy oedema.

    PubMed Central

    Bates, D O; Levick, J R; Mortimer, P S

    1994-01-01

    1. Surgery and radiotherapy to axillary lymph nodes during breast cancer treatment is often followed, commonly years later, by chronic postmastectomy oedema (PMO). PMO is considered a 'high protein' oedema due to reduced axillary lymph drainage. Since oedema formation also depends on fluid input (capillary filtration), we studied the Starling pressures in the affected and contralateral arm. Colloid osmotic pressure was measured in patient serum (pi p) and interstitial fluid (pi i). Subcutis fluid was collected from PMO arms by both wick and aspiration methods, and from the control arm by the wick method only. Interstitial hydraulic pressure (P(i)) was measured by the wick-in-needle method. 2. Oedema pi i was 19.2 +/- 4.1 cmH2O (n = 13, wick) to 16.3 +/- 4.4 cmH2O (n = 41, aspirate; difference not significant; mean +/- S.D. throughout). This was significantly lower than pi i in the control arm (21.4 +/- 3.8 cmH2O, n = 14, P < 0.01, analysis of variance). Also, there was a negative correlation between oedema pi i and the percentage increase in arm volume (correlation coefficient r = -0.35, P < 0.05) in contrast to conventional expectation. 3. Oedema P(i) (1.9 +/- 2.0 cmH2O, n = 28) exceeded the subatmospheric control P(i) (-2.8 +/- 3.0 cmH2O; P < 0.01). Venous and arterial pressures were normal but pi p was subnormal (31.1 +/- 2.7 cmH2O, n = 47). 4. Net pressure opposing capillary blood pressure, P(o), was calculated as P(i) + sigma (pi p-pi i) for a reflection coefficient, sigma, of 0.90-0.99.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS) PMID:7932226

  4. Starling pressures in the human arm and their alteration in postmastectomy oedema.

    PubMed

    Bates, D O; Levick, J R; Mortimer, P S

    1994-06-01

    1. Surgery and radiotherapy to axillary lymph nodes during breast cancer treatment is often followed, commonly years later, by chronic postmastectomy oedema (PMO). PMO is considered a 'high protein' oedema due to reduced axillary lymph drainage. Since oedema formation also depends on fluid input (capillary filtration), we studied the Starling pressures in the affected and contralateral arm. Colloid osmotic pressure was measured in patient serum (pi p) and interstitial fluid (pi i). Subcutis fluid was collected from PMO arms by both wick and aspiration methods, and from the control arm by the wick method only. Interstitial hydraulic pressure (P(i)) was measured by the wick-in-needle method. 2. Oedema pi i was 19.2 +/- 4.1 cmH2O (n = 13, wick) to 16.3 +/- 4.4 cmH2O (n = 41, aspirate; difference not significant; mean +/- S.D. throughout). This was significantly lower than pi i in the control arm (21.4 +/- 3.8 cmH2O, n = 14, P < 0.01, analysis of variance). Also, there was a negative correlation between oedema pi i and the percentage increase in arm volume (correlation coefficient r = -0.35, P < 0.05) in contrast to conventional expectation. 3. Oedema P(i) (1.9 +/- 2.0 cmH2O, n = 28) exceeded the subatmospheric control P(i) (-2.8 +/- 3.0 cmH2O; P < 0.01). Venous and arterial pressures were normal but pi p was subnormal (31.1 +/- 2.7 cmH2O, n = 47). 4. Net pressure opposing capillary blood pressure, P(o), was calculated as P(i) + sigma (pi p-pi i) for a reflection coefficient, sigma, of 0.90-0.99.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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

  6. 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.

  7. Cooperative cross-bridge activation of thin filaments contributes to the Frank-Starling mechanism in cardiac muscle.

    PubMed

    Smith, L; Tainter, C; Regnier, M; Martyn, D A

    2009-05-06

    Myosin cross-bridges play an important role in the regulation of thin-filament activation in cardiac muscle. To test the hypothesis that sarcomere length (SL) modulation of thin-filament activation by strong-binding cross-bridges underlies the Frank-Starling mechanism, we inhibited force and strong cross-bridge binding to intermediate levels with sodium vanadate (Vi). Force and stiffness varied proportionately with [Ca(2+)] and [Vi]. Increasing [Vi] (decreased force) reduced the pCa(50) of force-[Ca(2+)] relations at 2.3 and 2.0 microm SL, with little effect on slope (n(H)). When maximum force was inhibited to approximately 40%, the effects of SL on force were diminished at lower [Ca(2+)], whereas at higher [Ca(2+)] (pCa < 5.6) the relative influence of SL on force increased. In contrast, force inhibition to approximately 20% significantly reduced the sensitivity of force-[Ca(2+)] relations to changes in both SL and myofilament lattice spacing. Strong cross-bridge binding cooperatively induced changes in cardiac troponin C structure, as measured by dichroism of 5' iodoacetamido-tetramethylrhodamine-labeled cardiac troponin C. This apparent cooperativity was reduced at shorter SL. These data emphasize that SL and/or myofilament lattice spacing modulation of the cross-bridge component of cardiac thin-filament activation contributes to the Frank-Starling mechanism.

  8. The Frank-Starling mechanism is not mediated by changes in rate of cross-bridge detachment.

    PubMed

    Wannenburg, T; Janssen, P M; Fan, D; de Tombe, P P

    1997-11-01

    We tested the hypothesis that the Frank-Starling relationship is mediated by changes in the rate of cross-bridge detachment in cardiac muscle. We simultaneously measured isometric force development and the rate of ATP consumption at various levels of Ca2+ activation in skinned rat cardiac trabecular muscles at three sarcomere lengths (2.0, 2.1, and 2.2 microns). The maximum rate of ATP consumption was 1.5 nmol.s-1.microliter fiber vol-1, which represents an estimated adenosinetriphosphatase (ATPase) rate of approximately 10 s-1 per myosin head at 24 degrees C. The rate of ATP consumption was tightly and linearly coupled to the level of isometric force development, and changes in sarcomere length had no effect on the slope of the force-ATPase relationships. The average slope of the force-ATPase relationships was 15.5 pmol.mN-1.mm-1. These results suggest that the mechanisms that underlie the Frank-Starling relationship in cardiac muscle do not involve changes in the kinetics of the apparent detachment step in the cross-bridge cycle.

  9. Cooperative Cross-Bridge Activation of Thin Filaments Contributes to the Frank-Starling Mechanism in Cardiac Muscle

    PubMed Central

    Smith, L.; Tainter, C.; Regnier, M.; Martyn, D.A.

    2009-01-01

    Myosin cross-bridges play an important role in the regulation of thin-filament activation in cardiac muscle. To test the hypothesis that sarcomere length (SL) modulation of thin-filament activation by strong-binding cross-bridges underlies the Frank-Starling mechanism, we inhibited force and strong cross-bridge binding to intermediate levels with sodium vanadate (Vi). Force and stiffness varied proportionately with [Ca2+] and [Vi]. Increasing [Vi] (decreased force) reduced the pCa50 of force-[Ca2+] relations at 2.3 and 2.0 μm SL, with little effect on slope (nH). When maximum force was inhibited to ∼40%, the effects of SL on force were diminished at lower [Ca2+], whereas at higher [Ca2+] (pCa < 5.6) the relative influence of SL on force increased. In contrast, force inhibition to ∼20% significantly reduced the sensitivity of force-[Ca2+] relations to changes in both SL and myofilament lattice spacing. Strong cross-bridge binding cooperatively induced changes in cardiac troponin C structure, as measured by dichroism of 5′ iodoacetamido-tetramethylrhodamine-labeled cardiac troponin C. This apparent cooperativity was reduced at shorter SL. These data emphasize that SL and/or myofilament lattice spacing modulation of the cross-bridge component of cardiac thin-filament activation contributes to the Frank-Starling mechanism. PMID:19413974

  10. Disulfide-activated protein kinase G Iα regulates cardiac diastolic relaxation and fine-tunes the Frank-Starling response.

    PubMed

    Scotcher, Jenna; Prysyazhna, Oleksandra; Boguslavskyi, Andrii; Kistamas, Kornel; Hadgraft, Natasha; Martin, Eva D; Worthington, Jenny; Rudyk, Olena; Rodriguez Cutillas, Pedro; Cuello, Friederike; Shattock, Michael J; Marber, Michael S; Conte, Maria R; Greenstein, Adam; Greensmith, David J; Venetucci, Luigi; Timms, John F; Eaton, Philip

    2016-10-26

    The Frank-Starling mechanism allows the amount of blood entering the heart from the veins to be precisely matched with the amount pumped out to the arterial circulation. As the heart fills with blood during diastole, the myocardium is stretched and oxidants are produced. Here we show that protein kinase G Iα (PKGIα) is oxidant-activated during stretch and this form of the kinase selectively phosphorylates cardiac phospholamban Ser16-a site important for diastolic relaxation. We find that hearts of Cys42Ser PKGIα knock-in (KI) mice, which are resistant to PKGIα oxidation, have diastolic dysfunction and a diminished ability to couple ventricular filling with cardiac output on a beat-to-beat basis. Intracellular calcium dynamics of ventricular myocytes isolated from KI hearts are altered in a manner consistent with impaired relaxation and contractile function. We conclude that oxidation of PKGIα during myocardial stretch is crucial for diastolic relaxation and fine-tunes the Frank-Starling response.

  11. Exhaustion of the Frank-Starling mechanism in conscious dogs with heart failure induced by chronic coronary microembolization.

    PubMed

    Gill, Robert M; Jones, Bonita D; Corbly, Angela K; Ohad, Dan G; Smith, Gerald D; Sandusky, George E; Christe, Michael E; Wang, Jie; Shen, Weiqun

    2006-07-04

    The role of the Frank-Starling mechanism in the regulation of cardiac systolic function in the ischemic failing heart was examined in conscious dogs. Left ventricular (LV) dimension, pressure and systolic function were assessed using surgically implanted instrumentations and non-invasive echocardiogram. Heart failure was induced by daily intra-coronary injections of microspheres for 3-4 weeks via implanted coronary catheters. Chronic coronary embolization resulted in a progressive dilation of the left ventricle (12+/-3%), increase in LV end-diastolic pressure (118+/-19%), depression of LV dP/dt(max) (-19+/-4%), fractional shortening (-36+/-7%), and cardiac work (-60+/-9%), and development of heart failure, while the LV contractile response to dobutamine was depressed. A brief inferior vena caval occlusion in dogs with heart failure decreased LV preload to match the levels attained in their control state and caused a further reduction of LV dP/dt(max), fractional shortening, stroke work and cardiac work. Moreover, in response to acute volume loading, the change in the LV end-diastolic dimension-pressure (DeltaLVEDD-DeltaLVEDP) curve in the failing heart became steeper and shifted significantly to the left, while the increases in LV stroke work and cardiac work were blunted. Thus, our results suggest that the Frank-Starling mechanism is exhausted in heart failure and unable to further respond to increasing volume while it plays an important compensatory role in adaptation to LV dysfunction in heart failure.

  12. Disulfide-activated protein kinase G Iα regulates cardiac diastolic relaxation and fine-tunes the Frank–Starling response

    PubMed Central

    Scotcher, Jenna; Prysyazhna, Oleksandra; Boguslavskyi, Andrii; Kistamas, Kornel; Hadgraft, Natasha; Martin, Eva D.; Worthington, Jenny; Rudyk, Olena; Rodriguez Cutillas, Pedro; Cuello, Friederike; Shattock, Michael J.; Marber, Michael S.; Conte, Maria R.; Greenstein, Adam; Greensmith, David J.; Venetucci, Luigi; Timms, John F.; Eaton, Philip

    2016-01-01

    The Frank–Starling mechanism allows the amount of blood entering the heart from the veins to be precisely matched with the amount pumped out to the arterial circulation. As the heart fills with blood during diastole, the myocardium is stretched and oxidants are produced. Here we show that protein kinase G Iα (PKGIα) is oxidant-activated during stretch and this form of the kinase selectively phosphorylates cardiac phospholamban Ser16—a site important for diastolic relaxation. We find that hearts of Cys42Ser PKGIα knock-in (KI) mice, which are resistant to PKGIα oxidation, have diastolic dysfunction and a diminished ability to couple ventricular filling with cardiac output on a beat-to-beat basis. Intracellular calcium dynamics of ventricular myocytes isolated from KI hearts are altered in a manner consistent with impaired relaxation and contractile function. We conclude that oxidation of PKGIα during myocardial stretch is crucial for diastolic relaxation and fine-tunes the Frank–Starling response. PMID:27782102

  13. Occurrence of triclocarban and triclosan in an agro-ecosystem following application of biosolids

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sherburne, Jessica J.; Anaya, Amanda M.; Fernie, Kimberly J; Forbey, Jennifer S.; Furlong, Edward T.; Kolpin, Dana W.; Dufty, Alfred M.; Kinney, Chad A.

    2016-01-01

    Triclocarban (TCC) and triclosan (TCS), two of the most commonly used antimicrobial compounds, can be introduced into ecosystems by applying wastewater treatment plant biosolids to agricultural fields. Concentrations of TCC and TCS were measured in different trophic levels within a terrestrial food web encompassing land-applied biosolids, soil, earthworms (Lumbricus), deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), and eggs of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and American kestrels (Falco sparverius) at an experimental site amended with biosolids for the previous 7 years. The samples from this site were compared to the same types of samples from a reference (biosolids-free) agricultural site. Inter-site comparisons showed that concentrations of both antimicrobials were higher on the experimental site in the soil, earthworms, mice (livers), and European starling eggs, but not American kestrel eggs, compared to the control site. Inter-species comparisons on the experimental site indicated significantly higher TCC concentrations in mice (TCC: 12.6–33.3 ng/g) and in starling eggs (TCC: 15.4–31.4 ng/g) than in kestrel eggs (TCC: 3.6 ng/g). Nesting success of kestrels only was significantly lower on the experimental site compared to the reference site due to nest abandonment. This study demonstrates that biosolids-derived TCC and TCS are present throughout the terrestrial food web, including secondary (e.g., starlings) and tertiary (i.e., kestrels) consumers, after repeated, long-term biosolids application.

  14. The failing human heart is unable to use the Frank-Starling mechanism.

    PubMed

    Schwinger, R H; Böhm, M; Koch, A; Schmidt, U; Morano, I; Eissner, H J; Uberfuhr, P; Reichart, B; Erdmann, E

    1994-05-01

    There is evidence that the failing human left ventricle in vivo subjected to additional preload is unable to use the Frank-Starling mechanism. The present study compared the force-tension relation in human nonfailing and terminally failing (heart transplants required because of dilated cardiomyopathy) myocardium. Isometric force of contraction of electrically driven left ventricular papillary muscle strips was studied under various preload conditions (2 to 20 mN). To investigate the influence of inotropic stimulation, the force-tension relation was studied in the presence of the cardiac glycoside ouabain. In skinned-fiber preparations of the left ventricle, developed tension was measured after stretching the preparations to 150% of the resting length. To evaluate the length-dependent activation of cardiac myofibrils by Ca2+ in failing and nonfailing myocardium, the tension-Ca2+ relations were also measured. After an increase of preload, the force of contraction gradually increased in nonfailing myocardium but was unchanged in failing myocardium. There were no differences in resting tension, muscle length, or cross-sectional area of the muscles between both groups. Pretreatment with ouabain (0.02 mumol/L) restored the force-tension relation in failing myocardium and preserved the force-tension relation in nonfailing tissue. In skinned-fiber preparations of the same hearts, developed tension increased significantly after stretching only in preparations from nonfailing but not from failing myocardium. The Ca2+ sensitivity of skinned fibers was significantly higher in failing myocardium (EC50, 1.0; 95% confidence limit, 0.88 to 1.21 mumol/L) compared with nonfailing myocardium (EC50, 1.7; 95% confidence limit, 1.55 to 1.86 mumol/L). After increasing the fiber length by stretching, a significant increase in the sensitivity of the myofibrils to Ca2+ was observed in nonfailing but not in failing myocardium. These experiments provide evidence for an impaired force

  15. Left atrial Frank–Starling law assessed by real‐time, three‐dimensional echocardiographic left atrial volume changes

    PubMed Central

    Anwar, Ashraf M; Geleijnse, Marcel L; Soliman, Osama I I; Nemes, Attila; Cate, Folkert J ten

    2007-01-01

    Background The Frank–Starling law describes the relation between left ventricular volume and function. However, only a few studies have described the relation between left atrial volume (LAV) and function. Objective To describe an LA Frank–Starling law by studying changes in LAV measured by real‐time, three‐dimensional echocardiography (RT3DE). Methods LAV was calculated by RT3DE in 70 patients at end‐systole (LAVmax), end‐diastole (LAVmin) and pre‐atrial contraction (LAVpre‐A). According to LAVmax, patients were classified into three groups: LAVmax <50 ml (group I), LAVmax 50–70 ml (group II) and LAVmax >70 ml (group III). Calculated indices of LA pump function were active atrial stroke volume (SV), defined as LAVpre‐A – LAVmin, and active atrial emptying fraction (EF), defined as active atrial SV/LAVpre‐A ×100% Results Active atrial SV was significantly higher in group II than in group I (mean (SD) 19.0 (9.2) vs 8.2 (4.9) ml, p<0.0001), in group III it was non‐significantly lower than in group II (16.7 (12.5) vs 19.0 (9.2) ml). Active atrial SV correlated well with LAVpre‐A (r = 0.56, p<0.001), but decreased with larger LAVpre‐A. Active atrial EF tended to be higher in group II than in group I (43.1 (18.2) vs 33.2 (17.5), p<0.10), in group III it was significantly lower than in group II (26.2 (18.5) vs 43.1 (18.2), p<0.01). Conclusion A Frank–Starling mechanism in the left atrium could be described by RT3DE, shown by an increase in LA contractility in response to an increase in LA preload up to a point, beyond which LA contractility decreased. PMID:17502327

  16. 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.

  17. Use of the Frank-Starling mechanism during exercise is linked to exercise-induced changes in arterial load

    PubMed Central

    Chantler, Paul D.; Melenovsky, Vojtech; Schulman, Steven P.; Gerstenblith, Gary; Becker, Lewis C.; Ferrucci, Luigi; Fleg, Jerome L.; Najjar, Samer S.

    2012-01-01

    Effective arterial elastance(EA) is a measure of the net arterial load imposed on the heart that integrates the effects of heart rate(HR), peripheral vascular resistance(PVR), and total arterial compliance(TAC) and is a modulator of cardiac performance. To what extent the change in EA during exercise impacts on cardiac performance and aerobic capacity is unknown. We examined EA and its relationship with cardiovascular performance in 352 healthy subjects. Subjects underwent rest and exercise gated scans to measure cardiac volumes and to derive EA[end-systolic pressure/stroke volume index(SV)], PVR[MAP/(SV*HR)], and TAC(SV/pulse pressure). EA varied with exercise intensity: the ΔEA between rest and peak exercise along with its determinants, differed among individuals and ranged from −44% to +149%, and was independent of age and sex. Individuals were separated into 3 groups based on their ΔEAI. Individuals with the largest increase in ΔEA(group 3;ΔEA≥0.98 mmHg.m2/ml) had the smallest reduction in PVR, the greatest reduction in TAC and a similar increase in HR vs. group 1(ΔEA<0.22 mmHg.m2/ml). Furthermore, group 3 had a reduction in end-diastolic volume, and a blunted increase in SV(80%), and cardiac output(27%), during exercise vs. group 1. Despite limitations in the Frank-Starling mechanism and cardiac function, peak aerobic capacity did not differ by group because arterial-venous oxygen difference was greater in group 3 vs. 1. Thus the change in arterial load during exercise has important effects on the Frank-Starling mechanism and cardiac performance but not on exercise capacity. These findings provide interesting insights into the dynamic cardiovascular alterations during exercise. PMID:22003052

  18. Use of the Frank-Starling mechanism during exercise is linked to exercise-induced changes in arterial load.

    PubMed

    Chantler, Paul D; Melenovsky, Vojtech; Schulman, Steven P; Gerstenblith, Gary; Becker, Lewis C; Ferrucci, Luigi; Fleg, Jerome L; Lakatta, Edward G; Najjar, Samer S

    2012-01-01

    Effective arterial elastance(E(A)) is a measure of the net arterial load imposed on the heart that integrates the effects of heart rate(HR), peripheral vascular resistance(PVR), and total arterial compliance(TAC) and is a modulator of cardiac performance. To what extent the change in E(A) during exercise impacts on cardiac performance and aerobic capacity is unknown. We examined E(A) and its relationship with cardiovascular performance in 352 healthy subjects. Subjects underwent rest and exercise gated scans to measure cardiac volumes and to derive E(A)[end-systolic pressure/stroke volume index(SV)], PVR[MAP/(SV*HR)], and TAC(SV/pulse pressure). E(A) varied with exercise intensity: the ΔE(A) between rest and peak exercise along with its determinants, differed among individuals and ranged from -44% to +149%, and was independent of age and sex. Individuals were separated into 3 groups based on their ΔE(A)I. Individuals with the largest increase in ΔE(A)(group 3;ΔE(A)≥0.98 mmHg.m(2)/ml) had the smallest reduction in PVR, the greatest reduction in TAC and a similar increase in HR vs. group 1(ΔE(A)<0.22 mmHg.m(2)/ml). Furthermore, group 3 had a reduction in end-diastolic volume, and a blunted increase in SV(80%), and cardiac output(27%), during exercise vs. group 1. Despite limitations in the Frank-Starling mechanism and cardiac function, peak aerobic capacity did not differ by group because arterial-venous oxygen difference was greater in group 3 vs. 1. Thus the change in arterial load during exercise has important effects on the Frank-Starling mechanism and cardiac performance but not on exercise capacity. These findings provide interesting insights into the dynamic cardiovascular alterations during exercise.

  19. 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.

  20. Radionuclide ventriculographic responses to graded supine and upright exercise: critical role of the Frank-Starling mechanism at submaximal exercise.

    PubMed

    Steingart, R M; Wexler, J; Slagle, S; Scheuer, J

    1984-06-01

    To assess the influence of work load and posture on the response to exercise, 25 patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and 17 normal subjects underwent graded supine and upright exercise radionuclide ventriculography. In both groups, end-diastolic counts increased with supine exercise (p less than 0.001). The ejection fraction and peak systolic pressure-end-systolic volume relation increased in normal subjects (p less than 0.02), but not in patients with CAD. At upright rest, end-diastolic counts decreased in both groups (p less than 0.001) and then increased with exercise (p less than 0.001). The increase in end-diastolic counts was most pronounced on the transition from upright rest to the 150-kpm work load and resulted in a significant increase in stroke counts (p less than 0.05) for both patients with CAD and normal subjects, without a measurable change in the ejection fraction or the peak systolic pressure-end-systolic volume relation. Later in exercise, end-diastolic counts plateaued, and the ejection fraction and the peak systolic pressure, end-systolic volume relation increased only among normal subjects. Thus, low-level upright exercise is highly dependent on the Starling mechanism in both normal subjects and patients with CAD, with enhanced contractility apparent only during more vigorous exercise in normal subjects.

  1. Effects of Interaction Between Ventricular Assist Device Assistance and Autoregulated Mock Circulation Including Frank-Starling Mechanism and Baroreflex.

    PubMed

    Jansen-Park, So-Hyun; Mahmood, Mohammad Nauzef; Müller, Indra; Turnhoff, Lisa Kathrin; Schmitz-Rode, Thomas; Steinseifer, Ulrich; Sonntag, Simon Johannes

    2016-10-01

    A mock heart circulation loop (MHCL) is a hydraulic model simulating the human circulatory system. It allows in vitro investigations of the interaction between cardiac assist devices and the human circulatory system. In this study, a preload sensitive MHCL, the MHCLAUTO , was developed to investigate the interaction between the left ventricle and left ventricular assist devices (LVADs). The Frank-Starling mechanism was modeled by regulating the stroke volume (SV) based on the measured mean diastolic left atrial pressure (MLAPdiast ). The baroreflex autoregulation mechanism was implemented to maintain a constant mean aortic pressure (MAP) by varying ventricular contractility (Emax ), heart rate (HR), afterload/systemic vascular resistance (SVR) and unstressed venous volume (UVV). The DP3 blood pump (Medos Medizintechnik GmbH) was used to simulate the LVAD. Characteristic parameters were measured in pathological conditions both with and without LVAD to assess the hemodynamic effect of LVAD on the MHCLAUTO . The results obtained from the MHCLAUTO show a high correlation to literature data. The study demonstrates the possibility of using the MHCLAUTO as a research tool to better understand the physiological interactions between cardiac implants and human circulation.

  2. Calcium sensitivity and the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart are increased in titin N2B region-deficient mice.

    PubMed

    Lee, Eun-Jeong; Peng, Jun; Radke, Michael; Gotthardt, Michael; Granzier, Henk L

    2010-09-01

    Previous work suggests that titin-based passive tension is a factor in the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart, by increasing length-dependent activation (LDA) through an increase in calcium sensitivity at long sarcomere length. We tested this hypothesis in a mouse model (N2B KO model) in which titin-based passive tension is elevated as a result of the excision of the N2B element, one of cardiac titin's spring elements. LDA was assessed by measuring the active tension-pCa (-log[Ca(2+)]) relationship at sarcomere length (SLs) of 1.95, 2.10, and 2.30 microm in WT and N2B KO skinned myocardium. LDA was positively correlated with titin-based passive tension due to an increase in calcium sensitivity at the longer SLs in the KO. For example, at pCa 6.0, the KO:WT tension ratio was 1.28+/-0.07 and 1.42+/-0.04 at SLs of 2.1 and 2.3 microm, respectively. There was no difference in protein expression or total phosphorylation of sarcomeric proteins. We also measured the calcium sensitivity after PKA treating the skinned muscle and found that titin-based passive tension was also now correlated with LDA, with a slope that was significantly increased compared to no PKA treatment. Finally, we performed isolated heart experiments and measured the Frank-Starling relation (slope of developed wall stress-LV volume relation) as well as diastolic stiffness (slope of diastolic wall stress-volume relation). The FSM was more pronounced in the N2B KO hearts and the slope of the FSM correlated with diastolic stiffness. These findings support that titin-based passive tension triggers an increase in calcium sensitivity at long sarcomere length, thereby playing an important role in the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart.

  3. Regulatory mechanism of length-dependent activation in skinned porcine ventricular muscle: role of thin filament cooperative activation in the Frank-Starling relation.

    PubMed

    Terui, Takako; Shimamoto, Yuta; Yamane, Mitsunori; Kobirumaki, Fuyu; Ohtsuki, Iwao; Ishiwata, Shin'ichi; Kurihara, Satoshi; Fukuda, Norio

    2010-10-01

    Cardiac sarcomeres produce greater active force in response to stretch, forming the basis of the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart. The purpose of this study was to provide the systematic understanding of length-dependent activation by investigating experimentally and mathematically how the thin filament "on-off" switching mechanism is involved in its regulation. Porcine left ventricular muscles were skinned, and force measurements were performed at short (1.9 µm) and long (2.3 µm) sarcomere lengths. We found that 3 mM MgADP increased Ca(2+) sensitivity of force and the rate of rise of active force, consistent with the increase in thin filament cooperative activation. MgADP attenuated length-dependent activation with and without thin filament reconstitution with the fast skeletal troponin complex (sTn). Conversely, 20 mM of inorganic phosphate (Pi) decreased Ca(2+) sensitivity of force and the rate of rise of active force, consistent with the decrease in thin filament cooperative activation. Pi enhanced length-dependent activation with and without sTn reconstitution. Linear regression analysis revealed that the magnitude of length-dependent activation was inversely correlated with the rate of rise of active force. These results were quantitatively simulated by a model that incorporates the Ca(2+)-dependent on-off switching of the thin filament state and interfilament lattice spacing modulation. Our model analysis revealed that the cooperativity of the thin filament on-off switching, but not the Ca(2+)-binding ability, determines the magnitude of the Frank-Starling effect. These findings demonstrate that the Frank-Starling relation is strongly influenced by thin filament cooperative activation.

  4. Regulatory mechanism of length-dependent activation in skinned porcine ventricular muscle: role of thin filament cooperative activation in the Frank-Starling relation

    PubMed Central

    Terui, Takako; Shimamoto, Yuta; Yamane, Mitsunori; Kobirumaki, Fuyu; Ohtsuki, Iwao; Ishiwata, Shin’ichi; Kurihara, Satoshi

    2010-01-01

    Cardiac sarcomeres produce greater active force in response to stretch, forming the basis of the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart. The purpose of this study was to provide the systematic understanding of length-dependent activation by investigating experimentally and mathematically how the thin filament “on–off” switching mechanism is involved in its regulation. Porcine left ventricular muscles were skinned, and force measurements were performed at short (1.9 µm) and long (2.3 µm) sarcomere lengths. We found that 3 mM MgADP increased Ca2+ sensitivity of force and the rate of rise of active force, consistent with the increase in thin filament cooperative activation. MgADP attenuated length-dependent activation with and without thin filament reconstitution with the fast skeletal troponin complex (sTn). Conversely, 20 mM of inorganic phosphate (Pi) decreased Ca2+ sensitivity of force and the rate of rise of active force, consistent with the decrease in thin filament cooperative activation. Pi enhanced length-dependent activation with and without sTn reconstitution. Linear regression analysis revealed that the magnitude of length-dependent activation was inversely correlated with the rate of rise of active force. These results were quantitatively simulated by a model that incorporates the Ca2+-dependent on–off switching of the thin filament state and interfilament lattice spacing modulation. Our model analysis revealed that the cooperativity of the thin filament on–off switching, but not the Ca2+-binding ability, determines the magnitude of the Frank-Starling effect. These findings demonstrate that the Frank-Starling relation is strongly influenced by thin filament cooperative activation. PMID:20876361

  5. Calcium sensitivity and the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart are increased in titin N2B region deficient mice

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Eun-Jeong; Peng, Jun; Radke, Michael; Gotthardt, Michael; Granzier, Henk L

    2010-01-01

    Previous work suggests that titin-based passive tension is a factor in the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart, by increasing length-dependent activation (LDA) through an increase in calcium sensitivity at long sarcomere length. We tested this hypothesis in a mouse model (N2B KO model) in which titin-based passive tension is elevated as a result of the excision of the N2B element, one of cardiac titin’s spring elements. LDA was assessed by measuring the active tension-pCa (−log[Ca2+]) relationship at sarcomere length (SLs) of 1.95, 2.10 and 2.30 µm in WT and N2B KO skinned myocardium. LDA was positively correlated with titin-based passive tension, due to an increase in calcium sensitivity at the longer SLs in the KO. For example, at pCa 6.0 the KO:WT tension ratio was 1.28 ± 0.07 and 1.42 ± 0.04 at SLs of 2.1 and 2.3 µm, respectively. There was no difference in protein expression or phosphorylation of sarcomeric proteins. We also measured the calcium sensitivity after PKA treating the skinned muscle and found that titin-based passive tension was also now correlated with LDA, with a slope that was significantly increased compared to no PKA treatment. Finally, we performed isolated heart experiments and measured the Frank-Starling relation (slope of developed wall stress-LV volume relation) as well as diastolic stiffness (slope of diastolic wall stress – volume relation). The FSM was more pronounced in the N2B KO hearts and the slope of the FSM correlated with diastolic stiffness. These findings support that titin-based passive tension triggers an increase in calcium sensitivity at long sarcomere length, thereby playing an important role in the Frank-Starling mechanism of the heart. PMID:20507834

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    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°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. PMID:20603336

  7. 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.

  8. Linearity of the Frank-Starling relationship in the intact heart: the concept of preload recruitable stroke work.

    PubMed

    Glower, D D; Spratt, J A; Snow, N D; Kabas, J S; Davis, J W; Olsen, C O; Tyson, G S; Sabiston, D C; Rankin, J S

    1985-05-01

    The Frank-Starling relationship generally has been examined with filling pressure as the index of preload, resulting in a curvilinear function that plateaus at higher filling pressures. To investigate this relationship further in the intact heart, 32 dogs were chronically instrumented with left ventricular and pleural micromanometers and with regional (10 dogs) or global (22 dogs) ultrasonic dimension transducers. Seven days after implantation, left ventricular pressure and regional or global dimensions were recorded in the conscious state. After autonomic blockade, preload was varied by vena caval occlusion. Myocardial function was assessed by calculating regional or global stroke work, and preload was measured as end-diastolic segment length or chamber volume. The relationship between stroke work and either end-diastolic segment length or chamber volume (termed the preload recruitable stroke work relationship) was highly linear in every study (mean r = .97) and could be quantified by a slope (MW) and x-intercept (LW). Previous nonlinear relationships between stroke work and filling pressure seemed to reflect the exponential diastolic pressure-volume curve. Over the physiologic range of systolic arterial pressures produced by infusion of nitroprusside or phenylephrine, no significant change was observed in MW or LW in the normal dog. Calcium infusion increased both regional and global MW by 71 +/- 19% and 65 +/- 9%, respectively (p less than .02), with no significant change in LW. To normalize for ventricular geometry and heart rate, stroke work was computed from circumferential stress-strain data and converted to myocardial power output, which was then plotted against end-diastolic circumferential strain. This relationship also was highly linear, and the slope, Mmp (mW/cm3 of myocardium), is proposed as a potential measure of intrinsic myocardial performance independent of loading, geometry, and heart rate.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. The role of the Frank-Starling law in the transduction of cellular work to whole organ pump function: a computational modeling analysis.

    PubMed

    Niederer, Steven A; Smith, Nicolas P

    2009-04-01

    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 Ca(2+) sensitivity of tension (Ca(50)), filament overlap tension dependence, velocity dependence of tension, and tension dependent binding of Ca(2+) 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 Ca(50) 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 Ca(50) was caused by an inversion in the regional distribution of strain.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Role of experience for language-specific functional mappings of vowel sounds.

    PubMed

    Kluender, K R; Lotto, A J; Holt, L L; Bloedel, S L

    1998-12-01

    Studies involving human infants and monkeys suggest that experience plays a critical role in modifying how subjects respond to vowel sounds between and within phonemic classes. Experiments with human listeners were conducted to establish appropriate stimulus materials. Then, eight European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were trained to respond differentially to vowel tokens drawn from stylized distributions for the English vowels /i/ and /I/, or from two distributions of vowel sounds that were orthogonal in the F1-F2 plane. Following training, starlings' responses generalized with facility to novel stimuli drawn from these distributions. Responses could be predicted well on the bases of frequencies of the first two formants and distributional characteristics of experienced vowel sounds with a graded structure about the central "prototypical" vowel of the training distributions. Starling responses corresponded closely to adult human judgments of "goodness" for English vowel sounds. Finally, a simple linear association network model trained with vowels drawn from the avian training set provided a good account for the data. Findings suggest that little more than sensitivity to statistical regularities of language input (probability-density distributions) together with organizational processes that serve to enhance distinctiveness may accommodate much of what is known about the functional equivalence of vowel sounds.

  15. Auditory temporal pattern learning by songbirds using maximal stimulus diversity and minimal repetition.

    PubMed

    Comins, Jordan A; Gentner, Timothy Q

    2014-09-01

    The sequential patterning of complex acoustic elements is a salient feature of bird song and other forms of vocal communication. For European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), a songbird species, individual vocal recognition is improved when the temporal organization of song components (called motifs) follows the normal patterns of each singer. This sensitivity to natural motif sequences may underlie observations that starlings can also learn more complex, unnatural motif patterns. Alternatively, it has been proposed that the apparent acquisition of abstract motif patterning rules instead reflects idiosyncrasies of the training conditions used in prior experiments. That is, that motif patterns are learned not by recognizing differences in temporal structures between patterns, but by identifying serendipitous features (e.g., acoustical cues) in the small sets of training and testing stimuli used. Here, we investigate this possibility, by asking whether starlings can learn to discriminate between two arbitrary motif patterns, when unique examples of each pattern are presented on every trial. Our results demonstrate that abstract motif patterning rules can be acquired from trial-unique stimuli and suggest that such training leads to better pattern generalization compared with training with much smaller stimulus subsets.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2016-04-29

    We determined that 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. 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.

  17. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2016-02-08

    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.

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

    DOE PAGES

    Ait-Mou, Younss; Hsu, Karen; Farman, Gerrie P.; ...

    2016-02-08

    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 musclesmore » 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.« less

  20. 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.

  1. Mechanism of the Frank-Starling law--a simulation study with a novel cardiac muscle contraction model that includes titin and troponin I.

    PubMed

    Schneider, Natalie S; Shimayoshi, Takao; Amano, Akira; Matsuda, Tetsuya

    2006-09-01

    A stretch-induced increase of active tension is one of the most important properties of the heart, known as the Frank-Starling law. Although a variation of myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity with sarcomere length (SL) change was found to be involved, the underlying molecular mechanisms are not fully clarified. Some recent experimental studies indicate that a reduction of the lattice spacing between thin and thick filaments, through the increase of passive tension caused by the sarcomeric protein titin with an increase in SL within the physiological range, promotes formation of force-generating crossbridges (Xbs). However, the mechanism by which the Xb concentration determines the degree of cooperativity for a given SL has so far evaded experimental elucidation. In this simulation study, a novel, rather simple molecular-based cardiac contraction model, appropriate for integration into a ventricular cell model, was designed, being the first model to introduce experimental data on titin-based radial tension to account for the SL-dependent modulation of the interfilament lattice spacing and to include a conformational change of troponin I (TnI). Simulation results for the isometric twitch contraction time course, the length-tension and the force-[Ca(2+)] relationships are comparable to experimental data. A complete potential Frank-Starling mechanism was analyzed by this simulation study. The SL-dependent modulation of the myosin binding rate through titin's passive tension determines the Xb concentration which then alters the degree of positive cooperativity affecting the rate of the TnI conformation change and causing the Hill coefficient to be SL-dependent.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. European biofuel plan snagged

    SciTech Connect

    Chynoweth, E.

    1992-12-16

    European Commission proposals for a directive aimed at boosting production of biofuels have been set back by the European Parliament and will not be implemented on the January 1, 1993 deadline. Furthermore, the commission has agreed to carry out an environmental impact study on biofuels. European industrial ethanol, fatty acid, and glycerin producers oppose the directive proposals fearing distortions in their markets.

  9. European Elder (Elderberry)

    MedlinePlus

    ... Common Names: European elder, black elder, elderberry, elder flower, sambucus Latin Name: Sambucus nigra Background European elder ... Saxon word “aeld,” meaning fire. The terms “elder flower” and “elderberry” may refer to either European elder ...

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Exercise studies in patients with rotary blood pumps: cause, effects, and implications for starling-like control of changes in pump flow.

    PubMed

    Salamonsen, Robert F; Pellegrino, Vincent; Fraser, John F; Hayes, Kate; Timms, Daniel; Lovell, Nigel Hamilton; Hayward, Christopher

    2013-08-01

    This multicenter study examines in detail the spontaneous increase in pump flow at fixed speed that occurs in exercise. Eight patients implanted with the VentrAssist rotary blood pump were subjected to maximal and submaximal cycle ergometry studies, the latter being completed with patients supine and monitored with right heart catheter and echocardiography. Maximal exercise studies conducted in each patient at three different pump speeds on separate days established initially the magnitude and consistency of increases in pump flow that correlated well with changes in heart rate. However, there was considerable variation, coefficients of variation for mean heart rate and pump flow being 47.9 and 49.3%, respectively. Secondly, these studies indicated that increasing pump flows caused significant improvements in maximal exercise capacity. An increase of 2.1 L/min (35%) in maximum blood flow caused 12 W (16%) further increase in achievable work, 1.26 (9.3%) mL/kg/min in maximal oxygen uptake, and 2.3 (23%) mL/kg/min in anaerobic threshold. Mean increases in lactate were 0.85 mm (24%), but mean B-type natiuretic peptide fell by 126 mm, (-78%). From submaximal supine exercise studies, multiple linear regression of pump flow on factors thought to underlie the spontaneous increase in pump flow indicated that it was associated with increases in heart rate (P = 0.039), pressure gradient across the left ventricle (P = 0.032), and right atrial pressure (P = 0.003). These changes have implications for the recently reported Starling-like controller for pump flow based on pump pulsatility values, which emulates the Starling curve relating pump output to left ventricular preload. Unmodified, the controller would not permit the full benefits of this effect to be afforded to patients implanted with rotary blood pumps. A modification to the pump control algorithm is proposed to eliminate this problem. © 2013, Copyright the Authors. Artificial Organs © 2013 Wiley

  13. 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 hemotacrit and hemoglobin, plasma lactate dehydrogenase, α-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase, alinine aminotransferase, creatine kinase, butyrylcholinesterase, alkaline phosphatase, glucose, albumin, total protein, creatinine, urea nitrogen, uric acid, cholesterol, and triglycerides, and brain acetylcholinesterase. Butyrl- 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Acute oral toxicity of sodium cyanide in birds.

    PubMed

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

    1986-10-01

    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.

  16. 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.

  17. Effects of crustacean cardioactive peptide on the hearts of two Orthopteran insects, and the demonstration of a Frank-Starling-like effect.

    PubMed

    da Silva, Sara R; da Silva, Rosa; Lange, Angela B

    2011-04-01

    Like vertebrate cardiovascular systems, the dorsal vessel of the Orthopteran insects Baculum extradentatum and Locusta migratoria is under myogenic as well as neural control, through the action of neurotransmitters, neuromodulators and neurohormones. It was previously shown that the excitatory neuropeptide, crustacean cardioactive peptide (CCAP), triggers an increase in heart rate in B. extradentatum, and CCAP-like immunoreactivity is present in the innervation to the heart in many insects. In the present study, CCAP resulted in a dose-dependent increase in heart rate and hemolymph flow velocity, or cardiac output, in B. extradentatum. In contrast, CCAP led to a significant increase in stroke volume and cardiac output in L. migratoria without modifying heart rate or aortic contraction frequency. Hemolymph flow through the excurrent ostia of L. migratoria, small openings or valves on the posterior aorta and anterior heart, was inhibited with increasing concentrations of CCAP, with complete inhibition seen at 10(-7) M CCAP. In the locust, CCAP increases the volume of hemolymph in the dorsal vessel by the synchronous closing of the excurrent ostia, resulting in more forceful heart contractions and increased stroke volume and cardiac output, without modifying heart rate through a physiological mechanism analogous to the Frank-Starling mechanism in vertebrates. Therefore, crustacean cardioactive peptide alters the contractile properties of cardiac tissue in both B. extradentatum and L. migratoria, allowing for an increase in blood flow and circulation.

  18. Synthesis of the Results of the Field Verification Program Wetland Disposal Alternative

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1989-02-01

    Phaseolus vulgaris L.)," Environmental ioxicoiogy ana 1-hemistry, Vol 5, pp 659-665. Eisler, R. 1981. Trace Metals in Marine Organisms, Pergamon Press, New...sparrow (weaver finch) Sturnus vulgaris -- Starling Cyanocitta cristata--Bluejay Mimus polyglottos--Mockingbird Corvus brachyrhynchos--Common crow

  19. [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.

  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. Avicenna (980-1037) on the Role of the Liver in Separating Fluid from the Blood, with Insight into the Process from E.H. Starling (1866-1907) a Millennium Later.

    PubMed

    Fine, Leon G

    2016-01-01

    A statement was made by Avicenna (980-1037) in his Canon of Medicine that the liver separates fluid from the blood. An explanation for this view has not been considered. Since the statement emerged from an existing English translation of the Canon (which was made from a prior Latin edition), an alternative English translation of the first Hebrew edition was made in order to verify the statement and to seek additional insight, which could explain its basis, in fact. The English edition of Avicenna's Canon of Medicine published in 1932, translated from the Latin. First Hebrew edition of Avicenna's Canon of Medicine published in 1491, translated from the Arabic. None. The relevant sections of the Hebrew Canon on the origin of the body fluids were translated and compared with the existing English translation. The fluid generated by the liver is likely to be protein-containing, since it was described as frothy and suggests that it is lymph. The suggestion that the liver needs a watery fluid for its action cannot be explained. Ernest Henry Starling (1866-1907) measured lymph formation, showing it to be driven by physical forces. The liver stood out as being the organ with the largest capacity for lymph formation. The vascular walls within the liver were shown to have a higher permeability to serum proteins than any other source of lymph. Data are derived from Starling's publications based on individual experiments. These were not analyzed statistically. The explanation for Avicenna's statement that the liver separates moisture from the blood is most likely to be the discovery by Starling, a millennium later, that the liver is the major source of lymph production. The liver is a major source of lymph. Distortion of the architecture of the liver in cirrhosis and other chronic liver diseases lead to ascites, a condition of lymph overflow from the liver. © 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  2. Evaluation of two methods for quantifying passeriform lice

    PubMed Central

    Koop, Jennifer A. H.; Clayton, Dale H.

    2013-01-01

    Two methods commonly used to quantify ectoparasites on live birds are visual examination and dust-ruffling. Visual examination provides an estimate of ectoparasite abundance based on an observer’s timed inspection of various body regions on a bird. Dust-ruffling involves application of insecticidal powder to feathers that are then ruffled to dislodge ectoparasites onto a collection surface where they can then be counted. Despite the common use of these methods in the field, the proportion of actual ectoparasites they account for has only been tested with Rock Pigeons (Columba livia), a relatively large-bodied species (238–302 g) with dense plumage. We tested the accuracy of the two methods using European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris; ~75 g). We first quantified the number of lice (Brueelia nebulosa) on starlings using visual examination, followed immediately by dust-ruffling. Birds were then euthanized and the proportion of lice accounted for by each method was compared to the total number of lice on each bird as determined with a body-washing method. Visual examination and dust-ruffling each accounted for a relatively small proportion of total lice (14% and 16%, respectively), but both were still significant predictors of abundance. The number of lice observed by visual examination accounted for 68% of the variation in total abundance. Similarly, the number of lice recovered by dust-ruffling accounted for 72% of the variation in total abundance. Our results show that both methods can be used to reliably quantify the abundance of lice on European Starlings and other similar-sized passerines. PMID:24039328

  3. 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.

  4. Candidate predators for biological control of the poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae.

    PubMed

    Lesna, Izabela; Wolfs, Peter; Faraji, Farid; Roy, Lise; Komdeur, Jan; Sabelis, Maurice W

    2009-06-01

    The poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, is currently a significant pest in the poultry industry in Europe. Biological control by the introduction of predatory mites is one of the various options for controlling poultry red mites. Here, we present the first results of an attempt to identify potential predators by surveying the mite fauna of European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) nests, by assessing their ability to feed on poultry red mites and by testing for their inability to extract blood from bird hosts, i.e., newly hatched, young starlings and chickens. Two genuine predators of poultry red mites are identified: Hypoaspis aculeifer and Androlaelaps casalis. A review of the literature shows that some authors suspected the latter species to parasitize on the blood of birds and mammals, but they did not provide experimental evidence for these feeding habits and/or overlooked published evidence showing the reverse. We advocate careful analysis of the trophic structure of arthropods inhabiting bird nests as a basis for identifying candidate predators for control of poultry red mites.

  5. Abnormal splicing in the N-terminal variable region of cardiac troponin T impairs systolic function of the heart with preserved Frank-Starling compensation.

    PubMed

    Feng, Han-Zhong; Chen, Guozhen; Nan, Changlong; Huang, Xupei; Jin, Jian-Ping

    2014-09-01

    Abnormal splice-out of the exon 7-encoded segment in the N-terminal variable region of cardiac troponin T (cTnT-ΔE7) was found in turkeys and, together with the inclusion of embryonic exon (eTnT), in adult dogs with a correlation with dilated cardiomyopathy. Overexpression of these cTnT variants in transgenic mouse hearts significantly decreased cardiac function. To further investigate the functional effect of cTnT-ΔE7 or ΔE7+eTnT in vivo under systemic regulation, echocardiography was carried out in single and double-transgenic mice. No atrial enlargement, ventricular hypertrophy or dilation was detected in the hearts of 2-month-old cTnT-ΔE7 and ΔE7+eTnT mice in comparison to wild-type controls, indicating a compensated state. However, left ventricular fractional shortening and ejection fraction were decreased in ΔE7 and ΔE7+eTnT mice, and the response to isoproterenol was lower in ΔE7+eTnT mice. Left ventricular outflow tract velocity and gradient were decreased in the transgenic mouse hearts, indicating decreased systolic function. Ex vivo working heart function showed that high afterload or low preload resulted in more severe decreases in the systolic function and energetic efficiency of cTnT-ΔE7 and ΔE7+eTnT hearts. On the other hand, increases in preload demonstrated preserved Frank-Starling responses and minimized the loss of cardiac function and efficiency. The data demonstrate that the N-terminal variable region of cardiac TnT regulates systolic function of the heart. © 2014 The Authors. Physiological Reports published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the American Physiological Society and The Physiological Society.

  6. Fatty acids are important for the Frank-Starling mechanism and Gregg effect but not for catecholamine response in isolated rat hearts.

    PubMed

    Pagliaro, P; Chiribiri, A; Gattullo, D; Penna, C; Rastaldo, R; Recchia, F A

    2002-11-01

    In some pathophysiological conditions myocardial metabolism can switch from mainly long chain fatty acid (LCFA) oxidation to mainly glucose oxidation. Whether the predominant fatty acid or glucose oxidation affects cardiac performance has not been defined. In a buffer perfused isovolumetrically contracting rat heart, oxidation of endogenous pool LCFA was avoided by inhibiting carnitine-palmitoyl-transferase I (CPT-I) with oxfenicine (2 mM). In order to restore fatty acid oxidation, hexanoate (1 mM), which bypasses CPT-I inhibition, was added to the perfusate. Three groups of hearts were subjected to either an increase in left ventricular volume (VV, +25%) or an increase in coronary flow (CF, +50%), or inotropic stimulation with isoproterenol (10(-8) and 10(-6) m). The increase in VV (the Frank-Starling mechanism) increased rate-pressure product (RPP) by 21 +/- 2% under control conditions, but only by 6 +/- 2% during oxfenicine-induced CPT-I inhibition. The contractile response to changes in VV recovered after the addition of hexanoate. Similar results were obtained in hearts, in which an increase in CF was elicited (the Gregg phenomenon). Isoproterenol caused a similar increase in contractility regardless of the presence of oxfenicine or hexanoate. In all groups, a commensurate increase in oxygen consumption accompanied the increase in contractility. The fatty acid oxidation is necessary for an adequate contractile response of the isolated heart to increased pre-load or flow, whereas the inotropic response to adrenergic beta-receptor stimulation is insensitive to changes in substrate availability.

  7. Abnormal splicing in the N‐terminal variable region of cardiac troponin T impairs systolic function of the heart with preserved Frank‐Starling compensation

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Han‐Zhong; Chen, Guozhen; Nan, Changlong; Huang, Xupei; Jin, Jian‐Ping

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Abnormal splice‐out of the exon 7‐encoded segment in the N‐terminal variable region of cardiac troponin T (cTnT‐ΔE7) was found in turkeys and, together with the inclusion of embryonic exon (eTnT), in adult dogs with a correlation with dilated cardiomyopathy. Overexpression of these cTnT variants in transgenic mouse hearts significantly decreased cardiac function. To further investigate the functional effect of cTnT‐ΔE7 or ΔE7+eTnT in vivo under systemic regulation, echocardiography was carried out in single and double‐transgenic mice. No atrial enlargement, ventricular hypertrophy or dilation was detected in the hearts of 2‐month‐old cTnT‐ΔE7 and ΔE7+eTnT mice in comparison to wild‐type controls, indicating a compensated state. However, left ventricular fractional shortening and ejection fraction were decreased in ΔE7 and ΔE7+eTnT mice, and the response to isoproterenol was lower in ΔE7+eTnT mice. Left ventricular outflow tract velocity and gradient were decreased in the transgenic mouse hearts, indicating decreased systolic function. Ex vivo working heart function showed that high afterload or low preload resulted in more severe decreases in the systolic function and energetic efficiency of cTnT‐ΔE7 and ΔE7+eTnT hearts. On the other hand, increases in preload demonstrated preserved Frank‐Starling responses and minimized the loss of cardiac function and efficiency. The data demonstrate that the N‐terminal variable region of cardiac TnT regulates systolic function of the heart. PMID:25194024

  8. Experimentally Increasing TITIN Compliance in a Novel Mouse Model Attenuates the Frank-Starling Mechanism but has a Beneficial Effect on Diastole

    PubMed Central

    Methawasin, Mei; Hutchinson, Kirk R; Lee, Eun-Jeong; Smith, John E; Saripalli, Chandra; Hidalgo, Carlos G; Ottenheijm, Coen AC; Granzier, Henk

    2014-01-01

    Background Experimentally upregulating compliant titins has been suggested as a therapeutic for lowering pathological diastolic stiffness levels. However, how increasing titin compliance impacts global cardiac function requires in-depth study. We investigate the effect of upregulating compliant titins in a novel mouse model with a genetically altered titin splicing factor; integrative approaches were used from intact cardiomyocyte mechanics to pressure(P)-volume(V) analysis and Doppler echocardiography. Methods and Results Compliant titins were upregulated through deletion of the RNA Recognition Motif of the splicing factor RBM20 (Rbm20ΔRRM mice). A genome-wide exon expression analysis and a candidate approach revealed that the phenotype is likely to be dominated by greatly increased lengths of titin’s spring-elements. At both cardiomyocyte and left ventricular (LV)chamber levels diastolic stiffness was reduced in heterozygous (+/−) Rbm20ΔRRM mice with a further reduction in homozygous (−/−) mice at only the intact myocyte level. Fibrosis was present in only −/− Rbm20ΔRRM hearts. The Frank-Starling Mechanism was reduced in a graded fashion in Rbm20ΔRRM mice, at both the cardiomyocyte and LV chamber levels. Exercise tests revealed an increase in exercise capacity in +/− mice. Conclusions Titin is not only important in diastolic but also in systolic cardiac function. Upregulating compliant titins reduces diastolic chamber stiffness due to increased compliance of myocytes but depresses end-systolic elastance; under conditions of exercise the beneficial effects on diastolic function dominate. Therapeutic manipulation of the RBM20-based splicing system might be able to minimize effects on fibrosis and systolic function while improving diastolic function of heart failure patients. PMID:24599837

  9. 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.

  10. 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).

  11. The European experience.

    PubMed

    Roels, Leo; Rahmel, Axel

    2011-04-01

    This mini-review on European experiences with tackling the problem of organ shortage for transplantation was based on a literature review of predominantly European publications dealing with the issue of organ donation from deceased donors. The authors tried to identify the most significant factors that have demonstrated to impact on donation rates from deceased donors and subsequent transplant successes. These factors include legislative measures (national laws and European Directives), optimization of the donation process, use of expanded criteria donors, innovative preservation and surgical techniques, organizational efforts, and improved allocation algorithms.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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)

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. European Composite Honeycomb Material

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tschepe, Christoph; Sauerbrey, Martin; Klebor, Maximillian; Henriksen, Torben

    2014-06-01

    A European CFRP honeycomb material for high demanding structure applications like antenna reflectors and optical benches was developed in the frame of an ESA GSTP project.The composite honeycomb was designed according to requirements defined by the European space industry. A developed manufacturing technique based on prepreg moulding enables the production of homogeneous CFRP honeycomb blocks. All characteristic material properties, including compression, tension and shear strength and CTE, were determined in a comprehensive verification test campaign. Competitiveness to comparable products was further verified by a representative breadboard.

  20. European security and France

    SciTech Connect

    deRose, A.

    1985-01-01

    A French authority on security argues for new European initiatives in the face of the ''danger represented by Soviet military power deployed in support of an imperialistic ideology.'' His proposals, including the strengthening of conventional forces without abandoning the option of the first use of nuclear weapons, are meant to give substance to President Mitterrand's declaration in 1983: ''The European nations now need to realize that their defense is also their responsibility....'' A part of the increasingly important debate in France over defense policy in Europe.

  1. 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…

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. Teaching European Identities

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Raento, Pauliina

    2008-01-01

    The political, cultural and social make-up of Europe is changing fast. A new European identity is under construction, but old contradictions and diversity challenge its contents, forms and boundaries. Migration, the changing role of the nation-state and Europe's regions, the reshaping of politico-administrative and perceptional boundaries, the…

  5. European Pine Shoot Moth

    Treesearch

    William E. Miller; Arthur R. Hastings; John F. Wootten

    1961-01-01

    In the United States, the European pine shoot moth has caused much damage in young, plantations of red pine. It has been responsible for reduced planting of red pine in many areas. Although attacked trees rarely if ever die, their growth is inhibited and many are, deformed. Scotch pine and Austrian pine (Pinus nigra Arnold) are usually not so badly damaged. Swiss...

  6. 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…

  7. 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…

  8. 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…

  9. Teaching European Identities

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Raento, Pauliina

    2008-01-01

    The political, cultural and social make-up of Europe is changing fast. A new European identity is under construction, but old contradictions and diversity challenge its contents, forms and boundaries. Migration, the changing role of the nation-state and Europe's regions, the reshaping of politico-administrative and perceptional boundaries, the…

  10. 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…

  11. European Study Tour Guidelines.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mitchell, Vicki L.; Mitchell, Kenneth E.

    Guidelines are presented for planning and financing European study tours at the community college level. First, a rationale for incorporating study tours of Europe within the community college curriculum is presented and the benefits of such tours in providing students with experiences they could not normally have are outlined. Next, the paper…

  12. The European Mobile System (EMS)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jongejans, A.; Rogard, R.; Mistretta, I.; Ananasso, F.

    1993-01-01

    The European Space Agency is presently procuring an L band payload in order to promote a regional European L band system coping with the specific needs of the European market. The payload, and the two communications systems to be supported, are described below. The potential market for EMS in Europe is discussed.

  13. Education and European integration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lowe, John

    1992-11-01

    The main purpose of this article is to discuss the implications for education and training of the movement towards integration in Europe in the historic context of the creation of a single market within the European Community (EC) and the end of the Communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. The experience of the EC is used to illustrate trends and problems in the development of international cooperation in education and training. Common concerns and priorities throughout the new Europe are then identified and discussed. These include the pursuit of quality in schooling, efforts to serve the interests of disadvantaged learners, and the treatment of European Studies in the curriculum, including the improvement of the teaching of foreign languages.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. The European Spallation Source

    SciTech Connect

    Peggs, S; Eshraqi, M; Hahn, H; Jansson, A; Lindroos, M; Ponton, A; Rathsman, K; Trahern, G; Bousso, S; Calaga, R; Devanz, G; Duperrier, R D; Eguia, J; Gammino, S; Moller, S P; Oyon, C; Ruber, R.J.M.Y.; Satogata, T

    2011-03-01

    The European Spallation Source (ESS) is a 5 MW, 2.5 GeV long pulse proton linac, to be built and commissioned in Lund, Sweden. The Accelerator Design Update (ADU) project phase is under way, to be completed at the end of 2012 by the delivery of a Technical Design Report. Improvements to the 2003 ESS design will be summarised, and the latest design activities will be presented.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. The European Infrasound Bulletin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pilger, Christoph; Ceranna, Lars; Ross, J. Ole; Vergoz, Julien; Le Pichon, Alexis; Mialle, Pierrick

    2017-04-01

    The European Infrasound Bulletin highlights infrasound activity produced by mostly anthropogenic sources, recorded all over Europe and collected in the course of the ARISE project (Atmospheric dynamics Research InfraStructure in Europe). Data includes high frequency (>0.7 Hz) infrasound detections of 24 European infrasound arrays from 9 different national institutions (BGR, CEA, IRF, NORSAR, KNMI, UNIFI, IAP-Prague, NIEP, SOREQ) complemented with CTBT IMS infrasound stations. Data was acquired during 16 years of operation (from 2000 to 2015), and processed to identify and localize about 48.000 infrasound events within Europe (20°W-40°E, 30°N-72°N). The source location of these events was derived by combining at least two corresponding station detections per event. Comparisons to ground-truth sources, as e.g. Scandinavian mining activity, are provided. Relocation is performed using ray-tracing methods to estimate celerity and back-azimuth corrections based on either HWM-07/MSISE-00 climatologies or actual ECMWF wind and temperature values for each event. This study focuses on repeating infrasound events (e.g. mining blasts and supersonic flights) and on the seasonal, weekly and diurnal variation of the infrasonic activity of sources in Europe. Estimations of the detection and location capability and accuracy will be given in the course of this study to achieve a comprehensive picture of the activity of infrasound sources and capability of infrasound station in Europe.

  20. European Conference on Health Economics.

    PubMed

    Malmivaara, Antti

    2010-12-01

    The biennial European Conference on Health Economics was held in Finland this year, at the Finlandia Hall in the centre of Helsinki. The European conferences rotate among European countries and fall between the biennial world congresses organized by the International Health Economics Association (iHEA). A record attendance of approximately 800 delegates from 50 countries around the world were present at the Helsinki conference. The theme of the conference was 'Connecting Health and Economics'. All major topics of health economics were covered in the sessions. For the first time, social care economics was included in the agenda of the European Conference as a session of its own.

  1. A New Impetus for European Youth. European Commission White Paper.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Commission of the European Communities, Brussels (Belgium).

    Despite their highly divergent situations, young people largely share the same values, ambitions, and difficulties. Despite the more complex social and economic context in which young Europeans are currently living, they are well equipped to adapt. National and European policymakers must facilitate this process of change by making young people…

  2. European Cenozoic rift system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ziegler, Peter A.

    1992-07-01

    The European Cenozoic rift system extends from the coast of the North Sea to the Mediterranean over a distance of some 1100 km; it finds its southern prolongation in the Valencia Trough and a Plio-Pleistocene volcanic chain crossing the Atlas ranges. Development of this mega-rift was paralleled by orogenic activity in the Alps and Pyrenees. Major rift domes, accompanied by subsidence reversal of their axial grabens, developed 20-40 Ma after beginning of rifting. Uplift of the Rhenish Shield is related to progressive thermal lithospheric thinning; the Vosges-Black Forest and the Massif Central domes are probably underlain by asthenoliths emplaced at the crust/mantle boundary. Evolution of this rift system, is thought to be governed by the interaction of the Eurasian and African plates and by early phases of a plate-boundary reorganization that may lead to the break-up of the present continent assembly.

  3. Optranet: a European project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jeanjean, Marie

    2003-10-01

    In a situation where curricula did not adjust at the required pace and many students are getting attracted out of science and technology, the shortage of skilled workers at the technician and engineer level is known to be a threat to development. In spite of a serious crisis in 2001, the trend of an increased presence of optical technologies remains unchanged and is bound to remain part of the landscape for decades. The level of investment required and the markets make Europe the best scale to plan for unified curricula and a global analysis of the human resources needs. There is no agreement on the definition of a trained optician, and European countries differ in the way they educate opticians, source of a lack of clarity and visibility which is detrimental to attracting good students and to the job market. Through its closely work with companies, OPTRANET will propose measures to enhance the adequacy and the visibility of the training offer.

  4. The morphological basis of the arm-to-wing transition.

    PubMed

    Poore, Samuel O

    2008-02-01

    Human-powered flight has fascinated scientists, artists, and physicians for centuries. This history includes Abbas Ibn Firnas, a Spanish inventor who attempted the first well-documented human flight; Leonardo da Vinci and his flying machines; the Turkish inventor Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi; and the modern aeronautical pioneer Otto Lilienthal. These historic figures held in common their attempts to construct wings from man-made materials, and though their human-powered attempts at flight never came to fruition, the ideas and creative elements contained within their flying machines were essential to modern aeronautics. Since the time of these early pioneers, flight has continued to captivate humans, and recently, in a departure from creating wings from artificial elements, there has been discussion of using reconstructive surgery to fabricate human wings from human arms. This article is a descriptive study of how one might attempt such a reconstruction and in doing so calls upon essential evidence in the evolution of flight, an understanding of which is paramount to constructing human wings from arms. This includes a brief analysis and exploration of the anatomy of the 150-million-year-old fossil Archaeopteryx lithographica, with particular emphasis on the skeletal organization of this primitive bird's wing and wrist. Additionally, certain elements of the reconstruction must be drawn from an analysis of modern birds including a description of the specialized shoulder of the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris. With this anatomic description in tow, basic calculations regarding wing loading and allometry suggest that human wings would likely be nonfunctional. However, with the proper reconstructive balance between primitive (Archaeopteryx) and modern (Sturnus), and in attempting to integrate a careful analysis of bird anatomy with modern surgical techniques, the newly constructed human wings could function as cosmetic features simulating, for example, the nonfunctional

  5. Depressed Frank-Starling mechanism in the left ventricular muscle of the knock-in mouse model of dilated cardiomyopathy with troponin T deletion mutation ΔK210.

    PubMed

    Inoue, Takahiro; Kobirumaki-Shimozawa, Fuyu; Kagemoto, Tatsuya; Fujii, Teruyuki; Terui, Takako; Kusakari, Yoichiro; Hongo, Kenichi; Morimoto, Sachio; Ohtsuki, Iwao; Hashimoto, Kazuhiro; Fukuda, Norio

    2013-10-01

    It has been reported that the Frank-Starling mechanism is coordinately regulated in cardiac muscle via thin filament "on-off" equilibrium and titin-based lattice spacing changes. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that the deletion mutation ΔK210 in the cardiac troponin T gene shifts the equilibrium toward the "off" state and accordingly attenuate the sarcomere length (SL) dependence of active force production, via reduced cross-bridge formation. Confocal imaging in isolated hearts revealed that the cardiomyocytes were enlarged, especially in the longitudinal direction, in ΔK210 hearts, with striation patterns similar to those in wild type (WT) hearts, suggesting that the number of sarcomeres is increased in cardiomyocytes but the sarcomere length remains unaltered. For analysis of the SL dependence of active force, skinned muscle preparations were obtained from the left ventricle of WT and knock-in (ΔK210) mice. An increase in SL from 1.90 to 2.20μm shifted the mid-point (pCa50) of the force-pCa curve leftward by ~0.21pCa units in WT preparations. In ΔK210 muscles, Ca(2+) sensitivity was lower by ~0.37pCa units, and the SL-dependent shift of pCa50, i.e., ΔpCa50, was less pronounced (~0.11pCa units), with and without protein kinase A treatment. The rate of active force redevelopment was lower in ΔK210 preparations than in WT preparations, showing blunted thin filament cooperative activation. An increase in thin filament cooperative activation upon an increase in the fraction of strongly bound cross-bridges by MgADP increased ΔpCa50 to ~0.21pCa units. The depressed Frank-Starling mechanism in ΔK210 hearts is the result of a reduction in thin filament cooperative activation.

  6. 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…

  7. European urology: quality, impact, online.

    PubMed

    Catto, James W F; Montorsi, Francesco; Schulman, Claude

    2013-10-01

    European Urology provides contemporary, cutting-edge urologic research, guidance, and discussion. The journal continues to invite collaborative reviews, to invest in rapid but fair peer review, to seek the best research, and to serve the needs of readers and patients. Copyright © 2013 European Association of Urology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. 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…

  9. What Audience for European Television?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wendelbo, Harald Arni

    This discussion of the audience for European television argues that satellite television has taken an upside-down approach, i.e., it has begun by focusing on the hardware, and then the software, before checking to see if there would be a user at the end of the line willing to pay for the whole operation. "European television" is then…

  10. Brazilian Portuguese Ethnonymy and Europeanisms.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stephens, Thomas M.

    1994-01-01

    Delineates the incorporation and analyzes the impact of European borrowings in Brazilian racio-ethnic terminology. This overview covers French, Italian, Spanish, and English influences. Borrowings from European languages have had a small impact on the calculus of Brazilian racio-ethnic terms. (43 references) (Author/CK)

  11. 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…

  12. 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…

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. European Citizenship and European Union Expansion: Perspectives on Europeanness and Citizenship Education from Britain and Turkey

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wilkins, Chris; Busher, Hugh; Lawson, Tony; Acun, Ismail; Goz, Nur Leman

    2010-01-01

    This article discusses some perspectives on citizenship education in Turkey and Britain in the context of current contested discourses on the nature of European identity and of the European Union (EU). It is based on data collected during an EU-funded student teacher exchange programme between three universities in Turkey and Leicester University…

  16. The European mesothelioma epidemic

    PubMed Central

    Peto, J; Decarli, A; Vecchia, C La; Levi, F; Negri, E

    1999-01-01

    Projections for the period 1995–2029 suggest that the number of men dying from mesothelioma in Western Europe each year will almost double over the next 20 years, from 5000 in 1998 to about 9000 around 2018, and then decline, with a total of about a quarter of a million deaths over the next 35 years. The highest risk will be suffered by men born around 1945–50, of whom about 1 in 150 will die of mesothelioma. Asbestos use in Western Europe remained high until 1980, and substantial quantities are still used in several European countries. These projections are based on the fit of a simple age and birth cohort model to male pleural cancer mortality from 1970 to 1989 for six countries (Britain, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Switzerland) which together account for three-quarters of the population of Western Europe. The model was tested by comparing observed and predicted numbers of deaths for the period 1990–94. The ratio of mesothelioma to recorded pleural cancer mortality has been 1.6:1 in Britain but was assumed to be 1:1 in other countries. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign PMID:10027347

  17. Intellectual property and biotechnology: the European debate.

    PubMed

    Brody, Baruch

    2007-06-01

    The European patent system allows for the introduction of moral issues into decisions about the granting of patents. This feature has greatly impacted European debates about the patenting of biotechnology. This essay explores the European experience, in both the European Union and the European Patent Organization. It argues that there has been great confusion surrounding these issues primarily because the Europeans have not developed a general theory about when exclusion from patentability is the best social mechanism for dealing with morally offensive technologies.

  18. A European perspective--the European clinical research infrastructures network.

    PubMed

    Demotes-Mainard, J; Kubiak, C

    2011-11-01

    Evaluating research outcomes requires multinational cooperation in clinical research for optimization of treatment strategies and comparative effectiveness research, leading to evidence-based practice and healthcare cost containment. The European Clinical Research Infrastructures Network (ECRIN) is a distributed ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) roadmap pan-European infrastructure designed to support multinational clinical research, making Europe a single area for clinical studies, taking advantage of its population size to access patients, and unlocking latent scientific potential. Servicing multinational trials started during its preparatory phase, and ECRIN will now apply for an ERIC (European Research Infrastructures Consortium) status by 2011. By creating a single area for clinical research in Europe, this achievement will contribute to the implementation of the Europe flagship initiative 2020 'Innovation Union', whose objectives include defragmentation of the research and education capacity, tackling the major societal challenges starting with the area of healthy ageing, and removing barriers to bring ideas to the market.

  19. North European Transect

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Korja, Annakaisa; Heikkinen, Pekka J.; Roslov, Yuri; Ivanova, Nina; Verba, Marc; Sakoulina, Tamara

    2010-05-01

    A nearly continuous, 3600 km long, NE-running North European Transect (NET) is combined from the existing deep seismic reflection data sets in the Baltic Sea (BABEL, 1600 km), Northern Finland (FIRE 4-4A, 580 km) and Barents Sea (1-AR, 1440 km;). The reflective image of the deep crust is highly dependent on the thickness of the sedimentary cover. The cover is few hundred meters in the Baltic sea, few tens of meters in the land areas and few kilometers in the Barents Sea area. In the Barents Sea area, the seismic image is dominated by the layered structure of the sedimentary basins and the middle and lower crust are poorly imaged. Therefore the Moho boundary in the Barents Sea has been determined from wide-angle reflections. Geologically the transect covers the transition from Phanerozoic Europe to Precambrian Europe and back to the Phanerozoic Barents Sea Shelf. It displays how Northern Europe grew around Baltica in several tectonic episodes involving the formation and destruction of Columbia/Hudsonland, Rodinia and Pangea supercontinents. The paleo plateboundaries are traversed by subvertical transparent zones suggesting transpressional and trantensional environments. The BABEL lines image how the core of Baltica was formed by sequential accretion of microcontinents and arc terranes at the old continental margin during the Svecofennian Orogeny ~1.9-1.8 Ga .When Baltica joined the Columbia supercontinent, new terranes were added to its southern edge in the Sveocbaltic Orogeny (~1.8 Ga). During the dispersal of the Columbia, the Baltic Sea failed rift was formed, rapakivi granitoids were intruded and sedimentary basins were developed. An extended plate margin structure has been imposed on the Rodinian (Sveconorwegian) and Pangean additions (Variscan-Caledonian). Major crustal thinning takes place along a series of subvertical faults across the Trans-European Suture Zone marking the transition from Phanerozoic to Proterozoic Europe. The FIRE lines in Northen Finland

  20. 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.

  1. European eye bank association.

    PubMed

    Jones, Gary L A; Ponzin, Diego; Pels, Elisabeth; Maas, Hanneke; Tullo, Andrew B; Claerhout, Ilse

    2009-01-01

    The European Eye Bank Association (EEBA) is a technical-scientific organization for eye banks. Founded in 1989 with the simple objective of sharing information on eye banking, the Association is today the leading pan-national association in Europe dedicated to the advancement of eye banking and an authoritative reference point for eye banks which work according to quality standards. The Association establishes and maintains an agreed set of medical and technical standards, promotes the collection of data on eye bank activities and processes, provides opportunities for the discussion of all aspects of eye banking practice, including eye donor selection and procurement, relevant research and development, education and training in eye banking, and maintains linkage with national and international corneal transplant communities and relevant bodies. The recent introduction of a more structured and focused committee, a permanent secretariat, the development of a website has enabled the Association to establish closer links and collaborative activities with key regulatory bodies and to provide a more constant exchange of clinical, scientific and technical ideas and best practice with fellow professionals by means of its annual meetings, the EEBA directory and website, and a regular newsletter. The EEBA is a scientific organization committed to defining minimum standards and to encouraging eye banks to maintain the highest possible standards for quality and safety. Through its annual meetings, and the collection and exchange of detailed information from member eye banks, the Association can rightly claim to speak with a confident and representative voice on eye banking in Europe. Copyright 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  2. European strategies for mental health.

    PubMed

    Di Fiandra, Teresa

    2009-01-01

    The most recent developments of strategies and policies in the mental health field in Europe are related to the World Health Organization (WHO) Declaration and Action Plan on Mental Health signed by all the Ministers of Health of all Member States in the European Region (2005). The Action Plan proposes ways and means of developing comprehensive mental health policies, listing 12 areas in which challenges are indicated and detailed actions are required. Afterwards the Green Paper on Mental Health has been launched by the European Commission for the definition of an European strategy. The more precise European Pact for Mental Health and Well-being has been presented in 2008. Many other international bodies (OECD, Council of Europe, etc.) have actively worked to stress the mental health issue. All are clearly referring to the Italian model, started 30 years ago.

  3. [European general practice research agenda].

    PubMed

    Mäntyselkä, Pekka; Koskela, Tuomas

    2014-01-01

    The EGPRN (European General Practice Research Network) research agenda is a review compiling the strengths and areas of development of European general practice, based on a systematic literature survey and its versatile analysis. The research agenda is a framework paper sharpening the definition and functions of general practice as well as its significance for researchers and decisionmakers. The agenda is useful in structuring the research, evaluation of research needs, strengthening of infrastructure and strategic planning of new research.

  4. A novel statistical method for behaviour sequence analysis and its application to birdsong.

    PubMed

    Alger, Sarah J; Larget, Bret R; Riters, Lauren V

    2016-06-01

    Complex vocal signals, such as birdsong, contain acoustic elements that differ in both order and duration. These elements may convey socially relevant meaning, both independently and through their interactions, yet statistical methods that combine order and duration data to extract meaning have not, to our knowledge, been fully developed. Here we design novel semi-Markov methods, Bayesian estimation and classification trees to extract order and duration information from behavioural sequences and apply these methods to songs produced by male European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, in two social contexts in which the function of song differs: a spring (breeding) and autumn (nonbreeding) context. Additionally, previous data indicate that damage to the medial preoptic nucleus (POM), a brain area known to regulate male sexually motivated behaviour, affects structural aspects of starling song such that males in a sexually relevant context (i.e. spring) sing shorter songs than appropriate for this context. We further test the utility of our statistical approach by comparing attributes of song structure in POM-lesioned males to song produced by control spring and autumn males. Spring and autumn songs were statistically separable based on the duration and order of phrase types. Males produced more structurally complex aspects of song in spring than in autumn. Spring song was also longer and more stereotyped than autumn song, both attributes used by females to select mates. Songs produced by POM-lesioned males in some cases fell between measures of spring and autumn songs but differed most from songs produced by autumn males. Overall, these statistical methods can effectively extract biologically meaningful information contained in many behavioural sequences given sufficient sample sizes and replication numbers.

  5. 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.

  6. Neuroanatomical evidence for indirect connections between the medial preoptic nucleus and the song control system: possible neural substrates for sexually motivated song.

    PubMed

    Riters, Lauren V; Alger, Sarah J

    2004-04-01

    In European starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris) as in other seasonally breeding songbirds, a major function of song during the breeding season is mate attraction, and song in this context is highly sexually motivated. Song learning, perception, and production are regulated by nuclei of the song control system, but there is no evidence that these nuclei participate in the motivation to sing. Evidence suggests that the medial preoptic nucleus (POM), a diencephalic nucleus outside of the song control system, might regulate the motivation to sing, at least in a sexual context. If the POM is involved in the regulation of sexually motivated song, then this structure must interact with the song control system. To examine possible neuroanatomical connections between the POM and song control nuclei a tract-tracing study was performed in male starlings using the antero- and retrograde tract tracer, biotinylated dextran amine (BDA). No direct connections were identified between the POM and song control nuclei; however, labeled fibers were found to terminate in a region bordering dorsal-medial portions of the robust nucleus of the archistriatum (RA). Additionally, several indirect routes via which the POM might communicate with the song control system were identified. Specifically, POM projected to dorsomedial nucleus intercollicularis (DM), mesencephalic central gray (GCt), area ventralis of Tsai (AVT), and locus ceruleus (LoC), structures projecting directly to nuclei involved in song production (DM --> vocal-patterning and respiratory nuclei; GCt, AVT, LoC --> RA and HVC, and the context in which song is sung (AVT --> area X). These results are consistent with the possibility that the POM regulates sexually motivated song through interactions with brain regions involved in vocal production.

  7. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. European guidance: a project of the European Psychiatric Association.

    PubMed

    Gaebel, W; Möller, H-J

    2012-02-01

    Evidence based medicine is a cornerstone of modern medicine including psychiatry. Treatment practice guidelines are nowadays available for guiding mental health care mainly with a focus on specific disorders. Many important clinical situations or problems beyond treatment, however, are lacking proper guidance. It is in this scope that a European Psychiatry Association (EPA) has developed its own program, the European Guidance Project. The present special issue presents six topics out of these series of guidance documents. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

  9. European courts and old people.

    PubMed

    Mulley, Graham P

    2013-09-01

    There are two major European Courts, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The ECJ deals with legal matters, mainly involving the interpretation of EU law and ensuring that the law is applied evenly across all 27 EU member states. The ECHR aims to make certain that civil and political rights of citizens in the 46 member states of the Council of Europe are observed. Most cases involving older citizens are about social policy (such as pension arrangements, equality, age discrimination and mandatory retirement). There have been few cases dealing with patients' rights, long-term care or housing. Referrals of selected cases involving old people should be considered if their rights are not being protected. In this Commentary, there is an account of how these Courts have evolved, together with guidance on whom to refer, to which Court, and when and how referrals should be made.

  10. European core curriculum in neurorehabilitation

    PubMed Central

    Sandrini, Giorgio; Binder, Heinrich; Hömberg, Volker; Saltuari, Leopold; Tarkka, Ina; Smania, Nicola; Corradini, Claudio; Giustini, Alessandro; Kätterer, Christian; Picari, Ledina; Diserens, Karin; Koenig, Eberhard; Geurts, Alexander; Anghelescu, Aurelian; Opara, Józef; Tonin, Paolo; Kwakkel, Gert; Golyk, Volodymyr; Onose, Gelu; Pérennou, Dominique; Picelli, Alessandro

    2017-01-01

    Summary To date, medical education lacks Europe-wide standards on neurorehabilitation. To address this, the European Federation of NeuroRehabilitation Societies (EFNR) here proposes a postgraduate neurorehabilitation training scheme. In particular, the European medical core curriculum in neurorehabilitation should include a two-year residency in a neurorehabilitation setting where trainees can gain practical experience. Furthermore, it should comprise six modules of classroom training organized as weekend seminars or summer/winter schools. In conclusion, after defining the European medical core curriculum in neurorehabilitation, the next activities of the EFNR will be to try and reach the largest possible consensus on its content among all national societies across Europe in order to further validate it and try to extend it to the other, non-medical, professionals on the neurorehabilitation team in line with their core curricula defined by each professional association. PMID:28676138

  11. European Environmental Test Facility Inventory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Popovitch, A.

    2004-08-01

    For providing the European industry with a tool enabling to identify and locate suitable test facilities, the ESA will establish and maintain a Web-based European inventory of environmental test facilities. The European Space Agency is operating a Test Centre at ESTEC Noordwijk. It is the unique place in Europe, which is geared to verify very large spacecraft. Environmental testing of systems, subsystems and components can be performed at many places all over Europe. Therefore, the inventory aims at identifying all companies/organizations active in environmental testing and inventorying their facilities as well as their main technical features and capabilities. A questionnaire will be submitted to all companies and organizations active in environmental testing in Europe and willing to appear in this inventory.

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

  14. Diagrams of Europeanization: European Education Governance in the Digital Age

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Decuypere, Mathias

    2016-01-01

    European education governance is increasingly affected by and effectuated through digital means. This article presents an analysis of the way in which Europe is increasingly deploying digital technologies, and more specifically websites, in order to shape and communicate its education policies. Drawing on the notion of the diagram as the…

  15. 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…

  16. Diagrams of Europeanization: European Education Governance in the Digital Age

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Decuypere, Mathias

    2016-01-01

    European education governance is increasingly affected by and effectuated through digital means. This article presents an analysis of the way in which Europe is increasingly deploying digital technologies, and more specifically websites, in order to shape and communicate its education policies. Drawing on the notion of the diagram as the…

  17. The avian tail reduces body parasite drag by controlling flow separation and vortex shedding.

    PubMed

    Maybury, W J; Rayner, J M

    2001-07-07

    The aerodynamic effect of the furled avian tail on the parasite drag of a bird's body was investigated on mounted, frozen European starling Sturnus vulgaris in a wind tunnel at flight speeds between 6 and 14 m s(-1). Removal of tail rectrices and dorsal and ventral covert feathers at the base of the tail increased the total parasite drag of the body and tail by between 25 and 55%. Flow visualization and measurements of dynamic pressure in the tail boundary layer showed that in the intact bird a separation bubble forms on the ventral side of the body, and reattaches to the ventral side of the tail. This bubble is a consequence of the morphology of the body, with a rapid contraction posterior to the pelvis and hind legs. The tail and the covert feathers at its base act as a combined splitter plate and wedge to control vortex shedding and body wake development, and thereby are important to minimize drag. This hitherto unsuspected mechanism is central to understanding the morphology of the avian body, and may have had a significant influence on the evolution of avian tail morphology by pre-adapting the tail for radiation and specialization as an aerodynamic lifting structure and as an organ of communication in sexual selection.

  18. Flow pattern similarities in the near wake of three bird species suggest a common role for unsteady aerodynamic effects in lift generation.

    PubMed

    Gurka, Roi; Krishnan, Krishnamoorthy; Ben-Gida, Hadar; Kirchhefer, Adam J; Kopp, Gregory A; Guglielmo, Christopher G

    2017-02-06

    Analysis of the aerodynamics of flapping wings has yielded a general understanding of how birds generate lift and thrust during flight. However, the role of unsteady aerodynamics in avian flight due to the flapping motion still holds open questions in respect to performance and efficiency. We studied the flight of three distinctive bird species: western sandpiper (Calidris mauri), European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and American robin (Turdus migratorius) using long-duration, time-resolved particle image velocimetry, to better characterize and advance our understanding of how birds use unsteady flow features to enhance their aerodynamic performances during flapping flight. We show that during transitions between downstroke and upstroke phases of the wing cycle, the near wake-flow structures vary and generate unique sets of vortices. These structures appear as quadruple layers of concentrated vorticity aligned at an angle with respect to the horizon (named 'double branch'). They occur where the circulation gradient changes sign, which implies that the forces exerted by the flapping wings of birds are modified during the transition phases. The flow patterns are similar in (non-dimensional) size and magnitude for the different birds suggesting that there are common mechanisms operating during flapping flight across species. These flow patterns occur at the same phase where drag reduction of about 5% per cycle and lift enhancement were observed in our prior studies. We propose that these flow structures should be considered in wake flow models that seek to account for the contribution of unsteady flow to lift and drag.

  19. A statistical framework for genetic association studies of power curves in bird flight

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Min; Zhao, Wei

    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. PMID:17066123

  20. Salmonella Surveillance Among Great-Tailed Grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) and Other Urban Bird Species in Eastern Texas.

    PubMed

    Grigar, Mary K; Cummings, Kevin J; Rodriguez-Rivera, Lorraine D; Rankin, Shelley C; Johns, Krista; Hamer, Gabriel L; Hamer, Sarah A

    2016-12-01

    Wild birds may play an important role in maintaining and transmitting Salmonella. Their ability to travel large distances and their proximity to human habitations could make them a vehicle for bridging Salmonella from wild and domestic animals to humans. To determine the potential public health risk presented by urban birds, we investigated the prevalence of Salmonella among great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) and other cohabiting urban bird species. Fecal samples were collected from 114 birds communally roosting in parking lots of retail locations in Brazos County, Texas, from February through July of 2015. Great-tailed grackles and European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were the predominant species sampled. Standard bacteriologic culture methods were used to isolate Salmonella from samples, and isolates were characterized by serotyping and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Overall, 1.8% (2/114) of samples were confirmed positive for Salmonella. Both positive birds were great-tailed grackles sampled in June, yielding a 2.6% (2/76) apparent prevalence among this species. Isolates were serotyped as Salmonella Typhimurium and found to be pan-susceptible based on the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) panel of antimicrobial agents. The occurrence of Salmonella in great-tailed grackles represents a potential threat to public health, particularly considering their population size and tendency to congregate near human establishments such as grocery stores.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  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

    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.

  4. Evidence that dopamine within motivation and song control brain regions regulates birdsong context-dependently.

    PubMed

    Heimovics, Sarah A; Riters, Lauren V

    2008-09-03

    Vocal communication is critical for successful social interactions among conspecifics, but little is known about how the brain regulates context-appropriate communication. The neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) is involved in modulating highly motivated, goal-directed behaviors (including sexually motivated singing behavior), and emerging data suggest that the role of DA in vocal communication may differ depending on the context in which it occurs. To address this possibility, relationships between immunolabeled tyrosine hydroxylase (TH, the rate-limiting enzyme in catecholamine synthesis) and song produced within versus outside of a breeding context were explored in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Immunocytochemistry for dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH; the enzyme that converts DA to norepinephrine) was also performed to provide insight into whether relationships between song and TH immunoreactivity reflected dopaminergic or noradrenergic neurotransmission. Measures of TH and DBH were quantified in song control regions (HVC, Area X, robust nucleus of the acropallium) and regions implicated in motivation (medial preoptic nucleus (POM), ventral tegmental area (VTA), and midbrain central gray). In Area X, POM, and VTA measures of TH correlated with song produced within, but not outside of a breeding context. DBH in these regions did not correlate with song in either context. Together, these data suggest DA in both song control and motivation brain regions may be more tightly linked to the regulation of highly goal-directed, sexually motivated vocal behavior.

  5. Mediation of a corticosterone-induced reproductive conflict.

    PubMed

    Love, Oliver P; Breuner, Creagh W; Vézina, François; Williams, Tony D

    2004-06-01

    Current research in birds suggests that a conflict should exist during reproduction for the role of the glucocorticoid corticosterone (CORT). While elevated levels have been correlated with the increased energetic demand of raising offspring, elevated CORT levels have traditionally been implicated in reproductive abandonment. We examined the relationship between CORT and nest desertion in breeding wild female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) incorporating analyses of both total circulating levels and 'free', unbound CORT through analysis of corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG). Free baseline CORT levels of nest-abandoning birds were significantly higher than nonabandoning birds within each stage, with chick-rearing birds exhibiting the highest free baseline CORT levels, while concurrently remaining the most resistant stage to nest desertion. Elevated free baseline CORT levels in chick-rearing birds were not due to increased total CORT secretion, but rather to a decrease in CBG levels. Overall, our results suggest that CORT and CBG interact to play a role in mediating the increased energetic demand of offspring, while minimizing the chances of nest desertion, thereby alleviating any potential behavioral conflict for CORT during reproduction. Furthermore, these results demonstrate that the traditional view of the role of CORT during reproduction is much more complex than previously appreciated. Together with mounting evidence, we suggest that elevated corticosteroid levels are an inherent and necessary part of reproduction in nonmammalian tetrapods.

  6. 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

  7. Songbirds use spectral shape, not pitch, for sound pattern recognition.

    PubMed

    Bregman, Micah R; Patel, Aniruddh D; Gentner, Timothy Q

    2016-02-09

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Second intermediate host land snails and definitive host animals of Brachylaima cribbi in southern Australia.

    PubMed

    Butcher, A R; Grove, D I

    2005-03-01

    This study of infection of southern Australian land snails with Brachylaima cribbi metacercariae has shown that all commonly encountered native and introduced snails are susceptible second intermediate hosts. The range of infected snails is extensive with metacercariae-infected snails being present in all districts across southern Australia. C. virgata has the highest average natural metacercarial infection intensity of 6.1 metacercariae per infected snail. The susceptibility of birds, mammals and reptiles to B. cribbi infection was studied in South Australia by capturing, dissecting and examining the intestinal tract contents of animals which commonly eat land snails as a food source. Indigenous Australian little ravens (Corvus mellori), which are a common scavenger bird, and two other passeriform birds, the black bird (Turdus merula) and the starling (Sturnus vulgaris), which are both introduced European birds, were found to have the highest infection rates of all animals examined. Other birds found infected with B. cribbi were an emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), chickens (Gallus gallus) and a pigeon (Columba livia). Natural infections were also detected in field mice (Mus domesticus) and shingleback lizards (Tiliqua rugosa) although the intensity of infection was lower than that observed in birds. Susceptibility studies of laboratory mice, rats and ducks showed that mice developed patent infections which persisted for several weeks, rats developed a short-lived infection of three weeks' duration and ducks did not support infection. This study has shown for the first time that a brachylaimid can infect a wide host range of birds, mammals and reptiles in nature.

  11. An experimental demonstration that early-life competitive disadvantage accelerates telomere loss.

    PubMed

    Nettle, Daniel; Monaghan, Pat; Gillespie, Robert; Brilot, Ben; Bedford, Thomas; Bateson, Melissa

    2015-01-07

    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.

  12. The benefits of being toxic to deter predators depends on prey body size

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Karen E.; Halpin, Christina G.

    2016-01-01

    Many prey have evolved toxins as a defense against predation. Those species that advertise their toxicity to would-be predators with conspicuous warning signals are known as “aposematic.” Investment in toxicity by aposematically signaling prey is thought to underpin how aversive prey are to predators; increasing toxicity means that predators learn to avoid prey faster and attack them at lower rates. However, predators’ foraging decisions on aposematic prey are determined not only by their toxicity, but also by their nutrient content: predators can trade-off the costs of ingesting toxin with the benefits of acquiring nutrients. Prey body size is a cue that positively correlates with nutrient content, and that varies within and between aposematic species. We predicted that a dose of quinine (known to be toxic to birds) would be a more effective deterrent to avian predators when prey were small compared with when they were large, and that the benefits of possessing toxin would be greater for small-bodied prey. Using an established laboratory protocol of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) foraging on mealworms (Tenebrio molitor), we found evidence for increased protection from a dose of quinine for small-bodied compared with large-bodied prey. This shows that larger prey need more toxin to attain the same level of defense as smaller prey, which has implications for the evolution of aposematism and mimicry. PMID:28028378

  13. Variation in developmental trajectories of physiological and somatic traits in a common songbird approaching fledging.

    PubMed

    Cornell, Allison; Williams, Tony D

    2017-09-15

    In avian species, little is known about the development of physiological traits in the days preceding fledging, a critical life history transition marked by a high mortality rate. Developmental trajectory during this period may be flexible based on ecological context or hardwired, with potential costs for variation in growth in the form of oxidative stress. Patterns in development are likely to relate to variation in life history, for which seabirds and aerial insectivores have been well studied, while our focal species is a grassland ground forager, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). We show that changes in hematocrit, body mass, and wing length are independent of year and brood quality, while changes in hemoglobin concentration are higher in low quality broods. Moreover, we also identify higher oxidative stress in low quality year and second broods, a potential cost for maintaining a hardwired developmental trajectory in a lower quality environment. Finally we experimentally test the effects of food supplementation on development and maturity of chicks at fledging to show that although food increases body mass early in development, it does not change the trajectory or final maturity of chicks at fledging. Collectively this study demonstrates that some developmental changes prior to fledging may be hardwired, but may have long-term oxidative costs in low quality environments. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  14. 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). Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. 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

  16. Ambient temperature influences birds' decisions to eat toxic prey.

    PubMed

    Chatelain, M; Halpin, C G; Rowe, C

    2013-10-01

    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.

  17. Increased predation of nutrient-enriched aposematic prey.

    PubMed

    Halpin, Christina G; Skelhorn, John; Rowe, Candy

    2014-04-22

    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.

  18. The benefits of being toxic to deter predators depends on prey body size.

    PubMed

    Smith, Karen E; Halpin, Christina G; Rowe, Candy

    2016-01-01

    Many prey have evolved toxins as a defense against predation. Those species that advertise their toxicity to would-be predators with conspicuous warning signals are known as "aposematic." Investment in toxicity by aposematically signaling prey is thought to underpin how aversive prey are to predators; increasing toxicity means that predators learn to avoid prey faster and attack them at lower rates. However, predators' foraging decisions on aposematic prey are determined not only by their toxicity, but also by their nutrient content: predators can trade-off the costs of ingesting toxin with the benefits of acquiring nutrients. Prey body size is a cue that positively correlates with nutrient content, and that varies within and between aposematic species. We predicted that a dose of quinine (known to be toxic to birds) would be a more effective deterrent to avian predators when prey were small compared with when they were large, and that the benefits of possessing toxin would be greater for small-bodied prey. Using an established laboratory protocol of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) foraging on mealworms (Tenebrio molitor), we found evidence for increased protection from a dose of quinine for small-bodied compared with large-bodied prey. This shows that larger prey need more toxin to attain the same level of defense as smaller prey, which has implications for the evolution of aposematism and mimicry.

  19. Juveniles exposed to embryonic corticosterone have enhanced flight performance

    PubMed Central

    Chin, Eunice H.; Love, Oliver P.; Verspoor, Jan J.; Williams, Tony D.; Rowley, Kyle; Burness, Gary

    2008-01-01

    Exposure to maternally derived glucocorticoids during embryonic development impacts offspring phenotype. Although many of these effects appear to be transiently ‘negative’, embryonic exposure to maternally derived stress hormones is hypothesized to induce preparative responses that increase survival prospects for offspring in low-quality environments; however, little is known about how maternal stress influences longer-term survival-related performance traits in free-living individuals. Using an experimental elevation of yolk corticosterone (embryonic signal of low maternal quality), we examined potential impacts of embryonic exposure to maternally derived stress on flight performance, wing loading, muscle morphology and muscle physiology in juvenile European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Here we report that fledglings exposed to experimentally increased corticosterone in ovo performed better during flight performance trials than control fledglings. Consistent with differences in performance, individuals exposed to elevated embryonic corticosterone fledged with lower wing loading and had heavier and more functionally mature flight muscles compared with control fledglings. Our results indicate that the positive effects on a survival-related trait in response to embryonic exposure to maternally derived stress hormones may balance some of the associated negative developmental costs that have recently been reported. Moreover, if embryonic experience is a good predictor of the quality or risk of future environments, a preparative phenotype associated with exposure to apparently negative stimuli during development may be adaptive. PMID:18842541

  20. 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